Proper methods were used to keep their persons, hammocks, bedding, cloaths, &c. constantly clean and dry. Equal care was taken to keep the ship clean and dry betwixt decks. Once or twice a week she was aired with fires; and when this could not be done, she was smoked with gun-powder, mixed with vinegar or water. I had also, frequently, a fire made in an iron pot, at the bottom of the well, which was of great use in purifying the air in the lower parts of the ship. To this, and to cleanliness, as well in the ship as amongst the people, too great attention cannot be paid; the least neglect occasions a putrid and disagreeable smell below, which nothing but fires will remove.
Proper attention was paid to the ship’s coppers, so that they were kept constantly clean.
The fat which boiled out of the salt beef and pork, I never suffered to be given to the people; being of opinion that it promotes the scurvy.
I was careful to take in water wherever it was to be got, even though we did not want it, because I look upon fresh water from the shore to be more wholesome than that which has been kept some time on board a ship. Of this essential article we were never at an allowance, but had always plenty for every necessary purpose. Navigators in general cannot, indeed, expect, nor would they wish to meet with such advantages in this respect, as fell to my lot. The nature of our voyage carried us into very high latitudes. But the hardships and dangers inseparable from that situation, were in some degree compensated by the singular felicity we enjoyed, of extracting inexhaustible supplies of fresh water from an ocean strewed with ice.
We came to few places, where either the art of man, or the bounty of nature, had not provided some sort of refreshment or other, either in the animal or vegetable way. It was my first care to procure whatever of any kind could be met with, by every means in my power; and to oblige our people to make use thereof, both by my example and authority; but the benefits arising from refreshments of any kind soon became so obvious, that I had little occasion, to recommend the one, or to exert the other.
It doth not become me to say how far the principal objects of our voyage have been obtained. Though it hath not abounded with remarkable events, nor been diversified by sudden transitions of fortune; though my relation of it has been more employed in tracing our course by sea, than in recording our operations on shore; this, perhaps, is a circumstance from which the curious reader may infer, that the purposes for which we were sent into the Southern Hemisphere, were diligently and effectually pursued. Had we found out a continent there, we might have been better enabled to gratify curiosity; but we hope our not having found it, after all our persevering researches, will leave less room for future speculation about unknown worlds remaining to be explored.