Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by Fran Post by email@example.com Post by Fran Post by Cap. James Cook
This is from my diary that I kept on my voyage...
"The natives of this land are the most backwards of people I have ever seen"
Opines a man wearing a wig and funny riding pants on a boat, who
wouldn't have lasted three weeks with his men at Sydney Cove if
stripped of his supplies.
It was the English who were locking up their people in huge numbers in
hulks, throwing their literal crap into the Thames in such volumes
that the Houses of Parliament stank, and had made such a mess of
things that they had to find somewhere else to filthy up.
Some future government has going to have to apologise for Fran
stealing the education of a whole generation of her unfortunate
God I hope you don't teach history you ignoramus
As it happens, *this* year, I am filling in two periods per week. Most
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God help the little children?
How do explain how the unsofisticated british actually made it across
oceans but would not survive at sydney cove?
Well you'll note that I never claimed that they were rubbish at
sailing. I merely noted the absurdity of Cook offering a view on how
wretched the indigenes were when any non-aristocrat plucked from the
streets of any town or city in the UK at random could have given an
eminently more detailed account of what living wretched was like.
The UK was a society literally, as well as figuratively, wallowing in
its own refuse and misery. We don't know what life expectancy was
amongst the indigenes, but life expectancy in Britain in the 1770s was
about 50, assuming you were unlucky enough to live that long.
Hobbes classic descriptor of life 'nasty brutish and short' really did
apply. Systematic prostitution including of children, rampant disease
and the most hideous of working conditions punctuated the lives of
these poor people. Every winter in large numbers, many would die in
doorways or under brdges from the cold as the more fortunate
countrymen avcerted their eyes stepping over them. In amongst all of
that was a history of war, repressive violence, crime, and a
burgeoning of the offences for which one could be killed or worse,
sent into prison. British society was one of the few in the world that
thought punishing people for the 'crime' of being poor was a good
The people who greeted Cook, on the other hand, lived a simple
existence in an unspoiled wilderness, blissfully unaware that such
horrors even existed. There's no evidence at all that they engaged in
any kind of conflict on the scale of the 100 years war. They had no
government or state or organised work. They spent their lives doing
pretty much what they liked. Left alone, they'd not have pined for
There was all kinds of wretchedness in 1770, but I fancy that most of
the poor of Britain would have traded their lot in a second for such
That said, the purported entry offered by the OP seems bogus and
likely trolling. Cook's party saw the indigenes very much as 'noble
savages' and through the prism of the Garden of Eden story. I'd be
surprised if that's what he wrote. The following entry is dated 19
April 1770. If he were to say something of his first impressions, he
would surely have said it here:
I've found it! The greatest moment in my life has been realized! I
sailed west across the Tasman Sea and reached the southeast coast of
the Southern Continent. I have named it New South Wales.
We are forced to tack in and off the shore in order to avoid the surf.
But the danger pales in comparison to the excitement everyone feels
about discovering a new land. Not since Columbus has a discovery like
this been made.
We have met some of the natives already. They appear darker than the
natives of the Pacific Islands, but they are not Africans. Our guide
and translator from Otaheite, Tupaia, is not able to speak or
understand their language. They were not interested in any of our
gifts either. It is very strange, but they are indifferent to us.
Mr. Banks and Dr.Solander are greatly looking forward to cataloging
the flora and fauna of the land. We will probably go farther inland
within the next few days.
cited in Beaglehole, J. C., The Life of Captain James Cook, (1974)
Owen, Roderic, Great Explorers, 1979