The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 72
Historical Records of New South Wales. Vol. I. Part 1. Cook. 1762-1780. 8vo. Pp. xlii-526 and plates. Sydney. 1893.
The papers contained in this volume of the Historical Records of New South Wales deal with the visit of Captain Cook to those shores during the years 1769-70, and incidentally with his career both before and after that period. According to the preface, it was originally intended that the foundation of the Colony by Governor Phillip should form the starting-point of the history of New South Wales, the work of Captain Cook being regarded as belonging to the history of discovery rather than to that of colonisation; but it having been decided to publish the records of the Colony concurrently with the history, in separate volumes, the work of the famous navigator has been included, and so lends additional value to the period when the knowledge of Australia began to assume a definite and accurate form. The collection opens with an extract from a log in the handwriting of Cook which has been preserved in the British Museum in which the voyage along the eastern coast of New Holland is recorded. As a historic document this log is of great value, as it affords, in the opinion of the editor, a ready means of disposing finally, not only of a number of fallacies which have hitherto been accepted, but also of a number of questions which have given rise to a great deal of controversy of a speculative nature. A mass of general, as well as official correspondence, containing the Admiralty despatches, &c., helps to produce an interesting as well as a useful record of the services of the great navigator whose name is so closely connected with the progress of discovery and settlement in Australia. Strict chronological order in the arrangement of the records has been adhered to except in the case of the logs, which are grouped together at the commencement of the book. The illustrations are reproductions of portraits and views of the period, while the fac-similes of entries in the log books of the 'Endeavour' have been traced from the originals in the British Museum and reproduced by photo-lithography. The work has been ably edited by Mr. F. M. Bladen, of the Government Printing Office, Sydney, whilst too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Mr. James Bon-wick, himself an old colonist, who has laboured indefatigably in collecting the information necessary for the production of the work.page 98
Calvert, Albert F. (F.R.G.S. &c.)—The Discovery of Australia. 4to. Pp. vi-91. London: George Philip & Son. 1893, (Price 10s. (6d.)
According to the Author's preface, this work is merely a collection of historical facts regarding the voyages undertaken by the representatives of the various European nations for the discovery of the Great South Land Mr. Calvert does not profess to sum up the results of those voyages by advocating any theory as to priority of claim, but simply traces the course of discovery from the earliest records of the voyages of De Gonneville, Parmentier, De Quiros, Tasman, Dampier, and other celebrated navigators, terminating with the voyage of Captain Cook, which occupies considerable space, owing to its importance in connection with the present geographical configuration of Australia. Although there is nothing in the work throwing further light upon the already much-debated question of priority of discovery, a reference to the maps which are embodied clearly shows, as has already been proved by the late Mr. R. H. Major, that in the sixteenth century there are indications of Australia having been already discovered, but with no written documents to confirm them, while in the following century there is documentary evidence that its coasts were touched upon or explored by a number of Dutch navigators, but the documents immediately describing these voyages have not been found. Hence the investigation is one of the most interesting in all its stages, but beset with doubts and difficulties arising from many causes. The Author mentions one voyage which has not hitherto figured amongst the documentary evidence regarding early Australian exploration, viz. that of Van Cal-Verte, a Dutchman who is stated to have voyaged during 1504-5 from Java Minor to Java Major, reaching the extreme corner of North-Vest Australia. This voyage the Author states is described in a manuscript pamphlet containing a rough outline map which was in the possession of his family in 1853, but has since been lost. Without documentary evidence this voyage cannot be considered as affecting the early discovery Australia. The collection of twenty-four maps, reproduced from various sources, will be found of considerable use for purposes of reference, whilst the work itself embodies an epitome of all that has been written upon the subject by various Authors, and so rendered easily accessible for purposes of research.
Williams, Right Rev. William (D.C.L.)—A Dictionary of the New Zealand Language. 8vo. Pp. xv-825. Auckland: Upton & Co. London: Williams & Norgate. 1892.
The latest edition of this Dictionary of the New Zealand Language appears in a considerably enlarged form, with numerous additions and corrections. The first edition appeared fifty years ago, and although considerably less than half the size of its present and fourth edition, proved page 99 of considerable use to those who were brought into frequent communication with the Maori people. Since that period the work has been rendered more complete by the inclusion of many good illustrative examples, taken from Sir George Grey's valuable work on the "Mythology and Traditions of the New Zealanders," as well as from Maori letters or other writings and from the lips of Maori speakers on the spot. Considerable difficulty has been experienced in rendering the work thoroughly complete, owing to the fact that many words though well known in one district, may be absolutely unknown in another. It is, nevertheless, an example of most diligent research, and is the most complete and comprehensive work upon the subject.
Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. Vol. XVI. Parts 1 and 2. 8vo. Adelaide. 1892-93.
The two parts comprising Volume 16 of this Society's Transactions are of more than usual interest, their contents consisting of the scientific results of the Elder Exploring Expedition, which excited so much attention at the time of its departure, but the results of which were not as satisfactory as was anticipated. The first part contains reports on Vegetable Exudations, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Land and Fresh-Water Mollusca, whilst the second is devoted to a large number of papers dealing with Geology, Meteorology, Lichens, Fungi, &c. These, together with the General Report of the Expedition issued separately, form a valuable addition to the history of Australian exploration.