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Banks's Descriptions of PlacesVoyaging Accounts
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About this Edition

This series of pages presents Bankss accounts of places and peoples encountered with references to the original manuscript volume and pages in which they can be found. They have been put online separately from Bankss daily recording of occurrences during the Endeavour voyage so that his observations and reflections can easily be compared and contrasted with what appears in the corresponding daily entries in Cooks journal and the relevant parts of Parkinsons published journal and Hawkesworths Account of the Voyages

The South Seas editions of Bankss daily entries and his various accounts of places and peoples encountered were produced using an electronic transcript produced by the State Library of New South Wales. The Librarys transcript was in turn created from the text of the edition of the journal prepared by J.C. Beaglehole for the trustees of the Public Library of New South Wales and published by Angus and Robertson in 1962.

I wish to acknowledge the generosity of the State Library in permitting the reproduction the text of the journal by South Seas. Readers interested in the life and achievements of Joseph Banks should consult the State Librarys magnificent online edition of the Papers of Sir Joseph Banks at

In editing Bankss journal, Beaglehole was concerned to strike a balance between producing a text that could be read with comfort and yet still captured the flavour of [Bankss] rapid running mind and pen. He consequently divided the manuscript into six sections corresponding to the different phases of the voyage and adopted the following rules:

(1) I have maintained Bankss own spelling and abbreviations; the exception here is his ampersand, which so repeated would have been a needless offence to the eye, and is therefore consistently expanded. (2) Obvious slips and repetitions of small words have been silently corrected, but where it has seemed necessary letters or words supplied have been enclosed in square brackets. (Banks, 1962: 147-8).
In doing so, Beaglehole trusted to words supplied in contemporary manuscript copies of the journal. After a deal of hesitation Beaghole thirdly decided to capitalise
normally the the names of persons, people and countries, whether used as nouns or as adjectives, not merely to avoid upsetting too much the readers established expectations which may not after all matter but to get rid of the problem of Bankss own frequent indeterminate forms. Apart from this, I have retained capitals for nouns when Banks clearly intends them, and otherwise when they do not clutter up the page: this arbitrary and perhaps illogical, but at least does keep some of the feeling of the MS (148).
Three further rules were adopted by Beaglehole:
(4) I have, as far as possible in type, followed Bankss accents. (5) I have punctuated enough I hope, to render the sense easily intelligible, but without entering into refinements. (6) As Banks is highly inconsistent in his underlinings e.g. of his scientific binomials I have regularized this in type, and italicized according to modern practice, though retaining his capitals.

Beaglehole also modernized the eighteenth century long s represented prior to 1800 by the letter f.

Finally, in seeking to produce a text that could be read with comfort, Beaglehole extracted from the manuscript of the journal and placed in appendices a memorandum by Banks on electrical experimentation, a letter to Banks by Nathaniel Hulme dated 1 August 1768 and lists of plant specimens. This online edition does not reproduce the memorandum on electrical experiments nor Hulmes letter to Banks. Bankss list of plant specimens, however, are reproduced after his account of the place in which the relevant specimens were gathered.

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© February 2004
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