Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

and calls for the ship's boats, Drake was cool and collected, he insisted the game should be played out, "Plenty of time," said he, “both to win the game, and beat the Spaniards!”

THE THREE VOYAGES OF CAPTAIN COOK.

THE spirit of maritime enterprise and discovery began to decline in the seventeenth century, and was soon almost wholly extinguished. In the reign of George II. it revived again; the chief object being to discover a northwest passage through Hudson's Bay. In the reign of George III. several great expeditions of discovery were made, not as before for purposes of covetousness or ambition, not to plunder or destroy the inhabitants of newly explored countries, but to improve their condition, to instruct them in the arts of life, and to extend the boundaries of science.

A transit of the planet Venus over the Sun's disk was calculated to happen in 1769, and it was judged that the best place for observing it would be in some part of the South Sea; as this was a matter of eminent consequence to the

science of astronomy, the Royal Society intreated George III. to order a vessel to be sent out by the government, with suitable persons to make the observation. The King assented, and Mr. Cook was recommended by the Secretary to the Admiralty as a master of navigation, who had been regularly trained to the service, and was every way fully qualified to command the expedition. Cook was made lieutenant on receiving the appointment. His vessel, named the Endeavour, was one of 370 tons. How different from the little barque in which Drake sailed round the globe, or that in which Gilbert lost his life.

Cook was desired to make an accurate observation of the Pacific Ocean, and when his astronomical mission was fulfilled, he was directed to proceed in making further discoveries in the great Southern Seas.

This voyage proved of the utmost value to science, and the commander far more than justified every expectation formed of him.

After his return he was promoted to be a commander in his Majesty's navy, and again

appointed to conduct an expedition of discovery, to determine finally the question concerning the existence of a southern continent, which various navigators had attempted. Two choice vessels were equipped for the service, the Resolution, and the Adventure. Captain Cook commanded the Resolution. This was the most enlarged plan of discovery known in the history of navigation. He was instructed not only to circumnavigate the whole globe, but to circumnavigate it in high southern latitudes; making such traverses, from time to time, into every corner of the Pacific Ocean not before examined, as might settle the question of a southern continent.

This grand point Cook completely settled; no Terra Australis Incognita existed; and he further enlarged geography, navigation, and astronomy.

Captain Cook's third voyage, intended to complete a grand chain of discoveries, was to find a northern passage into the Pacific Ocean, for you will recollect that Magellan's Straits were supposed to be the only entrance into it.

I cannot too strongly recommend to you the careful reading of these three voyages, and the study of Captain Cook's discoveries.

BENEVOLENCE OF CAPTAIN COOK.

Ir should never be forgotten, that the most valuable of maritime discoverers, was also the most benevolent.

That which in his illustrious life has rendered the most service to mankind generally, was his discovery for preserving the health of seamen on long voyages; his kind heart was more gratified by this, than by all his fame.

The instances of his humanity to the savage natives of the countries he visited are very numerous, and contrasts strikingly with the barbarities that used to be practised on them.

At Resolution Bay, in the Marquesas Islands, in the South Sea, one of the places at which Captain Cook anchored on his second voyage, an incident occurred which put his forbearance to the proof. Madre de Dios, or Resolution Bay, is in the island of St. Christina. The natives of this, and the other three islands of the Mar

quesas, are the finest race of people in the South Sea. Perhaps they surpass all other nations in symmetry of form, and regularity of features. But they had a strong propensity to theft when Captain Cook first came among them. He opened a traffic with them, but found they liked to keep the goods offered without giving any in exchange; this proved extremely provoking. One man several times offended in this manner, and if he had had a Magellan or a Pizarro to deal with, nothing less than death would have been his punishment. Captain Cook wished to frighten the natives into better conduct, so he fired a musket over the culprit's head. The effect of this soon ceased, the Indians crowded on board. Captain Cook, geting into a boat to find a convenient place in the bay for mooring the ship, said to the officers, "you must look well after these people, or they will certainly carry off something or other."

Scarcely was he in the boat, when he was told they had stolen an iron stanchion from the gangway, and were carrying it off.

This could not be permitted, and the captain

« ZurückWeiter »