Private papers, letters and diaries: Letter from Jane Gomeldon, 1773


Letter from Jane Gomeldon, 1773

This letter appears in the preface to 'Sydney Parkinson's Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, The Endeavour..., London: 1773'. The letter relates to an attempt to 'suppress' the book: apparently Dr. Hawkesworth (who was also publishing an account of the voyage)filed a bill in chancery against Parkinson, claiming that Parkinson had invaded his property by printing manuscripts and engraving designs, which he sold to Joseph Banks. This claim was supported by Dr. Fothergill [Dr. F].

Dear Cousin, Newcastle, 29th Jan. 1773.

—This will inform thee thy favours came duely to hand, and that I was not a little surprized at Mr. Lee's letter and his change of sentiments respecting Mr. Banks, as his friendship for my late cousin seemed so great, and by thine I find I am the only person who have cause of complaint and whose friendship yet remains unstaggered. — But now to what I know of Dr. F's letter to J. K. — The latter called upon me one day and asked me if I knew of any Journal that was printing here, published by my cousin. I told him no; but there was one printing at London, which I expected would be finished by the middle of this month; he then read the Dr's letter, wherein after saying how ill thou had treated both him and Mr. Banks, he says from the regard he had to his promise, he offered thee £50 to stop the publication, which thou refusedst, as he supposed only through a mercenary view, to extort more money from him; which however he did not offer. This was the meaning and the words pretty much the same, as well as I can remember, in short he said so much that notwithstanding all I could offer in thy vindication and insisting that the Journal was certainly the property of the family, as well as every curiosity Cousin had collected in the Voyage, yet the Dr. had stated his case in such terms, that James King looks on thee as highly culpable. Had my cousin at first insisted by the proper method of the Law for his brother's last will and Effects, as I advised, he would not only have had a great deal more of the Effects, but have saved both Expence and preserved the friendship of the Dr. and Mr. Lee. However if the Book be ready, I hope a Number may be sold so as to defray the Expence and afford thee something over; but am of opinion if they are not out soon, it will be a very great disadvantage. — Thy truly affectionate Cousin,
J.GOMELDON.

Preface to 'Sydney Parkinson's Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's Ship, The Endeavour..., London: 1773'
29 Jan 1773

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