The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

March 28, 2016

March 28, 1725

Andrew Kippis (March 28, 1725 to October 8, 1795) was an English clergyman. He was raised in a nonconformist household, which meant those who disagreed with the Anglican Church but were still Protestants. From this perspective Kippis taught and wrote. He became a member of the Antiquarian society and the Royal Society.

Kippis spent his life in eastern England. His book on the historic sea voyages of English explorers show a lovely, lucid prose. Our excerpt below comes from, A Narrative of the Voyages Round the World first published in 1788 and reprinted often. We, as we often do, sketch enough detail to give a setting for our feline reference.


Captain Cook could not determine, with any degree of certainty, whether the group of isles he had lately seen were, or were not, any of those that had been discovered by the Dutch navigators. This was owing to the neglect of recording, with sufficient accuracy, the situation of their discoveries. Our commander hath, in general, observed, with regard to this part of the ocean, that, from the latitude of twenty down to fourteen or twelve, and from the meridian of a hundred and thirty-eight to a hundred and forty-eight or a hundred and fifty west, it is so strewed with low isles, that a navigator cannot proceed with too much caution. On the 22d of April,Captain Cook reached the Island of Otaheite, and anchored in Matavai Bay. .....

During Captain Cook's stay at Otaheite, he maintained a most friendly connexion with the inhabitants; and a continual interchange of visits was preserved between him and Otoo, Towha, and other chiefs...
[with] the parrot feathers from the island of Amsterdam. These were jewels of high value in the eyes of the Otaheitans. The captain's stock in trade was by this time greatly exhausted; so that, if it had not been for the feathers, he would have found it difficult to have supplied the ship with the necessary refreshments.....

One of the natives, who had attempted to steal a water-cask from the watering place, was caught in the fact, sent on board, and put in irons. In this situation he was seen by King Otoo, and other chiefs. Captain Cook having made known to them the crime of their countryman, Otoo entreated that he might be set at liberty. This the captain however refused, alleging, that since he punished his own people when they committed the least offence against Otoo's, it was but just that this man should also be punished. As Captain Cook knew that Otoo would not punish him, he resolved to do it himself. Accordingly, he directed the criminal to be carried on shore to the tents, and having himself followed, with the chiefs and other Otaheitans, he ordered the guard out, under arms, and commanded the man to be tied up to a post. Otoo again solicited the culprit's release, and in this he was seconded by his sister, but in vain. The captain expostulated with him on the conduct of the man, and of the Indians in general; telling him, that neither he, nor any of the ship's company, took the smallest matter of property from them without first paying for it; enumerating the articles which the English had given in exchange for such and such things, and urging that it was wrong in them to steal from those who were their friends. He added, that the punishing of the guilty person would be the means of saving the lives of several of Otoo's people, by deterring them from committing crimes of the like nature, and thus preventing them from the danger of being shot to death, which would certainly happen, at one time or other, if they persisted in their robberies. With these arguments the king appeared to be satisfied, and only desired that the man might not be killed. Captain Cook then directed that the crowd, which was very great, should be kept at a proper distance, and, in the presence of them all, ordered the fellow two dozen of lashes with a cat o'-nine tails. This punishment the man sustained with great firmness, after which he was set at liberty. ....

Two goats that had been given by Captain Fumeauz to Otoo, in the former part of the voyage, seemed to promise fair for answering the purposes for which they were left upon the island. The ewes, soon after, had two female kids, which were now so far grown as to be almost ready to propagate. At the same time, the old ewe was again with kid. The people were very fond of them, and they were in excellent condition. From these circumstances Captain Cook entertained a hope, that in a course of years, they would multiply so much as to be extended over all the isles of the Southern Ocean. The like success did not attend the sheep which had been left in the country. These speedily died, one excepted, which was said to be yet alive. Our navigators also furnished the natives with cats, having given away no less than twenty at Otaheite, besides some which had been made presents of at Ulietea and Huaheine. .... Such was the friendly treatment which our voyagers met with at Otaheite, that one of the gunner's mates was induced to form a plan for remaining in the country...

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