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his despatches to the Admiralty. It is certain, therefore, that the two
namesakes must have come face to face here, and most probably previously
in Halifax Harbour.

Entering St. John's Harbour on 19th September, the flagship remained till
7th October, during which time Cook was very busily employed in assisting
to place the island in a better state of defence. In a despatch of Lord
Colville's, dated "Spithead, 25th October 1762," he says:

"I have mentioned in another letter, that the fortifications on the
Island of Carbonera were entirely destroyed by the enemy. Colonel Amherst
sent thither Mr. Desbarres, an engineer, who surveyed the island and drew
a plan for fortifying it with new works: when these are finished the
Enterprise's six guns will be ready to mount on them. But I believe
nothing will be undertaken this year, as the season is so far advanced,
and no kind of materials on the spot for building barracks or sheds for
covering the men, should any be sent there. Mr. Cook, Master of the
Northumberland, accompanied Mr. Desbarres. He has made a draught of
Harbour Grace and the Bay of Carbonera, both of which are in a great
measure commanded by the Island, which lies off a point of land between
them. Hitherto we have had a very imperfect knowledge of these places,
but Mr. Cook, who was particularly careful in sounding them, has
discovered that ships of any size may lie in safety both in Harbour Grace
and the Bay of Carbonera."

Mr. Desbarres's design for the fortification of Carbonera, drawn by John
Chamberlain, dated 7th April 1763, is to be found in the British Museum;
he was afterwards Governor of Cape Breton.

On the return of the Northumberland to Spithead, where she arrived on
24th October, her Master, James Cook, was discharged, the Muster Roll
merely noting "superseded" on 11th November, and the pay sheet records
the deductions from his wages as: "Chest, 2 pounds 1 shilling 0 pence;
Hospital, 1 pound 0 shillings 6 pence. Threepence in the pound, 3 pounds
14 shillings 9 pence," leaving a balance due of 291 pounds 19 shillings 3
pence. He also received from Lord Colville for the Secretary to the
Admiralty the following letter which shows the estimation he was held in
by his immediate superiors, and would doubtless be of weight when the
appointment of a man to execute greater undertakings came under the
consideration of their Lordships.

London, 30th December 1762.


Mr. Cook, late Master of the Northumberland, acquaints me that he has
laid before their Lordships all his draughts and observations relating to
the River St. Lawrence, part of the coast of Nova Scotia, and of

On this occasion I beg to inform their Lordships that from my experience
of Mr. Cook's genius and capacity, I think him well qualified for the
work he has performed and for greater undertakings of the same kind.
These draughts being made under my own eye, I can venture to say they may
be the means of directing many in the right way, but cannot mislead any.

I am, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,



Before the close of the year Cook took upon himself further
responsibilities as set forth in the following extract from the register
of St. Margaret's Church, Barking, Essex:

"James Cook of ye Parish of St. Paul, Shadwell, in ye County of
Middlesex, Bachelor, and Elizabeth Batts, of ye parish of Barking in ye
County of Essex, Spinster, were married in this Church by ye Archbishop
of Canterbury's Licence, this 21st day of December, one thousand seven
hundred and sixty-two, by George Downing, Vicar of Little Wakering,

Besant, who obtained his information from Mrs. Cook's second cousin, the
late Canon Bennett, who as a boy knew her well, speaks most highly of her
mental qualities and personal appearance, and says the union appears to
have been a very happy one. It covered a period of about sixteen years;
but taking into consideration the times he was away on duty, sometimes
for long periods, Cook's home life in reality only extended to a little
more than four years, and Mrs. Cook must often have been months,
sometimes years, without even hearing of the existence of her husband.
Her family were fairly well-to-do; her grandfather, Mr. Charles Smith,
was a currier in Bermondsey; her cousin, also Charles Smith, was a
clockmaker of repute in Bunhill Row. Her mother, Mary Smith, married
first John Batts of Wapping, and secondly, John Blackburn of Shadwell.
Miss Batts is described as of Barking in the Marriage Register, so may
perhaps have been living with relations there, and may have met Cook when
on a visit to her mother in Shadwell, where he was residing. The
engagement must have been very short, for from the time of his joining
the Navy in 1755 to his return from Newfoundland in 1762, his leave on
shore had been very limited, and, with the exception perhaps of a day or
two between leaving the Eagle and joining the Solebay, and again when
leaving the latter ship for the Pembroke, none of his time was spent in
London. There is a story that he was godfather to his wife, and at her
baptism vowed to marry her, but as at that time, 1741, Cook was assisting
his father on Airy Holme Farm, the tale is too absurd, but has for all
that been repeatedly published.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Cook lived for a time in Shadwell, and
then removed to Mile End Old Town, where Cook purchased a house, which
was their home till after his death. This house, which he left to his
wife, has been identified as Number 88 Mile End Road, and a tablet has
been placed on the front to mark the fact.


The commission as Governor of Newfoundland, which now included Labrador
from Hudson's Straits to the St. John's River, the island of Anticosti,
the islands off the Labrador coast, and the Madelines in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, had again been conferred on Captain (afterwards Admiral Lord)
Graves. He had early recognised the fact that it was necessary to have a
thorough survey of the coasts of his territory, and therefore made an
application to the Board of Trade to have the one commenced as far back
as 1714 by Captain Taverner, but only carried on in a desultory fashion,
put in hand and completed as quickly as possible. This application
resulted in a Representation from the Board to His Majesty, dated 29th
March 1763, to be found in the Shelbourne manuscripts, asking that an
allowance should be made for the purpose.

Graves had seen during the previous year the work done by Cook at Harbour
Grace and Carbonera, and had evidently made up his mind that he had found
the man for his purpose, in which opinion he would be backed up by
Colville and further supported by the favourable knowledge that the
Admiralty had of his work. The Representation was immediately acted on,
for in the Records Office is a hurried note from Graves to Mr. Stephens,
Secretary to the Admiralty, probably written on the 5th April, in which
he asks:

"what final answer he shall give to Mr. Cook, late Master of the
Northumberland, who is very willing to go out to survey the Harbours and
Coasts of Labradore."

A draughtsman is also mentioned, and one is recommended who was on the
Bellona and was willing to go out, ranking as schoolmaster; he did join
Cook after a time. On 6th April Graves again wrote to Stephens, telling
him he had instructed Cook to get ready to start as soon as the Board
gave him orders, and that he was to have ten shillings per diem whilst
employed on that service. He also says that Cook had been to the Tower to
try to secure a draughtsman, and towards the end of the letter applies
for the instruments necessary to carry on the operations. Graves was
hurriedly called away to his ship, the Antelope, as the spirit of
discontent, then very rife in the Navy, was developing itself in a very
threatening manner during his absence. However, on his arrival on board,
by judicious reforms, which he saw were carried out, and by quietly
replacing some few of the most dangerous of the malcontents, he was very
shortly able to report himself ready for sea with a complete and fairly
contented crew.

On 15th April he writes to Stephens asking if there was "any change of
resolution taken about Mr. Cook, the Master, and an assistant for him,
and whether they are to go out with me?" On the 18th he writes again,
saying that when in London he had been informed that he was to receive
orders to purchase two small vessels of about 60 tons each when he
arrived in Newfoundland, one of which he was "to send with Mr. Cook upon
the surveys of the coast and harbours," but he was afraid the orders had
been forgotten, and he again makes suggestions as to instruments, etc.,
required for the work. Cook had at the same time made application in
proper form for the articles he would require, and was informed that some
would be supplied to him from the Government Stores, and for the
remainder, he was to purchase them and transmit the bills to their


On 19th April Cook received his orders as follows:


My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, having directed Captain Graves,
of His Majesty's Ship, the Antelope, at Portsmouth, to receive you on
board and carry you to Newfoundland in order to your taking a Survey of
Part of the Coast and Harbours of that Island. I am commanded by their
Lordships to acquaint you therewith: that you must repair immediately on
board the said ship, she being under sailing orders, that you are to
follow such orders as you shall receive from Captain Graves relative to
the said service and that you will be allowed ten shillings a day during
the time you are employed therein.

I am, etc. etc., PHILLIP STEPHENS.

Mr. James Cook, - - Town.

Mr. William Test, Tower, to be paid 6 shillings per day.

On 8th May Graves acknowledged the receipt of the orders he had asked
for, authorising him to purchase two small vessels, and announced that
Mr. Cook had joined the ship, but that the assistant, Mr. Test, had not
been heard of; he therefore proposed that he should endeavour to obtain
someone else to fill the vacancy. Mr. Stephens replied that a difficulty
had arisen with the Board of Ordnance with regard to Mr. Test's pay; they
were not inclined to continue it during his absence as they would have to
put some one else in his place, and since hearing this, as the Admiralty
had heard nothing further from Mr. Test, Captain Graves was authorised to
fill the vacancy at a suitable allowance, and he at once secured the
services of Mr. Edward Smart, who sailed from Plymouth in H.M.S. Spy, and
joined Cook in Newfoundland.

In this letter Graves also says that he intends to start Cook on the
survey of St. Pierre and Miquelon as they had to be handed over to the
French under treaty, whilst he should make some stay upon the coast in
order to afford proper time for survey before they had to be surrendered.
The possession of these islands carried with it certain fishing and
curing rights conferred by the Treaty of Utrecht and confirmed by that of
Paris, and the possession of the islands and rights have been a continual
cause of irritation to the fishermen of both nations till lately, but now
the differences have been satisfactorily settled. It is said that the
Earl of Bute was the cause of the inclusion of the clause concerning
these islands in the Treaty, and that he received the sum of 300,000
pounds for permitting it to stand. It was specially stipulated that the
islands were not to be fortified, and the number of the garrison was to
be strictly limited to a number sufficient for police duty alone; but
from the very commencement of the peace, it was one continual struggle to
evade the terms by one side, and to enforce them by the other, without
coming to an actual rupture.


According to his expressed intention, Captain Graves, on arriving at St.
John's, despatched Captain Charles Douglas in the Tweed to superintend
the removal of the British settlers from the two islands, and Cook
accompanied him with orders to press on the survey as rapidly as possible
in order that it might be completed before the arrival of the French.
Unfortunately, M. d'Anjac, who was charged with the duty of receiving the
islands on behalf of the French king, arrived on the same day as the
Tweed, off the islands. Captain Douglas refused to permit the French to
land until the islands had been formally handed over by his superior
officer, and by a little judicious procrastination in communicating with
Captain Graves, and persistent energy on the part of Cook in conducting
the survey, sufficient time was gained to complete it. Graves writes to
the Admiralty on 20th October 1763:

"Meanwhile the survey went on with all possible application on the part
of Mr. Cook. At length, Monsieur d'Anjac's patience being quite
exhausted, I received a letter from him on the 30th of June, of which I
enclose a copy together with my answer returned the same day. This
conveyance brought me a letter from Captain Douglas, expressing his
uneasiness on the part of Monsieur d'Anjac and pressing to receive his
final instructions, and at the same time gave me the satisfaction to
learn St. Peter's was completely surveyed, Miquelon begun upon and
advanced so as to expect it would be finished before the French could be
put in possession: so that any interruption from them was no longer to be

In a paper amongst the Shelbourne manuscripts, said to be an extract from
a Journal of Cook's, there is a short description of these islands, and
it conveys the impression that the writer looked upon them as absolutely
worthless as either naval or military stations, but for all that Captain
Graves's successor, Pallisser, was kept continually on the alert to
defeat the efforts of the French to strengthen their position.


After the official surrender of these islands, Cook was engaged in
surveying different places which the Admiralty had specially marked out,
and was borne on the books of either the Antelope or Tweed as might be
convenient. He is to be found on the latter ship, entered "for victuals
only," as "Mr. James Cook, Engineer, and Retinue." As the dates in the
two ships often run over each other it is somewhat difficult to place
him, but he was certainly in the neighbourhood of St. John's for some two
months, and on 5th November he was discharged from the Antelope into the
Tweed, together with Mr. Smart, for the passage to England, where he
remained till the spring of the following year. On 4th January the
Admiralty authorised the payment up to the end of the previous year of
the allowances of 10 shillings and 6 shillings per day, respectively, to
Mr. Cook and Mr. Smart. This allowance of 10 shillings per day was the
same as that made to the Commander of a Squadron, so, from a financial
point of view, Cook's position must be considered one of importance. It
was apparently superior to that of a Master surveying under the
directions of the Governor, for in a report that Captain Pallisser, when
Governor of Newfoundland, gives of an interview between the French
Ambassador and himself in London in 1767, on the subject of the
fisheries, he says he produced Cook's chart, and decided the question of
the rights of France to the use of Belle Isle for fishing purposes
against the Ambassador by its means, and he speaks of Cook officially as
the King's Surveyor.

Pallisser was appointed to succeed Graves as Governor in 1764, and at
once set aside the schooner Grenville, which Graves had used as a
despatch boat for the sole use of the survey party. She had been manned
from the ships on the station, but Pallisser wrote to the Admiralty on
the subject, and the Navy Board were instructed to establish her with a
proper person to take command of her, and a complement of men sufficient
to navigate her to England when the surveying season was over, in order
that she might be refitted and sent out early in the spring, instead of
being laid up in St. John's and waiting for stores from England, "whereby
a great deal of time is lost." The establishment was to consist of ten
men, i.e. a Master, a Master's mate, one Master's servant, and seven men.
The Master and mate were to receive the pay of a sixth rate, and the
former was "to be charged with the provisions and stores which shall be
supplied to the schooner from time to time, and to pass regular accounts
for the same." On 2nd May Stephens wrote to Pallisser that Cook was
appointed Master of the Grenville, and as soon as the season was over he
was to be ordered to Portsmouth, and on arrival to transmit his Charts
and Draughts to the Admiralty. On receipt of this letter Pallisser wrote
to Cook, and this communication, together with autograph copies of
letters written by Cook having reference to the Grenville, a receipt for
her husband's pay, signed by Mrs. Cook, and some other papers of interest
relating to his voyages, are now in the hands of Mr. Alexander Turnbull,
of Wellington, New Zealand.

It would appear that it was at this time that the friendship between
Pallisser and Cook really commenced, for previously there can have been
no opportunity for the former to have known anything of Cook's
personality. A Captain of a man-of-war saw nothing of a Master's mate,
and knew nothing of him except whether he did his duty or not, and that
only through the Master's report. In this particular case, as soon as his
attention was called to him by outside influence, Cook was withdrawn from
his knowledge, and when they again came in contact had already made his
mark. Had they been on the very friendly terms that Kippis suggests, it
is unlikely that he would have made so many incorrect statements as to
Cook's early career in the Navy.

On 23rd April Cook received his orders, and was told at the same time
that as he had expressed a doubt about being able to get suitable men in
Portsmouth, he would be provided with conduct money and free carriage of
chests and bedding for those he could raise in London, and they should be
transferred to Portsmouth in the Trent. Mr. William Parker was appointed
Master's mate, and the whole crew left Portsmouth on 7th May in H.M.S.
Lark, arriving in St. John's on the 14th June. They took possession of
their ship on the same day, and the first entry in the Grenville's log
runs as follows:

"June 14th, 1764, St. John's, Newfoundland. The first and middle parts
moderate and hazy Weather, the Later foggy. At 1 P.M. His Majesty's Ship
the Lark anchored here from England, on board of which came the Master
and the company of this Schooner. Went on board and took possession of
Her. Read over to the crew the Master's Warrant, Articles of War, and
Abstract of the late Act of Parliament."


After getting the guns and stores on board, and fitting the ship for her
new duties, they left St. John's on 4th July for the north. A base line
was laid out at Noddy's Harbour, and the latitude of Cape Norman was
found to be 51 degrees 39 minutes North; soundings were taken every mile.
On 3rd August Cook left the ship in the cutter to continue his work, but
having met with a nasty accident he had to return on the 6th. It seems he
had a large powder horn in his hand, when, by some means not stated, the
powder ignited, and the horn "was blown up and burst in his hand, which
shattered it in a terrible manner, and one of the people which was hard
by suffered greatly by the same accident." The Grenville left at once for
Noddy's Harbour, where there was a French ship which had a doctor on
board, arriving there at eleven o'clock, was able to secure some sort of
medical assistance, though probably in the eye of a modern medical man,
of a very rough nature. At that time surgery, especially on board ship,
was very heroic; a glass of spirits the only anodyne, and boiling pitch
the most reliable styptic.

In reference to this accident the Lords of the Admiralty wrote to Lord
Halifax, quoting a letter they had received from Captain Pallisser, dated
14th November 1764:

"Mr. Cook, the surveyor, has returned. The accident to him was not so bad
as it was represented. Nor had it interrupted his survey so much as he
(Captain Pallisser) expected. He continued on the coast as long as the
season would permit, and has executed his survey in a manner which, he
has no doubt, will be satisfactory to their Lordships. I have ordered him
to proceed to Woolwich to refit his vessel for the next season, and to
lay before the Board, Draughts of his surveys with all his remarks and
observations that may be useful to Trade and Navigation in those parts."

Pallisser did not see Cook till some time after the accident, when the
worst was over, and it is quite in keeping with Cook's character to
minimise his sufferings, and to insist on the work being kept going as
far as possible. The surgeon, Mr. Samwell, relates that after the murder
at Owhyee they were enabled to identify his hand by the scar which he
describes as "dividing the thumb from the fingers the whole length of the
metacarpal bones." Whilst Cook was laid up with his hand, and Mr. Parker
was engaged with the survey, some of the men were employed brewing, and
either the brew was stronger than usual or, the officer's eye being off
them, they indulged too freely, for on 20th August it is noted that three
men were confined to the deck for drunkenness and mutinous conduct, and
the next day the ringleader was punished by being made to "run the

Early in September, being then in the Bay of St. Genevieve, Cook went
ashore for six days and ran roughly the course of several small rivers,
noting the chief landmarks, and then on their way back to St. John's, off
Point Ferrol, their small boat was dashed to pieces on a ledge of rock,
and its occupants were saved with great difficulty by the cutter which by
great good fortune happened to be near at the time. They returned to
England for the winter, and crossing the Banks, a series of soundings
were made and the nature of the bottom carefully noted.

When Cook arrived at Woolwich, he pointed out to their Lordships that the
completion of his charts would entail his being absent from his ship, and
he would be unable to supervise everything that had to be done on board,
he therefore suggested that she should be sent to Deptford yard. This was
at once agreed to, and Cook was able to devote his whole time to his
charts. His own work had to be supplemented by the observations made by
six men-of-war stationed in Newfoundland waters as their commanding
officers had received special instructions to take ample soundings and
careful observations, and to make charts which were to be sent to Captain
Pallisser, who was informed that he would be held responsible if these
orders were not carried out in their entirety. It is very certain that an
order so emphatically enforced on his notice would not be permitted to
remain a dead letter.


Whilst at Deptford, the rig of the Grenville was altered from schooner to
brig, as Cook thought that her sailing qualities would be improved by the
change, and she also received a thorough overhaul. In the previous year
her armament had been supplied from the flagship, and of course had to be
returned, so now she was established with "6 swivel guns, 12 Musquets,
and powder and shot" of her own, and her crew was augmented to twenty,
including a midshipman and a carpenter's mate, paid as on board a sixth
rate. Isaac Smith, Mrs. Cook's cousin, afterwards Admiral, who lived with
her at Clapham, was the midshipman. On 25th March 1765 the Grenville
again left for Newfoundland, arriving at St. Lawrence Harbour on 2nd June
to recommence her work. On 14th July, whilst "moored in a bay by Great
Garnish, we picked up two men who had been lost in the woods for near a
month. They came from Barin, intending to go to St. Lawrence Harbour, and
were almost perishing for want of subsistence." Going into Long Harbour,
23rd July, the Grenville ran on a rock and remained so fast that she had
to be unloaded before she could be floated off the next day, when she was
found to have suffered considerable damage to her forefoot.

From the log of the Grenville it appears that the survey was not carried
out continuously, and this may be accounted for by the fact that the
Governor was being called upon to settle disputes with the French
fishermen, who were only too apt to place the broadest construction on
the treaty rights accorded to them. It is very possible that Cook, during

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Online LibraryArthur KitsonThe Life of Captain James Cook → online text (page 4 of 22)