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Daniel Solander

In their own words

Daniel Solander
Audio: 2 minutes

When this ship was equipped to make discoveries in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean and to observe the transit of Venus, a young rich gentleman named Joseph Banks decided to go too for the sake of natural history. I have been well acquainted with him for many years and he proposed to me to go with him at his expense. I thought that such an offer and such an opportunity should not be turned down. We therefore made an application together to the King of England to obtain a passage on the ship, which was so well received by the government that the captain was ordered to give us the best cabins and to receive as well three draughtsmen and six hands who all belong to Herr Banks. The ship was called Endeavour, the captain’s name is James Cook.

Our intention is to sail around the southern point of the Magellanic land that is called Cape Horn and from there make our course through the South Seas to a big island that was discovered three years ago. It is inhabited by a very kind-hearted, civilized and well-shaped people. There we plan to perform our astronomic observations and maybe stay four to six months. If afterwards our ship and crew are in a good state, I believe we will try to see if there are no unknown countries left for us to discover. Our ship’s name alludes to that Endeavour meaning Attempt. We will probably not return home before 1771. And if Mr Banks then is in the same spirit as now to follow up his studies of natural history we will probably directly undertake together a journey to Sweden.

I hope when we return to Europe our ship will surely be the richest in Natural Curiosities, for Mr Banks spares himself no expense.

Acknowledgements

Solander, Daniel (1768) Letter to Carl Linnaeus, 1 December 1768, Rio de Janeiro, on board the Endeavour. Duyker, E. and Tingbrand, P., Daniel Solander: Collected Correspondence 1753—1782, 1995 (ed. & trans), Melbourne, Melbourne University Press/Miegunyah

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Voiced by Joel Horwood

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Daniel Solander

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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