Captain James Cook

On the 25th January 1778, having coasted it as far as 60 degrees south, the land presenting the same uncouth appearance, covered with ice and snow, and the ship exposed to numerous storms, and the people to intense cold, the course was altered to look for Bouvet's Land; but though they reached the spot where it was laid down on the charts, and sailed over and over it, yet no such place could be discovered; and after two days' search more to the southward, Cook came to the conclusion that Bouvet had been deceived by the ice, and once more bent his thoughts towards home - especially as the ship stood in need of repairs, and her sails and rigging were nearly worn out - and consequently steered for the Cape of Good Hope, where he heard of the Adventure, and anchored in Table Bay on the 22d of March. From thence he sailed on the 27th of April, touched at St. Helena on the 15th of May, and remained till the 21st, and then got under weigh for Ascension, where he arrived on the 28th; and from thence shaped a course for the remarkable island Fernando de Noronha, which he reached on the 9th of June; and pursuing his way for the western islands, anchored in Fayal Roads on the 14th of July, where Mr. Wales the astronomer determined the position of the Azores by a series of observations. The Resolution ultimately entered Portsmouth on the 30th; and Captain Cook landed after an absence of three years and eighteen days, having sailed 20,000 leagues in various climates - from the extreme of heat to the extreme of cold. But so judicious had been the arrangements for preserving health, and so carefully had Captain Cook attended to the ventilation between decks, and the mode of promoting warmth, as well as the food, etc., of the people, that he lost only one man by sickness. It may naturally be supposed that the wear and tear of the ship was great, her rigging scarcely trustworthy, and her sails unfit to meet a fresh breeze; yet so careful were the officers of the masts and yards, that not a spar of any consequence was carried away during the whole voyage.

The fame of Captain Cook as a navigator, coupled with his marked humanity as a man, now exalted him in public estimation far beyond what he had before experienced; and the utmost anxiety prevailed to obtain intelligence relative to his discoveries, etc. The king, to testify his approbation, made him a post captain nine days subsequent to his arrival; and three days afterwards, a captaincy in Greenwich Hospital was conferred upon him, to afford an honorable and competent retirement from active service. On the 29th of February 1776, he was elected a member of the Royal Society, and in a short time he was honored with the gold medal; Sir John Pringle, in presenting it, uttering a well-merited eulogium on the worthy receiver. The account of his second voyage was written by Captain Cook himself, and manifests a plain manly style, giving facts rather than embellishments.

COOK'S LAST VOYAGE. The discovery of a supposed north-west pass age from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific oceans had for many years been ardently sought for both by the English and the Dutch. Frobisher in 1576 made the first attempt, and his example was in succeeding times followed by many others. But though much geographical information had been gained in the neighborhood of Hudson's Bay, Davies' Straits, Baffin's Bay, and the coast of Greenland, yet no channel whatever was found. By act of parliament, £20,000 was offered to the successful individual. But though Captain Middleton in 1741, and Captains Smith and Moore in 1746, explored those seas and regions, the object remained unattained. The Honorable Captain Phipps (afterwards Earl Mulgrave) was sent out in the Racehorse, accompanied by Captain Lutwidge in the Carcase (Lord Nelson was a boy in this latter ship), to make observations, and to penetrate as far as it was practicable to do so. They sailed on the 2d of June 1773, and made Spitzbergen on the 28th; but after great exertions, they found the ice to the northward utterly impenetrable. Once they became closely jammed, and it was only with great difficulty they escaped destruction. On the 22d of August, finding it impossible to get further to the northward, eastward, or westward, they made sail, according to their instructions, for England, and arrived off Shetland on the 7th of September.

Notwithstanding these numerous failures, the idea of an existing passage was still cherished; and earl Sandwich continuing at the head of the Admiralty, resolved that a further trial should be made, and captain Cook offered his services to undertake it. They were gladly accepted, and on the 10th of February, 1776, he was appointed to command the expedition in his old but hardy ship, the Resolution, and captain Clerke, in the Discovery, was ordered to attend him. In this instance, however, the mode of experiment was to be reversed, and instead of attempting the former routes by Davis' Straits or Baffin's Bay, etc., Cook, at his own request, was instructed to proceed into the South Pacific, and thence to try the passage by the way of Behring's Straits; and as it was necessary that the islands in the southern ocean should be revisited, cattle and sheep, with other animals, and all kinds of seeds, were shipped for the advantage of the natives.