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Series 25: Copies of correspondence concerning the withdrawal of Mungo Park from a voyage of exploration to Australia on board HMS Porpoise, 1798

Provenance note

The documents in this series were previously located at ML MSS 743/3. They were purchased for the Mitchell Library from the booksellers Michelmore, London, in 1935.

Background note

The explorer Mungo Park was engaged in 1798 to undertake exploration of the interior of the Australian continent. Highly recommended by Sir Joseph Banks, Park's appointment to travel to New South Wales on board HMS Porpoise had been accepted by the Home Office in May.

In September Park withdrew from the expedition, which was to be linked with Matthew Flinders' exploration of the Australian coastline, ostensibly because he was dissatisfied with the pay offered him. Banks' suspicion that Park had other reasons for withdrawing seemed confirmed when Park refused an offer to increase his pay. Park's withdrawal seems to have been the result of his wish to remain in Britain and marry.