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Series 23: Correspondence with various persons concerning Australia and the South Seas, being mainly letters received by Banks, 1786-1809

Number of documents


Provenance note

Documents 1, 15, 25-26, 29, 35 and 49 in this series were previously located at ML A78-2. Documents 2-4, 13-14, 16-17, 19-20, 22-24, 27, 30-34, 36-37 and 39-48 were previously located at ML A78-3. Document 12 was previously located at ML A80-2.

These documents, purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, were transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection.

Documents 5-6 and 21, previously located at ML A83, and document 38, previously located at ML A82, were part of an accession of Banks papers purchased for the Mitchell Library from Sotheby's, London, in May 1929.

Documents 7-11 and 18 were previously located at DL MS Q158. They were part of the personal library of Sir William Dixson which was bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales in 1952. Dixson's bequest was formally handed over when the Dixson Library was opened in 1959.

The remaining document in this series, document 28, was previously located at ML Aj 1/4 and relocated to ML Safe 1/22. It was acquired for the Library from an unknown source.

Some of the documents in this series include the original folio numbers assigned by Banks, written in ink in an unknown hand in the top right hand corner.

Some letters in this series were used by the compilers of Historical records of New South Wales, vol 1, part 2 (1892), and vol 4 (1896). They include some minor annotations made by the compilers. Historical records has erroneously named Banks as the addressee of document 26 in this series rather than Doctor Anthony Hamilton who presumably forwarded it to Banks for copying.

It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged alphabetically by correspondent's name. This approximates Banks' probable original arrangement of his correspondence alphabetically by correspondent's name within a given year. It is difficult to determine how extensive this arrangement was across the entire archive.

Background note

Banks corresponded widely with numerous and various people about matters pertinent to the settlements in Australia or to the South Seas. His many correspondents include William Balmain, John Blaxland, Reverend George Burder, Charles Burney, Robert Brown, Thomas Clarke, S.W. Clayton, James Colnett, Samuel Enderby, James Grant, Charles Francis Greville, Doctor Anthony Hamilton, Sir Francis John. Hartwell, Reverend Richard Johnson, David Lewis, John Macarthur, John Maitland, Reverend Samuel Marsden, Doctor Nevil Maskelyne, Sir Evan Nepean, John Reeves, James Rennell, John Shortland, Charles Smith, James Kingston Tuckey, Mr Vaughan, Henry Waterhouse, William Westall, William Wilson, Arthur Young and Mary Yostis.