Cook’s Philosophers Abroad
J. R. Forster, the naturalist on board the Resolution, was an Enlightenment polymath of extremely wide-ranging interests. His writing covered numerous topics, his training several disciplines. A linguist, he was familiar with philosophically informed travel writing, having translated several travel accounts, including those of Bougainville and of pupils of Linnaeus. A fellow of the Royal Society, Forster also had a reputation for being a difficult character to deal with. Forster was accompanied by son Georg, who seems to have been a brilliant and precocious scholar. Upon returning to England, Georg published his two-volume Voyage round the World in 1777. This chapter presents extracts from this publication, specifically Foster's descriptions of Kanak women, the temperament of the people, the pig incident involving Captain Cook, and Kanak systems of government.
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