One Captain Barry, who is said to have been a very ingenious gentleman, had the charge of establishing this new factory, in which he is reported to have acted with much skill and prudence. But he died before the works were completed; and the direction of the factory devolved upon Doctor Cunningham, who came to this place after the ruin of the factory at Pulo Condore. He is said to have given himself so entirely up to his studies, that he left the care of the Company’s concerns too much to the people who were under him, who were unequal to the trust, and proved the ruin of the factory. Before the fort was half finished, these people began to insult the natives of the country; and, among other wanton acts of folly, they very imprudently chose to search one of the boats belonging to the king, which was carrying a female of rank down the river. This so provoked the Bornean sovereign that he determined upon the utter destruction of the English; for which purpose he collected his forces together, amounting to about three thousand resolute men, which he embarked in above an hundred proas, and sent them down to attack the factory and unfinished fort.
There happened at this time to be two ships belonging to the Company in the river, besides two merchant vessels of inconsiderable force; and as Cunningham and his people had received advice of the preparations making against them, they left their factory, taking refuge aboard the ships, thinking themselves in greater security there than ashore. When all things were in readiness for the intended assault, the native armament came down the river in the night; and, while some landed and destroyed the factory and fortifications, others attacked the ships, which were fortunately prepared for their reception, the English having made fast nettings along both sides of their ships, about two fathoms high above the gunnels, to prevent the enemy from boarding, and were in readiness to use their blunderbusses and pikes, to prevent them from forcing their way to the decks.
On seeing the approach of the proas towards the ships, the English plied their great guns, loaded with double, round, and partridge shot, and made great carnage among the Borneans, yet this did not deter them from pushing forwards and using their utmost endeavours to board. But, having got up to the gunnels, they were unable to get over the netting, and so were slaughtered with great ease by the English from the decks. Some of the assailants got in at the head doors of one of the ships and killed a few of the English on the forecastle, but were soon overpowered and slain. Thus, after a long and sanguinary contest, the two large ships beat off the enemy with small loss; but the two little vessels were both burnt with most of their men, among whom was one Mynheer Hoogh Camber, a Dutch gentleman who had been ambassador of the king of Persia, and had fled from Batavia in one of these small vessels. Some say that the English killed above fifteen hundred of the assailants in two hours, for the heat of the assault continued during that space, besides many others wounded and maimed. But the English were under the necessity of abandoning the settlement at Pulo Laut.