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An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. [Vol. II]

Chap. XV

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Chap. XV.

The Passage from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope: Some Account of Prince's Island, and its Inhabitants, and a comparative View of their Language with the Malay and Javanese.

On Thursday the 27th of December, at six o'clock in the morning, we weighed again and stood out to sea. After much delay by contrary winds, we weathered Pulo Pare on the 29th, and stood in for the main; soon after we fetched a small island under the main, in the midway between Batavia and Bantam, called Man-eater's Island. The next day we weathered first Wapping Island, and the Pulo Babi. On the 31st, we stood over to the Sumatra shore; and on the morning of New Year's day, 1771, we stood over for the Java shore.

We continued our course, as the wind permitted us, till three o'clock in the afternoon of the 5th, when we anchored under the south-east side of Prince's Island in eighteen fathoms, in order to recruit our wood and water, and procure refreshments for the sick, many of whom were now become much worse than they were when we left Batavia. As soon as the ship was secured, I went ashore, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, and we were met upon the beach by some Indians, who carried us immediately to a man, who, they said, was their King. After we had exchanged a few compliments with his Majesty, we proceeded to business; but in settling the price of turtle we could not agree; this however did not discourage us, as we made no doubt but that we should buy them at our own price in the morning. As soon as we parted, the Indians dispersed, and we proceeded along the shore in search of a watering-place. In this we were more successful; we found water very conveniently situated, and, if a little care was taken in filling it, we had reason to believe that it would prove good. Just as we were going off, some Indians, who remained with a canoe upon the beach, sold us three turtle; but exacted a promise of us that we should not tell the King.

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The next morning, while a party was employed in filling water, we renewed our traffic for turtle: at first, the Indians dropped their demands slowly; but about noon they agreed to take the price that we offered; so that before night we had turtle in plenty; the three that we had purchased the evening before, were in the mean time served to the ship's company, who, till the day before, had not once been served with salt provisions; from the time of our arrival at Savu, which was now near four months. In the evening, Mr. Banks went to pay his respects to the King, at his palace, in the middle of a rice field, and though his Majesty was busily employed in dressing his own supper, he received the stranger very graciously.

The next day the natives came down to the trading-place, with fowls, fish, monkies, small deer, and some vegetables, but no turtle; for they said, that we had bought them all the day before. The next day, however, more turtle appeared at market, and some were brought down every day afterwards, during our stay, though the whole together was not equal to the quantity that we bought the day after our arrival.

On the 11th, Mr. Banks having learned from the servant whom he had hired at Batavia, that the Indians of this island had a town upon the shore, at some distance to the westward, he determined to see it. With this view he set out in the morning, accompanied by the Second Lieutenant, and as he had some reason to think that his visit would not be agreeable to the inhabitants, he told the people whom he met, as he was advancing along the shore, that he was in search of plants, which indeed was also true. In about two hours they arrived at a place where there were four or five houses, and meeting with an old man, they ventured to make some inquiries concerning the town. He said, that it was far distant; but they were not to be discouraged in their enterprize; and he, seeing them proceed in their journey, joined company and went on with them. He attempted several times to lead them out of the way, but without success; and at length they came within sight of the houses. The old man then entered cordially into their party, and conducted them into the town. The name of it is Samadang; page 516 it consists of about four hundred houses, and is divided by a river of brackish water into two parts, one of which is called the old town, and the other the new. As soon as they entered the old town, they met several Indians whom they had seen at the trading place, and one of them undertook to carry them over to the new town, at the rate of two pence a head. When the bargain was made, two very small canoes were produced, in which they embarked; the canoes being placed along side of each other, and held together, a precaution which was absolutely necessary to prevent their oversetting, the navigation was at length safely performed, though not without some difficulty; and when they landed in the new town, the people received them with great friendship, and shewed them the houses of their kings and principal people, which are in this district; few of them, however, were open; for at this time the people had taken up their residence in the rice grounds, to defend the crop against the birds and monkies, by which it would otherwise have been destroyed. When their curiosity was satisfied, they hired a large sailing boat for two rupees (four shillings) which brought them back to the ship time enough to dine upon one of the small deer, weighing only forty pounds, which had been bought the day before, and proved to be very good and savory meat.

We went on shore in the evening, to see how the people who were employed in wooding and watering went on, and were informed that an axe had been stolen. As the passing over this fault might encourage the commission of others of the same kind, application was immediately made to the King, who after some altercation, promised that the axe should be restored in the morning; and kept his word; for it was brought to us by a man who pretended that the thief, being afraid of a discovery, had privately brought it and left it at his house in the night.

We continued to purchase between two and three hundred weight of turtle in a day, besides fowls and other necessaries; and in the evening of the 13th, having nearly compleated our wood and water, Mr. Banks went ashore to take leave of his Majesty, to whom he page 517 had made several trifling presents, and at parting gave him two quires of paper, which he graciously received. They had much conversation; in the course of which his Majesty, inquired, Why the English did not touch there, as they had been used to do? Mr. Banks replied, that he supposed it was because they found a deficiency of turtle; of which there not being enough to supply one ship, many could not be expected. To supply this defect, he advised his Majesty to breed cattle, buffaloes, and sheep; a measure which he did not seem much inclined to adopt.

On the 14th we made ready to sail, having on board a good stock of refreshments, which we purchased of the natives, consisting of turtle, fowl, fish, two species of deer, one as big as a sheep, the other not larger than a rabbit: with cocoa-nuts, plantains, limes, and other vegetables. The deer however served only for present use, for we could seldom keep one of them alive more than four-and-twenty hours after it was on board. On our part, the trade was carried on chiefly with Spanish dollars, the natives seeming to set little value upon any thing else; so that our people, who had a general permission to trade, parted with old shirts and other articles, which they were obliged to substitute for money to great disadvantage. In the morning of the 15th, we weighed, with a light breeze at N. E. and stood out to sea. Java Head, from which Look my departure, lies in latitude 6° 49′ S. longitude 253° 12′ W.

Prince's Island, where we lay about ten days, is; in the Malay language, called, Pulo Selan; and, in the language of the inhabitants, Pulo Paneitan. It is a small island, situated in the western mouth of the Streight of Sunda. It is woody, and a very small part of it only has been cleared: there is no remarkable hill upon it, yet the English call the small eminence which is just over the landing-place the Pike. It was formerly much frequented by the Indian ships of many nations, but especially those of England, which of late have forsaken it, as it is said, because the water is bad; and touch either at North Island, a small island that lies on the coast of Sumatra, without the east entrance of the Streight, or at New Bay, which lies only a few leagues page 518 from Prince's Island, at neither of which places any considerable quantity of other refreshments can be procured. Prince's Island is, upon the whole, certainly more eligible than either of them; and though the water is brackish, if it is filled at the lower part of the brook, yet higher up it will be found excellent.

The first and second, and perhaps the third ship that comes in the season, may be tolerably supplied with turtle; but those that come afterwards must be content with small ones: those that we bought were of the green kind, and at an average cost us about an half-penny or three farthings a pound. We were much disappointed to find them neither fat nor well flavoured, and we imputed it to their having been long kept in crawls, or pens, of brackish water, without food. The fowls are large, and we bought a dozen of them for a Spanish dollar, which is about five pence a-piece; the small deer cost us two pence a-piece, and the larger, of which two only were brought down, a rupee. Many kinds of fish are to be had here, which the natives fell by hand, and we found them tolerably cheap. Cocoa-nuts we bought at the rate of an hundred for a dollar, if they were picked, and if they were taken promiscuously, one hundred and thirty. Plantains we found in great plenty; we procured also some pine apples, water melons, jaccas, and pumpkins, besides rice, the greater part of which was of the mountain kind, that grows in dry land; yams, and several other vegetables, at a very reasonable rate.

The inhabitants are Javanese, whole Raja is subject to the Sultan of Bantam. Their customs are very similar to those of the Indians about Batavia; but they seem to be more jealous of their women; for we never saw any of them during all the time that we were there, except one by chance in the woods, as she was running away to hide herself: They prosess the Mahometan religion; but I believe there is not a mosque in the whole island. We were among them during the fast, which the Turks call Ramadan, which they seemed to keep with great rigour, for not one of them would touch a morsel of victuals, or even chew their beetle, till sun-set.

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Their food is nearly the same as that of the Batavian Indians, except the addition of the nuts of the palm, called Cycas circinalis, with which, upon the coast of New Holland, some of our people were made sick, and some of our hogs poisoned.

Upon observing these nuts to be part of their food, we enquired by what means they deprived them of their deleterious quality; and they told us, that they first cut them into thin slices, and dried them in the fun, then steeped them in fresh water for three months, and afterwards pressing out the water, dried them in the sun a second time; but we learned, that after all they are only eaten in times of scarcity, when they mix them with their rice, to make them go farther.

The houses of their town are built upon piles, or pillars, four or five feet above the ground; upon these is laid a floor of bamboo canes, which are placed at some distance from each other, so as to leave a free passage for the air from below; the walls also are of bamboo, which are interwoven hurdlewise, with small sticks, that are fastened perpendicularly to the beams which form the frame of the building; it has a sloping roof, which is so well thatched with palm leaves, that neither the sun nor the rain can find entrance. The ground over which this building is erected is an oblong square, in the middle of one side is the door, and in the middle, between that and the end of the house, towards the left hand, is a window; a partition runs out from each end towards the middle, which, if continued, would divide the whole floor into two equal parts, longitudinally, but they do not meet in the middle, so that an opening is left over-against the door; each end of the house, therefore, to the right and left of the door, is divided into two rooms, like stalls in a stable, all open towards the passage from the door to the wall on the opposite side: in that next the door, to the left hand, the children sleep; that opposite to it, on the right hand, is allotted to strangers; the master and his wife sleep in the inner-room on the left hand, and that opposite to it is the kitchen. There is no difference between the houses of the poor and the rich, but in the size; except that the royal palace, and the house of a man whose name is Gundang, the next in page 520 riches and influence to the king, is walled with boards, instead of being wattled with sticks and bamboo.

As the people are obliged to abandon the town, and live in the rice-fields at certain seasons, to secure their crops from the birds and monkies, they have occasional houses there for their accommodation; they are exactly the same as the houses in the town, except that they are smaller, and are elevated eight or ten feet above the ground, instead of four.

The disposition of the people, as far as we could discover it, is good. They dealt with us very honestly, except, like all other Indians, and the itinerant retailers of fish in London, they asked sometimes twice, and sometimes thrice as much for their commodities as they would take. As what they brought to market belonged, in different proportions, to a considerable number of the natives, and it would have been difficult to purchase it in separate lots, they found out a very easy expedient, with which every one was satisfied: they put all that was bought of one kind, as plantains or cocoa-nuts, together, and when we had agreed for the heap, they divided the money that was paid for it among those of whose separate property it consisted, in a proportion corresponding with their contributions. Sometimes, indeed, they changed our money, giving us 240 doits, amounting to five shillings, for a Spanish dollar, and ninety six, amounting to two shillings, for a Bengal rupee.

They all speak the Malay language, though they have a language of their own, different both from the Malay and the Javanese. Their own language they called Catta Gunung, the Language of the Mountains; and they say that it is Spoken upon the mountains of Java, whence their tribe originally migrated, first to New Bay, and then to their present station, being driven from their first settlement by tigers, which they found too numerous to subdue. I have already observed, that several languages are spoken by the native Javanese, in different parts of their island; but when I say that the language of these people is different from the Javanese, I mean that it is different from the language which is spoken at Samarang, a place that is distant only one day's journey from the residence of the page 521 emperor of Java. The following is a list of corresponding words in the languages of Prince's Island, Java, and Malacca.

English. Prince's Island. Javanese. Malay.
A man, Jalma, Oong Laugan, OranLackiLacki.
A woman, Becang, Oong Wadong, Parampuan.
A child, Oroculatacke, Lari, Anack.
The head, Holo, Undass, Capalla.
The nose, Erung, Erung, Edung.
The eyes, Mata, Moto, Mata.
The ears, Chole, Cuping, Cuping.
The teeth, Cutock, Untu, Ghigi.
The belly, Beatung, Wuttong, Prot.
The backside, Serit, Celit, Pantat.
The thigh, Pimping, Poopoo, Paha.
The knee, Huilqotoor, Duacul, Lontour.
The leg, Metis, Sickil, Kauki.
A nail, Cucu, Cucu, Cucu.
A band, Langan, Tangan, Tangan.
A finger, Ranio Langan, Jari, Jaring.

In this specimen of the languages of places so near to each other, the names of different parts of the body are chosen, because they are easily obtained from people whose language is utterly unknown, and because they are more likely to be part of the original stamen of the language, than any other, as types of the first objects to which they would give names. It is very remarkable that the Malay, the Javanese, and the Prince's Island language, have words which, if not exactly similar to the corresponding words in the language of the islands in the South Seas, are manifestly derived from the same source, as will appear from the following table:

English. South Sea. Malay. Javanese. Pr. Island.
An eye, Matta, Mata, Moto, Matta.
To eat, Maa Macan, Mangan,
To drink, Einu, Menum, Gnumbe,
To hill, Matte, Matte, Matte,
A house, Outou, Coutou,
Rain, Euwa, Udian, Udan,
Bamboo cane, Owhe, Awe,
A breast, Eu, Sousou, Sousou,
A bird, Mannu, Manu, Mannuck.page 522
English. South Sea. Malay. Javanese.
A fish, Eyca, Ican, Iwa.
The foot, Tapao, Tapaan.
A lebster, Tooura, Udang, Urang.
Yams, Eufwhe, Ubi, Urve.
To bury, Etannou, Tannam Tandour.
A moscbito, Enammou, Gnammuck,
To Scratch, Hearu, Garru, Garu.
Coccos roots, Taro, Tallas, Talas.
In-land, Uta, Utan,

This similitude is particularly remarkable in the words expressing number, which at first sight seems to be no inconsiderable proof, that the science at least of these different people has a common root. But the names of numbers in the island of Madagascar are, in some instances, similar to all these, which is a problem still more difficult to solve. That the names of numbers, in particular, are in a manner common to all these countries, will appear from the following comparative table, which Mr. Banks drew up, with the assistance of a negroe slave, born at Madagascar, who was on board an English ship at Batavia, and sent to him to gratify his curiosity on this subject.

English. S.Sea Islands. Malay. Javanese. Pr. Island. Madagascar.
One, Tahie, Satou, Sigi, Hegie, Iffe.
Two, Rua, Dua, Lorou, Dua, Rua.
Three, Torou, Tiga, Tulla, Tollu, Teliou,
Four, Has, Ampat, Pappat, Opat, Effats,
Five, Reina, Lima, Limo, Limah, Limi,
Six, Wheney, Annam, Nunnam, Gunnap, Ene,
Seven, Hetu, Tudju, Petu, Tudju, Titou,
Eight, Waru, Delapau, Wolo, Delapan, Walon,
Nine, Iva, Sembilan, Songo, Salapan, Sivi,
Ten, Ahouroa, Sapoulou, Sapoulou, Sapoulou, Tourou.

In the language of Madagascar there are other words similar to words of the same import in the Malay. The nose in Malay is called Erung, at Madagascar, Ourou; Lida, the tongue, is Lala; Tangan, the hand, is Tang; and Tanna, the ground, is Taan.

From the similitude between the language of the Eastern Indies and the islands of the South-Sea, conjectures may be formed with respect to the peopling those countries, which cannot easily be referred to Madagascar, The inhabitants of Java and Madagascar appear page 523 to be a different race; the Javanese is of an olive complexion, and has long hair; the native of Madagascar is black, and his head is not covered with hair, but wool; and yet, perhaps, this will not conclude against their having common ancestors so strongly as at first appears. It does not seem less difficult to account for the personal difference between a native of England and France, as an effect of mere local situation, than for the difference between the natives of Java and Madagascar; yet it has never been supposed that England and France were not peopled from common ancestors. If two natives of England marry in their own country, and afterwards remove to our settlements in the West Indies, the children that are conceived and born there will have the complexion and cast of countenance that distinguish the Creole; if they return, the children conceived and born afterwards will have no such characteristics. If it be said, that the mother's mind, being impressed with different external objects, impresses corresponding features and complexion upon the child during her pregnancy, it will be as difficult to refer the effect into this cause, upon mere physical principles, as in to the other; for it can no more be shewn how a mere idea, conceived in the mother's imagination, can change the corporeal form of her infant, than how its form can be changed by mere local situation. We know that people within the small circle of Great Britain and Ireland, who are born at the distance of two or three hundred miles from each other, will be distinguished by the Scots face, the Welsh face, and the Irish face; may we not then reasonably suppose, that there are in nature qualities which act powerfully as efficient causes, and yet are not cognizable by any of the five modes of perception which we call senses? A deaf man, who sees the string of an harpsichordv ibrate, when a corresponding tone is produced by blowing into a flute at a distance, will see an effect, of which he can no more conceive the cause to exist in the blowing air into the flute, than we can conceive the cause of the personal difference of the various inhabitants of the globe to exist in mere local situation; nor can he any more form an idea of the cause itself, in one case, than we can in the other: what happens to him then, in consequence page 524 sequence of having but four senses instead of five, may, with respect to many phænomena of nature, happen to us, in consequence of having but five lenses instead of six, or any greater number.

Possibly, however, the learning of ancient ægypt might run in two courses, one through Africa and the other through Asia, disseminating the same words in each, especially terms of number, which might thus become part of the language of people who never had any communication with each other.

We now made the best of our way for the Cape of Good Hope; but the seeds of disease, which we had received at Batavia, began to appear with the most threatening symptoms in dysenteries and flow fevers. Left the water which we had taken in at Prince's Island should have had any share in our sickness, we purified it with lime, and we washed all parts of the ship between decks with vinegar, as a remedy against infection. Mr. Banks was among the sick, and for some time there was no hope of his life. We were very soon in a most deplorable situation; the ship was nothing better than an, hospital, in which those that were able to go about, were too few to attend the sick, who were confined to their hammocks, and we had almost every night a dead body to commit to the sea. In the course of about six weeks we buried Mr. Sporing, a gentleman who was in Mr. Banks's retinue, Mr. Parkinson, his natural history painter, Mr. Green, the aftronomer, the boatswain, the carpenter and his mate, Mr. Monkhouse the midshipman, who had sothered the ship after she had been stranded on the coast of New Holland, our old jolly sail-maker and his assistant, the ship's cook, the corporal of the marines, two of the carpenter's crew, a midshipman, and nine seamen; in all three-and-twenty persons, besides the seven that we buried at Batavia.