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Endeavour journal, 20 March 1769 (Series 03.205)

Notes: Page header reads: 'South Sea'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 20 March 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 20. Very fine as yesterday: many tropick birds were about the ship, as indeed there has been every day since I first mentiond them but still more of them as the weather was finer. Lat. today [ ]. Long. [ ]. When I look on the charts of these Seas and see our course, which has been Near a streight one at NW since we left Cape Horne, I cannot help wondering that we have not yet seen land. It is however some pleasure to be able to disprove that which does not exist but in the opinions of Theoretical writers, of which sort most are who have wrote any thing about these seas without having themselves been in them. They have generaly supposd that every foot of sea which they beleivd no ship had passd over to be land, tho they had little or nothing to support that opinion but vague reports, many of them mentiond only as such by the very authors who first publishd them, as for instance the Orange Tree one of the Nassau fleet who being separated from her Companions and drove to the westward reported on her joining them again that she had twice seen the Southern continent; both which places are laid down by Mr Dalrymple many degrees to the eastward of our track, tho it is probable that he has put them down as far to the westward as he thought it possible that she could go.

To streng[t]hen these weak arguments another Theory has been started which says that it is

Nescessary that so much of the South sea as the authors of it call land should be so, otherwise this wor[l]d would not be properly bal[a]nc'd as the quantity of Earth known to be situated in the Northern hemisphere would not have a counterpoise in this. The number of square degrees of their land which we have already chang'd into water sufficiently disproves this, and teaches me at least that till we know how this globe is fixd in that place which has been since its creation assignd to it in the general system, we need not be anxious to give reasons how any one part of it counterbalances the rest.