Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Cook James

Cook, James, a distinguished navigator, was born of humble parentage at Marton, Yorkshire, in 1728, and at the age of 13 was bound apprentice to a small shopkeeper. A year and a half later he obtained his discharge, and went to sea in a collier as a foremast man. In 1755, being then a master, he volunteered to serve in the navy, and joined the Eagle, 60, Captain Joseph Hamer. He was promoted to be master in 1759, and served in the Mercury with the expedition against Quebec. Here he first gave proof of his great abilities, and was employed in surveying the St. Lawrence. He afterwards surveyed the coasts of Newfoundland. In 1768, a commander being required for a vessel which was to be sent to observe a transit of Venus in 1769, Cook was given a commission as lieutenant and appointed to command the Endeavour, which he navigated via Rio Janeiro to Otaheite (where the transit was observed), New Zealand, and home by Batavia and the Cape of Good Hope. This obtained him in 1771 promotion to the rank of Commander. In 1772 he was given command of a new expedition consisting of two small vessels, the Resolution and Adventure, and he proceeded again to the South Seas, where he made many discoveries, and whence he returned in 1775. For this service he was made a post-captain, and appointed Captain of Greenwich Hospital; and in 1776 he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society. In the meantime Cook had sailed on his last expedition. After demonstrating the impracticability of a northern passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic, and making many fresh discoveries in the Pacific, he lost his life on Feb. 14, 1779, at Owyhee in the Sandwich Islands during a fray with the natives. He was a man of genius, self-denial, devotion, and natural kindness of heart; but he had too little command of his temper. Had he been less hasty and more tactful, it is probable that he would not have lost his life as he did.