Level 3 Mortlock Wing State Library of South Australia North Terrace Adelaide SA 5000

A letter from Mr Dalrymple to Dr Hawkesworth 1773

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, London 1773.

Alexander Dalrymple objected to aspects of the way Hawkesworth had edited Lieutenant James Cook's journals of his first voyage around the world. This is an original publication of the open letter and very rare and is inscribed "From the author -". It gives an interesting insight into the politics of London society at the time of the discovery of Australia.

Alexander Dalrymple was an influential member of the Royal Society who had hoped to have been given command of the voyage (1768-1771) to observe the transit of Venus in Tahiti but the position was given to James Cook in the Endeavour.

John Hawkesworth had edited Lieutenant James Cook's journals of his first voyage around the world for the British Admiralty and this was published as - An account of voyages to the Southern Hemisphere 1773 . Alexander Dalrymple, who had a "chip on his shoulder ", objected to aspects of the way Hawkesworth had written this and set out his objections in this open letter which he published. This treasure is an original publication of the letter and very rare - there are only three other copies in Australian libraries and is inscribed "From the author -". It is part of the history of the European discovery and exploration of Australia.

Alexander Dalrymple was a prominent Scottish geographer and hydrologist and member of the Royal Society. John Hawkesworth was a writer and editor who wrote An account of voyages to the Southern Hemisphere which describes four different voyages most prominently, in the last two volumes, that of the Endeavour commanded by Lieutenant James Cook.

Hawkesworth had been given both Cook's and Joseph Banks' journals (Introduction p.xiii) to write this account which was issued in three volumes. The title page includes "Undertaken by Order of his Present Majesty" indicating this was the official version at the time.

Note that many other versions of Cook's first voyage have been written notably WJL Wharton's Captain Cook's Journal,1893 - see RGSSA Treasure -which has wooden covers.

Dalrymple objected to the way Hawkesworth had written his account and published his views in an open letter which is this RGSSA treasure. He complained, for example, that the first person had been used from time to time even though Hawkesworth had not been on the voyage himself. Also complained that he had been named in the book without being asked or given "approbation" and "attacked by implication as having misinterpreted the Spanish and Dutch voyages on your own ill -grounded conjectures;-" Another example by Dalrymple- "Having now, I flatter myself, shewn that your illiberal insinuations against me are groundless, and exposed in a few words your ignorance and inconsistency-"

Postcript
Author's annotation

RGSSA catalogue rgsp 910.41 D151 b

Dalrymple, Alexander, An historical collection of the several voyages and discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean being chiefly a literal translation from the Spanish writers, 1752.  Another RGSSA Treasure

Holmes, Sir Maurice GBE, KCB, Captain James Cook RN FRS , A bibliographic Excursion, London1952, Francis Edwards Ltd.

rga 910.41 H 752 1952


Alexander Dalrymple was a prominent Scottish geographer and hydrologist and member of the Royal Society.  One of his main contributions to this area is held by the RGSSA and highlighted in its Treasures collection;

An historical collection of the several voyages and discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean being chiefly a literal translation from the Spanish writers, 1770.