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JANUARY 1771

1771 January 1.

Workd all night and today likewise. At night Anchord under a high Island call[d] in the draughts Cracatoa and by the Indians Pulo Racatta.

I had been unacountably troubled with Musquitos ever since we left Batavia, and still imagin'd that they increasd instead of decreasing, although my opinion was universaly thought improbable; today however the mystery was discoverd, for on getting up water today, Dr Solander who happned to stand near the scuttle cask observd an infinite number of them in their water state in it, who as soon as the sun had a little effect upon the water began to come out in real Effective mosquetos incredibly fast.

1771 January 2.

This morn when we rose we saw that there were many houses and much Cultivation upon Cracatoa, so that probably a ship might meet with refreshments who chose to touch here in preference to Princes Island. The wind was so foul and balkd us so often that after having saild the whole day we were glad at night to come back again to our old Birth under Cracatoa.

1771 January 3.

Tho we had again got under way in the night, Yet this morn we had gaind but little, nor did we much more all day; at night however a breeze sprung up at SE and we saild on Chearily.

1771 January 4.

Soon after Dinner time today we anchord under Princes Island and went ashore. The People who met us carried us immediately to a man whoom they told us was their king, with whoom after a few Compliments we proceeded to business, that was to settle the price of Turtle, in which we did not well agree. This however did not at all discourage us, as we doubted not but that in the morn we should have them at our own price, so we walkd a little way along shore and the Indians dispersd. One Canoe however remaind and just as we went off sold us three turtle on a promise that we should not tell the king.

1771 January 5.

Ashore today trading; the Indians dropd their demands very slowly but were very civil, towards noon however they came down to the offerd price, so that before night we had bought up a large quantity of Turtle. In the Evening I went to pay my respects to his majesty the king, who I found at his house in the middle of a rice feild cooking his own supper; he receivd me however very politely.

1771 January 6.

Many People were down at the trading place with fowls, fish, Monkeys, small Deer, &c. &c. but few or no Turtle, they said that we had bought them all the day before.

1771 January 8.

In the Morn the ship which had in the night been driven something nearer the shore, was so near being ashore that the foot of the rudder touchd several times, and indeed gave the first intimation of our danger, but by the alertness of the officers she was hove into deep water in a very short time. The day was rainy throughout and very few Indians came to the watering place, so that nothing was bought but a few fish and fowls.

1771 January 9.

Fine weather today and rather more trade than usual. Early in the morn 8 guns were heard within Pepper point, but no ship had been seen by either us or the Islanders so we could not even guess the Occasion of them.

1771 January 10.

Little trade; the people brought down a deer of a kind weighing about 40 lb; our stock of Turtle was now Considerably increasd, some few having been bought every day, tho the Joint number did not equal what had been bought the first day.

1771 January 11.

My Servant Sander who I had hir'd at Batavia having found out that these people had a town somewhere along shore to the Westward and not very far off, I resolvd to visit it, but knowing that the inhabitants were not at all desirous of our company kept my intentions secret from them. In the morn I set out accompanied by our second Lieutenant and went along shore, telling all whoom I met that I was in search of plants which indeed was also the case. In about 2 hours we arrivd at a place where were about 4 or 5 houses, here we met an old man and venturd to ask him questions about the town; he said it was very distant, but we not much relying on his information proceeded on our way, as did he in our company, atempting however several times to lead us out of the pathway which we were now in; we remaind firm to our purpose and soon got sight of our desird Object. The old man then turnd our freind and accompanied us to the houses, I suppose near 400 in number, divided into the old and new town between which was a brackish river. In the old town we met with several old acquaintances, one of whoom at the rate of 2d a head undertook to transport us over the river, which he did in two very small Canoes which we prevented from oversetting by laying them alongside each other and holding them together; in this manner we safely went through our navigation and arrivd at the new town, where the kings and all the nobilities houses were which the inhabitants very freely shewd to us. The most of them were shut up, the people in general at this time of the year living in their rice feilds to defend the Crop from Monkies, Birds &c. When our curiosity was satisfied we hird a large sailing boat for which we gave 2 Rupees 4s/, which carried us home time enough to dine upon the deer we had bought the day before, which provd very good and savoury meat.

In the Evening when we went ashore we were acquainted that an axe had been stole from one of our people; this as the first theft we thought it not proper to pass over, so immediate application was made to the king, who after some time promisd that it should be returnd in the morn.

1771 January 12.

The hatchet was brought down according to promise, the theif they said afraid of conviction had in the night conveyd it into the house of the man who brought it. Trade as usual, 2 or 300 weight of Turtle in a day with fowls &c. Myself was this day seizd with a Return of my Batavia Fever, which I attributed to being much exposd to a burning sun in trading with the Natives.

1771 January 13.

It was resolvd to sail tomorrow, which the natives had been informd of yesterday, so they brought down rather more turtle than usual. My Fever returnd, but I resolvd not to atempt to cure it till in the main Ocean I should meet with a better air than this uncleard Island could possibly have.

In the Eve after my fit I went ashore to the king, to whoom time after time I had made small presents altogether not of 5 shillings value, carrying 2 Qrs of Paper, which as he had done every thing else he most thankfully receivd. We had much conversation, the purport of which was his asking why the English ships did not touch here as they had usd to do; I told him that as they had not on the Island Turtle enough to supply one ship the[y] could not expect many, but advisd him to breed Cattle, Sheep and Buffaloes, which advise however he did not seem much to approve. See Account of Batavia below

1771 January 14.

Our intention of sailing this morn was delayd by want of wind, it being calm till 11 O'Clock when a gentle breeze sprang up which was favourable; the morning however was not thrown away for the Indians seeing us not gone brought fish and some Turtle which were bought. Our breeze tho favourable was however so slack that by night we had got no farther than abreast of the town where we anchord.

1771 January 15.

Weighd again and stood out to sea with a breeze so gentle that at night we were still in sight of Land.

1771 January 16.

This Morn we wakd in the open Ocean, nothing in sight but sea and sky. The winds tho fair continud yet so gentle that we hardly knew whether we went on or stood still. At night a booby made us a visit and slept his last sleep in the stomachs of some of our men, not induc'd quite to forsake the old trade of Booby Eating even by the present abundance of victuals.

1771 January 17.

Calms and light breezes still detaind us till eve when a pleasant breeze sprung up and gave us hopes of soon gaining the trade wind, which we impatiently longd for, especialy myself who had my fever every day; nor was I the only sick man, many began to complain of purgings. Some tropick birds and Gannets (Pelecanus risc) were seen.

1771 January 18.

In the Morn Rain with light breezes. Several Man of war birds and some shearwaters were about the ship.

1771 January 19.

Light breezes all day. A ship in sight but too far off to distinguish her colours.

1771 January 20.

Weather as usual. 2 ships in sight who shew'd us Dutch Colours and then saild ahead of us, letting us know that sure as our ship might be she was too slow to outsail even a Dutchman. Several tropick birds were seen. In the Even the wind came foul.

Myself who had began with the Bark Yesterday miss'd my fever today, the people however in general grew worse and many had now the dysentery or bloody flux.

1771 January 21.

The Wind remaind as it was but one of the Duchmen had so far outsaild us as to be intirely out of sight; the other however was not so much ahead but that we sometimes flatterd ourselves with thinking that we could sail as fast as her. Some few Gannets and porpoises were about the ship.

1771 January 22.

Our freind the slow Dutchman was this morn out of sight: the wind still foul. Almost all the Ships Company were now ill with either fluxes or severe purgings; myself far from well, Mr Sporing very ill and Mr Parkinson very little better, his complaint was a slow fever.

1771 January 23.

Myself was too ill today to do any thing; one of our people died of the flux in the Evening.

1771 January 24.

My distemper this day turnd out to be a flux attended (as that disease always is) with excrutiating pains in my bowels, on which I took to my bed. In the Eve Mr Sporing died.

1771 January 25.

One more of the People died today. Myself endurd the pains of the Damnd almost; at night they became fixd in one point in my bowels on which the surgeon of the ship though[t] proper to order me the hot bath, into which I went 4 times at the intervals of two hours and felt great releif.

1771 January 26.

Tho better than yesterday my pains were still almost intolerable. In the Evening Mr Parkinson died and one of the ships crew.

1771 January 28.

Self something easier but still in great pain. This day Mr Green our astronomer and two of the people died, all of the very same complaint as I labourd under, no very encouraging circumstance.

1771 January 29.

Self still Bad; three more of the people died this day.

1771 January 30.

For the first time I found myself better and slept some time, which my continual pains had never sufferd me to do before notwistanding the opiates which were constantly administerd. One person only died today, but so weak were the people in general that, officers and men included, not more than 8 or nine could keep the deck so that 4 in a watch was all they had.

1771 January 31.

This day I got out of my bed in good spirits and free from pain but very weak. My recovery had been as rapid as my disease was violent, but to what cause to attribute either the one or the other to we all were equaly at a loss.

The wind which came to E and SE yesterday blew today in the same direction so we had little reason to doubt its being the true trade, a circumstance which raisd the spirits of even those who were most afflicted with the tormenting disease, which now ragd with its greatest violence.

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