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

John Hawkesworth's account of four voyages to the Pacific including Cook's first voyage around the world

This first edition is a rare and interesting treasure which includes the official version of Lieutenant James Cook's momentous first voyage (1768-1771) around the world. However, Hawkesworth's edited account was contentious in some respects and was criticized strongly by Alexander Dalrymple and by James Cook himself.

Hawkesworth 6

An account of voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty, for making discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere and successfully performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret and Captain Cook in the Dolphin, the Swallow and the Endeavour 1773 (3 volumes) by John Hawkesworth.

In 1771 John Hawkesworth (1715-1773) was commissioned by the British Admiralty to edit the journals of four Royal Navy voyages to the Pacific Ocean for publication. He was an established English writer and editor and had written for the Gentlemen's Magazine, worked with Samuel Johnson on the Adventurer and edited Jonathon Swift's works.  John Hawkesworth was advanced 6,000 pounds (estimated as worth nearly 1 million pounds in 2023) by the publisher William Strahan.

Of special interest is the account - in volumes 2 and 3 - of James Cook's first voyage around the world in which he "discovered " Australia and New Zealand.

In the mid - 18th century there was great interest in the little known Pacific region. It was thought there may be opportunities there to expand the British Empire and to open up valuable trade routes. As a result the British Admiralty commissioned these four voyages of exploration - the most successful of which was that of Lieutenant James Cook.

The British Admiralty gave Hawkesworth the journals of Cook (then Lieutenant Cook) and Joseph Banks to prepare, but his account was far from a job of pure editing. It was claimed by some to include some interpretation of the facts and statements which were incorrect. It is not a direct transcription of the journals as was Wharton's publication of 1893 (see RGSSA treasure James Cook's first voyage around the world 1768-1771) and has been referred to as a "laundered account" of Cook's voyage. Alexander Dalrymple, for example, strongly challenged aspects of the book (see letter from Dalrymple to Hawkesworth a RGSSA treasure) and James Cook himself took exception to some statements that were included.

RGSSA catalogue rgsp 910.45 H392 c 3 vols

1. Dalrymple Alexander, A letter from Mr Dalrymple to Dr Hawkesworth, London 1773 RGSSA catalogue rgsp 910.41 D151 b.

2.Holmes, Sir Maurice GBE, KCB, Captain James Cook RN FRS, A bibliographal Excursion, London1952, Francis Edwards Ltd. RGSSA catalogue 910.41 H 752 1952