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The Making of John LedyardEmpire and Ambition in the Life of an Early American Traveler$
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Edward G. Gray

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780300110555

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300110555.001.0001

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Seeking Distinction with the Pen Aboard the Resolution

Seeking Distinction with the Pen Aboard the Resolution

(p.69) Chapter IV Seeking Distinction with the Pen Aboard the Resolution
The Making of John Ledyard

Edward G. Gray

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses John Ledyard's desire to be appointed as the official historian of the voyage on Resolution after death of Captain Cook. In a chronicle of Pacific exploration published in 1819, the Discovery's former first lieutenant James Burney, brother of the novelist Fanny, recalled that sometime after Cook's death, Ledyard petitioned his superiors for appointment as official historian of the voyage. Burney also argued that writing the official account of the voyage, especially after Cook's death, was no minor responsibility. The job would have given its holder substantial influence over Cook's legacy and over the professional futures of most others on the voyage. The chapter discusses how this responsibility would also have entitled Ledyard to a share of the substantial income the published account would generate.

Keywords:   official historian, chronicle, Pacific exploration, appointment, voyage

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