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Letter from James Wiles to Joseph Banks, 1791

This is the handwritten letter from James Wiles to Joseph Banks, botanist, thanking him for recommending him for the job of First Gardener (botanist) on board a voyage seeking new species of fruit and seeds. It is addressed from the Chapel Allerton estate of his current employer Richard Antony Salisbury. It says:

'Sir, I think myself under greater Obligations to you than I can say for appointing me to the first Gardiners Place under Cap. Bligh, which Mr. Salisbury informed me of on his return - I leave this Place on Tuesday for Lincolnshire and shall be ready to come to London at a Day's warning whenever you are so good as to give me a Line for that purpose - I shall be at Mr. Reynardson's Holywell near Stamford, and am your very obliged faithful Servant, James Wiles. Chapel-Allerton Jany 16th 1791'.

James is aged 23 when he wrote this. How do you think he felt at the prospect of a new job and adventure? By going to Lincolnshire to see his family, he knew he was likely to be away a while, do you think he anticipated not returning to England? If he had imagined 30 years into the future, do you think he could have predicted how his life would have developed?

Image: © State Library of New South Wales This image may be used freely for research and study purposes. Further use may require permission. .