In the evening of Tuesday the 15th, we anchored at about the distance of four miles from the town of Macassar, which, according to my account, lies in latitude 5 deg. 10’ or 5 deg. 12’ S., longitude ll7 deg. 28’E. having spent no less than five and thirty weeks in out passage from the Streight of Magellan.
I have been the more particular in my description of as much as I saw of this streight, because all the charts, both English and French, that I consulted, are extremely deficient and erroneous, and because an exact knowledge of it may be of great service to our China trade: The ships by which that trade is carried on, may pass this way with as little danger as by the common one, which lies along the Prassel shoals; and when they miss their passage to China, in the south-east monsoon, and lose the season, they may be sure of a clear channel here, and fair winds at W.S.W., W. and round to W.N.W., in November, December, and the four following months: I am also of opinion, that it is a better and shorter way to go to the N.E. and eastward of the Philippine Islands, than to thread the Moluccas, or coast New Guinea, where there are shoals, currents, and innumerable other dangers, as they were forced to do when the French were cruising for them in the common passage during the last war.
Transactions off Macassar, and the Passage thence to Bonthain.
The same night that we came to an anchor, at about eleven o’clock, a Dutchman came on board, who had been dispatched by the governor, to learn who we were. When I made him understand that the ship was an English man-of-war, he seemed to be greatly alarmed, no man-of-war belonging to the King of Great Britain having ever been there before, and I could not by any means persuade him to leave the deck, and go down into the cabin; we parted, however, to all appearance, good friends.
The next morning, at break of day, I sent the lieutenant to the town, with a letter to the governor, in which I acquainted him with the reason of my coming thither, and requested the liberty of the port to procure refreshments for my ship’s company, who were in a dying condition, and shelter for the vessel against the approaching storms, till the return of a fit season for sailing to the westward. I ordered that this letter should, without good reason to the contrary, be delivered into the governor’s own hand; but when my officer got to the wharf of the town, neither he nor any other person in the boat was suffered to land. Upon his refusal to deliver the letter to a messenger, the governor was made acquainted with it, and two officers, called the shebander and the fiscal, were sent down to him, who, as a reason why he could not deliver the letter to the governor himself, pretended that he was sick, and said, that they came by his express order to fetch it; upon this the letter was at length delivered to them, and they went away. While they