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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Lieutenant Cook to Secretary Stephens

Lieutenant Cook to Secretary Stephens.

Endeavour, bark [at sea], 9 May, 1771.


Please to acquaint my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that the inclosed* is a copy of a letter I transmitted to you in October last (by the Kronenburg, Captain Fredrick Kelgar, a Dutch Indiaman), together with a journal of the proceedings of the whole voyage to that time, and the necessary charts and plans. That letter, but more particularly the journals, will inform you with the reasons that induced me to have the ship hove down at Batavia, which was certainly a very fortunate circumstance, as her bottom was considerably worse than we had any reason to expect. The damage we had sustain'd was of such a nature as to be soon repair'd very much to my satisfaction, and I had every other assistance from the Dutch I wanted that the place afforded. That uninterrupted state of health we had all along enjoyed was soon after our arrival at Batavia succeeded by a general sickness, which delayed us there so much that it was the 26th of December before we were able to leave that place. We were fortunate enough to loose but few men at Batavia, but on our passage from thence to the Cape of Good Hope we had twenty-four men died, all or most page 74 of them of the bloody flux. This fatal disorder reign'd in the ship with such obstinacy that medicines, however skillfully administered, had not the least effect. I arrived at the Cape on the 14th of March, and quitted it again on the 14th of April, and on the 1st of May arrived at St. Helena, where I joined his Maj's ship Portland, which I found ready to sail with the convoy. We put to sea on the 4th instant, soon after which I found, what from the heaviness of our sailing and the bad condition of our sails and rigging, so unable to keep up with the fleet that a seperation seem'd most probable. For this reason, and to guard against any accident that may happen to us, I have herewith put on board the Portland such of the officers' journals and charts I think will give most insight into the voyage, having not a copy of my own ready.

I am, &c.,

Jam's Cook.

* The enclosure, which is not amongst the Records, was evidently a copy of the letter of the 23rd October, 1770, sent by Cook to Stephens, from Onrust, near Batavia.

Hawkesworth gives the number who died on the passage to Cape of Good Hope as twenty-three, namely: “Mr. Sporing (a gentleman who was in Mr. Banks's retinue), Mr. Parkinson (his natural history painter), Mr. Green (the astronomer), the boatswain, the carpenter and his mate, Mr. Monkhouse (the midshipman who had fothered the ship after she had been stranded on the coast of New Holland), our old jolly sailmaker and his assistant, the ship's cook, the corporal of marines, two of the carpenter's crew, a midshipman, and nine seamen.”—Vol. iii, p. 780.