Method for preserving health | State Library of New South Wales

Method for preserving the health of the crew

'As many gentlemen have expressed some surprise at the uncommon good state of health which the crew of the Resolution, under my command, experienced during her late voyage; I take the liberty to communicate to you the methods that were taken to obtain that end'. (James Cook, 1776)

During the 18th century, scurvy and disease were terrible problems for those at sea for any length of time. Captain James Cook employed various methods during his second voyage to maintain the health and longevity of his crew. He ensured a ready supply of vegetables, fruit and fresh water for the men whenever possible, and prevented their undue exposure to the elements. Maintaining the cleanliness of the ship, as well as the crew, was also of great importance. Despite three years spent circumnavigating the globe, not one of his crew died of scuvy during this voyage. This letter addressed to Sir John Pringle, then President of the Royal Society, was published in the 'Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London' (vol.66) in 1776.




> Find Cook's method for preserving the health of the crew of His Majesty's ship the Resolution, via the Library's catalogue catalogue link