The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]
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 page 179 Princes Island.1 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 Waggoner2 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 Crocata3 and stood on by very clear Moonlight, tho the clouds about the Horizon threatned and it lightned a good deal.
1 Java Head is the western extremity of the island of Java, and Princes Island lies just north of it. Weathering them, the ship had to pass through the Straits of Sunda to reach Batavia— a short distance, but a process much delayed by calms and contrary winds, as we shall see.
2 This seems to be a reference to The English Pilot, The Third Book, describing the Seacoasts …. in the Oriental Navigation (ed. 1,1711; later eds. 1734, 1750, 1761). A ’waggoner’ was a book of charts and sailing directions, from Lucas Janszoon Wagenaer, the Dutchman who produced the first printed sea-atlas, the Spieghel der zeevacrt of 1584 (an English translation, The Mariners Mirrour, was published by Anthony Ashley in 1588). The English Pilot now referred to was divided into four parts, and it is possible that Banks's ’Quarter Waggoner’ was a familiar term on shipboard for one of them taken singly.
3 Krakatau, the high volcanic island which blew itself up in 1883.
4 On the north-west tip of Java.
5 William Herbert, New Directory for the East Indies (ed. 4, 1776), pl. 35, shows ’Anger Pt apparently in the position of the present Tanjong Leneng. Anger== Anjer (cf. the settlement, Anjer Kidul).
1 This refers to the famous riots over John Wilkes's election for Middlesex and expulsion from the House of Commons— but which particular riot or which particular incident in the long-drawn struggle it is hard to say.
2 The reference here is to the train of events which led up to the first partition of Poland in 1772. The ’late election’ was the election of Stanislas Poniatowski, Catherine the Great's favourite, to the Polish crown in 1763. The Poles revolted and Turkey (the ’Grand Signior’ was the Sultan), instigated by France, intervened as the liberator of Poland in 1768. There were Russian victories, and Turkey appealed in 1770 to Frederick the Great and the Emperor Joseph II— whose response was to arrange with Catherine for the partition. Russia was able to dictate the treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji to Turkey in 1774.
3 The Cap, or Brabandshoedje (’Brabant bonnet’) is a small round islet off the Java shore, east-south-east of Thwartway island, which lies right in the middle of the narrowest part of the strait; the ship's passage lay between these two islands.
1 The Malay prahu; it has a pointed bow and stern with an outrigger, about 30 ft long. The Polynesian canoe was often compar to it.
2 The Java Sparrow, padda oryzivora.
3 i.e rice birds; paddy oryzivora.
4 Pistio straiotes, water lettuce, a pantropic floating aroid of rivers in particular.
5 Pulau Pisang, ’Banana Island’. This is an island that Cook does not mention. According to him (p. 429), they were anchored off Bantam (St Nicholas) point, the nearest island being pulo Morock (Merak), ’which lies Close under the Shore 3 Miles to the westward of Bantam Point’, and bore SeBS 1½ miles from the ship. The two islands are probably identical.
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; 1 at night however we were very near Bantam point.
6. Saild all night; in the morn were almost up with an Island calld Pulo Babi or Pulo Tounda2 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 anchor3 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.
1 i.c. as the breeze came and went; a very tedious and wearing employment.
2 The two names, Babi and Toenda, are still alternative.
3 ’… the Current obliged us Again to anchor’ at 10 a.m., says Cook, p. 430.
4 Great Tidung, the westernmost of the three Hoorn islands, which lie north-west of the Batavia roadstead.
5 Payung, south-east of Great Tidung and Little Tidung.
1 The Thousand Islands number in fact about 80, all low and wooded, plus reefs, rocks, and drying banks; the southern end of the group is about 14 miles off the northern coast of Java, and they stretch north and south for about 23 miles. With the other islands mentioned, they form a sort of screen which a ship turning east from the Strait of Sunda must penetrate to get to Batavia. For Bedroe, see n. 5 on this page.
2 Ricinus communis or Palma Christi, the ‘physick nut’ of sailors; the oil is made from the seeds.
3 A large fruit-bat, Pteropus sp.
4 The Asiatic Golden Plover, Pluvialis dominica fulva Gm., breeds in Siberia and Alaska and winters in eastern India, southern China, the Malay Archipelago and across to Hawaii.—The Ms has here, interlineally, not in Banks's hand, the word ‘cherooting’ —which looks like a vile pun on the method by which the birds were obtained; especially vile as Banks did not smoke.
5 Pulo Pajocng, a little south of the Thousand Islands, and cast of Pulo Babi or Toenda. It might be taken for one of the large group.
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 &c 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 Shabandar2 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 traders3 from the Coast of India.
10. After breakfast this morning we all went ashore in the Pinnace and immediately went to the house of Mr Leigth,4 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
1 Pulo Pari is the easternmost and largest of the Agenicten islands, a group of five low islands three miles south-east of the Hoorn islands. Banks apparently applies the name to the whole group.
2 Persian shah-bandar, ‘king of the port’. Cook said he had the direction of ‘the Town, port &c’; but that seems as if it unduly extended the powers of one who was essentially a port officer or harbour-master.
3 Private traders were ships not subject to the English East India Company. Cook refers to them as ‘country ships’—i.e. a ship under the English flag from a port in an English possession abroad. These therefore were very likely ships from Bengal or Madras.
4 Hawkesworth gives the name as Leith. Banks first wrote Leigh, and then added a ‘t’. S and P Leigth.
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 King's 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 persòn 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,1 in short every thing the house afforded except wine and beer which we were to pay for at the following rates:
|Claret ……||39 Stivers||3/3|
|Hock ….||1 Ryxr||4/|
|Lisbon ….||39 …..||3/|
|Sweet wine ……||39 …..||3/3page 186|
|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 ⅓ 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 &c.&c. 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 26/ a month; here Our books &c 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, page 187 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 mad 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 page 188 intermittents, Occasiond no doubt by the lowness of the countrey and the numberless dirty Canals which intersect the town in all directions.1
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 them2 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,3 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.
1 It seems to have been tertian malaria that chiefly affected them. Batavia, as we see from Banks's description, was a sovereign breeding-place for mosquitoes.
2 Bougainville had formed a settlement at Berkeley Sound in the Falklands at his own expense in 1764; this annoyed the Spanish, who laid claim to the islands, and were further annoyed when the English settled at Port Egmont in 1765. To keep the peace it was agreed that Bougainville should abandon his settlement, which he did formally at Madrid in 1766. He was given a money grant as compensation, and permission to make a voyage across the Pacific, over which Spain then claimed exclusive jurisdiction.
3 This was misinformation. Bougainville had called at no Spanish port on the Pacific. After visiting the Falklands to hand over his colony in April 1767 he had called at Rio de Janeiro in the frigate Boudeuse to pick up his store-ship, the Etoile; but he and his people, far from collecting ‘an immense deal of money’ there, met with a good deal of incivility from the viceroy.
4 Ahutoru, the brother of Ereti, or O Reti, arii of Hitiaa.
5 Sec I, p. 287, n. 6 above; and 249, n. 1 below.
6 Bougainville, in the second edition of his Voyage autour du monde (1772) denied having flown any other colours than the French, and it would have been very odd if he had done otherwise.
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 &c.
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.
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.
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.
1 This was not so. The plates in Bougainville's book are far from adequate as a pictorial record of the South Seas.