This island was supposed to be about eight miles in length, five in breadth, and fifteen in circumference; a coral reef seemed to guard it from all approach, except on the north-west part which formed a bay, where the ship anchored in thirteen fathoms water. Fresh water was seen only in one place.
Mr. Bampton did not arrive at Timor until the 11th of September, having been detained in the straits by a most difficult and dangerous navigation. By this passage he had an opportunity of discovering that the straits which were named after Torres, and supposed to have been passed first by him in the year 1606, and afterwards by Green in 1722, could never have existed; for Mr. Bampton now observed, that New Guinea extended ninety miles to the southward of this supposed track.
Of the two convicts taken from hence by the Shah Hormuzear, John Ascot was killed by the natives with Captain Hill, and Catharine Pryor, Ascot’s wife, died two days before the ship got to Batavia, of a spotted fever, the effect of frequent inebriety while at Timor. Ascot was the young man whose activity prevented the Sirius, with the stores and provisions on board, from being burnt the night after she was wrecked off Norfolk Island, and thereby saved that settlement from feeling absolute want at that time.
Captain Dell was full three months in his passage from Bombay; during the latter part of which time the people on board suffered great distress from a shortness of water and fuel. Out of seventy-five persons, mostly Lascars, with whom he sailed, nine died, and a fever existed among those who remained on his arrival.
The people who had broken into Mr. Kent’s house were so daring as to send to that gentleman a letter in miserable verse, containing some invectives against one Bevan, a prisoner in confinement for a burglary, and a woman who they supposed had given information of the people that broke into the clergyman’s storeroom, which affair they took upon themselves. The letter was accompanied by a pocket-book belonging to Mr. Kent, and some of his papers; but none of the bills which were in it when it was stolen were returned.
The insolence of this proceeding, and the frequency of those nocturnal visits, surprised and put all persons on their guard; but that the enemy was within our own doors there was no doubt. An honest servant was in this country an invaluable treasure; we were compelled to take them as chance should direct from among the common herd; and if any one was found who had some remains of principle in him, he was sure to be soon corrupted by the vice which every where surrounded him.