Page images

Cook was

CAPTAIN COOK. CAPTAIN JAMES Cook was born in 1728, at the village of Marton, in the North Riding of Yorkshire. A country school furnished him with those rudiments, reading, writing, and arithmetic, which he afterwards turned to such valuable account. At a proper age he was apprenticed to a tradesman iding at the little town of Snaith, on the sea-coast, exercising the calling of a grocer, a business which, it would appear, being but little in unison with the disposition of the youth, who became thoroughly disgusted with its routine; so much so that his master, perceiving the repugnance of the boy, which afforded him but little prospect of profitable service, cancelled his indentures, and young thus freed from his uninteresting employment.

Being thus at liberty, he followed the bent of his inclination, which pointed decidedly to the ocean, over whose waters such articles as were sold at his late employer's shop found their way to the country. In consequence, he bound himself for three years to two brothers, ship-owners, of Whitby. There was nothing in the world he was so well fitted to do as the work of a seaman ; and he accordingly made rapid progress, and soon obtained a reputation which will increase with the advance of time; while his consummate seamanship will remain an instructive lesson for all future aspirants to nautical fame.

When the French war broke out in 1775, he entered the Royal Navy. Now success is generally the result, wherever a well constituted mind is devoted exclusively to a given object. So, at east, young Cook found. He made his own way; his exemplary conduct, his nautical skill, the fact that he was always alive to his duty and awake to his profession—these were enough to ensure his promotion. Cook having entered as a common seaman, was soon made master of the Mercury, forming one of the squadron of ships sent against Canada, then in the possession of the French. There his abilities were tested. To him was entrusted the hazardous service of taking soundings in the river St. Lawrence; but he performed the task thoroughly, though he had execute it in the face of the French encampment. He also made a chart of the stream below Quebec, and altogether acquitted himself in a manner so satisfactory, as to attract the notice of the Government.

He returned to England in 1762, after assisting at the capture of Newfoundland, to which colony he again repaired the ensuing year, with the appointment of marine surveyor. This was the reward of his services : and it is unnecessary to say, that with his scientific mind, his perseverance, and his industry, he found it casy to perform his duties well. At this time he first made himself known to the Royal Society, of which he subsequently became a most valuable member. This was by communicating to that learned body his observations on a solar eclipse, which happened in 1776, with the longitude of the place deduced from that occurrence.

In 1768, the Government contemplated an expedition to the Pacific Ocean, for the purpose of making certain astronomical observations. Several learned men were appointed; and to Cook, the poor boy who first took to the sea in a Whitby merchant vessel, the direction of the expedition was entrusted. In June, 1768, he sailed in the Endeavour, of which he had the command, with the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Navy. The observations were successfully taken in the following June, at Otaheite, and thence he bent his sails to the neighbouring islands, which were diligently and actively explored. This over, he departed for New Zealand, discovered by Tasman, in 1642. These islands he circumnavigated, sedulously examining their shores,--an employment which occupied six months. Leaving there, he steered for Australia, the largest island on the globe, which was then almost unknown. The eastern part of the island he carefully surveyed, and threw new light upon a country the interior of which remained unexplored till but lately. On his return from this important and successful voyage, Cook was promoted to the rank of commander.

Another voyage was then planned, the object of which was to ascertain, by exploring the antarctic regions, the existence or non-existence of a circum-polar southern continent. Two ships were commissioned for the expedition, the Resolution and the Adventure. The command of the former was conferred upon Cook. In July, 1772, the vessels sailed, and sailed south till a barrier of ice forbade further progress. He discovered the island


of New Georgia, the valleys of which are always covered with

The only vegetation observed was bladed grass, wild burnet, and a kind of moss springing from the rocks ; no stream of fresh water being discernible on the whole coast. He again visited Otaheite, and some of the other places, and returned to his native land in 1775. In this voyage he fully displayed his scientific mind, his sea-genius, and the unremitting attention with which he pursued his professional avocations.

The precautions he adopted for the prevention of disease among his crew were so judicious, that he only lost one man by sickness during the whole time. At that day, when vessels went to sea very indifferently provided, this was ten times more extraordinary than it seems to us; though to lose only one in a voyage of three years is extraordinary enough. On his return he communicated the remedies he had employed, with the regulations he had enforced, to the Royal Society. The paper was inserted in their Transactions; his experiments were eulogised, himself elected a member of their body, and complimented with the Copley gold medal. Government, anxious to show the estimation in which they held his talents, and the satisfaction they derived from his persevering exertions, elevated him to one of the most honorable situations a man can possess, that of postcaptain in the British Navy, and gave him the additional appointment of captain in Greenwich Hospital.

In July, 1776, he commanded another expedition, in the Resolution, accompanied by the Discovery, fitted out for the purpose of seeing if any communication existed in the arctic regions between the Atalantic and Pacific Oceans. In the prosecution of this investigation, he explored a considerable extent of the western coast of North America, and, in 1778, discovered the Sandwich Islands. To one of this group, Owhyhee, he returned to pass the winter of 1778, after having made his American survey. In the following February he sailed for Kamtschatka, but was compelled by an accident, unfortunately for himself, to put back to Owhyhee. There he got into a dispute with the inhabitants respecting a boat which had been stolen from him by one of the islanders. Cook, who possessed that indomitable resolution which has ever marked our great seamen, went on shore to seize their king, and keep him as an hostage until the boat should be restored. The people, however, were not in a humor to submit; they resisted, and hostilities commenced, during which Cook and some of his crew became victims to the fury of the natives. He was killed in his fifty-first year, on St. Valentine's Day, 1779.

Boy's Magazine.


Of the many marked adaptations of nature to the mind of man, it seems one of the most singular that trees intended for the adornment of the wildest mountains, should be in broad outline the most formal of trees. The vine, which is to be the companion of man, is waywardly docile in its growth, falling into festoons beside his corn-fields, or roofing his garden walks, or casting its shadow all summer upon his door. Associated alwayswith the trimness of cultivation, it introduces all possible elements of sweet wildness. The pine, placed nearly always among scenes disordered and desolate, brings into them all possible elements of order and precision. Lowland trees may lean to this side and that, though it is but a meadow breeze that bends them, or a bank of cowslips from which their trunks lean aslope ; but let storm and avalanche do their worst, and let the pine find only a ledge of vertical precipice to cling to, it will nevertheless grow straight. Thrust a rod from its last shoot down the stem, it shall point to the centre of the earth as long as the tree lives.

Also it may be well for lowland branches to reach hither and thither for what they need, and to take all kinds of irregular shape and extension ; but the pine is trained to need nothing and to endure everything. It is resolvedly whole, self-contained, desiring nothing but rightness; content with restricted completion. Tall or short, it will be straight. Small or large, it will be round. It may be permitted also to these soft lowland trees, that they should make themselves gay with show of blossom, and glad with pretty charities of fruitfulness. We builders with the sword have harder work to do for man, and must do it in close-set troops. To stay the sliding of the mountain snows,

which would bury him ; to hold in divided drops, at our sword points, the rain which would sweep away him and his treasurefields; to nurse in shade among our brown fallen leaves the tricklings that feed the brooks in drought; to give massive shield against the winter wind, which shrieks through the bare branches of the plain :-such service must we do him steadfastly while we live. Our bodies also are at his service; softer than the bodies of other trees, though our toil is harder than theirs. Let him take them as pleases him for his houses and ships. So also it may be well for these timid lowland trees to tremble with all their leaves, or turn their paleness to the sky, if but a rush of rain passes by them; or to let fall their leaves at last, sick and sere. But we pines must live carelessly amidst the wrath of clouds. We only wave our branches to and fro when the storm pleads with us, as men toss their arms in a dream.

And finally, these weak lowland trees may struggle fondly for the last remnants of life, and send up feeble saplings again from their roots when they are cut down. But we builders with the sword perish boldly: our dying shall be perfect and solemn, as our waning: we give up our lives without reluctance and for




The autumu and winter of the year 1740 were, like the black years which succeeded the Revolution, long remembered all over Scotland, and more especially to the north of the Grampians. One evening, late in the summer of this year, crops of rich promise were waving on every field, and the farmer anticipated an early harvest: next morning a chill dense fog had settled on the whole country, and when it cleared up, the half-filled ears drooped on their stalks, and the long-pointed leaves slanted towards the soil as if scathed by fire. The sun looked out with accustomed heat and brilliancy, and a light breeze from the south rolled away every lingering wreath of vapour; then succeeded pleasant days and mild evenings : but the hope of the season was blasted; the sun only bleached and shrivelled the produce of the fields, and the breeze rustled through unproductive straw. Harvest came on, but it brought with it little of the labor, and none

« PreviousContinue »