Oldalképek
PDF

were tendered to the victim of an excess of official zeal, Book U, But the awkwardness of the adventure failed to deter the Thkfoinsufferer from his eager pursuit, in season and out of it, of B!»k'.ime his darling science. A botanist he was to be. Museum

He left Oxford in 1763, and almost instantly set out on Library. a scientific voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador. Here The First he laid the first substantial groundwork of his future col- Euloealections in natural history. He sailed with Phipps, who K^toutm. was already a captain in the Navy, aud had been charged £*^„TM with the duty of protecting the Newfoundland fisheries. 1763 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 th« sicohd

• -11 r VoYAOF.;

made in company with the most famous of the large band Tothk of eighteenth-century maritime discoverers—James Cook, °lt" e*s and also with a favourite pupil of Linnaeus (the idol of 1768. 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 The 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

* Solaudcr, who was afterwards to be so intimately connected with the Banksian Collections, had been for some years in this country when he was selected by Banks to be one of his companions in the voyage of The Endeavour. He was born in Sweden, in the year 1730. 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.

Hook II,
ChnptV.
The Foun-
Der Of THE
Bankstan
Mushuji

Thk BotaNical ExPlorations At Terra Oil-fcxoo.

1769.

January.

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-Fuego, 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 in 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, Bookii, and was the first to throw himself upon the snow. Banks t."k Fo.jxwas the younger man by six or seven years, and had a £*" °',TMF strong constitution. He fought resolutely against tempta- MusEU* tion, and, with the help of the draughtsmen, exerted himself Library. with all his might to keep Solandeb, awake. They succeeded 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, inevitably, 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. Bxjchan died, three months afterwards, 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 vTM stat TM 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 hardi

1709.

Book n, hood, the spoil would not have been recovered. On this,

The'fouk. as upon many other occasions, both his fine personal

B"kmi"k qualities and his genial manners marked him as a natural

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

AND'

Libraet. kind they brought him into a peculiar peril. Queen Obf.rea 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.

Thkvotao* But however that may have been, his researches, as a

TO NKW m g *

Hollasd. naturalist, at Otaheite were abundantly successful. And to 176M770. 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, 1709. 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 Solanokr were so near death that their recovery seemed, to their companions, almost miraculous. Turrctirn After leaving New South Wales and Batavia they had a prosperous passage to the Cape—prosperous, save for the loss of those whom the pestilence had previously stricken—■

[ocr errors]

1771. Juno.

ThrexpediTion To Ice

and made some additions to their scientific stores. The B°°* ".: Endeavour anchored in the Downs on the 12th of June, Thvfoin1771, after an absence of nearly three years. Beyond the B**"',tm* immediate and obvious scientific results of the voyage, it MusED>« was the means, eventually, of conferring an eminent bene- L>»»*kt. faction on our West Indian Colonies. It gave them the Bread-Fruit tree (Arlocarptts incisd). The transplantation of God's bounties from clime to clime was a favourite pursuit—and a life-long one—with Sir Joseph Banks, and its agencies cost him much time and thought, as vvell as no small expenditure of fortune.

The hardships and sufferings of Terra-del-Fuego and of Batavia had not yet taken off the edge of his appetite for remote voyages. He expended some thousands of pounds in buying instruments and making preparations for a new "»» expedition with Cook, but the foolish and obstructive ]^3 conduct of our Navy Board inspired him with a temporary disgust. He then turned his attention to Northern Europe, lie resolved that after visiting the western isles of Scotland he would explore Iceland. SolanDer was again his companion, together with two other northern naturalists, Drs. Lind and Von Troil. Banks chartered a vessel at his own cost (amounting, for the ship alone, to about six hundred pounds).

Before starting for the cold north, they refreshed their eyes with the soft beauties of the Isle of Wight. There, said one of the delighted party, 'Nature has spared none of her favours;' and a good many of us have unconsciously repeated his remark, long afterwards. They reached the Western Isles of Scotland before the end of July, and, after a long visit, explored Staffa, the wonders of which were then almost unknown. Scientific attention, indeed,

« ElőzőTovább »