Monday 29 Generally Calm with a burning heat, and at Night light Airs off the High Land heated as if they had passed through fire. Myself most materially felt the Effect. I was seized with a Violent Fever.
Sent Empty Water Casks on Shore & directed the Contractor Messrs. Collogon & Co., to supply us with 930 Gallons of Wind, Fresh Beef and Water to be sent off in Shore Boats. Confined George Hog Ab for insolence & mutinous expressions.
Tuesday 30 Ditto Weather. Employed in the Hold, & receiving on Board Wate. Received 130 pounds Fresh Beef. A Strong Fever on me, and a most dreadfull Head Ach. Several Men ill. I directed the utmost exertion to be used to get the Ship to Sea.
Wednesday 31 Ditto Weather. Received on Board 83 pounds Fresh Beef, Water, & 930 Gallons of Wine for Ships Use. Ships draught of Water forward 15¼ feet abaft 16 Feet..3 Inches. Only now wait for Water, our Casks being on Shore. My Fever increasing, & the necessary Duties distract me to carry them on. I therefore ordered Lieutenant Portlock out of the Assistant, & Lt. Bond into her, that the Service might go on with a greater certainty of success in case of my death.
Thursday 1 Ditto Weather. This afternoon Unmoored. Received all the Water on board, but it was 5 AM before we could get under way, when we towed to Sea, Myself laying dangerously Ill. At Noon the East part of the Road NEbE, the Town W½S 3 Leagues. Assistant in Company.
The Thermometer at Noon in the Shade during our stay here was 87° & 89¼°.
The Ships being properly moored, I went on Shore in the Evening & called on the Commandant. I gave the necessary Orders respecting the Wines and Water we were in want of to the Agent of the Contractors Messrs. Collogan & Co., and directed Fresh Beef to be supply'd us in such quantities as could be got.
The changes since my last visiting this place in 1788 were, the Contractors had lowered their Contract price of Wine from £10 per Pipe to £9..10S, a pernicious alteration to the Seamen, as it lessens the quality of the Wine more than the difference of Price should effect it; & which is ever the case, however it may be asserted the quality is the same, it is a very miserable saving to Government.
The Contract also is extended to the supply of fresh Beef and Water. The latter very injudiciously connected with the other publick business, in the hands of a Spanish Officer (a Captain Mr. Adam) which it was before; Ships were more expeditiously watered than they are at present. aIt was then 5/ per Ton, and now 4/9 pence, so that the paltry saving of three pence does away an exceeding great convenience. Beef 6 pence per pound.
From a description of this place I had believed great advantages were derived in the Summer Season to what could be found in the Winter; but if I except Fruit, we did not find it so. This is so trifling a consideration as not to be compared to the dangerous tendency of a burning heat which the situation is subject to from the range of Mountainous Craggy Hills adjoining it. To this circumstance, with perhaps some over exertions, it was but a vew Hours before I was attacked with a severe Fever, of a very putrid tendency. It was extremely doubtfull how long I might survive, and therefore while I had power to think, I sent for Lieutenant Portlock to remain on board here, that I might give every necessary information and advice to render the Voyage successfull, and Lieutenant Bond I sent to command the Assistant.
Several Men began to feel bad effects from the reflected heat of the Weather. The Night Air came scorching from the Hills heated as if it had passed through fire. Constant Calms contributed not a little to encrease disease. The People of the Town spoke of the Heat as remarkable and uncommon, for they seldom experienced it at so great a degree. Those who had it in their power removed to Airy Situations.
As I was informed, the Thermometer on board the Ship in the Shade did not exceed 89 Degrees it was however the most insupportable heat I ever experienced.
The Fruit in season were Grapes, Oranges, Pears, Apples, Peaches, Nectarines, Bannanas, Water Melons, and Lemons. The latter proved of great service to me made into Saline Draughts. Pumpkins, Potatoes, Onions, & Capsicoms, were to be had in great perfection.
The best Wine was Sold at 15£ per pipe of 120 gallons. Barley @ 3/r per Bushel, and Indian Corn at 5 Shillings.
Every exertion was used to get the Ship to Sea, which however was not accomplished so soon as wished, owing to a delay or incapacity in the Contractor not sending the Water on board. With him I left my publick and private Letters, which like a few Astonomical Observations I nearly completed before I became incapable of Writing.