19th September 1770
At 2 P.M. the Dutch Governor, and king of this part of the Island, with his attendance, came on board with Mr. Gore (he having left 2 Gentlemen ashore as Hostages). We entertained them at Dinner in the best Manner we could, gave them plenty of good Liquor, made them some considerable presents, and at their going away Saluted them with 9 Guns. In return for these favours they made many fair Promises that we should be immediately supplied with everything we wanted at the same price the Dutch East India Company had it; and that in the morning Buffaloes, Hogs, Sheep, etc., should be down on the beach for us to look at, and agree upon a price. I was not at all at a loss for Interpreters, for both Dr. Solander and Mr. Sporing understood Dutch enough to keep up a Conversation with the Dutchman, and several of the Natives could speak Portuguese, which language 2 or 3 of my people understood.
In the morning I went on shore, accompanied by Mr. Banks and several of the Officers and Gentlemen, to return the King's Visit; but my Chief Business was to see how well they would perform their Promises in regard to the things I wanted. We had not been long ashore before we found that they had promised more than they ever intended to perform; for, instead of finding Buffaloes upon the beach, we did not so much as see one, or the least preparations making for bringing any down, either by the Dutch Factor or the King. The former pretended he had been very ill all night, and told us that he had had a letter from the Governor of Concordia in Timor, acquainting him that a ship (meaning us) had lately passed that Island, and that if she should touch at this, and be in want of anything, he was to supply her; but he was not to suffer her to make any stay, nor to distribute, or leave behind her to be distributed, any valuable presents to the inferior Natives.
This we looked upon to be Afection that hardly answer'd any purpose, unless it was leting us see how the Dutch had insinuated themselves into favour with these people, which never could be his intention. However, both he and the King still promised we should have what we wanted, but pretended the Buffaloes were far in the Country, and could not be brought down before night. With these excuses we were obliged to be satisfied. The King gave us a dinner of boil'd Pork and Rice, served up in Baskets after their manner, and Palm wine to drink; with this, and some of our own Liquor, we fair'd Tolerable well. After we had dined our Servants were called in to pertake of what remain'd, which was more than they could Eat.
Joseph Banks Journal
In the morn we went ashore and proceeded immediately to the house of assembly, a large house which we had yesterday mistaken for the Kings Palace. This as well as 2 or 3 more in the Town or Negree as the Indians call it have been built by the Duch East Indian Company; they are distinguishd from the rest by 2 peices of wood, one at each end of the ridge of the house, resembling cows horns--undoubtedly the thing designd by the Indian who on the 17th made a sign of the mark by which we were to know the town by crossing his fingers, which our Catholick Portugese interpreted into a cross, from whence cheifly we were assur'd that the settlement was originaly Portugese.
In this house of Assembly we met My [n]heer Lange and the Radja A Madocho Lomi Djara attended by many of the Principal people: we told them that we had in the boat an assortment of what few goods we had to truck with and desird leave to bring them ashore which was immediately granted and orders given accordingly. We then attempted to settle the Price of Buffaloes, sheep, hogs, etc. which were to be payd in money, but here Mynheer Lange left us and told us that we must settle that with the natives who would bring down large quantities to the Beach. By this time the morning was pretty far advanc'd and we, resolving not to go on board and eat salt meat when such a profusion of fresh was continualy talkd of, petitiond his majesty that we might have liberty to purchase a small Hog, some rice etc. and employ his subjects to cook them for our dinner. He answerd that if we could eat victuals dressed by his subjects, which he could hardly suppose, he would do himself the honour of entertaining us; we expressd our gratitude and sent immediately on board for liquors.
About 5 O'Clock dinner was ready, consisting of 36 dishes or rather baskets containing alternately Rice and Boild Pork, and 3 earthen ware bowls of Soup or rather the Broth in which the Pork had been boild; these were rangd on the floor and matts laid round them for us to set upon. We were now conducted by turns to a hole in the floor near which stood a man with a basket of water in his hand; here we wash'd our hands and then rang'd ourselves in order round the victuals waiting for the King to set down. We were told however that the custom of the countrey was that the entertainer never sets down to meat with his guests, however if we suspected the victuals to be poisoned he would willingly do it; we suspected nothing and therefore desire'd that all things might go as usual; all then sitting down we eat with good appetites, the Prime Minister and My[n]heer Lange partaking with us. Our wine passd briskly about, the Radja alone refusing to drink with us saying that it was wrong for the master of the feast to be in liquor. The pork was excellent, the Rice as good, the broth not bad, the spoons only which were made of leaves were so small that few of us had patience to eat it: every one however made a hearty dinner and as soon as we had done removd, as the custom it seems was to let the Servants and seamen take our Places. These could not dispach all, but when the women came to take away they forcd them to take away with them all the Pork that was left.
Before dinner Mynheer Lange had mentiond to us a letter which he had in the morn receivd from the Governor of Timor: the particulars of it were now discussd. It acquainted him that a ship had been seen off that Island and had Steerd from thence towards that which we were now upon: in case such ship was to touch there in any distress she was to be supplied with what she wanted but was not to be allowd to make any stay more than was necessary, and was particularly requird not to make any large presents to the inferior People, or to leave any with the Principal ones to be distributed among them after he was gone. This we were told did not at all extend to the Beads or small peices of cloth which we gave the Natives in return for their small civilities, as bringing us palm wine etc. Some of our Gentlemen were of opinion that the whole of this Letter was an imposition but whether it was or not I shall not take upon myself to determine.
In the Evening we had intelligence from our trading place that No Buffelloes or hogs had been brought down, a few sheep only, which were taken away before our people who had sent for money could procure it; some few fouls however were bought and a large quantity of a kind of Syrup made from the Juice of the palm tree, which tho infinitely superior to melasses or treacle sold at a very small price. We complaind to Mynheer Lange. He said that as we had not ourselves been down upon the Beach the Natives were afraid to take money of any one else least it should be false. On this the Captn went immediately down but could see no cattle. While he was gone Mr Lange complaind that our people had yet offerd no gold for any thing; this he said the Islanders were displeasd at who had expected to have gold for their stock.
Posted by Arborfield at 09:44