Narrative of the Voyages Round The World, Performed by Captain James Cook
With an Account of His Life During the Previous and Intervening Periods
by A. Kippis
TO THE KING.
I esteem myself highly honoured in being permitted to dedicate and present my Narrative of the Life and Actions of Captain James Cook to your Majesty. It was owing to your Majesty's royal patronage and bounty, that this illustrious navigator was enabled to execute those vast undertakings, and to make those extraordinary discoveries, which have contributed so much to the reputation of the British empire, and have reflected such peculiar glory on your Majesty's reign. Without your Majesty's munificence and encouragement, the world would have remained destitute of that immense light which has been thrown on geography, navigation, and the most important sciences. To your Majesty, therefore, a work like the present is with particular propriety addressed.
It is impossible, on this occasion, to avoid extending my thoughts to the other noble instances in which your Majesty's liberal protection of science and literature has been displayed. Your Majesty began your reign in a career so glorious to princes: and wonderful has been the increase of knowledge and taste in this country. The improvements in philosophical science, and particularly in astronomy; the exertions of experimental and chemical inquiry, the advancement of natural history, the progress and perfection of the polite arts, and the valuable compositions that have been produced in every department of learning, have corresponded with your Majesty's gracious wishes and encouragement, and have rendered the name of Britain famous in every quarter of the globe. If there be any persons who, in these respects, would depreciate the present times, in comparison with those which have preceded them, it may safely be asserted, that such persons have not duly attended to the history of literature. The course of my studies has enabled me to speak with some confidence on the subject; and to say, that your majesty's reign is eminently distinguished by one of the greatest glories that can belong to a monarch.
Knowledge and virtue constitute the chief happiness of a nation: and it is devoutly to be wished that the virtue of this country were equal to its knowledge. If it be not so, this does not arise from the want of an illustrious example in the person of your Majesty, and that of your royal Consort. The pattern which is set by the King and Queen of Great Britain, of those qualities which are the truest ornaments and felicities of life, affords a strong incitement to the imitation of the same excellencies; and cannot fail of contributing to the more extensive prevalence of that moral conduct on which the welfare of society so greatly depends.
That your Majesty may possess every felicity in your royal Person and Family, and enjoy a long and prosperous reign, over an enlightened, a free, and a happy people, is the sincere and ardent prayer of,
SIR, Your Majesty's most faithful,
and most obedient,
subject and servant,
London, June 31, 1788.