The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]
5. Memorandum From The Navy Board
5. Memorandum From The Navy Board
[Sandwich papers, Hinchingbrooke. Endorsed ‘No. 95’.]
Observations upon Mr Banks's Letter to the Earl of Sandwich.
Mr Banks's first Objection to the Ship respected only the Conveniences for himself and was then no more than this, ‘that the forepart of the Cabin was an Inch or two too low’. 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 any 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. As to what concerned himself, as he increased his Suite and his Demands every thing was done to satisfy him, by which it happened that the Properties of the Ship were so much altered that it has been necessary to take away the additional Works that had been done at his request; in doing which it was so contrived that the Difference occasioned thereby to him, was simply this—The great Cabin (6Feet 6Ins high between Plank and Plank) was shortned from 22 to 16 feet long, and there was one small Cabin for his Attendants taken away. After this small Reduction, there remained on the whole much better Accomodations than he had in the former Voyage in the Endeavour, and the great Cabin remained in Length and Height though not in breadth equal to those in a 74 Gun Ship* for an Admiral, who frequently embarks in such Ships to command His Majesty's Fleets at Sea, whose Cabins are only 16Feet : 2Ins long, and 6Feet: 6Ins high.
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; for which he ispage 345
not qualified, and if granted to him, would have been the greatest disgrace that could be put on His Majesty's Naval officers.
His Assertion that the Ship is incommodious to the People, and made worse to them by the late Alterations has a very evil tendency, to raise Discontent amongst the People, and for defeating the Voyage; but it may be averred he is mistaken in the Fact, for the People will be better accomodated, a freer circulation of Air throughout the Ship, and in all respects wholesome and the Men better lodged than they are in any King's-built Ship of the same Dimensions and Burthen.
His Application of the Cases of the Emerald and Stag, and the Conclusion he draws therefrom, discovers him to have less knowledge of Matters relating to Ships than might be expected in one who has associated and conversed so much with His Majesty's Sea Officers. The first was on shore in a smooth Water Channel at home, not on a distant strange, desolate or savage Coast at the Antipodes Six Ships instantly anchored by her, hauled alongside, took out her Guns, Provisions &ca, and immediate Assistance of every kind was sent from one of the King's Dock Yards. The Stag, if she was hove up, or hove down, at Trincomaly, it was at a Port where there were conveniences for fitting Ships of burthen, and where undoubtedly they had all the like Conveniences that could be had in the River Thames. Had either of those Ships been in the Endeavours place on the Coast of New Holland, they would never have been heard of again: Even if they had got off the Rocks, they could not have been hauled up to repair Damages, as was done by the Endeavour.
* Bellona Superb Arrogant &ca [marginal note].