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Series 60: Papers concerning the equipping and voyage of HM Ships Chatham and Discovery, George Vancouver, 1791-1792

Provenance note 

The documents in this series, previously located at ML A79-2, were purchased in 1884 from Lord Brabourne by Sir Saul Samuel, the Agent-General for New South Wales, and transferred to the Mitchell Library in 1910. They were part of the accession which became known as the Brabourne collection. 

Some of these documents were used by the compilers of Historical records of New South Wales, vol 1, part 2 (1892), and include some annotations made by the compilers. 

Background note 

In December 1790 George Vancouver was promoted to the command of an expedition to the west coast of America and Canada. He was to have command of the expedition on board HMS Discovery. His second in command, William Broughton, was to have charge of the tender Chatham. 

The object of Vancouver's voyage was essentially twofold. He was instructed to take over Nootka Island for Britain from the Spanish, and to survey the extensive north west coast of the American continent which included the possibility of discovering a north west passage to Europe. 

A store ship, the Daedalus under the command of Lieutenant Hergest, was to rendezvous with Vancouver at Nootka. 

Sir Joseph Banks was consulted on the outfitting of the expedition which also included Archibald Menzies, botanist and surgeon, the Discovery having been equipped with a garden hutch. 

The voyage, which lasted almost five years, departed England on 1 April 1791.