Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Vol. LXVI for the Year 1776. London: 1777. Small 4to. Iv, 658, (1) pp.
W. Bowyer and J. Nichols., ( 1777), London
Small 4to. Various paginations. b/w plates, some folding, and ills. In text.
When Cook returned from his second voyage in July 1775, he had – astonishingly – not lost a single man to scurvy in the course of his four-year sail. By this time Sir John Pringle had ascended to the presidency of the Royal Society. At Pringles request Cook sent several short essays to the Royal Society regarding that voyage. Here, on pages 402 406, in a communication addressed to Pringle eight months after his return, Cook talks about the methods he used to prevent the dreaded disease. It is frustrating, poignant and fascinating to see him dancing around the answer that is so obvious to us now. He grasps that sauerkraut and lemon syrup (rob) are both effective, and that cleanliness is important, but he also endorses relatively ineffective methods, such as the use of sugar as an antiscorbutic. Cook was elected to the Royal Society on March 7, 1776, the day this letter was read. Not until after 1800 was lemon juice issued as a matter of course in the Royal Navy. This volume also contains, on pages 447-450, Captain Cook’s essay Of the Tides in the South Seas, also addressed to Pringle. See Beddie, Bibliography of Captain James Cook 1289. Small square library stamp on title and plates. Top and outer margins trimmed close. Bound in full black calf with raised bands and spine labels. Text clean, with no foxing.