The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]
Printing and Annotation
Printing and Annotation
If Banks is to be read with any comfort, then something must be done to his text in printing it. On the other hand, not too much must be done, or something of the flavour of his rapid-running mind and pen departs. Something — though it may be merely superficial—is bound to depart in print anyhow: the problem is to conserve all that can be conserved. I have therefore adopted the following rules. (1) I have maintained Banks's own spelling and abbreviations; the exception here is his ampersand, which so often repeated would have been a needless offence to the eye, and is therefore consistently expanded. (2) Obvious slips and repetitions of small words have been silently corrected, but where it has seemed necessary letters or words supplied have been enclosed page 148 in square brackets. Such words are generally vouched for by the texts of S or P, or both; where this is not so the word supplied is followed by a query. (3) After a good deal of hesitation, I have capitalized normally the names of persons, people and countries, whether used as nouns or as adjectives, not merely to avoid upsetting too much the reader's established expectations — which may not after all matter — but to get rid of the problem of Banks's own frequent indeterminate forms. Apart from this, I have retained capitals for nouns when Banks clearly intends them, and otherwise when they do not clutter up the page: this is arbitrary and perhaps illogical, but at least does keep some of the ‘feeling’ of the MS. I have imposed them at the beginnings of sentences. (4) I have, so far as possible in type, followed Banks's accents. (5) I have punctuated — enough, I hope, to render the sense easily intelligible, but without entering into refinements. (6) As Banks is highly inconsistent in his underlinings — e.g. of his scientific binomials — I have regularized this in type, and italicized according to modern practice, though retaining his capitals.
To give the reader who may be interested a certain number of specimens of Banks unadulterated, I have, however, in the introduction, printed quotations from his letters and other journals as nearly as possible as he wrote them.
In so long a text the question of division inevitably arises. I have retained Banks's paragraphing, but that does not answer the question. When faced by this mass of words, the reader may legitimately demand some relief for the eye. I have therefore divided the text, not into ‘chapters’, which might give a fundamentally false idea of what is, after all, one continuous piece of description, but into six parts, corresponding with the main divisions of the voyage: the passage to Tahiti; the sojourn there and the period in the Society Islands; New Zealand; New South Wales; New Guinea and the East Indies; and the passage from Batavia home. Inside these divisions I have broken the text only by cross-headings giving the month and the year — as an aid, as it were, to the reader's navigation. I have followed the original MS in placing the month at the head of the page. I have removed the memorandum on electrical experiments and Hulme's letter to Banks to an appendix, as I have done with his lists of fishes and plants.
The annotation has presented a number of general problems, as well as innumerable particular ones. The aim has been, first, to make the journal intelligible in relation to the voyage as a whole, and secondly, to make the references in it intelligible in themselves. page 149 This implies a body of annotation geographical, historical, and personal, ethnological, linguistic, botanical and zoological. I have tried not to exceed due bounds in this, but a good deal of explaining is sometimes necessary. The non-scientific reader may perhaps regard the botanical and zoological annotation in particular as being more than is called for. But to Banks the voyage was one of scientific enquiry, and his journal was a record not of navigation nor even, primarily, of geographical discovery, but of discovery in the field of natural history — however much his definition of natural history had in practice to be expanded. With the MSS of Solander and the drawings of Parkinson we have a precise and invaluable commentary on this side of the journal, and it would be a poor tribute to Banks and his companions that did not make the fullest possible use of these aids to comprehension. Indeed, in the Banksian Herbarium and other collections in the British Museum (Natural History), and in the Mitchell Library, we have very many of the actual specimens they brought back.1 The overt use made in footnotes of these MSS, drawings, and specimens will be found to vary, as will the detail of reference to them. Some of the botanical material, for example, has been well worked over by such men as James Britten, who used it for the three volumes of reproductions of the Australian plant engravings published in 1900–05. It has been assimilated into the corpus of botanical knowledge. At the same time, Banks's own lists in the journal of the plants collected at Madeira, at Rio de Janeiro, and in Tierra del Fuego, have not been thus worked over, and it is clear that proper scientific attention to these lists would mean a body of annotation valuable, certainly, as a contribution to botanical history, but tending on the whole to overweight the appendixes in one particular direction. The lists are printed, therefore, in Appendix I as a basis for desirable study; but that study is left to the interested expert.
1 In the botanical notes, for instance, the reader will find more than one reference to the ‘Pocket Book’. This is a name bestowed by Dr Ramsbottom, late of the British Museum (Natural History) on a bound elephant folio of 147 ff. of which 146 bear small mounted vouchers of the larger specimens from the voyage, prepared for Banks's herbarium and now incorporated in the BMNH Herbarium. This bound series begins with Madeira and includes New Zealand, and there are a very few specimens which may represent Australia. These vouchers assume critical importance for certain monocotyledons where the principal specimen was damaged or lost during World War II.
For the general human background in the Pacific, I may perhaps refer the reader to the ‘Note on Polynesian History’, printed in The Journals of Captain James Cook, I, pp. clxxii-cxcii. One particular problem which arose in connection with the ethnological side of the voyage was how to treat the vocabularies and the comparative philological data upon which Banks was so fond of dilating. After considerable thought and experiment I concluded that what was really called for was some general notes on the processes by which Banks arrived at his lists, and that no particular end would be served by giving equivalents in present-day conventional orthography. The non-philologist would be no further forward, and the philologist, having the primary material put before him, would prefer to make his own deductions in a field which is still open to scrutiny and discussion. With individual names and expressions, on the other hand, wherever there is little possibility of error — where, indeed, the point is really one of historical fact — I have given transliterations.
A small number of notes will be found repeated, where Banks repeats statements already made. This repetition is not consistent, and is aimed mainly at refreshing the reader's mind without too much recourse to cross-reference. A little cross-reference seems essential.
‘Cook I’, frequently cited, refers to The Journals of Captain James Cook, Volume I, The Voyage of the Endeavour (Cambridge University Press for the Hakluyt Society, 1955); ‘Cook II’ to the second volume of that edition, The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure (1961). Where no number is given, the first volume is to be understood.
1 It consists of 512 pp. folio of descriptions in Latin of animals, vertebrate and invertebrate, collected on the voyage. It is carefully compiled, with notes on localities, some vernacular names, references to earlier descriptions, etc. The whole is a fair copy, not in Solander's hand; the original has disappeared.—Solander Z1 is an MS in Solander's hand: it consists of five sections now bound in one volume but paginated separately and irregularly. The sections are Pisces Australiae; Pisces etc. Novae Hollandiae; Pisces etc. Anim. caetera Oceani Pacifici; Animalia Javanensia &capensia; Pisces Islandici.—Solander Z2 is a fair copy, not quite complete, of Z1.