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COOK'S FIRST VOYAGE.
Early Life of Cook.-his first Promotion in the Navy.--Surveys the St. Law
rence.-Appointed to survey Newfoundland.--His Proficiency in Mathematics.--Transit of Venus.--Intractability of Dalrymple.-Cook chosen in his Stead.-Portuguese Ignorance.-Attempt to explore Tierra Del Fuego. Arrival at Otaheite.--The Transit observed.-Character of the People.Tupia sails with Cook.--The Society Islands.---Traditions respecting European Ships.---Geography of the Natives. ---Oheteroa.---The Eastern Shores of New Zealand discovered. ---Some Natives captured.---Found to be Cannibals.---Their Arts.---A large River explored. Queen Charlotte's Sound. Cook's Straits discovered. --New Zealand circumnavigated.---The east Coast of New Holland..--Botany Bay.---Narrow Escape from Shipwreck.---Endeavour Straits discovered. Possession taken of New South Wales.-Death of Tupia.---Return of Cook
The interests of science and the acquisition of geographical knowledge entered largely into the motives of the circumnavigations above related. But the first expedition of importance, fitted out wholly for scientific objects, was that intrusted to the command of the celebrated captain James Cook. This great navigator was born of humble parents: his father was an agricultural labourer, whose steady conduct was at length rewarded by his employer with the situation of hind or under steward. As he had nine children, and his means were slender, he was unable to assist materially their individual exertions to procure a livelihood. James, when thirteen years of age, was apprenticed to a shopkeeper at Straiths, a fishing town not far from Whitby; but the predilection of young Cook for the sea was soon manifested with that strength of inclination which is sure to accompany peculiar talents. He engaged himself for seven years with the owners of some ships employed in the coal trade; and, when the period of his engagement was expired, he was promoted by his employers to the rank of mate of one of their vessels. The coal trade of England, being chiefly carried on near a singularly dangerous coast, where unceasing vigilance is required on the part of the seamen, constitutes the best school of practical mariners in the world. Cook, who obeyed his own inclinations when he turned sailor, profited, no doubt, in the highest degree, from the opportunities which his coasting voyages afforded him of becoming acquainted with the practical part of navigation. At length, being in the Thames in 1755, when impressments were carried on to a great extent, he resolved to anticipate the impending necessity, and offered himself to serve on board the Eagle, a man-of-war of 60 guns, Shortly after, the friends and patrons of his family in Yorkshire having warmly recommended his interests to the care of Mr. Osbaldintoon ihn momber for Scarborough, and captain (after
wards sir Hugh) Palliser, who commanded the Eagle, reporting well of his conduct and capacity, he was appointed master of the Mercury, a small vessel which soon afterwards joined the fleet of sir Charles Saunders in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Here the talents and resolution of Cook soon became conspicuous.
It was found necessary, in order that the fleet might co-operate with the army under general Wolfe, that it should take up a position along the shore in front of the French encampments; but before this maneurre could be put in execution, the channel of the river was to be sounded. This difficult task required the union of more than ordinary intelligence and intrepidity, and Cook was the person selected for the purpose. For several nights he carried on his operations unperceived: but at length the enemy discovered his movements, and, sending out a great number of boats after it grew dark, attempted to surround and cut him off. Cook pushed for the Isle of Orleans; and so narrowly did he escape being captured, that as he stepped on shore from the the bow of his boat, the Indians in pursuit of him entered at the stern; and the boat itself, which was a pinnace belonging to a man-of-war, was carried off by the enemy. Cook, however, had accomplished his task, and laid before the admiral of the fleet a survey of the channel, which was found to be both full and accurate. After the conquest of Quebec, he was appointed to examine the more difficult portions of the river St. Lawrence, with the navigation of which the English had but little acquaintance. His zeal and abilities soon after procured him an appointment as master to the Northumberland, which bore the commodore's flag at Halifax. Here he found leisure to apply himself to the study of elementary mathematics, and to improve those talents as a practical hydrographer of which he had given such ample proofs in his first rude essays. An opportunity also soon occurred of displaying his improvement by surveying a part of the coast of Newfoundland. This island had lately fallen into the power of the English; and its importance as a fishing station being fully appreciated by Sir Hugh Palliser, who was appointed governor in the year 1764, he strongly represented to government the necessity of making an accurate survey of its coasts; and, accordingly, by his recommendation, Cook was appointed marine surveyor of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Grenville schooner was placed under his command for this purpose. The manner in which Cook executed this task confirmed the high opinion already entertained of his zeal and ability. A short paper which he communicated to the Royal Society on an eclipse of the sun observed in Newfoundland, and the longitude of the place as calculated from it, procured him the character of a respectable mathematician.
But still higher honours awaited him. The transit of the planet Venus over the sun's disc, calculated to take place in 1769, was looked forward to by the scientific world with much anxious interest; and it was earnestly desired that all the advantage which could be derived to science from so rare a phenomenon might be secured by observing it in distant quarters of the globe. In accordance with this view, the Royal Society presented an address to the king, setting forth the advantage of observing the transit in the opposite hemisphere, their inability to fit out an expedition for the purpose, and praying his majesty to equip a vessel to be despatched to the South Sea under their direction. This petition was at once complied with. The person at first designed to command the expedition was Mr. Dalrymple, chief hydrographer to the Admiralty, and no less celebrated for his geographical knowledge than for his zeal in maintaining the existence of an Australian continent. Dalrymple had never held a commission in his majesty's navy; and the experience of Dr. Halley had proved that one so circumstanced cannot expect obedience from a crew subjected to the discipline of the navy. The pride of the profession scorns to submit to those who have not acquired their authority by passing through the ordinary routine of promotion. Dalrymple, however, refused to engage in the expedition unless with the amplest powers of a commander. The Admiralty, on the other hand, were unwilling to entrust him with powers which might embroil him with his officers. Neither party would yield; and, while the affair thus remained in suspense, Cook was proposed. Inquiries were then made as to his abilities; and, as all who knew him spoke favourably of him, and great confidence is usually felt in the steady and concentrated talents of the selftaught, he was chosen to command the expedition, being first promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
It is a proof of Cook's natural strength of understanding, that his mind was not enslaved by habits, but that he was always ready to introduce innovations into his practice whenever they were recommended by common sense and experience. Instead of selecting a frigate, or vessel of that description, for his voyage, he chose a vessel built for the coal trade, with the sailing qualities of which he was well acquainted. He justly represented, that a ship of this kind was more capable of carrying the stores requisite for a long voyage; was exposed to less hazard in running near coasts-an object of great importance in a voyage of discovery; was less affected by currents; and, in case of any accident, might, without much difficulty or danger, be laid on shore to undergo repairs. The ship which he chose was of 360 tons burden, and named the Endeavour. No pains were spared by the Admiralty in fitting her out for the voyage ; and, as the improvement of science was its main object, persons qualified to attain the desired end were appointed to accompany the expedition. Mr. Green was named by the Royal Society as the astronomer; Dr. Solander, a learned Swede and pupil of Linnæus, went as naturalist; Mr. (afterwards Sir Joseph) Banks, a gentleman of large fortune, and at that time very young, who afterwards reflected so much lustre on his country by devoting a long life and ample means to the interests of learning, renounced the ease to which his affluence entitled him, and commenced his active and honourable career by a voyage round the world. Being accompanied by able draftsmen, and being himself zealously attached to the study of natural history, and amply provided with every thing conducive to the gratification of his favourite pursuit; being at the same time of a lively, open, liberal, and courageous temper, his company was no less agreeable than it was advantageous. Before the preparations were completed, captain Wallis returned from his voyage round the world; and having been advised to fix on some spot in the South Sea conveniently situated for the erection of an observatory, he named Port Royal in King George the Third's Island as a place well adapted for that purpose.
Every thing being now prepared, lieutenant Cook sailed from Plymouth on the 26th of August, 1768. He touched at Rio Janeiro, where the Portuguese governor, no less ignorant than suspicious, was much at a loss to comprehend the object of the expedition; nor, after much trouble, was he able to form a juster idea of it, than that it was intended to observe the northstar passing through the south pole. It was only by stealth that Mr. Banks could go ashore, though nature seemed here to teem with the objects of his research, and brilliant butterflies flew round the ship to the height of the mast. In leaving this port, Cook, after the example of Byron, sailed over the position which had been assigned by Cowley to Pepys' Island, and finally dispelled all belief in its existence. He then directed his course through the Straits of Le Maire, to pass round Cape Horn.
The naturalists of the expedition landed on Tierra del Fuego, and, crossing a morass and some low woods, ascended the highest eminence they could descry. It was now midsummer in this region, and the temperature during the day was moderately warm, but as night approached snow fell in great quantities, and the cold became excessive. The exploring party, who had incautiously advanced too far, were unable to effect their return to the shore before sunset, and were obliged to spend the night exposed to all the inclemency of the weather, in a singularly desolate and unsheltered region. Dr. Solander, who, having travelled in the north of Europe, was well acquainted with the fatal effects of cold on the constitution, repeatedly
admonished his companions to resist the first approach of drowsiness, as the sleep superinduced by cold is sure to prove fatal; but he was the first to feel the dangerous torpor he predicted, and entreated his companions to allow him to lie down and take his rest; but they, fortunately instructed by his lessons, persisted in dragging him along, and thus saved his life. On reaching the woods in their descent, they kindled a fire, round which they spent the night, and when the sun rose they made their way to the ships; but two of the party, servants of Mr. Banks, who lay down to rest in the snow, were found dead the next morning.
The voyage round Cape Horn into the Pacific occupied thirty-four days; and Cook, who was rather fortunate in his weather, seems to think it preferable to the passage through the Straits of Magellan. In his voyage through the ocean, he descried some small islands, of the group which had been previously visited by Wallis and Bougainville. He proceeded, however, direct to the place of his destination, not allowing himself to be detained by unimportant discoveries. At length he arrived at King George the Third's Island, to which he found that the natives gave the name of Otaheite, and anchored in Matavai, or Port Royal Bay. From the inhabitants he met with the most friendly reception, and being instructed by the errors of his predecessors, he drew up a set of regulations to guide his people in their intercourse with the natives, which reflect the highest honour on his good sense and humanity. He changed names with the chief of the island; thus solemnly professing friendship according to the custom of the South Sea islanders. Permission was easily obtained to erect tents on shore for the sick; a small fort was constructed, and the observatory set up. As the time approached for the observation of the transit, the greatest anxiety existed among the officers respecting the result, as a temporary cloudiness or unfavourable change of weather might totally frustrate the grand object of the expedition. A party, however, was prudently sent to Eimeo, a small island about twenty leagues distant, and another was stationed in Otaheite, considerably to the west of Matavai Bay, in order to lessen, by the number of observers, the chances of a total failure. At length the important day, the 3d of June, arrived, and the sun rose without a cloud. The observation was made successfully by all the parties, and the minds of our voyagers were relieved, the chief object of their mission being thus fulfilled.
The mild and judicious conduct of Cook completely won the confidence of the Otaheitans, and enabled him to form a more accurate opinion of their character than the voyagers who had previously visited their island. They were remarkably friendly and affectionate, and indeed their attachments 'alone seemed