Wednesday, 24th. Employ’d clearing the Ship, having a Store House to put our Stores, etc., in. In the P.M. I went up to Town in order to put on board the first Dutch Ship that Sails, a pacquet for the Admiralty containing a Copy of my Journal, a Chart of the South Sea, another of New Zeeland, and one of the East Coast of New Holland. In the morning the General, accompanied by the Water Fiscall, some of the Council, and the Commodore, each in their respective Boats, went out into the Road on board the oldest Captain, in order to appoint him Commodore of the Fleet, ready to Sail for Holland. The Ships was drawn up in 2 Lines, between which the General past to the new Commodore’s Ship, which lay the farthest out. Each ship as he passed and repassed gave him 3 Cheers, and as soon as he was on board, and the Dutch Flag Hoisted at the Main Topmast Head, the other Commodore Saluted him with 21 Guns, and immediately after Struck his Broad Pendant, which was again hoisted as soon as the General left the other Ship; he was then Saluted with 17 Guns by the new made Commodore, who now hoisted a Common Pendant. This Ceremony of appointing a Commodore over the Grand Fleet, as they call it, we were told is Yearly perform’d. I went out in my Boat on purpose to see it, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, because we were told it was one of the Grandest sights Batavia afforded; that may be too, and yet it did not recompense us for our trouble. I thought that the whole was but ill conducted, and the Fleet appear’d to be very badly mann’d. This fleet consists of 10 or 12 stout Ships; not only these, but all or most of their other Ships are pierced for 50 Guns, but have only their upper Tier mounted, and these are more by half than they have men to fight.
October 24, 2013
Wednesday, 24th October, 1770