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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

[Enclosure.] — Lieutenant Cook to The Viceroy of Brazil

Lieutenant Cook to The Viceroy of Brazil.

The Memorial of Lieutenant James Cook, commander of his Britannick Majesty's ship Endeavour, to his Excellency Count Rolim, Viceroy and Captain-General of the States of Brazil.

Least mistake or misrepresentation should hereafter be alledged as excuses for the unexampled treatment which I have met with in this port, I think it necessary to state to your Excellency every particular relating thereto in writing, that from your answer I may be able (without being liable to mistake) to represent to my Court the particulars of that treatment, which I am confident is such as before was never offer'd to any commander of a British ship-of-war.

On Sunday morning last, on my arrival off this port, I sent my first lieutenant before me (from the very mouth of the river where I was at that time becalm'd) to acquaint your Excellency with the reasons which induced me to touch here, and request of you the assistance of a pilot to bring me up to proper anchoringgrounds. The breeze, after this, fresh'ning, I made sail up the river, and, meeting with neither difficulty nor danger to retard me, came to an anchor where I now lay, wondering much that no such assistance had been sent to me; but how much more was I surprized when my boat return'd informing me that my officer was detain'd on shore. On this I prepar'd myself to go page 64 on shore and in form demand him; but before I could do that a boat came on board my ship bringing several of your Excellency's officers, who asked many and very particular questions, all which were answer'd with the utmost candour and precesion. They told me that my lieutenant had not been confin'd, but allow'd he had been detain'd, and said it was the constant custom to detain any one who came ashore from a ship till a boat from your Excellency had visited it.

About this time I observed a boat filled with soldiers constantly rowing about my ship, and on asking them their business was informed that they had absolute orders from your Excellence to permit nobody but myself to go on shore, and to hinder every one of his faithful Majesty's subjects from coming on board of my ship unless they had particular leave so to do.

The next day or Monday morning, after having been ashore and waited upon your Excellency, I found myself put into the custody of a guard, who insisted on going into my boat with me, an insult which I am well convinced was never before born by any commander of a ship of war belonging to his Britannick Majesty.

Yet all this I suffer'd patiently, for thinking it impossible that such treatment could be agreeable to your Excellency's orders I was willing to imagine it proceeded from some mistake, which might, on proper application, be clear'd up, looking upon it as my duty to avoid as much as in me lay anything which in its consequences tend towards a breach of that cordiality and friendship which has so long subsisted between their Britannick and Faithful Majestys.

Three days have I remain'd in this situation, the same indignities and affronts being daily repeated, notwithstanding I have every day waited on your Excellency and remonstrated against them in person. I, therefore, can no longer delay to acquaint your Excellency that it is my determin'd resolution that after twenty-four hours have elapsed from the delivery of this no officer or soldier shall upon any pretence whatsoever attempt to set his foot in my boat where myself or any one of his Britannick Majesty's officers now under my command shall be, as the suffering of such an indignity (knowing it to be design'd) would be sufficient to render me unworthy of the rank in his Britannick Majesty's service which I now have the honour to bear.

I expect the fav'r of your Excellency's answer without delay, as my future conduct whilst I remain in this harbour, as well as the reports I shall forward from hence to the King, my master, must intirely be regulated accordingly.


James Cook.

Dated on board his Britannick Majesty's ship Endeavour, in the harbour of Rio de Janeiro, the 17th of November, 1768.

A true copy. (Signed) J.C.