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Endeavour journal, 19 September 1770 (Series 03.757)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Savu'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 19 September 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 19. 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, &c . 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 &c . 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 &c . 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.