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A VOYAGE FROM MACAO,
TENON, IN COCHIN-CHINA,
ON N the 11th of November, 1819, the Friendship sailed from
the Typha,* with a moderate breeze at N. N. E. and hazy weather. At noon the Grand Ladrone bore E. by S., distance five and a half or six leagues.
* This is a river of China, through which a ship proceeding to the harbour of Macao must pass, there being thirteen feet at low water in the fair track between the Typha and the entrance of the harbour, whereas in the more open space between Kai-kong and Macao, there are not more than about eleven feet under the same circumstances. Such is the information usually given as to these places, yet the statement of the journal, with singular accuracy, and on it absolute reliance may be reposed, puts the matter in a somewhat different point of view, seriously worth the attention of navigators.
The city of Macao, usually pronounced Macow, is called by the Chinese Ou-moon, (moon in Chinese signifies an entrance or pass) and-was ceded by that people to the Portuguese towards the close of the sixteenth century. The celebrated Albuquerque was the first European who formed the design of opening a communication with China, in consequence of his having met with, at Malacca, several vessels of that nation, whose seamen had more politeness and decorum than were at that period to be found among the nobility of Europe.
The information which they gave him concerning the civilization and resources of their country, induced that eminent man to lay the whole before the court of Lisbon; and, immediately after, a squadron was fitted out, in 1517, for the double purpose of peace or war, as the exigencies of occasion might require, a thing which formed the grand feature of every naval expedition at that period. The whole was put under the command of Ferdinand Andrada, who was accompanied by Thomas Ferena, in quality of ambassador.
“ On their arrival at the entrance of the river of Canton, the fleet was stopped, and only two vessels allowed to pass up the river; on-board of one were the ambassador and commodore. Andrada was a man of strict honour; so that he soon gained on the Chinese, notwithstanding their natural aversion to strangers. By his exactness and probity he drew them to trade, and bronght them to have great confidence in him; but what had the greatest effect, and might liave established the commerce of the Portuguese to the exclusion of all other nations, was his giving notice a little before his departure, that at such a time he meant to sail, and that if any had demands upon VOYAges and TRAVELS, Vol. VI.
12th.-The first part of these twenty-four hours an increasing breeze, with dark hazy weather, and a high swell from the Eastward. The middle and latter, hard gales with frequent heavy
him, or any of those belonging to him, they might apply and receive satisfaction. This was an instance of probity new to the Chinese, but so agreeable that they made him great professions of friendship, and assured him that they would most willingly trade with his nation, in hopes of meeting always with the like usage: but so fair a prospect did not long continue, and even the first had very nearly proved the last voyage of the Portuguese to China. The commanders of the ships that were left at the mouth of the river, landed and began a trade with the natives ; but presuming on their power in India, treated the Chinese with great insolence and iniquity. They brought on shore several pieces of cannon, and then took what they pleased at their own rates, and treated with the pirates for such as they had taken prisoners, of whom they made slaves. The viceroy of the province quickly assembled a great naval force, with which he surrounded the Portuguese squadron, and would infallibly have taken them if a storm had not arisen, which scattered the Chinese fleet, and enabled the Portuguese to return to Malacca with more profit than honour. The ambassador proved the victim of this misconduct; he was confined in prison, where he afterwards died.
“ It was many years before the Chinese would admit the Portuguese to trade with them, but at length, they allowed them to send some ships to the island of Sanuam, where they were permitted to erect tents on shore for a short space of time, in which they disposed of their merchandize. At length, towards the close of the sixteenth century, a favourable opportunity offered, not only of restoring their commerce, but of procuring a permanent establishment in China. The pirates committed great ravages on the coast, and having acquired a large force, made themselves masters of the port of Macao, and from thence not only blocked up the port of Canton, but also besieged the city. The Mandarines in their distress had recourse to the Portuguese, whose ships were then at the island of Sanuam. They readily offered their assistance, and not only forced the pirates to raise the siege, but pursued them to Macao, which they took, and where the chief of the pirates was killed. The viceroy having made a report to the emperor of this extraordinary service, he, out of gratitude, published an edict, by which the Portuguese were to have the island of Macao, with the power of forming a settlement, which they gladly accepted. They accordingly built a town and fortified it after the European manner; but the Chinese have effectually, provided for their own security, by not allowing them any provisions but what they receive through their means."-See Milburne's Oriental Commerce.
The Portuguese still retain nominal dominion over the island, but the Chinese, who never lose sight of their national interest, and the integrity of the celestial empire, are really the masters of the place, their mandarines exercising magisterial authority as effectnally at Macao as at Canton.
According to Mr. Horsburgh, Macao is situated in latitude 22 degrecs, 10} minutes north, and longitude 113 degrees 32 minutes east, or 18 miles eastward of Canton by chronometer reckoning, and twelve miles westward of Grand Ladrone. The town stands on a high peninsula that terminates the island of Macao to the southward, being joined to it by a narrow isthmus on the north side of the town: several miserable erections called forts, appear on the hills which surround the town, but even these neglected buildings, by their contrast with the neat country-houses 'sprinkled upon the rising grounds, give the whole an entertaining appearance.
These houses are the favourite residence of the principal merchants, who
squalls and constant rain. Latitude per account. at noon, 19 degrees 49 minutes north; longitude 112 degrees 38 minutes east. At a quarter before midnight, perceiving the ship's motion to be somewhat heavy and unusual, we sounded the well and found she had sprung a leak, and was nearly half full of water. The two pumps being shortly after choked and rendered useless, we turned all hands to bale with the buckets at the hatchways: finding, however, that the leak gained fast upon us, the sea now breaking fairly over her, we were obliged to relinquish this attempt; and holding a consultation of what was best to be done, it was the general opinion, that to run ashore on the nearest land (in order to save the lives of the crew,) was the most prudent measure that in our present situation could be adopted.
At half-past midnight, the wind veering round to east, bore up, and stood in west for the coast of Hainan, but there was great reason to fear the ship would founder before morning. At one A. M. a perfect hurricane blowing, with frequent violent gusts of cross and unexpected wind, and a tremendous heavy sea, handed the foresail and scudded under bare poles. At two, scudding under the goose wings of the foresail, the ship, though now apparently water-logged, seemed to fly through the water, and the sea was at this time in a complete foam. From the heavy ground swell we conjectured we could not be far from land, but were consequently, in the darkness, apprehensive of striking on some of the shoals or islands that lie to the eastward of Hainan.
At about four A. M. the wind shifted to north, blowing if possible more furious than before; kept her before it due-south: shortly after the mizen-mast went by the board, though there was not a stitch of canvas set upon it. In its fall it knocked me down the after-hatchway, by which I received a severe hurt. in the back. At half-past four, we could distinctly hear a sound resembling that of distant thunder, but which we sorrowfully concluded to be the announcement of breakers.
At day-light there came obscurely in view an extensive reef of high rocks right a-head, distant about two miles, with a surf breaking over them more than mast-head high; we, however,
retire thither after the fatigues of business, and enjoy all the pleasures of refined society; but there is little intercourse between the agents of the India Company stationed at this place, and the Portuguese authorities.
The situation is peculiarly pleasant and healthy, and is the more valuable, as being the only settlement which Europeans have in connexion with the Chinese; consequently forming the only accessible point for some articles of commerce, which are productive of greatest profit to the Company, and to private traders. Regarding this particular, further opportunities in the progress of these notes will admit of explanation.
dashed boldly on to meet the fate that awaited us, there being no alternative. The return of morning, so anxiously wished for during the night, only gave us a clearer view of our dangerous and distressing situation.
In this perilous extremity, every exertion was required; we, therefore, `cut adrift all the spare spars that were on the upper deck, in order to give every individual a chance of saving hiş life, though little hopes to this effect could be entertained'; indeed, that a life on-board would be saved, appeared almost impossible, unless by the immediate interposition of Providence.
The ship was now evidently sinking by inches, and as she approached this tremendous reef, in order to have a more distinct view of it, I ventured up a few ratlines of the main-shrouds, and perceived a small opening a little on our starboard-bow, about a ship's length wide, formed by two rocks considerably higher than the other portions of the chain, and rising perpendicularly out of the water, resembling two great pillars. I instantly called out to 'port the helm,' just as the sea-cunny, * terrified by the noise of the breakers, was in the act of deserting his station : fortunately the ship answered the helm, and at the moment she got quite close to the danger, she as fortunately rose on a high swell and shot through. On passing the reef thus providentially, we immediately found ourselves in smooth water, and considerably sheltered both from the swell and wind, but expecting the ship to go down every moment. Cast loose and set the reefed foresail, in order to give her fresh way; however, soon after she struck and lay upon her beam-ends, broadside to wind and swell.
The mainmast, foremast, and bowsprit were then cut away, when she righted, and coming round head to wind, forced farther on, striking the ground several times with great violence.
Being at this time nearly the top of high water, but still blowing as hard as ever, and the atmosphere so thick and hazy that we were unable to discover whether we had grounded on a detached shoal or on the main, we could perceive only something like a white sandy beech appearing at intervals through the haze, and encouraged by this we hoisted out the jolly-boat, but she was soon swamped and went to pieces.
At noon we observed many natives coming down towards the vessel; they came off half-way with a seeming intent to board us, but finding the surf too heavy for their craft, returned to the shore, where they appeared anxiously watching the destruction of the vessel.
* Sea-cunny, the title of the helmsman, who is rarely a Lascar, usually a Europcan.