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  • Title
    Series 61: Papers, being mainly letters received by Banksfrom Archibald Menzies, 1790-1795, 1798
  • Level of description
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Physical Description
    35 items of textual material
  • Scope and Content
    Archibald Menzies, at the recommendation of Sir JosephBanks, was appointed botanist, and later also served as surgeon,on George Vancouver's voyage to survey the largely unknown northwest coast of the American continent.

    On 1 April 1791 HM Ships Discovery and Chatham sailedfrom England calling first at the Canary Islands. The ships continuedto the Cape of Good Hope, remaining until August, then sailedeast toward the west coast of Australia. Arriving at King GeorgeSound in late September, Vancouver then proceeded east surveyingthe south coast of Australia as far as the Great Australian Bight.Passing around Tasmania at the end of October, the ships proceededto Dusky Bay, New Zealand for repairs and refuelling in November.

    December 1791 and January 1792 were passed at Tahiti.Their first Hawaiian visit of the voyage followed in March 1792when the islander Toweroo, on board the Discovery from England,was returned to his homeland.

    From Hawaii Vancouver steered a course to the northwest coast of America arriving at New Albion in April 1792 tocommence the coastal survey. In September 1792 the Discovery rendezvousedwith the store ship Daedalus at Nootka Island and learned of thedeaths in Hawaii in May 1792 of the commander, Lieutenant Hergestand the astronomer, Mr Gooch.

    In September Vancouver named Quadra and VancouverIsland in honour of his friendship with the Spanish Governor ofSt Blas and Commander in Chief of the Spanish Royal Navy of Mexicoand California, Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra. Today theisland is known simply as Vancouver. Quadra and Vancouver hadtried unsuccessfully to negotiate a resolution on the sovereigntyof Nootka Island on behalf of the Spanish and British courts.

    From the island of Vancouver the expedition sailedto California and remained at San Francisco and Monterey fromNovember 1792 until January 1793. In January the ships left Californiafor a second visit to Hawaii where they stayed from February untilMarch. During this visit the trial and execution of the men responsiblefor the deaths of Hergest and Gooch took place.

    In May 1793 the ships arrived at Nootka to recommencethe coastal survey northward during the summer. As winter againclosed in they turned southward and arrived at San Francisco inOctober 1793. They remained on the Californian coast until Decemberbefore again sailing for Hawaii in January 1794. This third visitto Hawaii ended in March.

    The continental coastal survey was recommenced andcontinued as far north as possible until May 1794 from whencethe Discovery and Chatham again turned south. They anchored inNootka again in September 1794 to await, vainly, the arrival ofa vessel from St Blas bearing dispatches to resolve the sovereigntyof Nootka.

    In October the ships returned to Monterey to collectsome deserters, and remained until early December 1794 beforesailing south along the coasts of California and Mexico. Theyarrived at Valparaiso, Chile in March 1795 to repair a brokenmainmast, and departed early in May. They returned home, withthe question of Nootka still unresolved, via Cape Horn. At StHelena in July they took possession of a Dutch East Indiaman,England and Holland being at war.

    In October 1795 the Discovery and Chatham arrivedat Long Reach at the end of a voyage which had lasted almost fiveyears. Archibald Menzies, diligent in his botanical duties, wasalso diligent in reporting to his friend and patron Sir JosephBanks, detailing the course and events of the voyage in lettersto Banks.
  • General note

    The documents in this series, previously locatedat ML A79-2, were purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by SirSaul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, and transferredto the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accessionwhich became known as the Brabourne collection.

    Some of these documents were used by the compilersof Historical records of New South Wales, vol 1, part 2 (1892),and include some annotations made by the compilers.
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