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Captain Cook Besant, Walter, 1836-1901 1904

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  The University of British Columbia Library
^HffeSvW^ Ofttfllte!) Mm nf Jetton
CAPTAIN  COOK First Edition printed 1890
Reprinted 1892, 1894, 1904.    Prize Library 1903.  CAPTAIN COOK PT Alls'   COOK r CAPTAIN   COOK
All rights reserved  CONTENTS
Birth and Education	
Before the Mast        .         .
In the Royal Navy    .
.        27
The Great Unknown Ocean
■   44
Cook's Three Predecessors
.      56
Cook's First Voyage  .
J vi                                      CONTENTS
A Breathing Space    .
-   l^s
The Second Voyage    .
Last Stay at Home    .        .        .
.     108
The Third Voyage     .        .        .      ■.
.     115
The Death .     .
,     146
The End of the Voyage    .
.     172
The Ship's Company   .
.     175
The Last	
.     184 CHAPTER  I
James Cook was born in the little village of Marton, in
that part of Yorkshire known as Cleveland. He came
into the world on the 27th day of October, in the year
1728. His father, an agricultural labourer, removed by
a single step from the lowest level, is said by one writer
to have been a native of Northumberland, and by others
to have come from the village of Ednam in Roxburghshire, the birthplace of Thomson the poet.
The village of Marton presents few points of interest.
The cottage in which Cook was born was taken down a
hundred years ago, and part of a great house, which in
its turn is now gone, was built over its site. The place
is at present occupied by a plantation. The only
relic of Cook's childhood is a pump, called Captain
Cook's pump, constructed, it is said, by his father.
Probably it was the pump in use by the tenants of the
cottage. The village consists of a long street of red brick
houses, few of them old. The church was rebuilt in
1848, and most of the tombs in the churchyard are
James seems to have been the second of a large
family of seven or eight,1 or even more. At a very early
age he was set to work on the farm of one William
Walker, a wealthy yeoman of Marton. Mary Walker,
his wife, seems to have taken the trouble to teach the
child his letters. This is the origin of the dame's
school and the village dame of which so much is made
in Hartley Coleridge's Memoir. Mary Walker lived to
the age of eighty-nine, dying in the year 1789, ten
years after her pupil. It is hoped that this good lady
knew that the lad to whom she had shown a little kindness was none other than the great sailor who filled the
world with his name.
At the age of eight, in the year 1736, the boy was
removed to the village of Great Ayton, between four
and five miles south of Marton. Here his father
became hind to Mr. Skottowe, then lord of the manor.
Great Ayton, which boasts an illustrious roll of proprietors, had passed by marriage from the Coulsons to the
Skottowes. It was sold early in the century to a
family named Richardson. The word "hind" is generally
interpreted to mean bailiff. The practice in the Cleveland district was then, and is still, for the landlord to
The following is the family pedigree :
James Cook=Grace	
b. 1694      |      b. 1705
d. 1779      [      d. 1768
I I II II |      " j
John  James   Mary   Jane    Mary  William Margaret=James Fleck, Christiana=
b. 1727 b. 1728 b. 1732 b. 1737 b. 1740   6.1746   b. 1748    I    fisherman,        Cocker.
d. 1750 d. 1779 d. 1737 d. 1742 d. 1741   d. 1748   d. 1798 ofRedcar. j
See later. Children. Children.
There were perhaps other children who died in infancy. The four
between James and Margaret are commemorated on the tombstone in
Great Ayton churchyard. GREAT AYTON
place a man in charge of a small farm, giving him the
farmhouse for his residence, and paying him fixed wages,
receiving in return the whole produce of the farm. This
tenant or paid labourer is called the landlord's hind.
Doubtless this was the position held by James Cook the
At Great Ayton four more children at least were born
to the family, and four died and are buried in the
churchyard. Here also, in the year 1768, Captain
Cook's mother died, aged sixty-three years, happy, we
may hope, in the knowledge that one of her sons was in
command of a king's ship.
The village of Great Ayton is a much more considerable place than Marton, and far more interesting. It
lies close to the north or north-west edge of that splendid stretch of hill and moorland called the Cleveland
Hills or the Moors, well known to all who love Whitby
and her daughters, the seaside hamlets, each in its glen,
built on the slopes of the steep hills beside the sea.
The Cleveland Hills begin close to the village of Ayton.
North of it runs the long ridge of Langbargh, and east
of it rises the picturesque hill called Roseberry Topping,
a thousand feet high, crowned with its conical peak of
sandstone. Through the village runs a beck, which is
crossed by a wide stone bridge. On the south side of the
stream, evidently the poorer part of the village, stands
the house where Cook's father dwelt. It is said to
have been built by him, when he gave up his post as
hind and became a stone-mason. It is a stone cottage
of three or four rooms, with a red-tiled roof, and through
the open door one catches a glimpse of a garden behind.
Over the door is a stone with the initials   T cv,   and
the date 1755. If, as is most probable, these initials
mean James Cook and Grace his wife, the house was
not built till the son was already twenty-seven years of
age and long since flown from the paternal nest. The
father was also sixty, and, if he lived here, must have
given up his farm.
Cook's biographers grandly tell us that the boy was
placed in a day-school at Ayton, and educated at Mr.
Skottowe's expense. This seems very magnificent and
truly generous on the part of Mr. Skottowe. I believe
that this gentleman afterwards proved Cook's friend at
the most important juncture in his life, when a single
step decided his future. But upon the generosity of
the education one need not insist. I have seen the
school. It was held on the ground-floor of a cottage,
built originally, as the inscription above the lintel informs us, in 1704 by one Michael Postgate; it was
pulled down in the year 1784, and then rebuilt. The
later structure was of exactly the same size as the
former. No doubt, as village schools then were, the
educational advantages of Great Ayton were considerable,
and a boy attending the school from the age of eight to
that of twelve may have acquired a good foundation for
anything which he might subsequently be able to build
upon it. The school has since been refounded and
endowed and new buildings have been erected for it, so
that it has become a very creditable school indeed.
The village now contains a few old houses and
a good number which betoken a certain amount of
comfort and wealth. There is a large square with a
very good inn. On the other side of the brook is an
irregular Place, surrounded by old and somewhat squalid HHBiBSRKSJ^
^ cottages. The old church has been deserted and suffered to fall into decay, and a new church has been built
and a new churchyard close to the old. The effect is
not pleasing, though the mouldering church, in the midst
of its graves, all forgotten and neglected together, is not
without its touch of pathos. A monument stands in the
churchyard erected by Captain Cook to the memory of
his mother. His father, who lived to be eighty-five, died
at Redcar on April 1st, 1779, where he lived with his
daughter Margaret, who was married to a fisherman
there. He is described in the register of deaths as a
The son of a hind of Scotch descent, afterwards a
stone-mason, and of a Yorkshire woman of like position
and parentage, James Cook had little backing from his
family and his connections. Yet if we were to have
chosen an ancestry which in those days would have given
a boy the best chance of success, it would have been
difficult to choose a better stock on both sides—on the
one hand the Scotch patience, intelligence, and industry,
and on the other hand the Yorkshire independence and
self-reliance. Add to this—a quality especially essential to
success in that century of endurance, hard fare, and continual fighting—the power of contenting himself with the
simplest life under the hardest conditions. What the
common sailor endured with grumbling Captain Cook
endured with cheerfulness. This also he owed as much
to his parentage as to the habits of early life.
When the boy reached his thirteenth year, and it was
time to look about for him, it was resolved to apprentice
him to one Sanderson, a shopkeeper of Staithes or The
Staithes.    The existence of tombstones in Great Ayton
. —
churchyard bearing the name of Sanderson seems to explain why the boy was sent to Mr. Sanderson of Staithes.
Perhaps he was in some way connected with the family.
Perhaps the Sanderson of Staithes let the Sanderson of
Great Ayton know that he was in want of a boy. Cer- j
tainly the two places were then as far apart and as distinct
from each other as York is now from London. In one
the population was wholly rural and agricultural, in the
other it was wholly seafaring. Between the two villages
there lay an expanse more than fifteen miles across.
If one wanted a village by the sea, surely Redcar was
nearer than Staithes, and Whitby, if one wanted a
great commercial centre, was as near. But the boy was
sent to Staithes. He would reach it by whatever path
led across the moor, probably through Lofthouse, sacred
to the memory of a Loathly Worm. No doubt such an
apprenticeship would seem to the simple village folk a
chance of a rise in the world for their boy. It was
indeed a chance, and the lad seized upon it. Yet not
quite as they expected.
Along this part of the Yorkshire coast, from Redcar
round to Flamborough Head and Bridlington, high cliffs
present their faces to the sea, broken at intervals by
narrow glens formed by little becks or brooks making
their way to the sea. In many of these glens lies nestled
a village or a town. Whitby is such a town, built in a
narrow valley upon the banks of a stream. Robin Hood's
Bay has such a town. Runswick Bay has another.
Scarborough is an overgrown example of this kind of
fishing village. The Staithes is another example. It is
like the rest, built in a narrow valley upon the banks of
a little stream.    The valley is so narrow and so deep 1
.that the place is quite invisible, whether one approaches
it by the road or by the cliff. One suddenly turns
towards the sea by a steep and winding way and
presently discerns the red roofs of the town below.
Descending, the road becomes a street, narrow and of evil
smell j descending still lower, the street becomes the
centre and market of the town, with shops and public-
houses; a little farther, and the beach appears, high cliff on
either hand ; the one on the north running up to a point
and breaking down sheer—this is called Coburn Nab,—
and the other on the south, called Piercey Nab, a more
rounded bluff; both are of nearly the same height, namely,
just over four hundred feet. A bay is thus formed, partly
sheltered from the east, but exposed to the north. " The
Staithe" is a wooden pier or sea-wall, not that which
was known to James Cook when he became an apprentice
here, but one of much more recent construction. Piles
of timber have been driven into the ground as far out
to sea as possible, in order to make a kind of groyne and
to break the force of the waves, which come rolling in
from the north with great strength. In the bay there
are dozens of boats lying moored side by side; on the
shore there are dozens of boats hauled up; the boats in
the bay are filled with nets and gear of all kinds; mostly
they are painted white with streaks of green, blue, or red;
among them are lying—I know not if they came so far
a hundred and fifty years ago—the boats of Penzance with
their stern sails; you may know them by their rig. In
the big smacks half a dozen men go out, but two or three
will venture out even in one of the little cobles which
are upset so easily unless dexterously managed.
The place  appears  to be  prosperous, though  men CAPTAIN COOK
grumble: on the Staithe the fisher-folk stand about all
day long, hands in pocket, pipe in mouth. No Neapolitan
could seem lazier; but they are not lazy : they are resting.
An hour after midnight they will be on board their craft
outward bound for the German Ocean, in all weathers
short of a gale, and in all seasons, even when the northeast wind benumbs them with its icy breath. They are
not lazy, but ashore they love to sit and stand together
all day long, exchanging few words, where the waves
wash the beach, and where they scent the -fragrance of
the fish lying on the shingle above the reach of high
tide, and where they can keep an eye upon the open and
watch the ships that sail and steam past them on the
horizon. There is every indication of a trade by which
many do live in comfort; in the town the shops are
conducted—though doubtless on a more liberal scale—
precisely after the same methods as those prevalent a
hundred years ago. That is to say, on one side of the
door is the grocery department, and on the other the
drapery ; so that those who make James Cook apprentice
to a draper do not lie, nor do those who make him
apprentice to a grocer, since his master, Mr. Sanderson,
followed both these trades.
The fisher-folk of the Staithes at the present day are
reported to be a moral and virtuous people, largely composed of temperance men; they are further said to be
a religious folk belonging to one or other of the many
nonconformist Churches represented in the place. The
Church of England, which a year or two ago had
nothing in the place but an upper chamber rivalling
the conventicles in ugliness, is reported, perhaps wrongly,
to have a feeble following.     The parish church is at 1
^Hinderwell on the cliff, a mile and more away; and it is
in its churchyard that you will find the tombs of all the
master mariners of the Staithes.
In the time when James Cook was apprentice here
I suppose that there were none of the dissenting chapels
—nonconformity was still a thing of the great towns—
and that such of the fisher-folk as had any religion at all
walked up the hill on Sundays to Hinderwell. We may
easily believe them to have been, like all other fisher and
sailor folk of the time, a people given to much drink, but
never careless or reckless — that kind of sailor is not
common on the coast of Yorkshire. Save in this matter
of drink, in which the people are now greatly reformed,
the place was much the same then as now. The bright-
eyed, clear-skinned girls ran, then as now, lightly along
the steep and narrow lanes and courts of the town,
carrying baskets of fish on their heads; the wives sat
in their porches in their sun-bonnets talking and knitting;
the men lounged on the Staithe talking all day, if it
was fine and not too cold. When it rained or snowed,
or when the east wind was too bitter even for their
hardy frames, they sat together in the bar of the Cod
and Lobster, the Shoulder of Mutton, and the Black Lion,
drinking over a pipe of tobacco. On the south side of the
main street the narrow courts rose steep and confined,
each with its flight of steps ; beyond the bay, under
Coburn Nab, they were building ships,—always one ship
at least on the stocks; perhaps a whaler, perhaps a collier,
perhaps no more than a fishing smack or a coble; but
all day long the cheerful hammer rang, and the shipwrights went in and out among the fisher-folk.
He who visits this quaint old Yorkshire town, when CAPTAIN COOK
I   1
he stands upon the far side of the Cod and Lobster, upon
the wooden pier, may in imagination rebuild a row of
houses along the shore exactly similar to those which
still stand upon the shore behind him. Such a row
actually stood there in the year 1740, and among them
was Mr. Sanderson's double shop—the grocery on one
side, and the drapery on the other. Under the counter
—let us hope that of the latter department, where there
would be fewer cockchafers, beetles, and earwigs—slept
the apprentice, James Cook. All apprentices slept
under the counter in those days. In the morning he
swept out the shop, put things in their places—they
had not then arrived at dressing the windows; this done,
he had his breakfast—a hunch of bread, a lump of fat
bacon, and a mug of small ale; this despatched, all day
long he fetched, carried, waited, served, and listened to
the instructions of Mr. Sanderson. He also listened,
whenever he could get outside the shop, to the talk of the
seafaring men on the Staithe. He heard many things'
strange and wonderful; he heard how the men went forth
at night in all weathers to catch the herring and the cod;
he heard how some of them had served on colliers and
coasters, and so knew all the ports and the humours of
each from Whitby to Wapping; how some, again, had
gone forth to the Arctic seas in whalers and had met
with perils many and various among the ice, the bears,
and the great whales; nay, there were some who had
been pressed into His Majesty's service, fought His
Majesty's battles, and returned home again none the
worse for their years afloat—even though their backs
bore marks of the captain's discipline.
Now to some boys, when they hear such stories, there SEA SICKNESS
''falls upon their senses a longing so mighty that it overpowers them. Like the rats when the piper of Hamelin
first began, like the children when his flute played a
second time, they hear strange voices; they see
imaginary splendours, the washing of the waves upon
the shore falls upon their ears like the sweetest music;
their hearts swell only to see a black collier beating up
slowly against the wind; and presently a voice not to
be resisted calls upon them to arise and betake themselves to some place where they, too, can be received
upon shipboard and become sailors for good or for evil.
Alas! this was generally, in James Cook's time, for
evil; the sailor had then things to encounter the like of
which we have now wellnigh forgotten; there was scurvy
at sea, there were ships too clumsy to answer helm, there
were worm-eaten bottoms, there was foul water to drink
and not enough of it, salt junk to eat and not enough
of that; there were captains who could, and sometimes
did, lash the flesh off the seaman's back for a word or a
look of mutiny; there were sharks ashore and there
was the enemy afloat. Yet nothing—not the warnings
of the experienced or the history of terrible shipwrecks,
or the certain knowledge of these things—could keep the
young sailor ashore or make him prefer the counter
to the deck.
James Cook was such a boy. He heard these voices
and had these visions. Perhaps among the fisher-folk of
the Staithes there may have been one or two who had
sailed through the Strait le Maire and up the coast of
Chili and Peru and even beyond and north of the Island
of California, escaping from the Spanish fleet and boldly
tackling the biggest and strongest Spanish ship, and so CAPTAIN COOK
across the great Pacific Ocean, on the parallel of latitude
13° N., to the Isle of Guam, whence, through friendly
seas and round the Cape of Good Hope, home. There
came a time when he could resist no longer, and he fled.
Legends have grown up around this Hejira, from
which Cook's life should be dated. It is said that he
quarrelled with his master; it is said that he demanded
to have his articles broken; it is further said that, in
order to pay for a conveyance from the Staithes to Whitby,
he stole a shilling from the till. The preservation of the
till itself, which was shown until quite recently, has always
been considered sufficient proof of this story of the stolen
shilling. True it is that on the spot certain of the oldest
inhabitants endeavour to soften down the story, to remove from it the more tragic elements—which really
constitute its strength, and lend it a moral—by alleging
that James Cook did not steal a shilling, but uhat he
exchanged an old for a new shilling, by which his master
was in no way injured. Now the mute evidence of the
till in no way supports this explanation. It says plainly,
"Either a shilling was stolen from me, or it was not.
Looking into the receptacles and the depths of me, what
do you think %"
About the breaking of the articles, the boy's parents
were fifteen miles away, and practically inaccessible:
articles of apprenticeship were not broken without a
great deal of trouble and some expense ; boys who want
to go to sea have never troubled themselves about legal
formalities; they run away. Robinson Crusoe, the
leading case, ran away. James Cook ran away; he tied
up his belongings—one shirt and a jack-knife—in his
only handkerchief, stole out of the house one summer I THE TESTIMONY OF THE TILL 13
/morning at daybreak, looked across the bay for a
moment, marked how the rising sun gilded the sails of
the coaster a mile out at sea, looked regretfully at the
row of boats lying on the beach or anchored in the
harbour, and then strode away along the narrow street
of the town, where all were asleep except himself.
And as to that conveyance to Whitby, considering
that the distance is no more than nine or ten miles, or
perhaps a little more by way of the cliff; that there was
then no road, except a bridle-path, between any of the
villages along that coast; that there were then no carts,
carriages, or vehicles of any kind running between
Whitby and the Staithes; and that he was a stout and
sturdy lad, we may without difficulty acknowledge
that he did the little journey on foot, and that if he
took that shilling at all, which a biographer who loves
his hero may be permitted to doubt, it was to provide
himself with food until he should get what he wanted—
a ship.
This, one feels quite certain, is the exact truth. But
in order to make the thing perfectly clear, let me borrow
a page from the Booh of the Things Forgotten—a work too
generally neglected by the historian.
On Monday morning, the 5th July 1742, Mr. Sanderson,
grocer and draper, awoke somewhat later than usual; he
knew it was later because he heard the washing of the waves
upon the Staithe ; the tide was up ; he remembered that the
high tide was due at six o'clock that morning—men who live
by the sea always know the time of day by the tide, and the
time when high tide and low tide are due. He got out of
bed, therefore, being reminded, at the same time, by a certain
heaviness of head, that he had taken more beer than is needful
for man's refreshment at the Cod and Lobster the night before.
Then he dressed leisurely, and descended the narrow stair
into his shop. He found, to his astonishment, that the place
was still closed, and, as the sunshine streaming through the
upper holes of the shutters showed, that the floor was un-
swept and nothing set out upon the counter. Mr. Sanderson had his misgivings, taught by past experience. He said
nothing ; he crept with silence and great caution to the
corner where stood the instrument with which he daily
admonished his apprentice, grasped it and stole to the
counter under which the boy made his bed at night, intent
on giving him a lesson, short and practical, on the duty of
early rising—one, he thought, that should leave a lasting
impression. There was no boy. The blanket was thrown
back, the sacking on which he lay was crumpled up : the
boy had left his bed. Mr. Sanderson laid down the stick
and tried the door ; it was unbolted and unlocked : the boy
had therefore gone. Then Mr. Sanderson sighed and replaced
the cane in its corner. It would wait for the next apprentice,
for this one had run away and gone to sea. He made no
inquiries, and had no doubts. All the boys who were
indentured to this good man ran away and went to sea. He
could not keep them, though he flogged them every day;
they would go to sea, where the floggings were more frequent
and more various, ranging from the dread cat with nine tails
to the handy rope's end. They would go. James Cook had
only followed the others. He remembered, now that it was
too late, certain symptoms which should have warned him—
a new restlessness in the boy, a careless weighing of the brown
sugar, a lavish rendering of a yard of Welsh flannel, and a certain
wistful look in his eyes whenever he could steal to the door
and gaze upon the water. Well, he had gone to sea ; another
apprentice must be found; perhaps James would be wrecked
and cast away, or he might fall overboard, or the ship
might founder, or he might get tired of the sea life, and,
being unfitted for a landsman's drudgery, turn vagabond,
highwayman, footpad, and so get hanged; or he might
become a steady and useful sailor, and come back to give an
account of himself.
With these thoughts he opened the till.    It was empty.
He remembered leaving a bright shilling in it on Saturday
j evening. It was empty. The young villain—he had robbed
the till. He took it in his hand and went to the door ;
hard by were the coble men leaning against the posts.
" Men," said Mr. Sanderson, % ha' ye seen James Cook ?
He's run away and robbed the till of a shilling."
Up spoke a gray-haired mariner.
f Robbed t' till, man ? Thou robbed it thysel' last
night to pay tha reckonin'. Art too drunk yet to mind
gaein' oot for t' money ?"
Mr. Sanderson retired with his empty till. But the
word had been spoken, and it was spread abroad in the
Staithes, and contradicted, and again reported, that
James Cook had not only run away to sea but had
robbed the till of a new shilling. For there is a sticking
quality about a lie, particularly a lie which degrades, if
it is believed; and to this day . . . but the rest we
The good man took another apprentice, and yet
another, and another. They all ran away and went to
sea, except one, who was preparing to go too when a
putrid fever seized him, caused by the stinking fish.
He departed, too, but not in the same way, and now
lies buried in Hinderwell churchyard, under a grassy
mound, and is forgotten. The shop, as has been already
stated, stands no longer. The Cod and Lobster, then the
first house in the row under the south cliff, is now the
only house left. For a few years after the flight of
James Cook there arose one night a mighty storm of
wind and rain; the waves came rolling in from the north,
the tide ran over the Staithes and flooded the lower
part of the town. The people in this row of houses
had to fly for their lives, and one by one the buildings
fell and were washed away before the tide went down. 16 CAPTAIN COOK
All but the old tavern, which still stands to show the
kind of hostelry which was the fisherman's house of resort in the year 1740 or thereabouts. The respectable
Sanderson saved his effects and furniture, and his till.
The shop was reopened in a house higher up; the
house still stands, but the shop is closed. When Mr.
Sanderson at length concluded his pilgrimage, one
Turner took it over in his place—Sanderson having no
sons, or, which is possible, all Sanderson's sons having
run away and gone to sea. Turner in due course gave
place to one Row, who is also now gone, and the shop
is closed. The till has disappeared, and will no longer
bear evidence, the dumb, helpless thing, to an invention.
Perhaps it has been acquired by the Library of the
Royal Geographical Society, or it may be among the
treasures of the Royal Society. I have looked for it in
the Museum of Whitby, but it is not there.
James Cook came no more to the Staithes. The
people, however, heard of him. He w^as seen at-Whitby
between voyages. Ten years or so later the news came
that he had been pressed into the king's navy. And
one day, twenty years and more after he had run away,
the news came to this little port that Lieutenant Cook
—nothing less, if you please, than Lieutenant—had
sailed away in command of a king's ship, bound for the
Pacific Ocean, whither men go to fight the Spaniard.
Never before, in the memory of man, had officer of the
Royal Navy come from the Staithes. Captains of fishing smacks—even of colliers—but Lieutenants in the
Roj^al Navy?   Never.
" Why, James Cook was my apprentice!" said Mr.
Sanderson, now old and shaken in his memory.    1 He i HIS MEMORY GREEN 17
''ran away and went to sea, and he robbed the till; ay,
he took a new shilling out of the till.    This very till it
was—a new shilling.    Though they did say 1    But
here his memory failed him.
They cherish the memory of James Cook's boyhood
all over Cleveland. The strangers who visit the Staithes
from Whitby or from Saltburn are told where was the
house in which Cook served part of an apprenticeship.
At Marton, where the great sailor was born, there is a
school named after him. At Great Ayton they show
the house built by his father, after the great sailor had
left the place, and the schoolhouse, rebuilt after the
great sailor had gone away. There is a monument
to his memory erected upon a hill near Ayton for all the
world to see; and at Whitby, in the museum, they have
his portrait, and a relic or two from the Endeavour, and
a collection of South Sea arms, dresses, and implements,
which, though presented by various donors, are accepted
by the visitor as placed there in honour of Captain
Cook, and if you make your way to the little street
where he was articled, half a dozen of the people run
forth instantly to point out the house. CHAPTER II
The boy, as the book above quoted goes on to explain,
turned to the southward when he reached the top of the
cliff, and walked across the fields through Hinderwell
churchyard, to the road which, in the year 1742, was
only a cross country track, and not a made road at all,
leading to the village of Lythe. Here he struck into
the way along the cliff made by those who searched for
jet and those who worked in the alum trade, and so
walked into Whitby, which he reached before the events
already narrated, concerned with the awaking of Mr.
Sanderson, happened. It was not yet six o'clock when
he stood upon the west cliff—on which there was not a
single house—and looked down upon the town below.
He saw a closely-built populous place, the houses
stuck together as if to prevent each other from falling
from the steep sides of the cliff into the port itself.
There were few streets on the west side except the
Staithe itself, the long quay, behind which the houses
began; narrow courts with stone steps led up between the
lower houses to those above; the roofs were of bright
red tiles; the coal smoke hung over the town; there
was an inner port connected with the outer by a drawbridge ; already the town was astir.; the cobles and the ^
/smacks had come in and were unlading their cargo; a
sale was going on loud and noisy; the beadle was bawling the loss of a mare—lost, stolen, or strayed—and
ringing his bell; with many "yeo hoes" they were
warping a ship out of harbour; from the dockyard beyond the inner port there came the beating of a hundred
hammers, wielded by those who built the sturdy Whitby
craft; the children played about the quay, sliding up
and down the ropes, and looking at the casks filled with
fish to be sent up country and sold; the carts stood
ready of those who were waiting to carry the fish about
the farms and villages; Whitby was awake, and in the
full swing of work.
It was then, as now, a busy and important place; it
had a population of nearly ten thousand; many ships
were built there; it furnished ships and crews for the
coal trade along the coast; the Whitby ships traded
with Norway, Sweden, Hamburg, Bremen, Dantzig, and
St. Petersburg; a large part of the Baltic trade was in
the hands of Whitby; her merchants and shipowners
were wealthy and responsible persons; Whitby sent out
whalers; Whitby sent to London iron, stone, alum, and
jet; at Whitby there were made ropes, sails, blocks,
yards, and all kinds of gear wanted for ships; and
Whitby was the centre of a great fishery.
In those days it had but one church, the old church
on the east cliff, up the long flight of two hundred
steps. It was so crowded on Sunday that although they
had not yet pulled down the north aisle and built up the
large square structure which now stands there, they had
already begun the construction of the galleries, which are
stuck all about the church wherever one can be placed; CAPTAIN COOK
they had also already squared off the roof, put in the
skylights, and modernised the windows. The name of
the place was by some written Whitebay; it is so spelt
on the tombstone of a certain minister of the parish who
died in the beginning of the century; but this was pedantic.
The old name of the town, Streoneshalh, has long been
forgotten, which is a thousand pities; in the same way
the old name of the little hamlet three miles north,
Thordisa, has been clean forgotten, and changed into
East Row, which is indeed a drop.
The boy saw the church on the east cliff, and behind
it the ruins of St. Hilda's abbey church—in his day the
central tower was still standing; he saw one ship going
out of harbour, and another ship taking her cargo on
board. He walked quickly down the west cliff to the
quay, boarded the ship, and doffed his cap to the mate.
Under the east cliff there is nestled the oldest part
of Whitby town; here is the old town hall, built upon
a great central pillar, thicker than those of Durham
Cathedral, with a pillar of more slender diameter for
each of the corners. Here are two narrow streets running parallel with the cliff, and half a dozen courts running up the lower slope before the cliff begins. Under
the town hall is the market; as you see it to-day, so
James Cook saw it that day when he walked in from
Staithes: pigs and sheep, poultry, fruit, and vegetables
are sold in this market. For fish you can go to the
quay on the other side. Many of the houses in this part
of the town have got the date of their erection over the
doors; one is dated 1704, another 1688, and so on; by
far the greater part of them are more than a hundred
years old.   In the lower of the two streets, courts nearly as WHITBY
narrow as the Yarmouth passages run down to the water's
edge, or to houses built overhanging the water. Some
of these are old taverns; they have, built outside, broad
wooden galleries or verandahs, with green railings, and
steps to the water, where the captains or mates of the
colliers could sit with a pipe and a cool tankard, and
gossip away the time between dinner and supper, looking
out to sea the while between the cliffs. When the sailor
is not afloat he loves to sit where he can gaze upon a
harbour and ships and the blue water outside. At the
Raffled Anchor, for instance, even a sluggish imagination
can easily discern James Cook himself, in his rough sea
dress and tarred hands, sitting among his friends and
shipmates—himself already having gained the quarterdeck. He is a silent young man; he refuses not his
drink, but he does not sing and bluster; indeed, the
Whitby mariners were ever a quiet and God-fearing
folk, though in the matter of drink—but were they
worse than the landsmen 1 A picture of Whitby of this
date tells little that one who knows the place cannot
discover on the spot; the reconstruction of the town of
1742 needs but the knocking down of the modern part
and of a few shop fronts and recent structures. The
build of the Whitby ship—in the picture one is lying in
the inner harbour—has been little modified. She is
round in the bow, broad and square in the stern; her
lines are laid for room rather than for speed; her length
is about three times her breadth. In the picture, just as
now, the houses cluster at the foot of the east cliff, the
dockyard is in full activity, the port is full of bustle
and business.
The Booh of Things Forgotten narrates that the ship in CAPTAIN COOK
which Cook offered his services was ready for sea; that
he was taken on board as ship's boy, and proved himself, during the voyage to London port and home, a lad
of quick parts and great activity, insomuch that the
rope's end was seldom required to start him, and the mate,
though a choleric person, found it unnecessary to cuff
the boy unless he was actually within reach. Further,
that this officer interested himself, being of a generous
and humane disposition, in the boy, and advised him to
get bound to the owners of the ship for a term of years,
holding out his own remarkable rise from the position of
apprentice to be mate or first lieutenant of the collier.
To this rank, he said, the boy might himself reasonably
and even laudably aspire, though it was given to few to
reach so dizzy an elevation. In short, he persuaded the
boy for his own good.
The owners of the ship were two Quaker merchants,
brothers, named John and Henry Walker. They lived
together, and had their office in the narrow street
now named Grape Lane, but then a continuation of
Sandgate. Their house, now converted into two, still
stands—a plain, Quaker-like house. These worthy
gentlemen received the lad as their apprentice, bound
to them for three years, with the consent of his father,
and perhaps after the former articles with Mr. Sanderson had been torn up and annulled.
The lad served out his time as apprentice first on the
Freelove, of 450 tons, employed in the coal trade; and
afterwards in the Three Brothers, a fine new ship of 600
tons, on the rigging and fitting of which he worked
while ashore.    This vessel was employed for a time as ii IN  THE   WHITBY   TRADE 23
a transport ship. In 1749 she was paid off at Deptford,
and then employed in the Norway trade.
While an apprentice, he lodged at his master's house
while on shore, and the tradition still survives of his
sober and studious conduct during those times.
In the year 1750 he was on board the Maria
belonging to Mr. John Wilkinson of Whitby, employed
in the Baltic trade, under the command of Captain
Gaskin. In 1751 he served on board a Stockton ship.
In 1752 he was appointed, by Mr. Walker, mate of the
Friendship, of 400 tons.    He was also in the coal trade.
Observe that for three years, when this period of his
life came to a close, Cook had been mate, that is, second
officer, on board a collier, and that before that time he
had been an able seaman in the same trade. A rude
training, but the most effective possible. It taught him
seamanship thoroughly; it taught him to understand
the common sailor, and to feel for him. But it was not,
one imagines, a perfect school of manners.
As regards the life led on board the merchant ship, it
seems to have been much the same as that in the Royal
Navy; the men were perhaps knocked about more and
flogged less; there was little discipline, but much swearing,
cuffing, and, in case of mutiny, the officers had to be ready
to fell the mutineers with the first weapon that came handy
—a marline-spike, a cutlass, or anything. As for the rations
and general living, I suppose they were much the same
on a merchantman as on a king's ship, and we shall presently see how the men lived in the Royal Navy in the
middle of the eighteenth century. As for the things
that the boy would learn, they would be all summed up 24
under the head of practical seamanship; he would learn
first all the parts of a ship and her rigging; the sails,
the running and the standing gear, and howr to use them;
he would learn how to sail a ship, how to steer her, how
to save her in time of storm and danger; in the thirteen
years that he worked for the Quaker brothers, there was
plenty of time to acquire a thorough knowledge of seamanship. This period, indeed, proved the foundation of
the lad's fortune; he became a sailor. But for book
learning I cannot understand how he could acquire any.
The captain and the mate would have one or two of the
handbooks used by all sailors; readers of this series have
heard from Mr. Clark Russell, in his Life of Dampier, of
a sailor's Waggoner; there was also the sailor's Vade
Mecum, containing all kinds of practical rules and information. Apart from such books, I think there could
have been nothing to help the boy. He preserved, however, the thirst for reading first implanted in him by
Mistress Walker at Marton; a boy with an active and
curious mind never loses that thirst.
It is also reasonable to suppose, since he was promoted and became mate of his vessel, that his conduct
and ability proved satisfactory to his employers; he
would probably have received the command of a ship
but for the accident which changed the whole current of
his life, and enabled him to achieve the glory that
belongs to the great navigators of the world.
Early in the year 1755, though the country was then
nominally at peace with France, it was felt necessary
for the protection of the colonies to send a fleet
to the American station, with orders to attack any
French squadron which might be found in those waters, ii OUTBREAK OF WAR 25
where it was assumed that they could be sailing with
none other than hostile intentions. These instructions
were given openly, and were communicated to the
French Court by the ambassador. The king replied
that the firing of the first shot would be regarded as a
declaration of war.
That shot was fired on the 6th of June, but war was
not formally declared before May 17th in the following
year. This was the last struggle by which Great
Britain, at the expense of millions of money and lives
sacrificed by thousands, succeeded in freeing her colonies
from the European Powers. At the close of the war in
1762, the whole of Canada, the islands of St. John and
Cape Breton, Louisiana east of the Mississippi, the free
navigation of that river, and the province of Florida,
had been acquired for Great Britain. France retained
nothing except the two islets of St. Pierre and Miquelon,'
which she still keeps. Unhappily, the peace also allowed
her the right of fishing on the banks of Newfoundland,
which was withdrawn from Spain. This. peace was
signed in 1763. Only twelve years later our grateful
colonists took advantage of the expulsion of French and
Spaniards to throw off their allegiance to the British
Crown, without accepting any part of the burdens laid
upon the mother country in her long struggle for their
The imminent war caused a press, both hot and
heavy, in every part of the United Kingdom. Nowhere
was it so hot as in the port of London, with its thousand
ships and its tens of thousands of sailors. At this
moment Cook's vessel, the Friendship of Whitby, was
lying in the river.    Although he was now a mate on 26 CAPTAIN COOK
board, he was by no means free of the pressgang, nor
would his position on board a collier help him to any
rating on board a man-of-war above that of able seaman.
There was a way, however, better than that of being
pressed: it was to enter as a volunteer. It must be
remembered that the service was not then governed
by the same rigid rules as now prevail. A man might,
and sometimes did, obtain a commission in the navy
without going through the preliminary and lower ranks.
The branch in which a man with a practical knowledge
of seamanship might reasonably hope to rise was that
of master's mate first and master afterwards. Also, it
was not the branch in which he would have to encounter
aristocratic influence and favouritism. Young gentlemen who entered the navy had no desire to become
masters. Those who went into this line were practical
sailors, men as tough and often as rough as the
common seamen, who lived, when they were at home,
at Wapping, Poplar, Shadwell, and Stepping, if they
belonged to the port of London; or at Point, Gosport,
and certain streets outside the dockyard walls at Portsmouth if they belonged to that town. Cook, at that
time twenty-seven years of age, resolved that he would
not be a pressed man. He would enter as a volunteer.
Accordingly he repaired to a rendezvous at Wapping,
where he entered as an able seaman on board the Eagle,
sixty guns, Captain John Hamer. This was in May
1755. In October of the same year Captain (afterwards
Sir Hugh) Palliser was appointed captain. CHAPTER III
Between May 1755 and May 1759 is a period of four
years. Cook became again an able seaman serving
before the mast. But he was, to begin with, a volunteer,
and he had been mate of a collier. Therefore he was
not an ordinary pressed sailor. As it is very well
known that Captain Palliser took an active share in
whatever was going, we may reasonably conclude that
Cook was also present in many of the actions of the time.
The war began, as usual, badly. Boscawen was sent
out to intercept the French fleet and failed, General
Braddock was defeated and slain. On the other hand,
our cruisers and privateers almost annihilated the French
trade in the West Indies. As many as eight thousand
French prisoners, with three hundred merchant ships,
were captured in those seas. Admiral Holborne was sent
out with a powerful fleet to co-operate with Lord Loudon
in the reduction of Canada, but nothing was done. In
1758 the Fembrohe took part in the taking of Louisburg
and the reduction of the whole island of Cape Breton.
In this action five French frigates were taken and five
destroyed. The French islands of Guadaloupe, Descada,
and Marie Galante were taken. In 1759 the Eagle returned to England, but Cook was no longer aboard. 28
This is the brief record of those four years. What
share Cook had in these actions does not appear. But
when fighting begins, no one on board can avoid his
share of the danger at least. It is certain that from the
outset Cook could never have been confounded with the
ordinary able seaman—nothing is more clear than the profound ignorance and the brutality of the common sailor of
the eighteenth century. He had no forethought, he was
childishly dependent on his superior officers. He had,
it is true, the common virtues of discipline, obedience,
endurance, and bull-dog courage; but that was all. - He
drank as much as he could get; he threw away his
money; he lived for the day. When, for instance, the
Resolution sailed out of the Arctic Ocean, we read that
the sailors put off their warm clothes and began kicking
them about decks, as if they would never experience any
more cold. The officers, to save the things, collected
them and laid them by in casks.
A man who understood the art of navigation could
not remain a common sailor. In the naval records of
the time one reads once, and once only, of such a man..
He was on board Sir Cloudesley Shovel's ship, the
Association. This wonderful person calculated the course
of the ship, he discovered that the officers were out in
their reckoning, he knew that they were dangerously
near the Scilly rocks; he said so. They hanged him
for mutiny; and the next day the ship ran upon these
rocks, and behold ! they were all dead men.
What probably happened was this :—On the discovery
that there was on board an able seaman, a volunteer, who
understood the art of navigation, the man would have
been picked out and kept on deck engaged in navigating PROMOTION
the ship. He would have been told off to help in the
duties of the master. One solitary scrap of paper remains in Cook's handwriting which belongs to this period.
It is cut out of a book, it is dated "Wednesday, Nov.
3rd, 1756," and it contains certain calculations, apparently in navigation. It is perhaps a rough or draft logbook. Therefore, a year after his volunteering, Cook
was no longer a common sailor, but doing the work of
the master's branch. Was he promoted to the acting
rank of master's mate 1
He was really made master's mate two years after his
enlistment, and appointed to the Pembrohe, on board
which ship he took part in the reduction of Louisburg.
He was not without some interest. The then member
for Scarborough, Mr. Osbaldiston, wrote a letter to
Captain Palliser on Cook's enlistment, recommending
the young man to his notice. Why should Mr.
Osbaldiston interfere in his behalf? Fountain Went-
worth Osbaldiston was the fourth son of an Osbaldiston
of Hunmanby, near Filey. They were a very considerable
family, lords of Havercroft. There were five sons, two
of them successively members for Scarborough; one was
Bishop of London. All died without issue. It is a long
journey from Great Ayton to Hunmanby, but we may
fairly suppose that it was at the request of Mr. Skottowe
that the letter was written. However that may be, in
the year 1759 Cook was promoted to the rank of master,
and appointed to the Grampus sloop, May the 10th. When
it was found that the former master of the Grampus had returned to his ship, Cook's appointment was transferred to
the Garland. It was discovered that the Garland had already
sailed. Cook was then appointed to the Mercury. So far,
then, this young man had done pretty well. To rise from a 30
collier's apprentice to be master, not master's mate, but
full master, on board a king's ship by the age of thirty
must be considered creditable indeed. No doubt at the
time Cook thought he had touched the highest point.
We may now consider how far advanced he was at
this time in scientific attainment. His practical seamanship recommended him for promotion. What was it
that recommended him for the services he was immediately to perform? Kippis tells the story in words
which there is no need to alter.
The destination of the Mercury was to North America,
where she joined the fleet under the command of Sir Charles
Saunders, which, in conjunction with the land forces under
General Wolfe, was engaged in the famous siege of Quebec.
During that siege a dangerous and difficult service was necessary to be performed. This was to take the soundings in
the channel of the river St. Lawrence, between the island
of Orleans and the north shore, directly in the front of the
French fortified camp at Montmorency and Beauport, in
order to enable the admiral to place ships against the enemy's
batteries, and to cover our army in a general attack which
the heroic Wolfe intended to make on the camp. Captain
Palliser, in consequence of his acquaintance with Mr. Cook's
sagacity and resolution, recommended him to the service,
and he performed it in the most complete manner. In this
business he was employed during the night time for several
nights together. At length he was discovered by the enemy,
who collected a great number of Indians and canoes in a
wood near the waterside, which were launched in the night
for the purpose of surrounding him and cutting him off.
On this occasion he had a very narrow escape. He was
obliged to run for it, and pushed on shore on the island of
Orleans, near the guard of the English hospital. Some of
the Indians entered at the stern of the boat as Mr. Cook
leaped out at the bow; and the boat, which was a barge
belonging to one of the ships of war, was carried away in
triumph.    However, he furnished the admiral with as correct f  i
and complete a draught of the channel and soundings as
could have been made after our countrymen were in possession
of Quebec. Sir Hugh Palliser has good reason to believe
that before this time Mr. Cook had scarcely ever used a
pencil, and that he knew nothing of drawing. But such
was his capacity that he speedily made himself master of
every object to which he applied his attention.
Another important service was performed by Mr. Cook
while the fleet continued in the river St. Lawrence. The
navigation of that river is exceedingly difficult and hazardous.
It was particularly so to the English, who were then in a
great measure strangers to this part of North America, and
who had no chart on the correctness of which they could
depend. It was, therefore, ordered by the admiral that
Mr. Cook should be employed to survey those - parts of the
river below Quebec which navigators had experienced to be
attended with peculiar difficulty and danger, and he executed
the business with the same diligence and skill of which he
had already afforded so happy a specimen. When he had
finished the undertaking, his chart of the river St. Lawrence
was published, with soundings and directions for sailing in
that river. Of the accuracy and utility of this chart it is
sufficient to say that it hath never since been found necessary
to publish any other. One which has appeared in France is
only a copy of the author's on a reduced scale.
Such were the services which he performed within a
few weeks after his appointment as master. It is clear
that such work would never have been entrusted to a
young man who possessed no other qualifications than the
knowledge of handling a ship. One does not generally
step all at once from the rank of able seaman to the preparation of a most important chart and the examination of
a difficult sea-way. Nor were Cook's previous services the
only reason why he should be selected from all the officers
of the fleet for the important duty. Special knowledge,
as well as special aptitude, must have been understood. 7
These considerations prove that he already possessed
special knowledge. How he acquired it, by whose assistance, who lent him books, how he found time or opportunity, it is impossible to learn. Most of this knowledge
must have been learned during the four years in the Royal
Navy. It must, however, be noted that there is no other
case on record in which a sailor boy starting in the very
lowest place with the humblest origin and the very
smallest outfit of learning, has so far succeeded as to be
promoted at thirty to the rank of master in the king's
navy, and immediately afterwards to be selected for
the performance of a piece of work requiring great
technical knowledge, and—one would think—considerable experience.
As for his personal appearance, several portraits
remain of him. The best seems to be that by Webber,
the artist of his third voyage. Every biography ought,
at that point when the keynote of the character is struck,
to establish clearly in the mind of the reader the true
effigies of the man. One is not interested in the personal
appearance of James Cook, mate of a collier; but when
James Cook has become a master in the Royal Navy,
when the really important step in his career has been
taken in the execution of special service by special
appointment, it is time that we should learn what
manner of man he was to those who only looked upon
him. We know a man when we have seen him, when
we have spoken with him or heard him speak, when we
have read his books or his letters, and when we know
what he has done. Cook's voice is not often heard; for
the most part others speak for him and of him; but his
portrait remains. in PERSONAL APPEARANCE 33
He was, to begin with, over six feet high, thin and
spare; his head was small; his forehead was broad.;
his hair was of a dark brown, rolled back and tied behind
in the fashion of the time; his nose was long and
straight; his nostrils clear and finely cut; his cheekbones were high—a feature which illustrated his Scotch
descent; his eyes were brown and small, but well set,
quick, and piercing; his eyebrows were large and bushy;
his chin was round and full; his mouth firmly set; his
face long. It is an austere face, but striking. One
thinks, perhaps wrongly, that without having been
told whose face this is, in the portrait, we might know
it as the face of a man remarkable for patience, resolution, perseverance, and indomitable courage. The portraits of naval worthies are sometimes disappointing—
the faces of some gallant admirals have even, if one may
respectfully use the word, a fatuous expression, no doubt
the fault of the rascal painter. That of James Cook
satisfies. It is a face worthy of the navigator. Such
was the appearance of the man: tall, thin, grave, even
austere. As for his personal habits, he was, as all
agree, of robust constitution, inured to labour, and
capable of undergoing the severest hardships. Every
north-easterly gale that buffeted the collier's boy in
the German Ocean, every night spent in battling with
the winter gales between Newcastle and the port of
London, helped to build up this strength and endurance.
He was able to eat without difficulty the coarsest and
the most ungrateful food—on what luxuries are even the
mates of a collier nourished ? " Great was the indifference with which he submitted to every kind of self-
denial."    A man who felt no hardships, who desired no
lb '!
better fare than was served out to his men, who looked
on rough weather as the chief part of life, who was
never sick, and never tired—where was there his like ?
And a man who never rested jj he was always at work.
I During his long and tedious voyages," writes Captain
King after his death, "his eagerness and activity were
never in the least degree abated. No incidental temptation would detain him for a moment; even those intervals of recreation which sometimes unavoidably
occurred, and were looked for by us with a longing that
persons who have experienced the fatigues of service
will readily excuse, were submitted to by him with a
certain impatience whenever they could not be employed
in making a further provision for the more effectual
prosecution of his designs."
When we have read so far we are not surprised to
hear that he was a man of a hasty temper and liable to
passion. A man who was never tired, never wanting
to sit down and rest, impatient of enforced leisure, careless about luxuries, incessantly at work,—how should he
be anything but hasty and passionate when he found his
plans obstructed by the weakness or the laziness of
All that follows will illustrate the fidelity of this portrait. The man commanded unbounded respect, fear,
obedience, and confidence from his crew. What his
private and intimate friends said and thought of him is
unknown to us. Beneath the austere commander there
was, it is admitted by all, a kindly and human heart. We
must look for proof to the journals of his voyages, because of his private letters, there survive only three or
four addressed to his friend Mr. John Walker of Whitby, in HIS PRIVATE LIFE 35
His private life—how he lived and talked at home and
among his old friends and cronies—is almost as much lost
to us as the private life of Shakespeare. Certainly he had
some friends—it is most likely that he had very few. For,
if we consider, the course of his life from the age of twenty-
seven was not such as to continue the old friendships.
The rude sailors among whom his boyhood was passed,
the rough officers of the merchant service among whom
he spent his early manhood—those people could hardly
have anything more in common with the most scientific
officer in His Majesty's Navy. James Cook, master,
occupied a rank very far above that of many of his
former associates. When one rises in the world it is
necessary to abandon many old acquaintances; those
left behind are apt to complain, but they forget the
great gulf that success and promotion make between
old acquaintances. Most of Cook's old shipmates were
still before the mast; the rest were still navigating
merchant vessels, for the most part looking on a warm
room in a Whitby tavern, with a pipe and a glass of
punch, as the only occupation worthy of a sensible man's
time ashore. With such as these what had Cook to do ?
Nor, indeed, would he readily make friends in the navy,
except with those of his superior officers who discovered
his worth and knew how to value his qualities. He had
few private friends; if there had been many, legends
would have survived from some; there would have been
old men proud to tell how Captain Cook—the great
captain—was an old friend; how he would come and talk
during the brief visits home; what things he brought them
from abroad,—a conch from Tahiti, a piece of coral from
New Caledonia, a tomahawk from New Zealand.   Long 36
after life is over for every great man there survive such
memories, for they have had their private friends; but
Cook had no friends, and no such memories are gathered
round his name. It is little more than a hundred years
since Cook was killed; men are living still who might
have talked with such old friends of Cook. Why, I
myself, I who write this book, have talked with a man
who was a page to Marie Antoinette; I myself, but little
beyond the tenth lustrum, have talked with one who
was a drummer-boy to Henri Larochejaquelin; I have
talked with those who fought at Copenhagen, the Nile,
and Trafalgar; and had Captain Cook left private and
personal friends, I might have talked with their sons,
and heard what things the great man had said, because
their memory would have been cherished in the family.
Again, some men are so self-reliant, and some are so
constantly absorbed in their work, that they want none
of the sympathies and the supports of friendship. When
Cook speaks of friends he means patrons. I cannot
believe that there were officers of the same rank with himself with whom he could talk of the social life of which
he knew so little; nor can I believe that there were
cronies with whom he would sit in his front garden in
the Mile End Road, a cool tankard between them and a
pipe of tobacco in their hands, to gossip away the afternoon, and while the hours from dinner to supper. And
I cannot, further, believe that any old intimacies—had
there been any—with the Whitby shipmates were still
maintained. Therefore I think that Cook had very few
private friends.
The post of master, which lasted until thirty years
ago, when it was followed by that of navigating lieu- in MASTER IN THE ROYAL NAVY 37
tenant, now also abolished, was the survival of the sixteenth and seventeenth century practice of appointing as
captain a soldier who had no knowledge of navigation,
but was to command the fighting. The duties of
the master, as laid down in the sailor's Fade Mecum of the
year 1780, were briefly : To navigate the ship under the
directions of her superior officer, to see that the logbook was kept, to inspect all stores and provisions, to
stow the hold, trim the ship, take care of the ballast,
to observe coasts, shoals, and rocks, and to sign
vouchers and accounts In other words, he was the
chief executive officer on board. His scale of pay shows
the importance of his post. It varied from <£4 a month
on board a Sixth Rate to £9 : 2s. a month on a First Rate.
As the pay of a lieutenant did not exceed £7 a month
on a First Rate, the master was thought of more importance than a lieutenant. The surgeon was paid £5 a
month ; the captain eight guineas a month on a Sixth
Rate and £28 on a First Rate. Besides their pay the
officers were entitled to the same rations as the men,
and though they commuted the rations and brought on
board their own stores, it is evident from the low rate
of pay that for the most part the officers must have
fared very little better than the men. This, indeed, is
abundantly clear from the pages of Smollett. The full
weekly allowance of provisions for every man was as
follows. This was to be reckoned apart from fresh
fish, which was ordered to be distributed as caught
without any reduction in the regular allowance. On
the whole, comparing it with the modern allowance,
Jack of the last century seems to have been better off
than Jack of the present. mv l '
Seven pounds of biscuit.
Seven gallons of beer.
Two pounds of pork.
Four pounds of beef.
One quart of pease.
Three pints of oatmeal.
Six ounces of butter.
Twelve ounces of cheese.1
As regards water, one ton of water was allowed for
every hundred men per month. There were no rations
of rum, but the regulations provided that on foreign
voyages, where beer could not be procured, the men might
have half a pint of rum, brandy, or arrack in lieu of
beer. As yet no tea, coffee, or cocoa was served out to
the sailors. The national drink — the drink of the
people—was beer; they drank beer for breakfast, beer
for dinner, beer for supper, and beer at all other times
when they could get it. A gallon of beer, four quarts
or eight pints, is, it must be confessed, a plentiful allowance—an affectionate and kindly allowance—for the
daily drink; its substitute, when there was no beer, of
half a pint of rum or brandy would be more than most
of us moderns would care to take in the day, however
much diluted.     No tobacco was served out;  but the
1 On comparing the daily allowance of the last with that of the
present centnry we have
Then. Now.
One- pound of biscuit.
One gallon of beer.
Six-sevenths of a pound of meat.
One-seventh of a quart of pease.
Three-sevenths of a peck of oatmeal.
Six - sevenths of an ounce of
One and five-sevenths of an ounce
of cheese.
One  pound   and   a   quarter   of
biscuit,   or  one pound  and a
half of bread.
One  ounce   cocoa,   one - quarter
ounce  tea, two ounces sugar,
half gill rum.
One pound of meat.
Half a pound of vegetables.
I No oatmeal,  no butter   and no
j      cheese. THE RATIONS 39
purser could sell it to the men "in some public place,"
and in quantities not exceeding two pounds for any one
man in one month. Half a pound of tobacco a week—
over one ounce a day—is a liberal allowance. Jack, no
doubt, already practised afloat the delectable and delicate
habit of chewing, but as he was only allowed tobacco
when off duty, he must have found it difficult to get
through an ounce a day. That they did smoke pipes is
certain from the general instructions in the duties of a
lieutenant that he is not to permit smoking between
decks. As for the use of wine by the officers, nothing is
said. The captain's table seems to have been always provided with Madeira, a favourite wine at sea; that of the
officers would be perhaps supplied from their own stores
as long as these held out; but it must be remembered
that very few of the officers were men of private fortunes,
and even a lieutenant's pay would not stand the daily
exhibition of Madeira. I can find no allusion to the
drinking of tea or coffee in Cook's Voyages either as a?
daily practice ojc an exceptional thing. But they had
some vessels on board which they could use as teapots,
because they are mentioned by name when the spruce tea
brewed in Dusky Bay is described. Certainly Captain
Cook was not brought up on tea, coffee, or chocolate.
In September of the same year Cook was transferred from the Mercury to the Northumberland, a first-
rate man-of-war, the Admiral's ship. They wintered at
Halifax; during the winter Cook is said to have first
begun the study of geometry, mathematics, and astronomy. The amount of mathematics required for the
practice of marine surveying, taking observations,
making   charts,  calculating latitudes and longitudes, is 4Q
not very considerable; but that a man should actually
begin the study of mathematics after thirty, and after
performing surveys and making charts, can hardly be
believed. That Cook spent a laborious winter working
at those branches of mathematical science which are
concerned with navigation, that he advanced himself
considerably, and that he brought a clear head and a
strong will to the work, may be and must be believed.
The Northumberland returned to England in the
autumn of 1762, and on December 21st of that year
Cook was married. The following is the entry in the
parish register of St. Margaret's, Barking, Essex.
James Cook of ye Parish of St. Paul, Shad well, in
ye county of Middlesex, Bachelor, and Elizabeth Batts of
ye Parish of Barking in ye county of Essex, Spinster, were
married in this church by ye Archbishop of Canterbury's
licence this 21st day of December one thousand seven
hundred and sixty-two.
By    George Downing,
Vicar of Little Wakering, Essex.
The signatures follow with those of the witnesses.
I am indebted to the Rev. Canon Bennett of Shrewton,
Wilts, for information respecting Elizabeth Batts which
no one else now possesses. She belonged to a highly
respectable middle-class family, connected with various
manufactures and industries. Charles Smith, her grandfather, was a currier, carrying on business in Bermondsey.
His son Charles was a shipping agent in the Custom-
House. His daughter Mary married, first, one John
Batts, who was in business at Wapping; and secondly,
John Blackburn, in business at Shadwell. Mrs. Cook's
first cousin, Charles Smith, became a very successful MARRIAGE 41
manufacturer of watches and clocks. His house and
factory were in Bunhill Row. His eldest son Isaac, who
accompanied Captain Cook in his first and second voyages,
subsequently retired with the rank of admiral. His
second son Charles, of Merton Abbey, possessed considerable property in Merton and elsewhere. For Cook to
marry into so substantial and respectable a family marks
a social lift corresponding to his promotion in the navy.
There is more to say about this lady later on. Meantime, my authority, who remembers her perfectly well
—she lived to a very advanced age—bears testimony
to the full that her appearance in age showed how
singularly beautiful she must have been in youth, that
her manners were good and full of dignity, and that
she was well educated. She loved to tell how on the
day of her wedding she walked with Mr. Cook across
the meadows to the church. Therefore she was living
outside the town of Barking. As her grandfather came
originally from Essex, she was probably staying with
relations. The newly-married pair went to live in Shad-
well, where Mrs. Cook's mother, then Mrs. Blackburn,
resided. Afterwards they removed to the Mile End
Cook was now thirty-four years of age. The spells
of domestic felicity which he was destined to enjoy
were both short and few. Four months after his
marriage his services were applied for by Captain
Graves, who had obtained a grant for the survey of
Newfoundland. Accordingly, in April 1763, he went
out and surveyed the islands of Miquelon and St.
Pierre, which had been ceded to the French by the
Treaty of Peace, and were about to be occupied by them.
m 42
This job finished, he returned to England. Early in
1764, however, his constant friend and patron, Sir
Hugh Palliser, having been appointed Governor and
Commodore of Newfoundland and Labrador, offered
Cook an appointment as marine surveyor of those
shores. A schooner, the Grenville, was placed under
his command, and in April he sailed for his station.
Every autumn he returned to England, and every
spring he went out again. This is proved by the
dates of his children's births. The work lasted till the
year 1767. During these four years he executed a
great amount of surveying, and drew charts which
are still in use. He also explored a part of that great
island of Newfoundland, the interior of which is still
almost as little known as in the days when Cook discovered its chain of lakes and followed up the streams.
In 1766 he contributed a paper to the Royal Society of
London, entitled " An Observation of an Eclipse of the
Sun at the Island of Newfoundland, 5th August 1766,
with the Longitude of the Place of Observation deduced
from it." There were not many officers in the Royal
Navy of that time who were capable of taking such an
observation, or of making ariy deductions from it.
In the autumn of 1767 he returned home, his work
in America completed, and thus the second chapter of
his life closed. He was now thirty-nine years of age;
he had been at sea for five-and-twenty years. But the
best part of his life was before him; all its honour, its
highest interest, its best excitement, its greatest rewards.
What followed were years of endurance and hardship;
he was prepared for them by his long service on the
cold and stormy waters of the German Ocean, by the RETURN HOME 43
rough and simple fare on which he had subsisted from
childhood, by his long companionship with rough and
illiterate sailors, whose wants, whose virtues, and whose
vices he knew better than any other officer of his
One knows not what may have been his ambition;
probably to continue in survey work and cartography;
one hardly supposes that, after such an office as Cook
had held in Newfoundland, he would greatly desire to
sail as master even on a first-rater. He could hardly
have looked for such work as fell into his hands. Many
men, it is said, fail because they never get a chance of
showing the world what they can do. This may be
true of one or two professions—the bar, for instance, or
medicine, but it is not true of any other calling.
Least of all is it the case in the services, where a man
must be discovered if he be a good man. There is,
however, a better way of putting it. Many a, man
might rise to the highest distinction, as well as those
who do, had they the chance. As it is, their chances
lead them only to the lower heights. Thus there may
have been other men in the service as well qualified as
James Cook to command on a voyage of discovery. I
doubt it—but there may have been. The man was
ready, the chance came to him, and he proved himself
equal to his fortune.
~i If
On the 25th day of September, in the year 1513, Balboa
first caught sight of the great Pacific Ocean.
For two hundred years and more the Spaniards"
regarded the Pacific as their own possession; the sea
seemed closed to the world, except by one difficult and
dangerous portal. This entrance itself was defended
not only by its difficulties and dangers, but by a strange
superstition. Everybody, it was observed, who had to
do with the first passage by Magellan came to a bad
end. The captain was murdered in a brawl by the
natives of the Philippines; Ruy Falero, one of his
company, died raving mad; the sailor De Lepe, who
first sighted the straits from the mast-head, was taken
prisoner by the Algerines, became renegade, and embraced the faith of the False Prophet, by which, of
course, he lost his everlasting soul.. Nay, Balboa himself was beheaded. And when ships afterwards began
to attempt the straits, they were constantly driven back
by winds and storms, which seemed to have been engaged
in the service of the Castilian king.
The first, however, to sail upon these waters was Ponce
de Leon, two years after their discovery. He caused
two or three small boats to be carried across the isthmus, chap, iy ITS FIRST SAILORS 45
and sailed along the coast about Panama. In the year
1517 he founded the city of Panama, four miles from its
present site. He also attempted to build ships on the
Pacific coast, but was forced to desist, because the timber
he used became instantly penetrated and devoured by
Let us follow briefly in this chapter the history of
discovery in the Pacific Ocean from the first launch of
Ponce de Leon's boats to the time when Cook sailed
upon his first voyage. You may take a great sheet of
paper and lay down on its eastern side a short line of
the coast round Panama; on the western side some imperfect fragments of the great islands of Borneo, Sumatra,
and Java. The whole of the sheet, save for these fragments, must be painted black—it is absolutely unknown.
As one navigator after another traverses the ocean, a new
line of light runs out wherever he leaves the beaten track.
Each voyage outside that beaten track leaves a belt of
light no more than twenty miles in breadth. You will see
that even after two hundred and fifty years the blackness
of great portions is wholly unrelieved by any such broad
line of light. You will understand by such a method
what kind of task lay before the men who set forth
upon a voyage of discovery upon those unknown waters.
It was only six years after the discovery by Balboa,
namely in the year 1519, that Magellan found and
passed through the straits which bear his name; when
he emerged into the Pacific his idea was to sail across to
the Moluccas; he therefore held a N.W. course, one
which, unfortunately for him, caused him to pass by all
the great archipelagoes and the coast of Australia. He
found certain small islands, but their names and positions K
cannot with any certainty be laid down. His ship
reached the Moluccas in safety, but without her captain,
who was lying buried in the Philippines.
In the year 1525 a very important expedition was,
sent out to the Pacific by the King of Spain. It was
commanded by Don Garcia Jofre de Loyasa, and consisted of seven ships and four hundred and fifty men.
He achieved the passage of the straits in safety, coasted
Chili and Peru, and having reached the latitude of
13° N. he steered a westward course along that parallel;
and arrived at the Ladrones. His course was afterwards
blindly followed by the Spaniards, which was the cause
why, while they held almost undisturbed possession of
those seas, they made no progress in its exploration. It
wTas Loyasa who discovered the north coast of Papua.
Meantime, in the far east, the extension of trade w7as
causing the discovery of new lands. Sanvedra, sailing
from Gilolo, followed the coast of Papua for a good
distance, and discovered in lat. 5° N. the islands which
he called Los Pintados and Los Buenos Jardines. In
1542 Japan was first visited.
In the same year Villalobos crossed the Pacific on the
same parallel as Loyasa. After this very little was done
for some years. Many attempts proved failures : some
through the difficulties of the straits, some through bad
weather, some through the death of the captain. The
islands of Juan Fernandez and Masafuera were discovered
in 1563; those of the Galapagos in 1550.
A chart of the Pacific in the middle of the sixteenth
century, about fifty or sixty years after its discovery,
shows the western coast of South America laid down
tolerably well, except that of Southern Chili; the coast DRAKE SEES IT 47
of North America has been followed as far north as
California, which in some maps appears as an island,
and in others as a peninsula. On the eastern side of
the chart one observes a part of China, a part of Japan,
the Philippines, Celebes, Timor, and the Ladrones.
There are one or two small islands laid down with no
certainty of latitude or longitude, and the north coast of
Papua is indicated. Nothing whatever is as yet known
of Australia and New Zealand. There is, however, an
imaginary southern continent laid down with great boldness. The existence of Terra Australis Incognita had
in fact already begun to haunt men's minds. It was
said that Juan Fernandez had actually landed on this
continent and found there a white people, civilised, well
formed, well clothed. It was within a month's sail of
Chili.    But no one else ever found this continent.
It was in the year 1573 that Drake climbed the hill
and the tree upon its summit from which could be seen
both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. " Almighty
God ! " he exclaimed, "of Thy goodness give me life and
leave to sail once in an English ship upon that sea."
Now there was with the party that day an Englishman
named John Oxenham—spelt Oxnam. This man, a
fellow full of resolution, conceived a brilliant project.
He would get together a party, cross the isthmus with
them, capture first a small ship and then a big ship, and
rove the seas, plundering the Spaniards and sailing
whithersoever they listed. He partly carried this project into execution. That is to say, he got together his
company, crossed the isthmus, and falling upon a small
craft in the Bay of Panama took possession of it. No
more curious story belongs to this time of adventure. I
But the attempt .ended badly, because the party were
not strong enough to take a bigger ship and had to run
ashore, where they were all captured and hanged. Thus
the Pacific destroyed the first Englishman as well as the
first Spaniard who attempted it. The toll of blood thus
exacted, the ocean lay open to Drake. It is remarkable
that he coasted North America to lat. 48° N. in the
hope of finding a passage to the Atlantic. Two hundred
years later Cook went out upon exactly the same errand.
The way being now known, the distance, and the
comparative safety of the passage, voyages across the
Pacific from New Spain to the Philippines and back
: again now began to be not infrequent. Many accounts
remain of such voyages; from America westward the
ships always kept in the same parallel—that of 13° N.
—as nearly as possible. There was a fair wind and an
open sea. The voyage generally took eighty days. From
the Philippines to New Spain the same course could
not be always kept, but there was little deviation.
The English, meanwhile, were by no means unmindful
of this ocean, into which Drake had led the way. Two
or three unsuccessful attempts were made,—that in the
year 1582 by Edward Fenton and Luke Ward to get
through the straits; that in 1587 by Withrington and
But in 1586 Cavendish sailed with his squadron of
three ships,—the Desire of one hundred and twenty
tons, the Content of sixty, and the Hugh Gallant of forty,
with crews numbering one hundred and twenty-three
in all, and carrying two years' provisions. He sailed
along the coast as far north as California, thence steered
on a south-westerly course for the Ladrones.    On the CA VEND ISH
way, as all the world knows, he fell in with the great
plate galleon and captured her. Never was such a
splendid prize as that of this great ship. She had
122,000 pesos of gold on board, besides an immense
quantity of satins, silk, musk, and all kinds of precious
things. Naturally this good fortune stimulated imitators.
Cavendish himself made a second attempt, but the great
galleon was not to be taken by every one. One after
the other half a dozen attempts were made, and all
failed. In 1594 Sir Richard Hawkins, for instance, had
the bad luck to be taken prisoner—he and his ship the
Dainty. Such a misfortune daunted even the English
courage for a while. In the course of these voyages,
however, the Falkland Islands were discovered by
Captain John Davis, who had already made three
attempts to find the North-West passage, and whose
name survives in our maps in Davis' Straits.
Meantime the Spaniards continued their voyages of
discovery, but in a languid way, having indeed already
more upon their hands than they could well manage.
Mendana, in 1595, departing from the usual track,
sailed across the ocean, following as closely as possible
lat. 14° S. He was rewarded by the discovery of the
Marquesas, New Hebrides, and Santa Cruz groups, and
in 1600 a Spanish expedition was sent to sail along the
west coast of North America. Towards the end of this
century the Dutch appeared in these seas. In 1595 the
I Five Ship " expedition from Rotterdam set sail; they
followed the usual line, but steered northwards and
touched at Japan. In 1598 Oliver van Noort made the
now familiar voyage in lat. 13° N.
During the seventeenth century the troubles and civil
E 5°
wars at home kept the English quiet. It is the century
of the Dutch. The Spaniards, however, in the course
of a voyage in search of the southern continent discovered—it was in 1606—the coast of Terra Australis.
As for the Dutch, they sent out Joris Spilbergen in
1615, who sailed up the coast and defeated the Spanish
fleet. They sent out Le Maire and Schouten, who discovered the Strait of Le Maire, to the great uneasiness
of the Spaniards; they also found the Admiralty
Islands and New Ireland. In 1626 the great Nassau
fleet sailed round the world, but seems to have done
little. In 1639 the Dutch sent out an expedition to
examine the east coast of Great Tartary and to discover
the Gold and Silver Islands. But of course the greatest
Dutch navigator was Tasman, whose famous voyage was
begun from Batavia in the year 1642. It was not until
1667 that the French sailed upon the Pacific.
In 1670 Captain Narborough made his chart of the
Straits of Magellan. This was the only important British
voyage of discovery belonging to the century. To the
end of this century belongs the period of the Buccaneers,
which has been already treated at length in this series by
Mr. Clark Russell in his Life of Dampier. The adventures of the Cygnet, the Roebuck, the Cinque Ports, the
Duke, and the Duchess—the names of Morgan, Sawkins,
Dampier, Edward Cooke, Woodes Rogers, Clapperton,
and Shelvocke—belong to the Rovers; those of Commodore Anson, Byron, Wallis, and Carteret to the time
when the Spaniards could no longer pretend, even on
the authority of the Pope, to regard the Pacific as their
private lake. No nation in the world has ever had such
splendid opportunities as Spain.    One reads at school iv THE HAPPY SPANIARD 51
how Athens, when its population grew too large, could
ship off a whole colony to some island not far removed
—one envies the simplicity of emigration in those days.
But a far greater ocean than the Mediterranean was given
to the Spaniards. From the year 1513, when the Pacific
was discovered, down to the middle of the eighteenth
century—that is to say, for two hundred and fifty
years, the Spaniard lived secure, fearing no danger,
from generation to generation, in the warm air that he
loved, with a subject race to work for him, in luxury,
at ease, without anxiety; and wealthy beyond any dream
possible to the proud and poor hidalgo of the mother
country. It was an ideal life. And it lasted for eight-
long generations. During this time there was, doubtless, a continual stream from the old world of those who
wished to share in these good things. Those who came
first got the best; but there was enough and to spare
had the Spaniard continued to possess the spirit of
enterprise. But he did not; he gave no welcome to
fresh blood \ he losj} the old spirit of adventure; he even
lost his old courage J he became greedy, jealous, and
lazy- Had such a chance come to Great Britain, every
island in the Pacific would have been explored long
before the eighteenth century; and if there had not
been planted upon every island a little colony of ruling
Britons under their native flag, it would have been
because there were not enough Britons to go round.
I say that the Spaniards were practically undisturbed.
What did the successful raids of Drake, Cavendish, and
the rest amount to in all ? Once or twice the English
devils took the great galleon. But only once or twice
in all these years.   Now and again, a town was assaulted 52
and taken by these pirates. But how many towns were
taken? How often were towns taken? There was
fighting at Panama, at Guayaquil, at Acapulco, at Payta
—but where else ? The Spanish Americans feared little
danger; they ran few risks; from generation to generation they grew richer and lazier; the old courage of the
Spaniard had entirely left him by the third generation;
he could no longer fight; life had become too easy for
him. But he remained in possession because there were
none to turn him out.
All this was changed by the middle of the eighteenth
century. It seemed as if the great southern continent
was actually going to be discovered at last, and that it
would not belong to Spain; an immense and apparently
wealthy country called Papua was now known to exist;
Japan and China had to be reckoned with; the Dutch
had possession of Java and were pushing eastwards;
English ships were exploring the ocean — once the
Spaniard's own ocean—in all directions; the French
themselves, last in the field, had appeared; and it was
evident to all that Spain could no longer even pretend
to keep out the other nations. And, besides, the
English brain was fired with the thought of the Pacific,
as in Queen Elizabeth's time it had been fired with the
thought of the West Indies. Reports came home of
lovely islands; the English, though as yet they knew
nothing of Hawaii or Tahiti, had heard of Juan Fernandez and Masafuera; they had read the Voyages of
Woodes Rogers, of Clapperton and Shelvocke; with
Anson they had visited the lovely Tinian, with its
strange avenues of pillars; they knew of the Galapagos,
the sea-lions of California, the Spice Islands and the iv THE SOUTHERN CONTINENT 53
Ladrones, the Tierra del Fuego and its miserable
The long smouldering theory of the southern continent revived again. Scientific men proved beyond a
doubt that the right balance of the globe required a
southern continent; otherwise it would of course tip
over. Geographers pointed out how Quiros, Juan Fernandez, and Tasman had all touched at various points of
that continent. Men of imagination spoke of treasures
of all kinds which would be found there, and would
belong to the nation which should discover and annex
this land; they laid it down on the maps and reckoned
up the various kinds of climate which would be enjoyed
in a country stretching from the Southern Pole through
forty degrees of latitude. The most extravagant ideas
were formed of what might be found; fictitious travels
fed the imagination of the people; men confidently
looked forward to acquiring a prolonged rule over other
golden lands, such as had been for nearly three hundred
years the making and the unmaking of Spain. In every
age there is always a grasping after what seems to
promise the sovereignty of the world. In every age
there is a Carthage to be destroyed; and in every age
there are half a dozen countries each of which is eager
and anxious to enact the part of Rome.
Such is, in brief outline, the story, many times told
but always new, of the principal voyages of discovery
on the great Pacific Ocean. It would be tedious and
beyond these limits to attempt further details or to
follow the tracks of these hardy sailors. To those who
love a tale of peril and of courage, there is no better
reading than that of the old voyagers from Columbus, r
the first of modern navigators, down to Captain Cook,
the last.
We have seen the chart of the Pacific at the end
of the sixteenth century. Let us look at it in the
eighteenth before Cook began to sail upon it. The
chart of 1750 shows a very considerable advance
upon that of 1570. In the map attached to Gordon's
Geography, of 1740 there are certain instructive and suggestive things. For instance, New Guinea and New
Holland are united. Only the west coast of New Holland
is given; there is a small corner or angle of land which
represents the whole of New Zealand. California is an
island; the Ladrones are named and lie between lat,
10° N. and 20° S. There are also certain scattered groups
of islands nameless, and apparently set down at random.
The map is exactly similar to that illustrating Shelvocke's
voyage (1726), save that in Shelvocke's map the islands
are named.
Turning to the letterpress, Gordon says, under the
heading of " Terra Magellanica " : " Many things equally
foolish as ridiculous are related of this country and its
inhabitants, with which I shall neither trouble myself
or the reader." And in Section XIII, " Concerning Terra
Australis," he says:
By Terra Antarctica we understand all those unknown
or slenderly discovered countries towards the southern Parts
of the Globe; the chief of which do bear the names of New
Guinea, New Zealand, New Holland, and (which may comprehend them and all the rest) Terra Australis Incognita.'
Which southern countries, though they belong not to the
continent of America, yet we choose to mention them in this
place, since the southmost part of the continent of S. America
doth extend itself farther towards the S. than any Part or VOYAGES ROUND THE WORLD
Headland of the old Continent. . . . Leaving them therefore
to the discovery of future ages, we pass on.
The following is a complete list of voyages round the world
from Magellan to Anson.
Ferdinand Magellan
Sir Francis Drake
Sir Thomas Cavendish
Oliver van Noord
George Spilbergen j
The Nassau Fleet
Cooke, Cowley, and
William Dampier
Dampier and Funnel
Woodes Rogers and
John Clapperton
George Shelvocke
Commodore Anson
Sailed from
& Le Maire
The Downs
St. Helens
Aug. 10, 1519
Dec. 20, 1577
July 25, 1586
Sept. 13, 1598
Aug. 8, 1614
June 24, 1615
Aug. 23, 1683
Aug. 9, 1703
kJune 15, 1708
Feb. 15, 1719
July 17, 1721
Sept. 18, 1740
Sept. 8, 1522
Sept. 16, 1580
Sept. 9, 1588
Aug. 26, 1601
July 1, 1617
Jan. 21, 1686
Oct. 12, 1686
Sept. 16, 1706
Aug. I 1711
June 1722
Aug. | 1722
July 11, 1723
June 15, 1744
Ii j
So greatly has the fame of Cook eclipsed that of his
predecessors, that we are inclined to forget that his
century produced other great navigators besides himself.
Not to speak of foreign expeditions, there were the
voyages of Anson, Byron, Wallis, and Carteret, which
must, in justice to Cook himself, be touched upon before
his own voyages are considered. Commodore Anson's
course presents no features of great interest. Like most
of the early navigators, he steered northward after
passing through the Straits of Magellan, touched at Juan
Fernandez, coasted South America, stood in at Panama,
went out to sea again, appeared off Acapulco, and then
sailed in the parallel of 13° N. to the Ladrones. He
added little to the geography of the world.
Commodore Byron's voyage (1764-1766) was almost
'as barren of results, although like Magellan he seemed
to avoid discovering the archipelagoes between which he
passed by a kind of miracle. He had with him the
Dolphin, a man-of-war of the sixth rate, carrying thirty-
six guns, with a complement of three lieutenants, thirty-
seven petty officers, and one hundred and fifty men, and
the Tamar sloop, sixteen guns, under Captain Mowat,
with three lieutenants, twenty-seven petty officers, and chap, v COMMODORE BYRON 57
ninety men. His general instructions were to sail in
the southern seas and to make such discoveries and
observations as he should find possible. These instructions were not communicated to the men until they were
well out at sea. Double pay was promised, with other
advantages. He sailed to Port Desire, north of the
Straits, sighting the Falkland Islands on the way. He
then sailed into the Straits as far as Port Famine, when
he was forced to put back again. He visited the Falk-
lands—they had formerly been known as Hawkins's
Maiden Land or Pepys' Land—and then made another
attempt to get through the Straits. They entered this
terrible strait on Sunday, February 17th, and came out
of it on Tuesday, April 9th—that is to say, the passage
of the Straits took them fifty-one days, which must not
be considered a very long time, considering the time
spent by some ships in the passage. Captain Wallis
afterwards spent four months getting through. De
Bougainville took one day longer than Byron. The
weather during the-whole time that Byron was in the
Straits he describes as "dreadful beyond all description."
On April 26th the ships were off Masafuera. After
leaving this island Byron sailed north into lat. 26°
S., when, like Magellan, he took a W.N.W. course, and
ran half-way across the ocean without sighting any
land. He then arrived at the northern end of the
Society Islands, discovering certain of the smaller outlying islands, but missing Tahiti and the more important places. He then sailed N.W. for the Ladrones,
discovering one or two insignificant islands on the
way. HI
It is an interesting voyage, but one feels that the
gallant commodore was not anxious to linger, and,
indeed, his crew were suffering too much from scurvy to
allow further delay. Captain Cook, in his place, would
have put in at some island where he could have relieved
and refreshed his men, and would then have turned
back. But it is not every commander who can discover
islands; Byron had not la main heureuse. Nor is it every
commander who loves the perils of an unknown sea.
Byron on his return was made Governor of Newfoundland, and afterwards commanded a fleet to oppose
the Comte d'Estaign in 1777.     He died in 1786.
The Dolphin, being refitted, was sent out again in the
year of her return, under command of Captain Samuel
Wallis, who had with him the Swallow sloop, Captain
Carteret, and the Prince Frederick store-ship. Great
attention was paid on this voyage to the shipment of
medicines, portable soup, and other things for the prevention of scurvy. The ships sailed on August 22nd,
1766 ; they entered the Straits on December 17th, 1766,
and did not get out of it until April 11th, 1767. They
actually spent four months trying to work through this
abominable passage, which is, if one understands Wallis
aright, about eight hundred and eighty miles in length.
Wallis made, however, a careful chart of the whole Straits,
and wrote a description of the navigation for use by
those who should come after him.
On leaving the Straits the Dolphin, sailing much
faster than the Swallow, lost sight of her. "I would
have shortened sail for the Swallow,". says Captain
Wallis, " but it was not in my power, for as a current set
us strongly down upon the Isles of Direction, and the CAPTAIN WALLIS
wind came to the west, it became absolutely necessary
for me to carry sail, so that I might clear them. Soon
after we lost sight of the Swallow, and never saw her
again." To the people on the latter vessel it looked as
if Captain Wallis had crowded sail with the deliberate
intention of deserting them.
Wallis made no land for seven weeks, when they discovered a small island or two. About this time the diet
of salt beef and pork began to produce their usual result
in the appearance of scurvy. The men began to fall-
down very fast. Vinegar and mustard were served out,
as antiscorbutics, as much as the men chose to take;
wine was given, instead of spirits, also sweet wort and
saloop *. portable soup was also boiled with their peas
and oatmeal; the berths were kept clean, the hammocks were frequently washed, the water was rendered
wholesome by ventilation, and every part between
j decks frequently washed with vinegar. Yet the scurvy
continued to spread. Nor was it until they reached
a land where fruit and green food could be procured
that the men recovered. These preventive measures
are necessary to notice in view of their helplessness
and the sanitary improvements introduced by Cook on
his second voyage.
Early in June Wallis entered the archipelago of the
Society Islands on the south-east side, discovering island
after island, until they reached Tahiti, which Wallis
named King George the Third's Island. It was fortunate for Cook that his predecessor left behind him
a kindly memory among the natives, though their
friendship began, with a fight. Wallis's account of the
place and the people occupies a great part of his aiarra- M
tive. It is not so full and complete as the accounts
afterwards given by Cook, by George Forster, Anderson,
and King, but it is highly curious and interesting.
No island of the Pacific has been more thoroughly
described as it appeared on its first discovery than
Tahiti. Of that pristine simplicity of manners how
much now remains ? From the Society Islands Wallis
steered W., and afterwards N.W., for Tinian and
the Ladrones—another example of the way in which
sailors, one after the other, used to make for the known
points. Had he continued a westerly course, he would
have struck the coast of New Holland; had he steered
S.W., he would have anticipated Cook and discovered New Zealand. Satisfied, however, with the
glory of finding King George the Third's Island, he
made for the Ladrones. On the way he found several
small islands.
Here follows a very curious and tragic little story.
On arriving at Java he found H.M.S. Falmouth lying
in the mud in a rotten condition; her ports were
broken, her stern post decayed, and there was no place
in the ship where a man could be sheltered from the
weather. The few people who belonged to her had
been left in charge. It is not stated how long, or in
what circumstances they had been left there, or what
had become of the ship's officers. The story is an
illustration of the delights which awaited a sailor at
that time. These people were the petty officers, arid,
one supposes, some of the crew. The decaying ship lay
rotting in the stinking tropical mud while the men in
charge waited for orders from England. None came.
The Dutch refused to let them sleep on shore.    When H.M.S. FALMOUTH
they were sick no one would visit them on board.
They were afraid that the Malays would come and
murder them, and set their ship on fire. The stores
which they were left to guard had all been destroyed,
their powder had been thrown into the water by the
Dutch. The masts, yards, and cables were all dropping
to pieces, and even the ironwork was so rusty that it
was no longer worth anything. Ten years' pay was
due to them. They had actually been in this horrible
place for ten years. They were growing old in this
misery. They expected that the next monsoon would
break up the rotten old ship and drown them. Could
there be a more miserable condition ? The gunner was
dead, the boatswain had gone mad, the carpenter was
dying, and the cook was a wounded cripple. Wallis
refused to relieve them. They were left in charge, he
said, and they must wait for orders from home. So
he sailed away. Nothing more is recorded of these
poor fellows; but the year after, Carteret, who put in
at Batavia for repairs, mentions the Falmouth as a ship
that had been condemned. One hopes that somehow
the survivors had been taken home, and were already
in the enjoyment of their ten years' pay. But one
fears that their last home was in the warm mud of that
fatal creek.
The Dolphin anchored in the Downs six hundred and
thirty-seven days after her departure from Plymouth
Sound. This was a very quick voyage, but, as has been
evident from the course taken, it was straight across the
ocean. The voyage of the little Swallow, under Carteret, who had already sailed round the world with
Byron, was by far the most interesting of any before
J f
I I'
those of Cook. It was also the most perilous. The
vessel selected for this long and dangerous service was
a sloop, thirty years old. She was thinly sheathed, and
provided with nothing more than the barest necessaries.
The captain, in considering the scanty equipment of the
vessel, was persuaded that the Swallow was not intended
to sail farther than the Falkland Isles. In this he was
The two ships kept in company, as already stated,
through the Straits, when the Dolphin sailed away,
leaving her consort alone, and without appointing any
rendezvous. None of the stores necessary to obtain
refreshments from the natives — cloth, linen, beads,
scissors, etc.—were on board the Swallow, which was
also unprovided even with a forge or any iron. And at
the outset the ship was so foul that even with all sails
set she could not keep up with the Dolphin, though the
latter was sailing under topsails alone. After a month
of storm and rain with heavy seas the little vessel
arrived at Masafuera.
And now began in earnest a voyage, with which
none other can be compared, for the resolution of the
captain and the perils and discomforts of the ship's company. With a small vessel, imperfectly found, without
even the means of repairing a broken cable, the commander would have been perfectly justified either in
steering the shortest course across the Pacific or in
returning home through the Straits. Carteret, with the
true spirit of a navigator, did neither. He cruised about
in search of doubtful places. He looked for certain
islands laid down in Green's chart of 1753, and also in
Robertson's Elements of Navigation, and -proved at least v CAPTAIN CARTERET 63
that their position was wrongly laid down, even if the
islands had any existence. In these days of imperfect
;observation the true longitudes were generally arrived
at after repeated visits and many observations. He also
proved that the so-called Davis's Land, supposed to be a
part of the great southern continent, did not exist—at
least in the place assigned to it. He discovered Pit-
cairn's Island, but was unable to effect a landing. He
then, like Byron and Wallis, sailed into the archipelago
of the Society Islands, but lighted on the southern
group. The ship beginning to grow crazy, and the
crew being sick with scurvy, Carteret was compelled
to abandon his wish to steer S.E. Had he been able
to do so, he might have anticipated many of Cook's
discoveries. He therefore followed a N.W. course. But
not, as Wallis and Byron before him, making for the
Ladrones, and so by the north of the Philippines to
Batavia. Carteret kept as long as possible south of the
equator. He discovered the Queen Charlotte Islands,
he discovered and sailed through New Britain and New
Ireland, he discovered the Admiralty Islands, Joseph
Freewill's Island, examined the coast of Mindanao,
sailed round Celebes, and so arrived at Batavia. Had
he been able to land, procure refreshments, and repair
his vessel, he would have steered S.E. after leaving
Queen Charlotte Islands.
Hitherto (he says), though I had long been ill of an inflammatory and bilious disorder, I had been able to keep the
deck; but this evening the symptoms became so much more
threatening that I could keep up no longer, and I was for
some time afterwards confined to my bed. The master was
dying of the wounds he received in his quarrel with the
Indians, the lieutenant also was very ill, the gunner and
thirty of my men incapable of duty, among whom were some
of the most vigorous and healthy, that had been wounded
with the master, and three of them mortally; and there was
no hope of obtaining such refreshments as we most needed in
the place. These were discouraging circumstances, and not
only put an end to my hopes of prosecuting the voyage
farther to southward, but greatly dispirited the people; except
myself, the master, and the lieutenant, there was nobody on
board, capable of navigating a ship home. The master was
known to be a dying man, and the recovery of myself and
the lieutenant was very doubtful. I would, however, have
made a further effort to obtain refreshments here if I had
been furnished with any toys, iron tools, or cutlery ware,
which might have enabled me to recover the goodwill of the
natives, and establish a traffic with them for such necessaries
as they would have furnished us with. But I had no such
articles, and but very few others fit for an Indian trade; and
not being in a condition to risk the loss of any more of the
few men who were capable of doing duty, I weighed anchor
at daybreak on Monday the 12th, and stood along the shore
for that part of the island to which I had sent the cutter.
When the ship at last arrived at Macassar every man
on board was ill with scurvy, and the Dutch, in their
usual spirit, refused any assistance.
On March 20th, 1769, nearly a year after Captain
Wallis's return, the Swallow anchored at Spithead.
The explanations of the former officer, when the two
gallant captains met, are not on record.
I have thought it just both to Cook and to the
memory of these three, his immediate predecessors, to
give a somewhat more detailed account of their voyages.
It will be observed that the zeal with which Carteret
carried out his instructions differed essentially from that
which the other two brought to their enterprise.   Byron v CAPTAIN CARTERET 65
and Wallis had large and well-found ships. Yet they
hastened to get out of the Pacific as quickly as possible,
and by that part of it already known. Carteret had a
small and ill-found old and crazy craft. De Bougainville, who passed the Swallow homeward bound, reports
that " Carteret's ship was very small, went very ill, and
when we took leave of him, remained as it were at
anchor. How much he must have suffered in so bad a
vessel may well be conceived." He had a sick crew and
could get no refreshments. Yet he lingered as long as
he could in the ocean, and but for impossibility would
have explored the south-east Pacific, then wholly unknown. Perhaps the known zeal of the younger man
caused Wallis to sail out of sight as quickly as possible
after passing through the Straits.
The chart of the Pacific, therefore, had been enriched,
as the result of these three voyages, first by the group
of the Society Islands, of which Byron discovered the
northern isles, Wallis Tahiti, and Carteret those to the
south Byron and -Wallis did little more. Carteret
discovered the Queen Charlotte Islands, Pitcairn's
Island, separated New Britain from New Ireland, and
found other small islands.
We have now cleared the way for a right understanding of Cook's voyages and their results. We have seen
the Pacific Ocean at first a great black sheet, streaked
with thin belts of light as one voyager after the
other ventured across. On the north of the equator,
along the parallel of 13° N., there is a broad belt—
this is the highway between Panama and Manila. In
spite of many voyages there is still little light upon
the central and south Pacific. By far the greater part
of the ocean is covered with thick darkness.
In considering these expeditions one is faced by
certain difficulties which do not apply to the earlier
voyages. It is that they belong almost to our own
time, that their history has been narrated over and over
again. Every boy has read Cook's Voyages; not only
every library, but almost every house with a row of
bookshelves contains some account of them; there
are cheap and popular editions, there are illustrated
editions; they have been abridged, condensed, and
castigated for the use of the young; they have served
for lectures, illustrated by the magic lantern; they are
known, in scraps, by everybody. That is to say, though
few of us would sit down to pass an examination on THE FIRST VOYAGE
the subject, we all know in general terms that Cook
surveyed the coasts of New Zealand and New Holland,
^penetrated the southern ocean, traversed the Pacific in
every direction, and was finally murdered at the island
which some of us still, faithful to tradition, call Owhyhee.
Again, all the anecdotes, the interesting facts, the
dramatic bits, have long since been picked out, over
and over again, so that they cannot be reproduced with
the slightest show of freshness. Cook is not yet so old
that, like Dampier and Shelvocke, only historical geographers and the people who read everything know
him; nor is he still so young that his achievements may
bear another description by a new hand.
He is, again, not yet so old but that men are still
living who have conversed with survivors of the crews
of Wallis, Carteret, and Cook. A man of five-and-
twenty on board the Endeavour in 1768 would be no more
than seventy-seven in 1820; a man of five-and-twenty
on board the Resolution in 1779 might live to reach eighty-
six in 1840. There -are among us some who can still
remember the year 1820, and many who can remember
the year 1840. It is, indeed, wonderful how far back
one can reach in this way. It is not very long since
some of Nelson's old tars still lingered, and lightened
the tedium of time spent in sitting on a bench in the
Common Hard above the Logs, by telling over again the
story of the battles they had fought and the victories
they had won. Nay, there might have been among
them, perchance, as late as 1850, some more aged man,
one who had witnessed from the boats of the Resolution
the murder on the beach of Owhyhee; there may have
been a solitary survivor or two of that tragedy lingering
lf I
I 68
And as to grandsons of those
there are many still living,  though,
on in their nineties.
hardy mariners,
unfortunately, none of the great captain himself.
Considering this difficulty, therefore, it will be prudent
not to follow each of these voyages in detail, seeing that
to do so would be to present a tale ten times told already,
but to draw up a skeleton route or course of each in
turn, with such illustrations as may be gathered, not so
much from the official journals and descriptions which
have been used over and over again, but from such other
contemporary documents as are not generally known or
are not easily accessible, and especially such illustrations
as serve to show the personal character of the commander himself and the kind of company which manned
his ships. As for the places which he visited, and the
people whom he brought to light, are they not described
already in the books ? We are not here considering the
manners and customs of the Polynesians; their origin,
language, religion, folk-lore, and relationships do not
concern us.
The Royal Society, discovering that there would
happen a transit of Venus in the year 1769, and that
this interesting astronomical event would be best observed
from some place in the Pacific Ocean, drew up a memorial
to the king, praying that an expedition might be sent
out with that object. They proposed, as the most convenient station of any then known, the islands of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, or the Marquesas. The memorial was
favourably received, and the king consented to grant a
ship properly provisioned and equipped to carry out any
scientific observer who should be appointed by the Society,
Mr. Alexander Dalrymple, a well-known student and MR. ALEXANDER DALRYMPLE
writer on geography and Fellow of the Society, was
at first proposed as the commander of the scientific
expedition. He consented to go, thinking that he
should not only lead the scientific party but would also
command the ship, as had been done on a previous
occasion, when Dr. Halley, for scientific purposes, was
put in command of a ship, with brevet rank as captain.
But the Admiralty, also bearing in mind the example of
Dr. Halley, and its results in mutiny and disorders,
refused absolutely to put another landsman, with no
knowledge whatever of discipline, in command of a ship.
On so long a voyage the results would certainly be far
worse than on that occasion. Sir Edward Hawke, then
at the head of the Admiralty, plainly declared that he
would cut off his right hand rather than sign a commission for a person who was not a sailor. Then Mr.
Dalrymple first refused to go at all, and then wanted
to go; and finally, when it was too late, seems to have
sulked, and ever afterwards complained that he had
been badly treated by the Admiralty. They then cast
about for an officer who could not only command the ship
but also conduct the scientific purpose of the expedition.
No other man could be found than James Cook, master
in the Royal Navy. Everything happened fortunately
and opportunely for him; he had just returned from
the important post of surveyor of Newfoundland and
Labrador; he was therefore available, and on the spot.
He had brought himself into great notice by his admirable charts, and he was well recommended by every officer
under whom he had served. It is indeed most probable
that no other officer in the navy possessed so much
scientific knowledge as Cook.    To have mastered the . mm
whole art of navigation, with the methods and tactics of
naval warfare in all its branches, was then considered
an education sufficient for the best and most ambitious
officer. Yet one doubts whether Cook would have
received the appointment had either Wallis or Carteret
returned in time. Their experience of the Pacific would
have outweighed Cook's proved zeal, intelligence, and
scientific attainments. However, Cook was recommended by Mr. Stephens, Secretary to the Admiralty,
and no other officer seems to have been considered at all.
Certainly the command of an expedition, not warlike,
from which no glory of the usual kind could be obtained,
certain to be long and tedious, and equally certain to be
full of dangers and discomforts, was not a post for which
backstairs influence would be employed, or favouritism
brought into request.
Cook accepted the offer eagerly and instantly. It
was indeed an enormous step upwards; he was taken
out of the master's line, from which there was seldom
any promotion possible, and placed into the higher
branch; he received the rank of lieutenant.
In his introduction to the narrative of the second
voyage, Cook explains what kind of ship is best for the
successful conduct of such enterprises.    He says :
The success . . . will more chiefly depend on the kind,
the size, and the properties of the ships chosen for the service
... as the greatest danger to be apprehended and provided against on a voyage of discovery, especially to the most
distant parts of the globe, is that of the ship's being liable to
be run aground on an unknown desert, or perhaps savage
coast. So no consideration should be set in competition
with that of her being of a construction of the safest kind, in
which the officers may, with the least hazard, venture upon THE SHIP CHOSEN
a strange coast. A ship of this kind must not be of a great
draught of water, yet of a sufficient burden and capacity to
carry a proper quantity of provisions and necessaries for her
complement of men, and for the term requisite to perform the
She must also be of a construction that will bear to
take the ground, and of a size which, in case of necessity,
may be safely and conveniently laid on shore to repair any
accidental damage or defect. These properties are not to be
found in ships of war of forty guns, nor in frigates, nor in
East India Company's ships, nor in large three-decked West
India ships, nor indeed in any other but North-country-built
ships, as such as are built for the coal trade, which are
peculiarly adapted for this purpose.
After this expression of opinion, written, it is true,
after his experience on the first voyage, it is not surprising to learn that his first ship, the Endeavour, was in
fact a collier, built by his old friends of Whitby—a
stout, strong ship, designed for safety in all weathers
rather than for speed. Her like still sails between the
northern ports and London. She herself, until a few
years ago, carried on at a very advanced age the trade
for which she was originally constructed. She was of
three hundred and seventy tons.
The scientific party consisted of Mr. Charles Green,
one of the assistants to the Astronomer-Royal; Joseph
Banks (afterwards Sir Joseph), a man of large private
means, and already of considerable scientific reputation;
Dr. Solander, one of the assistants of the British Museum.
Banks brought with him a naturalist, Mr. Sydney
Parkinson a draughtsman, and others as assistants.
The Endeavour's complement consisted of eighty-five men
in all, including the captain, two lieutenants, three midshipmen, a master, surgeon, boatswain, carpenter, and 72
the other petty officers, with forty-one able seamen,
twelve marines, and nine servants. She took on board
ten carriage and twelve swivel guns, and was provisioned
for eighteen months.
Before the Endeavour was fitted out Captain Wallis
returned, bringing the news of the discovery of Otaheite
(George Forster, of the second voyage, spells it O-Taheiti,
which is nearer to its new name of Tahiti). And as the
place seemed more convenient than the Marquesas for
astronomical observation, it was determined that the
transit should be observed from Otaheite.
The Endeavour was fitted in the basin of Deptford
dockyard July 30th, 1768. She sailed from Deptford,
and on August 26th, the wind being fair, she put to sea
from Plymouth. The superstitious may remark that
this most successful voyage of discovery was commenced
on a Friday.
The only account of the voyage is that published
officially. Most unfortunately it is not the work of
Cook himself, or of Banks, whose journals were extremely
voluminous; it is a clumsy compilation by Dr. Hawkes-
worth, into whose hands were placed all the journals,
logs, and other papers connected with the voyages of
Byron, Wallis, Carteret, and Cook—the first voyage only
of the last named. It was fondly thought that this writer,
then a well-known litterateur, would be able to present
the separate journals in a narrative possessing the graces
of literary style. This the doctor undertook to do, with
the understanding that he was at liberty to decorate the
naked narrative with remarks or sentiments of his own
proper to the occasion. As the narrative is written in
the first person, as if by the respective officers whose vi HA WKES WORTH 73
names stand at the head of each history, the result is truly
wonderful. It must be owned that the author of this
literary job was careful to preserve every incident recorded in the journals, yet their mode of presentment
'robbed the journals entirely of the personal element
which is the chief charm in all books of travel. Wallis
and Carteret have disappeared altogether. Cook himself
is invisible under the classic garments with which he is
arrayed. The sentiments, it is true, are beautiful; there
is a display of learning which makes the memory of the
Free Love of Whitby seem like a bad dream. Cook must
surely have been wandering all these years on the banks
of Granta. For instance, how the rendering
of such a simple incident as that described in the following passage: " The scene might possibly have become
more curious and interesting if it had not suddenly been
interrupted by an interlude of a more serious kind.
Just at this time Dr. Solander complained that his
pockets had been picked." Of course Captain Cook, in
his culpable carelessness of style, had made the simple
entry, % Solander had his pocket picked." When we
read of the "poetical fables of Arcadia," of the "famous
Purpura of the Ancients," we feel the felicity of passing
Cook through a classical mill. And what polite ear can
endure to be told that the captain " went about with the
king " when it is possible to say that " the commander pursued his journey under the auspices of that potentate " ?
The ship's log, again, should be kept in balanced sentences
—witness the following, which forms part of a classical
account of a boxing match between two savages : " We
observed with pleasure that the conqueror never exulted
over the vanquished, and  that the vanquished never Ife
m "r
repined at the success of the conqueror." And the
following is a charming illustration of the lofty and
refined level on which a sailor's log ought to be maintained :. "It is scarcely possible for those who are acquainted with the athletic sports of remote antiquity not
to remark a rude resemblance of them in this wrestling
match among the natives of a little island in the midst
of the Pacific Ocean. And our female readers may
recollect the account given of them by F6n£lon in his
Telemachus, where, though the events are fictitious, the
manners of the age are faithfully transcribed from authors
by whom they are supposed to have been truly related."
All this written by Captain Cook in Matavai Bay ! After
this it no longer surprises us to hear him reminding us
how " iElian and Apollonius Rhodius impute a certain
practice to the ancient inhabitants of Colchis, a country
near Pontus in Asia, now called Mingrelia."
In spite of all, the story of Cook's first voyage proved
the most interesting account of adventure and discovery
ever yet presented to English readers. For the reason
already given I do not propose to make long extracts from
it.    The following is the skeleton course of the ship.
August 26th, 1768. The Endeavour set sail from Plymouth Sound.
September 13th. Madeira. The narrative speaks of
kindness and hospitality received here. Mr. George
Forster darkly hints at a discreet silence being thrown
over a certain bombardment of Fort Loo at Madeira
by an English man-of-war, assisted by Captain Cook, in
revenge for an insult offered to the British flag. Perhaps.
Who knows ?
November 13th. Rio de Janeiro. vi SKELETON ROUTE 75
January Itth, 1769. Entered the Strait of Le Maire.
The ship doubled Cape Horn and arrived off the western
• end of the Magellan Strait in thirty-three days, the ship
having sustained no damage.
April 10th. Sighted Otaheite, having on the run from
Cape Horn discovered several small islands, namely,
Lagoon Island, Thurnel Cape, Bow Island, The Groups,
Bird Island, and Chain Island.
April 13th. Anchored in Matavai Bay.
June 1st. Transit of Venus successfully observed.
July 13th. Left Otaheite and cruised among the
islands of the group, landing on those called by Cook
Huaheine, Bolabola, Ulietea, Otaha, Tubai, and Maurua.
October 7th. New Zealand sighted. The whole of the
coast of New Zealand was examined, the country being
proved to consist of two islands, and to form no part of
the great southern continent. Six months were given
to this work.
March 31st, 1770. Sailed from New Zealand.
April 28th. Anchored in Botany Bay. Cook then
followed up the coast of Australia northward for two
thousand miles.
August 25th. Left the coast of New South Wales and
steered for the coast of New Guinea. Passed through
Torres Strait and established the fact that New Guinea
and New Holland are separate islands. Touched at
Timor, Savu, and Batavia.
June 12th, 1771. Anchored in the Downs.
The results of this voyage have been summed up as
follows by Cook himself in the introduction to his
account of the second voyage.
I was ordered to proceed directly to Otaheite, and after
J f
i if:
astronomical observations should be completed, to prosecute
the design of making discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean
by proceeding to the south as far as lat. 40°; then if I
found no land to proceed to the west between 40° and 35°
till I fell in with New Zealand, which I was to explore ;
and thence to return to England by such route as I should
think proper.
In the prosecution of these instructions I sailed from
Deptford the 30th July 1768; from Plymouth the 26th
of August; touched at Madeira, Rio de Janeiro, and Strait
Le Maire, and entered the South Pacific Ocean by Cape
Horn in January the following year.
I endeavoured to make a direct course to Otaheite, and
in part succeeded ; but I made no discovery till I got within
the tropic, where I fell in with Lagoon Island, The Groups,
Bird Island, Chain Island, and on the 13th of April arrived
at Otaheite, where I remained three months, during which
time the observations on the transit were taken.
I then left it ; discovered and visited the Society Isles
and Ohetoroa ; thence proceeded to the south till I arrived
in lat. 40° 22' S., long. 147° 29' W., and on the 6th of
October fell in with the east side of New Zealand.
I continued exploring the coast of this country till the
31st of March 1770, when I quitted it and proceeded to
New Holland; and having surveyed the eastern coast of that
vast country, which part had not before been visited, I passed
between its northern extremity and New Guinea, landed on
the latter, touched at the island of Savu, Batavia, Cape of
Good Hope, and St. Helena, and arrived in England on the
2nd of July 1771.
The publication of the journals of this voyage was
looked for with the greatest eagerness. As might be
expected, the official narrative was anticipated by productions written hastily and without the maps and charts.
One of them was anonymous, the work of some one
who had been on board and concealed his name, the
other was  the  journal of   Banks's draughtsman,   Mr. THE JOURNAL OF THE VOYAGE 77
Sydney Parkinson, a copy of which was obtained
surreptitiously. This, which was enriched by Parkinson's drawings, was suppressed by an injunction,
j Hawkesworth's narrative was not published until after
Cook's departure for the second voyage. He asserts, no
doubt with perfect truth, that he submitted it to Cook
for perusal before he went away, and to Banks before
publication. Everything, it is certain, was there; he
had omitted no incident either from Cook's or Banks's
journals, but the work, as it appeared, belonged neither
to Cook nor to Banks.
Apart from the immense body of new geographical
work accomplished in the voyage, it is remarkable for
having led to a more successful method of treating that
terrible scourge of every voyage -— scurvy. We have
seen how Wallis treated it; in the account of the
second voyage we shall see how Cook treated it. But
on this, his first voyage, and perhaps his first long
voyage, unless we count the passage of the Atlantic a
long voyage, he seems to have had no experience of
scurvy, and to have taken no special precautions. The
experience of Byron, whose company suffered horribly
from this scourge, could not have been unknown to
him. Byron returned in 1766, two years before the
Endeavour sailed, and although his journals had not
yet been published, the Admiralty had all the information, and could hardly withhold a fact so important as
the prostration of half the crew. Nothing, however, is
said of special precautions. Moreover, very little is
said about scurvy during the first part of the voyage, when
they were seldom, after the six weeks' run from Cape
Horn to Tahiti, many days from land.    On their return T\
voyage, however, after leaving Batavia, where the whole
company seemed to have been poisoned by the heat and the
stinks of the place, scurvy and fever together fell upon
the crew, so that forty were on the sick list. Out of
the forty twenty-three died. This dreadful calamity—
the sight of all the suffering—impressed Cook so much
that in future we shall find him taking as much thought
for the prevention of scurvy as for the prosecution of
the enterprise in hand ; and after the second voyage he
was as much congratulated on his success in this respect
as on his achievements as an explorer of unknown seas.
The death list, indeed, was frightful. The astronomer, Charles Green, died*; the surgeon, Monkhouse,
died ; the first lieutenant, Hicks, died; among others
who died were Sporing and Parkinson, both of Banks's
party ; two midshipmen; the master—" a young man
of good parts, but unhappily given up to intemperance,
which brought on disorders that put an end to his life ";
the boatswain; the carpenter, his mate, and two of his
crew; the sailmaker—a good old man of seventy, who
had kept himself from fever in Batavia by getting
drunk every day—and his mate; the corporal of marines,
the cook, and in all about a dozen seamen. This was a
goodly roll out of a company of eighty. But this was
the last voyage in which scurvy was to demand" such an
enormous proportion of victims. Cook was going to
prove the best physician ever known in the prevention
of scurvy. The only true method of prevention, however, the mode of preserving every variety of fresh
food, was not discovered for a long time afterwards.
Mr. Clark Russell has remarked in his Life of Dampier
that in those days they over-salted the beef and pork. P SCUR VY AND DEA TH 79
The remark is equally true of the provisions served out
in Cook's time. They were over-salted. George Forster,
of the second voyage, complains bitterly of the time
*when the private stores of the officers and passengers
were exhausted, and they had to live on the ship's provisions just like the crew. He tells us how, every day,
the sight and smell of the salt junk that was served to
them made them loathe their food, which, besides, was
so hard that there was neither nourishment nor flavour
left in it. Imagine the misery, the solid misery, of
having to live upon nothing but a fibrous mass of
highly-salted animal matter, accompanied by rotten and
weevily biscuit! Think of this going on day after day
for a hundred days, and sometimes more, at a stretch—
three long months—with no bread, vegetables, butter,
or fruit; even the water gone bad, and no tea, coffee,
or cocoa.
It seems a slight to the memory of Captain Cook to
dismiss his first voyage with so scant a notice; but,
indeed, Dr. Hawkesworth has taken the commander out
of the narrative so completely that nothing remains of
him but a shadow who moves and acts; we never catch
his eye, we never hear him speak. As the captain,
so the company. The followers of Captain Jason himself,
or the crew who threw Jonah into the waves, are hardly
more shadowy than the crew of the Endeavour.
We may dismiss this first voyage with one more
remark. When a voyage of discovery is sent out in
these days, most places are supposed to be so well
known as to require no detailed description, though
observations may be made on points of new or special
interest.     This  was not so with Cook.     He—or Dr. HI
Banks, or Dr. Hawkesworth—thinks it necessary to give
descriptions of every place the ship visited. Madeira,
the Cape of Good Hope, and Batavia require a description almost as full and complete as Otaheite, New
Zealand, and the coast of New Holland.
This is fortunate for us. Many things have been
changed since then, especially in Batavia, where, it is
hoped, they no longer punish their malefactors by impalement, nor do their ladies flog and torture their
female slaves out of jealousy. The colonial government has also, perhaps, learned a little civility and
hospitality; and one would like to learn that they
have cleaned up the place a little. But the account of
that Dutch colony and that of Cape Town are most
valuable as contemporary pictures of a kind of life now
passed away. Every one who has endeavoured to reconstruct life as it was a hundred or two hundred years
ago must know how extraordinarily difficult it is to
find records exact and minute. Cook's, or Banks's, or
Hawkesworth's notes on Batavia will always be as useful to one considering colonial ways in the last century
as to those who study Polynesian manners, customs,
language, and tradition at the moment of their discovery.
Many stories told of this voyage greatly affected the
popular imagination. I have not quoted any of them
for reasons already stated. The night of terror and
freezing cold spent by Banks and his companions on a
hillside of Tierra del Fuego in the height of the Antarctic summer; the soft and gentle manners of the
Otaheitans, whose ladies, though not so beautifully
dressed, reminded the tender-hearted mariners, in many
particulars,   of  Poll  and  Doll   and  Moll,   those   fair vi THE POPULAR IMAGINATION 81
maids of Point and St. Mary Street; the fierce New
Zealanders; the vast island of New Holland, so thinly
populated, bigger, they said, than the whole of Europe
(heavens ! what treasures must be waiting in that vast
unexplored country); the perils of the Endeavour among
the coral reefs; the lovely island of Savu ; the luxury,
the drunkenness, the cruelty, the vice, the heat, the
stinks, the fever of Batavia—all these things enlarged
the narrow world and filled men with wonder and delight, so that they held out their hands, and with one
common consent they called for more. ill
Cook returned home on June 12th, 1771. In his
absence—a day or two before he sailed out of Plymouth
—a child had been born to him, but it died in infancy.
He also learned that his second child, Elizabeth, born
in 1766, was dead.1 His wife was living at Mile End
Old Town, a name given both to the few scattered
houses along that part of the Mile End Road where is
now the People's Palace, and to the houses on the east
side—the old side—of Stepney Green. The house now
pointed out as Cook's is No. 88 Mile End Road, a small
and rather mean house at present, one of a row of shops.
The more respectable residents of the Mile End Road
were retired masters of merchant vessels or the grass
widows of skippers still in active work.
It would seem, however, as if there was little leisure
for anything but business. He had first to put in order,
and to deliver to the Admiralty, all his notes, journals, logbooks, and observations, with the drawings and charts.
1 No one who gets acquainted with the family life of the last century can avoid remarking the great number of children who died. Thus
Cook lost four at least of his brothers and sisters in childhood. He
also lost three out of six of his own children. Yet his brothers lived
in the healthiest part of England, and his children in the open country
a mile from Aldgate. His own constitution was of iron, and his wife
• lived to be more than ninety, so that there was no hereditary weakness. PROMOTION
This done, he might have sat down to rest a while.
Perhaps he did, but his power of taking rest was less
than that usually granted to man. At all events, he
found time to write a paper for the Royal Society, called
"An Account of the Flowing of the Tides in the South Sea,
as observed on board His Majesty's Bark, the Endeavour\')
This paper, as well as one on the Scientific Results of
the Voyage, was published by the Society in their
Philosophical Transactions.
Cook was promoted to the rank of commander. He
hoped, it is said, to have been made a post-captain, but
this was not allowed. To us it seems a very small thing
whether Cook should rank as a commander or as a post-
captain ; the greatness of a man's achievement is not to
be measured by his promotion, or even by the recognition
of his own contemporaries, though, in general, a man's own
contemporaries generally overestimate the achievements
of their leaders—as boys at school think the greatest
man in the world is the captain of their eleven. Besides, there is in every age a fashion in the conferring
of rank and promotion; in these days we have seen the
greatest traveller of the age rewarded after he had
reached the age of sixty with a simple knighthood; we
have also seen, and it greatly increases our admiration for
the national honours, the owners of great incomes created
peers; in those days they reserved their peerages first
for the men who defeated the French by sea or land,
next for the younger sons of noblemen who distinguished
themselves as statesmen, and, lastly, for lawyers. The
immeasurable importance of the gifts which Cook had
bestowed upon his country was such as to require the
prophetic gift—the supreme wisdom—to recognise it;
11 ft
and surely there was little of that wisdom in the statesmen of 1770. He had given to his country Australia
and New Zealand—nothing less; he had given to Great
Britain Greater Britain. If people had only suspected
or guessed a thousandth part of what was to come out
of this voyage, what reward would have been thought
too great?
Cook got no title, and, I am quite certain, expected none.
He humbly hoped to be made a post-captain, and he had
to be contented with a single step. Let us hope that he
was satisfied. The man is silent; we cannot tell what
he hoped, or whether he was satisfied with what he got;
there is only one document of his extant in which he is
allowed to say the word he intended, and in that document he says nothing about his hopes or his ambitions.
He was at home this time for exactly a year. But if
the beginning of his leave was spent in preparing papers
for the Admiralty, the end of it was fully occupied in
preparing for another voyage to the same' regions.
It was a great thing in those days to have put a
girdle round the earth; and it was such a painful and
laborious thing, so full of discomforts and anxieties, that
there were few who cared to attempt the feat a second
Meantime the smouldering controversy about the
great southern continent began again to rage vehemently.
In 1770 appeared the first volume of Dalrymple's Collection of Voyages, which started the dispute afresh.
The recent voyage of Captain Cook had not, it was
true, succeeded in finding that continent; on the other
hand, he had not looked for it. His discoveries in respect to New Holland and New Zealand did not in the vii' THE SOUTHERN CONTINENT 85
least disprove its existence : they only shifted the ground
where it might lie. The believers in the continent
were not in the least degree disposed to surrender their
'Terra Australis Incognita because Cook had not found it.
Such a beautiful land, round which had been woven so
many pleasing speculations, was not lightly to be abandoned. For two hundred years the southern continent
had been believed in; it will be found laid down with
much precision on many of the old maps; wherever
bits of land, capes, corners, and angles—nay, even
islands—were discovered, they were set down on the
map as part of the great southern continent. Tasman,
for instance, thought that the corner of New Zealand
discovered by himseli belonged to it. Lozier Bouvet,
sent out by the French East India Company in 1738,
reported land in lat. 54° S. and long. 11° E. This
land—it has never been found by any subsequent
traveller—was also concluded to be part of the continent:
and early in 1675 an English merchant, Anthony La
Roche, being carried out of his course by winds and
currents, fell in with a~coast now supposed to have been
the island of Georgia, which was also concluded to be
the southern continent. The discoveries of Quiros
again pointed the same way. Given the existence of
such a continent, and all these discoveries could be
easily connected with it. In fact, they were, and every
additional spot of land observed from a ship driven
southwards by bad weather became an addition to the
coast of the continent.
Dr. Kippis, Cook's biographer, writing in the year
1788, thus speaks of this belief: "The writer of this
narrative fully remembers how much  his imagination
if HP
was captivated in the more early part of his life with
the hypothesis of a southern continent. He has often
dwelt upon it with rapture, and been highly delighted
with the authors who contended for its existence, and
displayed the mighty consequences which would result
from its being discovered. Though his knowledge was
infinitely exceeded by that of some able men who had
paid a particular attention to the subject, he did not
come behind them in the sanguineness of his hopes and
expectations." In short, the southern continent was a
thing which had grown up in men's minds until, to
many who thought and wrote about it, the great unknown land stretched round the whole of the Antarctic
Pole; it contained treasures greater than any which had
been found in the Americas; it was populated by a race
highly civilised, who had acquired a knowledge of the
arts; it would be a possession for that European nation,
which should find and claim it greater and richer than
were ever the Spanish dominions in the west. "Its
longitude"—see Dalrymple's Collection—"is as much
as that of all Europe, Asia Minor, and to the Caspian
Sea and Persia, with all the islands of the Mediterranean
and Ocean which are in its limits embraced, including
England and Ireland. That unknown part is a quarter
of the whole globe, and so capacious that it may contain
in it double the kingdoms and provinces of all those your
Majesty is at present lord of, and that without adjoining to Turks- or Moors or others of the nations which are
accustomed to disquiet and disturb their neighbours."
Dalrymple, himself an ardent advocate of the southern
continent, thus dedicates his Historical Collection of
Voyages: " To the man who, emulous of Magellan and vir THE EARL OF SANDWICH 87
the heroes of former times, undeterred by difficulties,
and unseduced by pleasure, shall persist through every
obstacle, and not by chance but by virtue and good conduct succeed in establishing an intercourse with a
Southern Continent!"
The Earl of Sandwich, at that time the First Lord of
the Admiralty, took a great interest in these questions. It
seems to have been chiefly due to him that an expedition
was resolved upon which should endeavour to clear up
and finally settle the controversy concerning the continent. How far Cook himself was consulted does not
appear. In Cook's own words : 1 Soon after my return
in the Endeavour it was resolved to equip two ships to
complete the discovery of the Southern Hemisphere."
That he was consulted as to the conduct and equipment
of the expedition is evident from his introduction to the
second voyage, in which he discusses—the passage has
already been quoted—the kind of vessel most useful for
such a voyage, and shows that his advice was acted
It does not appear-that there was ever any hesitation
on the part of Lord Sandwich as to the proper person
to command the new expedition. I know not where
Captain Wallis was at this time, or Captain Carteret, but
both were passed over and the command was offered to
Cook.    He accepted it without hesitation.
The date of his commission was November 28th, 1771.
The interval of five months wras therefore all the time
he had to bestow upon his family; and this interval,
as we have seen, must have been pretty well occupied
with business relating to the last voyage. From the time
of his appointment he must have been fully occupied with I
the preparations and the equipment of his ships, so that
the family at Mile End Old Town saw but little of their
father. As in the case of the former voyage, a child was
born a few days after the departure of the ships; and,
as before, the child died in infancy.
The disasters of the previous voyage caused Cook to
take many new precautions against scurvy. He put on
board wheat instead of oatmeal, sugar instead of so much
oil, and a quantity of malt, sour-krout, salted cabbage,
portable broth, saloop, rob of lemons, mustard, marmalade of carrots, and inspissated juice of wort and beer.
Some of these things were experimental, and failed to
produce any good effect. Others were well known for
their antiscorbutic properties. In fact, for the first time
in the history of navigation a carefully prepared attempt
was to be made in the prevention of this disease.
When all was ready, the ship sailed from Deptford
on April 9th, 1772, but being detained by east winds
got no farther than Woolwich, where she lay for a fortnight. She then dropped down to Longreach, but had
to put in for repairs at Sheerness. On June 22nd she
sailed for Plymouth, and finally quitted Plymouth Sound
on July 13th. CHAPTER  VIII
One opens the account of the second voyage with relief
and hope. We have done with Dr. Hawkesworth; it is
true that we have Dr. Douglas in his place, but the
second editor declares solemnly that he has given the
very words of the writer without alteration. This is
substantially true; there may be omissions, but the
language is never altered, nor shall we find inserted any
of the " judicious " observations. If anywhere we shall
find the man himself in this journal, we shall hear his
voice and look into his face and read his mind. Certainly Cook was not brought up in a school which
encourages personal confidences and bits of autobiography ; we must not expect too much; but we are all
human, and except in a Royal Engineer's report, which
is written in the third person, a man may discover himself even in a ship's journal or a log-book. One may
even discern the character of a clergyman from his
manner of keeping a parish register.
When one reads this narrative, it is truly wonderful
to understand how any one would have thought of improving Cook's style by subjecting it to the handling of
Dr. Hawkesworth. What have balanced periods, turgid
ornaments, and becoming sentiments to do with Cook's r
H ft
plain unvarnished narrative ? Simplicity and directness
never go out of fashion. We read a book of travels to
learn what was observed and discovered, not to linger
over the sentences, caught by the charm of the words
and dwelling on the music of a phrase. Nay, to the
charm of literary style the greater part of the world
will always remain blind and deaf; they read for what
is told, not for the way in which it is told; they want
the story. The skilful artist may so employ his charm
of language as to make the manner seem part and parcel
of the matter, but the story—the story is everything.
In such a story as Cook had to tell, the greatest simplicity and the most perfect directness are the most
effective and the most desirable qualities. The reader
should have no other thought than to learn what he saw
and whither he sailed.
Cook's own journal, then, is here presented in his
own words.    He says simply in his introduction :
And now it may be necessary to say that, as I am on the
point of sailing on a third expedition, I leave this account of
my last voyage in the hands of some friends, who, in my
absence, have kindly accepted the office of correcting the
press for me ; who are pleased to think that what I have
here to relate is better to be given in my own words than in
the words of another person ; especially as it is a work
designed for information and not merely for amusement, in
which it is their opinion that candour and fidelity will
counterbalance the want of ornament. I shall therefore
conclude this introductory discourse with desiring the reader
to excuse the inaccuracies of style which doubtless he will
frequently meet with in the following narrative, and that,
when such occur, he will recollect that it is the production
of a man who has not had the advantage of much school
education, but who has been constantly at sea from his
youth;   and though,  with   the   assistance  of  a  few good COOK'S INTRODUCTION
friends, he has passed through all the stations belonging to
a seaman, from an apprentice in the coal trade to a post-
captain in the Royal Navy, he has had no opportunity of
cultivating letters. After this account of myself the public
must not expect from me the elegance of a fine writer or the
plausibility of a professed bookmaker, but will, I hope, consider me as a plain man, zealously exerting himself in the
service of his country, and determined to give the best
account he is able of his proceedings.
These words are straightforward, modest, and manly.
The writer is not ashamed of having risen from the
lowest position possible on a ship; on the other hand, he
is prepared to maintain his own ability to set down
what he has seen as plainly as if he had had as many
opportunities of cultivating letters as the great man who
was appointed to revise his simple and direct account.
Besides Cook's own account, we have to illustrate this
voyage a description written by George Forster, younger
of the two German naturalists who accompanied the
expedition, certain " observations " by the elder Forster,
and the scientific results detailed by Wallis and Bayley,
the two astronomers. -
Forster's book, which appeared in 1777, was regarded
as a breach of confidence. His father, to whom he was
assistant, was sent out as naturalist, with general instructions to make observations of every kind. He also
seems to have thought that he would be called upon to
write the history of the voyage, to succeed the great
Hawkesworth. On his return he still imagined that he
would be expected to do this, and actually began it, but
found that the captain's journal was to be kept separate
from his own. Lord Sandwich, however, undertook to
present Cook and Forster with the plates, engraved at 92 CAPTAIN COOK
the expense of the Admiralty, of all the drawings and
maps made during the voyage to accompany the journals ; and Forster was informed that he would not be
called upon to write the history of the voyage at all, but
to send in his observations as they were. Unless he
agreed to this, he would forfeit any share in the profits
of the work. Here the son saw his chance. He was
not bound, he said, by any agreement which his father
had made. He therefore wrote his own account of the
voyage, and, on the whole, though somewhat flowery
and exaggerated, it is a very good book indeed. The
Government and Captain Cook, unfortunately, took a
different view of his obligations, and, it is said, expressed
these views so strongly that the two Forsters found
that no further appointments would be offered them, and
retired to their native country, where I know not what
became of them. The father is said to have been of a
turbulent temper: the son grumbled throughout the
voyage at the loss of his little comforts; but Cook has
no word of complaint against either of them, nor have
they any other charge against the captain than that he
would persevere with the work before him, though it
made his people more uncomfortable every day.
Two ships were chosen and fitted out for this expedition. Both of them were built at Whitby, on much the
same lines as the Endeavour. They were at the time
about fourteen or sixteen months old. One of them, the
Resolution^ was of four hundred and sixty-two tons
burden; the other, the Adventure, of three hundred and
thirty-six tons. The former was fitted out at Deptford, the latter at Woolwich. The Resolution carried a
company of one hundred and twelve men, the Adventure THE OUTFIT 93
eighty-one. Each ship was provisioned for two years
and a half. We have seen how, mindful of his late
disasters, Cook carried with him a great quantity of
The frame of a small vessel of twenty tons was put on
board each ship, to be put together and to serve as
tenders on any emergency, such as shipwreck. Both
ships were provided with a quantity of things, such as
the natives would like, for presents or trade. A number
of medals were struck, on one side the king's head, and
on the other the two ships.    Warm clothing wras laid in.
The scientific branch of the expedition was provided
for first, by placing an astronomer, provided by the
Board of Longitude, with proper instruments in each
ship. Mr. Wallis was on the Resolution, and Mr. Bayley
on the Adventure.1 Mr. William Hodges, a landscape
painter, was engaged to make drawings and paintings of
places and people ; and the two Germans, John Reinhold
Forster and his son George Forster, already spoken of,
were engaged as skilful in natural history.
As regards the ship's company, the second and third
lieutenants, the lieutenant of marines, two of the
warrant officers, and several of the petty officers on the
1 The following is a list of the intruments supplied.    It may be
curious to Compare it with such as would now be supplied.
A portable observatory. A dipping needle.
Two astronomical clocks. A marine barometer.
A transit instrument. A wind gauge.
An astronomical quadrant. Two portable barometers.
A reflecting telescope of two feet Six thermometers.
focal length. A theodolite with  a  level and a
An achromatic  refracting   tele- chain.
scope of three and a half feet. An apparatus for testing the heat
Two Hadley's sextants. of   the   sea  water  at   different
An azimuth compass. depths.
A pair of globes. Four timekeepers. fl
Resolution had sailed with Cook on the Endeavour. That
so many were ready to go with him again shows the
confidence they placed in him, as well as his power of
attracting the affection of his subordinates. The captain
of the Adventure, Tobias Furneaux, had been Wallis's
first lieutenant.
On July 13th the ships sailed from Plymouth Sound.
- My instructions were to make the best of my wTay to
the island of Madeira, there to take in a supply of wine, and
then proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, where I was to
refresh the ships' companies and to take on board such provisions and necessaries as I might stand in need of. After
leaving the Cape of Good Hope, I was to proceed to the
southward and endeavour to fall in with Cape Circumcision,
which was said by Monsieur Bouvet to lie in lat. 54° S.,
and in about 11° 20' E. .long, from Greenwich. If I discovered this cape, I was to satisfy myself whether it was a
part of the continent which had so much engaged the attention of geographers and former navigators, or a part of an
island. If it proved to be the former, I was to employ myself diligently in exploring as great an extent of it as I could,
and to make such notations thereon, and observations of
every kind, as might be useful either to navigation or commerce, or tend to the promotion of natural knowledge. I
was also directed to observe the genius, temper, disposition,
and number of the inhabitants, if there were any, and endeavour by all possible means to cultivate a friendship and
alliance with them ; making them presents of such things as
they might value, inviting them to traffic, and showing them
every kind of civility and regard. I. was to continue to employ
myself on this service, and making discoveries either eastward
or westward, as my situation might render most eligible, keeping in as high a latitude as I could, and prosecuting my
discoveries as near to the South Pole as possible, so long as
the condition of the ships, the health of, their crewrs, and the
state of their provisions would admit of, taking care to reserve
as much of the latter as would enable me to reach some ; GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS
known port, where I could procure a sufficiency to bring me
home to England. But if Cape Circumcision should prove
to be part of an island only, or if I should not be able to
find the said cape, I was in the first case to make the
necessary survey of the island, and then to stand on to the
southward so long as I judged there wTas a likelihood of
falling in with the continent, which I was also to do in the
latter case, and then to proceed to the eastward in further
search of the said continent, as well as to make discoveries of
such islands as might be situated in that unexplored part of
the southern hemisphere, keeping in high latitudes, and prosecuting my discoveries as above mentioned as near the pole
as possible, until I had circumnavigated the globe, after
which I was to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, and from
thence to Spithead.
In the prosecution of these discoveries, wherever the
season of the year rendered it unsafe for me to continue in
high latitudes, I was to retire to some known place to the
northward to refresh my people and refit the ships, and to
return again to the southward as soon as the season of the
year would admit of it. In all unforeseen cases I was
authorised to proceed according to my own discretion ; and
in case the Resolution should be lost or disabled I was to
prosecute the voyage on board the Adventure.
There is shown at the Museum of Whitby, besides
a boat-yoke used by Cook, a so-called model of the
Resolution. She is a stout vessel, three-masted, broad in
the beam, and built for strength before speed—one
understands only by looking at her how the ship took one
hundred and nine days to get from Plymouth to Table
Bay on this voyage, and ninety-nine days on the next.
Her figurehead is a black savage with a spear and shield;
she has no bulwarks, but—this detail is clearly wrong
—a strong timber railing runs round her, leaving her
totally unprotected from the breaking of seas over her,
which, therefore, would sweep her clean as they now do m
on the Atlantic steamers; there is no waist and no high
stern; her upper deck is nearly flush, the quarter-deck
being raised about a foot; there are no cabins or rooms
on the upper deck; and there is no kind of protection for
the sailors, so that in rough weather no one except the
watch would be able to go on deck at all. A hatchway
forward and another aft lead down to the main deck, on
which were placed and worked the twenty-six guns for
which she was pierced. It appears, however, that the
model is inaccurate, because the Resolution carried no
more than twelve, and was only pierced for sixteen. On
the main deck also must have been the workshops, as well
as the mess tables, the officers' cabins, and the captain's
room. Perhaps the men slung their hammocks here as
well. The masts, if the model is faithful, were thick and
stout, and so were the yards. One thinks of the company
on board this little vessel,—one hundred and twelve men
all cooped up in this narrow space for a three years'
voyage; there were, besides, live stock on board in
great numbers to be landed on the islands—bulls, cows,
rams, ewes, goats, fowls. Great indeed was the courage
of our grandfathers,. Smollett has shown us how they
lived down below in the darkness and the stench without
too much grumbling; but Roderick Random's ship was
not provisioned for two years, nor did it carry bulls and
cows and sheep and goats. Any one who has ever seen
a cattle-boat will appreciate the power of these innocent
creatures to create for the sailors a special kind of
misery. Perhaps in warm soft climates, when the ports
were open and the trade breeze blew gratefully through
and through the ship, the men's quarters were fresh
and sweet; but when she was plying painfully among viii POPSTER'S ACCOUNT 97
the ice-fields of the southern sea; when the ports were
closed and the icy breath of the south drove the men
below; when the sails were sheets of frozen canvas, and
every rope was covered with a thin sheathing of ice;
then . % . but the crews were accustomed to discomfort;
it was only the landsmen on board who made complaint.
We will follow this voyage with the help of Mr.
George Forster's book rather than that of the captain's
journal, which everybody has read. It is a book in
which we hear something of the daily talk among the
passengers, if not among the crew; there are details in it
which were below the dignity of the captain's journals ;
we see how those on board liked it who had no enthusiasm for the great southern continent.
July 13th, 1772. .Sailed from Plymouth Sound.
Touched at Port Praya in the island of St. Jago.
October 30th—November 22nd. Table Bay. Here Herr
Sparrman, botanist, and pupil of the great Linne, joined
the expedition.
On leaving the Cape the men were served out jackets
and trousers of stout flannel called fearnought. Orders
were given not to waste the water, and everybody had
to wash in salt water. Forster also mentions the discomfort caused by the rough weather, which they got
here for the first time. On December 10th they sighted
the ice. They were now in the longitude assigned by
Bouvet to the headland which he claimed to have seen
and named Cape Circumcision, but their latitude was
ninety-five miles south of his. So that if they sailed
over the land south of that cape, it could not very well
belong to a continent.   This, in fact, they afterwards did.
For six weeks the ships sailed among icebergs, getting
south whenever an opening appeared. Two or three
cases of scurvy were declared and cured by copious
doses of fresh wort. The crews also took sour-krout
every day and had portable broth. Christmas Day was
spent, Forster tells us, with the usual cheerfulness by
the officers and passengers, and by the sailors "with
savage noise and drunkenness, to which they seem to
have particularly devoted the day." The naturalist was
greatly affected by the situation in which he found himself. He speaks of " the gloomy uniformity with which
we slowly passed dull hours, days, and months, in this
desolate part of the world. We were almost perpetually
wrapped in thick fogs, beaten with showers of rain, sleet,
hail, and snow, surrounded by innumerable islands of
ice, against which we daily ran the risk of being shipwrecked, and forced to live upon salt provisions, which
concurred with the cold and wet to infect the mass of
our blood."
The captain mentions the fog and sleet, and notes
that the rigging was ornamented with icicles, but he
says nothing about the dull hours; and what with watching the ice, sending out boats to look for openings,
making experiments with his antiscorbutics, and calculating longitudes, he seems to have found the time anything but dull.
At last, however, being in lat. 67° 15' S., to Forster's
great joy they came upon such an immense field of ice
that the captain concluded to try no more that season
and steered north. " Very natural," says Forster,
" that our people, exhausted by fatigues and the want
of wholesome food, should wish for a place of refreshment, and rejoice to leave a part of the world where viii e FORSTER'S SUFFERINGS 99
they could not expect to meet with it." He says that
there were now a good many cases of scurvy on board.
The captain, on the contrary, says that there was but
one—he means, of course, one case of importance.
"Thus ended," says Forster, when the ship arrived at
New Zealand, " our first cruise in the high southern
latitudes. . . . Our whole course from the Cape of Good
Hope to New Zealand was a series of hardships w^hich
had never been experienced before. All the disagreeable circumstances of the sails and rigging shattered to
pieces, the vessel rolling gunwale to, and her upper
works torn by the violence of the strain. . . . We had
the perpetual severities of a rigorous climate to cope
with. Our seamen and officers were exposed to rain,
sleet, hail, and snow; our rigging was constantly encrusted with ice, which cut the hands of those who were
obliged to touch it; our provision of fresh water was to
be collected in lumps of ice floating on the sea, when the
cold and the saline element alternately numbed and
scarified our sailors' hands;" and so on. In fact, the
ship had sailed into the Antarctic Ocean. The discomforts which the landsman exaggerates into miseries were
hardly noticed by the sailors. The voyage w^as dangerous, but not more disagreeable than Cook had so often
experienced, for fog, sleet, and snow off the coast of
Labrador. And as for the cold of which Forster complains so much, the thermometer hardly ever sank below
freezing point. But this author's main object was to
write up the dangers and the miseries he had experienced. Everything was exaggerated with the view of
March 26th, 1773. After  a  run of three thousand CAPTAIN COOK
five hundred leagues and a hundred and twenty-two
days the ship put in at Dusky Bay, New Zealand.
Here they made tea—and a kind of beer—from the
leaves of a shrub of the myrtle kind. Cook surveyed
the coasts of New Zealand till June 7th, meeting his
consort the Adventure, from which they had been parted
after leaving the Cape in Queen Charlotte Sound.
Forster's account of New Zealand and the people is
highly picturesque and pleasing.
June 7th. Sailed for Otaheite. On the way scurvy
broke out on board the Adventure. Sighted several small
islands. Arrived at Otaheite on August 16th. Forster
gives his pen a fuller freedom over this delightful island.
At their approach "faint breezes wafted delicious perfumes from the land and curled the surface of the sea.
The mountains rose majestic in various spiry forms.
Everything seemed as yet asleep, the morning scarce
dawned, and a peaceful shade still rested in the landscape." Never, surely, has any island been more
described than Otaheite. The most important part of
Wallis's narrative is that given to Otaheite. There are
at least four long sections in Cook's three voyages devoted to this island. Forster exhausts himself over it.
Gilbert, td whom we shall presently come, can find no
words to express his admiration of the place and the
people. What is more remarkable is the fact that every
one of these accounts is separately and individually
interesting. They supplement each other. The follow-
ing general account of the people by Forster seems to
represent the emotion of the writer in recalling a fond
memory of the delightful place he would never be privileged to visit again.    Scientifically, it is vague. THE OTAHEITANS
The men are all well proportioned, and some would have
been selected by Phidias or Praxiteles as models of masculine
beauty. Their features are sweet and unruffled by violent
passions. Their large eyes, their arched eyebrows, and high
forehead give a noble air to their heads, which are adorned
by strong beards and a comely growth of hair. The Sex, the
partners of their felicity, are likewise well formed ; their
irregular charms win the heart of their countrymen, and
their unaffected smiles, and a wish to please, ensure them
mutual esteem and love. A kind of happy uniformity runs
through the whole life of the Taheitians. They rise with
the sun, and hasten to rivers and fountains to perform an
ablution equally reviving and cleanly. They pass the morning at work, or walk about till the heat of the day increases,
when they retreat to their dwellings or repose under some
tufted tree. There they amuse themselves wdth smoothing
their hair and anoint it with fragrant oils; or they blow the
flute and sing to it, or listen to the song of the birds. At the
hour of noon, or a little later, they go to dinner. After
their meals they resume their domestic amusements, during
which the flame of mutual affection spreads in every heart,
and unites the . rising generation with new and tender ties.
The lively jest without any ill-nature, the artless tale, the
jocund dance, and frugal supper bring in the evening, and
another visit to the river concludes the actions of the day.
Thus contented with their simple way of life, and placed in
a delightful country, they are free from cares and happy in
their ignorance,
I Ihr Leben fliesset verborgen
Wie klare Bache durch Blumen dahin."
Sept. 1st. Left Otaheite. Cruised among the other
islands of the group. Discovered Hervey's Islands.
Visited Middleburg and Amsterdam.
Nov. 3rd. Arrived again at Queen Charlotte Sound.
Nov. 26th. Sailed from New Zealand on the second
voyage into the Antarctic Ocean. The captain's account
of this voyage reads as if everything was as comfortable f
and everybody as cheerful as could be desired. Alas !
to Forster and his father, and perhaps the learned Dr.
Sparrman, things looked very different. There was on
board, he admits, little scurvy, and everybody drank
quantities of the fresh wort. On the other hand, there
was a general languor and a sickly look on every
person's countenance, " which threatened us with more
dangerous consequences" — evidently he was one of
those who are always thinking of the more dangerous
consequences. " Captain Cook himself was likewise
pale and lean and entirely lost his appetite." His
father, with twelve others on board, was afflicted with
rheumatic pains. "Our situation at present"—see how
a sailor will hide the truth—the captain says nothing of
these dreadful things—" was indeed very dismal even to
those who preserved the blessing of health; to the sick,
whose crippled limbs were tortured with excessive
pain, it was insupportable. The ocean about us had a
furious aspect, and seemed incensed at the presumption
of a few intruding mortals. A gloomy melancholy air
loured on the brows of our shipmates, and a dreadful
silence reigned amongst us. Salt meat, our constant
diet, was become loathsome to all, even to those who
had been bred to a nautical life from their tenderest
years. The hour of dinner was hateful to us. . . . The
captain seemed to recover as we advanced to the southward."
The italics are mine.
On January 30th, 1774, they reached in lat. 71° 10' S.,
long. 106° 54' W., for the second time, the great
southern wall of ice. I do not know whether any
better description exists of this barrier than the following, written by the captain himself. vin THE SOUTHERN ICE 103
On the 30th, at four o'clock in the morning, wTe perceived the clouds, over the horizon to the south, to be of an
unusual snow-white brightness, which we knew announced
our approach to field ice. Soon after it was seen from the
topmasthead, and at eight o'clock we were close to its edge.
It extended east and west far beyond the reach of our sight.
In the situation we were in, just the southern half of our
horizon was illuminated by the rays of light reflected from
the ice to a considerable height. Ninety-seven ice hills were
distinctly seen within the field, besides those on the outside
—many of them very large, and looking like a ridge of mountains rising one above another till they were lost in the
clouds. The outer or northern edge of this immense field
was composed of loose or broken ice close packed together,
so that it was not possible for anything to enter it. This
was about a mile broad, within which was solid ice in one
continued compact body. It was rather low and flat (except
the hills), but seemed to increase in height as you traced it
to the south, in which direction it extended beyond our
sight. Such mountains of ice as these, I think, were never
seen in the Greenland seas, at least not that I ever heard or
read of, so that we cannot draw a comparison between the
ice here and there. It must be allowed that these prodigious
ice mountains must add such additional weight to the ice
fields wrhich enclose them as cannot but make a great difference between the navigating this icy sea and that of Greenland.
I will not say that it was impossible anywhere to get
farther to the south ; but attempting it would have been
a dangerous and rash enterprise, and which, I believe, no
man in my situation would have thought of. It was, indeed,
my opinion, as well as the opinion of most on board, that this
ice extended quite to the pole, or perhaps joined on some land
to which it had been fixed from the earliest time, and that
it is here, that is, to the south of this parallel, where all the
ice we find scattered up and down to the north is first
formed, and afterwards broken off by gales of wind or
other causes and brought to the north by the currents, which
are always found to set in that direction in high latitudes.
As we  drew near this ice some penguins were heard but &*
none seen ; and but few other birds, or anything that could
induce us to think any land was near. And yet I think
that there must be some to the south behind this ice ; but if
there is, it can afford no better retreat for birds or any other
animals than the; ice itself, with which it must be wholly
covered. I, who had ambition not only to go farther than
any one had been before, but as far as it was possible for
man to go, was not sorry at meeting with this interruption,
as it in some measure relieved us, at least shortened the
dangers and hardships inseparable from the navigation of the
southern polar regions. Since, therefore, we could not
proceed one inch farther to the south, no other reason
need be assigned for my tacking and standing back to the
They therefore steered north, the captain's intention being to fix the longitude of Juan Fernandez, and
to visit Davis Land or Easter Island. On the way
he fell ill of what he calls a bilious colic. After his
fashion he disposes of this little event in a dozen lines.
Forster, however, makes a great deal more of it, and
despite his tendency to "write up" everything, shows very
clearly that the captain, tough as he was, was sick nigh
unto death. In order to give him what was most necessary for his recovery a dog was killed, and a broth of
the fresh meat made for him. The illness of the captain was followed by that of the doctor, but fortunately
Easter Island was reached, and fresh food was procured
again. This interesting place, with its curious sculptures, some of which are now in the British Museum,
is described very well both by Cook himself and by
Leaving Easter Island the ships visited the Marquesas, whose position Cook desired to fix; discovered
Hood's   Island and Palliser's  Island, and once   more
arrived at Otaheite, to the renewed joy of all on board.
Forster, who was classical, exclaimed—
" Hie terrarum mihi prseter omnes
Angulus ridet."
And the old free and easy life which the captain made
no attempt to restrain began again, insomuch that, as
Forster says, * they resembled the happy indolent people
whom Ulysses found in Phseacia, and could apply the
poet's lines to themselves with peculiar propriety—
4 To dress, to dance, to sing, our sole delight,
■ The feast or bath by day, and love by night.'"
On May 15th, 1774, they left this earthly Paradise. In
the course of this voyage they visited Huaheine, Howe
Island, Rotterdam or Annamooka, discovered by Tasman,
and discovered Palmerston Island, Savage Island, Malli-
collo, Shepherd's Islands, the Sandwich Islands, Erro-
mango, Tanna Island, New Caledonia, of which they
explored the south-west coast, and Norfolk Island—a
very considerable and memorable voyage by itself, the
particulars of which will be found in the narrative.
On October 17th they sighted New Zealand. On
November 10th they sailed from New Zealand, and
continued without seeing any land till December 17th.
After giving three weeks to the examination of
Staten Land and the islands around it Cook sailed on
his third and last attempt to find the southern continent, though with no thought of finding it. He did not
find it; he discovered the island of Georgia covered
over, in the middle of the Antarctic summer, with ice
and snow; he also observed certain headlands, and
found an islet or two.    Then, as on the two previous
1 t
occasions, Cook consented to return northwards when
he could get no farther south.
He had now completely circumnavigated the globe
in or near the Antarctic circle. He had traversed the
southern ocean in all directions and had found no
southern continent anywhere. He now returned to
the Cape, and so home, well satisfied, we may suppose,
with his success.
Looking into Forster for the humbler details, we find
that during the whole of the last run the crew lived chiefly
on the fish which they had salted at New Zealand. The
salt beef and pork were so universally loathed, that
even the captain himself declared he should never
again eat it with any degree of satisfaction. The
sour-krout continued to be used, and the wort was still
taken as a preventive. But early in February 1775
the sour-krout was finished, fortunately not long before
the end of the southern exploration. On the morning
of Sunday, July 30th, 1775, the ships dropped anchor at
It doth not become me (Cook sums up) to say how
far the principal objects of our voyage have been obtained.
Though it hath not abounded with remarkable events, nor
been diversified by sudden transitions of fortune, though my
relation of it has been more employed in tracing our course
by sea than in recording our observations on shore, this,
perhaps, is a circumstance from which the curious reader
may infer that the purposes for which we were sent into the
Southern Hemisphere were diligently and effectually pursued. Had we found out a continent there we might have
been better enabled to gratify curiosity ; but we hope our
not having found it, after all our persevering researches, will
leave less room for future speculations about unknown worlds
remaining to be explored. CONCLUSION 107
These are modest words. Let us see what Forster
says in conclusion.
Thus, after escaping innumerable dangers and suffering
a long series of hardships, wTe happily completed a voyage
that lasted three years and sixteen days, in the course of
which, it is computed, we ran over a greater space of sea
than any ship ever did before us ; since, taking all our
tracks together, they form more than thrice the circumference of the globe. We were likewise fortunate enough to
lose only four men—three of whom died by accident, and
one by a disease wThich would perhaps have brought him
to the grave much sooner had he continued in England.
The principal view of our expedition, the travel after a
Southern Continent within the bounds of the temperate zone,
was fulfilled. We had even searched the frozen seas of the
opposite hemisphere, within the Antarctic circle, without
meeting with the vast tract of land which had formerly been
supposed to exist. At the same time we made another discovery important to science, that nature forms great masses of
ice in the midst of the wide ocean, which are destitute of any
saline particles, but have all the useful and salubrious properties of the pure element. At other seasons we explored the
Pacific Ocean between the tropics and in the temperate zone,
and then furnished geographers with new islands, naturalists
with plants and birds, and, above all, the friends of mankind
with various modifications of human nature. CHAPTER IX
Cook was now at home again for the last time. A
simple sum in addition shows that though he was
married for nearly seventeen years, his whole residence at home amounted to no more than four years
and four months, out of which must be deducted the
time necessary for the outfit of his vessel and all the
business of preparing his expeditions.
In his public capacity, however, on his return from
the second voyage he received all the honours which
it was the fashion of the time to bestow. In these
days he would have been made rear - admiral and
K.C.B.—perhaps G.C.B. He would have been presented
to the Queen, he would have read a paper at the Royal
Geographical Society, he would have been the lion of
the season, he would have been invited to take the chair
at a hundred meetings, he would also have been implored
by the editors of all the magazines to contribute an
article, and after sending in his official report to Government, he would have drawn up a narrative of his voyage
to be published on his own account, out of which he
would have made a considerable sum of money. A
hundred years ago simpler methods obtained. This
man, who had done for geography and seamanship more chap, ix F.R.S. 109
in his voyages than any other man who ever lived since
Columbus, was promoted to the rank of post-captain ;
he was also appointed a captain in Greenwich Hospital,
a post which provided for him a retreat for life if he
pleased to remain there.
He was also elected Fellow of the Royal Society in
February 1776. On the day of his election two papers
of his, communicated to the president, Sir John Pringle,
were read to the Society. One of these was on the
action of the tides along the east coast of New Holland,
the other on the preservation of the health of the crew
on long voyages. There can be no doubt that the
successful prosecution of this voyage raised Cook to a
position of the highest respect in his own country,
where a man so seldom becomes a prophet. In other
countries, at least in France, Holland, Spain, and Russia,
he was regarded as the greatest navigator of all time.
It is significant of the general feeling that the gold
medal of the Royal Society, which is annually awarded
to the best experimental research of the year, was in 1776
bestowed upon Captain Cook for his paper on the preservation of the sailors from scurvy. On the day of presentation he had already sailed. He doubtless knew that
the honour was intended for him; he could not hear the
oration which the president pronounced upon the occasion.
Cook was now in the forty-eighth year of his age;
he had been at sea for thirty-four years. This is a long
time of service. No man under fifty had worked
harder; no living man had achieved so much; other
men had been shipwrecked and cast away; plenty of
men had encountered perils of every kind; none so
many perils or so various as Captain Cook.    He might gr
have hung up his oar; there was a safe haven in which
he might rest without loss of honour, or without incurring the slightest blame or the least imputation upon
his courage. He had done enough. As for what might
remain of life, he could have spent it blamelessly in the
snug retreat of Greenwich Hospital with his wife and
children; he would have awaited the approach of age
with a serene conscience, as one who had run a good
race and fought a good fight. He could have walked
upon the terrace and seen the ships go up and down—
the king's ships sailing out on a new voyage of discovery
to encounter the coral reefs of New Holland and the
hurricane of the tropics and the ice-fields of the Arctic
or Antarctic circles. It would have reminded him of
his own two voyages. Then he would have told the
old tales again, and recalled the soft airs and gentle folk
of far-away Tahiti. Why could he not sit down and
rest ? Besides, he was now a great gentleman, a post-
captain in the Royal Navy,—he who had once been the
collier's ship-boy, everybody's servant, cuffed and kicked
and ordered about by every common sailor in the vessel,
—he who had been born in the farm labourer's cottage,
and been taught the criss-cross row by a kind lady out
of charity. He now enjoyed the society of the greatest
scholars and philosophers of his time, he sat at great
men's tables, he was called friend by those—his patrons
—to whom under less favourable conditions he would
have been a servant. He had conquered fortune; he
possessed all that life can give a man. Why not sit
down and rest and enjoy these things? Fame, sufficiency, rank in his profession, and friendship of the best
—what more can mortal man desire ? RESTLESSNESS
But he could not rest. That habit of incessant
work was too deep-seated to be thrown off. Besides,
Cook at forty-eight was as young as many men at
thirty. He had lived a life so hard and simple ; it
had been so free from vice or excess of any kind; he
was born with a constitution so magnificent, that as yet
he felt no touch of age. Besides, he who roves must
still be roving; the nomad is easily awakened; he who
begins to travel can never afterwards sit still. In this
age the man who undertakes one journey to Africa is
wedded to that continent for life ; in that age he who
had once breathed the soft airs of the Pacific must needs
go back again. Thus Cook took with him on his second
voyage not only men who had been with him on the
first, but also men who had been with Wallis. As for
himself, he eagerly embraced the chance of making the
second voyage, and when he was consulted about finding an officer to command the third his pulse quickened,
his blood warmed, and he offered to go yet a third time.
The Pacific had been kinder to him than to any previous
navigators; she suffered him to go back in safety, once,
twice,—not a third time. Yet if a vision had been
granted to Cook before he volunteered, showing him
the fatal and ignoble quarrel in which he was to fall,
he would still have persevered, seeing how great would
be his name and fame.
The question of the southern continent was finally
settled. There would be no more wrangling over that;
there was no southern continent, or if there should
prove to be one it was more inaccessible than Greenland,
more inhospitable than the northern coasts of Labrador.
It lay behind vast walls and hills of ice, unmelted and
1 !   I I .
unbroken in the height of summer. If any human
beings lived there they must be lower than the
Eskimo, more wretched than the Fuegian.
But there was another question—open and disputed.
It had been under dispute for two hundred years; only
in our own days has it been finally settled, and even
now it can hardly be considered wholly cleared up while
there remain so many islands whose coasts are as yet
unexamined. It was the question of the North-Western
This question belongs as much to this century as to
the last or the two preceding. It need not be considered with the detail which the history of discovery in
the Pacific Ocean seemed to demand. The search for the
North-Western passage is, like many scientific searches,
one after a thing either impossible to find or useless
when found, the pursuit of which yielded results of quite
unexpected and of incalculable value. It was hoped to
find a short and easy way of sailing to China and the
Far East on the north of the American Continent, and
so to avoid the long passage by the Cape of Good Hope.,-
How long and tedious the passage was is proved by the
fact that, on the second voyage, Cook was a hundred
and twenty days sailing from Madeira to the Cape.
The expeditions sent out in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries failed, it is true, to find the passage ;
but they succeeded in revealing an immense amount of
territory in America and a great portion of her northern
In the middle of the eighteenth century the subject
was revived, especially by one Dobbs. In the year 1741
Captain Middleton was sent out, and in 1746 Captains ix THE NOR TH- WEST PASS A GE 113
Smith and Moore. An Act of Parliament was passed
offering a reward of £20,000 to the owners of a ship
which should discover the passage, or to the captain,
officers, and company of the fortunate ship if it should
belong to the Royal Navy. Lord Mulgrave also attempted in the year 1773 to reach the North Pole.
The continual failure of every expedition caused a
change of plans. It was then argued that where ships
had failed to get through from the Atlantic to the
Pacific they might succeed from the Pacific to the
Atlantic; and Lord Sandwich was so far persuaded that
an attempt in this direction might prove successful
that he consented to send out an expedition with this
object. Captain Cook would have been appointed to
the command without the least hesitation, but for a
natural feeling that he had done enough and should now
be left to .repose. However, whether with the view of
sounding him or whether only to consult him, he was
invited to dine with Lord Sandwich, and with him were
invited his old friends and patrons, Sir Hugh Palliser
and Mr. Stephens, Secretary of the Admiralty. During
dinner the conversation turned upon the projected expedition, its importance, its dangers, and the benefits
which might follow upon its success. Fired once more
by the enthusiasm of the navigator, Cook sprang to his
feet and offered to take the command. His offer was
accepted, with the promise that on his return he should
be reappointed to his place at Greenwich Hospital.
One domestic detail of this time survives. Cook
concealed from his wife so long as he could the fact that
he had promised to try fortune yet once more on the
Pacific Main.    How long  he could keep the thing a
1 *.   I
secret one cannot learn; as he received his commission
in February and began at once to enter men, it could
not have been long. Yet to the end his widow lamented
that his acceptance of the command had been kept from
her. Considering that his youngest child, Hugh, was
born just after the ship sailed he may have thought
there was good reason not to agitate his wife with any
anxieties, but to break the news to her when the whole
business was settled.
It is not certain whether he had by this time taken
up his official residence in Greenwich Hospital, or
whether his wife and family continued to live there
until the fatal news arrived. Perhaps they went on
living in Mile End Old Town. From recollections preserved by his widow of dinners at great houses during
this last stay at home, it would seem as if they had
now left that modest suburb. CHAPTER X
The Resolution was again chosen for the voyage, and
with her the Discovery of three hundred tons. Clerke,
second lieutenant in the former voyage, was put in command of the smaller vessel. Others who had already
sailed with Cook joined this expedition, among them
Anderson, surgeon and naturalist, who proved to be
the most minute observer and the best linguist of the
company; Lieutenant King, who afterwards succeeded
to the command of the Discovery, and had charge of the
astronomical and nautical instruments on board the Resolution ; while Mr. Bayley, who had been on the second
voyage, again went out on board the Discovery as astronomer. Several of the petty officers had also sailed on
the second voyage. There were more officers in proportion than was usual in a ship of the Royal Navy—
the Resolution had three lieutenants, the Discovery two,
and other officers in proportion. This was a practice
commonly observed in long and dangerous voyages,
partly with the view of easily putting down any attempt
at mutiny. Cook, however, states that he brought with
him officers for the special service of constructing
charts, taking views of coasts and headlands, and drawing surveys of bays and harbours.    An artist—Webber n6
—went with them to make drawings of the places where
they should touch. The best known portrait of Cook
is by Webber. Omai, the Tahitian, who had been
brought to England in the last voyage, also went with
Cook, to be landed on his native shore; he was laden
with presents of all kinds. In respect of wages the
ships were put upon the establishments of sloops of war.
As for the sailing instructions they may be summed
up in general terms. The commander was to find a northeast passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic if possible.
He was also to get together every kind of information
in geography in tides, currents, shoals, rocks, harbours,
depths, and soundings; natural productions, fruits,
grains, minerals, metals, and people. He was also to
take possession, " with the consent of the natives "—a
charming touch of official hypocrisy—in the name of the
King of Great Britain and Ireland, of convenient situations in such countries as may be discovered, and so on.
With these instructions and fully equipped the expedition set sail from Plymouth Sound on July 11th.
The following is the skeleton route of this voyage.
Feb. 6th, 1776. Commission to command the Resolution
received by Captain Cook. He went on board and began
to enter men. The Discovery, three hundred tons, also purchased, and command given to Captain Gierke.
May 29th.  Sailed to Long Reach.
June 25th. Weighed anchor, and made sail for the Downs.
July 11th. Sailed from Plymouth.
Aug. lst-4th.  Teneriffe.
Oct. 18th-Nov. 30th. Table Bay.
Dec. 12th. Islands discovered by Marion and Crozet named
by Cook Prince Edward Island, Marion's and Crozet's Islands.
Dec. 24th-30th. Kerguelen Island, Christmas Harbour,
examined and explored. SUMMARY 117
Jan. 24th, 1777. Van Diem en's Land (Adventure Bay).
Feb. 10th. New Zealand.
Feb. llth-25th.  Queen Charlotte Sound.
Feb. 29th. Mangeea Island discovered and visited.
April 1st. Wateea discovered and visited.
April 4th. Wenoo Ette discovered and visited.
April 6th. Hervey's Island visited.
April 13th. Palmerston Island found to be a group of
small islets.
April 24th. Passed Savage Island.
April 28th. Annamango, Komango, and Fallafajuca.
April 29th. Annamooka (Friendly Islands).
May 17 th.  Hepaee.
May 21st. Lefooga (Friendly Islands to nearly due south).
May 22nd. Tongataboo.
Aug. 12th.  Tahiti      ^
Sept. 30th.   Eimeo       ( ~    . ,    x -.     ,
Oct. 12th.  Huaheine   /-Society Islands.
Dec. 8tk.  Bolabola
Jan. 20th, 1778. Atooi and Oneeheow (Sandwich Islands).
March lih.  Coast of America.
April 24th.  Nootka Sound.
May 11th.  Kaye's Island.
June 19th.  Selinmagin's Islands.
June 27th.  Oonalashka.
Aug. 3rd. Death of Anderson, surgeon and naturalist.
July 9th. Cape Prince of Wales most westerly point of
North America. Spent July chiefly in sailing about open
sea beyond Behring Straits. Corporal Lidiard, see note, p.
440 in Kippis.
Oct. 26th. Sailed for Sandwich Islands.
Nov. 26th.  Discovered Maui.
Nov. 30th. Discovered Hawai.
Feb. 14th, 1779.  Cook killed.
Aug. 2nd.  Clerke died of consumption.
Gore took command of the Resolution.
King of the Discovery.
Oct. 4th, 1780. Arrived at the Nore.
During the voyage the Resolution lost five men by sickness, three of whom were ill at start.    The Discovery lost none.
J u8
The account of this voyage, from which the two
captains never returned, was published in three volumes
quarto, the first and second from the log-books and
journals of Captain Cook, and the third by Captain King,
who succeeded Captain Clerke in command of the Discovery. Dr. Douglas, Bishop of Salisbury, edited the
work. Unfortunately he also doctored it, and though
he says in his introduction that Cook's journal was
faithfully adhered to, he also owns to incorporating
a quantity of matter from Anderson's journal. To
prevent the possibility of mistake the editor submitted
the first two volumes to King, who was entirely responsible for the third. " All that the editor has to
answer for are the notes occasionally introduced in the
course of the two volumes contributed by Captain
Cook, and the introduction." It is, hoivever, quite
clear that many portions of the work have been rewritten or touched—not, it is true, in the lumbering
style of Dr. Hawkesworth, but still touched. The
straightforward directness and simplicity of Cook's own
narrative of the second voyage are gone. The venerable
and learned bishop could not understand that it was his
religious duty to present the very words of the dead
navigator. These given without alteration, he wras at
liberty to add what notes he pleased, and to enrich the
work with Anderson's observations, which are certainly
admirable, but not to incorporate them with the body
of the work, so that the reader is dragged from Cook to
Anderson and from Anderson to Cook. The editor
afterwards acknowledges also that Captain King gave
advice and directions in a variety of instances when
the journal required explanations.    Lieutenant Roberts x THE OFFICIAL NARRATIVE 119
was also "frequently consulted," and particular obligations are due to Mr. Wallis, who " cheerfully took upon
himself the trouble of digesting from the log-books the
tables of the route of the ships." One Mr. Wegg also
assisted, and the Honourable Mr. Davies Barrington and
Mr. Tennant and Mr, Bryant, who "followed Captain
Cook in his study." In fact, a large number of eminent
hands assisted in the production of the work, and if, after
so much assistance, there is still much of the original
journal left, we ought to be thankful to the editor. I
have before me, however, a journal of the voyage, which
has never before been published, kept by George Gilbert
of the Resolution. He appears to have gone out as
master's mate or midshipman on board the Discovery.
By the successive deaths of Captain Cook and Captain
Clerke he was promoted to be lieutenant. George
Gilbert's father had been master on the Endeavour during
the first voyage, and on the Resolution during the second.
He retired from active service, and lived at Fareham in
Hampshire to the age of ninety-one. His son, who on
the return of the expedition received promotion, died
of smallpox immediately afterwards. The journal fell
into the possession of the late Dr. Doran, whose wife
belonged to the Gilbert family. It has been most
kindly lent to me, with permission to use it for this
volume, by Mr. Alban Doran. Many details of interest
which are omitted in the official journals have been preserved in this log. I propose to follow the voyage, the
route of which has been given above, with the assistance
of Mr. Gilbert of the Resolution, partly because Cook's
own account, as we have seen, has been so much:
edited, and  partly because  this  narrative  is  at least m
new, while Cook's, doctored by the bishop and his
friends, has been in the hands of the world for a
hundred years.
All the voyages of the latter half of the last century,
as I have already said, lie on the borderland between
the ancient and the modern. We are as yet too near
the navigators of the time to feel the charm of adventure
as we feel it in the voyages of Drake and Raleigh, or
later in those of Dampier. They belong to a trying
period in the history of a book of travel; a hundred
years more and Cook will have become, as he really was,
the last of the old navigators, the successor, the last, in
the long list of Magellan, Tasman, Quiros, Drake, and
the rest. A hundred years more and Cook's descriptions of the Polynesians and Australians will be invaluable as a record of things long since passed away; even
the people of the islands will have disappeared; there
will not be a single survivor of the Friendly Islanders,
or of the gentle natives of Tahiti, or of the fierce
warriors of New Zealand.
As for information or observation on the manners
and customs of the natives, Gilbert's journal affords
little or none that is new. On the contrary, his remarks
concerning them are of the briefest; evidently he, and
with him the great body of the officers, had no training
as to the value of such observations or the method of
making them, Anderson, for instance, furnishes many
pages on the Tasmanians and has put together a short
vocabulary of their language. Gilbert sums them up
quite in the proverbial style: they wear no clothes and
are not ashamed, they know no arts —" except the
natives of Terra del Fuego, they are supposed to be the GILBER T'S JO URNAL
most ignorant race of people existing "—which is quite
enough attention for a British officer to bestow upon
these people.
Let us run through the journal and select those
passages which supplement and illustrate Cook and
King, and throw light on the daily life and conversation
of the officers and men.
At Queen Charlotte Sound the New Zealanders
could hardly be persuaded to come on board, probably
in fear of retaliation for the murder of the Adventure's
men three years before. 11 think," says Gilbert, " that
nothing can be a greater proof of their treachery than
their suspecting it in us." In Cook's account we presently read that he went ashore with a party of men in
five boats to collect food for the cattle. The reason for
this exhibition of strength is thus given in Gilbert's log.
The spelling of the gallant officer is preserved in this
extract, but modernised in those that follow.
A boat was sent every day to different parts of the
Sound with 8 or 10 people to cut grass for the cattle; I
wTas in that party and it was luckey for us that we never met
with any of the Natives for tho' we had arms with us yet
they might have rush'd from the woods and cut us off the
ship not being able to give us any assistance. One day
when we were at Long Island a quarrel happen'd at the
ship with the Natives when an old man came on board and
told Capt. Cook that some of his countrymen had a design
upon our boat; at the same time they saw 3 or 4 learge
Canoes full of men going over to where the boat was ; sent
from the ship man'd and arm'd to bring us inteligence
and see whether any thing had happen'd ; She arrived in
time for we had seen nothing of the Natives but however
we were order'd to come on board. The next day Capt.
Cook made an excursion up the sound with 5 boats and
50  or   60   men well   arm'd  to   cut   grass    we   went   up. CAPTAIN COOK
about 12 miles and cut two boat loads on our return
we put into Grass Cove the place where the adventures
boats crew (consisting of a mate a midshipman and 8
men) were cut off and eat upon the spot by the Natives.
No place could be more favourable for such intentions ;
as the wood was so thick that the Natives could approch
close to them before they were discover'd. We saw 4 or
5 of. them, who seeing our numbers were afraid to come
near us till we made them to understand we had no intentions to hurt them. We had reasons to believe there were
a great number of them in the woods as those with us frequently call'd to them ; we return'd to the ship that night.
A long and pleasing account of Annamooka or Rotterdam Island is found in Cook's journal. The following
sketch of the same place from Gilbert's log is equally
pleasing, and more enthusiastic. It also gives us important facts as to the provisioning of the crews.
On the 1st of May came to an anchor at Annamooka, so
called by the natives, but by Tasman Rotterdam. This
island is low and about six miles in extent, with a lagoon of
salt water in the middle of it; and is in my opinion the
most delightful spot in the world; being covered with a
variety of trees and bushes, forming the most shady and
agreeable walks I ever met with. We moored here in twelve
fathom water, the bottom rather rocky about half a mile from
a sandy beach. The natives Game on board in great numbers
and behaved in the most friendly manner, being very much
rejoiced at seeing the ships again ; they brought on board
hogs, fowls, and fruit in great plenty; which we purchased
of them for hatchets, nails, and beads; every species of the
ship's provisions was from this time stopped, and we lived
entirely upon the productions of the islands, which was very,
agreeable to us ; sent our tents on shore and the observatories with the astronomers' instruments, for making observations, to regulate our time keeper: had a guard of marines
on shore for their protection; sent the cattle on shore for
some refreshments, which they were much in want of, being ANNAMOOKA 123
reduced very low. The Discovery had both her cables cut
through by the coral rocks : she was lucky enough to get
both her anchors again, after great trouble. Hove our cables
in to examine them, but found them not in the least
damaged : had parties on shore cutting wood and watering
from a small pond about a quarter of a mile above the
beach, which was muddy and brackish, and the only water
we could get; but the milk of the cocoa-nuts in a great
measure made up for the badness of it: as they were so
plentiful we seldom drank anything else ; as we secured
more hogs here than were sufficient for present use, we
began to salt pork for to carry to sea.
At the Friendly Islands Gilbert gives us a little
illustration of that hastiness of temper which is mentioned by all those who speak of Cook's personal
character.    The incident is not found in the journal.
This isle, which is by far the largest in the cluster, is
about seven leagues in length and five in breadth : it is
throughout low and level, with the same appearance as the
others ; we observed part of an eclipse of the sun here. The
two chiefs mentioned before came with us and behaved in
the most friendly manner imaginable; and supplied the two
ships with provisions in great plenty ; in all their proceeding they showed a noble, generous, and disinterested spirit ;
and though their manners were rude and unpolished, yet in
every action they displayed an elevation of the mind that
would do honour to an European in the most distinguished
sphere in life. Played off some fireworks here, which were
viewed by a numerous assembly, with acclamations of admiration and surprise. These Indians are very dexterous at
thieving, and as they were permitted to come on board the
ship in great numbers, they stole several things from us.
This vice, which is very prevalent here, Captain Cook
punished in a manner rather unbecoming of an European,
viz. by cutting off their ears, firing at them with small shot
or ball as they were swimming or paddling to the shore,
and suffering the people (as he rowed after them) to beat tr
them with the oars and stick the boat-hook into them
wherever they could hit them; one in particular he punished
by ordering one of our people to make two cuts upon his
arm to the bone, one across the other close below his shoulder;
which was an act that I cannot account for any other way
than to have proceeded from a momentary fit of anger, as it
certainly was not in the least premeditated.
And on another occasion he relates an anecdote which
shows the courage of the captain. It also illustrates his
modesty, as will be seen.
This is what is recorded in the journal.
One of my people, walking a very little way, was surrounded by twenty or thirty of the natives, who knocked him
down and stripped him of everything he had upon his back.
On hearing of this I seized two canoes and a large hog and
insisted on Taoofa's causing the clothes to be restored, and
on the offenders being delivered up to me.
This, however, is Gilbert's account of the adventure.
One day when Captain Cook was on shore with a party
trading for provisions, having nothing with him but his
hanger and a fowling-piece that one of the officers had
brought on shore, one of our people separated from the rest,
and went up about half a mile into the country, where he
was met by the natives, who robbed him of everything, then
ran away and left him naked; they at the same time had a
very strong inclination to attack the whole party; which
Captain Cook perceiving, sent on board for arms, and by a
resolute and undaunted courage prevented.
Gilbert's account of the Friendly Islanders, among
whom the Resolution spent between two and three
months, is interesting, but adds little to what we
already possess in the captain's journal. Perhaps there
is a little more feeling for the sex discovered in the
remarks of the younger man. mmm
Although the women have something masculine in their
appearance, yet their countenances are pleasing, and their
dispositions very mild and agreeable; their dress consists
only of a piece of cloth wrapped round their waist, reaching
to the knees, in which they are exceeding neat and clean, as
well as in their persons : they are always full of mirth and
vivacity, and very fond of singing and dancing. . . . The
women here, though not so fair as in general in the Society
Islands, yet are quite as agreeable, if not more so : their
features are regular and beautiful, their mien graceful, both
in their persons and dress neat, their dispositions mild
and cheerful, and their whole study and endeavour to render
themselves pleasing to every one : they seem to be fonder of
singing and dancing in their own mode than any girls we
have ever seen : and notwithstanding there is a great degree
of wrantonness in both, yet it is attended with a peculiar
kind of simplicity and innocence which, joined to the
customs of the country, entirely removes every idea that
can be turned to their prejudice. In fact, so pleasing is
their temper, so great their vivacity, that even a hermit
could not help being delighted with them.
The arrival and stay at Tahiti, which occupy many
chapters in Cook and King, are dismissed by Gilbert in
four or five pages. He notes the fact that the goats left
on the former visit had increased in number and
appeared to be thriving. -He mentions the visit of the
Spanish ship since their last stay, on which Cook has a
great deal to say; he describes the canoes of the people,
and he is struck with the barbarity of the human
sacrifice at which—that is to say, at that part which
came after the slaughter of the victim — Coolr was
At Eimeo happened the incident of the stolen goat.
And it really would seem as if the captain on this
occasion, too, allowed himself to be carried away by i
temper. First, the chief Mahein begged a pair of goats,
which the captain thought he could not spare unless at
the expense of other lands where they might with
greater advantage be put ashore. Therefore he refused.
The day after, a goat sent on shore to graze was stolen.
The goat was brought back the next day ; but another,
a she-goat, big with kid, was stolen on that very
morning. The captain sent a boat after it, but the
people pretended to send after it, and amused the petty
officers in charge of the boat till the evening.
Next day, according to his own account, Cook led in
person a party of men across the island, while Lieutenant
Williamson took three boats round to the other side in
order to meet him. On the way he called upon all the
people to produce the goat, but they denied all knowledge of the animal. "I set fire to six or eight houses,
which were presently consumed, with two or three war
canoes that lay contiguous to them. This done, I
marched off to join the boats, which were about seven or
eight miles from us; and on our way we burned six
more war canoes." Next day he broke up, he says,
more war canoes, and threatened not to leave a single
canoe on the island unless the goat was restored. In
the evening the goat was brought back. " Thus ended
this troublesome and rather unfortunate business,
which could not be more regretted on the part of the
natives than it was on mine."
Now hear Gilbert's account of the same unfortunate
The natives having stolen a small goat from us, and not
returning it on Captain Cook's demanding it back, the next
morning he set out with the marines of both ships and some x COOK IN A RAGE 127
gentlemen, in all about 35 people well armed, and marched
across part of the island in search of it; likewise three boats
were sent manned and armed round to meet him during
this excursion. Wherever Captain Cook met with any
houses or canoes, that belonged to the party which Jie was
informed had stolen the goat, he ordered them to be burnt,
and seemed to be very rigid in the performance of his orders,
which every one executed with the greatest reluctance except
Omai, who was very officious in this business, and wanted
to fire upon the natives; but as they every way fled and left
their all to the mercy of the destroyers, none of them were
killed or hurt; which in all probability they would have
been, had they made the least resistance ; several women
and old men still remained by the houses, whose lamentations were very great, but all their tears and entreaties
could not move Captain Cook to desist in the smallest degree
from those cruel ravages; which he continued till the evening,
when he joined the boats and returned on board, having
burnt and destroyed about twelve houses and as many canoes
—part of the planks he brought away with him. The next
morning he went round again with three boats, where he
completed the devastation he had left undone the day before;
and all about such a trifle as a small goat, which was that
evening brought on board by the natives. I can't well
account for Captain Cook's proceedings on this occasion, as
they were so very different from his conduct in like cases in
his former voyages ; if anything may be offered in favour of
them, it was his great friendship for Otoo (King of Otaheite),
to whom these people were professed enemies.
At the island of Huaheine, also one of the Friendly
group, Omai was left ashore. Gilbert's narrative of this
business, the landing of the two New Zealanders and
the affair of the two deserters, shows the feeling in the
ward-room on these events. It was not always*, as has
already been seen, that of unmixed admiration of the
captain's conduct.
Omai, though generally understood to have been brought III
from Otaheite, was in reality a native of this island ; and
now chose to make it the place of his residence in preference
to any other island in the cluster; accordingly all our car- '
penters were set to work to build him a house of the planks
of the canoes destroyed at Eimeo; which in about a fortnight they completed. His principal furniture was a bed
in the English fashion, several tin pots and kettles, and a
hand organ, on which he used to play and divert the natives;
he had likewise a brace of pistols and a musket, for which
we left him a small keg of gunpowder; we also left him a
, horse and a mare, for which he had a saddle and bridle,
and understood the management of them very well. Captain
Cook purchased a small space of land round his house for
him from the chief, and planned out a garden, in which we .
sowed several kinds of seeds that we brought out with us, and
planted some vines brought from the Cape of Good Hope,
which seemed to prosper very well till they were plucked up in
the night by some of the natives, for which one of them was
the next day brought on board, had his ears cut off, and was kept
in irons on the quarter-deck. After he had been in confinement about a week, some of our people took pity on him and
released him in the night, so that he made his escape; Captain
Cook was exceedingly angry on this occasion, but could by
no means find out the person that did it. The two boys
that we brought with us from New Zealand were left here
as servants to Omai ; it is almost impossible to conceive their
distress at being forced to part from us, it being entirely
against their inclinations to stay here, as it was their earnest
desire to go with us to England, but that Captain Cook would
not permit; they had now become so well reconciled to us,
as not to have the least desire to return to their own
country. The oldest, whom I mentioned before to be the son
of a chief, behaved in a manner that gained him the love and
esteem of every one; in all his actions he displayed a nobleness of spirit above the common rank of people, and never
associated with the sailors, but always kept with the gentlemen. He was very sensible and of a mild humane disposition,
and had acquired a just abhorrence of the barbarous practices
of his countrymen. The youngest was always full of mirth
and  good  humour, and, for  his mimicry and other little PASSENGERS
sportive tricks, was the delight of the whole ship's company.
So great was his desire to remain with us that he was
obliged to be tied down in the canoe that carried him on
shore, having leaped out of it once and attempted to swim
back to the ship; the other bore it with a becoming fortitude, disdaining to ask Captain Cook for what he knew he
would not grant. They were exceedingly fond of each other,
and everybody was sorry to part with them. Omai took his
leave of us in a very affectionate manner, and I believe
would have been very glad to come back to England ; but
he knew Captain Cook would not permit him; for the
curiosity of the people of England having quite subsided,
they began to think him rather a burden on the public,
and were glad thus to get clear of him. He was certainly
as stupid a fellow as any on the island, and originally of the
very lowest degree. Therefore I make no doubt but that he
will in a short time be plundered of everything he has, and
be return to his former state ; but I have not the
least idea of their offering him any kind of violence. It may
be wondered why the cattle left with the King of Otaheite
were not in preference given to Omai; but the reason is very
obvious; for as we expect everything to be taken from him,
the cattle would but induce the natives to do it sooner, and
most probably would be the cause of great contentions among
the chiefs before they could agree who were to have them,
and perhaps they would be destroyed to put an end to the
disputes, as was done in a similar case that we met with
afterwards. But should they not be hurt, yet it is most
likely that they would be divided among the chiefs, and ever
afterward kept separated, which would equally destroy the
grand object of forming a breed at these islands : but now
they are perfectly free from those dangers as being in possession of the principal person of this country. As for the horse
and mare left with Omai, they are not of that consequence
as the cattle, therefore it is no great matter what becomes
of them. Just before we sailed Captain Cook particularly
desired Omai, after we had been gone about three weeks, to
send a canoe to us, to the island we were going to; and
if the natives treated him ill, to send a black bead, if
moderate  a  blue   one, and   if well  a white   one;   which
advice he carefully observed. After about a month's stjay
here we sailed for Ulietea, which lies eight or nine leagues to
the westward ; and the next morning came to an anchor in
Ohamaneno Harbour, on the lee-side of the island. The
entrance is between two reefs, and very narrow. Warped
up about two miles into a cove at the head of the harbour,
hauled the ship close to the shore, and secured her with
hawsers to the trees, not being above ten or twelve fathoms
from the beach. This island is of a moderate height, and very
fertile; it is larger than Huaheine, though small in comparison
with Otaheite, and is partly joined by a reef of shoal water
upon it to an island about four miles distance called Otahare.
The natives here are numerous, and supplied us with provisions
in a very plentiful and friendly manner. Sent our observatories on shore as usual; a few days after we had been in,
one of our marines, who was placed as a sentinel over the
observatories, was found in the night to have quitted his
post and gone with his musket into the country. In the
morning the sergeant and four marines were sent in search
of him, but returned in the evening without getting any
intelligence of him. The next morning Captain Cook went
in quest of him with two boats armed, and in the afternoon
found him amongst a great number of the natives, a few
miles from the harbour. He was brought on board and
punished with two dozen lashes. A little time after this a
midshipman and a common sailor ran away from the Discovery in the night; in the morning, when Captain Cook was
informed of it, he went with some boats armed in search of
them, and had recourse to his usual practice on these
occasions, viz. of inviting some of the chiefs on board, and
then confining them till the natives had made full restitution for whatever they had been guilty of; which was always
found to have the desired effect, and was certainly the best
method that could possibly be taken in these cases to avoid
bloodshed ; being in general very easily accomplished, as the
chiefs usually came on board of their own accord two or
three times a day for their amusement. In the present case
Captain Clerke was ordered to get the son of Ohan, the king
of the island, likewise his daughter and her husband, on board
the Discovery, and confine them there, which was accordingly Hi
done, and the king was told that they should never be
released till our two deserters were brought back. He
seemed to be greatly distressed on the occasion, and immediately set about making inquiries after them. Captain
Cook returned in the evening without getting any intelligence of them ; the next morning he set out again, but
likewise returned without success ; therefore he went no more
in quest of them, but depended upon the king's bringing
them back. During the confinement of the princes a great
number of women came round the ship, and presented a very
affecting scene of lamentation by tearing their hair and
striking their heads with a shark's tooth that they had in each
hand for that purpose, till the blood ran in a continual
stream from every part of it. In this manner those Indians
express their grief when any great misfortunes befall them ;
and in the present case there appeared to be an emulation
amongst them who should carry it on to the greatest height,
till the scene became too moving to be beheld. One afternoon a girl that had followed us from Eimeo informed us
that the natives were then going to seize Captain Gierke and
Lieutenant Gore, who were on shore together, by way of
retaliation for the confinement of their chiefs. Immediately
the alarm was given ; we were all under arms in an
instant \ some were sent on shore in quest of Captain Clerke,
while others went in the boats along shore to seize all canoes,
and to fire upon the natives wherever they saw any, to
prevent them assembling together. The people that went in
search of Captain Clerke and Mr. Gore found them together
before the natives had time to form an attempt; which
they certainly intended ; for three or four of them, that were
with Captain Clerke all the time he was on shore, strove very
much to persuade him and Mr. Gore to go into a pool of
water they were standing by to bathe (where all of us frequently went for that purpose), which they intended to do;
but seeing the natives so very anxious about it, they began
to have some suspicion and declined it. Upon this they
began to be rather troublesome; till Captain Clerke presented
a pistol at them, that he luckily chanced to have with him,
which kept them quiet. Our people coming up armed a little
afterwards prevented any mischief, and they returned  on §•!   ...'J
board safe just before the alarm. Captain Cook, who was on
shore close to the ship, was likewise persuaded to go and
bathe at the same place, which is nearly a mile distance,
bat fortunately chanced to refuse; which I think plainly
proves that the natives intended to assemble there and to
seize them as they were bathing, and carry them off, which
by the timely intelligence we received was prevented without
any bloodshed.
Our two deserters were brought back after they had been
away about a week: they had gone over in a canoe to Bola-
bola, and from thence to a small island called Tabia, twelve
leagues distance from hence, where the natives surprised them
when they were asleep, and brought them on board; they were
kept in confinement during our stay at these islands*. It
was well for the natives that they delivered them up so
soon, for Captain Cook would very shortly have proceeded to
the greatest extremities in his power to get them back, being
fully determined not to suffer any person to remain here.
Indeed, had he once made a precedent of it, so very flattering was every hope of the great pleasure and happiness
to be enjoyed at these islands, together with the many hardships we had to encounter after we left them, that a great
part of our people would certainly have deserted us, which
would effectually have put a stop to our future proceedings.
The natives have always been extremely anxious for some of
I would certainly have detained the
oa with great friendship and hospi-
:n obliged to deliver them up to
They bore their confinement (which
us to stay with them, t
deserters and treated t
tality, had they not 1
release their own chiefia
was that of not being allowed to
cabin) with great fortitude and che
without the least apprehensions of
which was rendered as agreeable t
could possibly admit of.   About thr<
had been here, a canoe arrived
a white bead ;   which shows that
a  friendly  manner.     It is some
Indian who had his ears cut off
the vines up in Oniai's garden, an
on board for some time, till he
go out
fear for t
> them as
the Captain's
and seemingly
eir situation,
circumstances ■
iree or four weeks after we
from Omai which brought
was still treated in
what surprising that the
at Huaheine for plucking
1 was kept in confinement
was suffered to make his x FAREWELL TO THE ISLANDS 133
escape, should have the confidence to appear here in public
alongside the ship, and seemingly without the least fear of
being brought on board to his former confinement. Captain
Cook, who certainly must have seen him, took not the least
notice of him.
On leaving these islands Gilbert, after a short
account of the people and their customs, which is of
course far better done by his commander and by Anderson, expresses the grief of the ship's company at leaving
them. "We left these islands," he says, "with the
greatest regret imaginable: as supposing all the pleasures of the voyage to be now at an end: having
nothing to expect in future but excess of cold, hunger,
and every kind of hardship and distress attending a
sea life in general, and these voyages in particular, the
idea of which rendered us quite dejected."
There was yet, however, an interval of time before
the excess of cold should begin. Meantime they had
enjoyed an eight months' respite from the ship's
fare, and so long as the plantains held out and
fish could be caught they still abstained from the
biscuit and the salt junk. "This great supply," says
Gilbert, " not only refreshed and strengthened us as
much as if we had just left England, but enabled us to
prosecute our discoveries northward a second season,
and was in a great measure a compensation for that we
lost in not being able to fetch Tahiti the first time."
The discovery of the Sandwich Islands completed this
voyage across the Pacific from south to north. The
chapter in the history, whether by Cook or by Anderson, on the islanders of the archipelago is perhaps the
most curious part of the narrative. Gilbert confines
himself  to  the  immediate  usefulness   of the  islands, tfW*
which furnished yams that lasted for a fortnight after
their departure.
After that we were put to two-thirds allowance of bread,
and had the pork served that we had salted at the Society
Islands, which lasted out the greatest part of the season and
kept very good all the time. We were allowed a small
quantity of sour-krout, twice a week, to eat with our salt
provisions; it is an excellent antiscorbutic, and kept exceedingly well all the voyage. We had likewise portable soup,
three times a week, boiled with our peas; which were much
the worst article of provisions we had on board ; for they
had been kiln-dried to keep them, which almost rendered
them useless : for after being in the copper six hours they
were very little softer than at first, and only just tinged the
water they were boiled in. We found the cold to increase
very fast as we advanced to the northwards ; and hunger
accompanying it; for our allowance of bread was very short,
and we had no flour served in lieu of beef, which was grown
very bad.
The summer of this year was spent in carrying out
the main purpose of the voyage—namely, the search for
a north-east passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
A good deal of time was necessarily wasted in repairing
the ships, for which purpose King George Sound
offered an excellent natural harbour. Here they found
a large number of the natives, who brought skins in
great quantities for sale, in barter taking in exchange
anything of metal, but beads and cloth had no attractions
for them.   Gilbert, as usual, adds his little homely details.
We purchased several of the dried skins of these
animals from the natives, who have them in great plenty;
particularly those of the land and sea beavers, but of the
two the latter is the most plentiful, the fur of which is
supposed to be superior to any that is known. The most
valuable articles that we used in this traffic were hatchets,
saws, old swords, large knives, and blue beads; but having
very few of any of them left, we supplied the want of these
with pewter plates, pieces of iron hoops, old buckles, buttons,
etc., and, in fact, anything made of iron, tin, copper, or brass.
The principal motive of our procuring those skins was for
clothing to secure us against the cold, for of the bearskins
we made greatcoats, and with the furs lined our jackets and
made caps and gloves, from which we found great comfort;
and indeed we had need, for we experienced very little from
our provisions, which were only just sufficient to keep us
One can hear the talk of the ward-room when this
journal is read. They lament continually their departure from fair Tahiti. They have no word of praise for
the people in these cold latitudes : " They are the most
filthy set we ever met with." As for the women,—"I
don't remember that more than two or three of them
came off to the ships; they were dressed nearly in the
same manner as the men, and like them had the most
dirty appearance imaginable: being far unlike the
blooming beauties of the Tropics."
He says nothing at all about a very curious circumstance
mentioned by Cook, which would have increased his
disgust had he observed it—namely, that some of the
people brought half-eaten and half-roasted human heads
and hands and offered them for sale. There is probably
some mistake, as in no part of North America were the
people ever cannibals. Though they were so unattractive to these poor fellows, sick with longing for the
delightful fruits and soft airs and blooming beauties of
the tropics, they managed to afford a certain amount of
They  used   frequently  as  they lay alongside   in   their CAPTAIN COOK
canoes to entertain us with their war songs and a very
curious kind of masquerade dance, in which they put on
large wooden masks of various forms and colours, and
shifted them with great dexterity. The greater part of them
resembled the face of a man ; the features were cut out
larger, but very expressive and well executed, and represented
a number of droll gestures and distortions ; they had hair
eyebrows and teeth to them, and were painted very
curiously; some of them were made to resemble the heads
of wild beasts ; and others that of a bird with the bill to
open and shut at pleasure. The two latter ones they frequently made use of in hunting, by way of deception to
decoy those animals near them that they are in search of.
The people and place occupy two long chapters very
carefully put together in the history. It seems certain
that Cook and Anderson, to both of whom we are
indebted for these chapters, never communicated to the
other officers the orderly and methodical system of
research into manners and customs which they brought
to their own work among the natives. In many
respects the methods recommended by modern students
of anthropology might have been based upon those
followed by Cook and his sagacious assistant.
On leaving the Sound the ships proceeded northward
along the shore. Here the history becomes little more
than a log, showing the course, the discoveries of islands,
inlets, rivers, and headlands. There is not a word in
Cook's journal to show that the ship's provisions were
anything but abundant. It is from Gilbert that we hear
of short commons and grumbling. But it must be remembered that the captain fared no better than his officers
or his men. " Here," says Gilbert, " a boat was sent on
shore with a few people to haul the seine for fish. We
caught several cod alongside with hook and line, which mm
were a most welcome acquisition to us, being almost
starved with hunger." A few days later there is
another welcome acquisition. " Four or five small
canoes came off to us with one or two men in each, and
brought with them a few fresh salmon, which we purchased, and heartily wished for more : these serving
only to raise our desires for what we could not procure,
as they did not come off to us again." Happily, being
becalmed off an island, they caught a great quantity of
halibut—"afforded us an excellent feast for four or
five days." In common gratitude they named the
island after the fish, and for all I know the island still
bears that name. In these seas there was a great deal
of fog, and the shores were still covered with snow.
On August 4th, William Anderson, the surgeon and
observer, died of consumption from which he had long
been declining. Gilbert mentions the circumstance
without any comment. The captain says of him: "He
was a sensible young man, an agreeable companion, well
skilled in his own profession, and had acquired considerable knowledge in other branches of science. The
reader of this journal will have observed how useful an
assistant I had found him in the course of the voyage;
and had it pleased God to have spared his life, the
public, I make no doubt, might have received from him
such communications on various parts of the natural
history of the several places we visited, as would have
abundantly shown that he was not unworthy of this"
It seems rather cold praise, but it is a true and faithful acknowledgment of duty, and as much as could be
expected of a man who loved nothing but work, and saw; w
no special merit in a man's working his best. As for the
observations referred to, they are, as I have already
explained, incorporated in the history by Bishop
Douglas. Anderson's papers were all handed over to
the Admiralty, but those which concerned natural
history were given to Sir Joseph Banks. Poor Anderson
was fated to receive scant praise. Banks could only
say of him that had he lived he would have given to the
world something that would have done him credit.
This great mass of observation was incorporated with
Cook's journal—is not that creditable to Anderson?
One would have liked a little more about Anderson,
who interests us above all the rest of the company
which followed Cook. Gilbert might have told us that
he was ill : he might at least have said a word as to
the way in which his death was received; but that is
not a sailor's way. When a man dies, the event is
recorded, and the body dropped overboard—that is all;
his place is filled up and nothing more is said. The
cold and fogs met with in this part of the voyage clearly
accelerated the end of Anderson ; they proved trying to
the whole crewr, as is evident from Gilbert's journal.
He gives us at this point an account of the sea-horse,
which shows considerable powers of observation. The
details concerning the preparation.of the carcass for food
are wanting in Cook's account.    He says :
By seven o'clock in the evening we had received on
board the Resolution nine of these animals, which, till now,
we had supposed to be sea-cows, so that we were not a little
disappointed, especially some of the seamen, who, for the
novelty of the thing, had been feasting their eyes for some
days past. Nor would they have been disappointed now, nor
have known the difference, if we had not happened to have THE SEA-HORSE 139
one or two on board who had been in Greenland, and declared what animals these were, and that no one ever ate
of them. But notwithstanding this we lived upon them
as long as they lasted, and there were few on board who did
not prefer them to our salt meat.
Hear now Gilbert's account of these animals, and of
the delectable food they afforded.
During this cold and disagreeable passage we met with
great numbers of sea-horses, but why they are so called I
can't imagine, for they bear not the smallest resemblance to
that animal. They are about the size of a large ox, and have
a thick hide thinly covered with short bristly hair ; their
heads are very small, and is the only part about them that
has the least appearance to a beast, the rest of the body
being like a fish, the hinder parts tapering and terminating
in a couple of fins about two feet long instead of feet; having
likewise one upon each shoulder, with which they swim faster
than can be imagined, but more slowly upon the ice. They
have two large white ivory teeth like those of the elephant
projecting with a small curve downwards from their upper
jaw ; which are from one and a half to two feet in length
and nearly parallel to each other at about five inches distance,
and end in a point at the outer extremities. That they
are endued with a greater share of sagacity and understanding than the generality of animals will appear from the
following instance: when they went to sleep, a great number
of them assembled upon a small piece of ice separated from
the rest, and only just large enough for that purpose ; that
they may the more readily get off from it into the water in
case of the approach of an enemy. I believe the only one
they are apprehensive of is the white bear, which is likewise amphibious ; and being much nimbler upon the ice
then they are, has there greatly the advantage of them ;
but in the water the sea-horse is the swiftest and most formidable on account of its teeth. Therefore to prevent being
surprised in their sleep they always appoint one as a sentinel
and place it in the middle to keep watch over them during 140 CAPTAIN COOK
that time: which charge is strictly and faithfully ^performed,
keeping the fore parts of its body exeJb, and an attentive eye
all round; as we approached them with the ships they would
lie very quiet till we came within two cables' length of them,
when the one that had the watch would make a great noise
to alarm the rest, upon which they all began by degrees to
raise their heads and shoulders and look round them, and then
crawl to the edge of the ice, and plunge head foremost into
the water; so that by the time we had got within half a
cable's length of them, there would not be one remaining.
The noise they make is a mean betwixt the barking of a dog
and the bellowing of an ox. We hoisted out our boats to get
some, and with great difficulty killed and brought on board
eight or ten of them; for although we rowed ever so softly,
yet by the time we got within good musket shot, it was a
great chance if there were any left; and unless we fired at
them upon the ice it was twenty to one that we could hit
them in the water, as they dive immediately. They will in
general bear three or four balls .in their bodies before they
are killed, except in their heads, and then one is sufficient.
Their affection for their young and even for one another is
very great and remarkable, for wherever one of them got
wounded in the water, if any of the rest were near, they
would come to its assistance a^d carry it off if possible at
the risk of their own lives ; but if by chance we had killed
one of their young, the mother would come and make every
attempt to rescue it from us, and even try to upset the boat
it was in, by hooking the boat side with her teeth, which
she would follow till she was killed, all the time making
a lamentable noise and showing every sign of real parental
After we had got them on board they were skinned and
cut up by the butcher; the hides we preserved for the rigging,
the blubber or fat we put into casks to melt down into train
oil for our lamps ; and the flesh, disgustful as it was, we ate
through extreme hunger, caused by the badness of our provisions and short allowance, which were but just enough to
exist upon, and were now reduced on account of this supply ;
the quality of which will be best described in the several
preparations it went through before it was possible to eat it.
In the first place, we let it hang up for one day that the blood
might drain from it, ^hidi would continue to drop for four
or five days, when permitted to remain so long, but that our
hunger would not allow of at first; after that we towed it
overboard for^relve hours, then boiled it four hours, and the
next day cut it into steaks and fried it; and even then it
was too rank both in smell and taste to make use of, except
with plenty of pepper and salt, and these two articles were
very scarce amongst us ; however, our hunger got the better
of the quality, and in the quantity we found some comfort,
having as much of it as we could eat, which was what we
had been a long time unaccustomed to ; we salted some of
it by way of experiment, which, after lying two or three
weeks, we found wras a little improved ; but still could only
be eaten by such as were at the point of perishing with hunger,
and where no other food was to be secured.
The most northerly point reached was in lat. 69° 36'.
They were then in the region of Polar ice. As there
was but little wind the captain went out with the boats
to examine the state of the ice and the manner of its
formation. He arrived at the conclusion, since fully
confirmed, that it is vain to expect that these seas are
ever free from ice, or to believe that the sun of an
Arctic summer is ever strong enough to melt the ice
formed in the winter.
I am of opinion (he says) that the sun contributes
very little towards reducing these great masses. For
although that luminary is a considerable while above the
horizon, it seldom shines out for more than a few hours at a
time, and often is not seen for several days in succession.
It is the wind, or rather the waves raised by the wind, that
brings dowm the bulk of these enormous masses by grinding
one piece against another, and by undermining and washing
away those parts that lie exposed to the surge of the sea.
This was evident from our observing that the upper surface
of many pieces had been partly washed away, while the base 142
or under-part remained firm for several fathoms round that
which appeared above water, exactly like a shoal round an
elevated rock. . . . Thus it may happen that more ice is
destroyed in one stormy season than is formed by several
winters, and an endless accumulation is prevented. But
that there is always a remaining store, every one who
has been upon the spot will conclude, and none but closet-
studying philosophers will dispute.
The journal here resumes the baldness of a log; the
ship's course was southward again among the islands off
Alaska. On one of them Cook remarks : " We found a
heath abounding with a variety of berries." Gilbert as
usual expresses the emotions of the crew at the discovery
of these berries.
This part of the coast, which is very mountainous inland,
but toward the shore is of a moderate height and thinly covered
with small pines ; this being the first wood we had seen since
we had left Cook's Rrver, it was quite a new sight to us and
appeared very delightful. We found hurtle and crane berries
here in great plenty, which proved a far more delicious treat
to us than the fruits of the tropical islands ; being at present
in much greater want of them ; yet we got but few, as we
were allowed to go on shore only for a very short time. We
took in some water here and a great quantity of wood, the
beach being almost covered with old trees and branches that
had drifted upon it. As we could not get any farther with
the ships, two boats were sent well armed, under the command
of Mr. King, our second lieutenant, to examine the head of
the sound and discover if the land on the south side joined
to this on the north. We saw about twelve of the natives,
from whom we purchased several salmon trout, which were
very acceptable to us. After three days we weighed and
stood over to the other side of the sound, which is here
about seven leagues across, and anchored within a bluff point
that stretched a little way out and formed a small bay to the
westward of it \ we landed and found great plenty of berries
and a few currant bushes, but they had no fruit left upon wmm
them. We gathered great quantities of an herb that grows
here, to make use of in lieu of tea ; which has a very agreeable flavour, and is the same kind as is used by the Indians
of Hudson's Bay and Newfoundland.
Among these islands and on the coast of Kamschatka
they fell in with Russians, from whom they got such
information as these settlers could give and the sight of
their charts. It was not until the end of October that
Cook finally left Oonalashka and steered south, appointing the Sandwich Islands as the place of rendezvous for
the Discovery. During this voyage in the North Pacific
twelve hundred leagues of coast were examined, and the
sea traversed in many directions. No other navigator had
ever before done so much for this part of the w7orld.
Yet the expedition failed in its main object and found
no north-east passage.
On December 1st the Resolution reached the Sandwich Islands once more, and discovered the islands
of Mowee (Maui) and Owhyhee (HawTaii). Gilbert
again expresses for us the satisfaction of the crew upon
arriving at a place of rest and refreshment after this
long voyage.
The joy that we experienced on our arrival here is
only to be conceived by ourselves, or people under like
circumstances; for after suffering excess of hunger and a
number of other hardships most severely felt by us for the
space of near ten months, we had now come into a delightful
climate, where we had almost everything we could wish for
in great profusion ; and this luxury was still heightened by
our having been at a shorter allowance of provisions this
last passage than ever we were at before. Having procured a
sufficient supply to last us four or five days, we stood off
and worked up along shore to the S.E., keeping at the distance of five or six leagues from the land ; when our stock F
on board began to grow short, we went close in and traded
for more, and then stood off again; this we continued to do
for ten or twelve days, till we weathered the S.E. point of
the island, which is called by the natives Mowwee.
We have now arrived at the last act in the life of
Captain Cook. As regards the people who were to be
his murderers, almost his last words express his confidence in the natives and his satisfaction wTith their
I had never met with a behaviour so free from reserve
and suspicion, in my intercourse with any tribes of savages,
as we experienced in the people of this island. ... It is
to be observed to their honour that they never once
attempted to cheat us in exchanges, nor to commit a theft.
They understand trading as well as most people, and seemed
to comprehend clearly the reason of our plying upon the
coast. . . . We moored with stream-anchor and cable to the
northward, unbent the sails, and struck yards and topmasts.
The ships continued to be most crowded with natives and
were surrounded by a multitude of canoes. I had nowhere
in the course of my voyage seen so numerous a body of
people assembled at one place. For besides those who had
come off to us in canoes, all the shore was covered with
spectators, and many hundreds were swimming round the
ship like shoals of fish. We could not but be struck with
the singularity of the scene; and perhaps there were few on
board who ever lamented our having failed in our endeavours
to find a northern passage homeward last summer. To this
disappointment we owed our having it in our power to
revisit the Sandwich Islands, and to enrich our voyage with
a discovery which, though the last, seemed in many respects
to be the most important that had hitherto been made by
Europeans throughout the extent of the Pacific Ocean.
These are the last written words of Captain Cook,
if indeed he did write them, which only Bishop Douglas x LAST WORDS OF COOK 145
can tell us. It is singular not only that his confidence
should prove so mistaken, but that he should also so
greatly exaggerate the importance of this new discovery.
What is Hawaii—what are all the Sandwich Islands
together—compared with New Zealand and Australia ? CHAPTER XI
The Pacific, which loved to kill those who wrested
its secrets, was now to claim as a victim the great sailor
who had fixed on the chart all the floating and uncertain
islands seen by previous voyagers, and had found so
many more himself. The story of his death is the most
remarkable in the whole history of ocean disaster. It
was imperfectly told, because imperfectly understood, by
King, Samwell, and others who witnessed it. The real
explanation of the tragedy has been obtained from the
people of Hawaii themselves. It will be found in the
History of Hawaii, by Manley Hopkins, Hawaiian
Consul-General. Let us tell the true story, made possible by the traditions and recollections of the natives
themselves. Mr, Hopkins states that in 1823, when Mr.
Ellis, the missionary, visited the island, he found many
still living who had been present at the murder, or who
remembered its occurrence. I can corroborate this statement, because I was myself assured of the fact by Mr.
Ellis himself somewhere about the year 1865. He not
only informed me that he had conversed with men who
had been present and had seen the thing done, but he
also gave me certain particulars concerning the murder
which I unfortunately neglected to note.    To the best chap, xi LONO THE SWINE-GOD 147
of my recollection, however, in Hopkins's book these
particulars are all recorded. The tale is one which
the biographer would leave untold if possible. But it
cannot be neglected. Cook was killed, who had shown
a power of conciliation with the natives granted to, no
other navigator in these seas—Why ?
Those who first boarded Cook's ships returned with
astonishing reports. The people on board had heads
horned like the moon; they carried fires burning in
their mouths; they ate the raw flesh of men—ithis was
the red water-melon. If they wanted anything they
took it out of their bodies; and they voyaged as anybody could see, on islands with high trees. This was
the report.
Now, a long time ago, there lived, on the island of
Hawaii, Lono the swine-god. He was jealous of his
wife and killed her. Driven to frenzy by the act, he
went about boxing and wrestling every man whom he
met, crying, "I am frantic with my great love." He
instituted the athletic games known as the Mahakiki
in honour of his wife's memory, and sailed away from
the island for a foreign land. Ere he departed he
prophesied, "I will return in after-times on an island,
bearing cocoa-nut trees, swine, and dogs." Who should
these strangers be but Lono, the great god Lono, come
back again with his companions— every one an immortal
of the lesser kind ?
When Cook returned after a year's absence he first
anchored in the Bay of Wailuhu on the northern shore
of Maui. He arrived the day after a great battle, in
which the King of Hawaii, who had invaded the adjacent island, was victorious.    To the victors it seemed
♦ I fi
now absolutely certain that Lono himself, the god of
victories, had come in person to add lustre to their
triumph. The news quickly spread over all the islands
of the group.
When the ships anchored in the Bay of Kealakeakua
it was in the middle of a week of taba. No ordinary
avocations were to be followed, no canoe must put out
to sea, no one must bathe, no one must be seen out of
doors. There must be no light, no fire, no noise. Only
the kings and priests, descendants of the gods, might
move about as usual. It was at one of these awful
periods that Cook arrived for the second time. He was
received in silence profound. Yet so strong was the
belief that he was none other than Lono himself that
the tabu was instantly removed. Great numbers of
people went on board, among them a high chief named
Palu and an old priest, who paid divine honours to the
captain, throwing a red cloth over his shoulders and
pronouncing a long oration. How far the English
understood what was meant does not appear. Probably
they took these ceremonies as simple proofs of friend-
ship. But what followed could hardly be interpreted
to mean simple friendliness or even respect.
The people, in their anxiety to see the great god
Lono, flocked by tens of thousands. There were three
thousand canoes afloat on the bay at one time. When
the captain went on shore,
heralds announced his approach, and opened a way for
him through the crowds. As he moved, the assemblage
covered their faces, and those nearest to him prostrated themselves on the earth in the deepest humility. As soon as
Lono had passed, the people sprang up erect and uncovered mm
their faces. The evolution of prostration and erection was
found at last so inconvenient, and to require so unwonted
an agility, that the practical-minded people found that they
could best meet the case by going permanently on their
hands and feet; and so at last the procession changed its
character, and 10,000 men and women were seen pursuing
or flying from Captain Cook on all fours.1
This would be only ridiculous, but what followed
was more serious. King, who tells the story with all
the details, certainly did not understand the meaning
and the importance of the ceremonies. It is important
also to note that neither Samwell in his account of the
murder, nor Gilbert, knew anything about this wonderful
function. The chief Koah—chief and priest—led Cook,
who was accompanied by King and by Bayley the
astronomer, to a certain morai, or sacred place, formed
by a square solid pile of stones, forty yards long, twenty
broad, and fourteen high. The top was flat and paved,
surrounded by a wooden rail, on which were fixed skulls
*of sacrificed captives. In the centre of this area stood a
minor building of wood; on the side next the country
were Hve poles, upwards of twenty feet high, supporting
an irregular kind of scaffold; at the entrance were two
wooden images; and beside the poles were twelve images
ranged in a semicircle. They invited the captain to
climb upon the scaffold, and there, having wrapped him
in red cloth, they proceeded to offer him a hog, two
priests performing a kind of service with antiphonal
chants in honour of the god Lono. When the captain
came down he was invited to prostrate himself and to
kiss a  certain idol;   this he  apparently did without
1 Hopkins's History of Hawaii, p. 98. 150 CAPTAIN COOK
scruple. He was then placed between two wooden
images of other gods; his face and hands were anointed
with chewed cocoa-nut; he drank aeow prepared by
mastication, and ate pork also masticated. On another
occasion he visited a second temple, where similar ceremonies were performed, and always afterwards whenever
he landed a priest attended him. These ceremonies,
according to King, "so far as related to the person of
Captain Cook, approached to adoration."
Clearly King understood nothing of the real meaning
of these ceremonies. But there are preserved at Hawaii,
among the histories and traditions made in the early
days when the people were first encouraged to write
down their recollections and legends, certain documents
which state positively, and leave no doubt, that the
story told above is true; that Cook was taken for the
god Lono, and that the priests paid him divine honours
as Lono, and caused the people to bring him offerings
—the collection of which became very speedily a grievous
tax—of pigs, fruit, and cloth.
When the king came back from Maui he paid a grand
visit of ceremony to the ships, bringing gifts. He threw
over Lono's shoulders his own cloak, adorned his head
with his own helmet, and placed, in his hands a curious
fan—the insignia of royalty.
What did Cook mean by accepting these honours?
The gifts of the king might have been accepted as a
proof of friendship; but the prostration, the litany, the
sacrifice, the kissing of the idol—what could these things
mean ? It seems as if he must have known that worship
was intended—adoration—of something godlike, even if
the fable of the £od Lono was unknown to him.    Indeed, xi THE SACRED FENCE 151
there is no indication of his knowing anything about
Lono, who is called in King's journal Orono, and interpreted to mean a title of high honour. We must conclude that Cook's attitude showed a readiness to accept
any honours, provided only that they assisted in victualling his ships and promoting the success of the expedition.
If they chose to worship him, they might.
The sequel proved that he would have done better
to repudiate these honours. Two or three unfortunate
incidents occurred. One of the seamen died. He was
an old man named William Watman, who had served as
a marine for twenty-one years; after that he sailed
with Cook on his second voyage, and though by the
captain's interest he obtained admission into Greenwich
Hospital, he could not remain there, but must needs
follow his master on his third voyage. He was buried
on shore, the captain reading the service. Perhaps it
would have been better to have buried him in the sea,
and thus to have avoided connecting death in the minds
of the natives with these strangers.
Then there was the unfortunate business about the
fence which surrounded the sanctuary. This fence—
actually this sacred fence—was demanded for fuel; it
was not refused—nothing could be refused to Lono—and
it was taken on board the ship, wTith many idols attached
to it or leaning against it. One cannot understand the
story except that Cook, in some blundering way, conceived the idea of showing the people how powerless were their idols. What should we think if some
Protestant, using a power which had fallen to him,
should demand the stripping of the figures and pictures
of a Roman Catholic  cathedral?     Then  there was a 152 CAPTAIN COOK
quarrel about the carrying of a rudder which had been
taken ashore for repairs. Stones were thrown about and
sticks freely used.
Perhaps in consequence of these things, but probably
because they were already tired of their enthusiasm and
of the expense which it entailed, the people had begun
to show signs of impatience.
I could never learn (King writes—and this is very useful in showing how little they understood of the popular
superstition) anything further than that they imagined we
came from some country where provisions had failed, and that
our visit to them was merely for the purpose of filling our
bellies. Indeed the meagre appearance of some of our crew,
the hearty appetites with which we sat down to the fresh
provisions, and our great anxiety to purchase and carry off
as much as we were able, led them naturally to such a conclusion. ... It was ridiculous enough to see them stroking
the sides and patting the bellies of the sailors (who were
certainly much improved in the sleekness of their looks
during our short stay in the island), and telling them, partly
by signs and partly by words, that it was time for them to
go, but if they would come again the next bread-fruit season
they should be better able to supply our wants. We had
now been sixteen days in the bay, and if our enormous consumption of hogs and vegetables be considered, it need not
be wondered that they should wish to see us leave.
They sailed on February 4th, 1779, no doubt to
the joy and relief of the people. The great god Lono,
gratifying as it always is to gaze upon a god, had proved
expensive. It was hoped that a generation or two would
pass before his return. He took from them a great
farewell present of food and cloth, and in return gave
them an exhibition of fireworks.
A week afterwards the   ships   came  back.      The RETURN OF THE SHIPS
Resolution had sprung her foremast in a gale. There
were no signs of welcome. The king had gone away
and left the island under tabu. The priests, however,
consented to receive the damaged spar and sails and to
place them with a small guard of marines under special
But the old power was gone; the people had either
ceased to believe that Cook was Lono, or, which is more
probable, were so familiar with the appearance of the
god and his companions as to revere them no longer.
Then the marines in guard of the gear under repair did
a very dreadful thing,—they persuaded some of the
women to break the tabu and visit them; in their wrath
the islanders burned down their house after they had
gone. There was a quarrel again about getting water.
Finally there was a more serious trouble about one of
the Discovery's cutters, which was stolen, No other than
the chief Palu himself, who had been the first to welcome
the return of the god, stole that cutter. Can we imagine
that he or the other chiefs and priests believed any
longer in the divinity of Cook and his companions ?
Such a thing as the loss of the boat was an occasion on
which Cook always showed great determination. He
went on shore himself, resolved to make an example.
He would capture the king and take him on board his
ship, there to stay till the cutter was restored.
This was on the morning of Sunday, February 14th.
The native account of what followed is thus given by
Cook having come on shore and had an interview with
Kalaniopuu, the two walked together towards the shore,
Cook designing to take the king on board his ship and detain 154
him there till the missing boat should be restored. The
people seeing this, and having their suspicions already roused,
thronged round and objected to the king's going further.
His wife, too, entreated that he would not go on board the
ships. Kalaniopuu hesitated. While he was standing in
doubt a man came running from the other side of the bay
crying, " It is war. The foreigners have fired at a canoe
from one of their boats and killed a chief!" On hearing
this the people became enraged and the chiefs were alarmed,
fearing that Cook would put the king to death. Again his
wife Kanona used her entreaties that he would not go on
board, and the chiefs joined with her, the people in the meantime arming themselves with stones, clubs, and spears. The
king sat down, and Captain Cook, who seemed agitated, began
walking towards his boat. Whilst doing so a native attacked
him with a spear. Cook turned and with his double-barrelled
gun shot the man who struck him. Some of the people
then threw stones at the Englishman, which being seen by
his men in the boats, they fired on the natives. Cook endeavoured to stop the firing, but on account of the noise he
was unable to do so. He then turned to speak to the people
on shore, when some one stabbed him in the back with a
palloa or dagger, and at the same time a spear was driven
into his body.    He fell into the water and spoke no more.
Samwell and King agree in the main with this account.
In the fight the Englishmen appear to have behaved with
great courage, especially Phillips and Roberts. There
was one exception: the lieutenant commanding the
launch drew his boat off the shore. Had he joined
Roberts, Samwell thinks that the catastrophe might have
been avoided. He said himself, in defence, that he mistook his orders. * That he was not charged with cowardice
is said to have been due to the weak health of Clerke,
who shrank from a measure so extreme, and was physically unable to examine into the question.
1 This officer was afterwards tried for cowardice at the battle of
Camperdown and cashiered. mmmm
Let us now give Gilbert's narrative, if only to show
how the tale was told by those of the expedition who
knew nothing of the god Lono or the adoration, and
were not eye-witnesses of the murder.
From hence we stood over to a large island called Owyhee, that lies in sight of it to the S.W., which we made
on the N.E. side ; it is very mountainous inland, and the
shores in general steep, but exceeding fertile. The natives
came off to us in great numbers and behaved in a very
friendly manner; we traded with them as usual till we
had purchased provisions enough for five or six days ; which
we did in three or four hours, and might have got three
times as much if we had chosen, for the greatest part of their
canoes were obliged to return to the shore with what they
had brought off to us. We then stood off about 5 or 6 leagues
from the land, and worked up along shore to the S.E., keeping at that distance till our stock wTas expended ; and then
went in and traded for more, as we had done off the other
island. As wTe were not yet in want of wTater Captain Cook
preferred this method of passing the time to going into a
harbour ; as it was a great means of saving trade, of which
he was very apprehensive we should not have as much as
we might have occasion for. The Discovery having broken
an arm off one of her bower anchors at the Island of Desolation, the armourers were employed, while we lay in Sam-
ganoda harbour, in working it up for that purpose, which
was proportionably divided betwixt the two ships, and with
several spare iron stores, principally belonging to the shallop,
served us for trade during our stay among the islands.
After standing off and on for upwards of a month, and
having coasted along near two-thirds of the island, we began
to be in want of water; therefore the master with two boats
well armed was sent inshore to look for a harbour, and very
luckily found a small bay opposite to us, which was the first
we had seen the least appearance of: but however, as this
could not be perceived till we came within two miles of it,
we very probably might have passed others of the same kind.
The next morning (being about the 10th of January 1779) i56
we stood in for it with a light breeze ; and as we approached
near the shore we were surrounded with upwards ^Df 1000
canoes at the mean rate of six people in each ; and so very
anxious were they to see us, that those who had none swam
off in great numbers, and remained alongside in the water,
both men, women, and children, for four or five hours,
without seeming tired ; the decks both above and below
were entirely covered with them; so that when we wanted
to work the ships we could not come at the ropes without
first driving the greatest part of them overboard ; which they
bore with the utmost cheerfulness and good nature, jumping
from every part of her into the water, as fast as they could,
appearing to be much diverted at it, and would come on
board again when the business was over.
This bay is situated on the west side of the island, in
latitude 19j° N. and longitude 204° E., and is called by the
natives Carnacoah. It is small and open to the sea, which
causes a great swell to set in, and a great surf breaking on
the shore renders the landing rather difficult; the bottom of
it is a high steep cliff, but the sides are lowr and level, with a
town upon each, at least eight times as big as any we had
seen before in the south sea. The country here is one entire
plantation, as far as we could see from the ship, which is
divided into squares by stones thrown together or hedges of
sugar-cane ; we moored with the bowers in 10 fathom of
water, gravel bottom, about two-thirds of a mile from the
town on the north side, and one-third from a low sandy
beach on the south side ; near the bottom of the bay, which
is the only one in it.
We got our observatories and tents on shore here, as
usual, and pitched them upon a large oblong piece of ground,
walled round with stones, two or three feet high, which was
held sacred by the natives, who, notwithstanding their curiosity, so great was their superstition, that none but the chiefs
dare venture to come upon it, so that our people were the
less disturbed by them. The sailmakers were sent on shore
with the greatest part of our sails to repair, they being now
very much worn; as was all our rigging, which we carefully
overhauled here.
We were surrounded every day with a great number of GILBERT'S STORY
canoes, and supplied by the natives with provisions in the
most plentiful and hospitable manner imaginable. The
king of the island, whose name was Terriaboo, and several
other very powerful chiefs, frequently came on board to visit
Captain Cook, who always received them with the greatest
respect; they generally brought with them a large present
of hogs, fowls, fruit, etc., for which in return he gave them
at different times four or five small iron daggers, about two
feet and a half long, in form of their own wooden ones, and
made by the armourer for that purpose, likewise such other
trinkets as they were pleased with. What one was most in
want of here was good water; that which there is being in
standing pools, and very muddy and brackish, except some
we got from a small spring in a well, at the foot of a rock
close to the beach, which yielded very little ; and though it
was clear and much better than the other, yet was rendered
brackish from its being so near the water side. We purchased
not less than 10 or 12 puncheons of excellent salt here, which
is principally made by the sun, and was the first we met
with during the voyage ; this proved a very welcome supply,
as it enabled us to salt down pork for sea, which otherwise
we could not have done, having used all we had on board
for that purpose at Otaheite. One of our seamen died here,
whom we interred on shore in one of their burying-places.
Captain Cook read prayers over him in the usual manner ;
and the natives who were present on the occasion, according
to their custom threw a couple of small pigs and some fruit
into the grave, which were covered up with him. The latter
part of the time we lay in Matavai Bay in Otaheite, and at
Amsterdam, one of the Friendly Islands, being five weeks at
each; we found supplies of all kinds began to grow scarce;
but that was far from being the case here ; for everything
was as plentiful the last day as when we first came in.
Having got everything off from the shore, in the evening
about seven o'clock we perceived the house to be on fire
that our sailmakers had worked in, which we were in general
of opinion they did on purpose through some superstitious
notion they had among them.
It being now about the 4th of February and the season
approaching, after a stay o| near a month we sailed from 158
the bay with an intention of going to the westward to those
islands we had been at before, to take in a supply of yams
for sea, as they had got none here, but in this we were unfortunately prevented; for after working up along shore to
the northward a considerable distance against a very strong
breeze, we discovered a spring in the head of our foremast
right athwart from one cheek to the other, which obliged us
to put back to Carriacoak Bay, to repair it; and having a
fair wind for it, we got in next day and moored as before.
We immediately began to unrig the ship as far as was
necessary, and having raised a pair of shears with two main-
topmasts, we got out the foremast, which was hauled up upon
the beach to be repaired, and the carpenters of both ships
were sent on shore for that purpose. The place our tents
were pitched upon before being close to the beach, we set
them up again on the same spot for the people who were at
work upon the mast, and Mr. King, our lieutenant, was ordered
to superintend this duty, with a guard of about eight marines
for their protection. The observatories were likewise sent on
shore with the astronomical instruments ; and several of our
sails to repair, having split them while we were out.
The natives did not appear to receive us this time with
that friendship that they had done before ; our quick return
seemed to create a kind of jealousy amongst them with respect
to our intentions; as fearing we should attempt to settle
there and deprive them of part if not the whole of their
country. This idea Captain Cook took every method to remove, by telling and showing them the reason that obliged
us to come in again, with which they apparently seemed to
be very well satisfied. The third day we had been here, in
the afternoon, one of the natives on board the Discovery stole
a pair of tongs from off the armourer's forge, and got into his
canoe with them; the alarm being given, several of them
began to paddle away as fast as they could; upon this the
master, with a midshipman and two men, instantly got into
their jollyboat, and without any arms pursued the canoe they
suspected, which reached the shore long before them, and
the men had got out and hauled it upon the beach, where
several others were lying. The master and midshipman landed
amongst a great number of the natives, and were going to *■■
seize one of the canoes, when a chief who was present told
them that it belonged to him and they should not have it;
and indeed it is very probable but they mistook the one the
man got into who committed the theft, either in putting off
from the ship, among so many, or in hauling up ; but as
they still foolishly persisted in attempting to take it away,
the chief laid hold of them and gave them a severe beating
with his hands, which the two men who remained in the
jollyboat perceiving, they rowed off to a little distance and
got clear'; our pinnace, that was lying not far off waiting for
Captain Cook writh only the crew in her, who seeing the affair,
went without any orders to their assistance ; but as soon as
they came near the shore, the natives laid hold of the boat
and hauled her up high and dry upon the beach, and broke
some of the oars ; which obliged the crew to take to the
water and swim to the jollyboat, the Indians at the same
time pelting them with stones. In a little time they were
quiet, and called to the people in the boat to come on shore,
and that they would let them have the pinnace ; which they
did, with the oars that remained, and likewise released the
master and midshipman.
About an hour afterwards Captain Cook, hearing of the
quarrel, was very angry, and gave our people a severe reprimand for their rashness ; he walked round with one of the
officers to the place where it happened, and found everything
there very peaceable.
The next morning, which was the 14th February 1779, at
daylight the Discovery found her six-oared cutter missing, that
had been moored at the buoy, which wre immediately supposed
*to have been stolen by the natives, in consequence of the
above quarrel. When Captain Cook was informed of it, he
ordered a boat from each ship, well armed, to row off the
mouth of the bay to prevent the canoes from going out, and
if any attempt it, to seize and send them in again; at the
same time, proposed to Captain Clerke for him to go on shore
and endeavour to persuade the king to come on board, that
he might confine him till the boat was returned, according
to his usual custom in these cases, but he seemed to express a
desire to decline it on account of his health. Captain Cook
said no more about the matter, but went himself with three m
boats—viz. a six-oared pinnace, in which he had with him a
mate, the lieutenant of marines, and some of his men; a six-
oared launch, with the 3rd lieutenant, a mate, some marines,
and a few additional seamen ; and a four-oared cutter, with a
mate and the midshipmen that rowed her; being in all, including the crews of the launch and pinnace, about 38 people,
with each a musket, a cutlass, and cartridge-boxes. Having
landed at the town on the north side of the bay with the
lieutenant of marines, a sergeant, corporal, and seven private
men, he ordered the boats with the rest of the people to lie
off at a little distance, and wait for him. He then proceeded
with the marines under arms up to the king's house, which
was about two hundred yards from the water side ; where he .
found him with several chiefs and not less than two or three
thousand of the natives. After the usual ceremonies had passed,
the captain invited him to come on board, which at first he
absolutely refused, but after being pressed for some time he
seemed inclinable to consent, and it was thought he would have
come had he not been prevented by the chiefs, who would
not permit him, as in all probability they saw into the design.
This enraged Captain Cook very much, as he was not accustomed to have his intentions frustrated by any person, and
had but little command over himself in his anger ; at this
instant a canoe came over from the other side of the bay,
and brought the natives intelligence that a chief was killed
there by one of pur boats firing on shore ; upon this they
began to arm themselves with spears and pieces of the
branches of trees that they broke up in a hurry instead of
clubs ; and some of the chiefs had the same iron daggers
that we had given them ; the Captain had with him a double-*
barrelled piece, one loaded with small shot, the other with ball,
and a hanger by his side. They now began to press together
and grew rather tumultuous, and some in particular insulting
him, he beat them with the butt end of his musket, which
caused them to be still more so ; Mr. Philips, the lieutenant
of marines, perceiving this, repeatedly told Captain Cook of
the danger he apprehended they were in, and urged him to
retire, which, as if Fate had determined he should fall, he
took not the least notice of; but fired at one of them with
small shot and wounded him, and a little  afterwards at a
chief with ball; but missing him killed the man that stood
next to him outright, and although this enraged them to
the highest degree, yet they then did not dare to attack
At last, finding it was impossible to accomplish his design,
he ordered the marines to retreat, and was himself following
them, and possibly would have got safe off, had not the
people in the boats very unfortunately, on hearing the second
report of his musket, begun to fire upon the natives, which
threw them into a state of fury ; the marines likewise on
shore without orders followed their example; and Captain Cook
had no sooner got to the water side and waved to the boats
to give over firing, when one of the chiefs, more daring than
the rest, stepped behind and stabbed him betwixt the shoulders
with an iron dagger ; another at that instant gave him a blow
with a club on the head, by which he fell into the water;
they immediately leaped in after and kept him under for a
few minutes, then hauled him out upon the rocks and beat
his head against them several times ; so that there is no
doubt but that he quickly expired. The marines likewise at
the same time, after they had discharged their pieces, were
closely attacked, and, not being able to load again, the corporal
and three private men that could not swim were seized and
killed upon the spot. The lieutenant, sergeant, and the other
four leaped into the water, which was four or five feet deep
close to the rocks, and escaped to the pinnace, which was
lying within thirty yards of the shore; but by reason of the
continual showers of stones that were thrown at them and the
confusion of those people getting in, they could not afford the
least assistance to Captain Cook, and very narrowly escaped
from being taken. The launch, that lay close without her,
and the cutter, that was inshore at a little distance, both kept
up a brisk fire for the space of ten or fifteen minutes till
they were obliged to retire; having killed and wounded
several of the natives, and caused the greatest part of them to
retreat; and we were informed by the gentlemen in the cutter,
who were the last that left the shore, that very few of them
remained by the dead bodies when the launch and pinnace
came away. During the firing on shore we saw a great
number of the natives runnirig away up an adjacent hill, at
M 162
whom we fired five or six shot from our great guns, but our
first lieutenant would not allow of any more.
When on the return of the boats informing us of the
Captain's death, a general silence ensued throughout the
ship for the space of near half an hour ;—it appearing to us
somewhat like a dream that we could not reconcile ourselves
to for some time. Grief was visible in every countenance ;
some expressing it by tears, and others by a kind of gloomy
dejection, more easy to be conceived then described : for as
all our hopes centred in him our loss became irreparable,
and the sense of it was so deeply impressed upon our minds
as not to be forgot.
Such was the confusion of the people when they came
on board that they did not perceive till a quarter of an hour
afterwards how many of the marines were missing ; Mr.
Philips, the lieutenant, who behaved with great prudence and
courage, received a large wound upon his shoulder by a spear,
and one of the private men was wounded in his cheek close
below his eye, two inches and a half of the point of a spear
having broken short off and was buried in his head; the others
had several bruises from the stones that were thrown at them,
but suffered no hurt of any consequence. During this, our
people on the south side of the bay, under the direction of
Mr. King, the second lieutenant, were very fortunately reinforced by some of our boat's crew that had been rowing off the
mouth of the bay before any disturbance had begun there ;
being then altogether about twenty-four in number, though
not above two-thirds of them had muskets, on perceiving they
were likely to be attacked they took possession of a burying-
place that lay near them ; which was a large platform of earth
thrown up and fenced with stones, being about a hundred
and fifty yards in length, sixty in breadth, and the sides six
or eight feet perpendicular all round, except a small passage,
where not more than two people could go up abreast. Nothing
could be more conveniently situated than this place ; as from
thence they could not only protect the masts, tents, and observatories, which lay between them and the beach and within less
than a musket shot, but were secure from an encounter that
they would not have been able to resist. The natives did
not venture either to make an open effort to force them xi GILBERT'S STORY 163
from their post or to come near the tents, but kept up a
distant and vigorous attack by heaving a great number of
stones from behind the trees and houses which lay behind
them. By creeping along under cover of these walls, they
were able to approach very close to the platform without
being seen ; and when they thought themselves near enough
would stand up and heave several stones, and then retire
for more ; this they continued for some time, and when any
of them fell, another of them would step forth and carry off
the body at the risk of his own life. These Indians use a
large thick mat, which they hold before them by way of a
shield against their own wooden spears ; and at the beginning
of the attack several of them came to the edge of a pool,
within reach of the shot, to dip them in the water, and then
would hold them up in defiance, thinking by that means to
quench the fire of the musket by which they supposed they
were killed ; but in that point we quickly undeceived them.
The Discovery, lying nearest over to this side, fired several
shot on shore, which terrified them very much.
After two or three hours they retired with the loss of
six or eight killed and some wounded, finding it vain to carry
on anything further against our people in their present situation, and thinking, I suppose, by that means to draw them
from it; but they wisely kept possession of their post.
About two hours after the death of Captain Cook we
went with all the boats from both ships well manned and
armed, and brought them off, with the mast and everything
else we had on shore very safe, the natives not daring to
molest us. The remainder of the forenoon we were employed
in getting the mast upon the booms for the carpenters to
work at; they having done very little to it as yet.
Captain Clerke now came on board, and took the command of the Resolution, and appointed Mr. Gore, our first
lieutenant, to that of the Discovery, and Mr. Harvey, one of
the mates, to be lieutenant in his room.
In the afternoon, notwithstanding what had passed, two
of the natives from the town on the north side of the bay
had courage to come alongside, which was placing great
confidence in us, and proves the high opinion they entertain
of our integrity.    One of them was a priest, whom we had m
often before known to have behaved very treacherously,
therefore supposed in the present case that he had no good
intentions towards us; and so highly were our people exasperated at the sight, that it was with great difficulty the
officers could prevent their firing at him. After staying about
a quarter of an hour he returned to the shore, and continued
to make these short visits on board every forenoon and afternoon, for three or four days afterwards ; which I believe was
to see whether or not we were making any further preparations
against them. Mr. King, now our first lieutenant, Was sent off
to the town on the north side with all our boats well manned
and armed to treat with the natives for the bodies ; carrying
a white flag as a signal of peace for that purpose. They
were assembled along the shore in great numbers, with their
weapons in their hands and bidding us defiance in the most
contemptuous manner imaginable ; for they seemed to pride
themselves very much in having killed our principal chief.
But from what we afterwards learnt they had very little
reason, having lost not less than eight or ten chiefs and
about twenty common men, besides several wounded; amongst
whom chanced to be the greatest part of those who assisted
in the murder of our people. They strove much to persuade
us to land, but without effect. One of them was dressed in
Captain Cook's jacket and trousers, and another had his
hanger in his hand, which he kept shaking at us, and
making use of every threatening and insolent gesture he
could possibly invent. This enraged the sailors to the highest
degree, and it was with the utmost difficulty they were
restrained from firing upon them. Finding we would not
come any nearer, two of them ventured to swim off to us;
whom we informed that we had no intentions of making an
attack, but came only to demand the bodies, which, to amuse
us for the present, they said were carried away some distance
into the country ; that we could not have them then, but
promised to bring them off to us in the morning ; therefore
perceiving they were not to be procured at that time, the
boats returned on board.
We were rather apprehensive that they intended to make
an attack upon the ships in the night; therefore took every
necessary precaution to prevent being surprised, by keeping xi GILBERT'S STORY 165
our guns and swivels loaded, and sentry forward, abaft, and
on each gangway, one-third of the people always under arms,
and a four-oared cutter well armed constantly rowing round
us, at a little distance, while it was dark ; which both ships
continued to do during our stay here.
The next morning the seamen earnestly solicited the
captain that they might go on shore with their arms to
revenge the death of their old commander, which he did not
think proper to permit; as it was not the intention of the
officers to pursue measures of that kind for a quarrel we had
principally brought upon ourselves; but perceiving they
were very eagerly bent upon it, he framed an excuse to
pacify them for the present, by telling them he could not
possibly think of allowing it whilst the ships remained in
such a defenceless state, but that in two days' time, when we
had got things into a little order, they should have leave for
that purpose. By keeping them thus in suspense for three
or four days their rage began to abate ; and it is well he did,
for had he at first positively denied them, so highly were
they incensed against the natives, that I believe the officers
would not have been able to have kept them on board.
Being rather suspicious that they were assembling canoes
round the north point of the bay, a boat with an officer was
sent to see, who found no appearances of any. The forenoon
a canoe with three men in her came off from the north side
about half-way to the ship, where they stopped and began to
throw stones towards us ; in which they could not heave
half that distance, they could not have any other intention
but that of insulting of us : one of them all the time very
triumphantly kept weaving Captain Cook's hat over his head,
till some muskets were fired at them, and then they instantly put back to the shore.
Our chief object at present was the foremast, which the
carpenters of both ships were working upon with the utmost
expedition, making new cheeks for it out of a spare anchor
stock. In the afternoon, seeing a great number of the natives
assemble upon the shore on the north side of the bay, we
fired a few shot at them from our great guns, which quickly
dispersed them.
When the old priest came on board we inquired of him r:
concerning the bodies, but could get no satisfactory account
of them ; and when we asked him why they were not brought
off, agreeable to the promise made yesterday, he said that
they had been carried to different parts of the island, and
were not yet collected together, but that we should have them
the next day ; which we perceived was only an excuse to
keep us quiet, therefore gave over every hope of having
them returned, as judging that they had otherwise disposed of
them, and did not wish us to know in what manner. On
the 16th nothing remarkable happened till about nine o'clock
in the evening, when some people were discovered paddling
very softly to the ships. It being quite dark, and (knowing ?)
not knowing how many there might be, two or three of the.
sentries instantly fired at them; nevertheless they persisted
coming towards us, and finding there was only one small
canoe, we suffered her to come alongside ; when to our
great astonishment they proved to be two of the natives, who
had brought with them about five pounds of human flesh,
which they told us was Captain Cook's, and that they were
sent by a priest that lived on the south side of the bay,
who had before always treated us with great hospitality ;
we learnt that he and his adherents still remained firmly
attached to us, but were too few to declare it to their
countrymen, which was the reason of their coming in the
dark, that it might not be known. After giving them some
presents, they returned to the shore, having luckily escaped
being hurt in approaching the ship. This small remains of
our unfortunate commander, which appeared to have been
taken from the inside of his thigh, was all our friend could
procure for us, and a great proof of his sincerity ; but
answered no good purpose to us, as the sight of it struck
every one with horror, and tended only to disquiet the
sailors, by renewing their desire to be revenged of the
natives, which began to wear off.
Beginning now to be greatly in want of water, we were
necessitated to go on shore again at all events, and endeavour
to get off a sufficiency to last us to some other place ; accordingly in the morning of the 17th we sent the two launches
full of casks to a small well, before mentioned, on the south
side close above the beach, with other boats, manned and GILBERTS STORY 167
armed, to protect them. The Discovery also hauled close in
for that purpose. We had not been long ashore before the
natives began to annoy us by throwing stones from behind
the houses ; and the well being situated at the foot of a
steep hill they kept rolling large ones down from the top
of it, which were often near doing us much mischief. To
prevent this, in a great measure, it was determined fby the
officers to set fire to the adjacent houses, which would not
only terrify them, but hinder their approaching to molest
us ; as they then would have no shelter from our muskets.
Therefore, when the people went on shore again after dinner,
several of them were given port fires for that purpose ; when
it was amazing with what alacrity they carried this scheme
into execution, the eagerness with which they grasped at
this small opportunity of revenge being so great, that the
officers could not keep them in the least order, for they all
instantly separated and were guided only by their own
impetuosity, setting fire to the houses, and killing the
natives wherever they met with any, who were struck with
such terror at seeing the flames that they made off as fast
as they could ; and it was very fortunate that they did, for
our people were so much scattered, that had they made the
least resistance, they might have cut several of them off, and
the rest of us known nothing of it, till this business was
over, which was in about an hour, when with great difficulty
we collected the people together, and stopped their further
progress : during this they had burnt about thirty houses,
and killed six of the natives. Two Irishmen concerned in
the affair extended their malice even to the dead bodies, by
cutting the heads from two of them, which they brought
down and fixed upon the stems of the boats. While the
houses were yet blazing we perceived a party of them
coming down the hill, but upon some of our people firing
a few muskets at them they immediately fell flat on the
ground and lay still for about five minutes ; they then got
up, and advanced slowly towards us with white flags in their
hands, and finding they were not very numerous, we suffered
them to approach us ; when they proved to be our friend
the priest, whom I mentioned last, with some of his followers,
coming to entreat for peace for himself and his people.    His 168 CAPTAIN COOK
house, being unknown to us, was unfortunately burnt with
the others : we carried him on board the ships, where we
consoled him in the best manner we could, and made him
several presents, being well convinced of his sincerity to us.
When the natives that came down the hill perceived the two
bodies lying without their heads, they set up a most frightful cry, followed with great lamentation, seemed to be more
affected at that than anything we had done to them, which
must arise entirely from superstition.
I cannot proceed without mentioning an instance of remarkable courage in one of these Indians, who had for some
time greatly annoyed the waterers by throwing stones at them
from behind the rocks. At last, being closely pursued by
several of our people, he retreated to a deep narrow cave,
and immediately began raising a small breastwork of stones
towards the bottom of it, behind which he placed himself;
they searched all round, but to no purpose; and it is a doubt
whether they would have found him or not, had not he
discovered himself by throwing stones at them the instant
they appeared. Upon this three or four of them stepped to
the entrance of the cave and presented their muskets at him,
and at the same time made signs, and told him that if he
would come out he should not be hurt; when, like iEneas,
he returned an answer with a flying stone, which was followed
by others as fast as he could throw them. They then fired at
him five or six times, at which he seemed to be not in the
least intimidated, still persisting in throwing at them ; but
perceiving that he was much wounded and resolved to fight
to the last moment, one of them rushed in upon him, clapped
a pistol to his breast, and instantly despatched him ; on
examining him we found he had received no less than four
balls, in different parts. He was a tall, well-made, handsome
young man, and had the appearance of a chief. We took
one of the natives prisoners that was attempting to escape in
his canoe, whom we bound hand and foot and put him into
a boat that had the head of one of his countrymen on the
stem of it. In the evening the boat returned on board,
having got a sufficiency of water to last us to Towi, one of
the other islands where we knew we could get plenty. The
officers would not permit the seamen to bring the two heads
into the ship, but obliged them to throw them into the
water alongside.
The prisoner being brought upon the quarter-deck, and
set down bound as before, everybody thronged round him, as
is usual in such cases, when it is scarce possible to conceive
how strongly every sign of fear was imprinted in his countenance ; be was seized with a most violent trembling from
head to foot; his complexion, which was naturally of a
light copper, was changed to that of a pale lead colour ; and
he remained silent and immovable. His apprehensions of
death in every horrid form appeared to be so strong as not
to admit of the least ray of hope to his relief, and entirely
deprived him of the faculty of speech. By his looks, which
expressed the most exquisite distress, he seemed to implore for
mercy, in a manner so affecting that it excited pity in every
breast, and all being desirous for it we unbound him. He
now thought we were going to put into execution what his
fears had suggested ; and when we returned him his canoe
and told him that he might go on shore, he paid no attention
to it for some time, imagining we did it only to insult him
in his misery, by tantalising him with what he had too great
a dread upon his mind to believe ; but when he found we
were in earnest, his excess of joy was then as predominant
as his fears had been before, and his gratitude, which he
expressed in the sincerest manner, wTas not disguised under
the veil of politeness, but flowed from the heart free and
uncorrupted. He had not been long on shore before he came
off again, with his canoe loaded with whatever he could
procure as a present to us; for which in return we gave
him something of equal value; this he continued to do two
or three times a day, and became a most faithful friend.
On the 19th the carpenter having finished the mast,
after great difficulty it wTas got in; the hawser we had reeved
for that purpose being so rotten that it stranded in five or
six places as we were heaving, and we had no better on board.
On the 20th, in the morning, a chief that we had not seen
before came on board, to negotiate a peace with us; and
promised to restore part of the captain's body. Accordingly
in the afternoon Captain Clerke, with three or four boats well
armed, went close inshore on the south side, where he con- I
eluded a peace with that chief, and brought on board Captain
Cook's head and hands, which were all the remains we could
possibly procure. The head was too much disfigured to be
known, but one of the hands we were well assured was his,
from a wound he had formerly received in it which made it
remarkable. One of the natives brought about a handful
of small human bones which he said belonged to the marines,
whom they had burnt; we made several inquiries to know
if they ate them, but could not find the least reason to believe
so : for they seemed to express as great an abhorrence of such
an act as any European. They told us that no part of Captain
Cook was burnt, but what became of the remainder of his
body we could not learn ; they also brought off the double--
barrelled piece he had with him when he was killed, but they
had entirely spoiled it by beating the barrels quite flat at
the muzzle. We could never get the least intelligence of the
cutter that was stolen, which was the first cause of this
unfortunate affair.
On the 21st some of the natives from the south side of
the bay brought off provisions and began to trade with us as
usual; but excepting the old priest, we were seldom visited
by any of those on the north side, who did not seem so
much inclined as the others to come to a reconciliation : yet
from every appearance I make no doubt, had we remained
there, but that in three or four weeks we should have been
nearly upon as friendly terms with them as we were at our
first coming.
In the afternoon we buried the remains of our much-
lamented commander alongside, with every ceremony due to
his rank; whose name will be perpetuated to after-ages and
ever stand foremost on the list of British navigators.
On the 22nd, the ship being rigged again and ready for
sea, in the morning we sailed out of the bay ; having no desire
to stay any longer at a place where we had suffered so great
a misfortune.
Thus ended, ingloriously, and as the result of an ill-
advised attempt at high-handed justice, the life of the
greatest navigator of any age.    I think there can be no xi EXPLANATIONS OF THE DEED 171
doubt that the attack on Cook was rendered possible by
a strong revulsion of feeling as regards his real character :
king, priests, and chiefs were perhaps by this time
ashamed of their own credulity, though certainly still
afraid of the captain and his men. That they showed
human passions and emotion—ate fiercely, drank freely,
and made love—would by no means detract from their
divinity. Quite the contrary. The god of the islanders
was as much a god of animal parts and passions as the
god of many people much more highly civilised. Neither
king nor priest contemplated the murder of Cook; but
among such people a quarrel soon leads to a fight, and
in a fight somebody naturally gets killed. On the other
hand—one does not know—perhaps it may have occurred
to some native humorist—such things have been done
—to wonder how a god would look and behave with a
spear stuck right through him.
Cook was dead.
In this journey he explored the unknown part of the
North American coast from lat. 43° N. to lat. 70° N.—
that is to say, for 3500 miles. He proved the proximity
of the continents of Asia and America; passed the straits
between them and surveyed the coast on each side to such
a height of northern latitude as to demonstrate the impracticability of a passage in that hemisphere from the
Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean either by an eastern or
a western course. In short, if we except the Sea of Amoor
and the Japanese Archipelago, which still remain imperfectly
known to Europeans, he has completed the hydrography of
the habitable globe.1
1 King's Journal. He may be forgiven a little exaggeration.
Cook was not the first sailor in those seas, nor did he discover the
straits, and the impossibility of £ north-west passage was not quite
proved. w
When such of the remains of their captain as could be
recovered had been buried—it was alongside and not on
shore, with " every ceremony due to his rank "—Captain
Clerke put out to sea and the voyage was resumed.
The remaining history of the expedition, told admirably by Captain King, seems like the last act of a
play whose hero has disappeared. Briefly, they spent
the summer off the coasts of Kamsehatka, and in October
steered a course for home by way of Japan, Macao, and
the Narrow Seas. In August, Captain Clerke died of
consumption after a long and languishing illness. He
was succeeded by Captain Gore, and Lieutenant King
was appointed to the Discovery. Gilbert was transferred
to the Resolution with King—he does not say in what
On arriving off Macao all the gentlemen were ordered
to hand over their journals, charts, drawings, and observations of all kinds taken during the voyage, and a
diligent search was made amongst the sailors for anything they had jotted down. This was by order of the
Admiralty, and in order to prevent the scramble for
publication which experience had even then shown to
follow after every such expedition.   If the Admiralty had chap, xii END OF THE  VOYAGE 173
possession of everything written and noted by their
officers, nothing except in general terms could be published ; while, the drawings and observations of all kinds
being reserved, no scientific value whatever could attach
to vague narrative. One is here faced by a certain
uneasiness respecting the journal from which so much
has been taken. It is certainly written from copious
notes, and it was certainly written after the voyage, because the author in more than one place shows that he
is arranging his notes, and reserving certain remarks for
a second visit to the place which he is partly describing.
Did Mr. Gilbert then give up everything, as the Admiralty ordered? Or—which is certainly possible—
did the Admiralty return him, and other officers, their
journals after the official publication % It matters very
little, but the question insists on being put.
On reaching the Channel they met with winds so
contrary that Captain Gore took the ships along the
west coast of Ireland, and anchored at Stromness in
the Orkneys. Here he sent Captain King to London
with all the papers and reports, and after being detained
a month at Orkney was able to sail for London. It is
melancholy to remark that on this, the very last bit of
the voyage, two more of the Resolution men died. On
October 7th, 1780, "we lashed along the Sheer-hulk at
Thus ended this voyage, long and eventful, which
failed in its primary object, yet succeeded in so many
others. The passage from ocean to ocean was not to be
discovered for eighty years to come. When it was discovered it proved to be useless. The world for three
hundred years had been looking for a thing which was 174
there all the time and could be put to no practical purpose. It is the history of a good many human enterprises. We seek St. Brandan's Island, we look for
Terra Australis Incognita] and we find New Zealand
and Cape Horn, the Continent of Australia, and the
great Pacific Ocean, studded with islands as the firmament is studded by the stars.
We can learn more about the individual officers and men
belonging to Cook's three expeditions than would be
expected by reading the journals of the voyages.
Cook himself tells us nothing of his officers except in
connection with special service, when he is always ready
to give them credit. There are no private letters preserved, for the simple reason that it is no use writing
letters when there is no post. We cannot ascertain the
grumblings of the forecastle, or the criticisms of the wardroom, but something may be recovered from the journals
themselves; and there was, as we have seen, the narrative of George Forstar and the journal of Gilbert. Also
there are the books of Ellis, Sydney Parkinson the
draughtsman brought by Banks, and one or two more,
from reading which one acquires some knowledge of the
In general terms Cook makes known his solicitude
for the welfare of his crew; he tells us how, directly
they got into cold weather, he had the sleeves of their
jackets lengthened with baize and gave them caps made
of the same warm material; he dilates on the grand
antiscorbutic effects of his malt, his sour-krout, and his
portable broth; he prides himself on his preservation of 176 '   CAPTAIN COOK
the crew from scurvy. We have seen how he made a
kind of tea for the men from the leaves and twigs of
the spruce ; how he had celery and scurvy grass boiled
in the peas and wheat, though the men at first would
not eat them ; how he made beer out of the sugar-cane,
and when the men refused it knocked off their grog.
We see how he sends out the young gentlemen on shooting parties, and allows them to accompany the scientific
men on their botanical expeditions. We cannot but
remark how careful he is to mention any officer who
does any special service ; and when he loses his surgeon,
William Anderson, it is not a formal entry in the log
that records his death, but a careful tribute to his worth
and his attainments that shows his justice and his desire
to give to every man the credit due to his zeal and
But when the ship's beef is so rank that it can no
longer be eaten even by the strongest stomach, when
the biscuit is half eaten and wholly defiled by the
cockroaches, when the crew is weakened by privation
and bad food, when half the ship's company are down
through having eaten poisonous fish, the captain says
nothing. These things were part and parcel of such a
voyage; those who cannot endure them had better not
come a-sailing on the broad Pacific ; sufficient happiness
for them to escape the dreadful scurvy and to come
home again, at length, alive. Once or twice, it is true,
he mentioned things which have reached a pass beyond
any previous experience. We learn, for instance, on
one occasion how the ship was pestered with cockroaches, whose numbers could not be kept down. They
swarmed everywhere; at night they made everything THEIR HARDSHIPS 177
in the cabins seem to be moving about by their multitudes. They devoured the ink on labels and letters;
they even climbed up into the rigging, and when the
sails were unfurled they fell in thousands on the deck.
The surgeon, Mr. Anderson, discovered that there were
two kinds—the Blatta Germanica, a daylight companion,
and the Blatta Orientalis, their joy by night. But this
discovery brought no comfort to the crew, as it could not
help to get rid of them; and the cockroaches, although
named and classified, went on multiplying.
Again, certain fish, the captain says, which were eaten
by the officers and the petty officers caused a violent
pain in the head and bones, with a scorching heat of
the skin and a numbness in the joints. "It was a
week or ten days before all the gentlemen recovered."
.Forster's account of the same misfortune shows what
a narrow escape they all had of being poisoned.
Our ship now resembled an hospital. The poisoned
patients were still in a deplorable situation; they continued
to haye gripes and acute pains in all their bones. In the daytime they were in a manner giddy, and felt a great heaviness in their heads. At night, as soon as they were warm
in bed, their pains redoubled and robbed them actually of
sleep. The skin peeled off from the whole body, and pimples
appeared on their hands. Those who were less affected with
pains were much weaker in proportion, and crawled about
the decks emaciated to mere shadows. We had not one
lieutenant able to do duty ; and as one of the mates and several
of the midshipmen were likewise ill, the watches were commanded by the gunner and the other mates.
One would think that so severe a visitation would have
called for more than a mere note of passing sickness.
It may be judged from Forster's journal with how
N I--
much heart the people, including even the scientific men
on board, endured these privations and suffered this hardness. We can see the captain, his face set southwards,
looking over the heads of the hungry and discontented
crew. He is thinking how he can break through the
wall of ice and learn what is beyond. They are
wondering how long it will be before the captain will
give up this foolishness and turn back to warmer climates.
The officers and passengers shared, as Forster plainly
tells us, in the general dejection. Their store of special
provisions had long since vanished, and they were now
reduced to the fare of the common sailors. " The hope
of meeting with new lands had vanished; the topics
of common conversation were exhausted; the cruise to
the south could not present anything new, but appeared
in all its chilling horrors before us." The conversation
and opinions of Columbus's crew have only partly been
preserved; but such as they were, such were those of
Cook's officers and scientific passengers. They were ready
to exchange all their chances of glory in the discovery
of the Terra Australis Incognita for another month at
Otaheite, among the fruits and the "blooming beauties"
of that island. Many other instances will be found by
him who reads not only the Voyages themselves, but
also the books which belong to them and surround them,
as the big fish is attended by the little fish. Always it
is the same thing. The captain endures and murmurs
not, the men endure and grumble.
As one makes his way through these volumes, a
personal interest, as I have already said, is presently
awakened in the officers. Some of them begin to stand out
clear of outline; we see their faces, we hear their voices. xiii SOME OF THE OFFICERS 179
Among these is Captain Clerke, he who follows at
Cook's heels in the Discovery. He is a silent shade and
pensive; he carries out instructions and endures hardships, uncomplaining even though—perhaps, because—
the hand of death is upon him. When his chief is killed
he is carried, already in the last stage of consumption, on
board the Resolution, to die in a few more weeks. Another,
who stands out a clear and well-defined figure, is that of
Anderson, the surgeon, who picked up the language everywhere, compiled the vocabularies, and wrote these admirable reports on the manners and customs of the people,
one of the earliest and best of anthropologists, next to
the captain the man most zealous and eager for the success
of the expedition. He died before his chief. Then
comes King, who wrote the conclusion of the journal
—King, whom the natives loved and called Tinnee, a
man of genial and winning manners, a favourite with
all. He came home in command of the Discovery. They
made him a post - captain, but four years after his
return he died in the south of France. Then there is
Gore, who succeeded Clerke in the command; we see a
good deal of Gore; he is always going off with boats,
sounding, surveying, examining, a capable officer; but
apparently, since King wrote the journals, not gifted
with the pen of the ready writer. He died in 1790,
one of the Captains of Greenwich Hospital. There are
also those stout fellows—Roberts, the first lieutenant;
Phillips, who behaved with so much pluck at the
murder of the captain; Samwell, the surgeon; Edgecumbe,
the marine. There are the two Forsters, grumbling and
discontented; the amiable youth Sydney Parkinson,
draughtsman, who died ; Monkhouse, the surgeon, who i8o
died; Charles Green, the astronomer, who died; Sparr-
man, the naturalist, whom we remember emerging from
the bush wThere the natives had stripped him of everything but his spectacles.
As for Gilbert, from whose log I have quoted, he is
a voice and nothing more. He was transferred from
one ship to the other. On his return home he was promoted with the rest, but, as I have said already, he
died shortly afterwards of smallpox.
I have mentioned Isaac Smith, the boy wrhom Cook
took with him—his wife's cousin—midshipman on his
first and mate on his second voyage. After his second
voyage he was made lieutenant, and continued in active
service till the year 1794, when his health gave way, and
he retired, receiving the rank of admiral in the year 1804.
He was the first Englishman who landed in Australia.
When the captain went ashore he took the boy with
him. "Now then, Isaac," he said, "you go first." And
the lad jumped ashore. Admiral Smith after his retirement lived with his cousin the widow.
There are one or two of the crew who deserve mention.
The old and faithful Watman, who followed Cook on the
third voyage,'never weary of the sea, has been already
mentioned. It was an ill service that he did his master
in dying at the juncture when the natives were trying
to believe the strangers to be all gods and superior to
death. Next, there is Corporal Lediard, that gallant
marine who, next to Anderson, developed the greatest
quickness in learning the language wherever they touched.
He was by birth an American, and in the year 1786 he
formed the project of walking across the continent of
America.   For that purpose he thought he would journey
through Europe and across Siberia to Kamschatka,
where their Russian friends of their last visit would perhaps take him across the straits. Sir Joseph Banks and
others raised a sum of fifty pounds for him. With this
slender provision he sailed to Hamburg, and thence to
.Copenhagen and Stockholm. He thought to find the
Gulf of Bothnia frozen over; as it was not, he walked
all round it, through Tornea to St. Petersburg. Here
he found a convoy of military stores about to start for
the use of one Billings, who had been on one of Cook's
expeditions and had now taken service with the Russians,
being employed in making surveys for the Russian
Government on the north-west coast of America. He
obtained permission to join this convoy, and in August
reached the town of Irkutsk in Siberia. Thence he
proceeded to Yakutsk, where he met with Captain
Billings. He returned to Irkutsk, intending to pass the
winter there. But in January he was arrested, brought
back under the guard of an officer and two soldiers in
a post-sledge for Moscow. He was then taken to the
frontier and dismissed, with the Empress's prohibition
ever again to set foot within her territories. What harm
this poor soldier-sailor could possibly do to the empire
of Russia is not apparent. Sir Joseph Banks heard from
him from Konigsberg. He died in 1790, and his adventurous life has been written and may be read.
One feels a certain sympathy, too, with the Irishman
who had been in the Danish service, and somehow seemed
to have no country left, so that when he ran away with
the intention of remaining away for the rest of his life,
a general compunction wa* felt for him, and though he
was brought back his punishment was no more than a ii
fortnight in irons. Many tried to run away; a sailor in
New Zealand, enticed from his duty by a girl; a midshipman and a sailor in Otaheite, thinking that life on
such an island was better far than to go on ploughing the
barren wave; they were caught, too, but not severely
punished—Cook was hard, but he could feel for those >
weaknesses of human nature which did not interfere
with the proper discharge of work. Lastly, two men ran
away with the six-oared gig, but this was off Macao.
They were never heard of again. One pictures the reception which these misguided and unhappy sailors would
meet with from the Chinese mariners w^ho should chance
upon them and their six-oared gig. One more reminiscence of the voyages. It is Christmas Day, the ship is
in lat. 65° S. It is midsummer, so that the nights are
short; but the skies and seas are hidden with continual
fog, so that nothing can be seen around or above; the
vessel is in the midst of ice, a wall of ice is before them,
broken ice, floating ice, ice in small lumps and in great
hills all about them. For months the crew have been
saving up their brandy in readiness for this sacred day,
which they keep by all getting drunk — very drunk,
says the historian, though the captain passes over the
On the discipline of the ship a good deal might be
said, but Cook must not be judged by the practice of
modern days. The sailors get drunk unrebuked on
Christmas Day—that would not be permitted in these
days. When the ship was in port, things were allowed
to go on aboard which can hardly now be related—
they may be found in great detail in Forster's book.
At sea a stern rule prevailed, and the lash was freely COOK'S BIBLE
used ; on shore and in port the men did what they
pleased. Those who know who went down on board
the Royal George with brave Kempenfeldt will understand that Cook followed the usual practice. | Certain
things," he said, " I permitted, because I could not prevent them." There might have been, one feels, some
restrictions—an attempt at restraint—but there were
none.    It was exactly the same with Wallis.
One more point of difference. I know not when
every ship began to carry its chaplain, but there was
no chaplain on any of Cook's voyages. It was, however,
the custom for the captain to read the service to the
whole crew on Sunday mornings. The Bible from
which Cook read the lessons during his last voyages
was given to his widow, who used no other during the
rest of her long life. It is a well-bound quarto, Ed.
Baskett, Oxford, 1765, and is now in Sydney with other
relics of the great navigator. mmmmm
It seems idle to add anything concerning the character
of James Cook to what has gone before. He was hard
to endure, true to carry out his mission, perfectly loyal
and single-minded, he was fearless, he was hot-tempered
and impatient, he was self-reliant, he asked none of his
subordinates for help or for advice, he was temperate,
strong, and of simple tastes, he was born to a hard life,
and he never murmured however hard things proved.
And, like all men born to be great, when he began to
rise, with each step he assumed, as if it belonged to
him, the dignity of his new rank. A plain man, those
who knew him say, but of good manners. If this
volume does not show the manner of the man, then it
has failed. Such as his achievements required, such
he was.
Let us, however, once more repeat briefly what those
achievements were, because they were so great and
splendid, and because no other sailor has ever so greatly
enlarged the borders of the earth. He discovered the
Society Islands; he proved New Zealand to be two
islands and he surveyed its coasts; he followed the unknown coast of New. Holland for two thousand miles
and proved that it was separated from New Guinea: he CHAP.  XIV
traversed the Antarctic Ocean on three successive voyages,
sailing completely round the globe in its high latitudes,
and proving that the dream of the great southern continent had no foundation, unless it was close around the
Pole and so beyond the reach of ships; he discovered and
explored a great part of the coast of New Caledonia, the
largest island in the South Pacific next to New Zealand;
he found the desolate island of Georgia, and Sandwich-
land, the southernmost land yet known; he discovered
the fair and fertile archipelago called the Sandwich
Islands; he explored three thousand five hundred miles
of the North American coast, and he traversed the icy
seas of the North Pacific, as he had done in the south,
in search of the passage which he failed to discover.
All this, without counting the small islands which he
found scattered about the Pacific.
Again, he not only proved the existence of these
islands, but he was in advance of his age in the observations and the minute examination which he made into
the religion, manners, customs, arts, and language of
the natives wherever he went. It was he who directed
these inquiries, and he was himself the principal observer.
When astronomical observations had to be made it was
he who acted as principal astronomer. He was as much
awake to the importance of botany, especially of medicinal
plants, as he was to the laying down of a correct chart.
It is certain that there was not in the whole of the
king's navy any officer who could compare with Cook in
breadth and depth of knowledge, in forethought, in the
power of conceiving great designs, and in courage and
pertinacity in carrying Hem through. Let us always
think of the captain growing only more cheerful as his fr
ship forced her way southwards, though his men lay
half-starved and half-poisoned on the deck.
His voyages would have been impossible, his discoveries could not have been made, but for that invaluable discovery of his whereby scurvy was kept off
and the men enabled to remain at sea long months
without a change. I have called attention to the brief
mention he makes of privation and hardships; he barely
notes the accident by which half his company were
poisoned by fish, he says nothing about the men's discomforts when their biscuit was rotten. These things,
you see, are not scurvy. One may go hungry for
a while, but recover when food is found and is none
the worse; one gets sick of salt junk, but if scurvy
is averted, mere disgust is- not worth observation. To
drive off scurvy—to keep it off—was the greatest boon
that any man could confer upon sailors. Cook has the
honour and glory of finding out the way to avert
this scourge. Those who have read of this horrible
disease—the tortures it entailed—the terror it was on
all long voyages—will understand how great should be
the gratitude of the country to this man. Since the
disease fell chiefly upon the men before the mast, it was
fitting that one who had also in his youth run up the
rigging to the music of the boatswain's pipe should
discover that way and confer that boon.
The gratitude of Cook's country was shown in several
ways, all rather curious. Had he been a member of a
noble family his son would certainly have been raised to
the peerage. As he was not, the king granted his
family a coat of arms.    I think that this must have
j_ xiv HIS COAT OF ARMS 187
been the last occasion when a coat of arms was granted
as a recognition of service. In these days, if a man
wants a coat of arms, he gets some one who understands
heraldry to draw him one or to find him one, or perhaps
he ignorantly tries to make one for himself. A coat of
arms; such a grant seems now to mean nothing. We
think we can confer gentility upon ourselves—as,
indeed, for all practical purposes we can; but not of
the ancient kind. The old notion that gentility can be
conferred by the sovereign as the fountain of honour
is clean forgotten. But it was not then forgotten. No
man could make himself armiger. Cook's family, therefore, were rewarded with a shield : they were advanced
to the first step of nobility.    The shield is thus described.
Azure, between the two polar stars Or, a sphere on the
plane of the meridian, shewing the Pacific Ocean, his track
thereon marked by red lines. And for crest, on a wreath of
the colours, is an arm bowed, in the uniform of a Captain of
the Royal Navy. In the hand is the Union Jack on a staff
proper.    The arm is encircled by a wreath of palm and laurel.
A very noble shield indeed !
A pension of two hundred pounds a year was
bestowed upon the widow, and the Government further
bestowed upon her half the profits arising from the
publication of her husband's Journal of the Third
Voyage. She also received a share in the profits of the
Journal of the Second Voyage, but in both cases the
interest alone was to be hers for life, the children to
receive the principal after her death. At their death
the principal was paid to her.1    Mrs. Cook was thus
1 I have before me a copy of Captain Cook's will. The amount for
which it was proved is not stated.    He bequeaths an annuity of £10 CAPTAIN COOK
left fully provided for. It only remains to tell the
story of the fate which fell upon Cook's children as well
as upon himself. There were six children in all. Three
died in infancy or in tender years. Three grew up to
manhood. Of these the eldest, James, was in the navy.
The second, Nathaniel, also went into the navy. The
third and youngest, Hugh, was sent to Cambridge,
where he entered at Christ's College in the year 1793.
The news of her husband's death reached the unhappy
widow in the first week of October 1780. In the same
week her second son Nathaniel went down on board
the Thunderer in a hurricane off Jamaica. The news
reached her before the end of the year. Then followed
a period of thirteen years, during which she saw her
eldest son from time to time—a gallant and active
officer, always on service—and educated the youngest
boy, Hugh. In July 1793 this son, as I have said,
was entered as a pensioner at Christ's, and went into
residence in October. Two months later he was attacked
by scarlet fever, and died on December 21st in his
eighteenth year. A portrait of this unfortunate youth
in the possession of Canon Bennett shows a face of
very remarkable beauty and delicacy, with none of the
severity which belonged to that of his father.
Only five weeks later another blow fell upon the
hapless woman, already bereaved of husband and five
out of her six children. Her eldest son, who had been
in the autumn of 1793 promoted to the rank of commander, was, while with his ship at Poole, in Dorset-
to his father, certain bequests of £10 each to nephews and nieces, and
the rest, including his messuages at Mile End Town, to his wife. He
was thus, before starting on his last voyage, possessed of substantial
means. xiv DEATH OF THE ELDEST SON 189
shire, appointed to the command of the Spitfire sloop of
war. On January 24th, 1794, he received from Captain
Yeo, commanding officer of the station, his letters and
orders to take command without delay. He started
immediately in an open boat, manned by sailors returning from leave, to sail from Poole to Portsmouth. It
was in the afternoon. His boat was rather crowded:
there was a strong ebb tide and a fresh wind; it was
growing dark. This was the last seen of James Cook,
the younger.
For he never reached his ship. What happened will
never now be known. His body, with a wound on the
head and stripped of all his money and valuables, was
found on the beach at the back of the Isle of Wight;
the boat was also found broken up; but no trace of
any of the crew was discovered. Perhaps they were
drowned. Perhaps they murdered the captain, made
for the island, laid his body on the beach, broke up
the boat, and dispersed.
The body was brought over to Portsmouth and taken
to Cambridge, where it was laid in the same grave with
the remains of his brother Hugh.
Overwhelmed by this final blow, the unhappy woman
was prostrated with an illness of mind and body which
kept her to her house for two years. When she recovered she asked her cousin, Admiral Isaac Smith,
who was unmarried, to live with her. They took a
house together at Clapham, where she continued to live
until her death in 1835, being then ninety-three years
of age. By her own request she was buried with her
two sons in the centre akle of St. Andrew's Church,
Cambridge. 190
She kept her faculties to the end. My informant
describes her as a handsome and venerable lady, her
white hair rolled back in ancient fashion, always dressed
in black satin, with an oval face, an aquiline nose, and
a good mouth. She wore a ring with her husband's
hair in it; and she entertained the highest respect for
his memory, measuring everything by his standard of
honour and morality. Her keenest expression of disapprobation was that Mr. Cook—to her he was always
Mr. Cook, not Captain—"would never have done so."
Like many widows of sailors, she could never sleep
in high wind for thinking of the men at sea, and she
kept four days in the year of solemn fasting, during
which she came not out of her own room: they were
the days of her bereavements; the days when she lost
her husband and her three boys. She passed those
days in prayer and meditation with her husband's
Bible; and for her husband's sake she befriended their
nephews and grand-nephews and nieces and grand-nieces
of his whom she never saw; they were not suffered to
With her pension and her share of the profits of the
books and with other things—such as the inheritance
of her sailor son's fortune, sworn under <£5000—Mrs.
Cook became a wealthy woman. Her house was good, and
filled with old furniture of the style called Louis Quinze;
it was also crowded and crammed in every room with
relics, curiosities, drawings, maps, and collections brought
home from the voyages. It would seem that the Government gave back the drawings and charts after they had
been published. On Thursdays she always entertained
her friends to dinner, which was served at three o'clock. TABLE OF CHILDREN 191
After the death of her cousin the admiral she was
taken care of by a faithful old servant whom she remembered in her will, and by younger members of her
own family.1
The greater part of the relics preserved were sent to
the Colonial Government Museum, Sydney, after the
Colonial Exhibition. But the log of the First Voyage
and the gold medal conferred on the captain by the
Royal Society are in the British Museum.
The following genealogy shows the numbers and the
end of Cook's family. All, as has been seen, were cut
off in youth or infancy, and no descendant now survives
of England's greatest navigator.
James Cook = Elizabeth Batts
I   b.    1742, d. 1835
James    Nathaniel
b. 1763    b. 1764
b. 1776
b. 1766
b. and d.
b. and d.
I 1794    1 1780
d. 1793
d. 1771
1 For these personal recollections of Mrs. Cook, and also for various
documents connected with her husband's domestic life, I am indebted
to Canon Bennett, of Maddington Vicarage, Devizes. As he is probably
the only survivor of her personal friends, this information could not
have been procured from any one else ; without -it the history of
Cook's private life would have^been indeed shadowy.
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