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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Transactions at Bonthain


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CHAP. XI. Transactions at Bonthain, while the Vessel was waiting for a Wind to carry her to Batavia, with some Account of the Place, the Town of Macassar, and the adjacent Country.

THE next morning at day-break we sailed, and the day following in the afternoon we anchored in Bonthain road with our two guard-boats, which were immediately moored close in to the shore, to prevent the country boats from coming near us, and our boats from going near them. As soon as I arrived at this place, I altered our reckoning. I had lost about eighteen hours, in coming by the west, and the Europeans that we found here having come by the east had gained about six, so that the difference was just a day.

I immediately waited upon the Resident, Mr. Swellingrabel, who spoke English but very imperfectly, and having settled with him all matters relating to money and provisions, a house was allotted me near the sea-side, and close to a little pallisadoed fort of eight guns, the only one in this place, which I converted into an hospital, under the direction of the Surgeon; to this place I immediately sent all the people who were thought incapable of recovering on board, and reserved the rest as a security against accidents. As soon as our people were on shore, a guard of thirty-six private men, two Serjeants, and two Corporals, all under the command of Ensign Le Cerf, was set over them; and none of them were suffered to go more than thirty yards from the hospital, nor were any of the country people allowed to come near enough to fell them any thing; so that our men got nothing of them, but through the hands of the Dutch soldiers, who abused their power very shamefully. When they saw any of the country people carrying what they thought our invalids would purchase, they first took it away, and then asked the price: what was demanded signified little, the soldier gave what he thought proper, which was seldom one fourth of the value; and if the countryman ventured to express any discontent, he gave him immediately an earnest of perfect satisfaction, by flourishing his broad-sword over his head; this was always sufficient to silence complaint, and send the sufferer quietly away; after which the soldier sold what he had thus acquired for profit of sometimes more than a thousand per Cent. This behaviour was so cruel to the natives, and so injurious to us, that I ventured to complain of it to the Resident, and the other two Gentlemen, Le Cerf and the Secretary. The Resident, with becoming spirit, reprimanded the soldiers; but it produced so little effect that I could not help entertaining suspicions that le Cerf connived at these practises, and shared the advantages which they produced. I suspected him also of selling arrack to my people, of which I complained, but without redress, and I know that his slaves were employed to buy things at the market which his wife afterwards sold to us for more than twice as much as they cost. The soldiers were indeed guilty of many other irregularities: it was the duty of one of them by rotation to procure the days provision for the whole guard, a service which he constantly performed by going into the country with his musquet and a bag; nor was the honest providetor always content with what the bag would contain, for one of them, without any ceremony, drove down a young buffalo that belonged to some of the country people, and his comrades not having wood at hand to dress it when it was killed, supplied themselves by pulling down some of the pallisadoes of the fort. When this was reported to me, I thought it so extraordinary that I went on shore to see the breach, and found the poor black people repairing it.

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 638 - 640, 2004
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