Posts Tagged ‘captain cook’

‘ENGLAND EXPECTS’ -1790 – BRING IN THE HEADS OF THE SLAIN – Governor Phillip’s barbarous path to secure Spain’s silver and gold for Britain

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

‘The combination of French and Spanish naval power had proven fatal for Britain in the American War [1775-83] as Lord Sandwich admitted frankly’. Lord Sandwich cited, R.J. King, The Secret History of the Convict Colony,  Allen and Unwin, Sydney 1990

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‘New Holland is a good blind, then, when we want to add to the military strength of India’. Anon to Evan Nepean, Bladen, Historical Records

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1788 – 25 January: ‘When leaving Botany Bay [for Sydney Cove] Phillip noticed two [2] French ships in the offing‘. Hugh Edward Egerton, A Short History of British Colonial Policy, Methuen, London 1928 

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‘There would seem to be’ “some justification for saying that England won Australia by six [6] days”. Edward Jenks, cited Egerton. op.cit.

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‘Actually, when Phillip planted the flag at Sydney Cove in 1788 he was not claiming the land for the British to take it away from the Aboriginal people but to make sure the French did not make the claim first’.  The Honest History Book, Larissa Behrendt, eds. David Stephens & Alison Brionowski, NewSouth Publishing, 2017

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‘When I conversed with Lord Sydney…The place New South Wales holds on our globe might give it a very commanding influence in the policy of Europe. 

If a colony from Britain was established in a large tract of [that] country…The check which New South Wales would be in time of war…make it a very important object when we view it in the chart of the world with a political eye…and if we were at war with Holland or Spain, we might very powerfully annoy either State from our new settlement’.  James Matra, Plan for Botany Bay, August 23rd 1783, Frank Murcott Bladen,Historical Records of New South Wales  1892. Nabu Public Domain Reprint

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‘Without the direct intervention of Britain’s adversaries, France and Spain, on America’s side, the colonies could not hope to prevail against the superior British army and navy to win their independence outright’.Larrie D. Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms, American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved it. First Vintage Books, 2017

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Our wealth and power in India is their [France’s] great and constant object of jealously; and they will never miss an opportunity of attempting to wrest it out of our hands’. Sir James Harris [1784], cited Michael Pembroke, Arthur Phillip Sailor Mercenary Governor Spy, Hardie Grant Books, 2013

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YORKSHIRE: COOK – HARRISON – GREEN: THREE YORKSHIRE MEN WALKED INTO A BAR

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

 

‘He [John Harrison] wrested the world’s whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket watch’. Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, London, 1998

Harrison H-4 Chronometer

Since earliest times Europe’s sea-faring nations England, Portugal, France, Spain the Netherlands vied with each other to solve – the Holy Grail of Navigation – longitude – calculating with precision a ship’s position at sea while beyond sight of land.

Cornwell – 1707:  In heavy weather six (6) of Admiral Clowdisley Shovell’s ships lost their bearings off the Cornish coast and dashed to pieces against the Scilly Isles with the loss of 1500 lives

1714  – Westminster: An enquiry into England’s first recorded 18th century maritime disaster resulted in legislation- The Act of Longitude 1714.

A Board of Longitude was established under the Act. Its task to invite and evaluate submissions and award a prize of £20,000 to whom-so-ever solved the problem of determining longitude at sea.

The contest,  to the detriment of the world’s seafarers, developed into a naked grab for cash. A king’s ransom, reckoned now at more than £400,000,000, did much to delay recognition of the solution at the cost of countless lives.  See: Lotto and Longitude

‘John Harrison, the man who solved longitude in 1759’. Peter Ackroyd, Revolution, Macmillan, London, 2016 See: Lieutenant William Dawes & ‘The Eternal Flame’

There had only two (2) viable contenders for the Longitude Prize. Astronomer Royal Rev. Nevil Maskelyne’s Nautical Almanac , a system of  Luna Tables  and Star Cataglog favoured by a succession of Astronomer Royals and a sea-going ‘pocket-watch’ the invention of John Harrison a Yorkshire carpenter.

‘The Board of Longitude was top-heavy with astronomers, mathematicians and navigators…the Reverend Nevil Maskelyne the fifth astronomer royal, who contested his [Harrison’s] claim to the [Longitude] prize money and whose tactics at certain junctions can only be described as foul-play’. Dava Sobel. ibid.

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CAPTAIN COOK CAUGHT SHORT 

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

The Royal Society had accepted the recommendation of [Maskelyne] the Astronomer [Royal] that [Dalrymple] the well-known hydrographer of the Pacific should be chosen as ‘a proper Person to be sent to the South Seas’. H.C. Cameron, Sir Joseph Banks, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1968

Greenwich: Rev. Nevil Maskelyne, Britain’s fifth Astronomer Royal may have judged Alexander Dalrumple, a Fellow of the Royal Society; ‘a proper Person’ the Admiralty however would have none of Alexander Dalrymple. See: Malicious Maskelyne 

South Seas: Instead Admiralty chose James Cook, then a lowly Warrant Officer of the Royal Navy, to lead a scientific expedition to the ‘South Seas’.

The expedition was a two-for-the-price-of-one venture.  Edmond Haley of comet fame earlier had predicted a celestial phenomenon the, Transit of Venus, would occur in early June 1769.  The Royal Society favoured Tahiti as an ideal place to observe the Transit.

The Society could not bear the full cost of sending observers there and went into partnership with the Admiralty who supplied a ship and paid its captain and crew.

Tahiti:  After the Transit Cook was to open the Admiralty’s ‘secret instructions’ and sail his shipHMS Endeavourdeep into southern latitudes in search of the fabled Great South Land.

‘[Cook] Whose remarkable qualities as a seaman and as a navigator and cartographer the Admiralty had learned to value because of his outstanding service in the operation under [General] Wolfe in Canada [Seven Years War 1756-1763]. Cameron. ibid. 

Yorkshire – 1728: James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in Marston, Yorkshire. Vanessa Collingridge Captain Cook The Life, Death and Legacy of History’s Greatest Explorer, Random House, 2003 says he spent most of his childhood; ‘in the lee of the largest peak in Yorkshire’s North Riding’.

Whitby – 1747:  Leaving school in 1747 Cook worked as deckhand on a Whitby barque bringing coal from Newcastle to Hull and London. By 1752 he was Mate on a collier Friendship.

1755: War with France was looming and in 1755 Abel Seaman Cook enlisted in the Royal Navy where his experience made for steady progress..

1756: The Seven Year’s War broke out in 1756 with Britain, Prussia and Hanover ranged against France, Austria, Russia, Saxony, Sweden and Spain. Military historians classify The Seven Years’ War 1756-1763 as the world’s first truly global war.

1757 – June:  Cook passed his sailing master’s examination at Trinity House in mid 1757 and joined the crew of HMS Eagle .

1757 October: He was posted to HMS Pembroke an impressive  sixty-four (64) gun fighting ‘Ship of the Line’.

1757:  Towards the end of 1757 William Pitt [Elder], Britain’s Prime Minister, ‘gained control of the [war] strategy’. Under his influence England’s primary struggle with France,  swung away from the Continent with the intention of seizing French colonies in North America and India.

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THE THIRD MAN – CHARLES GREEN

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

‘The grim roll-call broke his [Cook’s) heart…the death of the astronomer Charles Green marked a wave of those who ‘departed this life’….By the end of January [1771] they had barely enough men to man the ship [HMS Endeavour]’. Vanesssa Collingridge, Captain Cook, The Life, Death and Legacy of History’s Greatest Explorer, Ebury Press, 2002

Swinton- 1734: Charles Green son of ‘a prosperous’ free-hold Yorkshire farmer, born in Swinton towards the end of 1734, received a broad education with a strong emphasis on science.

London: John his elder brother took Holy Orders and established a school in Soho, London.  It was there Charles found his ‘heavenly passion’ astronomy. After graduating he stayed on teaching mathematics.

Greenwich 1760: In 1760 Charles applied successfully for the position of Assistant Astronomer at Greenwich Observatory. He went on to serve as Chief Assistant to three (3) Astronomer Royals, James Bradley, Nathaniel Bliss and briefly Reverend Nevil Maskelyn.

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In 1675 King Charles II engaged Sir Christopher Wren to design a National Observatory. Wren considered the ruins of Greenwich Castle a perfect site. Although Oliver Cromwell’s Roundhead Model Army, during The Protectorate Interregnum (1653-59) , destroyed its buildings the foundations were intact.

Greenwich: In 1676, Rev. John Flamsteed, Britain’s inaugural Astronomer Royal, took up residence in the newly minted Greenwich Observatory. He remained in the role until his death in 1719.

In 1720 Edmond Halley of comet fame succeeded Flamsteed. He held the post for twenty-two (22) years until his death in 1742.

Rev. James Bradley followed Halley. His tenure too was lengthy 1742-1762. Bradley is celebrated principally for his work on the speed of light. In 1728 he estimated light moved at the speed of 295,000 km (183,000 miles) per second.

Not until three (3) centuries later were Bradley’s calculations amended to 299,790 km (186,290 miles) per second.

Arguably had Bradley stuck to light and left longitude to Mr. John Harrison inventor of the H-4 sea-going ‘pocket-watch’ many a sea-farer may not have met a watery end. Bradley died in 1762

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MOON VERSUS MACHINE

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

‘John Harrison, the man who solved longitude in 1759’. Peter Ackroyd, Revolution, Macmillan, London, 2016

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‘With his marine clocks, John Harrison tested the waters of space-time….He wrested the world’s whereabouts from the stars, and locked the secret in a pocket-watch’. Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, London, 1998

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Compared with that of Banks, Mr. Green’s [Endeavour] equipment was comparatively modest’. H.C. Cameron, Sir Joseph Banks, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1966

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Who was Mr. Green? Charles Green was  Assistant Astronomer to Rev. James Bradley and Rev. Nathaniel Bliss, Astronomer Royals of Britain’s Greenwich Observatory.

Following his authorised participation in an official timed-voyage to Barbados aboard HMS Tarter,  Green was convinced of H-4’s reliability.

Yet, as designated astronomer in 1769, he was denied John Harrison’s chronometer for the Endeavour voyage with James Cook and Joseph Banks. See The Third Man – Charles Green

‘H-4 [was] bolted to a window seat in the Observatory’.  Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, London, 1998

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‘On May 5th, 1768, at a meeting of Council of the Royal Society it was resolved that the [Banks] instruments for the use of the Observers of the South Latitudes be the following:

Two [2] reflecting telescopes of two [2] foot focus…[1] brass Hadley’s sextant, [1] barometer bespoke of Mr Ramsden, [1] Journeyman’s Clock bespoke by Mr Skelton, two [2] Thermometers of Mr Bird, [1] Stand for Bird’s Quadrant, [1] dipping needle bespoke by Mr Ramsden’.  Cameron. op. cit.

Tahiti: After the Admiralty rejected Alexander Dalrymple, member of the influential Scots ‘Dalrymple Dynasty’, first choice of the Royal Society, that august body engaged Charles Green to represent them at Tahiti.

He would assist Lieutenant James Cook RN in observing and recording the Transit of Venus due to take place at Tahiti on 3rd June 1769. See: The Third Man

‘John Harrison, the man who solved longitude in 1759’. Peter Ackroyd, Revolution, Macmillan, London, 2016

So why ten (10) years after the longitude problem had been solved was Harrison’s marine chronometer ‘H-4 bolted to a window seat in the [Greenwich] Observatory’ and not aboard HMS Endeavour when Green set off in 1769 with Lieutenant James Cook for Tahiti. See: Captain Cook, John Harrison, Charles Green – Three Yorkshire Men Walked Into A Bar

No doubt H-4 sat under the watchful eye of Rev. Nevil Maskelyne Britain’s fifth Astronomer Royal.

Appointed to that high post in 1765 on the death of Rev. Nathaniel Bliss Maskelyne held a conservative stranglehold over the position until 1811.

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MALICIOUS MASKELYNE

Monday, August 14th, 2017

‘The Transit [of Venus] was more than just an astronomical curio, it was the key to a wealth of information about the universe, information that would be seized upon by the intensely curious men of science who characterised the age’. Vanessa Collingridge, Captain Cook, The Life, Death and Legacy of History’s Greatest Explorer, Random House, 2003

England – 1663: In 1663 during the reign of King Charles II (1660-1685) a collection of ‘intensely curious men of science’ – the ‘Invisible College’ – morphed into the Royal Society.

A century later, the Society flowered under the patronage of King George III (1720-1820), to become one of the world’s most celebrated scientific institutions.

Tahiti: In 1767 with the Transit of Venus in the offing – 3 June 1769 – its second appearance that decade – the Society petitioned King George III for financial support to send observers to send an expedition to Tahiti and report on the phenomenon.

‘That the passage of the Planet Venus over the Disc of the Sun, which will happen on the 3rd of June in the year 1769, is a Phaenomenon (sic) that must, if the same be accurately observed in proper places, contribute greatly to the improvement of Astronomy on which Navigation so much depends.

 As the [Fellows] are in no condition to defray this Expense about £4,000 pounds, exclusive of the Expense of the Ships…with all humility and submit the same to your Majesty’s Royal consideration’. Cited, H.C. Cameron, Sir Joseph Banks, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1968

1768 – February: To that end James Douglas 14th Earl of Morton, then President of the Royal Society, on 15 February 1768 penned a Memorial requesting the Monarch’s financial support.

Royal money was forthcoming for it was clear accurate and reliable ‘Navigation on which so much depends’ equated with domination over the world’s oceans. Domination would expedite expansion of territory and trade. Strategically placed ‘bases’ would more likely assure victory in time of conflict.

‘And the sum of £4,000 pounds clear of fees, [was] to be placed at the disposal of the Society…On March 5th of the next year, 1768, the Navy Board was instructed by the Admiralty to purchase a suitable vessel for the great voyage to the South Seas’. Cameron, Sir Joseph Banks, Angus and Robertson, 1968

Deptford -1768, 5 March: Admiralty settled on the Earl of Pembroke. Renamed Endeavour she was a typical coal carriercat-built bark’ of 368 tons ‘stoutly built, flatly bottomed of shallow draught’.

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LOTTO AND LONGITUDE

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

‘But by reason of the motion of the Ship, the Variation of Heat and Cold, Wet and Dry, and the Difference of Gravity in different Latitudes, such a watch hath not yet been made”. And not likely to be, either, he implied’.  Isaac Newton cited, Dava Sobel, Longitude, Fourth Estate, London, 1998

‘And not likely to be’: However in 1736-7 just ten (10) years after Newton’s death (1727) H-1, an early model of John Harrison’s  marine watch  on a supervised timed voyage – England to Lisbon aboard HMS Centurian – proved to be a reliable time-keeper.

Accurate time-keeping was essential for the calculation of longitude at sea. Harrison a Yorkshire carpenter solved that problem. His  invention – a sea-going ‘pocket watch’ – gave a ship’s precise position when beyond sight of land.

‘John Harrison, the man who solved longitude in 1759’. Peter Ackroyd, Revolution, Macmillan, London, 2016

The Centurian voyage was typical of John Harrison’s long struggle for recognition.

‘He [Harrison] succeeded, against all odds, in using the fourth – temporal – dimension to link points on the three-dimensional globe’. Sobel. ibid.

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AUSTRALIA – BRITAIN BY A SHORT HALF-HEAD: CAPTAIN ARTHUR PHILLIP & COMTE JEAN-FRANCOISE LA PEROUSE

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

‘From the coast of China it [New Holland] lies not more than about a thousand leagues and nearly the same distance from the East Indies, from the Spice Islands about seven hundred leagues, and near a month’s run from the Cape of Good Hope…or suppose we were again involved  in a war with Spain, here are ports of shelter and refreshment for our ships, should it be necessary to send any into the South Sea’. Admiral Sir George, Historical Records of New South Wales. Vol.1

Captain Louis Antoine de Bougainville’s A Voyage Round the World published in 1771; ‘raised the stakes in the race to see who would open up the Pacific first’. Arthur Herman, To Rule The Waves, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 2005

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CAPE YORK TO SOUTH CAPE – KING GEORGE III – YOUR LAND IS MY LAND

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

‘Hugh Grotius [1538-1645] remark[ed] that an act of discovery was sufficient to give clear title to sovereignty ‘only when it is accompanied by actual possession’. Cited, Henry Reynolds, Aboriginal Sovereignty, Three Nations, One Australia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996

Cape York, Possession Island:  On 22 August 1770 Lieutenant James Cook RN, in Australia’s far north at Possession Island in the name of King George III of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, claimed ‘discovery’ of the entire eastern coast of New Holland from ‘Cape York in the most northern extremity…to South Cape’.

‘The natives of the country…live in Tranquility which is not disturb’d by the inequality of condition; they covet not magnificent Houses, household stuff etc. They sleep as sound in a small hovel or even in the open as the King in His Pallace on a Bed of down’. Lieutenant James Cook, The Endeavour Journal

England –  July 1771: When Lieutenant James Cook RN returned home from the Endeavour voyage (1786-1771) he reported New Holland was inhabited.

Eighteenth century European law held; ‘only if uninhabited could one country take effective possession of another country, claim ownership for itself and share it out among its own people’.

‘Discovery gave what was termed an inchoate title which could only be developed further by actual occupation’Reynolds. op.cit.

European law required if inhabited territory was to be invaded and conquered – – ‘effective[ly] occupied’ – by a foreign power, permission to use the land had to be sought. The rights of the conquered peoples were to be respected and treaty entered into.

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A CRACKER-JACK OPINION – NO SWEAT

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

‘ACTUAL OCCUPATION’ OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY‘EXISTING IN FACT

‘During the period 1763-1793 the character of the Second British Empire was being formed…the empire of commerce in the Indian and Pacific Oceans’. Vincent T. Harlow, The Founding of the Second British Empire 1763-1793, Vol. 2 Longmans, 1963

1771 – England: Lieutenant James Cook RN returned to England from the Endeavour voyage (1786-1771). He reported the island continent named New Holland by Dutch explorers, known now as Australia, was inhabited.

‘The natives of the country…live in Tranquility which is not disturb’d by the inequality of condition’. James Cook, Endeavour Journal

According eighteenth century international law only if territory was without inhabitants could it be claimed by another nation and taken over by citizens of that other nation.

The whole claim of sovereignty and ownership on the basis of terra nullius was manifestly based on a misreading of Australian circumstance, not that this prevented [Arthur] Phillip from hoisting the Union Jack in 1788 and expropriating the owners of Sydney Cove. Stuart Mac Intyre, A Concise History of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 2004  

England’s lawyers burned midnight oil as they sought to establish legal grounds that would allow Britain take ‘effective occupation’ from those in ‘actual occupation’ of New Holland.

To that end they studied the tortuous twists and turns of English law, laid down in the ‘Commentaries’ of Sir William Blackstone England’s leading jurist of that time.

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