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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsNarrative Of The Voyages Round The World, Performed By Captain James Cook - Preface - Captain James Cook Voyage
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Narrative Of The Voyages Round The World, Performed By Captain James Cook - Preface - Captain James Cook Voyage Post by :tcant Category :Nonfictions Author :Andrew Kippis Date :February 2011 Read :2802

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Narrative Of The Voyages Round The World, Performed By Captain James Cook - Preface - Captain James Cook Voyage

Although I have often appeared before the public as a writer, I never
did it with so much diffidence and anxiety as on the present occasion.
This arises from the peculiar nature of the work in which I have now
engaged. A Narrative of the Life and Actions of Captain Cook must
principally consist of the voyages and discoveries he made, and the
difficulties and dangers to which he was exposed. The private
incidents concerning him, though collected with the utmost diligence,
can never compare, either in number or importance, with his public
transactions. His public transactions are the things that mark the
man, that display his mind and his character; and, therefore they are
the grand objects to which the attention of his biographer must be
directed. However, the right conduct of this business is a point of no
small difficulty and embarrassment. The question will frequently
arise, How far the detail should be extended? There is a danger, on
the one hand, of being carried to an undue length, and of enlarging,
more than is needful, on facts which may be thought already
sufficiently known; and, on the other hand, of giving such a jejune
account, and such a slight enumeration of important events, as shall
disappoint the wishes and expectations of the reader. Of the two
extremes, the last seems to be that which should most be avoided; for,
unless what Captain Cook performed, and what he encountered, be
related somewhat at large, his Life and Actions would be imperfectly
represented to the world. The proper medium appears to be, to bring
forward the things in which he was personally concerned, and to pass
slightly over other matters. Even here it is scarcely possible, nor
would it be desirable, to avoid the introduction of some of the most
striking circumstances which relate to the new countries and
inhabitants that were visited by our great navigator, since these
constitute a part of the knowledge and benefit derived from his
undertakings. Whether I have been so happy as to preserve the due
medium, I presume not to determine. I have been anxious to do it,
without always being able fully to satisfy my own mind that I have
succeeded; on which account I shall not be surprised if different
opinions should be formed on the subject. In that case, all that I can
offer in my own defence will be, that I have acted to the best of my
judgment. At any rate I flatter myself with the hope of having
presented to the public a work not wholly uninteresting or
unentertaining. Those who are best acquainted with Captain Cook's
expeditions, may be pleased with reviewing them in a more compendious
form, and with having his actions placed in a closer point of view, in
consequence of their being divested of the minute nautical, and other
details, which were essentially necessary in the voyages at large. As
to those persons, if there be any, who have hitherto obtained but an
imperfect knowledge of what was done and discovered by this
illustrious man, they will not be offended with the length of the
following narrative.

In various respects, new information will be found in the present
performance; and other things, which were less perfectly known before,
are set in a clearer and fuller light. This, I trust, will appear in
the first, third, fifth, and seventh chapters. It may be observed,
likewise, that the fresh matter now communicated is of the most
authentic kind, and derived from the most respectable sources. My
obligations of this nature are, indeed, very great, and call for my
warmest gratitude. The dates and facts relative to Captain Cook's
different promotions are taken from the books of the Admiralty, by the
directions of the noble lord who is at the head of that Board, and the
favour of Mr. Stephens. I embrace with pleasure this opportunity of
mentioning, that, in the course of my life, I have experienced, in
several instances, Lord Howe's condescending and favourable attention.
To Mr. Stephens I am indebted for other communications besides those
which concern the times of Captain Cook's preferments, and for his
general readiness in forwarding the design of the present work. The
Earl of Sandwich, the great patron of our navigator, and the principal
mover in his mighty undertakings, has honoured me with some important
information concerning him, especially with regard to the
circumstances which preceded his last voyage. To Sir Hugh Palliser's
zeal for the memory of his friend I stand particularly obliged. From a
large communication, with which he was so good as to favour me, I have
derived very material intelligence, as will appear in the course of
the narrative, and especially in the first chapter. In the same
chapter are some facts which I received from Admiral Graves, through
the hands of the Rev. Dr. Douglas, now Bishop of Carlisle (whose
admirable Introduction to the Voyage to the Pacific Ocean must be of
the most essential service to every writer of the Life of Captain
Cook). The Captain's amiable and worthy Widow, who is held in just
esteem by all his friends, has given me an account of several domestic
circumstances. I should be deficient in gratitude, were I here to omit
the name of Mr. Samwell: for though what is inserted from him in this
work has already been laid before the public, it should be remembered,
that through the interposition of our common friend, the Rev. Mr.
Gregory, it was originally written for my use, and freely consigned to
my disposal; and that it was at my particular instance and request
that it was separately printed. My obligations to other gentlemen will
be mentioned in their proper places.

But my acknowledgments are, above all, due to Sir Joseph Banks,
President of the Royal Society, for the interest he has taken in the
present publication. It was in consequence of his advice, that it was
given to the world in the form which it now bears; and his assistance
has been invariable through every part of the undertaking. To him the
inspection of the whole has been submitted and to him it is owing,
that the work is, in many respects, far more complete than it would
otherwise have been. The exertions of zeal and friendship, I have been
so happy as to experience from him in writing the account of Captain
Cook, have corresponded with that ardour which Sir Joseph Banks is
always ready to display in promoting whatever he judges to be
subservient to the cause of science and literature.

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NARRATIVE OF THEVOYAGES ROUND THE WORLD,PERFORMED BYCAPTAIN JAMES COOK.WITH AN ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFEDURING THE PREVIOUS AND INTERVENING PERIODS.BYA. KIPPIS, D.D., F.R.S., & S.A.TO THE KING.SIR,I esteem myself highly honoured in being permitted to dedicate andpresent my Narrative of the Life and Actions of Captain James Cook toyour Majesty. It was owing to your Majesty's royal patronage andbounty, that this illustrious navigator was enabled to execute thosevast undertakings, and to make those extraordinary discoveries, whichhave contributed so much to the reputation of the British empire, andhave reflected such peculiar glory on your Majesty's reign. Withoutyour Majesty's munificence and encouragement, the world
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