A Voyage to the East Indies in the Ship Duke of Grafton

"A Voyage to the East Indies in the Ship Duke of Grafton" is an eighteenth century manuscript detailing the 1779-81 voyage of the Duke of Grafton from Britain to India and back again. This manuscript includes detailed descriptions of Madeira, Gorée, Cape Town, Madras, Bombay, Surat, St. Helena, and the perils of life at sea. This manuscript's provenance and authorship are unknown; Lewis & Clark acquired this manuscript from Bernard Quaritch Ltd. in 2017. More materials relating to the 1779-81 voyage of the Duke of Grafton can be found in the India Office Records and Private Papers collection at the British Library. A "flip book" version of this collection is available here.

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A Voyage to the East Indies: Inside Front Cover

I do not know the history of this book, but think I recollect my father saying it was a record kept by one of the Pierce family of his voyage to India in 1779. I have read it but do not find any name or reference giving a clue. It is interesting as showing the hardships endured by travellers in those days, now over 150 years ago.

Richard Pierce left England in Command of the H.E.I. Coy’s “Halsewell,” in 1779. See page 128 of “East Indiamen The East India Coy’s Maritime Service,” by Sir Evan Cotton (1949)
–––– . . . ––––
Master Mariner

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A Voyage to the East Indies in the Ship Duke of Grafton

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The Duke of Grafton, East Indiaman. Captn Saml. Bull Commander, left Portsmouth on Sunday the 7th of March 1779 with Twelve other Indiamen, under the convoy of Sir Edwd Hughes Knt. in the Superbe 74 Gunship & eight Men of War and sloops, Transports & other vessels to the number of Forty sail or upwards. We proceeded down Channel with a fair wind to Plymouth, off which place we were joined by the Belleisle Man of War, and the Nymph sloop of Eighteen Guns, which latter had been dispatched from Portsmouth a few days before, to acquaint the Belleisle of the Admiral’s Intention to sail speedily. The Grafton was very deeply laden, having been freighted considerably beyond her Tonnage. Her ship’s company consisted of 120 men for the most part Landsmen many of whom had never before seen the Sea. People unacquainted with those affairs would wonder, why so easy a Service, where there is more Pay, and less danger than in the Navy, should be so destitute of good Seamen, but they must be inform’d that after a man in the capacity of a common sailor on board an Indiaman has been absent from his native country and Friends for the space of two or perhaps three Years, when he has overcome the Dangers of the Sea, a long Voyage, the Scurvy, Inclemencies of foreign climates, and [end page 5]

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a numerous Train of assailing Evils; immediately on his return to England, before he has seen his relations or even had an Oportunity of informing them of his return, he is dragg’d from his Ship perhaps emaciated by disease, and confined to the Hold of one of his Majesty’s Tenders, there to reexperience the shocking miseries he flatter’d himself he was freed from. Happy would it be for those Men, and for the Navy, and Kingdom in general, could some Expedient be hit on to man his Majestys Navy in a more respectable Manner, and explode a Practice disgraceful to the Service and shocking to Humanity.) There were likewise on board two Companies of the 73rd Regt of Foot or Sd. M[?]sends Highlanders, and twenty five of the Company’s Recruits, who were all (except the Officers) stowed on the Orlope Deck; betwixt the after part of the after & fore part of the fore Hatchway. So that with those before mention’d, and nine Passengers the Ship was uncommonly crouded. We had a continual fair Wind & fine Weather till we got clear of the Land, which was three Days after our Sailing. At this Time Hostilities were eagerly carried on betwixt England, & France by Sea, and with great success on our side; our Cruizers [end page 6]

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having taken a vast Number of their Martinique, St Domingo and other West Indiamen, with seven or eight very valuable East Indiamen, to revenge which, it was reported & not without gaining Credit, that they had collected a pow’rful Fleet to intercept us in our Passage. This Scheme might have been easily effected, & if attended with Success (as the Weather was very favourable for a Cruizer in the Bay) would not only have procur’d them Honour, but have amply repaid their numerous Losses. In the Chops of the Channell we fell in with the Courageux, Lord Mulgrave, on a Cruize, who join’d, & proceeded with the Fleet. We pursued our Course without Interruption or Loss of any Part of the Fleet, for A Week; At the End of which we parted from our Convoy in a Fog, & was left a single, comparatively defenceless Ship, which would have fall’n a prey to a frigate, or almost any Adventrous Privateer. The Perturbation we were in is not easily to be described, since we had Nothing to expect but a Visit to France. Our Ship carried Twenty, nine Pounders on the Gun-Deck, and six, four pounders on the Quarter Deck, but then we were so deep and unwieldy, that a swiftsailing light Ship, might easily have Kept in [end page 7]

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such a Position as to prevent us from bringing our Guns to bear upon her. In this Dilemma we had one Circumstance to console ourselves with viz. the having such a Number of Soldiers on board, that would have dealt destruction to a vessel that might have attempted to board us, a Method much depended on by small Privateers The Soldiers were station’d on every Part of the Ship, and if a small vessel appear’d they conceal’d themselves, by lying flat on the Deck till within Musquet Shot, but on the Contrary if a Ship of Force superior to ourselves came in Sight, we station’d the redcoats so that they might be seen at a considerable Distance, hoisted a Man of War’s pendant, and fix’d wooden Guns, so as to make us appear like a fifty Gun Ship. Indeed we cut a very formidable Figure. We parted from the Fleet in the direct Track of the Cruizers, and for several Days after our Separation had very little Wind, and that little, foul; At last a fair and fresh Breeze sprung up, which carried us along briskly. We now daily saw a Number of Vessels, which we brought too, & most of them proved to be dutch. Here we had an Oportunity of observing the cunning & policy of those [end page 8]

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People, who under the Mask of Neutrality, drain the world of its wealth, & accumulate to themselves an Immensity of Riches, whilst other Kingdoms are wantonly disporting with the Lives and Properties of their Inhabitants. These vessels generally go unarm’d to any Part of the Globe, the Dutch having Artifice enough to extricate themselves from any Kind of difficulty which may happen … After having separated ten days, we had a little Engagement with a small Brig Privateer, which afterwards prov’d to be english. The Captain of her show’d himself that Day to be a brave Man, by engaging a Ship, really of Force much superior to himself (and apparently still greater). She mounted Sixteen, six & four pounders, and carried fifty five Men, to whom, upon seeing us, the Captain remonstrated on the Improbability of Success; but they turning a deaf Ear on his Harangue, he made a courageous resolution to bear down, & if we prov’d an Enemy, take us or sink by our Side … Amid all this Prospect of danger, the daily Confusion which reign’d in the Ship is undescribable. Upon seeing a sail which was generally at Day Light, the Officers Cabins were all knocked down with their Chests, Trunks & Baggage and Hammocks & Cots carried upon Deck. Perhaps by the [end page 9]

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Evening when we were reducing things to their proper Order, & thinking ourselves secure for that Night, another Sail would appear, and put us again in the same Embarrassment. This Scene was continued till we arriv’d in sight of Porto Santo, an island belonging to the Portuguese situate on Lat ___ Long. ___ This island appears like a Number of Pyramids rising in oblique directions, each terminating in an almost Acute Apex. It was formerly barren, but is now in some Parts fertile & cover’d with a pleasant verdure. Several of the Inhabitants of Madeira, have Plantations here which produce Grapes, Figs, and all the tropical Fruits. Within Sight of this Island are several others all very contiguous, call’d the Deserters; each of which appears to be an entire Rock void of Soil or Inhabitants, but on our arrival at Madeira from which they may be plainly seen, we were inform’d that those Islands are made a kind of Habitation, for those Criminals, whose Offences not meriting death, doom them to be transported hither for Life, or an appointed Term of Years. One Part of them is habitable, & that they cultivate with utensils given them for that Purpose & sow a Quantity of Grain, with which they are supplied when put on Shore according to the Heinousness of their crimes. This must be a [end page 10]

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Bearing SbW. 3 Leagues. Latitude 32º • 50' N. Longitude W

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Bearing SSE 4 Leagues. Latitude 32º • 36' N Longitude

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miserable Existence indeed, and the unfortunate Innocent who falls a Victim to the Bareness of Prejudice, the Incapacity of Judgement or the Caprice of a malicious Magistrate must most severely feel the Horrors around him. There is not even room for Contemplation or Study, the menacing Aspect of the Rocks striking the Soul Aghast with Horror, and the perpetual Gloom denouncing it the residence of Death. The Wretch who with difficulty escapes the cruel Inquisition to be sent here, has but little good Fortune to boast. Tis true he preserves his Life, but every sublunary Enjoyment is alienated from his Situation … We were becalm’d off these Islands and could not reach Madeira tho but a short Distance from it, till the next Day, when we came to an Anchor in Funchale Roads on the South West Side of the Island . . We roll’d prodigiously going in, there being a great Swell, And carried away our Fore Top Mast, & came to an Anchor, with it down. We found lying here The Tiger Privateer of Bristol, And a West Indiaman who had a Letter of Marque, but none of our Fleet had yet Arriv’d. The Glasgow Frigate came in a few Days after us … [end page 13]

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The Island of Madeira lies in Lat. 32•20 N Long is about seventeen Leagues long & nine broad. It has seven Small Bays & Harbours but Ships generally lie in Funchal Roads, a very unsafe Place in some certain Seasons of the Year, when it blows hard upon the Land. The Island is mountainous and rocky having but a very superficial Station of Mould, yet is generally Cover’d with verdure. From the deficiency of Mould, the Island cannot be imagind to produce Grain in large Quantities, tho’ there are some Parts, different from the rest, which yield tolerable Crops of Wheat, Barley, Peases, Beans and a Kind of Lentil for the Cattle. But the principal production of the Island, & what alone renders it an Object of Attention is the very excellent Wine, which grows on every Part of it. True, Unadulterated Madeira Wine, is an excellent Cordial very far superior to any Wine produced in any of the Canary or Cape de Verd Islands. Contrary to almost all other Kinds of Wine it improves by Heat & and has been recovered after being Almost Vinegar by exposing the Cask to the Sun. None of the Merchants who sell it at Madeira possess plantations on the Island; it is produced in the Vineyards of poor People in small Quantities and brought to Town in dried Hog Skins. [end page 14]

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The Merchants mix it together in their Wine Vaults according to the Quality of each Skin. It is a very difficult Matter to get genuine Madeira, it being a general Custom to Adulterate it even on the Island, with a Spirit distill’d there from the Vine Stalks call’d by the Portuguese Argodent; And if we consider the Changes it passes thro’ in England, we may conclude that but a small portion of Madeira comes under that Title. Their Vineyards have a very agreeable Appearance, And the Island in general exhibits a very romantic one. The Tops of some of the Mountains are almost inaccessible, yet they say there are Wild Hogs which make them their Constant Residence. Madeira does not abound in a great Vanity of Beasts, I heard of no wild ones except the Hog. Their Horses are remarkably small, & so sure footed, that they climb up the Hills with surprizing Celerity. The Beasts for Provision are as in other Countries, but not in great Plenty and poor. The delectable Situation of this Island admits the Growth of any vegetable or Fruit of other Countries and in excellent Perfection. The english Merchants’ Gardens are delightful and to a Native of a more northern Latitude they appear redoubly so. Here are Walks lined with Myrtle and large Groves and Bowers of that Tree, enchanting to the Eye. [end page 17]

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Oranges and Lemons on their native Trees, interspers’d with Shrubs and Flowers; the Whole wears a diversified Fare of unequal variety. They have very fine Springs of Water issuing from the Mountains said to excell any in the World. The town of Funchall is capacious, but irregularly built; all the Streets except one or Two disagreeably narrow. Their Buildings are old and wretched. There are several Churches of which that consecrated to St Antonio is the best, both with respect to Size and Ornamental Possessions. It stands on a Square Piece of Ground, in the Middle of the principal street without any Wall or Pallisadoes round it; & only a Pavement of broad Stones extending a few feet round [illegible] & the same with all their Churches to distinguish them from any other building. The Body of St. Antonio’s Church contains three Altars, each of which are pretty well ornamented, and instill a Kind of sacred Awe, even whilst we abhor the Superstition of their Adorers. These Altars form three Sides of a Square. On one of them before the Image of Christ are Wax Tapers many Inches in Diameter, & several smaller ones before Saints According to their respective Degrees of Elevation. Many [end page 18]

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other emblematical Ornaments are bestowed on all three of them. The other Part of the Church is open for the performance of Acts of Devotion, Confession, etc. They have no Churchyard except the consecrated pavement beforementioned. They bury chiefly in Churches, adjoining to each of which is a Bonehouse Whither the Bodies are carried after lying a few days, to make room for others, who would otherwise too much crowd the Church. The most commodious Building here is the Jesuits’ College, consecrated since the Abolition of that Order amongst the Portuguese into dwelling Houses etc. There are few Portuguese People of Property on the Island, English Merchants who have been settled here many Years, seem to have every thing in their Power except Religion . . Fish used to be carried thither before the commencement of the American War but that Trade being obstructed, the poor portuguese who scarcely eat anything else are inconceivably distrest. No Country or People said to be civilized, bear or deserve a worse Character than the Portuguese natives of Madeira; Whether owing to Tuition or Instinct I cannot tell but true it is that no Country extends them in Thievery or other Knavish [end page 19]

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Practices, You would expect a different Treatment from their Appearance, no Shoe, or Peruke maker appearing abroad without his Bag Wig and Sword. They are base and groveling in their Servitiude, affected in their outward Behaviour and jealous & vindictive in their Hearts. . . . .
The Streets of Funchall are pitted with sharp stones, [illegible] are very troublesome to a Stranger. The stoutest Person not Accustomed to that Kind of Walking would soon be lamed by them. Yet the Inhabitants do not regard them, and the Horses gallop over them without perceiving an Inconvenience. . A Surf generally beats on the Beach opposite the Town & incommodes the Landing, wherefore People generally go to a Place some distance from the Town where are Stairs cut in a Rock. But Boats with Goods, Water, Provisions etc. must come to & go off from the Beach, where they are sometimes overset. European Boats never go there; the Portuguese have strong ones built on Purpose. The Military Force on the Island is trifling; It is (I think) garrison’d with Five Hundred Men. They have several Bat= [end page 20]

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teries, upon some of which are large Cannon. At a little more than a Cable’s length from the Island, is a square Rock, the irregular Interstices of which, are filled up, and a pretty strong Battery erected on it. When it blows hard from the Sea, small vessels retreat behind this Rock & are in smooth Water. They call it the Lee Rock. There is likewise an old Castle situate on an Eminence at the South End of the Town, but I believe there are no Guns in it. They have a Play House on the Island and a Company of Performers, who during our stay there performd several Operas, but – – – –

“Harsh was the Voice, th unmodulated Tongue
in sounds discordant Cupid’s Empire sung” – —

There are several Monasteries on the Island, but poorly indow’d; those I visited, were full of a set of pitiable wretches, none Younger than thirty, seemingly no more sensible of the Embarassment of their Situations, than a confin’d Brute. There was nothing in their Faces which bespoke Sensibility, Joy, or Sorrow . . . . . [end page 21]

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We reach’d Madeira on the first of April, and supplied ourselves with many Necessaries, the Price of which we knew would be enhanc’d by the Arrival of the Fleet. Three Days after us the Hyæna Frigate arriv’d, who separated the same Time with us & and the 5th day the Admiral and all the Fleet arriv’d, & we lay there together till the 25th of April when the Fleet being supplied with what necessaries they wanted, we sail’d in Company with the whole Fleet. The Admiral steer’d for the Coast of Africa, and on the 8th of May we sail’d round Cape de Verd, and work’d into Goree Bay. Here we expected to have been opposed by the French and accordingly the Admiral made the Disposition for an Attack, but we were Surprised by seeing english Colours hoisted for the French apprehensive of having a visit paid them by some english Ships, had retir’d from this Island to Senegal a Town situate on the River Gambia, about 2[?] Miles to the NE. of which they had taken Possession & carried thither the principal Part of their Effects. Four small vessels were then in the Bay with their third [end page 22]

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Bearing SW 3 Miles Latitude 14º • 20' N Longitude.

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and last Lading on board and were made Prizes of, by the Admiral. It is reported that Sr. Edwd. Hughes before he left England, had certain Intelligence of this Maneuver of the French, if so he neglected an Oportunity of distressing an Enemy, for Senegal lying so far to windward of Goree, makes the passage from Goree thither tedious, but Sr. Edwd. might if he had chosen, sail’d directly from Madeira to Senegal and taken it & proceeded along the Coast to Goree without causing any Delay. Both these Settlements might have been as easily taken as one, for the French had not Force sufficient to have Repell’d a Quarter of Sr. Edward’s Fleet . . . . The Island of Goree lies in Lat. 1’4 “ 3’0 N Long ___ and is in itself a very insignificant Spot being about two Miles long & scarcely so much as that broad. The Fort stands on the highest Part of the Island, & is accessible but by one Path. It has a Number of Cannon and Commands the whole Island. It is separated from the main Land of Africa by a narrow Gut of about three or four Miles in Breadth, & is of so much importance to the Slave Trade, that whatever Power is in Possession of this Island is Master of the Trade. Was it [end page 25]

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not for this it would be an object unworthy Contention. It is inhabited chiefly by a Mixture of Europeans & Africans, who have intermarried, and produced a Breed different from both, and partaking of either. The Fortification is pretty strong and might if well garrison’d hold out a siege for a considerable Time, but so fatal are some seasons of the Year to Europeans in this Part of the World, that few escape the annual Devastation. The Heat is very intense & the winds from off the Neighboring Continent, are exceedingly unsalutary in what they call the healthy Part of the Year. How dreadful then must it be in the Rainy Season, when they are in a Continual Deluge for Months together, The Air being dense, and moist, consequently unfit for Respiration. On the first Day of our Anchoring in the roads we lost a Man, whose death (I presume) was hastn’d by the unwholesome Air, and Land Breezes. During our Stay in Goree Bay, the Boat going on shore for Land on the Main I took the oportunity of going in her, & carrying a fowling Price, amus’d myself with shooting Birds along the Beach of which these were great Plenty. But for this I suffer’d, [end page 26]

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severely in the Afternoon & on the next Day, for betwixt the burning Heat of the Sun, the Fatigue & Land Air, I was seized with a violent Head ach attended by a Fever, which did not leave me for a considerable Time. I penetrated a little into the Country, which I found cover’d with a Kind of Underwood all in Verdure, & form’d a pretty Landscape. There were Cows, and other tame Cattle; Plenty of Game, such as Hares and Partridges peculiar to the Country, Pheasants etc. but all so wild, that it was a difficult Matter to get within Gunshot of them. The Natives are of a large size, and exceedingly well limb’d, they go almost naked, & are exceedingly expert at catching Fish which they do by spearing. . On the Morning of the 13th of May we sail’d from Goree Bay forming a Fleet of seven Men of War, and thirteen Indiamen The other Ships of War, Transports etc. remain’d on the Coast intending (we imagin’d) to go against Senegal. The Coast of Africa is generally disagreeable to sailors, for squalls of wind sometimes come so very suddenly as not to give Time enough for the Sails to be taken in. Sometimes they are Accompanied with Rain, Thunder & Lightning & call’d [end page 27]

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Tornados. We tho not in the proper Season for them, felt one which came on, just as we were going to hoist the Jolly Boat in, but the sudden Gust prevented our doing it, & we tow’d the Boat with two Men in her, when going surprisingly swift thro’ a great Sea … The Admiral kept very much to the Eastward, subjecting us thereby to Calm, and Rain, retarding our Passage and hazarding the Lives of our Men. But we will suppose he did to the best of his Knowledge. . On the 17th of May being then in the Latitude of 8 North. We lost one of our Quarter Masters after an Illness of a few Days
19th A Ship under danish Colours saluted the Admiral. & join’d the Fleet.
21st We saw another sail to the Eastward. The weather squally with Rain, the Inconvenience of which we particularly felt, being a deep, lumber’d Ship. The Soldiers in a bad Situation, being sadly affected by a Fever which prevail’d throughout the Ship. The Heat and Moisture of the Air made us apprehensive of its becoming malignant. The Patient was siez’d with a Pain in his Head and Back Nausea, full and quick Pulse, burning Heat on the Skin [end page 28]

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and soon became delirious. The Fever generally arriv’d to its full Height in six or seven Days, leaving the Patient in a languid, and almost lifeless situation.
24th A sergeant and private of the Regulars departed this Life, the former in the state before mention’d & the latter almost suddenly. The ship was kept as clean as possible, very often smok’d, & the Beams wash’d with Vinegar.
25th The Weather continued very rough. We left the Body of the Fleet at about the Distance of 2 Leagues. . A Soldier died.
26th Another Soldier died, who had been long ill of bilious Complaints. The Weather still unsettled, excessive hot and rainy.
29th Complaints increas’d, the Boatswain several petty officers, and a great Number of the Ship’s Company excessively ill. The continued bad Weather for several Days past has scarcely left a Man in Health.
30th It began to amend. We found the Fleet reduced to thirteen Sail, Seven Men of War & Six Indiamen; the other Ships having laid hold of the Oportunity of separating, during the late bad Weather to avoid the detention always occasiond by a Number of ships sailing together. The Grafton sail’d extremely heavy, and having such a [end page 29]

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Quantity of dead Weight viz. Iron, Steel etc. in her Bottom she roll’d very deep, and return’d which such violence as carried away Masts, Yards, Rigging etc. every Day.
June 4th. We saw a sail standing to the SE. but the Admiral took no notice of her. Mrs. Brown, Widow of the late Srgt died on the 6th. She had been inconsolable ever since the Loss of her Husband. A little Orphan surviv’d but with no other Prospect than of following her Parents. The Fever had been abating for several Days, but was succeeded by a Complaint no less terrible, the Flux, with which a Number of Soldiers were seized at the same Time, & others adding hourly to them. The Ship being so much out of Trim could scarcely keep up with the Fleet, and the Men constantly employ’d in endeavouring to trim her, crowding sail etc. were terribly fatigu’d.
11th. An Old Soldier who was recovering from the late Fever, fell from the Ship’s Bow into the Sea. We were going with a fresh Breeze, but hove all a back lower’d the Boat down and pick’d him up. When he was brought on Board, every Means was tried to recover him, but in vain, tho’ we continued our Endeavors many Hours. Being so much emaciated, and weaken’d by his Disorder, he was dead [end page 30]

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in all probability, almost as soon as he reach’d the water, and his Body floated like a piece of wood.
14th The little Child left by the late Mrs. Brown, departed this Life. The Flux became almost general equally severe amongst Soldiers and Sailors.
15th In the Morning we found our Main Top Mast sprung but as it would admit of repairing, The Carpenter began upon it instantly; but as soon as we could carry sail upon it, we carried away our Fore Mast. Thus situated, with few Men on board and those sick, we made a Signal to speak the Admiral, told him our Situation, and begg’d Assistance. He sent the Eagle Captn. Reddale a 64 Gunship, who put on board us, twelve good Seamen and four Carpenters; he likewise at Captn. Bull’s request took us in tow. Presently after a fresh Breeze sprang up, & the Eagle being an excellent Sailor ran with us at such a rate, that the next Morning at break of Day the Fleet were out of Sight a stern, but coming up some Time after, the Admiral made the Signal to shorten sail.
18th A Soldier died.
19th Another Soldier died. The Flux grew terrible; People continued to be every Day seized with it, & they in whom it’s Violence was a little Subsided, remain’d in a helpless [end page 31]

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and miserable Situation. Ship’s Diet is badly calculated for this Disorder, & other things cannot be procur’d for such a Number.
21st. By a Calculation we found our Water would run short, at the Quantity daily expended, Wherefore the People were put to an Allowance of Three Pints PDay. We now saw every Day a Number of Birds about the Ship, & not being far from the Coast of Brazil, it was the general Wish that the Admiral would steer for Rio Janeiro on that Coast, as he was acquainted that there was a great Number of sick in the Fleet, many of whose Lives might perhaps be saved by such a step. It was the Winter Season off the Cape, & he well knew, we must meet with Hurricanes in the Months of June and July, whereas had he gone to Rio Janeiro, the whole Fleet might have lain there, & refresh’d till those Months were expired, when he would have fine Weather to run to the Cape. This would have occasion’d no delay, as it was necessary for him to lay some where or other two Months, to arrive in proper Season on the Coast of Coromandell … On the Morning of the 22nd. we saw the Island of Trinidada bearing SW five Leagues and the Rocks of Martin Vas SbE[?]E. about three Leagues, and a ship under Swedish Colours. This Island appears to be a lofty irregular Rock, it being impossible to discover the [end page 32]

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Bearing SW. 3 Leagues. Latitude. Longitude

The Rocks of MARTIN VAS within 3 Leagues of Trinidada
Bearing NE 2 Leagues. Latitude Longitude.

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least sign of Herbage at any distance. Yet some Part of it is cover’d with verdure & there are a number of Bushes and low Trees on the Island; Plenty of white wild Hogs & perhaps Goats There is likewise a spring of water, but it is difficult to be procur’d on Account of Rocks which surround the Island so that no Boats can come on shore. Nevertheless several of our Indiamen have attempted to get off Water and Fire wood, & have succeeded by rafting, but they were obliged to roll every thing in to the Water, and evade backwards and forwards. I have heard it said that the Portuguese had once a Garison here of 300 Men, but the Face of the Island contradicts it. The Rocks of Martin Vas, are about two Leagues distant from Trinidada, and I believe, have never been trod on since their Discovery. . When we were off this Island the Admiral tantaliz’d us very much, for changing his Course suddenly he steer’d right down for the Coast of Brazil, for about an Hour, when he tackd and stood on its old Course again. But he only meant to go to leeward of the Island.
24th. A Soldier died who had been recovering from the Flux. The Weather for the last week very fine.
July 1st. One of the Boys standing on the Poop across a Rope, the ship took a sudden Rowl and jerk’d him overboard, where he sunk immediately. The Men even now in a very deplorable State, having no particular Complaint but extreme Weakness. [end page 35]

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A lingering Flux attended some of them but not to a violent Degree. In one Part or other of the Ship, a Man was fainting all Day long. On the 6th. our Armourer died. 7th. one of the Soldiers died. 9th. In the Night it came on to blow very hard, and towards the Morning we had a very heavy Gale of Wind. Two Men in the Night fell from the Yards into the Sea, when it run Mountains high, and no Assistance could possibly be given them. At seven in the Morning we saw five Sail of the Fleet several Leagues distant, and at Noon lost sight of them, so that we were once more a single Ship. The Gale continued with a large heavy Swell, which made the Ship strain and labour amazingly. The Ports were caulk’d, and every Crevice shut up which could possibly admit water.
11th. The Armourer’s Mate died. The Gale continued & no ships in sight.
13.th One of the Company’s Recruits died. The Scurvy began to become troublesome amongst us, and as fresh Air was shut out, & water constantly shipping, whereby not only the Men themselves, but their Beds, and Bedding were made wet, we expected it very severely before we made the Land. . The Gale continued to the 18th when it became moderate. 20th. Two of the Soldiers and a great Number ill of the Scurvy. . . . .
21st. One of the Soldiers died. . . . . . . [end page 36]

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25th, Captn. Bull open’d his private Instructions, which he had receiv’d from Sr. Edwd. Hughes relative to separation, and found the Rendezvous to be at the Cape of good Hope. Still a fresh Gale, & the Ship was so far to the Westward as to forbid all hopes of getting to the Cape for a fortnight. We remain’d in the same Latitude for three Weeks but contrary winds prevented our running down our Longitude. We had seen large Flights of Birds every Day for some Time.
Augst. 1 The Soldiers were almost all incapable of any kind of duty great Numbers of Men being confin’d to their Beds by the Scurvy. The Ship’s Company were likewise affected but not in so great a Degree. It is amazing how fluctuating the Spirits are of a Person in this Disease. Clouds often appear on the Horizon like Land, which being what they ardently wish’d for, they frequently call’d out Land when it was not so. Hearing the Report, the poor Wretches below, from themselves invigorated and endeavour’d to get on Deck to look at it. But when they found their Expectations disappointed they sunk into the contrary Extreme, & some have been so far gone in those Langours as to be pronounc’d dead. 6th. One of the soldiers died in the Scurvy. On the 7th the joyful Discovery of Land was made. In the Morning it blew fresh, but in the Evening [end page 37]

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The Breeze fail’d us, and left us off the Land in almost a Calm It is rather a dangerous Place to work into in the Night, but a gentle Breeze springing up, we fired Guns, for Light to be hoisted on Penguin Island, which was accordingly done, and we got into Table Bay. There we found four of the Indiamen at an Anchor, who had likewise parted Company but arriv’d before us. The Admiral and three other Ships were in False Bay and within a week they all arriv’d, nothing material happening to them except the Loss of a Topmast or two. They had all been sickly during the Passage, the Men of War, particularly amongst whom the Scurvy made dreadful Havock. The Burford Man of War had buried upwards of seventy Men and three Times that Number incapable of doing their Duty. The Resolution Indiaman had been visited by a malignant Fever, in which she buried upwards of Forty of her Ship’s Company. We found it difficult to land our Sick Men immediately, So we got Meat, Vegetables, Oranges, and all Kinds of fresh Provisions for them; & in a few Days they were all able to undergo the Fatigue, & notwithstanding their dismal situation, all speedily recovered. We sent on Shore of Soldiers [end page 38]

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and sailors Ninety three very ill; & kept many with lesser scorbutic Complaints on board, where they got plenty of Necessaries, Fruit etc. & soon grew healthy and strong. . The Cape of good Hope is the southern Extremity of Africa, which name was given it by the Portuguese, on their Arrival here, after several Attempts in which they were defeated by heavy Gales of Wind etc. They here form’d a Settlement but were driven out, as they were from allmost all their Acquisitions to the Eastward of this in the Indian Seas, notwithstanding their great Merit and extreme Indefatigability had entitled them to the sole, and uninterrupted Possession. The Dutch have possess’d it since the beginning of last Century. The Natives of this Part of Africa, call’d Cafrania, are suppos’d to possess the least Share of Sensibility or rational Feeling of any of the Inhabitants of the Globe. An invincible Indolence has been always observ’d Amongst them & an Ignorance as, inveterate; in Short they may be said to hold the lowest Place in the human System. Neither does the external Figure supply the other Defect. They are of a most disagreeable Colour, not so black as the Natives of Guinea or any other Part of Africa, nor of the more pleasing Copper Colour of the South Sea Inhabitants. They endeavour to [end page 39]

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remedy this Defect by Anointing their Bodies, and those of their Children from the first Hour of their Birth, till they grow old, wth. a Composition of Soot, Grease, & Dung. Their Apparell generally consists of a sheep skin with which they cover their Backs & Part of their Buttocks, turning the hairy side inwards or outwards according as the Weather[?]; this with an Artificial Cape of the same Kind of Ingredients as mention’d before, dried on their Heads in the Sun, compose the dress of the Males; The Women are habited in the same Manner except that they wear an additional small Robe, made of the Skin of some soft Animal. Their Garments are fasten’d to their Bodies by Thongs of the same Kind. They have many Customs amongst them too horrid to be related & so incredible, that was I to relate them, Persons unacquainted therewith, would imagine I was using the Privilege of a Traveller. However they are described by several Authors & by some, Accurately. When the Dutch first settled here, they met with great opposition from the Natives, who were very numerous, & might under proper Management have prevented, any european Power from making a Settlement in the Country; but their own Inaptitude to Mas[?]uævres of this sort, join’d to the Artifice of the Dutch, have effectually subdued them, & the present [end page 40]

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Austerity of that People. A Conduct establish’d on the Principles of Cruelty, is found to be the only Means of governing them, and as the dutch inherit that Principle from Nature, consequently they are the proper People to possess the Country . . . . . The Country is now civilized for several hundred Miles, & inhabited by the dutch, who plant Vineyards, grow Corn etc. amongst them, of which things the Natives are totally ignorant & probably will ever remain so. One would be almost led to imagine that the Ideas of those miserable Wretches were limited, & incapable of Improvement, for tho’ living amongst a People remarkable for their Industry and Application, they never discover an Inclination to adopt any Plan, that would tend to their public or private Benefit Vines where first planted by a Spaniard, who brought them with him from the Canaries, & finding them flourish, taught the european Inhabitants the Art of Cultivating them, which is now brought to perfection. Of the many Kinds of Wine that are made here they may be reduced to two. The red, and the white, the other arising from the same Stocks, but receiving their Taste and Colour from the Variety of soil, or difference in Making. Their best Wine is call’d Constantia made at a village of that Name, Ten Miles distant from Cape Town. It is of a deeper Colour than the best french Claret is of a rich, sweet, aromatic Taste, so much as resembling Tent-Wine [end page 43]

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But the Quantity of this, can be but very inconsiderable, as the Plantation itself Consists of no more than 40 or 50 Acres. Yet Winesellers here will show Wine very much like it & assure the Buyer upon their Honour that it is a true Constantia (But let it be remember’d it is the Honour of a dutchman.) These Vines have been transplanted into various Parts of the Country from the true Constantia, but degenerate. The White is a Stock of the Canary, but very far degenerated, yet some very good Wine may be got. Stalks of the same Vine planted in different Soils, vary very much in their Juice, & this in part accounts for their great variety at the Cape, for you will not find Wine alike at any two Houses there. They make several brewings likewise so that the last run is very far inferior to english Small Beer … The Principal and in fact only Town the dutch have here which deserves that Name is Cape Town situate on the Sea Shore. It is defended from the heavy Winds on three of its Sides by stupendous Mountains call’d the Table Land, Prince Charles’s Mount, the Lion’s Ramp, and Sugar Loaf. The Town is regularly built with spacious Streets intersecting each other at Right Angles, so that you may see from one end of the Town to the other. Their Houses are neat, but not elegant or lofty none exceeding three stories. They are built of thin Bricks & Plaster’d over with white Mortar. To obviate any ill Effect arising to the Eyes when the sun [end page 44]

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Shines intensely hot, they paint their doors, window shutters & Frames of a Grass Green. Their Public Buildings are the Church, Hospital, Library and Town House, but all scarcely worth Noticing. They have begun building a capacious & what promises to be a commodious Hospital. The Company’s Gardens excell every thing in the Place, tho’ they within these few Years have lost their Beauty. It is a large Piece of Ground, of a rectangular Form, divided into a Number of regular Partitions by Oak & Maple Edges forming many agreeable and shady Walks. A large Avenue divides the Garden from the Top to the Bottom, regularly planted with Oak Trees, it wants but a few Feet of being half a Mile long. In the Middle of the Garden, a Government House is lately erected, with a Fountain and Parterie before it. This Garden produces almost all the Vegetables in Use, at least in the culinary way, Fruit & every thing which can be wanted to suffice Nature or regale the Appetite. The Dutch Indiamen are supplied with vegetables from this Garden. There are a great Number of Slaves, kept by the dutch Company, on Purpose to cultivate it. The Soil in this Part of the world is dry & sandy, but immense Pains has been taken to improve it. No large Trees grow here so that Timber is very Scarce & they are obliged to get almost all their building Materials from Holland or Batavia, except Lime, which they make of sea shells, by burning them on [end page 45]

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Faggots of Wood to a Calx. Houses are consequently very dear. Fifteen thousand Rix Dollars was given for a Tradesmen’s House. The Dutch Inhabitants are generally healthy & long liv’d, The Women in general are handsome, the Men lusty and strong. Every Kind of menial Employment & even the lower Artifices such as, Bricklaying, Shoemaking etc. are perform’d by slaves brought in dutch ships from India. They have a great Number, but keep them in the most abject submission, punishing them severely for trivial Offences. The Junior Member of the Council at Batavia has the Government of the Cape, with a Council sent from Holland. The Fiscal or Mayor, has very extensive Power, & is independent of the Governor sent from Holland, and not be remov’d from his Office but by a special Order of the Directors at home. He decides all small offences, but Capital Crimes or intricate Trials are referr’d to the Council, at which Time the second in Council presides & acts as Judge, this, condemns, or acquits the prisoner. But no Person can be executed till the Governor has sign’d the Death Warrant in whom alone is repos’d the Power of Life and Death. The Fiscal is Lieutenant of the Police & has a Number of Men (malays) always ready to execute his Commands, assisted by large Mastiffs, who, if the Culprit endeavours to fly seize him, and sometimes almost tear him in Pieces . . . . . . . [end page 46]

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At the South East End of the Town stands the Fort, this which runs the road to the Country, against the Natives of which it seems to be principally intended for a defence. Several Small Batteries are along the Beach, but not of much Force; they talk of building a new Fort. The present Fort contains Apartments for the Governor and a few Military Officers & Barracks for five Hundred european Soldiers, which are some of the finest Fellows I ever saw, being pick’d from All the Dutch Ships bound to Batavia. Tho’ the military Force in the Town is small yet they have a numerous Militia up the Country, which they say can be assembled in a very short Notice. Whilst I was in this Place I saw two Companies of Cavalry, & a Body of Infantry reciev’d, compos’d of Inhabitants of the Town, all of whom are obliged to beare Arms, under & above certain Ages. They met once a Year & exhibit the greatest Burlesque on the Art military I ever saw. For a description of the natural Productions of the Cape, any of the Histories of Africa may be consulted. Was I ask’d the Character of the dutch in this Country I must confess, it would puzzle me to give it. Duplicity, Cozenage, & Hypocrisy, are wanting in Expression to define the Arts they make use of in Trade, Cruelty falls short of their natural Disposition & Pride is a Term too gentle & confin’d to express the Haughtiness of their narrow minded Souls . . . . . [end page 47]

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Table Bay is nearly semicircular, form’d by the Projection of two Points of Land. Almost equidistant from each Point is an Island call’d Robin, or Penguin Island, on each side of which, ships may safely go in & out of the Harbour. The dutch make it a Place of Exile for Criminals. There is a Sergeants Guard upon it and a few Guns for Signals. Table Land is a lofty Mountain flatten’d at the Top, & very difficult of access, adjoining to Prince Chars’s. Mount at the South End & to the Sugar Loaf on the North. The Sugar Loaf is almost as high as Table Land but rises in the Shape its Name bears & terminates in a small Point, wherein are two or three Pieces of Cannon & a Man constantly looking out. The Ascent is very dangerous as towards the Summit, there is no other hold but a Rope, which if a Person lets go, he would immediately fall to an immense depth & be dash’d in a thousand pieces Prince Charles’s Mount & the Lion’s Ramp, are not so high, they form the North & South Points. Winds blow in the Months of June and July very hard from the Northwest, bringing on a Prodigious Swell which no Ship can outride. Whole Fleets have gone ashore here and perish’d with their Crews & Instances of single Ships have been frequent. For this Reason all dutch Ships are prohibited from coming into Table Bay till the 15th of August. [end page 48]