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


page vii


The aim of this volume is, primarily, to print the text of Banks's Endeavour journal as carefully edited and annotated as seems adequate to its importance. There is, however, supplementary material. From the great mass of Banks papers that exists in the Mitchell Library and other depositories in Australia and England, a number intimately connected with Banks's part in the voyage are important enough, it is thought, for inclusion as appendices. To these have been added certain other papers, relevant to Banks's refusal to sail on Cook's second voyage. Between about half and three quarters only of the journal has been printed before, and only a very few pages of the appendices; and what has been printed has appeared with various degrees of inaccuracy, whether of deliberate purpose or through carelessness.

An introduction, of some sort, to the journal seemed necessary, to give the reader his bearings. The precise form to be taken by it was not, however, immediately apparent; for the present editor had already dealt at length with the voyage of the Endeavour in an introduction to Cook's own journal;1 and there was a quite vast amount of material that could be drawn on illustrative of Banks. As his figure bulks so largely in the scientific and social history of his time, it was concluded that a general essay on ‘The Young Banks’ might throw some light on the place of the journal in its writer's own development, as well as on his, and consequently on its, relation to that history.

The draft of such an essay, based on the usual secondary sources, although supplemented by the Mitchell Library papers, showed only too clearly the lacunae, the dubieties, and the lack of documentation in the brief biographies that are all that have been vouchsafed to Banks; and much work on manuscript and other material previously used, as well as on the unused, was necessary before any satisfactory story could be told. It is hoped that the essay now printed, tied down as firmly as possible to verifiable references, will not merely do what was first planned for it, but will provide the beginnings of a much-needed new approach to a biographical subject as complex as it is rich. The reader will find a good deal of quotation incorporated, both in the text and in the footnotes. If he page viii is already a student of Banks, some of the passages may seem to him familiar; but they are new, it is hoped, in being printed correctly. The majority of them, like so much else in the book, have not been printed before; and it is hoped, also, that they both illuminate the study in a way otherwise impossible and indicate the nature of the material. It would be too much to hope that the work is immaculate. The ground occupied by Banks in the eighteenth century has had too little attention from the historian, passionately as he has explored the politics and the literature and the scandal of the age, for one to feel more than provisionally satisfied with one's own results.

The papers to which I have had access, apart from the great collection in the Mitchell Library, are widely scattered. By gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen, I have been enabled to use, and to quote from, the Georgian Papers preserved in the Royal Library at Windsor. I am deeply indebted to the owners of other collections, who so immediately and so generously gave me the freedom of them. For such freedom my thanks go to Viscount Hinchingbrooke, M.P.; Lord Brabourne; Sir David Hawley and Dr J. W. F. Hill of Lincoln; Mr Warren R. Dawson, F.R.S.E., F.S.A., of Bletchley, Buckinghamshire (who has helped me also in other ways); and Mr Kenneth A. Webster of London. I am indebted likewise to the librarians who have in their charge Banks and other MSS, and have allowed me to exploit their kindness: namely those of the Commonwealth National Library, Canberra; the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; the Auckland Public Library; the Department of Manuscripts of the British Museum; the libraries of the British Museum (Natural History), the Herbarium at Kew, the Royal Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; the Sheffield Public Libraries; and the McGill University Library, Montreal.

In the work of annotation I owe further debts. The principal of these, in fields quite beyond my competence—those of natural history—are due to Dr Averil M. Lysaght of London and Professor Joseph Ewan of Tulane University, New Orleans—scholars learned, the one in the zoology, the other in the botany, of the eighteenth century. Without their professional knowledge, and their close acquaintance with the scientific records of the Endeavour voyage, the proper presentation of the journal would have been out of the question. So far as this work is one of scientific interpretation, it is also one of large collaboration, and I am happy to make the fact clear. Dr Lysaght has also been good enough to co-ordinate a great number of suggestions from zoological specialists at the British page ix Museum (Natural History), who have my gratitude: the late Sir Norman Kinnear, Dr H. W. Parker (Keeper of Zoology), Dr G. O. Evans, Dr F. C. Fraser, Dr I. Gordon, Dr J. P. Harding, Mr N. B. Marshall, Dr T. C. S. Morrison-Scott, Mr A. K. Totton, the late Mr Guy L. Wilkins, Mr N. D. Riley (formerly Keeper of Entomology), Mr F. C. Sawyer, and Dr I. H. H. Yarrow. On the botanical side, Mr W. T. Stern and Miss M. R. J. Edwards have been very helpful. In England I owe thanks also to Dr W. R. P. Bourne of Hove. Among New Zealand scholars I am much indebted to the advice of Dr R. A. Falla and his colleagues of the Dominion Museum, Wellington, and to Mr I. L. Thomsen of the Carter Observatory, Wellington; in Australia to Miss Patricia Kott and Dr D. L. Serventy of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, to Mr A. Musgrave of the Australian Museum, Sydney, and to Mr R. H. Anderson, curator of the Botanic Gardens, Sydney. On a number of specific points (not only scientific ones) I have acknowledged help to other friends and informants in the relevant footnotes.

In the fields of linguistics, ethnology and history I have received assistance from Sir Richard Winstedt, F.B.A., Professor C. R. Boxer, of King's College, London, the late Mr J. Frank Stimson of Papeete, Dr Donald S. Marshall of the Peabody Museum of Salem; and in New Zealand, from Mr T. R. Smith, Mr J. M. McEwen, the late Mr Leslie G. Kelly, and the collections of the Dominion Museum. In naval and maritime affairs I have been helped by Mr G. P. B. Naish and Miss Katherine Lindsay-McDougall of the National Maritime Museum; in geographical and cartographical history as well as in other matters—and as always—by Mr R. A. Skelton of the British Museum. For assistance in the selection of illustrations I am obliged to Miss Janet D. Hine and Miss Heather Sherrie; for seemingly interminable typing and re-typing, over a period of years, to Mrs Rita Hollings and Miss Rona Arbuckle, at different times of my University, to Mrs Dorothy I. Croucher, of New Zealand House, London, and to Mrs Ilse Jacoby of Wellington. The index— no inconsiderable matter—is the work of Miss Sherrie. Though I leave to the last the name of Miss Phyllis Mander Jones, lately Mitchell Librarian and now Australian Joint Copying Project Officer in London, I do so but to emphasize my very real obligations, also, for her side of a long correspondence, her own explorations of the Banks papers and Parkinson drawings, and her patience at the ever-new demands I have made upon her energies.

The attention I have paid to the English sources—both in the page x introduction and in the body of the book—would have been impossible, at a time when it was very much needed, without the Carnegie Commonwealth Fellowship conferred upon me by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies of the University of London in 1955–56; and to the Institute, and to its then Director, Sir Keith Hancock, I tender my heartfelt thanks for the most friendly and generous way in which they allowed me to proceed unimpeded with my own work, dissimilar as it was in time and content from the subjects of seminars to which I might not unjustly have been expected to make some contribution.

Finally I must thank my own University. New Zealand universities are not so well-endowed financially that one of them can easily support a member of its staff whose time is almost entirely devoted to research and publication. I am very conscious of the episode in university history that led to this result in my case, and of my good fortune in my College—as it was for the greater part of the time I have worked on these volumes—and my colleagues. To say more could lead only to cumbrous explanation; to say less would be to do less than justice both to my academic home and to my sense of gratitude.

J. C. Beaglehole

Victoria University of Wellington

October 1959

1 The Journals of Captain James Cook, Vol. I, Cambridge University Press for the Hakluyt Society, 1955.