National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- Banks, Joseph, Sir
- Correspondence of Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet (as filmed by the AJCP)
- Date Range
- 1773 - 1822
- Collection Number
- 64 items
- Language of Materials
- Australian Joint Copying Project
- The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.
Scope and Contents
Correspondence comprising about 300 letters addressed to Banks, mainly in his capacity as President of the Royal Society.Principal correspondents are Sir Charles Blagden, Jonas Dryander, James Mario Matra, Daniel Solander, James Lind, William Richardson, Erasmus Darwin, The Geological Society of London, W.H. Yate and Lord Monboddo. The letters largely relate to botanical matters but also concern personal matters. There is also a folder of letters with enclosures, c.1783, sent to Banks relating to mermaids. Other correspondents include William Bishop; J.F. Blumenbach; C.A. de Calonne; James Cross; George Cumberland; Mary Delany; J.A. De Luc; John Farey; Samuel Felton; Robert Graham; Matthew Gregson; C.F. Greville; J.W. Griffith; Charles Hatchett; T. Hennah; Charles Hutton; John Jeffries; Charles Lindgren; V. Lunardi; A. Mello; W.R. Notcutt; G. Rose; Dr Thomas Percy; G. Nicol; Henry Salt; William Sheffield; Charles Townley; Dawson Turner; H. Ussher; Luke Young; Thomas Velley and John Walsh. As well as seven letters written by Banks concerning botanical collections and addressed to Major William Price; Sir William Herschel and Dawson Turner, there is an extract from The Athenaeum, 26 December 1796, commenting on the publication of Banks' Endeavour journal.
Conditions Governing Access
Available for Access.
Conditions Governing Use
Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.
Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.
Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.
Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref: http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-1234)
Material selectively filmed at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1964 (AJCP Reel: M469). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.
Existence and Location of Originals
Fitzwilliam Museum. Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB, England
For more information see Archives at the Fitzwilliam Museum (http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/collections/archives).
Existence and Location of Copies
The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn652952] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.
During the second half of the nineteenth century the vast archives of Sir Joseph Banks was broken up and dispersed among libraries throughout the world. In Australia, the State Library of New South Wales holds an important collection of his papers, including his journal on the Endeavour, while there is a smaller collection in the National Library of Australia.
In addition to the collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, the AJCP filmed papers of Banks held in the British Library (M1192) (https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn727585), the Natural History Museum (M2662) (https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn1718740) and the Kent Archives Office (M1901-M1903) (https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn2283501). It also filmed selections from the archives and collections of the Royal Society (M1927-40) (https://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn765636), which contain many references to Banks
This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2018. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.
Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.
Athenaeum, periodical; Banks, Sir Joseph; Bishop, William; Blagden, Sir Charles; Blumenbach, J.F; Botany; Burnett, James, Lord Monboddo; Calonne, C.A. de; Cook, James, Capt.; Cross, James; Cumberland, George; Darwin, Erasmus; Delany, Mary; Dryander, Jonas; Endeavour, HMS; Farey, John; Felton, Samuel; Geological Society of London; Graham, Robert; Gregson, Matthew; Greville, C.F.; Griffith, J.W.; Hatchett, Charles; Hennah, T.; Herschel, Sir John F.W.; Hutton, Charles; Jeffries, John; Lind, James; Lindgren, Charles; Luc, Jean Andre de; Lunardi, VinceNew Zealando; Matra, James M.; Mello, A.; Mermaids; Naturalists; Nicol, G.; Notcutt, W.R.; Percy, Thomas, Dr; Price, William, Major; Richardson, William; Rose, G.; Royal Society; Salt, Henry; Sheffield, William; Solander, Daniel C.; Townley, Charles; Turner, Dawson; Ussher, H.; Velley, Thomas; Walsh, John; Yate, W.H.; Young, Luke
Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 23, p8.
Biographical / Historical
Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), Baronet, was born in London and educated at Harrow, Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. He became interested in botany as a schoolboy. His father died in 1761 and, inheriting considerable wealth, he was able to devote his time to natural science. In 1766 he joined HMS Niger and collected rocks, plants and animals in Newfoundland and Labrador. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1766. In 1768 he led a small party of scientists and artists on HMS Endeavour on its voyage to the Pacific. Supported by James Cook, they amassed a huge collection of plants, insects, shells and implements and produced extensive drawings and notes during their travels to Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia. On his return to England in 1771 he received a doctorate at Oxford University. In 1772 Banks led an expedition to the western islands of Scotland and Iceland.
In 1776 Banks bought a house at Soho Square in London where his library and collections were held and where he met and corresponded with scientists throughout Europe. Daniel Solander was his librarian, succeeded in time by Jonas Dryander and Robert Brown. In 1778 Banks became president of the Royal Society, an office he held for the rest of his life, and he was created a baronet in 1781. He was a member of numerous other learned societies and developed the royal gardens at Kew. The Government sought his advice on many subjects, including the colonisation of Australia, exploration, currency and botanic gardens. His collectors went to India, South Africa, Australia, West Africa and South America and great quantities of plants, specimens, seeds, drawings and notes were sent to his herbarium and Kew Gardens.
Written from London, Plymouth, Bath and Paris, the letters deal in particular with the affairs and publications of the Royal Society, of which Blagden was secretary from 1784 to 1797. They cover a wide range of subjects, including medicine and botany, and refer to correspondence and meetings with scientists throughout Europe. Among those mentioned are Daniel Solander, Jonas Dryander, Antoine Lavoisier, Joseph Priestley, Sir William Hamilton, Sir William Herschel, Henry Cavendish, Sir Nevil Maskelyne, Richard Kirwan, Sir George Chambers, Sir Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford), Claude Berthollet, Alexander Aubert, Benjamin Wilson, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Georges-Louis Leclerc (Comte du Buffon). (77 letters)
Curiosities collected on ships commanded by Bruny D'Entrecasteaux, including plants, birds, insects and snakes.
Restitution of natural history objects collected by scientists who accompanied Comte de la Perouse to the Pacific.
Review of The journal of Sir Joseph Banks during Captain Cook's first voyage in HMS Endeavour in 1768-71, edited by Sir Joseph Hooker, Athenaeum, 26 December 1896 (File 2.5)
Refers to Tupia, the Tahitian who was brought to England by Banks.
Draft minutes of the trustees of the British Museum referring to the admittance of readers, 13 May 1801 (File 2.9a)
Draft report on valuable parts of the collection of the British Museum, n.d.
Recommends Friedrich Hornemann; suggests he first spend some months in Gottingen working on natural history.
A bust of Banks. (Includes reply by Banks.)
His interest in studying antiques received from Naples and also a collection of prints.
Recommends a gardener for the Dowager Duchess of Portland. (2 letters)
Dryander, who had been a pupil of Carl Linnaeus, succeeded Daniel Solander as Banks's librarian in 1782. The letters were mostly written from Banks's house in Soho Square at times when Banks was out of London. They deal in particular with the library, the acquisition of books and drawings, subscriptions and catalogues. In addition, there are references to the receipt of letters, visitors to the house, and botanical and zoological matters. Individuals mentioned in the letters include Johann Fabricius, Charles Blagden, Joseph Planta, Alexander Dalrymple, Charles Greville, Henry Cavendish and Edward Gray.
Requests an inscription on the cabinet he has donated.
A rift between the Geological Society and the Royal Society; attaches a resolution of the Geological Society rejecting the plan of Charles Greville for the Society to merge with the Royal Society. (2 letters)
Relations between the Royal Society and the Geological Society. (2 letters)
Offers to sell 800 drawings, including birds and shells by Sarah Stone and others under the direction of Ashton Lever.
Forwards a box of potatoes, possibly a rare species; he is to be sworn in as mayor of Warwick.
Queries whether periwinkle is only the first state of a small species of lobster.
Metals and minerals; papers of Smithson Tennant. (2 letters)
Account of ballooning near north coast of France.
Visit to Cape Town (1779); plan to settle convicts on the north-west coast of America; insanity; reports on the health of King George III (1788); William Herschel; Tiberius Cavallo; drawings of elephants by Thomas Sandby; blue lights; presents from the Emperor of China. (33 letters)
Discovery of a method of saving people from drowning; meeting. (3 letters)
Congratulations on his marriage; collection of plants of Abbe Sistius (?); difficulties of transplanting plants to England; the Sultan is generally shut up in his seraglio; many houses burnt down by mobs; hopes that Capt. J. Cook is not getting himself and his followers into a 'scrape'.
Embarking on his last trip to Tangier; sends vocabulary of the Shillah language, some words translated into Arabic; hopes of retirement.
Meeting with Peter the Wild Man, found in a forest near Hanover; sends particulars. (3pp.)
The correspondents include Edmund Hussey, William Munro, Duncan Campbell and James Glen.
Sends specimens of strontium sulphate; requests specimens of coal from Botany Bay.
Allowance to Matthews authorised by Spencer Percival for duties performed at the Mint.
Fossil deer bones found on his estate. (3 letters)
Peter the Wild Man; question of his surviving on leaves and bark; refers to natives of New Caledonia eating bark of certain trees.
Difficulties in transmitting a letter to King George III; printing of statutes [of Royal Society].
Presentation of colours of the Brentford Armed Association.
Submits papers for publication; geological specimens and drawings; books. (6 letters)
Correspondence with Robert Brown about a collection of birds, animals and plants captured from a French ship by a privateer.
Refers to examination by Banks of coasts of Glamorgan and Pembroke; collecting of shells.
General news; capture of a whale; letter from Alexander Dalrymple to John Hawkesworth; Lord Sandwich; Charles Blagden; John Hunter; dissection of electric eels.
Proposal that papers of Padre Antonio about Mount Vesuvius be placed in the British Museum.
Sends geese in gratitude to his admission to Society of Antiquaries: Banks's health: James Smith and value as Flora Britannica.
Seeks support in publishing a history of Gloucestershire by Rev. T.D. Fasbrooke.
Thanks for astronomical communications; William Herschel; his election to the Royal Society.