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I



A
VOYAGE



TO



COCHIN CHINA.



LONDON:

Printed by A. & R.Spottiswoode,
New-Street-Square.



VOYAGE



TO



COCHIN CHINA.



BY



JOHN WHITE,

LIEUTENANT IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY.



Prodesse quam conspici.



LONDON:

PRINTED FOR

LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,

PATERNOSTER-ROW.

1824.



JPS557



GIFT OB 1



ADVERTISEMENT.



1 His volume was not originally intended for pub-
lication, but written as a Memoir to be deposited
in the archives of the " East India Marine Society
of Salem." Some of the author's friends, how-
ever, who had read the manuscript, (among whom
was the Hon. John Pickering, who kindly as-
sisted him with advice) conceived it of sufficient
general interest to be published, and it is accord-
ingly submitted, " with all its imperfections upon
its head."

In regard to style, grammatical accuracy, and
mode of arrangement, he requests his readers to
bear in mind, that this is not a book written by
a professed scholar, but the production of an un-
lettered seaman. In the course of the work, he
has endeavoured to account for the discrepancy
between his own humble though faithful narrative
and descriptions, and the vague and disjointed ac-
counts of -some former writers, by which the Co-
chin Chinese character is so differently represented.

He does not, however, pretend to make any in-
vidious comparisons, but to show, that from our
general non-intercourse with that remote and se-

A 3



VI

eluded country, few correct accounts of it have
been published, and those at a period considerably
remote from the present era ; since which its na-
tional character has been debased by the increasing
despotism of the government.

Deceived by the flattering accounts of this re-
puted el dorado, (however correct they may once
have been) several adventurers have been induced
to risk voyages there ; one of which was from Sa-
lem, as early as the year 1803 * ; but they were all
totally unsuccessful ; and it is presumed that no
American ever prosecuted any important commer-
cial speculation in the country, previous to the joint
adventure of the brig Franklin and ship Marmion.
At least it is very certain, that they were the first
American ships that ever ascended the Don-nai
river, and displayed the stars and stripes before the
city of Saigon.

* The Ship Fame, Captain Jeremiah Briggs.



CONTENTS.



CHAP. I.

PACK

Leave the Land. Snow Storm. Attacked by a Por-
tuguese Ship. Arrival at, and Description of, St. Salva-
dor. Passage to Batavia. AbrolhosBank Descrip-
tion of, and Remarks on, Tristan d'Acunha. Jonathan
Lambert Passage of the Cape. Arrival at Batavia - 1

CHAP. II.

Departure from Batavia. Straits of Banka. Attacked
by Pirates. Arrival at, and Description of Mintow.
Island of Banka. Description of Pirate Proas. Com-
merce of Banka . 12

CHAP. III.

Palamban its Commerce. Palambese War with the
Dutch. Departure from Mintow. Monsoons. Cur-
rents. Pulo Condore. Cambodia. Cape St. James.
Arrival at Vung-tau - 25

CHAP. IV.

First Interview with the Cochin Chinese. Their Dress,
Manners, &c. Ludicrous Conduct of the Chief.
Arrival at Canjeo. Visit on Shore, Pagoda - -33

CHAP. V.

Mandarin's Visit on Board. Local Descriptions. Fishing
Weirs. Native Vessels. Subsequent Visits of Man-
darins. Roguery of the Natives. Sinmese Junks.
Faithless and Mysterious Conduct of the Chiefs.
Departure from Canjeo - - - - 52



Vlll
CHAP. VI.

PAGE

Description of the Coast of Cochin China. Pulo Ciecer
de Mer. Trading and Fishing Vessels. Pulo Canton.

Arrival at Cham-Callao. Departure from Cham-
Callao. Arrival at Turon Interview with the Chiefs.

Description of Turon and Bay. Departure from
Turon Bay. Historical and Geographical Description

of Cochin China. Bishop Adran - 72

CHAP. VII.

Passage to the Philippine Islands. Paracels. Arrival at
Cavite. Description of Cavite. Arrival at Manilla
Luconia. Coral Ledges and Shoals. Zoophytes.
New created Islands. Description of Manilla - - 95

CHAP. VIII.

Island of Lu9onia, and City of Manilla. Description con-
tinued. Geography. Topography. Geology. Re-
ligion. Manners and Customs. Discovery and Settle-
ment of the Philippine Islands. Galleons - - 112

CHAP. IX.

Philippine Company. Charters Revenue of the Islands.

Imports and Exports. Populations. Productions.
Locusts. Earthquakes. Health. Ilmado. An Ex-
ecution - - 129

CHAP. X.

Animals. Reptiles. Vegetable Productions. Naval
Architecture. Ignorance of the Lu9onians respecting
Cochin China. Arrival of the Marmion. Monsoons
and Seasons. Imposing Ceremonies Dramatic Re-
presentations. Murder. Sensual Indulgences. De-
parture from Manilla - 147

17



IX

CHAP. XI.

FACE

Passage across the China Sea. Arrival at Vung-tau.
Canjeo. Local Anecdotes. Pagoda. Roguery and
Chicanery of the Natives. Permission from Chiefs at
Canjeo to proceed up the River. Permission from the
Governor of Saigon to proceed to the City - 167

CHAP. XII.

Progress up the River of Don-nai. Visit from Officers of
Government. The Seven Months. Features of the
Country. IFish Concert, Ladrones. Remarks on the
River. CoralL edge. Alligators. Hydrostatic Pheno-
menon. Violent Squall. Arrival at the City of Saigon 185

CHAP. XIII.

Visit to the Shore. A Native Dwelling. Arrival of the
Marmion. Female Merchants. Local Scenery and
Descriptions. Preparations to visit the Authorities,
on Shore. Presents - 201

CHAP. XIV.

Landing at Saigon and Progress through the City. Royal
Palace. Citadel. Reception by the acting Governor.
Topographical Description of Saigon and its Envi-
rons. Elephants. Abundance in the Bazars. Fruits.
Rudeness of the Natives - 218

CHAP. XV.

Population of Saigon Style of building. Missionaries.
Christians. Cemetery Naval Arsenal. Gigantic
Timber. War Gallies. Founderies. Topographical
Descriptions. New River. Ceremony of measuring
the Ships. Debauchery of the Natives. Extortion.
Exactions, Letter to the King's Admiral. Presents



PAGE

to the King. His anti-commercial and Despotic Cha-
racter - 232

CHAP. XVI.

Productions of the Country. Wild Beasts. Remarkable
Anecdote of a Tygress. Money. Coins. Weights
and Measures. Manufactures. Chinese Population.
Ruinous Policy of the King. Royal City of Hue.
Regal Succession. Fears of the Christians - 24-8

CHAP. XVII.

Dress of the Inhabitants of Saigon. Female Costume, Ha-
bits, &c. Physical Courage of the Natives. Armour,
&c. Inundations. Residence on Shore. Rapacity of
the Merchants. Delusive Conduct of the acting Go-
vernor. Padre Antonio. Bishop Adran. Pagoda.
Religion and Superstition. Viceroy. Government.
Crimes and Punishments. Population. Chinese Com-
mercial Agents. Native Duplicity. Visit from the
acting Governor. His Conduct - 268

CHAP. XVIII.

Perplexing Coin Vexatious and flagitious Conduct of the
Government Officers. A Serpent. Stoned by the Na-
tives. Return to the Ships. Unsuccessful Stratagem.
Filthy Food of the Natives. Diseases. Funeral
Ceremonies. Music Sculpture. Painting. Dra-
matic Exhibitions. Padre Joseph. Arrival of the Vice-
roy. Presentation. Presents. Humiliating Obei-
sance of Inferiors. Kaleidoscope. Punishment of De-
linquent Soldiers - 289

CHAP. XIX.

Letter from Monsieur Vannier. Aqua Ardiente, a great
Rogue. Reptiles. Meteorological Remarks. Aerial
Temperature Mandarin of Letters Visits on Board



XI



Visit the Viceroy. An Entertainment. Favourable Im-
pressions made by the Viceroy's Manners. Domingo, a
Native Christian. Bezoar Stone. Cautery. Mode
of Travelling. Fires. Games Athletic Exercises.
Poisoning. Viceroy's Wives. Diabolical Machina-
tions of Linguists and Government Officers. Cambo-
dian Ambassador. Fleet of Gallies. Viceroy's Galley. 309

CHAP. XX.

Visit from a Lady of Rank. Contract for Cargoes, and
Permission from Government to take them. New Diffi-
culties. Commence taking Cargo. More Villany.
A Pirate Galley. Macao Ship robbed in 1804. Aqua
Ardiente's rascality. Additional Preparations for de-
fence. Narrative of an Attack on an English Ship, and
her narrow Escape. King's proposed Contract for Car-
goes to be brought him Fears of Father Joseph for
the Christians 330

CHAP. XXI.

Finish taking Cargo. A discovery. Preparations for
departure. Final Settlement, and Payment of Sagou-
etes, and other Impositions. Take leave of the Vice-
roy. Royal Seals. Regal Palace. Departure from
Saigon. Canjeo. Vung-tau. Departure from Vung-
tau. Arrival at Batavia. Mode of preserving Health
of Seamen. Departure from Batavia Touch at the
Isle of France. Arrival of the Ship Marmion. De-
parture from the Isle of France. Passage of the Cape.
A Hurricane. Arrival in the United States - 348



VOYAGE TO COCHIN-CHINA.



CHAPTER I.

Leave the Land. Snow Storm. Attacked by a Portuguese ship.
Arrival at, and description of, Saint Salvador. Passage to
Batavia. Abrolhos Bank. Description of, and remarks on,
Tristan d"Acunha. Jonathan Lambert. Passage of the Cape.
Arrival at Batavia.

ON SATURDAY the 2d day of January 1819 we
sailed from Salem, and the next day had a severe
gale, with snow, from the north-east. On the 4th of
February crossed the Equator. On the 9th of the
same month, in the afternoon, being in latitude of
5 50' south, and longitude 29 2(X west, two sail of
vessels were descried ahead, standing in the same
direction with ourselves. We took little further
notice of this incident, (as at this time of general
peace the whole navigation of the world was in
motion,) than to observe that we were approaching
them rapidly, which excited a consequent emotion
of exultation at the superiority of our sailing.

B



At sunset we had approached so near as to see
their hulls, which indicated a prospect of soon
passing them. The evening, being pleasant, was
passed on deck in conversation relative to past
events, and in speculations on the future ; resources
which seamen are often fain to adopt to relieve the
tedium and monotony of a voyage.

At 11 o'clock the two vessels, which had been
obscured from our view by the darkness of the
evening, were now perceived to be quite near.
We saw that they were large ships, and that our
course would lead us between them, and quite near
the windward one ; on our near approach to which,
on passing, and just while we were about to hail
her, her crew poured, or intended probably to pour
into us, the contents of their two stern chase guns.
We were much surprised at this, and hailed them,
demanding their reason for firing at us ; but so
great was the confusion of voices on board the
stranger, that we could not be heard. We were
rapidly passing them, and, as we ranged along,
were successively saluted with five more guns,
charged with grape, as we found by the shot which
came on board, without however doing the least
damage. We found by their language that they
were Portuguese, and concluded that they mistook
us for a Patriot privateer ; and by the small report
of their guns, and imbecility of the fire, it was
apparent that they must have been a long time
charged, or their powder bad; perhaps both. As
we had not deviated from our course during this



rencontre, had reduced no sail, and sailed much
faster than our uncivil neighbour, we were soon
out of his reach, and little further notice was
taken of the affair by us, than occasionally regret-
ting that our own guns had not been mounted at
the time, which we conceived would have effec-
tually prevented him from having all the exercise
on his side. As we were at peace with all the
world, it had not been considered necessary to take
them on deck till we approached the straits of
Sunda, and they were at this moment silently
reclining on the ballast below.

On the llth February, in lat. 11 4' south, and
long. 31 35' west, our main mast was discovered
to be badly sprung, and it was deemed unsafe to
proceed on our voyage without repairing it ; as it
could not well be done at sea, we determined to
repair immediately to St. Salvador, in the Bay ot
All Saints, which was our nearest port, where we
arrived on the 15th.

The city of Bahia, or St. Salvador, is situated
on a peninsula, which bounds, on the south side,
the picturesque, safe, and capacious Bay of All
Saints, and is said to contain one hundred thousand
inhabitants, thirty thousand of which are white,
and the residue negroes and mulattoes. It is di-
vided into the upper and lower towns, the latter of
which is occupied by mechanics, traders, and the
lower classes of the people ; it is at the foot of a
precipitous hill, skirts the harbour, and is mean
and dirty. Here are situated the counting-houses



4

and stores of the Brazil Company, and of the mer-
chants who reside in the upper town, (which is on
the summit of the hill,) in handsome villas, com-
manding extensive prospects of the sea, the neigh-
bouring coasts, and the circumjacent country, with the
picturesque bay, crowded with vessels of all nations,
spread, like a map, at their feet. The upper town,
which is approached by zig-zag roads on the face
of the precipice, is tolerably regularly built. On
each side of the great square are situated the
palaces of the governor and the archbishop, with
many superb public buildings, and the splendid
mansions of the nobility and opulent gentry. The
streets are well paved, and the churches, built of
the most costly materials, are crowded with deco-
rations of immense value, the voluntary contri-
butions of superstitious devotees and zealous
fanatics.

The climate is healthy, the air salubrious and
balmy, the soil kind and productive, and the com-
forts and necessaries of life abundant. The princi-
pal articles of export are gold and silver, jewellery,
precious stones, sugar, rum, coffee, hides, jerked
bee cocoa, dye-woods, and tobacco ; the latter is
a monopoly of the crown, and is said to produce a
great revenue.

Timber for ship-building is here found in great
abundance, and of very superior qualities, and the
science of naval architecture has been carried to
as great a degree of perfection as in any part of
the world; the artists of Bahia having produced



some as fine and complete models of maritime
beauty, in their Brazil ships, as any country can
boast. Their articles of import from the United
States, with which a brisk trade has of late years
been carried on, are principally dried and pickled
fish, flour, butter, cheese, lumber, cabinet work,
carriages, shoes, hats, &c. From Europe, besides
some of the above articles, they receive woollen,
cotton, linen, and silk stuffs, cutlery and fire-arms,
wines, brandy, and various fancy articles.

A coasting trade is pursued with the neighbour-
ing provinces, and they have established a lucrative
commerce with the East Indies. Most of the fruits
which are produced within the tropics are found in
the market, and a particular kind of orange, of
large size and delicious flavour, without seeds, is
here only indigenous. All Portuguese vessels,
sailing from St. Salvador to Rio de Janeiro, are
obliged to take with them a quantity of this fruit
for the use of the royal family.

The inhabitants, like the Portuguese in general,
are great bigots, and not very favourably disposed
towards protestants ; but the American and English
residents, of which latter there are many, form a
very agreeable society among themselves. The
thermometer in the shade, at noon, ranged from
83 to 86 of Fahrenheit during our stay here.

The latitude of Cape St. Salvador, the extreme
point of the peninsula, (on which is situated Fort
Cabo, commanding the entrance between it and
the island of Taporica or Itaparica, which bounds

B 3



6

the west side of the channel,) is 12 58' south, and
the longitude 38 13' west. From the Cape an ex-
tensive bank of coral projects out to the south and
south-east : its extreme outer verge being a little
more than two miles from the land, it is said not to
have less than four fathoms of water on it, though
by the ripplings caused by the rapidity of the
tide over it, a stranger would suppose it to be
much shoaler. There is little or no variation of
the compass here. On the 22d, having completed
our repairs, and laid in a fresh stock of water and
provisions, we sailed from St. Salvador.

On the 25th we crossed the Abrolhos bank, our
approach to which was indicated by the temper-
ature of the water, and our arrival on it by the
lead. Our shoalest water was 21 fathoms ; coarse
grey and yellow sand, broken shells and coral.

On the 12th of March we saw and passed the
island of Tristan d'Acunha, through many shoals
of kelp and other marine plants. This island, from
recent circumstances, has acquired some celebrity,
and excited no small degree of interest ; and this
it was, of which, in the year 1811, Jonathan Lam-
bert of Salem took formal possession, issued a pro-
clamation indicative of his right to the soil, and
invited navigators of all nations, whose route might
lie near the island, to touch at his settlement for
the refreshments needed on a long passage, and
which, he anticipated, his industry would draw from
the earth, and the adjacent sea ; and he signified
his readiness to receive in payment whatever might



be most convenient for his visitors to part with,
that could be any way useful to him in his solitary
abode. For the purpose of being able to fulfil his
engagements, he took with him to the island various
implements of husbandry, seeds of the most useful
culinary plants which grow in the United States,
and, touching at South America, he there procured
seeds, scions, &c. of many tropical plants, the fruits
of which, he hoped, would not only be a very
agreeable acquisition to his little colony for food,
but would furnish an abundant supply to ships
which might visit his establishment. He was also
furnished with a variety of fishing apparatus, for
which he found great use ; for in no part of the
world are fish in greater plenty, of more delicious
flavour, or taken with greater facility, than at this
island. The shores abound in seals, sea-lions, sea-
elephants, and other amphibious animals ; and the
cliffs and precipices are the resorts of innumerable
flights of aquatic fowls, such as albatrosses, pen-
guins, pintados, silver-wings, cape-hens, and various
other kinds, which abound in the antarctic regions ;
in the interior, wild hogs and goats are found.
The spot on which Lambert fixed his residence was
the largest of a group of three islands, named
Tristan d' Acunha, after the Portuguese discoverer ;
the other two are situated six or seven leagues
south-westerly, and are called respectively Night-
ingale and Inaccessible. They are all very high,
mountainous, and rugged ; and the appearances
of deep chasms, abrupt precipices, and various sub-

B 4



stance^ scattered about, which bear indisputable
marks of the action of fire, indubitably indicate the
volcanic origin of these islands.

Tristan d* Acunha, excepting the peak, is clothed
with verdure, and some trees of considerable size
grow in the vallies ; the other islands of this group
are barren, and present a very inhospitable aspect;
a few stinted shrubs are seen in some places, cling-
ing to the sides of the deep fissures through which
the mountain torrents rush during occasional rains,
or the melting of the winter snows, which at times
crown the rugged peaks of these alpine islands.

The island of Tristan d'Acunha affords abund-
ance of good fresh water; the bay, or indentation
called the road, though scarcely deserving that
name, is situated on the north side of it, having
deep water very near the shore, with a bottom of
slimy black sand, and the bank of soundings is very
precipitous, by which vessels are in danger of
drifting from the anchorage with an off-shore wind,
and with a sudden gale on shore, (which is not un-
frequent,) the hazard of shipwreck would be im-
minent. These reasons should deter vessels from
anchoring, and induce them to lie by while their
boats are on shore.

A beautiful cascade of limpid water rushes from
the mountains, and falls into a large basin near the
landing place, from whence there is an outlet to
the sea, through which it escapes over a bed of
polished pebbles, and mingles with the ocean. In
watering, boats lie near the beach, and through a



hose receive the water from this stream, without
removing the casks. Some difficulty is experienced
in approaching the shore by means of the vast
quantities of kelp, or trumpet- weed, of immense
size, which extend a considerable distance into the
sea, and no small effort is necessary to overcome
the resistance presented by this obstacle.

Lambert and his associates had resided here
nearly two years, and already had their industry
been crowned with great success : they had col-
lected a number of the skins of seals, sea lions, &c.
and a considerable quantity of oil, from the same
animals. The soil, congenial to the growth of the
various kinds of plants, which they had naturalized
there, had begun to reward their toils with a plen-
tiful crop of roots, fruits, and pulse, and they were
made happy in the fruition of their hopes, and in
the flattering prospects of future independence,
which were spread before them.

In the midst of the enlivening feelings which
pervaded their minds on the success of their under-
taking, a melancholy incident took place, which
rent asunder the bonds of this little society, and
spread desolation over their domains. This was
no less than the death of Lambert, the soul of their
enterprize ; he is reported to have been drowned,
while on a visit to one of the adjacent islands.
Disheartened by this unfortunate occurrence, by
which they were deprived of an intelligent leader,
and distrusting their own powers to prosecute their
original designs to a favourable issue, they shortly



10 ,

after this event quitted the island in a ship which
touched there ; and in 1814 their huts were found
falling to the ground, their enclosures in ruins, and
every part of this once flourishing establishment
marked with the devastations of time and neglect.
Tristan d'Acunha has since that period excited
some attention, from the circumstance of its occu-
pation in 1816 by a company of British troops
from the Cape of Good Hope, as an outpost of the
army of surveillance stationed at St. Helena, the
rugged and gloomy prison of Napoleon Bonaparte ;
but this garrison was soon withdrawn, for the most
obvious reasons, and which it is astonishing had not
previously occurred to the projectors of this mea-
sure, and prevented its adoption. The most pro-
minent reasons were, (among many others,) that the
island of Tristan d'Acunha could in no way faci-
litate the escape of Bonaparte from St. Helena,
and that the anchorage was so bad that no vessels
could lie there in safety, which latter objection
was most painfully exemplified to them, in the
shipwreck, and total loss of a sloop of war, with
nearly all her crew, on the island, a short time pre-
vious to its abandonment by them. The latitude
of the peak of Tristan d'Acunha is given at 37 6'
south, and longitude 11 44' west: more recent
observations give the longitude of the cascade at
12 2' west ; and the latter, by that most able and
intelligent navigator Horsburgh, is considered to be
correct. The variation of the compass is about
10 westerly.



11

We had the usual winds and weather experienced
in passing the Cape of Good Hope, and in running
up our Easting, which we did in the latitude of
about 40 south. April 14th, we passed the islands
of St. Paul's and Amsterdam, without seeing them
however, the weather being very hazy ; and on the
4th of May, in the morning, we saw Java head, at
noon entered the straits of Sunda, and on the 9th
anchored in Batavia roads.



CHAPTER II.

Departure from Batavia. Straits of Banka. Attacked by Pi-
rates. Arrival at, and description of, Mintow. Island of
Banka. Description of Pirate Proas. Commerce of Banka.

HAVING replenished our stock of water and fresh
provisions, and despatched some business which had
called us to this place, we sailed on the 18th, and
pursued our course for the ultimate destination of
our outward voyage. On the 22d, having crossed
the Java sea, we saw the island of Lucepera, at the
southern entrance of the straits of Banka, and on
the following day we entered those straits. The
weather, which had been very sultry since our leav-
ing Batavia, had now become almost intolerable
from the great heat; so that the heavy squalls of rain
which we experienced every night, although ac-


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