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The Life of Captain James Cook

IV — Newfoundland


Charts, Large and small, harbour plans, ‘views’, descriptions, sailing directions—all these things represent experience, professional education, a mastery of a particular sort. We recur inevitably to Holland's account of the good advice that Simcoe had given in the Halifax winter: ‘he told Capt. Cook that as he had mentioned to several of his friends in power, the necessity of having surveys of these parts and astronomical observations made as soon as peace was restored, he would recommend him to make himself competent to the business….’ Cook had made himself competent to the business, as if driven by a sober but compulsive ambition. What now? He must sometimes, as a thoughtful man, have considered the past seven and a half years, since he offered himself to the navy at Wapping: he could hardly have been dissatisfied with his advancement since then. He was now thirty-four; he had been fortunate in some of his friends—Walker, Simcoe, Holland—but they were not men who could send him rocketing to eminence, and eminence was a thing he could scarcely have dreamed of. He had worked hard, as it was natural for him to work hard. If he wished to meditate on experience, he could meditate not merely on his introduction to the plane-table and trigonometry and astronomy, but on the North Sea and the Atlantic; on enough battle to satisfy the ordinary man without particular taste for fire-eating; on the behaviour of men crowded by hundreds into ships and the mentality of sailors in general; on naval discipline and its accepted cruelty of hanging and flogging; on the appalling state of naval health. We know, from his subsequent words and actions, that there were things in his experience that revolted him. We would not know it from anything recorded as said or done by him up to this time, or for some time after. He assimilated his experience. He added to it, by getting married.

He took this step within six weeks of departing from the Northumberland, on 21 December 1762. Of its preliminaries, any more than page 61 of the preliminaries to certain other important steps in Cook's life, we know nothing. His chosen bride was Elizabeth Batts, of the parish of Barking, in Essex. She was aged twenty-one, and if the countenance of old age is any index to the lines of early life, she was a highly personable young woman. It was a respectable rather than socially distinguished union. Elizabeth's mother, originally Mary Smith, was the daughter of a Bermondsey currier, Charles Smith, and Elizabeth was the only child of Mary's first union, to John Batts of Wapping; after Batts's death she married John Blackburn of Shadwell. She had a brother, a second Charles Smith, a shipping agent of the Custom House; whose son, a third Charles, was to be—adding respectability—a wholesale watch-maker of Bunhill Row. Bermondsey, Wapping, Shadwell—they were all riverside districts, of thick dark settlement, the closer to the tide the more disreputable; but they had their better-off streets, where the miserable gave way to the shabby, and the shabby to the agreeable; Shadwell was a natural enough place for a young sailor, who could not have known much of London above the Pool, to go for a lodging when he came off his ship. There is little left of it all now, after the bombings of war; the wharves and warehouses, the cranes and steel barges of the river, the oil tanks and tall chimneys across the river, show us nothing that Cook would have seen; the parish church was rebuilt after Waterloo; his Thameside is with difficulty made vivid in the mind. Possibly—all is conjecture—Elizabeth lived with friends or relatives at Barking, the village with its mill surrounded by open country, beyond the miles of marshland running down to the river; possibly Cook met her when she was visiting her mother in Shadwell, possibly—again—through Mr Charles Smith, shipping-agent, of the Custom House, who would not impossibly be a seaman's acquaintance. Whatever the lines of chance, James Cook of the parish of St Paul, Shadwell, bachelor, and Elizabeth Batts of the parish of Barking, spinster, on 21 December 1762 walked together over the meadows—Elizabeth remembered it—to her parish church, St Margaret's, with its grey stone and old square battlemented tower, and were there married by George Downing, vicar of Little Wakering, Essex, a village about twenty miles away.1 It was ‘Elizabeth Cook late Batts’ who added her name beneath her husband's in the register. William Everrest, who witnessed the ceremony, we know was the parish clerk; who the other witnesses were, John Richardson

1 Why George Downing of Little Wakering? It is an odd little puzzle. The vicar of St Margaret's, Barking, was Christopher Musgrave, though it appears from the Parish Register, 1754–67, that his curate, R. Carter, carried out most of the marriages.

page 62 and Sarah Brown, we do not know. This marriage was by Archbishop of Canterbury's licence, which indicates that Cook, once he had made up his mind, was not prepared to wait on such impediments to a joint navigation as the calling of banns. We cannot think that Elizabeth, at that moment, looked too forebodingly on the future, though she knew she was taking a sailor for a husband; but she was wise to seize every hour of married life that was open to her. They crossed the river to lodgings in Cook's parish; and there they were to be together till the end of the following April, when Cook went again to sea.
He was to go again to North American waters, and again to where he had last been, to Newfoundland: this time not as the master of a line-of-battle ship, but as a surveyor. Simcoe's advice was bearing fruit. Cook was by no means the only surveyor sent out at this time. Under the treaty of Paris, signed on 10 February 1763, Britain was faced with an enormous acquisition of territory. Settlers were already heading into the interior—was not that the history of America ever since the first landings?—and the mapping of the country called for an effort as vast as its extent. Nor was the imperial territory as it had existed before the war adequately surveyed. The effort made was serious, and in the 60's and 70's an extraordinary amount of valuable work was done, the results of which put to shame contemporary recording of the counties and coasts of England. The two great names on the continent are those of men Cook knew, Holland and DesBarres, the former from 1764 ‘His Majesty's Surveyor General for the Northern District of North America’, and taking within his sphere of competence the province of Massachusetts Bay as well as Canada and the islands of the Gulf of St Lawrence. He worked for the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, and it is interesting to see the note on one or two of the coastal plans produced by his deputies that shoals and soundings had to be omitted ‘for want of Naval Assistance’.1 The production of charts, however, was not his primary business. DesBarres was working in the first place on the coast of Nova Scotia in a most comprehensive and detailed survey, with naval assistance, and working for the Admiralty. The surveys by Cook, then, were not isolated, they were to fit into a general scheme; but they had a special purpose. This purpose was bound up with the particular geographical position of Newfoundland, which gave it a particular position in the British economy. Newfoundland was no ordinary colony. It was not

1 Admiralty, Hydrographic Dept., 9/73; A7353/77.

page 63 inviting for ordinary settlement; the British government deplored settlement. In relation to the Atlantic cod-fishery it was a sort of great wharf moored in the ocean, as essential as the fishing banks themselves to the welfare of fishermen. Its bays and harbours were fishing bays and harbours; its jetties and stages and buildings were for the purpose of drying and curing fish, and for the accommodation of men thus employed; the men lived on fish, the foot slipped on fish, the air smelt of fish; administration depended on an odd system of fishing ‘admirals’, with a naval officer in his own ship for governor, and a small number of naval vessels engaged on patrol. The British had never had sole rights to fish the banks or use the shores: to French as well as British the arduous seasonal trade, centred on the other side of the Atlantic two thousand miles off, was a ‘nursery of seamen’—a nursery as important to Britain as the North Sea trade; and even Britain victorious in the recent war could not enforce a monopoly. The Treaty of Paris confirmed British sovereignty over Newfoundland, but not entirely so: off the southern coast the islands of St Pierre and Miquelon, traditionally French, were to be returned, and the French were to retain the right to dry their catch on the north-western and northern shores, from Point Riche to Cape Bonavista. Whatever treaty provisions might be, it was clear that for the continued safety of the trade, and for that of traffic in and out of the St Lawrence, whether through Cabot Strait to the south or the Strait of Belle Isle to the north, the Newfoundland coast needed to be charted as well as was humanly possible. The existing charts fell woefully short of this ideal. The French had done something on the east coasts, of which the most recent English survey was one of 1677, not published until 1689; the west coast and the Labrador side of the Strait of Belle Isle were hardly touched by anyone; the south coast, in terms of survey, was not much better. Graves took the matter up.
It seems highly probable that he had in his mind not merely a necessity, but the person to meet it. He had been impressed by Cook's activity after the restoration of the island; had conversed with this unusually active master, and been impressed by the conversation; had been impressed, too, by what was said of him by Colville and Palliser1—and Colville can hardly have said less than he said to the Admiralty in his letter of 30 December. There must have been discussion in the new year, after Colville's letter, and a

1 We can certainly rely on this information given by Kippis, 8, ‘From a paper of Admiral Graves's, communicated by the Rev. Dr. Douglas, now Bishop of Carlisle’. The paper is unfortunately lost. Graves's brother refers to it in a letter among the Douglas papers, B.M., Egerton Ms 2180.

page 64 letter addressed by Graves to the Admiralty secretary, from the Antelope in the river Tagus, 2 January 1763, on his return from his first season of government: ‘the Newfound Land station which I have been upon two years though only the last year as Governour, has been attended with many untoward and most perplexing accidents, which as they were totally unforeseen cou'd not but embarras the more.’1 There was another thing, about which Graves went to the Lords, or Board of Trade, and the Lords of Trade to the Crown, in a representation of 29 March. Graves's government in 1763 was enlarged to include Labrador from Hudson Strait round to the St John river, opposite the western end of Anticosti, Anticosti itself and other islands of the Gulf, and he might well have felt overburdened.

On economic matters his duty was to correspond with the Board of Trade. ‘Mr Graves having represented to us’, wrote that body, ‘that the imperfect Returns hitherto made by the Governors of Newfoundland have been chiefly owing to their want of a Secretary, Surveyor, or other Person, capable of collecting Information, keeping regular accounts and making Draughts of Coasts and Harbours, for which services there has never been any allowances, and that such assistance is now become still more necessary to the Governor of Newfoundland, by the enlargement of his Government, and his instructions to report as accurately as he can the conditions, fisherys, and other material particulars of a country at present little known. We beg leave to humbly submit to your Majesty, whether it may not be expedient that such an allowance should be made.’2 It does not seem that this plea to make it financially possible for Graves to cope with the paper work consequent on his Royal Instructions had great success, but at least the pressing need for ‘Draughts of Coasts and Harbours’ was recognised. It is clear that Cook's candidature was pressed on the Admiralty, and that agreement was reached.

There were office delays, of course. Graves's letters to Philip Stephens, who had succeeded Clevland as Admiralty secretary, are not without signs of exasperation. He first writes, if the records are complete, as if all were settled, on 5 April:

I have this moment seen Mr Cook and acquainted him he was to get himself ready to depart the moment the board was pleased to order him, and that he was to have 10 shils a day while employed on this service—He has been to enquire for a draughtsman at the Tower, but as this is a Holiday

1 Graves to Clevland, 2 January 1763, Adm 1/1836.

2 ‘Representation’ of 29 March 1763, quoted by Kitson, 63–4, from the Shelburne Mss.

page 65 he found hardly any one there—There are some who draw there at 1s 6d a day, and others who have two shillings a day—one of which last establishment he wants to have and is assured that the Board will continue any such Person who chuses to go on their establishment upon an application from your Office made for them. It is from this classset they allways send draughtsmen with Engineers or Commanding Officers who go abroad—The additional Pay they require from your office Mr Cook will acquaint you of tomorrow as soon as he can see them & propose their going. If he does not find their conditions to come wth in their own office establishment, I have desired him to advertise for a draughtsman—acquaint you by letter with the terms he can bring them to, and wait your commands, as to the hireing any such, and as to the time of his setting out for the Ship.

There shou'd be a Theodilite and drawings instrumts which will cost about 12 or 15 £ and is a thing the ordnance always allow their People—The officers of the Yard should be orderd to supply me with two or three spare Azimith compasses & a number of Pendants of any colour to put as signals on different Points for takeing the Angles as the Survey goes on—1

Cook had been to the Tower because that was the headquarters of the Ordnance Office with its staff of technically-trained draughtsmen, one of which he as much as an ‘engineer’ would need for assistance. A week went by, and the sign of exasperation appears, in a note headed with some ambiguity ‘Tuesday noon 1763’.

Captain Graves Compliments wait upon Mr Stephens and beg to know what final answer he shall give to Mr Cook late master of the Northumberland who is very willing to go out to Survey the Harbour & Coasts of Labrador and the draughtsman he was to get from the Tower—as they both wait to know their Lordships resolution and the footing they are to be upon….2
Graves was evidently casting round for a second-best, in case any part of the great scheme should break down; for he adds to this enquiry another—whether a schoolmaster was allowed to a fourthrate (which his Antelope was) as he had heard of a good draughtsman, in the Bellona, who was willing to go out in the Antelope on that footing. This was Michael Lane, of later note, and Graves did get him transferred. Nevertheless the governor was still kept in suspense: on 15 April he was writing to Stephens again: ‘You will excuse my

1 Graves to Stephens, 5 April 1763, Adm 1/1836.

2 Adm 1/1836. I date this note conjecturally as 12 April. The Tuesdays in that month fall on the 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th. It can hardly belong to the 5th, the date of Graves's earlier letter, on which it seems logically to follow, with its reference to getting a draughtsman from the Tower. On the other hand, Graves's letter of 18 April implies that all dubieties were now settled. The dates of Stephens's letter to Cook about instruments, 18 April, and Graves's to Stephens of 15 April, seem to show that Graves was not informed punctually of all the developments.

page 66 takeing the liberty to ask if any change of resolution is taken about Mr Cook, the master and an assistant for him, and whither they are to go out with us.’1 There had been no change of resolution: indeed two days earlier the secretary had written to ‘Mr Jas Cook, Town’ that Cook's, letter ‘of this date’, the 13th, about mathematical instruments, had been communicated to the Lords, and that he was directed to supply himself with the said instruments and to send the bill to the secretary2—a missive which suggests, though Cook's own letter is not to be found, that he had already begun to develop the technique of going to the Admiralty himself, explaining what he wanted and the reason for it, and writing the necessary letter on the spot for an immediate answer.

Graves's mind must somehow have been relieved of its immediate worry—which may indeed have fallen on him partly because of his enforced absence from London to deal with some unrest in the Antelope at Spithead. On 18 April he reminded Stephens that it had been decided to give him orders to purchase two small vessels of about sixty tons in Newfoundland—‘The one to send with Mr Cook upon the Survey of the Coasts and Harbours’, the other for anti-smuggling or police duty—as well as to build a new hospital at St John's. The orders had not come. ‘A change at the Board takeing place and my being order'd down to my ship on account of a mutiny amongst the Crew—the affair rested where it was and I am afraid is forgotten…. I beg you will please to remind their Lordships of these things, that I may go out with proper orders relating to it. The sending out Draughtsmen to Survey the Harbours, seems to Point out the necessity of their having a Small Vessell fit to use on that business.’3 He enclosed a list of articles given him by Cook ‘as necessary in the business of Surveying’, which Cook ‘apprehends may be supplied from the King's yard by order’: to wit,

‘Small Flags which may be made from new Buntin or out of Old colours Twelve
Knight's Azimuth Compas One
Knight's Steering Compas One
Deep Sea Leads Two
D° Lines One
Tallow lbs Twenty five
Axes Two
Pick Axes Two
Common deal Tables to Draw upon Two

1 Adm 1/1836.

2 Stephens to Cook, 13 April 1763, Adm 2/722.

3 Graves to Stephens, 18 April 1763, Adm 1/1836.

page 67

‘If the Navy Board have not orders to supply these extra stores, no reason I can offer will have any weight.' Obviously Captain Graves was becoming a trifle weary of ‘forms of office’. The Navy Board was ordered to supply the articles from the yard at Plymouth.1 And the day after Graves wrote his letter from Spithead the Lords at last despatched their formal order.

Whereas we have thought fit to appoint Mr James Cook, a Person well skilled in making Surveys, and Mr William Test belonging to the Drawing Room in the Office of Ordnance, to go to Newfoundland in His Majesty's Ship under your Command in order to be employed in making surveys of the Coast & Harbours of that Island, and in making Drafts and Charts thereof; for which the former will be allowed Ten shillings a day and the latter six shillings in addition to what he receives from the Board of Ordnance: You are hereby required and directed to receive the said two Persons on board, and bear them on a Supernumary [sic] List for Victuals only until your return to England; and to employ them during your stay at Newfoundland as you shall see fit on the Service abovementioned.2

On the same day Mr James Cook, Town, and Mr William Test, Tower, were ordered to repair immediately on board the Antelope and follow the orders of Captain Graves.3 Ten shillings a day, one may call to mind, was the wage of a captain of a fourth rate—the wage of Palliser in the Eagle.

Then it became obvious that the delays of office were not the only possible delays: Cook, ordered on 19 April to join the ship immediately in Plymouth Sound, did not make his appearance until 4 May, his name in the muster book being followed by a list of fifty-five men who had ‘run’—that is, deserted.4 Mr William Test did not appear at all. Meanwhile, the Admiralty had ordered the Navy Board to reimburse Cook the £68 11s 8d he had spent on surveying instruments;5 Graves had had time to worry again about the tools Cook wanted—‘I hope the Navy Board will have directions … or I apprehend they will not (however necessary) furnish any thing out of Course’;6 the Admiralty had told Graves to buy in Newfoundland the small vessels he wanted, and man and victual them from his own ships.7 Graves groaned again, and acknowledged his orders,

1 Endorsement on the letter last cited; and Admiralty to Navy Board, as April 1763, National Maritime Museum, Adm/A/2546.

2 Admiralty to Graves, 19 April 1763, Adm 2/90. Graves wrote from Spithead on the 21st. ‘By last nights Post I receiv'd' the order (Adm 1/1836); which testifies to fairly rapid communication.

3 Stephens to Cook/Test, 19 April 1763, Adm 2/90.

4 Adm 36/4887.

5 Admiralty to Navy Board, 26 April 1763, Nmm, Adm/A/2546.

6 Graves to Stephens, 29 April 1763, Adm 1/1836.

7 Admiralty to Graves, 3 May 1763, Adm 1/90.

page 68 in a letter of 8 May, which contradicts his muster book: ‘Mr Cook arrived here yesterday but without an Assistant, which defect I will endeavour to replace here if possible, under an expectation of the same encouragement their Lordships were to give Mr Test. The first employment I shall give Mr Cook will be to Survey St Pieres & Miquelon, before my getting there to surrender those Islands, to this end it would have been very convenient that one of the Sloops had been ready to sail with me who might have been detached to performe this Service, whilest I made some stay upon the Coast, to afford them the proper time before the surrender of those Islands to the French.’1 This letter was minuted with information for the captain about the missing draughtsman. The Admiralty had been informed by the Board of Ordnance a fortnight earlier that it would give him the necessary leave of absence but not on pay, as it would have to pay a substitute; since when their Lordships had neither heard nor seen anything of Mr Test. They approved of Graves trying to get someone else. Graves could get no one else before he sailed rather late in the season, Cook with him, on 15 May. Somehow the Admiralty found another man, a Mr Edward Smart, of Lambeth, also an Ordnance draughtsman, and sent him out at the end of the month in the sloop Spy, Captain Phillips.2
Newfoundland, a great triangle of ancient rock, thrusting out large peninsulas into the ocean as part of its general shape, has an infinite mass of indentations, bays, harbours, arms of the sea, which give it six thousand miles of coastline. This coastline is steep, bare, uninviting, fringed with the dangers of many rocks and shoals, and odd sets of the current; in the long cold winter cut off from access by the masses of Arctic ice swept down by the Labrador current—it is separated from Labrador by only a narrow strait—except for the always ice-free southern shore. Icebergs from the Greenland glaciers appear at any time, the greatest number in the months of spring, and they are dangerous. Fog is the other menace, fortunately not continuous, throughout the year. But the harbours are safe summer ones; although the land is rainy and the summers cool there are warm spells; the offshore banks were alive with cod, and as headquarters for the seasonal industry of fishing Newfoundland was as

1 Graves to Stephens, from Plymouth Sound, 8 May 1763, Adm 1/1836.

2 Admiralty to Graves, 27 May 1763, Adm 2/90; Admiralty to ‘Mr Smart, at Lambeth’, 27 May, Adm 2/722. Test made his career at home. Almost forty years later he became Chief Draughtsman at the Tower, in 1801, and retired in 1815 after 56 years in the Ordnance service.—R. A. Skelton, James Cook Surveyor of Newfoundland (San Francisco, 1965), 11, n. Further references to this work are simply to ‘Skelton’.

page 69 admirable as any place could be in that position and climate. Not far from the south coast, to the west of the Burin peninsula and off the entrance to Fortune Bay, lie St Pierre and Miquelon, already mentioned, small rocky outcrops from the sea, with a harbour in St Pierre hardly touched by ice, and thus valuable in the extreme to the French, whose sovereignty was by the treaty of 1763 so minutely confined. The survey to which Cook was sent was important. Like the fishery, and like the ship-based government of the country, it had to be seasonal. He must be on the coast by early June, and away from it by the end of October. The nature of the coastline made it extraordinarily complex. With all the complexity, it had perhaps one advantage, that a surveyor need never be at a loss for a prominent point to pin his observations to. We have noted the requisition for ‘small flags’.
Cook was to carry out many accomplished pieces of surveying, in one part of the world or another but nothing he ever did later exceeded in accomplishment his surveys of the southern and western sides of Newfoundland from 1763 to 1767. The North-eastern side of the triangle he was hardly to touch. He was so successful because he could deploy all the technique he had acquired from the military ‘engineers’; because he could work at times on land as well as from the sea; because, therefore, he could use, sometimes, instruments that required solid earth as their base. The theodolite of which Graves spoke to the Admiralty would have been perfectly useless on the deck of a ship. One must not overstate the matter. It is nevertheless highly significant not only that that is the first ‘mathematical instrument’ that Cook mentions as necessary, but that when he was looking for a draughtsman he went straight to the Drawing Room at the Tower—to what one might call, in fact, the head office of military survey in England. He went there, one may feel, as the pupil of Holland and the associate of DesBarres, to find a man who was capable of both the desk-work of compiling and drawing, and the instrumental field-work that he had mastered himself. He did not want a plain master's mate for his assistant, any more than he wanted to make only a running survey from the sea. This was the traditional method of surveying a shore: the ship's course, as she sailed along it, would be carefully noted and plotted; the outstanding coastal features equally carefully plotted from cross-bearings taken from the ship; the outline would be filled in by careful sketching.1 If there

1 ‘The errors and omissions inherent in a survey of this sort arose from the difficulty of logging the ship's track and fixing her position with sufficient accuracy, from inability to determine the exact position of soundings and submarine features, and from the masking of some land features by others from the eyes of an observer close inshore.’—Skelton, 11.

page 70 was time, the boats would be used for sounding and the accumulation of additional coastal detail. It was a method capable of brilliant exploitation, as Cook exploited it later on for New Zealand or the New Hebrides, or in varying degrees for New South Wales or the north-west coast of North America; but the exploitation, however brilliant, could hardly ever be more than brilliant reconnaissance. As Cook was to say in a note to his journal on the New Hebrides coast, eleven years later than this, ‘The word Survey, is not to be understood here, in its literal sence. Surveying a place, according to my Idea, is takeing a Geometrical Plan of it, in which every place is to have its true situation, which cannot be done in a work of this kind.’1 For Newfoundland, he hoped, he was going to provide a survey in the ‘literal’, or anyhow the technical, sense. He would use the theodolite and his brass telescopic quadrant, made by Bird. He would measure accurately his base-lines and his angles, fix the positions of his prominent features, plot them on his paper, plot a net of triangles anchored to fixed positions. We can see these on at least one of his surviving charts.2 He could calculate latitudes accurately with the help of his quadrant. He could not yet bring in longitudes. When he had his land features in correct relation, he would go on to his hydrographic work, would sound, take bearings, draw detail. From his journals as well as his charts we can form some judgment how far he was successful in all this. He no doubt quickened and refined his hand as season succeeded season. The last great Newfoundland chart he produced he felt justified in describing as ‘An exact trigonometrical survey’; but that was not yet.
Graves reached Newfoundland in the second week in June, and anchored in Trepassey harbour, just west of Cape Race, the southeastern point of the country. Besides the 50-gun Antelope, he had under his command for the purposes of his government five smaller vessels, and his instructions provided for the deployment of them all in surveying as well as in police duties: ‘We have Ordered them to make Charts of all the said Coasts, with Drafts of the Harbours, noting the Depths of Water and Conveniences for fishing, and whatever Observations may Occur worthy of our Knowledge….’3 This was an affirmation of what was supposed to be routine. Of these vessels, the frigate Pearl, 32 guns, was to cruise on the coast of Labrador,

1 Journals of Captain James Cook, II, 509, n. 4.

2 ‘A Chart of the Sea coast, Bays, and Harbours, in Newfoundland between Green Island and Point Ferrolle. Surveyed … by James Cook. Coppy'd from the original survey taken in ye year 1764.'—H.D. 342. R. A. Skelton, in ‘Captain James Cook as a Hydrographer’, Mariner's Mirror, Vol. 40 (1954), 92–119, reproduces a detail of this, pl. 1(a).

3 Nmm, Graves Mss, Grv/106, Sect. 9.

page 71 between Belle Isle and St John river and round the island of Anticosti; the 26-gun Terpsichore, between Cape Race and Carpoon, or Quirpon—that is, off the northern coast to its north-east extremity; the 32-gun Lark in the strait of Belle Isle, and thence along the west coast to Cape Ray, the south-western point; the 25-gun Tweed along the south coast, between Cape Race and Cape Ray. The Tamar was to spend her time with the fishing vessels on the Grand Bank. It was therefore the Tweed, Captain Charles Douglas, with which Cook was to be immediately most closely acquainted. She had been on her station since the beginning of June. On the 13th she met the Antelope at Trepassey, and embarked Cook, James Biddon and Peter Flower, ‘Supernumerary born for Victuals only being an Engineer & his Retinue’.1 All official documents were now inculcating speed: the Admiralty's instructions to Graves, Graves's instructions to Douglas, which Cook was to deliver to him—‘you are to proceed without a moment's loss of time … to the Island of St Peters, where you are to afford him (who you are to take with you) all the assistance in your power by boats or otherways in taking an accurate survey of the Island[s] of St Peter and Miquelon with all the Expedition possible, that no Delay be thereby given to the Delivering these Islands up to the French.’2 This was all very well; but the islands were to have been handed over to the French not later than 10 June,3 and when Douglas arrived in the harbour of St Pierre not merely did he find a French frigate, the Licorne, already there, but at the same hour arrived the French governor-designate, M. d'Anjac, in the Garonne, with fifty soldiers and a hundred and fifty men—merchants and fishermen, women and children. British settlers were to be removed, these were to be installed: Graves and Douglas were determined that not an inch of rock nor an ounce of authority should be ceded until the survey was completed and every secret (if there were any) laid bare. Douglas was even cautioned against handing over at all what Graves wrote as ‘Langly’—Langley or Langlade, the present Petite Miquelon, the southern part of that island, now joined to the northern part by a narrow thread of land: ‘that island has been separated from Miquelon upwards of four years by a passage a mile broad and two fathom deep. It affords little else than wood but lays between Miquelon and St. Peter's.’4 In retrospect one can see some moments of tension, and fancy some moments of comedy.

1 Tweed's muster book, Adm 36/6901, 13 June 1763. They remained on the strength till the July-August muster.

2 Adm 1/1704, n.d.

3 Instructions to Graves, 2 May 1763, Adm 2/90.

4 Graves to Stephens, 20 October 1763, Nmm, Grv/106. The isthmus reasserted itself in 1781, but not on the charts, and there were many shipwrecks in consequence.

page 72

Cook got to work at once, ‘with all possible application’, on St Pierre, while Douglas held off the governor, ‘who was (you may believe with some difficulty) persuaded to remain on board with his troops, untill the fourth day of July when (the survey of St Peter's being compleated) that Island was deliver'd to him in form: and our Surveyor began with the other; the weather still continuing foggy and unfavorable.’1 In the meantime M. d'Anjac had despatched a very indignant letter to Graves at Placentia, but was somehow calmed down. We can see a little of the comings and goings in Douglas's log: 3 July, ‘Pm sent our Cutter under ye Command of a Midshipman to attend Mr Cook whilst he survey'd the Islands of Miquelon & Langley'; 12 July, ‘Am sent ye Longboat with 4 Days provisions for ye Men wth Mr Cook on ye Island of Langley’; 13 July, ‘Pm ye Longbt return'd from Langley not finding Mr Cook there, he being gone to Miquelon’;2 25 July, ‘Arriv'd here ye Shallop Tender & Cutter wth Mr Cook he having Finish'd ye Survey of that part of this Island Called Dunn.’ 3 A few days more and Cook had finished the whole island, which was handed over to the impatient French on 31 July. He had worked on a large scale. ‘A Plan of the Islands of St Peter's, Langly, and Miquelong, survey'd by order of H.E. Thos. Graves, Esq., Governor of Newfoundland, by James Cook', is laid down at three and a half inches to the mile, and measures seven feet eight inches by two feet five inches.4 It could be reduced at need. Douglas, on his part, had done his very best for Cook. ‘I procured him all the time I could,’ he wrote later to the Admiralty secretary, ‘by staying at St Peter's under various pretences, untill towards the 17th, and then went to the Road of Miquelon—where we made shift to keep the Commandant in some sort of temper, untill the beginning of August; when, thro’ the unwearied assiduity of Mr Cooke, the survey of that Island too, was compleated.' The dutiful captain had had to expend something more than tactful words, on which he enlarges modestly.

I flatter myself Sir, that my Lords Comissioners will easily believe, that so delicate an affair, as keeping the French Governor so long on board; out of the exercise of his authority, the surveying of his Islands untill the

1 Douglas to Stephens, 3 May 1764, Adm 1/1704.

2 These dates must again be interpreted according to ship time—i.e. 3 July PM is the afternoon of 2 July civil time; 12 July Am is the morning of 12 July civil time.

3 Captain's Logs, Tweed, Adm 51/1016. ‘Dunn’ appears to be what Cook called on his chart Dunne Harbour, represented now by Grand Barachois—‘a basin with a narrow entrance on its south-eastern side, only practicable for boats’ (Newfoundland Pilot, I (8th ed., 1951), 185) — which almost entirely occupies the northern part of the tongue of land between the two Miquelons, the Chaussee de Miquelon or Isthme de Langlade.

4 B.M. Add. Ms 17963.

page 73 beginning of August, due to France since the 10th of June; and to have thereby occasion'd no disturbance, must have caused an expensive intercourse on my side [and he thinks the Lords might be induced to] grant me some consideration for the extraordinary expences I was put to; without having incurred which the Islands in question wou'd have remained unsurvey'd.1

The Lords were not unsympathetic, and did not think the suggested £50 was too much to grant.

This survey completed, Douglas took Cook on board again and carried him according to orders to Ferryland, a small harbour on the east coast of the Avalon peninsula about half-way between Cape Race and St John's, whence he joined Graves at St John's. The Spy had not yet arrived, and did not arrive until 1 September, so that Cook was still without the help of the skilled assistant Mr Edward Smart. He was, however, to get a vessel of his own. During July Graves had used the authority given him before he left home to buy for the survey, at the price of £372 15s, a 68-ton schooner built in a Massachusetts yard in 1754, ‘together with her Boat, Tackle, Furniture and Apparell’.2 She was called the Sally, and became the Grenville—in honour, we must suppose, of the man who was then Prime Minister and seems to have been a friend of Graves; and, as Graves reported, she was within three or four days of being ready for service when Cook joined him. As soon as she was ready Cook sailed her up to the northern end of the island to survey Quirpon and Noddy harbours, inside Quirpon island—where, on the western side of Quirpon harbour, he named Graves (now Jacques Cartier) island; ‘and from thence to York Harbour to take a compleat survey of that or any other good harbour he shou'd fall in wt on ye Labradore coast, and to employ himself in like manner on his return when ye Season shoud make it necessary to leave that Coast, this he has done with indefatigable industry haveing survey'd four harbours.’3 So Graves; and in the absence of a Grenville log for that period, or any other more detailed description, we have no idea how long Cook was at each place, or what precisely he did after his return to St John's. He seems to have returned towards the end of September.4 We have the precise

1 Douglas to Stephens, London, 3 May 1764, and minute thereon, Adm 1/1704.

2 The Navy Board made difficulties over paying for it. On 2 December 1763 it asked the Admiralty whether it should pay the bill.—NMM, Adm/B/173. Then it said that under its rules it could not pay; for six months later the Admiralty ordered it to do so—Nmm, Adm/A/2561.

3 Graves to Stephens (draft) Antelope, St John's, 20 October 1763; Nmm, Grv/106.

4 The dating is not quite easy. Graves to Stephens, 20 October, says that the Pearl had sailed for England, ‘there being no occasion to detain her here and carrys some invalids sent hither from Louisbourg for a passage home.’—Nmm, Grv/106. On 30 October ‘by the Tweed’ he says, ‘By the Pearl C. Saxton who sailed from hence the 26th [October?] I acquainted their Lordships with my proceeding[s] till that time. The Schooner Grenvile has since return'd from the Northward wt our seeing the Terpsichore.' He had sent her with an answer to Captain Ruthven's many queries ‘some days since’.—Grv/106.

page 74 and beautiful detail of his charts, and from what we know of the country we can see that his work would have its discomforts. York or Chateaux (now Chateau) harbour was frozen six months of the year, from Christmas to the end of June; in the summer, if he landed, Cook could walk on moss and eat cranberries, but flies and mosquitoes would fall on him in clouds. His plan is a good one accompanied with sailing directions and ‘views’.1 Presumably when he did reach St John's again he was at last joined by Smart, and could get some relief in copying and computation; and perhaps he had time to consider some of the charts handed in by the other ships on the station.

The governor reported to the Admiralty secretary on 30 October, beginning with the movements of ships. He proceeds:

The Tweed sails with these dispatches and I hope to leave the country about the same time. As Mr Cook whose Pains and attention are beyond my description, can go no farther in surveying this year I send him home in the Tweed in preferance to keeping him on board [the Antelope], that he may have the more time to finish the difft surveys allready taken of it to be layn before their Lordships—and to copy the different sketches of ye Coasts and Harbours, taken by ye ships on the several stations by which their Lordships will perceive how extreamly erroneous ye present draughts are, & how dangerous to ships that sail by them—and how generally beneficial to Navigation the work now in hand will be when finished indeed I have no doubt in a Year or two more of seeing a perfect good chart of Newfoundland and an exact survey of most of ye good harbours in which there is not perhaps a part of the World that more abounds.

The inclosed Papers are the remarks made by the Captains of the Lark, Tweed and Pearl. Mr Cook will lay before their Lordsh: ye original Survey of St Peters Miquelon & Langley as allso Quirpon & Noddy harbours, Chateaux or York harbour & Croque, these though not so highly finished as a Copy may be, yet I am purswaded thier Lordships will think ye properest to be deposited in thier Office.2

1 Hydrographic Dept., B. 188.

2 Nmm, Grv/106. The instructions to captains to carry on the survey were apparently meant to be taken seriously. Douglas to Stephens from the Tweed, Spithead, 8 December 1763, illustrates this: ‘Be pleased to lay before my Lords Commissioners, the herewith-inclosed Sketch of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulph of St Laurence; where the Sea-Cow fishery is carried on. And be moreover pleased to acquaint their Lordships, that agreeable to the commands of the Right Honourable Board of last April, between the beginning of September and the middle of October I took an incompleat one, of the whole Coast of Newfoundland, within the limits of the station prescribed me by their Lordships; viz: between the Capes Race and Ray. Which Sketch is (pursuant to the desire of the Captain Graves of the Antelope) now in the hands of Mr James Cooke; who was last Summer employ'd to survey the Islands of St Peter and Miquelon: which Survey we were not able to compleat before the beginning of August. One of the reasons of the incompleatness of the Draught last mention'd.'—Adm 1/1704. And see Palliser's letter, p. 84 below.

page 75
The Tweed anchored at Spithead on 29 November 1763. Cook, there is little doubt, lost no time in hastening to Mrs Cook and the son that had been born to him seven weeks earlier, another James.1 Nor could it have been long before he decided he must buy a house. The one he selected was in the hamlet of Mile End Old Town, on the northern side of the parish of Stepney; it was the last in a small terrace, No. 7 Assembly Row, facing on the Mile End Road, over which the coaches lumbered from Cornhill on their way to Essex. The row took its name from the Assembly Rooms near by, the scene of various though fortunately not constant tumultuous gatherings; the house was joined by an archway to a gin distillery, or what Cook was later to refer to as ‘Mr Curtis's Wine Vaults’. It was therefore not in a haunt of rural seclusion, as some of the names of neighbouring passage-ways might suggest—Ducking Pond Row, Red Cow Lane, Dog Row, Mutton Lane—but a rush of building had not obliterated all that was green. It was some distance from the dwelling-place of fashion, a house not large, much better nevertheless than lodging in Shadwell for a wife and family, and a man between voyages, entirely respectable, suitable for a master in the navy. Mrs Cook would not be crowded, there was a garden behind to breathe in, market gardens she could visit, meadow and pasture and marsh land not far away. Cook could afford it, on his savings, and his surveyor's ten shillings a day, and his prospect of permanent employment.2 With such testimonials as his from Graves and Douglas, the Admiralty would not let him go, even if the Navy Board was slow in paying.3 He and Smart, and Smart's brother, were busy drawing and making copies, and it was intended to send them out again. Smart was not to go out again: he died on 8 March 1764, when Cook was busy in all sorts of ways.4 He was not too busy to write to Graves, on

1 To be precise, on 13 October 1763, at Shadwell. This is one of the bits of information Kippis (517) got from Mrs Cook.

2 I owe most of the details in the foregoing passage to Mr A. W. Smith, ‘Captain James Cook, Londoner’, in East London Papers, vol. 11, No. 2 (1968), 94–7. The house stood until 1959. The Assembly Row address remained until 1863, when the name was abolished and the house became 88 Mile End Road. In 1880 the ground floor was converted to a shop, projecting on to the small front garden (most of the other houses in the row were served likewise). No. 88 was in this century successively an emporium for women's apparel and a kosher butchery. An L.C.C. commemorative plaque was affixed to it in 1907, which did not prevent its later demolition. The rest of the row was spared, in shabby disrepair.

3 Admiralty to Navy Board, 4 January 1764, Nmm, Adm/A/2555.

4 A letter from the Admiralty to the Navy Board, 23 April 1764, refers to his death, and to Smart's (and his brother's) employment, in providing for Smart's pay. A certificate from Cook on the matter was enclosed.—Nmm, Adm/A/2558.

page 76 15 March, in a way that indicates regard for Graves on his part as great as Graves's regard for him.


I learnt this day at the Admiralty of your arrival of which I give you joy, and have to acquaint you, that soon after my arrival, I gave my surveys into the board which was approved of, and was then order'd to draw a fair copie of St Peters and Miquelong to be laid before the King, these and the different Captains Sketches is finished and given in to the board. Those that you intend for the Board of Trade are ready. I had not the honour to see Mr Grenvill when I gave in the Plan, but am convinced it was well received, as he made me an offer soon after (by Mr Whatley Secretary to the Treasury) to go as one of the Surveyors to the Natral Islands, which I was obliged to decline, your favourable recommendation of me to this Gentleman, likewise, to the Admiralty, together with many other signal favours I have received during the short time I have had the honour to be under your command shall ever be had in the most gratfull remembrance and tho' Captain Pallisser, who is appointed to the command in Newfoundland is a Gentleman I have been long acquainted with yet I cannot help being sorry that you do not enjoy that officer longer.

It is more than probable the Survey of the Island will go on untill compleatly finished, this usefull and necessary thing the World must be obliged to you for.

I shall do my self the honour to wait upon you as soon as you arrive in town and acquaint you with what has pass'd between Lord Egmont and me in regard to the North part of the Island. I am with great respect

your most Obt and Very Hble Sert

Jas Cook.1

The ‘Grenvill’ here referred to must certainly have been George Grenville, the First Lord of the Treasury; Egmont was First Lord of the Admiralty, and presumably, he was interested in French infringements of the fishery, agreement, on which Graves had already had something to say. Masters in the navy did not ordinarily converse with First Lords of any sort.

Cook was already engaged in discussion with Palliser, so it would seem, on the borderland between geography and diplomacy, perhaps as a sequel to his meeting with Egmont; and a little historical

1 Cook to Graves, 15 March 1764, Nmm, Grv/106. The ‘fair copie … laid before the King’ is now in the British Museum map collection, K. Top, cxix. 111. The ‘Natral Islands’ were presumably the Neutral Islands in the West Indies—St Vincent, Dominica, Tobago and St Lucia (the last an island of superb harbours). They were declared neutral by France and England—i.e. not to be colonised by either power—in 1730 and 1748; but the first three were ceded to England at the Peace of Paris in 1763. The French then clung to St Lucia, which, however, became British in the settlement of 1815.

page 77 research was in progress, though not on the ‘North part of the Island’. It is to be remembered that fishery disputes were of very long standing. Cook writes a memorandum to Palliser on his investigations, ‘Wednesday Evening 5 o' Clock 7 March 1764’.

At the Book and Map seller at the large Gateway in Cheap-side Jn° Senex's Map Pub. in 1710 names Cape Ray and calls Pt Rich Cape Pointu—this Map was drawen from the observations communicated to the Roy 1 Society at London and the Academy at Paris—

Mitchel's Map—Pub 1755—Cape or Point Rich, which is left out of the late French Maps as if there was no such place seemingly because it is the boundries of their prevelige of fishing which extend from hence Northward round to C. Bonavista.

The Universal Traveller or Compleat account of Voyages by Pat. Barclay—1734-54, speaking of Newfoundland, I do not find he once mentions C. Ray or Pt Rich, but says their Journals was so confounded with names common to both sides of the Island that it was a difficult matter to tell which side there where [i.e. they were] upon, in the Gulf or on the Ne side—

At Mr Vanbushels Gardener at Lambeth

In Ogilbys America Pub in 1671 is a Map without Date, that mentions Cape Ray only—this Historian doth not speak of Cape Ray but in one place, and there he must mean Cape Race—

I have seen no maps to day, but such as we see yesterday, except the above; neither have I met with any Historys or Voyages (and I have looked into several) that makes any mention of what we want—

J. Cook

Palliser was triumphant in rebutting the claim of the French ambassador that Cape Ray and not Point Riche was the really intended southern limit on the west coast of French operations. The enquiries which Cook made of old Newfoundland hands about settlement on the east coast seem less relevant.2

There were obviously discussions about the survey as well, between

1 ‘To Hugh Pallisser Esqr’,Adm 1/2300. Palliser must have sent the communication on to the Admiralty. I can trace no Senex map as early as 1710, or any before The Coast of Newfoundland from Placentia to Cape Bonavista, No. 50 in his Atlas maritimus &commercialis, 1728. The map of Captain John Mitchell, F.R.S. was his Map of the British and French Dominions in North America, 1755, used for the peace treaty of 1783. Patrick Barclay, The Universal Traveller: or, a Complete account of the most remarkable voyages and travels … to the present time, a folio of 795 pp., has the B.M. date 1735. John Ogilby,America, being the Latest and Most Accurate Description of the New World … London, 1671, another folio. I presume that Mr Vanbushel may have been an acquaintance of Cook's, whom he knew to possess a copy of Ogilby.

2 Hist. Rec. N.S.W., I, Part 1, 300–1, prints a letter from George Davis to Cook, Poole, 14 March 1764, on the subject. A note on one of Cook's maps (‘A Sketch of the Island of Newfoundland. Done from the last Observations. By James Cook 1763’; Admiralty Library, America, Vol. I, No. 21) seems to bear on this same investigation. It concerns the years of settlement at various places ‘All of which places the English have continued to fish at, since first settled’.

page 78 Palliser and Graves, and Cook must have been brought into them. As a result Palliser made an important suggestion to the Admiralty. The Grenville was laid up for the winter at St John's, and in need of stores. Before she could sail on survey she would have to be refitted and re-equipped, and manned from the commodore's, or governor's ship; she would have to return to St John's in time to hand over the men and be laid up again; thus a great deal of time that should be expended on the survey would be used up, with consequent inconvenience and confusion in accounting and command. Would it not be better to appoint ‘Mr Cook the Surveyor who is a Master in the Navy … master of her, to be charged with all stores and materials belong[ing] to her, with the apointment of a master of a 6th Rate’? The assistant-surveyor should be a seaman with some knowledge of surveying and drawing, and be mate of the vessel, paid as a master's mate of a 6th rate with an additional allowance of 3s or 2s 6d a day: ‘I flatter myself their Lordships will think that such a person, who has been brought up in the Navy, is better intitled to encouragemt than any young man who has been brought up in the Tower, that is meerly a draftsman, no seaman & without knowledge of either land or sea Surveying.’ (One is forced to conclude either that Mr Edward Smart had been a disappointment, or that there is here a little naval prejudice against the Ordnance service. It had not been Cook's feeling the previous year.) The vessel should bear eighteen or twenty seamen, ten to be borrowed from the several ships on the station, ten to be permanently borne as enough to sail and navigate her at the end of the season, across the Atlantic to Portsmouth, where she would be properly refitted and would arrive for the next season's surveying much earlier and in better condition than if she had been left at St John's. Thus, at no greater additional expense than 2s a day, ‘the service will be more compleatly perform'd, & with greater facillity and dispatch.’1 Palliser enclosed with this letter two very comprehensive lists of ‘Extra Stores wanting for the Surveying Service’. The Admiralty was prepared to agree, and to approve a complement for the schooner of master, master's mate, master's servant, and seven seamen; it instructed the Navy Board accordingly, instructed Cook on recruitment, and directed Captain Thompson of the Lark, one of Palliser's squadron, to convey them to Newfoundland. The master and master's mate were to be allowed pay as if for a Sixth Rate—that is £4 and £2 2s a month respectively—‘and the former to be charged with the Provisions and Stores which shall from time to time to be supplied to the Schooner; and to pass regular

1 Palliser to Stephens, 4 April 1764, Adm 2/2300.

page 79 Accounts for the same.’1 So here he was introduced to the burdens of administration. The Navy Board, ‘having received a Certificate of the Corporation of the Trinity House of your Abilities to serve as Master of any of His Majesty's ships of the Fourth Rate’, gave him a warrant to take charge of the Grenville, and allowed him a servant in addition to his sixth rate pay.2 Trinity House was being cautious: after all, the Northumberland, of which he had been master for three years, was a third rate. Palliser told him to start on the survey as soon as he arrived in Newfoundland, and to keep a particularly attentive eye on the French fisheries.3
The Lark sailed from Portsmouth on 7 May 1764 for St John's, where, 14 June, began the log of the Grenville:4 The first and middle parts moderate and Hazy weather the Later foggy, at 1 PM His Majesty's ship the Lark anchor'd here from England, on board of which came the Master and Company of this Schooner, went on board and took possession of her—Read over to the Crew the Master's Warrant, Articles of War, and Abstract of the Late act of Parliament.’ The Articles of War and Abstract were documents Cook was to read over to his crews a good deal, as prescribed by his naval masters. Until 3 July the schooner remained in harbour while she was overhauled and repaired. Palliser arrived in the 50-gun Guernsey, whence was taken the man who was to be Cook's mate for the next two and a half years, and in future years an admiral, William

1 Admiralty to Navy Board, 13 April 1764, Nmm, Adm/A/2558. Stephens to Palliser, 13 April, in answer to his of 4 April; agreeing with all his suggestions, and saying, ‘Their Lordships have commended Mr Cook to the Navy Board to be appointed Master of the said Vessel & when you acquaint me with the name of the Mate their Lordships will order the Navy Board to pay him an additional Allowance of three Shillings a day Assistant Surveyor.’—Adm 2/704. Cook to Stephens, 21 April (on conduct money, carriage of seamen's chests, and bedding), Atl, Holograph Letters; Admiralty to Navy Board, 23 April (conduct money, etc.); 24 April (manning of the Grenville—two men from Pearl, Tweed, Lark, Zephyr, Spy); 27 April (Navy Board to repay Cook for repair of surveying instruments and provisions of others).—ADM/A/2558. Stephens to Cook, 23 April (on conduct money, etc.), Adm 2/724, Atl Hol. Lett.; to captains Spy, Pearl, Tweed, Zephyr, 24 April (on loan of men), Adm 2/90; to Captain Thompson, Lark, 24 April (to take out Cook and his men and lend him two men), Adm 2/91; to Palliser, 30 April (on loan of men), Adm 2/724; to Palliser, 2 May (on directions to Cook), printed in H. Carrington, Life of Captain Cook, 38. There are a few other formal letters on this season's work in Atl, Holograph Letters, item 3 in which seems to be Grenville letter book, not in Cook's hand.

2 Navy Board warrant, 18 April 1764, Atl, Hol. Lett.

3 Palliser to Cook, 29 April 1764, Atl, Hol. Lett.

4 Cook's Grenville log and journal, 14 June 1764–15 November 1767, in seven parts, make up Adm 52/1263, parts 1, 2, and 6 the log, parts 3, 5, and 7 the journal: there is not very much difference between them, and neither log nor journal is in Cook's hand, though each part is signed by him. The title-pages of parts 3 and 5 are rather fancy productions, and in part 5 ‘Schooner’ becomes ‘Brigg’. Some of the journal, though not by any means all of it, seems to be kept in civil time; the log is now and again a little fuller. Most of the quotations in the present account are from the journal, with occasional recourse to the log, but it does not seem necessary to give constant references beyond the dates in the text.

page 80 Parker; and on 4 July the Grenville ran out of the harbour and stood north. Palliser had decided that the season's survey should be a continuation of that on the north coast in 1763, from Bauld Cape westward and then down the western coast a certain distance.1 Two days were spent on the way at anchor in Carouge harbour, a small place some forty miles south of the cape, fitting the boats' oars and making small flags for the survey; then for a week the schooner was moored in Noddy harbour while Sacred Bay, a little to the west, with its numerous islets, rocks and shoals, was sounded and surveyed. We see the system: 14 July, ‘went into the Bay Sacre, Measured a Base Line and fix'd Flaggs on the Different Islands, &c.’ Flags were fixed on ‘Cape de Ognon’—Onion Cape, one of the entrance points. Another week was spent in Pistolet Bay, farther west again, the boats out sounding, Cook busy with his instruments; then they plyed up to Cape Norman, the most northern point of the island, with a boat between ship and shore, anchoring for two days south-east of the cape, in a small harbour mainly formed by islands, called Cook's Harbour. On 2 August, ‘At Noon took the Suns Meridian altitude on shore and found Cape Norman to be in Latitude 51°39′ North’; on 3 August, ‘at 6 Am the Master with the Cutter went ashore to Continue the Survey, Stood to the westward about a League off shore, brought too and sounded every mile’: the pattern is clear, as the schooner moves from harbour to harbour, the boats sounding, Cook with his theodolite on shore as much as possible, fixing his flags, measuring, sighting, Parker no doubt drawing carefully from offshore. On 6 August the log registers misfortune.
2pm Came on board the Cutter with the Master who unfortunately had a Large Powder Horn blown up & Burst in his hand which shatter'd it in a Terrible manner and one of the people that stood hard by suffered greatly by the same accident and having no Surgeon on board Bore away for Noddy Harbour where a French fishing ship Lay, at 8 sent the Boat in for the French surgeon at 10 the Boat returned with the Surgeon, at 11 Anchord in Noddy Harbour in 6 fathom water.
This untoward affair seems to have disabled Cook as an active surveyor for the rest of the month, though not as a commander. It was his right hand; it healed, but it bore a gash between the thumb and forefinger, and a large scar as far as the wrist, that had an identifying function fifteen years later. The schooner lay in Noddy Harbour till 25 August. Parker was sent off to survey Griguet Bay and the coast as far as White Cape to the south; the men, employed

1 Palliser to Cook, 19 June 1764, Atl, Hol. Lett.

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2. Whitby Harbour in the mid-eighteenth century Water-colour drawing by unknown artist

2. Whitby Harbour in the mid-eighteenth century
Water-colour drawing by unknown artist

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3. ‘Draught of the Bay and Harbour of Gaspee’, 1758 Cook's first published map

3. ‘Draught of the Bay and Harbour of Gaspee’, 1758
Cook's first published map

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4. ‘Plan of the Harbour of Great and Little St Laurence’ By Cook. Inset in a chart of the south coast of Newfoundland, 1765

4. ‘Plan of the Harbour of Great and Little St Laurence’
By Cook. Inset in a chart of the south coast of Newfoundland, 1765

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5. Sir Hugh Palliser, by George Dance

5. Sir Hugh Palliser, by George Dance

page 81 at ship tasks and ‘brewing of Spruce Essence’—brewing ‘spruce beer’, that is—grew a little restive, and even the excellent Peter Flower, Cook's senior hand, was with two others ‘Confin'd to the Deck for Drunkness and Mutiny’, the ringleader in this crime being further punished ‘by running the Gantlope’; but on 26 August the vessel was doubling back to resume her work, and from the end of the month Cook was on shore day by day pretty continually. He marked the ‘Indian Path’ behind the ‘Strait Coast’ between Open Bay and Sandy Bay; was anchored for ten days in St Genevieve Bay, during which we have such log entries as that for 14 September, ‘PM the Mastr with the Cutter went on shore with five Days provisions, in order to go on with the Survey’, and then day after day, with slight changes of wording, ‘the Master with the Cutter Employ'd on the Survey’, as he moved on to Old Ferolle—until, on 28 September, ‘the Cutter with the Assistant went to Survey the Bay of St Margaret’. This, with Point Ferolle, jutting out between it and the large St John Bay, was the southern limit of the survey on the western coast for 1764, and perhaps the accident of 1 October aided the decision: ‘AM sent the Boats to sound off and about point Ferrol, the small Boat got ashore on one of the Ledges which Bilg'd and fill'd, with the Assistance of the Cutter the people were Saved.’ Cook spent three days wooding, watering, and brewing, before sailing back round the north and east coasts to St John's, where he was moored on 14 October. On 1 November he sailed for England, had a good deal of stormy weather, put into Cutwater on 4 December, and was at Woolwich on the 12th. Thence he wrote to the Admiralty a letter which anticipated a busy winter. He had fair copies to draw of the surveys he had made this last summer, he said, which would occasion him sometimes to be absent from the schooner he commanded, and he proposed that she should be ordered to Deptford, where she would lie safer than at Woolwich. The Lords acquiesced.1
The master had now his own house to go to, for the practice of a few months' domesticity; and here, on 14 December, simultaneously with his own arrival, he and Mrs Cook and the young James were joined by a second son, Nathaniel. We may infer pleasure on Cook's part, perhaps even a temporary inattention to the demands of his profession. If that were so, it could not have lasted long: there were his charts, and there was his ship. While the Grenville was at Deptford

1 Cook to Stephens, 13 December 1764, Atl, leaf from Grenville letter-book stuck in Hick's Endeavour log. Stephens to Cook, 18 December 1764, Adm 2/725; Dixson Library, Ms, Q140, 2.

page 82 this winter not merely did she have necessary repairs—her bottom was ‘Very much eat with worms’, he reported—but her rig was altered from a schooner's fore and aft to the square rig of a brig. The suggestion came from Cook himself, in a letter to the Navy Board tactful as well as persuasive:


The masts sails and rigging of His Majesty's Schooner the Grenville being all or the most part of them Condemned by Survey, Permit me to set forth the utility of having her rigg'd into a Brigg, as I presume it may now be Done without much additional expence to the Crown, for Schooners are the worst of vessels to go upon any Discovery, for in meeting with any unexpected Danger their staying cannot be Depended upon, and for want of sail to Lay a Back they run themselves ashore before they wear; this I experienced in the Grenville schooner Last summer in the Straights of Belle Islse, when I see the Condition her Bottom is in it supprizeth me that she ever came off. A Brigg hath all these advantages over a schooner besides many more I could name, was I not applying to Gentlemen better acquainted with those things than my self. I only mean to give somereasons for my request, and pray you will be pleas'd to take these into your Consideration, and if they appear reasonable to order her to be rigg'd into a Brigg, as I Cannot help thinking but that it will enable me to Carry on the Survey with greater Dispatch, and Less Danger of Loosing the Vessel than she is at present.1

In this proposal the Gentlemen of the Navy Board—‘Your Affectionate Friends’, as they habitually subscribed themselves—in their turn acquiesced.

Palliser had his own plea, that the permanent complement of the vessel should be raised to twenty, which would avoid the inconvenicnces of borrowing men from the other ships of his squadron and returning them on time, and the inclination of such men to desert from a ship not their own; and as she was now thus independent she was given also her own armament of six swivel guns and twelve muskets.2 This refit and the taking in of stores occupied three months from the middle of January 1765. On 28 April Cook sailed from the Downs for the summer's work. He had it planned: passing Cape Race in hard gales and squalls he went straight to an anchor in Great St Lawrence harbour, on the south-western side of Placentia

1 Cook to Navy Board [22 January 1765], Dixson Library, Ms, Q 140, 6. The letter, undated, appears among a number in the Dixson Library apparently extracted from the Grenville's letter-book; the date is ascertainable from the Navy Board's reply, 6 February 1765 (from the same source), which begins, ‘In return to your Letter of 22nd past,’. The remark on worms is in another undated letter, Atl, in the stray letter-book leaf referred to in the previous note.

2 Palliser to Stephens, 6 March 1765, Adm 1/2300; Stephens to Cook, 5 April, Adm 2/725.

page 83 Bay, on 2 June. Here showed the advantage of a self-complete ship and crew: he could at once begin surveying the twin harbours of St Lawrence. To appreciate fully his work over the next five months it is necessary to study the Grenville's journal line by line and follow inch by inch the extraordinarily complicated coast that emerged on the chart, the mass of bays and harbours and inlets, capes and headlands, off-lying islands and rocks and shoals—the whole middle section of the southern Newfoundland coast—as Cook moved round the corner, as it were, from his St Lawrence base into Fortune Bay, up one side of it and down the other, and round to what was called (and he called) the Bay of Despair: a name now, by contrary, the Bay d'Espoir, though pronounced by local tenacity Bay Despair. He knew where he was going, there were plenty of names there already—fishermen had been using that coast for two hundred and fifty years; but this was precision. He spent a great deal of time on shore or in the cutter: as early as 12 June we have the entry, ‘AM the Cutter with the Master & Pilot Left the Vessel to Continue the Survey along the Coast’. The Grenville followed along, or remained at her moorings, as Cook pursued his instrumental work on shore, or took cross-bearings from the ship, and the boats were out sounding—here a day, there two days, a fortnight at Great St Lawrence to begin with, a week in Lawn Bay, a little to the west, a week within the Lamaline islands, a week in Harbour Breton in August, a fortnight in Ship Cove at the northern end of ‘Bay Dispair’ towards the end of the survey. The nature of the country was indicated by an episode of 14 July, when at Great Garnish, on the southern shore of Fortune Bay, ‘at 8 PM took two men on board that had been lost in the woods for near a month, they came from Burin intending to go to St Lawrence and were almost perishing for want of Subsistance’; and Burin was only a few miles north of St Lawrence, on the same side of the Burin peninsula. The nature of the coast is indicated by the accident a week later, when in the morning the ship—the surveying vessel herself, the brig, not the schooner—turning into Long Harbour, at the end of Fortune Bay, ran ashore upon a rock, had to be sheared up with her own yards, lightened of her water and ballast, and was not got off until midnight on a flowing tide. After completing the survey from Ship Cove on 25 September Cook overhauled and cleaned her down thoroughly; it took the carpenter some days properly to repair her forefoot. There was time to brew spruce beer again. He sailed from Ship Cove on 10 October to St John's, was for almost a fortnight in that fishy landlocked harbour, and sailed again, with Palliser and the rest of the squadron, on page 84 5 November. The winter gales were coming up across the Atlantic, but on 17 December the Grenville was moored once more in ease at Deptford.

We have two letters of this winter from Palliser to the Admiralty secretary, bearing on the survey. The first reminds us that, while Cook was the full-time surveyor on the Newfoundland station, the captains also employed there were not exempt from the duties of observing and reporting and drawing what charts they could, and that even the commodore and governor found it wise to explain what might look remiss.

Mr Cook the Surveyor having been Employ'd under my Directions upon the Coasts where I have been Employ'd in His Majesty's Ship Guernsey, I beg leave to refer the Board to his Drafts and Remarks, & as the several Services I have had under my care have not allow'd me time to make such Surveys and Remarks myself, I desire you will be Pleas'd to move their Lordships to Signifie to the Navy Board that they have no Objection to their Paying my Wages.1

The second comes closer to the interests of the Surveyor himself.

Sir/Mr Cook Apointed by the Right Honble my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to Survey the Sea Coast of Newfoundland, under my Direction, having finish'd his Chart of that part of the South Coast of Newfoundland Adjacent to the Islands of St Pierre and Miquelon Including the said Islands; upon a large Scale of one Inch to a Mile, you will herewith receive the said Chart, which be pleas'd to lay before the Right Honble my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.

He having also the last Year deliver'd in to the Board his Survey of the North part of Newfoundland upon the same Scale, and having now prepar'd a Chart of that part with the Oposite part of the Coast of Labradore, including the Island and Straights of Bell Isle, likewise another of the abovemention'd Survey of part of the South Coast of Newfoundland, both upon a proper Scale to be usefull to the Trade and Navigation of His Majesty's Subjects, as a Publication thereof, I am of Opinion will be a great Encouragement to new Advanturers on the Fishery's upon these Coasts; be pleas'd to move their Lordships to permit Mr Cook to Publish the same.2

This letter Mr Stephens minuted on 17 February. ‘Their Lordps are pleased to comply with his reqt by permitting Mr Cook to publish them.’

1 Palliser to Stephens, 14 December 1765, Adm 1/2300.

2 Palliser to Stephens, 3 February 1766, Adm 1/470. Kitson, 79–80, first printed this letter, rather inaccurately, and made the date 1768.

page 85

It may seem odd that the Admiralty, having appointed Cook specifically, in the national interest, to improve the general knowledge of the coasts of Newfoundland, and bearing the expenses of an annual survey, should be content to stop there, to accept the careful charts he brought back and put them in a cupboard and do no more. They could be copied, by hand, no doubt, for any particular naval need; but, a large number of seafaring men might have said, how absurd! And if that was to be the fate of the work which every naval captain and master was directed in set and stringent words to carry out, could captains and masters be blamed for sometimes taking instructions lightly? The admiralty had no hydrographic department—did not have one until 1795—and no hydrographer. Britain, for a competitive sea power, lagged ridiculously behind France, where the Depô;t des Cartes et Plans de la Marine dated from 1720, and where a coruscation of geographers and cartographers were at work. The Admiralty engraved nothing and published nothing; the map and chart trade was a matter for private commerical enterprise, and however, conscientious some of those engaged in it might be, the general tendency was not towards scientific exactitude, the old chart appeared and re-appeared for generations, and stationers saw no need to blush. Cook had words of his own, later, with which to record his opinion of this British habit. At least the Admiralty put no obstacle in the way of a public servant like himself who wished to try a better article on the market; he was welcome to take the risk of having his own chart, made at the public expense, engraved and published at his own expense. Fortunately he was able to bear the cost: his surveyor's allowance added to his pay as master gave him a margin above the ordinary needs of subsistence. Very soon, therefore, after receiving Admiralty consent Cook must have gone to J. Larken, a highly accomplished engraver, with his manuscript charts—perhaps at the suggestion of Mount and Page, who had published his chart of Gaspé. He may have had time to oversee the engraving himself if Larken worked hard, but that would have meant the production of two elaborate plates in two months, which is most unlikely. Both were published in 1766. The first was ‘A Chart of the Straights of Bellisle with part of the coast of Newfoundland and Labradore from actual surveys Taken by Order of Commodore Pallisser Governor of Newfoundland, Labradore, &ca by James Cook Surveyor 1766.’ That is, it was the result of the latter part of Cook's work in 1763 and the Grenville survey of 1764. The second, produced in two sheets, was ‘A Chart, of Part of the South Coast, of Newfoundland, including the Islands St Peters and Miquelon, from page 86 an actual survey Taken by order of Commodore Pallisser … by James Cook, Surveyor … 1766.’1 This was a combination of the first part of his work in 1763 and what he had just finished in 1765. Both these charts were on a scale of one inch to one league. Both were accompanied by quarto pamphlets of sailing directions, also by Cook and published at his expense. The first chart was sold by Mount and Page; the second by them, and also by Thomas Jefferys of the St Lawrence chart and Andrew Dury. The two together must be regarded as very distinguished achievement. Yet they did not drive from the market the Newfoundland delineation of 1677, first published in 1689 in The English Pilot The Fourth Book, the property of Messrs Mount and Page, which remained steadfastly uninfluenced by Cook, to mislead sailors who patronised that firm rather than Jefferys' until its last edition of 1794.

Apart from this important matter, there is little we know of Cook's activities in the winter of 1765–6. His correspondence is always interesting and enlightening. A letter to him from the Admiralty secretary, of 17 March, in answer to one of his two days earlier, shows both that he was beginning to get quick attention and that he was developing his surveying technique by preparing to spend an even longer time on shore. He now wanted a tent for shelter by night and in bad weather, as he frequently had to be absent from his schooner (he still calls her that) for a week or ten days, and Stephens signifies official approval.2 The schooner herself, in dock at Deptford, was undergoing a little alteration: ‘The Carpenters employ'd sinking the Deck Foreward', says the journal for 3 February. She was out of dock by 22 February and at the ‘Catherine Yatch's moorings’ till 19 April. Next day she set sail down the river, and on 29 May 1766 found herself rather too close to Cape Race, with ‘many Islds of Ice along the Coast’. Cook made straight for the point where he had abandoned the survey at the end of the previous season. The coast was its continuation in nature as well as in line, and his tent got a great deal of use. While Cook was away with the cutter and its crew, Parker, one presumes, supervised the sounding from the boats and wrote up the log and journal. With Cook went—one also presumes—the local men he employed ‘to point out to him the hidden dangers’, as a means of pushing on the work.3 The history

1 They are fully described in Skelton, 24–5, and Skelton and Tooley, Marine Surveys, 14–16.

2 Stephens to Cook, 17 March 1766, Adm 2/726.

3 Admiralty to Navy Board, 12 February 1767, directing that the sum of £16 16s, which Cook had expended on this service, be repaid to him.—ADM/A/2592.

page 87 becomes almost a table of dates and anchorages. From 1 to 6 June the Grenville was moored in a cove on the west side of Bonne Bay, a small bay between the ‘Bay of Despair’ and ‘Bay Fochee’—Facheux Bay. Next day she sounded the coast along to the latter bay, was moored there with a hawser on shore till the 17th, the following morning sounded about a sunken rock three leagues off Cape La Hune, then surveyed the Penguin islands in the same vicinity, then for ten days was moored in Cape Cove, enclosed by the irregular peninsula of triple-peaked Cape La Hune. Here she was hauled ashore for scrubbing, and beer was brewed. In early July she was in ‘Fox Island Harbour’, a good deal of summer fog and rain interfering with the survey; then in a cove, probably Ship Cove, in the off-shore Ramea Islands; then, 17–22 July, in a harbour to the westward of White Bear Bay—to judge from the marks on the chart, Wolf Bay or Bay de Loup, where there is good anchorage between the steep-to shores. On 23 July she sailed off shore again to the Burgeo Islands, in thick fog, where she was moored in ‘Grandy's Cove’ till 5 August. Almost all through this period there was fog—which did not, however, stop the survey—until the last day, when it most fortunately cleared. Cook was able to observe an eclipse of the sun; knowing his habits in conferring names, we may conclude that this was on the minute Eclipse island. Why should he wish to observe an eclipse of the sun? He does not say, though when he observes an eclipse later in his life we are well enough aware of the reason. We may suspect Charles Leadbetter, to whose Compleat System of Astronomy he had given such close attention. Leadbetter had a passion for eclipses, he discoursed on them, made tables of them for years ahead, preached their utility to the mariner; for that person ‘being well skill'ed in Astronomy, he may, by the Knowledge of Eclipses … determine the true Difference of Meridians between London, and the Meridian where the Ship then is; which reduc'd into Degrees and Minutes of the Equator, is the true Longitude found at Sea.’1 There were certain complicating factors with which the mariner could not at that time deal, nor indeed could Leadbetter. Cook preferred to make his observations on land, and having made them, he did not know what to do next. But he fancied they would be of utility: there were other men better able to calculate, and he could hand his figures over. This was true. The exercise might give him a valuable point of reference in constructing an accurate chart. That was important. It

1 The quotation is from the second and third pages of the Preface to the fairly formidable Leadbetter of 1728. He recommends knowledge also of the ‘Immersions and Emersions of Jupiter's Satellites, and the Times of the Transits of the Moon by the Fixed Stars and Planets’—quite useless to preach to mariners.

page 88 was to have more than immediate importance; for it brought him into the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Back from the islands to the main, to ‘Connure’ or Connoire Bay (the engraved chart straightens out the odd phonetic spellings of the log), and then ‘Tweed's Harbour’, 16–28 August: a name we must probably carry back to Captain Douglas's survey in the Tweed in 1763, and see as applying to Cinq Cerf Bay. Then a maze of small harbours and islets off shore which brought the vessel to Port aux Basques, not far short of Cape Ray, for the fortnight 10–23 September, during which her sails and rigging were overhauled, and she was scrubbed and ‘boot-topped’.1 Here the survey was extraordinarily detailed. Around Cape Ray a week was spent in Codroy Road, just south of Cape Anguille. Not merely was the coast between the two capes delineated, but the rivers, for some distance inland. Then Cook turned back on his tracks, to La Poile Bay, on the south coast; he moved about the bay in rain, gales and hard squalls, with much snow and frost, wooding and watering as well as surveying, until 20 October, when he sailed for St John's. He reached it on the 27th. Palliser was there, in the Guernsey, with three other vessels of his squadron, including the 32-gun frigate Niger, Captain Sir Thomas Adams. On board the Niger, lately returned from her patrol of the Strait of Belle Isle, was Joseph Banks, a botanical young gentleman who had been taking a voyage of scientific curiosity. Cook was to see a good deal of him before the decade was out, but it is unlikely that he met him this day, and on the next the Niger sailed for Lisbon and England. Had Cook arrived two days earlier they might well have met at the ball with which the governor on 25 October celebrated the anniversary of the Coronation of George III; although (Banks tells us) it was ladies, not gentlemen, that Palliser was short of.2 Cook himself sailed on 4 November, and with almost continual westerlies was across the Atlantic and up Channel off Beachy Head nineteen days later: on 30 November he was at Deptford, having brought his ship there from Woolwich, by allowance of the Lords, ‘for greater safety.’3

This winter at home was for Cook much like the last. At Mile End he enjoyed the company of his Elizabeth and his two infant sons. He arranged for the publication of a third chart. This incorporated part of his second one, some of it re-engraved, with the work of the 1766

1 Boot-topping a ship meant cleaning the upper part of her bottom, and ‘paying’ or covering it with a mixture of tallow, sulphur, and perhaps other ingredients to discourage marine growth.

2 The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks (Sydney, 1962), I, 14.

3 Stephens to Cook, 27 November 1766, Adm 2/726.

page 89 season. The engraver was again Larken, and again the title included the compelling phrase ‘actual surveys’: ‘A Chart of Part of the South Coast of Newfoundland including the Islands St Peters and Miquelon with the Southern Entrance into the Gulph of St Laurence from actual Surveys Taken by order of Commodore Pallisser Governor of Newfoundland, Labradore, &c. by James Cook Surveyor, Larken sculp. 1767.’1 The name of a fourth retailer was added to the imprint, Carington Bowles, so that the way between Cook the publisher and his public was now reasonably open. While his name was thus kept before seafarers, it was brought to the more scientific by Dr John Bevis, a physician, devoted astronomer and person of standing in the Royal Society, who communicated to the Society a brief paper on Cook's eclipse observations. Why Cook should have communicated them to Bevis we cannot say, unless he looked for a man whose interest in eclipses was well known. Bevis himself had to call for help on a fellow astronomer and more expert mathematician, George Witchell, who had worked out a method for clearing an observation for refraction and parallax. The paper was not read until 30 April 1767, after Cook had sailed for the new season's work, and as it has not been correctly printed since it appeared in the Transactions2 may be given in full here as Bevis wrote it.

An Observation of An Eclipse of the Sun at the Island of New-found-land. Aug. 5–1766 by Mr James Cook, with the Longitudes of the Place of Observation deduced from it, communicated by J. Bevis M.D. F.R.S.

Mr Cook, a good mathematician, and very expert in his Business, having been appointed by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to Survey the Sea coasts of New-found-land, Labradore &c., took with him a very good apparatus of Instruments, and among them a brass Telescopic Quadrant made by Mr John Bird.

Being Aug. 5th 1766 at one of the Burgeo Islands near Cape Ray, Latd. 47de;36′19″, the South-west extremity of New-found-land, and having carefully rectified his Quadrant, he waited for the Eclipse of the Sun; just a minute after the beginning of which he observed the Zenith Distance of the Suns upper Limb 31°57′00″, and allowing for Refraction and his Semidiameter, the true Zenith Distance of the Sun's Centre 32°13′30″, from whence he concluded the Eclipse to have begun at 0h4′48″ Apparent Time, and by a like process to have ended at 3h45′26″ App.T.

Note, there were three several observers, with good Telescopes, who all agreed as to the moments of beginning and ending.

Mr Cook having communicated his observation to me, I shewed it to

1 Described by Skelton, 25; Skelton and Tootey, 16–17.

2 It was printed in the Philosophical Transactions for that year, LVII, 215–6.

page 90 Mr George Witchell, who told me he had a very exact observation of the same Eclipse taken at Oxford by the Rev: Mr Hornsby, and he woud compute from the comparison the Difference of Longitude of the places of observation, makeing due allowance for the effect of parallax, and the earths prolate spheroidal figure; and he has since given me the following result.
5h23′59″ Beginn. at Oxford 7h7′ 5″ End at Oxford
0.46.48 Beginn. at Borgeo Isles 3.39.14 End at Borgeo Isles.
4.37.11 3.27.51
– 51.49 Effect of Parallax &c + 17.35 Effect of Parallax &c
3.45.22 Diff. of Meridians 3.45.26 Diff. of Meridians
J. Bevis.

This result, in terms of longitude measured not from Oxford but from London, as Cook put it on his chart, was equivalent to 3h.50m.4sec. or 57°31′ W. The modern determination is 57°37′ W of Greenwich, or 57°27′ from London—which argues remarkably good observation on Cook's part with his telescopic quadrant. From his figure he deduced for his sailing directions the longitudes of a number of other places on the south coast, adding latitudes from observations made on shore. Obviously he had now acquired the taste for astronomical determination of the longitude. On 11 March he wrote to the Admiralty suggesting that he should be given nothing so humdrum as a tent, but a reflecting telescope for the purpose, representing (to use the secretary's words, which would be much of a transcription of his own) ‘the great Utility it would be to Navigation to take the Longitude of the Head Lands on the Island of Newfoundland, and on the Continent of America’, and the frequent opportunities he had of doing it; and the Lords instructed the Navy Board to furnish him with the article accordingly.1

Meanwhile the Grenville was having her annual refit. A certain light is cast on naval administration by the note in her master's journal for 10 March, that on that day the ship's company received twelve months wages. The master himself had received a new mate. William Parker at the end of the 1766 voyage was promoted lieutenant, as master's mates frequently were when masters were not. He went to the Niger, and was succeeded by Michael Lane. Lane, a product of the mathematical school of Christ's Hospital and a young man of great ability, had been appointed, as we have seen, to the Antelope when Graves thought of him as a substitute for the defaulting Mr Test; Palliser in turn had had him transferred to the Guernsey in

1 Stephens to Cook, 24 March 1767, Adm 2/727.

page 91 1764;1 and now it seems Cook approved of him. ‘On a second conversation with Mr Cook,’ wrote Palliser to Stephens, ‘I wish you to alow me to recomend for his assistant (in lieu of the young man I before mention'd) Mr Mich Lane Schoolmaster of the Guernsy who draws well, is master of Surveying, was brought up in the blue coat School, served afterwards as Apprentice to Capt Denis, who is his friend & Patron at whose recomendation I took him into the Guernsy.—Mr Cook waits on you with this.—The other young man has a desire to go another way.’2 Mr Stephens agreed at once, and Mr Lane entered upon his highly distinguished career as a surveyor of the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts.

The Grenville was ready to sail by 1 April 1767, when a pilot came on board to carry her to Woolwich, but even a pilot for that short passage in unpleasant weather could not prevent an accident: on the 5th ‘at 8 Am a Collier Named the Three Sisters Thomas Bloyd Master of Sunderland in Coming Down the River fell athwart our hause & carried away our Bowsprit Cap & Jibb Boom.’ They hauled alongside the David sloop, got replacements from on shore, had them rigged in a day or two, picked up their ordnance stores at Woolwich and Gravesend, and were off on the 10th. There was a good deal of bad language over this misadventure, it is alleged, and James Cook, the navy master, was prepared to give Thomas Bloyd the merchant master a piece of his mind, when he found that they had been schoolboys together in the Ayton days, and recrimination was dissolved into reminiscence. It is not impossible; but it is absurd that the incident, though typical enough of Thames navigation with its currents and cross-winds, should have been transferred to Cook's next ship in the next year. Cape Race was picked up on 9 May, when we have another characteristic little note in the journal, ‘NB Longitude Made from Scilly to Cape Race 44°10′ Wt. ‘This must have been a dead reckoning longitude.

Repeating his strategy of the previous year Cook went direct to his 1766 breaking-off point, the anchorage in Codroy Road, where he brought to on 15 May—his object being to complete the survey of the west coast, from Cape Anguille to Point Ferolle, his southern limit in 1763. This included a fairly straight stretch of shoreline, but

1 Palliser to Stephens, 7 April 1764, Adm 1/2300; Stephens to Palliser, 7 April, Adm 2/724.

2 Palliser to Stephens, 2 December 1766, and minute by Stephens thereon, Adm 1/2300. The ‘blue coat School’ refers to the Mathematical School or side at Christ's Hospital, founded in 1763 specifically for the training of boys for navigation: Captain Denis or Dennis commanded the Bellona, in which Lane was schoolmaster; ‘apprentice’ I do not understand, unless Lane was to further his knowledge of practical navigation under Dennis's care; who ‘the other young man’ was I do not know.

page 92 also three large bays and some smaller ones. As in the previous year, he hired the services of some men who knew the neighbourhood well,1 and the season's work was quick as well as exceedingly thorough. From Codroy he went into St George's Bay, unsheltered except for the harbour and river at its northern end, encountering on shore ‘a Tribe of the Mickmack Indians’; and then round the cliff-sided Cape St George, Red island and a long narrow peninsula into doublebayed Port au Port. It was now the beginning of June, a month when the winds embarrassed though they hardly interrupted the work: 5 June, ‘Landed on the Isthmus [at the head of East Bay] & took the true Bearing of C. Anguille’; 6 June, employed all day in sounding the bay; 8 June, sounding, brewing, wooding and watering; 12 June, the foretopsail yard gave way in the slings, and another one had to be cut; 15 June, ‘Sounding about a Shoal which lies between [Fox] Island & the Main’; 19 June, ‘Sounding in the Vessel only it blowing too hard for the Boat’; 23 June, James Surridge, a seaman, died; 29 June, ‘having finished Port aux Port and the Adjacent Coast It blowing very hard Obliged us to put into the Bay of Three Islands.’ The three islands were no doubt those at the entrance that Cook called Pearl, Tweed and Guernsey after the ships of Palliser's squadron, but there were others including an Eagle and a Governors, and on the chart we have simply the Bay of Islands. Here he was employed for a week, after which he went for ten days into what the journal refers to as Good Bay—most probably Bonne Bay, in spite of the Small Good Bay where he anchored farther up the coast; a week more almost without anchoring brought him to ‘Ingrenachoise’—Ingornachoix—Bay, of which Point Riche is the northern limit, with its three separate inner harbours to be surveyed, Hawke's, Saunders, and Keppel. ‘Found riding here a New England Sloop’—he met few other vessels—and then came in H.M. sloop Favourite, on the station. On the other side of the Point Riche peninsula is Old Port au Choix, at the southern end of the large open bay of St John, which runs round in the north to Point Ferolle. In this little port he hauled his ship ashore to clean her bottom, and left her while he went in the boat to survey the bay; then for some days he sounded as well from the ship, as far as six leagues out to sea. On 25 August he found ‘Our Ladies Bubies Nebn’; they become on the engraved chart (and we have a slight sense of Victorianism, a century too soon) Twin Islands. On 31 August he was back in the Bay of Islands, in York harbour, close to the entrance, at the beginning of twenty-three days of most

1 Minutes of Admiralty Board, 5 April 1768, Adm 3/76. This year they cost him £12 16s.

page 93 arduous work; for there was not merely the bay proper and its dozen islands to survey accurately (the week in July was not nearly enough), but also fifteen miles of the Humber arm (the ‘River Humber’) and the river openings into it, about eighteen miles of the divided Middle (‘South’) Arm, and nine of the North Arm; and there were still, as there had been from the start of the season, gales and squalls. The end came: on 24 September the Grenville worked out of the harbour, carried away her foretopmast three days later, and on 14 October met Palliser and his squadron in St John's harbour. Topmast replaced, she sailed on 23 October, and after a remarkably quick Atlantic passage was in the Channel in sight of the Isle of Wight on 8 November: next day she picked up a Deal pilot.

This return to the Thames brushed disaster more closely than the minor collision at the moment of departure. The afternoon of 10 November turned to vile weather—‘a hard Storm of Wind & Excesive heavy Squalls and showers of Rain’—and Cook took in his fore topsail. One may best quote his journal:

at 4 Anchored above the Nore light it bearing ESE in 7 fathm water with the small Bower and Veerd away to a whole Cable, that bringing her up let go Best Bower and Veerd away upon Both to a Cable & at 1/2 upon one & 1/2 Cable upon the other, was then in 6 fath Water, Struck yards & Topmasts. At 6 the Best Bower parted & we taild into shoal water & at 7 She Struck very hard; got a Spring upon the small Bower Cable, & cut the Cable in order to Cast her Head to the Soward & get her under Sail but the Spring Gave way & She cast to the Northward & directly a Shore upon a Shoal called the Knock; got the Topsail Yards & Cross Jack Yards down upon Deck & She lay pretty Easy until the f[1]ood made when the Gale still continuing she struck very hard & lay down upon her Larboard bilge; hoisted out the Boats & hove every thing overboard from off the Decks & Secured all the Hatchways, at 12 at Night there being no prospect of the gale ceasing took all the People away in the Boats, the Cutter made the Best of her way to Sheerness for Assistance. At 10 Am [on the 11th] the Wear being modt came on Board with proper Assistance from Sheerness Yard in order to get the Vessel off & found she had received Little Damage, began to lighten her by heaving out Shingle Ballast & Pigs of Iron Ballast &c and to lay out Anchors to heave her off.

In the afternoon the weather moderated. ‘At high water’ continues the journal, ‘the Vessel floted, hove her of & made Sail for Sheerness, at 5 anchored between Sheerness & the Nore light, Emp[loyed] Clearing the Decks & putting the Hold to rights.’ Next day the necessary spars and stores were brought off from the yard, the Deal pilot (whose part in all this, if any, is unnoticed) was discharged and a river pilot taken on board, a morning was spent rigging the yards page 94 and bending sails, and the vessel sailed again. On 15 November, ‘At 9 [AM] lashed along side the William & Mary Yatch off Deptford Yard’. That little flurry was over.

When Cook was on shore with the cutter at Sheerness he wrote a hasty note to Stephens, reporting the misadventure, and identifying the scene in rather different words, as ‘a shoal called the South End, the Upper End of Shoebury Ness’; and he wrote again immediately they had got the schooner off.1 Nothing seems to have gone that was not expendable, except perhaps an Indian canoe belonging to Mr Joseph Banks, the Niger's passenger of the 1766 season. Mr Banks had not lost his interest in Newfoundland and Labrador: Palliser had secured some costumes for him at Chateau Bay, and Captain Andrew Wilkinson of the Niger this canoe, which he sent home in the Grenville. It was either washed overboard or Cook hove it overboard with everything else on deck—‘tho I have not been able to see Mr Cook to ask him about it,’ wrote Wilkinson, ‘… but if you'll please to send to him he will let you know whether there are any hopes of getting it by Advertising… .’2 We do not know whether Banks took up this suggestion. Cook, arriving home, found that he had now a daughter, a second Elizabeth in the family. He was soon busy over his drawing-table and the composition of his sailing-directions, keeping an eye as usual on the Grenville at Deptford. He sent a fourth chart to Larken to be engraved, ‘A Chart of the West Coast of Newfoundland … by James Cook, Surveyor’, the fruit of his summer's work—from the sale of which Carington Bowles was excluded; and there were sailing-directions printed to go with this. He did a small private job of technical drawing for Palliser, to define the Palliser landed property.3 He resolved the next season's work. Stimulated no doubt by the death among his crew at Port au Port, perhaps also by his own accident in 1764, he decided to ask for the addition of a surgeon's mate to his complement next time the schooner went out. When he asked, early in April, pleading that from the nature of the service the crew were liable to many accidents, as well as to the disorders common to seamen, the Admiralty acquiesced,4—though the log and journal of

1 Stephens to Cook, 12 November 1767 and 13 November (in answer to Cook's letters), Adm 2/727.

2 Wilkinson to Banks, 18 December 1767, Kew Banks Correspondence, I, 15; quoted in The Endeavour Journal, I, 21–2 n. Captain Andrew Wilkinson commanded the Niger from 1767 to 1771.

3 Palliser to Stephens, 30 November 1767, Adm 1/2300: the letter is mainly about manning the Guernsey, with the final paragraph, ‘Mr Pownel has promis'd to fix a day when Mr Cook may go to the office to take a Sketch of our Estates, from the large plan, and I will apply for a Coppy of the conditions &ca.’

4 Stephens to Cook, 11 April 1768, Adm 2/727; Minutes of Adm. Board, 12 April. It may be thought a little strange, administratively, that Stephens's letter conveying the decision should antedate the decision by one day.

page 95 the Grenville are in fact remarkably free from the notation of sickness or accident, as free as they are from that of crime and punishment. There may be some connection. Cook was a careful man. If there was one thing he respected, it was the lives of seamen. Some of his men served with him continuously, hard as the nature of the service was. They could, one imagines, see a purpose in it. In a service of that kind, apart from unforeseeable accident, men were likely to retain both their health and their discipline; and the work to go on.

The work: having considered Cook's methods, one may also consider, briefly, the finished products of his skill in his mid- and late thirties; and one must consider not so much the engraved versions of his charts produced by Larken, although these are accurate and beautiful enough, as the manuscript originals. It is not always easy, or even quite possible, to separate from the products of his own hand some of the copies made by his assistants in a style faithfully modelled on his, or drawn immediately from his surveys by, for instance Parker. Of the fifty or so ‘Cook’ charts preserved in various collections, however, we have God's plenty directly attributable to him, whether large coastal charts or ‘plans’ of ports and harbours. The large charts are indeed tremendous productions: the ‘exact trigonometrical survey’ of the west coast is about ten feet long, on an inch to the mile scale, and includes much inland topographical drawing showing the courses of rivers and the forms of lakes which as one might expect, were not taken over into the engraved versions; or the south coast chart, like the former in the Hydrographic Department of the Admiralty, three inches to the mile, stated to be ‘coppy'd from the original survey taken in the year 1764', and about six feet by three; or the other south coast chart in the same department, an inch to the mile, showing ‘the Sea-coast, Bays, Harbours and Islands’ between the ‘Bay of Despair’ and the two St Lawrence harbours, with inset plans of the harbours of Great and Little St Lawrence, Great Jervis, Harbour Breton, Boxey, Blue Pinion, St Jacques, and ‘Bande de La'Rier' (Bande de l'Arier or Belloram)—about eight feet by five, and a thing almost overpowering in its detail and colour as well as size. This was raising British hydrographic surveying to a new power.

One may analyse some of his construction and design, noting first that in his technique he follows tradition. With his training, it could hardly have been otherwise; his particular characteristic is the precision, the comprehensive and consistent exactitude, with which he applies the tradition. He draws his charts on a plane projection, generally oriented to magnetic north; rays drawn from the points of the compass roses cover the sea areas; the variation of the compass page 96 is often stated. Points where latitude had been determined by observation are sometimes marked by a special symbol, and these latitudes are given in the ‘remarks’ written on the chart. Longitudes are given but rarely. (It was only in 1767 that Cook got his reflecting telescope, we remember, and opportunities for observation in that season of storms, and phenomena in the skies that could usefully be observed, cannot have been many. Perhaps, indeed, he was a little naive in his hopes.) There is no graduation for latitude or longitude, except in a few fair copies in which the meridian is graduated in degrees and minutes. Soundings are given from low water mark, in great plenty; in the plans of harbours inset on a chart, or in any other place where Cook thought they were particularly called for (if one may discriminate) they are set thick. In harbour plans leading lines are generally drawn—that is, the alignments of landmarks as a guide to the channel: a matter touched on, of course, in the sailing directions prepared to go with the chart. High water hours at new and full moon are shown by roman numerals; there are notes on the tides. There are separate symbols for rocks above and below water. Many charts include at their edges remarks on navigation and on the fishery. Occasionally the manuscripts have pecked lines representing the angles observed by Cook by lines of sight to landmarks; in some fair copies there are pencilled squares, drawn to true north, as a guide for reduction by draughtsman or engraver. All these things may appear on other charts, though rarely all together, or so richly: the distinctive characteristic of Cook's manuscripts, it has been said, is the care and fullness with which topographical detail on land is drawn, a good deal of brown and green brushwork marking relief and land-cover, in the manner of military mapping. Cliffs appear in semi-profile, an old convention. The influence of Samuel Holland, we see, persists, long after that meeting on the shore of Kennington Cove. We can see some trace of it in the work of Cook's assistants, Parker and Lane.1

The manuscripts, then, in addition to their technical competence, have some visual interest unmatched by the engravings, accomplished as these are. They have also the interest of displaying Cook's first contributions to topographical nomenclature. There is no difficulty in picking out his most characteristic names: not merely those of the ships on the station, but others like Grenville Rock, Sole bay; those of the English rivers he knew, transferred to wilder streams, Humber,

1 Most of the preceding paragraph is simply a paraphrase of Skelton, 20. I could not hope to approach Mr Skelton's knowledge of the charts, or his critical skill, and he encouraged me to treat him in this way, rather than make a lengthy quotation.

page 97 Thames, Medway; names—the association is obvious—like Grave's Island, Parker's River, Hawke Bay, Port Saunders, Keppel Harbour, They are not as picturesque as some of the older names, but they are another contribution to precision. They are engraved and published. The four engraved charts, consolidated into three, were taken into the Collection of Charts of the Coasts of Newfoundland and Labradore, &c. which Thomas Jefferys published in 1769–70, with charts by Michael Lane, Joseph Gilbert, master of the Guernsey, and other naval officers; and later into that famous volume The North American Pilot. Cook's sailing directions, consolidated into The Newfoundland Pilot, were also published by Jefferys in 1769. Seventy years later, a hundred and more years later, when the professional hydrographers were again at work in that region of North America, the Gulf and its approaches they considered their predecessors. Most of them, they said roundly, were a danger to the seamen: throw away DesBarres and the rest. Two only could be trusted—Cook, and Lane.1
Mr Cook, aware that he was a competent surveyor, but unaware that future ages would regard him as a classic, had plenty to do as the London spring of 1768 came on. Mile End, Deptford, Larken the engraver's, Mr Jefferys' shop, the Admiralty office, Palliser, who had another year to run in his Newfoundland government—one presumes non-professional friends as well as a circle mainly marine: people to see as well as the planning of the season's work, all would have made the weeks busy. He applied to the Admiralty for reimbursement of £28 for the repair of mathematical instruments and the expense of stationery for the ensuing summer, and the Admiralty made the grant on 5 April;2 he wrote on 9 April asking for a surgeon's mate in his vessel's complement, as we have seen, and that was granted him also. It was already a little late for final planning; the previous year the schooner had sailed on 10 April, even after the misadventure with the collier. At that moment there were forces at work in the world, quite alien to any interest the master had here-tofore had, which ordained that he should not sail in the Grenville at all. The same minutes of the Admiralty Board that noted the resolve to repay him his instrument and stationery expenses, noted also a resolve to fit out a vessel to convey ‘to the Southward’ persons intended for a quite different purpose; and the same minutes that dealt

1 The quotations given by Skelton, 19, from Admiral Bayfield and Captain Boulton are highly illuminating. Admiral Wharton, also a very distinguished hydrographer, added his praise, quoted by Kitson, 80. But perfection is granted to no man, and there were minor dangers hidden from Cook.

2 Minutes of Adm. Board, Adm 3/76.

page 98 with the matter of the surgeon's mate, 12 April, provided, in answer to Commodore Palliser's desire, that Mr Lane should be appointed master of the Grenville during Mr Cook's absence, at 5s allowance a day as surveyor over and above the normal schooner's pay, a new mate to be appointed with an allowance of 2s 6d a day.1 The navy, it seems, was to economise. Mr Cook was to be employed elsewhere.

1 ibid. It was not till 1773 that Lane's allowance was raised to the 10s a day given to Cook.—Admiralty to Navy Board 15 January 1773; NMM/ADM/A/2663.

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