Autograph letter signed, to Sir Joseph Banks (addressed in the third person), discussing the publication of the journals of Cook's third voyage. COOK: THIRD VOYAGE, John DOUGLAS.

Autograph letter signed, to Sir Joseph Banks, about the publication of Cook's third voyage…
Autograph letter signed, to Sir Joseph Banks (addressed in the third person), discussing the publication of the journals of Cook's third voyage.

Windsor Castle: 6 October 1782.

Single page, quarto, numbered "201" at the top right-hand corner; inscribed in an early nineteenth century hand "To Sir Joseph Banks"

Cook's "meddlesome editor" to Joseph Banks about the third voyage engravings

A fine letter from the editor of Cook's third voyage to Sir Joseph Banks. Dr John Douglas, Cook's "meddlesome editor" (Glyndwr Williams), Bishop of Salisbury and Carlisle, held numerous religious appointments including a long connection with the Royal Chapel at Windsor, explaining his address of Windsor Castle on this letter: he became Dean of Windsor in 1788. Despite all this he was 'not conspicuous as an ecclesiastical administrator, preferring to his livings the delights of London in winter and the fashionable watering-places in summer. Under the patronage of the earl of Bath he entered into a good many literary controversies, vindicating Milton from W. Lauder's charge of plagiarism (1750), attacking David Hume's rationalism in his Criterion of Miracles (1752), and the Hutchinsonians in his Apology for the Clergy (1755). He also edited Captain Cook's Journals, and Clarendon's Diary and Letters (1763)" (Britannica).

A fine letter from the editor of Cook's third voyage to Sir Joseph Banks. Dr John Douglas, Cook's "meddlesome editor" (Glyndwr Williams), Bishop of Salisbury and Carlisle, held numerous religious appointments including a long connection with the Royal Chapel at Windsor, explaining his address of Windsor Castle on this letter: he became Dean of Windsor in 1788. Despite all this he was 'not conspicuous as an ecclesiastical administrator, preferring to his livings the delights of London in winter and the fashionable watering-places in summer. Under the patronage of the earl of Bath he entered into a good many literary controversies, vindicating Milton from W. Lauder's charge of plagiarism (1750), attacking David Hume's rationalism in his Criterion of Miracles (1752), and the Hutchinsonians in his Apology for the Clergy (1755). He also edited Captain Cook's Journals, and Clarendon's Diary and Letters (1763)" (Britannica).
Douglas addresses Joseph Banks in the third person in this letter advising him of arrangements made, providing fascinating detail on the processes behind the official publication of Cook's third voyage. He has arranged with Lord Sandwich, who will confirm this to Sir Joseph, to write the captions for the engravings on slips of paper as requested by Banks. Captain King has sadly been no help since he has been absent [unavoidably, since in 1781 he was commanding an escort of merchantmen to the West Indies, not returning until the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783], but instead Douglas will seek information from the artist John Webber himself. The proof impressions of the plates and the draft of the captions will then be left at Banks' house in Soho Square for his return from the country.
Dr. Douglas edited the first two volumes of the three volume publication. He had Cook's original journals in his possession from late 1780, and had worked with Cook himself on the publication of the second voyage, but he interfered with the text of the third voyage account to such an extent that 'although the first two volumes were Cook's in name, they were Dr John Douglas' in style'. The completed work, with its third volume written by Captain King, would finally appear in June 1784 as the Voyage to the Pacific Ocean... for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. The publication was supervised by Joseph Banks himself, who is known to have taken a close interest in the preparation of the engraved plates. Their complexity, on which the delay was partly blamed at the time, is hinted at in Douglas' letter.

Provenance: Joseph Banks, and possibly part of the Banks Papers; Enys Collection of Autograph Manuscripts.

Price (AUD): $10,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504772

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