A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas
Unqualified to address the public, as a writer, I should have contented myself with giving the following journal to the world, without the formality of preface, had not the circumstances, which have delayed, and the arts that have been practised to suppress, its publication, made some explanation on this head particularly necessary.
The unmerited aspersions which have been cast on me, for asserting a right to pay this tribute to the memory of a deceased brother, and to possess a bequeathed, analienated, pittance of his little fortune, earned at the hazard, and purchased, as I may say, at the expence, of his life, render it indeed incumbent on me to defend a reputation, as injuriously attacked as such dear-bought property has been unjustifiably invaded.
It is yet with regret I find myself reduced to this necessity; as the persons, of whom I complain, are men, from whose superior talents and situation in life better things might be expected; however they have, in this instance, been misemployed in striving to baffle a plain, unlettered, man; who, though he thinks it is his duty to be resigned under the dispensations of providence, thinks it also equally his duty to seek every lawful redress from the oppressive acts of vain and rapacious men.
Sydney Parkinson, from whose papers and drawings the journal, now presented to the public, has been faithfully transcribed and delineated, was the younger son page viof the late Joel Parkinson, brewer, of Edinburgh, one of the people commonly called Quakers, and, as I am told, well known and esteemed by men of all ranks in that city. His success in life, however, was by no means equal to that probity of mind and purity of manners, for which he was eminently distinguished; a generosity of disposition inducing him to be improvidently remiss in prosecuting the recovery, of his just debts: a circumstance, which, aggravated by other sinister accidents, rendered his family, on his decease, dependent on their own talents and industry for their future support. His son Sydney was put to the business of a woollen-draper; but, taking a particular delight in drawing flowers, fruits, and other objects of natural history, he became soon so great a proficient in that stile of painting, as to attract the notice of the most celebrated botanists and connoisseurs in that study. In consequence of this, he was, some time after his arrival in London, recommended to Joseph Banks, Esq. whose very numerous collection of elegant and highly-finished drawings of that kind, executed by Sydney Parkinson, is a sufficient testimony both of his talents and application.
His recommendation being so effectually confirmed by these proofs of ingenuity and industry, Joseph Banks made him the proposal of going in the capacity of botanical draughtsman, on the then intended voyage to the South-seas. An insatiable curiosity for such researches prevailed over every consideration of danger, that reasonably suggested itself, as the necessary attendant of so long, so perilous, and, to my poor brother, so fatal a voyage! He accordingly accepted Joseph Banks's offer; though by no means an alluring one, if either views of profit, or perhaps even prudence, had influenced his determination. His appointment, for executing such drawings of singular botanical subjects and curious objects of natural history as might occasionally be met with on the voyage, was settled at eighty pounds per annum. In this capacity, and under this moderate encouragement, Sydney Parkinson undertook to accompany Joseph Banks to the South-Seas; making his will before his departure, in which he bequeathed the salary, which might be due to him at the time of his decease, to his sister Britannia, and appointed me his residuary legatee.page vii
The occurrences and events that attended the expedition are minutely related in the following sheets: the contents of which, though destitute of the embellishments of stile and diction, may serve to shew with what assiduity the curious journalist pursued his observations, and what accuracy he aimed at, not only in the particular walk of his profession of natural history, but also in describing the persons, languages, customs, and manners of the natives of the several islands and continents they visited.
And here let me be indulged in the Spontaneous effusions of a heart still affected with the loss of a loving and a beloved brother, while I declare how I have heard many of the surviving companions of this amiable young man dwell with pleasure on the relation of his singular simplicity of conduct, his sincere regard for truth, his ardent thirst after knowledge, his indefatigable industry to obtain it, and his generous disposition in freely communicating, with the most friendly participation, to others, that information which perhaps none but himself could have obtained. That this is more than probable will appear, on comparing the different manner in which Sydney and his associates passed their time, in the most interesting situations. While many others, for want of a more innocent curiosity or amusement, were indulging themselves in those sensual gratifications, which are so easily obtained among the female part of uncivilized nations, we find him gratifying no other passion than that of a laudable curiosity; which enabled him inoffensively to employ his time, and escape those snares into which the vicious appetites of some others betrayed them. It doth equal honour to his ingenuousness and ingenuity, to find him protected by his own innocence, securely exercising his pleasing art amidst a savage, ignorant, and hostile, people; engaging their attention by the powers of his pencil, disarming them of their native serocity, and rendering them even serviceable to the great end of the voyage, in chearfully furnishing him with the choicest productions of the soil and climate, which neither force nor stratagem might otherwise have procured.
By such honest arts and mild demeanor he soon acquired the confidence of the inhabitants of most places, at which the voyagers went on shore; obtaining thus, page viiias I am well informed, with remarkable facility, the knowledge of many words in various languages, hitherto little, if at all, known in Europe.
These paved the way also to his success in acquiring a choice and rare collection of curiosities, consisting of garments, domestic utensils, rural implements, instruments of war, uncommon shells, and other natural curiosities, of considerable value: of so much value, indeed., as even to reduce mea of reputed sense, fortune, and character, to attempt, by means unworthy of themselves, to deprive me of what, after the loss sustained in the death of so deserving a brother, one would think none ought to envy me the gain.
It has happened otherwise; and I am now to enter on the disagreeable task of submitting to the public, before whom I have been traduced, a relation of the manner in which the greater part of his effects hath been hitherto detained from me, and the use of those I got denied me, through my implicit confidence in false friends, and the specious arts of covetous and designing strangers.
On the arrival of Joseph Banks in London, about the middle of July, 1771, he informed me, by letter, of the death of Sydney Parkinson, my brother; acquainting me, at the. same time, of his having taken possession of his effects, as the only person that could do it*; of which he was ready to give a proper account to his executors. I waited, of course, immediately on Joseph Banks; who appeared to sympathize with me on account of my brother, with whose services he seemed highly satisfied, and declared he suffered a considerable loss by his death; telling me, after a short conversation on the subject, that he was then much confused with a multiplicity of concerns, but that, as soon as his hurry of business was over, he would give me an account of my brother's effects.
* I am, however, since informed, that, it is usual; in such cases, for the captain of the ship to take possession of the effects of the deceased; causing at the same time a regular inventory to. be taken of them before two competent witnesses.
Several weeks having elapsed without hearing any thing of my legacy, I waited on Joseph Banks, and, as I thought in the civilest terms, desired him to account with me on this head. He was, or affected to be, extremely angry with me, however; saying his own affairs were not yet settled, and, till they were, he could not settle mine. I answered, that I did not insist on a final adjustment immediately, but thought it necessary to make some enquiry about the matter, left there might be some perishable commodities among my brother's effects, which would suffer by being kept so long in the package, and therefore required to be inspected. On this he flew, in a rage, to a bureau, that stood in a room adjoining, and began to uncord it with great violence, and in much apparent confusion. On my remonstrating that what he was doing was at present needless, he desisted, and, calling his servant, gave him a written inventory; telling him at the same time to deliver me the things therein mentioned; contained in a bureau, a large Chinese chest, a trunk with two locks, a Dutch box, and some other smaller chests, jars, and boxes.
† Particularly some linen was found not inventoried, and two New-Zealand arrows were missing. The large chest, instead of being full of curiosities, as mentioned in the inventory, was not a third part full, and most of the things that were in it were damaged or perished. The upper part of the bureau, said to contain curiosities and sundries, contained nothing but a stuffed bird, a few manuscripts and sketches of no great moment, and a parcel of written music; which latter could hardly belong to my brother, who knew nothing of a science, of which his religious profession prohibited him. the study. Perhaps the sundries were his journal and drawings said to be lost; the place of which, these musical manuscripts (undoubtedly belonging to Joseph Banks, who is a connoisseur in the art,) afterwards supplied.
* It is here to be observed, that Sydney Parkinson was engaged to Joseph Banks as a botanical draughtsman only; so that he was under no obligation to delineate other subjects for Joseph Banks, who took out another draughtsman, one Alexander Buchan, with him for that purpose; who likewise fell a sacrifice to the vicissitudes of climate and fatigues of the voyage.
† This circumstance was afterwards confirmed to me by the clerk himself.
The reader will observe, that, though I look on these informants to be persons of veracity, and doubt not they would make good their information, if called on in a court of judicature, I do by no means charge Joseph Banks, on hear-fay evidence, with the embezzlement or detention of effects I never saw; he has enough to answer for, as a man of credit and probity, in hitherto detaining from me the things I was afterwards prevailed on to entrust him with, on his promise to return them. The information I received, however, could not fail of alarming my suspicion; which I communicated to some friends, who advised me to file a bill in chancery to compel Joseph Banks to come to a just account. But, having a man of character and fortune to deal with, I was loth to take violent measures, in hopes he might be induced by fair means to do me justice.
‡ About fifty five gallons.
‖ The above account was corroborated by another of the ship's company, who smiled at the relation of the Journal's being lost, and at the enquiry that was pretended to be made concerning it.
At this meeting, therefore, little passed, except the adjustment of the value of some few of my brother's effects, that Joseph Banks chose to keep, or had sold. To this succeeded, indeed, a short, but somewhat warm, altercation, about the abovementioned journal and drawings; to which Joseph Banks claimed a right, in quality of my brother's employer. As I could not be brought to acknowledge this title in him to any thing but the drawings in natural history, which only my brother was employed to execute; he admitted there were in his hands a few manuscripts, which were bequeathed to James Lee beforementioned; fetching a small bundle of papers out of a bureau and throwing them down on the table.
Being a good deal flurried with the dispute, and finding nothing could be then determined on, I took no farther notice of them, at that time, than just to observe that the manuscripts were my brother's hand-writing.
I observed however to Joseph Banks, that Dr. Solander had informed me, that, when my brother was taken ill, he called him aside, and told him he was apprehensive he should die; in which case he said he hoped he had. done every thing to Joseph Banks's satisfaction, and doubted not but Joseph Banks would do the just thing by him; at the same time desiring that James Lee might have the perusal of his manuscripts. Joseph Banks denied his knowledge of any such circumstance; on which his attorney present asked if he had any written voucher that the papers were bequeathed to James Lee, and was answered in the negative; Joseph Banks then saying that if Dr. Solander should say that James Lee was to have the perusal only of those writings, he would give up the point. At this instant the doctor came into the room, when I put the question to him, and he confirmed, without hesitation, what I had asserted. When Dr. Solander left the room, nevertheless, Joseph Banks snatched up the papers, and locked them up in his bureau; telling me to go and administer to my brother's will, and he would acquaint me when it page xiiiwould be convenient to him for me to wait on him to make an end of the affair. And thus our interview concluded.
In a day or two after, I took out letters of administration, as next of kin; † and having waited a considerable time, to no purpose, in expectation of hearing from Joseph Banks, I applied to Dr. John Fothergill, a common friend of my late brother and Joseph Banks, to inform him how I had been treated; telling him, at the same time, I intended to file a bill in chancery against his friend Banks. The doctor dissuaded me from it, as it would be very expensive, and promised to think of some method of bringing about an accommodation. Soon after, he engaged to mediate between us, and, in appearance, much to the satisfaction of Joseph Banks; between whom several interviews, of course, took place on the occasion.
During the negotiation, I was informed by Dr. Fothergill, that Joseph Banks desired to have the inspection of the shells and other curiosities, which had been delivered to me by his order, as beforementioned; which, by the doctor's persuasion, I was prevailed on to consent to, as also to agree to present Joseph Banks with specimens of such as he might not have in his own collection; which he said could be but few, as Sydney Parkinson always gave him the choice of what he procured and collected.
It was not, I own, without some reluctance that I consented to send these things to Joseph Banks's house; but, on Dr. Fothergill's engaging that I should have the whole or the greatest part of them back, I yielded to his remonstrances, and sent a chest-of-drawers, a large trunk, and a wainscot coach-seat-box, containing,
Thirty pieces of the cloth made and worn at Otaheite and the neighbouring islands.
Fifteen ditto of matting and New-Zealand garments.
A great number of fish-hooks, and various utensils and instruments used by the people on the southern islands. These were contained in the wainscot box, which was full of them.
† Elizabeth. Parkinson, the mother of Sydney, having relinquished her right of administering.
A very large parcel of curious.shells, corals, and other marine productions, many of them beautiful and rare. Besides many other particulars.
Of these curiosities, the shells alone Dr. Fothergill had valued at two hundred pounds: yet neither the shells, nor any thing else, hath Joseph Banks to this day returned me. The reasons he gives for the detention are, that I have used him ill; that he hath given a valuable consideration for them; and, in short, that he will keep them. Of this pretended valuable consideration I am now to speak. On the readiness I shewed to oblige Joseph Banks with such of the shells as he might not have in his collection, Dr. Fothergill informed me, that Joseph Banks, in great good humour and apparent generosity, told him, he had much reason to be satisfied with the services of Sydney Parkinson, and the chearfulness with which he executed other drawings than those of his own department; supplying, in fact, the loss of Joseph Banks's other draughtsman, who died in the beginning of the voyage. On this account, Joseph Banks was pleased to say, it had been his constant intention to make Sydney Parkinson a very handsome present, had he lived to return to England. His intention was now to take place, therefore, towards his brother and sister; to whom he would make the like present, in consideration of such extraservice, or, as Joseph Banks himself exprcssed it, a douceur to the family for the loss they sustained in the death of so valuable a relation. There being due to the deceased upwards of a hundred and fifty pounds salary, the sole property of my sister Britannia, and Joseph Banks chusing to keep some of the effects bequeathed to me, as beforementioned, it was agreed, between Dr. Fothergill and Joseph Banks, that the latter should make up the sum five hundred pounds, to be paid into the hands of me and my sister.
* It may not be improper to observe here, that I proposed to Dr. Fothergill the taking my attorney withim: on the occasion: but this the doctor opposed; saying, "No, by no means, Joseph Banks "will be offended."
While Joseph Banks was gone to fetch the papers, I intimated to Dr. Fothergill, that, the shells and other curiosities not having been returned me according to promise, it was proper to take notice of it now, and that, unless they were returned, I would not sign the receipt. But to this intimation Dr. Fothergill hastily replied, " No, no; thou feest he is now in a passion, and it will be improper to " speak of them;" adding, that he placed so much confidence in Joseph Banks's integrity, that he would answer for the return of at least the greatest part of them. And thus our meeting ended.
On the examination of the papers, thus delivered to me by Joseph Banks, I found them to be the memorandums and materials, from which, I conceived, my page xvibrother had written his lost journal; which being desirous of preserving for my own satisfaction, as well as the entertainment of my friends, I caused them to be faithfully transcribed; returning the originals back to Joseph Banks, as well to comply with Dr. Fothergill's promise to him, as to induce him to return me the shells and curiosities he still detained.
It was in vain I expected Joseph Banks would keep his word with me. On the 26th of March, 1772, he sent me back, indeed, my drawers and boxes quite empty, without the civility even of a message by the bearers. I complained, of course, to Dr. Fothergill, who afterwards said he could obtain no satisfaction for me. After several fruitless attempts to obtain it myself, therefore, I wrote to Joseph Banks, acquainting him, that, if he did not immediately return the curiosities, I would inform the world of the whole transaction between us, and endeavour to indemnify myself by publishing also my brother's journal.* To this letter I received the following answer.
I shall in the present, as well as at all times, refer the dispute between us to Dr. Fothergill's determination: not that I feel conscious of having done any thing amiss, but that I feel loth to endure your scurrilous letters, such as I shall shew him upon this occasion.
With this you receive the administration.
Notwithstanding this declaration of his willingness to refer our dispute to the decision of Dr. Fothergill, Joseph Banks took no step whatever toward an accommodation; nor did he ever shew Dr. Fothergill, as the latter informed me, any of those pretended scurrilous letters he mentions.
* Not that at this time I was furnished with sufficient materials to render it worthy of being laid before the public; having received no drawings or designs of any consequence whatever from Joseph Banks, On application, however, to several of the ship's company, and by a fortunate accident, I recovered soon after other manuscripts of my brother's, together with those drawings which embellish the following sheets: not one of which did I receive from Joseph Banks.
On hearing of Joseph Banks's intended voyage to Iceland, I thought it necessary, therefore, to pursue the advice of my friends, by endeavouring to come at my brother's journal and drawings, which I had now so much reason to think were concealed from me, and to derive what emolument I could from their publication. To this end I caused the following advertisement to be inserted in the news-papers,
His Majesty's Ship Endeavour.
Whereas a Journal was kept on-board the said ship, during her late voyage round the world, by Sydney Parkinson deceased, late draughtsman to Joseph Banks, Esq.- which, from the great variety of particulars it contained relative to the discoveries made during the said voyage, was allowed by the ship's company to be the best and most correct that was taken; and whereas the said Sydney Parkinson had, at his leisure hours, made drawings of many of the natives of the new-discovered islands, and had also taken views of several places in the said islands, which he intended as presents to his friends; which said Journal and Drawings are pretended to have been lost. And whereas there is great reason to think that they have been secreted by some person or persons for his or their own emolument. This is to give Notice, that if any one can give Information where the said Journal and Drawings are so secreted, so that the Heir at Law to the said Sydney Parkinson may come by his lawful property, by applying to Stanfield Parkinson in little Pulteney Street, they shall receive One Hundred Guineas Reward.
N. B. It is supposed that they are not many Miles from New Burlington Street, †
In consequence of this advertisement, and personal application to several of the officers and others on-board the ship Endeavour, I procured, by purchase, loan, and gift, not indeed the fair copy of my brother's journal, but so many of his manuscripts and drawings, as to enable me to present the following work, in its present form, to the public.
† By this intimation, it is plain I meant to insinuate, that I thought the Journal was in the hands of Joseph Banks: but I should never have thought of publishing such an advertisement, had I ever meant to have sold him my brother's papers, as Dr. Fothergill afterwards affirmed I had done.
To Stanfield Parkinson.
I have heard of your unaccountable behaviour to my good friend doctor Fothergill relative to-your intending to publish your brother's papers, after he had passed his word for your making no improper use of them, contrary to the intention of the lender, for they was only lent as a peice of indulgence, which the doctor beged for you, the use you intend to make of this indulgence in my opinion carrys with it the colour of an action so fraught with ingratitude and matchless appearence that should you proceed in it, you will bring a lasting stain on your name and family, and may be followed by the ruin of both.
I little thought that a brother of my late worthy friend Sidney Parkinson, could have even thought of such a peice of treachery, it makes me shudder at your vicious turn of mind, while I lemante ever having had any knowledge of a man of such wretched principles, I advise you to desist, and take shame on you before it is to late, and that you will for the sake of your family save your reputation which once lost is seldom to be recovered.
One thing more I must tell you which perhaps you think I did not know, which Is that in you brother's will, that he left with his sister before he went abroad, he left some legacys to my daughter Ann, amongest other things some paintings that was in your hands. I have likeways heard there was something left to me in the will Mr. Banks brought home. You have taken no notice of these things to me, I imputed your fcilence to your avarice and did not think it. worth my while to disturb you about it. but since I have heard of your determination, I must tell you if you proceed further in your publication I am determined to call you to an account. the papers you are about to publish, is by right mine, I have Mr. Banks's word for it that your brother left them to me, and I will disput your title to them, as I have witness's of your brother leaving em to me as my property. Consider the contents of this letter and act like a man of honour, or consider the consequence of doing wrong.26th Nov. 1772.
I am, &c.
To this strange epistle I returned the following answer.
James Lee,11th Mo 1772.
I received a letter from, thee last Friday, the contents of which, as coming from the friend of my dear brother, greatly amazed me, as thou chargest me therein with crimes of the blackast dye; but as page xixthey are only charges without foundation, the greater part being, according to thy own confession, founded on hearsay evidence, I can easily clear myself from them, and shall therefore answer them in the order in which they appear in thy letter.
Thou fayest I intend to publish my brother's papers, notwithstanding Dr. Fothergill gave his word that I should make no improper use of them, contrary to the intention of the lender—From which I infer that thou art of opinion that by publishing my brother's papers I shall make an improper use of them.—I cannot fee any impropriety at all in publishing what is my own property, not only in my own opinion but that of all my friends. And that my brother's papers were such I shall make appear when I come to answer another part of thy letter: And being my property, Dr. Fothergill had no authority for saying I should not make use of them. He might as well have said I should not sell another piece of furniture out of my shop. That I did not, being present, contradict what the doctor said. was I confess, a fault, but owing to the hurry and confusion I was in at that time through the altercation between J. Banks and myself.
I always had, and still have the greatest regard for Dr. Fothergill, having in many instances experienced his friendship. I should be sorry thy charge of ingratitude in me towards him should be true—I have stated the cafe between him and me, respecting my Intended publication, to many of my friends, and they were all clearly of opinion that the doctor remained entirely excused from any thing he had said' respecting the papers, and the blame, if any, wholly devolved on me.
In regard to what thou hast advanced, that the papers were lent as a piece of indulgence which the doctor begged for me, I must beg leave to contradict thee, and to tell thee that thou wert misinformed: the doctor, at the time I was with him at Joseph Banks 's house, never spoke about the papers till I had demanded them as my property, and which I had done several times before. Joseph Banks produced them before the doctor spake about them, and in all probability they would have given me without any condition, as Joseph Banks never requested any.
I had been for a long time past surprized at not hearing from, or feeing, thee, especially as I had wrote to thee of my intentions respecting my brother's Journal; but the great secret, or reason thereof is at last come out. It seems then that thou hast heard that I have kept some legacies bequeath'd to thy daughter Ann, which were left in my brother's will that he deposited in my sister's hands before he went abroad; amongst other things, some paintings that were in my hands: And, that by a will Joseph Banks brought over there was something left to thee, which I have taken no notice of to thee. This is a heavy charge, but from which (as I have already said) I can easily exculpate myself.
In the will left with my sister, a copy of which Dr. Fothergill has, and to which I have administred, is the following clause.
"3dly, I desire that my paintings on vellum, &c. may be given to those for whom they are "marked on the back, and whatever utensils that are useful in painting or drawing to Mr. Lee's" aughter, my scholar."
I have, accordingly, as bound by solemn affirmation at Doctors Commons, sent thy daughter all my brother's drawing and painting utensils, that I received from Joseph Banks or had by me, and have disposed of the paintings as directed by my brother in his own hand writing on the back of them; if any of them had been marked thy daughter she wou'd of course have had them with the utensils.page xx
Among the papers I received from J. Banks there was a copy of the will he left with my sister: If Joseph Banks brought over any other will of my brother's, it is more than I know of. I suppose if he had, it would have been produced before now, as it must of course have set aside that he left at home, and to which J. Banks knew I administered.
I therefore indeed did not think thou knewest all that thou hast charged me with on this head.
Thou sayest that the papers I am about to publish are thine, and that thou hast Joseph Banks's word for it. If by the papers thou meanest the Manuscript of my brother's Journal, I must tell thee. I have it not, it being in Joseph Banks's possession, to whom I sent it, in order to oblige Dr Fothergill What I have are indeed taken from my brother's papers, but contain far more than what that manuscript does; the other part thereof I have been furnished with by some friends of my late brother.
But allowing that what I am going to publish was no more than what that manuscript contained, thou wouldst find it a difficult matter to perswade me out of my Right of publication, and must bring with thee into a court of Equity something more strong for Evidence than what thou hast mentioned; as I have Dr. Solander as a witness to the contrary, who said in the presence of Joseph Banks's lawyer, whom I can produce as an Evidence, and in my hearing, that my brother desired that thou. wast to have only the perusal of them. Joseph Banks's lawyer asked him, at that very time, if he had it in writing, that my brother's papers were bequeathed to thee; who answered in the Negative; on which the lawyer pronounced them to be my property. And Joseph Banks was so well satisfied at what Dr. Solander then uttered, that he said he gave it up.
I think thou wilt find I have sufficiently cleared myself from thy charges exhibited against me, which I have done: not that I am any ways fearful of thy threats, for I shall be at all times ready to answer thy suits, but that I am desirous of living peaceably with all men.
As for the words, matchless impudence, treachery, wretched principles, avarice, and such like, which thou haft applied to me, I regard them as wrote in heat of passion; and advise thee (to make use of thy own phrase) to take shame on 'thee for having written them, as also for having unjustly charged me with crimes I never committed.
I always have, and I trust I always shall, act as a man of honour, and I well know the consequence of doing wrong. I hope, after reading this, thou wilt also act as becomes such towards
Persisting still in the preparations for publishing my book, and turning a deaf ear to Dr. Fothergill's remonstrances, as not being of so friendly a nature as I thought becoming him, I forfeited his good-will, and he became all at once as much my declared enemy as he had been before my pretended friend. He traduced my reputation before others, complained of my ingratitude to him, and my injustice to Joseph Banks; appearing to join with Dr. John Hawkesworth, the compiler of the south-sea voyages now published, in representing my book as an un-page xxifair and surreptitious publication.* To this purpose indeed Dr. Hawkesworth caused an advertisement to be inserted in the public news-papers; in answer to which I thought it incumbent on me to insert one, in my own defence; afferting my right to my brother's papers, and my resolution to publish them.
To delay this design, and, if possible, suppress my book, which was almost ready to appear, Dr. Hawkesworth, whose compilation was not so forward, filed a bill in chancery against me, setting forth that I had invaded his property, by printing manuscripts and engraving designs, which I sold to Joseph Banks, and which Joseph Banks had afterwards sold to him: even Dr. Fothergill supporting this misrepresentation, by affirming that I had made such sale to Mr. Banks, of which he was a witness. On this application an injunction was granted by the court of chancery, to stop the printing and publishing of my work. Nay, Dr. Hawkesworth, not contented with praying for the suppression of my book, modestly desired also to have delivered up to him the printed copies of it, which I had, at the expence of several hundred pounds, prepared to offer the public.
29th Jan, 1773.
—This will inform thee thy favours came duely to hand, and that I was not a little surprised at Mr. Lee's letter and his change of sentiments respecting Mr. Banks, as his friendship for my late cousin seemed so great, and by thine I find I am the only person who have cause of complaint and whose friendship yet remains unstaggered.—But now to what I know of Dr. F's letter to J. K.—The latter called upon me one day and asked me if I knew of any Journal that was printing here, published by my cousin. I told him no; but there was one printing at London, which I expected would be finished by the middle of this month; he then read the Dr's letter, wherein after saying how ill thou had treated both him and Mr. Banks, he says from the regard he had to his promise, he offered thee £. 50 to stop the publication, which thou refusedit, as he supposed only through a mercenary view, to extort more money from him; which however he did not offer.‖ This was the meaning and the words pretty much the same, as well as I can remember, in short he said so much that notwithstanding all I could offer in thy vindication and insisting that the Journal was certainly the property of the family, as well as every curiosity Cousin had collected in the Voyage, yet the Dr. had stated his case in such terms, that James King looks on thee as highly culpable. Had my cousin at first insisted by the proper method of the Law for his brother's last will and Effects, as I advised, he would not only have had a great deal more of the Effects, but have saved both Expence and preserved the friendship of the Dr. and Mr. Lee. However if the Book be ready, I hope a Number may be sold so as to defray the Expence and afford thee something over; but am of opinion if they are not out soon, it will be a very great disadvantage.—Thy truly affectionate Cousin,
‖ This is not true. The doctor did offer first fifty and afterwards one hundred and fifty pounds.
Put thus to the trouble and expence of defending a suit in chancery, and the publication of my book being delayed when just ready to appear, I had yet no remedy but that of putting in a full answer to the bill, and praying a dissolution of the injunction. This I at length obtained; the reasons for continuing the injunction not appearing satisfactory to the court; and indeed the pretended transfer of the property in my brother's manuscripts, from me to Joseph Banks, and from Joseph Banks to Dr. Hawkesworth, being attended with a circumstance, that, on the very face of it, might reasonably suggest some collusion. This was, that the alledged date of the assignment of such property, from Banks to Hawkesworth, was prior to that of the receipt for the five hundred pounds before-mentioned, given by Stanfield and Britannia Parkinson to Banks, on which the pretended right of the latter to such manuscript was founded. Can it be supposed, that a man of Dr Hawkesworth's discretion and abilities would enter into an engagement of this nature, and make a purchase of such moment, without enquiring into the title of the vender?
Be this as it may, such is the fact. Indeed the whole purpose of the bill appears to be litigious, and calculated to answer no other end than to delay my publication, till he should get the start of me and publish his own: and this end, to my great damage and loss, it hath answered. In the mean while, and pending the suit between us, it is said that this prudential author sold the property of his own book, for no less a sum than six thousand pounds: a sum that probably would not have been given for it, had not an injunction been obtained against the publication of mine; which contains an authentic journal of the last and principal voyage, viz that of his majesty's ship The Endeavour.
Having thus given a simple unvarnished narrative of the causes of the delay of this publication, I submit its encouragement to the judgement and candour of the public. I cannot help concluding, however, with a short reflection or two on the conduct of my principal oppressors.
That of Joseph Banks, in particular, argues a high degree of insolence or ava possessed, as he was, of so large a collection of curiosities, as well as of my page xxiiibrother's drawings and designs, was it not covetous in him to desire also the little store bequeathed to me? Might not I cite, on this occasion, the parable of the prophet, and say to this gentleman, as Nathan did unto David, thou art the man? Would it not be with propriety also that I should look on his friend, Dr. Fothergill, as a kind of Ahithophel, by whose pernicious counsel I gave the staff out of my own hands, and by whose officious meddling, to say no worse of it, I have been involved in an expensive and troublesome law-suit? a proceeding the more reprehensible in him, as it is inconsistent with the peaceful rules of that religious society to which we mutually belong. As to Dr. Hawkesworth, I shall only say of him, that, for a man of reputed piety, he hath behaved on this occasion with sufficient eagerness after worldly profit; and hath shewn, that, whatever be his theory of moral sentiments, he is practically qualified for the highest post, in which the exercise of selfish talents may be displayed, and a desire of inordinate gain be gratified.*
In respect to the comparative merits of his book and mine, it is not for me to say any thing. If I have justified myself in the eye of the impartial world for persisting in this publication, I shall leave the works of my brother to speak his talents;‡ thinking I have paid a proper respect to his memory, though it should be said of his journal, that its only ornament is truth, and its best recommendation, characteristic of himself, its genuine simplicity.
Little-Pultney-street, Golden-Square,June 5, 1773.
* It is said this gentleman hath been lately made an East-India director.
‡ Of those works are all, or most, of the drawings, published in Dr. Hawkesworth's narrative of the voyage of the ship Endeavour; although, while the name of the engraver is pompously displayed, that of the draughtsman, or original designer, is meanly and invidiously suppressed.