Piracy off Pontianak in the early nineteenth century--and not by the usual villains; with an appendix on Captain Hercules Ross, country trader and native of Jamaica.
In a series of articles in Borneo Research Bulletin (BRB) I have covered aspects of trade in the early nineteenth century between Borneo and other Asian countries, i.e. so-called "country trade" (Smith 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009). I have emphasized the various hardships that were experienced by the mariners and described some of their voyages and experiences from contemporary records. In this context I covered in some detail voyages by Captain Daniel Smith, who was based in Penang, over a period of seven years before his death at Malacca in 1815 (Smith
2008). (1) There was a short hiatus in my account, between Smith's departure from Penang late in November 1808 as commander of the Margaret and his (probable) return in April 1809 as a passenger on the Clyde. (2) I have now discovered that the cause of this hiatus was piracy by some of the Margaret's crew off Pontianak. This is recounted in an affidavit ("protest") by Smith in Malacca, as recorded in one of the manuscript "Prothocol Books" (cited here as PB) that included many legal issues that were part of the Dutch legal system in Malacca. They were continued after the British first took over in 1795 and contain a huge amount of information, such as purchase and ownership of slaves. (3) The records include affidavits by commanders who had experienced maritime mishaps that include damage to cargo or loss of vessels, and sought to establish that they were not responsible; this was probably for purposes of insurance.
The records are nearly all in Dutch, with the affidavits that I consider here in English. For example, a quite long account of the loss by shipwreck of the Triton north of Malacca in August 1808 (PB R/9/22/35:277) mentions that one of the vessels that arrived in an unsuccessful bid to save cargo was the Margaret of Penang, commanded by Daniel Smith. This was some months before the Margaret was pirated, as described in Smith's later affidavit (PB R/9/22/136:340). In addition to the latter there is an affidavit soon afterwards by Captain Hercules Ross, another country trader and then based in Malacca (PB R/9/22/36:356). The cause was again piracy off Pontianak, and again not by local inhabitants. The present article describes these events and is intended to be the last in the series focusing on country trade involving Borneo in the early 19th century. As previously, it extends beyond Borneo, and much further than originally expected. Some of the other mariners who I have discussed earlier in BRB reappear here, thus closing some gaps. Research on Hercules Ross reveals that he was a particularly interesting character and I have given in an Appendix some details of his life and family. Another significant character who briefly appears is Alexander Hare--he later achieved fame and notoriety because of his short-lived fiefdom in South Borneo, and his even later dispute with John Clunies Ross when they both settled on the Cocos-Keeling Islands. Hare deserves separate treatment that I hope to provide in the future.
Daniel Smith's protest and the aftermath
Dated 21 March 1809, the affidavit was signed by Daniel Smith, who described himself as late commander of the ship Margaret of Prince of Wales Island. He recorded that he had sailed from Penang on 21 November 1808 and arrived four or five days later at Malacca, where he sold some his cargo, with the proceeds remitted by Alexander Hare (who was by then based in Malacca) to Carnegy and Co. in Penang. Smith proceeded on a standard course to Riau, Lingga, and the Kapuas estuary (Pontianak roads), where the ship arrived on 9 December. Smith went up the river to the town to conduct his business and on 24 December sent the longboat to the ship with a cargo of water. On 26 December lascars arrived in Pontianak with several Chinese fishermen. They reported that the ship had departed and that Java men in the longboat had killed the ship's gunner (possibly a European) and fled ashore. Smith remained in Pontianak until the end of February 1809, collected some debts on the account of the underwriters (not named) to be delivered to Camegy, and left on the Clyde, commanded by Captain Samuel Stewart. (4) This vessel arrived in Malacca on 20 March. Smith declared that he was not responsible for the loss of the Margaret. This affidavit explains a report in PG (6/224, 6 June 1810) that I could not previously understand. This report announced the arrival of a vessel under cartel from Batavia, with passengers who included Mr. Francis, formerly of the Margaret of Penang, which was cut off at Pontianak by the crew, who went to Java. It is now fairly clear that Mr. Francis was one of Daniel Smith's officers who had suffered lengthy internment in Java. Smith's later career shows that he was indeed not held responsible, though he suffered the various hardships that included capture late in 1809 of his next ship, the Mary, by a French privateer, and his internment in Java for about 6 months. Smith provided a short affidavit after his arrival in Malacca in July 1810 (PB R/9/22/37:516 & 517), but it contains nothing of significance that I have not previously found elsewhere (Smith 2008).
Hercules Ross's protest and the aftermath
Dated 13 May 1809, the affidavit was recorded as being by Captain Hercules Ross of the Grab Malacca. (5) This vessel was owned by Alexander Hare (Raffles 1830, Vol. 1: 44). Ross stated that he arrived off Pontianak on Sunday 23 April, left the vessel at midnight, and went to the town in the longboat. He sent his gunner back with water, and the latter returned two days later with iron, part of the cargo. The gunner repeated his trip soon afterwards, returning with opium. On the Friday he sent the gunner back again in a small boat to tell the officers on the ship to get all ready to sail. The next day he received cash from the Sultan. He agreed with the Sultan to go to Bangka to buy tin with the proceeds of cargo that he had sold. However, his gunner arrived back in Pontianak to say that the Malacca was no longer anchored in the roads, so Ross took his property from the longboat and gave it to the Sultan to look after. He departed in his longboat in company with one of the Sultan's boats to look for the Malacca, and went north to Cape Datu and back to Pontianak. He then purchased a larger boat from the Sultan and paid 16 Bugis to go with him to search again for the Malacca. They took arms and three small cannon. They went to Lingga, where they were told that the Malacca had been seen off the east coast of the island, and then to Malacca, where the vessel was found. Ross said that "the crew" had run away with the Malacca with the intention of proceeding to Java. His protest referred to loss of property and his own losses.
In this case there was a sequel in that two of the Malacca's crew, Herbert Styles and Christian Kleyn were tried in Calcutta in December 1809 for piracy by the seizure of the vessel in Pontianak roads. The trial was reported in the Calcutta press and was picked up under the headline "Piracy" in The Times of Charleston, USA, on 26 September 1810. (6) Styles was said to be British and Kleyn "a Batavo-Malay Christian." They had been left in charge when Ross and the gunner went ashore, and they ordered the carpenter to cut the cable. He refused at first but did so when threatened with death. It was too dark for those on shore to see what was happening, and Styles ordered three guns to be fired to give the impression that the vessel was being carried off by "Malays." At sea, Styles forced the crew to accept some of the vessel's cash under threat of marooning them on an uninhabited island--the aim was said to be to make them appear accomplices. Styles and Kleyn alternated command and pointed two guns from the forecastle into the waist of the brig to discourage attempts at recapture. Two Chinese crew-members stood by these with lighted matches. The brig was said to have proceeded up the Straits of Malacca. As water was running low they hailed a local prahu and when some of its crew went aboard the Malacca some of its crew told them what had happened. The commander (nakhoda) of the prahu had been to Malacca and knew Hare. Styles and Kleyn were captured without resistance and taken to Malacca, where Ross caught up with them and recovered the Malacca.
At the trial Styles and Kleyn attempted to throw back the charges on witnesses (not named but obviously crew members) and make them appear to be the principal offenders, but this argument was not accepted and both defendants were found guilty. They were sentenced to death but--according to the Times report--because of Styles's youth "and other circumstances" (not explained) this was commuted to transportation for life for both to New South Wales once a ship was available to take them. However, the calendar of trials in the Bengal Supreme Court of Judicature (December 1809) recorded that Kleyn was to be transported to the EIC settlement at Bencoolen (Benkulen), in West Sumatra. This was then a major destination for convicts from India, and as far as Kleyn was concerned seems to be an early manifestation of a "White Australia" policy. (7) Ross did not survive his adventure for long: he was murdered by local pirates at Bangka in 1810--an episode that was widely reported (see Appendix below).
In my earlier account of the last seven years in the life of Daniel Smith (Smith 2008) I listed hardships in the country trade in the East Indies as disease, warfare, shipwreck, changes in government policy regarding trade restrictions and commodity prices, dealings with unscrupulous competitors and local indigenous rulers, and piratical attack. I commented that Smith encountered all of these hardships except the last. The new information shows that in fact he did encounter piracy, although not by the usual villains, i.e. local piratical vessels. It is curious that there were two rather similar events in quick succession off Pontianak. To my knowledge, capture of vessels by their crew was unusual, as indeed was local piracy in general, given the volume of British country trade in the region at the time. The temporary takeover of the Malacca may of course have been influenced by local knowledge of the successful takeover of the Margaret, the fate of which vessel i have not traced. It is interesting that the crew of the Margaret included Javanese, Java then being under the control of the Dutch, who were at war with the British. I know of no evidence that the Dutch encouraged such capture of their enemy's trading vessels by piracy, though this cannot be ruled out. However, their own shipping in the East Indies had been greatly depleted by the British naval vessels and they would probably have welcomed the appearance of the Margaret, irrespective of the cause. As regards the Malacca, the renegades Styles and Kieyn would presumably also have been welcomed had they ended up in Java. I hope that the commander and crew of the prahu that thwarted the piracy were rewarded for their efforts.
Appendix: Captain Hercules Ross, country trader and native of Jamaica
There is very strong evidence that Ross was born in Jamaica in 1779, son of Hercules Ross and Elizabeth Foord. (8) His father was a prosperous Scottish merchant, ship-owner and land-owner. (9) His mother was Ross's mistress, described as formerly a quadroon slave and freed by Ross before their children were born. Hercules junior had two younger brothers, Daniel (born 1780) and David (born 1781) and there were three older sisters, Elizabeth, Jane and Margaret (born between about 1776 and 1778), all with Elizabeth as mother. Hercules Ross senior returned to Britain in 178:2 and took the sons and at least two daughters with him: Margaret may have died in Jamaica or in Britain soon after arrival. He bought an estate in Scotland in 1785, married and started a new family. Elizabeth was left behind, well provided for. The father sought to establish careers for the sons in India, where their mixed blood would likely be less of a problem than in Britain. This pattern was not unusual at the time. (10)
In February 1800, Hercules Ross "a native of Jamaica" presented himself to the English East India Company (EIC) Shipping Committee for appointment as Third Mate of an EIC ship trading to India or China. He must have already gained seafaring experience in some capacity, as Third Mates of regular East Indiamen had to have made at least two voyages. They also had to be 21 years old (Hardy 1811, Appendix: 113), though Ross was still 20 when he applied. However, the Committee turned down the application because they could see from his complexion that both parents were not European (Fisher 2004:203). In theory, the EIC had a policy of only accepting employees whose parents were both Europeans. It was aimed against Anglo-Indians but was extended to the West Indies--Ross's application was an important factor in this extension (see Fisher 2004:203-204). In practice the policy was not employed consistently, and both Daniel and David became officers in the EIC's Indian navy, the Bombay Marine. Daniel was appointed Volunteer (roughly equivalent at the time to the Royal Navy's Midshipman) in 1795 and David in 1800. Possibly their skin was lighter than that of Hercules junior. A photograph of a portrait of Daniel in later life (in Butterfield 1982b), though not of high quality, shows him as decidedly European--and very distinguished in appearance. (11)
In fact, the negative decision against Hercules in 1800 must have been very soon overturned, as in June 1800 the Herculean East Indiaman that sailed for India, commanded by Captain Robert Anderson, had as its Third Mate "Hercules Ross" (Hardy 1811:205). Clearly some influence had been brought to bear, probably by David Scott, a friend and neighbor of Hercules senior in Scotland, and a Director of the East India Company (Butterfield 1982b). (12) Hercules presumably left the Herculean after arriving in India because he does not appear as a ship's officer for subsequent voyages in Hardy's lists. By late 1804 he was commanding the Friendship, belonging to Abbott & Co., and based at Madras (East-India Register and Directory 1805/1: 225. (13) By 1806 Ross had moved to Penang where he commanded the Dundee, probably belonging to Camegy & Co., whose vessels had names from Scotland. There are many reports in the shipping news in PG of his voyages in the region. The first is an arrival in Penang from the east (port not given) in mid-May 1806, followed by a voyage to and from Pedir (Sumatra) between August and September, and a short voyage to Malacca in October. At the end of the year he took the Dundee to Calcutta, returning in February 1807. In May, there was another voyage from Penang to the east (return not recorded), and in July-August to Pedir. Early in February 1808 he departed for Malacca, returning to Penang in the first week of March.
There followed an incident that resulted in numerous reports, eventually even in England (e.g. Naval Chronicle Vol. 25, January-June 2011, pp. 20-23). These came from information provided by George Bruce, a former convict and seaman, who had left Sydney to settle in New Zealand, where he married Atahoe, daughter of a Maori chief. Bruce himself gave a more detailed account in the rambling memoir that he later dictated in the Greenwich Hospital, London (Bruce c.1817). He and Atahoe arrived in Malacca in the first week of March 1808 on the ship General Wellesley, commanded by the disreputable Captain David Dalrymple. They had been on board for nine months in a voyage from New Zealand via the Pacific. (14) Dalrymple treated them badly, asserting that he had as much right to her as did Bruce. Relations between Dalrymple and Bruce's wife have to be left to the imagination. On arrival at Malacca, Captain Cummings, a passenger, reported what had happened and Bruce was ordered ashore to give his account the following day. However, Dalrymple departed with the ship overnight, bound for Penang, where he "bartered away" Atahoe to "Captain Ross" (words in the published accounts, as supplied by Bruce). (15) This was clearly Hercules. An unsuccessful official demand was made from Malacca for her restoration to Bruce. This was not complied with, and Bruce followed her to Penang. After arrival he was advised to give up his quest, but he persevered and went to see Dalrymple and then Ross, who had employed the wife as a nursemaid. Ross asked Bruce by what right he regarded her as a wife. Bruce said that this was according to local custom in New Zealand, including "suffering the face God had given me to be disfigured and losing my blood," i.e. tattooing. Ross said that she was out with his wife and child and proceeded to lock her up, but the Governor stepped in to bring them together again (Bruce c. 1817:87-94). The couple was reunited after three months, after which they returned to Malacca and departed for India, hoping to be able to return to New Zealand. (16)
Still according to Bruce, Ross was barred from living in Penang, but it is not clear when this ban was put into effect. Some time in the middle of 1808 Ross transferred to the command of the Matilda for a voyage to Rangoon, returning in mid-August, as recorded in PG 3/129. (17) By then Dalrymple had departed again for the Pacific where he later died, as a result of which there were prolonged legal wrangles back in Penang about his ship and its cargo (see Smith 2004). The Dundee also departed for the Pacific but this time was commanded by Captain Cummings. The ship was wrecked near Sydney in December though most of the crew survived. News of this event arrived in Penang early in January 1809 (PG 3/151).
I have not traced Ross's activities later in 1808, but by early 1809 he commanded Alexander Hate's Malacca brig, and presumably lived in Malacca, as indicated by the piracy episode off Pontianak described above. (18) In August-September and December 1809 he took the Malacca to Pedir in Sumatra for cargoes of betel-nut (PG 4/184, 4/199). The next reports in PG between 9 June and 21 July 2010 (PG 6/224, 6/227, 6/230) refer to his death and the capture of the Malacca off Bangka by local pirates. The cargo was said to have been taken via Surabaya to Banjarmasin. (19) Some of the pirates took refuge at Sambas and early in 1811 Stamford Raffles, who certainly knew Alexander Hare and must have known Hercules Ross, asked the Sultan of Sambas to deliver them to him. (20) This unsuccessful request was sent via Joseph Burn, who lived at Pontianak and was himself a victim of Dalrymple's misdeeds (Smith 2004). Burn provided additional information to Stamford Raffles, including his belief that some of the cargo (tin) was at Sambas. Raffles passed on this information, along with details of other piratical attacks in the region in a long report to Lord Minto, Governor-General of India when the latter arrived at Malacca in May 1811 in the lead-up to the invasion of Java (Raffles 1830, Vol 1:40-58; see Smith 2004, 2007).
According to John Hunt, later Stamford Raffles's emissary to Pontianak, Mrs. Ross and her son had accompanied Hercules Ross in the Malacca, and they were enslaved by the pirates (Hunt 1820:46). (21) I have not seen this fate reported elsewhere. Very soon after the Malacca was pirated there was an attack at the same place on another country ship, the Penang-based Thainstone, commanded by James Tait, as reported in PG 6/226 (23 Jun 1810; see also Smith 2008, Appendix: Captain Tait). Some of the information about the fate of the Malacca given in PG 6/227 and 6/230 clearly came from the Thainstone and it is possible that Tait provided an affidavit at Malacca that gave more details about the loss of the Malacca. It is frustrating that the Prothocol Book entries for January until early June 1810 are missing from the set in the British Library (or at least from the microfilms). Dated 3 July 1810, there is an inventory of Ross's possessions in Malacca, including at the very end two slaves: Alima and Soelinda, and signed by Alexander Hare, (PB R/9/22/37:511). Ross also apparently left property in Penang: there was an announcement in PG 5/227, 26 January 1811, that Brown & Stuart, merchants, were administering his estate.
If Hunt was correct about Mrs. Ross and her son being enslaved, the relevance of the report of the birth of a daughter to a "Captain Ross" in 1809, (footnote 16, above) is questionable, unless the daughter had died or been left behind in Malacca. Assuming that Hunt was correct, it appears that Mrs. Ross was of little interest to the local EIC authorities, and was almost certainly non-European and possibly not even of mixed race (Smith 2007). Whether she was legally Ross's wife is of course uncertain. However, it has to be borne in mind that Hunt was not always reliable about piratical attacks in his report to Raffles, which was written late in 1812 or in 1813 (Smith 2007). Although his text is ambiguous, Hunt apparently believed that Pangeran Anom of Sambas was responsible for the capture of the Malacca, and that Mrs. Ross and child were taken to Sambas. David Macdonald did not mention Ross or the Malacca incident in his memoir (1840) that covered the two EIC attacks on Sambas, though he did mention piracy that involved Pangeran Anom, including capture of a brig owned by Alexander Hare. This was not the Malacca, as the Pangeran told Macdonald that the captain (called Scott) survived. Macdonald had a low opinion "of the class of Europeans employed by some of the inferior merchants employed in trade" (Macdonald 1840:203).
Hercules Ross's father, Hercules, died in Scotland at the end of 1816 and his mother, Elizabeth, in Jamaica in 1817. She must have had some contact with her sons, or knowledge of their lives after leaving Jamaica as, according to her will, she believed that her sons were in the East Indies, and she left part of her large estate to them. David's later life--apparently in India--after he left the Bombay Marine is not known, according to all the sources that I have consulted. According to Butterfield (1982a; cited by Livesay 2010:265) he became Muslim or entered native state service (or both?). In contrast Daniel had a very distinguished career, specializing as a maritime surveyor. On furlough in Britain in 1801-2 he visited his father in Scotland but considered himself to have been insulted and left in anger, though according to a Scottish cousin he was "a fine-looking young man with pleasant manners." In 1809 he was captured by the French and interned for a time on Java. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 1822 and died in India in 1849 (Livesay 2010:265-6, citing Butterfield 1982a; Butterfield 1982b). Daniel never visited Borneo as far as I am aware, though some of his surveys went close, including waters around the Natuna Islands, Bangka, and Belitung. Nevertheless, it is good to know that, unlike his brothers, this illegitimate native Jamaican of mixed race had a long and distinguished career in the East. This is a suitable point on which to end without further non-Bornean digressions.
I thank again George Miller for telling me about the microfilms of the Prothocol Books, held in the Menzies Library of the Australian National University, Canberra. Emma Davidson of the Royal Society's Centre for History of Science kindly sent me a scanned copy of Butterfield (1982b), and pointed me to the certificate of election of Daniel Ross (1822) that is available online. "Google" was invaluable in revealing non-Bornean material, and led to an exchange of emails with Dan Livesay and Anne Powers about the Ross family, particularly their Jamaica phase.
Bengal Supreme Court of Judicature 1809 Calendar of Trials (manuscript).
Bruce, George (also known as Joseph Druce) c. 1817 The Life of a Greenwich Pensioner, compiled by Thomas Whitley, pre 1898 (manuscript) (Accessed from: Manuscripts, Oral Histories and Pictures, State Library of New South Wales, http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au).
Butterfield, Agnes 1982a Hercules Ross of Kingston, Jamaica, and Rossie, Forfar 1745-1816. (unpublished typescript; not seen by the present author).
1982b Captain Daniel Ross, F.R.S. of the Bombay Marine, later Indian Navy, 1780-1849: a Sketch of his Career (typescript). London: Library of the Royal Society.
Colonial Secretary's Papers, 1788-1825. Herbert Styles, Per "Eagle", 1811, and Styles, Prisoner at Newcastle. Sydney: State Records, New South Wales.
Dalrymple, William 2002 White Mughals. London: HarperCollins Publishers.
Dening, Greg, ed. 1974 The Marquesan Journal of Edward Robarts 1797-1824. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
East-India Register and Directory, John Mathison and Alexander Way Mason, eds. London: Cox, Son & Baylis for East India House.
Families in British India Society (FIBIS), http://www.new.fibis.org.
Fisher, Michael H. 2004 Counterflows to Colonialism. Indian Travellers and Settlers in Britain, 1600-1857. Delhi: Permanent Black, and Ranikhet: 'Himalayana.'
Hardy, Charles 1811 A Register of Ships Employed in the Service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the Year 1760 to 1810 ... (Revised H.C. Hardy). London: Black, Parry and Kingsbury.
Hunt, John 1820 Sketch of Borneo or Pulo Kalamantan, by J. Hunt, Communicated by J. Hunt Esq. in 1812 to the Honorable Sir T.S. Raffles, Late Lieut. Governor of Java. Malayan Miscellanies, 1/7:1-67.
Hussin, Nordin 2007 Trade and Society in the Straits of Melaka: Dutch Melaka and English Penang, 1780-1830. Copenhagen: NIAS Press and Singapore: NUS Press.
Livesay, Daniel Alan 2010 Children of Uncertain Future: Mixed-Race Migration from the West Indies to Britain, 1750-1820. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Michigan (Accessed from http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu).
Macdonald, Capt. D. 1840 Captain Macdonald's Narrative of his Early Life and Services, Embracing an Unbroken Period of Twenty-two Years. Extracted from his Journals and Other Official Documents, Third edition. Cheltenham: Thomas Willey (Copy with the author's handwritten notes in the Bodleian Library, Oxford).
Miller, W.G. 2011 English Country Traders and Their Relations with Malay Rulers in the Late Eighteenth Century. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 84/1:23-45.
Naval Chronicle, London 1811 Reprinted Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (From Google Books).
Parsons, Vivienne 1966 Bruce, George (1778-1819). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University (http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bruce-george-1839/text2123).
Powers, Anne 2011 Elizabeth Foord. In: A Parcel of Ribbons--Eighteenth Century Jamaica viewed through Family Stories and Documents. (http://aparcelofribbons.co.uk.)
Prince of Wales Island Gazette, Penang (microfilm).
Prothocol Books (manuscript). Dutch Records from Malacca, R/9/22/35-37. London: British Library (microfilm).
Raffles, Lady S. 1830 Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, F.R.S., etc. 2 Volumes. London: Murray.
Smith, F. Andrew 2002 Missionaries, Mariners, and Merchants: Overlooked British Travelers to West Borneo in the Early Nineteenth Century. Borneo Research Bulletin 33:45-61.
2004 Captain Burn and Associates: British Intelligence-Gathering, Trade, and Litigation in Borneo and Beyond. Borneo Research Bulletin 35:48-69.
2007 An "Arch-Villain" to be Rehabilitated? Mixed Perceptions of Pangeran Anom of Sambas in the Early Nineteenth Century; with an Appendix on John Hunt. Borneo Research Bulletin 38:101-117.
2008 Daniel Smith's Last Years: Hardships in Country Trade in the East Indies in the Early Nineteenth Century. Borneo Research Bulletin 39:71-90.
2009 Piracy Against the Sambas "pirates"? The Case of Captain Burnside. Borneo Research Bulletin 40:67-80.
Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, Sydney. (Accessed from: Digital Newspapers and More, National Library of Australia, Canberra: http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspapers).
The Times, Charleston. (Accessed from: Google News Archives: http://news.google.com/newspapers).
F. Andrew Smith
Waite Campus, University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
(1) As previously, I use European names for major trading settlements.
(2) I called the return "probable" because he was named only as "Captain Smyth" in the shipping news in the Prince of Wales Island Gazette. This semi-official weekly publication first appeared in February 1806. The earliest surviving issue appears to be that of 5 April. The name was originally "Government Gazette," then "Prince of Wales Island Government Gazette," before settling to "Prince of Wales Island Gazette" in October 1807; I call it PG hereafter. To avoid lengthy citations, I do not always give issue numbers and dates, though I have recorded them.
(3) I am grateful to George Miller, who pointed out to me the existence of the Prothocol Books. He is using these records in his own research into the country trade in the region (Miller 2011).
(4) See Smith (2008), Appendix: Captain Stewart.
(5) A "Grab" was a brig with non-standard prow. Elsewhere the Malacca is simply called a brig.
(6) The Prince of Wales Island Gazette 4/204, 27 January 1810, gives a summary, derived from the Asiatic Mirror of 11 December 1809. This does not include the verdict. The Times report says incorrectly that the piracy occurred in the Straits of Malacca--there was presumably uncertainty about the location of Pontianak. The Prince of Wales Island Gazette uses "Kleyn," while the Times uses "Klein."
(7) Styles makes several appearances in Australian records, including reports to the Colonial Secretary in Sydney (CS hereafter). On arrival in February 1811 he was sent to the penal settlement at Newcastle (CS 18 Feb 1811), and later in the year it was rumored that he was planning to steal a vessel and escape (CS 10 Oct 1811). He was apparently returned to Sydney for a time, as in April 1813 he was in a list of convicts to be sent to Newcastle (CS 23 Apr 1813). Later in the year he ran away, but gave himself up after being severely beaten by "natives" (CS 2 Oct 1813). On the night of 7 April 1814 he and three other convicts escaped from Newcastle in the small schooner Speedwell (CS 14 Apr 1814: also Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 12/539, 23 April 1814: SG hereafter). Its late remains uncertain as there appear to be no records in primary sources or SG, though historical accounts say that it was wrecked soon afterwards and that all on board perished (e.g. Berry 1994, Vol. 1:16-17). However, Styles was included as an absconded pirate until early 1818 in lists published regularly in SG.
(8) The following section dealing with the life of Hercules Ross before he arrived in India is taken from two recent sources: a Ph.D. thesis (Livesay 2010), and the "Parcel of Ribbons" website about family history of Europeans in Jamaica in the 18th century, set up by Anne Powers in 2011. Both of these include material from an unpublished manuscript by Agnes Butterfield (1982a) that I have not seen. Some of the information is also in a short manuscript in the library of the Royal Society of London that focuses on Hercules's brother Daniel (Butterfield 1982b). Powers (2011) also contains records of births and baptisms from archives in Jamaica and many notes. To avoid repeated citations in the text that follows I only give references when necessary for clarity.
(9) Hercules senior was born about 1745 and moved to Jamaica in about 1760, first to work as a naval clerk. Horatio Nelson was nursed back to health on Ross's estate. They remained friends and corresponded for many years.
(10) Mixed-race families with West Indian origins are the major theme of Livesay's thesis (2010). In the 18th and early 19th centuries many employees of the English East India Company (EIC) also lived openly with Indian women--sometimes marrying them--and some returned to Britain with their families. Not surprisingly, there was much concern as to possible discrimination against the Anglo-Indian children. See, for example, the outstanding book "White Mughals" by William Dalrymple (2002).
(11) According to Butterfield (1982a), as cited by Livesay (2010), Hercules Ross senior made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain an appointment for Hercules junior in the EIC's "navy" (apparently unspecified); it was turned down for the reason given above. This may have been an earlier attempt to get him into the Bombay Marine. However, it is possible that this was a reference to the application in 1800.
(12) In 1795 Anderson had been commander of the East Indiaman on which Daniel (still aged 14) had intended to sail for India, but was delayed because of the failure of his baggage to arrive in Portsmouth (Butterfield 1982b).
(13) The same issue has Daniel Ross listed as a Second Lieutenant in the Bombay Marine, promoted in 1802 (p. 278), and David Ross still a Volunteer (p. 279). Also, in its list of non-EIC Europeans living at Calcutta, there are "David Ross, mariner" and "H. Ross, Calcutta" (p. 129). As entries were often well out of date, "H. Ross" may be Hercules. The implication is that this "David Ross" was not in the Bombay Marine.
(14) Bruce had helped Dalrymple in an unsuccessful search for gold. Instead of taking his helpers back to their original boarding place, Dalrymple set off on his extended return voyage. For the saga of the voyages of the General Wellesley under Dalrymple's command, though not including this incident, see Smith (2004).
(15) There is another account of the voyage in the journal written by Edward Robarts, a passenger and ex-mariner who had previously lived in the Marquesas (Dening 1974). He traveled on the ship with his Marquesan wife and daughter via New Zealand as far as Penang. The journal is critical of Bruce (less so of Dalrymple) and differs from Bruce's account in some elements. For example, Robarts said that at Malacca he went ashore with Dalrymple, Bruce, his "consort" and a Tahitian girl and they went to a tavern. Bruce then left with a "decent looking" Malacca resident who took Bruce to his house, where Bruce exchanged his Maori attire for European clothes. Bruce returned and said that he intended to stay in Malacca, and left. The others stayed ashore, and returned to the ship without Bruce. Dalrymple asked where Bruce was and Robarts said he was absent. "No more was said." (Dening 1974:198). Possibly Bruce had decided to abandon his wife (when under the influence of alcohol?) but changed his mind. Robarts did not mention Captain Cummings or the subsequent events in Penang. There seems no reason to doubt Bruce's account of them, given the detail.
(16) They only got as far as Sydney, where Bruce's wife died in 1809, aged only 18; she was buried as "Mary Bruce" (Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 8/322, 3 March 1810). He ended up an impoverished pensioner in the Greenwich Hospital in England. As he was a very early European settler in New Zealand, he is mentioned in a wide range of literature, e.g. Parsons (1966). With respect to the status of Bruce's wife in Penang, it may be relevant that slave trade and ownership still existed there, despite official EIC disapproval (Nordin Hussin 2007:188-189).
(17) Unfortunately, issues of the Prince of Wales Island Gazette between 27 March and 31 May are missing from available sets.
(18) There is an entry on the Families in British India Society (FIBIS) website, taken from the East-India Register and Directory 1811/1, announcing the birth on 18 February 1809 of a daughter to "the lady of Captain Ross, country service"--this may refer to Hercules. The birthplace is not given in the entry, and the 1811/1 issue is not available online.
(19) Coincidentally PG 6/230 reported the return from Batavia of Mr. Francis, late of the Margaret, while PG 6/230 reported the arrival of Daniel Smith alter his own detention in Java (Smith 2008).
(20) After arriving in Penang in October 1805 Raffles paid two visits to Malacca (in 1807 and 1808), and left Penang early in June 1810 for Calcutta. Unfortunately his departure was just before the piracy against the Malacca became known in Penang. Raffles returned to Penang late in November 1810 and soon moved on to Malacca.
(21) Hunt was a "halt-caste gentleman" (presumably Anglo-Indian), according to Bombay Marine's Captain David Macdonald in the copy of his Narrative in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Macdonald 1840:283). Macdonald had accompanied him in a mission later sent by Raffles to Sulu (see Smith 2007). Clearly, mixed-race did not inhibit Hunt from a successful career.
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|Title Annotation:||RESEARCH NOTES|
|Author:||Smith, F. Andrew|
|Publication:||Borneo Research Bulletin|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2012|
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