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The New Zealand journal, 1842-1844 of John B. Williams of Salem, Massachussetts

Notes to the Journal

Notes to the Journal

1. Sometime during 1832-33 John B. Williams visited the Bay of Islands. He was then a seaman and clerk of the ship Tybee of Salem, owned by N. L. Rogers & Brothers of Salem.

2. Williams may very well have had in mind Dumont D'Urville (Jules Sebastien Cesar, 1790-1842) the celebrated French navigator who in L'Astrolabe surveyed the page 116New Zealand coast in 1826/27. I am indebted to Mrs. Ruth Ross of Auckland for this suggestion.

3. I hazard the conjecture that Williams was familiar with the works of Cuvier in translation. The Essay on the Theory of the Earth, with Mineralogical Notes and an Account of Cuvier's Geological Discoveries by Professor Jameson was published by Kirk and Mercein, New York, 1818. Williams's statement about calcareous matter seems a paraphrase of the statement on page 60 of the Kirk and Mercein edition.

4. This seems an echo of the lines generally attributed to George Barrington and allegedly spoken as a Prologue at the opening of the Playhouse in Sydney, New South Wales on 16 January 1796. The play was a convict production of Edward Young's The Revenge.

'From distant climes, o'er wide-spread seas we come,
Tho not with much eclat or beat of drum,
True patriots all: for be it understood
We left our country for our country's good.'

The prologue was not written by Barrington nor was it spoken at the opening of the theatre, but composed some years later by a London wit as 'Lines intended to be spoken at the opening of the Playhouse.' It has become famous as the Barrington Prologue. I am indebted to Thomas Dunbabbin, Australian Press Attache at Ottawa, for clearing the matter up for me.

5. The Court Dress presumably was the blue uniform similar to that of a United States Navy Captain, which, together with his dress sword and belt Williams had requested be sent out to him from home. He was similarly dressed when he dined with Governor FitzRoy in Auckland in 1845. The uniform and sword are now in the exhibition room of the Peabody Museum.

6. A reference, I believe, to Yankee plumage ruffled by Dickens's American Notes published in 1842.

7. Mrs. Trollope's Domestic Manners of the Americans, 1832, was very offensive to many Americans.

8. These ornaments were, apparently, made from the translucent and softer form known as tangiwai.

9. This wretched sentence puzzles me. I suggest that Williams's intended meaning was: 'No information of any consequence is available earlier than 1769.' Williams seems to have been familiar with Cuvier's writings and may have noted that in his lectures on the Histoire des Sciences Naturelles delivered at the College de France in 1831 Cuvier indicated that 1769 was a significant year for science. That year saw the transit of Venus which Captain Cook witnessed in the Society Islands, later continuing his exploring expedition to New Zealand accompanied by the naturalist Sir page 117Joseph Banks. The expedition under Bougainville, the first sponsored by the French for scientific purposes, and the expeditions ordered by Anne, the Empress of Russia, were also commenced in 1769 Cuvier noted. Williams's precise reference to mineralogy still escapes me.

10. Uusually [sic] known as Old Man's Beard, a lichen (Usnea).

11. The blue crane is probably the reef heron, Egretta sacra sacra; the large bird is the Australian bittern, Botanis stellaris poiciloptilus.