I now, in pursuance of my instructions, demanded of the officers and petty officers, the log-books and journals they had kept; which were delivered to me accordingly, and sealed up for the inspection of the Admiralty. I also enjoined them, and the whole crew, not to divulge where we had been, till they had their lordships’ permission so to do. In the afternoon, the wind veered to the west, and increased to a hard gale, which was of short duration; for, the next day, it fell, and at noon veered to S.E. At this time we were in the latitude of 34 deg. 49’ S., longitude 22 deg. E.; and, on sounding, found fifty-six fathoms water. In the evening we saw the land in the direction of E.N.E. about six leagues distant; and, during the fore-part of the night, there was a great fire or light upon it.
At day-break on the 18th, we saw the land again, bearing N.N.W., six or seven leagues distant, and the depth of water forty-eight fathoms. At nine o’clock, having little or no wind, we hoisted out a boat, and sent on board one of the two ships before-mentioned, which were about two leagues from us; but we were too impatient after news to regard the distance. Soon after, a breeze sprung up at west, with which we stood to the south; and, presently, three sail more appeared in sight to windward, one of which shewed English colours.
At one, p.m., the boat returned from on board the Bownkerke Polder, Captain Cornelius Bosch, a Dutch Indiaman from Bengal. Captain Bosch, very obligingly, offered us sugar, arrack, and whatever he had to spare. Our people were told by some English seamen on board this ship, that the Adventure had arrived at the Cape of Good Hope twelve months ago, and that the crew of one of her boats had been murdered and eaten by the people of New Zealand; so that the story which we heard in Queen Charlotte’s Sound was now no longer a mystery.
We had light airs next, to a calm till ten o’clock the next morning, when a breeze sprung up at west, and the English ship, which was to windward, bore down to us. She proved to be the True Briton, Captain Broadly, from China. As he did not intend to touch at the Cape, I put a letter on board him for the secretary of the Admiralty.
The account which we had heard of the Adventure was now confirmed to us by this ship. We also got, from on board her, a parcel of old newspapers, which were new to us, and gave us some amusement; but these were the least favours we received from Captain Broadly. With a generosity peculiar to the commanders of the India Company’s ships, he sent us fresh provisions, tea, and other articles which were very acceptable, and deserve from me this public acknowledgment. In the afternoon we parted company. The True Briton stood out to sea, and we in for the land, having a very fresh gale at west, which split our fore top-sail in such a manner, that we were obliged to bring another to the yard. At six o’clock we tacked within four or five miles of the shore; and, as we judged, about five or six leagues to the east of Cape Aguilas. We stood off till midnight, when, the wind having veered round to the south, we tacked, and stood along-shore to the west. The wind kept veering more and more in our favour, and at last fixed at E.S.E.; and blew for some hours a perfect hurricane.