CHAPTER V. Account of Captain Cook during the Period between his Second Voyage and his Voyage to the Pacific Ocean.
'I was careful to take in water wherever it was to be got, even
though we did not want it. Because I look upon fresh water from
the shore to be more wholesome than that which has been kept some
time on board a ship. Of this essential article we were never at
an allowance, but had always plenty for every necessary purpose.
Navigators in general cannot, indeed, expect, nor would they wish
to meet with such advantages in this respect, as fell to my lot.
The nature of our voyage carried us into very high latitudes. But
the hardships and dangers, inseparable from that situation, were
in some degree compensated by the singular felicity we enjoyed, of
extracting inexhaustible supplies of fresh water from an ocean
strewed with ice.
'We came to few places, where either the art of man, or the bounty
of nature, had not provided some sort of refreshment or other,
either in the animal or vegetable way. It was my first care to
procure whatever of any kind could be met with, by every means in
my power; and to oblige our people to make use thereof, both by my
example and authority; but the benefits arising from refreshments
of any kind soon became so obvious, that I had little occasion to
recommend the one to exert the other.'
In a letter which Captain Cook wrote to Sir John Pringle, just
before he embarked on his last voyage, dated Plymouth Sound, July
7, 1776, he expressed himself as follows: 'I entirely agree with
you, that the dearness of the rob of lemons and of oranges will
hinder them from being furnished in large quantities. But I do not
think this so necessary; for, though they may assist other things,
I have no great opinion of them alone. Nor have I a higher opinion
of vinegar. My people had it very sparingly during the late
voyage, and, towards the latter part none at all; and yet we
experienced no ill effect from the want of it. The custom of
washing the inside of the ship with vinegar, I seldom observed;
thinking that fire and smoke answered the purpose much better.']
One circumstance alone was wanting to complete the pleasure and celebrity arising from the assignment of Sir Godfrey Copley's medal. Captain Cook was not himself present, to hear the discourse of the president, and to receive the honour conferred upon him. Some months before the anniversary of St. Andrew's day, he had sailed on his last expedition. The medal, therefore, was delivered into the hands of Mrs. Cook, whose satisfaction at being intrusted with so valuable a pledge of her husband's reputation cannot be questioned. Neither can it be doubted, but that the captain, before his departure from England, was fully apprized of the mark of distinction which was intended for him by the Royal Society.