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A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume II

Date: 1777
Dimensions:
Overall: 45 x 290 x 240 mm, 1.95 kg
Display Dimensions: 290 x 42 x 237 mm
Medium: paper and ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00000358
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    Following the success of the ENDEAVOUR voyage, James Cook was appointed to lead a second expedition - this time to search the southern ocean and to prove or disprove once and for all the existence of Terra Australis Incognita. In July 1772 the expedition ships RESOLUTION (commanded by Cook) and ADVENTURE (captain Tobias Furneaux) left England on a voyage that would take Cook further south than any man had sailed before and keep him away from home for three years.

    It was during this voyage on the 11 March 1773 that Furneaux watered his ship at Bruny Island (Tasmania) at a place now known as Adventure Bay. Cook's ships spent considerable time in testing conditions in high southern latitudes, punctuated by periods of respite in Polynesia. It was during these later visits to the Pacific islands that the Polynesian Omai joined the ADVENTURE when Cook's expedition anchored at Fare Harbour on the island of Huahine in September 1773.

    Omai sailed to England aboard the ADVENTURE where he quickly became a celebrity - moving easily in the highest society. He eventually returned to Polynesia on Cook's third Pacific voyage.

    Separated from the ADVENTURE in a storm, Cook and the RESOLUTION finally returned to England in July 1775. After comprehensively searching the southern latitudes Cook was able to say definitively that if a great southern continent existed, it was so far south as to be uninhabitable. The voyage was triumph for Cook which secured his fame. Shortly after his return he was promoted Post Captain and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Society's highest honour, the Copley Gold Medal for his work on overcoming scurvy.
    SignificanceUnlike the account of the ENDEAVOUR voyage (published by journalist John Hawkesworth) or the posthumous account of his final voyage (compiled by Lieutenant James King), this work - A voyage towards the South Pole and round the world performed in His Majesty's Ships RESOLUTION and ADVENTURE was written by Cook at the height of his fame. The two volume work was an instant best-seller when it appeared in 1777 and quite apart from the financial rewards it brought Cook at the time, the account secured Cook's place in history for all future generations.
    HistoryThe purpose of Cook's second expedition was to search the southern ocean for Terra Australis Incognita - the continent supposed by some geographers to exist in the southern hemisphere and to act as a balance to northern hemisphere land masses. Cook's ships spent considerable time in testing conditions in high southern latitudes, punctuated by periods of respite in Polynesia. It was during these later visits to the Pacific islands that the Polynesian Omai joined the ADVENTURE when Cook's expedition anchored at Fare Harbour on the island of Huahine for four days (3-7 September 1773). Cook described Omai: "...this man had been on board the Adventure from the first hour of her arrival at the island, it being known to all the natives that he intended to go away with us, without being demanded and as Captain Furneaux being desirous of keeping him, I did not think it necessary to send him on shore ..." [The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery, The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 172-1775, JC Beaglehole (Ed), The Boydell Press, p.221]

    After leaving Huahine, the RESOLUTION and ADVENTURE visited the neighbouring island of Raiatea (Ulietea) before sailing to the Tongan archipelago (Friendly Isles) where the ships anchored at Eua island (2 Oct)and Tongatapu (3 - 7 Oct 1773).

    From Tongatapu the ships sailed for Queen Charlotte Sound in New Zealand but became separated by a gale before they could enter Cook Strait. The RESOLUTION finally anchored at Ship Cove in Princess Charlotte Sound on 3 November (1773) where Cook waited for the ADVENTURE until 24 November. As Furneaux had not arrived, Cook left a message in a bottle buried with signs for Furneaux to find it and then departed for a further sweep of the Pacific. The ADVENTURE arrived at Ship Cove six days after Cook had departed.

    Furneaux then set about replenishing the ADVENTURE and readying the ship to rendezvous with Cook at either Easter Island or Tahiti later in the year. However, these plans were changed when a boat party sent ashore to collect 'wild greens' (antiscorboutics) was horribly massacred on 17 December. Deeply affected by this event, Furneaux decided to sail for England and departed Princess Charlotte Sound on 23 December. The ADVENTURE returned to England by Cape Horn and Cape Town and arrived in England in July 1774.

    Cook and the RESOLUTION finally returned to England in July 1775. After comprehensively searching the southern latitudes Cook was able to say definitively that if a great southern continent existed, it was so far south as to be uninhabitable. The voyage was a triumph for Cook which secured his fame. Shortly after his return he was promoted Post Captain and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Society's highest honour, the Copley Gold Medal for his work on overcoming scurvy.


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