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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 630 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 15.

But, whatever may be the public judgment about other matters, it is with real satisfaction, and without claiming any merit but that of attention to my duty, that I can conclude this account with an observation, which facts enable me to make; that our having discovered the possibility of preserving health amongst a numerous ship’s company, for such a length of time, in such varieties of climate, and amidst such continued hardships and fatigues, will make this voyage remarkable in the opinion of every benevolent person, when the disputes about a Southern Continent shall have ceased to engage the attention, and to divide the judgment of philosophers.[20]

[Footnote 20:  We cannot better express the importance of the preservative measures adopted during this voyage, and therefore the value of the voyage itself, than by quoting a passage from Sir John Pringle’s discourse on assigning to Captain Cook the Royal Society’s Copleyan medal, a distinguished honour conferred on him, though absent on his last expedition, shortly after having been elected a member of that illustrious body.  “I would enquire of the most conversant in the study of bills of mortality, whether, in the most healthful climate, and in the best condition of life, they have ever found so small a number of deaths, within the same space of time?  How great and agreeable then must our surprise be, after perusing the histories of long navigations in former days, when so many perished by marine diseases, to find the air of the sea acquitted of all malignity, and, in fine, that a voyage round the world may be undertaken with less danger, perhaps, to health, than a common tour in Europe!”—­“If Rome,” he says in conclusion, “decreed the civic crown to him who saved the life of a single citizen, what wreaths are due to that man, who, having himself saved many, perpetuates in your Transactions, (alluding to Captain Cook’s paper on the subject), the means by which Britain may now, on the most distant voyages, preserve numbers of her intrepid sons, her mariners; who, braving every danger, have so liberally contributed to the fame, to the opulence, and to the maritime empire, of their country?”—­An acknowledgement so judicious finds a response in every breast that knows how to estimate the value of human life and happiness, and will not fail to secure to the name of Cook, the grateful applause of every succeeding generation.—­E.]

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