James Colnett was an officer of the British Royal Navy, an explorer, and a maritime fur trader. He served under James Cook during Cook’s second voyage of exploration. Later he led two private trading expeditions that involved collecting sea otter pelts in the Pacific Northwest of North America and selling them in Canton, China, where the British East India Company maintained a trading post. Wintering in the recently discovered Hawaiian Islands was a key component of the new trade system.
p. xiii: Messrs. Enderby and Sons had fitted out the ship: but nevrtheless, I spared no expence in providing myself with all things which my experience of long voyages, as well as my knowledge of the seas, I was preparing once more to traverse, suggested to me as necessary for prcserving the health of those who were to sail with me. I also
purchased the various voyages of former navigators, and such books on the subjects of natural history, as might assist me in my pursuits, and enable me to furnish instruction in those branches of science connected with my own ; and which remote navigation might tend to advance. In short, I determined to spare no exertion in fulfiling every object of the voyage, which had been entrusted to my care and direction.
p. 82: I do not pretend to any other medical knowledge, but such as I may have acquired, by some little reading on medical subjects, and the attention I was obligated to pay to the diseases and complaints of seamen, in the various voyages I have made, as it frequently became a nice point to judge, whether a man neglected his duty from idleness or sickness. I also paid particular attention to the practice of the different Indian nations, when an opportunity was afforded me, and from the circumstance of having no surgeon on board, it became a duty in me, to make part of my study, such an important subject, as the health of my crew; and I was so fortunate as to succeed in the applications I used, as
to restore health through means, which the suggestions of the moment only dictated to me.