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Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.


page 200

William Bayly, extracts from whose journal and log are printed below, was born in Wiltshire in 1737, and spent his boyhood at the plough. With the assistance of friends, he managed to educate himself, and became a schoolmaster. Dr. Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, happened to hear of his talents, and engaged him as assistant at the Royal Observatory. He was sent by the Royal Society to observe the Transit of Venus at the North Cape in 1769, and, later, received the appointment of astronomer, together with William Wales, in Cook's second voyage in 1773, joining Captain Furneaux's vessel the “Adventure.” He acted in the same capacity on the “Discovery,” Captain Clerke, one of the two ships taking part in Cook's Third Voyage. In 1785 Bayly was made headmaster of the Royal Academy at Woolwich, and retired on a pension from that position in 1807. He died at Portsea towards the end of 1810. (“Dictionary of National Biography.”)

Bayly's astronomical observations, made during Cook's Second and Third Voyages, were published in—


“Original Astronomical Observations made in the course of a Voyage towards the South Pole.” By W. Wales and W. Bayly. London, 1770, 4to.; and


“Original Observations made in the course of a Voyage to the Northern Pacific Ocean, 1776–1780,” by Captain J. Cook, Lieutenant J. King, and W. Bayly. London, 1782, 4to.

This M.S. journal and log, the former being signed, are in Bayly's handwriting, and comprise two folio volumes. The journal gives a complete account of the voyage from the 23rd June, 1773, to the 16th July, 1774. The log begins on the 11th June, 1776, and ends on the 30th April, 1779, at Kamchatka. Both documents are very neatly written, and contain entries of the most private character. Neither has been printed before.

One of the most interesting opinions written down by Bayly is that referring to the Strait between Australia and Tasmania. Captain Furneaux, during the time he was first parted from Captain Cook, examined the south and eastern shores of Tasmania, and in his report to Cook stated his belief that what is now known as Bass Strait was a deep bay. Bayly's entry, on the other hand, under date 17th March, 1773, is: “It seems very evident that this is the mouth of a straight which separates New Holland from Van Diemen's Land.” As a result of Fur- page 201 neaux's report, Van Diemen's Land was shown as if connected with Australia, until Bass sailed between them and gave his name to this Strait in 1799.

The journal and the log are in the possession of Mr. A. H. Turnbull of Wellington, who has kindly granted permission for their reproduction here.