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:N MEMOIR OF SIR JOSEPH BANKS, BART, G, C, B. P. C. AND PRESIDENT-20
OR THE ROYAL SOCIETY20:22 **
WITH A PORTRAIT. IF to unite a love of sciences personal residing principally at his seat in Line activity, energy of mind, and a fortune colnshire, Reyesby Abbey, about 22 com mensurate with the pursuits of its miles E. S. E. of Lincoln, and seated on possessor, be the best qualifications for high grounds amongst the fens, over a modern philosopher, we may safely which it has a most extensive prospect. aver that» no individual of the present
. This bouse is nearly on the site of day possessed these-, requisites, in the a Cistertian monastery, which, at the aggregates to a greater extent than the dissolution, was granted to Charles subject of our biography, whose recent Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, from whom loss will be felt by all the scientific it passed to the Burleighs, afterwards to world, but most especially by that learn- the Howards of Berkshire, and from them ed and patriotic body over which he has it was purchased by an ancestor of the presided for upwards of forty years, with late possessor. There Sir. Joseph, an a reputation throughout Europe, nay only son, with one sister, was born on the iiniverse, fully equal to that which the 13th December, 1743. he has maintained at home, in spite of His school education passed rapidly the opposition of some of his coadjutors, over, and he was sent to Oxford at a the malevolence of others, and the very early age, where he soon formed a poetical satires of one who, with a re- strong aitachment for natural history, a fined taste for literature, and a genuine love for which was then spreading over love of art, was unfortunately rather the Europe in consequence of the writings Thersites than the Juvenal of his day. of Linnæus ; and in that science he Noteren excepting the great Swedish speedily displayed a great proficiency, in Naturalist; it may with justice be as- addition to the general pursuits of liberal serted, that Sir Joseph Banks was the knowledge. His arlent ambition, to most active philosopher of modern times. distinguish himself as an active prox EoL this he was peculiarly fitted by moter of his favourite pursuit, soon bes nature, not only in mental abilities, but gan to manifest itself; and his collegiate in bodily powers. . Tall and well form- course being completed at the early age ed in person, he bade defiance to fa- of twenty, he nobly resolved to forego. tigaez manly and expressive in counte- the parade of courts, the glitter of nance, he spoke confidence to his com- fashion, and the pleasures of a town life, panions in enterprize; whilst his dignity for the investigation of Nature in her and intelligence were ready passports tó. wildest haunts, and in her most incles conciliation and friendship. Of later ment regions. years, indeed, old age and the gout, in This was in 1763, when he left Engsome measure, checked his personal ex- land on a transatlantic voyage, to invesertions : but bis mind was ever active, tigate, during a summer trip, the coasts as his purse was always open, for the of Newfoundland and Labrador ; both cause of science.
of which, though frequented by fisherHis family is said to have been of men, were then unknown, it may be noble Swedish extraction; and the first, said, to the philosophic world. In this of whom we find any account, was pursuit he acquired, or improved, those Simon Banke, who, in the reign of Ed. habits of investigation excited by the ward III., married the daughter and contemplation of rare and novel objects; heiress of..Caterton, of Newton, and he found his difficulties and danin Yorkshire. From him descended gers fully compensated by numerous Robert Bankes, who, in the reigns of additions to his cabinet of natural hisElizabeth and James 1., was an eminent tory: whilst those very difficulties, danattomey at Giggleswick; and whose gers, and deprivations, served to hit hím sons: distinguished themselves on the for further exertions in the cause of king's side in the civil wars. Since science. thao period, Sir Joseph's ancestors have It were much to be wished that some imercarries with the families of Frank literary friend of the venerable President land, Hancock, Whichcote, and Hodg- may yet furnish to the world some 'ackinson, of which latter the fortune was count of this first expedition from his possessed and the name borne by his papers. Even at the present moment father, an estimable country gentleman, Labrador is very little known, except
New MONTHLY Mag.–No. 79. Vol. XIV.
from some slight observations of the the lore of science, and by a desire to late Sir Roger Curtis, when a lieutenant pursue their enquiries in the remote in the navy; and more recently from regions I was preparing to visit, desired the pen of the late Captain Cartwright, permission to make the voyage with but who seems to have dedicated his me. The Admiralty readily complied time solely to hunting, or to the commer- with a request that promised such adcial details of a fishing establishment. vantage to the world of letters.. : They After his return, he became acquaint- accordingly
, embarked with me, and ed with the much-esteemed Dr. Solan- participated in all the dangers and sufder, a Swedish gentlemen, the pupil offerings of our tedious and fatiguing naLinnæus, who had recently visited Lon- vigation." don with strong letters of recommenda- Mr. Banks, indeed, entered upon his tion, which, in addition to his philoso- preparations with a most 'generous spiphical merit, soon procured him an ap- rit; providing himself with two draughtspointment in the British Museum, then men for landscape and figures, and for first established,
natural history, Messrs. Buchan and Thus occupied in various scientific Parkinson, a secretary, and four serpursuits until the year 1767, having pre- vants, together with all the necessary viously become a member of the Royal books, instruments, &c.;, whilst at the Society, his desire for further investi- same time every convenience and acgation of new worlds was again excited commodation were readily and liberally by the plan proposed by that learned afforded by government.' The Endeabody, for observing the expected transit your sailed from Plymouth Sound on of Venus on some island of the South the 26th of August, 1768; and even beSea groupes ; then lately introduced to tween the Lizard and Cape Finisterre, public notice by the recent voyages of our philosophers commenced their adByron, Wallis, and Carteret : part of a ditions to natural history, not only insystem of discovery and nautical re- vestigating inany marine animals, presearch, instituted upon the most liberal viously unknown to naturalists, but also and public-spirited principles by our late discovering a bird, undescribed even by revered Sovereign, who was scarcely the accurate Linnæus, and evidently seated on his throne, when he deter- blown from the land, as it expired in mined to avail himself of the courage Mr. Banks's hand, from apparent exand abilities of British seamen, to set at haustion. This new species of wag-tail rest for ever all the geographical doubts Mr. Banks very appropriately called by and theories of the learned world. the name of motacilla velificans, saying
No sooner did Mr. Banks understand that none but sailors would venture on that the Endeavour, commanded by board a ship that was going round the Captain (then Lieutenant) Cook, was world. equipping for her voyage, and intended On their arrival at Madeira, Mr. to prosecute further discovery after the Banks had the satisfaction of receiving observation of the transit, than he deter- permission for himself and Dr. Solander mined to embark in the expedition, not to search the island for natural curiosionly to satisfy a laudable curiosity, but tics, and to employ persons to take fish also in the hope of enriching his native and gather shells, which time would not land with a tribute of knowledge from permit them to collect for themselves ; countries yet unknown, and on whose a permission which the ignorant jealousy rude and uncultivated inhabitants he of the Portuguese only granted through might bestow something that would the urgent solicitations of Mr. Cheap, render life of more value, by an ac- the British consul. quaintance, though at first a limited Our limits forbid us to trace all Mr. one, with the arts and productions of Banks's observations on this interesting Europe.
island, but we cannot omit the whimsiSpeaking of Sir
Joseph and his philo- cal ignorance of the nuns of Santa Clara, sophical friend, Captain Cook himself who appear to have supposed that phisays, “ In this voyage I was accompa- losophers must be conjurors, inquiring nied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander; of them, when on a visit to their grate, the first, a gentleman of ample fortune; when it would thunder, whether a the other, an accomplished disciple of spring of fresh water were to be found Linnæus : both of them distinguished within the walls of their convent, and in the learned world, for their extensive several other questions equally absurd and accurate knowledge of natural his- and extravagant; the philosophical sitory. These gentlemen, animated by lence upon which, did not tend to raise
our men of science high in their esti- one hundred feet in length of stalk; and marion.
immense numbers of insects were caught · Passing by Teneriffe, they proceeded blown off from the coast of Patagonia. towards the Cape de Verd Íslands, Mr. Approaching Terra del Fuego they passBanks taking every opportunity of add ed through Straits Le Maire, where ing to his stores of natural history, both Lieut. Cook afforded Mr. Banks every aquatic and aërial; and thence, cross- possible opportunity of making obsering the Atlantic towards the coast of rations, sending him and his attendants Brazil, they arrived at Rio Janeiro in on shore, and standing off and on with November.
the ship when he could not anchor. Here Mr. Banks's hopes and expecta The Endeavour now put into Good tions were completely frustrated by the Success bay to wood and water, when ignorant stupidity, and obstinate politi many curious observations were made cal jealousy of the Portuguese governor,
on the rude inhabitants of that wild who, understanding that there were men district. Whilst lying there, Mr. Banks of science on board, not only refused and his companions had nearly perishthem permission to reside on shore, but ed, in an excursion to the mountains in even to land from the ship. Even when search of plants. Mistaking their route they attempted to go on shore to pay a on their return, in a snow-storm, though formal visit to the viceroy, they were then the middle of summer in that heprevented by the guard boats ; nor was misphere, they were first checked in Mr. Banks's own memorial
their progress by Mr. Buchan falling subject attended with any better suc. into a fit, which forced them into a
chain of circumstances that led to their In this dilemma, with a world of new passing the night upon a woody mouncreation before his eyes, and the very tain, exposed to cold, hunger; and Tantalus of philosophy, his first resource fatigue, under which a seaman and a was to send some of his servants on shore black servant of Mr. Banks expired; at break of day, who came off after dark and it was with the greatest difficulty in the evening with so many plants and that Dr. Solander was saved. During insects, that he and Dr. Solander were the whole of this trying scene, the acinduced to evade the vigilance of the tivity, spirit, and presence of mind of guard-boats, and go on shore themselves Mr. Banks were most admirable ; owing the ensuing day, Dr. Solander getting to which alone did the whole party admittance into the town in the charac- escape from perishing. ter of surgeon of the ship, at the request Whilst passing round Cape Horn, of a sick friar, where he received many, and in their route to the north-west, marks of civility; whilst Mr. Banks got Mr. Banks made great additions to the on shore in the country, but did not science of ornithology, he having himventure towards the city, as his objects self killed no less than sixty-two birds of pursuit were in the fields and hedges, in one day; and as they approached the where he made considerable acquisi- immense, and then new, Archipelago tions.
of the South Sea Islands, the first land It was understood, however, the next was discovered by his own day, that the officers of government vant, Peter Briscoe, to which, from its were making a strict search after some shape and appearance, was given the persons who had been on shore without name of Lagoon Island. Running permission, and accordingly our philoso- through a number of new islands, the phers determined to remain on board, recently-discovered land of Otaheite was in preference to a Brazilian prison. seen on the 10th of April, 1769, the
They sailed on the 7th of December; island to which they were directed to and no sooner had the guard-boat left proceed for the observation of the transit them, than Mr. Banks most impatiently which was to take place on the 3d of availed himself of the opportunity of the ensuing June. examining the islands at the entrance of During his long residence amongst a the bay, where he collected many spe- newly-discovered people, lively, bold, cies of rare plants, and a most brilliant and not half-civilized, Mr. Banks distinvariety of insects.
guished himself much by his activity, Proceeding towards the south, nature good temper, and conciliatory manners, began to open upon them in her most which tended much to the comfort and gigantic attire. Beds of sea-weed were success of the expedition. He soon met with, to which they gave the became a great favourite with the name of Fucus Giganteus, upwards of chiefs, and indeed with all ranks, as his
leisure gave him more opportunities of confidence in Mr. Banks, that, as soon cultivating their acquaintance and friends as his tent was set up in the little fortiship than Cook could possibly spare fication constructed on Point Venus, from his professional avocations. "He one of the most powerful chiefs paid became, of course, the friend, the me- him a visit, bringing with him not only diator, and the umpire upon all occa- his wife and family, but the roof of a sions of doubt and difficulty which could house, and materials for fitting it up, not fail to occur in a situation so novel. with furniture and implements of variWith the ladies, too, he was a great fa- ous kinds, declaring his resolution to vourite ; and a whimsical scene once take
a residence there; an instance occurred upon a visit to one of the of good-will and confidence highly pleaschiefs whose wise, Tomio, the moment ing, which Mr. Banks used every means they sat down, did our philosopher the in his power to strengthen and im
honour to place hersell close by him, prove. ! indeed on the same mat. Unfortunately Our philosophers were now busily
the high-bred dame,like some of her sis- employed in collecting and preserving ters in our world of fashion, was not in such specimens of natural history, in the first bloom of her youth, nor did various branches, as they could procure ; she exhibit any traits of ever having but in this pursuit they were much anbeen a beauty : he therefore manifested noyed by flies and other insects, which no extraordinary, gratitude for those not only covered the paper on which public marks of distinction; but seeing Mr. Parkinson, the natural history paina very pretty girl in the crowd, and not ter, was at work, but actually eat off adverting to the dignity of his noble the colour as fast as he could lay it on. companion, beckoned to her to come The voyagers were soon gratified by a and sit by him. After a little coquetry visit from the well-known Queen Ohethe girl complied, when, seated between rea, who then lived separate from her his rival queens, he unfortunately paid husband, and seemed determined to pay all his attentions to the latter, loading her every personal attention to Mr. Banks, with beads and with every showy trifle who, on one occasion, happened to that he thought would gratify her. catch her majesty in a little faux-pas ; This soon produced evident marks of for, proceeding not very early in the disappointment in the countenance of forenoon, to attend her drawing-room his more elderly chere amie, yet she per- in her canoe, he popped unexpectedly severed in her civilities, assiduously sup- into her bed-chamber under the awnplying him with the milk of the cocoa- ing; and stepping in to call her up, a nut, and such other dainties as were liberty which he thought he might take within her reach, evidently with the de- without any danger of giving offence, he sign of taking his heart or his trinkets, discovered there, to his great astonishif not by storm at least by sap, when ment, a handsome young fellow of fivethis most ludicrous scene was hastily and-twenty. Propriety, of course, inbroken up by the ingenuity of the Bar- duced him to retreat with some degree
ringtons and Soameses of the island, of haste and confusion, but the lords who had emptied the pockets of some of the bed-chamber and dames d'honneur of the gentlemen as dexterously as if immediately informed him, that such they had been coming out from the occurrences never excited the animadOpera.
versions of tea-tables, or gave offence to *This produced considerable confu- the prudes, nor brought grist to Docşion, bui was, however, at length got tor's Commons, but were as universally over by the judicious conduct of Mr. known as the most secret arrangements Banks, which led to the immediate re- of the same kind in European coteries. covery of the stolen goods. So strong Indeed the lady herself was so little afindeed was his desire to avoid giving fected by the mal-adroit discovery, that any offence to the natives, with whose she rose and dressed with all expedicustoms they were then unacquainted, tion, and admitting Mr. Banks to her that when one of his draughtsmen, Mr. dressing-room, as a mark of special Buchan, died, he declined bringing him grace, clothed him with her own royal on shore, and consented to his body be- hands in a suit of fine cloth, and proing sunk in the offing, which was done ceeded with him to the tents, where she with as much decency and solemnity as was received with all due respect and circumstances and situation would ada ceremony. mit of.
Mr. Banks became now the universal The natives soon began to put such friend of all the natives of every rank.
To him they applied in every emergency since upon no other terms could he be and distress ; and on his assurances, on permitted to witness it; he therefore all occasions, they placed the most im- officiated in this ceremony in the capaplicit confidence. This was of the highest city of Nineveh ; for which purpose he consequence to the expedition, when, was stripped of his European dress, and a short time before the expected transit, a small piece of cloth being tied round the astronomical quadrant, which was his middle, his body was smeared with then carried on shore for the first time, charcoal and water as low as the shoulwas stolen from the tents during the ders, until it was as black as that of a night. The loss of this instrument negro. The same operation was perwould have amounted nearly to the formed upon several others, amongst total failure of the object in view, and whom were some ladies, who were reMr. Banks, who“ upon such occasions duced to a state as near to nakedness as declined neither labour nor risk, and himself; and thus they set forward, not who had more influence over the In- as an European procession, with a crowd dians than any of the officers, deter- at their heels, but driving every body mined to go into the woods in search of before them with terror and affright; it, accompanied only by a midshipman when, after half an hour's marching in and Mr. Green, the astronomer. After silence and solitude, the mourners were great fatigue and exertion, and with con- dismissed to wash themselves in the siderable presence of mind, as detailed in river, and to put on their customary apHawkesworth's account of the voyage, parel. the quadrant was happily recovered, Preparing for their departure, Mr. and Mr. Banks had the satisfaction of Banks most sedulously employed himself displaying his zeal in favour, not only of in rendering to those gentle islanders all science in general, but of a branch, to the services in his power ; for which which he was not attached by any per- purpose he planted a great quantity of sonal predilection.
water-melons, oranges, lemons, limes, We might fill our pages with many and other plants and trees, which he whimsical anecdotes of the subject of had collected at Rio Janeiro, seven at our biography, during his visit to Ota- the risk of his personal liberty. Not heite, where he was prominent upon all was his generous care unappreciated by occasions, but for these must refer the the natives ; for having planted some of curious reader to Hawkesworth, parti- the melon seeds soon after arrival, these cularly in regard to some adventures had thriven so well that the islanders with 'Oberea, which, after his return, pointed them out to him with great saprompted some wicked wit 10 write to tisfaction, importuning him for more him, or rather to print to him, a poetical seeds, which request, of course, he reaepistle from that princess; an epistle dily granted. attributed to the late Professor Por- All ranks were justly partial to him ; son, though not correctly, as we have but one individual became particularly noticed in our biography of that gentle- attached, so much so indeed, that he man.
determined to proceed to England in When the day of observation arrived, the ship. This was Tupia, who had Cook, in order to guard against disap- been prime-minister to Oberea, in her pointment from cloudy weather, dis- days of active sovereignty when Captain patched a party in the long-boat to Wallis was there, and who was also Eimeo, an island in the vicinity; Mr. the chief Tahowa, or archbishop of the Banks, in his indefatigable zeal for sci- island, and consequently a most interence, determined to accompany them, esting individual to bring to England, though it certainly was at that time a either for obtaining information respectservice of some risk to go with so smalling Otaheite, or for carrying back again a force amongst strangers. Such, how- the arts and knowledge of Europe. ever, was the confidence with which he For various scenes and anecdotes himself had inspired the natives, that during their range through new-disTubourai Tamaide, one of the principal covered lands, in their voyage from Otachiefs, together with his wife, readily heite to New Zealand, we must refer to accompanied the little party without the printed account of the voyage itself, fear or apprehension.
merely noting that the name of Banks So ardent was Mr. Banks in the in- was given to an island on that coast by vestigation of every thing novel or curi- Cook, in lat. 43. 22. S., and lon. 186. ous, that he actually consented to act a 30. W., not very far distant from that part in one of their funeral processions, point which is the antipodes of London.