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Transcript: Letter from James Cook to Charles Morton

Letter from Lieutenant James Cook, Rio de Janeiro, to Charles Morton, Secretary of the Royal Society, 30 November 1768.


I take the opportunity of a Spanish Packet bound from hence to Europe, to acquaint

you of the Arrival of His Majesty's Bark the Endeavour under my Command at this

port on the 13 Instant & that having recruited our Water & stock of Provisions shall

put to sea again without loss of time, being now in as good a condition for

prosecuting the voyage as the day we sailed from England; neither Mr Green nor

myself hath as yet been able to make any Observations worthy of the Attention of

the Royal Society, no one Gentleman in this Ship have been permitted to go ashore

at this place, this unheard of treatment has not only prevented Mr Green & myself

from making any Astronomical observations here, but, Mr Banks and Doctor

Solander from Collecting any of the productions of this country; I am not at a loss to

Assign the true reason the Vice Roy had for treating us in the manner he hath not

withstanding several Memorials & Letters have passed betwixt me & him on the

same subjects, he only pleaded Custom & the orders of His Court, the first of which

he could not support by any Precedent, and the latter appear'd very dubious from

the different treatment the Spanish Packet which put in here met with; the account

we gave of our Selves, of being bound to the Southward to observe the Transit of

Venus / a phenomenon they had not the least Idea of / appeared so very strange to

these narrow minded Portuguese that they thought it only an invented Story to cover

some other design we must be upon, this I believe to be the reason for the

unpresidential reception we met with here & I have this day drawn on the Council of


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Royal Society at thirty days sight in favour of Messrs. Scott & Pringle an order for

account of Mr Feliciano Teixira Alves the sum of Fifteen pounds fourteen shillings and

ninepence Sterling the value there of being laid out in necessaries for Mr Green and

Myself which I hope will meet with their approbation I am


Your most obedt, humble


James Cook

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