Cook's language is unvarnished and plain, as a sailor's should be. His incidents, though often related with circumstance, are without exaggeration; indeed if any fault is to be found, it is that he takes occurrences involving much labour and hardship as such matters of course, that it is not easy for the reader, especially if he be a landsman, to realise what they really entail. (Wharton 1893)
Posted by Arborfield at 07:53
Cook's knack of finding names for localities was peculiarly happy. Those who have had to do this, know the difficulty. Wherever he was able to ascertain the native name, he adopts it; but in the many cases where this was impossible, he manages to find a descriptive and distinctive appellation for each point, bay, or island.
He seems to have kept these names very much to himself, as it is seldom the officers' logs know anything of them; and original plans, still in existence, in many cases bear different names to those finally pitched upon.
Cook's names have rarely been altered, and New Zealand and Australian places will probably for all time bear those which he bestowed.
In the orthography of his native names he was not so successful. The constant addition of a redundant "o" has altered many native sounds, such as Otaheite for Tahiti, Ohwhyhee for Hawaii; while his spelling generally has been superseded by more simple forms. This is a matter, however, in which great difficulties are found to the present day by Englishmen, whose language presents no certain laws for rendering any given sound into a fixed combination of letters. (Wharton 1893)
Posted by Arborfield at 08:04
In reading Cook’s Journal of his First Voyage it must be remembered that it was not prepared for publication. Though no doubt the fair copies we possess were revised with the care that characterises the man, and which is evidenced by the interlineations and corrections in his own hand with which the pages are dotted.
This does not, however, in any way detract from the interest of a transcript of his record on the spot; and it is probable that an exact copy of the great navigator's own impressions, and the disentanglement of them from the other interpolated matter, will be welcome.
The eccentricities in the spelling have been preserved. A good many of these would seem to be due to Mr. Orton, the transcriber, as Cook's own letters are generally correct in their orthography. The use of the capital letter was usual at the time. (Wharton 1893)
Posted by Arborfield at 07:57
The three copies are, practically, identical, except for the period August 13th to 19th, 1770, during which the wording is often different, though the events are the same. It is not very difficult to account for this. The two first-mentioned Journals are in the handwriting of an amanuensis, Mr. Orton, the clerk. No autograph journal is, so far as is known, in existence, but some rough original must have been kept, as both copies bear internal evidence of having been written up after the lapse of an interval after the events described.
This is markedly the case in the Australian part of the Journal. It is known that Botany Bay was at first called by Cook, Stingray Bay, on account of the number of rays caught there; but after Banks had examined his collection, and found all his plants new to science, Cook determined to call it Botany Bay. It is, however, called Botany Bay from the first in the Journals.
The name, "New South Wales," was not bestowed without much consideration, and apparently at one stage New Wales was the appellation fixed upon, for in Mr. Corner's copy it is so called throughout, whereas the Admiralty copy has "New South Wales."
It would therefore seem that about the period of the discrepant accounts Mr. Corner's copy was first made, and that Cook, in the Admiralty copy, which for this part is fuller, revised the wording of his description of this very critical portion of the voyage.
The Queen's Copy has been written with especial care, and by several different hands. It was evidently the last in point of time. (Wharton 1893)
Posted by Arborfield at 08:28
Neither private possessors nor the Admiralty have felt moved to publish this interesting document until Mr. Corner acquired his copy, when, being an enthusiastic admirer of Captain Cook, he determined to do so, and was making preliminary arrangements, when he suddenly died, after a few hours' illness. His son, anxious to carry out his father's wishes, which included the devotion of any proceeds to the restoration of Hinderwell Church -- the parish church of Staithes, whence Cook ran away to sea — has completed these arrangements, and the present volume is the result [The text we will be using]. (Wharton 1893)
Posted by Arborfield at 07:31