Short and Sweet:

Tips for living the abundant life

Another Coffee from the January 1999 Deep Cove Crier

Did Captain James Cook Spoil the Broth??

With New Year’s Eve just finished and the 3rd Millennium rushing upon us, it is a good time to take stock and ask ourselves what our lives are really all about.  What are we really looking for in life?  What really is the meaning and purpose of our lives here on planet earth?

This month’s article is the third in a trilogy of English Explorers that helped make Canada what it is today.  Sir Martin Frobisher (Nov. 98 DCC), and Captain George Vancouver (Dec. 98 DCC) were all searchers for something more in life.  They, like Captain James Cook, were all deeply curious about this mysterious planet that we live on.  All were seeking to make sense out of the confusing jumble of facts and information that was flooding into their previously sheltered English world.

Sometimes I ask myself: Why is English now spoken by hundreds of millions of people in virtually every country of the world?  Why do most people of English ancestry live anywhere but England?  Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, etc.  Perhaps it is because as seagoing islanders, the British were insatiable searchers for that which was beyond.  From the ranks of such inexhaustible seekers emerged the greatest of the 18th century nautical explorers – Captain James Cook.  James Cook had an unbounded curiosity and a deep interest in everybody and everything with which he came into contact.

Born on October 27th, 1728 in Yorkshire, Cook’s father was an impoverished Scottish farm labourer and his mother a simple Yorkshire village woman.  Cook began his sea life by lugging coal off the treacherous east coast of England.  There he learned how to survive the storms, fogs, hidden shoals, and tricky tides.

In 1758, Cook was master of the Pembroke, a 1,250 ton, 64-gun man-of-war.  In early 1759, the Pembroke joined a blockade of the Saint Lawrence River designed to prevent French ships from carrying supplies to the fortress colony of Quebec.  Cook led patrols up and down the river, charting every hazard, and marking a channel for the warships to follow.  During the British assault on Quebec City, Cook successfully navigated the massive Pembroke up the narrow, twisting, and frequently shallow waterway.  Without the help of Ship’s Master James Cook, it is doubtful whether the British troops could have taken the fortress by surprise.  Given the endless threat of Quebec referendums, however, one may reflect with classic Canadian ambivalence about whether James Cook’s St. Lawrence navigating hindered or assisted Canada’s future development.  Why is it that James Cook has had such a lasting impact on our nation of Canada?
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