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Endeavour journal, 10, 20 October 1770 (Series 03.778)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Batavia Road'; 'Batavia'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 10, 20 October 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 10. After breakfast this morning we all went ashore in the Pinnace and immediately went to the house of Mr Leigth, the only English man of any Credit Resident in Batavia. We found him a very Young Man, under twenty, who had lately arrivd here and succeeded his uncle a Mr Burnet in his Business which was pretty considerable, more so we were told than our New Comer had either money or credit to manage. He soon gave us to understand that he could be of very little service to us either in introductions, as the Duch people he said were not fond of him, or in Money affairs as he had began trade too lately to have any more than what was employd in getting more. He however after having kept us to dine with him offerd his assistance in shewing us the method of living in Batavia and Assisting us in setling in such a manner as we should think fit. In order to this here were two alternatives; either to go to the Hotel, a kind of Inn kept by order of goverment where it seems all Merchant strangers are obligd to reside, Paying ½ PC. for warehouseroom for their Goods which the master of the house is Obligd to find for them: we however having come in a Kings Ship were free from that Obligation and might live where ever we pleas'd after having ask'd leave of the Council which was never refus'd. We might therefore if we chose it take a house in any part of the town and bringing our own servants ashore keep it, which would be much Cheaper than living at the Hotel provided we had any body on whoom we could depend to buy in our provisions; but this not being the Case as we had none with us who understood the Malay Language we concluded that the Hotel would be the best for us, certainly the least troublesome and may be not vastly the most expensive. Accordingly we went there, bespoke beds and slept there at night.

The next Morning we agreed with the keeper of the House whose name was Van Heys the Rates we should pay for living as follows: Each person for Lodging and eating two Rix dollars or 8s pr Diem; for this he agreed as we were five of us who would probably have many visitants from the Ship to keep us a seperate table: for each stranger we were to pay one Rix dollar 4s for dinner, and another for supper and bed if he staid ashore: we were to have also for selves and freinds Tea, Coffee, Punch, and Pipes and tobacco as much as we could destroy, in short every thing the house afforded except wine and beer which we were to pay for at the following rates:

s d

Claret..... 39 Stivers 3/3

Hock..... 1 Ryxr 4/

Lisbon...... 39..... 3/3

Sweet wine 39..... 3/3

Madera..... 1 Rupee 2/6

Beer..... 1 Rupee 2/6

Spa Water.....1 Ryxr 4/-

Besides this we were to pay for our Servants ½ a rupee 1/3 a day each.

For these rates, which we soon found to be more than double the common charges of Boarding and lodging in the town, we were furnishd with a Table which under the appearance of Magnificence was wretchedly coverd; indeed Our dinners and suppers consisted of one course each, the one of fifteen the other of thirteen dishes, of which when you came to examine seldom less than 9 or 10 were of Bad Poultrey roasted, boild, fryd, stewd &c . &c . and so little concience had they in serving up dishes over and over again that I have seen the same identical roasted Duck appear upon table 3 times as a roasted duck before he found his way into the fricassee, from whence he was again to Pass into forcemeat.

This treatment however was not without remedy: we found that it was the constant custom of the house to supply strangers at their first arrival with every article as bad as possible, which if they through good nature or indolence put up with it was so much the better for the house; if not it was easy to amend their treatment by degrees till they were satisfied. On this discovery we made frequent remonstrances and amended our fare considerably, so much that had we had any one among us who understood this kind of wrangling I am convinc'd we might have liv'd as well as we could have desird.

Being now a little settled I hird a small house next door to the hotel on the Left hand for which I paid 10 Rixd 2£/ a month; here Our books &c were lodg'd but here we were far from private, Every Duchman almost that came by running in and asking what we had to sell, for it seems that Hardly any individual had ever been at Batavia before who had not something or other to sell. I also hird 2 Carriages which are a kind of open Chaises made to hold two people and drove by a man setting on a Coachbox, for each of these I paid 2 Rxr 8s/ a day by the Month; and now being fairly settled we sent for Tupia ashore to us who had till now remaind on board on account of his Illness which was of the Bilious kind, and for which he had all along refusd to take any medecines. On his arrival his spirits which had long been very low were instantly raisd by the sights which he saw, and his boy Tayeto who had always been perfectly well was allmost ready to run mad. Houses, Carriages, streets, in short every thing were to him sights which he had often heard describd but never well understood, so he lookd upon them all with more than wonder, almost made with the numberless novelties which diverted his attention from one to the other he danc'd about the streets examining every thing to the best of his abilities. One of Tupia's first observations was the various dresses which he saw worn by different people; on his being told that in this place every different nation wore their own countrey dress He desird to have his, on which South Sea cloth was sent for on board and he cloathd himself according to his taste. We were now able to get food for him similar to that of his own countrey and he grew visibly better every day, so that I doubted not in the least of his perfect recovery as our stay at this place was not likely to be very short.

Ever since our arrival at this place Dr Solander and myself had apply'd to be introduc'd to the General or Governor on one of his Publick or Council days. We had been put off by various foolish excuses and at last were plainly told that as we could have no business with him we could have no reason to desire that favour. But as we had often press'd the thing this as an excuse did not satisfie us so I went myself to the Shabandar, who is also master of the Ceremonies, in order to ask his reasons for refusing so trifling a request; but was surprizd at being very politely receivd and told that the very next morning he would attend us, which he did and we were

20. introduc'd and had the honour of conversing for a few minutes with his high Mightiness who however was very polite to us.

Ever since our first arrival here we had been universaly told of the extreme unwholesomeness of the place which we, they said, should severely feel on account of the freshness and heal[t]hiness of our countenances. This threat however we did not much regard thinking ourselves too well season'd to variety of Climates to fear any, and trusting more than all to an invariable temperance in every thing, which we had as yet unalterably kept during our whole residence in the warm latitudes so had small reason to doubt our resolutions of keeping for the future. Before the end of this month however we were made sensible of our Mistake. Poor Tupias broken constitution felt it first and he grew worse and worse every day. Then Tayeto his boy was attackd by a cold and i[n]flammation on his lungs; then my Servants Peter and James and myself had Intermitting fevers and Dr Solander a constant nervous one; in short every one on shore and Many on board were ill, cheifly of intermittents, Occasiond no doubt by the lowness of the countrey and the numberless dirty Canals which intersect the town in all directions.

Some days before this as I was walking the streets with Tupia a man totaly unknown to me ran out of his house and eagerly acosting me askd if the Indian whoom he saw with me had not been at Batavia before. On my declaring that he had not and asking the reason of so odd a question he told me that a year and a half before Mr De Bougainville had been at Batavia with two French ships, and that with him was an Indian so like this that he had imagind it to be the identical same person had not I informd him to the contrary. On this I enquir'd and found that Mr De Bougainville who was sent out by the French to the Malouine or Fauklands Islands (in order, as they said here, to sell them to the Spanyards) Had gone from thence to the River Plate and afterwards having passd into the South Seas maybee to other Spanish ports, where he and all his people had got an immense deal of Money in new Spanish Dollars, and afterwards came here Across the South seas in which passage he discoverd divers lands unknown before and from one of them brought the Indian in question.

This at once cleard up the account given us by the Indians of Otahite of the two ships which had been there ten Months before us, V.I, p. 164 of this Journal. These were undoubtedly the ships of Mr De Bougainville, and the Indian Otourrou the Brother of Rette Cheif of Hidea. Even the story of the woman was known here - she it seems was a French woman who Followd a young man sent out in the character of Botanist in mens cloaths. As for the Article of the colours, the Indians might easily be Mistaken or Mr De Bougainville if he had traded in the S. Sea under Spanish colours might chuse to go quite across with them. As for the Iron which most misled us that he undoubtedly bought in Spanish America. Besides the Botanist mentiond above these ships were furnish'd with one or more Draughtsmen so that they probably have done some part of our work for us.