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The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]

Introduction — The Young Banks

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The Young Banks

What shall we call the eighteenth century? How often, and how vainly, has it been summarized in a phrase! — stuffed into a single garment, as it were, from which it bursts at every seam, its uncontrollable, magnificent, startling life forcing itself upon the eye of the beholder in lavish and indecent contradiction. It was an Age, there seems no doubt of that — the Age of the Despots, of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, of Oratory, of Gin, the Mercantilist Age, the Age of the Augustans, the Age of Rococo, the Age of Johnson. There can be no harm, thinking of England, to which Johnson so immediately and forthrightly brings us, in conferring another name, no more nor less adequate: let us call those busy decades — or a sufficient selection of them — the Age of the Gentleman Amateur. For the century was, in so much of its activity, pre-professional. One must not say merely dilettante: that would be unjust. In the first place, the word has subtly changed its meaning; in the second, though the dilettante throve, never did he have a choicer field for his activity; never did dilettantism become, as with Horace Walpole, so exquisitely almost professional in itself. But no one would call dilettanti those men of profound scientific activity, Joseph Priestley and Henry Cavendish, any more than one would call this nonconformist minister and this recluse of a ducal family professional scientists. Was Lord Burlington merely dilettante in architecture, or Gibbon in history, or Gilbert White in natural history ? Or Arthur Young in agriculture, or that equally assiduous traveller, Thomas Pennant, in zoology, or in the free field of general observation and antiquities ? And for how many hundreds of the obscure do these large figures stand! — the country parsons devoted to local history, in at the birth, almost, of British archaeology; the scholars who had escaped from the common room and the port; the nobility who had no taste for gaming or politics — though was not politics itself, whatever its savagery and cupidity, its attraction page 2 for men on the make, still one of the great preserves of the Gentleman Amateur?

Science, above all, apart from politics, it is that comes to the aid of a generalization that may often seem to totter dangerously: there is so much that rushes forth as contrary evidence in literature and art and architecture, in theology and even in prize-fighting. Science had not been organized, Science was not at all professional and most imperfectly academic; Science, as we know it today, was almost at the beginning of things; and yet Science was popular. The educated classes of England, as of France, made it a cult; that most unscientific figure Dr Johnson was throughout his life given to ‘chemical experiments’. True, in the mid-century it was long since Sir Isaac Newton's Principia had begun to send its ceaseless eddies through the European mind; true, by 1760 the Royal Society had enjoyed a hundred years of irregularly scientific life; but even the Royal Society was predominantly a society of Gentlemen, and of amateurs. Science, indeed, as Priestley tinkered with his apparatus, and Cavendish plumbed new depths of analytic thought, and Western Civilization sailed in ships bearing the beneficent gifts of Commerce and of War to the uttermost bounds of the earth, saw empires expanding which had before been only a dream. Empires were for conquest, arduous but exhilarating: to the votaries of the descriptive, of geography, of zoology, of botany, how fair the prospect! How almost intoxicating the scene on which the natural historian could look forth, the young disciple of Linnaeus! — for it is that light, famous, venerable, omnipresent, that shines above our travellers, that presence that irradiates their farthest wanderings; there in Uppsala is the centre and bosom of learning from which, almost, all proceeds, to which all returns. To be the pupil of Linnaeus, his friend, his correspondent, his informant — this was to be sealed with the seal of a new virtue, this was to be enlisted under a banner, to be one of a brotherhood, to have a master and a father, and in Nature an intellectual home. Not even the great Buffon ever stood in quite this relation with European science. Should we, then, speak of the Age of Linnaeus? We might do worse; but it does not really matter. What matters was that science was both widening and deepening the scope of its command: not always with true learning, sometimes almost accidentally — led sometimes from old myth to new myth, undermining new as well as old with new experience. And now rose up, indeed, within Natural History, something new, something incomparably exciting, Man in the state of nature: the Noble Savage entered the study page 3 and the drawing-room of Europe in naked majesty, to shake the preconceptions of morals and of politics. He was not, it is true, universally admired, and behind him came illimitable files of savages something less than noble, insufficiently elegant, beings whose natural state caused the philosopher embarrassment. There were cultivated persons who, like Horace Walpole, were not entertained: scholars who, like Dr Johnson, refused to be instructed. But the science of ethnology was born.

So, on the scene of our scrutiny, into this busy age, steps the figure of Joseph Banks, the gifted, the fortunate youth: enthusiastic, curious, the voyager, the disciple of Linnaeus, the botanist and zoologist, the devotee of savages; not yet, as one examines his early career, a Public Figure, but certainly a Gentleman, certainly a figure typical of his age; and certainly as much as anyone, and more than most, the Gentleman Amateur of Science.

Joseph Banks came from that enviable class the landed gentry; close enough to the land to draw common sense from it, and with enough of it to draw from it also a handsome revenue; with brains enough, indeed, unlike some country gentry, to repay education, and with wealth more than enough to allow of a town as well as country existence, and of a standing in society which no mere rural squire could claim. The family was a Lincolnshire one; its seat was Revesby Abbey, not far from Boston; as the fens were drained its wealth increased, and intelligent management made its standing still greater.1 Joseph's seventeenth century great-grandfather, another Joseph, was not merely wealthy, from his business as an attorney and from property transactions, but a member of parliament, for Grimsby and then for Totnes, and — we begin to see something of his descendant — an antiquary. His son, also Joseph, also an antiquary, also a member of parliament — for Peterborough — rebuilt Revesby church, served as sheriff of the county, and was a fellow of the Royal Society. This Joseph's son Joseph died in his twenties, unmarried, so that it was a William, a second son, who next came to the estate — member for Grampound, deputy-lieutenant of Lincolnshire, an agricultural improver, whose favourite pursuit, said his son, was drainage — i.e. drainage of the fens. William does not seem to have shone in antiquarian

1 For the outline of Banks's ancestry here given, I have relied on his own notes, now in the possession of Mr Warren R. Dawson, Dawson MS 47. They are filled out in Dr J. W. F. Hill's excellent introduction to his edition of the Letters and Pabers of the Banks Family of Revesby Abbey 1704–1760, Lincoln Record Society, Vol. 45 (Lincoln 1952).

page 4 or other intellectual pursuits, but we can see a sort of family pattern. It is a respectable pattern, of service to, as well as profit from, the land, of prominent public duties met in the conventional way, of intelligent interest in affairs, of some mild feeling for learning. The hereditary cell-structure which lay behind the disposition of this respectable pattern was perhaps given a slight twist by the marriage of William Banks to Sarah, eldest daughter of William Bate of Derbyshire, in 1741; for while we can see the same elements in the make-up of the next Joseph, who was born on 13 February 1743,1 in Argyle Street, Westminster, something has happened. With this new Joseph, everything is intensified, though the parliamentary tradition is broken: intelligence both deepens and widens, the affairs which claim his interest are practically everything except politics, interest becomes organization; the moderation of the polite antiquary is transformed into a consuming devotion to natural history, the travels from Lincolnshire to London become travels round the world, the county magnate becomes an international figure. One of the queer English excursions into individuality has happened. There has been also, it seems, a rise in the family's social fortunes: a sister of William Banks, Margaret, the delightful and radiant beauty Peggy Banks, for whom the Duke of Cumberland panted to give balls, married the Honourable Henry Grenville, and so came into a formidably aristocratic connection; her only child, Louisa, our Joseph's cousin, became the second wife of the third Earl Stanhope; and Sarah Banks's sister Hannah Sophia, Joseph's aunt on his maternal side, was the wife of the eighth Earl of Exeter. A child not himself born into ermine could hardly hope for more excellent connections. If he could have asked anything else of the gods, he might have asked for charm. He did not need to: that also they had given him. They gave him, to complete his felicity, in the year after that

1 There has been a little confusion, to which Banks himself unwittingly contributed, over the date of his birth. In the latest life, Dr H. C. Cameron's Sir Joseph Banks (London 1952), p. I, n., the date is given as ‘February 2nd, 1743 O.S.’ and Cameron adds, ‘Lord Brougham, in giving the correct date and place, tells us that he has it “from a note in his own hand which lies before me”. This note may possibly be one of the memoranda now in the possession of Mr Warren Dawson, which Dr Cameron quotes (p. 284) as ‘Born 1743 Feb 2nd old style….’ But ‘February 2nd, 1743 O.S.’ would be 13 February 1744 New Style; and it is evident that Banks intended his ‘old style’ to apply merely to the day of the month, not to the year. This is borne out by a birth-certificate, now in the Public Library, Dunedin, New Zealand, copied from the register of the church of St James, Westminster, and dated 15 November 1753. This gives the date of birth as 2 February 1742—i.e. O.S. (the modern, or Gregorian, calendar was not adopted in Great Britain till 1752). Notes at the bottom of the document in Banks's hand begin ‘Born Feb 13 1743’ (i.e. N.S.), and go on to the dates of his entry to Harrow, Eton and Oxford, as given below.

page 5 of his own birth, a sister as individual as himself, Sarah Sophia; and their individualities did not clash. William and Sarah Banks had no further children; but they had not done badly by the eighteenth century.
We know little enough of the earliest years of Joseph. Presumably they were largely spent at Revesby, where fresh air, the open fields, and plentiful play laid the foundations of a remarkably tough constitution, and private tutoring gave him sufficient educational grounding to take him to Harrow, in April 1752, at the age of nine. Thence, either to get the best of both worlds, or because of invincible opposition to learning in the Harrovian atmosphere — for, to quote his later friend, Henry Brougham, ‘Joe cared mighty little for his book’ — he was in September 1756 removed to Eton. A pleasant good-tempered boy he continued to be, but it was with extreme satisfaction that his tutor found him one day, at the age of fourteen, reading and not sporting in his hours of leisure. He was not, however, we may judge, reading in the classics; Joseph always trod a perilous path in the learned languages — if in a rash moment he ventured into that country at all. Something more important had happened: he had undergone a sort of conversion. He gave his own account of this, late in his life, to Sir Everard Home the surgeon, who transmitted it to posterity.1 Joseph, river-bathing with his friends one fine summer evening, had lingered beyond them in the water; when he came out they were all gone and he dawdled back to school by himself along a flowery lane. Solitude, the flowers, perhaps the evening light, had their effect: ‘he stopped and looking round, involuntarily exclaimed, How beautiful! After some reflection, he said to himself, it is surely more natural that I should be taught to know all these productions of Nature, in preference to Greek or Latin; but the latter is my father's command and it is my duty to obey him; I will however make myself acquainted with all these different plants for my own pleasure and gratification. He began immediately to teach himself Botany’, with the assistance of the women who gathered simples for the apothecaries’ shops, paying sixpence for every valuable piece of information he got from them. Home for the holidays, he found in his mother's dressing-room an old and battered copy of Gerard's Herbal, with its woodcuts of the very plants he knew; he carried it back to school in triumph; ‘and it was probably this very book that he was poring over when detected by his tutor,

1 In his Hunterian oration, 1822; reprinted by Cameron, Appendix D, particularly pp. 297–8.

page 6 for the first time, in the act of reading’. One branch of natural history led to another (the dutiful sense of his father's command felt by Joseph, we may suppose, sat but lightly on the enthusiast), already he had a power of persuasion with his fellows; ‘his whole time out of school was given up to hunting after plants and insects,’ writes Lord Brougham, the son of one of his schoolmates, ‘making a hortus siccus of the one, and forming a cabinet of the other. As often as Banks could induce [my father] to quit his task in reading or in verse-making, he would take him on his long rambles; and I suppose it was from this early taste that we had at Brougham so many butterflies, beetles, and other insects, as well as a cabinet of shells and fossils’.1
In 1760 he went home from school to be inoculated against smallpox. The time taken by this was so great that when he had recovered it was thought his next step might well be not back to Eton but forward to Oxford — which, though not, quite obviously, his spiritual home, was at least a home for gentlemen; and he was accordingly at the end of the year entered at Christ Church as a gentleman commoner.2 There he rapidly made a reputation as one ignorant of Greek; equally rapidly he came to a determination that though he was shunned as a classicist he would be consulted as a natural historian. But where to turn for higher instruction in the science which he had so far pursued with cullers of simples and in the Elizabethan pages of Gerard? The academic months were passing by. Oxford had a professor of botany, but nothing was farther from the professorial chair than the idea that its occupant might give instruction in the subject that he professed. Humphrey Sibthorp is not to be blamed; the idea was foreign to every other person as well, and it may indeed be esteemed an excess of educational devotion that he did give one lecture in thirty-five years. To the odd situation which young Mr Banks forced upon him, and to his own character, we owe one of the most masterly statements of irony in the English language — unless, as is conceivable, Lord Brougham had no talent for irony, and was simply being sincere. For when, we are told, Banks ‘applied to the learned doctor for leave to engage a lecturer, whose remuneration should be wholly defrayed by his pupil … it is highly creditable to the professor, and shows his love of the science, in which some of his family afterwards so greatly excelled, that he at once agreed to

1 Brougham, Lives of Men of Letters and Science in the Reign of George III, II (London 1846), p. 340.

2 He matriculated 16 December 1760.

page 7 the proposal’.1 He did more than signify his agreement: since there was no person eligible to teach botany in Oxford, he provided the aspiring youth with a letter of introduction to Professor Martyn, who occupied the chair at Cambridge — not to suggest that Professor Martyn might give lectures, but to inquire whether a teacher could possibly be found in the other university or its town. Banks's visit was triumphant: he found Israel Lyons, the son of a Jewish silversmith and teacher of Hebrew, and a young man early distinguished both in botany and in astronomy, and brought him back to be supported by the revenues of Revesby. Botany was thereupon prosecuted in Oxford; the unorthodox undergraduate grew in knowledge; and as it was the duty of the great to befriend and patronize the lowly, in due course Banks was able to recommend his tutor as astronomer on the Arctic voyage of 1773, on which Captain Phipps, R.N., another friend, looked unavailingly for a way to the North Pole.
Meanwhile — the Banksian chronology in these early years is not very distinct, but here at least we have another certain date — William Banks died unexpectedly, of ‘the breaking of an Imposthume in his Breast’, and was buried at Revesby on 1 October 1761.2 Mrs Banks thereupon moved to London, or rather to Chelsea, with Sarah Sophia, to a pleasant house in Paradise Walk near the Apothecaries’ Garden that Sir Hans Sloane had founded not so very many years before. It was an excellent situation for botanical vacations. It had also the advantage of the neighbourhood of one whose Huntingdonshire country seat was not far from Lincolnshire, John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, a man who, though twenty-five years older than Banks, became his fast friend. Sandwich had for years already been deep in politics, his acquaintance with the World was wide and his way of thinking — to blunt the point of many accusations against him — liberal; to a talent for genial foolery he united great intelligence, and, in spite of his rather peculiar deep-jawed face, an extreme personal charm — a charm, indeed, even more winning and certainly more stable than that of Banks. He was to be useful to Banks, and he was, it seems, to form a pretty accurate estimate of some at least of the capacities of his young friend. Sandwich was capable of sharing a botanical expedition and both were passionate fishermen. Possibly it is to their association of this period, possibly to some later year, that we may refer a story that seems to have given the mature Banks a

1 ibid., p. 341.

2 Dawson MS 47, f.51.

page 8 great deal of pleasure (it is again to Brougham that we owe our account): ‘So zealous were both these friends in the prosecution of this sport, that Sir Joseph used to tell of a project they had formed for suddenly draining the Serpentine by letting off the water; and he was wont to lament their scheme being discovered the night before it was to have been executed: their hope was to have thrown much light on the state and habits of the fish’.1 The expectation for profitable research by this radical method is so tenuous that it is much more likely their hope was to have thrown confusion on London. The gentlemen, however, escaped trouble — into which Banks's other passion certainly brought him on a well known occasion. He had wandered out on the Hounslow road collecting plants and had crawled into a ditch. This was badly timed, for it was just after a traveller had been robbed by a footpad. The footpad decamped; search revealed Banks in his ditch — why did men hide in ditches ? — and in spite of indignant denials and struggles he was hauled off to a magistrate. A turning out of pockets must have surprised investigating Justice: the young man was eccentric and not criminal; no doubt there were appropriate apologies. One should not arrest landed gentlemen; but at least this one got a second valued reminiscence for his old age.2
Banks entered into his inheritance in February 1764. To the expansion of mind consequent on that event we may perhaps attribute his summary way of reorganizing university teaching, for it was in July of that year that Lyons gave his Oxford course of lectures.3 It was in that year also that Banks came down, with the world delightfully before him. A gentleman of means needed a London house; he bought one in New Burlington Street; and now, with town and country at his disposal, with Lincolnshire for shooting

1 Brougham, II, p. 342

2 This story appears in the General Evening Post, 7 January 1772, in a rather different form, wherein the incident is said to have happened ‘Iately’—Banks having become a subject for gossip.

3 According to the Christ Church battel books Banks was in regular residence from his matriculation data until the end of the Michaelmas quarter 1763; he then became irregular, but was still in residence, though with some breaks, for 21 weeks in 1764. He was charged for the last week of the term beginning Lady Day 1765—perhaps merely for college dues—and for four weeks of the Midsummer term 1765. His name remained on the battel books until 1766 but with no evidence that he was in residence after the single month in 1765. He never troubled to take a degree.—I am indebted for these particulars to the Deputy Librarian of Christ Church, Mr W. G. Hiscock. The dates cast a little light on the year of Israel Lyons's lectures, on which there is some conflict. Nichols, Literary Anecdotes, II (1812), p. 328, says he was brought to Oxford by Banks ‘about 1762 or 1763, to read lectures, which he did with great applause, to at least sixty pupils’, but in giving July 1764. I follow the definite statement of Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, iv (Cambridge 1852), p. 381. Banks was then a senior man and his own master.

page 9 and fishing and the exercise of a young squire's benevolence (while Benjamin Stephenson, his father's steward, managed the estate), with London for society and an elevated converse, he might indeed be esteemed a happy young man. Towards his sister and his mother he was warmly affectionate, while his circle of friends began steadily to expand. They were excellent friends, curious about natural history and antiquities, and they themselves had their friends. No sooner was one in the philosophical circle, than it began to broaden out illimitably. To date acquaintanceship seems impossible, but to these years surely must belong something like intimacy with Thomas Pennant, Banks's senior by seventeen years, the Flintshire natural historian and traveller through Britain, the correspondent of Linnaeus, the friend of Gilbert White (Pennant must even then have been composing his folio British Zoology of 1766); and with Daines Barrington, the lawyer and antiquary; and at least friendship with Lightfoot the botanist; with Dr Morton, the librarian of the British Museum; with Dr William Watson, distinguished in physics and astronomy; with Professor John Hope, the botanist of Edinburgh. It was certainly about this time — we have his own word for it1 — that he first met Daniel Carl Solander, whose name was to be so closely linked with his own, whose counsel henceforth was so much part of his life. Our young man was, in fact, hard on the heels of science, and we are not to be surprised that in April 1766 the Bishop of Carlisle joined with Dr Morton and Dr Watson to nominate him for the fellowship of the Royal Society. He had made no signal contribution to any department of learning whatsoever; but that, at that time, was no disqualification whatsoever; he was an excellent young man, energetic and interested, quite devoted to botany; a landed gentleman with a really enviable income; it would have been an insult to keep him out. The Royal Society duly elected him, quite unwitting that it had taken the first step towards an epoch in its own existence.
Even while it elected him, Joseph was at sea. Other men might cross the Channel, and take by coach the well-worn road to Paris, Lyons, Venice, Rome; other men might call on Voltaire or hobnob with cardinals or collect medals and marbles and reputations as virtuosi. But Banks was an original. He would go to Newfoundland and inspect Esquimaux; he would collect plants. If this be regarded

1 In a letter first published in Swedish (Upfostrings-Salskapets Tidningar, No. 14 [21 February 1785], pp. 105–10), and later in German (‘Ueber Solander’, Berlinische Monats-schrift, 6 [1785], pp. 240–9). This letter gave Banks's recollections of Solander. I owe my knowledge of it to Mr R. A. Rauschenberg, of the University of Illinois, who generously sent me a translation of the German version. I refer to it below as ‘Ueber Solander’.

page 10 as an extraordinary, as well as unexpected, step for a young person of wealth and comfort in 1766, the comment is that Banks was an extraordinary young person. In that century an extraordinary person did not lack opportunity to show his nature. The opportunity was now provided by the economics of empire. On the coasts of Newfoundland, French and English fishermen had long contested desirable rights and harbours. The peace of 1763 had done something both to affirm and to delimit British claims. British fishermen themselves, however, had to be kept in order, and a web of standing custom to be reinforced and maintained by royal regulation and naval supervision. The ship detailed to cross the Atlantic on this duty for the summer of 1766 was H.M.S. Niger, Captain Sir Thomas Adams; and among her officers was Lieutenant Constantine John Phipps. Lieutenant Phipps was himself a rather unusual person: the heir to an Irish peerage and the nephew of an English earl, he had entered the royal navy from Oxford; not only was his career assured, as a man of ‘interest’, but he was able to help his friends and Banks was an Oxford friend. It is really in no way odd, therefore, to find our young naturalist leaving London on 7 April to join a naval vessel, and beginning the first of his many journals of travel.1 Nor is it odd, after his arrival at Plymouth on the 9th, that he should spend the days before the departure of his ship in exploring the natural history of Plymouth, in taking a critical view of that seat of opulence Mount Edgecumbe, and in visiting Mr Cookworthy's shop to collect the details of the china manufacture in which Mr Cookworthy was engaged; for a gentleman of enquiring mind enquired into everything.2

1 The original manuscript of the journal that Banks kept on this voyage is now in Adelaide, in the possession of the South Australian branch of the Royal Geographical Society. I have used a careful copy made by Sarah Sophia, in the library of the Botanical Department of the British Museum (Natural History), 121 pp. quarto; this is entitled ‘Journal of a Voyage to Newfoundland & Labrador: commencing April y° seventh, & ending November the 17th 1766’, and is signed at the head, ‘S: S: Banks 1772’. At the bottom of p. 2 she has a pencil note, ‘mem: there are many References to Latin Names of Plants &c. which I shall leave out.’ There is a second copy, which includes an additional section, ‘Some Account of Lisbon, & the adjacent Country, &customs of the Inhabitants’. This is one of a set of Banks's lesser journals copied out by her, now arranged in three volumes and in the possession of Sir David Hawley. Dr J. W. F. Hill has kindly lent me typescripts of these journals. The originals, apart from the Newfoundland and Iceland journals, have disappeared. I refer to the copies in footnotes hereunder as S.S.B., with the date.

2 William Cookworthy (1705–80) was an interesting minor figure of the eighteenth century, a greatly respected Quaker, successful as a wholesale druggist, and with scientific leanings; the surviving examples of his chinaware are many of them delightful. Banks and Cook are said to have dined with him just before the Endeavour sailed from Plymouth (his grandson kept the dining table as a relic), but neither of them mentions such a meeting. Solander wrote to Ellis, 25 August 1768, ‘When you see Dr. Fothergill give him my respects, and tell him that we here in Plymouth met with a friend of his, Mr. Cookworthy, as worthy a man as can be, full of knowledge, and very communicative: we are very much obliged to him for his civilities’.—Sir James Edward Smith (ed.), A Selection of the Correspondence of Linnaeus, and other Naturalists, from the Original Manuscripts (London 1821), II, p. 11. I hereafter cite this work as J. E. S. For Cookworthy see D.N.B. and John Prideaux, Relics of William Cookworthy (London 1853).

page 11
The Niger sailed from Plymouth Sound on 22 April, and reached the harbour of St John's on the south-east coast of Newfoundland on 11 May. On the voyage Banks suffered and recovered from sea-sickness, netted and described jelly-fish, tried unsuccessfully to catch sea-birds with a hook and line, and saw a number of icebergs — the first ‘an Island of Ice … like a Body of whitish light’. Gales were succeeded by mist and frost, and when he went on shore at St John's he found the spring very little advanced. But what a country for walking and botanizing, for fishing and shooting! Lobsters, crabs, starfish, ‘great plenty of small trouts’, ‘Dog's violets both blew and white’, ‘water Bugs in abundance’, mosses, shrubs and birds: all were there, and the amiable sailors brought in rocks and a tortoise shell for him. Snow was a very minor interruption. He inspected, here and elsewhere, the sites of passages of arms between the French and British, and made the military observations proper to a gentleman. On June 11, in pursuit of a roving commission, Sir Thomas Adams set sail for Croque harbour, inside the northern peninsula of the island, where a vegetable garden was started and Phipps set up a habitation called Crusoe Hall; there, said his friend, ‘he works night and Day, and lets the Musquetos eat more of him, than he does of any kind of food, all through Eagerness’.1 There was a white bear to look for, unsuccessfully. The weather became hot. Banks went out with the master in a shallop, examining the bays and harbours to the southward, botanizing where he could, sleeping in his clothes in ‘the aft Cuddy’; and then on further expeditions of the same sort, unable to keep his journal properly because his shipmates were so curious to see what he wrote down in it. Then the blow fell: for the greater part of July he was confined to the ship by a fever, ‘incapable of collecting Plants, at the very season of the year when they are the most plentifull’; indeed at one stage his life was despaired of. Weak and dispirited, he had to make do with what his servant2 could bring in, and when he could get on shore again, he was ‘baffled by every Butterfly who chose to fly away’. His strength soon returned, and he was out on another boat expedition, this time to the north, which gave him not only some valuable plants but also, at last, on Belle Isle, the sight of a wild bear. No sooner

1 Journal, 16 June.

2 Marginal note by S. S. B., Journal, p. 42, ‘believe Peter Briscoe’.

page 12 was he on board ship again than she sailed for Chateau Bay on the coast of Labrador, inside Belle Isle, for a two months’ visit. Although the passage was made in a strong gale, he found to his pleasure that he had mastered his sea-sickness. There were more boat expeditions, on one of which, on 2 September, he and his friend the master had the narrowest possible escape from sinking in a further, and terrific, gale;1 for the blowing season had come on, and Sir Thomas was henceforth very careful of his boats. Banks preferred Chateau Bay to Croque: the country was more barren, but the absence of brushwood made him always sure of a good walk, and the abundance of partridge, teal, and curlews gave him good shooting. Croque on the other hand he thought intolerable in summer from its heat, its thick woods and its prodigious abundance not of game but of mosquitoes and gadflies; while field-mice ravaged the vegetable gardens and weasels the eggs of the ship's poultry kept on shore. Meanwhile he was busy at his journal again, over an account he had gathered of the Newfoundland Indians, not without a certain scepticism — ‘if half of what I have wrote about them is true’, he said, ‘it is more than I expect’. They had their own method of taking a scalp, and a scalp he managed to get hold of. Then came accounts of the English and the French fisheries, and the habits of fishermen; followed by recipes for chowder, the soup made of salt pork, cod, and biscuit — which earned his great admiration — of spruce beer, and of the powerful variations which could be built upon it. The detail is very much Banks. He was in high spirits again; of which we may judge very well, not from his journal, but from the quite characteristic letter he wrote to Sarah Sophia from Chateau Bay, 11 August:

Dear Sister

I received yours two days ago with newspapers &c: &c: which I must thank you all for as I can assure you they were the greatest Comfort you can Conceive — we all sat round the Fire & hunted out all the deaths marriages &c: &c: as eagerly as a schoolboy does Plumbs out of a Pudding

How do you think I have spent my Leisure Time since I have been here Very Musically I can assure you I have learnt to Play upon a new Instrument as I have Forswore the Flute I have tried my hand upon strings what do you think it is now not a fiddle I can assure you but a Poor innocent Guittar which Lay in the Cabbin on which I can play Lady Coventries minuet & in Infancy &c: with Great success

1 ‘when mere accident preserved my Life’, he wrote. Sarah Sophia preferred to think otherwise: ‘Providence’, she made her marginal annotation, p. 24.

page 13

Pray My Love to Coz Bate & tell her that she & I differ a little in opinion about Stamford races as I had rather be here Than at all the races in Europe — not but what I beleive she was at Least as happy there as I am here

I hope Mr Lee has been Very Civil & Given you Nosegays as often as you have been to him if not tell him he shall not have one of my Insects when I come home give my Compts to him also & tell him that if I did not think it might Endanger Cracking some of Your Ladyships teeth I would Let him know by you some of the Hard names of the things I have got

So Miss Frederick is going to be married to our countryman a dangerous Experiment I think he killed his Last wife in a hurry I hope he may keep her alive a little Longer but maybe she intends to Revenge Miss Pit & kill him I know you women are Sad Husband killers in your hearts

I do not know what Else to say I am almost Exhausted thank you however for your ague receipt it has one merit however I think for if it would not Cure an ague I am sure it would kill a horse

We are here in daily Expectation of the Eskimaux Ladies here I wish with all my heart they were Come as I might have sent you a sealskin gown & Petticoat Perfumd with train oil which to them is as Sweet as Lavander water but more of them when I know them better at Present adieu only Beleive

Me Your very affectionate Brother

J Banks

P: S: Pray My Compts to all Freinds at Chelsea especialy our neighbours at the Garden I mean our Garden-ing uncle & aunt adieu1

This letter does not indicate very much of the adventures of a naturalist across the Atlantic; it is not very witty; but it does indicate the easy good humour of its writer's mind — when things were going well — and his excellent relations with this admiring and admirable sister.

He did not, alas, see the Eskimaux Ladies; and on 3 October the ship returned to Croque to fill water and pick up what vegetables and poultry had survived. Banks collected a few more plants, and gives us an account of the seal-fishery. On 10 October the ship sailed for St John's, the rendezvous for the whole Newfoundland squadron, where he notes his approval of a person who was later to receive in very full measure his disapproval: the commodore was ‘Mr Palliser’ of the Guernsey, ‘whose civilities we ought to acknowledge, as he shewed us all we could expect’. And St John's?

1 ML, Banks Papers, XVI, pp. 3ff. Some of the personal allusions in this letter escape me—‘Miss Frederick’, ‘Miss Pit’ and ‘our countryman’. No doubt ‘Coz Bate’ was a relative on Banks's mother's side, and ‘Mr Lee’ was James Lee, the Hammersmith nurseryman.

page 14 ‘We all felt great pleasure in returning to Society, which we had so long been deprived of; St John's, tho’ the most disagreable Town I ever met with was for some time perfectly agreable to us’. Our journalist deals faithfully with St John's, the very cows of which, he was assured, ate fish. The compensation was Coronation Day. To the celebration of this Commodore Palliser bent all his sense of style, while his guests had to smother what taste for social discriminations they possessed. The Guernsey was dressed for the occasion: ‘after this we were all invited to a Ball, given by Mr Governor, where the want of Ladies was so great, that my Washerwoman and her Sister were there by formal Invitation; but what surprized me the most was, that after dancing we were conducted to a really elegant Supper, set out with all kinds of wine, and Italian Liqueurs, to the great emolument of the Ladies, who eat and drank to some purpose; dancing it seems agreed with them, by its getting them such excellent Stomachs’.1 This gleam of light on social history — the poor ladies might well turn with enthusiasm from too much chowder and spruce beer to an elegant supper and Italian Liqueurs — is succeeded by an account of the sea-cow fishery; and that by the dimensions of a schooner, a remarkably good sea-boat; and that by a note on the absence of any distinct breed of Newfoundland dog; and that by further praise for Palliser as a governor. All was interesting, all was recorded; there was nothing that did not stimulate that rapid, that punctuation-free pen.
But the summer had come to an end, autumn drew on, fishing was over and the fishing-boats departed, the year was too far advanced for success in further plant-hunting; nevertheless, said the hunter, ‘I have vanity enough to believe, that to the northward not many will be found to have escaped my observation’.2 On 28 October the Niger left St John's for Lisbon, there to spend part of the winter. The Atlantic provided the gale that first impressed Banks with his very lively sense of the precautions necessary in the ocean carriage of plants — precautions which are underlined with more and more elaboration in his later correspondence; for on 5 November, off the Western Islands, the vessel shipped a sea which stove in the quarter, flooded the cabin, broke all its furniture in pieces and entirely demolished his collection of seeds and growing specimens. But the dried specimens survived, the larger number of his trophies, and into safe keeping they went at New Burlington Street: the foundation, on the foreign side, of the great Herbarium that was to be the pride of British botany and a

1 Journal, pp. 105–6.

2 Journal, p. 113.

page 15 lodestone for the scientific curiosity of all Europe.1 The ship reached Lisbon on 17 November, the date on which the surviving journal ends, with its later-written descriptton of the harbour, the town, and the customs of the inhabitants. Portugal treated Banks kindly: although he never saw the inside of a Portuguese gentleman's house, he made friends in natural history,2 added a good deal to his collections, and saw for the first time that rare substance, caoutchouc or indiarubber. Early in the new year the Niger duly returned to England, and Banks with her. He arrived in London on 30 January 1767.3 There could by now be no doubt, even among the rare purists, that his election to the Royal Society was justified. Not only was he a man of substance, but he had travelled unconventionally; he had suffered the confinement of a naval vessel, storm, discomfort and fever, in the cause of science, and he had kept a journal with hard names that would endanger his sister's teeth. His journal, indeed, with the interest it displayed in everything, from fish to fortifications, and its treatment of human beings as essential parts of natural history, might be taken as a sort of trial run for the larger journal on which he was before long to embark. He had served his apprenticeship. He did not commit any of the journal to print, nor report on his adventures except in a social way. But he attended a meeting of the Royal Society for the first time on 15 February 1767; and there, no doubt, he bore himself with a proper dignity.

Meanwhile there were things to do in the metropolis, and beyond it. There was so much to raise the interest of an intelligent man. He went down into Kent on a little tour of universal enquiry — plants, shells, fossils, fortifications, the manufacture of vitriol, beer, and flints, dockyards, a fire ship and a court martial all claimed his attention — and then was again involved in London.4 We have a letter to Thomas Pennant of 5 May 1767:5

I am ashamed I have not Long before wrote to you to tell you the truth

1 It speaks highly of Banks's generosity that he was prepared to lend his herbarium to his friend John Sneyd, of Bishton, Derbyshire, for the period of his absence on the Endeavour voyage. See Sneyd to Banks, Kew B.C. I, 31, n.d., requesting the loan, and asking him also to buy textiles for Sneyd's wife in China and Japan if he should visit those countries; and ibid., 30, 9 January 1773, thanking him for the loan.

2 There are, for instance, in Kew B. C. I, several letters from Gerard De Vismes, of Lisbon, beginning with 2 June 1767; the second announces the gift of a hogshead of ‘that choice Calcavellas’, with instructions for its treatment.

3 There is a marginal note to this effect at the beginning of the description of Lisbon in the second copy of the journal by S. S. B. The Niger arrived at Plymouth on 20 January 1767.

4 Journal of an Excursion to Chatham, Rochester, Sheerness, Sheppey, &c. began Febry 21st 1767 Ended March 4th 1767.—S.S.B. 1772.

5 Alexander Turnbull Library (hereafter referred to as ATL), ALS 269.

page 16 my Idleness is only to be excusd by alledging a still greater as a palliative Circumstance which is that I have not yet got your Beaver [i.e. a print of the animal] Colourd to tell you the truth I have been so hurried Ever since you left town by furnishing my house that I have scarcely had time to think of anything Else.

Mr White called upon me today in your name & left some Specimens of Birds …. I intend tomorrow to call upon him at Horaces head and hold Ornithological Converse tho I can assure you it does not go on with the spirit it used to do when you was with us.

[A paragraph follows on the colouring of plates.] I want you of all things to visit a new Branch of trade I have lately discoverd which I think may be of Service to us the Horners a set of people who live by selling the Horns of all sorts of animals unworked up to those who work them into Knife Hafts &c. the People sell what they Call Buffaloes horns every day & must Certainly have many of animals unknown to us.

adieu Floreat Res Zoologica says
Your affectionate J Banks

Another to the same correspondent, of 14 May,1 touches on journeys:

I am Just upon the wing setting out for Dorsetshire … I mean to be out about a fortnight in which time I shall visit Bristol & the other side of the Channell I am much obligd to you (for an obligation you are not perhaps at present apprizd of) I mean an acquaintance with Mr White who mentiond your name & promises to send divers & various discoveries to town……. Instead of remaining Idle as I intended till I should set out for Flint I find I am to be well employd for I must set out for Lincolnshire as soon as I return from my present expedition….
The ‘Dorsetshire’ visit was more in the line of the ordinary cultivated county tour of the day than was that sudden leap across the Atlantic, and it lasted longer than a fortnight. It was in fact a leisurely progress from 15 May, on which day Banks descended upon his aunt Mrs Grenville at Eastbury, to 20 June, when returned to New Burlington Street. Between those dates he went through Dorset and Somerset to Bristol, Chepstow — so that he did, as he planned, get across to ‘the other side of the Channell’ — Wells, Glastonbury and Taunton. There were country houses to inspect, starting with his aunt's — ‘exceedingly large and possibly one of the heaviest piles of stone Sr Jno Vanbrugh ever erected’; Pearcefield, ‘the finest place I ever saw’; Burton Pynsent, where Lord Chatham had in two years done a great deal to the house:

1 ibid.

page 17 ‘He has built several rooms, some very good ones, but has shewn that his Buildings in Brick are not more durable than his Administrations, as he has already found it necessary to pull down and alter what he himself set up’ — an isolated political observation in all Banks's mass of papers. There was Chepstow Castle to admire; there was Tintern Abbey — ‘a most noble Ruin, by far the Lightest Pi[e]ce of Gothick architecture I ever saw’; the cathedral at Wells (where he went with his antiquarian friend the Rev. Richard Kaye), ‘Rather Good’; the abbey at Glastonbury, where he was ‘almost bit to death’ by gnats; there were pictures and coins and birds and the Cheddar gorge and fire engines, Roman circum-vallations and barrows for archaeological speculation, the fossilized bones of ‘an Elephant found bedded in Ocre on the Mendip hills’; there were riding and walking and a great amount of botanizing; and there was at Bristol ‘a very singular curiosity which was a woman who had for reasons not yet well known been confined since August Last in a deal Box which I myself measurd and found the dimensions to be Lengh 2 feet 6 inches, Breadth and Depth each one foot 4’. Finally on the way back to London, between Silbury and Marlborough, there were the great boulders of sarsen scattered about Fyfield Down, the ‘Grey Wethers’ of the local inhabitants, who were breaking them up to build their walls; so that the botanist and man of taste could geologize as well, take some pieces home, and find them to be ‘a very hard and fine graind Sand Stone’.1 It is all very completely Banks, this tour, and this sample being given, we need not quote him on his other English, or rather British, journeys.2

Presumably this tour was followed by the visit to Lincolnshire, for Banks kept a close eye on his estate. There was also the anticipated journey to Flintshire and his friend Pennant. But was not something possible of nobler note ?

I am Just Returnd to London From my Excursion [he wrote to Pennant] & as I prophesied in my Last found two of yours which your kindness had sent to me in my absence
What will you say to me if I should be prevented from paying my respects to you & N: Wales this year tho I so fully intended it nothing but your Looking upon it with the Eye of an unprejudiced nat: Historian

1 ‘Grey Wethers’—not ‘weathers’, as spelt by Banks—from their resemblance at a distance to a flock of sheep. The stone circle at Avebury, a mile and a half away, is believed to have been built with sarsens from this site, which was declared a nature reserve in 1956.

2 His little journal of this tour exists in a copy by S.S.B., Hawley coll. It was admirably edited by Spencer George Perceval, and printed in the Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists Society, New Series IX, 1899, pp. 6–37.

page 18 can bring any excuse to be heard with Patience Look then with Zoologick Eyes & tell me if you could Blame me if I Sacraficed every Consideration to an opportunity of Paying a visit to our Master Linnaeus & Profiting by his Lectures before he dies who is now so old that he cannot Long Last
I know you cannot Blame me & you will not when I tell you that nothing shall hinder my attendance in Flintshire but such an expedition. …1
An expedition to Uppsala would certainly not have been an impossible one, and it could hardly have failed to have been beneficial to Banks — if his capacity to assimilate lectures in Latin were sufficient — as well as gratifying to Linnaeus, who loved his foreign pupils, though he could speak no language of theirs. There would have been distinction, too, in such close contact with the Master. Nor was his demise so imminent at this time as Banks seems to have thought: he had just passed his sixtieth year, and though, his most energetic days of open-air teaching were gone, he was still a vigorous and lively presence, in lecture room or botanic garden. Banks did inevitably come under his notice, in due course, but only at second hand. For to Flintshire, not to Sweden, in this late summer of 1767 did our young man go, with companions of whom the most eminent, botanically, was the sociable apothecary William Hudson — whose Flora Anglica, with its Linnaean classification, had been the fundamental work on its subject since its first publication in 1762. It was a journey not only to Flintshire, but through Wales from south to north, on to Cheshire and Derbyshire, and south home again through Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It was the longest of all Banks's British journeys, and it lasted from the middle of August 1767 to the end of January 1768.2 He had not, however, abandoned thought of a pilgrimage to the Master's feet. More than that, he would tread in the Master's feet themselves, he would go to Lapland; Pennant, writing in

1 This letter has no date or address, but it is with other letters addressed to Pennant, ATL, ALS 269. It must be after 20 June; though Kew B.C. I, 7, a letter from Pennant, 10 June 1767, at first sight appears to be an answer to it: ‘I sincerely wish yr tour may answer; but, not being greatly smitten with the charms of Linnaeus, must be doubtfull till I hear from you’. Banks may have mentioned his plan to Pennant earlier. Pennant thought Linnaeus was deficient in ornithology, ‘madripology’, and fossils: ‘his fort is Botany’. By ‘madripology’, a word not in the dictionaries, I take it he meant the study of corals—from ‘madrepore’, generally applied in his day to any perforate coral. Again, ibid., 8, 3 July 1767, ‘I have no very high opinion of Linnaeus's zoologick merits’. In another letter, 26 July 1767, D.T.C. I, p.13, he wishes Banks luck on the journey.

2 13 August 1767–29 January 1768. Banks kept a journal on this tour, the copy of which by S.S.B. runs to 159 pp., illustrated with sketches and diagrams. It is now in the National Library of Wales, MS 147. He kept also a memorandum book of very characteristic ‘Observations & facts relating to Nat. Hist. Commerce &c. Learnt from different people’; Dawson MS 44.

page 19 January, is solicitous about the return from Chester to London, ‘thro all the perils of snow and ice, a good foretaste of your Lapland Journey’;1 and in the following month Thomas Falconer, the classical scholar and learned antiquarian of Chester, wrote of his pleasure at the expected tour, for which he gave a good deal of advice to the tourist.2 We do not know exactly when there flashed upon his mind the vision of a greater journey — an idea, if only it could be realized in fact, of a quite stupendously satisfying nature. This was the idea of a journey round the world and across the Pacific Ocean, where no natural historian had ever been before. It took on elaboration, it gathered weight, it was favourably received by the philosophical. And in this same season, it appears, of hope and speculative excitement, Joseph Banks fell in love.
Among the branches of science in which Banks was not interested, two, astronomy and geography, ranked pre-eminent. Yet the voyage on which he had fastened his mind was a voyage which had for its objects the increase of knowledge of precisely these two; and it was the result of impulses, from the Royal Society and the British Government, with which he had had nothing to do. It was a voyage, in short, for the observation of the transit of the planet Venus across the disc of the sun, and for the investigation of the great continent which was alleged by a number of theoretical geographers to exist in the more southern and western parts of the Pacific, and probably in high latitudes of the Atlantic as well — the Terra australis incognita of long tradition. The two men who in the eighteenth century most enthusiastically elaborated upon this theory were the French geographer Philippe Buache (1700–73) in whose Considérations géographiques et physiques sur les nouvelles découvertes de la grande mer (Paris, 1753) were what the author regarded as ‘hypothéses déraisonnables’ on the outlines and formation of the continent; and the Scotsman Alexander Dalrymple, whose Account of the Discoveries made in the South Pacifick Ocean, Previous to 1764 (London, 1769), displayed an immense and dogmatic confidence in its existence — founded, like the theories of Buache, on arguments both physical and historico-geographical. But indeed,

1 Pennant to Banks, 15 January 1768; D.T.C. I, p. 16.

2 ‘I am extremely glad to find you are projecting a Northern Journey this summer for the benefit of Natural History. You intend, I hear, to visit if possible the great Lapland fair….’—15 February 1768; Kew B.C. I, 17. Falconer, a generous recluse, was called by the enthusiastic Miss Seward ‘the Maecenas of Chester’. Pennant was his kinsman by marriage. His letters to Banks are always very long, deferential, and full of advice on matters which call for scientific investigation.

page 20 most people accepted the general hypothesis with the simple faith that they gave to the existence of a south pole.
The Transit of Venus was a different matter. There could be no argument about it whatever. It was not a phenomenon that could be inspected every day. It had been first observed by the young, brilliant, and short-lived Jeremiah Horrocks in the year 1639, in his parsonage at Hoole in Lancashire; it had been last observed, with no great advantage to philosophy,1 in 1761; it was due to occur again in 1769; and then more than a century would elapse till in 1874 it would give the astronomers another chance. Good observations would make it possible to calculate with some accuracy the distance of the earth from the sun, a pre-requisite to other important calculations in astronomy. In the event of 3 June 1769 therefore the Royal Society took a very lively interest; for undeniably, in 1761 British science — through no fault of its own — had not shone. The Rev. Nevil Maskelyne had been sent to St Helena, where a cloudy day had been sufficient reason for failure; and Messrs Mason and Dixon to Sumatra, which they had never reached — and, deposited by the exigencies of war at the Cape of Good Hope, they had found that by no means an ideal place for their operations. The Society was determined that no shortcoming on its part would inhibit a happier outcome on the next occasion, whatever the scientists of other nations might do, and as early as a meeting in June 1766 it resolved to despatch observers to ‘several parts of the world’. Discussion did not become close, however, till towards the end of the following year, when it was decided that the British effort should be devoted to three widely separated places of observation — the first, Fort Churchill in Hudson Bay, the second the North Cape, and the third some suitable island in the Pacific Ocean. But what island ? Mr Maskelyne, now Astronomer Royal, suggested the group called the Marquesas, or alternatively Rotterdam or Amsterdam, in the archipelago we know as Tonga; and there were other suggestions made, such as the Solomon Islands. The difficulty about any of these was that before a telescope could be stood upon it, it would have to be rediscovered; for the Solomons

1 I am writing of the eighteenth century, and I here deliberately use this word with its eighteenth century meaning of ‘science’. Physics in some universities is still ‘natural philosophy’. Johnson's Dictionary defines ‘Philosopher’ as ‘A man deep in knowledge, either moral or natural’—we should say for the latter ‘scientist’; and ‘Philosophy’ as (1) ‘Knowledge natural or moral’; (2) ‘Hypothesis or system upon which natural effects are explained’; (4) ‘The course of sciences read in the schools’. At the same time I admit that I am not consistent in this usage, and that ‘philosopher’ and ‘philosophize’ occur below in much more modern connotations—my hope being that the reader will be neither confused nor irritated.

page 21 had not been seen since their discovery by Mendaña in 1568, or the Marquesas since their discovery, also by Mendaña, in 1595, or Amsterdam and Rotterdam since their discovery by Tasman in 1643. Assuming that the island could be rediscovered, how was it to be rediscovered? Again, astronomers themselves would need transit, and while the Hudson Bay Company would no doubt take observers to Fort Churchill, and they might go to the North Cape on the annual naval vessel for fisheries protection, the Pacific Ocean was a different matter. The Royal Society had no money with which to charter a ship; like other learned societies without funds, therefore, it decided to appeal to government. The Council submitted a memorial to the king requesting a grant of four thousand pounds and the necessary ship; observers it had in mind for the Pacific were Mr Dalrymple the geographer and Mr Green, late of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Mr Dalrymple, it may be noted, found it necessary to observe that he had no thoughts of making the voyage as a passenger, or in any other capacity than that of ‘having the total management of the ship intended to be sent’. As Mr Dalrymple, though neither ‘bred to the navy’ nor a professional seaman, had had some experience of command in the East Indies, this did not seem to the Society unreasonable; and the king having expressed his willingness to provide the money, the Admiralty was directed to provide a ship. The official investigations into this matter began early in March 1768, and by the end of that month the ‘cat-built bark’ Earl of Pembroke, soon to be given the more famous name Endeavour, had been brought into the navy.
Meanwhile there had been discussion of the command of the vessel. The Admiralty, quite unmoved by the claims of Mr Dalrymple, settled on Mr James Cook. This was somewhat surprising, because Mr Cook was not even a commissioned officer, and he did not have that ‘interest’ with government that was so useful as a means to promotion. He had, however, made his own interest by solid merit, more particularly by his distinguished career as a marine surveyor in Newfoundland, where, at the time of Banks's visit, he had been working on the south coast and had observed an eclipse of the sun from the Burgeo islands.1 He was

1 It was in the Newfoundland and not Pacific context that Banks first heard of Cook. Captain Wilkinson of the Niger, 18 December 1767 (Kew B. C. I, 15) writes to him, ‘Sir, As my meeting with the Indians was very uncertain, The Cask of things you left on board of the Niger for Truck with 'em Mr Palliser took on board the Guernsey to Chatteaux, & I believe he has procure'd you some of their dresses &c. I'd got a Canoe for you which I sent home in the Grenville as she came to Deptford, but she Unluckily run on shore & it was wash'd over board & lost as I am told, tho I have not been able to see Mr Cook to ask him about it, nor I am afraid shan't as I am going into the Country but if you'll please to send to him he will let you know whether there are any hopes of getting it by Advertising which I thought off as it was drove ashore on the Essex coast I believe…. Mr Cook lives I am told some where about Mile end, but the Vessel I believe is got up to Deptford [so] that I fancy it will be best to send to enquire on board her’.—The Grenville was Cook's surveying schooner; in heavy weather off the Nore, 11 November 1767, she dragged her anchor and went on shore, but was refloated next day with very little damage.

page 22 very well known to influential men like Captain Palliser, now of the Navy Board, and Philip Stephens the Admiralty secretary, and, though promotion came late to him, they had no doubt of his ability to command. The decision reduced Mr Dalrymple to fury; attending the Council of the Society in person, he reaffirmed his determination not to go on the voyage at all. There was nothing the Society could do but find another observer. Here it was in luck: Mr Cook appeared a proper person, and Mr Cook was appointed, with Mr Green as his astronomical colleague. Just at this point another naval vessel completed a voyage round the world by arriving in England: it was the Dolphin, Captain Samuel Wallis, and it reported the discovery of an island and harbour quite admirably fitted for the Society's purpose of observation. Furthermore, the position of this island had been accurately fixed; no time need be occupied in rediscovery. It was King George the Third's Island, and its harbour was Port Royal — or as we have learnt to call them, Tahiti and Matavai Bay. Early in June the Society informed the Admiralty of its wish to have the observers conveyed there; and simultaneously brought forward something new:
Joseph Banks Esqr Fellow of this Society, [wrote the secretary] a Gentleman of large fortune, who is well versed in natural history, being Desirous of undertaking the same voyage the Council very earnestly request their Lordships, that in regard to Mr Banks's great personal merit, and for the Advancement of useful knowledge, He also, together with his Suite, being seven persons more, that is, eight persons in all, together with their baggage, be received on board of the Ship, under the Command of Captain Cook.1
This was something new, however, only in the formal correspondence; for though we do not know, unfortunately, when Banks first had his brilliant idea, the time was certainly long before, and there had certainly been a great deal of talk — and, quite obviously, of preparation, because we have the suite already precisely numbered. The Council of the Royal Society had directed the sending of its letter last quoted on 9 June; and 9 June was the date on which Banks himself received a farewell letter from a

1 I quote from the letter as it is entered in the Minutes of the Council of the Royal Society, 9 June 1768.

page 23 friend: ‘I have for some time been in Doubt whether you was [in] England or on the Seas; last Night's Papers acquainted me that a North Country Cat was fitting out at Deptford for the South Seas, and was to take on board some Gentlemen of Fortune Students in Botany’.1 But this was already late in the day: as early as 10 April Pennant was writing with advice on umbrellas, ‘both the thin silk french kinds and the strong oil skin ones; also oil skin coats to guard against the torrents of rain you may expect to meet’.2 It is clear that Banks's friends caught some of his excitement — excitement summarized in his traditional reply to one more conservative, who expostulated over the hare-brained project, and advised the conventional Grand Tour instead: ‘Every blockhead does that; my Grand Tour shall be one round the whole globe’.3
Now on 10 April, when Pennant was writing about umbrellas, the ship had been bought, and the mode of her fitting-out determined, and it seems clear that her master had been selected. But it does not seem likely that the Admiralty had by then agreed to accommodate Mr Banks, or even been asked to do so. Mr Banks, however, had had his idea, and clearly assumed that it would be acceptable to all others concerned. His assumption is characteristic: it is characteristic both of the young Banks and of the eighteenth century. A gentleman of large fortune who had had his own way since early youth, who had chosen his own subjects of study and provided the means himself, who went where he wished and took his place in any society he wished, whose friends were scientific, and naval, and ministerial — we must not forget the Earl of Sandwich — hardly needed to hesitate. What he was proposing to do was to plant himself, a train of dependants and a mass of impedimenta on a small and already overcrowded vessel, commanded by a man he did not know, for purposes not at all envisaged by government, in a fashion that would undoubtedly entail further expense on government and inconvenience on other people; and he was proposing it in the sure, certain, and unhesitating conviction that he had a right to be obliged, and would be made welcome. This it was that was so highly characteristic of the English gentleman of fortune of that age, so effortlessly superior, so candidly appropriative of privilege, upon his Grand Tour; this it was that was so completely the Banksian attitude to life. The extraordinary thing is, to a later age, that he brought it off. There were no

1 Richard Kaye to Banks, 26 June 1768; Kew B.C. I, 27.

2 Pennant to Banks, 10 April 1768; Kew B.C. I, 21.

3 Edward Smith, Life of Sir Joseph Banks (London 1911), pp. 15–16.

page 24 difficulties raised. He simply, we may say, walked on board the Endeavour, elbowed her officers out of the way, and was made welcome. The touring Englishman expected a welcome, and generally got one, at his inn; but it was a professional welcome, he paid for it. There was no doubt about the welcome that met Banks; for there was no doubt about the Banksian charm. It was not a deliberate or calculated charm. Banks was not, like so many of his contemporaries on their travels, the grand seigneur. Indeed the grand seigneur could not by any stretch of the imagination have chosen the mode of travel that Mr Banks chose. There were times when Banks could act the spoilt child, and other times when he could put on style; but ordinarily it was the directness of the child, or the youth, that he displayed, mingled with his belief in his own privilege. As things turned out on this voyage, there were no seriously unpleasant consequences; and there were, in the presence and talents of Mr Banks, certain positive advantages. For once he had had his great idea, nothing, as we have seen, could stop him, and on 22 July Cook was directed by the Admiralty secretary to receive not only ‘Mr Charles Green and his Servant and Baggage’, but also ‘Joseph Banks Esq. and his Suite consisting of eight Persons with their Baggage, bearing them as Supernumeraries for Victuals only, and Victualling them as the Barks Company during their Continuance on board’.1 (There were also a couple of dogs, but no doubt they were included with the baggage.) That is, once these persons were on board, they were to get no special treatment they did not pay for themselves, or that Mr Banks did not pay for. The Admiralty would give them food and cabin or hammock space — and not much of that — and they must make the best of it.
Who were these eight persons that Banks so blithely added to the eighty-six others already thrust on board the small ship under the newly created Lieutenant Cook's command? Their number, it will be noted, had risen by one since the Royal Society communicated with the Admiralty in June. They were, in some sort of order of social and scientific rank, Dr Daniel Carl Solander, Herman Didrich Spöring, Sydney Parkinson, Alexander Buchan, Peter Briscoe, James Roberts, Thomas Richmond and George Dorlton. Dr Solander already was a man of mark. He was a Swede, born at Pitea in the northern part of his country, in 1733. His medical studies were but his avenue into natural history. After the brilliant and beloved Petrus Löfling the ablest of the Uppsala pupils of Linnaeus, he contributed plants from his own province

1 Cook 1, p. 620.

page 25 to the Linnaean herbarium, and earned golden opinions from the Academic Consistory of the University as well as from the Master himself. When the ardent London natural historians, Peter Collinson and John Ellis, both correspondents of Linnaeus, urged him to send a pupil to England to spread the gospel, the choice fell on Solander, and he was not unwilling. He bade farewell to Linnaeus at the beginning of April 1759, but, falling sick in the south of Sweden, did not arrive in England till July 1760.1 Ellis took him in charge, with what Linnaeus called ‘paternal affection’, and before long he was widely known for both his extreme good humour and the acuteness of his learning. From as far as Charleston, South Carolina —‘a horrid country, where there is not a living soul who knows the least iota of Natural History’ — a naturalist friend of Ellis, Dr Alexander Garden, wrote with some despair, ‘I confess I often envy you the sweet hours of converse on this subject with your friends in and about London. How must you enjoy Solander! O my God!’2 This was in 1761. By 1762 Solander was attending the meetings of the Royal Society;3 and Collinson testifies to his impact on English science and natural historians in a letter to Linnaeus of 2 September in that year: ‘My dear Linnaeus cannot easily conceive the pleasure of this afternoon. There was our beloved Solander seated in my Musaeum, surrounded with tables covered with an infinite variety of sea-plants, the accumulation of many years. He was digesting and methodizing them into order, and for his pains he shall be rewarded with a collection of them, which no doubt you will see. Afterwards at supper we remembered my dear Linnaeus, and my other Swedish friends, over a cheerful glass of wine…. Solander is very industrious in making all manner of observations to enrich himself and his country with knowledge in every branch of natural history’.4 A man so able was marked for learned preferment, and in 1762 the Petersburg Academy of

1 Cf. the letter from Linnaeus to Ellis, 6 November 1759, J.E.S. I, p. 125. Linnaeus had already written with undue optimism to Ellis as early as 30 May 1759, ‘No doubt my much-loved pupil Solander has, ere this, found a tranquil asylum in your friendship. I have recommended him to your protection, as I would my own son….’—ibid., pp. 123–4.

2 J.E.S. I, p. 502.

3 He heard some surprising things at the Royal Society; e.g. his letter to Ellis, 5 March 1762 (J.E.S. II, p. 8). ‘Last night I was at the Royal Society. It was a long meeting, but very few things of consequence. One Rev. Dr. Foster had sent two letters; in one he will prove, against Mr. Collinson, that swallows really, during winter, immerse themselves in water…. likewise mention is made of frogs in winter, during a hard frost, being found frozen, apparently dead, being hard and brittle like flint, so that they break with a blow. But if taken into a warm room, they come to life again.’—Linnaeus seems to have believed the story about the swallows.—Collinson to Linnaeus, 15 September 1763 (a rather sceptical letter, suggesting some practical experiments), J.E.S. I, pp. 59–62.

4 J.E.S. I, pp. 56–7.

page 26 Sciences was anxious, on the recommendation of Linnaeus, to appoint him its professor of botany. London was in despair: could not someone less eminent teach science to Russian bears?1 But Solander himself refused to go to Russia; he liked his new friends, and they were diligently looking out for his advantage. It is now Ellis who writes to Linnaeus, in December 1762, about the delightful person: ‘He is exceedingly sober, well behaved, and very diligent, no way expensive; so that I hope he will do very well. I can assure you, the more he is known, the more he is liked; and now peace is near settled, he has a greater probability of succeeding, than when we were engaged in the hurry of a troublesome, though victorious war’.2 Solander had one defect, it must be admitted, of which Linnaeus had had experience, and which most of his friends were to remark: he was reluctant to answer letters. This was unfortunate, and we feel the misfortune even today, because when he conquered his reluctance he was an excellent letter-writer. Short and plump men are not infrequently bustling: it is clear that Solander, though short and to become plump, never bustled. Meanwhile his reputation as a natural historian of the widest interests and knowledge continued to grow, and at last in 1764 he obtained an assistantship in the British Museum; in this year too he was elected F.R.S. He was busy making catalogues; he surveyed the fabulous collection of the Duchess of Portland.3 Mr Banks, who in 1764 entered upon his independency and his career in London, could hardly have been unaware of the existence of this brilliant and amiable man, and when they met, they quickly formed a firm and mutual regard. It was at Lady Anne Monson's, at dinner, that Solander, fired with the conversation about the forthcoming voyage, leapt to his feet and proposed himself as a travelling-companion. Banks was enraptured; and next day he talked the Admiralty into acquiescence.4 Solander had placed himself in a great line; for there was a Linnaean tradition of travel, and from the study of the man who had tramped through Lapland his ‘apostles’ went north, south, east and west, to the Arctic, North America, Guiana, Arabia Felix, the Cape, to the Atlas mountains and Palestine, to the East Indies, China and Japan. They were

1 Collinson to Linnaeus, 16 November 1762; ibid., pp. 57–8.

2 Ellis to Linnaeus, 21 December 1762; ibid., p. 160.

3 Collinson to Linnaeus, 1 May 1765; J.E.S. I, p. 65. This was the greatest private collection of the time. It was dispersed in 1786. Horace Walpole wrote on 8 April 1786 to his nephew Thomas, ‘The catalogue of the Duchess of Portland's collection is come out. The auction begins on the 24th. Out of thirty-eight days there are but eight that exhibit anything but shells, ores, fossils, birds’ eggs, and natural history’.—Letters (ed. Toynbee), XIII, p. 376.

4 ‘Ueber Solander’, pp. 244–5.

page 27 victims of pirates and plague, hunger, thirst and poverty, and some of them died far from home; but, by so great sacrifices, the harvest of knowledge was enormous. It was one of the heroic ages of science, and it was only by extreme good luck that Solander was not one of the apostles who died.
Of Spöring we know a great deal less. His father was a professor of medicine at the University of Åbo in Finland, and, like so many of the learned, a correspondent of Linnaeus. The son was born about 1730: he was a student at Åbo from 1748 to 1753, going afterwards to Stockholm for a course in surgery. He must have sought his fortune in London and become known there, and he must have become an able naturalist, as did other men trained in medicine. Banks seems to have engaged him as a sort of secretary.1 ‘A grave thinking man’, as he was later called by his employer, he was also a good draughtsman, and clever with his fingers in the mechanical way: amid all the miscellaneous collections of appliances on board the Endeavour, the set of watchmaker's tools was taken by him. Sydney Parkinson, the botanical or natural history draughtsman, was born about 1745, the younger son of a Quaker brewer, Joel Parkinson of Edinburgh. This was one brewer who did not in that century amass wealth: his sons, on his death, having to fend for themselves, Sydney was apprenticed to a woollen-draper. His talent for drawing, however, would out; he came to London, where his flowers and fruits attracted the attention of botanists and other connoisseurs of natural history — among whom was Banks. It was to Parkinson that Banks in 1767 committed the task of copying on vellum a collection of drawings brought back from Ceylon by Governor Loten,2 while he worked busily also on living specimens from Kew and from Mr Lee the Hammersmith nurseryman. His talent was such indeed that he was an obvious choice for draughtsman on a journey in which natural history would, according to Banks's calculations, bulk so large; and Banks had intended him for the northern journey now abandoned.3 But his talent did not

1 James Roberts, in his ‘journal’ (see p. 28, n. below) lists ‘Armon Dedrich Sporing’ as Banks's ‘svt [servant] writer’; and Parkinson refers to ‘Mr. David [sic] Sporing, clerk to Mr. Banks’.

2 ‘our Freind Governor V [?] Loten is fixd in N Burlington Street so we shall with ease get the Rest of his Drawin[g]s’.—Banks to Pennant, 14 May 1767.—He has got hold of Governor Loten's drawings and is getting them copied as fast as possible—he will not let Parkinson do anything else.—To Pennant, n.d. ATL, MS Folder 269. Cf. Pennant to Banks, 27 June 1767: ‘My dear fellow Labourer, avoid procrastination: we may lose our opportunity: Loten is old and his wife is young; and the odds are against his life’.— D.T.C. I, p. 10.

3 ‘I am extremely glad you take Parkinson with you & doubt not you will gain treasures from the several collections of drawings you will find.’—Pennant to Banks, 4 August 1767; Kew B.C. I, 12.

page 28 stop with the pencil or the brush — he was in every way highly intelligent, both sensible and sensitive, eager to learn as well as extremely hard-working, with interests that expanded to every new thing he saw or heard; guided by his Quaker conscience, and not averse from moral judgments; to pronounce from the stiffly-drawn portrait by James Newton prefixed to his published journal, a slightly-built dark wisp of a young man, long-nosed and with long thin fingers and a rather prim little mouth; obviously a very serious young man indeed. His fellow-artist, Buchan, has left much less of an impression on the history of the voyage. Presumably he was a Scot. We know that he was epileptic; but whether Banks was acquainted with that unhappy fact when he engaged him, as ‘an ingenious and good young man’, for landscape and figure drawing, we do not know. His early death was to throw a very large load of work on Sydney Parkinson, helped out a little by Spöing; and while the landscape remained to posterity, and could be drawn at any time (a fact not very consoling to Banks), we miss extremely a really good and full record of the personal appearance of the oceanic peoples at this critical moment of impact of a new culture upon them. The remaining four men were Banks's personal servants, and they hardly come alive for us. Peter Briscoe and James Roberts, a boy of sixteen, were from Lincolnshire, apparently from the Revesby estate; Briscoe, who had been on the Newfoundland expedition, had sharp eyes, and both were interested enough to copy someone else's journal;1 they had enough capacity for survival to die long years afterwards in their native country. Richmond and Dorlton, on the other hand, negroes (it was the fashion to have negroes in one's service in contemporary London), were doomed to but a short lease of life; they appear, and their master's journal records them almost only to describe their cold and melancholy end.
So much for the companions and adherents of our adventurer, as he prepared to set out on a very remarkable voyage. We may note something else that he had with him. This was a copy of Dalrymple's pamphlet on Pacific discoveries, with its interesting and inaccurate map, which the author had given him. The map

1 I regret that the journals written by Roberts and Briscoe escaped listing with the other civilian journals in Cook I, pp. ccxxxix-xlii. Roberts's is now in the Mitchell Library; Briscoe's in the Dixson Library. They have however no particular value as journals, their first few entries being copied from the ship's log—perhaps at some removes—and the rest from Pickersgill. They do, however, include useful lists of the ship's company, with the ‘qualities’ in which individuals sailed: the ‘quality’ of Roberts and Briscoe being ‘Footman’. The Briscoe volume has the unusual and pious title-page, ‘A Journal of His Majesties Bark Endeavour By Gods Permishon Bound to the South Seas….’

page 29 was interesting because it showed a passage north of Australia with a ship's track marked through it — the track of Torres in 1606. Banks's mind, so far as we can see, was not much stirred by this but Cook's was. Cook had a geographical mind; Banks had not. And the map was to play its part in the remarkable voyage.1 The voyage would have been remarkable in English history, apart from its extraordinary geographical importance, apart even from the success that was to attend it in the realm of natural history, as the first voyage of discovery which went equipped with a scientific staff. Its primary purpose, to observe the Transit of Venus, was of course scientific, and for this purpose Cook and Green were the staff. With all the careful preparations of the Royal Society, with all the expense incurred by the Admiralty, and with all the conviction of the observers that their efforts had been rewarded with success, the end was failure. Although no astronomer was, or could be, aware of the fact, it was impossible to make accurate observations of Venus in the way intended. The triumph therefore was in the descriptive sciences of zoology and botany and in ethnology, and it was a triumph which installed in British voyages of discovery the tradition of scientific work over a wide ambit. It was not indeed the first voyage of discovery on which a naturalist had sailed; the honour implied therein belonged to the French. Bougainville, with whom was Philibert Commerson,2 eminent in botany, was at the moment of the Endeavour's departure making his painful way towards the Moluccas, after an able passage of the Pacific by way of Tahiti, the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands. The achievement of French men of science was thereafter very great. Nor must we forget what we have noted already, the travels of the pupils of Linnaeus. But these devoted men had no official standing, they picked up a passage where they could, and, wherever their wanderings by land took them, by sea they followed a conventional trade route. Banks created the habit of officially recognized and supported science on the British voyages, simply by breaking in at his own expense. What this voyage cost him it is impossible to say. The well-known estimate given by Solander seems to mean merely that the gentleman of fortune was free with his wealth; and after all, Banks did not buy the ship. The estimate comes in a letter from Ellis to Linnaeus of 19 August 1768, a week before the Endeavour sailed from Plymouth — a letter that contains more than one inaccuracy:

1 For its significance see Cook I, pp. clvii-xiv.

2 See p. 287, n. 6 below.

page 30
I must now inform you, that Joseph Banks, Esq. a gentleman of £6000 per annum estate, has prevailed on your pupil, Dr. Solander, to accompany him in the ship that carries the english astronomers to the new discovered country in the South sea, Lat. about 20° South, and Long. between 130° and 150° West from London, where they are to collect all the natural curiosities of the place, and, after the astronomers have finished their observations on the transit of Venus, they are to proceed under the direction of Mr. Banks, by order of the Lords of the Admiralty, on further discoveries of the great Southern continent, and from thence proceed to England by the Cape of good Hope…. No people ever went to sea better fitted out for the purpose of Natural History, nor more elegantly. They have got a fine library of Natural History; they have all sorts of machines for catching and preserving insects; all kinds of nets, trawls, drags and hooks for coral fishing; they have even a curious contrivance of a telescope, by which, put into the water, you can see the bottom to a great depth, where it is clear. They have many cases of bottles with ground stoppers, of several sizes, to preserve animals in spirits. They have the several sorts of salts to surround the seeds; and wax, both beeswax and that of the Myrica; besides there are many people whose sole business it is to attend them for this very purpose. They have two painters and draughtsmen, several volunteers who have a tolerable notion of Natural History; in short Solander assured me this expedition would cost Mr. Banks ten thousand pounds. All this is owing to you and your writings.
About three days ago I took my leave of Solander, when he assured me he would write to you and to all his family, and acquaint them with the particulars of this expedition. I must observe to you, that his places are secured to him, and he has promises from persons in power of much better preferment on his return.
Everybody here parted from him with reluctance; for no man was ever more beloved, and in so great esteem with the public from his affable and polite behaviour.1
And Banks had fallen in love. He was twenty-five, and his journal indicates that the flame was easily kindled in him. Unfortunately the circumstances of this particular kindling, like so much other detail of his earlier life, are unknown to us; but for the fact we have excellent testimony. In 1768 Horace Benedict de Saussure, a young Swiss — three years older than Banks — of ample means and scientific interests, visited England with his wife on his own Grand Tour. He was later to attain fame as a physicist and geologist, and one of the first conquerors of Mont Blanc. On Friday, 15 August, in

1 J.E.S. I, pp. 230–2.

page 31 London, de Saussure went to the opera to hear La Buona Figliuola.1 The performance had its merits and demerits: what de Saussure enlarged on in his journal was not, however, these, but a more interesting matter.

Saw for the first time [he writes] Miss Harriet Blosset, with Mr Banks, her betrothed. Returned on foot from the opera with them and supped together. The eldest daughter, tall, decided, agreeable, a great musician, splendid voice, fond of society, polished. The second Miss Harriet, desperately in love with Mr Banks, from whom she was to part next day — hitherto a prudent coquette, but now only intent on pleasing her lover, and resolved to spend in the country all the time he is away. The youngest, a Methodist dévote, delighted to pass two or three years in the country with her sister and live out of the world. The mother, a good-natured little woman, talking politics. As Banks cannot speak a word of French, I could not judge of his abilities. He seems to have a prodigious zest for natural history. I supped there with him and Dr Solander, who is also starting with him for Isle St George. They will work on natural history. They have an astronomer for the passage of Venus, a draughtsman, all the instruments, books, and appliances possible; after observing the passage they will endeavour to make discoveries in the Southern Ocean and return by the East Indies. Miss Blosset, not knowing that he was to start next day, was quite gay. Banks drank freely to hide his feelings. He promised to come and see me at Geneva and bring me some curios. We were charmed to have made acquaintance with this family, and I particularly to have seen before his departure a remarkable man.2

Thus this very agreeable supper. Banks must already have bade farewell to his mother and sister, and next day he was gone. M. de Saussure however continued to see something of the interesting family while he remained in London; for on that next day he dined on a fine piece of venison sent by Mrs Blosset, and afterwards accompanied Miss Blosset to Ranelagh; on the following day again called on the Misses Blosset, ‘arranged for the theatre and ball, dined with Turton and the Misses Blosset and left my wife to dine alone and dress her hair at our lodgings…. Fine theatre. Thence to supper with Mrs Blosset and to the ball at the Redout with the eldest Miss Blosset….’3 But we are not to think that M. de

1 This was an opera buffa by Nicola Piccini (1728–1800), its text arranged by Goldoni from Richardson's Pamela. It was so popular that it ran in Rome two years without interruption, and in London, says Horace Walpole in 1766, it was ‘crowded every time; the King and Queen scarce ever miss it’.—Letters (ed. Toynbee), VII, p. 77.

2 Douglas W. Freshfield, Life of Horace Benedict de Saussure (London 1920), pp. 105–6. I have tried in vain to discover the origin of the family that de Saussure found so interesting. There appear to have been Blossets about this period both in Dublin and in Middlesex. From what is said later about ‘the country’, a Middlesex home is not unlikely.

3 ibid., pp. 106–7.

page 32 Saussure, swept with admiration for the tall, decided, splendid-voiced Miss Blosset (a person perhaps rather too formidable to make conquest of Joseph Banks) was immune to the charms of Miss Harriet Blosset — who, midway between the magnificent creature her elder, and the creature of piety, her younger sister, seems to have provided the right balance in female character for a young man who was himself neither a great musician (in spite of the flute and the guitar) nor particularly dévot. On 19 August the de Saussures and their friend Turton went once again to breakfast with the charming ladies. Afterwards the Swiss gentleman took Miss Harriet in his carriage ‘to see the garden and the rosaries of Lyse,1 a gardener patronised by Mr Banks, on the road to Richmond, walked about with her, collected many plants…. Thence, still with Miss Blosset, to see the insects of Mr Banks, a superb collection beautifully arranged, insects pinned with the names underneath each, English and foreign, in drawers covered with glass and framed in cedarwood. Took tea with Mrs Blosset, Miss Harriet, and her younger sister, the eldest had gone with my wife to the opera. I had a serious conversation with Miss Harriet. Her deep melancholy, her persuasion she should die, her firm resolve to live in the country to show her true love, make her very interesting’.2 So the romantic Miss Harriet Blosset, luxuriating in grief, while her betrothed is still on his way to Plymouth, passes for the time being out of history.
The betrothed young gentleman joined his ship, was sea-sick and recovered, looked overboad at the denizens of the deep, and began to write his journal. It was a journal that was to assume large proportions, and to be composed with unflagging interest, and often excitement, but it exhibits one regrettable defect. Banks's eye was always outward — always, except for one brief glimpse of the great cabin3 — and nowhere does he give an adequate picture, or any picture at all, of his shipmates. We have an isolated phrase or two; we can tell that he came to admire some of them extremely; from other sources we can tell that this one or that one earned his regard, and that the regard was returned: but what would we not give for a full-length study of the captain of that ship, and of some of his officers, from the pen that devoted so much

1 Presumably ‘Lee's’.

2 Freshfield, p. 108.

3 See p. 396 below.

page 33 space — quite justly — to marine zoology and the inhabitants of New Zealand or Batavia! He could have done it: he was a good observer, hard up against the subject of observation, he was ready with words; but we look in vain. In one way, no doubt, it was as well; there is plenty of evidence that on board the Endeavour journals were not exactly private documents. None the less there are ways round such embarrassments, and as posterity we mourn the missed chance.

In any case it seems clear that Banks and his philosophical companions fitted well enough, not only into the narrow physical space provided for them but into the psychological environment. The eighteenth century sailor was used to narrow quarters; the eighteenth century gentleman simply had to knuckle down to them. Banks knew what to expect after his Newfoundland journey, and no doubt Solander had been warned. Solander's status seems to have been that of a guest and co-scholar; it was those two who were referred to in the other journals as ‘the gentlemen’, in distinction from those who were technically ‘the officers’ and ‘the people’ — i.e. these last, the crew. Parkinson, Buchan and Spöring were employees, and having accepted engagement, could nourish no legitimate feelings about physical conditions. The servants were servants, and while on shipboard the indications are that they were mustered into the watches with the crew, and took up what space and hammocks they could. With all Banks's virtues, however — his tolerance and high spirits and sense of adventure — one three years’ voyage on a ship of this type was enough for him; the gentleman and philosopher revolted against narrow quarters, pined after the greater elegance due to six thousand a year, and, as we shall see, made his later desires known with some force. Solander's feelings are unknown to us: we are perhaps not wrong in fancying that he liked the creature comforts, but he was an uncommonly eventempered man, and committed no opinions of any sort, as he committed nothing else, to a journal. He was otherwise employed. Banks later testified to his industry and astuteness. There were differences enough between them, but no heat and no bitterness. At sea they were to develop a sort of regimen: ‘We had a suitable stock of books relating to the natural history of the Indies with us; and seldom was there a storm strong enough to break up our normal study time, which lasted daily from nearly 8 o'clock in the morning till 2 in the afternoon. From 4 or 5, when the cabin had lost the odour of food [dinner was at midday], we sat till dark by the great table with our draughtsman opposite and showed him in what way to make his page 34 drawings, and ourselves made rapid descriptions of all the details of natural history while our specimens were still fresh.’1 Then the descriptions were fair-copied by a ‘writer’ (one supposes Spöring) and the plants were pressed; and so the work went on. Persons so happily employed could have few discontents to visit on their shipmates, and we know that by their shipmates the gentlemen were much liked. The evidence is not so much in the records of this voyage as in later letters. It is very clear that warm personal friendship sprang up between them both and Cook, as well as with such men as Gore the practical third lieutenant2 and Charles Clerke the master's mate, a farmer's son of cheerful eye and amusing talk. The relation with Cook was of course the critical one, and it belongs as much to a study of Cook as to a study of Banks.

The relation could hardly have been better between the seaman, at the beginning of the voyage nearing forty, the child of rural poverty and the professional product of native genius and a determined self-education, and the young gentleman, six months past twenty-five, the child of fortune whose inheritance was the land and not service to the land. Nothing could have been more violently disparate than their upbringing, yet they had this in common, that Banks, though by no means a genius, was yet strongly an individual, and — in all that counted for him — also self-educated. They were both used to the exercise of authority — Cook, the disciplined authority of experience, as one who had himself been, and was even now, under orders; Banks, the authority of his birth and breeding, as one who by nature gave, and did not take, orders. They both had a full measure of common sense — in Cook perhaps rather austere, a part of his genius for planning a campaign of discovery, but also a fundamental in that elasticity of mind that made him always equal to the unexpected; in Banks an endowment that gave him some appreciation at least of the extraordinary quality of the man he had to deal with, and that kept him—almost invariably—in his place as a passenger. Almost invariably!—we know that once, off the New Zealand coast, Banks was extremely anxious for a landing to be made, in blithe disregard of the prevailing wind and of the responsibilities of a captain, and we know that he could never really forgive Cook's refusal to oblige him; but what is once in three years ? We know of criticisms made, or implied, of ‘the

1 ‘Ueber Solander’, pp. 245–6; and see also p. 396 below.

2 It may be pointed out here that the rank of Cook, always referred to on the ship as ‘Captain Cook’ or ‘the Captain’, was that of first lieutenant. He was ‘captain’ conventionally, like other persons in charge of a ship. The second lieutenant was Zachary or Zachariah Hicks, the third John Gore. See Cook I, pp. cxxviii ff.

page 35 sailors’, but what are they beyond the passing reaction to moments when any man's mind might be unsettled by danger or alarm? We know also that when there was extreme danger, and something that the gentleman could do to meet it, Banks took the handle of a pump and worked it till he was as exhausted as any seaman. The two men, again, could learn from each other. It is hard to say in so many words precisely what Banks learnt from Cook, because he does not give a list of acquirements, and close scrutiny of his holograph journal is not as rewarding in the internal evidence it yields as is a corresponding scrutiny of Cook's. Yet he had the example of that immense patience, that immense technical competence, that immense capacity for dealing with men, before him for three years, and he was not unaffected by the spectacle of greatness. Banks was to live for half a century after the Endeavour's voyage, but he never met a greater man than Cook. Cook himself learnt things more easily discernible. He learnt a little bit of grammar. Each man's journal was open to the other, and while Banks found it worth while to make an abstract of Cook's, with all the names that had been conferred on geographical features and the coordinates of latitude and longitude — things that hardly entered into his own composition at all — Cook learnt from Banks how to describe people and things. He unashamedly cribbed on a large scale,1 he unashamedly went back on his own drafts and rewrote them to incorporate some of the language of Banks. He regarded himself as an uneducated man, he may even have had the verbally uneducated man's awe of words in the mass; and here, beside him, he had an educated man who could pour them out in large quantities to some purpose. We can have no doubt that Banks was glad to help. But once Cook had learnt how to proceed, we do not get plagiarism on the grand scale again. The description of Tahiti is Banks's; except for phrases, occasional echoes, bits of natural history information, words that would strike an unlearned man as ‘good’, there are two separate accounts of New Zealand and New South Wales. In the end we have in the two journals, as it were, a vast diptych of Pacific exploration; a little of the design is the same, a few brush-strokes in one are modelled on those in the other; they contain corresponding figures and action; but the pictures are complementary, not identical. Banks, or rather Banks and Solander together, were the agents of a more general change in Cook's mind also. At the beginning of the voyage he was a seaman, a marine

1 I have printed parallel passages from both journals in Cook I, pp. ccv-viii; cf. pp. ccxiii-iv.

page 36 surveyor, a little of an astronomer, a man with a passion for exactitude in limited fields of enquiry. At its end he had become not, certainly, a natural historian, but a man whose intelligence had widened considerably to an understanding of the importance of all knowledge. The two men his companions had thus an importance beyond the importance of natural historians, considerable as that was.

It is time to return to our philosopher as, ‘in excellent health and spirits perfectly prepard … to undergo with chearfullness any fatigues or dangers’ he might encounter, he was borne with no great speed southwards upon the Atlantic bosom. In excellent spirits he was; the deep was full of wonder; other men might be irritated at a calm, but he and Solander had ‘easy contented countenances’ as they fished away and referred their catch to the Linnaean pages. They were honeymoon weeks, those early ones; the sailors too began to be interested; and when an African latitude was reached, and leave was taken of Europe, ‘perhaps for ever’, it was possible to spare one sigh but not two, for friends left behind — ‘friends’, it is to be assumed, including both sexes, Miss Harriet Blosset as well as Thomas Pennant. There was the brief stay at Madeira, lighted up by the agreeable Dr Heberden, il Doctore docto, philosophy in a wilderness of ignorance; there were the plants to be collected, the scenery and the people to be observed, the Franciscan monastery to be visited, and the convent where the sisters were so naively and delightfully confident in the visitors’ mastery of the secrets of nature; the governor to be shocked with the electrical machine. (Meanwhile the captain was acquiring wine and fresh water and onions.) Banks was far too busy to write letters home, but Solander got one away to Ellis. Then the routine of the sea again till early November, though a routine part of which was excitement: the glimpse of the Peak of Teneriffe raised above the sea, the ceremony at the crossing of the Line, so vividly described, the birds, the fish, the lunar rainbow, the catching of sharks, the expeditions in the small boat during calms, the sighting at last of the coast of Brazil. Down in the cabin, when activity on deck was impossible, Banks examined his specimens, Solander described, Parkinson drew, grabbing at his paints as the table tilted. Then the harbour of Rio de Janeiro, after eight weeks at sea; and the first blow at cheerfulness.

Cook called at Rio after due thought. He did not, strictly speaking, need to, though his instructions allowed him to do so if he wished, as they allowed him to call at Port Egmont in the Falkland Islands.

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He was well enough provided to make Port Egmont quite easily. But he was a careful man, and thus early he had developed his passion for getting fresh water and fresh food on every possible occasion — the onions at Madeira were another example, which had later to be explained to the accountants — and for seeing that they were consumed in place of stale water and salt meat. Also he wanted to heel his ship and look at the sides. The Portuguese had been spoken of very highly as hosts by Lord Anson, after his experience at St Catherine's island, and Commodore Byron (whose journal Cook had with him) had met with an excellent reception at Rio itself. The reception given by a new viceroy to the Endeavour was the reverse of excellent. The reasons that he made explicit seemed to Cook totally inadequate. They may be summarized as his orders from the Portuguese court for dealing with foreign vessels in general, his difficulty in believing that the Endeavour belonged to His Britannic Majesty's navy (she certainly did not look as if she did), and his suspicion that her real errand was not the observation of the Transit of Venus — a matter which he did not understand — but smuggling. There may have been complications in Portuguese foreign policy that he was not at liberty to explain. Nothing Cook could say or do could alter the determination of the Conde de Azambuja to take no risks. Cook said a good deal, and he adopted a high tone, and his paper war with the viceroy is one of the curiosities of the voyage;1 whether a lower tone would have made any difference is a matter for conjecture, but it does not seem probable. It is certain that in the production of the ‘memorials’ with which he bombarded the viceroy Banks took some part. Among the MSS in the Commonwealth National Library are four draft folio pages, written in a rapid indignant hand, the paragraphs much deleted, smudged and altered: it is the hand of Banks, and the draft is that of Cook's communication of 19 November 1768. Possibly this indicates that Banks did a good deal of drafting for Cook, for the papers are much of a style, and the crisis was not the sort of thing that Cook had dealt with before. An English gentleman, however, esteemed himself the equal of any viceroy, and this was a very furious English gentleman indeed. It is true nevertheless he managed to make his own memorials scrupulously polite.2 Banks's fury can be well understood, for his predicament seemed both ridiculous and gratuitous. He wanted to get ashore. The remarks of his journal are adequately condensed in his letter of 1 December to the Earl of Morton:

1 See Cook I, Appendix I, pp. 481 ff.

2 See below, II, pp. 315–20.

page 38
Your lordship Can more easily imagine our Situation than I can describe it all that we so ardently wishd to examine was in our sight we could almost but not quite touch them never before had I an adequate Idea of Tantalus's punishment but I have sufferd it with all possible aggravations three weeks have I staid aboard the ship regardless of every inconvenience of her being heeld down &c &c. which on any other occasion would have been no Small hardship but small evils are totaly swallowd up in the Larger bodily pain bears no comparison to pure in short the torments of the Damnd must be very severe indeed as doubtless my present ones Cannot nearly Equal them.1

Solander was more moderate, writing to Ellis: at Madeira, he recalled, they had met with a very good reception, ‘which is more than I can say of this place, where the viceroy has been so infernally cross and ill-natured, as to forbid us to set our feet upon dry land. How mortifying that must be to me and Mr. Banks, you best can feel…. We have, nevertheless, by fair means and foul, got about 300 species of plants, among them several new, and an infinite number of new fish…’2 By fair means and foul — though nothing very foul; outraged Science had to do its best through what it could pick up casually, or through innocent bribery, or by surreptitious and unhappily confined visits, while a continent stretched before it. South America, indeed, was inimical to natural historians: they went to the Dutch possessions and died there of tropical fevers, or the state of international politics turned them, in the administrative mind, into spies. Banks took what private revenge he could, in his journal; the Portuguese in Madeira might be ignorant, but here they were slaves, their rulers were not merely stupid and prejudiced but tyrannical. Considering his virtual imprisonment on board the ship, the account he gives of Rio de Janeiro is surprisingly full; but no doubt we owe a great deal, if not to his observation, to the information of Mr Burrish, the Englishman who served in the customs, of Lieutenant Forster, the other Englishman, of the Portuguese Estermoz regiment, who suffered badly in fortune for befriending his compatriots,3 and of the Spanish naval officers, whose liberties were so much greater than those of the English, and who proved so conversable.

The Endeavour got away from ‘these illiterate impolite gentry’ on 2 December, and stood south. With all inconveniences, Cook had got a sufficient refreshment for his men at Rio, and decided not to call at Port Egmont — a disappointment for Banks, who

1 See Appendix, II, pp. 313–5 below.

2 For the full text of this letter, see II, pp. 308–10 below.

3 See Lieutenant Forster's letter to Banks, 5 November 1771, II, pp. 321–3 below.

page 39 feared he would have no chance to collect in this southern part of the world. His fear was needless: the Bay of Good Success, on the coast of Tierra del Fuego, gave him a great deal of collecting, a view of the most primitive people he had ever seen, and a thoroughly bad scare into the bargain. His remarks on the people were, and remain, valuable, for no thorough study has been made even yet of this Ona tribe; his passion for collecting seems to have puzzled Cook, who just then looked at plants with a severely practical eye: could they be eaten? — were they anti-scorbutic? These plants, alas! were ‘most of them unknown in Europe and in that alone consisted their whole value’.1 His scare was the result of bad luck and lack of acquaintance with an unpredictable summer climate. The young Darwin of the Beagle and the young Hooker of the Erebus in after years followed Banks and his party up the Tierra del Fuegian hills, and experienced some of the same embarrassments underfoot; but they were luckier with the weather, and did not have to stay out all night — nor did they expend a great deal of their energy walking round in a circle. Banks was probably not in such danger as he apprehended, and he certainly made too much of the deprivation of food for some hours, and of the low temperature itself. The real cause of the party's unhappiness was, it seems likely, too much exertion too lightly undertaken after being cooped up on shipboard for four months, so that the effect of snow and cold was greater than it would otherwise have been. Buchan complicated the whole matter by his epileptic fit, and the two unfortunate negroes had paralysed their powers of resistance by the rum they had drunk. Banks's greyhound lay out with them in the snow without ill effect. And though the members of the party after regaining the ship were put into warm beds Banks was excepted: he went at once in a boat to haul the seine. We may conclude that the adventure, though unpleasant, and though it saw the end of poor Richmond and Dorlton, does not rank amongst the great crises of the voyage.
On 21 January 1769 the ship sailed from the Bay of Good Success and out of the Strait of le Maire to make the Horn passage, and then north-west. On 4 April Peter Briscoe, in the second watch, snatched from the sailors the honour of first sighting land — it was Lagoon Island, or Vahitahi, one of the Tuamotus — and on 13 April they were at anchor in Port Royal, in King George the Third's Island. A few more days, and they would be familiarly calling it Otaheite. The intervening weeks had been for Banks a

1 Cook I, p. 44.

page 40 continued excitement of sea-birds. Now we see a change in the character of his journal. At Madeira and Rio de Janeiro he had been both natural historian and any intelligent man. He had made lists of the plants and fishes of Madeira, of Brazilian plants, and stuck the lists in the journal, as he stuck in the letter from Dr Hulme about the use of inspissated lemon juice as a cure for scurvy. At Tierra del Fuego he met his first savages, and was highly delighted, and he still made a list of plants. Crossing the Pacific, there were the birds and fishes to be seen, captured, noted. From the arrival in Tahiti, all this took second place. The natural historian becomes the natural historian of man. The collecting still goes on, riches are piled up beyond the dreams of botanists and zoologists, in the islands, in New Zealand, in Australia; the really extraordinary phenomena get their sentence or paragraph; but all this has become the peculiar province of Solander, and of Spöring, and of Sydney Parkinson, busily, interminably, drawing and fighting the flies. Mr Buchan has succumbed to his fits — the loss of an ingenious and good young man, certainly, but what a loss to — we must seize on a word not yet invented — ethnography! For Mr Buchan was employed for the figure as well as the ‘landskip’. Banks would do his best in words. We have, in all the journals of this voyage, a pretty full description of the appearance and material culture of Tahiti, one not quite so good of New Zealand, one as good as possible of the eastern Australian coast; but it is Banks who gives us most. He even shows a capacity for going beyond the merely material. He has, in his excitement, his capacity for throwing himself into native ceremonial, his greed for recording everything, become the founder of Pacific ethnology. It may be pointed out that Tahitian was the only language not his own that Banks ever succeeded in learning.
It was at Tahiti that Banks's contribution to the success of the voyage was greatest. Telescopes and drying-books were important, it was immensely important that Spöring should be able to mend the stolen and damaged astronomical quadrant; but a capacity for dealing with people was fundamental. Cook had it, but perhaps he was a little formal, he was feeling his way: with Banks, on the other hand, all was ease and spontaneity. No one so able as he to manage the ship's trade; no one so confident and generous in his proffered friendship, or — in the main — so naturally tactful. He had advantages: he was young and personable yet authoritative, good-humoured, interested and unabashed, equally prepared to denounce Tahitian wrongdoing and to apologize for his own mis- page 41 judgments, attractive to men and women, old and young, chief and commoner alike. Who other than Banks would have thought of stripping and blackening himself to take part as a subordinate in a mourning ceremony — or so hugely enjoyed himself in the process? — he of ‘the white jacket and waistcoat, with silver frogs’, as described by Parkinson. And who would have measured with such diligence everything capable of being measured, or followed with such careful attention the process of beating out and dyeing tapa cloth, or of tattooing a young girl's buttocks, or have noted so exactly the amount of food consumed by one chiefly person at one meal? Banks, naturally, must be himself tattooed — though on the arm, it appears, and nowhere else.1 All things conspired to favour him — the cast of his mind, his gift for observation and rapid description, his cheerfulness, his ability to ingratiate himself without trying. We read (not in his own journal) of only one quarrel in which he was involved, and it is significant that this was with another young man, Monkhouse the surgeon, and over women. Most attractive to women Banks most certainly was, and — with equal certainty — he carried in his own bosom a susceptible though discriminating heart. It was on his second day only in Tahiti that he turned from the exalted lady he referred to as Tomio — ‘ugly enough in conscience’ — to that ‘very pretty girl with a fire in her eyes’ he had ‘espied among the common crowd’. Was this pretty one identical with ‘Otheatea’ — ‘my flame’ ? It does not seem so, because Otheatea was attached to that eminent figure, Purea, who came later on the scene: well, was Otheatea one of the three charming celebrants of the ceremony of May 11 ? No, that is evidently not so; but they turn up at every point, these delightful young persons, from one end of the island to the other, and when once Banks notes, as a reason for his discourtesy to the eminent, that he was ‘otherwise engag'd,’ it was not, we must regretfully conclude, of Miss Harriet Blosset that he was thinking.2 Very pleasant all this was for Joseph Banks: we have forgotten entirely the gentleman of liberal fortune; New Burlington Street, Revesby Abbey have faded into an unremembered mist; we have merely an enthusiastic investigator deep in experience. Then we are

1 So, at least, I gather from a letter from Charles Davy, of Hensted, Suffolk, 5 June 1773 (D.T.C. I, p. 54): ‘If it is not giving you too much trouble, I should be much obliged to you for an exact copy of the characters stain'd upon your arm…’ Davy was the author of an essay on alphabetic writing, and was much interested to know whether the ‘characters’ represented amulets, things, or sounds. But it is odd that Banks does not mention this personal experience in his journal, if it did indeed take place.

2 Considering this episode (see p. 279 below), the later intimate linking of Banks's name with that of Purea (p. 101) has its light irony.

page 42 brought up with a round turn, we do have a touch of grand seigneur. There was the question of Tupaia the priest and expert navigator: should he be taken on the Endeavour or not ? The captain thought not, the captain was not a romantic, he knew something of officialdom; ‘I therefore’, announces Banks to his journal, ‘have resolvd to take him. Thank heaven I have a sufficiency and I do not know why I may not keep him as a curiosity, as well as some of my neighbours do lions and tygers at a larger expence than he will ever probably put me to; the amusement I shall have in his future conversation and the benefit he will be of to this ship, as well as what he may be if another should be sent into these seas, will I think fully repay me’. It was the age of private zoos; but Tupaia would be better than a zoo. If Banks had only known it, a Tahitian was already the rage in Paris, with abbés writing poetry about him and fashionable ladies gazing at him desperately at the opera.

There were the Society Islands to visit, and then a new voyage south, with prodigious quantities of sea-birds, and whales, and porpoises — but no Southern Continent — before Cook set his course for what he knew must exist, the eastern coast of New Zealand, up the western side of which Tasman had sailed in December 1642 and January 1643. Tasman had sprung to the conclusion that this must indeed be the coast of a continent, which stretched away eastward somehow to join with ‘Staten Land’ — i.e. Staten Island, on the eastern side of Le Maire Strait. The latter part of this assumption had been shattered by the Dutch in the same year 1643, by the simple process of sailing round Staten Island, and now Cook was to shatter the first part also, by sailing right round New Zealand, in a sort of toùr de force of navigation and survey which left very little to the fancy of speculative geographers. Banks had accepted the speculations — had, it appears, like most other people, taken a southern continent for granted — and he hung on to his belief that New Zealand must be a part of it with a comic persistence which he annotates very well himself, until the ship turned the southern point ‘to the total demolition of our aerial fabrick calld continent’. He was not, that is, as experimental, as sceptical, in his geographical approach as was Cook. His general reasonings on the subject, entered in his journal after the decision was taken to make for the east coast of ‘New Holland’ (and added to, as we can see, from the later references to the facilities at the Cape), show clear traces of discussion with Cook and the others in the great cabin of the Endeavour: here, we may be pretty certain, the plan for another and conclusive voyage page 43 is a Cook and not a Banks plan. Cook, in his own journal, made it plain that he was guided by experience and would wait on fresh experience. Banks is rather more sentimental. To stand to the west-ward for New Holland might mean discoveries interesting to trade, but it would mean the abandonment of

our first great object, the Southern Continent: this for my own part I confess I could not do without much regret. — That a Southern Continent really exists, I firmly beleive; but if ask'd why I beleive so, I confess my reasons are weak; yet I have a preposession in favour of the fact which I find it dificult to account for…. it must be prodigiously smaller in extent than the theoretical continent makers have supposd it to be…. we have taken from them their firmest Ground work, in Proving New Zealand to be an Island, which I beleive was lookd upon even by the most thinking people, to be in all probability at least a part of some Vast Countrey…. As for their reasoning about the Balancing of the two poles, which always appeard to me to be a most childish argument, we have already shorn off so much of their supposd counterbalancing land that by their own account the South pole would already be too light, unless what we have left should be made of very ponderous materials. As much fault as I find with these gentlemen will however probably recoil on myself, when I on so slight grounds as those I have mentiond again declare it to be my opinion that a Southern Continent exists, an opinion in favour of which I am strongly preposesd; but foolish and weak as all prepossesions must be thought I would not but declare myself so, least I might be supposd to have stronger reasons which I conceald.1

Perhaps we may regard this as in fact highly judicious; for there was, surely enough, a southern continent — though what we know as Antarctica, all that remained after a great deal more had been shorn off than was the result of the Endeavour's operations, proved to be violently different from the construction of the theoretical continent makers.

We are departing, however, from Banks's real rôle as that of an observer of natural phenomena; and in both New Zealand and Australia we find him at his best. New Zealand may in one way be judged his real triumph; for at no place there did he have a long stay, such as in Tahiti or even during the enforced weeks at the Endeavour river — weeks which were so fruitful in collecting and then became so dull. On the botanical side, the brief days in New Zealand harbours were highly productive; the description Banks gives of the people is — to speak moderately — extremely good. He even noticed dialectal differences in the pronunciation of the

1 II, pp. 38–40 below.

page 44 language. If we had the whole of William Brougham Monkhouse's journal, and if it kept on as it began for this New Zealand visit, we should clearly have something as good; and in the descriptions that have survived from the French visits of Surville and Marion du Fresne to Doubtless Bay and the Bay of Islands in 1770 and 1772 we have a great deal more detail on certain matters.1 In one or two respects, Banks went wrong: he gave a general judgment on the scantiest acquaintance with land birds, and he was all too eager to build that peculiar chief ‘Teratu’ into an ‘Indian King’;2 but with all defects, he gives us a masterly sketch. In more than one way, also, he casts some light on his own character: as when he records his melancholy over what seemed either the enforced or the needless slaying of Maoris at Poverty Bay; or his enchantment at the singing of the bell-birds at Queen Charlotte Sound; or his determination, also at Queen Charlotte Sound, to get hold of positive material proofs of Maori cannibalism. On cannibalism he would philosophize, just as, beginning with his New Zealand and South Seas vocabularies and going on to whatever else he could pick up, he would, like a good eighteenth century philosopher (language exerted its charm on many men) reason historically on his findings in comparative philology. Indeed, bring all his scattered observations on this particular subject together, and one finds him not merely a collector of word-lists (there are, after all, longer lists in Parkinson) but the discoverer of the underlying linguistic unity that leads the modern philologist to talk of an ‘Austronesian’ language group. A little philosophizing there is too in the description of New South Wales: ‘Thus live these I had almost said happy people, content with little nay almost nothing, far enough removd from the anxieties attending upon riches’, and so on; this, in that day and age, was almost irresistible, but Banks does not go very far; Cook (of all people) is far sillier. Banks does not on the whole shine in general reflection; his strength, it becomes ever more clear as one proceeds with his journal, was description — often detailed, as in his account of the Australian ants; generally vivid, as when he writes of the harrowing twenty-three hours spent on the reef, or the shorter, but even more harrowing, period of tension outside the reef on August 16. ‘The Fear of Death is Bitter’, he says, and he leaves no doubt in our minds that there was ample opportunity to fear it, and that he knew the bitterness. He was an honest man. Cook, who found Banks

1 See, e.g. Historical Records of New Zealand, II (Wellington 1914), pp. 230 ff.

2 See Cook I, clii-iii.

page 45 (to use the old phrase) so ‘damned good to steal from’, and whose own statement is habitually one of moderation, does not seem to have found him ever immoderate. So it was with a very large cargo not only of dried plants and other specimens, but of immediately remembered tribulation that the ship turned the northern point of Australia into the Endeavour Channel of Torres Strait. It is curious how lightly Banks takes this significant moment in geographical history. ‘We observd both last night and this morn that the main lookd very narrow so we began to look out for the Passage we expected to find between new Holland and New Guinea. At noon one was seen very narrow but appearing to widen: we resolv'd to try it so stood in’. To a student of the cartographical history of the Pacific there is a slight sense of anti-climax about this. The problem was not, evidently, a problem Banks worried about. He had Dalrymple's map. The geography was incidental to the botany.

There was indeed a passage, and with the ship safely through it the exploratory part of the voyage may be said to have ended, whatever Cook found out about the sandbanks of New Guinea. It may be said to have ended, if we need a precise date, on 23 August 1770, when he and Banks came away from Booby Island, where now is the lighthouse marking the western entrance to the strait — the island on which Banks, instead of shooting boobies, ‘botanizd and found some plants which I had not before seen’. But his explorations were not at an end. The ‘people’ were becoming bored with the voyage. They were not starved, they were well looked after, their health, at the end of two years out from home, was excellent; not one man had died of sickness — an astonishing feat for any captain. What they wanted, however, was not the consolation of good health or reflections on the excellence of their commander's administration, but a known port, the sight of European faces, and a great deal of fresh food of the kind that was recognized by Europeans as food. After that they wanted a conventional voyage across known seas homeward. They were suffering, Banks concluded, from ‘nostalgia’ — a word the doctors were beginning to use. Not so himself and the captain: their minds were busily occupied as usual. Banks's mind was to be busily occupied to the very end. He could not find anything new, strictly speaking, in plants at Savu, or Batavia, or the Cape; was not everything East Indian in Rumphius, known from the great folios in Europe? Had not Linnaeus a generation earlier got the very Musa, the banana, noblest of plants, to flower and fruit in the page 46 glass-house of Georg Clifford, East India Company director, at Hartecamp near Leyden ? But he could find plenty of plants and fruit new to him that were a joy to identify and describe; and there was still man in his infinite variety of appearance and behaviour and mentality to enquire into. What happened when one raja succeeded another in Savu, how the Dutch collected tribute, the domestic architecture, markets, sanitation, economics, government and currency of Batavia, Javanese folk-lore, the position of the Chinese under Dutch rule, specimens of language, the aspect of Cape Town, Hottentot physiology, South African settlement and animals, the charms of South African young women, Bougainville's voyage — all, whether observed or enquired into in conversation, were assiduously noted down and recorded. And there was still St Helena. Banks was omnivorous. There were excellent precedents. Had not Linnaeus, the Master, been omnivorous in exactly the same way on his famous Lapland journey ? Was not the highest peak of public interest always reached at his appearance in Lapland suit, with drum ? And was not Batavia as much unknown to the English as Lapland, or the South Seas? It seemed well worth an editor's while, when the official volumes on the voyage were in preparation, to give as many pages to that town and its people, drawn from Banks, as to the general account of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, of course, the most dreadful part of the whole great three years’ voyage had come to pass, the onset of malaria, and fearfully worse, dysentery, at Batavia and on the passage between Prince's Island and the Cape. The achievement had been masterly; the luck, after coming off the reef with a paper-thin bottom and a hole plugged with coral, stupendous: and there is something cruelly gratuitous in the fatal sickness that then struck practically the entire ship's company, and that neither Cook, nor Banks, nor anyone else could avert by whatever thought beforehand, or action in its presence. The Batavian sailors, noted Banks, ‘were almost as spectres’; so that the Endeavour's people, ‘who truly might be calld rosy and plump’ — after all those months! — ‘Jeerd and flouted much at their brother sea men's white faces’. It was too soon to jeer and flout. Too many men were to die; and Banks's own physical agonies were of a sort he had not taken into account when writing so glibly from Rio to Morton of the comparison between the pains of the body and of the mind. Of Banks's own people Solander narrowly escaped with his life, to gossip as cheerily as ever to a sympathetic and wondering London; but poor Tupaia (if we may make him belong to Banks, like a lion or tiger) and his page 47 servant-boy died; Parkinson died; Spöring died. Their virtues deserved a better fate; they were both men to whom the historian of the voyage owes much. By the time the ship left the Cape, where three more men died (a fourth, Molyneux the master, succumbed shortly after she sailed), the sickness was virtually over; Lieutenant Hicks died on the passage home, but he had begun the voyage with consumption, and was a doomed man. Nothing further happened to Banks. The ship’ picked up the East India fleet at St Helena and sailed with it for a while, until outpaced; she sighted England on 10 July 1771, and two days later the adventurer closed his journal and landed at Deal.

The question arises for general consideration, as he steps on shore, how really good is this journal? Various portions of it have been praised in the foregoing pages, but can one summarize simply, by rendering additional praise, and leaving it at that? Or must one make modifications? Does Banks give us an adequate account of the voyage ? Is he invariably accurate ? In particular — though we have called him a good observer — was he a really good observer?

We may answer, first of all, by stressing again some of the journal's virtues. It is full, it contains a large amount of invaluable detail, it has unending vivacity, it is obviously the work of an exceedingly quick and lively mind. The mind is that of a young man. To read the original, with its quite astounding lack of punctuation, is to get the feeling of almost breathless excitement, as the impressions crowded and the words tumbled on to the paper. That in itself is good, in a record of discovery, as long as the record remains coherent, and we cannot say that Banks lacks coherency. We may say certainly that his journal is essential to an understanding of the voyage and its results: without it we should be disastrously worse off in our knowledge. When Cook's journal was turned over to Dr Hawkesworth for editing, with the journals of the voyages of Byron and Wallis and Carteret, Banks, on the suggestion of Sandwich,1 handed over his journal also. Hawkesworth was delighted; he was a general practitioner in literature, not a seaman or a geographer; he had not the remotest interest in the southern continent or the behaviour of Venus; but he knew what would go

1 So I infer from Hawkesworth's words: ‘I am happy in your Lordship's powerfull Influence with Mr Banks for the use of his Journall. I flatter myself that I shall be able to prevent ill humour, and satisfy the utmost Delicacy of a Gentleman to whom I shall be so much obliged’.—Hawkesworth to Sandwich, 19 November 1771; Sandwich Papers, Hinchingbrooke.

page 48 down with the public; he knew — if the vulgarism be allowed — when he was on to a good thing. He knew what to accentuate, and when ‘Joseph Banks Esquire, a Gentleman possessed of considerable landed property in Lincolnshire’, gave his permission to an editor to take out of the gentleman's journal whatever the editor thought would ‘improve or embellish’ a narrative, that editor hastened to improve and to embellish. ‘I knew the advantage would be great’, wrote Hawkesworth in his introduction,1 ‘for few philosophers have furnished materials for accounts of voyages undertaken to discover new countries. The adventurers in such expeditions have generally looked only upon the great outline of Nature, without attending to the variety of shades within, which give life and beauty to the piece…. It is indeed fortunate for mankind, when wealth and science, and a strong inclination to exert the powers of both for purposes of public benefit, unite in the same person…’. This is just, though it could have been said less respectfully, and in fewer words. And Hawkesworth's text is, in the end, at least as much Banks as Cook.2 Yet he could not drop Cook — if for no other reason, because Cook gave him the voyage as a piece of navigation, as an exercise in geographical discovery; which, after all, apart from the observation of the Transit, was its purpose. This Banks did not give him. The practical seaman, pushing into the Pacific, with some island landfall before him over the horizon, and a lively feeling about coral reefs, would take Cook's journal rather than Banks's, if both were offered him. The observations he wanted were precise ones, in the nautical sense, not those of the natural historian or of the ‘human geographer’ — though it was surprising how many of those he would find in Cook too.
But this is, strictly speaking, irrelevant. Banks kept a journal, not ‘of’ the voyage, but ‘on’ the voyage. We may be surprised at some of his omissions. It would have been interesting to get his view of the situation surrounding the cropping of Mr Orton's ears, that night of drunken frolic on the Australian coast that aroused Cook's anger so; one would have expected him to notice, if barely, the death of poor Hicks, whose rôle as second in command

1 Hawkesworth, I, pp. xiii-xv.

2 ‘But in the papers which were communicated to me by Mr. Banks, I found a great variety of incidents which had not come under the notice of Captain Cook, with descriptions of countries and people, their productions, manners, customs, religion, policy, and language, much more full and particular than were expected from a Gentleman whose station and office naturally turned his principal attention to other objects; for these particulars, therefore, besides many practical observations, the Public is indebted to Mr. Banks. To Mr. Banks also the Public is indebted for the designs of the engravings which illustrate and adorn the account of this voyage….’—Hawkesworth. II, p. xiv.

page 49 had been not unimportant. But though we should have liked him to give us even more than he does give us, that again is not the point. We are not to ask him — it would be absurd to ask him — for everything. He makes a large contribution to the material for the history of the voyage, and the voyage is to be understood in its totality only from study of all the material — his own journal, Cook's journal, the logs and journals of the rest of the ship's company, the other documentation, the scientific results printed by the Royal Society and the observations critically examined later by William Wales, later geographical and hydrographic knowledge, Solander's great series of botanical and zoological notes and descriptions, the natural history specimens brought back, the drawings, the artifacts. As the list lengthens, we realize how very little we have in fact known about this familiar piece of history. The question therefore is, is Banks accurate as well as interesting in what he writes? The answer is, on the whole and so far as he can be checked by the words of his shipmates or of later observers, yes, admirably so. We should be lucky indeed to have corresponding journals for certain other great voyages of discovery. What makes us hesitate is some of his remarks about St Helena, which, in their Hawkes-worthian guise as part of Cook's journal, got Cook into trouble on his homeward passage in 1775. They were damning paragraphs. Wanton cruelty to slaves? No carriages or wheelbarrows? No porter's knots? Ill-built houses? The inhabitants were outraged. Cook was mortified. ‘How these things came to be thus missrepresented, I can not say, as they came not from me…. I am not a little obliged to some people in the isle for the obligeing manner they pointed out these Mistakes’.1 Banks should certainly have been more careful about his generalizations after so short a visit, one day of which was devoted to ‘Botanizing on the Ridge’ and climbing around the hills, and we may need to be cautious about his hearsay evidence. These particular remarks, however, are an extremely small part of a large journal. If we go further back, to Tahiti, we find a little misapprehension about the class of persons known as the teuteu, the hereditary retainers of the chiefly class or arii; the teuteu, concluded Banks, were ‘upon almost the same footing as the Slaves in the East India Islands’. They were not slaves, and he had no direct knowledge of slaves anywhere; but class-structure is a difficult thing to gauge, even in three months, and the mistake was pardonable. In New Zealand, with preconceived notions in his head about ‘kings’, and inadequate acquaintance with the

1 Cook II, p.662. Cf. Cook I, pp. ccxlv-lvii. See also II, p.267, n. below.

page 50 Polynesian language, he made the large mistake about ‘Teratu’; but that too is very pardonable. His account of the construction of the Maori canoe is quite inaccurate,1 and compares badly with his description of ship-building in the Society Islands. In giving his general account of New South Wales he denied too definitely the existence of fresh water: true, it had not been found conveniently all along the coast, and Cook's name, ‘Thirsty Sound’, indicates decided disappointment. Cook nevertheless is the more judicious: the country, he reports, ‘is indefferently well watered, even in the dry Seasons, with small Brooks and streams…. It was only in Thirsty Sound where we could find no fresh water’. ‘Indifferently’ means moderately, tolerably; Banks, we may take it, wanted a large river. If he had been Dampier (to whom he refers more than once in other connections), digging unsuccessfully in the sand, he might have had more reason for his remark. Off the east coast of Africa he registers a much greater alarm at what he regards as the ship's dangerous predicament than does anyone else. Is this to be taken as an error, merely a landsman's excited judgment, or the Voice of Truth which the seamen were willing to smother? Between Batavia and the Cape, he is more than once demonstrably wrong over his dates; he is wrong again at the Cape, for which indeed he refers to ‘my irregular journal’,2 and he is wrong in the Atlantic after leaving St Helena. What then, taking such matters into consideration, are we to conclude? The mere fact that we pick them out so is enlightening. Banks was a good observer. His record is a trustworthy as well as lively one. It is also, one may reflect as one turns its rich pages, apart altogether from its reporting of the varied strange and new, a not inadequate introduction to the natural history, and to the classic authors of the natural history, of the eighteenth century.
He stepped ashore into an agreeable aura of public attention. Cook reported to the Admiralty, and went home to Mrs Cook and his modest house in the unfashionable village of Mile End. But above New Burlington Street, we may assume, the sky was radiant with glory, as Mr Banks gazed once more on papered walls and curtained windows, and Peter Briscoe and James Roberts began to unpack the pressed plants and bottles of animals in spirits, the island curios, the tapa cloth and New Zealand cloaks, the fisgigs

1 ‘… built of very thin planks sewd together’.—See II, p. 22 below.

2 It had been irregular before, at Batavia, but certainly no blame attaches for that, or for the absence of any specific entry at all between 14 and 24 November 1770.

page 51 and throwing sticks from New Holland, the shells and the drawings. The newspaper offices buzzed with paragraphs. The voyage had been protracted beyond its estimated length; there had been anxious weeks at the Admiralty, and fears that the ship was lost. The newspapers had opined that it had been sent to the bottom ‘by order of a jealous Court’ — oh dire atrocious Spain! — with Mr Banks and ‘the famous Dr Solander’ as well as its less distinguished company. In October 1770 Sarah Sophia Banks, steadfast in faith, had assured Thomas Pennant that there was not the least foundation for these very alarming reports — ‘we begin to fear we shall not see them till spring, upon account of their having missed the Trade Wind, but that is a very different situation to what the papers represented’.1 Now all was joy, and soon she would be settling down to copy her brother's journal for him. Poetry was not slow to celebrate the voyagers.

The muse, O BANKS, with great respect attends,
To hail thee welcome to desponding friends,
Who long with pungent sorrows were assail'd,
Whilst thoughts uncertain of thy life prevail'd: …

The muse2 contrasted him with the generality of modern youths, greatly to their disadvantage, and contemplated his attributes with the highest approval. The newspapers became positively reverential : they were all Mr Banks, or Mr Banks and Dr Solander — or sometimes Dr Solander and Mr Banks; it was Mr Banks's voyage, Mr Banks's and Dr Solander's discoveries; the nobility were calling at Mr Banks's house to see his curiosities; there was a more specialized excitement over the Tahitian seeds now germinating in Mr Lee's Hammersmith soil;3. Mr Banks had brought back ‘no less than seventeen thousand plants, of a kind never before seen in this kingdom’; Mr Banks was introduced to His Majesty at St James's Palace by Lord Beauchamp, and received very graciously; Dr Solander and Mr Banks had the honour of another interview at Richmond, ‘when they presented’ the monarch ‘with a coronet of gold, set around with feathers, which was given them by a chief on the coast of Chili’; the peak was reached with the information that ‘Mr. Banks is to have two ships from government to pursue his discoveries in the South Seas, and will sail upon his second voyage

1 S.S.B. to Pennant, 6 October 1770; ATL, ALS 269.

2 It was a Quaker muse. The lines quoted are from an effusion by Mrs Jane Gomeldon, the cousin of Sydney Parkinson; they were written on receiving a letter from Sydney at Batavia, which announced the expedition's safety, and are prefixed to some copies o Parkinson's Journal. See Cook I, p. 627.

3 Letters and Journals of Lady Mary Coke, III (Edinburgh 1892), p. 44.3

page 52 next March’. The peak was left with a flight into the pure empyrean when it was announced that ‘the celebrated Mr Banks’ would shortly make another voyage to St George's Islands, with three ships, men, arms and provisions, in order to plant a colony there.1 Dr Solander and Mr Banks even attended a private meeting of the Board of Admiralty, to receive instructions for this intended voyage; and now they were to have one ship of fifty guns, two frigates, and three smaller sail. They were particularly charged, not with colonization, but with making discoveries on the coasts of New Holland and New Zealand, ‘which are at present almost entirely unknown’.2 It was more than a nine days’ wonder; and everybody wanted to hang on the heroes’ lips. Lady Mary Coke, after recording the gossip for Friday, 9 August, remarked ‘But the people who are most talk'd of at present are Mr Banks and Doctor Solander: I saw them at Court and afterwards at L[ad]y Hertford's, but did not hear them give any account of their Voyage round the world, which I am told is very amusing’.3 They must have talked a great deal at one time or another.4 They dined with Dr Johnson and Boswell, and Johnson, at Banks's request, wrote the celebrated distich in honour of the ship's goat, now browsing in distinguished superannuation.5. They dined with the Royal Society Club. In November they went to Oxford to receive honorary doctorates.6 They went to stay with

1 For these quotations in their contexts see Cook I, pp. 642 ff., except that on the ‘coronet of gold’, which I take from the Annual Register, 1771, Chronicle p. 150, for 23 September.

2 Gent. Mag., XLI (1771), p. 567.

3 Letters and Journals, III, p. 435.

4 One person who got no satisfaction from the conversation, though we do not know when it took place (perhaps it was on Banks's passage through Scotland late in 1772), was Lord Monboddo. ‘We travelled towards Aberdeen, another University, and in the way dined at Lord Monbodo's, the Scotch Judge who has lately written a strange book about the origin of Language, in which he traces Monkeys up to Men, and says that in some countries the human species have tails like other beasts. He enquired for these longtailed Men of Banks, and was not well pleased, that they had not been found in all his peregrination’.—Johnson to Mrs Thrale, 25 August 1773, Letters (ed. R. W. Chapman, Oxford 1952), I, p. 321.

5 Johnson to Banks, 27 February 1772, Letters, I, p. 272. Boswell himself did not run down the gentlemen till later, as we learn from his London Journal, 22 March 1772. On that date he visited Sir John Pringle, the President of the Royal Society. ‘He had with him Lord Lyttelton and several more Gentlemen, in particular the famous Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, whom I had a great curiosity to see. Mr. Banks was a genteel young man, very black [i.e. dark], and of an agreable countenance, easy and communicative, without any affectation or appearance of assuming. Dr. Solander, though a Swede, spoke english with more fluency and propriety than most natives.’—Private Papers of James Boswell, 9 (New Haven 1930), p. 28. Much (in fact years) later, Johnson remarked to Mrs Thrale, ‘You may remember, I thought Banks had not gained much by circumnavigating the world’; but what precisely he meant by this, or when he first said it, or how he could judge, we do not know. He wrote on 16 October 1780, Letters, II, p. 406

6 They were both created D.C.L. on 21 November 1771.—Foster, Alumni Oxonienses, I (London 1887), p. 57. This was the only academic degree Banks ever attained.

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Sydney Parkinson

Sydney Parkinson

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Sandwich, who had become First Lord of the Admiralty, at Hin-chingbrooke. When the Royal Society measured the height of St Paul's, in its researches into atmospheric weight at different elevations, the names of Dr Solander and Mr Banks were particularly noticed.1

Of course Ellis wrote to Linnaeus very early, indeed first on 10 May the day after the newspapers heard from the India House the definite news of the ship's arrival at Batavia; the learned and curious in England felt universal joy. Solander would be introduced to the Royal Family as soon as he was returned, and then probably his merits would be rewarded. The travellers did return; they were ‘laden with spoils, particularly of the vegetable world, some few rare ones of the animal kingdom; but I do not hear much of the mineral kingdom…. Dr. Solander has been very ill, but is now very well…. They have sufficient for one thousand folio plates…. They are so very busy getting their things on shore, and seeing their friends, after an absence of three years, that they have scarce time to tell us of any thing but the many narrow escapes they have had from imminent danger. … Be so good to inform Dr. Solander's friends of the success he has had in returning safe after so many perils, laden with the greatest treasure of Natural History that ever was brought into any country at one time by two persons. … I hope Dr. Solander will write to you soon himself; I shall beg of him not to defer it’.2 Solander did defer it. The old man, feverish with excitement at the prospect of seeing new plants from Banksia, or Terra australis’,3 wrote at once both to Banks and to Solander; to the ‘immortal Banks’, the glory of England and the whole world, to whom botanists should raise a statue more enduring than the Pyramids;4 but, said Ellis, ‘they have been so hurried with company that they have very little time’ to write back.5 The hurry of company was quite enough also to keep them from sending the Master specimens of their discoveries, and when he read in the English newspapers of an intended new voyage, he was almost sleepless with worry.6

The hurry of company might deter Banks from writing to the man whose correspondence, three years before, he would have regarded as a sublime honour; but it could not save him from

1 Annual Register, 1771, Chronicle, p. 154, for 12 November.

2 Ellis to Linnaeus, 10 May, 16 July 1771; J.E.S. I, pp. 259–60, 263–4.

3 The phrase is in a later letter from Linnaeus to Ellis, 20 December 1771; ibid., p. 123.

4 8 August 1771; B. M. Add. MS 8094.33. The letter is in Latin.

5 Ellis to Linnaeus, 19 November 1771; J.E.S.I, pp. 271–2.

6 Linnaeus to Ellis, 22 October 1771; ibid., I, p. 267. See p. 70–1 below.

page 54 embarrassments. The first of these arose from Miss Harriet Blosset; who, it appears, at the intoxicating tidings of the arrival of the Endeavour, did not hurry up at once to town, but, with proper delicacy, waited a few days in the country for her impassioned lover to make some advance to her. Now Banks may well be pardoned if, during an absence of three years, of much stimulation to his mind and some to his heart, the vision of Miss Blosset grew dim. What home thoughts from abroad he entrusted to his journal do not embrace that young woman, and one of his remarks upon the Cape would have been singularly discouraging to her, could she have read it. He admired the Cape ladies: ‘In general they are handsome with clear skins and high Complexions and when married (no reflextions upon my country women) are the best housekeepers imaginable and great childbearers; had I been inclind for a wife I think this is the place of all others I have seen where I could best have suited myself. One would guess at this stage that not merely had the vision of Miss Blosset grown dim; she must have been entirely blotted from his mind. Return, however, revived the awkward memory; our young man found he had not the slightest interest in Miss Blosset, but what was he to do? He shelved the problem in the hurry of company; he did nothing. His friends, whose memories had been more lively, were distressed; in the end they were appalled. It became plain that Mr Banks was not acting like a gentleman. Gossip was lively: we have Lady Mary Coke again, as early as 14 August. ‘I saw Mr. Morrice this morning…. He was excessively drole according to custom, and said he hoped Mr Banks, who since his return has desired Miss Blosset will excuse his marrying her, will pay her for the materials of all the work'd waistcoats She made for him during the time he was sailing round the World. Everybody agrees that She passed those three years in retirement, but whether She imploy'd herself in working waistcoats for Mr Banks I can't tell you, but if She loved him I pity her disappointment’.1 Miss Blosset was indeed in the most unenviable situation. At least she managed to keep her head rather better than did Mr Banks, if we may rely on the circumstantial information supplied by one friend of Banks, the good Daines Barrington, to another, Thomas Pennant, in the following letters.2

1 Letters and Journals, III, p, 437.

2 Both in ATL, ALS 269. They appear to have come to the library with other fragments of Pennant's papers, some already quoted. The second is merely the portion of a letter, with no date or address, but in the same writing as the first, to which it almost certainly refers.

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Carnarvon Augt 24 1771

Dear Sr

The account I have receivd of Mr Banks's infidelity is the following & I believe you may depend upon every circumstance of it.

Upon his arrival in England he took no sort of notice of Miss Blosset for the first week or nearly so at the same time that he went about London & visited other friends & acquaintance.

On this Miss Blosset set out for London & wrote him a letter desiring an interview of explanation.

To this Mr Bankes answer'd by a letter of 2 or 3 sheets professing love &c but that he found he was of too volatile a temper to marry.

The answer as you may suppose rather astonished & some how or other after this there was an interview when Miss Bl: swoon'd &c & Mr Bankes was so affected that Marriage was again concluded upon. Notwithstanding this however a short time afterwards he writes a second letter to the same purport with the former, & leaves poor Miss Bl: in the most distressing as well as ridiculous situation imaginable.

Mr Bankes's behaviour seems therefore to me to be totally without excuse as he admits he gave Miss Bl: the strongest reason to expect he would return her husband.

Supposing him however to have discovere'd in a three year voyage (during which by the way he would scarcely have seen any other woman) that he should not prove a good husband.

Should he not have immediately dispatch'd a Messenger on his landing with the best reasons he could muster for declining what he had so thoroughly settled? Should he not also have immediately plac'd in the Stocks & in Miss Blossets name a most noble satisfaction (as far as money could repair it) for this injury. And when he had done both these things could the satisfaction be otherwise than highly inadequate?

To prove however beyond a doubt how very shamefull his behaviour hath been to this poor girl Mrs Bankes his mother who always disapprov'd of the match blames him as much as anyone.

The Blossets also as you may imagine resent the injury to such a degree that upon some ones intimating that Mr Banks could not do otherwise than make a most large pecuniary satisfaction they declare that the offer of his whole estate would be consider'd as the highest insult & that the only consolation they can ever receive is that Miss Blosset will not now become the wife of a man who hath behav'd so infamously.

I find this account runs to such a length that I must deferr my Welsh Anecdotes to the next place — Dolgelly.

Ever Yrs


P: S: The Blossets complain of Solander as I am told but I have not heard any particulars of what they lay to his charge.
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I have receiv'd at this place a most particular account from a Lady of what hath pass'd between Mr Banks & Miss Blosset who strongly confirms that the former made the most explicit declaration.

What think you of the following facts?

Mr Banks had an interview with her in London which lasted from ten O'clock at Night to ten the next Morning during which he said he was ready to marry her immediately.

Miss Blosset however would not catch at this proposal but told him if he was of the same mind a fortnight hence, she would gladly attend him to church Three or four days after which he wrote her a letter desiring to be off.

Mr Tunstall writes me word that Mr Banks and Dr Solander mean to fall plump from the Cape of Good Hope upon 70 Degs of Southern Latitude

Ever Yrs


P.S. Mr Banks in this conversation said he had acted by the advice of a friend & hence the Blossets blame Solander as I before inform'd you.1

Whether Solander's common sense made him urge Banks to get out of the false situation at any cost to his dignity, or whether Banks's imagination conjured up the advice of a friend’ to help him out, we do not know. Solander himself was a confirmed bachelor, and knowing Banks by this time pretty well, he may have judged that the young man was no husband for Miss Blosset. There, it seems, the afflicting matter must be left.

Miss Blosset was not the only embarrassment that afflicted the returned traveller in the midst of his glory. There was also Stanfield Parkinson. From the difficulties hereby created we see Banks emerge with more credit. These difficulties lasted some months, and involved a number of people, but it is convenient to deal with the whole rather tangled story here. After the death of the unfortunate Joel Parkinson, brewer, of Edinburgh, it appears that not only Sydney but his mother, Elizabeth, his elder brother Stanfield, and his sister Britannia, had migrated to London. Sydney, accomplished and amiable, had been engaged by Banks as his botanical draughtsman for the voyage at a salary of £80 a year. On his departure from England he left his will with his sister Britannia.

1 The other side of the page on which the foregoing is written has for some reason been crossed through, but contains, inter alia, the following remarks which probably refer to Bougainville's account of his voyage, published in 1771: ‘I do not conceive that Bougainville or Commercons observations will be as accurate as Solanders, however I think you must allow that the Voyage is very entertaining & interesting. I wish the French would learn of the Northern Naturalists to describe & that the Swedes would learn of them to think’.

page 57

He had worked exceedingly hard at his drawings,1 and in what spare time he could make had not only collected shells and other curiosities but had put down many notes and drafts for a journal, a fair copy of which was generally thought to have been written by him; what he wrote as well as what he drew was in any case highly admired by his shipmates. He died on 26 January 1771. Before he died, he asked Solander to see that his friend James Lee the nurseryman had the perusal of his papers; and he seems to have given Banks a copy of his will. Banks handed this copy to the executors, Elizabeth the mother, and Stanfield, who found it contained no alterations; and as Elizabeth withdrew from all administration in favour of her son, Stanfield entered upon the execution of the will. There are three factors on the Banks side to be noted at this moment: Banks was in all the hurry of company, his mind fully engaged with his own concerns, which included the distraction and confusion of his relations with Miss Blosset; he was a gentleman, who did not like his word to be doubted; he intended well by the Parkinsons. On the Parkinson side, it must be noted that Stanfield, though carrying on trade as an upholsterer, was an illiterate man, and though a Quaker, highly suspicious. It is possible also that he was already affected by the mental instability which increased until, not long afterwards, he died insane; but whether or not that is true, his suspicions were raised enormously by Banks's dilatoriness. Banks, undoubtedly, should have acted much more promptly than he did. In London, it may be surmised, he was a less tactful man than Banks in Tahiti; the matter was for him a quite subordinate one, and Stanfield, after the first contacts, merely an impertinent tradesman; with Stanfield, on the other hand, suspicion became an obsession. There were not wanting other people, admirers of Sydney among the ship's company, and friends of his own, to build up an entirely false picture of the literary and other remains of poor Sydney, and of his own rights.

When the ship arrived in England, Banks wrote to Stanfield, who immediately called on him, to receive an assurance of Banks's interest, and his intention of rendering an account of all Sydney's belongings. Banks also immediately gave him work, and continued to do so throughout the misunderstandings that now followed.2

1 Cf. Banks's entry for 12 May 1770, II, p. 62 below: ‘In 14 days just, one draughtsman has made 94. sketch drawings, so quick a hand has he acquird by use’. This could be no one but Sydney.

2 Stanfield's receipts, preserved in the ‘Voluntiers’ volume cited below, p. 68, n. 2, are for goods supplied or work done for Banks, sometimes at New Burlington Street, from 20 July 1771 to 24 February 1772, a total of £89 8s 6d.

page 58
Shortly afterwards Stanfield was told by somebody else (hearsay begins to play its part) that James Lee had been informed by Banks that Sydney had bequeathed his journal to Lee, together with other papers that had been lost. This at once put him on fire; he questioned Banks, who confirmed the information, but said he could not find the journal: as soon as his goods arrived from the ship, he added, Stanfield would receive Sydney's, among which there were some curiosities he would like to buy. Several weeks passed during which Banks made no sign, and the fire continued to burn. Stanfield then called on Banks, who arranged to send him some, at least, of Sydney's property. This came; it did not correspond with the inventory, said Stanfield; people talked to him again, and he began to ask further questions. Five weeks later Banks sent for him, to complain about these enquiries; in answer to which Stanfield complained that Banks was wrongfully keeping Sydney's journal and drawings. At these two last meetings, it seems, one or the other, or both, men had difficulty in preserving moderation of speech. Banks, referring the question to Solander, found that he had been mistaken over the alleged bequest to Lee; Stanfield saw a small bundle of papers in Sydney's handwriting. He went away to brood for another considerable time, hearing no more from Banks; and then began to call for assistance on Dr John Fothergill, a fellow Quaker of his own Westminster connection, a physician famous alike for his professional skill, scientific leanings, and benevolence,1 who had known Joel Parkinson in Edinburgh, and in London had given his patronage to both the sons. Fothergill, against Stanfield's expressed intention of going to law, counselled patience and reliance on the generosity of 'a gentleman of J. Banks's character’; but at last, badgered beyond endurance, consented to approach the gentleman, a perfect stranger,2 in the hope of bringing the absurd difference to an end; he also had some talk with Solander, an old friend, to whom he suggested the payment of a suitable sum by Banks in quittance of the whole business. Banks was by now anxious to be quit of it, and the essential para-

1 John Fothergill M.D., F.R.S. (1712–80), was eminent also as a botanist. He had a fine botanical garden at Upton, near Stratford, and, like Banks later, employed a number of draughtsmen. Banks greatly admired his collections. His Works were published by John Coakley Lettsom his pupil and successor in medical practice, in 1783–4. Benjamin Franklin's judgment was, ‘I can hardly conceive that a better man has ever existed’.

2 At least, Fothergill himself says (Parkinson's Journal, ‘Explanatory Remarks’, p. 3), ‘I wrote to J. Banks, to whom I was then personally a stranger’. But then how do we account for the present of ‘the North American apples which Dr Fothergill gave me’, made into a pie on 23 September 1769 (p. 393 below)? Perhaps they came through an intermediary.

page 59 graphs
of his letter ‘to Fothergill may be quoted, both as his justification and as a garland on the memory of Sydney:
On leaving England, I agreed to give eighty pounds a year to S. Parkinson, besides his living of all kinds, as my draughtsman, to make drawings for me: of this agreement, £151. 8s. id is now due to his executors, besides some small sum for such cloths, &c. of his, as I could dispose of, or make use of in the ship, which I chose rather to do, than bring them home liable to be damaged, as those which came home were in some degree.
Curiosities of all kinds I gave up to them, and such of his papers as I had, excepting only some loose sheets of a journal, which seemed to be only foul copies of a fair journal that I never found, and which is now the chief object of their enquiry; these foul papers, as all the journal I had, was to be given to Mr. Lee, for his reading, by S. Parkinson's own desire, expressed to Dr. Solander just before he died: the curiosities I offered to purchase at the time I delivered them, at such price as the executors should put upon them, but was refused.
Now as S. Parkinson certainly behaved to me, during the whole of his long voyage, uncommonly well, and with unbounded industry made for me a much larger number of drawings than I ever expected, I always did and still do intend to shew to his relations the same gratitude for his good services as I should have done to himself; the execution of this my intention was only delayed by the fear of being involved in a vexatious law-suit after all.
Now you, sir, in conversation with Dr. Solander, have been so good as to suggest a mode of pleasing all parties, which I confess I very much approve of; the only thing that now remains is, that, as a friend to both, you think of a certain sum to be paid by me to them, as an acknowledgement of S, Parkinson's good services, taking or not the cuiosities, &c. just as may seem to you most proper: in this, if you are good enough to undertake it, I beg leave to hint, that I do not at all mean to be sparing in my acknowledgment; but to err rather on the other side, that any one who may hear the transaction may rather say I have been generous than otherwise.1

The worthy Fothergill therefore took into consideration the whole circumstances, and thought of £500. ‘J. Banks’, he says, ‘Very readily fell in with the proposal, and settled at the same time a pension upon a black woman, the wife of a faithful black servant who went out with him, and perished by the cold of Terra del Fuego’. The Parkinsons also agreed; Stanfield and Britannia met Banks (it was now the end of January 1772), and, with Fothergill as witness, signed a receipt.

But the tedious business was not yet over. Fothergill had not

1 Parkinson's Journal, ‘Explanatory Remarks’, pp. 4–5

page 60 made himself entirely clear. Among the ‘Curiosities’ temporarily in Stanfield's possession the doctor had selected for himself a few shells. He had also made it a condition of the settlement that all these curiosities, including those he had selected, should be sent to Banks, for him to retain whatever was needed to complete the general collection made on the voyage. Banks, acting under a misunderstanding, retained all except those which Fothergill wanted. Fothergill paid Stanfield twice the amount he considered the market-price for these shells, warning the man that that was so, and that he must not look for such prices elsewhere. Again, it had been agreed in the general settlement that Banks should have all Sydney's manuscripts (the bundle that Stanfield had once seen) as well as the drawings that were admittedly Banks's own property. Stanfield wished to borrow the manuscripts to read; Banks hesitated, but on Fothergill's pledging himself that they would be put to no improper use, made the loan. Stanfield immediately had them copied; and then, smarting under the persuasion that Banks had cheated him of the value of the shells, determined to make a profit by publishing them. By the middle of 1772 he was certainly beginning to take leave of his senses; for it was then, hearing that Banks was proposing a journey to Iceland, that he advertised in the newspapers offering a reward of a hundred guineas for information as to where Sydney's journal and drawings, ‘pretended to have been lost’, were secreted; with the insolent note added, ‘It is supposed that they are not many Miles from New Burlington Street’. He certainly did not draw the advertisement himself. He did, it appears, manage to come by a few drawings from Sydne's shipmates — or he may have come by them during his transactions with Banks. He had too many friends; there was natural public eagerness to see anything in print about the great voyage; the booksellers were anxious to lay their hands on anything to get in ahead of the official narrative entrusted to Hawkesworth. Banks and Solander had already had to disclaim connection with one anonymous much-trumpeted account which had invoked their names,1 and Banks, in his anxiety to maintain the proprieties,

1 This was the Journal of a Voyage round the World published by T. Becket and P. A. de Hondt, London 1771; see Cook I, pp. cclvi ff; Holmes, Captain Cook: A Bibliographical Excursion (London 1952), pp. 20–1. Cf. a letter from Banks's naval friend Captain Bentinck of the Centaur, Spithead, 10 October 1771: ‘As to Mr Becket, and his Catch-penny, the subject is so interesting that there is no putting the book down, at the same time that the inaccuracy with which it is wrote makes it most tiresome and indeed the most provoking reading I ever met with’.—D.T.C. I, p. 27, There is further reference, not highly accurate, to the subject by Mrs Delany, writing to Mrs Port of IIam, 19 November 1771: ‘I believe I wrote you word that the book published of George's Land (or Otahitee) was not by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander's direction, but they are preparing an account of their voyage; but the Natural History will be a work by itself, entirely at the expense of Mr. Banks, for which he has laid by ten thousand pound. He has already the drawings of everything (birds, beasts, plants, and views) that were remarkable; the work to be set in order, that is, the history written, by Mr. Hawkesworth, under the inspection of Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander; it will hardly come out in my time, as it will consist of at least fourteen volumes in folio. As this was private talk, perhaps it should not be mentioned in general’.—Autobiography and Correspondence of… Mrs Delany (2nd series, 1862), I, pp. 371–2.

page 61 had had to buy up and destroy the whole impression of a printed version of a private letter he had written to his friend the Comte de Lauraguais describing the voyage.1 It was easy for Stanfield to find a hack who would take the copies of the ‘foul papers’ and knock them into publishable shape. This was James Kenrick, a notorious Grub Street practitioner and literary libeller of the day. Fothergill got to hear what was afoot: he was horrified beyond measure — had he not pledged his honour to Banks that no improper use would be made of the papers? — and in vain tried to restrain the unhappy Stanfield, by argument, proffered indemnification, and the good offices of still a third Friend. What he could not do, Hawkesworth did for a period by applying to Chancery for an injunction, which was not taken off till after Hawkesworth's own volumes had appeared in 1773. The Quaker connection finding, when Stanfield's book was at last published, a serious attack on one member of the Society by another — for Kenrick had been only too pleased to add a skilfully composed preface traducing both Banks and Fothergill — was compelled to treat with Stanfield over his breach of discipline. ‘After much labour’, he was brought to acknowledge this; but while a written document was being drawn up, ‘such evident marks of insanity appeared, as to render it of no consequence to proceed with him any further’.2 By that time Banks had long freed his mind of the matter. It was not likely that an attack from Kenrick would do a man any harm in the polite world.3 And there were other adventures to envisage.

1 Louis Léon Félicité Lauraguais, Comte de Lauraguais and later Due de Brancas (1733–1824), was interested in letters and science, a member of the Académic des Sciences, a liberal in politics and social life, a supporter of inoculation, and a wit whose life was said to combine ‘bons mots et bonnes actions’. He had been prepared to print together Banks's letter to him and a letter of his own to D'Alembert enlarging on the subject. He argued that all the facts were already public property, and that he little deserved reproaches; but he had had some difficulties, ‘For the Printer (whom I do not know) is so eager to sell them that he does little care for correction’, as he naively told Banks in a letter headed Brompton 17th [February?] 1772.—D.T.C. I, p. 31.

2 Parkinson's Journal, ‘Explanatory Remarks’, p. 16.

3 Stanfield Parkinson's affairs, as well as his mind, were disordered; his wife died shortly before he became quite insane, and the Friends undertook the maintenance of his children. Fothergill, their friend as he had been their father's and grandfather's, bought up the unsold remainder of Sydney's Journal, about four hundred copies. This was reissued in 1784, with eighteen pages of ‘Explanatory Remarks’ by Fothergill on Kenrick's preface. The foregoing account is founded on these remarks and on what seems credible in the preface. No fair copy of Sydney's journal was ever found.

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We may at this point with some profit scrutinize the portraits of Banks. We may omit the early one, the charming boy with the long hair and the lace and the book of botanical pictures.1 Returning from such a voyage he must, quite obviously, have his portrait painted. He had it painted twice. Reynolds, naturally; but he found it worth his while also to patronise the rising star of British art, Benjamin West. Reynolds gave the gentleman an air; West, removing his attention from the death of General Wolfe, produced something at once more prosaic and more romantic. With Reynolds we have a three-quarter length, seated, with, of course, easy grace — a grace that, nevertheless, does not destroy the figure's lively energy; the right hand grips firmly the leather arm of a chair; the left, lightly clenched, rests equally firmly upon a sheaf of papers — can they be part of the Journal? — on a table otherwise adorned with an inkstand, a few books, and — equally of course — a terrestrial globe. Through a window behind the table one's eye is carried to an expanse of sea and sky. The young man's coat is lavish, fur-trimmed, the waistcoat is heavily embroidered, the neck-cloth is laced. It is a comely face, the oval rendered by drawing and shadow rather narrower at the chin, rather more stylish, than seems actually to have been so; a face to which the disposal of the hair across the forehead gives almost the conventional outline of a heart. The brow is wide, the eyes large, the eyebrows, the nose and the mouth very definite. The shadow beneath the lower lip suggests a certain size and mobility; there is the possibility of a quite charming smile. It is a face that, as one gazes into it, ceases to be entirely handsome; the chin, the nose, the eyebrows, accentuate themselves; authority is not yet carved on the brow, as in Phillips's picture of the President of the Royal Society in his last years, the Roman emperor upon the rostrum, but there is in that nose and that jaw the promise of heaviness; there is a latent obstinacy; there is even — revolt as we may from making the charge, for which the journal, too, read between the lines, once or twice proffers a basis — a hint of sulkiness.2 Turn now to West: it is of course a staffer performance,

1 The artist is unknown. The picture is reproduced in Cameron, pl.1.

2 This is not, it may be said, a characteristic that has struck previous critics, who have been writing about Reynolds and not Banks. The portrait is certainly one of Reynolds's best, and has called forth great enthusiasm from the artist's [biographers. ‘Sir Joshua's portrait of Banks, painted at this time, is an excellent illustration of the importance of intelligent and intimate relations between painter and sitter. The painter has thoroughly understood his subject…. The burning eyes are focussed by the will that knits the brow, and gives their tension to the hands…. The energy of the man seems to be lifting him out of the seat by an irrepressible force. The globe at his side, the wide stretch of sea visible from the window, are significant of voyages past and to come. No painter could have so expressed the “hungry heart” of a man smitten with the passion of exploring and inquiring, unless he had felt a deep and intelligent sympathy with his sitter.’—C. R. Leslie and Tom Taylor, Life and Times of Sir Joshua Reynolds (London 1865), I, pp. 428–9. This seems to the present writer somewhat overdone.

page 63 inelegant by the side of Sir Joshua, thoroughly conventional in spite of the exotic properties the subject has brought into it. He is standing as if his progress forward had been just arrested; behind him is the heroic classical column with drawn-back curtain which signifies perhaps Western civilization, perhaps merely something the artist did not know how to do without; the hands and the ruffles look as if they had been drawn not from Banks but from Vandyck. Round the shoulders and enveloping most of the body is a Maori cloak, undoubtedly a fine one, with dog's hair fringe; to his right lean upwards a Maori taiaha, or carved fighting-staff, a canoe paddle, and other ethnographical specimens; before him, on the other side, is a large Polynesian adze and some rather crumpled folio pages — this time not a journal but, one guesses, a section of a book for pressing plants. And the head? Though the hair, or wig, is severer than that of Sir Joshua's painting, the face has a softer curve; the large eyes, the distinct eyebrows, nose and mouth are there, but compared with Reynolds, they have lost in character; it is altogether a more feminine face — could this be, the sudden absurd fancy strikes one, Sarah Sophia dressed up? No, it is Joseph; a Joseph this time of rather ingratiating charm; it is not a stubborn face, but a face — again the half-hidden shade — that holds the possibility of petulance; and petulance, alas! is half-sister to sulkiness, it too may lead to obstinacy.

The two portraits, so dissimilar, thus unite in giving us a Banks who is not quite all gallant adventurer, not quite all modesty, not quite necessarily all generous charm. We have presented, in fact, the wherewithal of a less admirable Banks, a Banks who in conceivable circumstances might be a very great fool. The difficulty with Miss Blosset may have been inevitable. The trouble with Stanfield Parkinson could very likely have been avoided, if Banks had acted sooner, and kept his temper even if he had to give away a little dignity; but once the trouble had come to a head he acted like a man of honour and reputation. In the matter that now arose he acted not like a man of honour but like a man of consequence, and of consequence that had gone to his brain. ‘Joseph Banks Esquire, a Gentleman possessed of considerable landed property in Lincolnshire’, had ceased to be a simple gentleman; Joseph Banks the student of natural history, who would have knelt before page 64 the chair of Linnaeus as at a throne, had, almost, enthroned himself; Joseph Banks, whose three years’ voyaging should, one would have thought, have given him an enlarged appreciation of other men and of their rôle in the scheme of things, had lost all sense of proportion where he and other men were concerned. Joseph Banks — the conclusion is ineluctable — had a swelled head. It showed itself with disastrous amplitude during the preparations which began, towards the end of 1771, for another adventure into the unknown. We may return to Sir Joshua's picture. The sheaf of papers surmounted by our young man's energetic hand is surmounted by something else, calculated to convey the right ardency of enthusiasm: it is the Horatian tag, Cras ingens iterabimus aequor — ‘Tomorrow we set out once more upon the boundless main’. Mr Banks had no doubt of his destiny.

Another adventure there certainly had to be. Cook, in a postscript to his journal, had laid down its essential lines; and doubtless it had been discussed on board the Endeavour, for Banks adumbrates its course in his own pages. The Admiralty, agreeing with Cook over its necessity, and properly appreciative of his merit, had no doubt who should conduct it. Sandwich asked Banks if he too would care to make a second voyage. It was to be a voyage far to the south. Banks did not hesitate: both he and Solander would go. ‘O how Glorious would it be to set my heel upon the Pole! and turn myself round 360 degrees in a second’, he wrote to his French friend Lauraguais.1 Before August was out the newspapers had got hold of the rumour. Nobody could doubt from those newspapers that Mr Banks and Dr Solander had triumphantly conducted the previous voyage, and that Mr Banks was now the presiding genius of exploration; and for the next few months letters descended upon New Burlington Street as if it were a department of government. They were communications of all kinds, long and short, in English, French and even Latin, not merely from London and the English counties, but from France and Holland, Switzerland and Germany; they were learned and illiterate, models of calligraphy and almost illegible, graceful and awkward, enthusiastic, respectful, extravagant, argumentative, incoherent. They tendered congratulations on a safe return and proffered advice on assaying and mineralogy, on salting cabbage, painting flowers, preserving animals — Mr Hunter, the eminent surgeon, hoped the expedition might secure the essential parts of a whale — on chronometers, catharpings and triangular courses and harpoons; they asked for

1 Banks to Lauraguais, December 1771. ML MSS.

page 65 the command of a ship or they recommended young persons of unimpeachable character on the recommendation of someone else. There was a memorandum about the Spanish visit to Easter Island, brought back by Mr Harris from his Embassy at Madrid. There were thoughts on geography, and highly speculative considerations on the prehistoric movements of the peoples of Ireland, Mexico, and Tahiti — even the Norse gods came into it; there were suggested subjects of enquiry: on the saltness of water, chemistry, mineral waters, the diet and diseases of native peoples — ‘What Burning Mountains are there in New Zealand…. What Shell-fish are characteristick of Particular Climates?’ What Globe or Map of the Earth did Mr Banks think best, and where was it to be got? Should not Mr Banks apply to the courts of Madrid and Lisbon, that instructions might be sent to their governors abroad to render the expedition all possible assistance? Should not every ship carry a small vessel which would take to pieces, strong enough to bear a sea in a good gale of wind? Dr Watson of Trinity College, who wanted a quart or two of sea water corked up for him in different latitudes, and a few short vocabularies, is ‘sorry to be so troublesome, but he hath a particular conjecture to be established or destroyed’. Dr Priestley would be pleased at any time to explain his method of sweetening water by fixed air. ‘Worthy Cosmopolites and My dear Freinds Mr Bancke and Dr Solander, exclaimed one gentleman with an indecipherable signature, and went on to describe at intolerable length the workings of his newly invented cooking-stove. ‘You will undoubtedly discover the great Southern continent, the existence of which I think admits of no dispute’, another gentleman assured them, dilating on how to find islands, and the advisability of leaving animals and birds to breed on islands when found.

But the greater number of correspondents were those who — to put it briefly — wanted to go too. More at length, William Cawthorne suggests that the ‘national and general Advantage’ of the voyage would be more fully served ‘by including in your Suite a person appointed by the Board of Trade under the Character of Commercial Intelligencer, whose province should be (leaving you to pursue your philosophical Disquisitions) to consider and digest the Errors and Deficiencies in the System of Commerce now subsisting between this Country and the various places and Nations you will necessarily visit…. To Gentlemen of your exalted understandings, the Wisdom and Utility of this appointment will instantly appear’ — an appointment for which, granting the remarkable page 66 abilities required, Mr Gawthorne modestly offers himself. ‘A person of a liberal Education (a Surgeon by Profession)’ wants to travel for a few years. ‘I Understand the Theorical as well as the Practical Part of Most Mathematical Learning Particularly Navigation’, writes William Cooke, whose letter was neglected; and again, ‘I Longed for An Answer But Never had the Hapiness to Get one…. I have a Very Ernest Desire to Go Along with You in Your most Honourable Employment in Circulating the Teraquous Globe (if I may be Allowed the Express'on of A Geographer) I flatter my Self that you will not Doney My Imperause Desire….’ ‘I am a young Man of about 22; have had a liberal Education and, if I am not flattered by my Friends, have a tolerable Genius’: thus Thomas Davies, in the service of Lord Weymouth. Mr Davies kept accounts, could survey land, was remarkably fond of botany, and ‘P.S. Could I not supply the place of one of your Domestics? I care not how Servile the Station if I could be near you; tho’ I shall purchase it, at the Expence of a good Place’. A turkey and a chine followed, to compensate Mr Banks for the trouble caused him. Stephen Elgin, from the East Riding, fond of botany, now in London in a shop, is ‘a young person Who hath for a long time had the greatest Noetion of going Abrod’. James Farquharson, a watch and clock maker, is similarly situated. John Davidson, a house carpenter and joiner, ‘through Variegated and unforseen misfortunes Should now be glad to embrace the oppertunity of Satisfying (what I believe is an innate desire) of Seeing the Wonders of Nature and providence’. ‘In the utmost Anxiety of Hope I have presumed to address you, Sir’, says J. Fletcher, ‘I ask no Recompence but the Permission to serve you’ in ever so humble a capacity — ‘I would even assist in navigating the ship…. Even a recommendation to Capt. Cooke, if I cannot go with you, would be a Favour’. ‘Curiosity is natural to the Soul of Man’ announces Mr Hatherley of Bideford, though he asks Dr Solander and Mr Banks not to inform his connections in London of his ambition, as if it were unsuccessful it might affect his prospects in the law. John Hyacinth de Magalhaens — a serious scientific name at last — of distinguished historical connection and some skill with scientific instruments, wants, if possible, to ‘preform as much in the Service of England, as the brother of my fifth grandfather did in ye Service of Spain’. Joseph Scothern and William Wortley, joint applicants, understand navigation, can play a large variety of musical instruments, and are prepared to learn themselves the French horn. Matthew Rouviere, an usher, ‘being informd by a Gentleman that you want several page 67 Young Men skilld in Arts and Sciences’, provides ten lines ot accomplishments, from languages to fortification. William Pearce can spell with justice and accuracy. John Frazier has great usefulness in going under water. One Prescott, who is ‘extreamly anxious of seeing more of the World, than has hitherto fallen to my lot’, adds with unusual reserve, ‘Perhaps it may be pertinent to remark, that I am no Seaman’. Signor Pilati is suspected by the Pope and clergy of having written certain books: he did write them; and as he understands and speaks Portuguese, and admires a grandeur of soul such as Mr Banks's, offers his services. Fathers write on behalf of sons, the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford on behalf of a young graduate who has ‘a very curious Turn’. Mr John Smith, an unsuccessful wholesale hosier of the Isle of Wight, understands Dr Solander to be the principal manager in an enterprise to settle the Falkland Islands; if Dr Solander will take Mr Smith, his wife, three small children, and sister, ‘in all probability you will save a sinking Family from ruin’. With a great excess of optimism Mr Smith informs Dr Solander that an immediate answer will be esteemed, and is under the consequent necessity of writing two further letters before he gives up. Dr Solander and Mr Banks have indeed a great responsibility upon them: for Edward Williams, a youth well brought up, of a liberal education, ‘if not soon protected by some kind hand, ruin must ensue, and even non existance follow….’

It is curious that not merely do such persons ‘have the notion of going abroad’, and ‘pant’ to go with Banks, but even seamen in the royal navy apply to him as a patron. Edward Turrell of the Barfleur, on ‘January ye 8’ pens a cry from the heart:

sir I shall be very Glad if your honnour Will be Pleasd to grant me this small Request and I hope your honnour will Exques me for making so bold as to wri[t]e to your Honnor but that I hear your honnour and mr sillander is a going out upon Descovers and shold be very glad of having the Pleasure of going with your honnour for I am on Board of the Barfleur. I was a going out In the Endeavour But was taken sick and was sent on shore to the hospitall But thank the almighty god I heave got the Better of my Eleness sir I shall Take it as great favour and shall be Bound to Pray for your honnour all the Days of my life so No More at Present from your humble servent to Command.

William Packover had been an A.B. on the Endeavour: ‘I ham now Emboldend to solicit Your Goodness to have me appointed Supernumery Midshipman in one of the Ships newly Commissioned for the South Seas’. Henry Walker, who had been in the Niger page 68 on the Newfoundland voyage, is now a midshipman, and wants to sail with Banks as a junior lieutenant. Most curious of all perhaps, in some ways, is the long letter from George Robertson, who had been the master of the Dolphin under Wallis, on the voyage that discovered Tahiti; for Robertson was a man of ability, and must have known very well to whom the success of the Endeavour's voyage was due.

At present [he writes] I am on half pay, but Lord Sandwich has promised me the Commd of the first Cutter that becomes Vacent, but if you are going another Voyage on Descoverys as the publick peapers Informs us I should much rather take the Command of a small Vessel on that Expedition, as my Curiosity is not yet fully satisfied. If it be true that you are going on that Voyage, as I cannot rely on the publick peapers, I shall take it as a Singular favour if you will advise me in Course, that I may apply in time…. Were my Circumstances as good as they have been, I could willingly come and see you without any other errand, as I am certain your descoverys must have been very great, as I well know one of your Noble turn of mind would not stick at every trifleing Danger, where there was the least probability of making any kind of Descoverys, that could be of the least use to your King and Country, or to Mankind in General, you Appear to me to be a Gentleman born to Serve Mankind in General and this Nation in Particular, and I am tould kind providence has blest you with the means to cary on your Plan, I sincearly wish you Success in all your publick and privet undertakings, and may your Name be handed down in the Brittish Annals, with the greatest Honour, is the Earnest wishes of him who thinks near as you do, but wants the means….1

On that latest theme of the Brittish Annals, we may return to a civilian voice, the voice of Mr Sheffield, a natural historian who was soon to become keeper of the university museum at Oxford: ‘Yr first Voyage and Discoveries will transmit yr Fames to posterity, a second, attended with equal, and perhaps greater Success, will render you Immortal!’2 Immortal? Linnaeus had used the word already.

Banks thought all these letters, and more, worth keeping, though their writers, with uniform consistency, failed to attain the object of their desire. There was a single exception, that of the young Dutchman Sigismund BacStrom (‘Backstrom’ was good enough for Banks). He was a person of unexceptionably elevated sentiments,

1 Possibly Banks, in due course, was able to do something for Robertson. A paragraph in a letter from Solander to Banks, three years later, runs, ‘Mr Robertson (now Lieutt of the Phoenix, formerly Master of the Dolphin under Wallis) desires his best Complts to You—He supposes You have spoke in his behalf to Ld Sandwich, and is much obliged to You’.—22 August 1775; Webster coll.

2 I make all these quotations from the correspondence in the volume of Banks's papers in ML, lettered ‘Voluntiers, Instructions, Provision for 2d. Voyage’.

page break
Mr. Joseph Banks from the mezzotint after the portrait by Benjamin West

Mr. Joseph Banks
from the mezzotint after the portrait by Benjamin West

page break page 69 he had already been rescued from some distress by his patron, ‘and as to returning to Holland’, he asserted, ‘where I have lived in a decent and respectable manner, in my present dejected State, the Very thought is worse than. Death’. He had no mercenary views; the allowance of a common seaman would be enough, with ‘the Consideration of the honour I Should acquire, if I should ever return after having been so extraordinary and curious a voyage, and in Company with so celebrated and respectable personages’; also he was expert in taking birds alive, and possessed of a curious process of preserving them, when dead, in the most lively and natural manner; and for one reason or another Banks agreed to engage him as a secretary. To quote at such length this romantic person, and other adulatory young men, would not be right except for one thing, that they surrounded Banks with an atmosphere; and when two or three experienced seamen, of whatever rank, began to seek his patronage, his common sense was tried too severely. He was not immune to incense; and this incense was very strong. At the same time he was extremely busy himself, and plunged in the most extensive preparations. A man of system, he kept all his bills, duly receipted,1 and we have in them not only an extraordinary list of what Banks deemed necessary for his life on ship board and of what would be advantageous for trade or gifts in the South Sea, but also a vivid picture of ‘running around’. Leather bottles, screw-drivers, magnifying glasses and microscopes, gross upon gross of variegated beads, gross upon gross of combs, dog chains, fish-hooks and harpoons, drugs, pistols, guns and bayonets, ‘a Cross Bowe’, mirrors, wire catchers for insects and birds, drawing-tables, sealing wax, Windsor soap, casks of nails, rat traps, ‘a Round Tent, like a Bell Tent’, a silver hanger with a steel waistband, a copy of Tristram Shandy, a large quantity of black and red feathers, forty iron ‘Patapatoes for New Zealand in imitation of their stone weapons’, coloured silk handkerchiefs, ‘A travelling kist with drawers and petitions’, a large collection of sea charts, Dutch almanacs, artist's colours, ‘i Equatorial Instrument Complete’, a magic lantern, 2000 ‘platina’ or brass medals (with two of gold and 142 of silver), sextants, two French horns, ‘2 rods to try the Electricity of ye foggs’, and (thoroughly baffling) ‘i Grean God’ — the list might go on indefinitely; and the barrels, the boxes, the casks, the kegs, the bundles, were a formidable quantity to go on any ship. There was no fancy, it seems, that did not take concrete form — even down to the barrels of dried hips and cherries, the

1 See again the MS volume ‘Voluntiers’.

page 70 keg of juniper syrup, the bundle of salted cod and the half ton of stockfish specially procured from Copenhagen and Amsterdam at the request of Dr Solander. Banks, as he told Thomas Falconer, had a multiplicity of employments to occupy him during his short stay in his native country: ‘to collect together all the nescessaries for so long a voyage to enlist artists, to prepare myself & answer the Calls of an acquaintance from my present circumstances swelld to a preposterous size is a large undertaking’; and there was the overseeing of the publication of the Endeavour's voyage as well.1 But there is no sign that he did not enjoy the bustle.
Meanwhile the world of natural history was impatiently awaiting accurate information on the collections brought back by the Endeavour. The insects, it is true, had been handed over to the young Fabricius — still another pupil of Linnaeus — for description.2 Fabricius had been delighted to help Banks and Solander get ready for the voyage, and now he was delighted to labour on part of their harvest. The insects were not a large part — two hundred and twelve from New Holland and those from elsewhere were not much to set beside the botanical glories:3 nevertheless they were something, and they were duly described in the Systema Entomologiae of 1775. That, for the Banksian collections, was quick work. But when was Banks going to publish his account? Was Solander at work on a catalogue? The news of an immediate second voyage was bound to cause consternation. Poor Linnaeus, longing in vain for a letter from Solander, was driven nearly frantic. ‘I have just read, in some foreign newspapers’. he wrote to Ellis in a remarkable letter of excitement and anxiety, ‘that our friend Solander intends to revisit those new countries, discovered by Mr. Banks and himself, in the ensuing spring. This report has affected me so much as almost entirely to deprive me of sleep. How vain are the hopes of man! Whilst the whole botanical world, like myself, has been looking for the most transcendent benefits to our science, from the unrivalled exertions of your countrymen, all their matchless and astonishing collection, such as has never been seen before, nor may ever be seen again, is to be put aside untouched, to be

1 Banks to Falconer, 7 January 1772, Hawley coll.

2 Johann Christian Fabricius (1745–1810), a Dane, whose Systema Entomologiae (Leipzig 1775) was a considerable advance on Linnaeus.

3 Johnson again: Boswell had brought up the subject of ‘Hawkesworth's Book’. ‘Johnson. “Sir, if you talk of it as a subject of commerce, 'twill be gainful. If as a Book, that is to increase human knowledge, not much of that, Hawkesworth can tell only what Banks tells him, and he has not found much. But one Animal.” Boswell. “Many insects.” Johnson. “Ray reckons of british Insects 20,000 species. Banks might have staid at home and discovered enough in that way”.’—Boswell, Private Papers, 6, p. 133.

page 71 thrust into some corner, to become perhaps the prey of insects and of destruction… By all that is great and good, I entreat you, who know so well the value of science, to do all that in you lies for the publication of these new acquisitions, that the learned world may not be deprived of them…. Do but consider, my friend, if these treasures are kept back, what may happen to them. They may be devoured by vermin of all kinds. The house where they are lodged may be burnt. Those destined to describe them may die…. I therefore once more beg, nay I earnestly beseech you, to urge the publication of these new discoveries. I confess it to be my most ardent wish to see this done before I die’.1. The botanical account was all ready, wrote Ellis in return: he would do what he could to urge its printing. ‘I assure you it greatly distresses me to think of losing Solander for ever, for I cannot expect to see him more, should he return; but I fear he never will return alive’.2 These were sombre reflections; but, though vermin did not devour, nor Solander sink beneath Antarctic seas, neither of these worried correspondents was ever to turn over the longed-for pages. The reason, however, was not the immediate departure of Solander with Banks on a southern voyage.

Before the end of 1771 the Admiralty had bought two further ships into the navy for the new expedition, both Whitby-built like the Endeavour, and of the same type. Cook chose them himself, and the larger of them, the Resolution, was to prove perhaps the most wonderful vessel ever engaged on an exploratory purpose. There was the usual official reticence, to which Banks paid a little tribute in a letter to Falconer:

The A[d]miralty have thought fit to be Mysterious about us so that I myself cannot Positively say where we are going and when I tell you that it is my opinion we are for the South Seas I must beg the favour of you not to mention it again for those parts however we are pretty certainly design'd and if we proceed to make discoveries on the Terra Australia Incognita I shall probably have a finer opportunity for the Excercise of my Poor Abilities than ever man before had as there seems to be a strong Probability from the Scarce Intelligible accounts of Travelers That almost every Production of Nature is here very different from what we see at this end of the Globe.3

1 Linnaeus to Ellis, 22 October 1771; J.E.S. I, pp. 267–70

2 Ellis to Linnaeus, 19 November 1771; ibid., p. 272.

3 Undated, probably late January 1772. This was all the more ridiculous as Banks had already told Falconer the plan of the voyage in his letter of 7 January 1772 quoted above, and even asked him for ‘hints relative to Observations which you might wish me to make’. Falconer's letter of 4 February 1772, ‘Voluntiers’, seems to be in answer to both these letters. On the destination of the voyage, of. Daines Barrington's letter to Pennant of late August or early September 1771, ‘Mr Tunstall writes me word’ etc., p. 56 above.

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This was concealment so obvious that it was never noticed, and the fitting out of the ships was carried briskly and lavishly forward. On 2 May Banks gave an entertainment on board the Resolution to Sandwich, the French Ambassador, and ‘several other persons of distinction’. Sandwich came more than once to inspect the work, ‘not’, as Cook wrote, ‘out of Idle curiosity as many of all ranks did, Ladies as well as gentlemen, for scarce a day past on which she was not crowded with strangers who came on board for no other purpose but to see the Ship in which Mr Banks was to sail round the world’.1 Banks's scientific plans widened in scope: he asked Dr Priestley to go with him, apparently as an astronomer, and on the appointment of the Board of Longitude. He had to draw back, for Priestley, still a Unitarian minister at Leeds, was obviously unsound on matters of faith.2 The Board, however, appointed two astronomers, William Wales and William Bayly. And then Parliament agreed, on Banks's nomination, to make a special grant of £4000 to engage Dr James Lind, of Edinburgh, another astronomer and physician, to go — ‘but what the discoveries were the Parliament meant he was to make and for which they made so liberal a Vote will hardly ever come to the knowlidge of the publick much less to me as an individual’, remarked Cook later.3 Banks and Solander were overjoyed at this scientific

1 B.M. Add. MS 27888, f. 4,4v.

2 Priestley's letter to Banks will bear quoting: ‘You now tell me that, as the different professors of Oxford and Cambridge will have the naming of the person, and they are all clergymen, they may possibly have some scruples on the head of religion, and that on this account, you do not think you could get me nominated at any rate, much less on the terms which were first mentioned to me. Now what I am, and what they are, with respect to religion, might easily have been known before the thing was proposed to me at all. Besides, I thought that this had been a business of Philosophy, not of Divinity. If, however, this be the case, I shall hold the board of longitude in extreme contempt, and make no scruple of speaking of them accordingly; taking it for granted, that you have just ground for your suspicions’.—1 December 1771, ‘Voluntiers’, pp. 597–8. See also Priestley's Memoirs (Birmingham 1810), p. 50, where he remarks, ‘I was much better employed at home, even with respect to my philosophical pursuits.’ The professors were no doubt the professors of astronomy and geometry at Oxford, and astronomy and mathematics at Cambridge, all ex officio members of the Board. But they did not by themselves have the nomination. See Cook II, Appendix III, pp. 719 ff. Banks in any case was taking too much on himself.

3 B.M. Add. MS 27888, f. 3. Lind was elsewhere highly thought of, however. Hume wrote to Benjamin Franklin, on 17 March 1771, ‘Brother Lin expects to see you soon, before he takes his little Trip round the World. You have heard, no doubt, of that Project: The Circumstances of the Affair coud not be more honourable for him, nor coud the Honour be conferred on one who deserves it more’.—Raymond Klibansky and Ernest C. Mossner, New Letters of David Hume (Oxford 1954), pp. 193–4. James Lind (1736–1812), a Scotsman, visited China as surgeon on an East Indiaman in 1766. M.D. Edinburgh 1768, In 1769 he observed the transit of Venus at Hawkhill near Edinburgh; by this and other observations he made some reputation as an astronomer, though it is difficult to see why Banks should have so particularly thought him worth £4000. In 1777 he was elected F.R.S. and settled at Windsor as physician to the royal household. His sweet ness of disposition was well known, and in his last years he befriended the young Shelley.

page 73 acquisition, and they do not seem to have wasted tears over the dissenter Priestley. But their trial was about to come. By May 1772 Banks had worked up a train of fourteen persons besides Solander, beginning with the painter Zoffany, whom he had engaged at £1000 for the voyage. What this master of the theatrical and domestic conversation piece would have made of icebergs and Tahitians it is hard to say. There were also three draughtsmen, two secretaries, six servants (including the seasoned Peter Briscoe and James Roberts) and two horn-players. Twelve of these, with Banks and Solander, and no doubt the desirable Dr Lind, were to sail in the Resolution; two, a draughtsman and the ardent Bacstrom, in the other ship, the Adventure.1 The precise details of what happened may even yet not have been ascertained, because no doubt they included much discussion and many impatient words that did not go on to paper. But we have enough. The main events are quite clear, and we can now understand the psychological background. When Banks first saw the Resolution, on her purchase, he did not approve of her. He did not regard her as roomy enough, because he had already determined to take more people with him than he had taken in the Endeavour (whether he had by then determined to take a private band we do not know). Sandwich was First Lord, and the Admiralty was prepared to make alterations, even if in doing so it had to override the opinion of the Navy Board and Captain Palliser, the Comptroller. These alterations entailed raising the ship's upper works about a foot and laying a new deck from the quarter-deck to the forecastle, and — as Cook was to be turned out of the great cabin to leave it for Banks — building a ‘round house’ for the captain on top. Banks did not like the alterations. Nor did Cook;2 for they made the ship top-heavy, to which the staggering amount of baggage in ‘the Gentlemen's apartments’ also contributed. Early in May she was ordered from Long Reach, where she had taken in her guns, round to the Downs, and it was apparent she would not do. At the Nore she was reported dangerously ‘crank’, or liable to capsize; and beyond the Nore the pilot refused to take her lest he should ruin his professional

1 A note in Banks's hand in ‘Voluntiers’, p. 431, specifies the names and wages of these persons: ‘Resolution: Zoffany, J. F. Miller and James Miller (draughtsmen) £100 a year each; Walden (secretary) £100; Peter Briscoe (servant) £40; James Roberts, John Asquith, Peter Sidserf, Nicholas Young (servants) £20: Sander (servant) £10; John Marchant and Robert Holbrooke (horns) £40. Adventure: John Clevely (draughts man) £100, S. Backstrom (secretary) £100. Sander was the man whom Banks engaged at Batavia.

2 Though he seems to have been hopeful at first. Cf. Sandwich, II, p. 350 below: ‘Captain Cooke (who had so high an idea of the ship that he thought she could bear all this super structure) gave it as his opinion that it would not be too much…’.

page 74 reputation. The high-spirited Charles Clerke, who was on board as second lieutenant, thereupon wrote to Banks: ‘Hope you know me too well, to impute my giving this intelligence to any ridiculous apprehensions for myself, by God I'll go to Sea in a Grog Tub if desir'd, or in the Resolution as soon as you please; but must say, I do think her by far the most unsafe Ship, I ever saw or heard of: however if you think proper to embark for the South Pole in a Ship, which a Pilot, (who I think is, by no means a timorous man) will not undertake to carry down the River; all I can say, is, you shall be most chearfully attended, so long as we can keep her above Water, by’ Charles Clerke.1 Cook, who would not go to sea in a grog-tub, gave it as his opinion that the ship must be returned to her original state; the Navy Board agreed; the work was put immediately in hand, and Banks was offered all possible accommodation. So — he sprang furiously to the conclusion —he had been the victim of a plot; the Navy Board had never wanted him; the alterations had been deliberately made so heavy as to render the Resolution unsafe, so that they would have to be undone, and the work of himself and his party would be impossible. He would not tolerate such conditions, they were quite beyond bearing; his rage burst all bounds;2 he would not go on the voyage at all; and he ordered everybody and everything of his off the ship. He was the second gentleman to retire from a great voyage in a bad temper. Did he ever think of Dalrymple?
He drafted long memoranda to Sandwich, hitherto his close friend. One, dated 30 May, he unfortunately sent. It is a very revealing document; and it is — to use an adjective quite inescapable — a very foolish document. To present the First Lord with a lecture on naval construction was bad enough; to provide such witness to his own unbounded conceit was unwise in the extreme. For the Admiralty was still strongly under the impression that the expedition it was fitting out was an expedition of geographical discovery, and that the commander it had appointed was Cook. There is the melancholy duty of quoting Banks. He had made pledges, he said, to Sandwich and to all Europe: ‘The navy Board was in consequence order'd to purchase two ships and to fit them up in a proper manner for our reception that we might be enabled

1 15 May 1772, ML Banks Papers, II (1), 28.

2 ‘Mr Banks came to Sheerness and when he saw the Ship, He swore &. stamp'd upon the Warfe, like a Mad Man.’—John Elliott, a midshipman in the Resolution, who later wrote his memoirs.—B.M. Add. MS 42714, f.iov. Probably Elliott gave the ship's opinion generally, when he wrote, ‘a more proud, haught[y] man could not be, and all his plans seem'd directed to show his own greatness’.—ibid., f.ii.

page 75 to exert our utmost endeavours to serve the publick wheresoever the course of our discoveries might induce us to proceed. … we have pledgd ourselves my lord to your Lordship & this nation to undertake what no navigator before us has even suggested to be practicable; … Shall I then my lord who have engagd to leave all that can make life agreable in my own country & throw on one side all the Pleasures to be reapd from three of the best years of my life1 merely to compass this undertaking pregnant enough with dangers and difficulties in its own nature after having been promisd every security and convenience that the art of man could contrive without which promise no man in my situation would ever [have] undertaken the voyage be sent off at last in a doubtfull ship with accommodations rather worse than those which I at first absolutely refusd after spending above £5000 of my own fortune on the equipment upon the credit of those accommodations which I saw actually built for me.2 will the publick be so ungenerous as to expect me to go out in a ship in which my people have not the room necessary for performing the different duties of their professions, a ship apparently unhealthy and probably unsafe merely in conformity to the official opinion of the navy board who purchasd her without ever consulting me and now in no degree consider the part which I have taken in the voyage

1 In an earlier paragraph he has remarked that when Sandwich first asked him to go, ‘I Joyfully embracd a proposal of all others the best suited to my disposition and pursuits’.

2 This £5000’ has been repeated a good deal, and J. H. Maiden, in his Sir Joseph Banks (Sydney 1909), p. 45, actually says he has seen ‘receipts for money paid by Banks, amounting to over £5000, for scientific stores and appliances, presents for the natives, and so forth, for this voyage. These documents are now in the Mitchell Library’. Now the only documents of this sort in the Mitchell Library are in the ‘Voluntiers’ volume already referred to. A careful addition of all the sums receipted in this volume comes to a great deal less than £5000. Some of them have nothing to do with the Resolution expenses at all—for example, the costs of chartering the ship for Banks's Iceland voyage are included, and a payment of £89 8s 6d to Stanfield Parkinson for miscellaneous work at New Burlington Street: ‘To Makin a sett of Gurtians of blew Check for the Garret bed Head a Sett of Lathes with hooks and spicks and putin up’, £3 3s; ‘Menden two Mohogney french Chairs’, 3s 6d, and so on; there is ‘Od Jobes in the House & Door Way in the Londerrey’, £5 3s 7d, with other similar items. Whether ‘a Globular Silver Punch Bowl’, £24 18s, was for use on die ship or at home we need not enquire; but ‘an Enamelled Gold Watch’, 35 guineas, does not seem to have any necessary nautical significance. Nor does the item ‘To lighting the Lamp from 25 March 1772 to ist June 1772’, 7s 4d. But ‘A Poket Time Keeper’, £100, bought like the gold watch of John Arnold, may possibly have been a chronometer, and so of considerable scientific interest. Banks seems to have collected all his bills for a certain period and bound them up together with his second voyage ‘in-letters’. After throwing out a small number of obvious interlopers among these bills, though leaving others it would have been tedious to extract, I have made the total spent £2317 4s 6½d. Of course as a round sum this is not as good as £5000. No doubt there were other expenses not noted in these papers.— I owe Banks an apology for giving his estimate in Cook I, p. cxxxvii as £10000. We do not know his income at this time, but Weld, History of the Royal Society, II, p. 116, gives it later as above £30,000 a year, so he was in no danger of reducing himself to beggary in the cause of science.

page 76 or the alterations which on my remonstrance they concured with me in thinking necessary but have now taken away or should I embark could anything material be done by people under circumstances so highly discouraging….’ Other considerations followed; and then came what, with its side-blow at Cook, after all that experience of the Endeavour, was possibly the least generous remark Banks uttered in his life. Give him the ship he wanted, he said, and he would gladly embark; for he well knew ‘that there are many commanders in his majesties service of undoubted abilities and experience who would willingly undertake to proceed with her on the intended expedition ambitious of shewing the world that the success of such an undertaking depends more upon the Prudence and Perseverance of the Commander than upon any particular built of the ship that may be employd’.1
To all this the Navy Board — when Sandwich, according to what Banks called scornfully ‘Forms of office’, referred it for comment — made the obvious, the simple, the crushing reply; after which it was hard for Mr Banks to rise again. ‘As to the proper kind of Ship and her fitness and sufficiency for the Voyage, his opinion was never asked nor could have been asked with propriety, he being in no degree qualified to form a right Judgement in such a matter; and for the same reason his opinion now thereon is not to be attended to…. Mr Banks seems throughout to consider the Ships as fitted out wholly for his use; the whole undertaking to depend on him and his People; and himself as the Director and Conductor of the whole….’ Even now matters had been so contrived as to take away from him only six feet of the length of the great cabin (presumably to give Cook somewhere to sleep), and from his attendants only one small cabin. For a man who had begun by saying nothing but that the fore part of the cabin was an inch or two too low, and then had kept on adding to his ‘suite’ and his demands in complete disregard of the ship, the Board thought it had not done badly.2 It did not suggest, what in retrospect one might tentatively suggest, that Mr Banks could have cut down his suite a little to fit the ship. Indeed such a suggestion, at that stage, would have been quite useless. It would have been worse than useless; it would have been the last insult. The last

1 There are a number of copies of this letter: in the ‘Voluntiers’ volume; in S.S.B.'s copy of the Iceland journal; among Sandwich's papers at Hinchingbrooke (endorsed No. 93); among George III's papers at Windsor Georgian Papers, No. 1322. It was first printed by Fortescue, Correspondence of King George the Third, II (1927), pp. 343–7. I have used the autograph draft of the ‘Voluntiers’ volume.

2 3 June 1772; Sandwich papers, Hinchingbrooke (endorsed No. 95); Georgian Papers, Windsor, No. 1323*; Fortescue II, pp. 350–2.

page 77 insult? No; because Mr Banks could have been insulted by a little more of the truth, and that little more might have come from a source of veracity quite unimpeachable. Lord Sandwich was by this time a much tried, a much irritated man, and he had for his friend a rod in pickle, a blast in reserve. He had already written Banks a letter which implies that before receiving the young man's lucubration he had seen it in draft, and had listened to the threat that it might be published; and he now gave some advice:
I am sorry that the alteration you proposed to make in the said letter has not taken place, as it will probably make it necessary that some answer should be given if your letter is made public; for it is a heavy charge against this Board to suppose that they mean to send a number of men to sea in an unhealthy ship. In this point, and in most of the reasoning of the above-mentioned letter, I differ greatly with you in opinion, and shall therefore be sorry if anything is printed on either side; but I am sure if you will give yourself time to think coolly, you will at once see the impropriety of publishing to the world an opinion of your own, that one of the King's ships is unfit for a voyage she is going to be employed in, and that her crew will be in danger of losing their lives if they go to sea in her… I am positive…. we shall be able to bring the fullest proof to the contrary; that paragraph being in your letter should in my humble opinion induce you not to print it.1
But the possibility had to be met; and if we examine the papers at Hinchingbrooke, we find the rod in pickle, the highly destructive countermine. We find also a revealing backward light. The Forms of Office had brought Sandwich the Navy Board's comments upon Banks's letter, and from Palliser himself a very moderately phrased paper entitled ‘Thoughts upon the Kind of Ships proper to be employed on Discoveries in distant Parts of the Globe’;2 and he had his own knowledge of what had passed. There was one Great Person who was deeply interested in the whole matter. On 20 June Sandwich sent to the king ‘a sketch of a letter in answer to that written to him by Mr Banks, which may possibly be proper to be printed in case the other is made publick. Your Majesty will observe that it is under a fictitious name, which for many reasons is most adviseable’.3 It is this ‘sketch’ or draft, though

1 Sandwich to Banks, 2 June 1772; Sandwich Papers, Hinchingbrooke. This is a modern copy of the letter.

2 Sandwich Papers, Hinchingbrooke; n.d.; endorsed No. 98.

3 Georgian Papers, Windsor, No. 1342; Fortescue II, p. 361. There is no doubt of the king's deep interest in the voyages, though the lavishness of Hawkesworth's dedication of his volumes brought some public criticism: “it exceeds the licence of dedicatory compliment’, held the Annual Register for 1773 in its review of the volumes after the writer's death, pp. 266–73. Hawkesworth's principle seems to have been that if you are using butter, you may as well use plenty of it.

page 78 without the ‘fictitious name’, that has lain unscrutinized at Hinching-brooke;1 for Banks did not prints and the rejoinder was deemed uncalled for.
‘As it is very possible that his Lordship may not have leisure or inclination to enter into a paper war upon this occasion’, remarked Sandwich at the beginning of his twenty folio pages, and as his fictitious other self had ‘had opportunities of knowing allmost every circumstance that passed relative to the equipment of the Resolution Sloop of War, on board of which you was to have been recieved as a passenger’, he would deal with the charges made. Banks had never complained about want of room on the Endeavour. When the time came to select a new ship, it was ‘agreed on all hands, that the opinion of the very great and able Sea officer who lately presided at the admiralty2 was well founded; namely that the only ship that was fit for a voyage of this kind was a vessel built for the coal trade. … in this arrangement you readily acquiesced professing yourself not a competent judge what ship was the fittest for the service, tho’ you intimated an opinion of your own that a West Indiaman would be more proper….’ The idea was, not to enlarge the ship to the quantity of Banks's attendants, but to adapt their number to the size of the ship. Cook had been directed to go all over the Pool of London, and choose the ships he wanted; the ships he wanted were bought. Banks looked at the one that was to become the Resolution, and now showed discontent: ‘she was not fit for a gentleman to embark in’; if considerable alterations were not made ‘you would not proceed upon the voyage’. (Alas! Banks had begun to make his threat too soon, and he made it too often.) There was a clash of opinion. Cook thought the ship would bear the alterations — a bad misjudgment, though Sandwich did not say this; the Navy Board and the shipwrights did not, and Sandwich overruled them; and then ‘several other demands were made by you in which the constant burthen of your song was, that their being complied with or not, should be the decision whither you should or should not proceed on the voyage’. These demands about the ship had been followed by demands about the conduct of the voyage, which if complied with would have been tantamount to ‘giving you the absolute command of the expedition’: Cook was to be ordered to follow Banks's directions; the officers were to be ordered to look to Banks for promotion. Banks had worried about the health of the crew: which showed his humanity

1 It is in Sandwich's handwriting, undated, and is endorsed No. 94.

2 Sir Edward Hawke (Lord Hawke 1776).

page 79 but not his experience. And what about the officers? ‘I percieve that your attention extends only to the common seamen, for when conveniences were made for all your suite the officers were stowed as close as herrings in a barrel, and yet you never took their distress into your humane consideration’. Point by point the unfortunate arguments are reduced to nullity (Sandwich made skilful use of the papers supplied to him); the proper tribute is paid to learning, public spirit, and refusal to baulk at expense; Banks had been received with open arms by the Admiralty, it was not their fault that he was not now embarked; but — the controversialist could not refrain from expressing the ‘distant idea’ — did he really want to go on the voyage? Had he not already begun to tire of it? There was a final amiable piece of advice: ‘Upon the whole I hope that for the advantage of the curious part of Mankind, your zeal for distant voyages will not yet cease, I heartily wish you success in all your undertakings, but I would advise you in order to insure that success to fit out a ship yourself; that and only that can give you the absolute command of the whole expedition; and as I have a sincere regard for your welfare and consequently for your preservation, I earnestly entreat that that ship may not be an old Man of War or an old Indiaman but a New Collier’.
There is no reason to doubt the underlying goodwill of this last broadside. Whatever Banks's aberrations, and however exasperating he might be, Sandwich, and others, still had a sincere regard for his welfare and his preservation. In the cause of human friendship, we may be glad there was no public paper war; Banks knew Sandwich well enough not to be deceived about his castigator, and the breach between the two, which could not but be inevitable, might have been deep and lasting. In the meanwhile there was nothing useful to be done to mend a breach. A brief passage in Parliament was met by the usual ministerial silence;1 behind the scenes Lord North, who had had some idea that Banks might change his mind again, was persuaded to the contrary by Sandwich;2 and Banks himself wrote to Burke on the inutility of further parliamentary action.3 Mr Banks would not go on the

1 There was evidently a little campaign. The General Evening Post, 4 June 1772, reports, ‘Yesterday Mr D-mpst-r moved for an inquiry into the motives for laying aside the prosecution of our discoveries towards the South Pole. The speakers referred him to the Treasury Bench, but Lord N—th and all his colleagues were as still as night, and there the affair dropped.’ The paper recurred to the subject on 6 June.

2 Sandwich to North, 8 June 1772; Sandwich Papers, Hinchingbrooke.

3 ‘Mr Banks presents his Compts to Mr Burke & heartily thanks him for the Interest he has been so kind as to take in his business throughout the whole prosecution of it. Several of Mr Banks's freinds met this morn at the Speakers where on finding that the present Equipment had proceeded too far to be either alterd or stoppd they resolvd to put off meeting on tuesday & hope that some other expedition might be set on foot which they conceived great hopes might be effected in a much more agreable way than this ever was in. Mr Banks returns a thousand thanks for Mr Burkes Caveat which he understands has in Conjunction with the Speak[e]r stoppd totaly what Mr Banks so much dreaded that he should be lookd upon as usefull to the voyage only in catching butterflies & the publick be contented if that matter was done by any one else whether well or ill.’—This undated note is among the Wentworth Woodhouse papers in the Sheffield Public Library, Bk 2/219, and I am grateful to Earl Fitzwilliam and the Trustees of the Fitzwilliam Settled Estates for allowing me to print it.

page 80 voyage; Dr Lind therefore would not go; and when the Resolution sailed from Plymouth on 13 July it carried not the fifteen scientific gentlemen, artists, and servants, collected by Banks, but simply one astronomer — and the disastrous John Reinhold Forster and his son, to whom Dr Lind's £4000 had been diverted.
So far was Banks from any suspicion that his suite might be too large, that there is evidence that he contemplated enlarging it still further. When Cook got to Madeira he met with an odd story, which is reported by more than one member of his company. His own account has come to rest among the papers of George III, though it could hardly have been addressed to that august personage.1 He speaks well of the Resolution, and goes on, ‘Three days before we arrived a person left the Island who went by the name of Burnett he had been waiting for Mr Banks arrival about three months, at first he said he came here for the recovery of his health, but afterwards said his intention was to go out with Mr Banks, to some he said he was unknown to this Gentleman, to others he said it was by his appointment he came here as he could not be receiv'd on board in England, at last when he heard that Mr Banks did not go, he took the very first opportunity to get of the Island, he was about 30 Years of age and rather ordinary than otherwise and employ'd his time in Botanizing &ca — Every part of Mr Burnetts behaviour and every action tended to prove that he was a Woman, I have not met with a person that entertains a doubt of a contrary nature, he brought letters of recommendation to an English House where he was accomodated during his stay, It must be observed that Mrs Burnett must have left London about the time we were first ready to sail’. Now there is nothing inherently improbable about this story, fantastic as it may appear. We have seen that Banks was susceptible to women, and not entirely master of his mind where they were concerned. Had he taken a hint from the tale of that other naturalist, Commerson, and his valet, who on Bougainville's voyage so remarkably concealed her sex till

1 Cook to—, 1 August 1772; Windsor Castle, Georgian Papers, No. 1359. The letter, which is a copy, simply begins ‘Sir’, and does not have the addressee's name subscribed. It was very probably sent to Philip Stephens, the Secretary to the Admiralty. Fortescue prints it, II, pp. 372–3.

page 81 the keen-witted Tahitians discovered her to be not Jean but Jeanne? He might have had difficulty in getting her on the ship at Madeira under Cook's sharp eye; but the chance, he might have thought, was worth taking. The Endeavour had carried hands beyond those on the muster-roll, so why not the Resolution? ‘The time we were first ready to sail’ was the time immediately before it was found the ship could not sail. Mrs, or Miss, Burnett, a victim of circumstance, left London just too soon. Even if the scheme broke down, nothing much would have been lost; the lady, obviously, was used to looking after herself. It did break down, though for a more remote cause; and the lady did look after herself.
To moralize further on any part of the whole unhappy matter is hardly necessary. There was a little coolness between Banks and Cook, whose sentiments on the ship were perfectly well known, but no real estrangement; and Cook wrote from Sheerness, immediately after the break, ‘I Pray my best respects to the Dr & sence I am not to have your Company in the Resolution I most sin[c]erely wish you success in all your exploring undertakens’.1 He wrote again, with equal generosity, from the Cape. Banks let Clerke have a ‘Cagg of Nails’ for trade: ‘…. flatter myself’, said Clerke, ‘with the hopes of making an addition to the Burlington Street collection…. Must again express my unhappiness that I cannot have the pleasure of attending you…. the Gentlemen of the Gunroom intreat your acceptance of their respects and Compliments’.2 Here was nothing but friendship. There was estrangement, though temporarily, from Sandwich. The Navy Board, and Palliser, Banks never forgave. The public prints had a due amount of speculation and scandal — the Court of Spain was again freely blamed3 — and Banks himself, who maintained a proper public dignity, drafted a long letter of attack, and self-justification, to the Gazetteer, signed with the pseudonym ‘Antarcticus’. Luckily he thought better of sending it in. He still, he announced, in this abortive effusion, ‘keeps his companions together at a large expence, and labours earnestly to prevail upon the publick to put it in his power to make the same voyage as he has been disapointed of; declaring to all his freinds that when disapointed of every hope from the publick, he will undertake at his own expence, such a voyage as his circum-

1 2 June 1772, ML MS.

2 ML Banks Papers, II, f. 3.

3 General Evening Post, 27 June 1772.

page 82 stances
will allow him to bear the charge of; tho he is conscious, that without publick assistance he can do little; yet will he exert himself to the utmost, not at all doubting that if he meets with success, the publick [will] on his return be inclind to indulge him in the execution of his favourite plan’.1 Although he could not, indeed, have placed very much reliance on ‘the publick’, he did at this time entertain some hope that the East India Company would support him in a southern voyage — a hope that certainly misapprehended the nature of the East India Company. The Comte de Lauraguais had a little to say on that subject, not without irony: the shareholders were getting only 12½ per cent, he told Buffon, the Company would discover that it was too poor to bear the expense. Lauraguais was writing to Buffon and to D'Alembert, the secretary of the French Academy — no doubt as representatives of the Europe to which Banks had given pledges — about the ‘manifeste littéraire’ which Banks had sent them — perhaps copies of his abortive letter to the Gazetteer. Banks and Bougainville (who also wanted to go on another voyage, to the North Pole), he said, must not lament; they must recall the history of Columbus and of Cortes. If the French government wished the fame of its navy to outshine the strength of England's, let it give a ship to the dissatisfied ones, ‘et le globe serait découvert et connu’. Mr Banks would bear the natural history expenses.2 Mr Banks was not to get a ship from any government. He was not long, however, without a destination. He already had had some thoughts of a northern voyage,3 and now they revived. He would take his suite to Iceland, and include in it the unfortunate Lind, who, not having received the £4000, was much out of pocket over his preparations for the southern journey. Lind as a friend was begged to command his

1 ‘Voluntiers’, p. 23 ff. Banks was stimulated by a letter in the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 11 June 1772, signed by ‘A Briton’, which said, inter alia, ‘From what I can see, Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, Dr. Lind, and Mr. Zoffani, are likely to be excluded from a voyage which, from their sharing it, did honour to the nation; and in all probability, the noblest expedition ever fitted out will dwindle to nothing, and disgrace this country’. A gentleman without a signature answered this on 16 June: ‘The whole of the matter is, Mr. B. did not chuse to go the voyage, unless he could ride the waves triumphantly, in all the pomp and splendour of an Eastern Monarch’. There were other letters, on 17 June from ‘An Englishman’ (anti-Banks), and on 23 June from ‘Detector’ (pro-Banks).

2 Copies of these two letters are in ‘Voluntiers’, pp. 391–3. That to D'Alembert is dated 12 July 1772. Banks had apparently himself composed a letter to D'Alembert in a French over which Lauraguais shakes his head. The letter to Buffon has no date in the copy, but must have been sent at the same time.

3 In the letter to Falconer already quoted from (p. 71 above) he remarks, ‘The Very Intelligent observations which I meet with in your last about the Northern Countreys make me almost regret the having given up my Northern plan in which they would have been so usefull I shall however lay it by as a treasure I may sometime make use of…’.

page 83 share of Banks's estate. He was not prepared to reimburse himself thus, but henceforth he maintained an extreme admiration for the man to whom, he held, he owed so much.1 As for Zoffany, he went to Florence, and some at least of his friends congratulated him. ‘This … is better than his going to draw naked savages and be scalped with that wild man Banks’, wrote Horace Walpole.2 He, in his turn, had agreed to return to Banks's service on a fortnight's notice.3
Why Iceland? Iceland was coming into fashion, but it was a literary fashion, the fashion of Runic inscriptions, of the sagas that were so engaging to scholars of philology and the Northern past, of an epic that could hardly fail to impinge upon the mind cultivated in romance. Iceland had its antiquities. It could not rival Greece and Rome, nor did it shine with the imperial visions of the South Sea; but it was in the air. Dr Johnson, who dealt so summarily with Boswell's circumnavigatory leaning, himself idly thought of a voyage to Iceland. The age was fond of volcanoes, and Iceland had a volcano. For Banks indeed the suggestion may have come from Solander, indirectly inspired by that other Linnaean pupil Johann Gerhard König, who had collected plants there in 1764–5, and spoke highly of the country; it may have gathered force from a young Swede whom Banks met in London at the time, Uno von Troil, later archbishop of Uppsala, a person devoted to

1 Lind to Maskelyne, 30 January 1775; D.T.C. I, pp. 82–3. Presumably Maskelyne passed on to the Admiralty this letter, so much more complimentary to Banks than to the British government. Maskelyne had been sounding Lind on his willingness to go on a northern Pacific voyage.

2 Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, 20 September 1772, Letters (ed. Toynbee), VIII, p. 207.

3 Iceland Journal, p.6. Here another letter to Banks, not in the Voluntiers volume, may be quoted. It seems to indicate that he had already, early in June, announced publicly his intention of going on a voyage of his own. The writer, Richard Rollett, was a Lincolnshire man, who seems to have had some objection to the Resolution, or to Cook.— ‘Resolution Sheerness June 9th 1772. Most Honoured Sir—I not having an oppertunity of waiting on you in person have made bold to make this Letter the Messinger of my Nessessitys, Which is to do me the Honour of a birth in your Service, in the Capacity of Mastr Sail maker, Which I now am On board the Resolution I am very desirous to proceed on the Voyage, but in the ship with Which you & Dr Solander goes, I should have gone with the Adventure, if you had not been going in the Resolution when I first shipd myself.—It is the Desire of my friends, I should go this voyage, which If I Do not, the Disadvantage will be very great to me as it Lyes in there power to do very genteel for me at My Return, Which I must & will suffer Reather than go in this Ship, altho I am so Desirous of Proceeding the Voyage, therefore I hope you'll be pleas'd to Favour me with my Desire which will make me Intirely happy, & till such time as I Know your pleasure Remain your Honours most Obedient & Most Devoted Servt Richd Rollett— I hope you please to let me know your pleasure Which I Impatiently wait for & hope it will be a profound Secret to Captn Cook for if it Dont sute you & he heres of it my time will be Very Miserible to me’.—ATL, Miscellaneous material relating to Cook's voyages. Rollett however duly sailed on the Resolution.

page 84 every aspect of Scandinavian history. Or he may simply, as a man of his time, have thought of it for himself. Botany, zoology, volcanoes called; and he was ready for a Runic inscription. Certainly he had no doubt that Iceland merited a visit. The reasons that seemed valid to him (however unjust to König) may be given in his own words. The East India Company, he persuaded himself, had made overtures and seemed inclined to send him on a voyage to the South Sea in the spring of 1773. Meanwhile, though Zoffany had gone to Italy, the rest of his following were left upon his hands, ‘and as they were a considerable running expence I thought it prudent to employ them in some way or other to the advancement of Science, a voyage of some kind or other I wishd to undertake and saw no place at all within the compass of my time so likely to furnish me with an opportunity as Iceland, a countrey which from its being in some measure the property of a danish trading company has been visited but seldom and never at all by any good naturalist to my knowledge; the whole face of the countrey new to the Botanist and Zoologist as well as the many Volcanoes with which it is said to abound made it very desirable to explore it and tho the season was far advanced yet something might be done, at least hints might be gatherd which might promote the farther examination of it by some others’.1 He would thus both keep his people together and keep them busy pending the greater voyage. The Danish embassy in London readily granted a passport, and Banks chartered a brig of 190 tons, the Sir Lawrence, Captain Hunter and a crew of twelve, ‘to proceed according to my directions at the Rate of 100 pounds a month for four Months Certain’.2 At last he had a ship under his own orders. He proceeded to open a new journal.
It is a journal interesting, like nearly everything Banks wrote, but as an Iceland journal not wholly satisfactory, for it breaks off soon after the writer reached Iceland; and what other information we have on the visit is satisfactory only to the extent that it mentions a date or two, a few places, some isolated incidents. A biographer is too much tantalized. The first eight pages of the journal are indeed spent on an obsessional reworking of Banks's case against the Admiralty, pages which could well have been given to his travels; while the Letters on Iceland which von Troil published at

1 Iceland Journal, pp. 6–7.

2 The brig was in the end under charter for five months, from 11 July to 4 December, as we see from the account in the ‘Voluntiers’ papers

page break
Banks and Solander from ‘shadows’ by James Lind

Banks and Solander
from ‘shadows’ by James Lind

page break page 85 Uppsala in 1777 touch on those travels only incidentally.1 The obsession could certainly not go farther without our worrying about the balance of our young man's mind: he cannot resist recording a little scandal about the artist who finally went with Cook; Solander, whose pre-eminence in his own branches of science was acknowledged and admired on all hands, is ‘now well known in the learned world as my assistant in nat[ural] Hist[ory]’; while as for the voyage of the Resolution, Banks had been offered by the Admiralty ‘the alternative to go or let it alone, with a great deal of Coolness however, for I now had inadvertently opend to them Every Idea of discovery which my last voyage had suggested to me and these they thought themselves able to follow without my assistance now they had once got possession of them’. But for his ‘people’ he maintained his charm, as well as his importance as a source of livelihood. He took with him, independent of the captain and crew of the Sir Lawrence, twenty-one persons in all: he had added a cook and a gardener to the original company, and there were three more newcomers — von Troil, who wished to make observations upon the Icelandic language; ‘Mr Riddel, a young gentleman intended for the Sea’, who wanted also to go south with Banks if the East India Company provided a ship;2 and Gore of the Endeavour,

1 Banks's MS does not seem to have been previously utilized by any student. It is now in the McGill University Library, and I am greatly indebted to the generosity of the Librarian of McGill in providing me with a microfilm copy. The MS has 8 pp. of introduction, followed by 88 pp. of journal, 12 July–6 September 1772, and an appendix giving the text of the passport. Of the 88 journal pages, 60 are devoted to the Scottish islands, and 14 to Iceland. In the introduction Banks says he will include his long letter to Sandwich of 30 May in an appendix, but does not do so. It is possible that he wrote more journal than is extant, but if so, why has the passport appendix survived and not the rest of the journal? A copy of the journal by S.S.B. survives (Hawley coll.); this breaks off at 5 September, but does include the letter to Sandwich. Banks did write more, though it may not have been in journal form, because he lent some notes to W. J. Hooker to aid the latter in his own tour of Iceland in 1809, and Hooker quotes Banks's account of the ascent of Mount Hecla (see p. 92 below). Lord Brabourne, also, has a small notebook with a few details attributable to September and October (I have not seen this and owe my knowledge of it to Miss Janet D. Hine). And there are two long and interesting letters to Falconer, quoted below. Von Troil's book appeared in 1778 in a German edition, from which J. R. Forster made the English version, London 1780: Letters on Iceland, made during a Voyage undertaken in the year 1772, By Joseph Banks Esq., F.R.S. and Dr. Solander, F.R.S., Dr. Lind, F.R.S., Dr. Uno von Troil, D.D., and several other Literary and ingenious Gentlemen—to give the gist of its intolerably verbose title-page.— All the evidence available a generation ago on the visit, from Icelandic as well as English sources, was brought together in the valuable monograph by Halldór Hermannsson, Sir Joseph Banks and Iceland (Ithaca, N.Y., 1928), pp. 4–20. Hermannsson unfortunately did not have the journal or the Falconer letters. He reproduced 24 of the 75 drawings made by the Millers and Cleveley, now in the British Museum, Add. MSS 15511 and 15512.

2 This is presumably the person of whom Hume wrote (to Lind?), 24 February 1772: ‘There is a young Gentleman of the Name of Riddal, Grandson of Sir Walter Riddal, who goes with you in your nautical & philosophical Expedition in the Station of a Midshipman: I am much connected with his Friends who desire to have him recommended to you’.—Klibanksy and Mossner, New Letters of David Hume, p. 195. Young Riddell may have been ‘intended for the Sea’, but he does not appear to have been appointed to either of Cook's ships. He was a relative of the wife of Hume's elder brother John, a niece of Sir Walter Riddell of Riddell, who was the head of ‘an ancient and honourable family’ in Roxburghshire. His presence, like Lind's, illustrates how Banks's relations were extending over the kingdom.

page 86 who ‘out of mere freindship chose to take the trip’. Gore, we may note, had now been three times round the world, with hardly a rest in between, and might well feel that he had earned a little leave and — if he could not keep away from the sea — a period as passenger.

The adventurers sailed from Gravesend on the night of 12 July, carrying Count Lauraguais as far as Dover, and arranging there for the transport to Calais of a bird that Banks was sending to Buffon. There was a historic brass cannon to inspect at the castle, and a little botanizing to do. The wind turned contrary and blew fresh, and for several days Banks was too sick to write. By 20 July they were at the Isle of Wight — ‘a little paradise’, thought von Troil, though Banks was more measured in his description. Going ashore early at Cowes to buy butter and eggs, they had to walk about till the shops opened. Cowes was a pleasant town; the small and ill-built Yarmouth, where they ‘landed with French Horns to the no small surprise of the people who little expected to see such a motley crew issue from so small a vessel’, less so, its people ‘much less humanisd’ than those of Cowes, less used to strangers: ‘the children followd us about the streets begging for halfpence’. It was not quite like landing on a South Sea island, but at least the French horns had had their effect. Three more days brought them to Plymouth, to find that Arnold, the instrument-maker, had carried Banks's chronometer back to London. Once more Mount Edgcumbe was inspected, with regrets that its noble owner was not more a man of refined taste, who could have added some touches of art to the magnificent inadequacies of nature; but the docks called forth unqualified enthusiasm. Then by ship again, with the wind still west, and more and worse sea-sickness from day to day. A bout of fishing yielded only four dogfish, ‘in whose fins were however a new species of Oniscus’; and when, a few miles off the Cornish coast, a flag was hoisted to attract fishing-vessels, a legion of small boats shot out to see what smuggled goods the Sir Lawrence had on board. Such was the eighteenth century. At last, on 28 August, near Land's End, with a south-west sea growing, it was decided to sail up the Irish Channel; the wind turned favourable, and the morning of the 31st showed the Mull of Kintyre.

page 87

There followed a fortnight among the Hebridean islands — a longer time than Banks had meant to spend, but a fortnight that gave full scope to his romantic, sporting, observing mind, and to his recording pen. Neither rain, nor fog, nor foul winds blurred his enthusiasm. On Saturday, 1 August, the ship anchored in Lochindale, to find an immense crowd gathered together for the single communion of the year next day. Banks had to have tents pitched for shelter, while the Sunday was deemed so sacred by the inhabitants that he could not even walk out botanizing — though certainly that pleasure would have been marred by the immoderate rain. On Monday he could at least go for a walk, to Killam, a small town at the head of the bay, where he found the ruins of a religious foundation, and set his artists to drawing tombstones; there were lead-mines also, originally worked by the Danes. On Tuesday more rain, and another walk to see a cave of which he had received ‘a very pompous account’, but it turned out to be ‘a dirty nasty hollow in a rock’ on Wednesday still more rain, and the decision to move to the other side of the island. Banks rode overland, with an eye on the country and its farms. On 6 August the rain broke; the travellers crossed to the isle of Jura with a barometer to measure the height of the stony hills; the following day they fixed the latitude of Freeport, and the day after that arrived dripping wet on Oronsay to inspect its ancient monastic remains. Once again the artists were set to work. On the 9th they left the Sound of Islay: Banks wanted to sail straight to ‘Y Columb Kill’ — Icolmkill or the isle of Iona, but his pilot insisted on going through the Sound of Mull. (Cook was not the only sailor to prefer his own professional judgment to Banks's.) At least this gave him some fishing and shooting; he shot gulls, ‘as all our gentlemen think these excellent meat’, including the first Arctic Gull he had ever seen. There was an old fort, miserably broken down but picturesque, for the artists. And there was full liberty to the soul. It was 11 August; the ship was passing between Mull and Morven when Mr Banks's emotions, in the literary way, came to the top: he gazed on the fabulous shore entranced.

Morven the Land of Heroes once the seat of the Exploits of Fingal the mother of romantick scenery of Ossian I could not even sail past it without a touch of Enthusiasm sweet affection of the mind which can gather pleasures from the Empty Elements and realise substantial pleasure which three fourths of mankind are ignorant of I lamented the busy bustle of the ship and had I dard to venture the Censure of my Companions would certainly have brought her to an anchor to have read ten pages page 88 of Ossian under the shades of those woods would have been Luxury above the reach of Kings.1

Soon after came the anti-climax; for passing the mouth of a beautiful inlet ‘the cruel pilot’ would not let the enthusiast land, declaring it a bar harbour. They had to anchor, ‘as fate directed in as ugly a spot as we could have chose along the whole coast, sufficiently so I think to have destroyed the enthusiasm of even an Ossian’. Yet even here, once ashore, the enquiring mind found food: he could observe the burning of kelp, of which we get a full description.

More was at hand than kelp-burners. Banks met an English gentleman, a Mr Leach, who told him that on an island about nine leagues off were pillars like those of the Giants’ Causeway. The Giants’ Causeway was a phenomenon that only lack of time had kept him from visiting earlier. Here was a chance to make up for the omission. He had two days’ provision and his tent loaded into a boat, sent the ship round to wait in Tobermory harbour, took eight of his people and was rowed over to Staffa — a tedious eight hours’ passage without a breath of wind. It was night when they landed; the tent was too small, so four volunteers, led by Solander, braved the smoke and suspected lice of a nearby fisherman's hut. In the morning — it was 13 August and a great day in Banks's life — enthusiasm once more rushed to the surface. On the south-west side of the island ‘we were struck with a scene which exceeded our Expectations’. This was the great range of natural pillars for which Staffa has since then been pre-eminently known. Banks made a rhetorical flight which perhaps compensates for his discontent with the unaided nature of Mount Edgcumbe.

Compard to this what are the Cathedrals or the palaces built by man mere models or playthings imitations as diminutive as his works will always be when compard to those of nature where is now the boast of the architect regularity the only part in which he fancied himself to exceed his mistress nature is here found in her possession & here it has been for ages uncounted, is not this the school where the art was originaly studied & what had been added to this by the whole grecian school a Capital to ornament the Column of nature of which they could execute only a model & for that very capital they were obligd to a bush of acanthus.
how amply does nature repay those who study her wonderfull works.
With his mind full of such reflections was Mr Banks guided over the new giants’ causeway. But there was still more to come —

1 Iceland Journal, pp. 34–5. The contrast between the emotions of Banks in the Hebrides in 1772, and of Johnson in 1773, is really comic.

page 89 there was the magnificent, the stupendous cave of ‘Ouwa Eehn’, ‘Fiuhn Mac Coul whoom the translator of Ossians works has calld Fingal’ — Fingal's Cave, in fact; ‘how fortunate that in this cave we should meet with the remembrance of that cheif whose existence as well as that of the whole Epick poem is almost doubted in England’. Dubious the reception of James McPherson's misty eloquence by the critics of Britain might be; but certainly Mr McPherson could have no reason for complaint about this particular reader. — ‘Enough for the beauties of Staffa’, continues Banks, science regaining its command of his mind, ‘I shall now proceed to describe it and its productions more Philosophicaly’ He, Dr Solander, Dr Lind and the rest had had a most exhausting day, climbing up and down with ropes and measuring rod and pencils and paper; but by four o'clock all was done, drawings and measurements, and we have the precise details in the journal. By that time too the lice had made their presence felt, at which the affected gentlemen complained to the woman of the house ‘with some peevishness’. Her husband was regrettably unmoved: lice being unknown on Staffa before, he reasoned, obviously they must have come with the gentlemen.
The gentlemen crossed over to the sacred ground of Iona, where for the first time in the Highlands they were asked how much they would give for their board and lodging. Nevertheless board and lodging they soon got — an empty house, clean straw, sour curds and cream, and a fire they had to put out for lack of a chimney — preparation for another day of rain and ruins, with a good deal of unlikely story thrown in by their guide.1 That night they reached the ship, ‘in Tobir more, a prodigious fine harbour’, and after an unsuccessful day hunting roebuck on Oronsay again set sail, northwards between Skye and the Outer Hebrides. Banks had liked the ‘scotch nation’, deplored their housing, admired their education; disliked their home-distilled whisky, which drove him to drink milk; regretted that he could say nothing about their language, called ‘Galick’. Now he was anxious to visit St Kilda; but dirty weather both made a landing impossible and plunged everybody in the usual sickness. It fell calm: he went out in the boat, shot sea-birds and picked up three Portuguese men-of-war,

1 Banks elsewhere tells a pleasant story about the visit to Iona: ‘in each of the 4 sides of this Island which answer the 4 Cardinal points is a stone in which seamen place great faith beleiving that if they cleen carefully any one of them a wind will arise from its respective quarter. When we were there the Stone on the North side was nicely swept & a northerly wind arising fannd us gently away to our ship where we arrivd at night’.— Banks to Falconer, 12 January 1773, Hawley coll.

page 90 unusual in those latitudes; a fair wind blew and raised all spirits; it blew strong, and all spirits were depressed. At last, on 25 August, rocks were seen. They were the rocks of Iceland.
It took three days to come in with the land, and by the time the flat shore and scattered houses were visible, long ridges of hills behind, there were fishing-boats all round. The fishermen were unexpectedly shy; as Banks learnt later, some dispute was in train between Denmark and England, and they suspected the ship to be the forerunner of a conquering fleet.1 At last a few were enticed on board, fishy, and ‘lousy to admiration’; Solander found that his Scandinavian tongues made conversation easy; they ate, drank, and gained such happy confidence from learning that the English were Christian that one of them agreed to pilot the ship into Hafnafiord, an important trading point, in the south-west corner of the island. Next day, 29 August, accordingly, they anchored near Bessastad, the residence of the governor, a place famous in the sagas; Solander got permission to land; the governor received them politely; and the famous visit could begin. They could have the vacant warehouses of the Danish merchants to stay in, but must not take possession until after the following day, Sunday. To acquire virtue in Icelandic eyes, therefore, the English put on their best clothes, went to church, and rigidly eschewed all sign of work or amusement, ‘which as there were above 30 just landed in a new countrey was rather extrordinary’. The early days were spent in building up good relations and trade, much as if the visitors were on a South Sea island; ribbons and tobacco were given away; Dr Lind had ‘a great Levy’ dispensing medicines and electrical shocks from Banks's electrical machine;2 and there was fishing, botanizing, and the first exploration of lava beds. Another Sunday came, when Banks entertained the governor, one of his subordinates, and their families to dinner — the ladies in Icelandic dress duly described; everything was a great success, ‘but most of all the French horns which playd to them at their desire they having explaind

1 Von Troil, on the other hand, merely says there was a severe penalty for piloting a strange ship into harbour without official permission, as a measure against smugglers— which does not contradict Banks, any more than Banks contradicts him. Shyness of smugglers would argue a radical difference between the Icelanders and the Cornishmen. Foreign trade with Iceland was in fact forbidden. It is said also that the Icelanders remembered an Algerian pirate-raid in the previous century, and feared another.— Hermannsson, p. 9.

2 Cf.pp. 158, II, 276–9 below. This use of the ‘electrical machine’, for purposes of amusement, is very typical of the age. Unhappily there were no ‘humorous effects’: of the poor Icelanders, thus surprised in the clinical routine, ‘every one looked as a fool who had received an unexpected slap on the face nothing lively appeared no good prognostick of Bright parts in our new freinds’.—Iceland Journal, 3 September.

page 91 to us that musick was a laudable occupation even on a sunday’.1 Then they galloped away on their little horses over the rough lava — and Banks's journal, so rich in endearing detail, so much the reflection of his lively mind, comes to an end.

We are compelled to fall back upon our other sources. There must have been a week more of local exploration of the volcanic, treeless country, with its vast lava-beds, its small farms and vegetable gardens, till the party set out on the grand expedition, to climb Mount Hecla: this was a twelve days’ journey, and they climbed to the top, von Troil tells us, on 24 September. We have an itinerary noted down by Solander.2 From Hafnafiord they first made their way to Heitharbaer, a farm on the north-west shore of Lake Thingvalla. Next day they visited the meeting place of that venerable institution the Althing, or Icelandic parliament, and went on to Lake Laugarvatn with its neighbouring hot springs and geysers; in one of the springs they had the happiness of boiling a piece of mutton, some trout, and a ptarmigan (‘which was almost boiled to pieces in six minutes, and tasted excellently’);3 and so on to Muli to spend the night. Then came the great day with geysers at Haukadal, where they stayed from 6 in the morning till 7 at night, enchanted with forty or fifty boiling and spouting springs, and especially with Geysir, which has given its name to all such phenomena; Lind set up his quadrant and measured the 92 feet of its greatest rise. This was on 21 September. There followed a day of literary interest; for they were received at Skalholt not merely with kindness from Bishop Finnur Jonsson, the learned historian of the Icelandic church, but with a Latin and Icelandic ode composed by the headmaster of the cathedral school in honour of Banks. The leader of the expedition made return of suitable gifts; and the expedition passed on to more hot springs at Laugaras, was ferried across the two rivers Hvita and Thiorsa, and reached the parsonage of Skarth to spend another night. They were almost at their goal. On 23 September they reached Grafell, a mountain in the lava field west of Hecla, pitched a tent for a short night, and at one o'clock next morning started on the ascent. It took them thirteen hours.

They scrambled up — for they had to leave their horses — in intense cold, with a violent wind blowing against them — so violent that sometimes they were forced to lie down to save themselves

1 Iceland Journal, 6 September.

2 Plantae Islandicae et Notulae itinerariae; B.M.(N.H.), Botany Library.

3 Von Troil, p. 10.

page 92 from being hurled over the precipices. They were ‘covered with ice in such a manner that our clothes resembled buckram…. The water we had with us was all frozen. Dr Lind filled his wind machine with warm water: it rose to 1.6 and then froze into spiculae, so that we could not make observations any longer’.1 Mount Hecla has more than one peak: they seemed to have reached the top, when, in the manner of mountains, the top presented itself still farther beyond. Solander gave up and stayed with an Icelander in the intermediate hollow — did he have unpleasing memories of the snows, the fatal hills, of Tierra del Fuego? — but the rest persevered into triumph. Hecla is 5000 feet above the sea. They were the first, they were convinced, who had stood upon its height. They had all wished to see a burning mountain. The drawback was, that the mountain would not burn — at least visibly: there were patches on the sides where underlying heat had melted the snow, and on the top was a small space whence, said Banks, ‘there proceeded so much heat and steam that we could not bear to sit down upon it’;2 and at least that was satisfactory. Hecla had last erupted in 1766, devastating the country with its lava-flow, and flamed a few weeks before the climb: how seldom does Nature oblige the desires of the human heart! Nor was this ascent the first: the mountain had been climbed twenty-two years before. Yet it was a gratifying achievement. A three days’ journey brought the adventurers back to Hafnafiord — first along Langafell and to Skarth, over the Thiorsa river and to Hraungerthi parsonage; then the river Olvesa, and a ride along Ingolfsgall to Reykir, where they could study another group of boiling springs; then over Hellisheithi safe to their warehouse-headquarters.
Where else Banks went in Iceland we cannot say with precision. The names given by von Troil argue another tour of hot springs, westwards and north-west to the North Cape, and then perhaps east and south round the island; and we may infer the inspection of ‘Remains of Antiquity’, or, as our age has it, ancient monuments, from his mention of their existence. We judge that there was a lively British-Icelandic social life: there was for example the country parson who was entertained with singing and the music of some unknown instrument;3 there was the dinner given by the surgeon-general, Bjarni Palsson — at Banks's request, an Icelandic dinner —

1 Banks, as quoted by W. J. Hooker, Journal of a Tour in Iceland (London 1813), II, pp. 116–7.

2 ibid.

3 An occasion described in the Autobiography of Jon Steingrimsson, quoted by Hermannsson, p. 10.

page 93 where spirits, dried fish, and sour butter proved tolerable, but not the dessert of whale and shark, looking very much like rusty bacon. Presents were exchanged; minerals and other natural objects, antiquities, and books came to Banks in abundance. Of printed books he purchased whatever he could: manuscripts, alas, there were exceedingly few, for Scandinavian scholars had scraped the country almost bare. We read of no social contretemps — it is evident that Banks was again at his heart-winning best; the governor, Olafur Stephensen, became his life-long friend. It was a serious people, records von Troil; they rarely laughed, and in their leisure hours they either recited the sagas or played cards. But — there is no doubt — they were amiable. The draughtsmen drew assiduously: their sketches and water colours present an invaluable picture of the Icelandic life of that period. In this pleasant atmosphere of goodwill the visit ended. Some time in the latter part of October the ship was ballasted with lava, loaded with the extraordinary variety of articles that Banks had managed to collect, and stood southwards for Scotland again by way of the Orkney Islands. In Scotland Banks spent a further period, we do not know how, till on 19 November he departed with Solander and Lind from Edinburgh for London.1 The journey, although it had not embraced the globe, had been a rewarding one. Its trophies, at one time or another, were dedicated to the public advantage: the lava ballast went to Kew to form the ‘moss garden’, and to the rockeries of the Apothecaries’ Garden at Chelsea; the printed books and manuscripts, with others that Olafur Stephensen sent later, were to be the foundation of the British Museum's Icelandic collection; the description of Staffa, with the drawings of Cleveley and the Millers, went into the Tour in Scotland that Thomas Pennant published in 1774.2 Solander's Flora Islandica and the greater

1 One of the Iceland drawings is dated 15 October; so, as Hermannsson points out, the ship must have left Iceland after that date. The note-book in Lord Brabourne's possession has the final entries, ‘21 [October?] Idle, 22 Idle too resolve to go away fair or foul’. If October is the month referred to then the departure could not have been earlier than the 23rd. In a letter to Falconer of 12 January 1773, Banks remarks, ‘the course I steerd was through the western Islands to Iceland from whence after having remaind 8 weeks I returnd by the orkneys to Edinburgh & from thence by land to London’; but in another, 2 April 1773, he says ‘we were only 6 weeks ashore on it’— i.e. Iceland.—Hawley coll. Smith, p. 34, apparently following Gent. Mag. xlii, p. 540, says Banks left Edinburgh on 19 November, after spending some time there and in the Highlands, but gives no authority for the statement. Gent. Mag. merely gives the date. The General Evening Post, 24 November 1772, announces that ‘Joseph Banks Esq., Dr Solander and Dr Lind, are on their return to London from Scotland…’.

2 Tour in Scotland and Voyage to the Hebrides. Banks's description, which appeared in Vol. I (Chester, 1774), pp. 261–9, stuck closely to the words of his journal. Vol. II was published in London, 1776. The work was dedicated to Banks.—’… Staffa, so lately raised to renown by Mr Banks.’—Johnson, Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775). Banks's connection with Staffa could have been even closer: Lind suggested he should buy it. ‘Talking of the Highlands I beg to acquaint you, that the Island of Staffa is to be sold this Spring; the annual rent of it is about £10, and it is supposed £200 will buy it. If you choose to purchas it, you'll please to let me know, and I shall get some friend to bid for it at the Sale, as it will not be proper for you or any of your friends to appear in it, lest it should enhance it[s] value.’—Lind to Banks, 2 March 1775, Webster coll.

page 94 part of the drawings were never published. Mr Banks had a new visiting card made, a map of Iceland engraved upon it, with Mount Hecla prominent and the Arctic circle carefully dotted in. Nobody could say — even the Navy Board could not say — that he had not added lustre to his name.
But he still felt restless. It is plain — we have touched on the point already — that, though Joseph Banks might be called a philosopher in the eighteenth century sense, without placing any strain at all on the word, in the sense of the twentieth century no man was less a philosopher than he. Nor was it that, like Dr Johnson's friend, he tried to be a philosopher but cheerfulness kept breaking in. He would have seen no conflict between philosophy and cheerfulness, and he was generally cheerful. He knew there was an Order of Nature, and as a general idea, a rational explanation of the universe, that was enough for him.1 A voyager he esteemed himself, but he was never a voyager through strange seas of thought, alone. His devotion to natural history was an open-air devotion. However vast his herbarium, he was not a man of the study; his instinct was never to sit quiet. The collation of results, the fundamental brain-work, could be left to Solander. Banks, more even than Solander, needed people; he needed something to do. There was something to see in London that he had failed to see in Newfoundland — a visiting party of ‘Esquimaux Indians’, lodged in Leicester Street. Nevertheless this was small beer. Within a few weeks he was off again — not on a grand voyage, with newspaper paragraphs and a scientific staff, but simply to Holland by ordinary packet, in company with the Hon. Charles Greville, a son of the Earl of Warwick and Brooke — a savio, as Horace Walpole called him, a charming companion, but no very romantic or striking figure. On 15 February 1773, late at night, we have the traveller sitting down at the Hague to write to his sister: that morning he had landed at Helvoetsluys, walked ‘seven long miles’ to the Brill, and completed the journey in waggons and a thick fog, through country

1 On the ‘Chain of Creation’, or the ‘Chain of Being’, and Banks's references to it in his Journal, see II, p. 20, n. 1 below.

page 95 that (so far as he could see it) reminded him strongly of his native Lincolnshire.1 At the Hague, ‘a most beautiful town’, he stayed a week, calling on the Prince of Orange, examining the Prince's menagerie, the chief cabinets of shells and other curiosities of natural history, pictures and people, and attending a concert, ‘the Musick intolerably indifferent, and stunningly loud’.2 On the 25th he was at Amsterdam, ‘conveyd by a Track Skoot a most easy cheap and pleasant conveyance which has determined me to follow your advice and keep a Journal for as in that we have a Cabbin and table I can employ all the time we are traveling a saving of time which realy ought to be esteemd as a great benefit and must be so by those who can employ themselves’.3 He had passed through Leyden and Haarlem, greatly impressed by the organ at the latter and by the sluices between the Haarlemer meer and the sea, ‘a fine work ten times larger and more magnificent than our Grand Sluice in Lincolnshire and yet the Dutch think little of it’. At Amsterdam he went to the opera, a ‘singular performance with a second act an hour and three-quarters long’.4 There were more cabinets here and at Utrecht; at Utrecht he went to church with the Moravians, and was much edified; but by 5 March he had reached Rotterdam, where next day he and Greville were inducted into a Society of Literature, lately established for the discussion of Hydrostatics. This was above Banks's head, and he got away with relief to the study of strange birds and to sauntering round the town; perhaps he was glad to return to the Hague. Here, on 10 March, he ‘had a Levee of Greenland Captains, who had been sent for from Rotterdam, in order to give me such information as they might be able, which might forward Captn Phipps's plan of sailing towards the Pole’5 — the voyage stimulated by one of Banks's friends, Daines Barrington, through the Royal Society, and to be commanded by his other friend Phipps; a voyage for which the two ‘bombs’ Racehorse and Carcass were then being prepared. Banks himself nourished some hopes of going on this voyage,6 and he

1 ML Banks Papers, XVI, 9–10.

2 Journal, p. 8 (18 February); cf. following note.

3 ‘Journal of a trip to Holland beginning with the time of leaving London (Febry 12. 1773) & ending with the day of returning thence again (March 22. 1773)’.—S.S.B. 1773.

4 Letter of 24. February 1773, ML Banks Papers, XVI, pp. 5–8.

5 Journal, pp. 69–70.

6 Cf. the postscript of his letter to Falconer, 2 April 1773: ‘we are employd in fitting out an expedition in order to penetrate as near to the North Pole as Possible it consists of two Boom Ketches chose as the strongest species of Ships therefore the best to Cope with the Ice they will sail before the middle of the next month commanded by a good Freind of mine Captn Phipps your opinion of the Frigid Zone cannot but be useful to him & very agreable to me at this Juncture’. Banks's known interest in this voyage and his meeting with the men of learning at Rotterdam, confused with his ‘Levee of Greenland Captains’ at the Hague, was perhaps the basis of the report in the Annual Register, 1773, p. 82, that he and Greville assisted at a session of the Batavian Society at Rotterdam, whereat he communicated his design of undertaking the voyage, asked for information of Dutch discoveries up to 84o north latitude, and promised in return to report all the discoveries he might make. Banks's journal mentions no such meeting.

page 96 listened eagerly to talk of ice and currents. There was another visit to court, and a ridotto, and more curiosities; there were many friends; and Joseph, writing again to Sophia, found himself ‘tolerably well pleasd with this fenny muddy country as the inhabitants of it have been civiler to me than I deservd’.1 Did he perhaps, amid those calm and fertile flats, as he gazed at the willows or the fields, or lifted his pen from the address ‘To Miss Banks near the Physick Garden Chelsea’, pause and think with a pang of the Resolution? The Low Countries were very well, but they were not adventure; the Hague, though agreeable, was not Tahiti. He passed again through Rotterdam to Helvoetsluys, to embark in the tedious and ‘stinking Pacquet’; before the end of March he was home in New Burlington Street; and Cook, after the gales and ice-fields of the far south, was in Dusky Sound, on that coast of New Zealand where, three years before, Banks had so much wished to land.
Of friends and admirers there was no lack. It was in 1773 that Sir Joshua Reynolds began to present Banks with copies of his Discourses to the students of the Royal Academy.2 The great Dr Robertson of the College of Edinburgh had accepted the Banksian case against Government at its face value. ‘I look with impatience into every News Paper to learn something about your future motions’, he wrote. ‘What a shame it is that the first literary and commercial nation in the world should hesitate a moment about encouraging the only voyage which in modern times has no other object but the advancement of science. I am afraid we are neither so learned, so intelligent, nor so public spirited as we pretend to be’.3 Perhaps there was balm in this. Perhaps there was balm in reflecting on the corresponding membership of the French Academy of Sciences, conferred in the previous March,4 when every prospect was still fair; or in the appointment of both Banks and Solander that now came, to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Ulrichstadt.5 The learned Falconer was once more

1 n.d. ML Banks Papers, XVI, p. 11.

2 See F. W. Hilles, The Literary Career of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1936), bibliographical appendix.

3 Robertson to Banks, 18 February 1773; D.T.C. I, pp. 47–8.

4 He was ‘nommé correspondant de La Lande, le 11 mars 1772’.—Index Biographique des membres et correspondants de l’ Académie des Sciences de 1666 à 1939 (Paris 1939). Banks had further steps in the hierarchy of French honour in 1787 and 1801.

5 Annual Register, 1773, p. 106.

page 97 full of encouragement: he had heard ‘with great pleasure’ that Banks had had ‘some views of undertaking a Mediterranean Voyage. There would be a noble field for a Naturalist’.1 In the summer there was a trip not to the North Pole, nor to the hardly less noble Mediterranean, but to Wales, with Solander, the botanist Lightfoot, and a new friend, Dr Charles Blagden, a physician from Edinburgh, a delightful person who rapidly became one of the most intimate of Banks's friends, and a copious and unwearied correspondent. Another companion, it seems likely, was Paul Sandby the artist, whose works Banks approved and bought.2 It was a seven weeks’ botanical tour, repeating on the way the earlier journey to Bristol, Chepstow and Tintern, and then proceeding along the Glamorgan coast — new ground for botanists — with a dash into Breconshire and westward to the coast of Pembrokeshire. Alas! there are too many choices in life; the party stayed so long here, and so engrossed, that it had to ignore one of its more northern objectives, Cader Idris; for it seemed essential to work back across southern Wales into England, and then turn west to Anglesey and the ascent of Snowdon. Banks was in London by the middle of August; he had a load of rare plants, he had helped to solve some botanical problems, he had climbed the highest English mountain; certainly he could feel that life was pleasant.3 When September brought Phipps back from the impenetrable ice north of Spitzbergen, Joseph could write to Sophia without envy: ‘one of the Ships from the North is returnd without success so I am glad I was not of the Party’.4 If he had been of the party, indeed, he might have gone hunting bears with the young Horatio Nelson.

But the year 1773 was remarkable not so much for travels — travels which had now become no more than excursions — as for Banks's inauguration as an Adviser. The capital letter is justified.

1 Falconer to Banks, undated, but with a pencil note at the top, ‘May 17, 1773’; D.T.C. I, p. 52.

2 The memoir of Sandby by his son remarks, ‘He also travelled with Sir Joseph Banks, the late Dr Solander, and Mr Lightfoot, upon a tour of the Principality’—a journey he remembered with delight.—Monthly Magazine, 1 June 1811, p. 437; the memoir was reprinted by A. P. Oppé in the Burlington Magazine, LXXX (1946), pp. 143–7. The 1773 tour seems to be the only one that fits. I owe my references in this matter to Dr Bernard Smith.

3 What we know of this journey comes from a ‘Journal of a Botanical Excursion in Wales’, kept by Lightfoot, and letters from him to Banks, edited by the Rev. H. J. Riddelsdell, and printed in the Journal of Botany, 43 (1905), pp. 290–307. I do not know of any journal by Banks. Lightfoot afterwards wrote to Banks, ‘I never became a Party in any Scheme which afforded me more Satisfaction or sincere Delight…. I believe it may without vanity be said, that few, if any Botanical Excursions in Great Britain have exceeded our Collection, either in Number or Rarity of Plants or Places’.—24 August 1773, loc. cit., p. 292.

4 21 September 1773, ML Banks Papers, XVI, p. 21.

page 98

On his early life, as he advanced into his thirties, a career was being superimposed that was to make him one of the most considerable figures in English life, outside politics and mere society. Obviously he had regained firm ground, after his sudden ballooning into the air of self-consequence: ‘the inhabitants … have been civiler to me than I deservd’, though a sentence of rather conventional sentiment, is not quite conventional when addressed to a sister who knew him. Its moderation is very different from the high tone he had adopted about the Navy Board. The importance which now began to be attached to the name of Joseph Banks was not importance attached by himself, nor adventitious, it did not arise simply from the supreme good luck of having been taken round the world by Lieutenant Cook, or even from the contribution which, before the end of the year, he was seen to have made to the history of that voyage. It was rooted in a capacity which he undoubtedly had, to advise, but to advise with discrimination, and with tact, on matters in which he was competent. He could still, for decades to come, be enthusiastic, persistent, strong-willed, even dogmatic; he could still therefore make enemies; but he was never again gratuitously foolish. He had a sense of the possible. His authority became formidable — partly, no doubt, because he cared to exert it; but also because it was both conceded and earned. It was many-sided; but that was because it arose from a real as well as many-sided interest. It was not earned in a day; and when at last all Europe looked to him, he made a good deal less play with ‘all Europe’ than he had done in that fatal month of May 1772. In the meanwhile he was just beginning; and he gave advice, wise enough, to Dr Hawkesworth over the preparation of his Voyages and his relations to Stanfield Parkinson.1 He had become interested in a matter that never ceased to be interesting to him, the transference of useful plants from one part of the world to another, and he advised on that.2 Nothing else, however, equalled in importance the influence he began to wield as a sort of scientific overseer to the royal gardens at Kew.

For a hundred years already the gardens at Kew had had an honourable history, and they became royal when in 1730 Frederick Prince of Wales got a long lease of Kew House from the family

1 ‘I long for the month of April when we are to be entertained and instructed’, wrote Robertson, in the letter already quoted, no doubt in anticipation of the appearance of the Voyages.

2 Banks to S.S.B.: ‘My Dear Sister, I send you Mrs Boones paper relative to the bringing vegetable [s] to Antigua [from the East Indies]….’ n.d. Endorsed by S.S.B. ‘26 April sent to Mrs. Boone 27. 1773’. ML Banks Papers, XVI, pp. 13–14, with the directions carefully copied out by Sophia, pp. 15–18.

page 99 of the founder, Sir Henry Capel. To Kew in 1751 the Dowager Princess went to live, and forthwith expanded her domain to take in the adjoining derelict estate of Richmond Lodge. She set out to garden on the grand scale, with an excellent adviser. Lord Bute had the misfortune to have a political career, which has tended to blind posterity to his merits; though it is true that history at no time has paid great attention to horticulture. Wherever he lived he made a garden — on the island of Bute, at Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire, a third in Hampshire; and it was with Bute that botany at Kew became a scientific subject. He himself planted a number of the noble trees still there surviving; and he appointed the young man William Aiton in 1759 as royal gardener, the position Aiton occupied until his death in 1793, with the Hortus Kewensis as his literary monument. His monument otherwise Banks helped to raise; it was the gardens. Both men owed something to another great gardener, Philip Miller of the Apothecaries’ Garden at Chelsea. Aiton had been his pupil; the youthful Banks had haunted the Chelsea walks, made a friend of the old man, and after his death bought his herbarium. Miller had gathered in rare plants from all over the world; Bute had directed Aiton to lay out a ‘physic garden’ at Kew on the Chelsea model; and when the Princess Dowager died in 1772 and Bute departed from the royal scene, the way was open to another man, animated by the same passion but with rather different ideas, to take command. The destiny that brought Banks and George III together therefore was important. The king was only five years older than Banks; as a country gentleman devoted to farming and gardening he could have lived a very successful life — he was not called ‘Farmer George’ for nothing — and when he came to town he could have had his fill of concerts; Banks, introduced to him so soon after the return of the Endeavour, could talk about a subject and show him things that roused his lively interest; Banks was quite non-political; Banks, while full of information and devoted to a Cause, nourished no sentiment whatsoever that could possibly disturb the Established Order. The Cause of the botanical exploration of the world, the experimental cultivation of the world's plants in one great centre, the extension of horticultural curiosity into scientific study, was a Cause the king could make his own. Once Banks had been in the royal presence, he was asked to come again; it is clear that the friendship between the two men rapidly ripened; and clear that there was only one candidate for the unofficial directorship of what Banks was to call His Majesty's Botanic Garden. The king page 100 was to have a life-long interest and refreshment — he bought Kew House outright; Banks was to have the pleasing advantage of pursuing his own hobby with resources very much greater even than his own. The beginning of all this in 17731 was a matter of the utmost importance not only to the two men, but to British botanical development; it was significant to the empire, not only of Britain, but of science.
As the months moved on into 1774 the social web became more complex. There were new friends—James Bruce, the African traveller, the botanical Suffolk parson Sir John Cullum, Dr Alexander Hunter, who was editing Evelyn's Sylva. If social lustre were to be acquired competitively, Banks would have lost that year and Bruce would have won. Africa, wrote Horace Walpole, was coming into fashion. ‘There is just returned a Mr. Bruce, who has lived three years in the court of Abyssinia, and breakfasted every morning with the Maids of Honour on live oxen. Otaheite and Mr. Banks are quite forgotten’.2 Banks, however, was in full career, and had more staying power than Bruce. He was elected to the Society of Dilettanti, whose interests were allegedly in art, but more particularly social.3 The Society of Arts, or to give it its full title, the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, with its strong technological leaning, was a body to which of course he already belonged, having been accepted as early as 1761, in his first year at Oxford;4 but perhaps the Society of Arts lacked conviviality. He was elected to the Council of the Royal Society. He had his autumns at Revesby — he was a systematic estate manager — and there was the shooting and fishing; one might say that Joseph Banks was settling down. He was also dragged into

1 The precise date when Banks began to advise on Kew is obscure. It may possibly have been towards the end of 1772, after his return from Scotland, but 1773 seems the safer guess.

2 Walpole to Sir Horace Mann, 10 July 1774; Letters (ed. Toynbee), IX, p. 16. Banks's first introduction to Bruce may have come through a letter from the African traveller (11 January 1774, D.T.C. I., pp. 67–8), forwarded by Zoffany in Florence, seeking his help in getting Bruce's drawings through the Customs. Zoffany adds, ‘Your book of the last voyage [i.e. Hawkesworth] goes off here amazingly, and I hear it is to be translated’.—W. T. Whitley, Artists and their Friends in England, 1700–1799 (London 1928), I, p. 296.

3 He was proposed by ‘Athenian’ Stuart, who comes into the Banks-Cook story otherwise in one or two minor ways.—Cook II, pp. xli and 609, n. 3. He was certainly among friends. It is recorded that on 6 December 1778—he had just become President of the Royal Society—‘Ld Sandwich & Mr Banks having called this respectable Society by the disrespectful name of Club were fined a bumper each which they drank with all proper humility. Lord Mulgrave do. do.’—Cust, History of the Society of Dilettanti (London 1898), p. 35.

4 The precise date was 21 October 1761 (the Curator-Librarian of the Royal Society of Arts, Mr D. G. C. Allan, has kindly informed me), three weeks after the death of his father. His application to this Society may therefore have been one of his first serious independent acts.

page 101 the public view for the purpose of buffoonery in a manner more appropriate to the eighteenth century than to our own. Hawkesworth's three guinea three volume account of the recent voyages had appeared midway through 1773. The improper poets had been a little slow to get up steam, but by the beginning of 17741 they had gone into production, stimulated by what one of them called ‘Doctor Hawkesworth's very luscious descriptions’. Banks of course was an obvious butt: a shilling would buy Major John Scott's Epistle from Oberea, Queen of Otaheite to Joseph Banks, Esq. Translated by T.Q.Z. Esq. Professor of the Otaheite Language in Dublin, and of all the Languages of the undiscovered Islands in the South Sea; And enriched with Historical & Explanatory Notes. It was announced in the introduction that to facilitate the labours of those curious to study the Tahitian language, the professor would shortly be publishing a complete grammar and dictionary, which would ‘be printed on the same Paper, and with the same Letter as Doctor Hawkesworth's celebrated Voyages, and will be ready to be delivered next Spring for the moderate Price of Three Guineas’. So much for Hawkesworth. Banks was taken at more length. It was the sort of thing that might be expected — even as fugitive verse not of a very high standard, though aimed accurately enough at the public taste:

Read, or oh! say, does some more amorous fair
Prevent Opano, and engage his care?
I Oberea, from the southern main
Of slighted vows, of injur'd faith complain.

* * *

Ah! I remember on the river's side,
Whose bubbling waters 'twixt the mountains glide,
A bread-tree stands, on which with sharpen'd stone,
To thy dear name I deign'd unite my own.
Grow, bread-tree, grow, nor envious hand remove
The sculptur'd symbols of my constant love.

There was a large mass of footnotes, mainly from Hawkesworth and Ovid. Ovid was still fashionable, and the Amores seemed à propos. Carried away by his own wit, or in response to an irresistible

1 There is a quite minor—a minimal—bibliographical point to be raised here. The dates of the squibs quoted below are all given on the title-pages as 1774, and Sir Maurice Holmes's Cook bibliography follows this. But a copy of the third edition of the Epistle from Oberea, the first of them, in the ATL has on the title-page also the inscription ‘Spilsby Society, Decr 29th 73’ (Spilsby is a village in the eastern part of Lincolnshire). The Introduction is dated Sept. 20th, 1773, and the Introduction to the Epistle from Mr. Banks, which followed it, ‘Dec. 20, 1773; so it is possible that in printing they were post-dated.

page 102 demand (for this squib ran into a fourth edition), Major Scott then penned An Epistle from Mr. Banks, Voyager, Monster-Hunter, & Amoroso:

Carv'd is thy name upon the bread-tree's rind?
Thy face, thy soul, are carv'd upon my mind;
And, well I ween, blest produce of thy charms,
My image lives and prattles in thy arms.

And followed that still with A Second Letter from Oberea:

The children grow in stature and in grace,
While all the father blooms in either face….
And when I weep I almost hear them say
Why, cruel, went our Father far away;

* * *

Yet think at least my copious tears you see,
And spare one thought from Botany for me….
Think on the raptures which we once have known,
And waft one sigh to Otaheite's throne.

The samples are enough. Delicacy was not the Major's strong point, and if he had read Banks's journal he would not have been misled on the relations between his hero and heroine: that did not matter, but he became very repetitive and excessively tedious. He does not figure in the grand procession of English poetry; he does nevertheless witness to the fact that Banks was a prominent enough figure to take rewarding liberties with.

Then came the Event, the vast excitement, of 1774. In July (to offset Abyssinian Bruce) returned from the South Sea Captain Tobias Furneaux, Cook's second in command, with the Adventure, with news from Tahiti — everybody had been enquiring after Banks — and with that best ethnological specimen of all, a veritable Tahitian, the simple and sweet-tempered Omai. What to do with Omai? The extent to which Banks had regained his ground with Sandwich we may now see: Omai was handed over to him. This was magnificent; at last he had something which none of the menagerie-keepers among his neighbours could hope to match: something to take the place of poor Tupaia. Like the rarest of exotic plants, Omai was borne off for the inspection of the king: ‘How do, King Tosh!’ he exclaimed upon his introduction, with true courtesy. The king made the sensible suggestion that he should be inoculated against smallpox. It was done; he recovered, was lodged near Banks, and became the darling of social London. Even Solander was excited enough to write a letter about him, with a few odd phrases. Omai, he said, had been living ‘as a private Gentleman page 103 of as mall fortune’ on Huaheine; he had parted from his own country in high spirits; he was aged 21 or 22. ‘When he saw Mr Banks who happen'd to have no powdre in his hair he knew him instantly…. It has been very pleasing to us, to him and many others, that both Mr Banks, myself, and Mr Banks's servant James have not forgot our South Sea Language. So we all can keep up a Conversation with him…. Omai is [a] sensible communicative Man, so he is a valuable acquisition…. Omai don't yet speak any english, but I think he will soon learn it, as he has got several words and begins to pronounce S tolerably well…. He is well behaved, easy in his Manners, and remarkably complaisant to the Ladies’.1 Lord Sandwich and Mr Banks, he added, were now quite cordial again. As Omai's visit extended, and his English improved, it became apparent that he was not very sensible; but his manners passed from ease to elegance; he visited the House of Lords and managed like any gentleman the sword the king had given him; he dined with the great, he dined with Dr Burney and Dr Johnson; he went to stay with Lord Sandwich at Hinchingbrooke; Miss Burney put him into her diary, Mrs Thrale put him into Thraliana, Cowper put him into The Task; Reynolds painted his portrait; the muse descended upon Major Scott again, with quite colossally tedious results. Omai in fact was to London all that Bougainville's Ahutoru had been to Paris five years before. Perhaps the Romantic Movement got more from Ahutoru than from Omai; the ‘noble savage’ was, after all, more diligently cultivated in France than in England.

Kew, the library and herbarium at New Burlington Street, the meetings of the Royal Society and its Council, the dinners of the Royal Society Club, the Dilettanti, the management of Omai, the superintendence, even at a distance, of the Revesby estate, the ordinary demands of the season and of society — here was enough to keep busy a person who was not content merely to be a landed proprietor living in London. It was an extremely agreeable life, and the summer excursions still kept on. We have a record of one in Yorkshire, in the reminiscences of George Colman the younger, who at the age of thirteen was taken by his father on a journey full of the ingredients of joy. The elder George Colman was a popular play wright and a successful theatrical manager, well-off and highly regarded in society. It was in the early summer2

1 To an unnamed correspondent, 19 August 1774, ATL Holograph Letters and Documents of and relative to Captain James Cook.

2 Or possibly late spring. Colman says midsummer, but Banks spent June and July on two (so it would appear) yachting parties with Sandwich. See the following pages.

page 104 of 1775 that the two Colmans, Constantine Phipps and his young brother Augustus, Omai and Banks all piled into Banks's enormous travelling coach with a vast amount of nautical luggage belonging to Phipps, who was transporting it to the family seat at Mulgrave, and still more, not nautical, which belonged to Banks, large boxes included for anything he might collect on the way. Other encumbrances mentioned by Colman indicate the close touch with applied science that was maintained by the proprietor. ‘In particular there was a remarkably heavy safety-chain, — a drag chain upon a newly constructed principle, to obviate the possibility of danger in going down a hill; — it snapp'd short, however, in our very first descent; whereby the carriage ran over the post-boy, who drove the wheelers, and the chain of safety very nearly crush'd him to death. — It boasted, also, an internal piece of machinery with a hard name — a hippopedometer, or some such Greek coinage, — by which a traveller might ascertain the precise rate at which he was going, in the moment of his consulting it: this also broke, in the first ten miles of our journey; whereat the philosopher to whom it belong'd was the only person who lost his philosophy…. Our progress, under all its cumbrous circumstances, was still further retarded by Sir Joseph's indefatigable botany: — we never saw a tree with an unusual branch, or a strange weed, or anything singular in the vegetable world, but a halt was immediately order'd; — out jump'd Sir Joseph; out jump'd the two boys, (Augustus and myself,) after him; and out jump'd Omai, after us all’.1 At Scarborough Omai took George for an early morning bathe, carrying him seaward on his back; between Whitby and Mulgrave the heavy coach got on the sands in the dusk, with a rising wind and a roaring sea, and then behind frightened horses into the surf, whence the postilions with great difficulty rescued it and its inmates; at Mulgrave the whole party stayed awhile. Omai shot grouse and barn yard fowl with equal enthusiasm, but mainly the latter; Banks lectured the boys nightly on the Linnaean system, cutting up a cauliflower for illustration, and sent them out in the morning for plants. The researches of the elders were devoted to opening ancient barrows, a particular hobby with Phipps. This employment entailed all-day expeditions into the fields, and open-air cooking; Banks shone at making stews, ‘in a tin machine’, Omai at baking in an earth-oven after the Tahitian mode, with buttered paper for plantain leaves and potatoes for yams. Everything was admirably

1 Colman, Random Records (London 1830), I, pp. 157–9.

page 105 good-humoured. From Mulgrave they moved on to Skelton Castle,1 where the Colmans left their cheerful companions.

Banks was in London again only a few days before going off on two further expeditions. The first was a six weeks’ trip, in June and July, from Deptford to Plymouth and back with Sandwich in the Admiralty yacht Augusta, on the First Lord's visitation of the royal dockyards.2 Sandwich's labours, and Banks's amusements, were touched with a different excitement which could not fail to have, for Banks, a double edge. Letters had arrived from the Resolution, letters sent from the Cape. Solander wrote to his friend:

…. As a Copy of Capt Cooks Letter was sent down to Ld Sandwich, I take it for granted you know all concerning his Voyage…. Mr Penneck has sent Mr Forsters Letter to Mr Dr Barrington and made the following Abstract: 260 new Plants, 200 new animals — 71° 10’ farthest Sth — no continent — Many Islands, some 80 Leagues long — The Bola Bola savage an [in] corrigible Blockhead — Glorious Voyage — No man lost by sickness. 3

Glorious voyage indeed! — for those who had made it, and for those who could think of it with an unentangled mind. How long would it be till the ship herself reached home? The waiting time was filled by a second yachting trip down Channel, with Sandwich, his virtual wife the beautiful and charming Martha Ray, Phipps, Augustus Phipps and Omai — a trip broken up by the tremendous news. Cook was back. Solander again sent the unofficial tidings.

Two oClock Monday — This Moment Capt Cook is arrived. I have not yet had an opertunity of conversing with him, as he is still in the board-room [i.e. of the Admiralty] — giving an account of himself &co. He looks as well as ever. By and by, I shall be able to say a little more — Give my Complts to Miss Ray and tell her I have made a Visitation to her Birds and found them all well.
Captn Cook desires his best Complts to You, he expressed himself in the most friendly manner towards you, that could be; he said: nothing could have added to the satisfaction he has had, in making this tour but having had your company. He has some Birds, in Sp.[irits of] V. [inum] for you &c &c that he would have wrote to you himself about,

1 Near Skelton Castle was the village of Kirkleathem, where Colman mentions that the party met a venerable old man of distinguished deportment, the father of Captain Cook. It is doubtful whether James Cook the elder ever lived at Kirkleathem, but the village was not far from Redcar, where it is understood he did live, with his married daughter Margaret Fleck. He died in 1778, at the age of 84.

2 Banks kept a semi-facetious journal of this trip, 2 June-14 July 1775, now at Hinchingbrooke among the Sandwich papers.

3 Solander to Banks, 28 June 1775; ML Banks Papers, J 1–4. This has a pencilled endorsement in a hand unknown to me, ‘Sir J B on road from Portsmouth to Plymouth?’, which does not fit the known chronology.

page 106 if he had not been kept too long at the Admiralty and at the same time wishing to see his wife. He rather looks better than when he left England. Mr Hodges came up in his chaise, I saw him and his Drawings. He has great many portraits — some very good — He has two of my friend Tayoa. Otu is well looking man — Orithi whom they call Ohiriri was really a handsome man according to his pictures.
Fo[r]ster Senr and Junr are also come up, but I have not seen them, they did not call at the Admiralty.
Hodges says the Ladies of Otaheite & Society Islds are the more hansomer they have seen. But the Man of the Marquesas seem[s] to carry the prize. Hodges seems to be a very well behaved young man. All our friends are well
Inclosed You will find a Letter from Ch’ Clark….1

He added a few remarks on Cook's maps, which he had seen, and on some of the islands he had heard about.

Then there was Clerke's letter, written on board the Resolution, ‘Sunday Morn: 5 o'clock’:

We're now past Portland, with a fine fresh NW Gale and a young flood Tide, so that in a very few Hours we shall anchor at Spithead from our Continent hunting expedition. I will not now set about relating any of the particulars of our Voyage, as I hope very soon to have the Honour and happiness of paying my personal respects, when I can give you a much clearer idea of any matters you think worth inquiring after, than its possible to do at this distance.
I hope I need not assure you that it is utterly out of the power of length of time, or distance of space, to eradicate or in the least alleviate the gratitude your friendly offices to me has created. I assure you I've devoted some days to your service in very distant parts of the Globe; the result of which I hope will give you some satisfaction; at least it will convince you of my intentions and endeavours in that particular. I shall send this away by our civil Gentry, who will fly to Town with all the sail they can possibly make. God bless you send me one Line just to tell me you're alive and well, if that is the case, for I'm as great a stranger to all matters in England as tho’ I had been these 3 Years underground — so if I recieve no intelligence from you I shall draw bad conclusions and clap on my suit of black; but you know I never despair, but always look for the best, therefore hope and flatter myself this will find you alive and happy, which that it may, is the sincerest Hope and Wish of, Dear Sir, Your Gratefully Oblig'd & most H'ble Servt Chas Clerke.
Excuse the Paper, its gilt I assure you, but the Cockroaches have piss'd upon it. — We're terribly busy — you know a Man of War. My respects and every social wish to the good Doctor. I'll write him as soon

1 ML Banks Papers, L 1–4. The letter is undated, but the Monday on which it was written must have been 1 August.

page 107 as possible — here's too much damning of Eyes & Limbs to do any thing now.1

These were greetings such as any man might have been proud and glad to have. His friends nourished none but the warmest thoughts of him: Cook wished he had been on the voyage. Sandwich and Miss Ray hurried up to London; Banks, with every inducement of friendship and curiosity, remained where he was, and remained for a month.2 We have not his answers to these letters; he may have felt under some obligation to Phipps and Omai, but it is much more likely that his principal sensation was embarrassment. When he had been embarrassed about Miss Harriet Blosset, he did nothing; and now he did nothing. The conviction must have forced itself upon him that he had been a fool. He had made one of the great refusals; he had missed one of the most remarkable voyages in the history of the world; and Cook and Clerke brought him back not reproaches but specimens for his natural history collection. Solander's next letter could not have added to his self-satisfaction:

Our Expedition down to the Resolution, made yesterday quite a feast to all who were concerned. We set out early from the Tower, review'd some of the Transports; Visited Deptford yard; went on board the Experiment, afterwards to Wolwich, where we took on board Miss Ray &co, and then proceeded to the Galleon's where we were wellcomed on board of the Resolution — and Lord Sandwich made many of them quite happy.
Providentially old Captn Clements died 2 or 3 days ago, by which a Captain's place of Greenwich was made Vacant. This was given to Capt Cook, and a promise of Employ whenever he should ask for it. Mr Cooper3 was made Master and Commander. Mr Clerke was promised the command of the Resolution to carry Mr Omai home….
All our friends look as well as if they had been all the while in clover. All inquired after You. In fact we had a glorious day and long'd for nothing but You & Mr Omai. Mr Edgcomb & his Marines made a fine appearance. — Ld Sandwich asked the Officers afterwards to dine with us at Woolwich.
Most of our time, yesterday on board, was taken up in ceremonies, so I had not much time to see their curious collections. Mr Clerke shew'd me some drawings of Birds, made by a Midshipman, not bad, which I

1 ML Banks Papers, II, f.4. The Sunday of Clerke's writing was 31 July.

2 Unless the yachting was continued with Phipps and Omai. But he certainly remained away from London: Solander's next letter is dated 14 August, and endorsed by Banks as received on the 20th and answered on the 25th. One would give much for his answers. A third letter from Solander, 22 August, includes the greeting, ‘My best Complts to Capt Phipps, Mr Augustus, Mr Omai….’—Webster coll.

3 First lieutenant of the Resolution.

page 108 believe he intends for you. I was told that Mr Anderson one of the Surgeons Mates, has made a good Botanical Collection, but I did not see him. There were on board 3 live Otaheite Dogs, the ugliest & most stupid of all the Canine tribe. Forster had on board the following Live Stock: a Springe Bock from the Cape, a Surikate, two Eagles, & several small Birds, all from the Cape. I believe he intends these for the Queen. If I except Cooper & 2 of the new made Lieutenants I believe the whole Ship's Company will go out again. Pickersgill made the Ladies sick by shewing them the New Zealand head of which 2 or 3 slices were broiled and eat on board of the Ship. It is preserved in Spirit and I propose to get it for Hunter, who goes down with me to morrow on purpose, when we expect the Ship will be at Deptford….1
Apart from all the enticements touched on by Solander, Banks could not stay away forever. People wanted to see him; he had duties. If he felt foolish, he simply had to master the feeling, and it is clear that the friendliest and most unforced relations were immediately re-established on both sides between himself and his old shipmates. Cook went at his invitation more than once to dine with the Royal Society Club. And the position of authority he had by now come to occupy was important. It was real authority; he could now be as tactful in London as he had been in Tahiti; and he was consulted accordingly. He began to assume — it is a curious development — the functions of a sort of superintending elder brother in relation to some of the concerns of Cook. He became, as it were, a point of reference, a master of the disinterested judgment. This involved him in the awkwardness over the publication of the history of the voyage, which arose from the character of the elder Forster, and in even worse later irritations over this man. Forster was a person of total incapacity in money matters, and of no great scrupulousness either in money matters or in others. He was also a master of the unjustified assumption, the wielder in writing of a fluent but overblown English style, and a harbourer of grudges. He suffered under a continual and plaintive sense of injustice, and did not hesitate to make a tool, in either unscrupulousness or complaint, of his rather more attractive son George. Undoubtedly he had a good deal of learning, unmixed with any sense of proportion whatever. He had been a difficult companion on shipboard,

1 London, 14 August 1775. ML Banks Papers, M 1–4. ‘Hunter’ was the famous surgeon and anatomist. Cf. another letter from Solander, 22 August 1775: ‘… Several of the Resolutions Men have called at Your house, to offer you their curiosities:—Tyrrell was here this Morning…. Capt Cook has sent all his curiosities to my apartments at the Museum—All his Shells is to go to Lord Bristol—4 Casks have your name on them and I understand they contain Birds & fish, &c the Box D° with Plants from the Cape….’ —Webster coll.

page 109 officious and censorious. He now alleged that at £4000 he had been quite inadequately paid; that Sandwich had promised him that he should both write the history of the voyage and monopolise the profit therefrom; and that he should subsequently receive employment for life. Granted that the man had a family to provide for, this was hardly the way to provide for it. Certainly the possibility of his being an official historian had been entertained, at a somewhat smaller reward than he fancied his due;1 and certainly after due consideration it had been rejected — a decision for which we may be extremely grateful. Cook preferred to do his own writing, with a moderate amount of revision from Canon Douglas of Windsor. Forster was furious with Cook, with Sandwich, with printers and engravers: at last — how could it have been avoided? — with Banks.2 Nevertheless, in letter upon letter, then and thereafter, he made Banks the recipient of his outraged and injured feelings: he would appeal to the public; he would expose the infamy of Cook — who would ‘be proved to have forfeited the Appelations and the Characters of a Gentleman’ — and of Sandwich, who had ‘endeavoured to ruin me by the weight of His power and opulence’.3

1 Solander probably had the matter right, so far as Sandwich was concerned, when he wrote to Banks, 5 September 1775, ‘Lord Sandwich has desired him to, by way of specimen, send in some Sheets, containing an account of what happened in Dusky Bay, New Zealand. If approv'd of, he is to write the account of the Voyage; and he is to have ½ the profits & ½ to Captain Cook’.—D.T.C. I, p. 99. In the same letter Solander remarks, ‘Mr Forster overwhelms me with civilities upon your account. He is of all men I know either the most open or the greatest fool’. It looks from a letter from George Forster to Banks, 4 January 1778, as if Forster had erected a cloud castle on some vague, hypothetical but hopeful words of Barrington's before the voyage.—ibid., p. 163. There is an immense letter from J. R. Forster to Banks, undated but probably early 1778, traversing the whole story from his point of view, and in elevated terms, which lends colour to this supposition.—ibid., pp. 171–81. See also George Forster's Letter to theEarl of Sandwich referred to below.

2 Daines Barrington wrote to Sandwich, 5 June 1776, ‘Dr Forster hath just now call'd upon me in excellent humour both with your Lordship &capt Cooke the poor man having now transferr'd his jealousy to Mr Banks, who he conceives to have done him ill offices with your Lordship….’—Sandwich Papers, Hinchingbrooke.

3 The letter from which these last words are taken is very typical of Forster, and may be here given in full: ‘Dear Sir, Your unexpected absence out of town threw my Son and me into the disagreeable circumstance to sell for 350£ what even to booksellers would have been worth £750. Thus at the loss of £400 I have extricated myself out of the most pressing difficulties. But necessity has no Law. Since You decline, for good reasons to intercede in my favour, I shall be obliged to appeal to the public & lay before this impartial Judge, an infamous Transaction of a Man, who has endeavoured to ruin me by the weight of His power & opulence & I hope 5000 Copies shall inform all England of this dark iniquitous transaction & perhaps do more, than all my hitherto passive conduct could operate: for not one of the circumstances shall be omitted in it which have served to bring about such a consummate Scheme of bad actions. My son is gone for a few weeks to Paris, on some private business; as soon as he comes back, he shall wait on You with my whole Collection, which is not yet searched, & You may have whatever You shall want of it. Being convinced of Yr friendship and generosity I shall never forget Yr benevolence, and ever shall be Yr most obliged affectionate humble Servt J. R. Forster’.—Endorsed by Banks as received 7 October 1777. ML Banks Papers, R 1–3.

page 110

To Sandwich himself George Forster was later, with an excess of effrontery, impelled to write a public letter, attributing the betrayal at bottom to the influence of Miss Ray.1

For this fury and this insolence both Banks and Sandwich, it seems, were willing to make allowances. Forster was a foreigner and a natural historian, and his threats were empty enough. Within the community of science Banks was bound to act as his patron, so far as that was possible. He was allowed the rights to German and French translations of Cook's book and to use a number of the engravings; and, to aid him in the compilation of his own scientific Observations2 he was supplied with proof-sheets of Cook's account. He had kept a journal; and from this George, who was not included in the agreement his father had made, was set to compose a Forster book which would beat the official one to the public — which it did by about six weeks. While all this was going on both the Forsters were given the run of Banks's library and collections, together with the full use of his premises while they laboured over the description and publication of their own gatherings. Their first production was found to be largely the work of Anders Sparrman, the Swedish naturalist whom Forster had engaged as an assistant at the Cape; their later ones owed a great deal to the plundering of Solander's manuscripts from the first voyage.3 Banks had to forbid them the house. But he still came rather reluctantly to the rescue when the cries of despair were too heart-rending. In August 1776 he paid four hundred guineas for George's drawings made on the voyage — a sum which was accepted ‘with pleasure’, wrote Forster.4 Eighteen months later there was another letter: ‘Though You have declined it before to assist me, I come however to implore Yr friendly assistance. My affairs are at this moment in a Situation that makes me shudder, for it is only the distress of the moment; could I but gain time, I should certainly be able to extricate myself. My litterary productions and the sale of my artificial and natural Curiosities, for which I am entered into a negotiation with a powerful Sovereign abroad, are more than sufficient to give me relief. Be therefore exorable Dear Sir and lend me a helping hand, and You shall experience not to have bestowed Your friendly assistance to an ungrateful man’.5 And so on. In September 1778 he was trying to

1 A Letter to the right honourable the Earl of Sandwich, First Lord Commissioner of the Board of Admiralty, &c. From George Forster, F.R.S. London 1778.

2 Observations made during a Voyage Round the World, on Physical Geography, Natural History, and Ethic Philosophy. London, 1778.

3 Elmer Drew Merrill, The Botany of Cook's Voyages (Waltham,Mass. 1954),pp. 186,201ff.

4 J. R. Forster to Banks, 9 August 1776, D.T.C. I, p. 132.

5 Forster to Banks, 7 February 1778, ML Banks Papers, S 1–2.

page 111 sell Banks his shells; he was putting up some scheme about timber for masts to Stephens, the Admiralty secretary (‘But I'll advise my Correspondents to conclude a bargain rather with France than with the ungrateful English Admiralty’); he had proposed to Lord North a plan for funding two millions sterling without taxing the public (‘I begged only Secrecy in case my plan were rejected and I stipulated a Sum and an Annuity if it were adopted…. But I have some Notion, that Ld North will not be long at the head of the Treasury and I shall reserve my plan for his Successor. To whom I can likewise offer 10,000 from a foreign Prince…. I could serve the Public, if Ld Sandwich had not given me a bad character, which prevents me from being employed in the Service of this Kingdom’.)1 Banks lent the near-lunatic £250, apparently about this time, and the long-suffering George having been able to secure a professorship for him at Halle, he fortunately left the country.2 What chances George Forster might have had of a useful career in England had been ruined by his father. ‘I have only the satisfaction of recollecting’, he was later to write, ‘that whilst I acted under his direction and by his positive order, the offence I might give, was involuntary, for which, if I now suffer, I stand acquitted in my own mind’.3 It is not so easy for others to acquit George of all blame. He held chairs both at Cassel and at Vilna, a place he disliked extremely, and died rather prematurely, a nervously-exhausted revolutionary leader, before his father, in 1794.
The trouble caused by Forster, tedious, preposterous, exasperating, was still in its early stages when Cook left England for his third voyage, on 11 July 1776. With Banks the personal situation was

1 26 September 1778; endorsed by Banks ‘saw him’. ML Banks Papers, T 1–4.

2 This £250 had a later history. Banks did not expect to get it back, but when he found that the Duke of Brunswick had been induced to come to Forster's rescue, and that Forster had omitted it from his list of debts, he thought it was time to demand some security, both from the father and the son. His letter to Forster on the subject, 20 May 1782 (ML Banks Papers, A 1–2) is a model of moderation and good-humoured expostulation. George wrote a long letter from Vilna to Pennant in 1787, explaining with absurd indignation that he ‘declined entering into this obligation, which, as it would have put me entirely in his power, might have ruined me, without satisfying him, and for ever rendered me incapable of acquiring the means of acquitting my father's debt, which my inclination, more strongly sollicits me to do, than any bond or paper security’. (To Pennant, 5 March 1787, ibid., Z 1–11). Banks's annoyance was added to by Forster's allegations in the Göttingen Magazin that he and not Cook deserved the credit for the prevention of scurvy on the Resolution, and that he should have had the Copley Medal that the Royal Society had awarded to Cook; and by his ill-natured attack on Solander after the latter's death. Banks instructed a Hamburg solicitor to take legal action for the payment of the debt, quite unsuccessfully; and after Forster's death, in 1798, let it lapse in favour of the widow.

3 George Forster 10 Pennant, 5 March 1787; ML Banks Papers, Z 1–11.

page 112 very different from that in July 1772. Cook had something to say about descriptions of plants that Banks had offered to supply for the journal of the second voyage, now in the press, concluding his letter, ‘Sr 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 honour’.1 Gore, the companion of the first voyage and the expedition to Iceland, was sailing as Cook's first lieutenant. During his time on shore he had acquired a wife and a child, and he too wrote to Banks, as to the centre of his reliance: ‘The Young one whom you was so kind As to promise an attention To in Case of my Death, is under the Care of the Reverend Mr Firebrass of Braintree In Essex, him I have refer'd to you. Inclosed you have my will, and that with a Good will’.2 Gore was not to die, he was to return as commander of the expedition, after the death of Cook and Clerke — the merry Clerke, who was ‘in prosperity or adversity’ Banks's ‘Gratefully Obliged and Devoted Servant’ (no mere form of words), and whose last letter, dictated off the coast of Kamchatka, is perhaps the most moving document in the whole history of Cook's voyages. It was a letter to Banks.3 To Banks the Admiralty and the secretary of state were to send the despatches as they came in after many months, from Cook, from Clerke, from the British ambassador at St Petersburg; to Banks went copies of the messages from the East India Company; it was Banks who would draft the memorial asking for a pension for Elizabeth Cook, Banks who would supervise the publication of the history of the voyage, be consulted by the Admiralty (his crony Sandwich no longer First Lord,4 but Keppel the political admiral, the enemy of the detested Palliser), be reported to by artist and bookseller; Banks who would see that there was a proper distribution of profits. It is the completion of the process which began after the second voyage; Banks has almost, so to speak, taken over Cook. Even that statement is inadequate. James King, to whom was given the task of completing the account of the third voyage, writes — not without a sad break in his grammar — to the man he esteems his true patron: ‘it is with real pleasure and satisfaction that I look up to you as the common center of we discoverers’.5 Allowing for a certain licence in the sentiments

1 Cook to Banks, 10 July 1776. ML MSS.

2 12. July 1776, ATL Miscellaneous material relating to Cook's voyages.

3 10 August 1779, dictated to King but signed by Clerke; ML Banks Papers, II, f.11.

4 Though it was Sandwich who made the first move before going out of office: ‘Your advice will be of great use to me in the conduct of this matter’.—Sandwich to Banks, 10 October 1780; D.T.C. I, p. 300.

5 King to Banks, ‘Thursday Evening’ [late 1780], D.T.C. I, p. 304.

page 113 of a man who is pleased, we may agree that Banks has become a common centre.
But these, in 1776, were things for the future. Meanwhile we are not to consider Mr Banks as exclusively occupied in advising George III on gardening, or sighing over the correspondence of the deplorable Forster. The moments of relaxation were still not few. We come upon our man unexpectedly, as we peruse the memoirs and letters of the time: the dying David Hume, for example, whose interests lay in quite different directions, adds light to the record. Journeying to Bath this year he stopped at an inn near Newbury, in Hampshire; at the inn was Lord Denbigh, an acquaintance of Hume's fellow-traveller, whom he informed ‘that he, Lord Sandwich, Lord Mulgrave, Mr Banks, and two or three Ladies of Pleasure had pass'd five or six Days there, and intended to pass all this Week and the next in the same Place; that their chief object was to enjoy the trouting Season; that they had been very successful; that Lord Sandwich in particular had caught Trouts near twenty inches long, which gave him incredible Satisfaction….’ Hume proceeded to meditate upon the spectacle of the First Lord of the Admiralty, at a time when the British Empire was in revolt, finding ‘so much Leizure, Tranquillity, Presence of Mind and Magnanimity, as to have Amusement in trouting’, far from his place of business, for three weeks during the most critical season of the year. ‘What an Ornament would it be in a future History to open the glorious Events of the ensuing Year with the Narrative of so singular an incident’.1 The events of the ensuing year were not glorious; indeed one week before Cook sailed from Plymouth the rebellious colonies agreed upon their Declaration of Independence. This was not a thing in which Mr Banks took much interest, though no doubt he regretted inglorious events when they came to pass. America, for him, was not the land of Jefferson and Washington and John Adams; his American names are such as Clayton and Young and Bartram, Turner and Kalm — collectors whose trophies went into the great herbarium. The American whom he knew personally was Benjamin Franklin, and the mark this one made was not political. Banks, Solander and Blagden were Franklin's companions when he went to Portsmouth in October 1773, to experiment with the effect of oil on a breaking surf; Franklin was of course a Fellow of the Royal Society, much senior to them,

1 Hume to William Strahan, 10 May 1776; Letters (ed. J. Y. T. Greig, Oxford 1932), II, pp. 318–19. Lord Mulgrave was Constantine Phipps, who had succeeded to his barony in 1775.

page 114 and in 1773 a member of its Council. It was Banks who wrote to Franklin in 1784, sending him the Cook commemorative medal.1
Neglecting events of glory, or their reverse, passing beyond the joys of the trouting party, and Ladies of Pleasure, and the farewell to friends bound for the arctic ice-fields, we may choose, as undoubtedly the most important event for Banks of the year 1776, his move from New Burlington Street to No. 32 Soho Square. This was a large house, at the south-west corner of the square, its back extending to Dean Street. The last few sad remains of eighteenth century Soho Square have still some dignity; in Banks's day, though not indeed the most fashionable part of the town, it was airy and sweet with gardens, and fashionable enough for him and a Venetian Resident; the house itself took after Adam, its elegant drawing-room designed by the remarkable Robert Adam himself.2 Some people thought meanly of it — there was one person who thought meanly of Banks, his town house and his country house all together: the Hon. John Byng, on tour through England, confided to his diary his disgust at Revesby Abbey, adding, ‘but when a man sets himself up for a wild eccentric character, and (having a great estate, with the comforts of England, at command) can voyage it to Otaheite, and can reside in a corner house in Soho-Square, of course his country seat will be a filthy neglected spot’.3 Mr Byng's information about the wild eccentric character was rather out of date: although it is regrettably true that Banks had not pulled down his inherited mansion and rebuilt it in the Palladian style, with a portico and an orangery, yet his estate was one of the best-managed in the country; and the corner-house in Soho Square rapidly came to acquire an international fame. For there went the library and the herbarium, ever expanding from east and west and south, from India and China and Malaya and Asia Minor, from Jamaica and Dominica and South Carolina, from

1 Carl van Doren, Benjamin Franklin (London 1939), pp. 434–5, 719. It is perhaps surprising that one comes on no trace in Banks's papers of Jefferson, whose Notes on Virginia would have been the ideal book to him. Apart from politics, there was probably no one on the other side of the Atlantic more akin to Banks in range of interest. But Jefferson never lived in England, nor even visited it.

2 Its demolition in 1937, says Sir John Summerson (Georgian London, 1945, p. 127), was a national scandal.

3 The Torringlon Diaries (1935), II, p. 376. He went on to aim some other ill-natured remarks at people of learning, which illuminate his own character more than Banks's. None the less, ‘We left our cards for Sr J.B.’.—Soho Square, it may be remarked, was a good enough address for all but the most particular, though its supremely aristocratic days, when it was much patronised by ambassadors and the nobility, were rather earlier. Members of the nobility, and persons otherwise distinguished, continued to live there in Banks's time- See, e.g., John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and his Times (ed. W. Whitten, London 1920) I, pp. 37–8.

page 115 Polynesia and Australia and Madagascar, from Switzerland, from Hammersmith and Kew. By 1783 he could afford not to buy the Linnaean collection, which he had been eager to acquire when the Master died in 1778. To Soho Square went also Solander, dividing his time between that centre of learning and the British Museum. There went also Sarah Sophia, an individual in her own right — rapidly becoming indeed a formidable one — to live with her brother and direct the domestic establishment. Mrs Banks, it seems, preferred still to live at Chelsea.1 To Soho Square, as time went on, came everybody of scientific note, everybody immersed in scientific studies, to ask advice, to report on work done, to seek patronage, to share in the famous Thursday breakfasts, to listen to Solander while Solander lived, to consult Dryander or Brown, his successors, over the library or the herbarium; thither came explorers like Flinders and Mungo Park, botanical collectors like Masson and Menzies, thither men with a cause at heart, purveyors of curiosities, the deserving and the undeserving, the social and the anti-social, English, Frenchmen, Germans, Swedes. All this, like Banks's accumulating authority, did not come to pass at once; but the foundation was laid in 1776. The library, the herbarium, the personality of the owner, the personality of Solander, were like a fourfold powerful magnet. Nobody came for the Banksian small talk — thiere was none; the conversation might not go very deep at times, but at least it was informed, the conversation of able and often really scientific minds. Sunday evenings were for a more general society, ladies were present; they were informed and entertained alike by Dr Solander, whom all loved, and freely abused when he forgot his appointments, as he freely did. ‘My father has very exactly named him in calling him a philosophical gossip’, wrote Miss Burney.2
So, very agreeably for those who did not worry about the crash of empires, life proceeded. No doubt there was occasional speculation about Cook, no doubt the conversation, or the gossip, reverted

1 She died at Soho Square, however, on 27 August 1804.—B.M. Add. MS 33982, f. 111; also Add. MS 6673, p. 107. She was 84 when she died.

2 Diary and Letters of Madame d'Arblay, I (1904), p. 318. It is from 1796, long after Solander's death, that we get a curious note on Banks's social abilities. He was by then unquestioned master of the scientific scene; and Farington wrote, ‘Malone observed how difficult it would be to establish a plan for collecting select Society in the way Sir Joshua Reynolds carried his on. [Reynolds had died in 1792.] Malone only knows three persons who could undertake it; and each is unfit in many respects. Sir Joseph Banks, as President of the Royal Society, and possessing a large fortune, might undertake it; but his knowledge and attention is very much confined to one study, Botany; and his manners are rather coarse and heavy’. The other two persons were Burke and Windham.—Farington Diary, I (London 1922), p. 136.

page 116 now and again to the old days in the Endeavour, when a botanist drew out a dried specimen from the herbarium, or a lady exclaimed over a Tahitian fly-whisk or some carved curio from New Zealand. Beyond the walls of Soho Square the town, as well as the country, had its diversions, and these too were agreeable. Banks and Solander went together to a popular haunt for the unbuttoned hours of science and art, Young Slaughter's Coffee House in St Martin's Lane;1 Solander, the treasurer of the ‘Mitre Society of Royal Philosophers’, had the happiness to inform Banks of his election to membership of that august body;2 Banks himself was elevated by the convivial Dilettanti to their offices of High Steward and secretary, which he was to retain for many years.3 But life was not yet full enough. Dignity and power, in addition to authority, lay just ahead for Joseph Banks. In August 1778 Sir John Pringle made up his mind to resign the presidency of the Royal Society. Who should succeed him? The Society was by no means exclusively a body of scientists — less than a third of its membership, indeed, could be so described; it included a large proportion of the rich and the great, of noblemen who did not disdain to be considered in some sort philosophers, as well as country parsons with an interest in their local archaeology and plants and rocks, and physicians with an interest which went beyond their fees. Of the twenty-one members of Council only eight were men of science.4 A person of high rank therefore might be thought indicated as Pringle's successor — more particularly as the Royal Society, under Pringle, had fallen out with royalty. It was about lightning-conductors, and Sir John had been tactless enough to inform the king, modestly but firmly, that the President of the Royal Society could not reverse the laws of nature.5 Little consideration however was given to persons of high rank. As soon as Pringle announced his intention there was talk, and Solander sent a note to Banks: ‘It is true that [Sir John] has given hints about Mr Aubert, but all look to you. Dr Pitcairne and others have desired me to tell you that’.6 Again, ‘Sr John Pringle has certainly can-

1 Whitley, Artists and their Friends, I, p. 296.

2 Solander to Banks, 1 August 1777, ML Banks Papers, O1. This must have been one of the innumerable dining clubs of London.

3 He was elected High Steward, or treasurer, on 1 February 1778, and secretary in March of that year. He remained treasurer till 1794, and secretary till February 1797.—Cust, History, pp. 28–9, 114. As secretary, he kept the Society's marbles in his house till 1784, when some of them, if not all, were presented to the British Museum. The contents of Banks's house were extremely varied.

4 Sir Henry Lyons, The Royal Society (Cambridge 1944), p. 197.

5 George III ardently supported knobs on top of lightning conductors, against points as invented by the American Benjamin Franklin, and requested Pringle to do the same.— Weld, History of the Royal Society (1848), II, pp. 92–102.

6 11 August [1778]; D.T.C. I, p. 198.

page break
Omai, Banks and Solander from the painting by William Parry

Omai, Banks and Solander
from the painting by William Parry

page break page 117 vass'd for Mr Aubert, at which every one who I have seen is displeased… If you cannot find out a man of high Rank who will accept of the Chair, you must listen to the voice of the People. All talk of you’.1 Mr Aubert was an excellent man, and would not have disgraced the chair; he was a wealthy London merchant, and also a very good astronomer who had built himself three different observatories. The contest, therefore, if there was to be one, was to be between two commoners, both with some real pretensions to science. Though Dr Pitcairn and his friends were premature in assuring Banks that all looked to him, it is a little curious that none besides these two was seriously considered. But they were both rich, both non-political, and neither was connected with lightning-conductors. As time went on from August into November feeling rose, and Banks, who was not at all averse to his elevation, thought it wise to do some polite canvassing. ‘Dear Sir’, he wrote to Thomas Astle the antiquary and keeper of the State Papers, on 22 November, ‘as I have venturd to declare myself a Candidate for the vacant Chair of President of the Royal Society I take the liberty to address you in strong [hopes?] that I shall have your Friendly assistance in the prosecution of that undertaking in which if my Freinds of the Antiquarian Society will support me I have not the least doubt of succeeding in a very creditable manner. as Yet no other Candidate has Started Ld Hillsborough has been wrote by a few Members but as the letter has now been absent a long while and as the people who wrote it were but few and had not a very great Weight in the Soc I am inclind to think his Lordship will decline. I shall attempt to see our Freind Sr Jos today whose decision in my Favor would be indeed very flattering and surely very decisive — Your very affect Servant Jos: Banks’.2 This of course was not impeccably true; for Banks knew very well that Aubert had a great deal more support than that unimpressive politician Hillsborough; but it is possible that Aubert had not yet gone out asking for votes. At the end of November the Council met to make its recommendation. If keeping in with the king was important, then Banks was important; and a memorial to the king had been judged the in-

1 17 August [1778]; ibid., p. 199.

2 ML Banks Correspondence, C 181, pp. 5–7. It appears from Banks's letter that he was anxious to get on to his side those gentlemen, like Astle, who were both F.S.A. and F.R.S. ‘Sir JoB’, in the last sentence of this letter, is I think Sir Joshua Reynolds, F.R.S. 1761. Reynolds, however, was not at this time F.S.A. He had been elected in 1772, but not paying his dues, was removed by the Council, and was not re-elected till 1784. There is another, shorter note to Richard Gough, F.R.S., the director of the Society of Antiquaries from 1775 to 1795. I have seen, in private hands, a number of replies to Banks's letters to other persons.

page 118 dispensable
first step towards both the observation of Venus in 1769 and Phipps's polar voyage in 1773. The candidate had other virtues, of course. Nineteen of the twenty-one members of the Council took part in its deliberations; it decided on Banks; at the Anniversary Meeting that followed, 30 November, he was elected, ‘unanimously to appearance by 220 votes’. The subsequent formal dinner was delayed by the lateness of the new president, who waited for the election of a new secretary: he ‘came in a great hurry, quite out of breath, and sitting down…. said with good humour, but with rather too little dignity ‘I believe never did a President of the Royal Society run so fast before’.1 He was amply to compensate for that temporary lack of dignity; and the gout-smitten time was to come when those active legs would totally fail him.
Banks was about to receive another signal honour: to be deemed worthy to sit with Burke and Reynolds and Johnson, and to be elected to the Literary Club. ‘The Club is to meet with the Parliament;’ wrote Johnson to Boswell, ‘we talk of electing Banks, the traveller; he will be a reputable member’.2 It was Sir Joshua Reynolds himself who, on 11 December, announced to the candidate that ‘he was this Evening elected a member of the Club at the Turks head Gerard Street’;3 and it was not every man who could say

1 The quotations are from a letter of Banks's friend Sir John Cullum to the Rev. Michael Tyson, 7 December 1778, given in Edward Smith, p. 57.

2 21 November 1778; Letters of Samuel Johnson (ed. Chapman), II, p. 272. An earlier letter from Johnson to Bennet Langton, 31 October, had already mentioned the new candidature: ‘Mr Banks desires to be admitted; he will be a very honourable accession’.— ibid., p. 264. Banks's qualifications were certainly not literary. We know very little of his intellectual tastes, if he had any, outside science and light music and plays. Boswell gives us one gleam of light, discussing Johnson's famous passage on lona (‘That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of lona’, etc.)—‘Sir Joseph Banks, the present respectable President of the Royal Society, told me, he was so much struck on reading it, that he clasped his hands together, and remained for some time in an attitude of silent admiration’.—Tour to the Hebrides, 19 October 1773. As for art, ‘Accuracy of drawing seems to be a principal recommendation to Sir Joseph’.—Farington Diary, I, p. 27. This is not surprising in the patron of Sydney Parkinson and the other botanical draughtsmen. Cf. the following passage: ‘Indeed Sir Joseph Banks used to say that Mrs. Delany's representations of flowers “were the only imitations of nature that he had ever seen, from which he could venture to describe botanically any plant without the least fear of committing an error”’.—Autobiography and Correspondence of…. Mrs Delany, (2nd series, 1862), III, p. 95. Again, some lines from the journal of the tour in Holland, 18 February 1773, describing how he went to see ‘the Princes Cabinet, where were several Pictures, which the Connoisseurs seemed to admire: one of Oxen & a Shepherd painted by Potter, pleased me much: immensely high finished, but absolute nature’. Banks's patronage of that charming topographical draughtsman Paul Sandby has already been mentioned, and can be understood. See A. P. Oppé, The Drawings of Paul and Thomas Sandbyat Windsor Castle (London and Oxford 1947), passim.

3 Reynolds to Banks, 11 December 1778. The owner of this letter, Mr Richard Border of Pulborough, Sussex, has kindly allowed me to use it. It has been printed, though not from the original, by F. W. Hilles, Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds (Cambridge 1929), p. 67.

page 119 that he had been proposed by Reynolds and seconded by Johnson.1 Not for very much longer could he be intelligibly identified as ‘Banks, the traveller’; and within a few months more he had taken the final step, without romantic gesture, or alarm to his friends, into a settled stability. On 23 March 1779, at St Andrew's, Holborn, he married Dorothea Hugessen, the daughter of William Western Hugessen of Provender in the parish of Norton, Kent, ‘a comely and modest Young Lady’ almost sixteen years his junior.2 He was thirty-six; his youth was over.
It had been a youth fortunate, interesting, exciting; crowned, one supposes, in a social way, with success. Banks had done whatever he really wanted to do, with one notable exception. He had not gone on Cook's second voyage. But, we are compelled to ask, if he wanted to go only with that large entourage of his own, did he really want to go? Was his refusal a tribute paid to science, or a tribute paid to Joseph Banks? He had had plenty of time to think over his decision. Psychological springs go deep, and one hesitates to give an assured answer, a hundred and eighty years later, to such a query. There must have been times when he was bitten by regret, when he made hypothetical statements to himself as well as to his friends, but to say that is not to answer yes or no. To the end of his life, through all the multifarious and distracting and benevolent activities in which he was engaged, he maintained his position; we have the absurd statement passed on to Robert Brown, the last of his librarians, some time before he died;3 we have the bitter attack on Palliser, obviously directly derived, in Brougham's book of 1846.4 This is self-justification; we need have no doubt that Banks had persuaded himself that every word he uttered on the subject was literally true; but we have no need

1 Leslie and Taylor, Reynolds, II, p. 268.

2 The phrase quoted is Sir John Cullum's; Edward Smith, p. 62, n. 1. The young lady was born on 8 November 1758.—Dawson MS 47, f.58.

3 Of this statement Dr Cameron says (Sir Joseph Banks, p. 51), ‘In Banks's old age, at the request of his friend Robert Brown, the botanist, he dictated his recollections of his disappointment and the dispute’; and Dr Cameron prints it in his Appendix C, pp. 294–6. The statement is certainly in Brown's handwriting, and is bound up with his manuscript correspondence in the Botanical Library of the British Museum (Natural History), I, 17. It is undated, but probably was written in the last decade of Banks's life, as Brown did not succeed Dryander as his librarian till 1810. There is nothing to show that Banks dictated it to Brown, or that Brown asked for it: it is in fact a copy of the introduction to Banks's Iceland journal (see p. 84 above). Possibly, even, it was copied after Banks's death, as he willed all his books and papers to Brown for the latter's life; but with this reserve I let my statement in the text stand.

4 Lives of Men of Letters and Science, II, pp. 360–1.

page 120 to believe him. The significant thing is that throughout his forty later years the subject remained alive to him, in the same way that the voyage that he did go on remained alive. And this voyage, the three years in the Endeavour, remained also one of the things that gave his life a value to himself. It was a positive good; it was his, but he could contemplate it almost with a disinterested satisfaction, as a service rendered to mankind. ‘I may flatter myself’, he wrote in 1782, ‘that being the first man of scientific education who undertook a voyage of discovery and that voyage of discovery being the first which turned out satisfactorily in this enlightened age, I was in some measure the first who gave that turn to such voyages’.1 1 He ignores the element of luck, he might have remembered that Bougainville had been accompanied by Commer-son, but he does not much overpraise himself. If the remembrance were to be forced upon him, he would no doubt have argued that Commerson's collections lay unpublished and neglected, and that he might just as well never have made the voyage. The answer to that no doubt would be that nothing scientific that Banks did was published either.

To that he would have a rejoinder: at least he would have a rejoinder in 1782. He gave it in the letter just quoted, shortly before Solander's death: ‘Botany has been my favourite Science since my childhood; and the reason I have not published the account of my travels is that the first, from want of time necessarily brought on by the many preparations to be made for my second voyage, was intrusted to the care of Dr Hawkesworth; and since that I have been engag'd in a Botanical work which I hope soon to publish, as I have now near 700 folio plates prepar'd: it is to give an account of all the new plants discovered in my voyage round the world, somewhat above 800’.2 Solander died of a stroke, amid general grief, on 16 May 1782. The work subsequently stopped. Why should it have stopped? There were the plates, prepared at great expense to Banks, and there were Solander's MS volumes, fair-copied, containing the descriptive text for the whole voyage. As late as 1785, Banks was writing to a Swedish correspondent,

The botanical work with which I am at present occupied is nearing its conclusion. Solander's name will appear next to mine on the title-

1 Banks to Edward Hasted, D.T.C. II, p. 97 (evidently copied from a draft). This was in answer to a letter of 25 February 1782 asking for information for a county history (of Kent, into which Banks came through his marriage). Banks goes on, interestingly though somewhat indecipherably in the original, ‘or rather to their Commander Capt Cook, as guided and directed those which came after, as well as [word illegible] which was personally concern'd’.

2 ibid., p. 99

page 121 page
because everything has been brought together through our common industry. There is hardly a single clause written in it, while he lived, in which he did not have a part. Since all the descriptions were made while the plants were fresh there is nothing left to do beyond completing those drawings which are not yet finished, and entering the synonyms in the books which we did not have with us or have just come out. All that remains to do is so little that it can be completed in two months if only the engraver can be brought to put the finishing touches to it. 1
Yet the great work was never published. It is ridiculous to blame Solander — as he has often been blamed — for sloth. His part was done. If Banks lacked time himself, there were men perfectly capable of seeing a large folio through the press. Jonas Dryander, who succeeded Solander as Banks's librarian, was one. As for the journal, it was true that Banks had handed it over to Hawkesworth to use as he thought fit; but if Banks had wished to put it into shape and publish it as a separate entity, there was nothing to stop him. There was ample material in his Newfoundland and Iceland journals as well to interest a large public, as he must have been told by those to whom he showed them. Why then did he print nothing, all his life? Or rather, strictly speaking, why were his publications confined to a few articles of a few pages, of which the best known was the ‘Short Account of the Cause of the Disease in Corn, called by Farmers the Blight, the Mildew, and the Rust’ ? One of his biographers sees in him a certain lack of self-confidence,2 and some words written much later in his life argue in favour of the supposition: ‘I am scarce able to write my own Language with Correctness, & never presumd to attempt Elegant Composition, Either in Verse or in Prose in that or in any other Tongue’.3 True, that was in answer to an invitation to join a Society for Belles Lettres, where the demand on elegance might have been deemed stringent. But it is equally true that the scientific mind has sometimes been frightened of the medium of prose, performed with in public. There were indeed critics who thought the President of the Royal Society was mostly facade. Examples have not been unknown, again, of men thoroughly competent, and quite convinced of their competence, on the practical side of life, who have manifested a curious shrinking from any overt display of their

1 ‘Ueber Solander’, pp. 247–8.

2 Cameron, p. 74, and note from the Farington Diary, I, p. 61: ‘Some think Sir Joseph does not choose to encounter the opinion of the world on the merits of [his work], and, indeed, it is probable ill disposed criticks wd. not be wanting’. But this refers to the botanical work from the Endeavour voyage, Solander's work as well as Banks's, on which Banks could well snap his fingers at the criticks, however ill disposed.

3 Banks to Henry Greville [June 1807], B.M. Add. MS 33981, f. 256V.

page 122 minds. There was certainly no reason why Banks should print his journals, if he did not wish to; presumably he wrote them for himself and his friends; and just as there was a class of educated men in eighteenth century England, like Pennant, who loved authorship and print, so there was another class who, if they could not refrain from writing, regarded print in their own cases as being not quite gentlemanly. To this class Banks possibly, though not probably, belonged. The truth seems to be simply that he did not have a literary mind. He shared with such men, however, one characteristic. They could be generous with information. They would make ‘communications’. He handed his Endeavour manuscript entire to Hawkesworth, who was getting £6000 out of his editing of sailors'journals; he communicated his observations on the island of Staffa to Pennant to incorporate in the Tour in Scotland. He did give a reason for that. Pennant, he argued to Falconer, the friend of both, had as a traveller a prior right to the Western Islands: ‘I while in that Countrey Lookd for him with assiduity conceiving myself as no more than a poacher who might get leave of the Lord to shoot upon the mannor but in return owd at least the offer of whatever he might Kill’.1 His scientific papers are mostly little communications, such as any polite dabbler might produce, to the Transactions of the Linnean Society and the Horticultural Society.
The question still remains why the scientific work of the great voyage was not completed; for completion meant publication. Banks might possibly have another answer: that he did not need to publish, because anyone competent to profit from the collections or from Solander's work could come and use the herbarium and the library. What serious student had he ever turned away? Was not 32 Soho Square a sort of Mecca to which every pilgrim was welcomed — and where, on Thursdays, he would get breakfast as well? This would have been an inadequate answer, because it is only the minority of men who can go on pilgrimages, and there were a great many natural historians all over Europe to whom Soho Square was as unattainable as Mecca itself. One is compelled, rather to one's surprise, rather against one's will, to the conviction

1 Banks to Falconer, 2 April 1773, Hawley coll. Pennant, in his dedicatory epistle to Banks, was equally polite: ‘You took from me all temptation of envying your superior good fortune, by the liberal declaration you made that the Hebrides were my ground, and yourself, as you pleasantly expressed it, but an interloper. May I meet with such, in all my adventures!’ After such courtesies, the modern student derives a minor but undeniable pleasure from the use, in the British Museum, of Banks's own copy of the work, with Pennant's fly-leaf inscription ‘From the Author’, and Banks's name-stamp, the facsimile of his signature.

page 123 that Banks did not publish because he had lost interest. He had lost interest because of the very nature of his mind; and his mind was never, in relation to science, truly ‘professional’. He was a Gentleman, and an Amateur. With all his collecting journeys and all his collections, all his patronage of men of science,1 all his final vast prestige, he remained (in the eighteenth century sense) a dilettante. One might almost unsay some of the things already said, and hold that he had never been educated. One implies here, it is true, that education entails a real discipline of the mind, a devotion to ‘professional’ as exalted from ‘amateur’ standards of intellectual activity. Banks — it was the logic of his birth and wealth, his perfect ability to dispose of himself as he liked, the logic even of his time in history as well as of his place in society — remained the gentleman-amateur. If he had had the mind of Priestley, if he had been a first-rate genius like Cavendish, if he had had the singleness of character of Linnaeus, he would have been a greater man — although a much less representative man. But of course, at running the Royal Society — again at that time in history, when no violent reform in constitution or administration was called for — he was to be superb. His talent was a managing talent. We can see exactly why Sir Humphry Davy summed up his predecessor in the chair as he did: ‘He was a good-humoured and liberal man, free and various in conversational power, a tolerable botanist, and generally acquainted with natural history. He had not much reading,2 and no profound information. He was always ready to promote the objects of men of science; but he required to be regarded as a patron, and readily swallowed gross flattery. When he gave anecdotes of his voyages he was very entertaining and unaffected. A courtier in character, he was a warm friend to a good King. In his relations to the Royal Society he was too personal, and made his house a circle too like a court’. For Davy came from a quite different stratum of society, Davy was all con-

1 We get a hitherto unnoted illustration of this, just as Banks was moving into his maturity, in a letter from Anders Sparrman, who had been employed by the elder Forster as an assistant on Cook's second voyage, to George Forster, 25 July 1777: ‘As for Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander please to remember me to them in the best terms; I am very much obliged to the Former for his kind offer of 60L. a year, but it is too small a salary for me to subsist on in England, besides I do not know all that I should have to do. Please to excuse me in the best terms.’—Johann Georg Forsters Briefwechsel… (Leipzig 1829), II, p. 705.

2 Why, then, the great Banks library, Dryander's catalogue alone of which ran to five octavo volumes and 2464 pages? Simply because it was a scientific library exclusively, a Bibliotheca historico-naturalis. The catalogue appeared between 1796 and 1800.—Banks had certainly read Ossian, as we have seen, and Johnson's Tour to the Hebrides.

page 124 centration
, a laboratory man, Davy belonged to — was the maker of— a new age.1
Banks, we may conclude, had not the instinct of thoroughness. It was one matter to keep a journal, and to dash down in it at high speed the glowing, the exciting, the intoxicating things that happened. To punctuate it was another matter. It would have been another thing altogether to brood over the shape of sentences and the sound of words, to make them answer exactly to the least nuance of experience and thought. But, one might plead, on board the Endeavour, or on the beach at Matavai Bay, experience was not taken in nuances; and when Banks does set out to punctuate one wishes he had not. Are we to make our criterion a literary one? It may be argued that at times he was thorough, more thorough than Cook, as when he raced about measuring canoes, or sketched a pattern of Polynesian weaving, or — even — collected together so many artists and servants for the second voyage that no plant would be undrawn, no stone remain ungathered. In the South Seas, however, from the very nature of voyaging, he was limited, there was little choice of activities; his services and his notes were so valuable because they could not wander. We may contrast him with Cook, whom he so admirably complemented. Cook was a dedicated man. Banks was — one searches for a phrase — a rich and extremely intelligent young man let loose on life. Once again it is the contrast between the professional and the amateur. The pages of our journal therefore are a by-product, which is the secret of their unforced, unlaboured charm. Let the devoted Sarah Sophia then make a fair copy, leaving out the hard Latin names; by all means let Phipps have another copy. But do not revise. But do not think of them as an end in themselves. It is their spontaneity that is so captivating for the unprofessional reader. The professional reader, the ethnologist, the natural historian,

1 Davy's remarks are in the Memoirs of the Life of Sir Humphry Davy, Bart., by his brother, John Davy (1836), II, pp. 126–7. Banks was defended against some of them by his warm admirer Sir John Barrow, who thought that the phrases, ‘a tolerable botanist’, ‘a lover of gross flattery’, ‘a house like a court’ were ‘unfounded and unjust’.—Sketches of the Royal Society and the Royal Society Club (1849), p. 40. No one can go through the Banks correspondence without seeing that he was subjected to gross flattery, and apparently had no difficulty in swallowing it; but whether it made any difference to his constitution, in his later life, is a different matter. He certainly preferred to be addressed with due respect and could adopt a lofty tone, but with certain of his difficult and complaining correspondents—e.g. Caley—he exhibited a remarkable forbearance. He was never affected again, so far as one can see, as he had been after the return of the Endeavour. James Britten, after careful study, thought it was clear that Banks ‘had much more botanical knowledge than was at one time supposed’.—Introduction to Illustrations of the Botany of Captain Cook's Voyage round the World, Part III, 1904, last page (this introduction is unpaginated).

page 125 drinks greedily, and deplores the fate that defrauded him of more, of Banks's second voyage. Enough has been said perhaps on that subject to render otiose any further discussion on its relevance to thoroughness of mind. French horns could not have found a southern continent, or contributed appreciably to the natural history of Polynesia.
For Banks, indeed, there was so much that he could do, so much that he wanted to do. We may study his later life in the light of his early life, but the reverse process is also useful. He was able, he was interested, he was active, he was not introspective; he was cheerful, he was generous; his activities are so very difficult to summarize, his life so difficult to write, simply because of the extraordinary number of things he found to do, or that were found for him to do. There were the botanical tours, the objects of archaeological curiosity, the fishing-parties with the Ladies of Pleasure. There were the ‘Plays, Operas, Concerts, masquerades &c’. to which he was so ardently devoted, ‘till prevented by infirmities’;1 we may indeed perhaps picture him, a member of that tuneful circle that had its surprising moments, in attendance on some of those Christmas oratorios at Hinchingbrooke when Miss Ray sang and Sandwich played the kettle-drums.2 There was Soho Square, there was Revesby Abbey, there was soon a third house, Spring Grove at Heston, and later a fourth, Overton in Derbyshire, inherited from Joseph's uncle, Robert Banks Hodgkinson. There were the natural historians, the Royal Society, the dining clubs, there were the British Museum and the Board of Longitude, the draining of the fens, the service as Recorder of Lincoln and sheriff of the county, the crumbling fabric of Lincoln Cathedral, the Royal Mint and the colonial coinage, the King's merino sheep, the botanical collectors, the transference of the bread-fruit to the West Indies — the list is by no means complete; there was Kew, there was the foundation of the settlement of New South Wales; there was Flinders; there were the tribulations of Governor Bligh, and Mr Caley's dog and the Rev. Samuel Marsden's rabbits. Lady Banks (the baronetcy came in 1781) was a little old china mad: that had to be attended to. There were foreign scientific societies. There were scientists and scientific collections to be looked after during the war. There were the misfortunes of Iceland. There were Cook's surviving relatives in Yorkshire — his sister Mrs Fleck

1 The quoted phrases are from Banks's letter to Henry Greville [June 1807], B.M. Add. MS 33981, already quoted, p. 121 above.

2 Joseph Gradock, Literary and Miscellaneous Memoirs (1828), I, p. 117.

page 126 who was addicted to inebriety, and her son James who was reduced through misfortune to selling his trading vessel. There was more than enough for an able and interested and generous man to attend to. Under the impact of all this, a man whose sole devotion was science, a man whose life was lonely thought, would have gone insane. Joseph Banks did not go insane. He showed now and again that he was displeased, never that he was disturbed. He had found his multifarious calling, and he pursued it, on the whole, with triumphant success. His role was to be not an original genius, but a sort of director of scientific and industrial research. In a later day he would have been, in that department, a magnificent civil servant. Was he then born too soon? Clearly, no; for the management of men, the organization of useful enterprises, does not belong exclusively to one age. We may add yet again to the characterizations of his century; we may speak of the Age of Banks. Or, simply, we may reflect that in his character, in his activities, in his good fortune, in his shortcomings, in his accomplishments, Joseph Banks was eminently of his age.