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The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]

November 1770

November 1770

My servants Peter and James were as bad as Myself, and Dr Solander now felt the first attacks of his fever but never having been in his life time once ill resisted it in a manner resolvd not to apply to a physician. But worst of all was Mr Monkhouse the ships surgeon; he was now confind to his bed by a violent fever which grew worse and worse notwithstanding all the Efforts of the Physician.

4. At last after many delays causd by Duch ships which came alon[g]side the wharfs to load Pepper the Endeavour was this day got down to Onrust2 where she was to be hove down without

2 Onrust, like Kuiper, was a low wooded islet in Batavia road. The Dutch had their shipyards there (see p. 200 below); it is now a quarantine station.

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delay, most welcome news to us all now heartily tired of this unwholsome countrey.

Poor Mr Monkhouse became worse and worse without the intervention of one favourable symptom so that we now had little hopes of his life.

5. In the afternoon of this day poor Mr Monkhouse departed the first sacrafice to the climate and the next day was buried.

7.1 Dr Solander attended his funeral, and I should certainly have done the same had I not been confind to my bed by my fever. Our case now became melancholy, neither of my Servants were able to help me no more than I was them, and the Malay Slaves who alone we depended upon, naturaly the worst attendants in nature, were render'd less carefull by our incapacity of scolding them on account of our ignorance of the language. When we became so sick that we could not help ourselves, they would get out of Call, so we were oblig'd to lie still till able to get up and go in search of them.

9. This day we receivd the disagreable news of the death of Tayeto,2 and that his death had so much affected Tupia that there was little hopes of his surviving him many days.

10. Dr Solander and myself still grew worse and worse, and the Physician who attended us declard that the countrey air was necessary for our recovery, so we began to look out for a countrey house, tho with a heavy heart as we knew that we must there commit ourselves intirely to the care of the Malays, whose behavior to sick people we had all the reason in the world to find fault with. For this reason we resolvd to buy each of us a Malay Woman to Nurse us, hoping that the tenderness of the sex would prevail even here, which indeed we found it to do for they turnd out by no means bad nurses.

11. We receivd the news of Tupias death.3 I had given him quite

1 sic. Banks's 5 was originally a 6, and having corrected it he forgot to alter 7 to 6. Monkhouse, according to the muster books, died on 5 November, which date is verified from other documents. ‘He was succeeded by Mr Perry his mate, who is equally well if not better skilled in his profession.’—Cook, p. 437. William Perry's abilities and conscientious work are well borne out by the documents, including his report after the voyage. See Cook I, pp. 628–30, 632–3; and Hist. Rec. N.S.W., I, Pt I, pp. 339–42.

2 Banks's journal for this distressing period must have been written up later, with dates supplied rather vaguely from memory. ‘Tayeto’ died on 17 December.

3 Tupaia died on 20 December. His excitement over Batavia naturally ceased with his sickness; according to Parkinson (p. 182) he bitterly regretted that he had ever left his own country, ‘and, when he heard of Taiyota's death, he was quite inconsolable, crying out frequently, Taiyota! Taiyota! They were both buried in the island of Eadam.’ Bougainville's Ahutoru, it may be noted, also died far away from home, at Madagascar, on his return voyage with Marion du Fresne. The introduction to foreign travel for Tahitians was melancholy.

page 191 over ever since his boy died whoom I well knew he sincerely lovd, tho he usd to find much fault with him during his life time.

12. Dr Solander, who had not yet intirely taken to his bed, returnd from airing this even extreemly ill; he went to bed immediately, I sat by him, and soon observd symptoms which alarmd me very much. I sent immeddiately for Our Physician Dr Jaggi, who apply'd sinapisms1 to his feet and blisters to the calves of his legs, but at the same time gave me little or no hopes of even the possibility of his living till Morning. Weak as I was I sat by him till morn, when he chang'd very visibly for the better; I then slept a little and waking found him still better than I had any reason to hope.

13. As Dr Jaggi had all along insisted on the Countrey air as necessary for our recovery, I immediately agreed with my Landlord Vn Heys for his countrey house, which he immediately furnishd for us, and agreed to supply us with provisions and give us the use of 5 slaves who were there, as well as three we were to take with us at a dollar a day, 4s/ more than our common agreement. This countrey house tho small and very bad was situate about 2 miles out of town in a situation that preposest me much in its favour, being situate on the banks of a briskly running river and well open to the sea breeze, two circumstances which must much contribute to promote circulation of air, a thing of the utmost consequence in a countrey perfectly resembling the low part of my native Lincolnshire. Accordingly, Dr Solander being much better and in the Drs opinion not too bad to be removd, we carried him down to it this day, and also receivd from the ship Mr Sporing our writer,2 a Seaman, and the Captains own servant3 who he had sent on hearing of our melancholy situation; so that we were now sufficiently well attended, having 10 Malays and 2 whites besides Mr Sporing. This night however the Dr was extreemly ill, so much so that fresh blisters were applyd to the inside of his thighs which he seemd not at all sensible of; nevertheless in the morn he was something better and from that time recoverd tho by extreemly slow degrees till his second attack. Myself, either by the influence of the Bark of which I had all along taken quantities or by the anziety I sufferd on Dr Solanders account, Miss'd my fever, nor did it return for several days till he became better.

1 Mustard plasters.

2 ‘Our writer’: this argues that Banks and Solander used Spöring as a secretary, as well as an assistant naturalist and draftsman. See I, p. 27 above.

3 John Charlton, Cook's servant from 1 May 1770, succeeding William Howson, who was mustered A.B. on the previous day.

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14. This day we had the agreable news of the repairs of the ship being compleatly finishd and that she was returnd again to Coopers Island, where she provd to be no longer at all leaky. When examind she had provd much worse than any body expected, her main plank being in many places so cut by the rocks that not more than one eighth of an inch in thickness remaind, and here the worm had got in and made terrible havock; her false keel intirely gone, and her main keel much wound'd. These damages were now however intirely repaird, and very well too in the opinion of Every body who saw the Duch artificers do their work.

This completion of our repairs gave us hopes that our stay here would be of no very long duration, as we had now nothing to do but to get on board our stores and provisions; but our hopes were not a little dampd by the accounts we every day had from the ship, where the people were so sickly that not above 13 or 14 were able to stand to their work.

Dr Solander grew better tho by very slow degrees; myself soon had a return of my ague which now became quotidian, the Captain also was taken ill on board and of course we sent his servant to him, soon after which both Mr Sporing and our seaman were seizd with intermittents, so that we were again reduc'd to the melancholy necessity of depending intirely upon the Malays for nursing us, all of whoom were often sick together.

24. We had for some nights now had the wind on the western board, generaly attended with some rain, thunder and lightning; this night blew strong at Sw and raind &c. harder than ever I saw it before for 3 or 4 hours; Our house raind in in every part, and through the lower part of it ran a stream almost capable of turning a mill. In the morn I went to Batavia, where the quantities of Bedding that I every where saw hung up to dry made a very uncommon sight; for every house that I was acquainted with, and I was told almost every house in the town and neighbourhood, sufferd more or less. This was certainly the shifting of the Monsoon, for the winds which had before been con[s]tantly to the Eastward Remaind ever after on the western bord; the people here however told us that it did not commonly shift so suddenly, and were loth to beleive that the westerly winds were realy set in for several days after.

Dr Solander was recovered enough to be able to walk about the house but gatherd strengh very slowly. Myself was given to understand that curing my ague was of very little consequence while the page 193 cause remaind in the badness of the air; the Physician however bled me and gave me frequent gentle purges, which he told me would make the attacks less violent, as was realy the case; they came generaly about the hour of 2 or 3 in the afternoon, a time when every body in these climates is asleep, and by 4 or 5 I generaly had recoverd to get up and walk in the garden &c.

The rainy season was now set in and we had generaly some rain in the night; the days were more or less cloudy and sometimes wet; this however was not always the case, for after this time we had once a whole week of dry clear weather. The Frogs in the diches, whose voices were ten times louder than those of European ones, made a noise on those nights when rain was to be expected almost intolerable;1 and the Mosquitos, or Gnats, who had been sufficiently troublesome even in the dry time, now breeding in every splash of water became innumerable, especialy in the Moonlight nights; their stings however tho painfull and troublesome enough at the time never continued to itch above half an hour, so that no man in the day time was troubled with the bites of the night before. Indeed I never met with any whose bites caus'd swellings that remaind 24 hours, except the Midges or Gnats of Lincolnshire (which are identicaly the same insect as is calld Mosquito in most parts of the world)2 and the sand flies of North America.3

1 Possibly these were Kaloula pulchra (Gray), a species notorious for the noise it makes at night when rain is about to fall.

2 Mosquitoes are gnats, like Banks's Lincolnshire acquaintance. Among the Anopheles branch of the family, so many of which are malarial, Anopheles maculipennis was active in England as a carrier of the disease in the eighteenth century—and indeed well into the nineteenth century.

3 No doubt he is thinking of his experience in Newfoundland.