21 September 1770
Previous/Next Page
Cook's Journal: Daily EntriesVoyaging Accounts
Table of Contents

On this day ...
21 September 1770

Endeavour Voyage Maps
Joseph Banks



Contact us

Search for
in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
21 September 1770

[Friday 21st] We got under sail and stood away to the westward along the north side of the Island and a nother smaller Island which lies farther to the westward which last bore from us at Noon SSE distant 2 Leagues — Before we proceed any farther it will be proper in this place to say [some] thing of

the Island we have been last at, ^whi^ch ^is call'd by the Natives Savu it the Middle of it lies in ^about the Latde of 10°..35' St Longde 237°.30'Wt &C it ^may be about 8 Leagues in length from East to West, but of what breadth I know not because I only saw the north side. There are as I am told three bays where Ships can Anchor, the best is on the South West side of the SE point, the one we lay in call'd Seba — lies on the NW side of the Island   this bay is very well shelter'd from the SE Trade wind but lays wholy open to the NW - The Land of this Island which bounds the Sea is in general low, but in the Middle of the Island are Hills of a Moderate height and the whole is agreeably deversified with woods and Lawns which affords a most pleasing prospect from the sea. We were told that the Island is but indifferently water'd in the dry season, especially towards the latter end of it, at which time there is no runing stream upon the whole Island, only small springs which are all at a distance from the Sea side. The dry season commences in March or April and ends in November or the remaining 3 or 4 Months they have westerly winds with rain and this is the time that their crops of Rice, Callivances and Indian Corn are brought forth which are Articles that this Island produceth, they also breed a great number of Cattle such as / viz / Buffaloes, Horses, Hogs, Sheep and Goats,   Many of the former are sent to Concordia where they are Kill'd and salted in order to be sent to the More Northern Island[s] which are under the dominion of the Dutch - Sheep and Goats flesh is dried upon this Island, packe'd up in Bales and sent to Concordia for the same purpose. The Dutch Resident from whome we had these informations told ^us that the Dutch ^at Concordia had lately behav'd so ill to the Natives of Timor that they were obliged to have recourse to this Island and others adjacent for provisions for their own subsistance, and likewise Troops / Natives of this Island / to assist the Dutch againest those of Timor. Besides the above productions this Island here are an emmence Number of Palm Trees from which is extracted the Palm Wine, as it is call'd, avery sweet agreeable Cooling liquor, what they do not emmidiatly use they boil down and make Syrrup ^or Sugar of which they keep in earthen jarrs. Here are likewise Cocoa-nutts and Tamarind Trees, Limes &Ca but in no great plenty. Indico ^Cotton and Cinnamon sufficient to Serve the Natives, this last Article we were told the Dutch discourage the growth of —

The Island is divided into five Kingdoms which have lived in Peace and Amity with each other for these hundred years, At present the Whole Island is partly under the direction of the Dutch East India Company who have a Resident or Factor who constantly lives ^here without whose leave the Natives are not to supply any other Nation with any thing what ever, but the whole product of the Island besides what serves themselves is to be sold to the Company at their ^prefer'd own price ^to be paid for in for European or some other Foriegn Commidity's and not for ^in Gold or Silver. in a manner the property of the Company - The Company by way of a Tribute oblige them to raise and pay Annualy a certain quantity of Rice, Indian Corn and Callivances, for which the Company make each of the Kings a Yearly present of a Casks of Arrack and some other trifles, the live stock Sheep and Goats flesh ^&Ca they pay for in Goods. The small Island which lies about a League to the westward of this pays Annualy a certain quantity of Areaca Nutts which is allmost the only produce of that Island. The Island of Rotte is upon the same footing as this of Savu. Both these Islands and the Three Solors belong to the Goverment of Concordia   From what we could learn of the Island of Timor it seems to be much upon the same footing as it was in Dampiers time which is that the Dutch Posess little more of that Island than what lies under the command of the Fort Concordia; the Rest is in posession either of the Native Indians or the Portuguese. we were likewise told that the Island of Ende belongs to the Portuguese, that the principal settlement was is at Larentucka where there is a Fort and a good harbour. We were told that Concordia on the Island Timor is a free Port for Ships of any Nation to touch at where they would not only be supplied with refreshments but Naval stores also,   Tradeing Ships might probably meet with a good reception, but Kings Ships I am perswaided would be look'd upon as spys   for my own part was I only in want of refreshments and obliged to touch at any of these Islands I should prefer going to a Portuguese settlement, before any of the Dutch and when I was solicited by the officers to call at Timor I propose'd going to one of the Portuguese settlements but ^this Mr Hicks made some objections to which was sufficient for me to lay it aside as I had not the least inclination to touch any where till we arrived at Batavia, for my falling in with Savu was mere chance and not design. But to return to this Island the Natives of which are of a dark brown Colour, with long lank hair, their cloathing is a peice of Calicoe or other Cotton cloth ^wraped about their Middle, the better sort have a nother peice which they wear over their Shoulders and the most of them wear Turbands or had kerchiefs ty'd round their heads. They eat of all the tame Animals they have got, viz, Hoggs, Horses, Buffaloes, Cocks and Hens, Dogs, Catts, Sheep and Goats, and are esteem'd much in the same order as I have mentioned, that is their Hogs flesh, which is certainly as good as any in the World, they prefer before any thing else next to Hoggs Horses and so on. Fish is not esteemd by them and is only eat by the Common or poor people who are allow'd little else of meat kind. They have acustom a mong them that when ever a King dies all the Cattle &Ca that are upon his Estate are kill'd with which the successor makes a feast to which is are invited all the principal people of the Island who stay untill all is consumed   After this they every one according to his abillitys make the Young King a present, by which mea[n]s he gets a fresh stock which he is obliged to husband for some time. The other principal men make also feasts which are as extraordinary as these, for they seldom end so long as the giver has got any thing left alive upon his Estate. They are said to be a people of good morals, Virtuous and Chaste, each man having only one wife which he keeps for life    Fornication and Adultery is hardly known among them. When a great Man Marries he makes presents to all his wifes Relations of European and other foreign commodities to the Value of 100 Rix-Dollars    this custom the Dutch East India Company find it their intrest to incourage. They speake a Language peculiar to themselves into which the Dutch have caused the Bible and New-Testament to be Translated and have interduced them it with the use of letters and writing among them; by this means several hundreds of them have been converted to Christianity, the rest are either ^some Heathens or ^and others of no Religion attall, and yet they all Stick up to the strick'd rules of Morality. They all both men and women Young and old Chew of the Beetle Leaf, Araeca Nutts, and a sort of white lime which I beleive is made from Coral ^Stone this has such an effect upon the teeth that very few even of the young people have hardly any left in their heads and those they have are as black as Ink; their houses are built on post[s] about 4 feet from the Ground, we ask'd the reason why they built them so, and was told that it was only custom, they are however certainly the Cooler for it.   they ^are thatched with Palm leaves and the Floor and sides are boarded —

The Man who resides here ^upon this Island in behalf of the Dutch East India Company is a German by birth   his name is ^Johan Christopher Lange it is hard to say upon what footing he is here, he is so far a Governor that the Natives dar[e] do nothing openly without his consent, and yet he can transact no sort of business with Foreigner's either in his own or that of the Companys name ^nor can it be a place of either honour or profit, he is the only white man upon the Island and has resided there ever sence it hath been under the direction of the Dutch which is about 10 years He is allowd 50 Slaves / Natives of the Island / to attend upon him, these ^belong to and are Mentain''d by the Company. He goes the circuit of the Island once in two Months, but on what account he did not tell us; when he makes these rounds he carries with him a certain quantity of spiret to treat the great men with, which he says he is obliged to look well after otherwise the[y] would steal it and get Drunk and yet at a nother time he told us that he never know'd a theft commited in the Island, but some of the Natives themselves contridicted him in this by stealing from us an Ax,   however from their behavour to us in general I am of opinion that they are but seldom guilty of these crimes. His going round the Island once in Two Months is most likly to see that the Natives make the necessary preparations for fullfilling their engagements with the Dutch and to see that the Large boats or small Vessels are taken proper care of which the Dutch keep in all the Bays of this Island in order to collect and carry the Grain &Ca to the Ship which comes Anualy here, they are likewise employ'd in carrying Catle grain &C to Timor and when not wanted they are hauld ashore into Houses or Shads built on purpose. As I have mentioned Slaves it is necessary to Observe that ^all also all the great Men have slaves which are the Natives of the Island, they can dispose of them one to a nother but cannot sell them ^to go out of the Island, the price of a Slave is a good large fatt Hogg. Horse &Ca - I have before mentioned that many of the people can speake Portuguese, but hardly any one Dutch    from this it is probable that this Island was formerly under the Jurisdiction of the Portuguese tho the Dutch Governor never own'd as much but said that the Dutch had Traded here these hundred years past —

Previous Page Voyaging Accounts Next Page

© Transcription of National Library of Australia, Manuscript 1 page 318, 2004
Published by South Seas, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher
To cite this page use: