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Captain James Cook - Voyages


After the death of Captain Cook, and the events immediately succeeding it, Captain Clerke, upon whom the command of the expedition had devolved, proceeded from Owhyhee, and coasted several of the other islands of the group. The ships anchored at Atooi to procure water; in doing this our voyagers experienced some interruption from the natives, and a slight conflict took place, in which one of the islanders was wounded by a musket-shot. They were here told, that, at their preceding visit, they had left a disorder amongst the women, of which several persons of both sexes had died; and as there was not the slightest appearance of the disorder amongst the natives, at the first arrival of the vessels, there is too much reason to believe that some of the crew were the authors of that irreparable mischief. Atooi was in a state of internal warfare; the quarrel had arisen about the goats Captain Cook had left at Oneeheow the year before, the property of which was contested by two different chiefs. The goats, which had increased to the number of six, and would probably in a few years have stocked all these islands, were destroyed in the contest.

Our voyagers left the Sandwich Islands finally on the 15th of March: and stood to the south-west, in hopes of falling in with the island of Modoopapappa, which they were told by the natives lay in that direction, about five hours' sail from Taohora; but though the two vessels stretched asunder several miles, they did not discover it. It is possible it might have been passed in the night, as the islanders described it to be small, sandy, and almost even with the surface of the sea.

The harbour of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in Awatska Bay, was appointed for the next rendezvous of the two vessels, in case of separation. In the course of their navigation towards Kamtschatka, they traversed that part of the Northern Pacific, in which some islands and lands were laid down in the charts, such as the island of Reia de Plata in De l'Isle's chart, and the land said to have been seen by John de Gama, in a voyage from China to New Spain, first delineated in a chart published by Texeira, a Portuguese geographer, in 1649; but though at sundry times they had various indications of land, they discovered none, and those islands and lands must therefore either be of trifling extent, or wholly imaginary.

A leak, under the larboard bow of the Resolution, which had kept the people almost constantly at the pumps, ever since their leaving the Sandwich Islands, occasioned a great alarm on the 13th of April. The water, which had lodged in the coal-hole, not finding a sufficient vent into the well, had forced up the platforms over it, and in a moment deluged the whole space between decks. The coals would very soon choke up a pump, and the number of bulky materials that were washed out of the gunner's store room, and which, by the ship's motion, were tossed violently from side to side, rendered it impracticable to bale the water out. No other method was therefore left, than to cut a hole through the bulk-head, that separated the coal-hole from the fore-hold. As soon as the passage was made, the greatest part of the water was emptied into the well: but the leak was now so much increased, that it was necessary to keep one half of the people constantly pumping and baling, till the noon of the 15th.

On the 23rd, at six in the morning, on the fog clearing away, the land of Kamtschatka appeared, in mountains covered with snow. The weather was most severe: the ship appeared to be a complete mass of ice, and the shrouds were so incrusted with it, as to measure in circumference more than double their usual size. The crews suffered very severely from the cold, particularly from having lately left the tropical climates; and, but for the foresight and care of their officers, would indeed have been in a deplorable state. It was natural to expect, that their experience, during their voyage to the north the year before, would have made them sensible of the necessity of paying some attention to their clothing; as it was generally known in both ships, that they were to make another voyage towards the pole; but, with the thoughtlessness of infants, upon their return to a warm climate, their fur jackets and the rest of their cold-country clothes, were kicked about the decks, as things of no value. They were of course picked up by the officers, and being put into casks, were, in due season, restored to their owners.

On the 25th, when off the entrance of Awatska Bay, the Resolution lost sight of the Discovery, and on the 28th entered the Bay. The officers of the Resolution examined every corner of it, with their glasses, in search of the town of St. Peter and St. Paul, which they had conceived to be a place of some strength and consideration. At length they discovered, on a narrow point of land a few miserable loghouses, and some conical huts raised on poles, amounting in all to about thirty, which, from the situation, they were under the necessity of concluding to be Petropaulowska. 'However,' says Captain King, 'in justice to the generous and hospitable treatment we found here, I shall beg leave to anticipate the reader's curiosity, by assuring him that our disappointment proved to be more of a laughable than a serious nature; for, in this wretched extremity of the earth, situated beyond every thing that we conceived to be most barbarous and inhospitable, and, as it were, out of the very reach of civilization, barricadoed with ice, and covered with summer snow, in a poor miserable port, far inferior to the meanest of our fishing-towns, we met with feelings of humanity, joined to a greatness of mind, an elevation of sentiment, which would have done honour to any nation or climate.'

In the morning of the 29th, Captain, then Lieutenant King was sent on shore; and after experiencing much difficulty from the broken ice that extended nearly half a mile, across which he was obliged to make the best of his way on foot, was received by the commander of the garrison at the head of his men consisting of about thirty soldiers. They had not seen the ship the preceding day, nor indeed that morning, till the boats were pretty near the ice. Much panic ensued; the garrison was put under arms, and two field piece placed at the entrance of the commander's house. All, however, soon wore a friendly aspect, and nothing could exceed the kindness and hospitality of the officer, a serjeant, who commanded in the ostrog, and at whose house they were entertained. He furnished Lieutenant King, who bad fallen in between the disjointed ice, with a complete suit of clothes of his own; the dinner that was served up consisted of four courses; but the conversation, from the want of an interpreter, no other language being understood there but Russian and Kamtschatdale, was confined to a few bows and other signs of mutual respect. The serjeant sent of an express to Bolcheretsk, where the governor of the province usually resided, and whence he had to look for orders what to do, as to the procurement of the supplies of provisions, and naval stores, which our people wanted.

On their return, a sledge drawn by five dogs, with a driver, was provided for each of the party. The sailors were highly delighted with this mode of conveyance, and, what diverted them most was, that the two boat-hooks which they had brought, had also a sledge to themselves.

On the 1st of May, the Discovery entered the bay. On the day after, early in the morning, an answer was received from Bolcheretsk. The dispatches had been sent off on the 29th, about noon, by a sledge drawn by dogs, so that they were only a little more than three days and a half in performing a journey of two hundred and seventy miles; Bolcheretsk being about one hundred and thirty-five rules from St. Peter and St. Paul.

As the whole stock of live cattle which the country about the bay could afford, amounted only to two heifers, Captain Clerke found it necessary to send to Bolcheretsk, and Captain Gore and Lieutenant King were fixed on for the excursion. They proceeded by boats up the Awatska river, then across part of the country in sledges, and then down the Bolchoireka in canoes.

Major Behm, the governor of Kamtschatka, received them, not only with the utmost politeness, but with the most engaging cordiality; and all the principal people of the town vied with each other who should shew the most civility to strangers from the other extremity of the globe. A list of the naval stores, the number of cattle, and the quantity of flour wanted by the navigators, was given to Major Behm, who insisted upon supplying all their wants; and when they desired to be made acquainted with the price of the articles, with which they were to be supplied, and proposed, that Captain Clerke should give bills to the amount on the Victualling-office in London, the major positively refused, and whenever it was afterward urged, stopped them short by saying, he was certain he could not oblige his mistress, the empress, more than in giving every assistance in his power to her good friends and allies, the English; and that it would be a particular satisfaction to her, to hear, that, in so remote a part of the world, her dominions had afforded any relief to ships engaged in such services; that he could not therefore act so contrary to the character of his empress, as to accept of any bills; but that, to accommodate the matter, he would take a bare attestatation of the particulars with which we might be furnished, and that this he would transmit to his court, as a certificate of having performed his duty.

The town of Bolcheretsk consists of several rows of low buildings, barracks for the Russian soldiers and Cossacks, a good looking church, and a court-room, with a great number of balagans (summer habitations) belonging to the Kamtschatdales, at the end of the town. The inhabitants amount to between five and six hundred.

It would exceed the bounds to which this sketch must necessarily be confined, to enumerate one half of the instances of civility and attention which Major Behm, his lady, the officers of the garrison, and the inhabitants of the town bestowed upon the English travellers. One generous present cannot, however, be passed over in silence, both because it consisted of the greatest part of their small store of the article, and because it called forth from the British seamen a corresponding generosity. Being informed of the privations the sailors had suffered from the want of tobacco, Major Behm sent four bags of it, weighing upwards of one hundred pounds each, which he begged might be presented, in the name of himself and the garrison under his command, to our sailors. When the seamen were told of it, the crews of both ships desired, entirely of their own accord, that their grog might be stopped, and their allowance of spirits, presented, on their part, to the garrison of Bolcheretsk, as they had reason to conclude, that brandy was scarce in the country and would be very acceptable, since the soldiers on shore had offered four roubles a bottle for it. When it is considered how much the sailors would feel from the stoppage of their allowance of grog, and that this offer would deprive them of it during the inclement season they had to expect on their ensuing expedition to the north, the sacrifice must be looked upon as generous and extraordinary; and, that they might not suffer by it, Captain Clerke substituted, in the room of the very small quantity the major could be prevailed on to accept, the same quantity of rum.

When the party returned to Petropaulowska, Major Behm accompanied them, and visited the ships. He had resigned the command of Kamtschatka, and was in a short time to return to St. Petersburgh; our navigators therefore committed to his care dispatches for England, with the journals and charts of the voyage so far.

They got about twenty head of cattle, about nine thousand weight of rye flour, and a variety of other provisions and refreshments here, especially fish, with which they were absolutely overpowered from every quarter; and, having completed their water, they weighed anchor on the 13th of June, and on the 16th cleared the bay. The volcano, situated to the north of the harbour, was in a state of eruption at the time.

On the 5th of July, our navigators passed through Beering's Straits, having run along the Asiatic coast; they then stretched over to that of America, with a view of exploring it between the latitudes of 68 and 69. But in this attempt they were disappointed, being stopped, on the 7th, by a large and compact field of ice connected with the land. On the 9th, they had sailed nearly forty leagues to the westward, along the edge of the ice, without seeing any opening, and had therefore no prospect of advancing farther north.--Until the 27th, however, they continued to seek a passage, first on the American, and then on the Asiatic side; but were never able to penetrate farther north than 70 33', which was five leagues short of the point to which they had advanced the season before.

At one time, in attempting to penetrate to the northwestward, the Discovery was in a very dangerous situation. She became so entangled by several large pieces of ice, that her way was stopped, and immediately dropping bodily to leeward, she fell broadside foremost on the edge of a considerable body of ice, and having at the same time an open sea to windward the surf caused her to strike violently upon it. This mass at length either so far moved or broke, as to set them at liberty to make another trial to escape; but, before the ship gathered way enough to be under command, she again fell to leeward on another fragment; and the swell making it unsafe to lie to windward, and finding no chance of getting clear, they pushed into a small opening, furled their sails, and made fast with ice-hooks. A change of wind, however, taking place in the afternoon, the ice began to separate, and, setting all their sails, they forced a passage through it. The vessel had rubbed off a great deal of the sheathing from her bows, and became very leaky from the strokes she received when she fell on the edge of the ice.

In these high latitudes, our navigators killed several sea-horses, and also two white bears; the flesh of the latter afforded a few excellent meals of fresh meat. It had indeed a strong fishy taste, but was in every respect superior to that of the sea-horse, which nevertheless, the sailors were again persuaded, without much difficulty, to prefer to their salted provisions.

Finding a farther advance to the northward, as well as a nearer approach to either continent, obstructed by a sea blocked up with ice, Captain Clerke at length determined to lose no more time in the pursuit of what seemed utterly unattainable, and to sail for Awatska Bay, to repair their damages, and before the winter should set in, to explore the coast of Japan on their way towards Europe. To the great joy, therefore, of every individual on board both ships, they turned their faces towards home; and the delight and satisfaction they experienced on the occasion, notwithstanding the tedious voyage they had to make, and the immense distance they had to run, were as freely entertained, and perhaps as fully enjoyed, as if they had been already in sight of the land's End.

On the 31st, they repassed Beering's Straits. With respect to the practicability of a north-east or north-west passage into the Pacific Ocean, through those straits, from the result of their attempts it appears, that the north of the straits is clearer of ice in August than in July, and perhaps in a part of September it may be still more free. But, after the equinox, the days shorten so fast, that no farther thaw can be expected, and so great an effect cannot rationally be allowed to the warm weather in the first half of September as to imagine it capable of dispersing the ice from the most northern parts of the American coast. But admitting this to be possible, it would be madness to attempt to run from the Icy Cape to the known parts of Baffin's Bay (a distance of four hundred and twenty leagues) in so short a time as that passage can be supposed to remain open. Upon the Asiatic side, there appears still less probability of success; for, though Deshneff, a Russian navigator, about a century and a half ago, passed round the north-east point of Asia, no voyager has yet been able to double Cape Taimura beyond the mouth of the Lena, which stretches to the 78 of latitude.

Captain Clerke's health now rapidly declined, and, on the 17th of August he was no longer able to get out of his bed. On the 21st, they made the coast of Kamtschatka; and on the following day, at nine in the morning. Captain Clerke died.[19] His disease was a consumption, which had evidently commenced before he left England, and of which he had lingered during the whole voyage.

[Footnote 19: Captain Clerke departed this life in the thirty-eighth year of his age. He was brought up to the navy from his earliest youth, and had been in several actions during the war which began in 1756. In the action between the Bellona and the Courageux, being stationed in the mizen-top, he was carried over-board with the mast; but was taken up without having received any hurt. He was a midshipman in the Dolphin, commanded by Captain Byron, in her voyage round the world: after which he served on the American station. In 1768, he made his second voyage round the world, in the Endeavour, as master's mate: and, in consequence of the death of Mr. Hicks, which happened on the 23rd of May, 1771, he returned home a lieutenant. His third circumnavigation of the globe was in the Resolution, of which he was appointed the second lieutenant; and he continued in that situation till his return in 1775; soon after which he was promoted to the rank of master and commander. In what capacity he sailed with Captain Cook in this last expedition, need not be added. The consumption, of which Captain Clerke died, had evidently commenced before he left England, and he lingered under it during the whole voyage. Though his very gradual decay had long made him a melancholy object to his friends, nevertheless, they derived some consolation from the equanimity with which he bore his disorder, from the constant flow of good spirits maintained by him to his latest hour, and from his submitting to his fate with cheerful resignation. 'It was, however, impossible,' says Mr. King, 'not to feel a more than common degree of compassion for a person, whose life had been a continued scene of those difficulties and hardships, to which a seaman's occupation is subject, and under which he at last sunk.'

_King's Voyage_, p. 280, 281.]

On the 24th, the vessels anchored in the harbour of St Peter, and St. Paul, where the gentlemen on board were received by their Russian friends, with the same cordiality as before. Captain Gore, upon whom the command of the expedition now devolved, removed himself to the Resolution, and appointed Mr. King to the command of the Discovery. He sent off an express to the commander at Bolcheretsk, in which he requested to have sixteen head of black cattle. The eruption of the volcano, which had taken place at the time of the late departure of the vessels from Awatska, had done no damage, notwithstanding stones had fallen at the ostrog of the size of a goose's egg.

Attempts were now made to repair, as far as was practicable, the damage the Discovery had sustained in the ice, and in removing the sheathing, eight feet of a plank in the wale were found to be so very rotten as to make it necessary to shift it. The carpenters were sent on shore in search of a tree large enough for the purpose: luckily they found a birch, which was the only one of sufficient size in the whole neighbourhood of the bay. The crews were employed in various necessary occupations: amongst which, four men were set apart to haul the seine for salmon, which were caught in great abundance, and of excellent quality. After supplying the immediate wants of both ships, they salted down near a hogshead a day. The seahorse blubber, with which they had stored themselves, during their expedition to the north, was boiled down for oil, now become a necessary article, their candles having been long since all used.

The body of Captain Clerke was interred on Sunday the 29th, with all the solemnity and honours they could bestow, under a tree, in the valley on the north side of the harbour; a spot, which the priest of Paratounea said, would be, as near as he could guess, in the centre of the new church intended to be erected.

On the 3rd of September, arrived an ensign from Bolcheretsk, with a letter from Captain Shmalelf, the present commander, who promised the cattle required and that he would himself pay them a visit immediately on the arrival of a sloop, which was daily expected from Okotzk.

On the morning of the 10th, a Russian galliot, from Okotzk, was towed into the harbour. She had been thirty-five days on her passage, and had been seen from the lighthouse a fortnight before, beating up towards the mouth of the bay. There were fifty soldiers in her, with their wives and children, and several other passengers; a sub-lieutenant, who came in her, now took the command of the garrison, and from some cause or other, which the English could not learn, their old friend, the serjeant, the late commander of the place, fell into disgrace, and was no longer suffered to sit down in the company of his own officers.

From the galliot, our navigators got a small quantity of pitch, tar, cordage, and twine, and a hundred and forty skins of flour, containing 13,782 lbs. English.

The Hospodin Ivaskin from Verchnei had been desired by Mayor Behm to attend the English officers on their return to the harbour, in order to be their interpreter. He now came. He was an exile; and was of a considerable family in Russia; his father was a general, and he himself, after having received his education partly in France and partly in Germany, had been page to the Empress Elizabeth, and ensign in her guards. At the age of sixteen, he was _knowted_, had his nose slit, and was banished, first to Siberia, end afterward to Kamtschatka, where he had lived thirty-one years. He bore in his whole figure the strongest marks of old age, though he had scarcely reached his fifty-fourth year. No one there knew the cause of his banishment, but they took it for granted, that it must have been for something very atrocious, as two or three of the commanders of Kamtschatka, had in vain endeavoured to get him recalled since the present empress's reign. For the first twenty years he had not tasted bread, nor been allowed subsistence of any kind, but had lived during that period among the Kamtschatdales, on what his own activity and toil in the chase could procure him. Afterward, he had a small pension granted him. This Major Behm by his intercession had caused to be increased to one hundred roubles a year, which is the common pay of an ensign in all parts of the empress's dominions, except in this province, where the pay of all the officers is double.

This gentleman joined Captains Gore and King on a bear-hunting party on the 17th, for two days; in which, first from the party being too large, and the unavoidable noise that was the consequence of it, and next, from the unfavourable weather after they separated, they were wholly unsuccessful.

On the 22nd, the anniversary of his majesty's coronation, and when they were sitting down to as handsome a feast as their situation would admit of, in honour of the day, the arrival of Captain Shmalelf from Bolcheretsk was announced. He partook of their festivities, and set off on his return on the 25th. Before his departure, he reinstated the serjeant in the command of the place, and took with him the sub-lieutenant who had superseded him. Captain King accompanied Captain Shmalelf to the entrance of Awatska river, and on Sunday, the 26th, attended him to church at Paratounea. The church is of wood, and by far the best building in the country round about the bay. It is ornamented by many paintings, particularly with two pictures of St. Peter and St. Paul, presented by Beering, and which, in the real richness of their drapery, would carry off the prize from the first of European performances; for all the principal parts of it are made of thick plates of solid silver, fastened to the canvass, and fashioned into the various foldings of the robes.

The next day another hunting party was set on foot, under the direction of the clerk of the parish, who was a celebrated bear-hunter. The produce was a female bear, beyond the common size, which they shot in the water, and found dead the next morning in the place to which she had been watched. The mode of hunting these animals by the natives is as follows: When they come to the ground frequented by the bears, their first step is to look for their tracks: these are found in the greatest numbers leading from the woods down to the lakes, and among the long sedgy grass and brakes by the edge of the water. The place of ambuscade being determined on, the hunters next fix in the ground the crutches upon which their firelocks are made to rest, pointing them in the direction they mean to shoot. This done, they kneel, or lie down, and, with their bear-spears by their side, wait for the game. These precautions, which are chiefly taken in order to make sure of their mark, are, on several accounts, highly expedient. For, in the first place, ammunition is so dear in Kamtschatka, that the price of a bear will not purchase more of it than is sufficient to load a musket four or five times; and, what is more material, if the bear be not rendered incapable of pursuit by the first shot, the consequences are often fatal. He immediately makes towards the place whence the noise and smoke issue, and attacks his adversaries with great fury. It is impossible for them to reload, as the animal is seldom at more than twelve or fifteen yards' distance when he is fired at: so that, if he does not fall, they immediately put themselves in a posture to receive him upon their spears, and their safety greatly depends on their giving him a mortal stab as he first comes upon them. If he parries the thrust (which bears, by the extraordinary strength and agility of their paws, are often enabled to do) and thereby breaks in upon his adversaries, the conflict becomes very unequal, and it is well if the life of one of the party alone suffice to pay the forfeit.

On the 1st of October, the cattle arrived from Verchnei, and the 3rd, being the nameday of the empress, Captain Gore invited the priest of Paratounea, Ivaskin, and the serjeant, to dinner, and an entertainment was also provided for the inferior officers of the garrison, for the _toions_ of Paratounea and Petropaulowska, and for the better sort of the Kamtschatdale inhabitants. The rest of the natives of every description were invited to partake with the ships' companies, who had a pound of good fat beef served up to each man, and what remained of their spirits was made into grog, and divided amongst them.

On the 5th, our navigators received from Bolcheretsk a fresh present of tea, sugar, and tobacco. They were ready for sea, but the weather prevented them from leaving the bay till the 9th. Just before they weighed anchor, the drummer of the marines belonging to the Discovery deserted, having been last seen with a Kamtschatdale woman, to whom his messmates knew he had been much attached, and who had often been observed persuading him to stay behind. This man had been long useless to them, from a swelling in his knee, which rendered him lame, but this made them the more unwilling to leave him behind, to become a burden both to the Russians and himself. Some of the sailors were therefore sent to a well-known haunt of his in the neighbourhood, where they found him and his woman. On the return of the party with the deserter, the vessels weighed, and came out of the bay.

Awatska Bay has within its mouth a noble basin of twenty-five miles in circuit, with the capacious harbours of Tareinska to the west, Rakoweena to the east, and the small one of St. Peter and St. Paul to the north. The last mentioned is a most convenient little harbour. It will hold with ease half-a-dozen ships moored head and stern, and is fit for giving them any kind of repairs. The south side is formed by a low sandy neck, exceedingly narrow, on which the ostrog is built. The deepest water within is seven fathoms, and in every part over a muddy bottom. There is a watering-place at the head of the harbour.

The commerce of this country, as far as regards the exports, is entirely confined to furs and carried on by a company of merchants instituted by the empress. Besides these, there are many inferior traders (particularly Cossacks) scattered through the country. Formerly this commerce was altogether carried on by barter, but lately every article is bought and sold for ready money only. Our sailors brought a great number of furs with them from the coast of America, and were both astonished and delighted with the quantity of silver the merchants paid down for them; but on finding neither ginshops to resort to, nor tobacco, nor any thing else that they cared for, to be had for money, the roubles soon became troublesome companions, and often to be seen kicked about the decks.

The articles of importation are principally European, several likewise come from Siberia, Bucharea, the Calmucks, and China. They consist of course woollen and linen cloths, yarn stockings, bonnets and gloves, thin Persian silks, cottons and nankeens, handkerchiefs, brass and copper pans, iron stoves, files, guns, powder and shot, hardware, looking-glasses, flour, sugar, tanned hides, &c. Though the merchants have a large profit upon these important goods, they have still a larger upon the furs of Kiachta, upon the frontiers of China, which is the great market for them. The best sea-otter skins sell generally in Kamtschatka for about thirty roubles each. The Chinese merchant at Kiachta purchases them at more than double that price, and sells them again at Pekin at a great advance, whence a farther profitable trade is made with some of them to Japan. If, therefore, a skin is worth thirty roubles in Kamtchatka, to be transported first to Okotzk, thence by land to Kiachta, a distance of 1364 miles; thence to Pekin, 760 miles more; and after that to be conveyed to Japan, what a prodigiously advantageous trade might be carried on direct to Japan, which is about a fortnight or three weeks' sail from Kamtschatka!

It was now resolved, in consequence of the latitude given by the instructions of the Board of Admiralty, to run along the Kuriles, and to survey the eastern coasts of the Japanese islands, previous to returning homewards; and Captain Gore gave orders for Macao to be the place of rendezvous in case of separation.

They coasted along the peninsula of Kamtschatka with variable weather, and on the 12th, at six in the afternoon, they saw, from the mast head, Cape Lopatka, the southernmost extremity of the peninsula. This point of land, which is a low flat cape, formed a marked object in the geography of the eastern coast of Asia, and by an accurate observation and several good angles, they determined its precise situation to be in latitude 51 0', and longitude 156 45'. At the same time they saw too the first of the Kurile islands, called Shoomsha, and on the next day they saw the second, Paramousir; the latter is the largest of the Kuriles subject to Russia; but the gale increasing from the west, they were never able to approach it nearer than to observe its general aspect, which was very high land, almost entirely covered with snow; and to ascertain its situation; which was found to be 10' west longitude from Lopatka, and its latitude 50 46' at the north, and 49 58' at the south end.

On the 14th and 15th, the wind blowing steadily from the westward, they were obliged to stand to the southward, and were consequently hindered from seeing any more of the Kurile islands. In the situation they then found themselves, they were almost surrounded by the supposed discoveries of former navigators. To the southward and south-west were placed, in the French charts, a group of five islands, called the three Sisters, Zellany, and Zunasher. They were about ten leagues, according to the same maps, to the westward of the land of De Gama; and as the Company's Land, Staten Island, and the famous land of Jesso, were also supposed to lie nearly in the same direction, this course was deemed to deserve the preference, and they hauled round to the westward, the wind having shifted to the north. A succession of gales, however, and now and then a storm, that reduced them to their courses, drove them too much to the southward, prevented them from falling in even with the southernmost of the Kurile islands, and obliged them at last to give up all further thoughts of discovery to the north of Japan.

On the 22nd, the gale having abated, they let out the reefs of the topsails and made more sail. At noon they were in latitude 40 58', and longitude 148 17', and two small land birds being taken on board, plainly indicated they could not be any great distance from the land; they therefore hauled up to the west-north-west, in which direction the southernmost islands seen by Spanberg, and said to be inhabited by hairy men, lay at the distance of about fifty leagues. They saw several other signs of land; but, on the 24th, the wind shifted to the north, and blew a fresh gale, so that they finally gave up all further search for islands to the north of Japan, and shaped their course west-south-west, for the north part of that island.

On the 26th, at daybreak, they descried high land to the westward, which proved to be Japan. The country consisted of a double range of mountains; it abounded with wood, and had a pleasing variety of hills and dales. They saw the smoke of several towns, and many houses near the shore, in pleasant and cultivated situations. They stood off and on, according as the weather permitted them, till the 28th in the afternoon, when they lost sight of the land, and from its breaking off so suddenly, they conjectured that what they had before seen was a cluster of islands, lying off the main land of Japan. The next day they saw land again, eleven leagues to the southward. The coast appeared straight and unbroken; towards the sea it was low, but rose gradually into hills of a moderate height, whose tops were tolerably even, and covered with wood.

At nine o'clock, the wind shifting to the southward, they tacked and stood off to the east, and soon after they saw a vessel close in with the land, standing along shore to the northward, and another in the offing, coming down before the wind. Objects of any kind, belonging to a country so famous and yet so little known, excited a general curiosity, and every soul on board was upon deck in an instant, to gaze at them. The vessel to windward passed ahead of them at the distance of about half a mile. It would have been easy to have spoken with her; but perceiving, by her manoeuvres, that she was much frightened, Captain Gore was not willing to augment her terrors, and thinking that they should have many better opportunities of communicating with the Japanese, suffered her to go off without interruption. There appeared to be about six men on board, and, according to the best conjectures that could be formed, the vessel was about forty tons burden. She had but one mast, on which was hoisted a square sail, extended by a yard aloft, the braces of which worked forward. Halfway down the sail came three pieces of black cloth, at equal distances from each other. The vessel was higher at each end than in the midship, and from her appearance and form she did not appear to be able to sail otherwise than large.

Soon after the wind increased so much, that our navigators were reduced to their courses; and the sea ran as high as any one on board ever remembered to have seen it. If the Japenese vessels are, as Kaempfer describes them, open in the stern, it would not have been possible for those they saw to have survived the fury of the storm; but as the appearance of the weather, all the preceding part of the day, foretold its coming, and one of the sloops had, notwithstanding, stood far out to sea, it was concluded they were perfectly capable of bearing a gale of wind.

Our navigators were blown off the land by this gale, but on the 30th they saw it again, at the distance of about fifteen leagues, appearing in detached parts, but it could not be determined whether they were small islands, or parts of Japan.

On the 1st of November, they saw a number of Japanese vessels close in with the land, several seemingly engaged in fishing, and others standing along shore. They discovered to the westward a remarkably high mountain, with a round top, rising far inland. As this was the most remarkable hill on the coast, they wished to have settled its situation exactly; but only having had a single view, they were obliged to be contented with such accuracy as their circumstances would allow.

Its latitude was reckoned to be 35 20', and its longitude 140 26'.

As the Dutch charts made the coast of Japan extend about ten leagues to the south-west of White Paint (supposed to be the southernmost land then in sight) our navigators stood off to the eastward, to weather the point. At midnight they again tacked, expecting to fall in with the land to the southward, but were surprised to find, in the morning, that during eight hours, in which they supposed they had made a course of nine leagues to the south-west, they had in reality been carried eight leagues in a direction diametrically opposite. Whence they calculated that the current had set to the north-east by north, at the rate of at least five miles an hour.

On the 3rd of November, they were again blown off the land by a heavy gale, and found themselves upwards of fifty leagues off, which circumstances, together with the extraordinary effect of the currents they had experienced, the late season of the year, the unsettled state of the weather, and the little likelihood of any change for the better, made Captain Gore resolve to leave Japan altogether, and proceed in the voyage for China.

On the 4th and 5th, our navigators, continuing their course to the south-east, passed great quantities of pumice-stone. These stones appeared to have been thrown into the sea by eruptions of various dates, as many of them were covered with barnacles, and others quite bare.

On the 13th, they had a most violent gale from the northward. In the morning of the 13th, the wind, shifting to the north-west, brought with it fair weather; but, though they were, at that time, nearly in the situation given to the island of San Juan, they saw no appearance of land. They continued to pass much pumice-stone; indeed the prodigious quantities of that substance which floated in the sea, between Japan and the Bashee Islands, seemed to indicate that some great volcanic convulsion must have happened in that part of the Pacific Ocean.

On the 14th, they discovered two islands, and on the next day a third; but Captain Gore, finding that a boat could not land without some danger, from the great surf that broke on the shore, kept on his course to the westward. The middle island is about five miles long; the south point is a high barren hill, presenting an evident volcanic crater. The earth, rock, or sand, for it was not easy to distinguish of which its surface was composed, exhibited various colours, and a considerable part was conjectured to be sulphur, and some of the officers on board the Resolution thought they saw steams rising from the top of the hill. From these circumstances, Captain Gore gave it the name of _Sulphur Island_. A long narrow neck of land connects the hill with the south end of the island, which spreads out into a circumference of three or four leagues, and is of moderate height. The north and south islands appeared to be single mountains of a considerable height. Sulphur Island is in the latitude 24 48', longitude 141 12'. The north island in latitude 25 14', longitude 141 10', and the south island in latitude 24 22', and longitude 141 20'.

Hence our navigators proceeded for the Bashee Islands, hoping to procure at them such a supply of refreshment as would help to shorten their stay at Macao; but Captain Gore, being guided by the opinions of Commodore and Captain Wallis, as to the situation of these islands, which differ materially from Dampier's, they were foiled in their endeavours to find them, although, in the day time, the ships spread two or three leagues from each other, and in the night, when under an easy sail.

On the 27th, being in longitude 118 30', and having got to the westward of the Bashees, according to Mr. Byron's account, our navigators hauled their wind to the north west, hoping to weather the Prata shoals but at four in the morning of the 28th, the breakers were close under their lee; at daylight they saw the island of Prata, and finding they could not weather the shoal, ran to leeward of it. As they passed the south side, they saw two remarkable patches on the edge of the breakers, that looked like wrecks. On the south-west side of the reef, and near the south end of the island, they thought they saw openings in the reefs which promised safe anchorage.

In the forenoon of the 29th, they passed several Chinese fishing boats; and the sea was covered with wrecks of boats that had been lost, as they conjectured, in the late boisterous weather. They were in latitude 22 1', having run 110 miles since the preceding noon.

On the 30th, they ran along the Lema Islands, and got a Chinese pilot on board. In obedience to the instruction given to Captain Cook by the Admiralty, the captains now required of the officers and men of both ships to give up their journals, and what other papers they had to their possession relative to the voyage, which was cheerfully complied with; and at nine o'clock in the evening of the following day, they anchored three leagues from Macao.

Here, upon sending on shore to negotiate for supplies of provisions, &c. they first received intelligence of the occurrences in Europe, during the protracted period of their absence. On the 4th of December, they stood into the Typa, and moored with the stream-anchor and cable to the westward.

Captain King was sent up to Canton to expedite the supplies that were wanted, and experienced every possible assistance from the supercargoes and gentlemen of the Company's factory there. The purchase of the provisions and store wanted was completed on the 26th, and the whole stock was sent down on the following day by a vessel which Captain Gore had engaged for the purpose. Twenty sea-otter skins were sold at Canton, by Captain King, for eight hundred dollars. At the ships a brisk trade was carried on in the same article, by both officers and seamen. The sea-otter skins every day rose in value, and a few prime skins, which were clean and well preserved, were sold for one hundred and twenty dollars each. The whole amount of the value, in specie and goods, that was got for the furs in both ships, did not fall short of two thousand pounds sterling, and it was generally supposed, that at least two-thirds of the quantity originally obtained from the Americans were spoiled or worn out, or had been given away or sold at Kamtschatka. In consequence hereof, the rage with which the seamen were possessed to return to Cook' River, and by another cargo of skins to make their fortunes, was, at one time, not far short of mutiny. The numerous voyages that have since been undertaken for the prosecution of the trade here suggested, have rendered it familiar to the merchants both of Britain and of America; and, though it has not latterly been productive of advantages equal to those which were realized by the first adventurers, is still a branch of commerce that is successfully pursued.

The barter which had been carrying on with the Chinese for their sea-otter skins, produced a very whimsical change in the dress of the crews. On their arrival in the Typa, nothing could exceed the ragged appearance both of the younger officers and seamen; almost the whole of their original stock of European clothes having been long worn out, or patched up with skins, or the various manufactures they had met with in the course of their discoveries. These were now again mixed and eked out with the gaudiest silks and cottons of China.

On the 11th of January, two seamen belonging to the Resolution ran off with a six oared cutter, and were never after heard of. It was supposed that they had been seduced by the prevailing notion of making a fortune by returning to the fur islands.

On account of the war between England and America, with France and Spain as her allies, of which they received intelligence at Canton, they put themselves in the best posture of defence, the Resolution mounting sixteen guns, and the Discovery ten. They had reason, however, to believe, from the generosity of their enemies, that these precautions were superfluous: being informed that instructions had been found on board all the French ships of war captured in Europe, directing their commanders, in case of falling in with the ships that sailed under the command of Captain Cook, to suffer them to proceed without molestation; and the same orders were also said to have been given by the American Congress to the vessels employed in their service. In return for these liberal concessions, Captain Gore resolved to refrain from availing himself of any opportunities of capture, and to preserve throughout the remainder of the voyage, the strictest neutrality.

On the 12th of January, 1780, our navigators got under sail from Macao; on the 19th, they saw Pulo Sapata, and on the 20th, descried Pulo Condore, and anchored in the harbour at the south-west end of the island. The town is situated at the east end, and here they procured eight buffaloes, with other refreshments. From the untractableness and prodigious strength of the buffaloes, it was both a tedious and difficult operation to get them on board. The method of conducting them was by passing ropes through their nostrils and round their horns; but, having been once enraged at the sight of our men, they became so furious that they sometimes broke the trees to which they were often under the necessity of being tied; sometimes they tore asunder the cartilage of the nostril through which the ropes ran, and got loose. On these occasions, all the exertions of the men to recover them would have been ineffectual, without the assistance of some young boys, whom these animals would permit to approach them, and by whose little management their rage was soon appeased. A circumstance respecting these animals, which was thought no less singular than their gentleness toward, and, as it should seem, affection for, little children, was, that they had not been twenty-four hours on board, before they became the tamest of all creatures. Captain King kept two of them, a male and a female, for a considerable time, which became great favourites with the sailors; and thinking that a breed of animals of such strength and size, some of them weighing when dressed, seven hundred pounds, would be a valuable acquisition, intended to have brought them with him to England, but his intention was frustrated by an incurable hurt which one of them received at sea.

Our navigators remained here till the 28th of January, when they unmoored and proceeded on their homeward voyage, passing through the Straits of Banea, and of Sunda, without any occurrence worthy of particular remark. They saw two or three Dutch ships in the Straits of Sunda. They watered at Prince's Island at the entrance of the Straits, and got a supply of fowls and turtle there.

From the time of their entering the Straits of Banea, they began to experience the powerful effects of the pestilential climate, and malignant putrid fevers, with obstinate coughs and dysenteries, prevailed amongst the crews, happily, however, without one fatal termination.

On the 18th of February they left the Straits of Sunda; in the night between the 25th and 26th, they experienced a most violent storm, during which almost every sail they had bent was split to rags, and the next day they were obliged to bend their last suit of sails, and to knot and splice the rigging, their cordage being all expended.

On the 7th of April they saw the land of Africa, and on the 9th, they fell in with an English East India packet, that had left Table Bay three days before. On the evening of the 12th, they dropped anchor in False Bay, and the next morning stood into Simon's Bay.

Having completed their victualling, and furnished themselves with the necessary supply of naval stores, our navigators sailed out of the bay on the 9th of May. On the 12th of June, they passed the equator for the fourth time during the voyage. On the 12th of August they made the western coast of Ireland, and, after a fruitless attempt to put into Port Galway, they were obliged, by strong southerly winds, to steer to the northward; and, on the 26th of August, both ships came to an anchor in Stromness, in the Orkneys, whence Captain King was dispatched by Captain Gore, to acquaint the board of Admiralty with their arrival. On the first of October, the ships arrived safe at the Nore, after an absence of four years, two months, and twenty-two days.




Fair Otaheite, fondly bless'd
By him, who long was doom'd to brave
The fury of the polar wave,
That fiercely mounts the frozen rock
Where the harsh sea bird rears her nest,
And learns the raging surge to mock--
There, Night, that loves eternal storm.
Deep and lengthen'd darkness throws,
And untried Danger's doubtful form
Its half seen horror shews!
While Nature, with a look so wild,
Leans on the cliffs in chaos piled;
That here, the awed, astonish'd mind
Forgets, in that o'erwhelming hour,
When her rude hands the storms unbind,
In all the madness of her power;
That she who spreads the savage gloom,
That _she_ can dress in melting grace,
In sportive Summer's lavish bloom,
The awful terrors of her face;
And wear the sweet perennial smile
That charms in Otaheite's isle.

Yet, amid her fragrant bowers.
Where Spring, whose dewy fingers strew
O'er other lands some fleeting flowers,
Lives, in blossoms ever new;
Whence arose that shriek of pain?
Whence the tear that flows in vain?--
Death! thy unrelenting hand
Tears some transient human band--
Eternity! rich plant that blows
Beneath a brighter, happier sky.
Time is a fading branch, that grows
On thy pure stem, and blooms to die.

What art thou, Death?--terrific shade.
In unpierced gloom array'd!
Oft will daring Fancy stray
Far in the central wastes, where Night
Divides no cheering hour with Day,
And unnamed horrors meet her sight;
There thy form she dimly sees,
And round the shape unfinish'd throws
All her frantic vision shews
When numbing fears her spirit freeze--
But can mortal voice declare
If Fancy paints thee as thou art?
Thy aspect may a terror wear
Her pencil never shall impart;
The eye that once on thee shall gaze,
No more its stiffen'd orb can raise;
The lips that could thy power reveal,
Shall lasting silence instant seal--
In vain the icy hand we fold,
In vain the breast with tears we steep,
The heart, that shared each pang, is cold,
The vacant eye no more can weep.

Yet from the shore where Ganges rolls
His wave beneath the torrid ray,
To Earth's chill verge, where o'er the poles
Fall the last beams of lingering day.
For ever sacred are the dead?
Sweet Fancy comes in Sorrow's aid,
And bids the mourner lightly tread
Where the insensate clay is laid:
Bids partial gloom the sod invest
By the mouldering relics press'd;
Then lavish strews, with sad delight,
What'er her consecrating power
Reveres of herb, or fruit, or flower,
And fondly weaves the various rite.

See! o'er Otaheite's plain
Moves the long, funereal train;
Slow the pallid corse they bear,
Oft they breathe the solemn prayer:
Where the ocean bathes the land,
Thrice, and thrice, with pious hand,
The priest, when high the billow springs,
From the wave unsullied, flings
Waters pure, that, sprinkled near,
Sanctify the hallow'd bier:
But never may one drop profane
The relics with forbidden stain!
Now around the funeral shrine,
Led in mystic mazes, twine
Garlands, where the plantain weaves
With the palm's luxuriant leaves;
And o'er each sacred knot is spread
The plant devoted to the dead.

Five pale moons with trembling light
Shall gaze upon the lengthen'd rite;
Shall see distracted Beauty tear
The tresses of her flowing hair:
Those shining locks, no longer dear,
She wildly scatters o'er the bier;
And careless gives the frequent wound
That bathes in precious blood the ground.

When along the western sky,
Day's reflected colours die,
And Twilight rules the doubtful hour
Ere slow-paced Night resumes her power;
Mark the cloud that lingers still
Darkly on the hanging hill!
There the disembodied mind
Hears, upon the hollow wind,
In unequal cadence thrown,
Sorrow's oft repeated moan:--
Still some human passions sway
The spirit late immersed in clay;
Still the faithful sigh is dear,
Still beloved the fruitless tear!

Five waning moons, with wandering light,
Have pass'd the shadowy bound of night,
And mingled their departing ray
With the soft fires of early day:
Let the last sad rite be paid
Grateful to the conscious shade:
Let the priest, with pious care.
Now the wasted relics bear
Where the Morai's awful gloom
Shrouds the venerable tomb;
Let the plantain lift its head,
Cherish'd emblem of the dead;
Slow and solemn, o'er the grave,
Let the twisted plumage wave,
Symbol hallow'd, and divine,
Of the god who guards the shrine.
Hark!--that shriek of strange despair
Never shall disturb the air.
Never, never shall it rise
But for Nature's broken ties!--
Bright crescent! that with lucid smiles
Gild'st the Morai's lofty pile,
Whose broad lines of shadow throw
A gloomy horror far below;
Witness, O recording Moon!
All the rites are duly done;
Be the faithful tribute o'er,
The hovering spirit asks no more!
Mortals, cease the pile to tread,
Leave, to silence, leave the dead.

But where may she who loves to stray
Mid shadows of funereal gloom,
And courts the sadness of the tomb,
Where may she seek the proud Morai,
Whose dear memorial points the place
Where fell the friend of human race?

Ye lonely isles! on ocean's bound
Ye bloom'd through time's long flight unknown,
Till Cook the untract'd billow pass'd,
Till he along the surges cast
Philanthropy's connecting zone,
And spread her lovliest blessings round.
Not like that murderous band he came,
Who stain'd with blood the new found West
Nor as, with unrelenting breast,
From Britain's free enlighten'd land,
Her sons now seek Angola's strand,
Each tie most sacred to unbind,
To load with chains a brother's frame,
And plunge a dagger in the mind;
Mock the sharp anguish bleeding there
Of Nature in her last despair!

Great Cook! Ambition's lofty flame,
So oft directed to destroy,
Led _thee_ to circle with thy name,
The smile of Love, and Hope, and Joy!
Those fires, that lend the dangerous blaze
The devious comet trails afar,
Might form the pure benignant rays
That gild the morning's gentle star--
Sure, where the Hero's ashes rest,
The nations late emerg'd from night
Still base--with love's unwearied care
That spot in lavish flowers is dress'd,
And fancy's dear inventive rite
Still paid with fond observance there!

Ah no!--around his fatal grave,
No lavish flowers were ever strew'd
No votive gifts were ever laid--
His blood a savage shore bedew'd!
His mangled limbs, one hasty prayer,
One pious tear by friendship, paid,
Were cast upon the raging wave;
Deep in the wild abyss he lies.
Far from the cherish'd scene of home;
Far, far from Her whose faithful sighs
A husband's trackless course pursue;
Whose tender fancy loves to roam
With _him_ o'er lands and oceans new;
And gilds with Hope's deluding form
The gloomy pathway of the storm.

Yet, Cook! immortal wreaths are thine!
While Albion's grateful toil shall raise
The marble tomb, the trophied bust,
For ages faithful to its trust;
While, eager to record thy praise,
She bids the Muse of History twine
The chaplet of undying fame,
And tell each polish'd land thy worth:
The ruder natives of the earth
Shall oft repeat thy honour'd name;
While infants catch the frequent sound,
And learn to lisp the oral tale;
Whose fond remembrance shall prevail
Till Time has reach'd his destin'd bound.





CHAP. I. Account of Captain Cook previous to his first Voyage round the World

CHAP. II. Narrative of Captain Cook's first Voyage round the World in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, and 1771

CHAP. III. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his first and second Voyage

CHAP. IV. Narrative of Captain Cook's second Voyage round the World in the years 1772, 1773, 1774, and 1775

CHAP. V. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his second and third Voyage

CHAP. VI. Narrative of Captain Cook's third Voyage in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1779, to the Period of his Death

CHAP. VII. Character of Captain Cook.--Effects of his Voyages.--Testimonies of Applause.--Commemorations of his Services.--Regard paid to his Family.--Conclusion


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