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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.


[In the Library of A. H. Turnbull, Esq., Wellington.]

The manuscript from which the following fac-similes have been taken forms part of a log kept by some person on board the “Endeavour” during the course of Cook's first voyage round the world. This portion of the log begins on the 8th December, 1768, when the “Endeavour” was on her way from Rio Janeiro to the Straits of La Maire, and finishes with an entry for Friday, the 22nd June, 1770; and so contains transactions extending for a period of about eighteen months. It is written upon sixty-six leaves, and the handwriting of the last page is different from that of the preceding ones.

Five leaves are missing, namely: two, 14th to 24th January, inclusive, covering the description of the Expedition ashore at Terra del Fuego; one, 13th to 16th August, inclusive; and two, 6th to 15th October, inclusive, covering Banks' brush with the Maori.

It is hard to say positively who wrote this log. The handwriting is not Cook's, nor is it Richard Orton's, the ship's clerk. The log was shown to the late Professor E. E. Morris, of Melbourne, in 1899, and, though he was at first of the opinion that the manuscript was Gore's, he subsequently changed his views, and considered it possible the writing was that of Zachary Hicks, one of the “Endeavour's” lieutenants. The great difficulty, Professor Morris knew, in accepting Hicks as the writer, was the fact that a different log, ascribed to Hicks, had been partially printed in the “Historical Records of New South Wales.” Mr. Turnbull has had no opportunity of comparing the handwriting of the two manuscripts, and does not know the grounds upon which the one printed in the Records is credited to Hicks.

The authorship of the log, therefore, is uncertain, but there is no doubt that the descriptions in it are all made by an eye-witness, who wrote down what he saw at the time.

The dates given in the log are reckoned by the nautical method, i.e., the day commences at noon of the civil day and ends at noon of the following civil day. This should be noted when comparing the log with any narrative of the voyage, which will not only refer to the civil day but also make allowance for “westing.”