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Joseph Banks



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Preface (continued)

Put thus to the trouble and expence of defending a suit in chancery, and the publication of my book being delayed when just ready to appear, I had yet no remedy but that of putting in a full answer to the bill, and praying a dissolution of the injunction. This I at length obtained; the reasons for continuing the injunction not appearing satisfactory to the court, and indeed the pretended transfer of the proper-ty in my brother’s manuscripts, from me to Joseph Banks, and from Joseph Banks to Dr. Hawkesworth, being attended with a circumstance, that, on the very face of it, might reasonably suggest some collusion. This was, that the alledged date of the assignment of such property, from Banks to Hawkesworth, was prior to that of the receipt for the five hundred pounds before-mentioned, given by Stanfield and Britannia Parkinson to Banks, on which the pretended right of the latter to such manuscript was founded. Can it be supposed, that a man of Dr. Hawkes-worth’s discretion and abilities would enter into an engagement of this nature, and make a purchase of such moment, without enquiring into the title of the vender?

Be this as it may, such is the fact. Indeed the whole purpose of the bill appears to be litigious, and calculated to answer no other end than to delay my publication, till he should get the start of me and publish his own: and this end, to my great damage and loss, it hath answered. In the mean while, and pending the suit between us, it is said that this prudential author sold the property of his own book, for no less a sum than six thousand pounds: a sum that probably would not have been given for it, had not an injunction been obtained against the publication of mine; which contains an authentic journal of the last and principal voyage, viz, that of his majesty’s ship The Endeavour.

Having thus given a simple unvarnished narrative of the causes of the delay of this publication, I submit its encouragement to the judgement and candour of the public. I cannot help concluding, however, with a short reflection or two on the conduct of my principal oppressors.

That of Joseph Banks, in particular, argues a high degree of insolence or avarice: possessed, as he was, of so large a collection of curiosities, as well as of my brother’s drawings and designs, was it not covetous in him to desire also the little store bequeathed to me? Might not I cite, on this occasion, the parable of the prophet, and say to this gentleman, as Nathan did unto David, thou art the man? Would it not be with propriety also that I should look on his friend. Dr. Fothergill, as a kind of Ahithophel, by whose pernicious counsel I gave the staff out of my own hands, and by whose officious meddling, to say no worse of it, I have been involved in an expensive and troublesome law-suit? a proceeding the more reprehensible in him, as it is inconsistent with the peaceful rules of that religious society to which we mutually belong. As to Dr. Hawkesworth, I shall only say of him, that, for a man of reputed piety, he hath behaved on this occasion with sufficient eagerness after worldly profit; and hath shewn, that, whatever be his theory of moral sentiments, he is practically qualified for the highest post, in which the exer-cise of selfish talents may be displayed, and a desire of inordinate gain be gratified.*

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© Derived from the London 1773 edition printed for Stanfield Parkinson, pages xxii - xxiii, 2004
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