Sometime in early 1765, the Cook family moved from Shadwell to their own house in Mile End Old Town (MEOT).
Their second son, Nathaniel, was baptised on 8 January, 1765, at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, the local parish church for MEOT. The Cooks had been living at 126 Upper Shadwell in a house owned by John Blackburn, the stepfather of Elizabeth Cook. Starting their own family though had spurred the Cooks to obtain their own home in a new development in MEOT to the north of Wapping and Shadwell, astride the main turnpike road leading out of London to Essex. James and Elizabeth Cook had purchased a 61 year lease on 7 Assembly Row (as the terrace was called). They bought it by an Indenture of Assignment on 24 February, 1764, from John Sawyer. The new house would remain the Cook home until about 1787, when Elizabeth moved south of the river to Clapham to be near her cousins, the Smiths.
Cook was busy working on the material he had assembled in 1764, whilst surveying around the Northern Peninsula and the Strait of Belle Isle. He produced several detailed charts and sailing directions. Several of his manuscript charts survive and now reside at The National Archives (TNA), Kew. Two charts cover most of the year’s survey from Griquet to Point Riche.1 Three smaller charts cover sections of the survey: Unfortunate Bay to Flower Cove (approx.); Griquet to Cape Norman (approx.); and Flower Cove to Point Riche (approx.).2 Cook submitted all of these charts to the Admiralty in 1766, when they were published.
Cook also produced an updated version of his 1763 map of the whole island, A Chart of the Island of Newfoundland with part of the Coast of Labradore Corrected from the latest Observations by James Cook, 1764. The original is held in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.3 Cook incorporated the results of his 1764 surveys into this map so the Northern Peninsula is shown more accurately. In other respects it is similar to the 1763 map. The Royal Collection also holds A Chart of the Coasts, Bays and Harbours in Newfoundland between Griguet and Pt. Ferolle.4
Cook had sailed the schooner Grenville back from Newfoundland in late 1764, and she was now berthed at Deptford. He had misgivings about the vessel’s seaworthiness, and wrote to the Navy Board requesting that she be refitted as brig. Doing so, argued Cook, would improve her handling, especially close to shore.
The Navy Board was agreeable to Cook’s request and replied a fortnight later, “In return to your Letter of 22nd past, we acquaint you, that we have directed the Officers of Deptford Yard to cause the Grenville Schooner to be fitted and rigged as a Brigg as you have desired”.5
Cook was also concerned about the number of men assigned as ship’s company, and the manner of their recruitment or appointment. In 1764, Grenville had been allocated ten men, with another ten acquired on a temporary basis from other ships on the Newfoundland station. Palliser took up Cook’s case and wrote to the Admiralty on the matter. They were successful, as Grenville’s complement was raised to 20.
For 1765, James Cook and the following men were still on board from the previous year: William Parker (master's mate), Francis Gathman (now ranked midshipman), Peter Flower (for his third year with Cook), James Griffiths and William Walsh (all ABs). Grenville now qualified for a carpenter’s mate, and Thomas Smith was appointed. Cook got a new servant, John Charlton. Twelve more ABs made up the company that took the vessel across the Atlantic. They were Richard Barrow, John Cunningham, George Green, Thomas Hart, William Lamb, Thomas Lock, Nathaniel Lungley, James Mathews, Walter Price, Charles Roberts, James Willoughby and Morris Shortnell. Shortnell ran on arrival in Newfoundland and was replaced by Ruben Herbet.
Palliser was concerned about French naval ships on the south coast of Newfoundland operating from their base at St. Pierre et Miquelon. In 1765, he therefore directed the efforts of his squadron along that coast to monitor the activity of the French and discourage British fishermen from contact with the French. Palliser ordered Cook into this region as his next assignment instead of continuing where he had left off in 1764, “You are hereby required and directed to proceed with His Majestys schooner the Grenville to survey the Coasts of Newfoundland, beginning at the Harbour of St. Lawrence near the Red Hat Mountain thence to the Westwd. to Cape Ray”.6
Grenville’s log for 1765 begins at the beginning of April, with the news that the vessel has come out of the dry dock at Deptford, having been converted from a schooner to a brig. The company were busy rerigging the brig and loading ballast and stores for the new season.
- MS C54/2 and MS C54/7.
- MS C54/3, MS C54/4 and MS 342.
- Commissioners of the Navy to James Cook. 6 February, 1765. MSS. Q140.
- Hugh Palliser to James Cook. 1765. MSS. Q140.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 36, volume 38, number 1 (2015).