Letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty

(* The following letter to the Secretary of the Admiralty (now in Public Record Office) was also dispatched:--

"To Philip Stephens, Esq.


"Please to acquaint my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I left Rio de Janeiro the 8th of December, 1768, and on the 16th of January following arrived in Success Bay in Straits La Maire, where we recruited our Wood and Water; on the 21st of the same month we quitted Straits La Maire, and arrived at George's Island on the 13th of April. In our Passage to this Island I made a far more Westerly Track than any Ship had ever done before; yet it was attended with no discovery until we arrived within the Tropick, where we discovered several Islands. We met with as Friendly a reception by the Natives of George's Island as I could wish, and I took care to secure ourselves in such a manner as to put it out of the power of the whole Island to drive us off. Some days preceeding the 3rd of June I sent Lieutenant Hicks to the Eastern part of this Island, and Lieutenant Gore to York Island, with others of the Officers (Mr. Green having furnished them with Instruments), to observe the Transit of Venus, that we may have the better Chance of succeeding should the day prove unfavourable; but in this We were so fortunate that the observations were everywhere attended with every favourable Circumstance. It was the 13th of July before I was ready to quitt this Island, after which I spent near a month in exploring some other Islands which lay to the Westward, before we steer'd to the Southward. On the 14th of August we discovered a small Island laying in the Latitude of 22 degrees 27 minutes South, Longitude 150 degrees 47 minutes West. After quitting this Island I steered to the South, inclining a little to the East, until we arrived in the Latitude 40 degrees 12 minutes South, without seeing the least signs of Land. After this I steer'd to the Westward, between the Latitude of 30 and 40 degrees until the 6th of October, on which day we discovered the East Coast of New Zeland, which I found to consist of 2 large Islands, extending from 34 to 48 degrees of South Latitude, both of which I circumnavigated. On the 1st of April, 1770, I quitted New Zeland, and steer'd to the Westward, until I fell in with the East Coast of New Holland, in the Latitude of 30 degrees South. I coasted the shore of this Country to the North, putting in at such places as I saw Convenient, until we arrived in the Latitude of 15 degrees 45 minutes South, where, on the night of the 10th of June, we struck upon a Reef of Rocks, were we lay 23 Hours, and received some very considerable damage. This proved a fatal stroke to the remainder of the Voyage, as we were obliged to take shelter in the first Port we met with, were we were detain'd repairing the damage we had sustain'd until the 4th of August, and after all put to Sea with a leaky Ship, and afterwards coasted the Shore to the Northward through the most dangerous Navigation that perhaps ever ship was in, until the 22nd of same month, when, being in the Latitude of 10 degrees 30 minutes South, we found a Passage into the Indian Sea between the Northern extremity of New Holland and New Guinea. After getting through the Passage I stood for the Coast of New Guinea, which we made on the 29th; but as we found it absolutely necessary to heave the Ship down to Stop her leaks before we proceeded home, I made no stay here, but quitted this Coast on the 30th of September, and made the best of my way to Batavia, where we Arrived on the 10th instant, and soon after obtained leave of the Governor and Council to be hove down at Onrust, where we have but just got alongside of the Wharf in order to take out our Stores, etc.


"Your most Obedient Humble Servant,

"(Signed) JAMES COOK.

"Endeavour Bark, at Onrust, near Batavia, the 23rd of October, 1770."