Tuesday, November 01, 2022

L3 James Cook - document to prepare

I apologize for the confusion last week - everything will be back to normal next week.

I am sure you remember that your exam at the end of November will take the form of a text commentary. So, next Wednesday, we will be lookinf at another extract from cook's diary. You will find this extract below. Read it carefully, and bring any questions you have to the class next Wednesday.


James COOK, The Journals, ed. Philip EDWARDS, [1999], Penguin Classics, 2003, pp. 531-533



Tues. 20

[…] The next morning we stood in for the land, and were met by several Canoes filled with people, some of them took courage and ventured on board. I never saw Indians so much astonished at the entering a ship before, their eyes were continually flying from object to object, the wildness of thier looks and actions fully express’d their surprise and astonishment at the several new o[b]jects before them and evinced that they never had been on board of a ship before. However the first man that came on board did not with all his surprise, forget his own interest, the first moveable thing that came in his way was the lead and line, which he without asking any questions took to put into his Canoe and when we stoped him said ‘I am only going to put it into my boat’ nor would he quit it till some of his countrymen spoke to him. At 9 o'clock being pretty near the shore, I sent three armed boats, under the command of Lieutenant Williamson, to look for a landing place and fresh water. I ordered him, that if he found it necessary to land to look for the latter not to suffer more than one man to go out of the boat. As the boats put off an Indian stole the Butcher['s] cleaver, leaped over board with it, got into his canoe and made for the shore, the boats pursued but to no effect.

              As there were some venereal complaints on board both the Ships, in order to prevent its being communicated to these people, I gave orders that no Women, on any account whatever were to be admited on board the Ships, I also forbid all manner of connection with them, and ordered that none who had the venereal upon them should go out of the ships. But whether these regulations had the desired effect or no time only can discover. It is no more than what I did when I first visited the Friendly Islands yet I afterwards found it did not succeed and I am much afraid that this will always be the case where it is necessary to have a number of people on shore; the opportunities and inducements to an intercourse between the sex, are there too many to be guarded against. It is also a doubt with me, that the most skilfull of the Faculty can tell whether every man who has had the venereal is so far cured as not to communicate it further. I think I could mention some instances to the contrary. It is likewise well known that amongst a number of men, there will be found some who will endeavour to conceal this desorder, and there are some again who care not to whom they communicate it, of this last, we had an instance at Tongatabu in the Gunner of the Discovery, who remained a shore to manage the trade for Captain Clerke. After he knew that he had contracted this disease he continued to sleep with different women who were supposed not to have contracted it; his companions expostulated with him without effect; till it came to Captain Clerke’s knowlidge who ordered him on board.

              While the boats were in shore examining the coast we stood on and off with the Ships, waiting their return, at length about noon Mr Williamson came on board and reported that he had seen a large pond behind a beach near one of the Villages, which the Natives told him was fresh water and that there was anchorage before it. He also reported that he attempted to land in a nother place but was prevented by the Indians coming down to the boat in great numbers, and were for taking away the oars, muskets and in short everything they could lay hold upon and pressed so thick upon him that he was obliged to fire, but which one man was killed. But this unhappy circumstance I did not know till after we had left the islands, so all my measures were directed as if nothing of the kind had happened.

Remember to try to find in the document elements which tell us more

- about Cook and about his mission

- about the people he is writing for

- about the local peoples he encounters.

Remember to try to assess what is typical about the incidents described.

No comments: