Cook's Journal (I)

Cook's Journal was in triplicate. The Admiralty Orders of the day enjoined that the captain should keep a journal of proceedings, a copy of which was to be forwarded to the Admiralty every six months, or as soon after as possible. In the case of this voyage the ship was two and a half years from England before any opportunity of sending this copy occurred. The ship was the whole of this time in new and savage lands. When Batavia was reached the duplicate of Cook's Journal was sent home, and six months later, when the ship arrived in England, the full Journal of the voyage was deposited at the Admiralty.

The Secretary of the Admiralty, Sir Philip Stephens, a personal friend and appreciator of Cook, appears to have appropriated the Batavia duplicate, as we find it in the hands of his descendants, and passing thence by sale, first to Mr. Cosens in 1868, and then in 1890 to Mr. John Corner.

The other and complete copy is still in possession of the Admiralty, though in some unexplained manner it was absent for some years, and was only recovered by the exertions of Mr. W. Blakeney, R.N.

A third copy of the Journal also terminates a few days before reaching Batavia. It is in the possession of Her Majesty the Queen, and from its appearance was kept for, and probably presented to, George III, who took great interest in the voyage.  (Wharton 1893)

27th May 1768

River Thames
Moderate and fair weather; at 11 a.m. hoisted the Pendant, and took charge of the Ship, agreeable to my Commission of the 25th instant, she lying in the Bason in Deptford Yard.  From this day to the 21st of July we were constantly employed in fitting the Ship, taking on board Stores and Provisions, etc.

That is the only entry in the Journal until the 21st July… but I will endeavour (no pun intended) to make at least weekly updates until then (Roger R.)

A note on "Ship's time"

It was the usual custom on board ships to keep what was known as Ship time--i.e., the day began at noon BEFORE the civil reckoning, in which the day commences at midnight. Thus, while January 1st, as ordinarily reckoned, is from midnight to midnight, in ship time it began at noon on December 31st and ended at noon January 1st, this period being called January 1st. Hence the peculiarity all through the Journal of the p.m. coming before the a.m. It results that any events recorded as occurring in the p.m. of January 1st in the log, would, if translated into the ordinary system, be given as happening in the p.m. of December 31st; while occurrences in the a.m. of January 1st would be equally in the a.m. of January 1st in both systems.  (Wharton 1893)

Who was James Cook?

James Cook rose from the ranks of ordinary working folk. The second son of James Cook, a Yorkshire labourer, and Grace his wife, he was born on the edge of the Cleveland Hills on February 27th, 1728, in the little village of Marton, which lies about four miles south-south-east of Middlesborough, and five miles west of the well-known hill and landmark, Roseberry Topping. Eight years later his father moved to Great Ayton, which lies close under Roseberry Topping.

At the age of thirteen Cook, who did have some elementary schooling both at Marton and Great Ayton, was apprenticed to one Sanderson, a draper and grocer of Staithes, a fishing village on the coast, about fourteen miles from Ayton and nine north-west of Whitby.

A year later Cook ran away to sea, shipping at Whitby on board the Freelove, a collier belonging to the Walker brothers.

In this hard school Cook learnt his sailoring. No better training could have been found for his future responsibilities. Here he learnt to endure the utmost rigours of the sea. Constant fighting with North Sea gales, bad food, and cramped accommodation, taught him to regard with the indifference that afterwards distinguished him, all the hardships that he had to encounter, and led him to endure and persevere where others, less determined or more easily daunted by difficulties, would have hurried on, and left their work incomplete.

All details of Cook's life during his thirteen years in the merchant service are lost: what voyages he made, how he fared, whether he advanced in general knowledge, all is gone. The only fact known is that in May 1755, when Cook was twenty-seven years of age, and mate of a vessel of Messrs. Walker, then in the Thames, he, to avoid the press, then active on account of the outbreak of the war with France, volunteered on board H.M.S. Eagle, of 60 guns, as an able seaman.

Captain Hugh Palliser, who succeeded to the command of this ship in October, was certainly Cook's warmest patron, and it would appear that Cook did work superior to that of an able seaman in the Eagle. All that is really known of this time in his life, is that that ship took her share of the fighting at the taking of Louisbourg and elsewhere on the North American and West Indian Station, and returned to England in 1759.

By Palliser's interest Cook was now appointed master of the Mercury. It is therefore evident that his qualifications as a navigator recommended themselves to Palliser.

The Mercury went to North America, and here Cook did his first good service recorded, namely, taking soundings in the St. Lawrence, to enable the fleet then attacking Quebec to take up safe positions in covering the army under Wolfe. This he accomplished with great skill, under many difficulties, in the face of the enemy, much of it being done at night. He was immediately employed in making a survey of the intricate channels of the river below Quebec, and for many years his chart was the guide for navigation. Cook was indeed a born surveyor. Before his day charts were of the crudest description, and he must have somehow acquired a considerable knowledge of trigonometry, and possessed an intuitive faculty for practically applying it, to enable him to originate, as it may truly be said he did, the art of modern marine surveying.

The expedition to Quebec concluded, Cook was appointed master of the Northumberland, bearing Admiral Lord Colville's flag, and during that ship's winter at Halifax he applied himself to further study of mathematics and astronomy.

In 1762, the Northumberland being at Newfoundland during the capture of that island from the French, Cook again was employed in surveys. This attracted the attention of Captain Graves, the Governor, who conceived a high opinion of his abilities in this respect.

In the latter part of 1762 Cook returned to England and married Elizabeth Batts, daughter of a man in business at Wapping; but a few months afterwards he was called upon by Captain Graves to go again to Newfoundland to make marine surveys.

In this important work he was engaged until 1767, Captain Palliser, who succeeded Captain Graves as Governor, being only too glad to avail himself of Cook's services.  (Wharton 1893)

The Crew

James Cook : Lieutenant in Command.

Zachary Hicks : Lieutenant : Died : 25 May, 1771.
John Gore : Lieutenant.
Robert Molineux : Master : Died : 15 April, 1771.
Rich. Pickersgill : Master's Mate, Master, 16 April, 1771.

Chas. Clerke : Master's Mate, A.B., 20 August, 1768, Master's Mate, 17 April, 1771, Lieutenant, 26 May, 1771.
Francis Wilkinson : A.B., Master's Mate, 20 August, 1768.
John Bootie : Midshipman : Died : 4 February, 1771.
Jonathan Monkhouse : Midshipman : Died : 6 February, 1771.
Patrick Saunders : Midshipman, A.B., 24 May, 1770 : Deserted : 25 December, 1770.
Isaac Smith : A.B., Midshipman, 24 May, 1770, Master's Mate, 27 May, 1771.
William Harvey : Lieutenant's Servant, Midshipman, 8 February, 1771.
Jos. Magra : A.B., Midshipman, 27 May, 1771.
Isaac Manley : Master's Servant, Midshipman, 5 February, 1771.
William B. Monkhouse : Surgeon : Died : 5 November, 1770.
William Perry : Surgeon's Mate, Surgeon, 6 November, 1770.
Rich. Orton : Clerk.

Stephen Forwood : Gunner.
John Gathray : Boatswain : Died : 4 February, 1771.
John Satterly : Carpenter : Died : 12 February, 1771.
John Thompson : Cook : Died : 31 January, 1771.
Sam Evans : Quarter Master, Boatswain, 6 February, 1771.
Alex. Weir : Quarter Master : Drowned : 14 September, 1768.
Thos. Hardman : Boatswain's Mate, A.B., 26 March, 1769, Sailmaker,
2 February, 1771.
John Reading : Boatswain's Mate : Died : 29 August, 1769.
Benjamin Jordan : Carpenter's Mate : Died : 31 January, 1771.
John Ravenhill : Sailmaker : Died : 27 January, 1771.

George Nowell : A.B., Carpenter, 14 February, 1771.
Isaac Parker : A.B., Boatswain's Mate, 26 November, 1769.
Robt. Anderson : A.B., Quarter Master, 16 September, 1768.
James Gray : A.B., Quarter Master, 6 February, 1771.
Robert Taylor : Armourer : Died : 1 August, 1771.
Rich. Hutchins : A.B., Boatswain's Mate, 1 September, 1769.
Joseph Childs : A.B., Cook, 1 February, 1771.
Peter Flowers : A.B. : Drowned : 2 December, 1768.
Timothy Rearden : A.B. : Died : 24 December, 1770.
John Rainsay : A.B.
William Dawson : A.B.
Francis Haite : A.B. : Died : 1 February, 1771.
Sam Jones. : A.B.
James Nicholson : A.B. : Died : 31 January, 1771.
Forby Sutherland : A.B. : Died : 30 April, 1770.
Thomas Simmonds : A.B.
Rich. Hughes : A.B., Carpenter's Mate, 14 February, 1771.
Sam Moody : A.B. : Died : 31 January, 1771.
Isaac Johnson : A.B.
Robt. Stainsby : A.B.
William Collett : A.B.
Archibald Wolfe : A.B. : Died : 31 January, 1771.
Matthew Cox : A.B.
Chas. Williams : A.B.
Alex. Simpson : A.B.. : Died : 21 February, 1771.
Thos. Knight : A.B.
Hy. Stevens : A.B.
Thos. Jones (2) : A.B.
Antony Ponto : A.B.
Jeh. Dozey : A.B. : Died : 7 April, 1771.
Jas. Tunley : A.B.
Mich. Littleboy : A.B.
John Goodjohn : A.B.
John Woodworth : A.B. : Died : 24 December, 1770.
William Peckover : A.B.
Robt. Littleboy : A.B.
Henry Jeffs : A.B. : Died : 27 February, 1771.
William Howson : Captain's Servant : Died : 30 June, 1771.
Nathl. Morey : Lieutenant's Servant.
Thos. Jones : Surgeon's Servant : Discharged : 5 November, 1770.
Ed. Terrell : Carpenter's Servant, A.B. 1 September, 1769.
Thos. Jordan : Boatswain's Servant.
Thos. Matthews : Cook's Servant.
Danl. Roberts : Gunner's Servant : Died. : 2 February, 1771.
John Thurmand (Pressed at Madeira) : A.B. : Died : 3 February, 1771.

John Edgecombe : Sergeant R.M.
John Trusslove : Corporal : Died : 24 January, 1771.
Thos. Rossiter : Drummer.
William Judge : Private.
Hy. Paul : Private.
Danl. Preston : Private : Died : 16 February, 1771.
William Wiltshire : Private.
William Greenslade : Private : Drowned : 6 April, 1769.
Saml. Gibson : Private, Corporal, 26 January, 1771.
Thos. Dunster : Private : Died : 26 January, 1771.
Clement Webb : Private.
John Bowles : Private.

Joseph Banks, Esquire.
Charles Solander : Naturalist.
Charles Green : Astronomer : Died : 29 January, 1771.
John Reynolds : Artist : Died : 18 December, 1770.
Sydney Parkinson : Artist : Died : 26 January, 1771.
Alexander Buchan : Artist : Died : 17 April, 1769.
Herman Sporing : Died : -- : 24 January, 1771.

James Roberts : Servant.
Peter Briscoe : Servant.
Thomas Richmond : Negro Servant : Frozen to death : 16 January, 1769.
George Dorlton : Negro Servant : Frozen to death : 16 January, 1769.

The Mission

Among Captain James Cook's companions there were several notable individuals.  Joseph Banks was a wealthy Lincolnshire squire; he had committed himself to a personal outlay of £10,000 in connection with his side of the expedition.  Daniel Solander, a Swede, was on the staff of the British Museum; he had been a student under Linnæus, the eminent botanist.  Charles Green was assistant to the Astronomer-Royal at Greenwich Observatory. The artist Sydney Parkinson (d. 1771) also joined the party.

Isaac Smith, one of the seamen, was a half-cousin to Mrs. Cook (he later rose to the rank of admiral).  The midshipman Magra belonged to a rich and loyal New York family (he would later become British Consul at Tangier).  Gore, Clerke, Molineux, Pickersgill and Wilkinson had been round the world in the Dolphin.  Clerke had served in the war against France from its outbreak in 1756.  He was in the mizzen top of the Bellona when Courageux shot away her mast and it was carried overboard.  Several other personal servants and two greyhounds made up the retinue. Also aboard was a goat that already had circumnavigated the world with Wallis.

His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour

Captain Cook’s Ship on His First Global Circumnavigation, Endeavour's flat bottom was well suited for sailing along coasts in shallow waters and allowed the boat to be beached for the loading and unloading of cargo and for basic repairs. The addition of a third internal deck provided cabins and storerooms for men and supplies, and the Navy armed the ship with ten four-pounder cannons and twelve swivel guns.  She was a “full-rigged ship,” using square sails on three masts.   She measured 106 feet long and 29 feet wide, weighed 368 tons, and carried ninety-four men.

After the successful 'Darwin Beagle Diary' blog, from May 2011 I will be recording Captain James Cook's circumnavigation of the world on the Bark Endeavour.  The aim is to post each entry exactly 243 years later, his first being on 27th May, 1768.  We will be following his exploits day-by-day, together with the entries in the Journal kept by Sir Joseph Banks, the eminent botanist who was part of the expedition.