1775, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
7 November [O.S. 27 October]1728Marton, Yorkshire, England,Great Britain
14 February 1779 (aged 50)Hawaii
Postgate School, Great Ayton
Explorer, navigator, cartographer
James Cook, Nathaniel Cook, Elizabeth Cook, Joseph Cook, George Cook, Hugh Cook
James Cook, Grace Pace
Captain James Cook FRS RN (7 November [O.S. 27 October] 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer, ultimately rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean during which he achieved the first European contact with the eastern coastline ofAustralia and the Hawaiian Islands as well as the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Cook joined the British merchant navy as a teenager and joined the Royal Navy in 1755. He saw action in the Seven Years' War, and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec. This helped bring Cook to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society. This notice came at a crucial moment both in his personal career and in the direction of British overseas exploration, and led to his commission in 1766 as commander of HM Bark Endeavour for the first of three Pacific voyages.
Cook charted many areas and recorded several islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. His achievements can be attributed to a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, courage in exploring dangerous locations to confirm the facts (for example dipping into the Antarctic Circle repeatedly and exploring around the Great Barrier Reef), an ability to lead men in adverse conditions, and boldness both with regard to the extent of his explorations and his willingness to exceed the instructions given to him by the Admiralty.
Cook was killed in Hawaii in a fight with Hawaiians during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779.
1 Early life
2 Family life
3 Start of Royal Navy career
4 First voyage (1768–71)
6 Second voyage (1772–75)
7 Third voyage (1776–79) and death
9 See also
12 External links
Cook was born in the village of Marton in Yorkshire, now a suburb of Middlesbrough. He was baptised in the local church of St. Cuthbert, where his name can be seen in the church register. Cook was the second of eight children of James Cook, a Scottish farm labourer, and his locally born wife, Grace Pace, from Thornaby-on-Tees. In 1736, his family moved to Airey Holme farm at Great Ayton, where his father's employer, Thomas Skottowe paid for him to attend the local school (now a museum). In 1741, after five years schooling, he began work for his father, who had by now been promoted to farm manager. For leisure, he would climb a nearby hill,Roseberry Topping, enjoying the opportunity for solitude. Cooks' Cottage, his parents' last home, which he is likely to have visited, is now in Melbourne, having been moved from England and reassembled, brick by brick, in 1934.
Portrait of James Cook by John Webber, date unknown – before 1793.
In 1745, when he was 16, Cook moved 20 miles (32 km) to the fishing village of Staithes, to be apprenticed as a shop boy to grocer and haberdasher William Sanderson. Historians have speculated that this is where Cook first felt the lure of the sea while gazing out of the shop window.
After 18 months, not proving suitable for shop work, Cook travelled to the nearby port town of Whitby, to be introduced to friends of Sanderson's, John and Henry Walker. The Walkers were prominent local ship-owners and Quakers, and were in the coal trade. Their house is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. Cook was taken on as a merchant navy apprentice in their small fleet of vessels, plying coal along the English coast. His first assignment was aboard the collier Freelove, and he spent several years on this and various other coasters, sailing between the Tyne and London. As part of this apprenticeship, Cook applied himself to the study of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, navigation and astronomy, all skills he would need one day to command his own ship.
His three-year apprenticeship completed, Cook began working on trading ships in the Baltic Sea. He soon progressed through the merchant navy ranks, starting with his 1752 promotion to Mate (officer in charge of navigation) aboard the collier brig Friendship. In 1755, within a month of being offered command of this vessel, he volunteered for service in the Royal Navy, as Britain was re-arming for what was to become theSeven Years' War. Despite the need to start back at the bottom of the naval hierarchy, Cook realised his career would advance more quickly in military service and entered the Navy at Wapping on 7 June 1755.
Cook married Elizabeth Batts (1742–1835), the daughter of Samuel Batts, keeper of the Bell Inn, Wapping and one of his mentors, on 21 December 1762 at St. Margaret's Church in Barking, Essex. The couple had six children: James (1763–1794), Nathaniel (1764–1781), Elizabeth (1767–1771), Joseph (1768–1768), George (1772–1772) and Hugh (1776–1793). When not at sea, Cook lived in the East End of London. He attended St Paul's Church, Shadwell, where his son James was baptised. Stepney Historical Trust has placed a plaque on Free Trade Wharf in the Highway, Shadwell to commemorate his life in the East End of London.
Start of Royal Navy career
Further information: Great Britain in the Seven Years War
James Cook's 1775 chart ofNewfoundland
Cook's first posting was with HMS Eagle, sailing with the rank of master's mate. In October and November 1755 he took part in Eagles capture of one French warship and the sinking of another, following which he was promoted to boatswain in addition to his other duties. His first temporary command was in March 1756 when he was briefly the master of the Cruizer, a small cutter attached to the Eagle while on patrol.
In June 1757 Cook passed his master's examinations at Trinity House, Deptford qualifying him to navigate and handle a ship of the King's fleet. He then joined the frigate HMS Solebay as master under Captain Robert Craig.
During the Seven Years' War, he served in North America as master of Pembroke In 1758 he took part in the major amphibious assault that captured the Fortress of Louisbourg from the French. Cook then participated in the siege of Quebec City before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. He showed a talent for surveying and cartography and was responsible for mapping much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege, allowing General Wolfe to make his famous stealth attack on the Plains of Abraham.
Cook's surveying skills were put to good use in the 1760s, mapping the jagged coast of Newfoundland. Cook surveyed the northwest stretch in 1763 and 1764, the south coast between the Burin Peninsula and Cape Ray in 1765 and 1766, and the west coast in 1767. Cook’s five seasons in Newfoundland produced the first large-scale and accurate maps of the island’s coasts; they also gave Cook his mastery of practical surveying, achieved under often adverse conditions, and brought him to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society at a crucial moment both in his personal career and in the direction of British overseas discovery. Cook's map would be used into the 20th century, copies of it being referenced by those sailing Newfoundland's waters for 200 years.
Following on from his exertions in Newfoundland, it was at this time that Cook wrote, he intended to go not only:
"... farther than any man has been before me, but as far as I think it is possible for a man to go."
First voyage (1768–71)
Main article: First voyage of James Cook
In 1766, the Royal Society hired Cook to travel to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus across the Sun. Cook was promoted to Lieutenant and named as commander of the expedition. The expedition sailed from England in 1768, rounded Cape Horn and continued westward across the Pacific to arrive at Tahiti on 13 April 1769, where the observations of the Venus Transit was made. However, the result of the observations was not as conclusive or accurate as had been hoped. Cook later mapped the complete New Zealand coastline, making only some minor errors. He then sailed west, reaching the south-eastern coast of the Australian continent on 19 April 1770, and in doing so his expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline.
Endeavour replica in Cooktown, Queensland harbour — just off the shore where the original Endeavour was beached for 7 weeks in 1770.
On 23 April he made his first recorded direct observation of indigenous Australians at Brush Island near Bawley Point, noting in his journal: "...and were so near the Shore as to distinguish several people upon the Sea beach they appear'd to be of a very dark or black Colour but whether this was the real colour of their skins or the C[l]othes they might have on I know not." On 29 April Cook and crew made their first landfall on the mainland of the continent at a place now known as the Kurnell Peninsula, which he named Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. It is here that James Cook made first contact with an Aboriginal tribe known as the Gweagal.
After his departure from Botany Bay he continued northwards, and a mishap occurred whenEndeavour ran aground on a shoal of the Great Barrier Reef, on 11 June, and "nursed into a river mouth on 18 June 1770.". The ship was badly damaged and his voyage was delayed almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach (near the docks of modern Cooktown, at the mouth of the Endeavour River). Once repairs were complete the voyage continued, sailing through Torres Strait and on 22 August he landed on Possession Island, where he claimed the entire coastline he had just explored as British territory. He returned to England via Batavia (modern Jakarta, Indonesia), the Cape of Good Hope and the island of Saint Helena, arriving on 12 July 1771.
Cook's journals were published upon his return, and he became something of a hero among the scientific community. Among the general public, however, the aristocratic botanist Joseph Banks was a bigger hero. Banks even attempted to take command of Cook's second voyage, but removed himself from the voyage before it began, and Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg Forster were taken on as scientists for the voyage. Cook's son George was born five days before he left for his second voyage.
The routes of Captain James Cook's voyages. The first voyage is shown in red, second voyage in green, and third voyage in blue. The route of Cook's crew following his death is shown as a dashed blue line.
Second voyage (1772–75)
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James Cook's 1777 South-Up map of South Georgia
Shortly after his return, Cook was promoted to the rank of Commander. Then once again he was commissioned by the Royal Society to search for the mythicalTerra Australis. On his first voyage, Cook had demonstrated by circumnavigating New Zealand that it was not attached to a larger landmass to the south; and although by charting almost the entire eastern coastline of Australia he had shown it to be continental in size, the Terra Australis being sought was supposed to lie further to the south. Despite this evidence to the contrary, Dalrymple and others of the Royal Society still believed that this massive southern continent should exist.
Cook commanded HMS Resolution on this voyage, while Tobias Furneauxcommanded its companion ship, HMS Adventure. Cook's expeditioncircumnavigated the globe at a very high southern latitude, becoming one of the first to cross the Antarctic Circle on 17 January 1773. He also surveyed, mapped and took possession for Britain of South Georgia explored by Anthony de la Roché in 1675, discovered and named Clerke Rocks and the South Sandwich Islands("Sandwich Land"). In the Antarctic fog, Resolution and Adventure became separated. Furneaux made his way to New Zealand, where he lost some of his men during an encounter with Māori, and eventually sailed back to Britain, while Cook continued to explore the Antarctic, reaching 71°10'S on 31 January 1774.
Cook almost encountered the mainland of Antarctica, but turned back north towards Tahiti to resupply his ship. He then resumed his southward course in a second fruitless attempt to find the supposed continent. On this leg of the voyage he brought with him a young Tahitian named Omai, who proved to be somewhat less knowledgeable about the Pacific than Tupaia had been on the first voyage. On his return voyage, in 1774 he landed at the Friendly Islands, Easter Island, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu. His reports upon his return home put to rest the popular myth of Terra Australis.
Another accomplishment of the second voyage was the successful employment of the Larcum Kendall K1 chronometer, which enabled Cook to calculate his longitudinal position with much greater accuracy. Cook's log was full of praise for the watch and the charts of the southern Pacific Ocean he made with its use were remarkably accurate – so much so that copies of them were still in use in the mid-20th century.
Upon his return, Cook was promoted to the rank of Captain and given an honorary retirement from the Royal Navy, as an officer in theGreenwich Hospital. His acceptance was reluctant, insisting that he be allowed to quit the post if the opportunity for active duty presented itself. His fame now extended beyond the Admiralty and he was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Copley Gold Medal, painted by Nathaniel Dance-Holland, dined with James Boswell and described in the House of Lords as "the first navigator in Europe". But he could not be kept away from the sea. A third voyage was planned to find the Northwest Passage. Cook travelled to the Pacific and hoped to travel east to the Atlantic, while a simultaneous voyage travelled the opposite way.
Third voyage (1776–79) and death
A statue of James Cook stands in Waimea, Kauai commemorating his first contact with the Hawaiian Islands at the town's harbour on January 1778
On his last voyage, Cook once again commanded HMS Resolution, while Captain Charles Clerkecommanded HMS Discovery. Ostensibly the voyage was planned to return Omai to Tahiti; this is what the general public believed, as he had become a favourite curiosity in London. Principally the purpose of the voyage was an attempt to discover the famed Northwest Passage. After returning Omai, Cook travelled north and in 1778 became the first European to visit the Hawaiian Islands. In passing and after initial landfall in January 1778 at Waimea harbour, Kauai, Cook named the archipelago the "Sandwich Islands" after the fourth Earl of Sandwich, the acting First Lord of the Admiralty.
From the South Pacific, he went northeast to explore the west coast of North America north of the Spanish settlements in Alta California. He made landfall at approximately 44°30′ north latitude, near Cape Foulweather on the Oregon coast, which he named. Bad weather forced his ships south to about 43° northbefore they could begin their exploration of the coast northward. He unknowingly sailed past the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and soon after entered Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island. He anchored near the First Nations village of Yuquot. Cook's two ships spent about a month in Nootka Sound, from 29 March to 26 April 1778, in what Cook called Ship Cove, now Resolution Cove, at the south end of Bligh Island, about 5 miles (8.0 km) east across Nootka Sound from Yuquot, a Nuu-chah-nulth village (whose chief Cook did not identify but may have been Maquinna). Relations between Cook's crew of the people of Yuquot were cordial if sometimes strained. In trading, the people of Yuquot demanded much more valuable items than the usual trinkets that had worked for Cook's crew in Hawaii. Metal objects were much desired, but the lead, pewter, and tin traded at first soon fell into disrepute. The most valuable items the British received in trade were sea otter pelts. Over the month long stay the Yuquot "hosts" essentially controlled the trade with the British vessels, instead of vice versa. Generally the natives visited the British vessels at Resolution Cove instead of the British visiting the village of Yuquot at Friendly Cove.
After leaving Nootka Sound, Cook explored and mapped the coast all the way to the Bering Strait, on the way identifying what came to be known as Cook Inlet in Alaska. It has been said that, in a single visit, Cook charted the majority of the North American northwest coastline on world maps for the first time, determined the extent of Alaska and closed the gaps in Russian (from the West) and Spanish (from the South) exploratory probes of the Northern limits of the Pacific.
The Bering Strait proved to be impassable, although he made several attempts to sail through it. He became increasingly frustrated on this voyage, and perhaps began to suffer from a stomach ailment; it has been speculated that this led to irrational behaviour towards his crew, such as forcing them to eat walrus meat, which they found inedible.
Cook returned to Hawaiʻi in 1779. After sailing around the archipelago for some eight weeks, he made landfall at Kealakekua Bay, on 'Hawaiʻi Island', largest island in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Cook's arrival coincided with the Makahiki, a Hawaiian harvest festival of worship for the Polynesian god Lono. Indeed the form of Cook's ship, HMS Resolution, or more particularly the mast formation, sails and rigging, resembled certain significant artefacts that formed part of the season of worship. Similarly, Cook's clockwise route around the island of Hawai'i before making landfall resembled the processions that took place in a clockwise direction around the island during the Lono festivals. It has been argued (most extensively by Marshall Sahlins) that such coincidences were the reasons for Cook's (and to a limited extent, his crew's) initial deification by some Hawaiians who treated Cook as an incarnation of Lono. Though this view was first suggested by members of Cook's expedition, the idea that any Hawaiians understood Cook to be Lono, and the evidence presented in support of it was challenged in 1992.
Waimea on the island of Kauai, as seen from the ocean. Waimea was Cook's first landing point in Hawaiʻi in 1778.
After a month's stay, Cook got under sail again to resume his exploration of the Northern Pacific. However, shortly after leaving Hawaiʻi Island, the foremast of the Resolution broke and the ships returned to Kealakekua Bay for repairs. It has been hypothesised that the return to the islands by Cook's expedition was not just unexpected by the Hawaiians, but also unwelcome because the season of Lono had recently ended (presuming that they associated Cook with Lono and Makahiki). In any case, tensions rose and a number of quarrels broke out between the Europeans and Hawaiians. On 14 February at Kealakekua Bay, some Hawaiians took one of Cook's small boats. Normally, as thefts were quite common in Tahiti and the other islands, Cook would have taken hostages until the stolen articles were returned. Indeed, he attempted to take hostage theKing of Hawaiʻi, Kalaniʻōpuʻu. The Hawaiians prevented this, and Cook's men had to retreat to the beach. As Cook turned his back to help launch the boats, he was struck on the head by the villagers and then stabbed to death as he fell on his face in the surf. Hawaiian tradition says that he was killed by a chief named Kalanimanokahoowaha. The Hawaiians dragged his body away. Four of the Marines with Cook were also killed and two wounded in the confrontation.
The Death of Captain James Cook, 14 February 1779, an unfinished painting byJohann Zoffany, circa 1795.
The esteem in which he was nevertheless held by the Hawaiians resulted in his body being retained by their chiefs and elders. Following the practice of the time, Cook's body underwent funerary rituals similar to those reserved for the chiefs and highest elders of the society. The body was disembowelled, baked to facilitate removal of the flesh, and the bones were carefully cleaned for preservation as religious icons in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of the treatment of European saints in the Middle Ages. Some of Cook's remains, disclosing some corroborating evidence to this effect, were eventually returned to the British for a formal burial at sea following an appeal by the crew.
Clerke took over the expedition and made a final attempt to pass through the Bering Strait. Following the death of Clerke, Resolution and Discovery returned home in October 1780 commanded by John Gore, a veteran of Cook's first voyage, and Captain James King. Cook's account of his third and final voyage was completed upon their return by King.
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A statue of James Cook inGreenwich, London
John Webber's Captain Cook, oil on canvas, 1776
A number of the junior officers who served under Cook went on to distinctive accomplishments of their own.William Bligh, Cook's sailing master, was given command of HMS Bounty in 1787 to sail to Tahiti and return with breadfruit. Bligh is most known for the mutiny of his crew which resulted in his being set adrift in 1789. He later became governor of New South Wales, where he was subject of another mutiny — the only successful armed takeover of an Australian colonial government. George Vancouver, one of Cook'smidshipmen, later led a voyage of exploration to the Pacific Coast of North America from 1791 to 1794.George Dixon sailed under Cook on his third expedition, and later commanded an expedition of his own.
Cook's 12 years sailing around the Pacific Ocean contributed much to European knowledge of the area. Several islands such as Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) were encountered for the first time by Europeans, and his more accurate navigational charting of large areas of the Pacific was a major achievement.
To create accurate maps, latitude and longitude need to be known. Navigators had been able to work outlatitude accurately for centuries by measuring the angle of the sun or a star above the horizon with an instrument such as a backstaff or quadrant. Longitude was more difficult to measure accurately because it requires precise knowledge of the time difference between points on the surface of the earth. Earth turns a full 360 degrees relative to the sun each day. Thus longitude corresponds to time: 15 degrees every hour, or 1 degree every 4 minutes.
Cook gathered accurate longitude measurements during his first voyage due to his navigational skills, the help of astronomer Charles Green and by using the newly published Nautical Almanac tables, via the lunar distance method — measuring the angular distance from the moon to either the sun during daytime or one of eight bright stars during night-time to determine the time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and comparing that to his local time determined via the altitude of the sun, moon, or stars. On his second voyage Cook used the K1 chronometer made by Larcum Kendall, which was the shape of a large pocket watch, 13 cm (5 inches) in diameter. It was a copy of the H4 clock made by John Harrison, which proved to be the first to keep accurate time at sea when used on the ship Deptford's journey to Jamaica, 1761–1762.
Ever the observer, Cook was the first European to have extensive contact with various people of the Pacific. He correctly concluded there was a relationship among all the people in the Pacific, despite their being separated by thousands of miles of ocean (see Malayo-Polynesian languages). In New Zealand the coming of Cook is often used to signify the onset of colonisation.
Cook succeeded in circumnavigating the world on his first voyage without losing a single man to scurvy, an unusual accomplishment at the time. He tested several preventive measures but the most important was frequent replenishment of fresh food.
James Cook also came up with the theory that Polynesians originated from Asia, which was later proved to be correct by scientist Bryan Sykes.
Cook was accompanied by many scientists, whose observations and discoveries added to the importance of the voyages. Joseph Banks, a botanist, went on the first voyage along with fellow botanist Daniel Solander from Sweden. Between them they collected over 3,000 plant species. Banks became one of the strongest promoters of the settlement of Australia by the British, based on his own personal observations.
There were several artists on the first voyage. Sydney Parkinson was involved in many of the drawings, completing 264 drawings before his death near the end of the voyage. They were of immense scientific value to British botanists. Cook's second expedition included the artist William Hodges, who produced notable landscape paintings of Tahiti, Easter Island, and other locations.
His contributions were recognised during this era. In 1779, while the American colonies were at war with Britain in their war for independence,Benjamin Franklin wrote to captains of American warships at sea, recommending that if they came into contact with Cook's vessel, to:
...not consider her an enemy, nor suffer any plunder to be made of the effects contained in her, nor obstruct her immediate return to England by detaining her or sending her into any other part of Europe or to America; but that you treat the said Captain Cook and his people with all civility and kindness, . . . as common friends to mankind.
Captain Cook memorial statue at the Catani Gardens St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
The site where he was killed in Hawaii is marked by a white obelisk and about 25 square feet (2.3 m2) of land around it is chained off. This land, though in Hawaii, has been given to the United Kingdom. Therefore, the site is officially a part of the UK. With the jurisdictions reversed exactly the same sort of situation exists at Runnymede where the U.S. has extraterritorial jurisdiction over a monument to John F. Kennedy. A nearby town is named Captain Cook, Hawaii as well as several businesses.
Cook appeared on a United States coin, the 1928 Hawaiian Sesquicentennial half dollar. Minted during the celebration marking the 150th anniversary of his discovery of the islands, its low mintage (10,008) has made this example of Early United States commemorative coins both scarce and expensive.
The first tertiary education institution in North Queensland, Australia was named after him, withJames Cook University opening in Townsville in 1970. Numerous other institutions, landmarks and place names reflect the importance of Cook's contribution to knowledge of geography. These also include the Cook Islands, the Cook Strait,Cook Inlet, and the Cook crater on the Moon.
This coat of arms of James Cook was granted by King George III to Cook's widow in 1785, "to be borne by his descendants and 'placed on any monument or otherwise to his memory.'"
Tributes also abound in post-industrial Middlesbrough, and include a primary school, shopping squareand the Bottle 'O Notes a public artwork by Claes Oldenburg erected in the town's Central Gardens in 1993. His nearby birthplace of Marton is the location of both the James Cook University Hospital, a teaching hospital, and the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum. The Royal Research Ship RRS James Cook was built in 2006 to replace the RRS Charles Darwin in the UK's Royal Research Fleet.
Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest summit in New Zealand, is named for him. Another Mount Cook is on the border between the US state of Alaska and the Canadian Yukon Territory, and is designated Boundary Peak 182 as one of the official Boundary Peaks of the Hay–Herbert Treaty. The US Space Shuttle Endeavour is named after Cook's ship, HMS Endeavour.
In Australian rhyming slang the expression "Captain Cook" means "look".
A monument to Capt. Cook stands on Easby Moor overlooking his boyhood village of Great Ayton.
Antimonial cup, one owned by him.
Australian places named by James Cook
Death of Cook — Painting depicting the event
Stepney Historical Trust
The Vache, site of monument to Captain James Cook erected by Admiral Hugh Palliser, a one time owner of the estate.
European and American voyages of scientific exploration
^ Lewis, Wendy, Simon Balderstone and John Bowan (2006).Events That Shaped Australia. New Holland.ISBN 9781741104929.
^ a b James Cook at the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
^ a b c d e f g h i j k per Collingridge (2002)
^ a b c Rigby & van der Merwe 2002, p25.
^ Collingridge 2003, p15.
^ a b c d per Horwitz (2003)
^ a b c Rigby & van der Merwe, p27.
^ Famous 18th century people of Barking and Dagenham Info Sheet #22, LB Barking & Dagenham
^ a b c G. Williams (2002)
^ Life in the Royal Navy (1755–1767), The Captain Cook Society: Cook's Log, by Paul Capper 1985–1996
^ Dean & Kemp, Oxford Companion of Ships and the Sea (Oxford U Press, 2005)
^ Williams, Glyn (1 August 2002). "Captain Cook: Explorer, Navigator and Pioneer". Empire and Seapower. BBC. Retrieved 25 January 2007.
^ Rigby and van der Merwe 2002, p. 30
^ At this time, the International Date Line had yet to be agreed, and so, the dates in Cook's journal are a day earlier than those accepted today.
^ Cook's journal: daily entry for 22 April 1770 National Library of Australia
^ "Once were warriors". smh.com.au. 11 November 2002. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
^ Robson (2004), p. 81.
^ Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery TV documentary, Part 2
^ Hough 1994, page 217
^ Captain James Cook: His voyages of exploration and the men that accompanied him (National Maritime Museum) accessed 10 October 2007
^ Beaglehole (1974: 444)
^ Hayes, Derek (1999). Historical Atlas of the Pacific Northwest: Maps of exploration and Discovery. Sasquatch Books. pp. 42–43. ISBN 1-57061-215-3.
^ "Resolution Cove". BC Geographical Names.
^ Fisher, Robert; Hugh Johnston (1979). Captain James Cook and his Times. Taylor & Francis. pp. 81, 86, 90, 96.ISBN 9780709900504.
^ a b c G. Obeyesekere, The Apotheosis of Captain Cook (1992)
^ M. Sahlins, Islands of History (1985), University of Chicago Press.
^ V. Collingridge (2003) page 410 et seq. Obsession and Betrayal
^ Sheldon Dibble (1909). History of the Sandwich Islands. Honolulu: Thomas George Thrum. p. 61.
^ "The Death of Captain James... (BHC0424) – National Maritime Museum". National Maritime Museum. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
^ V. Collingridge (2003) page 413 Obsession and Betrayal
^ Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe (2006). Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 297. ISBN 0-393-06259-7.
^ Sykes, Bryan (2001). The Seven Daughters of Eve. Norton Publishing: New York City, NY and London, England. ISBN 0-393-02018-5.
^ "Worldly Ways, Cook Islands". Benjamin Franklin. Twin Cities Public Television. 2002. Retrieved 11 June 2007. Unknown to Franklin, Cook had met his death a month before this "passport" was written.
^ Wagner, A.R. (1972). Historic Heraldry of Britain. London: Phillimore & Co Ltd
^ Profile of Captain Cook Primary School at BBC News
^ "Captain Cook Shopping Square". Captaincookshopping.com. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
^ Sidney John Baker (1966). The Australian Language: An Examination of the English Language and English Speech as Used in Australia, from Convict Days to the Present. Melbourne: Sun Books. p. 360.
Aughton, Peter. 2002, Endeavour: The Story of Captain Cook's First Great Epic Voyage. Cassell & Co., London.
Beaglehole, John, biographer of Cook and editor of his Journals.
Collingridge, Vanessa. Feb. 2003 Captain Cook: The Life, Death and Legacy of History's Greatest Explorer, Ebury Press, ISBN 0-09-188898-0
Edwards, Philip, ed. 2003, James Cook: The Journals. Prepared from the original manuscripts by J. C. Beaglehole 1955–67. Penguin Books, London.
Forster, Georg. A Voyage Round the World, ed. 1986 (published first 1777 as: A Voyage round the World in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop Resolution, Commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years, 1772, 3, 4, and 5), Wiley-VCH (1 January 1986). ISBN 978-3-05-000180-7
Horwitz, Tony. Oct. 2003, Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before, Bloomsbury, …
Henry David Thoreau
July 12, 1817Concord, Massachusetts
May 6, 1862 (aged 44)Concord, Massachusetts
19th century philosophy
Abolitionism, tax resistance,development criticism, civil disobedience, conscientious objection, direct action,environmentalism, nonviolent resistance, simple living
Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was anAmerican author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor,historian, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay, Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.
Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry total over 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions were his writings on natural history and philosophy, where he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern dayenvironmentalism. His literary style interweaves close natural observation, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore; while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and "Yankee" love of practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs.
He was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience influenced the political thoughts and actions of such later figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thoreau is sometimes cited as an individualist anarchist. Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government – "I ask for, not at once no government, butat once a better government" – the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "'That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." Richard Drinnon partly blames Thoreau for the ambiguity, noting that Thoreau's "sly satire, his liking for wide margins for his writing, and his fondness for paradox provided ammunition for widely divergent interpretations of 'Civil Disobedience.'" He further points out that although Thoreau writes that he only wants "at once" a better government, that does not rule out the possibility that a little later he might favor no government.
1 Early life and education
2 Return to Concord: 1837–1841
3 Civil Disobedience and the Walden years: 1845–1849
4 Later years: 1851–1862
10 See also
12 Further reading
12.1 Historical fiction
13 External links
Early life and education
He was born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts, to John Thoreau (a pencil maker) and Cynthia Dunbar. His paternal grandfather was of French origin and was born in Jersey. His maternal grandfather, Asa Dunbar, led Harvard's 1766 student "Butter Rebellion", the first recorded student protest in the Colonies. David Henry was named after a recently deceased paternal uncle, David Thoreau. He did not become "Henry David" until after college, although he never petitioned to make a legal name change. He had two older siblings, Helen and John Jr., and a younger sister, Sophia. Thoreau's birthplace still exists on Virginia Road in Concord and is currently the focus of preservation efforts. The house is original, but it now stands about 100 yards away from its first site.
Portrait of Thoreau from 1854
Amos Bronson Alcott and Thoreau's aunt each wrote that "Thoreau" is pronounced like the word "thorough", whose standard American pronunciation rhymes with "furrow". Edward Emerson wrote that the name should be pronounced "Thó-row, the h sounded, and accent on the first syllable." In appearance he was homely, with a nose that he called "my most prominent feature." Of his face, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote: "[Thoreau] is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and rustic, though courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior. But his ugliness is of an honest and agreeable fashion, and becomes him much better than beauty." Thoreau also wore a neck-beard for many years, which he insisted many women found attractive. However, Louisa May Alcott mentioned to Ralph Waldo Emersonthat Thoreau's facial hair "will most assuredly deflect amorous advances and preserve the man's virtue in perpetuity."
Thoreau studied at Harvard University between 1833 and 1837. He lived in Hollis Hall and took courses in rhetoric, classics, philosophy, mathematics, and science. A legend proposes that Thoreau refused to pay the five-dollar fee for a Harvard diploma. In fact, the master's degree he declined to purchase had no academic merit: Harvard College offered it to graduates "who proved their physical worth by being alive three years after graduating, and their saving, earning, or inheriting quality or condition by having Five Dollars to give the college." His comment was: "Let every sheep keep its own skin", a reference to the tradition of diplomas being written onsheepskin vellum.
Return to Concord: 1837–1841
The traditional professions open to college graduates—law, the church, business, medicine—failed to interest Thoreau,:25 so in 1835 he took a leave of absence from Harvard, during which he taught school in Canton, Massachusetts. After he graduated in 1837, he joined the faculty of the Concord public school, but resigned after a few weeks rather than administer corporal punishment.:25 He and his brother John then opened a grammar school in Concord in 1838 called Concord Academy.:25 They introduced several progressive concepts, including nature walks and visits to local shops and businesses. The school ended when John became fatally ill from tetanus in 1842 after cutting himself while shaving. He died in his brother Henry's arms.
Upon graduation Thoreau returned home to Concord, where he met Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson took a paternal and at times patronizing interest in Thoreau, advising the young man and introducing him to a circle of local writers and thinkers, including Ellery Channing, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and his son Julian Hawthorne, who was a boy at the time.
Emerson urged Thoreau to contribute essays and poems to a quarterly periodical, The Dial, and Emerson lobbied editor Margaret Fuller to publish those writings. Thoreau's first essay published there was Aulus Persius Flaccus, an essay on the playwright of the same name, published in The Dial in July 1840. It consisted of revised passages from his journal, which he had begun keeping at Emerson's suggestion. The first journal entry on October 22, 1837, reads, "'What are you doing now?' he asked. 'Do you keep a journal?' So I make my first entry to-day."
Thoreau was a philosopher of nature and its relation to the human condition. In his early years he followed Transcendentalism, a loose and eclectic idealist philosophy advocated by Emerson, Fuller, and Alcott. They held that an ideal spiritual state transcends, or goes beyond, the physical and empirical, and that one achieves that insight via personal intuition rather than religious doctrine. In their view, Nature is the outward sign of inward spirit, expressing the "radical correspondence of visible things and human thoughts," as Emerson wrote in Nature(1836).
1967 U.S. postage stamp honoring Thoreau
On April 18, 1841, Thoreau moved into the Emerson house. There, from 1841–1844, he served as the children's tutor, editorial assistant, and repair man/gardener. For a few months in 1843, he moved to the home of William Emerson on Staten Island, and tutored the family sons while seeking contacts among literary men and journalists in the city who might help publish his writings, including his future literary representative Horace Greeley.:68
Thoreau returned to Concord and worked in his family's pencil factory, which he continued to do for most of his adult life. He rediscovered the process to make a good pencil out of inferior graphite by using clay as the binder; this invention improved upon graphite found in New Hampshire and bought in 1821 by relative Charles Dunbar. (The process of mixing graphite and clay, known as the Conté process, was patented by Nicolas-Jacques Conté in 1795). His other source had been Tantiusques, an Indian operated mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Later, Thoreau converted the factory to produce plumbago (graphite), which was used to inktypesetting machines.
Once back in Concord, Thoreau went through a restless period. In April 1844 he and his friend Edward Hoar accidentally set a fire that consumed 300 acres (1.2 km2) of Walden Woods. He spoke often of finding a farm to buy or lease, which he felt would give him a means to support himself while also providing enough solitude to write his first book.
Civil Disobedience and the Walden years: 1845–1849
Henry David Thoreau
Core works and topics[show]
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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For" 
Thoreau needed to concentrate and get himself working more on his writing. In March 1845, Ellery Channing told Thoreau, "Go out upon that, build yourself a hut, & there begin the grand process of devouring yourself alive. I see no other alternative, no other hope for you." Two months later, Thoreau embarked on a two-year experiment in simple living on July 4, 1845, when he moved to a small, self-built house on land owned by Emerson in a second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond. The house was in "a pretty pasture and woodlot" of 14 acres (57,000 m2) that Emerson had bought, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from his family home.
On July 24 or July 25, 1846, Thoreau ran into the local tax collector, Sam Staples, who asked him to pay six years of delinquent poll taxes. Thoreau refused because of his opposition to the Mexican-American War and slavery, and he spent a night in jail because of this refusal. (The next day Thoreau was freed, against his wishes, when his aunt paid his taxes.) The experience had a strong impact on Thoreau. In January and February 1848, he delivered lectures on "The Rights and Duties of the Individual in relation to Government" explaining his tax resistance at the Concord Lyceum. Bronson Alcott attended the lecture, writing in his journal on January 26:
Heard Thoreau's lecture before the Lyceum on the relation of the individual to the State– an admirable statement of the rights of the individual to self-government, and an attentive audience. His allusions to the Mexican War, to Mr. Hoar's expulsion from Carolina, his own imprisonment in Concord Jail for refusal to pay his tax, Mr. Hoar's payment of mine when taken to prison for a similar refusal, were all pertinent, well considered, and reasoned. I took great pleasure in this deed of Thoreau's.
—Bronson Alcott, Journals (1938)
Thoreau revised the lecture into an essay entitled Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience). In May 1849 it was published by Elizabeth Peabody in the Aesthetic Papers. Thoreau had taken up a version of Percy Shelley's principle in the political poemThe Mask of Anarchy (1819), that Shelley begins with the powerful images of the unjust forms of authority of his time – and then imagines the stirrings of a radically new form of social action.
At Walden Pond, he completed a first draft of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, an elegy to his brother, John, that described their 1839 trip to the White Mountains. Thoreau did not find a publisher for this book and instead printed 1,000 copies at his own expense, though fewer than 300 were sold.:234 Thoreau self-published on the advice of Emerson, using Emerson's own publisher, Munroe, who did little to publicize the book.
In August 1846, Thoreau briefly left Walden to make a trip to Mount Katahdin in Maine, a journey later recorded in "Ktaadn," the first part ofThe Maine Woods.
Thoreau left Walden Pond on September 6, 1847.:244 At Emerson's request, he immediately moved back into the Emerson house to help Lidian manage the household while her husband was on an extended trip to Europe. Over several years, he worked to pay off his debts and also continuously revised his manuscript for what, in 1854, he would publish as Walden, or Life in the Woods, recounting the two years, two months, and two days he had spent at Walden Pond. The book compresses that time into a single calendar year, using the passage of four seasons to symbolize human development. Part memoir and part spiritual quest, Walden at first won few admirers, but later critics have regarded it as a classic American work that explores natural simplicity, harmony, and beauty as models for just social and cultural conditions.
American poet Robert Frost wrote of Thoreau, "In one book ... he surpasses everything we have had in America."
John Updike wrote in 2004,
A century and a half after its publication, Walden has become such a totem of the back-to-nature, preservationist, anti-business, civil-disobedience mindset, and Thoreau so vivid a protester, so perfect a crank and hermit saint, that the book risks being as revered and unread as the Bible.
Thoreau moved out of Emerson's house in July 1848 and stayed at a home on Belknap Street nearby. In 1850, he and his family moved into a home at 255 Main Street; he stayed there until his death.
Later years: 1851–1862
Henry David Thoreau, taken August 1861
In 1851, Thoreau became increasingly fascinated with natural history and travel/expedition narratives. He read avidly on botany and often wrote observations on this topic into his journal. He admired William Bartram, and Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle. He kept detailed observations on Concord's nature lore, recording everything from how the fruit ripened over time to the fluctuating depths of Walden Pond and the days certain birds migrated. The point of this task was to "anticipate" the seasons of nature, in his words.
He became a land surveyor and continued to write increasingly detailed natural history observations about the 26 square miles (67 km2) township in his journal, a two-million word document he kept for 24 years. He also kept a series of notebooks, and these observations became the source for Thoreau's late natural history writings, such as Autumnal Tints, The Succession of Trees, and Wild Apples, an essay lamenting the destruction of indigenous and wild apple species.
Until the 1970s, literary critics[who?] dismissed Thoreau's late pursuits as amateur science and philosophy. With the rise of environmental history and ecocriticism, several new readings[who?] of this matter began to emerge, showing Thoreau to be both a philosopher and an analyst of ecological patterns in fields and woodlots. For instance, his late essay, "The Succession of Forest Trees," shows that he used experimentation and analysis to explain how forests regenerate after fire or human destruction, through dispersal by seed-bearing winds or animals.
He traveled to Quebec once, Cape Cod four times, and Maine three times; these landscapes inspired his "excursion" books, A Yankee in Canada, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods, in which travel itineraries frame his thoughts about geography, history and philosophy. Other travels took him southwest to Philadelphia and New York City in 1854, and west across the Great Lakes region in 1861, visiting Niagara Falls, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Mackinac Island. Although provincial in his physical travels, he was extraordinarily well-read and vicariously a world traveler. He obsessively devoured all the first-hand travel accounts available in his day, at a time when the last unmapped regions of the earth were being explored. He read Magellan and Cook, the arctic explorers Franklin, Mackenzie and Parry, Darwin's account of his voyage on the Beagle, Livingstone and Burton on Africa, Lewis and Clark; and hundreds of lesser-known works by explorers and literate travelers. Astonishing amounts of global reading fed his endless curiosity about the peoples, cultures, religions and natural history of the world, and left its traces as commentaries in his voluminous journals. He processed everything he read, in the local laboratory of his Concord experience. Among his famous aphorisms is his advice to "live at home like a traveler."
After John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, many prominent voices in the abolitionist movement distanced themselves from Brown, or damned him with faint praise. Thoreau was disgusted by this, and he composed a speech – A Plea for Captain John Brown – which was uncompromising in its defense of Brown and his actions. Thoreau's speech proved persuasive: first the abolitionist movement began to accept Brown as a martyr, and by the time of the American Civil War entire armies of the North were literally singing Brown's praises. As a contemporary biographer of John Brown put it: "If, as Alfred Kazin suggests, without John Brown there would have been no Civil War, we would add that without the Concord Transcendentalists, John Brown would have had little cultural impact."
Thoreau contracted tuberculosis in 1835 and suffered from it sporadically afterwards. In 1859, following a late night excursion to count the rings of tree stumps during a rain storm, he became ill with bronchitis. His health declined over three years with brief periods of remission, until he eventually became bedridden. Recognizing the terminal nature of his disease, Thoreau spent his last years revising and editing his unpublished works, particularly The Maine Woods and Excursions, and petitioning publishers to print revised editions of A Week and Walden. He also wrote letters and journal entries until he became too weak to continue. His friends were alarmed at his diminished appearance and were fascinated by his tranquil acceptance of death. When his aunt Louisa asked him in his last weeks if he had made his peace with God, Thoreau responded: "I did not know we had ever quarreled."
Aware he was dying, Thoreau's last words were "Now comes good sailing", followed by two lone words, "moose" and "Indian". He died on May 6, 1862 at age 44. Bronson Alcott planned the service and read selections from Thoreau's works, and Channing presented a hymn.Emerson wrote the eulogy spoken at his funeral. Originally buried in the Dunbar family plot, he and members of his immediate family were eventually moved to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (N42° 27' 53.7" W71° 20' 33") in Concord, Massachusetts.
Thoreau's friend Ellery Channing published his first biography, Thoreau the Poet-Naturalist, in 1873, and Channing and another friend Harrison Blake edited some poems, essays, and journal entries for posthumous publication in the 1890s. Thoreau's journals, which he often mined for his published works but which remained largely unpublished at his death, were first published in 1906 and helped to build his modern reputation. A new, expanded edition of the journals is underway, published by Princeton University Press. Today, Thoreau is regarded[who?]as one of the foremost American writers, both for the modern clarity of his prose style and the prescience of his views on nature and politics. His memory is honored by the international Thoreau Society.
Thoreau family graves at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Replica of Thoreau's cabin
Site of Thoreau's cabin
Site of Thoreau's cabin
Thoreau memorial at Library Way, New York City
"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind."
Thoreau was an early advocate of recreational hiking and canoeing, of conserving natural resources on private land, and of preserving wilderness as public land. Thoreau was also one of the first American supporters of Darwin's theory of evolution. He was not a strict vegetarian, though he said he preferred that diet and advocated it as a means of self-improvement. He wrote in Walden: "The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness; and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth."
Thoreau neither rejected civilization nor fully embraced wilderness. Instead he sought a middle ground, the pastoral realm that integrates both nature and culture. His philosophy required that he be a didactic arbitration between the wilderness he based so much on and the spreading mass of North American humanity. He decried the latter endlessly but felt the teachers need to be close to those who needed to hear what he wanted to tell them. He was in many ways a 'visible saint', a point of contact with the wilds, even if the land he lived on had been given to him by Emerson and was far from cut-off. The wildness he enjoyed was the nearby swamp or forest, and he preferred "partially cultivated country." His idea of being "far in the recesses of the wilderness" of Maine was to "travel the logger's path and the Indian trail," but he also hiked on pristine untouched land. In the essay "Henry David Thoreau, Philosopher"Roderick Nash writes: "Thoreau left Concord in 1846 for the first of three trips to northern Maine. His expectations were high because he hoped to find genuine, primeval America. But contact with real wilderness in Maine affected him far differently than had the idea of wilderness in Concord. Instead of coming out of the woods with a deepened appreciation of the wilds, Thoreau felt a greater respect for civilization and realized the necessity of balance." On alcohol, Thoreau wrote: "I would fain keep sober always... I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man; wine is not so noble a liquor... Of all ebriosity, who does not prefer to be intoxicated by the air he breathes?"
A bust of Thoreau from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at the Bronx Community College
"Thoreau's careful observations and devastating conclusions have rippled into time, becoming stronger as the weaknesses Thoreau noted have become more pronounced ... Events that seem to be completely unrelated to his stay at Walden Pond have been influenced by it, including the national park system, the British labor movement, thecreation of India, the civil rights movement, the hippie revolution, the environmental movement, and the wilderness movement. Today, Thoreau's words are quoted with feeling by liberals, socialists, anarchists, libertarians, and conservatives alike."
— Ken Kifer 
Thoreau's writings influenced many public figures. Political leaders and reformers like Mahatma Gandhi, President John F. Kennedy, civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr., Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, and Russian author Leo Tolstoy all spoke of being strongly affected by Thoreau's work, particularly Civil Disobedience. So did many artists and authors includingEdward Abbey, Willa Cather, Marcel Proust, William Butler Yeats, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, E. B. White, Lewis Mumford,  Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Posey and Gustav Stickley. Thoreau also influenced naturalists like John Burroughs, John Muir, E. O. Wilson, Edwin Way Teale, Joseph Wood Krutch, B. F. Skinner, David Brower andLoren Eiseley, whom Publisher's Weekly called "the modern Thoreau." English writer Henry Stephens Salt wrote a biography of Thoreau in 1890, which popularized Thoreau's ideas in Britain:George Bernard Shaw, Edward Carpenter and Robert Blatchford were among those who became Thoreau enthusiasts as a result of Salt's advocacy.
Mahatma Gandhi first read Walden in 1906 while working as a civil rights activist in Johannesburg, South Africa. He first read Civil Disobedience "while he sat in a South African prison for the crime of nonviolently protesting discrimination against the Indian population in theTransvaal. The essay galvanized Gandhi, who wrote and published a synopsis of Thoreau's argument, calling its 'incisive logic . . . unanswerable' and referring to Thoreau as 'one of the greatest and most moral men America has produced.'" He told American reporterWebb Miller, "[Thoreau's] ideas influenced me greatly. I adopted some of them and recommended the study of Thoreau to all of my friends who were helping me in the cause of Indian Independence. Why I actually took the name of my movement from Thoreau's essay 'On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,' written about 80 years ago."
Martin Luther King, Jr. noted in his autobiography that his first encounter with the idea of non-violent resistance was reading "On Civil Disobedience" in 1944 while attending Morehouse College. He wrote in his autobiography that it was
Here, in this courageous New Englander's refusal to pay his taxes and his choice of jail rather than support a war that would spread slavery's territory into Mexico, I made my first contact with the theory of nonviolent resistance. Fascinated by the idea of refusing to cooperate with an evil system, I was so deeply moved that I reread the work several times.
I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.
American psychologist B. F. Skinner wrote that he carried a copy of Thoreau's Walden with him in his youth. and, in 1945, wrote Walden Two, a fictional utopia about 1,000 members of a community living together inspired by the life of Thoreau. Thoreau and his fellowTranscendentalists from Concord were a major inspiration of the composer Charles Ives. The 4th movement of the Concord Sonata for piano (with a part for flute, Thoreau's instrument) is a character picture and he also set Thoreau's words.
Anarchism started to have an ecological point-of-view in the writings of Thoreau. John Zerzan included Thoreau's text "Excursions" (1863) in his edited compilation of works in the anarcho-primitivist tradition titled Against civilization: Readings and reflections. Anarchist andfeminist Emma Goldman also appreciated Thoreau and referred to him as "the greatest American anarchist."
Thoreau was an important influence on late 19th century anarchist naturism, the combination of anarchist and naturist philosophies.Mainly it had importance within individualist anarchist circles in Spain, France, and Portugal.
Thoreau's ideas were not universally applauded by some of his contemporaries in literary circles.
Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson judged Thoreau's endorsement of living alone in natural simplicity, apart from modern society, to be a mark of effeminacy:
...Thoreau's content and ecstasy in living was, we may say, like a plant that he had watered and tended with womanish solicitude; for there is apt to be something unmanly, something almost dastardly, in a life that does not move with dash and freedom, and that fears the bracing contact of the world. In one word, Thoreau was a skulker. He did not wish virtue to go out of him among his fellow-men, but slunk into a corner to hoard it for himself. He left all for the sake of certain virtuous self-indulgences.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was particularly critical of Thoreau. He wrote that Thoreau, "has repudiated all regular modes of getting a living, and seems inclined to lead a sort of Indian life among civilized men- an Indian life, I mean, as respects the absence of any systematic effort for a livelihood". He would later criticize his writing ability by saying, "There is one chance in a thousand that he might write a most excellent and readable book," but if he did it would be "a book of simple observation of nature, somewhat in the vein of White's History of Selborne".
Poet John Greenleaf Whittier detested what he deemed to be the message of Walden, decreeing that Thoreau wanted man to "lower himself to the level of a woodchuck and walk on four legs." He went further to castigate the work as "very wicked and heathenish", remarking "I prefer walking on two legs."
In response to such criticisms, English novelist George Eliot, writing for the Westminster Review, characterized such critics as uninspired and narrow-minded:
People—very wise in their own eyes—who would have every man's life ordered according to a particular pattern, and who are intolerant of every existence the utility of which is not palpable to them, may pooh-pooh Mr. Thoreau and this episode in his history, as unpractical and dreamy.
Bird eggs found by Thoreau and given to the Boston Society of Natural History. Those in the nest are of yellow warbler, the other two of red-tailed hawk
Aulus Persius Flaccus (1840)
The Service (1840)
A Walk to Wachusett (1842)
Paradise (to be) Regained (1843)
The Landlord (1843)
Sir Walter Raleigh (1844)
Herald of Freedom (1844)
Wendell Phillips Before the Concord Lyceum (1845)
Reform and the Reformers (1846–48)
Thomas Carlyle and His Works (1847)
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)
Resistance to Civil Government, or Civil Disobedience (1849)
An Excursion to Canada (1853)
Slavery in Massachusetts (1854)
A Plea for Captain John Brown (1859)
Remarks After the Hanging of John Brown (1859)
The Last Days of John Brown (1860)
Autumnal Tints (1862)
Wild Apples: The History of the Apple Tree (1862)
Life Without Principle (1863)
Night and Moonlight (1863)
The Highland Light (1864)
The Maine Woods (1864)
Cape Cod (1865)
Letters to Various Persons (1865)
A Yankee in Canada, with Anti-Slavery and Reform Papers (1866)
Early Spring in Massachusetts (1881)
Familiar Letters of Henry David Thoreau (1894)
Poems of Nature (1895)
Some Unpublished Letters of Henry D. and Sophia E. Thoreau (1898)
The First and Last Journeys of Thoreau (1905)
Journal of Henry David Thoreau (1906)
The Correspondence of Henry David Thoreau edited by Walter Harding and Carl Bode (Washington Square: New York University Press, 1958)
List of American philosophers
^ a b Henry David Thoreau : A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod, by Henry David Thoreau, Library of America, ISBN 0-940450-27-5
^ Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, edited by Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman, Alvin Saunders Johnson, 1937, p. 12.Gross, David (ed.) The Price of Freedom: Political Philosophy from Thoreau's Journals p. 8, ISBN 978-1-4348-0552-2 ("The Thoreau of these journals distrusted doctrine, and, though it is accurate I think to call him an anarchist, he was by no means doctrinaire in this either.")
^ a b Thoreau, H. D. Resistance to Civil Government
^ Drinnon, Richard (Autumn 1962). Thoreau's Politics of the Upright Man. 4. The Massachusetts Review. pp. 126–138. ISBN ?.
^ Nelson, Randy F. The Almanac of American Letters. Los Altos, California: William Kaufmann, Inc., 1981: 51. ISBN 0-86576-008-X
^ Ancestors of Mary Ann Gillam and Stephen Old
^ History of the Fraternity System
^ Henry David Thoreau, Meet the Writers, Barnes & Noble.com
^ Biography of Henry David Thoreau, American Poems (2000–2007 Gunnar Bengtsson)
^ THUR-oh or Thor-OH? And How Do We Know? Thoreau Reader
^ A note on pronouncing the name Thoreau, at the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods
^ Thoreau, H.D. Cape Cod
^ American Notebooks Nathaniel Hawthorne
^ a b Gilman, William, et al., The Journals and Miscellaneous Notebooks of Ralph Waldo Emerson 16 vols. (Cambridge, Mass 1960-)
^ "Thoreau's Diploma" American Literature Vol. 17, May 1945. 174–175.
^ Walter Harding, "Live Your Own Life", Geneseo Summer Compass, 4 June 1984. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
^ a b c Robert Sattelmeyer, Thoreau's Reading: A Study in Intellectual History with bibliographical catalogue, Chapter 2, Princeton: Princeton University Press (1988).
^ Dean, Bradley P. "A Thoreau Chronology"
^ Woodlief, Ann "Henry David Thoreau"
^ Thoreau's Contributions to The Dial from the Writings of Henry David Thoreau: The Digital Collection
^ Thoreau, Henry David. I to Myself: An Annotated Selection from the Journal of Henry D. Thoreau (Jeffrey S. Cramer, ed.) (Yale University Press, 2007) p. 1
^ a b c Cheever, Susan (2006). American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau; Their Lives, Their Loves, Their …