The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks/October 1770

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1770 October 1.

Thunder and lightning with heavy rain all night; about 12 Land was seen by the flashes which in Morn provd to be Java Head and Princes Island. At noon we had a good Observation and found that Princes Island was laid down in La Neptune Oriental 7 or 8 miles too far to the Northward and in the English East India Pilot or Quarter Waggoner 21 or 22; which extrordinary difference in the latter seems owing to some mistake in his particular Draught of the Streights, all parts of which are laid down 14" at least different from the rest of his draughts as well as his own sailing directions. The breeze was fresh and tolerably favourable so that at night we had Passd Crocata and stood on by very clear Moonlight, tho the clouds about the Horizon threatned and it lightned a good deal.

1770 October 2.

Several lights were seen abreast of the ship the greatest part of the night which in the morn provd to be made by fishermen in small canoes. At day light we were abreast of the 4th point and stood forward with but little wind having sent a boat ashore for grass for the Buffaloes, who during their stay on board had not had more victuals than any one of them could have eat in a day and that the remainder of some bad hay which the goat had dungd upon time immemorial almost. Before noon she returnd bringing some with her which the Indians had not only given to our people but even assisted them to cut; she brought also a few Plantains and Cocoa nuts, but they were bough[t] excessive dear. The Countrey lookd from the ship hilly and very pleasant tho almost one continued wood; Bantam hill seemd very high land. As we proceeded on we opned 2 large ships laying at anchor behind Anger Point. soon after this it Dropd calm and we came to an anchor and sent a boat on board the ships for news. They were Duch East India men, one bound for Cochin on the Coast of Coromandel the other for Ceylon; their Captains receivd our officer very politely and told him some European news, as that the goverment in England were in the utmost disorder, the people crying up and down the streets Down with King George, King Wilkes for ever; that the Americans had refus'd to pay taxes of any kind in consequence of which was a large force being sent there both of sea and land forces; that the party of Polanders who had been forc'd into the late election by the Russians interfereing had askd assistance of the Grand Signior, who had granted it, in consequence of which the Russians had sent 20 Sail of the line and a large army by land to beseige Constantinople etc. etc. etc. In relation to our present circumstances they told us that our passage to Batavia was likely to be very tedious, as we should have a strong current constantly against us and at this time of the year Calms and light breezes were the only weather we had to expect. They said also that near where they lay was a Duch pacquet boat whose business was to go on board all ships coming through the Streights to enquire of them their news and carry or send it with their letters etc. to Batavia with the utmost dispach, which business they said her skipper was oblig'd to do even for foreigners if they requird it. This skipper he said if we wanted refreshments would furnish us with fowls, Turtle etc. at a very cheap rate. At 7 a light breeze springing up we weighd and came to sail. At night some lightning was seen.

1770 October 3.

Saild all night, in the morn were past the Cap; at 8 it fell calm and we were obligd to come to an anchor by reason of the strong current which ran to the Westward. The Duch Packet which we had been told of yesterday and provd to be a Sloop of no inconsiderable size had been standing after us all the morn and still continued, gaining however but little, till a foul wind sprung up on which she bore away. Our Buffaloes had so intirely lost their stomachs by their long fast that they eat scarce any thing; however least they should take to eating again a boat was sent ashore for grass, which returnd with some and a few plantains and unripe Papaws which when boild eat nearly as well as turnips only sweeter. At night an Indian Proa came on board bringing the Master of the Sloop before mentiond: he brought with him two books in one of which he desird that any of our officers would write down the name of the ship, Commanders name, where we came from and where bound, with any particulars we chose relating to our selves that might be for the information of any of our freinds who might Come after us: which we saw that some ships especialy Portugese had done. This book he told us was kept merely for the information of those who might come through these Streights; in the other which was a fair book he enterd the names of the Ships and Commanders which only were returnd to the Governor and council of the Indies. On our writing down Europe as the place we had Come from he said very well, any thing you please but this is merely for the information of your freinds. In the proa were some small turtle, many fouls and ducks, also parrots, paroquets, Rice birds and monkies, some few of which we bought at the rate of a dollar for a small turtle, the same at first for 10 afterwards for 15 large fowls, two Monkies or a whole cage of Paddy birds.

1770 October 4.

Lightning in the night. In the morn calms and light breezes not sufficient to stem the current which was very strong. To make our situation as tantalizing as possible innumerable Proas were sailing about us in all directions. A boat was sent ashore for grass and landed at an Indian town where by hard bargaining some Cocoa nuts were bought at about three halfpence a peice and rice in the straw at about 5 farthings a gallon; neither here or in any other place where we have had connections with them would they take any money but Spanish dollars. Large quantities of that floating substance which I have often mentiond before under the name of Sea Saw dust had been seen ever since we came into the streights and more particularly today; among it were many leaves, fruits, old stalks of Plantain trees, Plants of Pistia Stratiotes and such like trash, from whence we almost concluded that it came out of some river. At noon by a good Observation we found Pulo Pissang off which we lay at an anchor to be laid down 5 miles to[o] far to the Northward in La Neptune Oriental. In the Evening light breezes so that we got a little ahead.

1770 October 5.

Early in the morn a Proa came on board bringing a Duch man who said that his post was much like that of him who was on board on the 3d; he presented a printed paper of which he had Copies in English, French and Duch regularly signd in the name of the governor and council of the Indies by their Secretary. These he desird we would give written answers to which he told us would be sent express to Batavia where they would arrive tomorrow at noon. He had in the boat turtle and eggs of which latter he sold a few for somewhat less than a penny apeice and then went away. The day was spent as usual in getting up and letting down the anchor; at night however we were very near Bantam point.

1770 October 6.

Saild all night; in the morn were almost up with an Island calld Pulo Babi or Pulo Tounda but were so far without it that it was thought best to go the outer passage. The land breeze however left us as usual about O'Clock and we came to an anchor and spent the whole day without any sea breeze sufficient to stem the current, which was very strong and ran constantly to the westward. We have Observd it to be very various since we came into the streights, sometimes running with much greater violence than at others but setting almost if not quite continualy to the Westward: once only it was thought to have turnd to the Eastward for a few hours but that was never made sufficiently clear: this violence would sometimes alter very considerably several times in an hour. At night observd fire upon Pulo Tounda.

1770 October 7.

Got the Land breeze in the Night as usual and saild with it till morn, when we were almost up with Wapping Isle calld by the Malays Pulo Tidong where we anchord and lay still. The current was pretty strong and brought with it great plenty of Sea sawdust among which were even here some leaves and other productions of the land, also many Cuttle Fish bones, Portugese men of war and other recrements of the Sea. In the afternoon we had a faint sea breeze which ran us very near the lengh of the third Island and then left us, so that the Current took hold of the ship unawares and had almost set her ashore on a small ledge of rocks, on which was not water enough for a small boat which we sent to examine them. After we were at an anchor in the night we observd lights upon some of the Islands cald Bedroe or Les Milles Isles, some of which lay much nearer to Pulo Tidong than they are laid down in any of the draughts.

1770 October 8.

Breezes were very uncertain all night attended with Thunder, lightning and heavy rain, so that tho we got out from our Last nights disagreable situation and saild all night we were not in the morn at all ahead, so we anchord at 6. At 8 Dr Solander and myself went ashore on a small Islet belonging to the Milles Isles not laid down in the Draught, laying from Pulo Bedroe NbE 5 miles. The whole was not above 500 yards long and 100 broad yet on it was a house and a small plantation, in which however at this time was no plant from whence any profit could be derivd except Ricnus palma Christi, of which the Castor oil is made in the West Indies. Upon the shoal about ¼ of a mile from the Island were two people in a canoe who seemd to hide themselves as if afraid of us; we supposd them to be the inhabitants of our Island. We found very few species of plants but shot a Bat whose wings measurd 3 feet when strechd out (Vesp. Vampyrus) and 4 plovers exactly like our English golden plover (Charadrius Pluvialis); with these and the few plants we returnd and very soon after a small Indian boat came alongside, having in her 3 turtle, some dry fish and pumkins. We bought his turtle which weighd all together 146 lb for a dollar, with which bargain he seemd well pleasd, but could scarcely be prevaild upon to take any other Coin for his Pumpkins, often desiring that we would cut a dollar and give him a part; at last however a Portugese Petacka shining and well coind tempted him to part with his stock which consisted of 26. He told us that the Island calld in most draughts Pulo Babi was realy calld Po Tounda, and that calld Pulo Bedroe Pulo Payon. At parting he made signs that we should not tell at Batavia that any boat had been on board us. At 1 the sea breeze sprang up and carryd us by 5 the lengh of all the Islands calld Pulo Pare; off the E end of them however was a shoal on which it broke a good deal which we could not weather, so were obligd to anchor abreast a passage between it and the Island in which was 22 fathom water, not having day light to carry us through. On all the Islands of Pulo Pare were Cocoa nut trees, some houses and vessels hauld up, and along the sides of the Beach were neat fishing weirs.

1770 October 9.

A fine Land breeze which held the greatest part of the night ran us by morn abreast of the Island of Edam so that we saw the vessels at anchor in Batavia road and Onrust Island. At 10 it left us and we anchord; by 11 it cleard up towards Batavia so much that we saw distinctly the Dome of the great church; at ½ after sea breeze set in and before 4 we were at anchor in Batavia Road. A boat came immediately on board us from a ship which had a broad Pendant flying, the officer on board her enquird who we were etc. and immediately returnd. Both himself and his people were almost as Spectres, no good omen of the healthyness of the countrey we were arrived at; our people however who truly might be calld rosy and plump, for we had not a sick man among us, Jeerd and flouted much at their brother sea mens white faces. By this time our boat was ready which went ashore with the first lieutenant who had orders to acquaint the commanding officer ashore of our arrival. At night he returnd having met with a very civil reception from the Shabandar who tho no military officer took cognizance of all these things. I forgot to mention before that we found here the Harcourt Indiaman Captn Paul and 2 English Private traders from the Coast of India.

1770 October 10-20.

After breakfast this morning we all went ashore in the Pinnace and immediately went to the house of Mr Leigth, the only English man of any Credit Resident in Batavia. We found him a very Young Man, under twenty, who had lately arrivd here and succeeded his uncle a Mr Burnet in his Business which was pretty considerable, more so we were told than our New Comer had either money or credit to manage. He soon gave us to understand that he could be of very little service to us either in introductions, as the Duch people he said were not fond of him, or in Money affairs as he had began trade too lately to have any more than what was employd in getting more. He however after having kept us to dine with him offerd his assistance in shewing us the method of living in Batavia and Assisting us in setling in such a manner as we should think fit. In order to this here were two alternatives; either to go to the Hotel, a kind of Inn kept by order of goverment where it seems all Merchant strangers are obligd to reside, Paying ½ PC. for warehouseroom for their Goods which the master of the house is Obligd to find for them: we however having come in a Kings Ship were free from that Obligation and might live where ever we pleas'd after having ask'd leave of the Council which was never refus'd. We might therefore if we chose it take a house in any part of the town and bringing our own servants ashore keep it, which would be much Cheaper than living at the Hotel provided we had any body on whoom we could depend to buy in our provisions; but this not being the Case as we had none with us who understood the Malay Language we concluded that the Hotel would be the best for us, certainly the least troublesome and may be not vastly the most expensive. Accordingly we went there, bespoke beds and slept there at night.

The next Morning we agreed with the keeper of the House whose name was Van Heys the Rates we should pay for living as follows: Each person for Lodging and eating two Rix dollars or 8s pr Diem; for this he agreed as we were five of us who would probably have many visitants from the Ship to keep us a seperate table: for each stranger we were to pay one Rix dollar 4s for dinner, and another for supper and bed if he staid ashore: we were to have also for selves and freinds Tea, Coffee, Punch, and Pipes and tobacco as much as we could destroy, in short every thing the house afforded except wine and beer which we were to pay for at the following rates:

                         s d
Claret      39 Stivers   3/3
Hock         1 Ryxr      4/
Lisbon      39           3/3
Sweet wine  39           3/3
Madera       1 Rupee     2/6
Beer         1 Rupee     2/6
Spa Water    1 Ryxr      4/-

Besides this we were to pay for our Servants ½ a rupee 1/3 a day each. For these rates, which we soon found to be more than double the common charges of Boarding and lodging in the town, we were furnishd with a Table which under the appearance of Magnificence was wretchedly coverd; indeed Our dinners and suppers consisted of one course each, the one of fifteen the other of thirteen dishes, of which when you came to examine seldom less than 9 or 10 were of Bad Poultrey roasted, boild, fryd, stewd etc.etc. and so little concience had they in serving up dishes over and over again that I have seen the same identical roasted Duck appear upon table 3 times as a roasted duck before he found his way into the fricassee, from whence he was again to Pass into forcemeat.

This treatment however was not without remedy: we found that it was the constant custom of the house to supply strangers at their first arrival with every article as bad as possible, which if they through good nature or indolence put up with it was so much the better for the house; if not it was easy to amend their treatment by degrees till they were satisfied. On this discovery we made frequent remonstrances and amended our fare considerably, so much that had we had any one among us who understood this kind of wrangling I am convinc'd we might have liv'd as well as we could have desird.

Being now a little settled I hird a small house next door to the hotel on the Left hand for which I paid 10 Rixd 2£/ a month; here Our books etc. were lodg'd but here we were far from private, Every Duchman almost that came by running in and asking what we had to sell, for it seems that Hardly any individual had ever been at Batavia before who had not something or other to sell. I also hird 2 Carriages which are a kind of open Chaises made to hold two people and drove by a man setting on a Coachbox, for each of these I paid 2 Rxr 8s/ a day by the Month; and now being fairly settled we sent for Tupia ashore to us who had till now remaind on board on account of his Illness which was of the Bilious kind, and for which he had all along refusd to take any medecines. On his arrival his spirits which had long been very low were instantly raisd by the sights which he saw, and his boy Tayeto who had always been perfectly well was allmost ready to run mad. Houses, Carriages, streets, in short every thing were to him sights which he had often heard describd but never well understood, so he lookd upon them all with more than wonder, almost made with the numberless novelties which diverted his attention from one to the other he danc'd about the streets examining every thing to the best of his abilities. One of Tupia's first observations was the various dresses which he saw worn by different people; on his being told that in this place every different nation wore their own countrey dress He desird to have his, on which South Sea cloth was sent for on board and he cloathd himself according to his taste. We were now able to get food for him similar to that of his own countrey and he grew visibly better every day, so that I doubted not in the least of his perfect recovery as our stay at this place was not likely to be very short. Ever since our arrival at this place Dr Solander and myself had apply'd to be introduc'd to the General or Governor on one of his Publick or Council days. We had been put off by various foolish excuses and at last were plainly told that as we could have no business with him we could have no reason to desire that favour. But as we had often press'd the thing this as an excuse did not satisfie us so I went myself to the Shabandar, who is also master of the Ceremonies, in order to ask his reasons for refusing so trifling a request; but was surprizd at being very politely receivd and told that the very next morning he would attend us, which he did and we 20.] were introduc'd and had the honour of conversing for a few minutes with his high Mightiness who however was very polite to us.

Ever since our first arrival here we had been universaly told of the extreme unwholesomeness of the place which we, they said, should severely feel on account of the freshness and heal[t]hiness of our countenances. This threat however we did not much regard thinking ourselves too well season'd to variety of Climates to fear any, and trusting more than all to an invariable temperance in every thing, which we had as yet unalterably kept during our whole residence in the warm latitudes so had small reason to doubt our resolutions of keeping for the future. Before the end of this month however we were made sensible of our Mistake. Poor Tupias broken constitution felt it first and he grew worse and worse every day. Then Tayeto his boy was attackd by a cold and i[n]flammation on his lungs; then my Servants Peter and James and myself had Intermitting fevers and Dr Solander a constant nervous one; in short every one on shore and Many on board were ill, cheifly of intermittents, Occasiond no doubt by the lowness of the countrey and the numberless dirty Canals which intersect the town in all directions.

Some days before this as I was walking the streets with Tupia a man totaly unknown to me ran out of his house and eagerly acosting me askd if the Indian whoom he saw with me had not been at Batavia before. On my declaring that he had not and asking the reason of so odd a question he told me that a year and a half before Mr De Bougainville had been at Batavia with two French ships, and that with him was an Indian so like this that he had imagind it to be the identical same person had not I informd him to the contrary. On this I enquir'd and found that Mr De Bougainville who was sent out by the French to the Malouine or Fauklands Islands (in order, as they said here, to sell them to the Spanyards) Had gone from thence to the River Plate and afterwards having passd into the South Seas maybee to other Spanish ports, where he and all his people had got an immense deal of Money in new Spanish Dollars, and afterwards came here Across the South seas in which passage he discoverd divers lands unknown before and from one of them brought the Indian in question.

This at once cleard up the account given us by the Indians of Otahite of the two ships which had been there ten Months before us, V.I, p. 164 of this Journal. These were undoubtedly the ships of Mr De Bougainville, and the Indian Otourrou the Brother of Rette Cheif of Hidea. Even the story of the woman was known here--she it seems was a French woman who Followd a young man sent out in the character of Botanist in mens cloaths. As for the Article of the colours, the Indians might easily be Mistaken or Mr De Bougainville if he had traded in the S. Sea under Spanish colours might chuse to go quite across with them. As for the Iron which most misled us that he undoubtedly bought in Spanish America. Besides the Botanist mentiond above these ships were furnish'd with one or more Draughtsmen so that they probably have done some part of our work for us.

1770 October 21.

After Petitioning and Repetitioning the Council of the Indies our affairs were at last settled and orders given to heave down the Ship with all expedition, so she this Day went down to Kuyper calld by the English Coopers Island where a warehouse was allotted for her to lay up her stores etc.

We now began sensibly to feel the ill Effects of the unwholesome climate we were in: our appetites and spirits were gone but none were yet realy sick except poor Tupia and Tayeto, both of which grew worse and worse daily so that I began once more to despair of poor Tupias life. At last he desird to be removd to the ship where he said he should breathe a freeer air clear of the numerous houses which he beleivd to be the cause of his disease by stopping the free draught.

1770 October 28.

Accordingly on the 28th I went down with him to Kuyper and on his liking the shore had a tent pitch'd for him in a place he chose where both sea breeze and land breeze blew right over him, a situation in which he expressd great satisfaction. The Seamen now fell sick fast so that the tents ashore were always full of sick.

1770 October 30.

After a stay of two days I left Tupia well satisfied in Mind but not at all better in body and returnd to town where I was immediately seizd with a tertian, the fits of which were so violent as to deprive me intirely of my senses and leave me so weak as scarcely to be able to crawl down stairs.