A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 705 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 14.

In such a vessel an able sea-officer will be most venturesome, and better enabled to fulfil his instructions, than he possibly can (or indeed than would be prudent for him to attempt) in one of any other sort or size.

Upon the whole, I am firmly of opinion, that no ships are so proper for discoveries in distant unknown parts, as those constructed as was the Endeavour, in which I performed my former voyage.  For no ships of any other kind can contain stores and provisions sufficient (in proportion to the necessary number of men,) considering the length of time it will be necessary they should last.  And, even if another kind of ships could stow a sufficiency, yet on arriving at the parts for discovery, they would still, from the nature of their construction and size, be less fit for the purpose.

Hence, it may be concluded, so little progress had been hitherto made in discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere.  For all ships which attempted it before the Endeavour, were unfit for it; although the officers employed in them had done the utmost in their power.

It was upon this consideration that the Endeavour was chosen for that voyage.  It was to those properties in her that those on board owed their preservation; and hence we were enabled to prosecute discoveries in those seas so much longer than any other ship ever did, or could do.  And, although discovery was not the first object of that voyage, I could venture to traverse a far greater space of sea, til then unnavigated; to discover greater tracts of country in high and low south latitudes, and to persevere longer in exploring and surveying more correctly the extensive coasts of those new-discovered countries, than any former navigator perhaps had done during one voyage.

In short, these properties in the ships, with perseverance and resolution in their commanders, will enable them to execute their orders; to go beyond former discoverers; and continue to Britain the reputation of taking the lead of nations, in exploring the globe.

These considerations concurring with Lord Sandwich’s opinion on the same subject, the Admiralty determined to have two such ships as are here recommended.  Accordingly two were purchased of Captain William Hammond of Hull.  They were both built at Whitby, by the same person who built the Endeavour, being about fourteen or sixteen months old at the time they were purchased, and were, in my opinion, as well adapted to the intended service, as if they had been built for the purpose.  The largest of the two was four hundred and sixty-two tons burden.  She was named Resolution, and sent to Deptford to be equipped.  The other was three hundred and thirty-six tons burden.  She was named Adventure, and sent to be equipped at Woolwich.

It was at first proposed to sheathe them with copper; but on considering that copper corrodes the iron-work, especially about the rudder, this intention was laid aside, and the old method of sheathing and fitting pursued, as being the most secure; for although it is usual to make the rudder-bands of the same composition, it is not, however, so durable as iron, nor would it, I am well assured, last out such a voyage as the Resolution performed.[14]

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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