A book written by Henri Lebrun titled 'Voyages et adventures du capitaine Cook'. This book is a French edition of 'Voyages and Adventures of Captain Cook' was written for children. All three of Cook's voyages are included and the text incorporates biographical details (some quite fanciful) .
Lebrun compiled a number of voyage accounts in this format, including Cortez in Mexico and the conquest of Peru.
SignificanceAn immense amount of information regarding the Pacific region was accessible to late eighteenth-century readers through the numerous accounts and editions of the three voyages. Cook's achievements and his death were immortalized in accounts, elegies, dramatic and visual representations, and memorials in the decades following his
death.This French edition is of interest showing the then resurgence in global interest through the mid 19th
century of Cook's famous voyages. The two Illustrations highlight spectacular elements of the adventures adapted for children's enjoyment.
HistoryThe first voyage under Captain James Cook's command was primarily of a scientific nature. The expedition on the ENDEAVOUR initially sailed to Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus in order to calculate the earth's distance from the sun. Cook landed on the South Pacific island in April of 1769 and in June of that year the
astronomical observations were successfully completed. In addition to these labors, very good relations with the Tahitians were maintained and the naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel C. Solander conducted extensive ethnological and botanical research.
Another purpose of the voyage was to explore the South Seas to determine if an inhabitable continent existed in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. Upon leaving Tahiti, Cook named and charted the Society Islands and then continued southwest to New Zealand. His circumnavigation and exploration of that country also resulted in a detailed survey. Cook proceeded to Australia, where he charted the eastern coast for 2,000 miles, naming the area New South Wales. As a result of these surveys both Australia and New Zealand were annexed by Great Britain.
Based on the success of his first voyage, Cook was appointed by the Admiralty to lead a second expedition. Two ships were employed with Cook commanding the RESOLUTION and Captain Tobias Furneaux in charge of the ADVENTURE. The purpose was to circumnavigate the globe as far south as possible to confirm the location of a
southern continent. Cook proved that there was no "Terra Australis," which supposedly was located between New Zealand and South America. Cook was convinced, however, that there was land beyond the southern ice fields. In his pursuit of this idea, this expedition was the first European voyage to cross the Antarctic Circle. In addition, in two great sweeps through the Southern latitudes, Cook made an incredible number of landfalls including New Zealand, Easter Island, the Marquesas, Tahiti and the Society Islands, the Tonga Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, and a number of smaller islands.
Cook's third voyage was organized to seek an efficient route from England to southern and eastern Asia that would not entail rounding the Cape of Good Hope. The search for such a Northwest (or Northeast) Passage had been on the agenda of northern European mariners and merchants since the beginning of European expansion in the late fifteenth century. England's growing economic and colonial interests in India in the later eighteenth century provided the stimulus for the latest exploration for this route.
Cook, again in command of the RESOLUTION, was to approach the Northwest Passage from the Pacific accompanied by a second ship, the DISCOVERY, captained by Charles Clerke. The ships left England separately, regrouped at Cape Town, and continued on to Tasmania, New Zealand, and Tahiti. The expedition then sailed north and made landfall at Christmas Island and the Hawaiian Islands. Cook continued northward and charted the west coast of North America from Northern California as far as the Bering Strait. He returned to Hawaii for the winter and was killed in a skirmish with local inhabitants on February 14, 1779.
Accounts of his voyages remained popular well into the 20th century and took many forms and in many different languages.