Take a Captain Cook! – a euphemism, meaning “to take a look” and indeed Captain Cook went forward under orders of the Royal Navy to take a look into the South Pacific.
Such a saying however has been used exhaustively in Australia for who knows how long and who did coin this saying?……………… Is something i doubt nobody can ascertain?
Though………………… This saying is heard less and less today, a saying that was largely based within an Australian Anglo/Celtic centric society that looked to Cook as a founding father, an icon, a symbol of empirical greatness and as a link to the Mother land and Monarchy.
A sentiment that is in decline in some parts and on fervent increase else where it would seem, tainted by nationalistic reaction and misguided patriotism by Politicians and the public. History should of course be acknowledged and taught, though not venerated through bias and romantic notions that are guilty of omitted facts, in an attempt to rewrite history and present it in a non offensive and pasteurized form!
And it is true that Cook makes for a easy target and so many take aim, and in doing so are we rewriting the history of Cook through modern misinformed public opinion and political correctness, to err on both sides is a position of ignorance!
Before Capt. James Cook’s fate in Hawai’i upon the 14Th of February 1779, he had managed to establish himself as a superior surveyor and impeccable in his cartographic skills, becoming noted by those of rank, which in turn lead to his expedient appointment as a Captain within the Royal Navy.
What was remarkable about this was the fact that Cook’s background was not of aristocracy, but one of humble circumstances, his father being a Scottish farm laborer, whose employer patronised James’ education to the age of 13. And so due to such it would not of been a familiar thing for such a person to enter into the well guarded and coveted ranks of England’s elite!
It was a uncommon appointment, based on ability and not nobility or connections and wealth!
James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 1775,
Much has been said, written, researched and spoken of when it comes to the person, nature, work, surveying and the exploratory work of Capt. James Cook.
With out a doubt his accomplishments place him firmly as a great explorer, though also as a man of his times, times in which life and notions of race where greatly different to now!
History can be hidden, written, proclaimed or covered up – though eventually things can come to light! Shedding a new perspective on old conclusions!
This painting by Cleveley was found in 2004, it depicts Captain Cook as a some what violent man he has been said by others. Other Paintings of Cook’s death show him running from the Hawaiian crowds, they appearing to be in pursuit of him and his crew?
It could also be put that either side was in a position of defense or attack, such arguments serve naught to alter his end nor the state of affairs that afflict Polynesians today in wake of Cook’s expeditions!
Though Cook at many times expressed regret and concern over his experiences in the Pacific and the effects of such upon History and so unlike others of his rank and those superior to him, he showed a compassion and intuitive insight at times, in turn operating with a concern that were not often expressed by other men of his time. It would seem that he was a man that indeed pondered and wrestled much in thought and decision making!
A honest man in comparison to others that would sail after his time, whose exploits would bring great change and devastation to many in the Pacific!
His deeds, the words of historians and the lives and sentiments of Pacific people will always be at odds in discussion and conclusion, pride and emotion are not so readily agreed upon, though truth in as far as we can perceive, should be sought despite what horrible truths await us!
And in accepting such………………….. history may be written in truth!
Channel 2, the ABC TV station here in NSW – Australia, are airing a documentary series on the 18th Century explorer – so far it has proven to be a welcomed and balanced account!
The remaining two parts of the documentary will be aired on:
– 7:30pm Sunday, November 4
– 7:30pm Sunday, November 11
“Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery is a four-part documentary series which traces the private and professional life of Britain’s greatest sailor, examining his triumphs and defeats, his hopes and disappointments, and the unlikely rise to social prominence of a man born into rural poverty.
Cook expert and bestselling British author Vanessa Collingridge, searches for the man behind the legend as she traces his story in a series that is part biography and part travelogue.
A hero to some, a villain to others, this son of an English farm labourer described more of the globe than any other man in three incredible voyages, and pushed the borders of the British Empire to the ends of the earth. In this landmark television series we discover who Cook was, and we meet the remarkable woman behind the imperial icon, his wife Elizabeth, who survived him by 56 years.
We step back into the 18th century to experience what it was like to navigate uncharted and unknown waters in search of a legendary Great Southern Continent and then a North West Passage through the Arctic ice; as well as to be among the first Europeans to visit exotic Pacific islands like Tahiti.
Witness Cook’s discovery of Hawaii. Sail the uncharted coast of New Zealand. Land with Captain Cook at Botany Bay as he claims Australia for king and country – a ‘discovery’ that goes unquestioned for over a century.
Meet the direct descendants of the indigenous peoples of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Hawaii who Cook met 240 years ago. Learn what sea-life was like for the sailors and scientists who made it all possible, including the celebrated gentleman-botanist Joseph Banks, and a young naval officer named William Bligh.
It’s a tale of obsession and discovery, respect and brutality, courage and madness, from the pomp and splendour of the royal courts of England, to Cook’s death on a beach on the far side of the world.
Starring Matt Young as Captain James Cook, Bridget Bezanson as Elizabeth Cook, Jay Dawson as Joseph Banks, Andrew Hunt as Dr Solander, Daniel Jamieson as Sydney Parkinson and Pulou Vaituutuu as Tupaia.”
reveiw from www.abc.net
An offering before Capt.Cook in the Sandwich Islands ( Hawaii )