Criticising the Endeavour voyage | State Library of New South Wales

Criticising the Endeavour voyage

Alexander Dalrymple was desperate to be given charge of the Royal Society expedition to observe the Transit of Venus from the South Pacific in 1770. When he was passed over in favour of James Cook, Dalrymple was furious. He claimed the Admiralty refused to give him command of the Endeavour, solely because he was not ‘bred up’ in the Royal Navy. Dalrymple was incensed that John Hawkesworth’s account of Cook’s voyage questioned his own theories as to the routes and discoveries of earlier South Pacific navigators found in his earlier work, An account of the discoveries made in the south Pacifick Ocean, previous to 1764. He also criticised Hawkesworth’s ability to interpret and understand the accounts of the Endeavour voyage, particularly with regard to navigational information. Dalrymple was convinced that the expedition did not search hard enough for the Southern Continent, saying ‘I would not have come back in Ignorance.'

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Selections from A letter from Mr. Dalrymple to Dr. Hawkesworth, occasioned by some groundless and illiberal imputations in his account of the late voyages to the south, by Alexander Dalrymple, London : Printed for J. Nourse; T. Payne; Brotherton and Sewell; B. White; J. Robson; P. Elmsly; T. Davies; and S. Leacroft, 1773
Published book  MRB/Q980/36A2