Historical Records of New Zealand
Captain Cook to Mr. Banks* (Banks Papers)
As you was so obliging as to say you would give a description of the New Zealand spruce tree, or any other plant, the drawing of which might accompany my journal, I desired Mr. Strahan and Mr. Stuart, who have the charge of the publication, to give you extracts out of the manuscript of such descriptions as I had given (if any), for you to correct or describe yourself, as may be most agreeable. I know not what Plates Mr. Forster may have got engraved of natural history that will come into my books; nor do I know of any that will be of use to it but the spruce tree and tea plant and scurvey grass, and I know not if this last is engraved. The flax-plant is engraved, but whether the publishing of this in my journal will be of any use to seamen I shall not determin. In short, whatever plates of this kind falls to my share I shall hope for your kind assistance in giving some short account of them. On my arrival here I gave Omai three guineas, which sent him on shore in high spirits; indeed, he could hardly be otherwise, for he is very much carressed here by every person of note, and upon the whole I think he rejoices at the prospect of going home.
I now only wait for a wind to put to sea. Unless C. Clerke makes good haste down he will have to follow me. S’r Jno. Pringle writes me that the Council of the Royal Society have decreed me the prize medal of this year. I am obliged to you and my other good friends for this unmerited honor.
Omai joins his best respects to you and Dr. Solander with
* The original of this letter is in the possession of the Government.