mits, and its volcanic vapours; and then, again, a ridge of Bookn, stupendous rocks, at the foot of which the boiling springs Thefoungush forth, with deafening roar, and are backed by a broad Bjnkiitm' marsh containing forty or fifty other springs, or 'geysers,? ^TMEU* from which arise immense columns of vapour, subject of Libbahy. course to all the influences and lightings-up of wind and sky. Our tourists rarefully watched the 'spoutings' of the springs—which are always fitful—and, according to their joint observations, some of these rose to the height of sixty lon Troil t0

»' D •/ Bergmann;

feet. Occasionally—it has since been observed by later 7 sept., 1773.

, . 1 (Abridged.)

explorers—they reach to an elevation of more than three times that number of feet.

Nor did Mr. Banks neglect the literature of Iceland, which abounds with interest. He bought the Library of Halfdan Einarsson, the literary historian of Iceland, and made other large and choice collections. And he presented the whole to the British Museum—after bestowing, I believe, some personal study on their contents —upon his return to England at the close of the year.



For many generations, it has been very conducive to the Social possession of social prestige in this country that a man should have acquired the reputation of an adventurous traveller. Even if the traveller shall have seen no anthropo- Banks phagi, no men 'whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders,' he is likely to attain to some degree of social eminence, merely as one who has explored those

'Antres vast and desarts idle,'

of which home-keeping people have no knowledge, save from the tales of voyagers. To prestige of this kind, Mr. Banks added respectable scientific attainments, a large fortune, and a liberal mind. He was also the favoured

Book Il,
Chap. W.
The Foun-

SIR Joseph

possessor of graceful manners and of no mean powers of
conversation. It was, therefore, quite in the ordinary course
of things that his house in London should become one of
the social centres of the metropolis. It became much more
than that. From the days of his youth BANKs had seen
much of foreigners; he had mixed with men of European
distinction. An extensive correspondence with the Conti-
nent became to him both a pursuit and an enjoyment, and
one of its results, in course of time, was that at his house
in Soho Square every eminent foreigner who came to Eng-
land was sure to be seen. To another class of persons that
house became scarcely less distinguished as the abode, not
only of the rich Collections in natural history which their
owner had gone so far to seek, and had gathered with so
much toil and hardship, but of a noble Library, for the
increase of which the book-shops of every great town in
Europe had been explored.
The possessor of such manifold distinctions and of such
habits of mind seemed, to most men, marked out as the
natural head of a great scientific institution. Such a
man would be sure to reflect honour on the Society, as
well as to derive honour from his headship. But at this
particular epoch the Royal Society (then the one conspicu-
ous scientific association in the kingdom) was much em-
broiled. Mr. BANKs was, in many respects, just the man
to assuage dissensions. But these particular dissensions
were of a kind which his special devotion to natural
history tended rather to aggravate than to soften.
Mathematicians, as all men know, have been illustrious
benefactors to the world, but—be the cause what it may—
they have never been famous for a large-minded estimate
of the pursuits and hobbies of other men, whom Nature
had not made mathematical. At the time when Joseph

Banks leaped—as one may say—into eminence, both Bookii, scientific and social, in London, Sir John Pmngle was ThtfiukPresident of the Royal Society, and his position there some- °* TM* what resembled the position in which we have seen Sir Museum

1 t AND

Hans Sloane to have been placed. Like Sir Hans, Librae*. Pringle was an eminent physician, and a keen student of SeeM°^.

. Book I,

physics. He did not give umbrage to his scientific team, c.e.
exactly in the way in which Sloane had given it—by an
overweening love of reading long medical papers. But
natural, not mathematical, philosophy, was his forte; and
the mathematicians were somewhat uneasy in the traces
whilst Sir John held the reins. If Pringle should be
succeeded by Banks, there would be a change indeed on
the box, but the style of coachmanship was likely to be
little altered. It is not surprising that there should
have been a good deal of jibbing, just as the change
was at hand, and also for some time after it had been

Mr. Banks was elected to the chair of the Royal Society Thkelkcon the 30th of November, 1777. He found it to be a Pbesidenct. very difficult post. But, in the end, the true geniality of vm. the man, the integrity of his nature, and the suavity of his manners, won over most, if not quite all, of his opponents. The least that can be said of his rule in that chair is that he made the Royal Society more famous throughout Europe, than it had ever been since the day when it was presided over by Newton.

For it was not the least eminent quality of Banks' character that, to him, a touch of science 'made the whole world kin.' He was a good subject, as well as a good man. He knew the blessings of an aristocratic and time-honoured monarchy. He had that true insight which enables a man to discriminate sharply between the populace and the People.

Rook II,
Chap. V.
The Foun-
Der or THE

A Mi


Eloge de M,

Banks' IN-

or The EX-

But, when the interests of science came into play, he could say—with literal and exactest truth,—

'Tros Tyriusve mihi nullo discrimine agetur.'

He took a keen and genial delight both in watching and in promoting the progress of science on the other side of the Channel, whether France itself lay under the loose rule of the republican and dissolute Directory, or under the curbing hand of the First Consul, who was already rapidly aspiring towards empire.

On ten several occasions, Banks was the means of inducing our Government to restore scientific collections, which had been captured by British cruisers, to that magnificent Botanic Garden (the Jardin des Plantes, at Paris) for which they had been originally destined. Such conduct could not but win for him the affectionate reverence of Frenchmen. On one eminent occasion his good services went much further.

Men yet remember the European interest excited by the adventurous expedition and the sad fate of the gallant seaman, John Francis De La Pkrouse. When the long search for La Perousk, which had been headed by the French Admiral Bruni D'eutrecasteaux, came by discords to an untimely end, the collection of specimens of natural history which had been made, in the course of it, by De La Billardiere, was brought into an English port. The commander, it seems, felt much as Sloane's captain * had felt at the time of our own Revolution of 1688. From Lewis The Sixteenth he had received his commission. He was unprepared to yield an account of its performance to anybody else. He brought his cargo to England, and

* See Book I, c. 6.

placed it at the absolute disposal of the French emigrant Bookii,

p ■ ^ Cliap.V.

r nnces. Th1s yOUN.

By the eldest Prince, afterwards Lewis The Eighteenth, "J'^1 directions were given that an offer should be made to Monro* Queen Charlotte to place at Her Majesty's disposal L.beakt. whatever she might be pleased to select from the Collections of La Billardiere, and that all the remainder of them should be given to the British Museum.

To the interests of that Museum no man of sense will think that Sir Joseph Banks was, at any time, indifferent. At this particular time, he had been, repeatedly, an eminent benefactor to it. By the French Prince the Collections were put at his orders for the advantage of the Museum, of which he was now a Trustee, as well as a benefactor. But his first thought was for the national honour of Britain, not for the mere aggrandizement of its Museum. 'I have never heard,' said Banks, 'of any declaration of war between the philosophers of England and the philosophers of France. These French Collections must go to the French Museum, not to the British.' And to France he sent them, without a moment's hesitation. Such an act, I take it, is worthy of the name of 'cosmopolitanism.' The bastard imitation, sometimes current under that much abused term—that which knows of no love of country, except upon a clear balance of mercantile profit—might be more fitly called by a plainer word.

Nor were Frenchmen the only persons to benefit by the Instances largeness of view which belonged to the new President of Liberality the Royal Society. At a later period, he heard that Col- TMHTM" lections which had been made by William Von Humboldt, and subsequently seized by pirates, had been carried to the Cape, and there detained. Banks sent to the Cape a commission for their release, and restoration to the Collector.

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