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About this Edition

This edition of Cook’s Endeavour Journal was created using a transcript made in 1999. The transcript was prepared from photocopies of a photographic reproduction of the holograph manuscript journal in the National Library of Australia (MS 1).

During transcription, the electronic text was checked against a photographic copy of the manuscript. It is thus possible that some punctuation marks are in fact specks of dust or marks on the negative of the photographic reproduction or the lens or platen of the photocopier used to copy positive prints from the negative.

In this web-based edition I have sought to reproduce the original text of Cook’s journal as accurately as possible, changing or omitting only things that have very little or no bearing on what the navigator meant to say. The original lineation of the manuscript has not been preserved. Nor have I sought to presented the navigational information that Cook provided in journal entries for the days when the Endeavour was under sail in a form that simulates how this information appears in the original manuscript. Adopting what was the common practice of his day, Cook wrote each journal entry on large unbound sheets folded so that they formed booklets with two equally sized leaves. At sea the left hand leaves were ruled into a series of columns and rows into which he entered the dates of journal entries, recorded the direction of winds and other navigational information, as well as noting things pertaining to the good order of the ship. On the right hand leaves, Cook recorded what thought worthy of remark about each day of his command.

I have sought to reproduce Cook’s original spelling, with the exception of the long s that was represented typographically by the letter f prior to 1800. Cook's capitalization and punctuation have been retained, although in many instances I have been obliged to judge whether to capitalize a word or interpret a punctuation mark as a stop, dash comma or semi-colon. In comparison with other writers of his time Cook wrote the capital and lower-case forms of letters in sizes and shapes that are relatively easy to interpret. However, his Endeavour journal still contains many letters that differ only in size. Similarly, his punctuation is relatively easy to interpret, but there are numerous instances where his pen has marked the page such that it is hard to say whether he meant to make a point, comma or dash.

In the transcript I have also indicated Cook’s deletions and amendments. Generally his amendments take the form of interlined spelling corrections, additional words or phrases. Occasionally additional text appears in the margins adjoining the relevant entry. Deletions have been indicated by the text being struck through thus. Interlined text has been indicated by the relevant letters, words or phrases being made to appear as superscripted text preceded and followed by a ‘^’. Illegible letters, words and phrases are indicated by comments in square brackets that explain why it has proved impossible to judge what is missing or unreadable.

My goal has been to give readers a greater sense of Cook as a writer concerned to ensure that his record of the voyage met the expectations of key figures in the Admiralty and the Royal Society. However, my ability to do this through employing scholarly editorial conventions to draw attention to features of the manuscript such as deletions and amendments has been constrained by the fact that this project began before key features of extensible mark-up language (XML) had developed to the point that they could confidently be employed in the content management system currently used to make this transcript available via the world-wide-web. This has meant working within the limitations of hypertext mark-up language (HTML) and devising ways of dealing with the differences in how current web-browsers interpret various HTML tags and rendering instructions in cascading style-sheets (CSS).

Given recent advances in XML-based scholarly editing, I hope in the near future to produce an edition of the journal that provides a richer sense of what appears in the original manuscript. This will require, however, the development of techniques for presenting what currently appears on the South Seas website in ways that similarly locate Cook’s journal within a range of resources designed to illuminate the historical context of his voyaging.

Clearly, this transcript of Cook’s journal would be greatly enhanced by being accompanied by digital facsimiles of the pages of the original manuscript. Indeed, there are strong grounds for providing image files of the original manuscript regardless of the editorial sophistication of an accompanying transcript.

The National Library is very conscious of the value of an on-line digital facsimile of the journal and will be exploring the possibility of creating one. However, the creation of a facsimile will first require the resolution of significant issues relating to the preservation of a work now formally recognized by UNESCO as a precious and irreplaceable part of the world’s documentary heritage.

Paul Turnbull Canberra, March 2004


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