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The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume Two]

Some account of the Cape of Good Hope

Some account of the Cape of Good Hope

Notwistanding Hydrographers limit the Cape of Good Hope to a single point of Land on the Sw end of Africa which is not the Southermost part of that immense continent I shall under that name speak of the Southern parts of Africa in general as far as Lat. 30.. 00 at least, which countrey was originaly inhabited by the Hottentots alone but is now settled by the Dutch, and from its conveniency of situation as a place of refreshment for ships sailing to and from India is visited perhaps by Europeans oftener than any other distant part of the Globe.

This tract of Land, vast as it is, is settled by the Dutch who have also people much farther in land if their accounts can be credited; they have upon the whole of it however only one town which is generaly known by the Name of the Cape Town. It is situated on the Atlantick side, about 20 miles to the Northward of the Real Cape, on the Banks of a bay shelterd from the Se wind by a large mountain level at the top, from whence both itself and the bay have got the name of Tafel or Table. It is of late years very much increasd in size and consists of about a thousand houses neatly built of Brick and in general whited over; the Streets in general are broad and commodious all crossing each other at Right angles; in the Cheif of them is a Canal on each side of which is a row of Oak trees which flourish tolerably well and yeild an agreable shade to walkers. Besides this there is another Canal running through the town, but the slope of the Ground is so great that both are obligd to be furnishd with sluices at the intervals of little more than 50 yards.

In the Houses the same poverty of inventions exists here as at Batavia: they are almost universaly built upon one and the same plan whether small or large; in general they are low and universaly they are coverd with thatch, precautions said to be necessary against the violence of the Se winds which at some seasons of the year come down from the Table mountain with incredible violence.

Of the Inhabitants a far larger proportion are real Dutch than of those of Batavia. But as the whole town in a manner is supported by entertaining and supplying strangers, each man in some degree imitates the manners and customs of the Nation with which he is 1

1 therein; but there was no disposition on the French side to deny any English achievement when known. Banks's anxiety reflected the sort of journalism current in those years rather than reality; any Pacific fish that either the French or the English government just then gathered into its net would have to be a good deal bigger than Tahiti. The French did take over Tahiti, but not till 1843. There were disagreeable consequences, but in the Tahitian, not the international, sphere.

page 251 cheifly concernd: the Ladies however do not follow their husbands in this particular but so true are they to the customs of fatherland that scarce one of them will stir without a Sooterkin or Chaufett1 ready to place under her feet whenever she shall set down; the Younger ones tho in general do not put any fire in them but seem to use them merely for shew. In general they are hansome with clear skins and high Complexions and when married (no reflextions upon my countrey women) are the best housekepers imaginable and great childbearers; had I been inclind for a wife I think this is the place of all others I have seen where I could have best suited myself.2

Their servants are in general Malay slaves who are brought here from Batavia. To these they behave much better than the Batavians in consequence of which these Malays are much quieter, honester, more diligent and less wicked than those in that place, in instance of which I need only say that there was never known an instance of running Amoc in this place.

The Town is governd by a Governor and Council who are quite independent of Batavia. The Present Governor is Ryck Tulback.3 He is very old and has long enjoyd his present station with a most universal good Character, which is easily explaind in this manner: he is unmarried and has no connections which may make him wish to make more money than his Salary furnishes him with, consequently not entering into trade he interferes with no man, and not wishing to be bribd does always to the best of his abilities strict justice on all occasions.

1 Banks's use of ‘sooterkin’ is very odd. Wright's Dictionary of Obsolete and Provincial English (London 1904) defines it as ‘A moon-calf. It was pretended to be engendered in Dutchwomen, by the foot-stoves they were in the habit of putting under their petticoats’. See also O.E.D. Banks transfers the name of the result to the effective agent. Chaufferette, a sort of portable stove or iron box in which charcoal was burnt as a footwarmer. The Dutch ladies took their home comforts abroad with them. C. P. Thunberg, the natural historian and traveller, who visited the Cape in 1772, also noted that ‘The ladies have generally live coals in a kind of covered chaffing dish or stove, which in winter time they set on the ground under their clothes to warm them’.—Travels in Europe, Africa, and Asia, made between the years 1770 and 1779 (London, 2nd ed., 1795), I, p. 112.

2 One is forced to conclude that the spell of Miss Blosset had faded.

3 The incorruptible, just and humane Ryk Tulbagh was governor of the Cape colony from 1751 till his death in August 1771, taking control in a period of intense official corruption and holding his ground both through a time of ruinous economic difficulty and the period of the Seven Years’ War and after, when the Dutch could profit from the English and French shipping of the eastern naval struggle and the mounting Indian trade. The officials of the Dutch, as of the English, East India Company, had got well out of hand; ‘in due course Governor Ryk Tulbagh, the South African Clive, had to institute a twenty-year-long anti-corruption campaign, forbidding private trade, fixing fees, and setting a good example. But Father Tulbagh died, and before long the burghers raised their voices against renewed official corruption’.—Eric A. Walker, A History of South Africa, p. 85. It was during his governorship that the Company first allowed foreign ships to provision at the Cape.

page 252

The Climate tho not at all too hot for those who come from India would doubtless appear sufficiently warm could any one be transported immediately from England to this place; upon the whole it seems much of the same temperature as the Island of Madera tho scarce quite so hot, this I judge from the productions in general. During the whole Summer the air is frequently fannd by Se winds which come off the hills above the town with vast violence and during the time of their blowing, especialy at the beginning, are very troublesome to such as are obligd to be abroad in them by raising the Sand with which the whole countrey abounds and filling their eyes with it; nor are the houses quite free from its effects however close they are shut up, the Sand will find an entrance and in a short time cover every kind of furniture with a thick dust.

Inconvenient as this certainly is it however does not seem to have any effect beyond the present moment, tho the inhabitants must in the course of a summer inspire an immence quantity of this sand, which has been thought by some Physicians to be productive of Ulcers in the Lungs &c &c; yet Consumptions are diseases scarcely known here and the healthy countenances, fresh complexions and above all the number of Children with which all ranks of people here are blessd abundantly prove that the Climate in general is very freindly to the human constitution.

Diseases brought here from Europe are said to be almost immediately cur'd but those of the Indies not so easily, which latter we ourselves experiencd, our sick recovering very little for the first fortnight and after that very slowly, so that after a months stay several of them were far from recruited.

The industry of the Dutch, so well known and so constantly exerted in all foreign settlements, has supplyd this place with a profusion of all kinds of European provisions. Wheat1 and barley is here as good as in Europe; hops however will not grow here so beer they cannot make even tolerable. Cattle are in great plenty and beef very tolerable, Sheep likewise in great plenty; both these the Native Hottentots had before the Dutch settled the place so they both differ a little in appearance from those of other places. The Oxen are lighter and more neatly made and have vast spreading horns; the Sheep instead of Wool are coverd with a kind of Substance between hair and wool, their tails are also very large — I have seen such as could not weigh less than 10 or 12 pounds and was

1 S has here a note in Banks's hand: ‘They had the comfort of raising the most usefull and beneficial European productions. Wheat, Barley: and (see p. 654) Cabbages, Turnips, Potatoes, etc. etc.’ (Page 654 is the following page of S)

page 253 told that they are often much larger.1 Of the Milk of their Cows they make very good butter but Cheese they know not how to make in any degree of Perfection.

Besides these they have Goats in plenty which however they never Eat, and hogs but these are less plentifull. Poultrey as Fowls, ducks, Geese &c are in tolerable plenty; besides they have wild game, as hares exactly like ours in Europe,2 partridges of two kinds,3 Quails,4 Antelopes of many kinds, Bustards5 in general very well flavourd but rather drier than those of the same kinds in Europe.

As their feild[s] produce European Wheat and barley, so their Gardens produce the same kinds of vegetables as we have in Europe — Cabbages, turnips, potatoes, Asparagus, Brocoli &c. &c. are all plentifull and excellent in their kinds. Their fruits are also the same, Apples, Pears, oranges, Peaches, apricots and figgs &c. Of Indian fruits they have plantains, Guavas and Jambu but neither of these in any kind of perfection. Besides these their vineyards produce a great quantity of Wine which they range into many sorts, calling one Madera another Frontiniac &c. None of these are comparable to the wines which we commonly drink in Europe yet they are all light, well cur'd and far from unpalatable in taste, not unlike some of the light French and Portugese white wines. The famous Constantia, so well known in Europe, is made genuine only at one vineyard which is about 10 miles distant from the Cape town; near that however is another vineyard which likewise is calld Constantia, where a wine not much inferior to it is made which is always to be had at an inferior price.

The common method of living is to lodge and board with some one of the inhabitants, many of whose houses are always open for the reception of Strangers; the prizes are 5, 4, 3, or 2 shillings a day for which all necessaries are found you according as your situation leads you to chuse a more or less expensive method of living, in what may truly be calld a profusion in proportion to the price you give. Besides this there is hardly an expence in the Place. Coaches are seldom or never usd but may be hird at the rate of 6

1 This is a detail about the sheep Banks has not mentioned before. The fat-tailed sheep were a Malagasy breed, no doubt brought to the Cape from the East Indies by the Dutch themselves.

2 A form of the Brown Hare, Lepus europaeus saxatilis, does in fact occur in South Africa, but other species of the genus do so also. The Cape Hare is Lepus capensis.

3 Banks may have meant the Cape Pheasant, Francolinus capensis (Gm.) and the Greywing, Francolinus afer Latham.

4 The African form of the common European Quail, and also the Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei Delegorgue, both occur here in large numbers from time to time.

5 Several species of bustard are still found inland from the Cape, and in the eighteenth century they no doubt occurred nearer Cape Town than they do now.

page 254 or Ilb 4s a day, Horses are at 6s a day but the Countrey is not tempting enough to induce any one often to make use of them. Publick entertainments there are none nor were there any private ones owing to the measles which broke out about the time of our arrival; at other times I was told that there were and that strangers were always welcome to them if of any rank.

At the farther end of the high street is the Companies garden which is near 2/3 of an English mile in lengh; the whole is divided by walks intersecting each other at right angles planted with Oaks which are clippd into wall hedges, except in the center walk where they are sufferd to grow to their size. This walk therefore at all times of the day furnishes an agreable shade no doubt highly beneficial to the sick, as the Countrey is not furnishd with the least degree of shade nor has nature given one tree to the soil capable of producing it at least within several miles round the town.

Infinitely the largest part of this Garden is employd in producing Cabbages, Carrots &c. Two small squares however are set apart for Botanical plants which are well taken care of and neatly kept.1 At the time we were there the greatest part of the plants, as the annuals, Bulbs &c. were under ground; upon the whole however I am of opinion that the numbers now to be found there will not amount to above half of what they were when Oldenland2 wrote his Catalogue; indeed at that time it is possible that more ground was imployd for the purpose.

At the farther end of the Garden is a vivarium or Menagerie, supported also at the expence of the Company, where rare Beasts

1 The Dutch East India Company's garden was evidently chiefly devoted to vegetables from its establishment in 1652. It was Jan Andries Auge (1711–c.1805), the master gardener, who ‘raised the Company's garden above its original cabbage growing into something like a botanic garden. Actually the garden was to become the precursor of the National Botanic Gardens, established in 1913 at Kirstenbosch on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain’.—Mia C. Karsten, Old Company's Garden at the Cape and its Superintendents involving an historical account of early Cape Botany (Cape Town, 1951), p. 131. But Dampier admired the ‘stately Garden’ as it existed in 1691 (ed. Masefield, I, p. 515). Thunberg, who visited it exactly a year after Banks, describes it as ‘always open to the public. It is nine hundred and ninety-six paces long, two hundred and sixty-one broad, and has forty-four quarters, which are separated from each other by hedges, consisting, for the most part, of oaks or bays (Laurus nobilis), several yards in height’.— Travels, I, p. 114. On a return visit in 1774, Thunberg reported that ‘in the Company's garden there was a very beautiful covered walk, formed of chesnut-trees, which were now very thick and large. It was this year cut down root and branch by order of the governor, for the purpose of making different kinds of furniture of its elegant wood; and in its stead were planted oaks’.—ibid., II, p. 128.

2 Heinrich Bernhard Oldenland (1663–97), Danish physician and botanist, pupil of Professor Paul Hermann at Leyden, master gardener for the Company, was preparing a catalogue of the Cape flora when he died. This, the Catalogi duo plantarum Africanarum, appeared in Thesaurus Zeylanicus, 1737. Many of his plants ultimately came to the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) with the Sloane collection, via James Petiver (cf. Karsten, op. cit., p. 72).

page 255 and birds are kept: here were Ostrigdes, Cassowaris,1 Antilopes of several kinds, Zebras and several other animals seldom or never seen in Europe, particularly that calld by the Hottentots Coedoe whose beautifull spiral horns are often brought over to Europe. This animal who was as large as a horse died while we were there but not before I had had time to get a description and drawing of him.2

Near this enclosure is another for birds, in which were the Crownd Pidgeons of Banda3 and several more rare birds especialy of the Duck kind, of which were indeed a very fine collection. Both birds and beasts were very carefully and well taken care of.

It remains now after having describd the town and its environs to say a little of the Countrey about it: of this indeed I can say but little and even for that little am obligd to depend intirely upon hearsay, not having had an opportunity of making even one excursion owing in great measure to Dr Solanders illness.

The Dutch say that they have settled the Countrey inland as far as 2200 miles, at least so far it is to the most distant habitations of Europeans; how far it may be however upon a straight line north and south is hard to say nor do they pretend to guess. Supposing it however the shortest distance possible, it is sufficient to prove the infinite and indeed to an European almost inconceivable barrenness of the Countrey in general, that the mere supplys of food should make it necessary for men to spread themselves over such an immense tract of countrey in order to find fertile spots capable of producing it. How far distant such spots are from each other may be concluded from what one farmer told us while there, on being askd why he brough[t] his young children with him to the Cape from whence he livd 15 days journey, and told that he had better have left them with his next neighbour. Neighbour? said he, my nearest neighbour lives 5 days Journey from me.

Nor does the Countrey immediately in the neighbourhood of the Cape give any reason to Contradict the idea of immense barrenness which must be formd from what I have said. The Countrey in general is either bare rock, shifting sand or grounds coverd with heath &c. like the Moors of Derbishire, Yorkshire &c. except

1 Cassowaries used to be widely distributed in Malaysia.

2 The Kudu, Traglaphus strepsceros Pallas, a large vertically striped antelope, does not live well in captivity. The drawing Banks refers to has not been traced.

3 Goura cristata Pallas. These, the largest pigeons extant, come from western New Guinea and the western Papuan Isles. Dampier appears to have been the first to figure them (Voyages, ed. Masefield, II, opposite p. 515), as ‘A Stately Land Fowl found on the Coast of New Guinea’. Governor Loten had taken some to England and one had been presented to the Dowager Princess of Orange. The Forsters made drawings and descriptions of a number of the birds and mammals in this Cape vivarium on Cook's second "oyage.

page 256 the very banks of the few rivulets, where are a few plantations cheifly employd if well shelterd in raising Garden stuff, and if rather less so in vineyards; but if expos'd nothing can stand the violence of the winds which blow here through the whole summer or dry season. During my whole stay I did not see a tree in its native soil so tall as myself; indeed Housekeepers complain of the Dearnes of firewood as almost equal to that of provisi[o]ns, nothing being burnt here but roots which must be dug out of the ground. What indeed proves the influence of the wind in prejudice to vegetation is that a stem not thicker than my thumb will have a root as thick as my arm or leg and thicker they never are.

As their distant settlements are directly inland and the whole coast either is or is thought to be totaly destitute of Harbours their whole Communication is carried on by Land carriage. Waggons drawn by Oxen are employd in that service; they are however very light and the Cattle so much more nimble than ours in Europe that they assurd us that they sometimes traveld at the rate of 8 miles an hour. Traveling is also very cheap: as there are no inns upon the road every one must carry his own provision with him, and the Oxen must live upon the Heath or ling which they meet with upon the road and this indeed they are accustomd to do. But great as these conveniencies are the people who come from afar must do little more than live, as there is no trade here but for a few articles of provision which are sent to the East Indies, and curiosities, so they can bring nothing to market but a little butter, such skins of wild beasts as they have been able to procure, and some of them a few kinds of Drugs.

There remains nothing now but to say a word or two concerning the Hottentots so frequently spoken of by travelers, by whoom they are generaly represented as the outcast of the Human species, a race whose intellectual faculties are so little superior to those of Beasts that some have been inclind to suppose them more nearly related to Baboons than Men.1

1 All this is extremely libellous, and seems to be the fruit of the fine old principle of giving a dog a bad name because you want to hang him. The Hottentots (the name was apparently conferred by the Dutch with some reference to the sound of their language—Hüttentüt, stammerer or stutterer—cf. Banks on the ‘Click or Cluck with their tonges’ below, p. 257)—were a nomadic pastoral race, not very warlike, apparently a mixture of a Hamitic people, forced down like the Bushmen towards the Cape by the general movement of African peoples, and themselves displacing and driving into the mountains to the eastward the ‘pure’ Bushmen, the aboriginal inhabitants in historic times of southernmost Africa. They in turn (and the remnants of the Bushmen) suffered from the ingression of the Dutch. They were a primitive race; but under different circumstances we might have had Banks lauding their life as he did that of the Australians, certainly no farther advanced in the scale of human perfectibility. He had not, as he goes on to say, any chance of meeting them in their original state; but he does not repeat the conventional travellers’ tales to which he refers. Cf. n. 1 on p. 20 above on the ‘chain of nature’.

page 257

Notwistanding I very much desird it I was not able to see any of their habitations, there being none as I was universaly informd within less than four days journey from the Cape in which they retaind their original Customs. Those who come to the Cape, which are in number not a few, are all servants of the Dutch farmers whose cattle they take care of and generaly run before their waggons; these no doubt are the lowest and meanest of them and those alone I can describe.

These were in general slim in make and rather lean than at all plump or fat, in size equal to Europeans, some as tall as 6 feet and more; their eyes not expressive of any liveliness but rather dull and unmeaning; the colour of their skins nearest to that of soot owing in great measure to the Dirt which by long use was ingraind into it, for I beleive that they never wash themselves; their hair curld in very fine rings like that of Negroes or a Persian Lambs skin, but hanging in falling ringlets 7 or 8 inches long. Their Cloths consisted of a skin, generaly of a sheep, under which for decency sake the men wore a small pouch and the women a broad leather flap fastned round their wastes by a belt, which in both Sexes was richly ornamented with beads and small peices of Copper; besides this both sexes wore necklaces and sometimes bracelets likewise of beads, and the women had round their legs certain rings made of Leather very hard which they said servd to defend them from the thorns with which the countrey every where abounds; under their feet some wore a kind of Sandal of wood or bark but the greatest number went intirely unshod. For bodily qualifications they were strong and appeard nimble and active in a high degree.

Their language which appears to an European but indistinctly articulated has this remarkable singularity, in that in the pronouncing a sentence they Click or Cluck with their tonges at very frequent intervals, so much so that these cliks do not seem to have any particular meaning except possibly to divide words or certain combinations of words. How this can be effected unless they can click with their tongues without inspiring their breath appears mysterious to a European, and yet I am told that many of the Dutch Farmers understand and speak their language very fluently.1

1 The sounds which puzzled Banks were consonantal. ‘The reversed or implosive consonants, "in the production of which the whole or a portion of the movement of the speech organs reverses or draws the air inwards", are the famous and much-discussed "clicks". They are produced by rarefying the air between some outer closure or point of tongue articulation and an inner closure formed either at the velum or the glottis, and then releasing the outer closure so that the air is sucked in sharply. The inner closure is subsequently released for the following vowel.’—I. Schapera, The Khoisan Peoples of South Africa (London 1930), p. 421.

page 258 Almost all of them however speak Dutch which they do without clicking their tongues or any peculiarity whatsoever.

In general they have more false shame (Mauvais Honte) than any people I have seen, which I have often had occasion to experience when I have with the greatest dificulty persuaded them to dance or even to speak to each other in their own Language in my presence. Their songs and dances are in Extremes, some tolerably active consisting of brisk musick and quick motions generaly consisting of distortions of the body with unnatural leaps, crossing the legs backwards and forwards &c. and then again as dull and spiritless as can be imagind, one of which consists intirely of Beating the earth first with one foot and then with the other without moving their place at all, to the Cadences of a tune furnishd with little more variety than the Dance.

Smoaking is a custom most generaly usd among them, in doing which they do not as the Europeans admit the smoak no farther than their mouths but like the Chinese suck it into their Lungs, where they keep it for near a minute before they expire it. They commonly mix with their Tobacco the leaves of Hemp which they cultivate for that purpose or Phlomisleonurus which they call Dacha.1 Their food is the same as that of the farmers, cheifly bread and coarse cheese, but they are immensely fond of spirituous liquors and will never fail to get drunk with them if they have an opportunity.

This little and no more of the customs of this much spoke of people Had I myself an opportunity of seeing. From the Dutch indeed I heard much, of which I select the following.

They are armd however with Lances or Assagays, arrows which they know how to poison, some with the juice of herbs others

1 Within the boundaries of the Dutch settlements are many different nations of Hottentots differing from each other in customs very materialy. Of these some are far superior to others in arts in general, however all live peaceably with each other seldom fighting, except those who live to the Eastward who are much infested with people calld by the Dutch Bosch men, who live intirely upon plunder, stealing the Cattle of the Hottentots but never openly attacking them.2Dagga, Cannabis sativa. This is a shrub with narcotic and intoxicating effects, still smoked either mixed with tobacco or by itself. ‘When taken in slight quantities the herb has no visible ill-effects, but excessive indulgence is most deleterious to the health, and if persisted in sometimes causes mental aberration and frenzy.’—Schapera, Khoisan Peoples, p. 102. The cultivation and sale are now officially restricted.

2 Strictly boschjesman, Bushmen, the aborigines of the Cape—apart from peoples for whose existence the evidence is archaeological. Their reputation for plunder was founded upon their only means of fighting back, as they were gradually squeezed out of existence. Cf. p. 256, n. 1 above. At the present time they survive in the Kalahari Desert and the northern half of South-West Africa.

page 259 with the poison of the Snake calld Cobra di Capelo,1 and stones which some particular tribes know so well how to throw that they will repeatedly strike a dollar or crown peice at the distance of 100 paces. Besides this they train up Bulls which they constantly place round their Crawls2or towns; in the night these will constantly Assemble and oppose either man or beast that aproaches them, nor will they desist till they hear the voices of their masters, who know how either to encourage them to fight or in an instant make them as tame and tractable as their other Cattle.

Some Nations know how to melt and prepare Copper, which is found among them probably native, and make of it broad plates with which they ornament their foreheads; others again, indeed most, know how to harden bitts of Iron which they procure from the Dutch and make of them knives of a temper superior to any the Dutch can sell them.3

Their cheif people, many of whoom have a large quantity of Cattle of their own, are generaly clad in the skins of Lions, Tygers or Zebras &c. which they know how to fringe and ornament very prettily, especi[a]ly the Women who as in all other Countreys are fond of dress. Both sexes grease themselves very frequently but never use any stinking grease if they can possibly get either fresh mutton suet or sweet butter, which last made by shaking the milk in a bag made of skin is generaly usd by the richer sort.

The Ceremony of the Preist giving his Matrimonial benediction by a plentifull sprinkling of Urine often repeated I heard confirmd. The Dutch however universaly denied their having seen women whose legs were wrappd round with Sheeps gutts, which it has been supposd were to be a part of their food.4 Their Monorchides or semicastration was in general totaly denied; some however said that among the nation who knew how to melt copper were some who had undergone this ceremony, and that these were their best warriors and the individual people who so well knew how to throw stones.5

1 Cobra-di-capello (snake with hood), a Portuguese name applied to the ‘hood’-spreading cobras of the genus Naja. When irritated or alarmed, the snake spreads the skin of its neck outwards by the elongation of the ribs.

2 Kraal, village. The word is not Hottentot but colonial Dutch, from the Portuguese corral.

3 The Hottentots smelted iron as well as copper.

4 Possibly the story Banks refers to here was founded on the Hottentot women's fashion (already noted by him) of sewing strips of raw hide round their legs as rings; when dry these rattled against one another, producing a favoured noise.

5 Schapera, Khoisan Peoples, pp. 71–2, discusses this, with reference to Kolbe the early eighteenth century traveller (Caput Bonae Spei Hodienum … 1719), and other authorities. He remarks, ‘Circumcision, as in the case of the Bushmen, was altogether unknown to the Hottentots. Kolb and several other early writers on the Cape Hottentots, however, state that at or before puberty the left testicle of every boy was excised. It is difficult todecide how much truth there is in this statement… . Certainly in more recent times the custom of excision, if ever it did exist (and one is inclined to believe that the older writer may be trusted in this respect), has completely disappeared… .’

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In regard to the Sinus Pudoris, that grand Quæere of Natural historians, Many whoom I askd both Dutch and Malays declard positively that it did not at all exist, and several of these Assurd me that they had during intrigues with Hottentot women had an opportunity of knowing which they had made use of. One however declard that something he had met with but what it was he could not tell; and above all a physician of the place declard that he had curd many Hundred Hottentot women of venereal Complaints, and that he never saw one without what he describd to be fleshy or rather skinny appendages proceeding from the upper part of the Labia, in appearance somewhat like Cows teats but flat which hung pendulous; these were very various in lengh, in some scarce half an inch, in others three or four; that those, which were the only particularities he knew of in those women, he apprehended to be what a[u]thours have calld sinus pudoris, tho some have describd it as a large skin equal to a garment for all purposes of decency, and others have thought it to be no more than an elongation of the Clytons in those women, which does not exist in those women at all more remarkable than in Europeans.1

A table of the Value of Money Supposing a Styver Dutch equal to a penny Sterling
£ S D
A Guinea 00 18 00
half of D° 00 9 00
a Grown peice 0 4 0
half of D° 0 2 0
a Shilling 0 0 10
a Louis D'Or
a French Crown 4 6
a Ducat 9 0
a Ducatoon 6 0
a Skilling 0 6
a Dubblechey 0 2
a Stuiver 0 1
an Imperial Rixdollar 4 0
Alberts D° 6 0
Danes Rixdollar 4 0
Spanish Dollar 4 6
a Quarter of D° 1 0

1 Many Hottentot women do in fact have an elongation or hypertrophy of the labia minora, on which this ‘grand Quaere’ was no doubt founded.

page 261

14. Saild from the Road but having very little wind were obligd to anchor abreast of Robben Island.

15. In the Morn it was quite calm so a boat was hoisted out in order to Land on the Island in hopes of purchasing some refreshments, especialy of Garden stuff and salletting1 with which two articles it is said to abound; but as soon as the boat came near the shore the Duch haild her and told the people in her at their peril to attempt Landing, bringing down at the same time 6 men with Musquets who paraded on the Beach as long as she stayd, which was but a short time not thinking it worth while to risk landing in opposition to them when a few Cabbages was the only reward to be expected.

This Island which is named after the Seals that formerly usd to frequent it, Galld in Dutch Robben, is low and sandy, situate in the mouth of Table bay. Here are confind such criminals as are judgd not worthy of Death for terms of Years proportiond to the heinou[s]ness of their Crimes; they are employd as Slaves in the Companies Service, cheifly in digging for Lime Stone which tho very scarce upon the Continent is plentifull here. Their reason for not letting foreigners land here is said to be this: formerly a Danish ship which by sickness had lost the greatest part of her crew came into the Cape and askd for assistance, which being refusd she came down to this Island, and sending her boats ashore securd the Guard and took on board as many of the Criminals as she thought proper to navigate the ship home.

In the evening we had a fair breeze of wind with which we put to sea. This night died Mr Molineux Master of the ship.

16. In the Course of this day we took our final leave of the table land, having a pleasant breeze and fair.

17. Many Birds such as Albatrosses and some shearwaters were about the ship, also many peices of Trumpet weed ()2 floating by.

1 ‘Salading’, i.e. the materials of salads or sallets.

2 Ecklonia maxima (Osbeck) Papenf. (Ecklonia buccinalis (L.) Hornem.). ‘Trombas’ or ‘Trompetgras’ from the use of the stipe for trumpets. When the Swedish explorer Peter Osbeck, pupil of Linnaeus, stood off the Cape of Good Hope, 10 March 1752, on his journey home from China, he noted that ‘a species of sea-weed swam by our ship several times this afternoon, and was called Trumpet-weed by our sailors. It was above a yard and half long, as thick as an Indian cane, and commonly some stalks were joined together: it formed as it were fly-flaps at the tops. My company on the ship thought it came from the islands west of the Cape of Good Hope. When the sailors see Trumpet-weed on their voyage, they are pretty certain that the Cape is not above ten Swedish miles off’.—A Voyage to China and the East Indies (London 1771), II, p. 73. For Osbeck cf. p. 270, n. 1 below.

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18. Moderate weather but a great rolling sea from the Southward.

19. Got the Wind at Nw right in our teeth, not strong however.

20. Wind and weather continuing just as yeste[r]day.

21. Got the Wind again astern with pleasant weather which already alterd much for the warmer.

23. Foul wind again very veerable.

25. Grossd the tropick this day with a fresh breeze of Wind at Sw. So far we are unlucky, not having as yet met with the trade wind which ships in general meet about Lat. 30 at this time of the year as we have been told.

26. Saw two Sternas, probably blown off from the Coast of Africa tho they seem little to regard the ship but flew towards the sea. In the even Dr Solander and several more heard a noise rumbling like distant thunder which was in general supposd to be a gun from some ship not in sight; the Dr however thought that its duration was considerably Longer than that of a gun fird in the open Sea where there is no Eccho.

27. A large Shoal of Whales passd us today Who seemd to keep a pretty regular course nearly in the same direction as the ship.

28. This day we crossd our first meridian and Compleated the Circumnavigation of the Globe,1 in doing which we as usual lost a day which I should upon this occasion have expended properly had not I Lost it the second time I know not how in my irregular journal at the Cape.2

1 ‘Our first meridian’ was that of Greenwich. By ‘crossed our first meridian’ he means sailed over 360 degrees of longitude. Cook for noon on the 28th gives the longitude as 358° 54′ W, on the 29th o° 50′ W. He adds to this last observation, ‘In the Am cross'd the line of our first Meredean, viz. that of Greenwich having now circumnavigated the Globe in a west direction.’—p. 467.

2 Hence his journal proceeded straight from 28 April to 1 May.