Tài liệu cho một kế hoạch đi chơi Côn Đảo viết hơn một năm trước...
Côn Đảo: dòng thời gian...
Trong khi tìm tài liệu về Côn Đảo, tôi thấy trong giai đoạn trước Pháp chiếm VN đảo này cũng được nhắc đến nhiều. Nhiều nhà du thám nổi tiếng trong lịch sử hàng hải đã ghé qua đây, ví dụ như Marco Polo chẳng hạn.
Trong cuốn sách của Nguyễn Đình Thống (Côn đảo: Từ góc nhìn lịch sử (2012)) đã trích dẫn là đoàn thuyền của Marco Polo trên đường từ Tàu về nước đã gặp trận bão ở biển Đông, tàu chìm nhiều chỉ còn 14 chiếc, buộc ông phải ghé qua đảo này tá túc (năm 1294).
A. Marco Polo có ghé Côn Đảo không?
Tôi đã thử tra khảo cuốn sách của Marco Polo viết*, nhưng rất tiếc là không thấy ông không nói gì về việc này. Những gì ông nói về hai đảo mà ông thấy trên đường tiếp tục hải trình của mình sau khi dành thời gian khá lâu ở Chiêm Thành, là đảo Kondur và Sondur. Dựa theo mô tả đường đi của ông, những nhà nghiên cứu sau này cho rằng hai đảo này nhất định phải là Côn Đảo. Và Polo chỉ nói do các đảo này không có người ở nên chẳng có gì đáng nói!
Các bản tôi đã tra khảo là hai ấn bản khác nhau của Marco Polo, quyển Travels of Marco Polo the Venetian. London: V.M. Dent & Son Lmt, 1908 và cuốn Travels of Marco Polo. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1845. Tôi không thấy chỗ nào nói đến việc gặp bão chìm tàu nên phải ghé vào đảo này, dù tác giả có nói ngắn gọn đến hai đảo như đã nói ở trên, và được những nhà nghiên cứu sau này về các chuyến đi của ông đã giải thích hai đảo có tên là Kondur và Sondur chính là Côn Đảo, trên bản đồ gọi là Pulo Condore. Tác giả (nên nhớ Marco Polo tường thuật lại hành trình của mình trong tù, và một bạn tù đã ghi chép lại thành và in thành sách sau đó) trình bày là hai đảo này không có người ở, nên chẳng có gì để ông mô tả như đã nêu ở trên.
Nếu như chuyến du hành của Marco Polo là có thật, và việc ông ghé đảo này là có thật, và các quan sát của ông là đúng, tức đảo này không có người ở, thì có thể nói là vào cuối thế kỷ 13 (thời gian ông ghé Chiêm Thành là vào 1280, nhưng các nhà biên tập bản dịch ra tiếng Anh thấy có sự bất nhất, vì khoảng thời gian này ông còn phục vụ nhà vua Tàu, còn chuyến tàu mà ông đi để về quê phải khởi hành sau mốc này, và nếu đến Chiêm Thành thì nó phải vào năm 1291), trên đất Côn Đảo chưa có người ở.
Marco Polo là nhà du hành có vai trò lịch sử quá lớn và được nhiều người công nhận, những quyển sách du hành của ông được in, dịch ra nhiều thứ tiếng và phổ biến ở nhiều nước. Điều khó khăn là các hành trình của ông như hư hư, thực thực, làm cho hậu thế khó có thể khẳng định là ông đã tường thuật các câu chuyện của mình dựa trên các sự kiện nghe được từ các nhà buôn kể lại, hay chính bản ông đã đi qua. Dù sao, gần đây đọc một số tài liệu của các nhà sử học nói là ông này có thể đã chưa từng thực hiện chuyến du hành sang Tàu bằng đường bộ, cũng như chuyến về bằng đường biển (xem ở đây), với những lý lẽ đưa ra cũng đầy tính thuyết phục. Và nếu lập luận này là đúng, thì chuyện ghé Chiêm Thành và Côn Đảo lại thành ra chuyện kể của một tay bậc thầy về nói dóc: ông ta chưa từng đi qua những nơi ông viết trong quyển sách của mình sau này thường được dịch sang tiếng Anh dưới tên Travels of Marco Polo!
B. Mô tả Côn Đảo của Uông Đại Uyên, viên sứ Tàu
Mặc dù ngành hàng hải của Tàu trong thời gian này (TK 14) chưa cho phép nó vươn xa như của châu Âu, nhưng những chuyến đi tới lui các nước triều cống Tàu bởi các viên sứ thần người Tàu và các tài liệu họ viết qua các chuyến đi ấy vẫn còn được lưu lại trong các tàng thư của Tàu. Chúng ta không ngạc nhiên khi các học giả Pháp trước đây đã phải miệt mài học thứ chữ tượng hình khó khăn để làm phương tiện đọc được các tài liệu cổ xưa của Tàu nhằm bổ sung khoảng trống họ thiếu về quốc gia này. Ngay cả các học giả Pháp khi đến Việt Nam làm việc sau khi Pháp chiếm xong Việt Nam làm thuộc địa cũng phải học thứ chữ Nho (chữ Tàu cổ phát âm theo giọng Việt Nam) này, và thậm chí cả chữ Nôm nữa. Công trình đồ sộ viết về miền Nam thời kỳ này (TK 19), quyển Gia Định Thông Chí của Trịnh Hòai Đức được học giả Gabriel Aubaret dịch sang tiếng Pháp và in năm 1863 với tựa là Histoire et description de la Basse Cochinchine. Đọc quyển này để thấy được công lao nghiên cứu của ông, thể hiện ở các chú thích cho cuốn sách này. Nên nhớ ngay cả các nhà nho uyên thâm khi đọc tài liệu này cũng gặp nhiều khó khăn, vì quyển này viết về vùng đất Nam Bộ, nơi nhiều địa danh sử dụng tiếng Việt thuần túy, hoặc nhiều địa danh có gốc từ tiếng Khmer, mà chữ dùng viết cho tài liệu Gia Định Thông Chí này là chữ Nho, vốn rất khó để diễn tả chính xác những âm đặc thù này, làm cho mỗi người đọc tài liệu phát âm nó theo mỗi cách, tùy theo hiểu biết về địa phương này của người đọc đó.
Công trình của người Tàu viết về các nước khác cũng có nhiều; một số quyển trở thành tài liệu quí để nghiên cứu một thời kỳ lịch sử nào đó, bởi lẽ nhiều nơi hầu như chưa được biết đến hay nói đến đó không còn nguồn tài liệu nào khác. Lấy ví dụ quyển Chân Lạp Phong Thổ Ký của Chu Đạt Quan viết vào những năm sau chuyến thăm và ở nước này gần một năm, tù tháng 8 năm 1296 đến tháng 7/1297. Đây là thời kỳ mà nền văn minh Angkor sắp suy tàn. Một nền văn minh lớn như thế nhưng chưa được mô tả lại qua sách vở lúc đó và nhiều thế kỷ sau nữa, khi mà các đền đài Angko bị vùi chôn trong rừng già. Quyển sách của Chu Đạt Quan viết khi ông đã về nước, mặc dù không biết rõ đích xác năm nào, nhưng người ta đoán nó được viết trong vòng 15 năm sau khi ông về nước, tức đầu thế kỷ thứ 14, đã giúp nhiều người biết đến thời kỳ huy hoàng nhất của nền văn minh đó, dưới mắt một người nước ngoài.
Trở lại Côn Đảo, sau mô tả của Marco Polo về đảo này, thì quyển sách có nói về Côn Đảo của người Hoa viết có thể là quyển Đảo Di Chí Lược (hay Đảo Di Chí, hay Sách viết về các dân dã man ở đảo) của Uông Đại Uyên (1311-1350), đời nhà Nguyên, và sách này có lẽ xuất bản vào năm 1349. Tài liệu của ông có nói đến Côn Đảo, với tên gọi là Côn Luân, nới có vài chục dân sinh sống, còn trần truồng, và ở trong hang núi chớ chưa có nhà cửa. Mô tả này của ông làm ta hình dung những người này còn trong tình trạng ăn lông ở lổ, và cũng không thể xác định là người của chủng tộc nào đang sống tại đây vào thời gian đó. Và nếu tài liệu của ông là chính xác, thì chúng ta có thể khẳng định vào đầu thế kỷ 14, Côn Đảo đã có người ở.
Đoạn mô tả của ông về đảo Côn Luân như sau:
"昆侖 古者昆侖山又名軍 屯山。山高而方，根盤 幾百裡，截然乎瀛海之 中，與佔城、〔東〕西 竺鼎峙而相望。下有昆 侖洋，因是名也。舶販 西洋者，必掠之，順風 七晝夜可渡。諺雲：上 有七州，下有昆侖，﹛計﹜〔針迷舵失，人船 〕孰存？雖則地無異產 ，人無居室，山之窩有 男﹛人﹜〔女〕數十〔人，怪形而〕異狀，穴 居而野處，既無衣褐，日食山果、魚蝦，夜則 宿於樹巢，仿標技野鹿 之世，何以知其然也？
﹛百﹜〔凡〕舶阻惡風 灣泊其山之下，男女群 聚而玩，撫掌而笑，﹛笑而﹜〔良久乃〕去，自適天趣。吾故曰：其 無懷大庭氏之民歟？其葛天氏之民歟？"
trích mục Côn Luân trong "Đảo di chí lược" của Uông Đại Uyên.
C. 1516- Đoàn người của Đại Sứ Bồ Đào Nha sang Tàu ghé Côn Đảo
Gần ba thế kỷ sau khi Marco Polo đến Côn Đảo thì đến đoàn chở đại sứ Bồ Đào Nha sang Tàu ghé qua Côn Đảo. Sự kiện này được ghi chép trong quyển của João de Baros “Décadas da Ásia”. Vị đại sứ đầu tiên của Bồ Đào Nha tại Tàu là ông Tomés Pires đã đi từ Malacca sang Tàu trên đoàn thuyền đặt dưới quyền của hai ông Fernão Péres de Andrade và Duarte Coelho. Chuyến đi không thành công do bão tố khi đi gần đến Vịnh Bắc bộ, nên đoàn tàu phải quay lại, và trên đường đi đoàn tàu ghé nhiều nơi để lấy nước uống, lương thực…, trong đó có ghé qua Côn Đảo năm 1516 (trong khi người Bồ đầu tiên đến Tàu là Jorge Álvares đi bằng tàu Mã Lai sang Tàu năm 1513, xem Was Australia Charted Before 1606, của William A.R. Richardson, The The National Library of Australia, 2006).
Như vậy sau lần ghé của Marco Polo [nếu có], thì đoàn tàu mang vị đại sứ đầu tiên người Bồ sang Tàu là những người Tây phương thứ 2 ghé lên đảo này. Thời gian gặp bão tại biển Cochin China (từ để gọi Việt Nam vào thời gian đó) là tháng giữa tháng 9, như mô tả sau “Fernão Peres se partio a doze de Agosto do anno de quinhentos e dezeseis; e ainda pera maior impedimento , foram os tempos tão mortos , que chegou meado de Setembro á vista da costa do Reyno de Cochij China”. Trong đoạn sau đây có nói đến việc ghé Côn Đảo.
Tôi đã tra thử bản tiếng Bồ in năm 1563, tức bản đầu tiên, hiện có thể tham khảo ở trang lưu trữ internet tại địa chỉ https://archive.org/details/terceiradecadada00barr, và vài bản khác, cũng đều có thể xem trực tuyến. Ở bản đầu tiên (in năm 1563) thì đề cập đến Côn đảo có thể thấy tại quyển 3, cuốn 2, trang 43 (sách đánh trang đôi!) Các bản khác trình bày khác, chẳng hạn bản năm 1777 cũng in tại Lisbon, quyển 3, tập 2, phần 6 này thấy ta thấy nói đến Pullo Candore tại trang 182. Rất tiếc vì bằng tiếng Bồ nên tôi không thể biết nhiều những điều được nói đến nhưng có thể đưa ra vài nhận xét đáng lưu ý.
Giống như đoàn của Marco Polo (nếu đoàn có ghé!), đoàn tàu của Bồ cũng ghé Côn Đảo do tình hình bất đắc dĩ chứ không phải là một điểm đến đã định trước trong hành trình, nên mô tả của ông rất sơ sài. Cuối trang 182 bản 1777 có nói là Côn Đảo thưa vắng người, nhưng các thủy thủ của tàu bè hay ghé để nghỉ ngơi, tiếp tế hay sửa chữa tàu thuyền:
...Na qual Pullo Candor, ainda que era despovoada , por fer mui frequentada dos navegantes...
Chữ ông dùng là despovoada, tương đương depopulated bên tiếng Anh cho thấy tình trạng hoang sơ, thưa người hơn là không có người! Rất tiếc suy luận này chỉ là điều tôi suy nghĩ, vì phần mô tả của tác giả tự nó chưa nói cho ta biết chính xác là có dân không, và có bao nhiêu dân, và dân tộc nào đang ở đó như các quan sát sau này.
Ông cũng chú ý đảo có vài loại chim, cá, và rùa biển, nhưng mô tả của ông đơn giản hơn mô tả của Dampier một thế kỷ sau đó nhiều cả về mặt khoa học lẫn mức độ chi tiết.
Chương có viết về các sự kiện này xin xem tại đây, lưu ý trang 182, 183, đoạn được tô màu nền màu vàng, và có đề cập thời gian lúc đó là cuối tháng 9 [năm 1516].
D. 14/3/1687 : Dampier ghé Côn Đảo
Đây là một nhà thám hiểm, nhà tự nhiên học, nhưng cũng là một tay cướp biển lớn! Vì sao trong một con người nổi tiếng lại đầy tính chất mâu thuẫn (một nhà hải hành, một nhà khoa học tự nhiên, một tên cướp biển) này cũng là một điều thú vị!
Dampier thực hiện các chuyến du hành của ông vào thế kỷ 17 là thời gian ngành hàng hải, kiến thức về địa lý và bản đồ đã phát triển vượt bậc. Các mô tả của Dampier đã thể hiện rõ ràng các sự kiện khoa học nói chung ở nhiều mặt tự nhiên, địa lý, động vật, thực vật v.v… Thí dụ khi mô tả địa điểm nào ông đến thì ông đều tính toán tọa độ địa lý để chỉ chính xác chỗ nơi đó (mặc dù thật ra với các dụng cụ đo đạc khi đó, nó không thể chính xác như máy định vị sử dụng dữ liệu vệ tinh định vị ngày nay được!), hoặc khi mô tả thực vật đã dùng tên khoa học.
Dampier đã thực hiện đến 3 lần vòng quanh trái đất; ông cũng là người Âu đầu tiên đến Úc châu và mô tả về nơi này (thế nhưng có tài liệu nêu ông không còn là người đầu tiên đến châu Úc nữa, xem ở trên về đoàn của Bồ Đào Nh). Ông từng theo những tàu cướp biển để cướp các tàu buôn Tây Ban Nha. Trong khi đọc đoạn mô tả việc ghé Côn Đảo, hẳn đọc giả sẽ thấy tàu của họ đến đó với mục đích dùng nơi đó làm chỗ sửa chữa tàu bè, nghỉ ngơi chờ thời điểm thích hợp cho hoạt động của họ, và họ đến đó cùng một chiến lợi phẩm (một con tàu đã cướp được).
Phần dưới đây là mô tả của ông, nhiều số liệu ghi chép các quan sát của ông là có ích cho sự hiểu biết của chúng ta về tình trạng Côn Đảo lúc đó (thế kỷ 17). Có vài điểm cần lưu ý: (1) Dampiere đến Côn Đảo với kế hoạch định trước (sửa chữa tàu bè và nghỉ ngơi do đảo này còn hoang vắng, như ông nói “this seemed to us then to be a place out of the way, where we might lie snug for a while”); (2) đảo lớn tức đảo chính của Côn Đảo đã có người ở; nhiều nhận xét của ông đã thành cơ sở để sau này công ty Đông Ấn đã chọn điểm này để lập thương điếm Anh tại đây, dẫn đến kết cục bi thảm của thương điếm này khi bị quân đánh thuê tạo phản và giết sạch trừ một vài trường hợp sống sót do may mắn.
Đoạn sau đây trích từ cuốn William Dampier, New Voyage Around The World.-- London: James Knapton, 1699.-- Từ trang 389
The time of the year being now too far spent to do any thing here, it was concluded to sail from hence to Pulo Condore, a little parcel of islands, on the coast of Cambodia, and carry this prize with us, and there careen if we could find any convenient place for it, designing to return hither again by the latter end of May, and wait for the Acapulco ship that comes about that time. By our drafts (which we were guided by, being strangers to these parts,) this seemed to us then to be a place out of the way, where we might lie snug for a while, and wait the time of returning for our prey. For we avoided as much as we could the going to lie by at any great place of commerce, lest we should become too much exposed, and perhaps be assaulted by a force greater than our own. [kẻ cướp không dấu diếm gì về hành vi kẻ cướp!]
So having set our prisoners ashore, we sailed from Luconia the 26th day of February, with the wind east-north-east, and fair weather, and a brisk gale. We were in latitude fourteen degrees north when we began to steer away for Pulo Condore, and we steered south by west. In our way thither we went pretty near the shoals of Pracel, and other shoals which are very dangerous. We were very much afraid of them, but escaped them without so much as seeing them, only at the very south end of the Pracel shoals we saw three little sandy islands or spots of sand standing just above water
within a mile of us.
It was the 13th day of March before we came in sight of Pulo Condore, or the island Condore, as Pulo signifies. The 14th day about noon we anchored on the north side of the island, against a sandy bay, two miles from the shore, in ten fathoms clean hard sand,
sand, with both ship and prize. Pulo Condore is the principal of a heap of islands, and the only inhabited one of them. They lie in latitude eight degrees forty minutes north, and about twenty leagues south, and by east from the mouth of the river of Cambodia. These islands lie so near together, that at a distance they appear to be but one island.
Two of these islands are pretty large, and of a good height ; they may be seen four teen or fifteen leagues at sea ; the rest are but little spots. The biggest of the two (which is the inhabited one) is about four or five leagues long, and lies east and west.
It is not above three miles broad at the broadest place ; in most places not above a mile wide. The other large island is about three miles long, and half a mile wide. This island stretcheth north and south. It is so conveniently placed at the west end of the biggest island, that between both there is formed a very commodious harbour. The entrance of this harbour is on the north side, where the two islands are near a mile asunder. There are three or four small keys, and a good deep channel between them and the biggest island. Towards the south end of the harbour the two islands do in a
manner close up, leaving only a small passage for boats and canoes. There are no more islands on the north side, but five or six on the south side of the great island.
The mold of these islands for the biggest part is blackish, and pretty deep, only the hills are somewhat stony. The eastern part of the biggest island is sandy, yet all clothed with trees of divers sorts. The trees do not grow so thick as I have seen them in some places, but they are generally large and tall, and fit for any use.
There is one sort of tree much larger than any other on this island, and which I have not seen any where else. It is about three or four feet diameter in the body, from whence is drawn a sort of clammy juice, which being boiled a little becomes perfect tar ; and if you boil it much it will become hard as pitch. It may be put to either use : we used it both ways, and found it to be very serviceable. The way that they get this juice, is by cutting a great gap horizontally in the body of the tree, half through and about a foot from the ground ; and then cutting the upper part of the body aslope inwardly downward, till in the middle of the tree it meets with the traverse cutting or plain. In this plain horizontal semicircular stump they make a holsow like a bason, that may contain a quart or two. Into this hole the juice which drains from the wounded upper part of the tree falls, from whence you must empty it every day*-, it will run thus for some months, and then dry away, and the tree will recover again.
The fruit trees that nature hath bestowed on these isles are mangoes, and trees bearing a sort of grape, and other trees bearing a kind of wild or bastard nutmegs.
These all grow wild in the woods, and in very great plenty. .
The mangoes here grow on trees as big as apple trees : those at Fort St. George are not so large. The fruit of these is as big as a small peach ; but long and smaller towards the top : it is of a yellowish colour when ripe ; it is very juicy, and of a pleasant smell, and delicate taste. When the mango is young they cut them in two pieces and pickle them with salt and vinegar, in which they put some cloves of garlick.
This is an excellent sauce, and much esteemed ; it is called mango-achar. Achar, I presume, signifies sauce. They make in the East Indies, especially at Siam and Pegu, several sorts of achar, as of the young tops of bamboos, &c. Bamboo-achar and mango- achar are most used. The mangoes were ripe when we were there, as were also the rest of these fruits, and they have then so delicate a fragrancy, that we could smell them out in the thick woods if we had but the wind of them, while we were a good way from them, and could not see them; and we generally found them out this way.
Mangoes are common in many places of the East Indies; but I did never know any grow wild only at this place. These, though not so big as those I have seen at Achin, and at Maderas or Fort St. George, are yet every whit as pleasant as the best fort of their garden mangoes.
The grape tree grows with a strait body, of a diameter about a foot or more, and hath but few limbs or boughs. The fruit grows in clusters, all about the body of the tree, like the jack, durian, and cacao fruits. There are of them both red and white.
They are much like such grapes as grow on our vines, both in shape and colour ; and they are of a very pleasant winy taste. I never saw these but on the two biggest of these islands ; the rest had no tar trees, mangoes, grape trees, nor wild nutmegs.
The wild nutmeg tree is as big as a walnut tree ; but it does not spread so much. The boughs are gross, and the fruit grows among the boughs, as the walnut and other fruits. This nutmeg is much smaller than the true nutmeg, and longer also. It is inclosed with a thin shell, and a sort of mace encircling the nut within the shell. This bastard nutmeg is so much like the true nutmeg in shape, that at our first arrival here we thought it to be the true one ; but it hath no manner of smell nor taste.
The animals of these islands are some hogs, lizards, and guanoes ; and some of those creatures mentioned in Chap. XI. which are like, but much bigger than the guanoes.
Here are many sorts of birds, as parrots, paroquets, doves, and pigeons. Here are also a sort of wild cocks and hens : they are much like our tame fowl of that kind, but a great deal less, for they are about the bigness of a crow. The cocks do crow like ours, but much more small and shrill ; and by their crowing we do first find them out in the woods where we shoot them. Their flesh is very white and sweet.
There are a great many limpits and muscles, and plenty of green turtle. And upon this mention of turtle again, I think it not amiss to add some reasons to
strengthen the opinion that I have given concerning these creatures removing from place to place. I have said in Chap. V. that they leave their common feeding places, and go to places a great way from thence, to lay, as particularly to the island Ascension. Now I have discoursed with some since that subject was printed, who are of opinion, that when the laying time is over they never go from thence, but lie some where in the sea about the island, which I think is very improbable ; for there can be food for them there, as I could soon make appear ; as particularly from hence, that the sea about the isle of Ascension is so deep as to admit of no anchoring but at one place, where there is no sign of grafs ; and we never bring up with our sounding lead any grafs or weeds out of very deep seas, but sand, or the like, only. But if this be granted, that there is food for them, yet I have a great deal of reason to believe that the turtle go from hence; for after the laying time you shall never see them, and where-ever turtle are, you will see them rise and hold their head above water to breathe, once in seven or eight minutes, or at longest in ten or twelve. And if any man does but consider how fish take their certain seasons of the year to go from one sea to another,
this would not seem strange ; even fowls also having their seasons to remove from one place to another.
These islands are pretty well watered with small brooks of fresh water, that run flush into the sea for ten months in the year. The latter end of March they begin to dry away, and in April you shall have none in the brooks but what is lodged in deep holes; but you may dig wells in some places. In May, when the rain comes, the land is again replenished with water, and the brooks run out into the sea.
These islands lie very commodiously in the way to and from Japan, China, Manila, 4 Tunquin,
Tunquin, Cochin-China, and in general all this most easterly coast of the Indian con- tinent, whether you go through the streights of Malacca, or the streights of Sunda, between Sumatra and Java ; and one of them you must pass in the common way from Europe, or other parts of the East Indies ; unless you mean to fetch a great compass round most of the East India iflands, as we did. Any ship in distress may be refreshed and recruited here very conveniently ; and, besides ordinary accommodations, be fur-nished with masts, yards, pitch, and tar, It might also be a convenient place to usher in a commerce with the neighbouring country of Cochin-China, and forts might be built to secure a factory, particularly at the harbour, which is capable of being well fortified.
The inhabitants of this island are by nation Cochin-Chinese, as they told us ; for one of them spoke good Malayan, which language we learnt a smattering of, and some of us so as to speak it pretty well, while we lay at Mindanao ; and this is the common tongue of trade and commerce (though it be not in several of them the native language)
in most of the East India islands, being the lingua Franca, as it were, of these parts.
I believe it is the vulgar tongue at Malacca, Sumatra; Java, and Borneo ; but at Ce
lebes, the Philippine islands, and the spice-islands, it seems borrowed for the carrying
on of trade.
The inhabitants of Pulo Condore are but a small people in stature, well enough
shaped, and of a darker colour than the Mindanayans. They are pretty long visaged,
their hair is black and straight, their eyes are but small and black, their noses of a mean
bigness and pretty high, their lips thin, their teeth white, and little mouths. They
are very civil people, but extraordinary poor. Their chiefest employment is to draw
the juice of those trees that I have described to make tar. They preserve it in wooden
troughs ; and when they have their cargo, they transport it to Cochin- China, their
mother country. Some others of them employ themselves to catch turtle, and boil
up their fat to oil, which they also transport home. These people have great large
nets, with wide meshes to catch the turtle. The Jamaica turtlers have such ; but I did
never see the like nets but at Jamaica and here.
They are so free of their women, that they would bring them aboard and offer them
to us ; and many of our men hired them for a small matter. This is a custom used
by several nations in the East Indies, as at Pegu, Siam, Cochin-China, and Cambodia,
as I have been told. It is used at Tunquin also to my knowledge ; for I did afterwards
make a voyage thither, and most of our men had women on board all the time of our
abode there. In Africa, also, on the coast of Guinea, our merchants, factors, and
seamen that reside there, have their black misses. It is accounted a piece of policy to
do it ; for the chief factors and captains of ships have the great men's daughters of
fered them, the mandarins' or noblemen's at Tunquin, and even the King's wives in
Guinea ; and by this sort of alliance the country people are engaged to a greater friend
ship ; and if there should arise any difference about trade, or any thing else, which
might provoke the native to seek some treacherous revenge, to which all these heathen
nations are very prone, then these Dalilahs would certainly declare it to their white
friends, and so hinder their countrymen's design.
These people are idolaters ; but their manner of worship I know not. There are a
few scattering houses and plantations on the great island, and a small village on the south
side of it ; where there is a little idol temple, and an image of, an elephant about five
feet high, and in bigness proportionable, placed on one side of the temple ; and a horse
not so big placed the other side of it ; both standing with their heads towards the south.
The temple' itself was low and ordinary, built of wood, and thatched like one of their
houses, which are but very meanly.
The images of the horse and the elephant were the most general idols that I ob-
served in the temples of Tunquin, when I travelled there. There were other images
also of beasts, birds, and fish. I do not remember I saw any human shape there, nor
any such monstrous representations as I have seen among the Chinese. Wherever the
Chinese seamen or merchants come (and they are very numerous all over these seas)
they have always hideous idols on board their jonks or ssiips, with altars, and lamps
burning before them. These idols they bring ashore with them ; and beside those they
have in common, every man hath one in his own house. Upon some particular so
lemn days I have seen their bonzies, or priests, bring whole armfuls of painted papers,
and burn them with a great deal of ceremony, being very careful to let no piece escape
them. The same day they killed a goat which had been purposely fatting a month
before ; this they offer or present before their idol, and then dress it and feast them
selves with it. I have seen them do this in Tunquin, where I have at the fame time
been invited to their feasts ; and at Bancouli, in the ifle of Sumatra, they sent a
shoulder of the sacrificed goat to the English, who eat of it, and asked me to do so too j
but I refused.
When I was at Maderas, or Fort St. George, I took notice of a great ceremony used
for several nights successively by the idolaters inhabiting the suburbs : both men and
women (these very well clad) in a great multitude went in solemn procession with
lighted torches, carrying their idols about with them. I knew not the meaning of it.
I observed some went purposely carrying oil to sprinkle into the lamps, to make them
burn the brighter. They began their round about eleven a clock at night, and
having paced it gravely about the streets till two or three a clock in the morning,
their idols were carried with much ceremony into the temple by the chief of the
procession, and some of the women I saw enter the temple, particularly. Their idols
were different from those of Tunquin, Cambodia, &c. being in human shape.
I have said already that we arrived at these islands the fourteenth day of March
1687. The next day we searched about for a place to careen in; and the sixteenth
day we entered the harbour, and immediately provided to careen. Some men were
set to fell great trees to saw into planks ; others went to unrigging the ship ; some
ipade a house to put our goods in, and for the sail-maker to work in. The country
people resorted to us, and brought us of the fruits of the island, with hogs, and some
times turtle ; for which they received rice in exchange, which we had a ship load of,
taken at Manila. We bought of them also a good quantity of their pitchy liquor,
which we boiled, and used about our ship's bottom. We mixed it first with lime,
which we made here, and it made an excellant coat, and stuck on very well.
We staid in this harbour from the 16th day of March, till the 16th of April ; in
which time we made a new suit of sails of the cloth that was taken in the prize. We
cut a spare main-top- mast, and sawed plank to ssieath the ship's bottom j for ssie was
not ssieathed all over at Mindanao, and that old plank that was left on then we now,
ript off, and clapped on new.
While we lay here two of our men died, who were poisoned at Mindanao ; they told
us of it when they found themselves poisoned, and had lingered ever since. They
were opened by our doctor, according to their own request before they died, and their
livers were black, light and dry, like pieces of cork.
Our business being finished here, we left the Spanish prize taken at Manila, and
most of the rice, taking out enough for ourselves; and on the 17th day we went from
hence to the place where we first anchored, on the north-side of the great island, pur
posely to water; for there was a great stream when we first came to the island, and
we thought it was so now. But we found it dried up, only it stood in holes, two or
three hogsheads or a tun in a hole : therefore we did immediately cut bamboos, and
made spouts, through which we conveyed the water down to the sea-side, by taking
it up in bowls, and pouring it into these spouts or troughs. We conveyed some of
it thus near half a mile. While we were filling our water, Captain Read engaged an
old man, one of the inhabitants of this island, the same who I said could speak the
Malayan language, to be his pilot to the bay of Siam ; for he had often been telling
us, that he was well acquainted there, and that he knew some islands there, where
there were fishermen lived, who he thought could supply us with salt-fish to eat at
sea ; for we had nothing but rice to eat. The easterly monsoon was not yet done ;
therefore it was concluded to spend some time there, and then take the advantage of
the beginning of the western monsoon, to return to Manila again.
The 21st day of April 1687, we sailed from Pulo Condore, directing our course
west by south for the bay of Siam. We had fair weather, and a sine moderate gale of
wind at east-north-east.
The 23d day we arrived at Pulo Ubi, or the island Ubi. This island is about forty
leagues to the westward of Pulo Condore ; it lies just at the entrance of the bay of
Siam, at the south-west point of land, that makes the bay ; namely, the point of Cam
bodia. This island is about seven or eight leagues round, and it is higher land than
any of Pulo Condore isles. Against the south-east part of it there is a small key,
about a cables' length from the main island. This Pulo Ubi is very woody, and it has
good water on the north side, where you may anchor ; but the best anchoring is on the
east side against a small bay ; then you will have the little island to the southward of you.
At Pulo Ubi we found two small barks laden with rice. They belonged to Cam
bodia, from whence they came not above two or three days before, and they touched
here to fill water. Rice is the general food of all these countries, therefore it is trans
ported by sea from one country to another, as corn in these parts of the world. For
in some countries they produce more than enough for themselves, and send what they
can spare to those places where there is but little.
The 24th day we went into the bay of Siam : this is a large deep bay, of which
and of this kingdom I shall at present speak but little, because I design a more parti
cular account of all this coast, to wit, of Tonquin, Cochin-China, Siam, Champa, Com-
bodia, and Malacca, making all the most easterly part of the continent of Asia, lying
south of China : but to do it in the course of this voyage, would too much swell this
volume ; and I sliall chuse therefore to give a separate relation of what I know or
have learnt of them, together with the neighbouring parts of Sumatra, Java, &c. where
I have spent some time.
We ran down into the bay of Siam, till we came to the islands that our Pulo Con
dore pilot told us of, which He about the middle of the bay : but as good a pilot as he
was, he ran us aground ; yet we had no damage. Captain Read went astiore at these
islands, where he found a small town of fisliermen ; but they had no fish to sell, and so
we returned empty.
. We had yet fair weather, and very little wind ; so that being often becalmed, we
were till the 13th day of May before we got to Pulo Ubi again. There we found
two small vessels at an anchor on the east side : they were laden with rice and laquer,
which is used in japanning of cabinets. One of these came from Champa, bound to
the town of Malacca, which belongs to the Dutch, who took it from the Portuguese;
and this shews that they have a trade with Champa. This was a very pretty neat vessel,
her bottom very clean and curiously coated ; she had about forty men all armed with
cortans, or broad swords, lances, and some guns, that went with a swivel upon their
gunnel. They were of the idolaters, natives of Champa, and some of the briskest,
most sociable, without fearfulness or shyness, and the most neat and dextrous about
their shipping, of any such I have met with in all my travels. The other vessel came
from the river of Cambodia, and was bound towards the streights of Malacca. Both
of them stopped here, for the westerly winds now began to blow, which were against
them, being somewhat bleated.
We anchored also on the east-fide, intending to sill water. While we lay here we
had very violent wind at south-west, and a strong current setting right to windward.
The fiercer the wind blew, the more strong the current set against it. This storm lasted
till the 20th day, and then it began to abate.
The 2 ist day of May we went back from hence towards Pulo Condore. In our way
we overtook a great jonk that came from Palimbam, a town on the island Sumatra :
she was full laden with pepper which they bought there, and was bound to Siam :
but it blowing so hard, she was afraid to venture into that bay, and therefore came to
Pulo Condore with us, where we both anchored May the 24th. This vessel was of
the Chinese make, full of little rooms or partitions, like our well-boats. I shall de •
scribe them in the next chapter. The men of this jonk told us, that the English were
settled on the island Sumatra, at a place called Sillabar ; and the first knowledge we
had that the English had any settlement on Sumatra was from these.
When we came to an anchor, we saw a small bark at an anchor near the shore ;
therefore Captain Read sent a canoe aboard her to know from whence they came ;
and supposing that it was a Malayan vessel, he ordered the men not to go aboard, for
they are accounted desperate fellows, and their vessels are commonly full of men, who
all wear cressets, or little daggers by their sides. The canoe's crew not minding the
captain's orders went aboard, all but one man that staid in the canoe. The Malayans,
who were about twenty of them, seeing our men all armed, thought that they came
to take their vessel ; therefore at once, on a signal given, they drew out their cressets,
and stabbed five or six of our men before they knew what the matter was. The rest
of our men leaped over-board, some into the canoe, and some into the sea, and so
got away. Among the rest, one Daniel Wallis leaped into the sea, who could never
swim before nor since ; yet now he swam very well a good while before he was taken
up. When the canoes came aboard, Captain Read manned two canoes, and went
to be revenged on the Malayans ; but they seeing him coming, did cut a hole in the
vessel's bottom, and went ashore in their boat. Captain Read followed them, but
they ran into the woods and hid themselves. Here we staid ten or elven days, for it
blew very hard all the time. While we staid here Herman Coppinger our surgeon
went ashore, intending to live here ; but Captain Read sent some men to fetch him
again. I had the same thoughts, and would have gone ashore too, but waited for a
more convenient place. For neither he nor I, when we were last on board at Min
danao, had any knowledge of the plot that was laid to leave Captain Swan, and run
away with the ship ; and being sufficiently weary of this mad crew, we were willing to
give them the flip at any place from whence we might hope to get a passage to an Eng
lish factory. There was nothing else of moment happened while we staid here *…
Các bạn đọc xong có thể tưởng tượng được tình hình biển và tình hình các đảo như Côn Đảo, Hòn Khoai và đảo Phú Quốc của Việt Nam vào thời gian đó …
E. 1702: Thương cục Anh trên Côn đảo và câu chuyện của Dr. Cunningham:
Early Voyages of the… P. 558
Bác sĩ Cunningham là một trong vài người Anh sống sót sau vụ tạo phản của lính thuê Mã Lai (họ gọi là lính Macassers) nổi dậy đốt thương cục Anh đầu tiên dựng tại Côn đảo hồi năm 1702.
Đoạn sau mô tả việc điều động ông từ trại Chusan ở Tàu sang Côn Đảo (nếu bạn thích hãy đọc luôn đoạn mô tả quan sát của ông về cây hà thủ ô tại đảo Chusan này, nằm trước đoạn trích này phía sau đây.)
(6) Removing of Dr Cunningham to Pulo Condore, with an Account of the Rise, Progress, and Ruin of that Factory.
The English factory at Chusan was broken up in the year 1702, so that Dr Cunningham had very little time allowed him for making his proposed observations respecting China.
From this place he removed to another new settlement at Pulo Condore, in a small cluster of four or five islands, about fifteen leagues south of the west channel of the river of Camboja, usually called the Japanese river.2 I am unable to say what were the advantages proposed from this factory; but,
from the memoirs I have seen on the subject, this place seems to have been very ill chosen, and much worse managed.
The person who had at this time the management and direction of the affairs belonging to the East India Company in this distant part of the world, was one Mr Katchpole; who, according to the usual custom of the Europeans in eastern India at this period, took into the service a certain number
of Macassers or native soldiers, by whose assistance he soon constructed a small fort for the protection of the factory. So far as I can learn, the most indispensable necessaries of life,
1 This and the subsequent subdivision of the section are related historically by Harris.—E.
2 Pulo Condore is in lat. 8° 45' N. long. 106° 5' E. and the object of a factory at this place was evidently to endeavour to secure a portion of the trade of China, from which the English at thil time were excluded by the arts of the Portuguese at Macao, as we learn from the Annals; as also to
combine some trade with Siam, Camboja, Tsiompa, Cochin-China, and Tonquin.—E.
water, wood, and fish, were all that these islands ever afforded.
The Macassers are a brave, industrious, and faithful people, to such as deal fairly with them; and on this account are highly esteemed in the Eastern Indies, more especially by the Dutch. They are, however, daring, cruel, and revengeful, if once provoked. Mr Katchpole had contracted with these
men to serve for three years, at the end of which period, if they pleased, they were to receive their wages and to depart: But he, though they strictly performed their part of the agreement, broke faith with them, keeping them beyond their time against their will. In addition to this great breach
in morality, he added as notorious an error in politics; for, after provoking these men so egregiously by refusing to fulfil his engagement, he still confided to them the guard of his own person and the custody of the factory.
This gave them ample opportunity of revenging the ill usage they had met with, and with that ferocity which is so natural to untutored barbarians. They rose in mutiny one night, and murdered Mr Katchpole, and all who were at the time along with him in the factory. A few, who happened,
to lodge on the outside of the fort, hearing the cries of their friends within during the massacre, fled from their beds to the sea-shore ; where, by a singular interposition of Providence, they found a bark completely ready for sea, in which they embarked half naked, and put immediately to sea, just
in time to escape the rage of the Macassers, who came in search of them to the shore, precisely when they had weighed anchor and pushed off to sea.
Dr Cunningham was one of the number who escaped on this occasion. Their navigation was attended with excessive difficulty, being exposed at the same time to incredible fatigue, and to the utmost extremity of hunger and thirst: But at length, after a tedious and difficult course of an hundred leagues, in the most wretched condition, they reached a small creek in the dominions of the king of Johor, where they were received with kindness.
[Mục tiếp theo kể về thất bại của thương điếm tiếp theo, là Factory Pulo Laut, lần này do những người dưới quyền Cunningham quá khinh thường dân bản xứ, khiến họ nổi giận tấn công thương điếm vừa xây mới được nửa công trình, trong khi Cunningham dành hầu hết thời gian của ông cho nghiên cứu khoa học. Trận chiến để lại thiệt hại nặng nề cho dân đảo, lẫn công ty Đông Ấn.]
Gần đây, trong một tài liệu giới thiệu về ông (đọc http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/untoldlives/2013/05/james-cunningham-the-unluckiest-botanist-in-asia.html), về việc ông sống sót cùng vài người sau khi lính triều đình đã tiêu diệt nhóm lính đánh thuê Mã Lai, nhưng cũng đối đãi với những người Anh sống sót như tội phạm. Cunningham bị mang gông giải về Bà Rịa xét xử ngày 29/4/1705 và bị tống giam trong 2 năm với tiền tù 2 quan/ tháng vì 3 tội: không nạp lễ vật, không xin phép khi xây dựng công ty ở Côn đảo, và tự ý quan hệ với Cambochia (lúc đó bị xem là nước phụ thuộc của Đàng Trong) mà không có sự chấp thuận của chính quyền Đàng Trong. Bức thư thuật lại việc này ghi gửi cho Baldwin và Wingate, và được lưu trữ trong thư viện quốc gia Anh với mã số là
IOR/E/3/68 OC 8358 mà đọc giả có thể liên hệ đọc trực tiếp, hoặc mua lại bản sao tài liệu này. Bức thư này tác giả đề ngày 4/5/1705, có lẽ viết trong thời gian ở tù tại Bà Rịa, Việt Nam, gửi cho ông Baldwin và Wingate lúc đó đang ở tại Cambodia.
Cunningham... hậu hồi
Trong một tài liệu mô tả về xứ Đàng Trong (Cochin China) in năm 1744, tôi may mắn đọc được bức thư kể lại câu chuyện nghiệt ngã của anh chàng Cunningham này dẫn ra chỉ để minh chứng tác giả nghĩ người dân xứ này không tốt và nhã nhặn với người nước ngoài như một số tác giả khác nêu. Bức thư này như sau:
THE PRESENT STATE OF COCHIN-CHINA.
COCHIN-CHINA, if we take in Chiampa, which is looked upon to be a province (or at least tributary to it) extends from the eighth degree of north latitude to the seventeenth, and consequently is upwards of 400 miles in length, and it is about 150 in breadth. It is bounded on the north by Tonquin; by the sea of China on the east of the Indian ocean on the south; and the mountains of the Kemois, and the kingdom of Cambodia on the west: it is called by the natives Anam, or the west country, lying to the westward of China. Some will have this country more temperate than Tonquin, which if it be, must proceed from its lying more open to the sea, and being refreshed with sea-breezes. Both countries lie upon a flat, and are annually overflowed about the same time; consequently the seasons are the same, and the lands equally fruitful in rice; which requires no other manure but the mud the waters leave behind.
It is divided into five provinces, viz. Sinuva, Cachiam, Quamgum, Pulocambi, and Renan. The king keeps his court in the province of Sinuva, which lies contiguous to Tonquin ; but travellers do not acquaint us with the situation of the other provinces, nor do they take upon them to describe any of their towns, only we are told, that the city where the King resides, lies in about sixteen degrees north latitude, and that the chief town of the little tributary kingdom, or province of Chiampa, bears the same name with the province, and is situate on the sea coast, in the twelfth degree of north latitude. They build their houses two stories high, and in the time of the floods retire into their upper rooms, having a communication with one another by boats. They sit cross legged upon the floor, which is covered with the mats and the better sort have couches or seats, which stand against the wall, raised two or three foot above the floor, with tables before them when they eat. They are said to resemble the Chinese in stature, features and complexion, but wear their hair at full length, like their neighbours of Tonquin. They wear silk gowns or vests of various colours one upon another, and swathe their legs and thighs with silk instead of breeches, and have a sort of slippers, or sandals. Their diet and manner of eating and drinking is the same with the Tonquinese, and therefore I shall not weary the reader with the repetition of them; only mention their birds nests, which are reckoned so great a rarity in Europe as well as the Indies. These nests are built by a small bird like a swallow, in the rocks upon the sea coasts, and are composed of the sea froth and a juice from the bird’s stomach, which hardens with the sun, and is almost transparent: this being softned in warm water, is pulled in pieces and put into broth, and is mighty nourishing, and by many people is said to be of a most delicious taste; but in this I perceive all are not agreed.
Animals both wild and tame they have the same here as in Tonquin, and plenty of good silk: they have also the same kind of trees and and one sort of timber which is not mentioned to be in Tonquin, it is so heavy and solid that it serves for anchors. They have also the aquila tree, Calamba, a wood of a fine sweet scent, which grows upon the mountains of Kemois: the wood of the old trees has much the most fragrant smell, and is called Calamba, which the King reserves to himself: this is supposed to be the same with lignum aloes, and is highly valued in China and Japan, where they use a block of it for a pillow, among those Indian nations which burn their dead, they consume great quantities of it in the funeral pile.
The people of Cochin-China are said to be very courteous and obliging to strangers, but from their usage of the English (which will be shewn hereafter) this seems to be a mistake, unless the barbarous usage our countrymen met with, proceeded from some very high provocation: but however that might be, certain it is, that what is told us of their excelling in arts and sciences, and particularly in gunnery, is not much to be depended on sciences. The Jesuits assure us, that they will hit a mark with a great gun as exactly as an European can with his firelock which if it was true, none of their neighbours would be able to stand before them, for he is reckoned a bold fellow in that part of the world, that dare fire a great gun without a train. By the way, whenever we speak of the strength of any of our European fortifications in India, it is not that they would be able to hold out against European engineers, but they do well enough in a country where a few great guns mounted on a slight wall, is sufficient to denominate the place impregnable. And when our writers tell us, that their gallies, which are so narrow and slightly built, are mounted with cannon like our men of war, they certainly make but little use of their own judgments, and only transcribe father BORRT, or some of his driveling brethren, who
THE PRESENT STATE OF COCHIN-CHINA 59
who will lie for lying sake; for it is not to be imagined what advantage the fathers can propose to themselves or their religion, by propagating these foolish stories. To proceed, the New East-India Company, having erected a fort on the island of Condore, which belongs to Cochin-China, and consigned two or three years in possession of it, we have received a more exact account of that island than of any other part of the Cochin-Chinese dominion and are let into a better notion of that people than we received from the Jesuits.
Pulo Condore, or the islands of Condore, lie in the latitude of 8 degrees, 40 minutes north, and are 20 leagues south and by east, from the mouth of the river Cambodia; the largest, which is the only inhabited island, is between four and five leagues long, and three broad, in the widest part of it, the largest next, is about three miles broad, and half a mile over, and with the other, forms a commodious harbour. These islands have very great quantities of timber in them, fit for any use, and there is one tree called the damar- tree, about three or four foot diameter, from which is drawn a kind of turpentine, or tar.
Their fruits are mangoes, a fruit like a grape, which grows on trees; and wild nutmegs, which are like the true only in shape: there is also the cabbage-tree, which Mr. LOCKYER takes to be only a wild coco. For animals, there are hogs, lizards, and guanoes, there are also parrots, parakites, pigeons, and wild cocks and hens, about the bigness of a crow; they have also limpits, and muscles, and plenty of green turtle or tortoise.
There are sederal small brooks of fresh water in these islands, which are full ten months in the year; they are dried up in April, but filled again in May, when the rains fall. DAMPIER recommended these islands as a proper place for the English to establish a factory.
The inhabitants are Cochin-Chinese, and speak the Malayan language, their chief employment is to draw off tar from the damar-trees above-mentioned and to catch turtle, of which they make oil, and sell in Cochin-China. They brought their women on board, DAMPIER tells us, and offered them to the sailors, and this is a common thing, he observes, in this, and the neighbouring countries. As to their religion, DAMPIER says he observed a little idol temple in the island, with the image of an elephant, above five foot high, on one side of the Pagoda, and the figure of a horse on the other side, not quite so large. The temple was a low built wooden building, and thatched like their other houses.
The new East-India Company, in the year 1702, encouraged, I presume, from what Mr. DAMPIER had related of the commodiousness of this place for a factory, built a fort of earth here, mounted some great guns, and fenced it in with palifadoes instead of a ditch.
Mr. LOCKYER in his voyage to Canton, touched at this settlement in the year 1704. He says they found about 45 Europeans there, company’s fervants and foldiers; 7 or 8 Topazes, which are a tawny mingled breed, the company entertain in their service, and 15 Bugosses, natives of Maccassar, or the Celebes, who are the best soldiers the company can meet with in India, but have more than once proved treacherous to the English.
There are two or three small villages in the island, it seems, with whom the English were not in very good terms, and therefore would not suffer the inhabitants to have any arms in their houses on any pretence. There is no doubt but the Cochin-Chinese would have driven the English from this settlement or rather never suffered them to build a fort there, if they had been those able soldiers the Jesuits represent them; and their submitting to it, is a demonstration that their skill in military affairs is not much greater than their neighbours; they must be a very warlike people, and special engineers, that durft not attempt an inconsiderable redoubt, defended by 40 or 50 men, whose skill in military affairs, was not very considerable, how well soever they might understand trade; and yet, had it not been for the treachery of the Bugosses, who set the factory on fire, and massacred the English in their beds, (3 March 1705) the Cochin-Chinese never durft have attacked the English; the advantage they took of that distress, and their cruelty to those that surviv'd, is a sufficient evidence they would have fallen upon them before, if they had not been sensible of their own weakness. The account of this tragedy we have in a letter from Mr. CUNGNINGHAM to the English supercargoes in China, which I shall take liberty to transcribe, viz.
“Before this comes to your hands, you
“may have heard of the overthrow of the set-
“tlement at Condore, whereof I shall here give
“you a farther account, and what relates thereto,
“that you may impart the same to our honourable
“matters. Our Maccassar soldiers had been threat-
“ned for letting two of our slaves escape their
“custody, whereupon it seems, they did meditate
“a cruel revenge; for on the 2d of March, at midnight,
“they set fire to the fort, and at the same time
“killed the Governor, Mr. LLOYD,
“Capt. RASHWELL, Mr. FULLER, and others,
“to the number of nineteen; Dr. POUND, Mr.
“CHITTY, and Capt. DENNET, with eight of
“nine more, made their escape in a sloop to Ma-
“lacca, I suppose, and from thence to Batavia;
“those that remained were so dispersed, that there
“were scarce two together: I took to the Cochin-
“Chinese for their assistance, but their fear was so
“great, that they only went about to barricado
“themfelves. The Maccassars having perpetrated
“this villany, got into a Cochin-Chinese prow to
“put to sea, but were assaulted by the people of
“a Cambodia vessel, which was then at the island,
“with the assistance of our armourer, who killed
“one of them, and mortally wounded two more,
“which made them put ashore again, and make
“their escape into the woods. In the morning be-
“times, the Cochin-Chinese took possession of
“the fort, fearing, I suppose, we should have
“joined with the Cambodians, to cary away
“what the fire had not destroyed; for being got
“together, we were sixteen English, four of which
“were dangeroussly wounded, six Topazes, and
“about twenty slaves, too small a number to cope
“with them who were above two hundred, the
“Chinese being like so many cyphers, and the
“Madrass sloop, in Cochin-China, obliged us to
“desire their friendly assistance, whereupon the
“money was all put into chests, and the most
“part weighed, and carried into their custody;
“during which time the Maccassars thought to
“have seized another prow to escape in, but were
“frighted away by the Cochin-Chinese, who pro-
“mised in a few days to bring them all dead or
“alive. Most of us were dubious of their friend-
THE PRESENT STATE OF COCHIN-CHINA
“but did not know how to answer it to our
“honourable masters, to leave so much money,
“while they pretended to be our friends, and we
“had not deserved otherwise at their hands; for
“we could have got away in the Cambodia vessel
“which sailed the seventh following, being un-
“willing to stay any longer, in which went Mr.
“BALDWIN, and Mr. WINGATE, to Cam-
“bodia, to make the best of their way to Batavia.
“The next day after they went away, the Co-
“chin-Chinese caught one of the Maccassars, and
“that very night cut off his head, whereby we
“thought their friendship had been secure to us;
“yet on the tenth, without any provocation, but
“to make sure of their prey, they barbarously
“murdered all the English, of which were Mr.
“POTTINGER, Mr. TOWNSEND, Mr. JOSEPH
“RIDGES, and Mr. St. PAUL, with four To-
“pazes, and six slaves; only me they saved alive,
“after they had given me two wounds, one slight
“one in the arm, and the other more dangerous in
“my left-side, whereof I am now well, God be
“thanked, with two Topazes and- fifteen slaves.
“On the 18th. arrived there from Borea, four
“Cochin-Chinese gallies with prows, which a-
“mounted in all to 65, and in them about 300
“soldiers, the other Cochin-Chinese making a-
“bove 300 more, wherewith they embarked every
“thing worth the carrying away. During their
“stay there, they went three or four times in
“search of the Maccassars, and lighting on them
“at last, killed four. On the 7th of April, l
“was ordered on board one of their gallies, not
“having leave to go any where without a soldier
“along with me. I saw, and understood, that
“all the people belonging to the Madrass sloop,
“were under confinement in separate houses, and also
“in congas, except Capt. RIDLEY. I de-
sired several times to wait upon the Governor,
“but could not, he was taken up in over-hailing
“the goods that came from Pulo Condore, and
“weighing the money, which was found to a-
“mount to 21300 tale. At last, upon the 28th;
“I was obliged to appear as a criminal in congas;
“before the Governor and his grand Council, at-
“tended with all the slaves in congas also. There
“I was charged with three crimes: the first, that
“the English, when they arrived at Pulo Condore,
“said they would stay there, whether the King of
“Cochin-China would or not. The second, that
“there were no English sent along with the pre-
“sent to court last year. The third, that we sent
“a ship to Cambodia, and did not acquaint the
“Governor of Borea therewith. To the first I
“replied, that we had never heard of any such
“thing, for at our arrival there, we did not know
“any body lived upon the island, and that as soon
“as our Governor had dispatched the ships to
“China, he presently sent an embassy to Cochin-
“China, whereby he had his grant to stay there.
“To the second, that all the English were so
“sickly, that we had not one of any port to send,
“and therefore spoke to a Chinese captain
“then present, who agreed to go, but that the
“Caifou did take it upon himseft to carry the
“present, and excuse us to the King. Whereto
“they replied, that the sending a Chinese was all
“one as sending the Caifou, and that an Eng-
“glishman would done better. I answered, that
“was the Caifou’s fault, who should have infor-
“med us better. Then further, why we did not
“get fome out of the ships to send, where there
“were fo many? To which I replied, it was not
“in our power to demand them out of their ships.
“To the third, that never any body told us we
“were to acquaint the Governor of Borea, be-
“fore we sent any ships to Cambodia. Then he
“insisted, that there did not any English come
“aboard the ship to him, at the mouth of Cam-
“bodia river, when he sent thither by one to
“speak with them : to which I replied, that the
“ship had not returned to Pulo Condore, and
“therefore could not positively tell the reason for
so-doing : then I was dismissed, and returned
“home, where I had the congas taken off again.
“The next day I was at the Governor’s son’s house,
“by which the Governor passing, acci-
“dentally saw me, whereupon he sent for me to
“his house ; he asked me nothing of moment,
“but why I sent two Englishmen to Cambodia,
“and how much I had given them ? Having an-
“swered this, I desired to know what he had re-
“solved to do with us, he answered, that we
“must stay here till he had a return from court;
“which would take up two months ; and being
“asked for Captain RIDLEY, who was sick at
“Danquai about twenty leagues from hence, and
“to take his people out of the congas he only
“replied, he would see to it shortly. And thus
“matters stand at present, and what will the re-
“sult thereof be, God knows: I know not what
“our honourable masters will be willing to do, and
“therefore cannot tell how to advise them here-
“in. I am with respect,
Mr. CUNNINGHAM afterwards was set at li-
berty, and was made president of Banjar in the
island of Borneo. That settlement Mr. LOCK-
YER tells us, was also ruined by the natives be-
fore he had been there ten days, but not in so tra-
gical a manner as that at Condore, of which I
shall give the reader some account when I come to
Salmon.-- Modern History or The Present State of All Nations. 3 ed.-- London: T. Longman.., 1744. Vol 1, Pp
F. 27/7/1704 Charles Locker ghé Côn Đảo trước khi thương cục Anh bị đốt
Chỉ một thời gian ngắn trước khi lính đánh thuê Maccassers của thương cục Anh tại Côn Đảo đốt trại và giết hầu hết người Anh tại đây, một người Anh có tên là Charles Lockyer đi trên thương thuyền trọng tải 350 tấn tên Streetham ghé qua Côn Đảo ngày 27/7/1704. Điều đáng nói là mặc dù ông không có chức vụ cao ở thuyền này (có thể ông chỉ là người phụ tá cho người phụ trách hàng hóa của tàu), ông lại có những ghi chép về thương mại và những quan sát của riêng mình, và sau đó cho xuất bản thành sách vào năm 1711 dưới tựa đề An Account of the Trade in India (London: Samual Crouch, 1711). Ông dành hết chương 4 để nói về Côn Đảo mà ông có dịp ghé qua, mô tả tình trạng của đảo này về nhiều mặt. Các ghi chép của ông cho thấy ông đã đọc cẩn thận các ghi chép của Dampier về đảo này, nhưng điểm đáng lưu ý chính là những nhận xét, nghe thấy hoặc tìm hiểu của riêng ông. Tài liệu này và tài liệu của Dampier về Côn Đảo là bức tranh quí giá để chúng ta tìm hiểu thực trạng về Côn Đảo khoảng cuối thế kỷ 17, đầu thế kỷ 18 ghi chép lại bởi người phương Tây. Tôi cũng nhận thấy đây là tài liệu sớm nhất (xuất bản sau sự cố đồng Anh bị thảm sát 6 năm) có ghi lại bức thư của Cuningham, một người Anh của thương cục tại Côn Đảo, một trong những người sống sót sau trận thảm sát 1705 của lính đánh thuê Maccassers. (Bức thư này hiện vẫn còn lưu trữ tại thư viện Anh Quốc như đã nói ở đoạn trên). Đọc giả lưu ý khi tham khảo bản gốc các tài liệu này cần nhớ chúng đều thuộc thời kỳ đầu của tiếng Anh hiện đại (early Modern English, c. 1500-1800), nên còn nhiều dấu vết của tiếng Anh Trung đại (Middle English). Bản bên dưới trích đầy đủ chương liên quan, trong đó có cả bức thư của Cuningham mà đọc giả đã đọc ở phần trên. Số trước mỗi đoạn là số trang trong sách của tác giả, tức cuốn An Account of the Trade in India.
C H A P. IV.
Condore. The English Settlement there. The Fort. The Bugos Soldiers. Trees, Villages, And Inhabitantsdescribed. The Town burnt. The People not suffer'd to keep Arms· The Cochinchinese Women, and their Dress. The Dammer Tree, its Use, and Fruit. Wild Nutmeg, Cabage, Mango, and Grape trees. The Settlement discommended. Bom-bay. No Trade to Japan. Turtle. Wild Dogs. Fish. Fowls. Wild Cocks and Hens. Pigeons. Animals on the Island. Chacco. A large snake. Guanas. Black Squirrils. Wild Bees. Ants in the Woods. Birds Nests for Broath. China Junks. The Massacre. A List of the Slain. A Letter to the Supracargos in China.
Pulo Condore is an Island in Latitude 8 deg. 55 min. N. subject to the King of Cochinchina, and inhabited by Cochinchinese and Cambogians.
The English settled on it Anno 1702, and built a slight Fort with Earth and Palisados in the S.E. Harbour, which was prefer'd to Dampier's Bay, on the Account of its Situation, Water and fertile Soil. When we arrived they had several Guns mounted at an ordinary rate, about 45 Europeans (Company's Servants and Soldiers) 7 or 8
Topazes, and 15or 16 Bugoses; the latter of whom proved afterwar fatal to their Masters; they were Natives of the Kingdom of Bugos, on the Island of Celebes near Maccasar imploy'd by Mr. Landon in the Company's War with the Banjareens on Borneo, and by him recommend ed to Mr. Catchpole at Batavia, when he was preparing to settle here, for trusty Fellows; having always behaved themselve as such.
The Island, I mean the largest, for there are several small ones, lies N.E. and S.-W. 10 or 11 Miles long, and is three or four wide. The Middle is Highland, covered with Trees, except in one or two places where the Rocks appear; the Valleys afford very large ones; especially Dammer Trees.
There are two or three small Villages, or Towns in the Valleys near the Sea; the inhabitants are lazy Fishers, Turtlers or Dammer gatherers. A11 manner of acts are in a starved Condition among them: nor do they seem to value Improvements, even in what conduces to their Subsistence; for if Success comes not in its old Course, they never owe it to Invention. On fortunate Day will kep their Family s a Week: Nor care they to set out again, till Necessity reduces them to it: In which they are much like the Mallayans about Sumatra.
The chief Town near the English Settlement was quite destroy’d by Fire, about aWeek before our Arrival. The Houfes Were built with Dammer Timber, Bamboos, and other combustible Material insomuch that it proved a most terrible Blaze for the time.
The English would not suffer the Natives to have Arms in their House, on any pretence whatever. I suppose they murder'd them at last with their own weapons. The Cochinchinese are featured much like the Mallayans, and of whiter, or rather yellower Complexions; they have small eyes affer the China make, and the Women imitate those of that Country in every thing, but Confinement and little Feet. This Sex goes .better dress here than at Acheen, or Malacca. I cannot tell if it also before the English came; but do beleave they fare never the worse for them; their cloths are of Silk or Callico, as they can afford, which hang loose about them; and their Hair, being curiously plaited and raised on their Heads, is a neat Ornament without Curl, Powder, Lace, or Ribon:They are of a low Stature, and well set.
The chief Produce of this Island is Dammer, made of a kind of Turpentine, which distils from a large Tree; they ·gather it every Morning, and boil it till it becomes bard like Rosin, and then it may be used to
to good Purposer about any thing where Pitch is necessary. I cannot tell if it is really Turpentine; for in its viscous Nature, Colour, and Smell, it differs but little from it.
‘Tis worth in Canton 4 to 7 Mace per Pecull. The Tree bears a flat Fruit about an Inch and half wide, prickly on both sides, but of no use: The Timber is fit for Masts, Yards, and Building, and makes excellent Fire-wood.
Wild Nutmeg, Cabage, and Mango Trees, are common in the Woods. The Nutmeg is a large high Tree without Boughs, till near the Top, where it shoots into large Branches, and spreads like a Maiden Elm: its Leaves are long, and of a deep green, the Fruit grows like a Wall-nut, and has as many Coverings before one comes to the Kernel, or Meg. The Mace grows betwixt the Shell and the Green, or outer Coat, like the Strings about a ripe Wall-n ut; 'tis of a bright red Colour, but fades· to a dead Yallow like the true Mace by keeping; from which it cannot eafily be distinguished by the Eye: It is of a rough unpleasant Tast, a hot Nature, and hurtful, if eaten in a large Quantity; but has no Smell: The Kernel differs from the true Nutmeg in Tast and Smell, and is a little longer in proportion to its Bigness. The Chinefe, who came hither to trade with our new Settlement,
gather'd great Q.uantity of both sorts, I believe, to mix with the true, and impose on their Countrymen, at their return.
The Cabage seems to be no other than a wild Coconut Tree. I saw no Fruit it had; the Cabage is the Heart of it, which is always fit to be cut, and the Coconut Tree has it likewise in as great Perfection: I have eat of both sorts, and find no difference; nor is either of them gather'd without Destruction to the Tree. The Cabage Tree is 40 or 50 Foot high, of the same Bigness from one end to the other; The Branches at the Head shoot forth nine or ten Foot long, and are full of Prickles underneath, like black Thorns, as are the Bodys of the Trees in unfrequented Places, which makes it troublesome walking on the other side of the little River of Sloops, where they are most plentiful. They are less than Cononut Trees; but full as long, and grow up in Rings three or four Inches asunder from the Root to the Branches. The Wood is brittle, and hard enough near the Ground to turn the Edge of a Hatcher, if not used with Discretion. Near the Top it is not so stubborn; but fuller of Pith; in which it is something like a Cabage Stump. The Mango Tree grows in most Parts of the East Indies in Gardens and Orchards, but here it is wild in the Woods: It is full
of Boughs and Leaves, and bears its Fruit like an Apple-tree. I have heard of Grape trees, but did not take notice of any, no was I here when either of their Fruits were ripe.
Provisions are so scarce, that the Produce of the Island is hardly sufficient for the Inhabitants. What Rice they have of their own is so inconsiderable, as to be esteem'd a Rarity among them; the Paddy Fields were reckon'd by some of the Company's Servants a great Mark of Englifh Industry, and shewn to Strangers as an Evidence of their own good Management in bringing it to Perfection; but if all the Low-lands on the Island, that are capable of raising that Grain, were till'd and improv'd for it, it would nevertheless be but an inconsiderable Place. I know not what Wonders were expected from a Settlement, where little or nothing was to be had, but at the second or third Hand; the China Junks may call in their way to Batavia; but to what purpose, if there was not Vent for their Cargos, which the small Trade the Company drives to these Parts, would have but a slight Influence upon. The unfortunate Gentlemen, who were imploy'd in this Affair, must be acknowledged by all, to be ingenious, and knowing in the Trade of China; yet they had certainly a wrong Notion of the Company's Affairs, to think a
Plantation in a little wild Island, productive of no one valuable Commodity, and where nothing but their own Improvements could be proposed, would ever defray the Charges of a Garrifon. What Effect has Sir N___ W___'s Industry had on the Trade of Bombay? He has left no Stone unturn'd to promote it, yet I am very well fatisfied it is beyond the Company's Strength, or his Art, to make it a Mart of great Business. It is improved to the utmost, and lies as well for Trade as Condore; for which reason I mention it. I bewail the Loss of Banjar, and the Nothing we have to do among the Malucca's. We send to China what Ships we please; but Dutch Cunning has foil'd us in the more profitable Trade of Japan.
In the Season they have plenty of Turtle, which is but ordinary Meat at the best; these they take in Nets, or Turn, when they come a Shore in the Sandy Bays. I have been told, the Country Dogs in the Turtle-time will scarce take notice of their Masters; but run wild about the Island, preying upon the Tortois as they can catch them; nor will they return from the Woods till the laying time is over; but how true it is I cannot tell.
Muscles of a greenish Colour, Limpits, and sometimes Crawfilh may be met with; there are Plenty of other Fish about the Island; but the People are too lazy to be
over-stock'd with any thing.
Dunghill Fowls are dearer than I have found them any where else, which perhaps is owing to the English; who cannot live on Salt-fish and Rice, when other Meat is to be had, as the Eastern People will. In the Woods are wild Cocks and Hens very small, and scarce; for I was two Days fowling, and could light of none. White wild Pigeons, larger than our tame ones, and several sorts of small Birds are plenty. There are likewise Guanos, Chaccos, Snakes, Squirrils, Monkeys, wild Bees, and prodigious Swarms of Ants.
Chaccos, as Cuckoos, receive their Names from the Noise they make in the Evening, when they call loud enough to be heard at a great Distance: By Day they lie so close in hollow and decay'd Trees, that I could never fee one of them, tho' I have heard them all round me in the Night. They are much like Lizards, but larger. 'Tis said, their Dung is so venomous, that if it drops on any part of one's Skin, and is not immediately wash'd away, 'twill cause a Mortification to that Degree, that nothing but Amputation can save the Patient. This the Reader may cenfure, or believe, as his Judgment leads him. For my own part, I am not fond of crediting, or relating modern Wonders.
Here are Snakes of several sorts, some very large; I shot one in Mr. Loyd's Wash-house, that was 13 ¾ Foot long, and had two full grown Hens, and five small Chickens, undigested in its Belly. What I most admired was, how it could swallow such large Morsels, having a Head no bigger than one's Fist. It was of a most beautiful Colour; but the Skin lost its Lustre in drying.
Guanas are here very large; one sort, five times as big as those on the Cormandel Coast; whence I believe they are of a different Kind. They feed among the Rocks at low Water on Muscles, and what other Fish they can get, and are often found in the Woods near the Sea, where they can find Subsistence, and live free from Disturbance; and sometimes they are actually in the Water, like an Aligator; but I never heard of any Damage done by them. They are in Shape like an Eft, have quick piercing Eyes, dark colour'd rough scaly Backs, forked Tongues, and are some of them 5 or 6 Foot long. I know not if they are eaten here; at Madrass, and other Places, where Guanas are common, they are esteem'd wholesom, and the most nourishing Flesh that is; and therefore Physicians often prescribe the Broth of them for Persons recovering from Fevers, Fluxes, and other weakening Distempers.
The Squirrils are as black as Jet, about the size of ours in England. There is another Creature, as large as an ordinary Cat, that has the Actions of a Squirril in every respect. I never saw but two, one in a Hutch at Madrass, that was brought from Pegu, the other I shot from a wild Nutmeg Tree in the Woods; the Tail of it was 13 inches long, full like a Fox's; and the Furr on its Back of a rusty Black, but a light Sorrel under the Throat and Belly: They are wholesom Food; as Squirrils are accounted all over India.
'Twas my Fortune in the Woods, to disturb a Nest of wild Bees, which used me very scurvily, before I could well tell where I was got: My Head was clouded with them in a trice; but the Fear was more than the Damage; for tho' they stung my face in five or six places, yet I found the Fury they came on with, greater than their Ability to hurt, I was uneasy for a Quarter of an Hour; but afterward the Pain decreased with my Surprize; they are a little bigger than our Flesh-flys, of a dark brown Colour, and in other Respect like our Bee in England. Their Honey is white, of a waterish Tast, and very wholesom.
The Woods swarm with Ants of several Kinds; the most common sort Is of a redish Colour, and a small matter larger than those in our Meadows; they seem to be
always in a Hurry, and have worn Paths in the Ground, and even made Tracks in the sides of Trees, with their constant running up and down. I have unawares been cover'd with them; but was never stung, therefore cannot tell if they are able to hurt that way.
Here are a few Birds Nests, such as the Chinese make Broth of; perhaps 20 or 30l. in a Year; but it is not so good as what I have met with from other Places; it is a rich Commodity, and is sometimes brought to Europe from Borneo, and the Spice Islands.
Here were 10 China Junks this Year with more Goods than they could sell, whence the Commoditys of that Country were very cheap, especially Japan Ware, of which they were obliged to carry a great deal back to Canton, where the Supracargos of the Kent bought it for Europe. Every Junk paid six dollars to the Accountant.
Having had a full Relation of the Destruction of this Settlement; for the Satisfaction of those who had Friends there, or were otherwise concern'd in it, I shall give the best Information I can of it.
March 3, 1705. at One in the Morning, the Maccassar Soldiers in the Company's Service, set Fire to the Houses within the Fort, and murder'd the Englifh as they came out
of their Beds; to extinguish it, Thomas Fuller, Ensign, and Joseph Ridge, were shot as they enter'd the Fort; Captain Rashwell, seeing the Tragedy thus begin, had only time to bid the English stand to their Arms, and then himself was kill'd. Messieurs Pound, Greenhill, Wilkins, Chitty, Dennet, and Coningham were by this time got together, and retired to Mr. Pound's, at some Distance from the Fort; but not thinking themselves safe there, they got into a Cochinchina Boat, and put on Board the Company's Sloop in the Harbour, all but Mr. Covingham, who betook himself to the Cochichinese for their Protection, as his Letter here after mentions; but one James Ray came on Board in his stead, and gave them a just Account of the Havock that was made in the Fort. He said the Governour was the first that was shot, but he died not immediately. For want of Wind, they warp'd out of Gunshot of the Fort, and then stood about the S.E. Point to Anchor; contrary to the Opinion of Doctor P____d, who was for lying longer in the Harbour, to see the Event, and afford the best Assistance they were able, to their miserable Friends on Shore, of whom it was very probable some few had escaped the Fury of the Assassins.
They got Rice and Water from Flag-staff is1and, and took John Peterson on Board, who made his escape from the fort will William
Oman; but Oman died of his Wounds by the way. At Sun-rising they stood into the S.W. Harbour, where they
stay'd till Sun-set, and then made Sail for Malacca; which was agreed to by Majority of Voices. There were 45 Europeans on the Island when this happen'd, of whom the, following were suppos'd to be kill'd in the first Massacre
Allen Catchpole, Gov. Thomas Herring,
John Ridges, John Watts,
Thomas Rashwell, John Walton,
Thomas Fuller, Henry Ormond,
Arthur Aust Peter Hill,
Robert Emmet, Petter Bensley,
John Marefield, Alexander Lindzy,
John Boult, William Omans,
George Stratford, Richard Bradford.
In the Sloop were saved,
James Pound , Minister, Abraham Chitty,
Moses Wilkins, (my In- Thomas Dennet,
former) Henry Greenhill,
John Peterson, Thomas Emmerton,
Henry Peterson, John Hall,
Adrian Peterson, James Ray.
Ambrose Baldwin, and George Wingate, were sent by those that were left to Cambogia, thence to make the best of their way
way to Batavia with the News.
The Persons reserved for the Close of this bloody Scene were,
Solomon Loyd, John Lynch,
Henry Pottinger, John Allen,
George Townsend, Henry Slate,
Henry Savage, Cornelius the Smith ,
Michael St. Paul, Joseph Ridges,
Henry Dorothy, and Mr. James John Pennyman, Coningham
who alone was saved to give his Masters an Account of the miserable End of their Condore Settlement, as I have it in his Letter to the Company's Supercargos and Captains in China.
Before this comes to your hands, you may have heard of the Overthrow of the Settlement at Condore, whereof I shall here give you a further Account, And what relates thereto, that you can impart the same to our honourable Master. Our Maccassar Soldiers had been threaten’d for letting two of our slaves escaped their Custody, whereupon it seems they did meditate a cruel revenge; for on the second of
March, at Midnight they set fire to the Fort, and at the Same time kill’d the Governour, Mr. Loyd, Captain Rashwell, Mr. Fuller and others, to the Number of Nineteen. Doctor Pound, Mr. Chitty, and Captain Denneth, with 8 or 9 more, made their escape in a sloop to Malacca, I suppose, and from thence to Batavia. Those that remain’d were so dispersed, that there was too scarce two together. I took to the Cochinchinese for their assistance; but their fear was so great, that they only went about Barricado themselves. The Macassars having perpetrated this villany, got into a Cochinchinese Prom, to put to Sea, but were assaulted by the people of a Cambodia vessel, which was then at the Island, with the Assisatance of Armourers, who kill’d one of them, and mortally wounded two more, which made them put a shore again, and made their Escape into the Woods. In the Morning betimes, the Cochinchinese took Possession of the fort, fearing, I suppose, we should have join’d with the Cambogians, to carry away what the fire had not destroy’d; for being got together, we were sixteen English, four of which were dangerously wounded, 6 Topazes, and about 20 Slaves, too small number to cope with them, who were above 200. The Chinese being like so many Ciphers and the Madrass sloop in Cochinchina, obliged us to desire their friendly assistance. Whereupon the money was all put into Chests, and the most part weigh’d and carry’d into their custody.
During which time, the Macassars thought to have seiz’d another Prow to escape in, but were frighted away by the Cochinchinese, who promissed in a few days to bring them all dead or alive. Most of us were dubious of their Friendship, but did not know how to answer it to our honourable Masters, to leave so much money, while they pretended to be our Friends, and we had not deserved otherwise at their Hands; for we could have got away in the Cambogia vessel, which sell the seventh following, being unwilling to stay any longer, on with went Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Wingage to Cambogia, to make the best of their way to Batavia. The next day after they went away, the Cochinchinese caught one of the Macassars, and that very night cut off his head, whereby we thought their friendship had been secure to us, yet on the tenth, without any provocation, but to make sure of their Prey, they barbariously murder’d all the English, of which Mr. Pottinger, Mr. Townsend, Mr. Joseph Ridges, Mr. St. Paul with four Topazes and six slaves, only me they saved alive, after they gave me two wounds, one slight on the Arm, and the other more dangerous on my left side, whereof I am now well, God be thanked, with two Topazes ans fifteen slaves. On the 18th, arived there from Borea 4 Cochinchinese Galleys, with proms, with amounted to in all 65, and in them about 300 soldiers, the other Cochinchinese making about
300 more. Wherewhich they imbarked every thing, worth the carrying away. During their stay there, they went 3 or 4 times in search of the Macassars, and lighting on them at last, kill’d four. On the 7th of April, I was order’d onboard one of their Galleys, not having leave to go anywhere, without a Soldier along with me. I saw and understood that all the people belonging to the Madrass Sloop were under confinement, and separate houses, and also in Congas, except Captain Ridly. I desir’d several time to wait upon Governour, but could not, he was so taken up in over-halling of the Goods, that came from Poulo Condore, and weighing the Money, which was found to amount to 21300 Tale. At last on the 28th I was obliged to appear as a Criminal in Congas, before the Governour and his Grand Council, attended with all the Slaves in Congas as also there I was charged with three crimes. The first, that the English, when they arrived at Poulo Condore, said they would stay there, whether the King of Cochinchina would or not. The second, That there was no English sent along with the Present to Court last year. The third, that we sent a ship to Cambogia, and did not aquaint the Governour of Borea therewith. To the first I reply’d, That we had never heard any such thing; for at our arrival there, we did not know any body lived upon the Island, and that as soon as our Governour had dispatched the ships to China, he presently sent
An Embassy to Cochinchina, whereby he had his Grant to stay there. To the second, that all the English were so sickly, that we had not one of any port to send, and therefore spoke to a Chinese captain then present, who agreed to go, but that the Caifou did take it upon himself to Carry the Present, and Excuse us to the King, whereto they reply’d, that the sending a Chinese, was all one as sending as sending the Caifou, and that and English man would have done better; I answer’d, that was the Caifou’s fault, who should have inform’d us better: then further, why we did not get some out of the Ships to send, where there were so many: To which reply’d, That ’twas not in our power to demand them out of their ship. To the third, That never any body told us we were to acquaint the Governour of Borea, before we send any ship to Cambogia. Then insisted they, there did not any English come about the Ship to him at the mouth ouf Cambogia river, when he sent thither by one to speak with them: To which reply’d, That the ship had not return’d to Pulo Condore and there fore could not positively tell the reason for so doing. Thus I was dismiss’d, and return’d home, where I had the Congas taken off again. The next day I was at the Governour’s son’s house, by which the Governour passing accidentally saw me, whereupon he sent for me to his House: He asked me nothing of Moment, but why I sent two Englishmen to Cambogia, and how much I have given them, having
answer’d this, I desired to know what he had resolved to do with us; he answer’d, that we must stay here till he had a return from Court, which will take up two months. And being ask’d for Captain Ridly, who was sick at Danquai, about 20 leagues from hence, and to take his People out of the Congas, he only reply’d, he would see to it shortly: And thus matters stand at present, and what will the result thereof be, God knows. I know not what our honourable Masters will be willing to do, and therefore can not tell how to advise them herein. I am with respecdt,
S I R S,
I was willing to give the Publick this Letter, for the Credit Mr. Coningham's Sincerity and Judgment may give my Narrative. Mr. Loyd it seems was kill'd in the first Massacre, which the Gentleman, from whom I had the first Relation, knew not of. Nor have I any further Account of what the Company have since done to recover the Money and Goods, mention'd in Mr. Coningham's Letter. I understand Congas to be Thumbolts; and the Caifou, Linguist. ·
Mr. Co11ingham was afterwards President of Banjar, where I am told, he had not been above a Week or ten Days, before that Settlement was ruin'd by the Natives likewife; but, not in so fatal a manner.
G. 1721 và 9 tháng tại Côn Đảo của père Jacques
Père Jacques thực hiện chuyến đi từ Pháp để sang Tàu ngày 7/3/1721 từ cảng Louis của Pháp trên tàu Danaé của công ty Đông Ấn do M. le chevalier de la Vicomté điều khiển. Tàu có chở một đại đội lính để tăng cường cho đội lính Pháp được cử đến đồn Pháp ở đảo này từ năm trước, hai kỹ sư của hoàng gia Pháp, một người được cử làm đảo trưởng cũng cùng đi trên tàu này. Tàu đến Côn Đảo ngày 7/9/1721. Do gặp trục trặc về toán lính tăng cường, họ buộc phải ở lại đảo cho hết mùa gió bấc trong điều kiện thiếu thốn ở phía tây đảo, là nơi không có người cư trú. Sau đó họ được thuyền dân cho biết phía đông đảo có người ở, họ mói chuyển sang phía đó, nhưng dân chúng tại đảo này đói nghèo đến mức chẳng có gì để cung cấp cho tàu, mà tàu còn phải cung cấp ngược lại để cứu đói trong khi chờ tàu lương thực từ đất liền ra. Cũng trong thời gian thiếu thốn này hầu hết người của đoàn đều bị bệnh, và tình hình chỉ cải thiện sau khi các tàu chở lương thực từ đất liền ra. Tác giả cũng mô tả sơ về đảo, có nhắc lại tàn tích của thương điếm bị tàn phế, đề cập đến hai loài động vật đặc hữu tại đây là thằn lằn bay và sóc bay, cùng hình.
Hình Côn Đảo chỉ vị trí phế tích thương điếm Anh và đồn Pháp trên Côn Đảo, làng dân, cảng, và lối đi vào cảng mùa gió Tây Nam và Đông Bắc.
Đây là thằn lằn, sóc bay tại Côn Đảo
Vật lộn sau 17 ngày mới vào được cảng, nơi đó họp được một thuyền dân báo bên Tây đảo có dân ở. Đoàn tiếp đón họ, cho ăn uống và ngỏ ý muốn mua hàng hóa của dân, nhưng thực tế tình hình dân như thế này,
“...on caressa ces bonnes gens, on les fit boire et manger, et on leur dit d’apporter ce qu’ils avaient à vendre, en leur faisant entendre qu’ils seraient bien payés ; mais l’île de Poulo-condor est si stérile que les habitants eux-mêmes y mourraient de faim, s’ils n’avaient recours à la terre ferme, où ils vont chercher du riz : ainsi, durant près de quatre mois nous n’eûmes d’autres secours d’eux, que quelques poissons qu’ils apportaient de temps en temps, et qu’ils vendaient bien cher, et très peu de volailles, qu’on achetait jusqu’à une piastre la pièce.”
Đây là đoạn ngắn mô tả Côn Đảo và thói dùng trầu của dân tại đây (trích)
Poulo-condor est un petit archipel à quinze ou vingt lieues au sud du royaume de Camboge : il est formé de huit ou dix tant îles que rochers ; la plus grande de ces îles n’a pas plus de quatre lieues en longueur ; c’est la seule qui soit habitée, encore n’y a-t-il qu’un village dans presque l’unique plaine qu’on y trouve ; les maisons des insulaires ne sont qu’un assemblage assez informe de bambous, couvert d’une herbe fort longue, qu’ils coupent sur le bord de leurs ruisseaux : il n’y a
dans ces cabanes ni porte ni fenêtre ; pour y entrer, et pour y avoir du jour, ils laissent un des côtés de la cabane tout ouvert, et ils font déborder le toit de ce côté-là ; ils les élèvent de terre de quelques pied, par là ils évitent l’humidité et ont où loger leurs animaux domestiques
pendant la nuit ; la mauvaise odeur ne les inquiète point. Le plancher, de distance en distance, est rehaussé de quatre ou cinq pouces : ils reçoivent les étrangers dans le fond sur des nattes ; leur réception est douce et affable, et ils ne manquent pas de leur présenter de l’arec, du
bétel, et une pipe. Ils sont fort basanés, presque entièrement nus, excepté dans les cérémonies, où ils s’habillent, et quelques-uns même assez proprement ; les dents les plus noires sont chez eux les plus belles, aussi n’oublient-ils rien pour se les noircir. Ils laissent croître leurs cheveux, qui leur viennent communément fort longs ; j’en ai vu à qui ils descendaient plus bas que les genoux.
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H. 1780 Thuyền trưởng Cook và Côn Đảo
Đất Côn Đảo được vinh dự đón nhiều nhà thám hiểm nổi tiếng ghé qua không phải là điều ngạc nhiên, chỉ bới vị trí độc đáo như là cái tiêu để định hướng đi lại trong vùng biển nhiều bão tố lại có những rặng đá san hô ngầm nguy hiểm vào bậc nhất thế giới, tức hai quần đảo Hòang sa và Trường sa, mà trên hải đồ có tên là Paracel và Spratly. Hai quần đảo này gồm rất nhiều đảo san hô chìm khi thủy triều lên, và nổi hoặc rất cạn khi thủy triều xuống, dễ làm tàu chìm khi va phải. Trên hải đồ khu vực hai quần đảo này được đánh dấu nguy hiểm từ khi con người bắt du thám nhiều bằng đường biển.
Thuyền trưởng Cook đã ba lần thám hiểm biển Thái Bình Dương; các ký sự du hành của ông được gom lại in thành 3 bộ, có đến 7 quyển. Đoàn thuyền của ông ghé Côn Đảo vào chuyến đi lần thứ ba. Như ta biết, bản thân Cook đã bị giết vào ngày 14 tháng 2 năm 1779 bởi các thổ dân Hawai. Những người trong đoàn của ông, dưới sự lãnh đạo bởi các ông John Gore và và thuyền trưởng James King thực hiện nốt chuyến về nước. Sau này King hoàn thành bộ ký sự ba chuyến đi và cho in.
Việc ghé Côn Đảo được in trong tập 7, trong gần hết chương 10.
Dưới đây là đoạn mô tả giây phút tàu ông thấy và ghé Côn Đảo.
Vào sáng ngày 20 [tháng Giêng năm 1780], gió thuận lợi hơn, chúng tôi ra khỏi các rạn đá, và lái về phía tây nam để đến Côn Đảo. Vào trưa chúng tôi ở tọa độ 8° 46' vĩ Bắc, và 106° 45 ' kinh Đông; và lúc 12 giờ rưỡi, chúng tôi thấy đảo, quẹo về tây. Lúc bốn giờ, thì phần nhô của Côn đảo và đảo này nằm ở đông nam và tây nam đến tây, khoảng cách tàu chúng tôi gần nhất với đảo khoảng hai dặm. Chúng tôi đi về phía bắc đảo, và tìm đậu ở cảng theo hướng tây nam cuối đảo, là điểm có lối vào từ tây bắc, và là chỗ trú ngụ tốt nhất vào mùa gió đông bắc. Vào lúc sáu giờ chúng tôi thả neo…
Trong khi chờ vị quan phụ trách đảo về để mua các súc vật, đồ dùng cho đoàn tàu, đoàn đã đi quanh làng của dân đang cư ngụ tại đảo và có để ý xem còn dấu vết phế tích nào của thương điếm Anh trước đây đã bị đốt không, nhưng rất tiếc họ không gặp (trang 411, tập 7).
Nhiều điềm thú vị được mô tả trong chương này, ví dụ, viên chức phụ trách đảo trong tay có bức thư của Adran đang giúp Nguyễn Ánh đánh lại quân Tây Sơn giới thiệu cho tàu nước ngoài nào ghé qua được biết ông này, nhằm được giúp đỡ. Ông cũng mô tả làng mạc, thảo mộc, động vật, và con người hiện sống ở đảo trong đoạn sau,
On the 17th, we had heavy gales from the east by north, with a rough tumbling sea, and the weather overcast and boisterous. On the 18th, the wind still continued to blow strong, and the sea to run high, we altered our course to south-west, by south ; and, at noon, being in latitude 12° 34", longitude 132°, we began to steer a point more to the westward for Pulo Sapata, which we saw on the 19th, at four in the afternoon, bearing north-west by west, about four leagues distant. This small, high, barren island is called Sapata, from its resemblance of a shoe. Our observations, compared with Mr.Bayly’s time-keeper, place it in latitude 10° 4/ N., longitude 109° 10' E. The gale had, at this time, increased with such violence, and the sea ran so' high, as to oblige 11s to close-reef the top-sails. During the last three days, the ships had outrun their reckoning at the rate of twenty miles a-day ; and as we could not attribute the whole of this to the effects of a following sea, we im¬puted it in part to a current, which, according to my own calculations, had set forty-two miles to the south south-west, between the noon of the 19th and the noon of the 20th ; and is taken into the account in determining the situation of the island.
After passing Sapata, we steered to the westward ; and at midnight sounded, and had ground with fifty fathoms of line, over a fine sandy bottom. In the morning of the 20th, the wind becoming more mo¬derate, we let out the reefs, and steered west by south for Pulo Condore. At noon the latitude was 8° 46' N., longitude 106° 45' E.; and, at half-past twelve, we got sight of the island, bearing west. At four, the extremes of Pulo Condore, and the islands that lie off‘ it, bore south-east and south-west by west; our distance from the nearest islands being two miles. We kept to the north of the islands, and stood for the harbour on the south-west end of Condore, which
having its entrance from the north-vvest, is the best sheltered during the north-east monsoon. At six we anchored, with the best bower, in six fathoms, veered away two-thirds of the cable, and kept the ship steady with a stream anchor and cable to the south-east. When moored, the extremes of the entrance of the harbour bore north by west, and west north-west one quarter west; the opening, at the upper end south¬east by east, three quarters east; our distance from the nearest shore a quarter of a mile.
As soon as we were come to anchor, Captain Gore fired a gun, with a view of apprising the natives of our arrival, and drawing them toward the shore, but without effect. Early in the morning of the 21st, parties were sent to cut wood, which was Captain Gore’s principal motive for coming hither. In the afternoon, a sudden gust of wind broke the stream- cable, by which the Discovery was riding, and obliged us to moor with the bower anchors. .
None of the natives having yet made their ap-pearance, notwithstanding a second gun had been fired, Captain Gore thought it advisable to land and go in search of them, that no time might be lost in opening a trade for such provisions as the place could afford. With this view he appointed me to ac¬company him in the morning of the 22d ; and, as the wind at this time blew strong from the east, we did not think it prudent to coast in our boats to the town, which is situated in the east side of the island, but rowed round the north point of the harbour. We had proceeded about two miles along the shore, when observing a road that led into a wood, we landed. Here I quitted Captain Gore, taking with me a midshipman and four armed sailors, and pur¬sued the path which seemed to point directly across the island. We proceeded through a thick wood up a steep hill, to the distance of a mile, when, after descending through a wood of the same extent, on the other side, we came out into a flat, open, sandy
country, interspersed with cultivated spots of’ rice and tobacco, and groves of cabbage palm-trees, and cocoa-nut trees. We here spied two huts situated on the edge of the wood, to which we directed our course; and before we came up to them were descried by two men, who immediately ran away from us, notwithstanding all the peaceable and supplicating gestures we could devise.
On reaching the huts I ordered the party to stay without, lest the sight of so many armed men should terrify the inhabitants, whilst I entered and recon¬noitred alone. I found in one of the huts an elderly man who was in a great fright, and preparing to make off with the most valuable of his effects that he could carry. However, 1 was fortunate enough, in a very little time, so entirely to dispel his fears, that he came out and called to the two men who were running away to return. The old man and I now soon came to a perfect understanding. A few signs, particularly that most significant one of holding out a handful of dollars, and then pointing to a herd of buffaloes, and the fowls that were running about the huts in great numbers, left him without any doubts as to the real objects of our visit. He pointed to¬ward a place where the town stood, and made us comprehend that, by going thither, all our wants would be supplied. By this time the young men who had fled were returned, and the old man ordered one of them to conduct us to the town as soon as an obstacle should be removed, of which we were not aware. On our first coming out of the wood, a herd of buffaloes, to the number of twenty at least, came running toward us, tossing up their heads, snuffing the air, and roaring in a hideous manner. They had followed us to the huts, and stood drawn up in a body at a little distance ; and the old man made us understand that it would be exceedingly dangerous for us to move till they were driven into the woods; but so enraged were the animals grown at the sight of us, that this was not effected without a good deal
of time and difficulty. The men not being able to accomplish it, we were surprized to see them call to their assistance a few little boys who soon drove them out of sight. Afterward we had occasion to observe, that in driving these animals and securing them, which is done by putting a rope through a hole which is made in their nostrils, little boys were al¬ways employed, who could stroke and handle them with impunity at times when the men durst not ap¬proach them. Having got rid of the buffaloes, we were conducted to the town, which was at a mile’s distance, the road to it lying through a deep white sand. It is situated near the sea-side, at the bottom of a retired bay, which must afford a safe road-stead ’ during the prevalence of the south-west monsoons.
This town consists of between twenty and thirty houses, built close together; besides six dr seven others that are scattered about the beach. The roof, the two ends, and the side fronting the country, are neatly constructed of reeds ; the opposite side, facing the sea, is entirely open j but, by means of a sort of bamboo screens, they can exclude or let in as much of the sun and air as they please. We observed likewise other large screens or partitions for the purpose of dividing, as occasion required, the single room of which the house, properly speaking, consists, into separate apartments.
We were conducted to the largest house in the town belonging to their chief, or, as they called him, their captain. This house had a room at each end, separated by a partition of reeds from the middle space, which was open on both sides, and provided with partition-screens like the others. It had, be¬sides, a penthouse projecting four or five feet beyond , the roof, and running the whole length on each side. At each end of the middle room were hung some Chinese paintings, representing men and women in ludicrous attitudes. In this apartment we were civilly desired to seat ourselves on mats, and betel was presented to us.
By means of my money, and pointing at different objects in sight, I had no difficulty in making a man, who seemed to be the principal person of the com¬pany, comprehend the main business of our errand ; and I as readily understood from him that the chief or captain was absent, but would soon return, and that, without his consent, no purchases of any kind could be made. We availed ourselves of the oppor-tunity which this circumstance afforded us to walk about the town ; and did not forget to search, though in vain, for the remains of a fort, which had been built by our countrymen near the spot we were now upon in 1702. *
On returning to the captain’s house, we were sorry to find that he was not yet arrived, and the jnore so, as the time was almost elapsed which Cap¬tain Gore had fixed for our return to the boat. The natives were desirous we should lengthen our stay; they even proposed our passing the night there, and offered to accommodate us in the best manner in their power. I had observed when we were in the house before, and now remarked it the more, that the "man I have mentioned above, frequently retired into one of the end rooms, and staid there some little time before he answered the questions that were put to him ; which led me to suspect that the captain was all the time there, though, for reasons best known to himself, he did not choose to appear; and I was confirmed in this opinion by being stopped as
* The English settled here in the year 1702, when the factory of Chusan, on the coast of China, was broken up, and brought with them some Macassar soldiers, who were hired to assist in building a fort; but the president not fulfilling his engagement with them, they watched an opportunity, and one night murdered all the English in the fort. Those without the fort hearing a noise, took the alarm and ran to their boats, very narrowly escaping with their lives, but not without much fatigue, hunger, and thirst, to the Johore dominions, where they were treated with great humanity. Some of these afterward went to form a settlement at Benjar- Massean, on the island of Borneo. East India Directory, p. 86.
I was attempting to go into the room. At length, it clearly appeared that my suspicions were well founded; for, on our preparing to depart, the person who had so often passed in and out, came from the room with a paper in his hand, and gave it to me to read ; and I was not a little surprised to find it a sort of certifi¬cate in French as follows :
PIERRE JOSEPH GEORGE, Eveque d’Adran, Vicaire
Apost. de Cochin China, &c. &c.
Le petit Mandarin, porteur de cet ecrit, est veritablement envoye de la cour a Pulo Condore, pour y attendre et recevoir tout vaisseau Europeen qui auroit sa destination d’approcher ici. Le capi- taine, en consequence, pourroit se fier ou pour conduire le vaisseau au port, ou pour faire passer les nouvelles qu’il pourroit croire necessaire.
PIERRE JOSEPH GEORGE,
10 d’Aotit, 1779.
We returned the paper, with many protestations of our being the Mandarin's good friends;. begging he might be informed that we hoped he would do us the favour to visit the ships, that we might con¬vince him of it. We now took our leave, well satisfied, on the whole, with what had passed, but full of conjectures about this extraordinary French paper. Three of the natives offered their services to accompany us back, which we readily accepted, and returned by the way we came. Captain Gore felt peculiar satisfaction at seeing us; for, as we had exceeded our time near an hour, he began to be alarmed for our safety, and was preparing to march after us. He and his party had, during our absence, been profitably employed in loading .the boat with the cabbage-palm, which abounds in this bay. Our guides were made exceedingly happy, on our pre-
senting them with a dollar each for their trouble, and intrusting to their care a bottle of rum for the Man¬darin. One of them chose to accompany us on board.
At two in the afternoon we joined the ships, and several of our shooting parties returned about the same time from the woods, having had little success, though they saw a great variety of birds and animals, some of which will be hereafter noticed.
At five, a proa with six men rowed up to the ship, from the upper end of the harbour, and a decent-looking personage introduced himself to Captain Gore with an ease and good breeding, which convinced us his time had been spent in other company than what this island afforded. He brought with him the French paper above trans¬cribed, and said he was the Mandarin mentioned in it. He spoke a few Portugueze words, but as none of us were acquainted with this language, we were obliged to have recourse to a black man on board, who could speak the Malay, which is the general language of these islanders, and was understood by the Man¬darin. After a little previous conversation, he declared to us, that he was a Christian, and had been baptized by the name of Luco; that he had been sent hither in August last, from Sai-gon, the capital of Cochin China, and had since waited in expectation of some French ships, which he was to pilot to a safe port, not more than a day’s sail hence, upon the coast of Cochin China. We acquainted him, that we were not French, but English, and asked him whether he did not know that these two nations were now at war with one another? He made answer in the affirmative; but, at the same time, signified to us, that it was indifferent to him to what nation the ships he was instructed to wait for belonged, pro¬vided their object was to trade with the people of Cochin China. He here produced another paper, which he desired us to read. This was a letter sealed and directed, “ To the captains
of any European vessels that may touch at Con¬dore." Although we apprehended that this let¬ter was designed for French ships in particular, yet as the direction included all European captains, and as Luco was desirous of our perusing it, we broke the seal, and found it to be written by the bishop who wrote the certificate. Its contents were as follows: “ That having reason to expect, by
some late intelligence from Europe, that a vessel would soon come to Cochin China, he had, in con¬sequence of this news, got the court to send a Man¬darin (the bearer) to Pulo Condore, to wait its arrival; that if the vessel should put in there, the commander might either send by the bearer an account to him of his arrival, or trust himself to the Mandarin, who would pilot him into a well-sheltered port in Cochin China, not more than a day's sail from Condore; that should he choose to remain in Condore, till the return of the messenger, proper interpreters would be sent back, and any other assistance, which a letter should point out, be fur-nished ; that it was unnecessary to be more par¬ticular, of which the captain himself must be sensible." This letter had the same date as the certificate, and was returned to Luco again, without any copy being taken.
From this letter, and the whole of Luco's conversation, there remained little doubt that it was a French ship he was to expect. At the same time, we found he would be glad not to lose his errand, and had no objection to become our pilot. We could not discover from the Mandarin, the exact object and business which the vessel he was waiting for intended to prosecute in Cochin China. It is true, that our interpreter, the black, was extremely dull and stupid ; and I should, therefore, be sorry, with such imperfect means of information, to run the risk of misleading the reader by any conjectures of my own, respecting the object of Luco's visit to this island. 1 shall only add, that he told us the French-ships might perhaps have put into Tirnon, and from thence sail to Cochin China; and, as he had received no intelligence of them, lie thought this most likely to have been the case.
Captain Gore’s inquiries were next directed to find out what supplies could be obtained from the island. Luco said, that he had two buffaloes of his own, which were at our service ; and that there were plenty on the island, which might be purchased for four or five dollars a head*, but finding that Captain Gore thought that sum exceedingly mo¬derate, and would willingly give for them a much greater, the price was afterwards raised upon us to seven and eight dollars.
Early in the morning of the 23d, the launches of both ships were sent to the town, to fetch the buffaloes which we had given orders to be pur¬chased ; but they were obliged to wait, till it was high-water, as they could at no other time get through the opening at the head of the harbour. On their arrival at the village, they found the surf breaking on the beach with such force, that it was with the utmost difficulty each launch brought a buffalo on board in the evening, and the officers, who were sent on this service, gave it as their opinion, that between the violence of the suifj and the fierceness of the buffaloes, it would be extremely imprudent to attempt bringing any more off in this way. We had purchased eight, and were now at a loss in what manner to proceed to get them on board. We could kill no more than was just necessary for the consumption of one day, as in this climate meat will not keep till the next. After consulting with. Luco, it was concluded, that the remainder should be driven through the wood, and over the hill down to the bay, where Captain Gore and I had landed the day before, which being sheltered from the wind, was more free from surf. This plan was accordingly put in execution, but the
untractableness and prodigious strength of the buffaloes, rendered it a tedious and difficult operation. 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 we were often under the necessity of tying them; sometimes they tore asunder the cartilage of the nostril, through which the ropes ran, and got loose. On these occasions, all the exertions of our 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 managements their rage was soon appeased. And, when at length they were got down to the beach, it. was by their aid, in twisting ropes round their legs, in the man¬ner they were directed, that we were enabled to throw them down, and by that means to get them into the boats. A circumstance, respecting these animals, which I thought no less singular than this 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. I kept two of them, a male and 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’ weight, would be a valuable acquisition, 1 was inclined to have brought them with me to England; but my intention was frustrated by an incurable hurt that one of them received at sea.
It was not till the 28th, that the buffaloes were all got on board ; however, there was no reason to regret the time taken up by this service, since, in the interim, two wells of excellent water had been dis¬covered, of which, as also of wood, part of the ships’ companies had been employed in laying in a good supply; so that a shorter stop would be necessary for
replenishing our stock of these articles, in the Strait of Sunda. A party had likewise been occupied in drawing the seine at the head of the harbour, where they took a great many good fish ; and another party in cutting down the cabbage-palm, which was boiled, and served out with the meat. Besides this, having been able to procure only a scanty supply of cordage at Macao, the repairing of our rigging was become an object of constant attention, and demanded all our spare time.
Pulo Condore is high and mountainous, and sur¬rounded by several smaller islands, some of which are less than one, and others two miles distant. It takes its name from two Malay words, Pulo, signify¬ing an island, and Condore, a calabash, of which it produces great quantities. It is of the form of a crescent, extending near eight miles from the south¬ernmost point, in a north-east direction ; but its breadth no where exceeds two miles. From the westernmost extremity, the land trends to the south¬east for about four miles; and opposite to this part of the coast there is an island, called by Monsieur D’Apres Little Condore, which runs two miles in the same direction. This position of the two islands affords a safe and commodious harbour, the entrance into which is from the north-west. The distance between the two opposite coasts is three-quarters of a mile, exclusive of a border of coral rock, which runs down along each side, extending about one hundred yards from the shore. The anchorage is very good, from eleven to five fathoms’ water, but the bottom is so soft and clayey, that we found great difficulty in weighing our anchors. Toward the bot¬tom of the harbour there is shallow water for about half a mile, beyond which the two islands approach so near each other, as to leave only a passage at high water for boats. The most convenient place for
watering is at a beacli on the eastern side, where there is a small stream which f urnished us with four¬teen or fifteen tons of water a-day.
This island, both with respect to animal and veget¬able productions, is considerably improved since the time when Dampier visited it. Neither that writer, nor the compiler of the East India Directory, make mention of any other quadrupeds than hogs, which are said to be very scarce, lizards, and the guanoes; and the latter, on the authority of Monsieur Dedier, a French engineer, who surveyed the island about the year 1720, says, that none of the fruits and escu¬lent plants, so common in the other parts of India, are to be found here, except water-melons, a few potatoes, small gourds, chibbols (a small species of onion), and little black beans. At present, besides the buffaloes, of which we understood there were several large herds, we purchased from the natives some remarkably fine fat hogs, of the Chinese breed. They brought us three or four of a wild sort; and our sportsmen reported, that they frequently met with their tracks in the woods, which also abound with monkeys and squirrels, but so shy, that it was difficult to shoot them. One species of the squirrel was of a beautiful shining black colour, and another species striped brown and white. This is called the flying-squirrel, from being provided with a thin mem¬brane, resembling a bat’s wing, extending on each side the belly, from the neck to the thighs, which, on stretching out their legs, spreads, and enables them to fly from tree to tree, at a considerable dis-tance. Lizards were in great abundance ; but I do not know that any of us saw the guano, and another animal, described by Dampier as resembling the guano, only much larger.
Amongst its vegetable improvements, I have al¬ready mentioned the fields of rice we passed through;
and plantains, various kinds of pompions, cocoa-nuts, oranges, shaddocks, and pomegranates, were also met with; though, except the plantains and shaddocks, in no great abundance.
It is probable, from what has been already said relative to the bishop of Adran, that the French have introduced these improvements, into the island, for the purpose of making it a more convenient refresh¬ing station for any of their ships that may be bound for Cambodia, or Cochin China. Should they have made, or intend to make, any settlement in those countries, it is certainly well situated for that pur¬pose, or' for annoying the trade of their enemies, in case of war.,
Our sportsmen were very unsuccessful in their pursuit of the feathered game, with which the woods are well stocked. One of our gentlemen had the good fortune to shoot a wild hen; and all the shoot¬ing parties agreed that they heard the crowing of the cocks on every side, which they described to.be like that of our common cock, but shriller; that they saw several of them on the wing, but that they were exceedingly shy. The hen that was shot was of a speckled colour, and of the same shape, though not quite so large, as a full grown pullet of this country. Monsieur Sonnerat has entered into a long disserta¬tion, to prove that he was the first person who de¬termined the country to which this most beautiful and useful bird belongs, and denies that Dampier met with it here.
The land in the neighbourhood of the harbour is a continued high hill, richly adorned with a variety of fine tall trees, from the summit to the water’s edge. Among others, we observed what Dampier calls the tar-tree ; but observed none that were tapped in the manner he describes.
The inhabitants, who are fugitives from Cambodia
and Cochin China, are not numerous. They are of a short stature, and very swarthy, and of a weak and unhealthy aspect; but, as far as we could judge, of a gentle disposition.
We remained here till the 28th of January ; and, at taking leave of the Mandarin, Captain Gore, at his own request, gave him a letter of recommend¬ation to the commanders of any other ships that might put in here ; to which he added a hand¬some present. He likewise gave him a letter for the bishop of Ad ran, together with a telescope, which he begged might be presented to him as a compli¬ment for the services he had received through his means at Condore.
The harbour at Pulo Con-
dore is in latitude 8 40 00 N
Longitude, deduced from
a great number of lunar 106 18 46 E.
_ observations, )
Dip of the north pole of) 2 1 0
the magnetic needle, j
Variation of the compass, 0 14 0 W.
From this time, the water continued for twelve hours without any visible alteration, viz. till l6h . 15m apparent time, when it began to ebb; and at 22h 15m apparent time, it was low water. The change from ebbing to flowing u'as very quick, or in less tlian 5m. The water rose and fell seven feet four inches perpendicular; and every day the same whilst we continued there.
I. 1793 Macarney ghé Côn Đảo tìm mua lương thực
Theo nhật ký hàng hải này thì ông đếm được trên đảo có chừng 40 nóc nhà dân Đàng Trong và họ có vẻ như chỉ mới định cư ở đây. Việc một cộng đồng sau một trăm năm vẫn không có gì phát triển đáng kể nói rõ tính chất của cộng đồng người Việt ở tại đảo này. Rõ ràng đây là nhóm người ra đảo khai thác các sản vật còn giàu có ở đảo, là nhựa cây dầu cũng như mỡ rùa biển, như các tài liệu mô tả của các nhà thám hiểm ghé và nhận xét. Họ có thể ra đó từng đợt, xong khi có đủ sản vật lại về đất liền bán, rồi lại trở ra. Họ cũng có chính quyền, với người đại diện cho hệ thống cai trị cua nhà vua tại đây, như nhận định của đoàn thám hiểm như sau:
Đây là đoạn mô tả về Côn đảo:
Thursday, May 16 [,1793]. We saw Pulo Condore this morning, and about noon came to an anchor in five-fathom water, in a large spacious bay on the south-east side of the island, about four miles distance from the which is situated village, on a fine sandy beach, shaded by a long range of cocoanut-trees, and defended from the north-west sea by a coral reef.
[232 A DESERTED VILLAGE]
The village consisted of about forty houses, inhabited by people from Cochin China, who appear as if but recently settled there.
They had three or four boats drawn up upon the beach, and there was one lying at a grapnel.
They look very meagre and poor, but were tolerably neat and orderly in their houses, and seemed to have a sort of Government established among them, as there was a Chief or Mandarin dressed in a dark-coloured silk habit, who gave directions and spoke with an air of authority. Our Chinese came on shore with the other gentlemen, but could neither understand the speech of the inhabitants, nor make themselves understood by them. However, Mr. Nyang, one of our Chinese, wrote down his meaning, seeing uponwhich one of the people took his pencil and wrote the answer. Thus an intelligible correspondence was opened, and carried on till at last a woman appeared who spoke
As we had seen on the island horses, buffaloes, fowls, ducks, limes, cocoanuts, areca, silkworms, cotton, rice, tobacco, timber, trees, water guglets, fish, goats, etc. and eggs, we expected a supply of such of these articles as we wanted, and we told the people so. They promised to have for us the next ; but of everything ready morning judgeour people's surprise, when they went on shore, instead of what observed nofinding they expected, they appearance of a human creature.
All was silent and solitary.
The people had deserted their houses, and fled in consternation to the hills in the interior of the had left, country.
They however, in an exposed place a writing in the Chinese character, which was translated into Latin by Mr.Nyang, and was to the effect that the people of the island were few in number and very poor, and that they felt much apprehension and terror at the arrival of such great ships. They
resolved to fly for their lives, leaving all they had behind them, and they supplicated the great people to have pity on them and not burn their cabins, and they concluded by prostrating themselves to the great people a hundred times.
Though they had fled from their houses, they had carried nothing off with them but their arms, which consisted of a few spears and muskets and a brass swivel gun. Their houses remained with all their furniture, goods, etc. Our people continued some hours on shore, and, following the
paths, walked into the country, where they observed at a distance several of the inhabitants, to whom they made signs, but none could be prevailed on to come near. In the village they had observed before there was a sort of
[233 AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT]
temple with an idol, and a tablet with an inscription upon it desiring the prayers of the passengers for the soul of some deceased person. There was a jar in one of the houses containing some very good fish, but they observed no running water. There were several good wells twelve feet deep.
There was no vestige to be found of the English fort said to have been formerly erected there.
There were large buffaloes, and several small pretty horses, probably for the purposes of agriculture, for they could scarcely be for any other use in so small an island, not ten miles long and three miles wide. A great many dogs and four or five cats in every house, from whence we conclude the to be infested with rats and such vermin. No place other creatures were to be observed on shore, except a very beautiful venomous snake four feet long.
After waiting several hours, and none of the inhabitants venturing to come down, our gentlemen departed, leaving a letter in Chinese in answer to theirs, explaining to them our reason for touching at the island, telling them who we were and them to confide in our (English), encouraging country men, if any such should call there again.
We left everything untouched and just as we found it, not taking away an atom of the most trifling nature, though there were many very tempting articles such as limes, eggs,
We suppose that some ship (an American was one of the conjectures) had touched there, and behaved ill to the people which rendered the natives and suspicious fearful.
They appeared at first to be gentle and civilized.
As the Americans resemble us so much, and often hoist English colours in foreign parts, that was the reason why our gentlemen imagined they had been here.
Our first ambassador to China, 1908
INDIA DIRECTORY OR
DIRECTIONS FOR SAILING
TO AND FROM THE
EAST INDIES, CHINA, AUSTRALIA, CAPE'OF GOOD HOPE, BRAZIL,
AND THE INTERJACENT PORTS :
COMPILED CHIEFLY FROM
ORIGINAL JOURNALS OF THE COMPANY’S SHIPS,
Observations and remarks,
MADE DURING TWENTY-ONE YEARS EXPERIENCE NAVIGATING IN THOSE SEAS,
BY JAMES HORSBURGH, F.R.S. R.A.S. R.G.S.
London: W. H. ALLEN AND CO., 1936. 4th edition
VÀ NHIỀU TÀI LIỆU CŨ NGHIÊN CỨU VỀ ĐỘNG, THỰC VẬT CÔN ĐẢO:
1. Robinson. Some birds from Pulo Condore
2. A NEW RACE OF NUTME G-PIGEON FROM PULO CONDOR E·
3. Moulton. ON BUTTERFLIES FROM PULO CONDORE.
4. Kloss. MAMMALS FROM PULO CONDORE, WITH DESCRIPTIONS OF TWO
5. Robinson. A SECOND COLLECTION OF BIR DS FROM PULO CONDORE
6. Kloss. THE PULO CONDORE GROUP AND ITS JY!AMMALS.
7. Kloss. A NEW GIANT SQUIRREL FROM PULO CONDORE
Các bài này đăng trên Tạp chí Hội Khoa học Tự nhiên hồi đầu thế kỷ 20.
Đây là một số tài liệu sưu tầm nhân dịp tôi lên lịch cho chuyến đi Côn Đảo, dự kiến trung tuần tháng 4 năm 2016. Tiếc là sau khi tìm hiểu về vé tàu, vé máy bay để đi như một khách tự do (không đi theo đoàn), không chỗ nào còn vé! Tôi đành gát lại chuyện đi Côn Đảo đầy tính lịch sử trước khi nó trở thành nhà tù dưới chế độ của Pháp và miền Nam.
Chắc chuyến đi tới của tôi lên đảo này trọng tâm sẽ không phải là những chuyến chạy vội vã đến thăm các điểm giới thiệu nhiều hiện nay, vì Côn Đảo bản thân nó dầy hơn những điều ta có thể thấy được, tức những gì đang tồn tại. Sẽ không có phế tích đồn Anh, đồn Pháp nào về các chuyện tôi trích dẫn còn tồn tại, dù nơi này từng là điểm họ đóng quân. Bạn có thể có tiền vào Six Sense Côn Đảo, nghỉ dưỡng ở một nơi được ca ngợi là tách biệt hẳn với thế giới với cảnh sắc tuyệt trần, nhưng Côn Đảo, rồi trở về với thế giới của mình mà chẳng cần quan tâm gì cả. Được, hẳn nhiên rồi…
Nhưng, Côn Đảo, cũng như nhiều nơi trên đất nước Việt Nam, là điểm của những biến cố, là nơi chứng kiến nhiều đoàn thám hiểm mang tính lịch sử của loài người đã từng ghé qua, là mốc tiêu quan trọng trong hàng hải Á Đông ngay từ thời kỳ nó mới phát triển. Đến đây với khái niệm này trong đầu, thì nhà tù Côn Đảo hay Six Sense Côn Đảo chỉ là cái thoáng qua của dòng thời gian đầy nghiệt ngã...
Tại đó, tôi sẽ tắm biển và nằm ngơi nghỉ dưới bóng cây, suy nghĩ về sự tồn tại cũng như biến mất của đồn Anh, của Cunningham, người lính may mắn sống sót của đồn này, và để lại bức thư định mệnh mà tôi cố công tìm để đọc xem chuyện đã xảy ra thế nào sau cái đêm kinh hoàng bọn lính thuế giết hết người Anh ở đảo này…
Tại đó, tôi sẽ suy nghĩ về Tần Thủy Hoàng, sau thời gian giương cờ chiếm một dãy đất đai gần như vô tận, cuối cùng cũng thấy được cái ngắn ngủi của cuộc đời con người, và ý định ngông cuồng là tìm cách cãi lại sự thật này. Rút cuộc chỉ là các xác sình được bỏ lên xe ngựa kéo trở về kinh đô, mùi hôi thối gớm ghiếc được ngụy trang như là của cá ươn chứa trên đoàn xe chở xác vua đó….
Cát bụi sẽ về với cát bụi: sự thật trần trụi như thế đấy. Chấm hết!