The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]
5. Banks to the Viceroy of Brazil
5. Banks to the Viceroy of Brazil
[Printed from Banks's own Ms draft, Commonwealth National Library Ms, where it is accompanied by a fair copy. Portions in brackets are supplied from the fair copy.]
The Memorial of Joseph Banks Esqr to His Excellency Count Rolim Vice-Roy and Captain General of the Estates of Brazil.
The very disagreable situation to which your Excellencys most unprecedented behaviour has reduced me, makes it nescessary for me to state in writing, the facts relating to it, that I may be Convinced by your answer that those unexampled orders, which are issued against me in particular, and the whole ship in general; are not the Effect of Mistake or misrepresentation which even at this time I cannot help suspecting.
Your Excellency has before now been acquainted with the nature of the favours I ask, which tho I call them favours, appear to me to be of such a nature, as never were before denied even to the meanest subjects of a crown in peace and amity with his most faithfull majesty: notwistanding which you have thought proper to deny me every one; not even permitting me to go on shore, but ordering our ship to be guarded in the same manner as would have been done to his most F[aithful] M[ajesty's] declard and inveterate enemies.
Disagreable as it is for any man to declare his own rank and consequence my situation makes it necessary: I am a gentleman, and one of fortune sufficient to have (at my own expence) fitted out that part of this expedition under my direction; which is intended to examine the natural history of the Countries where we shall touch, for the execution of this undertaking I have with me proper people who as well as myself, page 316 have made that science their particular study, to all these H.[is] B.[ritannic] M.[ajesty] was graciously pleasd to allow conveniencies and accommodations on board His ship, in Consideration of the use, which from such researches might accrue to Mankind in general.
I ask therefore Leave to go on shore, taking with me proper people, who may assist me in Collecting, and examining, such trees, shrubs, Plants, Birds, beasts, fishes, and insects, as I may meet with the Collection and examination of such things, being the sole business I have undertaken in this voyage this is the only indulgence which I ask.
to prevent any suspicion of my acting otherwise, It is also my desire, that I may in the execution of this be attended by any person or persons whoom your excellence shall chuse; who may be eye witnesse of every thing which I do, and may serve to convince you, that nothing was meant in the fitting out of this ship, but the promotion of Learning in general.
If your excellency should have any objection to my coming into the town, or forts, I here publickly declare that I have not the Least business, nor have I a wish to enter within the walls of any of them: my Business is best carried on in places far removd from men and houses, wild and desart places a League or two from the town would suit my purposes much better: there nature is to be seen in her primitive bea[u]ty, which alone I am desirous1 to Study and Enjoy.
it may be unnescessary to remind your excellency, that his F F[sic] M subjects have always been treated in different manner, in every part of his B M dominions Europe, Asia, Africa and America: where I am certain that his M F M subjects have always receivd, From his B M officers Every mark of politeness, and Friendship; as such behaviour is esteemd by Englishmen, a debt due to every subject of a king at Peace and in amity with their Master; returns of which they think they have an undoubted right to expect.
Should your excellency still persist in your refusal, I must insist upon having your reasons returnd to me in writing, that I may be able to Lay them properly before my own court: a duty which every englishman thinks he owes to his King and Country.
Ship of War, Endeavour
in the Port of Rio Janeiro
Novr 17. 1768 Exmo Snre Dom Antonio Rolim,
Conde Vic Rey e Cappam General dos Estados do Brazil.]
1 am desirous, fair copy endeavour.