The first official scientist ever appointed and paid by the British Government to sail around the world was a diligent but difficult German named Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-1798). For his efforts and expenses he was paid the almost lavish sum of £4000. In other ways too, the appointment was astonish-ingly generous on the government's part: Forster was given no specific instructions or assignments, required to submit no report of his findings, and permitted to keep all his records and his collections. More concerned, it seems, about his rights than his duties, Forster expected on his return to receive another lucrative appointment as well, as author of the official account of the voyage; the handsome volumes would be subsidized by the Admiralty but sold to the public at the profit of the writer. And, as an additional financial bonus, Forster expected to sell artifacts and specimens from the immense collection he had gathered on the trip. Yet in the years after the Resolution returned to England, Forster—with his spendthrift ways and his offensive quarrelsomeness towards all authority—saw the money and opportunities disappearing at an alarming rate. The £4000 were mostly gone before he even returned from the trip. 1 Then after a prolonged argument with the Admiralty he was rejected as the official reporter and indeed forbidden to write any narrative account of the voyage. 2 In an obvious evasion of this order, he set his gifted son George, who had accom-panied him as assistant and draftsman, to write his own account in the elder Forster's stead. Through a frenzy of hard work George was able to see his two unauthorized volumes, entitled, Voyage round the World, in His Britannic Majesty's Sloop, Resolution, reach the bookstores a few weeks before the official account, but the public evidently preferred the illustrated government version, which was written by Cook himself with the help of an editor. Nevertheless, it is this well-written and perceptive work and his translation of it into Ruth P. Dawson is an Assistant Professor in the Honors Program and Assistant Director of Liberal Studies at the University of Hawaii at Monoa. German which eventually established George Forster (1754-1794) as an expert on the Pacific and which began his reputation as a writer, especially in German. 3 Meanwhile, two years after the voyage, only the collections remained as a source of money. A young German doctor and natural scientist, Carl Heinrich Titius (1744-1813), who visited the Forsters in 1777, described the "sheets of plants, animals, and insects from the South Seas painted from nature, the most beautiful shells from there, and also weapons, art works, and tools of the inhabitants of Tahiti and other southern islanders," and added, "All this they want to sell to fanciers for cheap prices." With forgiveable lack of prescience Dr. Titius warned: "Since the newly discovered islands really offer no particular trading prospects, it is not probable that journeys will be made there very frequently; therefore people will find little opportunity other than this one to obtain the rarities of those regions." 4 In one sense, Dr. Titius' warning was correct. After the visits of the Europeans and the reception of their presents, especially iron tools, the cultures of the islands were trans-formed. The collections made on the early voyages and the descriptions written by those first travelers have become priceless records of what the Polynesian and Micronesian cultures were like before the arrival of the white strangers. It is a sale of such artifacts by their young collector, George Forster, that interests us here. Together the two Forsters worked energetically during the trip gathering specimens and artifacts. William Wales, the astronomer on the voyage and one of the people with whom Forster often quarrelled, vividly describes their collecting in a pamphlet he wrote attacking the elder Forster. Wrote Wales, Dr. Forster takes occasion to ridicule, in very pointed terms, the eagerness of the seamen for curiosities. It may be remarked, that there can be no good reason given why the seamen should not be as fond of curiosities as himself. None purchased those things with more avidity than he did. He knows well, that even when the purchasing of those things was strictly forbid, and that neither seamen nor officers presumed to attempt it, he and his son frequently purchased them out of the cabin windows.