This fascinating memoir of a sailor who sailed with Captain James Cook provides valuable detail on a discovery that is particularly relevant at this time of year: Cook’s discovery and subsequent naming of Christmas Island.
James Trevenen, a Cornishman born in 1759, was educated at the Naval Academy Portsmouth, sailed as a midshipman on Cook’s last voyage, served as a captain in the Baltic in the navy of Catherine the Great, and died in action in the war of Russia against Sweden in 1790.
Early in the nineteenth century a Memoir of his life was written by his brother-in-law, Admiral Sir Charles Vinicombe Penrose, which provides the basis for this volume, edited and annotated for the Navy Records Society by Christopher Lloyd and Dr R C Anderson.
The story of Trevenen’s career provides much of naval interest. His letters from the Naval Academy appear to be the only ones that have survived by a student of that institution. His service on Resolution provides additional information about Cook’s character. His subsequent career shows how the team that sailed with Cook continued as a band of circumnavigatory brothers. His plan for further exploration of the Pacific resulted in an appointment by the Empress of Russia. But when war broke out between Russia and Sweden, he served, not in the Pacific, but in the Baltic, as a captain in the Russian navy in the campaigns of 1788 and 1789. He was mortally wounded at the battle of Viborg in June, 1790.
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Christopher Lloyd was born in 1904, and educated at Marlborough College and Lincoln College, Oxford. From 1930 to 1934 he lectured at Bishop’s College, Canada, and then at Britannia, Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. In 1945 he moved to the Royal Naval College, Greenwich and from 1962 to his retirement in 1967 was Professor of History there.
His publications include
• The Navy and the Slave Trade (1949).
• The Keith papers, volume II (Navy Recxords Society, 1950).
• The Nation and the Navy (1951).
• The Naval Miscellany, volume IV (Navy Records Society, 1952).
• The Keith Papers, Volume III (Navy Records Society, 1955).
• A Memoir of James Trevenen, 1760 – 1790 (Navy Records Society, 1959).
• Medicine and the Navy, 4 volumes (1961).
• The Health of Seamen (Navy Records Society, 1965).
• William Dampier (1966).
• The British Seaman (1968).