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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

[Enclosure.] — The Viceroy to Lieutenant Cook

The Viceroy to Lieutenant Cook.

The Memorial of the Count Viceroy of the Estate of the Brazil, in answer to one from Lieutenant James Cook, commander of his Britannick Majesty's ship the Endeavour.

Admitted that the ship of itself does not manifest being his Britannick Majesty's, and it being also true that a Patent may page 72 be counterfeit, necessarily to me this matter remains unproved. I grant that commonly the Patent is what is attended to in such like cases, but this is well when this point is of little importance, and not when it brings great consequences.

The same reasons that you alledge of your voyage being directed meerly on some astronomical observations* gives one the greatest distrust, because in this case it appears that according to reason and custom his Most Faithful Majesty should be beforehand advised of this voyage, to prevent your meeting the embarrassments you are experiencing.

As to your people, without your being acquainted, they may bring about them hidden things of value that are not bulky; but I am much obliged to you for your willingness to prevent motive of scandal.

Rio a 27 November, 1768.

Conde de Azambuja.

Attested copy. (Signed)

James Cook.

* The Viceroy appears to have had a very imperfect idea of the object of the expedition. Hawkesworth (vol. ii, p. 20) says:—” I told him that we were bound to the southward by the order of his Britannic Majesty to observe a transit of the planet Venus over the sun, an astronomical phenomenon of great importance to navigation. Of the transit of Venus, however, he could form no other conception than that it was the passing of the North Star through the South Pole.”