Ship model, "Resolution", Captain Cook's vessel, maker unknown, [c. 1925]
The maker and significance of this model are unknown but the ship on which it was based is highly significant. The "Resolution" was Captain Cook's ship during his 2nd and 3rd voyages of discovery in the Pacific and in the search for the North West Passage. It started life as a Whitby collier 'Marquis of Granby" and was changed by the Admiralty to a ship-rigged (three-masted) sloop-of-war, and renamed " HMS Resolution ".
In 1772, during Cook's second voyage to the Pacific, the "Resolution" became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle, crossing twice more during this voyage and in the process proving Alexander Dalrymple's ¬?Terra Australis Incognita¬? to be a myth.
His Majesty¬?s Ship (HMS) ¬?Resolution¬? was the ship in which Captain James Cook made his second and third voyages of exploration in the Pacific.
Cook had grown up sailing in the North Sea and knew and respected the colliers built in the port of Whitby for their seaworthiness. On his advice, the Admiralty selected two Whitby colliers, ¬?The Marquis of Granby¬? and ¬?The Marquis of Rockingham¬?, both built in 1770 by Thomas Fishburn. They could have been classed as ship-rigged (three-masted) sloops-of-war and were commissioned by the Admiralty under the names of ¬?Drake¬? and ¬?Raleigh¬? respectively.
Lord Rockford, Secretary of State, thought these names might offend the Spanish and consulted both the King and the Earl of Sandwich. The Earl advised him that the ships should be renamed the ¬?Resolution¬? and ¬?Adventure¬?
The ¬?Resolution¬? was fitted out with the most advanced navigational aids of the day, including a Gregory¬?s azimuth compass, ice anchors and the latest equipment for distilling fresh water from sea water. She weighed 462 tons and carried twelve six-pounder carriage guns and twelve swivel guns.
Cook was very impressed with the ¬?Resolution¬? and called her ¬?the ship of my choice, the fittest for service of any I have seen ¬?. She had the same type of flat-floored round-cheeked hull as the ¬?Endeavour¬?. It was originally planned that Joseph Banks with an appropriate entourage would sail again with Cook, so an additional upper deck and a raised poop (stern) were built for Banks. However, the ship was found to be top-heavy with this extra weight and, under Admiralty instructions, the added structures were removed. Banks then refused to travel and was replaced by Johann Foster and his son, George.
The ¬?Resolution¬? sailed from Plymouth on 13 July 1772 with 112 crew. On board was William Wales, a highly qualified astronomer, with a new K1 chronometer recently completed by Larcum Kendall, and three other chronometers made by John Arnold of Aldophi.
Cook sailed the ¬?Resolution¬? to Funchal in the Madeira Islands, then to the Cape Verde Islands and on to the Cape of Good Hope. Several of the crew had brought monkeys aboard as pets, but Cook had them thrown overboard to prevent their droppings from fouling the ship. The ¬?Resolution¬? became the first ship to cross the Antarctic Circle, and crossed twice more during this voyage, in the process proving Alexander Dalrymple's ¬?Terra Australis Incognita¬? to be a myth.
The expedition came near to discovering Antarctica but turned north-east then east to New Zealand. For some months Cook charted the Pacific Islands then searched to the south for any land, twice more crossing the Antarctic Circle. Turning north again, he felt certain there was no southern continent. He called at Easter Island, and then back to Tahiti. From Tahiti he sailed to Tonga and then discovered Norfolk Island in 1774, noting that its famous pine trees were a different species from those he had seen in New Caledonia.
The journey home was via New Zealand, Cape Horn to Cape Town, finally anchoring at Portsmouth, 30th July 1775, after spending three years voyaging about 70,000 miles. Amazingly, only four men had died and not one of them from scurvy. The King and the nation honoured Cook; he was given the rank of Post Captain, appointed a Captain of the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich, and made a Fellow of the Royal Society.
The ¬?Resolution¬? was recommissioned in February 1776 for Cook's third and fatal voyage to search for the North West Passage and to return Omai, a Pacific islander who had served as an interpreter to Cook, to his home on Huahine in the Society Islands.
Cook sailed via the Canary Islands for Cape Town where he was joined by the ¬?Discovery¬? under the command of Charles Clerke. They sailed across the South Indian Ocean confirming the location of Desolation Island (Kerguelen Island), to Tasmania, and on to Queen Charlotte's Sound, New Zealand, where they traded with the locals and restocked with wild celery and scurvy grass. From New Zealand they proceeded through the South Pacific to the Cook Islands, Tongan Islands and on to Tahiti, where they spent the winter months.
In February 1778 Cook crossed the North Pacific to the Oregon Coast, and followed the coast north to Vancouver Island. He then sailed north along the Alaskan coast looking for inlets that might lead to the North West Passage. By August the expedition was north of the Arctic Circle and still searching for the North West Passage. When it was apparent it was too late in the year to continue, they headed back to the Hawaiian Islands to winter there in the warmer waters. Leaving Hawaii early February 1779, the ships ran into gales which broke a mast, forcing Cook to turn back to Kealakekua Bay for repairs. On 13 February 1779, the local natives stole the cutter from the ¬?Discovery¬?. The next day, Cook went ashore to take the Hawaiian king into custody pending the return of the cutter but a fight developed and Cook, four of his marines and a number of natives were killed. Cook's remains were buried at sea in Kealakekua Bay.
Charles Clerke took over command and explored other islands in the Hawaiian chain before heading for the Kamchatka Peninsula and again searching for the North West Passage. The ¬?Resolution¬? and the ¬?Discovery¬? finally reached London in October 1780.
In 1780, the ¬?Resolution¬? was converted into an armed transport and sailed for the East Indies. She was captured by the ¬?Sphinx¬? and ¬?Annibal¬? of de Suffren's French squadron on 9 June 1782. After the battle at Negapatam, the ¬?Resolution¬? was sent to Manila for wood, biscuit and rigging and was never seen again.
There have been various theories about her final years. Some historians claim she was renamed ¬?La Libert√©¬?, transformed into a whaler, and ended her days in Newport Harbour sinking less than a mile from the ¬?Endeavour¬?, others argue that she foundered in the Sunda Straits, or finished as a Portuguese coal hulk at Rio de Janiero. There is no certainty with respect to her final years.