Home > 225 Years Ago: January - March 1772

225 Years Ago: January - March 1772

Dance portrait of             Cook In January, 1772, the Resolution and Adventure were in dry dock in Deptford getting ready for sea.
On 1st the Admiralty Secretary wrote to Tobias Furneaux granting him three weeks leave for private affairs. Two days later, Arthur Kempe was appointed 2nd Lieutenant of the Adventure.

Meanwhile, James Cook was on his leave in Yorkshire. On the 3rd he wrote from Ayton, where he was visiting his father, to Captain William Hammond of Hull, "I am sorry to acquaint you that it is now out of my power to meet you at Whitby nor will it be convenient to return by way of Hull as I had resolved upon but three days ago Mrs Cook being but a bad traveler I was prevailed upon to lay that rout aside on account of the reported badness of the roads and therefore took horse on Tuesday Morng and road over to Whitby and returned yesterday... I set out for London to morrow morning, shall only stop a day or two at York".

On 7th Joseph Banks wrote to Thomas Falconer saying he was busy trying "to collect together all the nescessaries for so long a voyage to enlist artists, to prepare myself & answer the Calls of an acquantance from my present circumstances swelld to a preposterous size is a large undertaking".

On 8th Edward Turrell of the Barfleur wrote to Joseph Banks "I shall be very Glad if your honour Will be Pleasd to grant me this small Request and I hope your honnour will Exques me for making so bold as to wri[t]e to your Honnor but that I hear your honour and mr sillander is a going out upon Descovers and shold be very glad of having the Pleasure of going with your honnour for I am on Board of the Barfleur. I was a going out In the Endeavour But was taken sick".

On 12th January Anders Eriksson Sparrman, a medicine student and pupil of Linnaeus, left Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden to sail to the Cape of Good Hope to be a tutor at the recommendation of Carl Gustav Ekeburg, a captain in the Swedish East India Company.

On the 20th Cook wrote to the Navy Board requesting that "the Seins may be both larger and of a superior quallity to those usualy supply’d the Navy, they being made of soft loose twine soon decay and have not Strength to hold large fish". Three days later the Admiralty agreed to pay Cook his wages for the time he was in the Scorpion.

On 25th the Board of Longitude recorded in its minutes "Messr. Wales and Bayly attending in consequence of the resolutions of last Board were sent for in, and a draft of their instructions with some additions which the Astronomer Royal had judged proper to make since the last reading was read to them; They then desired that orders may be given for their being supplied with candles and some other necessaries whilst on ship board and that they may be each furnished with a moveable observatory which will be of infinite use to them wherever they may have occasion to make observations on shore and which Mr. Bayly represented he could get made for about £25 each."

On the same day the Admiralty Secretary wrote to Colonell Bell at Plymouth to order a recruit who plays bagpipes, and a drummer who plays violin, to hold themselves in readiness to embark on one of the ships fitting out for making discoveries.

Also in January, J.R. Forster’s translation into English of Louis de Bougainville’s journal of his "Voyage round the World... in the Years 1766, 1767, 1768 and 1769..." was published.

On 5th February Cook wrote from "Mile end" to Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, "I here send you the few observations I made on the Tides in the South Sea".

On 6th February Cook wrote a long letter to Earl Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, saying "I beg leave to lay before your Lordship a Map of the Southern Hemisphere S[h]ewing the Discoveries that have been made up to 1770, to which is subjoined my opinion respecting the rout to be pursued by the Resolution and Adventure". His opinion was that "it appears that no Southern lands of great extent can extend to the Northward of 40° of Latitude, except about the Meridian of 140° West, every other part of the Southern Ocean have at different times been explored to the northward of the above parallel. Therefore to make new discoveries the Navigator must Traverse or Circumnavigate the Globe in a higher parallel than has hitherto been done, and this will be best accomplished by an Easterly Course on account of the prevailing westerly winds in all high latitudes. the principle thing to be attended to is the proper Seasons of the Year, for Winter is by no means favourable for discoveries in these Latitudes". Cook accompanied this memorandum with a map, on which he had drawn the tracks of Tasman, Wallis, Bougainville and himself, and those of the East Indiamen on their usual voyages, together with a broad yellow line round the Pole, weaving in and out of the sixtieth parallel. "The Yellow line on the Map shews the track I would propose the Ships to make, Supposeing no land to intervene".

The following day, according to Cook’s journal of the Resolution, "we hauld out of the dry into the Wet Dock, and began to taken in Ballast, stores and to Rigg the masts &ca".

On the 8th the Royal Society recommended to the Board of Longitude Dr James Lind "as a person who will be extreamly useful in the intended voyage for discoveries in remote parts". Three days later Cook wrote to the Navy Board "Dr Knights azimuth Compasses now in use are (I beleive) universally allowed to be defective at Sea, on acct of their very quick Motion when the Ship is the least agitated, this has caused Mr Gregory Compass maker in Leaden Hall Street, to add some very engenious contrivence to the Drs Compasses, which in my opinion will in part, if not Wholy, remedy the defect, & which I have heard asserted by Several Captns of India Men, who have used them, as the assertaining the variation of the Compass in remote Parts of the world must be of use to Navigation, I pray you will be pleased to order His Majestys Sloop Resolution under my Command to be Supplyed with one of Mr Gregorys Azimuth Compass’s of an improved construction."

On 19th, according to Cook’s journal, "the Carpenters having nearly finish[ed] the different appartments of the Sloop, we hauld out of the Dock into the River and began to take in Provisions and the remainder of our stores &ca".

On 25th Cook wrote to the Admiralty Secretary "Long Musquettoons, Swive[l]’d, will be of infinate use on many occasions to His Majestys Sloops the Resolution and Adventure in the Course of their present intended Voyage, I beg you will be pleased to move my Lord Comissrs of the Admiralty to order the former to be Supply’d with Twelve and the latter with eight and the Resolution to be supply’d the Armourers Tools mentioned in the Inclosed list - in addition to those already order’d." And on the same day he also wrote to the Navy Board "I beg you will be pleased to order the great Cabbins of His Majestys Sloop Resolution under my Command to be fitted with Brass Furniture in stead of Iron". The Admiralty minuted "The Captns Cabbin to be fitted with Brass Locks".

J.R. Forster spent much of his time during the early months of 1772 writing a series of papers for the Royal Society on the natural history of Hudson’s Bay based on a collection of specimens they had recently been given. His son, George, produced several drawings. On 27th February, J.R. Forster was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. His references included Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, who testified that he was well known for his learned communications and "very valuable" publications in natural history. Forster was also a frequent visitor to the New Burlington Stree home of Banks and Solander. He was given some Tahitian cloth by Banks, and in March, Banks and Solander visited the Forsters.

On 2nd March Cook re-iterated to the Navy Board his request for "Brass Furniture to the Great Cabbins", not just "Brass Locks to the Doors of the Great Cabbin only", the minutes of the Board record that "we cannot comply with his request."

On the 9th Cook wrote to Banks "I received a Note from Mr Marsh of the Victualing Office wherein he desires that we will call upon him on Friday Morn as he is obliged to Attend at the Admiralty on Thursday. I left a line at your House yesterday desireing to know your Sentiments concernng a Stove for the Cabbin, it being necessary the officers of Deptford Yard shou’d know how to act. If you approve of a Green Base floor Cloth for the great Cabbin I will demand as much Cloth from ye Yard as will make one... Whenever it is certain that Dr Lynd goes with us I beg you will let me know by the Penny Post."

The next day Cook wrote to the Navy Board "Machines for Warping Ships in unfathomable depths, may be of great use to His Majestys Sloops Resolution and Adventure in the course of their present intended Voyage; I beg you will be pleased to order each of them to be supply’d with two. The construction of these machines are very simple and known to Mr Cosway Master Atendant of Deptford Yard".

On the 13th Cook wrote to the Navy Board "I have been informed that, by your order, the Resolution under my Command was to have been supplyed with three Saines made of the same sort of twine as Salmon Netts usualy are, but that they could not be got in proper time. I beg leave to acquaint you that saines of any length made of three threed twine (not inferior to salmon twine) can be got at the Shortest notice of James Davidson No 27, Fish Street Hill."

On the 18th Cook wrote to the Navy Board "Mr Banks informs me that Dr Lynd goes out in his Majestys Sloop resolution under my command, and at the same time desired me to apply to your Board to have another Standing Cabbin built for the Dr or one of his people, I therefore pray you will be pleased to order a Cabbin to be built on the lower Deck on the Starboard side abaft the Pump Deal."

The next day the Royal Society agreed to sell by auction the astronomical instruments "as are come back from the late expedition to the south" (i.e. the Endeavour), except those lent to the Board of Longitude.

On the 25th Cook wrote to the Navy Board "As His Majestys Sloop Adventure does not take out the yawl that was built for her at Woolwich, I beg you will be pleased to order His Majestys Sloop the Resolution under my command, to be supply’d with it in the room of the one intended for her at Deptford, as I think she will answer much better." He also wrote separately for an additional number of spare copper forelocks for pump chains.

On 26th John Bayly wrote to Banks an account of his work engraving a map for him of "The Great Pacific Ocean". Bayly, of Red Lion Square, London, was engraver to the British Museum, of which Solander was Assistant Keeper. It is thought that Banks intended plotting his route on this map as he voyaged in the Resolution. He presented a number of copies to Cook.

On 31st March, 225 years ago, Furneaux wrote to the Navy Board requesting surgeon’s necessaries for two years.

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1368, volume 20, number 1 (1997).

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