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Book II,
Chap. V.
The FOUN-
DS! or THE

Banksian
Museum

A \D

LlBRAEY. .

Banks'

Youthful

Adventure

NEAR HAM-
MERSMITH.

youth in fishing on Whittlesea Mere. Banks had the good fortune—and the skill—to make his early acquaintanceship with the future First Lord of the Admiralty conducive to the interests of science. The connexion with the Navy of another friend of his youth, Henry Phipps, afterwards Earl of Mulgrave, was also turned, eventually, to good account in the same way.

Part of young Banks' vacations were passed at Reresby and in frequent companionship with Lord Sandwich; part at his mother's jointure-house at Chelsea, very near to the fine botanic garden which, a few years before, had been so much enriched by the liberality of Sir Hans Sloane. In that Chelsea garden, and in other gardens at Hammersmith, Banks studied botany with youthful ardour. And he made frequent botanic excursions in the then secluded neighbourhood. In the course of one of these rambles he fell under suspicion of felony.

He was botanizing in a ditch, and his person happened to be partially concealed by a thick growth of briars and nettles, at a moment when two or three constables, who were in chase of a burglar, chanced to approach the spot. The botanist's clothes were in a miry condition, and his suspicious posture excited in the minds of the local Dogberries the idea that here they had their man. They were deaf to all expostulations. The future President of the Royal Society was dragged, by ignominious hands, before the nearest justice. The magistrate agreed with the constables that the case looked black, but, before committing either the prisoner or himself, he directed that the culprit's pockets should be searched. They contained little money, and no watches; but an extraordinary abundance of plants and wild flowers. The explanations which before had been refused were now accepted, and very courteous apologies

were tendered to the victim of an excess of official zeal, Book U, But the awkwardness of the adventure failed to deter the The Founsufferer from his eager pursuit, in season and out of it, of B^ks'i"11 his darling science. A botanist he was to be. Museum

° AND

He left Oxford in 1763, and almost instantly set out on Ltmrary.

a scientific voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador. Here Thehest

he laid the first substantial groundwork of his future col- Explora

lections in natural history. He sailed with Phipps, who Newetmtm

was already a captain in the Navy, and had been charged "MD ANU

J A <1' o Labrador.

with the duty of protecting the Newfoundland fisheries. 176S. The voyage proved to be one of some hardship, but its privations rather sharpened than dulled the youthful naturalist's appetite for scientific explorations. He had learned thus early to endure hardness, for a worthy object.

His second voyage was to the South Seas, and it was the *tm>">

i *ll D p Voyage;

made in company with the most famous of the large band T0th« of eighteenth-century maritime discoverers—James Cook, SoiT,lSl!*" and also with a favourite pupil of Linnaeus (the idol of i768. Banks' youthful fancy), Daniel Charles Solander, who, though he was little above thirty years of age, had already won some distinction in England, and had been made an Assistant-Librarian in the British Museum.*

To make the voyage of Tfie Endeavour as largely conducive as was possible to the interests of the natural sciences, Mr. Banks incurred considerable personal expense, and he induced the Admiralty to make large efforts, on its

* Solander, who was afterwards to be so intimately connected with the Banksian Collections, had been for same years in this country when he was selected by Banks to be one of his companions in the voyage of Tlie Endeavour. He was bom in Sweden, in the year 1736. He came to England in July, 1760. He succeeded Dr. Maty, as Under-Librarian of the British Museum, in 1773, when Maty was made Principal Librarian. At that date he had already served the Trustees for many years as one of their Assistant-Librarians.

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part, to promote and secure the various objects of the new expedition. One of those objects was the observation at Otaheite of a coming transit of Venus over the Sun; another was the further progress of geographical discovery in a quarter of the world to which public interest was at that time specially and strongly turned. Banks, individually, was also bent on collecting specimens in all departments of natural history, and on promoting geographical knowledge by the completest possible collection of drawings, maps, and charts of all that was met with. He engaged Dr. Solander as his companion, and gave him a salary of four hundred pounds a year. With them sailed two draughtsmen and a secretary, besides four servants.

The Endeavour set sail from Plymouth on the twenty-sixth of August, 17G8, and from Rio-de-Janeiro on the eighth of December. On the fourteenth of January, 1769, the naturalists landed at Terra-del-Puego, and they gathered more than a hundred plants theretofore unknown to European botanists. Proud of their success, they resolved that, after a brief rest, they would explore the higher regions, in hope to reap a rich harvest of Alpine plants. Solander, as a Swede and as a traveller in Norway, knew something of the dangers they would have to face. Banks himself was not without experience. But both were enterprising and resolute men. They set out on their long march iu the night of the fifteenth of January, in order to gain as much of daylight as possible for the work of botanizing. They hoped to return to the ship within ten hours. As they ascended, Solander warned his companions against the temptation that he knew awaited them of giving way to sleep when overcome by the toil of walking. 'Whoever sits down,' said he, 'will be sure to sleep, and whoever sleeps will wake no more.' But the fatigue proved to be

excessive. The foreseeing adviser was borne down by it, B<x>*h, and was the first to throw himself upon the snow. Banks Thk Foi'nvvas the younger man by six or seven years, and had a aTM^,TM* strong constitution. He fought resolutely against tempta- MusEU»

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tion, and, with the help of the draughtsmen, exerted himself i>
with all his might to keep Solandeh. awake. They suc-
ceeded in getting him to walk on for a few miles more.
Then he lay down again, with the words, ' Sleep I must, for
a few minutes.' In those few minutes the fierce cold almost
paralysed his limbs. Two servants (a seaman and a negro)
imitated the Swede's example, and were really paralysed.
With much grief, it was found that the servants must, inevit-
ably, be left to their fate. The party had wandered so far
that when they set about to return they were—if the return
should be by the way they had come—a long day's journey
from the ship. And their route had lain through pathless
woods. Their only food was a vulture. A third man
seemed in peril—momentarily—of death by exhaustion.
Happily, a shorter cut was found. Their journey had not
been quite fruitless. But they all felt that they had bought
their botanical specimens at too dear a rate. Two men were
already dead. One of the draughtsmen seems to have
suffered so severely that he never recovered from the effects
of the journey. Mr. Buchan died, three months after-
wards, in Otaheite, just four days after they had landed in
the celebrated island, to visit which was among the especial
objects of their mission.

The transit of Venus over the Sun's disc was satisfactorily Tin! «««

i i Ii*-ipt i ii -ill Otaheite.

observed on the third of June, but the observation had been nearly foiled by the roguery of a native, who had carried off the quadrant. The thief was found amongst several hundred of his fellows, and, but for a characteristic combination in Banks of frank good humour and of firm hardiBook ii, hood, the spoil would not have been recovered. On this,

Th°pfocn. as upon many other occasions, both his fine personal

Binkhin" qualities and his genial manners marked him as a natural

Museum leader of men. On occasions, however, of a more delicate

AMD'

Library, kind they brought him into a peculiar peril. Queen Oberea fell in love with him. She was not herself without attractions. And they were clad in all the graces of unadorned simplicity. The poetical satirists of his day used Sir Joseph—after his return—with cruel injustice if he was really quite so successful, in resisting feminine charms in Otaheite, as he had formerly been at home.

The Voyage j}ut however that may have been, his researches, as a

To New . J ''

naturalist, at Otaheite were abundantly successful. And to 1769-1770. the island, in return, he was a friend and benefactor. After a stay of three months the explorers left Otaheite for New Holland on the 15th of August, 1769. In Australia their collections were again very numerous and valuable. But their long stay in explorations exposed them to two great dangers, each of which was very nearly fatal to Mr. Banks and to most of his companions. They struck upon a rock, while coasting New South Wales. Their escape was wonderful. The accident entailed an amount of injury to the ship which brought them presently within a peril more imminent still. Whilst making repairs in the noxious climate of Batavia, a pestilence seized upon nearly all the Europeans. Seven, including the ship's surgeon, died in Batavia. Twenty-three, including the second draughtsman, Mr. Parkinson, died on shipboard afterwards. Banks and Solander were so near death that their recovery seemed, to their companions, almost miraculous. The Return After leaving New South Wales and Batavia they had

Home. . <» 1

im a prosperous passage to the Cape—prosperous, save for the June. loss of those whom the pestilence had previously stricken—

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