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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

The Lords of the Admiralty to Lieutenant Cook

The Lords of the Admiralty to Lieutenant Cook.

Whereas there is great reason to believe, from what Dr. McBride* has recommended in his book entitled “Experimental Essays on the Scurvy and other Subjects,” and his pamphlet entitled “An Historical Account of the New Method of Treating the Scurvy at Sea” (of which you will herewith receive copies), and from the opinion of other persons acquainted with scorbutic disorders, that malt made into wort may be of great benefit to seamen in scorbutic and other putrid diseases; and whereas we think fit experiments should be made of the good effects of it in your present intended voyage, and have with that view directed the Commissioners of the Victualling to put a quantity on board the bark you command: You are hereby required and directed to cause the same to be stowed in the bread-room or some very dry part of the ship, and take care that the following rules with respect to the preparation of the said wort, the

* David McBride, author of several medical works, the best known of which is his Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Physics.

page 55 administration of it to the sick, &c., be in general observed, viz.:—

The malt must be ground under the direction of the surgeon, and made into wort (fresh every day, especially in hot weather) in the following manner, viz.: Take one quart of ground malt and pour on it three quarts of boiling water, stir them well, and let the mixture stand close covered up for three or four hours, after which strain off the liquor.


The wort so prepared is then to be boiled into a panada with sea-biscuit, or dried fruits usually carried to sea.


The patient must take at least two meals a day on the said panada, and should drink a quart or more of the fresh infusion, as it may agree with him, every twentyfour hours.


The surgeon is to keep an exact journal of the effects of the wort in scorbutic and other putrid diseases not attended with pestilential symptoms, carefully and particularly noting down, previous to its administration, the cases in which it is given, describing the several symptoms, and relating the progress and effects from time to time, which journal is to be transmitted to us at the end of the voyage.*

Given under our hands, the 30th July, 1768.

Ed. Hawke.

Percy Brett.

C. Spencer.

* See Cook's letter to the President of the Royal Society, post, p. 127.