Endeavour Was Well Fitted For Voyage of Discovery
'No people ever went to sea better fitted out for the purpose of natural history, or more elegantly,' wrote Mr. EUit (Fellow of the Royal Society), described Captain Cook's ship, the Endeavour, when it set out on its voyage of exploration, on which Cook uncovered the eastern coast of Australia in 1770.
'They have a flne library of natural history, all sorts of machines for catching and preserving insects; all kinds of nets, trawl, drags and hooks for coral fishing; they have even curious contrivance of a telescope, by which, put into the water, you can see the bottom at a great depth when it is clear. They have many cases of bottles with ground glass stoppers of several sizes to preserve animals in spirits. They have several sorts of silks to surround the seeds. In short Solandcr assured me this expedition would cost Banks £10,000, Ihnt is to any, more than twice the cost of the ship itself.' The ship had been named the Earl of Pembroke, but she was renamed the 'Endeavour- Bark.' The Kndnav our Iind been built at Whltby in 1764, and had carried coal for four years. Her price wan £2,8,00, and £2294— nearly as much as the pricn of the ship — was spent in repairing her, sheathing her, and generally fitting; [her for the voyage. Big changes had been made to turn the coal ship Into a ship of discovery, with comfortable room for 84 men. The length of the Endeavour was 10S feet— that is less thnn twice the length of a cricket pilch, and just half the length of a Sydney-Manly ferry steamer. The breadth waa 29 feet, a little less than the brendth of a Sydney-Manly ferry steamer— you could walk across her comfortably in -en paces. The depth amidships was 20 feet, about double (he height of a room. The watcrline mnrked the draft when Btavtlng on her voyage— 13 feft 8 Inches. Her wnnagn was 3fifl tons. The measure, ments of the largest Sydney-Monly ferry steamers arc: Length 210 foet, lueadth 32 feet, tonnage 500. The main cargo on the End eft four was casks of provisions, enough to eat and drink for 18 months. The ca|-- taln'g notion of a bill .of fare at full allowance was this: 'Suppose,' he says, 'four men to mess or eat to gether, which is very common, their daily allowance would be as follows: Each man would be allowed every day one pound of biscuits, as much small beer as he can drink, or a pint of wine, or half-a-pint of brandy, rum or arrack (mixed with cask water). They (that is the mess of 4) will have besides, on Monday, half a pound of butter, about 10 ounces of Cheshire cheese, and as much boiled oatmeal or wheat as they can eat. Tuesday two four-pound pieces of beef, or one four-pound piece of beef, 3 pounds of flour and one pound of raisins or half a pound of suet. Wednesday — Butter arid cheese as on Monday, and as much boiled peas as they can eat. Thursdav — Two two-pound pieces of pork with peas. Friday — the same as Wednesday. Saturday— The same as Tuesday. Sunday, the same as Thurs day. Sugar and oil are served in place of butter and cheese: a pound of the one or a pint of the other are equal to one pound of butter or 21 ounceB of cheese.' On September 23, 1769, more than a year after the Endeavour had sailed from Plymouth (England) — August 26, 1768— Sir Joseph Banks wrote in his journal what be thought of the ship's provisions: 'Our ship's beef and pork are excellent: peas, flour and oatmeal are at present, and have been in gen eral, very good; our bread (that is bis cuit), indeed Is but Indifferent, occa sioned by the quantity of yevmin that is in it. I have 'seen hundreds, nay, thousands, shaken out of a single bis cuit. The excellent beef and pork, however, became less excellent.' About a year later, when they were on two-third allowance, Banks ad mitted that: 'Our provisions were by now so much wasted by keeping that the allowance was little more than was necessary to keep life and soul to gether. Pickled meat was called salt junk. Junk was the name given to remnants of old cables and ropes.' Banks also wrote: 'We in the cabin (that Is the dining room of the officers and gentlemen* b.ave, how ever, an easy remedy for the vermin in our bread, by baking it in an oven, not too hot, which makes them walk off. Wheat has been boiled for the breakfasts of the ship's company two or three times a week in the flame manner as frumenty (porridge) Is made. This has, I believe, been a very useful refreshment to them, as well as an agreeable food, which I, myself, and most of ihe officers in the ship lave, constantly breakfasted upon in the cold weather. The grain was originally of a good quality, and has kept without the least damage. Port able * soup is very good; It has now and then required an airing to prevent it from mouldlrig. Saurkraut is as good as tfver. Our liquors have answered extremely well; we have now both small beer and porter on tap, as good as ever I drank, especi ally the latter. The small beer has some art used to make it keep.' The cook on tbe Endeavour was John Thomson, and he proved a great success. The captain always kept a Rood table. Sir Joseph Banks, who had eaten the best dinners In London, thoroughly enjoyed Thomson's por ridge at breakfast, and said 'that a shark cooked by, Thomson was bo good that everyone, from the captain to the swabbie, dined heartily upon it,' and he described a soup made by Thomson out of a cuttle flsh as 'one of the beat soups I ever ate.' The seamen on the Endeavour dined In the big open space amidships. Here at night they slept In hammocks, and here at midday, hammocks rolled up and put away, they sat on rough benches at a rough table, ate John Thomson's dinners, and talked the talk of the 18th tentuiy seamen. It was strong, rough, full flavoured sort of talk. Mr. Forster, a pompous German man of science, who sailed with Cook on one of his voyages, over heard the seamen talking, as, hudd ling round a fire, they ate one of (bo first meals over eaten by Englishmen jn the New Zealand bush. They re cited, he says, 'a number of droll stories. Intermixed with hearty curses, oaths and Indecent expressions, but seldom without real humour.' 'What a fin* sea vesBcl.' says Captain Bayldon, 'the bark redly was, to need only a little bulwark. Our iron wool cIlpncrB with bulwark' five feel hieh. would frequently be filled with the green seas they used to ship aboard. These little bulwarks witnessed some end scenes between Batavia and (he Cape, when seamen were dying each day. Resting on them was the plank orr which was placed the dead sea man, sewn up In his canvas hammock, with a round shot bctwscn his feet, nnd covered with the old tied Ensign. Then the brief burial service, and the plank tilted upwards 'to commit the body to the deep, in the hope of a joy ii* resurrection.' Them was no chaplain on board the Endeavour. The captain read divine service on Sundays, though, perhaps, not everj' Sunday. He celebrated Divine Service at leaet twice at Tahiti, and Banks fixed an hour when natives could be present 'that they might sec our behaviour, and that we might, If possible, explain to them the reasons for it.' 'The natives,' he says, 'Imitated my motions, standing, sit ting or kneeling, as they saw me do.' i But they asked no questions, and would listen to no explanations. The officers on the Endeavour, be
sides the cuptuin, were the following: First Lieutenant Zactuu-y Hicks, who was 111 of consumption, 'and hath been dying ever since,' according to a book recording his death, only a month before home was reached. The Second Lieutenant was John Gore, a first-rate scumun, who had already failed round the world, 'and who will sail in Cook's third voyage and bring tho ships home.' He was also a first rate shot— the first Englishman to shoot a kangaroo. This incident oc curred near the present site of Cook town (N.Q.), when the Endeavour was undergoing repairs. Banks' reports that the greatest excitement was caused by the news of an animal as large as a greyhound, of a mouse colour, and very swift. 'Banks- had gotten an imperfect view of the strange monster— he was not only like a greyhound in size and running, but had a tail as long as any greyhound; what to liken him to he could not tell. Later the monster was chased by Banks's dog, but they beat him, owing to the length nnd thickness of the grass, which prevented him from run ning, while they, at every bound, leapt over the tops of it. 'We observed, much to our surprise, that, instead of going on all fours, the animal went only upon two logs, making vast bounds.' At last Lieuten ant Gore had the good fortune to kill the animal, which had so long bom the subject of our speculation. To compare it to any European animal would be Impossible, as it had not the least resemblance to any one I have seen. Next day they, ate It for dinner, and it proved excellent meat.' The Master, who looked after mut ters of navigation, was Robert Moly neux, iin able fellow who drank him self to death. Surgeon Monkhouse was a most excellent man, a splendid doctor and a delightful companion There were also the gunner, the armourer, the boatswain, the car penter, and the sailmaker, with work shops on the lower deck. Each officer had his mate or assistant,, and there were about 40 able seamen, 12 marines —that is soldiers who sail on ships. Banks, his man of science and his ser vants, made ten — ninety-four in all. Some of the young men on deck were men of high ability and of charming character. For instance, there was Midshipman Isaac Smith, cousin of Captain Cook's wife. 'He was of great use to me,' wrote Cook, at the end of the voyage, 'in assisting to make surveys, plans and drawings, in which he was very expert.' In the days when New South Wales was a prosperous* colony under Governor MacQuarie, Isaac Smith had become an admiral, and he would tell his friends that he was 'the first English man who had ever jumped ashore at Botany Bay.' 'Now then, Isaac,' sang out Cook, as the boat rowed in, 'You go first,' and Isaac jumped on to a rock, which you may jump on to to-day. The master's mate on the En deavour was Charles Clarke. He had served as a boy in the wars against France. In one fight he had been sta tioned in the top of a mast. The most waa shot clean overboard, and over board went Charles Clarke with the mast. Happily, he was fished up alive and unhurt. - After Cook's death he took command of the Endeavour, though himself in desperate health. He died a few months later In Kams chatka. The seamen of the Endeavour were not 100 per cent faultless, however. For instance, we will ask the captain his opinion of John Reading, the boatswain's mate, whose death he de scribes in the following words. 'At 10 departed this life Jno. Reading, boatswain's mate. His death was oc casioned by the boatswain, out of very good nature, giving him part of a bottle of rum last night, which, it is supposed, he drank at once. He was found to be very much In liquor last night, but as this was no more than was common with him when he could get any, no further notice was taken of him than to put him to bed, when this morning he was found speechless and past recovery.' The captain also made some entries in his Journal record of Stephen For- wood, the gunner, who one night be tween 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., with the help of three able seamen, found means to take out a spirit cask on the quarter deck between 10 and 12 gal lons of rum, being the whole that waa in the cask.' They were caught In the act, and each able seaman got the 12 lashes laid down as punishment. The gunner escaped the lashing be cause he was the gunner; though, in truth.' wrote Cook, 'he richly de served the wfiole upon his back, for bis drunkenness had made him the only useless person on board ship.' When the seamen performed heroic deeds Cook always gave them full credit in his journal. After the fear ful adventure on the top of the coral reef, off Cape Tribulation (north of the present site of Port Douglas), Cook groped his way into the En deavour River (at the present site of Cooktown). He made the following entry: 'In justice to the ship's com pany, I must say that no men ever behave-d better than they did on this occasion. Animated by the behaviour
of every gentleman on board, every man seemed to have a just sense of the dangers we were in, and exerted himself to the utmost.' It is interesting to learn from Cook's journal his way of inducing his seamen to eat sourkrout— krout rrieans cabbage. The toughest part of the captain's Job had been to prevent sea men from dying from Bcurvy, a disease caused mainly by lack of fresh food, and epecially by lack of vege tables. The best food to conquer scurvy was sourkrout. No amount of argument could, at the outset, per suade the seamen to take a mouthful. Cook, however, had a plan which, he said, 'I have never known to fall with seamen.' He had sourkrout dressed svery day for the cabin table for the benefit of the officers. As for the sea men, they might take it or leave it, exactly as they liked. In a week, Lhere was such a demand for sour krout that it was 'necessary to put everyone on board on an allowance. Tor such arc the tempers and disposi tions of seamen In general, that what ever you give them out of the com mon way, although It be ever so much for their good, will not go down, and you will hear nothing but murmur ings against the man who first In vented It; but the moment they sec their superiors set a value upon it, It becomes the finest stuff in the world, ind the inventor an honest fellow.' The entries in Cook's journal In the Mitchell Library, Sydney, help us to understand the tempers and disposi tions, not only of the seamen, but also of Qie captain himself. We under stand that temper and disposition were belter when we read what he wrote after a catch of turtles and Bsh at the Endeavour River, Cook town: 'Whatever refreshment we got that would bear a division I caused to be equally divided among the whole company, generally by weight: the meanest person in the ship had nn equal share with myself or any one an board, and this method every com mandtr of a ship, on such a voyage is thusk ought ever to observe.' Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Soland°r
were anxlouir to see if the lialivc/K of the cast coast of Queensland re st mbled tho natives of West Austra lia, who had previously been described by Dampler: 'They arc,' Dampier had written, 'of a very unpleasing aspect, having no one graceful feature in their faces. Their hair is short and curled like that of the negroes, and not long and lank like the com mon Indians. The colour of their skins Is coul black, like that of the negroes of Guinea.' He also men tioned that the two front teeth of their upper Jaw are wanting in all of them. Banks noticed that the appearance of the eastern native was different. They had their front teeth in full. Their hair was lank, and neither woolly nor frizzled. Their outside ap pealed the colour of wood soot, but as they were covered with flllh, the nntive colour of the subterranean skin was hard to tell. Banks, with his usunl scientific thoroughness, spat on his fmtser and tiied to penetrate the cruet. As he woi'ked deeper-, the'colour altered very little, but perhaps was nearer chocolate than coal-black. Cook thought their features 'fur from bring disagreeable.' .'They lived, however, like Dampicr's west erners. 'They seem,' wrote Cook, 'to ho.vc no fixed habitation, but moved about from place to place like wild i beasts, in search of food. We never ?saw one inch of cultivated ground in Ihe whole country. Their houses arc Imcnn, small hovels, not much bigger I than an oven. They have not the least knowledge of iron or any other metal; their working tools must be of stone, bone and shell.' On August 22, 1770, Cook began 'to look out for the passage we expected to find between New Holland and New Guinea. Cook named the north ern promontory York Cape, in honour uf his late Royal Highness.' Cook landed on an island, which lie named Possession Island, and 'little before sunset, took possession of the country in His Majesty's name, and flred three volleys of small arms on the occasion, which was answered from the ship.' ?