The barter which had been carrying on with the Chinese for their sea-otter skins, produced a very whimsical change in the dress of the crews. On their arrival in the Typa, nothing could exceed the ragged appearance both of the younger officers and seamen; almost the whole of their original stock of European clothes having been long worn out, or patched up with skins, or the various manufactures they had met with in the course of their discoveries. These were now again mixed and eked out with the gaudiest silks and cottons of China.
On the 11th of January, two seamen belonging to the Resolution ran off with a six oared cutter, and were never after heard of. It was supposed that they had been seduced by the prevailing notion of making a fortune by returning to the fur islands.
On account of the war between England and America, with France and Spain as her allies, of which they received intelligence at Canton, they put themselves in the best posture of defence, the Resolution mounting sixteen guns, and the Discovery ten. They had reason, however, to believe, from the generosity of their enemies, that these precautions were superfluous: being informed that instructions had been found on board all the French ships of war captured in Europe, directing their commanders, in case of falling in with the ships that sailed under the command of Captain Cook, to suffer them to proceed without molestation; and the same orders were also said to have been given by the American Congress to the vessels employed in their service. In return for these liberal concessions, Captain Gore resolved to refrain from availing himself of any opportunities of capture, and to preserve throughout the remainder of the voyage, the strictest neutrality.
On the 12th of January, 1780, our navigators got under sail from Macao; on the 19th, they saw Pulo Sapata, and on the 20th, descried Pulo Condore, and anchored in the harbour at the south-west end of the island. The town is situated at the east end, and here they procured eight buffaloes, with other refreshments. From the untractableness and prodigious strength of the buffaloes, it was both a tedious and difficult operation to get them on board. The method of conducting them was by passing ropes through their nostrils and round their horns; but, having been once enraged at the sight of our men, they became so furious that they sometimes broke the trees to which they were often under the necessity of being tied; sometimes they tore asunder the cartilage of the nostril through which the ropes ran, and got loose. On these occasions, all the exertions of the men to recover them would have been ineffectual, without the assistance of some young boys, whom these animals would permit to approach them, and by whose little management their rage was soon appeased. A circumstance respecting these animals, which was thought no less singular than their gentleness toward, and, as it should seem, affection for, little children, was, that they had not been twenty-four hours on board, before they became the tamest of all creatures. Captain King kept two of them, a male and a female, for a considerable time, which became great favourites with the sailors; and thinking that a breed of animals of such strength and size, some of them weighing when dressed, seven hundred pounds, would be a valuable acquisition, intended to have brought them with him to England, but his intention was frustrated by an incurable hurt which one of them received at sea.
Our navigators remained here till the 28th of January, when they unmoored and proceeded on their homeward voyage, passing through the Straits of Banea, and of Sunda, without any occurrence worthy of particular remark. They saw two or three Dutch ships in the Straits of Sunda. They watered at Prince's Island at the entrance of the Straits, and got a supply of fowls and turtle there.
From the time of their entering the Straits of Banea, they began to experience the powerful effects of the pestilential climate, and malignant putrid fevers, with obstinate coughs and dysenteries, prevailed amongst the crews, happily, however, without one fatal termination.
On the 18th of February they left the Straits of Sunda; in the night between the 25th and 26th, they experienced a most violent storm, during which almost every sail they had bent was split to rags, and the next day they were obliged to bend their last suit of sails, and to knot and splice the rigging, their cordage being all expended.
On the 7th of April they saw the land of Africa, and on the 9th, they fell in with an English East India packet, that had left Table Bay three days before. On the evening of the 12th, they dropped anchor in False Bay, and the next morning stood into Simon's Bay.
Having completed their victualling, and furnished themselves with the necessary supply of naval stores, our navigators sailed out of the bay on the 9th of May. On the 12th of June, they passed the equator for the fourth time during the voyage. On the 12th of August they made the western coast of Ireland, and, after a fruitless attempt to put into Port Galway, they were obliged, by strong southerly winds, to steer to the northward; and, on the 26th of August, both ships came to an anchor in Stromness, in the Orkneys, whence Captain King was dispatched by Captain Gore, to acquaint the board of Admiralty with their arrival. On the first of October, the ships arrived safe at the Nore, after an absence of four years, two months, and twenty-two days.
BY MISS HELEN MARIA WILLIAMS.