In 1768, on this day Sally Fairfax and prominent members of the Loyalist Community bade farewall to George Washington as he boarded the HMS Endeavour and set sail for the south Pacific Ocean under the command of Captain James Cook (pictured).
This post is an article from the Midshipman George Washington thread.
Midshipman George Washington #5As the Second in Command of the combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition, Washington had been briefed that the mission objective was to sail to Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun. This was to occur on 3-4 June 1769; however Cook had also been provided with secret instructions that he was to open after the solar event.
But when Cook died on Tahiti, the instructions were passed to Washington who was ordered to seek evidence of the "unknown southern land" postulated Terra Australis Incognita. Not only did he discover the Gold Coast, but he also claimed the vast continent in the name of King George III.
As a result of this stunning achievement, he was quickly promoted in the Royal Navy becoming an exception to the normal limitations imposed upon colonial advancement. A decade later, he faced the altogether more difficult task of retaining a continent for the monarch. But instead his defeat at Chesakpeake Bay would lead directly to the surrender at Yorktown which effectively ended the American War of Independence. If there was a positive in this outcome then it was that he now had a great deal of time on his hands to live happily ever after with the widow Sally Fairfax.