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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia

Cook's Second Voyage

Cook's Second Voyage

1772 to 1775

Cook's first voyage had been of such scientific value and brought so much honor to England that the Admiralty decided to send him on a second expedition. The Resolution (462 tons) and the Adventure (336 tons) were equipped for the expedition and Cook, raised to the rank of Commander in the Navy, was given command. Banks was to have accompanied him, but his demands for space on the Resolution for himself and his 12 assistants would have required too many extra accommodations to be built on the ship and Cook decided against them. Banks thereupon relinquished his project and went with his already selected company on a botanical expedi-page 27tion to Iceland. John Reinhold Forster and his son George Forster, who were the botanists chosen to accompany Cook, were an unfortunate selection, as their attitude toward Cook was antagonistic, toward others arrogant and overbearing. Dr. Anders Sparrman, a Swedish botanist, joined the expedition at Cape Town. The artist with the expedition was William Hodges. The Adventure was commanded by Tobias Furneaux, who had previously sailed with Byron on the Dolphin.

Cook sailed from Plymouth on July 13, 1772, for the Cape of Good Hope to search for the "South Continent" between the meridians of the Cape and New Zealand. In January 1773 he crossed the Antarctic Circle and reached latitude 67° S. On March 16 he turned northeast for New Zealand, and on the 26th put in at Dusky Bay in the South Island. He worked up the coast to Queen Charlotte Sound, where he found the Adventure at their rendezvous. He left New Zealand on June 7 to make further search to the east along latitude 40° S. as far as longitude 133° W. Finding no land, he turned north and worked back through the Tuamotu Archipelago to make Tahiti. On August 11 he sighted two islands, which he named Resolution (Tauere) and Doubtful (Tekokoto). On the next day he named another Furneaux (North Marutea), and on the following day he named still another Adventure (Motutunga). On this day also, he picked up an island which he recognized as Chain Island (Anaa). Two days more brought him to Osnaburgh (Meetia), and during the next day he reached Otaheite (Tahiti).

From Tahiti, Cook visited Huahine where a native named Omai was taken aboard the Adventure. After stopping at Raiatea, the course was set for Tonga. On September 23, 1773, the small island of Manuae was sighted and named Herveys Island by Cook, after Captain Hervey, one of the Lords of the Admiralty and the Earl of Bristol. This name was eventually applied to the rest of the group, which was discovered later, but they finally became the Cook Islands. On October 1, Eua (Middleburgh) and Tongatabu (Amsterdam) were reached. Trading for curios became so great that Cook forbade the trade to prevent his sailors from entirely denuding themselves. After a week, Cook sailed for New Zealand, which he sighted on October 21. After further exploration of New Zealand, Cook sailed on November 25 to continue his search for the "South Continent" between the meridians of New Zealand and Cape Horn. He again crossed the Antarctic Circle and reached latitude 71° 10′ S. on longitude 106° 54′ W. However, when progress south was stopped by immense ice fields, Cook concluded that there was no great south continent in the Pacific and turned north for warmer climes. It was at about this time that Cook became ill of a bilious colic. When, lacking fresh meat, a pet dog belonging to Mr. Forster was killed to provide broth for the sick commander, Forster's animosity toward Cook increased.

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Drawn from Nature by W. Hodges. Engraved by J. Caldwall N°. LVII.

O M A I.

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Cook sailed north to Easter Island, which he reached on March 11, 1774. From there, he sailed northwest to locate the Marquesas, which Mendaña had discovered in 1595. On April 7 he picked up Mendafia's southern group, but the first small island, Fatuhuku, was a new discovery which he named Hoods Island, after the young man who first sighted it. The three other islands that he saw were Dominica (Hivaoa), San Pedro (Motane), and Santa Christina (Tahuata), where he landed to obtain refreshments. The island of Magdalena (Fatuhiva) to the south was not seen.

From the Marquesas, Cook sailed for Tahiti and encountered some of the Tuamotuan atolls. On April 17 he picked up Tiookea (Takaroa), where a landing was made and five dogs and some coconuts were brought aboard, and the next day passed Takapoto. These two islands he identified as the King George Islands of Byron. On the 19th, he saw the four islands of Apataki, Toau, Kaukura, and Arutua, which he grouped together under the name of the Palliser Islands. On April 22 he reached Tahiti and anchored in Matavai Bay. Cook recorded that a fleet of 300 to 400 double canoes with about 8,000 warriors was preparing to make an attack on Eimoa (Moorea), and W. Hodges painted an excellent picture of part of the fleet. Cook again visited Huahine and Raiatea and then sailed southwest and west. He passed Lord Howe Island (Mopiha) and discovered Palmerston Island on June 16, 1774. On June 20, 1774, he discovered Niue, which he named Savage Island because of a hostile demonstration when he landed. He sailed on to the Haapai group of Tonga which Tasman had named Rotterdam.

Cook continued west to the New Hebrides where he visited various islands. On his way back to New Zealand, he discovered New Caledonia on September 4, 1774, and Norfolk Island on October 10. He remarked that a plant identical with the New Zealand flax [Phormium tenax] grew on Norfolk Island. He sighted the peak of Mount Egmont on October 17 and anchored in Queen Charlotte Sound the next day.

Cook left New Zealand on November 10 on the last stage of his voyage, reaching Cape Horn on December 28. In January 1775 he surveyed the coasts of Tierra del Fuego and Staten Land, then continued exploring the south Atlantic between the parallels of 50° and 60° S. and discovered South Georgia Island and the south Sandwich Islands. On reaching the part south of the Cape of Good Hope where he had commenced his search, he came to the conclusion that there was no large "South Continent" though there might be land in the vicinity of the South Pole. He sailed for the Cape of Good Hope, and from ships he met he learned that the Adventure had reached England. He anchored in Table Bay on March 22 and met Crozet, who had been with Marion de Fresne's voyage to New Zealand.

The Resolution finally anchored off Spithead on July 30, 1775, after a voyage of three years and eighteen days which covered 60,000 to 70,000 miles. page 30Three men had been lost by accident and one by disease, but none had died of scurvy. Cook's second voyage exploded the theory of a great southern continent, discovered new islands, and produced a vast amount of information concerning the Polynesian people.