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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.

Captain Clerke to Mr. Banks* (Banks Papers)

Captain Clerke to Mr. Banks* (Banks Papers).

Discovery, at the Cape of Good Hope,
23 November, 1776.

My Dear Sir

Here I am hard and fast moor'd alongside my old friend Capt'n Cook, so that our battles with the Israelites cannot now have any ill-effects upon our intended attack upon the North Pole. I think I acquainted you from Plymouth, on the 1st of August, that I was getting under way; I then got a good outset with a fresh easterly breeze, and made a very good passage to within a few leagues of this land without any kind of accident befalling us but the loss of the corporal of marines by unfortunately falling overboard soon after we had enter'd the Southern Hemisphere. We had a little of the small and abundance of the French pox amongst us at our sailing, but all hands were perfectly cleans'd and perfectly healthy at our arrival here. The sour crout and portable soup, with now and then a few albetrosses, we find a most salutary diet. I made this land on the 30th of October, and should have been in with all facility the next day, but a confounded gale from the S.E. sprung up and blew with violence enough, I thought, to upset the Table Hill; however, in spight of my blood it drove me off the coast again and detained me at sea till the 9th of this month, when I got in and

* Endorsed in Mr. Banks's handwriting, “Capt. Clerke, May, 1777.”

page 139 found the Resolution had then been here three weeks, and, of course, had got all my provisions, &c., in good forwardness for embarking. Capt. Cook set the bakers to work immediately upon his arrival, and the last of my bread was baked on the 21st instant. I shall be ready for sea by the 25th or 26th; the Resolution is not yet quite compleat, so that those curs'd procrastinations the gentlemen of the law plagued us with will exceedingly little, if at all, impede our leaving this place. Your man Nelson is one of the quietest fellows in nature; he seems very attentive, and, I hope, will answer your purpose very well. I flatter myself I need not assure you of every attention of mine towards his giving you all satisfaction. He has made a trip up the country here with Gore, who is very well, and desires his respects and compliments to you and the good doctors, to whom I mean presently to address myself. I have executed your commissions to Mr. Prihm and Mr. Brand* [Brandt], who both seem much pleased with your compliments. We shall now sail in a very few days, and return to the old trade of exploring, so can only say adieu, adieu, my very good friend. Be assured that happen what will it is wholly out of the power of durance of time or length of space in the least to alleviate that sense of gratitude your goodness has inspir'd, but, indeed, I shall ever endeavour upon all and every occasion to acquit myself, dear sir,

Yours, &c.


Chas. Clerke


Nov. 29th.—We are now all ready for the sea, and shall certainly this evening or tomorrow morning proceed. I was oblig'd to go and get my letter again, and make this addition. At my first arrival here Mr. Brand [Brandt] offer'd to take upon himself the expences of Nelson. I told him there was no necessity for it; I should settle all his matters. I have now settled all my accounts, &c., but just now found that two of my boys had spent all their money, and were fairly in pawn, so I thought the easiest way was to give Brand the receipt of Nelson's for 31 rix dollars, which I have here advanced him, which you will repay, take the dollars from him and make him your creditor for that sum. We are now all hurry, so have only time to say adieu, adieu, for a long, and I hope a good, campaigne. Adieu

* Mr. Brandt was a prominent merchant at Cape Town, at whose house it was customary for the officers of British vessels to reside during their stay in port.

The vessels sailed on the following morning—the 30th November, 1776.