Memorial: M1775

Memorial in Chalfont St Giles,  Buckinghamshire commemorating Captain James Cook d. 1779


The Vache, Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, England


'To the memory of Captain James Cook / the ablest and most renowned Navigator this or any country hath produced', 'He raised himself solely by his merit / from a very obscure birth, to the rank / of a Post Captain in the Royal Navy,and / was unfortunately killed by the Savages / of the island Owhyee on the 14th of / February 1779; which island he had not / long before discovered, when prosecuting / his third voyage round the globe. / He possessed, in an eminent degree, all / the qualifications requisite for his / profession and great undertakings; / together with the amiable and worthy / qualities of the best men. Cool and / deliberate in judging: sagacious in / determining; active in executing:[steady and persevering in enterprising / from vigilance and unremitting caution:] / unsubdued by labour, difficulties and / disappointments: fertile in expedients: / never wanting presence of mind: always / possessing himself, and the full use of / a sound understanding: / Mild, just, but exact in discipline: / he was a father to his people who were / attached to him from affection, and / obedient from confidence. He explored / the Southern hemisphere to a much / higher latitude than had ever been / reached, and with fewer accidents than / frequently befall those who navigate / the coasts of this island. / By his benevolent and unabating attention / to the welfare of his ship's company, he / discovered and introduced a system for / the preservation of the health of seamen / on long voyages, which has proved / wonderfully efficacious for, in his / second voyage round the world, which / continued upwards of three years, he / lost only one man by distemper, of one / hundred and eighteen, of which his / company consisted. / The object of his last mission was to / discover and ascertain the boundaries / of Asia and America, and to penetrate / into the Northern Ocean by the North / East Cape of Asia. Traveller! contemplate / admire, revere, and emulate this great/master in his profession, whose skill and/labours have enlarged natural philosophy: / have extended nautical science: and have / disclosed the long concealed and admirable/arrangements of the Almighty in the / formation of this globe, and, at the same / time, the arrogance of mortals, in presuming / to account by their speculations for the laws / by which he was pleased to create it. It is / now discovered beyond all doubt, that the / same Great Being who created the universe by/his FIAT, by the same ordained our earth to/keep a just poise, without a corresponding / Southern Continent-and it does so! / "he stretcheth out the North over the empty / place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing" / Job XXVI.7. If the arduous but exact / researches of this extraordinary man have / not discovered a new world, they have / discovered seas unnavigated and unknown / before. They have made us acquainted with / islands, people and productions of which / we had no conception. And if he has not / been so fortunate as Americus to give his / name to a continent, his pretensions to / such a distinction remain unrivaled, and / he will be revered while there remains a / page of his own modest account of his / voyages and as long as mariners and / geographers shall be instructed, by his / new map of the Southern hemisphere to trace / the various courses and discoveries he has / made. If public services merit public / acknowledgements, if the man who adorned / and raised the fame of his countryis / deserving of honours, then Captain COOK / deserves to have a monument raised to his / memory by a generous and grateful nation. / Virtutis uberrimum alimentum est honos. / VAL MAXIMUS, Lib 2 Cap 6.'


Description: A globe on a plinth.
Type: Memorial


Cook, James
Age: 50
Date of Death: 14/2/1779
Cause of Death: Killed by indigenous people
Rank / Occupation: Captain RN
Organisation: Royal Navy


Notes: Hugh Palliser erected the monument. The epitaph was written by Admiral the Hon. John Forbes. DOSSIER.
Bibliography: Monica Harcourt-Smith 'A Short History of the Vache-Chalfont St Giles'.
Recorder: D.J. McCullough 1993