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This week we are very excited to receive two new additions to the Rare Books collection, Livre d’heures d’après les manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Royale and Reynard the Fox : a poem in twelve cantos. 

Both of these beautifully bound and illustrated books were purchased from David Brass Rare Books to compliment our extensive collection of 19th century texts. We are delighted to bring them into our collection!

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Navigator and explorer, James Cook, was born in 1728 at Martin-in-Cleveland, Middlesbrough, England.  The second of eight children, he moved with his family to Great Ayton in 1736, where his father arranged for his apprenticeship to a shopkeeper on the North Sea coast.[1]  Perhaps it was this seaside location that inspired Cook to seek a new post after eighteen months under coal-shipper, John Walker of Whitby.[2]  Here, he learnt a great deal about navigation, and in 1755 Walker offered him command of a collier.  This Cook declined, volunteering instead for service in the Royal Navy, and by 1758 he was promoted to master of the Pembroke.[3]  In her, he sailed across the Atlantic and took part in the siege of Louisburg and the survey of the St Lawrence River which led to the capture of Quebec.[4]  This voyage, and that on-board HMS Northumberland, in which Cook began surveying the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, solidified his reputation as an outstanding surveyor.  He was eventually assigned his own small schooner, the Grenville, and tasked with surveying Newfoundland’s extensive coastline and southern Labrador.  The acquaintances he made during this time, including the Governor of Newfoundland, plus the publication of his charts and observations of a solar eclipse, brought him to the attention of both the Admiralty and the Royal Society.[5]

The Royal Society had been keen to learn more about inter-planetary distances, and began petitioning the British government and the Admiralty to send astronomers via ship to record the 1769 transit of Venus.  They felt that if the Planet could be observed as it passed across the sun at the same time and from different locations, it might then be possible to calculate the actual distance of earth from the sun.[6]  The Society suggested Alexander Dalrymple as a potential leader of an expedition to the South Seas to observe the transit but the Admiralty chose Cook instead, promoting him to Lieutenant and giving him command of the bark Endeavour.[7]  He sailed from Plymouth in August 1768 with a crew of ninety-four, one of whom was naturalist and botanist, Joseph Banks.  For Cook, it would be the first of three major expeditions.

It was almost eight months later, on 13 April 1769, that they reached Tahiti, making their observations on 3 June.  Cook toured the Island for some three months, making topographic notes and detailed descriptions of its inhabitants.  Along the way, they chartered islands, collected specimens and searched for a ‘supposed’ great southern continent.   Failing to find the southern land mass, they headed for New Zealand, circumnavigating it and establishing that there existed two principle islands.  By April 1770, they landed at Stingray Bay, where Banks and his naturalists collected so many specimens that it was later renamed Botany Bay.[8]  They sailed on to Bustard Bay and Cape Townshend (Queensland), and through the Barrier Reef where the Endeavour become stuck on a reef.  The crew reportedly had to throw guns, ballasts and stores overboard before the ship could dislodge and make its way to Endeavour River for repairs.[9]  Those repairs, coupled with bad weather, delayed the crew for seven weeks but on 22 August 1770 Cook took possession of Australia’s east coast for Great Britain, later adding the name ‘New South Wales’, to his journal.[10]

Now satisfied that New Guinea and New Holland were not connected, Cook set sail for Cape York, through Torres Strait and on to Batavia.  It was here that the Endeavour lost a third of its crew to malaria and dysentery.[11]  It would be another year before Cook and the survivors arrived back in England on 13 July 1771.

The importance of Cook’s achievements, and those of his crew, should not be understated.  Though their discoveries were not new, aside from New South Wales, they had chartered some 5,000 miles of coast with incredible accuracy.  Cook, however, lamented the fact that they had not discovered a great southern continent, and in 1772 was given a second opportunity to find it.  Taking two ships this time, the Resolution and the Adventure, the expedition’s primary importance for Australian discovery lay in the latter’s journey to Van Diemen’s Land.[12]  Its captain, Tobias Furneaux, renamed Adventure Bay on Bruny Island, sailed around the Tasman peninsula and up the east coast to Flinders Island, whilst Cook, on-board the Resolution, explored the Friendly and Society Islands, sailed south of New Zealand and crossed, for the first time, the Antarctic Circle.  Crossing the Pacific without sighting land, he was again satisfied that the myth of the great southern continent was exactly that – a myth.[13]

The aim of Cook’s third voyage was to return a Raiatean by the name of Mai to his homeland, who had been brought to Britain by Furneaux, and to search for the North West Passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic.[14]  Two ships were taken again, the Resolution and the Discovery, the latter captained by Charles Clerke.  They departed Plymouth in July 1776, sailing to Cape Town, Kerguelen Island in the southern Indian Ocean, Adventure Bay in Van Diemen’s Land, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Tonga.  They journeyed to the Hawaiian Islands, surveying the north-western coasts of America from Oregon to Alaska and returned to the Sandwich Islands, where Cook was killed on the 14 February 1779 by Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay.[15]

The voyages of Captain James Cook around the world… provides a detailed account of these three voyages, including important, first-hand information about the people, flora and fauna encountered along the way.  Essentially two volumes in the one book, it contains illustrated plates of Cook; Joseph Banks; Tierra del Fuego; war canoes of Otaheite; the inside of a house in Nootka Sound; Terreeoboo, King of ‘O Whyhee’, plus many more.  It is a rich source of knowledge for anyone interested not only in discoveries, (for some of Cook’s legacy lies in the fact that he discovered where land did not exist), but also in coastal charting, and Cook’s charting was some of the finest.  He set extraordinary standards, and his accuracy when defining ocean boundaries greatly assisted future navigators, and ultimately helped to create a second British empire.[16]

In April 2019 The Voyages of Captain James Cook… was restored through the generosity of an anonymous donor.  To learn more about the conservation process and to see some interesting ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs, visit the Adopt-a-Book web pages to view the book’s condition report.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Curtin University Library, ‘Project Endeavor Jon Sanders’ triple circumnavigation of the world: Captain James Cook and his voyages’, 2 Nov 2009, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://john.curtin.edu.au/endeavour/cook.html

[2] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[3] James Cook and his voyages, National Library of Australia, undated, accessed online 10 May 2019, https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/james-cook-and-his-voyages

[4] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[5] Curtin University Library, ‘Project Endeavor Jon Sanders’ triple circumnavigation of the world: Captain James Cook and his voyages’, 2 Nov 2009, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://john.curtin.edu.au/endeavour/cook.html

[6] Curtin University Library, ‘Project Endeavor Jon Sanders’ triple circumnavigation of the world: Captain James Cook and his voyages’, 2 Nov 2009, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://john.curtin.edu.au/endeavour/cook.html

[7] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[8] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[9] James Cook and his voyages, National Library of Australia, undated, accessed online 10 May 2019, https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/james-cook-and-his-voyages

[10] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[11] James Cook and his voyages, National Library of Australia, undated, accessed online 10 May 2019, https://www.nla.gov.au/selected-library-collections/james-cook-and-his-voyages

[12] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[13] Curtin University Library, ‘Project Endeavor Jon Sanders’ triple circumnavigation of the world: Captain James Cook and his voyages’, 2 Nov 2009, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://john.curtin.edu.au/endeavour/cook.html

[14] Curtin University Library, ‘Project Endeavor Jon Sanders’ triple circumnavigation of the world: Captain James Cook and his voyages’, 2 Nov 2009, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://john.curtin.edu.au/endeavour/cook.html

[15] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

[16] ‘Cook, James (1728–1779)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 10 May 2019, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cook-james-1917/text2279

 

Lee Hayes
April 2020

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Little is known about the personal life of 18th century navigator, Thomas Forrest, however, he is believed to have served in the Royal Navy, acting as midshipman in 1745, implying a date of birth of approximately 1729.[1]  He was engaged by the East India Company in 1748 and, according to his own writings, sailed the Indian waters almost continuously from 1753, making fifteen voyages from Hindustan to the East and four voyages from England to India.[2]  He gained an enormous amount of knowledge of the weather, winds and sailing routes, and eventually published, in 1782, A treatise on the monsoons in East India which documented many of his interesting experiences.

In 1770 Forrest assisted in the formation of a new settlement at Balambangan (Malaysia), which had been recommended by the Scottish geographer, Alexander Dalrymple.  Four years later, when the council, wishing to develop new sources of trade, wanted to send an exploring party in the direction of New Guinea, Forrest expressed his interest.[3]  His services were gladly accepted, and he set sail onboard the Tartar-Galley from Balambangan on the 9th November 1774 with David Baxter (mate), Laurence Lound (gunner) and a crew of eighteen Malays.[4]  He led the party as far as New Guinea’s Geelvink Bay, exploring the Sulu archipelago, the south coast of Mindanao, Mandiolo, Batchian and Waygiou, which he was the first to chart with any degree of accuracy.[5]

When he returned in 1776, Forrest commenced work on a highly detailed account of the voyage, publishing A Voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas… in 1779.  Though his journey was reportedly one more of examination and enquiry than discovery, and the contributions he made to geographical knowledge tended to be corrections of detail rather than fresh ideas, he wrote with a tact that was seldom used by Europeans at the time.  What he achieved in a relatively small and leaking boat, together with his gentle approach to local inhabitants and his recorded observations, with their lack of moral judgment, won him a great deal of credit.

Forrest continued to sail well into the late 1700s.  He intended to survey the Andaman Islands but fell leeward of them, passing instead through Preparis Channel to the Tenasserim coast (Myanmar, Burma), which he examined as far as Quedah.  In 1790 he explored the same coast more thoroughly, discovering that the islands lying off it formed a long row which resulted in a sheltered 125-mile long passage between them and the mainland.[6]   He named this Forrest Strait.  The results of these voyages were published in A journal of the ‘Esther’ Brig, Capt. Thomas Forrest, from Bengal to Quedah, in 1783 (1789) and A voyage from Calcutta to the Mergui Archipelago (1792).

The Library’s copy of A voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas… is the second edition, published in 1780.  Complete with portraiture frontispiece, engravings of local inhabitants, flora, rituals, and maps, plus vocabularies of the Magindano tongue and a few “Pappua words”, the book is a fine example for its time.  From the outset, Forrest’s gift for writing in a manner simultaneously pragmatic and thoughtful is immediately apparent.  Landscapes are portrayed honestly, without embellishment, whilst difficulties with the crew or with those encountered along the way, are tackled with a sensitivity befitting a man oft-described as respected, deserving and non-judgmental.   On page 27 we read of Forrest’s gift of red handkerchiefs to his crew for their rowing efforts, on page 60, his making of small presents for chiefs, and on page 61, his relief at learning the life of a man who had robbed him has been spared by his enraged and loyal steward, Matthew…

 

Full citation:

Forrest, Captain Thomas, A voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas, from Balambangan: Including an account of Magindano, Sooloo, and other islands: and illustrated with thirty copperplates. Performed in the Tartar Galley, belonging to the honourable East India Company, during the years 1774, 1775, and 1776… London: Printed by G. Scott, 1780

 

Footnotes:

[1] Laughton, J. K. (revised by Elizabeth Baigent), ‘Forrest, Thomas’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sept 2004, accessed online 1 May 2019,  http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-9891?rskey=6Gtodc&result=2

[2]Laughton, J. K. (revised by Elizabeth Baigent), ‘Forrest, Thomas’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sept 2004, accessed online 1 May 2019,   http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-9891?rskey=6Gtodc&result=2

[3] “Thomas Forrest (navigator)’, Wikipiedia, 2 April 2019, accessed online 3 May 2019,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Forrest_(navigator)

[4] Forrest Thomas, A voyage to New Guinea and the Moluccas…, London, printed by G.Scott, 1780, p. 8 and p. 12

[5] Laughton, J. K. (revised by Elizabeth Baigent), ‘Forrest, Thomas’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sept 2004, accessed online 1 May 2019,  http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-9891?rskey=6Gtodc&result=2

[6] Laughton, J. K. (revised by Elizabeth Baigent), ‘Forrest, Thomas’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 Sept 2004, accessed online 1 May 2019,  http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-9891?rskey=6Gtodc&result=2

 

Lee Hayes
April 2020

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Hooper Brewster Jones has been considered to be one of the most progressive composers in Australia during the 1920s and 1930s. We are delighted to announce that a complete listing of his scores and papers held by the University of Adelaide Rare Books & Special Collections is now available at, https://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/special/mss/brewster_jones/ incorporating the large donation […]

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Exhibition: Level 1, Barr Smith Library 16 August – 27 September 2019 Curator: Lee Hayes, Rare Books & Special Collections Is a picture really worth a thousand words? From woodcut to lithograph, this exhibition explores the history and methods of book illustration, and sheds light on the important role that co-existent images and text play in […]

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In 1919 the Spanish Flu finally hit Australia’s shores. The epidemic had originally started in 1918, borne around the world by soldiers returning from WWI. During the course of the outbreak it affected 500 million people and claimed more lives than those killed in the Great War. Also known as ‘pneumonic influenza’, it initially caused […]

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Exhibition: Level 1, Barr Smith Library 24 June – 9 August 2019 In 2018, drawing on her experience as a History of Science student, intern Kate Corcoran conducted a survey of Rare Book holdings to identify items that would be useful both for teaching purposes and online displays for students. This display presents the results […]

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Isaac Barrow, mathematician and Christian theologian, was born to Thomas and Ann Barrow in London in 1630. He is believed to be the only child, surviving at least, of that marriage, with the death of his mother just four years later giving some credence to such reports.[1] Within two years of her passing his father […]

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Exhibition: Level 1, Barr Smith Library 1 May – 15 June 2019 Curator: Cheryl Hoskin, Rare Books & Special Collections Librarian It was to be a great adventure – this skimming through ‘unknown skies’, over strange lands, and vast spaces of oceans. We were attempting something which had never before been done, so it is […]

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In September 1918 the Adelaide University Magazine was first published. The editorial of the first volume cited the need for a student magazine, to help provide a voice to the students, as well as to encourage a community that many felt the University missed out on due to the lack of residential colleges. It was […]

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