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26 December, 1770

 

On 26 December, 1770, James Cook wrote “at 6 in the AM we wiegh'd and came to sail with a light breeze at SW. The Elgin Indiaman saluted with three Cheers and 13 Guns and soon after the Garrison with 14 both of which we returnd. Soon after this the Sea breeze set in at NBW which obliged us to anchor just without the Ships in the Road. The Number sick on board at this time amounts to 40 or upwards and the rest of the Ships company are in a Weakly condition, having been ev[er]y one sick except the Sail maker [John Ravenhill] an old Man about 70 or 80 Years of age, and what was still more extraordinary in this man his being generally more or less drunk every day. But notwithstanding this general sickness we lost but Seven Men [actually six] in the whole: the Surgeon [William Brougham Munkhouse], three Seamen [Timothy Rearden & names], Mr Greens Servant [John Reynolds], and Tupia and his servant [Taiata] both of which fell a sacrifice to this unwholsom climate before they had reached the Object of their wishes [England]. Tupia['s] death indeed cannot be said to be owing wholy to the unwholsom air of Batavia, the long want of a Vegetable diat which he had all his life before been use'd to had brought upon him all the disorders attending a sea life. He was a Shrewd Sensible, Ingenious Man, but proud and obstinate which often made his situation on board both disagreable to himself and those about him and tended much to promote the deceases which put a period to his life”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “There was not I beleive a man in the ship but gave his utmost aid to getting up the Anchor, so compleatly tird was every one of the unwholesome air of this place. We had buried here 8 people [actually, 6], in general however the Crew was in rather better health than they had been a fortnight before.

While we were at work a man was missd [Patrick Saunders] who it was supposd did not intend to stay ashore, so a boat was sent after him, which before its return delayd us so long that we lost intirely the sea breeze, and were obligd to come too again a few cables lenghs only from where we lay before”.

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