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20 September, 1770

 

On 20 September, 1770, James Cook wrote “In the Morning I went a shore again and was shew'd one small Buffaloe which they ask'd five Guines for. I offer'd three which the Man told me he would gladly take and sent a message to the King to let him know what I had offerd, the mesenger soon return'd and let me know that I could not have it under five guines and this I refuse'd to give knowing that it was not worth one fifth part of the mony, but this my refusal had like to have over set all we had before done, for soon after about a 100 Men, some arm'd with Musquets other with Lances came down to the Landing place; besides the officer that commanded this party there came along with them an Man who spoke Portuguese and was I beleive born of Portugue Parents, this man is here (as we afterwards understood) as an Assistant to the Dutch factor; he deliver'd to me the Kings order, or rather those of the Dutch Factor, the purport of which was that we were to stay no longer than this day, pretending that the people would not trade with us because we wanted their provisions for nothing &ca, whereas the Natives shewed the greatest inclination imaginable to supply us with what ever they had and were far more desirous of goods than Mony, and were before this man came selling us Fowls and Syrrup as fast as they could bring these things down; from this and other circumstances we were well assure'd that this was all the Dutchmans doing in order to extort from us a sum of Mony to put into his own pockets. There happen'd to be an old Raja at this time upon the beach whose Intrest I had secure'd in the Morning by presenting him with a Spy glass, this man I now took by the hand and presented him with an old broad sword, this effectually secure'd him in our Intrest for the Moment he got it he began to flourish it over the old Portuguese and made him and the officer that commanded the party to set down at his backside. Emmidiatly after this trade was restored again for fowls &ca with more spirit than ever, but before I could begin a Trade for Buffaloes which was what we most wanted, I was obliged to give 10 guines for two one of which weigh'd only 160 pounds. After this I bought 7 More at a More reasonable price one of which we lost after he was paid for. I might now have purchas'd as Many Buffaloes as I pleas'd for they now drove them down to the water side by Herds, but having now got as many as I well know'd what to do with, and likewise a number of Fowles and a Large quantity of Syrrup, I resolved to make no longer stay”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “In the morning early the Captn went ashore himself to purchase Buffeloes. He was shewn two, one of which they valued at five guineas the other a musquet; he offerd 3 guineas for the one and sent for a musquet to give for the other. The money was flatly refus’d and before the Musquet could be brought off Dr Solander, who had been up at the town in order to speak to Mr Lange, returnd followd by 86 Spearmen and 20 musqueteers sent by the King to tell us that this day and no more would be allowd us to trade, after which we must be gone. This was the message that Dr Solander had from the Radja by Mr Lange’s interpretation, but a Portugese Indian who came from Timor, probably Next in command to Mr Lange, carried it much farther, telling us that we might stay ashore till night if we pleasd but none of the natives would any more be allowd to trade with us; after which he began to drive away those who had brought hens, syrup &c. To remedy this an old sword which lay in the Boat was given to the Prime minister as I have calld him, Mannudjame, who in an instant restord order and severely chid the officer of the guard, an old Portugese Indian, for haveing gone beyond their orders. Trade now was a brisk as ever, fowls and syrup were bought cheap and in vast plenty, but now we will see what treatment Dr Solander met with in the Town.

In the morn when he arriv’d there it was a long time before he could find the Radja; at last however he did and receivd many civilities from him. Mr Lange was however not to be found so no conversation could pass for want of an interpreter. After some time a number of men came and taking their arms rangd themselves in the yard; the Radja then appeard cross but shewd nothing but civility to the Dr.

One of our servants who was trading now came into the yard, having a garter tied over his shoulder for which he askd a cock: the Radja went to him and askd him for it: he, ignorant of his quality, refusd unless he had a Cock on which he was orderd to be turnd out of the yard, as were all our people but the Dr who still was in the assembly house totaly ignorant of what was going on. The Radja however now told him that Mr Lange was at such a house, a hint to be gone but which was not taken as such, for the Dr wanted nothing so much as to see Mr Lange and consequently went directly to him. Mr Lange returnd to the Radjas with him and told him that the People were almost in rebellion on account of the Radjas permitting us to trade with goods instead of money, and that this day was positively the last on which we could be allowd to do so, that he was much offended also at the servant who had refus’d the garter. These storys were too ridiculous to be taken much notice of therefore he still stayd in hopes of learning something more. The guards were orderd to exercise which they did clumsily enough with their spears: the Dr pleasd with the sight desird he might see the excersise of their Sabres also. You had better not desire it, said the duch man, the People are very much enrag’d. Now the Dr found Mr Lange’s intention which was to frighten him and us: it however had no part of the design’d effect, we were too well convinc’d that both King and people desird nothing so much as to trade with us to regard these political menaces.

The Dr However set out for the Beach in order to tell us who were there the state of the Case and with him came this formidable troop who behavd as before mentiond. The state of the case appeard now Plain: Mr Lange was to have a share of what the Buffeloes were sold for and that share was to be paid in money; the Captn therefore, tho sore against his will, resolvd to pay 5 guineas apeice for one or 2 Buffeloes and try to buy the rest for musquets. Accordingly no sooner had he hinted his mind to the Portugese Indian than a Buffeloe was brought down but a very small one, and five guineas given for it; 2 more larger followd immediately for one of which a musquet and for the other 5 guineas was given. There was now no more occasion for money, 2 large herds of Buffeloes were brought down and we pickd them just as we chose for a musquet apeice. We bought nine, as many we thought as would last us to Batavia, especialy as we had little or no victuals, but so ill were we provided with cords that 3 of the nine broke from us; 2 of these the Indians recoverd but the third got quite off tho our people assisted by the Indians followd him 3 hours.

In the Evening Mr Lange came down to the Beach softned by the money which no doubt he had receivd: he who was in the morn as sour as verjuice was now all sweetness and softness. The Dr who spoke German but little was loth to mention to him any of the transactions of the morning, he however took frequent occasions of letting us know that if we pleasd we might come ashore the next day. Our business was However quite done, so to fullfill a promise we had made he was presented with a small cagg of Beer and we took our leave as good freinds as possible.

The refreshments we got consisted of 8 Buffeloes, 30 Dzn of fowls, 6 sheep, 3 hogs, some few but very few limes and cocoa nuts, a little garlick, a good many eggs above half of which were rotten, an immense quantity of Syrup which was bought for trifles, several hundred gallons at least - upon the whole more than live stock enough to carry us to Batavia and syrop for futurity.

I have been very diffuse and particular in mentioning every trifling circumstance which occurd in this transaction, as this may perhaps be the only opportunity I shall ever have of visiting an Island of great consequence to the Duch and scarce known to any other Europaeans even by name. I can find it in only one of the Draughts and that an old one printed by Mount and Page [chart publishers at Tower Hill, London] the Lord knows when, which has it by the name of Sou but confounds it with Sandel Bosch which is layd down very wrong. Rumphius mentions an Island by the name of Saow and say[s] it is that which is calld by the Duch Sandel Bosch, but no chart that I have seen lays either that, Timor or Rotte, or indeed any Island that we have seen hereabouts in any thing near its right place.

While we were here an accident hapned by the imprudence of Mr [Sydney] Parkinson my Draughtsman which might alone have alterd our intended and first promisd reception very much, indeed I am of opinion that it did. He desirous of knowing whether or not this Island producd spices carried ashore with him nutmeg, cloves &c. and questiond the inhabitants about them without the least precaution, so that it immediately came to Mr Lange’s ears. He complaind to the Dr that our people were too inquisitive, particularly says he in regard to spices, concerning which they can have no reason to wish for any information unless you are come for very different purposes than those you pretend. The Dr not well vers’d in the German language in which they convers’d immediately conceivd that Mr L. meant only the questions which he himself had askd concerning the cinnamon, nor did we ever know the contrary till the day after we had left the place, when Mr Parkinson boasted of the knowledge he had got of these people certainly having a knowledge of the spices as they had in language names for them”.

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