British flag from the Cook's time

An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...

Creative book-keeping of the discoverer of New Zealand.

James Cook (1728 - 1779) proved, during his travels of 1768-71, that the coast named Staaten Land by Abel Tasman was not part of the Southern Continent that was so persistenly searched for, but rather two separate islands that were later named New Zealand. 
There were 94 passengers on board of Cook's ship the 'Endeavour', of these 55 made up the crew, 14 belonged to the officers cadre, defense was provided by 12 marines, there was also one astronomer and nine gentlemen, over which Cook had no say in their appointment. These gentlemen were decided upon by the Admiraltyand the King. The leader of this group was later to become the famous Joseph Banks. Apart from this, the ship also carried two of Banks' greyhounds, three cats, seven sheep, two dozen roosters and hens as well as a famous goat (the gentlemen needed to have milk with their morining coffee). It was the same goat  which had already proved its use in previous voyages - through the use of its horns, it chased away unwated pesky guests...

A more thorough investigation of the passenger list show that there were a furhter two passengers on board. These were James Cook (crew, age 5), and Nathaniel Cook (sailor, age 3). But these brave travellers did not set foot on the boat, or onto New Zealand soil, even though formally they were on the ship. They were fictional passengers, and in reality they stayed in London under the care of their mother Elizabeth - Cook's wife. The reason for all of this is that in the British navy, to achieve the rank of Luitenant, one had to have a certain amount of time at sea. At the appropriate moment, when it was their turn for navy duty, these old ship logs were dug out, and the promotion was theirs. 

This of course, was a criminal offence punishable by court marshal, but nonetheless had been used for many years. Cook was usually quite a law abiding man, however in this case he took a risk for the sake of his offspring.

This can be viewed as a case of creative book keeping in eighteenth century England. 



And so little Cooks, instead of frolic on seas and oceans remained under care of this distinguished lady, well, she was a bit younger then. 

(foto: Elizabeth Cook as a widow)



(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

Jan.  2003

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