Documents reveal signs of Captain Cook's greatness
From the New Zealand Herald
By Amelia Wade
Rare personal letters and draft journals from the explorer show he even worked on it and rehearsed it before it became his impressive scrawl.
"His signature is so obviously a signature of a great man," said Paul Brunton, emeritus curator of the State Library of New South Wales, which owns the historical collection.
The documents also reveal that after his first landing at Gisborne, Cook regretted that a number of Maori lost their lives.
This was deleted from the final copy of a report.
"I can by no means justify my conduct in attacking and killing the people in this boat who had given me no just provication [sic] and was wholly igernorant [sic] of my decision and had I had the least thought of their making any resistance I would not so much as looked at them," Cook said in a draft journal written between October 9 and 11, 1769.
Cook was under orders to treat the communities in the South Pacific with restraint, so he wanted to explain his first encounters with Maori after landing at Poverty Bay.