Published in 1788 by Andrew Kippis
(1725-95), this was the first biography of Captain James Cook (1728-79).
The dissenting minister Andrew Kippis
(1725-95) was a Member of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Society. With this work of 1788, he was the first biographer of Captain James Cook (1728-79), although several of Cook's colleagues, including Johann Reinhold Forster in 1778 and David Samwell in 1786, had previously published memoirs of their service with him. Believing that 'his public transactions ...are the grand objects to which the attention of his biographer must be directed', Kippis draws on the official Admiralty accounts of Cook's voyages and focuses on his professional life. The book was criticised at the time for failing to convey Cook's personality and motivation, stressing his achievements without putting them in context. However, it remained the only biography for forty years, and shaped public perception of Cook as a brilliant navigator and commander, a fearless explorer and an exemplary British hero.