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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Off Macassar and Passage to Bonthain


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CHAP. X. Transactions off Macassar, and the Passage thence to Bonthain.

THE same night that we came to an anchor, at about eleven o'clock, a Dutchman came on board, who had been dispatched by the Governor, to learn who we were. When I made him understand that the ship was an English man of war, he seemed to be greatly alarmed, no man of war belonging to the King of Great Britain having ever been there before, and I could not by any means persuade him to leave the deck, and go down into the cabbin; we parted, however, to all appearance, good friends.

The next morning, at break of day, I sent the Lieutenant to the town, with a letter to the Governor, in which I acquainted him with the reason of my coming thither, and requested the liberty of the port to procure refreshments for my ships company, who were in a dying condition, and shelter for the vessel against the approaching storms, till the return of a fit season for sailing to the westward. I ordered that this letter should, without good reason to the contrary, be delivered into the Governors own hand; but when my officer got to the wharf of the town, neither he nor any other person in the boat was suffered to land. Upon his refusal to deliver the letter to a messenger, the Governor was made acquainted with it, and two officers, called the shebander and the fiscal, were sent down to him, who, as a reason why he could not deliver the letter to the Governor himself, pretended that he was sick, and said, that they came by his express order to fetch it; upon this the letter was at length delivered to them, and they went away. While they were gone the officer and men were kept on board their boat, exposed to the burning heat of the sun, which was almost vertical at noon, and none of the country boats were suffered to come near enough to sell them any refreshment. In the mean time, our people observed a great hurry and bustle on shore, and all the sloops and vessels that were proper for war were fitted out with the utmost expedition: we should, however, I believe, have been an overmatch for their whole sea force, if all our people had been well. In the mean time I intended to have gone and anchored close to the town, but now the boat was absent, our united strength was not sufficient to weigh the anchor, though a small one. After waiting five hours in the boat, the Lieutenant was told that the Governor has ordered two gentlemen to wait upon me with an answer to my letter. Soon after he had returned, and made this report, the two gentlemen came on board, and we afterwards learnt that one of them was an ensign of the garrison, named Le Cerf, and the other Mr. Douglas, a writer of the Dutch East India Company: they delivered me the Governors letter, but it proved to be written in Dutch, a language which not a single person on board could understand: the two gentlemen who brought it, however, both spoke French, and one of them interpreted the contents to me in that language. The purport of it was "that I should instantly depart from the port, without coming any nearer to the town; that I should not anchor on any part of the coast, or permit any of my people to land in any place that was under his jurisdiction." Before I made any reply to this letter, I shewed the gentlemen who brought it the number of my sick: at the sight of so many unhappy wretches, who were dying of languor and disease, they seemed to be much affected, and I then urged again the pressing necessity I was under of procuring refreshment, to which they had been witnesses, the cruelty and injustice of refusing to supply me, which was not only contrary to treaty, as we were in a Kings ship, but to the laws of Nature as we were human beings: they seemed to admit the force of this reasoning, but they had a short and final answer ready, "that they had absolute and indispensible orders from their masters, not to suffer any ship, of whatever nation, to stay at this port, and that these orders they must implicitly obey." To this I replied, that persons in our situation had nothing worse to fear than what they suffered, and that therefore if they did not immediately allow me the liberty of the port, to purchase refreshments, and procure shelter, I would, as soon as the wind would permit, in defiance of all their menaces, and all their force, go and anchor close to the town; that if at last I should find myself unable to compel them to comply with requisitions, the reasonableness of which could not be controverted, I would run the ship aground under their walls, and, after selling our lives as dearly as we could, bring upon them the disgrace of having reduced a friend and ally to so dreadful an extremity. At this they seemed to be alarmed, as our situation alone was sufficient to convince them that I was in earnest, and urged me with great emotion to remain where I was, at least till I had heard again from the Governor: to this, after some altercation, I consented, upon condition that I heard from the Governor before the sea-breeze set in the next day.


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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 630 - 632, 2004
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To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv01-630