Captain James Cook

The death of their commander was felt to be a heavy blow by the officers and seamen of the expedition. With deep sorrow the ships' companies left Owhyhee, where the catastrophe had occurred, the command of the Resolution devolving on Captain Clerke, and Mr. Gore acting as commander of the Discovery. After making some further exploratory searches among the Sandwich Islands, the vessels visited Kamschatka, and Behring's Straits. Here it was found impossible to penetrate through the ice either on the coast of America or that of Asia, so that they returned to the southward; and on the 22d August 1779, Captain Clerke died of Consumption, and was succeeded by Captain Gore, who in his turn gave Lieutenant King an acting order in the Discovery. After a second visit to Kamschatka, the two ships returned by way of China, remained some time at Canton, touched at the Cape, and arrived at the Nore, 4th October 1780, after an absence of four years, two months, and twenty-two days, during which the Resolution lost only five men by sickness, and the Discovery did not lose a single man.

By this, as well as the preceding voyages of Cook, a considerable addition was made to a knowledge of the earth's surface. Besides clearing up doubts respecting the Southern Ocean, and making known many islands in the Pacific, the navigator did an inestimable service to his country in visiting the coasts of New South Wales Van Diemen's Land, New Zealand, and Norfolk Island - all now colonial possessions of Britain, and which promise at no distant day to become the seat of a large and flourishing nation of Anglo-Australians - the England of the southern hemisphere.

The intelligence of Captain Cook's death was received with melancholy regrets in England. The king granted a pension of L200 per annum to his widow, and £25 per annum to each of the children; The Royal Society had a gold medal struck in commemoration of him; and various other honors at home and abroad were paid to his memory. Thus, by his own persevering efforts, as has been well observed by the author of the Pursuit of Knowledge Under Difficulties, did this great man raise himself from the lowest obscurity to a reputation wide as the world itself, and certain to last as long as the age in which he flourished shall be remembered by history. But better still than even all this fame - than either the honors which he received while living, or those which, when he was no more, his country and mankind bestowed upon his memory he had exalted himself in the scale of moral and intellectual being; had won for himself, by his unwearied striving, a new and nobler nature, and taken a high place among the instructors and best benefactors of mankind.