Joseph Banks, Endeavour Journal
The text at hand contains an extract of a journal written by Joseph Banks during the first voyage of Captain Cook to the south of the Pacific Ocean. This version of the journal had been edited “with the most scrupulous scholarship and copious notes by Dr J. C. Beaglehole of the Victoria University of Wellington.” J.C Beaglehole also edited Cook’s journals, which had been published in 1955. Joseph Banks was born on 15 February 1743 in London. His function on board of HMS Endeavour was to “gather a wide range of information about plants, birds, and other animals, along with knowledge of the indigenous people.” The journal has been written during the three-year journey, from 25 August 1768-12 July 1771, of James Cook’s first voyage. The present document analysis deals with the journal entries from 1 February 1770 to 19 February 1770. During this writing HMS Endeavour sailed along the coastline of New Zealand under the command of James Cook whose mapping and discovery of New Zealand as being an island has been the major outcome of these days of the journey. This journey followed close upon the visit of the expedition on Tahiti to observe the transit of Venus. On 8 June 1769 the transit of Venus was successfully observed from three different points. After fulfilling his mission on Tahiti Cook resumed his voyage to fulfil the task given to him secretly by the Royal Society. On 7 September 1769 the Endeavour reached New Zealand, which had never been visited by any European after Abel Janszoon Tasman had discovered it on 13 December 1642. Tasman’s stay at New Zealand was not successful in the means of its discovery. No trading had been done between the native Maori and Tasman’s crew. The first discovery by the Dutch businessmen Tasman was only the western coastline of New Zealand, which had been mapped afterwards. The first seven days of the journal had been taking place at ‘Cannibals Cove’ where the HMS Endeavour anchored for about twenty-three days. James Cook has given the name after he had an encounter with indigenous people, which will be described in the following. During the stay Joseph Banks refers to several encounter with indigenous people of New Zealand. He describes the behaviour and findings in a large extend. As an example he describes the encounter of members of HMS Endeavour’s crew and a double canoe. They have been told that the indigenous people lost a female child that according to their narrative “had been stole and eat by some of their neighbours”. Another group of crewmembers reported that they have met people who told them that they ate a child the day before. As a result of these stories Banks describes the conclusions of the crew as thefts of this kind are common for those Indians. Afterwards he tries to analyse and evaluate these stories. He assumes that the crewmembers met the same people and interpreted the stories differently which have been told by the indigenous people. Nevertheless he does not exclude this either, since families that came of to the ship “often brought women and young children in arms as if they were afraid to leave them behind.” Banks’ interest in the indigenous people of New Zealand can also be illustrated by his encounter of an Indian family. He describes them as being affable, obliging and unsuspicious and observed any order or subordination. By making known his regret of not being able to stay with the family for one night his interest in people and their behaviour can be seen. On the following days Banks describes how the exploration of the Cook Straits took place. The officers’ spread their thought that the land they have been round might be an isthmus that is between their current position (Cook Strait) and the Cape Turnagain, which they have last seen 17 October 1969. To confirm this Cook ordered the crew to sail...
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