CHAPTER 15. 1775 TO 1776. ENGLAND.
After his return Cook was busily engaged preparing his Journal and charts for publication, which had been sanctioned by the Admiralty, and was considerably annoyed and delayed by the conduct of Mr. Forster, who immediately on his return complained that the 4,000 pounds granted him to cover the whole of his expenses had proved totally inadequate. He claimed that Lord Sandwich had promised, verbally, that he was to have the exclusive duty of writing the History of the Voyage, was to receive the whole of the profits thereof, and to be provided with permanent employment for the remainder of his life. This promise was totally denied by Lord Sandwich, and it certainly does not appear to have been a reasonable one to make on behalf of the Admiralty.
After a protracted discussion, it was agreed that Cook should write the account of the voyage and the countries visited; whilst Forster was to write a second volume containing his observations as a scientist; the Admiralty was to pay the expenses of engraving the charts, pictures, etc., and, on completion of the work, the plates were to be equally divided between Cook and Forster. Cook was to proceed with his part at once and submit it to Forster for revision, and Forster was to draw up a plan of the method he intended to pursue and forward it to Lord Sandwich for approval.
Cook proceeded to carry out his share, and furnished Forster with a large amount of manuscript; but the latter proved obstinately insistent in having his own way in everything, with the result that, after submitting two schemes to Lord Sandwich, both extremely unsatisfactory, he was forbidden to write at all, and it was decided that Cook should complete the whole work, and it should be revised by the Reverend John Douglas, Canon of Windsor, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle.
Notwithstanding the prohibition against Forster, a book was published under his son's name, and the latter claims that he started on the voyage with the intention of writing, took copious notes, and, excepting that he utilised those taken by his father, the work was entirely his own. He forgets, however, to say that a quantity of Cook's manuscripts had been in his father's hands, and does not explain how so much of his book corresponds with curious exactitude with that of Cook (in many cases word for word), and how, when the papers of Cook failed to provide him with further facts, he was obliged to rely on would-be philosophical dissertations which it is to be hoped were not obtained from his father's notebooks. Young Forster says that the appointment was first of all given to his father in a spirit of pique on the part of Lord Sandwich, and then the order forbidding him to write was made because the father had refused to give Miss Ray, Lord Sandwich's mistress, who had admired them when on board the ship, some birds brought home from the Cape of Good Hope as a present to the Queen. In the end the Forsters forestalled Cook's book by about six weeks, and as this was after Cook had left England on his last voyage, Mr. Wales undertook the defence of the absent against the sneers and insinuations that were plentifully given out all round. The Forsters infer that Cook was unreliable because he suppresses mention of the bombardment of the Loo fort at Madeira, an event which never happened; and because he places Valparaiso (where he had never been) in the position given on the Admiralty chart supplied to him, which proved to be some 10 degrees out. The Master who had refused to give up his cabin was, of course, never forgiven; and as for Mr. Wales, who had observed the Transit of Venus at Hudson's Bay in 1769, for the Royal Society, he, poor man, had neither knowledge nor experience in astronomical science. The crews of the two ships also, carefully selected men though they were, some of whom had been the previous voyage, were morally and physically bad, and utterly incapable of performing their duty in a proper and seamanlike manner. A little allowance must be made for the two authors, for the father suffered severely from rheumatism, the son was of a scorbutic tendency, and both were unaccustomed to sea life, and doubtless the hardships inseparable from such a voyage pressed heavily upon them.
A second Journal was published by F. Newbery about the same time, and Cook hearing of it, sent Anderson, the gunner, to find out the author. With little difficulty he was found to be Marra, the gunner's mate who tried to desert at Otaheite, and the publication was stayed till after the authorised version was out.
A volume of Cook's letters to Dr. Douglas relating to the preparation of his Journal for the press is preserved at the British Museum, and it shows how Cook to the very last endeavoured to serve Mr. Forster's interests, and to smooth matters over so that they could work together. The last one Dr. Douglas received before Cook's departure was dated from Mile End, 23rd June 1776, the day before he joined his ship at the Nore.