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Note written by Captain James Cook while surveying Newfoundland, circa 1765 [manuscript]
Bib ID 4762919
Format ManuscriptManuscript, OnlineOnline
Cook, James, 1728-1779
Online Versions
Access Conditions Available for research. Not for loan. 
Description [ca. 1765] 
0.03 m. (1 folder) 

Manuscript note, ca. 1765, entirely in James Cook's hand, written while surveying the Newfoundland coast. The note records tide heights and times in a number of locations, including the Islands of Lamelin, St. Peter and Miquelin. The notes are pencilled on the back of a brief letter sent by a draughtsman of Cook's acquaintance, John Caddy, dated Friday, 25th October, 1765.

Text: It is high water on the days of the new and full moon at St Lawrence at 6 o'clock at the Island of Lamelin 7 o'clock at the Islands of St Peters Miquilong and all over Fortune Bay 9 o'clock in the Bay of Hermitage & Despair 10 o'clock in all which places it rises up & falls upon a perpendicular Spring Tides 6, 7 or 8 feet neep tides 4 feet, and is every where greatly governed by the winds.

Text of Caddy's letter: To Capt. Cook. Mr. Caddy's compliments to Capt. Cook and will esteem it a particular favour if he will take two kentle's of fish home for him, if he has room enough without putting his people to an inconvenience. Friday, 25th October 1765.


Explorer, navigator and hydrographer. In 1768 James Cook RN was appointed to the command of HMB "Endeavour" and sailed on the exploring voyages to the Pacific, reaching New Zealand and eastern Australia, and around the world, for which he is famed. Cook's earlier naval career, however, saw service in Canada where he undertook the detailed hydrographic work that would enable him to compile and publish the first accurate nautical charts of Newfoundland.

In 1763, with his appointment as marine surveyor, Cook received orders to make an Admiralty survey of the coast and harbours of Newfoundland. In commissioning this survey, the Governor of Newfoundland, Thomas Graves, hoped to achieve reliable charts of the uneven Newfoundland coast. The survey commenced in 1763, continued over the four following seasons and concluded with the survey of the west coast in 1767. From 1764, when he became Master-in-command of the schooner "Grenville", Cook ran the survey from this vessel. In the summer of 1765 Cook charted the south coast between St. Lawrence on Placentia Bay and Bay d'Espoir. He returned to St. John's on 22 October, 1765, where it is surmised that he received Caddy's message. Cook appears to have used the paper to note down information relevant to the places he had surveyed previously that year.


Manuscript reference no.: MS 10112.

Single leaf measuring 14.6 x 19.8 cm. Ink note of four lines addressed “To Capt. Cook”, with eight lines of text by James Cook in pencil on the reverse side.

Condition: Fine. Remnants of original red wax seal, with slight loss of paper where letter opened, but not affecting either text. Some creases where originally folded.

Also available online

Subjects Cook, James, 1728-1779 -- Archives.  |  Cook, James, 1728-1779 -- Travel -- Newfoundland, Island of (N.L.)  |  Explorers -- Great Britain -- Archives.  |  Tides -- Atlantic Coast (Canada)  |  Surveying -- Newfoundland, Island of (N.L.)  |  Newfoundland, Island of (N.L.) -- Discovery and exploration.
Time Coverage 1765 
Occupation Explorers.  |  Surveyors.
Other authors/contributors Caddy, John

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