THE LINDA HALL LIBRARY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION
Captain Cook's SecondVoyage 1772-1775
Frontispiece portrait of Captain Cook
from James Cook's
A Voyage towards the South
Pole and Round the World, Performed in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution
begins the account of his second voyage by describing the need
to finally determine what might lie below Tierra del Fuego and
"Whether the unexplored part of the Southern Hemisphere be
only an immense mass of water, or contain another continent, as
speculative geography seemed to suggest, was a question which
had long engaged the attention, not only of learned men, but of
most of the maritime powers of Europe. To put an end to all diversity
of opinion about a matter so curious and important, was his Majesty's
principal motive in directing this voyage to be undertaken …"
that the crew was furnished with:
best of instruments, for making both astronomical and nautical
observations and experiments; and likewise with four time-pieces,
or watch-machines …"
This was the voyage that demonstrated the effectiveness of good
chronometers over astronomical observations for determining longitude,
and particularly John Harrison’s model over his competitors’.