Captain James Cook

SECOND VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD. The idea of the existence of a southern continent, or as the learned called it, Terra Australis incognita, had existed for more than two centuries; and though Cook had sailed over many parts where it was said to be situated, without seeing land, yet his first voyage did not altogether destroy the expectation that it might yet be found. Besides, his discoveries in the South Seas had whetted the public appetite for still further knowledge on the subject. The king, well pleased with what had been done, wished more to be accomplished; and accordingly, two stout ships built at Hull were purchased - the Resolution, of 462 tons, commanded by Captain Cook, with a complement of 112 persons; and the Adventure, of 336 tons, commanded by Tobias Furneaux, with a crew including officers, of 81 souls. These appointments took place on the 28th of November 1771, and the most active exertions were immediately called into operation to fit them for the undertaking. Experience had taught Captain Cook what was the most essential and requisite for Rich a voyage; not only for the comforts and preservation of his people from scurvy, not only for commerce with the natives, but cattle and seeds of various kinds, and numerous things which philanthropy suggested, were shipped for the purpose of spreading the advantages of propagation and fertility amongst the South Sea islands; the benefits of which have since been experienced by other voyagers in an eminent degree. The Admiralty engaged Mr. W. Hodges as landscape painter; Mr. J. R. Forstem and son were appointed to collect specimens of natural history and Mr. Wales in the Resolution, and Mr. Bayley in the Adventure, were sent by the Board of Longitude to superintend astronomical observations, for which they were furnished with admirable instruments and four excellent time-pieces.

The instructions given to Captain Cook were 'To circumnavigate the whole globe in high southern latitudes, making traverses from time to time into every part of the Pacific Ocean that had not undergone previous investigation, and to use his best endeavors to resolve the much agitated question of the existence of a southern continent.'