Most of the documents in this series were previously located at DL MS Q158. They form part of the personal library of Sir William Dixson which was bequeathed to the State Library of New South Wales in 1952. Dixson's bequest was formally handed over when the Dixson Library was opened in 1959. Document 11, also from the collection of the Dixson Library, was previously located at DL Q78/8. Some of these documents include the original folio numbers assigned by Banks, written in ink in an unknown hand in the top right hand corner. It is now not possible to reconstruct Banks' original arrangement, the series has therefore been arranged chronologically.
From late 1780 until its completion in mid 1784 Sir Joseph Banks was involved in publishing the account of James Cook's last Pacific voyage: A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, Undertaken by the Command of His Majesty for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere, to Determine the Position and Extent of the West Side of North America, Its Distance from Asia, and the Practicability of a Northern Passage to Europe, performed under the direction of Captains Cook, Clerke and Gore, in His Majesty's Ships the Resolution and the Discovery, in the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779 and 1780, 3 vols, London: G. Nicol and T. Cadell. In his role as principal adviser and coordinator, Banks was a member of an Advisory Committee which included Lord Sandwich in the Chair; Sir Philip Stephens; Dr John Douglas, editor; Captain James King, author of the third volume being the account of the voyage after Cook's death; Alexander Dalrymple, consultant on maps and charts; John Webber coordinating a large team of engravers; and James Stuart, art consultant. Banks was consulted on all aspects of production of the three volume work from the engraving of charts and views to procuring suitable paper from France. He nominated George Nicol, the King's bookseller, as publisher, and determined the division of profits from sales. Subjects: Discovery (ship : Captain = Charles Clerke) Resolution (ship)