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This is the story of an ocean and of the man who tames in the Pacific. Ironical name for a turbulent mass grave of seem an arena of courage an avarice magnet a romantic iron the Pacific and illusive universe Bastion with winds tides and mists of Terran the Pacific. One series of Pacific portraits produced by a radio station W.H. at the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio
in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcast. Now speaking to you from Auckland New Zealand. Here is the planner and writer of the series Professor John Reed. In this series we attempt to recreate the personalities of men and women who mastered the Pacific Ocean and its island. Those who came first to the south seas were as various as humanity itself some noble some evil some with charity in their hearts others with cupidity. We have selected the strongest spirits to remember here. They sailed to an unknown sea shrouded in legend led by a dream they settled and ploughed their acres for hostile natives fever ridden jungles and loneliness conquered desert mountain and forest and called them home. Today Australia New Zealand Fiji we saw the Thousand Isles of the Pacific. Unknown most of them when America became a nation have taken their
place in the community of nations. We will show in these programs how these societies came into being something of the variety and richness of living they developing culture their strategic and economic importance and it is fitting that we should begin with the greatest Pacific Explorer Captain James Cook. What follows is based on the recordings and the words put into the mouths of Cook and his family. As far as possible what I actually said or wrote on the tip of the sea and just about all tolerant and sweating from the jungles of Panama gazed first of Christian men upon the great South Sea and claimed it and all it contained for my master his most Catholic Majesty of space. This on September 25th 50. A new ocean lay stretched before the mind of man the Pacific out of its
waters rose the pinnacle of a vision that of the imagined constant terror all Stratus in Calcutta Africa Asia of the West Coast of America these have been barren. There remained only the secrets of the Southern Ocean the Pacific immense blue setting for a gem after which meant a loss to Marco Polo's land of towered cities and palaces. Elephants and glittering Kings turned all strollers around that stretches from the Indian Ocean to the south of the new world and from the Indies to the home. But nobody has seen it. How do you know it is them assume a cator. It is there in the Southern Ocean it must be the balance of the entire globe demands it. Without this great mass what is there to prevent the whole world from toppling over to destruction. It is there. And many like Mercator dreamt of the great southern continent in ships slow and on sea where they inched towards it during two toilsome centuries
sailing upon seas unknown along coasts uncharted. Somehow they kept afloat. Somehow they elbowed their path through tide and Tempest and those who survived added their meager quota to the tiny horde of facts. But scurvy. Not the sea. Defeated most of them scurvy the plague of the ocean strangling with their scabby fingers. Three seamen out of every five and what crude instruments they had. How can a man sail ignorant of longitude making landfall where he can steering by rule of thumb groping by stars in compass like a blind man in a forest. Yet say all they did by lunar and sextant flinging wide their nooses of hope their roving tentacles clutching substantial earth wrenching facts from the jealous bosom of the Pacific. These men even when the legend drew them fishlike on its thread were modern men greedy for facts. Men who would exchange a sphinx for a sextant a continent for a chronometer a myth
for a map. What is a map. A dull thing. Sheet of parchment with lines and numbers. Assyrians hieroglyph a piece of scrawled paper. No. A map is a record of visions shattered by reality it is a firm universe of things its spider lines spun from the end trails of seamen dead of scurvy. Its dots islands caught in traps sprung by determined men its blue stretches the cemeteries of old hopes. Men must know and a map is a matter of knowing. But so long as gaps yawned in the chart so long as behind the blank walls the land crouched like a tiger sailors ask themselves what lies ahead. Where is the continent to LA yearning. Is Australia. Not the sentinel of a land of infinite boundary. The answer was a map a chocolate shop about love. And the maker of this map. Captain James Cook Royal Navy. Man. Of.
The Pacific that Mr. Weatherby your objective the great sea of which you have written so well and so often we of the Royal Society have recommended the transit of Venus next year in the south latitude. I think the Royal Society for its confidence. I have only one condition of acceptance I must be in Antara control of the ship. But Mr. Dalrymple is head of the Admiralty. I have to tell you your suggestion is repugnant to the regulations of the Navy and Matt experienced in training must command a vessel donkey's definite yes. There is no possibility of a compromise whatever that case. Gentlemen I have no alternative but to refuse your offer. Mr. Chairman Mr. Secretary I have in mind. I know that man. Oh. His name. Cook. Master James Cook walk us eat a splendid Seaman from Yorkshire through his own efforts he's become adept at mathematics astronomy geography and marine surveying. He was present at the
siege and capture of Lewisburg. He helped to survey the St. Lawrence River before we took Quebec and he has since to charter the whole of the river and surveyed the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador with incomparable accuracy in my view. But Master Cook is our man. Lieutenant cook commander cook Captain Cook James Cook a name as English as the man himself a very plain name for a genius genius comes in all shapes and sizes yet the rarest kind is the matter of fact genius. Cook meticulous humane. No neurotic no deep by dreamer
but a sailor in whose veins ran the blood of the patient plodding peasant. He was the genius who blew away like a puff of smoke. The gilded dream of terra incognita and swept clear of the highways of the Pacific the Pacific. Through his eyes I saw it the eyes of my friend James Cook. I had Joseph Banks fellow of the Royal Society botanist scientist but proudest that during those long years on the Endeavor I shared his hopes and his starts yet who could really know this man over six feet he stood an oak of naval rectitude face plain but frank smile quickened dancing brown eyes steady beneath bushy eyebrows dark hair tied behind cool in judgment swift indecision only his temper hasty to rise quick before he did it fires beneath and even this was tempered by his humanity.
Yes you may know he was and none knew it better than we his cruel referee lot we were grumbling and cursing. But he understood us. We were last when we stole and clapped in irons when we rode the stars down with drink. I who sailed three times with him into the darkness know that there is no man I would rather trust myself with on unknown seas than Captain Cook. This man had a passion for detail and done detail. He built a reality more exciting than conjecture over his leaks were fruitful. He conquered not only an ocean but also its dread Guardian scurvy. His weapons fresh meat fresh water lime juice vinegar cleanliness scholar Dix these brutal nut skeletons corpses momentos but living men. In Cook's 40th year 1768 the Endeavor peat to Tahiti
the Endeavor kept built part three hundred sixty eight tonnes lengths one hundred feet three M.. Now to the south to observe the transit of Venus. But this was only the edge of the pass. And next the Endeavor turned south. Sniffing like a great hound after Terra Australis the captain would run under full sail along the unknown coasts on foggy nights and sleep quietly through it all. Often on the other hand where no one suspected any danger he would come on deck and change the course of the ship. He was always right for he could smell land with the captain where no one else could. Who. Was I first saw act young Nicks head they named it after me. The tip of the northernmost island of New Zealand and the next Trigana from it won me round the coast of the tail row up the Long White Cloud as a sea vaulting Polynesians called New Zealand cook the patient lines of his chart 2400 miles of meticulous coastline sail.
With thirty first 1769. The land from hence trans north west by west and west northwest as far as we could see the point of land I have cold East Cape because I have great reason to believe that it is the eastern most part coming. Right into the thirties 1769 a cluster of small islands we named the court of Oldham and five leagues from the main. Most are barren rocks. Some of them as small a compass as the monument in London. Inspired up to a much quicker. Thing. January 13th 1769 at 5 a.m. saw for a few minutes the top of the Peak Mountain above the clouds bearing northeast is of a prodigious heights and its top is covered with everlasting snow. I have named its Mt..
Like I always thought of the Maoris. Cook had fished New Zealand from the ocean depths. Despite of a Garry's of the sea. Despite the murmurs of his officers despite the cannibal Mallory's as I bought a nice done these for bidding land which proved barren peaks roughly against the clouds I saw in this voyage around New Zealand the collapse of a dream. The total destruction of our area fabric called continent north would say we turned between the coast of Australia and the Great Barrier Reef with its thousand fangs ready to end our park. Then suddenly one day. Mr. Banks are sinking the ship a sickness but I do not see anything. Nothing to. Ship. Something.
To talk. About. Come start right time we must put up. Then we shout. Was. Cook's perfect coolness dampened panic after 23 hours of searing anxiety. We were free and the whole was fathered plastered with oakum and whoops who else but cook could have soup controlled men and officers they told tried to match his comm and with a quite unprecedented abstention from oaths he snatched the endeavor from the coral jaws and guided her smitten by tremendous breakers past reefs which rose perpendicularly from a fathomless sea between us and destruction lay only the breath of a single wave and the Dutch shipwright
So does that in places our ships planking had been worn by the coral to the thickness of one eighth of an inch. Nobody can tell me that the captain was but an ordinary man. What harvest had those three years sailing yielded statements of winds tides and rocks. The character of lands the habits of savages and above all a map landfalls rumors of coasts dreams of continents translated into five thousand miles of coastline defined with a precision not surpassed by that of Britain itself. And this map he laid on the apple of the table with a modesty which was part of his genius. Although the discoveries made on this voyage are not great yet I flatter myself that they are such as may merit the attention of their Lordships had we been so fortunate not to have run ashore much more would have been done in the latter part of this voyage than what was. But as it
is I presume this voyage will be as complete as any before made to the South Seas. In 1772 he set out again to give advice to the blind chart of the deepest south casting his grapnel farther below the equator than any before him to the high latitudes of blue snow and roll dice for the birds growled like white lions and the dismal sheen of the snowy cliffs dazzled men's hearts as well as their eyes as we zigzagged in the high latitudes dredging the ocean for the fabled continent at times we were quite surrounded by ice in the indescribable cold the riggings were like frozen branches. The sails like plates of metal and we seamen were encased in solid snow as an armor. Again and again like a tiger the resolution charged the sculling wall of ice the Gelug citadel of the South. But it stood unresisting. I will not say it was impossible anywhere to get further to the south but the attempting it.
Would be a dangerous and Russians are pros. It was indeed my opinion that the ice extended quite to the pool. Or perhaps joined to some land. A country doomed by nature never once to feel the warmth of the sun's rays but to lie buried in everlasting snow and ice. Saw northward again he sailed reducing and disciplined tradition to verified certainties exchanging a chaos of assertion for order the order of his mind and the order of a map to the natives. He was becoming a legend. We are of these islands here the proud day toward day our friend smiling and flowing beads for our children to chase to understand door day or was something more than a man more than a man as a resolution and the discovery sailed home cook knew that his net dragged through the whole of the Pacific at back no continent there was
no Terra Australis incognita. He had slain that legend with the chart and mankind had moved one long stride forward along the path of knowledge. Google. Was. Three years and 18 days I beat along with the captain. 70000 miles. And on that long voyage not one single man died of scurvy. The captain had not only tamed the notion he had destroyed the destroyer of sailors but Cooke himself had contracted a virus more variant than scurvy that fever of the soul which only the last discovery will calm my fate drives me from one extreme to another. A few months ago the whole southern hemisphere was hardly big enough for me. And now I am confined within the limits of Greenwich Observatory lionized
fellow of the Royal Society with men like James Boswell at his feet cook chafed at the thongs of Greenwich. It was less than a year before he accepted a new challenge the forcing of the Northwest Passage which many before him had failed to find from the Atlantic side. If a northern sea passage could be traced from the Pacific to the Atlantic it would revolutionize world trade. But more importantly for Cooke it would draw in the last lines to complete the huge triangle of the Pacific and pierce the mystery of its apex. Coming back to Tahiti was like coming home from island to island the captain was greeted as a great chief. We pushed along the coast of Alaska and Canada which he noted in this precise lines to the very western most tip of America. And no hindrance did we meet for it was said that the colonists themselves at war with King George had been asked to leave the captain free. And it was truly sad for Benjamin Franklin at the court of France had written to all captains and commanders of American vessels in case the ship of that most celebrated navigator
Captain Cook should happen to fall into your hands. I do not consider her as an enemy but treat the said Captain Cook and his people with all our civility and kindness affording them as common friends to mankind. All the assistance in your power. It was hard going from America to Asia twisting and bearing straight we nuzzle the air and ice then down the rim of Asia to await the thoughts of summer. The captain was in silent agony was psychotic and both ships needed repair. So Mr. Bligh having declared the harbor satisfactory we sailed into January 17 1779. Here's the most extraordinary scenes in all Cook's Voyages took place over a thousand natives in canoes surrounded the ship the shores were alive with others and many hundreds swam around like shoals of fish. Cook was welcomed with high ceremony and given precious gifts and the people thanking him a god prostrated themselves before him.
Oh no. A mild God of the new year has returned to his people long years ago. He has departed into the sun promising to come back in a great ship with a forest of tree. Behold. Oh no. He's again amongst us and we do hear. One but the gods do not die as ordinary men die in bed. Their blood in sacrifice or in expiation must stay in the ground. And so with Captain Cook on the beach one day he confronted his destiny and a total sacrifice was exact. The natives began to murmur and to steal from us. We went ashore to take a hostage but the news that a friendly chief had been killed by some of our men inflamed the savages closed in a war dress and armed with clubs and spears they confronted us on the beach. One of them threatened the captain who fired a shot gun
charge which didn't penetrate the natives. Matt stones were thrown at the Marines and the captain fired his second barrel loaded with Bourne which killed another native. This was the signal for the natives to hurl their weapons and we replied with musketry from the dinghies. The captain faced the shrieking crowd alone calling them with a steely glance and then suddenly with typical humanity he turned to the boats and ordered us to stop firing. This generous moment proved fatal to an ally and leaping forward struck him in the back with his knife. The captain staggered flung up his arms and foule face downwards in the foam thing. Room. The right has flown
at 90 here and as it passed like a drifting cloud in the heaven. Alone. In the breakers of the sea he had taken the Hawaiians hacked the great toll to James Cook auction the Captain James Cook Royal Navy man of the sea. Later on the decks of the resolution there had spent two hundred men wept. Much of it gone out of us. But under Christ as the captain would have wished. We proved that the Northwest Passage was impossible. And home we came at last after four years and a quarter at sea. But we came back without a cook
man. Cook who never lost a ship nor a man through defects in a ship's cook. A man a habitual and earnest conscience. Cook the genius of common sense. Cook. One took a man who had driven his men to ships unsparingly for ten years towards uncharted or rights in an age when sailors left ships like terrified rats his deserters could become tit on the fingers of two hands of this man Roof's the noble navigator said. Chance might enable the most ignorant man to discover island but he belongs only to great men to leave nothing to be done regarding the coasts they have found such a one was James Cook. Whole. Gave no continent a name but it gave a new dimension to courage a new meaning to genius. Though as he sailed the unknown ocean seemed to surround the bark
the sea did not contain the ship the ship contained the sea the ocean which formed in the brain and whose breakers beat into the heart of him whose monument is a map the map of the Pacific the Pacific whose waters washed so many continents and know the icy battlements of the poles and the warm sands of a thousand tropical beach. His monument James Cook. Here is Professor John Reed speaking from Auckland New Zealand to say a few closing words
to Captain Cook. We have the Pacific not only the destruction of the myth but the beginning of a heritage in New Zealand the farthest flung part of the British Commonwealth. We still revere the genius of the man who unveiled the land in which we live. By sailing in a new direction our Yorkshireman enlarge the world in nameless waters and gave our islands to new tomorrows.
Radio sketches of men and women whose lives illustrate times and places south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean. These programmes are produced by radio station WAGA of the University of Wisconsin under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. Professor John C. REED of Auckland University Auckland New Zealand is the writer and planner of the series production by Carl Schmidt. Music by Don Blakely. These programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters.
Pacific portraits
Captain Cook's early voyages
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The early exploration of the Pacific and the foundation of British power there.
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This series explores various aspects of the Pacific region through dramatization, narration, commentary and music.
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Speaker: Rains, Claude, 1889-1967
Writer: Reid, J. C. (John Cowie), 1916-1972
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 58-41-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:00
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Chicago: “Pacific portraits; Captain Cook's early voyages,” 1965-03-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 12, 2022,
MLA: “Pacific portraits; Captain Cook's early voyages.” 1965-03-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 12, 2022. <>.
APA: Pacific portraits; Captain Cook's early voyages. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from