State Library of Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 5 April 1970

To the Memory of
Captain James Cook,
The ableft and moft renowned Navigator this or any country hath produced.

He raised himself, solely by his merit, from a very obscure birth, to the rank of Post Captain in the royal navy, and was, unfortunately, killed by the Savages of the island Owhyhee, on the 14th of February 1779; which island be had, not long before, discovered, when prosecuting his third voyage round the globe.
He possessed, in an eminent degree, all the qualifications requisite for his profession and great undertakings; together with the amiable and worthy qualities of the best men.
Cool and deliberate in judging: sagacious in determining: active in executing: steady and persevering in enterprising from vigilance and unremitting caution: unsubdued by labour, difficulties, and disappointments: fertile in expedients: never wanting presence of mind: always possessing himself, and the sull use of a sound understanding.
Mild, just, but exact in discipline: he was a father to his people, who were attached to him from affection, and obedient from considence.
His knowledge, his experience, his sagacity, rendered him so entirely master of his subject, that the greatest obstacles were surmounted, and the most dangerous navigations became easy, and almost sase, under his direction.

Inscription to the

He explored the Southern hemisphere to a much higher latitude than had ever been reached, and with fewer accidents than frequently befal those who navigate the coasts of this island.
By his benevolent and unabating attention to the welfare of his ship's company, he discovered and introduced a system for the preservation of the health of seamen in long voyages, which has proved wonderfully efficacious: for in his second voyage round the world, which continued upwards of three years, be lost only one man by distemper, of one hundred and eighteen, of which his company consisted.
The death of this eminent and valuable man was a loss to mankind in general; and particularly to be deplored by every nation that respects useful accomplishments, that honours science, and loves the benevolent and amiable affections of the heart. It is still more to be deplored by this country, which may justly boast of having produced a man hitherto unequalled for nautical talents; and that sorrow is farther aggravated by the reflection, that his country was deprived of this ornament by the enmity of a people, from whom, indeed, it might have been dreaded, but from whom it was not deserved. For, actuated always by the most attentive care and tender compassion for the savages in general, this excellent man was ever assiduously endeavouring, by kind treatment, to dissipate their fears, and court their friendship; overlooking their thefts and treacheries, and frequently interposing, at the hazard of his life, to protect them from the sudden resentment of his own injured people.
The object of his last mission was to discover and ascertain the boundaries of Asia and America, and to penetrate into the Northern Ocean by the North East Cape of Asia.
Traveller! contemplate, admire, revere, and emulate this great master in his profession; whose skill and labours have enlarged

Memory of Captain Cook.

larged natural philosophy; have extended nautical science; and have disclosed the long-concealed and admirable arrangements of the Almighty in the formation of this globe, and, at the same time, the arrogance of mortals, in presuming to account, by their speculations, for the laws by which he was pleased to create it. It is now discovered, beyond all doubt, that the same Great Being who created the universe by his fiat, by the same ordained our earth to keep a just poise, without a corresponding Southern continent—and it does so! “He “stretches out the North over the empty place, and hangeth “the earth upon nothing.” Job, xxvi. 7.
If the arduous but exact researches of this extraordinary man have not discovered a new world, they have discovered seas unnavigated and unknown before. They have made us acquainted with islands, people and productions, of which we had no conception. And if he has not been so fortunate as Americus to give his name to a continent, his pretensions to such a distinction remain unrivalled; and he will be revered, while there remains a page of his own modest account of his voyages, and as long as mariners and geographers shall be instructed, by his new map of the Southern hemisphere, to trace the various courses and discoveries he has made.
If public services merit public acknowledgments; if the man who adorned and raised the fame of his country is deserving of honours, then Captain Cook deserves to have a monument raised to his memory, by a generous and grateful nation.
Virtutis uberrimum alimentum est honos,
Val. Maximus, Lib. ii. Cap. 6.
Inscription on the Monument to Cook Erected by Admiral sir Hugh Palliser, Towards the end of the Eighteenth Century, in the Park of his House ‘the Vache’ At Chalfont st. Giles, England.