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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

[Extract of Instructions to Cook]

Extract of Instructions to Lieutenant Pickersgill, of his Majesty's armed brig Lyon, dated the 14th May, 1776.

Whereas we intend that his Majesty's armed vessel the Lyon shall proceed to Davis's Streights for the protection of the British whalefishers who may be employed in those parts during the approaching fishing season, and that she shall afterwards proceed into Baffin's Bay for the purpose of making discoveries: You are page 133 therefore hereby required and directed to put to sea with the very first opportunity of wind and weather, and make the best of your way to the south end of Disco Island, in the abovementioned streights, where the whalefishers usually resort at the beginning of the season, and there make enquiry amongst them if they have heard of any armed or other American ships in those parts belonging to the inhabitants of his Majesty's colonies now in rebellion; and if they have, you are to proceed in quest of them, and use your best endeavours to take or destroy them. You are afterwards to proceed to the north-west part of the said island, where the above-mentioned fishers usually resort during the latter part of the season, and make enquiry and proceed in like manner. And having so done, or not hearing of any American vessels in those parts, you are at liberty, and are hereby required and directed, to proceed up Baffin's Bay and explore the coasts thereof as far as in your judgment the same can be done without apparent risque, taking care to leave the abovementioned bay so timely as to secure your return to England in the fall of the year, and to return accordingly to the Nore, from whence you are to send us an account of your arrival and proceedings.

You are carefully to observe the true situation of such parts of the above-mentioned coasts as you may discover, both in latitude and longitude, the variation of the needle, bearings of the headlands, height and direction of the tides and currents, depths and soundings of the sea, shoals, rocks, &c.; and to employ Mr. Lane, master of the vessel you command (who has an allowance for that purpose), in surveying, making charts, and taking views of the several bays, harbours, and different parts of the coast which you may visit, and in making such notations thereon as may be useful to geography and navigation.