Since 1968, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has annually appointed a Clark Library Professor, sometimes from within the University of California, sometimes from elsewhere. One of this person's tasks is to organize a series of seminars on some chosen theme relating to the particular interests of the Clark Library—English culture during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Each seminar is addressed by an eminent visiting scholar invited by the Clark Professor. While faculty members and graduate students from UCLA and other southern California institutions make up most of the audiences, the seminars are advertised and open to all, often attracting scholars from outside the area. The texts of these Clark Professor lectures are generally published; a list of the published volumes faces the title page of this book.
Early in 1982, the distinguished English historian of maritime and Latin American affairs, John Horace Parry, CMG, Professor of Oceanic History and Affairs at Harvard University and former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales, accepted an invitation to become Clark Library Professor for the academic year 1983-84. For the Clark Professor seminars during 1983-84, he chose as his theme Background to Discovery: England from Dampier to Cook—roughly speaking, maritime explora-
tion (or rather the background to it) from 1680 to 1780, mainly in the Pacific, because the main thrust of exploration during that period was there. This was a field in which he himself had made many contributions as a historian.
By mid-1982, Parry had already contacted many of the speakers who eventually contributed, including the present editor. Then, very suddenly, on 25 August 1982, John Parry died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, aged sixty-eight, immediately following a foreign lecture tour. The present editor, who retired from the post of Head of Navigation and Astronomy at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England, in October 1982, accepted with great humility the invitation to become UCLA's Clark Library Professor for 1983-84.
With the general theme of Background to Discovery: England from Dampier to Cook, the seminars took place at the Clark Library, Los Angeles, once a month from October 1983 to May 1984. The series opened with the lecture "Seapower and Science: Perspectives on the Motives of Exploration in the Eighteenth Century," by Daniel A. Baugh, Professor of English History at Cornell University, setting the scene and giving the underlying motives, political and economic, for eighteenth-century exploration. The November lecture, "The Achievement of English Voyages of Discovery, 1650-1800," by Glyndwr Williams, Professor of History at Queen Mary College, University of London, and President of the Hakluyt Society, 1978-1982, gave the story of the voyages themselves. In December, Seymour Chapin, Professor of History at California State University, Los Angeles, in his lecture "The Men from Across La Manche: A Brief Overview of French Voyages of Scientific and Geographic Discovery, 1660-1790," broadened the political field by detailing French exploration activity during the same period.
The 1984 seminars concerned specific subjects within the main theme. The January lecture by Charles L. Batten, Jr., Professor of English at UCLA, was entitled "Literary Responses to Eighteenth-Century Voyages of Discovery."
In February I explained the state of the art in navigation and the physical sciences in "Navigation and Astronomy in Eighteenth-Century Voyages of Exploration." The March lecture was by another scholar from England, Nicholas Rodger, Assistant Keeper at the Public Record Office, Kew, Richmond, and Honorary Secretary of the Navy Records Society since 1975—"The Royal Navy and Its Archives," an amusing and sometimes provocative paper. The April lecture, "The Noncartographical Publications of the Firm of Mount and Page: Some Problems and Opportunities in Eighteenth-Century Maritime Bibliography," was given by Thomas R. Adams, John Hay Professor of Bibliography at Brown University and formerly Librarian of the John Carter Brown Library. The last lecture of the series, given on 25 May 1984, looked at the subject with an eye to the fine arts—"The Sailor's Perspective: British Naval Topographic Artists," by John O. Sands, Director of Collections at the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia. One aspect which we would have liked to include was natural history—botany, zoology, anthropology, and so on, all important in eighteenth-century voyages of discovery—but, alas, this did not prove possible, though the topic is of sufficient substance that it may one day form the subject of a seminar series on its own.
The texts of all but two of these lectures are published here. The lectures by Professor Adams and Dr. Rodgers, not quite so closely connected with exploration as were the others, have been published elsewhere.
I am grateful to all the contributors for making the series the success I believe it was, and my sincere thanks must go to the Director of the Clark Library, Professor Norman J. W. Thrower, to the Librarian, Dr. Thomas F. Wright, and to all the library staff, for making each seminar such a pleasant and satisfying occasion.