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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsNarrative Of The Voyages Round The World, Performed By Captain James Cook - Chapter III. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his first and second Voyage
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Narrative Of The Voyages Round The World, Performed By Captain James Cook - Chapter III. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his first and second Voyage Post by :ram133 Category :Nonfictions Author :Andrew Kippis Date :February 2011 Read :3287

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Narrative Of The Voyages Round The World, Performed By Captain James Cook - Chapter III. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his first and second Voyage

The manner in which Lieutenant Cook had performed his circumnavigation
of the globe justly entitled him to the protection of government and
the favour of his sovereign. Accordingly, he was promoted to be a
commander in his majesty's navy, by commission bearing date on the
29th of August, 1771. Mr. Cook, on this occasion, from a certain
consciousness of his own merit, wished to have been appointed a post
captain. But the Earl of Sandwich, who was now at the head of the
Admiralty board, though he had the greatest regard for our navigator,
could not concede to his request, because a compliance with it would
have been inconsistent with the order of the naval service. The
difference was in point of rank only, and not of advantage. A
commander has the same pay as a post captain, and his authority is the
same when he is in actual employment. The distinction is a necessary
step in the progress to the higher honours of the profession.

It cannot be doubted, but that the president and council of the Royal
Society were highly satisfied with the manner in which the transit of
Venus had been observed. The papers of Mr. Cook and Mr. Green relative
to this subject, were put into the hands of the astronomer royal, to
be by him digested, and that he might deduce from them the important
consequences to science which resulted from the observation. This was
done by him with an accuracy and ability becoming his high knowledge
and character. On the 21st of May, 1772, Captain Cook communicated to
the Royal Society, in a letter addressed to Dr. Maskelyne, an 'Account
of the flowing of the tides in the South Sea, as observed on board his
Majesty's Bark, the Endeavour.'

The reputation our navigator had acquired by his late voyage was
deservedly great; and the desire of the public, to be acquainted with
the new scenes and new objects which were now brought to light, was
ardently excited. It is not surprising, therefore, that different
attempts were made to satisfy the general curiosity. There soon
appeared a publication, entitled, 'A Journal of a voyage round the
World.' This was the production of some person who had been upon the
expedition; and though his account was dry and imperfect, it served,
in a certain degree, to relieve the eagerness of inquiry. The journal
of Sidney Parkinson, draftsman to Sir Joseph Banks, to whom it
belonged by ample purchase, was likewise printed, from a copy
surreptitiously obtained; but an injunction from the Court of Chancery
for some time prevented its appearance. This work, though dishonestly
given to the world, was recommended by plates. But it was Dr.
Hawkesworth's account of Lieutenant Cook's voyage which completely
gratified the public curiosity. This account, which was written by
authority, was drawn up from the journal of the lieutenant, and the
papers of Sir Joseph Banks; and, besides the merit of the composition,
derived an extraordinary advantage from the number and excellence of
its charts and engravings, which were furnished at the expense of
government. The large price given by the booksellers for this work,
and the avidity with which it was read, displayed, in the strongest
light, the anxiety of the nation to be fully informed in every thing
that belonged to the late navigation and discoveries.

Captain Cook, during his voyage, had sailed over the Pacific Ocean in
many of those latitudes, in which a southern continent had been
expected to lie. He had ascertained, that neither New Zealand nor New
Holland were parts of such a continent. But the general question
concerning its existence had not been determined by him, nor did he go
out for that purpose, though some of the reasons on which the notion
of it had been adopted were dispelled in the course of his navigation.
It is well known how fondly the idea of a _Terra Australis
incognita had for nearly two centuries been entertained. Many
plausible philosophical arguments have been urged in its support, and
many facts alleged in its favour. The writer of this narrative fully
remembers how much his imagination 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 paid a
particular attention to the subject, he did not come behind them in
the sanguineness of his hopes and expectation. Every thing, however,
which relates to science must be separated from fancy, and brought to
the test of experiment: and here was an experiment richly deserving to
be tried. The object, indeed, was of peculiar magnitude, and worthy to
be pursued by a great prince, and a great nation.

Happily, the period was arrived in Britain for the execution of the
most important scientific designs. A regard to matters of this kind,
though so honourable to crowned heads, had heretofore been too much
neglected even by some of the best of our princes. Our present
sovereign had already distinguished his reign by his patronage of
science and literature, but the beginnings which had hitherto been
made were only the pledges of future munificence. With respect to the
object now in view, the gracious dispositions of his majesty were
ardently seconded by the noble lord who had been placed at the head of
the board of admiralty. The Earl of Sandwich was possessed of a mind,
which was capable of comprehending and encouraging the most enlarged
views and schemes with regard to navigation and discovery.
Accordingly, it was by his particular recommendation that a resolution
was formed for the appointment of an expedition, finally to determine
the question concerning the existence of a southern continent. Quiros
seems to have been the first person, who had any idea that such a
continent existed, and he was the first that was sent out for the sole
purpose of ascertaining the fact. He did not succeed in the attempt;
and the attempts of various navigators down to the present century,
were equally unsuccessful.

When the design of accomplishing this great object was resolved upon,
it did not admit of any hesitation by whom it was to be carried into
execution. No person was esteemed equally qualified with Captain Cook,
for conducting an enterprise, the view of which was to give the utmost
possible extent to the geography of the globe, and the knowledge of
navigation. For the greater advantage of the undertaking, it was
determined that two ship should be employed; and much attention was
paid to the choice of them, and to their equipment for the service.
After mature deliberation by the navy board, during which particular
regard was had to the captain's wisdom and experience, it was agreed,
that no vessels were so proper for discoveries in distant unknown
parts, as those which were constructed like the Endeavour. This
opinion concurring with that of the Earl of Sandwich, the admiralty
came to a resolution that two ships should be provided of a similar
construction. Accordingly, two vessels, both of which had been built
at Whitby, by the same person who built the Endeavour, were purchased
of Captain William Hammond, of Hull. They were about fourteen or
sixteen months old at the time when they were bought, and in Captain
Cook's judgment, were as well adapted to the intended service as if
they had been expressly constructed for that purpose. The largest of
the two, which consisted of four hundred and sixty-two tons burden,
was named the Resolution. To the other, which was three hundred and
thirty-six tons burden, was given the name of the Adventure. On the
28th of November, 1771, Captain Cook was appointed to the command of
the former; and, about the same time, Mr. Tobias Furneaux was promoted
to the command of the latter. The complement of the Resolution,
including officers and men, was fixed at a hundred and twelve persons;
and that of the Adventure, at eighty one. In the equipment of these
ships, every circumstance was attended to that could contribute to the
comfort and success of the voyage. They were fitted in the most
complete manner, and supplied with every extraordinary article which
was suggested to be necessary or useful. Lord Sandwich, whose zeal was
indefatigable upon this occasion, visited the vessels from time to
time, to be assured that the whole equipment was agreeable to his
wishes, and to the satisfaction of those who were to engage in the
expedition. Nor were the navy and victualling boards wanting in
procuring for the ships the very best of stores and provisions, with
some alterations in the species of them, that were adapted to the
nature of the enterprise; besides which, there was an ample supply of
antiscorbutic articles, such as malt, sour krout, salted cabbage,
portable broth saloup, mustard, marmalade of carrots, and inspissated
juice of wort and beer.

No less attention was paid to the cause of science in general, the
admiralty engaged Mr. William Hodges, an excellent landscape painter,
to embark in the voyage, in order to make drawings and paintings of
such objects, as could not so well be comprehended from written
description. Mr. John Reinhold Forster and his son were fixed upon to
explore and collect the natural history of the countries which might
be visited, and an ample sum was granted by parliament for the
purpose. That nothing might be wanting to accomplish the scientific
views of the expedition, the board of longitude agreed with Mr.
William Wales and Mr. William Bayley, to make astronomical
observations. Mr. Wales was stationed in the Resolution, and Mr.
Bayley in the Adventure. By the same board they were furnished with
the best of instruments, and particularly with four time-pieces, three
constructed by Arnold, and one by Mr. Kendal, on Mr. Harrison's
principles.

Though Captain Cook had been appointed to the command of the
Resolution on the 28th of November 1771, such were the preparations
necessary for so long and important a voyage, and the impediments
which occasionally and unavoidably occurred, that the ship did not
sail from Deptford till the 9th of April following, nor did she leave
Long Reach till the 10th of May. In plying down the river, it was
found necessary to put into Sheerness, in order to make some
alterations in her upper works. These the officers of the yard were
directed immediately to take in hand; and Lord Sandwich and Sir Hugh
Palliser came down to see them executed in the most effectual manner.
The ship being again completed for sea by the 22d of June, Captain
Cook on that day sailed from Sheerness, and, on the 3d of July, joined
the Adventures in Plymouth Sound. Lord Sandwich, in his return from a
visit to the dock-yards, having met the Resolution on the preceding
evening, his lordship and Sir Hugh Palliser gave the last mark of
their great attention to the object of the voyage, by coming on board,
to assure themselves, that every thing was done which was agreeable to
our commander's wishes, and that his vessel was equipped entirely to
his satisfaction.

At Plymouth, Captain Cook received his instructions; with regard to
which, without entering into a minute detail of them, it is sufficient
to say, that he was sent out upon the most enlarged plan of discovery,
that is known in the history of navigation. He was instructed not only
to circumnavigate the whole globe, but to circumnavigate it in high
southern latitudes, making such traverses, from time to time, into
every corner of the Pacific Ocean not before examined, as might
finally and effectually resolve the much agitated question about the
existence of a southern continent, in any part of the southern
hemisphere, to which access could be had by the efforts of the boldest
and most skilful navigators.

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