Captain Cook's Instructions
When Captain Cook set sail on his first great voyage into the South Seas, he carried with him instructions issued by the Admiralty in 1768. After visiting Tahiti to observe the transit of the planet Venus, he was to head south in an attempt to find and to chart the great southern continent which many believed to exist in the South Pacific. Should he find it, his instructions varied according to whether he would find it populated.
If there were people, he was, 'with the consent of the natives to take possession of convenient situations in the country.' If he found it to be uninhabited, he was simply to 'take possession for His Majesty by setting up proper marks and inscriptions as first discoverers and possessors.'
Keywords: Cook, Captain James, Pacific Islands, 1768-1788
Author: Nettheim, Garth