Chris Scott Wilson                   Writer                                             

©2010 C.J.S.Wilson

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...more Captain Cook, Man of the Sea

1755

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source, entailing the blockade of the likely French ports on the Brittany peninsular – Cherbourg, Brest, Saint-Nazaire, Lorient even La Rochelle farther south in the Bay of Biscay.

    During wartime, with half the known world at each other’s throats, if a man was competent, then there was more than a chance promotion would be rapid. When asked about his decision to enlist as a common seaman in the Royal Navy, James Cook replied, “I had a mind to try my fortune that way."

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     An interesting point here is that every seaman of the rank of petty officer and above was obliged to write a daily journal – those written by midshipmen were regularly inspected to ensure they were fulfilling their duty – one of the purposes of which was that in the event of extenuating circumstances or extraordinary occurrences, then the examining body would be able to scrutinise and compare several written accounts. Fortunately, many of these journals have survived, which record the day to day chores undertaken on vessels as well as any battle actions. Importantly, they also record the weather all over the world in great detail, now of great use to meteorologists in compiling historical weather patterns.

    Cook signed on as an able seaman at the Naval depot in Wapping for a monthly wage of £1.4.0d (£1-20)  with the added attraction  of  possible  prize

                                 money.  He  was  ordered  to   ship

                                         aboard the 60 gun  HMS  Eagle

                                              under the command of post

                                              captain Joseph Hamar. Eagle

                                                 was  10  years  old,  145  feet

                                                       long,  classed  4th   Rate

                                                      and had just undergone

                                                             a refit at Portsmouth

                                                               naval yard in prep-

                                                               -aration for joining

                                                                           the  fleet  at