Some account of Savu and some account of the Isles near Savu
20. In the morning early the Captn went ashore himself to purchase Buffeloes. He was shewn two, one of which they valued at five guineas the other a musquet; he offerd 3 guineas for the one and sent for a musquet to give for the other. The money was flatly refus'd and before the Musquet could be brought off Dr Solander, who had been up at the town in order to speak to Mr Lange, returnd followd by 86 Spearmen and 20 musqueteers sent by the King to tell us that this day and no more would be allowd us to trade, after which we must be gone. This was the message that Dr Solander had from the Radja by Mr Lange's interpretation, but a Portugese Indian who came from Timor, probably Next in command to Mr Lange, carried it much farther, telling us that we might stay ashore till night if we pleasd but none of the natives would any more be allowd to trade with us; after which he began to drive away those who had brought hens, syrup &c . To remedy this an old sword which lay in the Boat was given to the Prime minister as I have calld him, Mannudjame, who in an instant restord order and severely chid the officer of the guard, an old Portugese Indian, for haveing gone beyond their orders. Trade now was a brisk as ever, fowls and syrup were bought cheap and in vast plenty, but now we will see what treatment Dr Solander met with in the Town.
In the morn when he arriv'd there it was a long time before he could find the Radja; at last however he did and receivd many civilities from him. Mr Lange was however not to be found so no conversation could pass for want of an interpreter. After some time a number of men came and taking their arms rangd themselves in the yard; the Radja then appeard cross but shewd nothing but civility to the Dr.
One of our servants who was trading now came into the yard, having a garter tied over his shoulder for which he askd a cock: the Radja went to him and askd him for it: he, ignorant of his quality, refusd unless he had a Cock on which he was orderd to be turnd out of the yard, as were all our people but the Dr who still was in the assembly house totaly ignorant of what was going on. The Radja however now told him that Mr Lange was at such a house, a hint to be gone but which was not taken as such, for the Dr wanted nothing so much as to see Mr Lange and consequently went directly to him. Mr Lange returnd to the Radjas with him and told him that the People were almost in rebellion on account of the Radjas permitting us to trade with goods instead of money, and that this day was positively the last on which we could be allowd to do so, that he was much offended also at the servant who had refus'd the garter. These storys were too ridiculous to be taken much notice of therefore he still stayd in hopes of learning something more. The guards were orderd to exercise which they did clumsily enough with their spears: the Dr pleasd with the sight desird he might see the excersise of their Sabres also. You had better not desire it, said the duch man, the People are very much enrag'd. Now the Dr found Mr Lange's intention which was to frighten him and us: it however had no part of the design'd effect, we were too well convinc'd that both King and people desird nothing so much as to trade with us to regard these political menaces.
The Dr However set out for the Beach in order to tell us who were there the state of the Case and with him came this formidable troop who behavd as before mentiond. The state of the case appeard now Plain: Mr Lange was to have a share of what the Buffeloes were sold for and that share was to be paid in money; the Captn therefore, tho sore against his will, resolvd to pay 5 guineas apeice for one or 2 Buffeloes and try to buy the rest for musquets. Accordingly no sooner had he hinted his mind to the Portugese Indian than a Buffeloe was brought down but a very small one, and five guineas given for it; 2 more larger followd immediately for one of which a musquet and for the other 5 guineas was given. There was now no more occasion for money, 2 large herds of Buffeloes were brought down and we pickd them just as we chose for a musquet apeice. We bought nine, as many we thought as would last us to Batavia, especialy as we had little or no victuals, but so ill were we provided with cords that 3 of the nine broke from us; 2 of these the Indians recoverd but the third got quite off tho our people assisted by the Indians followd him 3 hours.
In the Evening Mr Lange came down to the Beach softned by the money which no doubt he had receivd: he who was in the morn as sour as verjuice was now all sweetness and softness. The Dr who spoke German but little was loth to mention to him any of the transactions of the morning, he however took frequent occasions of letting us know that if we pleasd we might come ashore the next day. Our business was However quite done, so to fullfill a promise we had made he was presented with a small cagg of Beer and we took our leave as good freinds as possible.
The refreshments we got consisted of 8 Buffeloes, 30 Dzn of fowls, 6 sheep, 3 hogs, some few but very few limes and cocoa nuts, a little garlick, a good many eggs above half of which were rotten, an immense quantity of Syrup which was bought for trifles, several hundred gallons at least - upon the whole more than live stock enough to carry us to Batavia and syrop for futurity.
I have been very diffuse and particular in mentioning every trifling circumstance which occurd in this transaction, as this may perhaps be the only opportunity I shall ever have of visiting an Island of great consequence to the Duch and scarce known to any other Europaeans even by name. I can find it in only one of the Draughts and that an old one printed by Mount and Page the Lord knows when, which has it by the name of Sou but confounds it with Sandel Bosch which is layd down very wrong. Rumphius mentions an Island by the name of Saow and say[s] it is that which is calld by the Duch Sandel Bosch, but no chart that I have seen lays either that, Timor or Rotte, or indeed any Island that we have seen hereabouts in any thing near its right place.
While we were here an accident hapned by the imprudence of Mr Parkinson my Draughtsman which might alone have alterd our intended and first promisd reception very much, indeed I am of opinion that it did. He desirous of knowing whether or not this Island producd spices carried ashore with him nutmeg, cloves &c . and questiond the inhabitants about them without the least precaution, so that it immediately came to Mr Lange's ears. He complaind to the Dr that our people were too inquisitive, particularly says he in regard to spices, concerning which they can have no reason to wish for any information unless you are come for very different purposes than those you pretend. The Dr not well vers'd in the German language in which they convers'd immediately conceivd that Mr L. meant only the questions which he himself had askd concerning the cinnamon, nor did we ever know the contrary till the day after we had left the place, when Mr Parkinson boasted of the knowledge he had got of these people certainly having a knowledge of the spices as they had in language names for them.
I shall proceed now to give such an account of the Island as I could get together during our short stay, which short as it was was so taken up with procuring refreshments, in which occupation every one was obligd to exert himself, that very little I confess is from my own observation; almost every thing is gatherd from the Conversation of Mr Lange who at first and last was very free and open and I am inclind to beleive did not deceive us in what he told us, how much soever he migh[t] conceal, except perhaps in the strengh and warlike disposition of the Islanders, which account seems to contradict itself, as one can hardly imagine those people to be of a warlike disposition who have continued in peace time out of mind. As for the other Islands in this neighbourhood his information alone was all we had to go upon; I would not however neglect to set it down, tho in general it was of little more consequence than to confirm the policy of the duch in confining their spices to particular Isles, which being full of them cannot furnish themselves with provisions.
The little Island of Savu, which trifling as it is appears to me to be of no small consequence to the Duch East India Company, is situate in Lat. and Long from the meridian of Greenwich; its lengh and breadth are nearly the same viz. about 6 German or 24 English miles. The whole is divided into 5 principalities, Nigries as they are calld by the Indians, Laai, Seba, Regeeuwa, Timo, and Massârâ, each governd by its respective Radja or King. It has 3 harbours, all good: the best is Timo, situate somewhere round the SE point of the Isle; the next Seba where we anchord, situate round the NW point; the third we learnt neither the name or situation of, only guess it to be somewhere on the South side. Off the West end of the Island is another calld Pulo with some additional name which in the hurry of business was forgot and never again askd for.
The appearance of the Island especialy on the windward side where we first made it was allowd by us all to equal in beauty if not excell any thing we had seen, even parchd up as it was by a drought which Mr Lange informd us had continued for seven months without a drop of Rain interveening, the last rainy season having intirely faild them. Verdure indeed there was at this time no signs of, but the gentle sloping of the hills which were cleard quite to the top and planted in every part with thick groves of the fan Palm, besides woods almost of Cocoa nut trees and Arecas which grew near the sea side, filld the eye so compleatly that it hardly lookd for or missd the verdure of the earth, a circumstance seldom seen in any perfection so near the line. How beautifull it must appear when coverd with its springing crop of Maize, Millet, Indigo &c . which covers almost every foot of ground in the cultivated parts of the Island imagination can hardly conceive: the verdure of Europe set of by the stately pillars of India - Palms I mean, especialy the Fan palm which for streightness and proportion both of the stem to itself and the head to the stem far excells all the Palms that I have seen - requires a poetical imagination to describe and mind not unaquainted with such sights to conceive.
The productions of this Island are Buffaloes, sheep, hogs, fowls, Horses, Asses, Maize, Guinea corn, Rice, Calevanses, Limes, oranges, Mangoes, Plantains, Water melons, Tamarinds, Sweet sops (annona squamosa), Blimbi (Averhoa Bilimbi), besides Cocoa nuts and Fan palm which last is in sufficient quantities should all other crops fail to support the whole Island, people, stock and all, who have been at times oblig'd to live upon its sugar Syrup and wine for some Months. We saw also a small quantity of European garden herbs as Cellery, Marjoram, Fennel and garlick and one single sugar cane. Besides these necessaries it has for the supply of luxury Betel and Areca, Tobacco, Cotton, Indigo, and a little Cinnamon - only planted for curiosity said Mr Lange; indeed I almost doubt whether or not it was genuine cinnamon as the Duch have been always so carefull not to trust any spices out of their proper Islands. Besides these were possibly many other things which we had not an opportunity of seeing and Mr Lange forgot or did not chuse to inform us of.
All their Produce is in amazing abundance, so we judgd at least from the Plantations we saw, tho this year every crop had faild for want of Rain. Most of them are well known to Europeans. I shall however spend a little Ink in describing such only as are not, or as differ at all in appearance from those commonly known. To begin then with Buffaloes of which they have good store, these beasts differ from our Cattle in Europe in their ears which are considerably larger, their skins which are almost without hair, and their horns which instead of bending forwards as ours do bend directly backwards, and also in their total want of Dewlaps. We saw of these some as big as well sizd European oxen and some there must be much larger, so at least I was led to beleive by a pair of horns which I was led to beleive by a pair of horns which I measurd; they were from tip to tip 3 feet 9½; across their widest diameter 4 ft 1½; the whole sweep of their semicircle in front 7ft 6½. One caution is however exceedingly necessary in buying these beasts, which is that one of them of any given size does not weigh above half as much as an ox of the same size in England; by this we who were ignorant of the fact were very much deceivd, those which we guessd 400 lb, the larger sort that were bought, not weighing above 250, and the smaller which we guessd at 250 not above 160. This vast difference proceeded first from total want of fat, of which there was not the least sign, but more especialy from the thinness of the flanks and thin peices which were literaly nothing but skin and bone. Their flesh notwi[th]standing this was not bad, it was well tasted and full of gravy, not that I can put it upon a footing with the leanest beef in England yet I should suppose it better than a lean ox would be in this burnt up climate.
Mr Lange told us that when the Portugese first came to this Island there were horses upon it, an opinion from which I confess I rather apostatize, but to wave the dispute Horses are now very plentifull. They are small, generaly 11 or 12 hands high, but very brisk and nimble especialy in Pacing which is their common step. The inhabitants seem to be tolerable Horsemen riding always without a saddle and generaly with only a Halter instead of a bridle. This is not however the only Benefit that these Islanders receive from them, for they use them as food and preferr their flesh to that of Buffaloes and every other sort but swines flesh, which holds the highest rank in their opinion.
Their sheep are of that kind which I have seen in England under the name of Bengall sheep; they differ from ours in having hair instead of wool, in their ears being very large and flapp down under their horns almost streight, and in their noses which are much more arch'd than those of our European sheep. these sheep are I beleive very frequently calld Cabritos from their resemblance to goats, which tho I cannot say appeard to me at all striking yet had such an effect upon the whole ships company, officers and seamen, that not one would beleive them to be sheep till they heard their voices, which are precisely the same as those of European ones. Their flesh was like the Buffaloes, lean, and void of flavour, to me the worst mutton I have ever eat. Their fowls are cheifly of the game breed and large but the eggs the smallest I have ever seen.
Besides these animals here are vast plenty of dogs, some cats and rats and a few Pidgeons - I saw 3 or 4 pair - nor are any of these animals exempted from furnishing their part towards the support of Polyphagous man except the Rats which alone they do not eat.
Fish appeard to us to be scarce, indeed it was but little valued by these Islanders, none but the very inferior people ever eating it and these only at the times when their duty or business requird them to be down upon the sea beach. In this case every man was furnishd with a light Casting net which was girt round him and servd for a part of his dress; with this he took any small fish that might happen to come into his way. Turtles are scarce; they are esteemd a good food but are taken only seldom
Of the vegetables most are well known. The sweet Sop is a pleasant fruit well known to the West Indians. Blimbi alone is not mentioned by any voyage writer I have met with. It is a small oval fruit thickest in the middle and tapering a little to each end, 3 or 4 inches in Lengh and scarcely so large as a mans finger; the outside is coverd with a very thin skin of a light green colour and in the inside are a few seeds disposd in the form of a star; it[s] flavour is a light but very clean and pleasant acid. It cannot be eat raw but is said to be excellent in Pickles; we stewd it and made sower sauce to our Stews and bouilli which was very gratefull to the taste and no doubt possest no small share of antescorbutick virtues. But what seems to be the genuine natural production of the Island and which they have in the greatest abundance and take the most care of is the Fan Palm or Toddy tree (Borassus flabellifer). Large groves of these trees are to be seen in all parts of the Island, under which other crops as Maize, indigo &c . are planted, so that in reality they take up no room tho the[y] yeild the treble advantage of fruit, Liquor and sugar, all but especialy the two last in great profusion; besides which the leaves serve to thatch their houses and to make baskets, umbrellas or rather conical bonnets, Cups, Tobacca-pipes &c &c
The Fruit, which is least esteemd, is also in the least plenty. It is a nut about as big as a childs head coverd like a cocoa nut with a fibrous coat, under which are 3 kernels which must be eat before they are ripe, otherwise they become to[o] hard to chew; in their proper state they resemble a good deal in taste the kernel of an unripe Cocoa nut and like them probably afford but a washy nutriment. The excellence of the Palm wine or Toddy which is drawn from this tree makes however ample amends for the poorness of the fruit: this is got by cutting the buds which are to produce flowers soon after their appearance and tying under them a small basket made of the leaves of the same tree, into which the liquor drips and must be collected by people who climb the trees for that purpose every morning and evening.This is the common drink of every one upon the Island and a very pleasant one. It was so to us even at first only rather too sweet; its antescorbutick virtues as the fresh unfermented juice of a tree cannot be doubted
Notwi[th]standing that this Liquor is the Common drink of both Rich and poor, who in the morning and evening drink nothing else, a much larger quantity is drawn off daily than is sufficient for that use; of this they make a Syrop and a coarse sugar both which are far more agreable to the taste than they appear to the sight. The Liquor is calld in the Language of the Island Dua orDuac, the syrup and sugar by one and the same name, Gula. It is exactly the same as the Jagara Sugar on the Continent of India and prepard by only boiling down the liquor in earthenware pots till it is sufficiently thick. In appearance it exactly resembles Mollasses or Treacle only it is considerably thicker; in taste however it much excels it having instead of the abominable twang which treacle leaves in the mouth only a little burnt taste which was very agreable to our palates. The Sugar is of a reddish brown but more clear tasted than any Cane sugar I have tasted which was not refind, resembling mostly brown sugar candy. The syrup seemd to be very wholesome for tho many of our people eat enormous quantities of it it hurt nobody, only gently opning the body and not as we feard bringing on fluxes
Fire wood is very scarce here. To remedy therefore that inconvenience as much as possible they make use of a contrivance which is not unknown in Europe tho seldom practisd but in camps. It is a burrow or pipe dug in the ground as long as convenient, generaly about 2 yards, and open at each end: the one opening of this into which they put the fire is large, the other which serves only to cause a draught is much smaller. Immediately over this pipe circular holes are dug which reach quite down into it: in these the earthen pots are set, about 3 to such a fire, which are large in the middle and taper towards the bottom by which means the fire acts upon a large part of their surface. It is realy marvelous to see with how small a quantity of fire they will keep these pots boiling, each of which Contains 8 or 10 gallons, a palm leaf or a dry stalk now and then is sufficient; indeed it seemd in the part of the Island at least where we were that the palms alone supplyd sufficient fuel not only for boiling this sugar but for dressing all their victuals beside, all which are cookd by this contrivance. How many parts of England are there where this contrivance would be of material assistance to not only the poor but the better sort of people who daily complain of the dearness of fuel, a charge which this contrivance alone would doubtless diminish at least one third: but it is well known how averse the good people of England, especialy of those degrees that may be supposd to be not above want, are to adopt any new custom which savours of Parsimony. I have been told that this very method was proposd in the Gentlemens Magazine Vol. p. many years ago but have not the book on board. Frezier in his Voyage to the South Sea describes a contrivance of the Peruvian Indians upon much the same principles, planch[e] 31. p. 273; but his drawing and plan are difficult to understand if not actualy very faulty and his description is nothing; the drawing may serve however to give an idea to a man who has never seen a thing of the kind.
The Syrup or Gula which they make in this manner is so nourishing that Mr Lange told us it alone fed and fatned their hogs, dogs and fouls, and that even the men themselves could and had sometimes livd upon it alone for a long time when by bad seasons or their destructive feasts which I shall mention by and by they have been deprivd of all other nourishment. We saw some of the swine upon this Island whose uncommon fatness surprizd us much, which very beasts we saw one evening serv'd with their suppers consisting of nothing but the outside husks of Rice and this syrup disolvd in water, and this they told us was their constant and only food. How far it may be found consonant to truth that sugar alone should have such nourishing qualities I shall leave to others to determine; I have only accounts not experience to favour that opinion.
The people of this Island are rather under than over the midling size, the women especialy most of whoom are remarkably short and generaly squat built. Their colour is well ting'd with brown, in all Ranks and conditions nearly the same, in which particular they differ much from the inhabitants of the South sea Isles where the better sort of people are universaly almost whiter than their inferiors. The men are rather well made and seem to be active and nimble; among them we observd a greater variety of features than usual; the women on the other hand are as I said before generaly low and clumsey, are far from hansome and have a kind of sameness of features among them which might well account for the chasity of the men for which virtue this Island is said to be remarkable. The Hair of Both sexes is universaly Black and lank; the men wear it long and fastned upon the tops of their heads with a comb, the women have theirs also long and tied behind into a kind of club, not very becomeing.
Both men and women dress in a kind of Blew and white clouded cotton cloth which they manufacture themselves: of this two peices about 2 yards long each serve for a dress. One of these is worn round the middle: this the men wear pretty tight, it covering no lower than their backsides but above making a kind of loose belt in which they carry their knives &c . and often many other things so that it serves intirely the purpose of Pockets; the other peice is tuckd into this girdle and reaching over the shoulders passes down to the girdle on the other side, so that by opening or folding it they can cover more or less of their bodies as they please. The arms, legs and feet of both sexes are constantly bare, as are the heads of the women which is their cheif distinction by which at once they are known from the men, who always wear something wrap'd round theirs which tho small is generaly of the finest material they can procure. Many we saw had them of silk handkercheifs which seemd to be much in fashion.
The distinction of the womens dress except only the head consists merely in the manner of wearing their cloths, which are of the same materials and in the same quantity as the mens: their waist cloths reach down below their knees and their body cloths are tied under their arms and over their breasts Keeping up the strictest decency. Both sexes eradicate the Hair from under their armpits, a custom in these hot climates almost essential to cleanliness; the men also pluck out their beards, for which purpose the better sort carry always a pair of silver pincers hanging round their necks. Some however wear a little hair on their upper lips but that they never suffer to grow long.
Ornaments they had many: some of the better sort wore gold chains round their necks but these were cheifly made of Platted wire of little value, others had rings which by their appearance seemd to have been worn out some generations ago. One had a silver headed Cane on the top of which was engraved [ ] so that it had probably been a present from the east Indian Company. Besides these they wore beads: the men cheifly of distinction round their necks in the form of a solitaire, others had them round their wrists &c , but the women had the largest quantity which they wore round their waists in the form of a girdle serving to keep up their waistcloths. Both sexes had their ears bord universaly but we never saw any ornaments in them; indeed we never saw any one man dressd the whole time we were there in [any] thing more than his ordinary cloths. Some boys of 12 or 14 years of age wore also circles of thick brass wire which pass'd screw fashion 3 or 4 times round their arms above the elbow, and some men wore rings of ivory, convex, 2 inches in breadth and above an inch in thickness, in the same manner above the joint of the elbow: these we were told were the sons of Radjas who alone had the priviledge of wearing these cumbersome badges of high birth.
Almost all the men had their names tracd upon their arms in indelible characters of Black; the women had a square ornament of flourishd lines on the inner part of each arm just under the bend of the elbow. On enquiring into the antiquity of this custom, so consonant with that of Tattowing in the South Sea Islands, Mr Lange told us that it was among these people long before the Europeans came here but was less us'd in this than in most Islands in the neighbourhood, in some of which the people usd to mark circles round their necks, breasts &c .
Both Sexes are continualy employd in chewing Betle and Arec, the consequence of which is that their teeth as long as they have any are dyed of that filthy black colour which constantly attends the rotteness of a tooth; for it appears to me that from their first use of this custom which they begin very young their teeth are affected and continue by gradual degrees to waste away till they are quite worn to the stumps which seems to happen before old age. I have seen men in appearance between 20 and 30 whose fore teeth were almost intirely gone, no two being of the same lengh or the same thickness but every one eat into unevenesses as iron is by rust. This loss of the teeth is attributed by all whose writings upon the subject I have read to the tough and stringy coat of the Areca nut but in my opinion is much easier accounted for by the well known corrosive quality of the lime, which is a necessary ingredient in every mouthfull and that too in no very insignificant quantity. This opinion seems to me to be almost put out of dispute by the manner in which their teeth are destroyd: they are not loosned or drawn out as they should be by the too frequent labour of chewing tough substances but melt away and decay as metals in strong acids, the stumps always remaining firmly adhering to the jaws just level with the gums. Possibly the ill effects which sugar is beleivd by us Europeans to have upon the teeth may proceed from the same cause as it is well known that refin'd or loaf sugar contains in it a large quantity of lime.
To add flavour I suppose to the Betel and Arec some use with it a small quantity of tobacco, adding the nauseous smell of that herb to the not less disagreable look of the other as if they were resolvd to make their mouths disgustfull to the sence of smelling as well as that of sight. They also smoak, rolling up a small quantity of tobacco in one end of a tube made of a palm leaf about as thick as a quil and 6 inches long; of this not above one inch is filld with tobacco so that the quantity is very small, to make amends for which the women especially often swallow the smoak which no doubt increases its effects in no small degree.
Their houses are all built upon one and the same plan differing only in size according to the rank and riches of the proprietors, some being 3 or 400 feet in lengh and others not 20. They consist of a well boarded floor raisd upon posts 3 or 4 feet from the ground; over this is raisd a roof shelving like ours in Europe and supported by pillars of its own independent of the floor; the Eaves of this reach within 2 feet of the floor but overhang it as much; this open serves to let in air and light and makes them very cool and agreable. The space within is generaly divided into two by a partition which takes off one third. From this partition forward reaches a loft shut up close on all sides and raisd about 6 feet from the ground, which occupies the center third of the house; besides this are sometimes one or two small rooms taken off of the sides of the house. The uses of these different appartments we did not learn only were told that the loft was appropriated to the women.
The shortness of our stay and few opportunities we had of going among these people gave us no opportunities of seing what arts or manufactures they might have among them. That they spin, weave and dye their cloth we however made a shift to learn for tho we never saw them practise any of these arts yet the instruments of them accidentaly fell in our way: first a machine for clearing cotton of its seeds which was made in miniature much upon the same principles as ours in Europe, it consisting of 2 cylinders about as thick as a mans thumb the one of which was turnd round by a plain wynch handle, and that turnd the other round by an endless worm at their extremities. The whole was not above 7 inches high and about twice as long; how it answerd I know not but know that it had been much workd and that there were many peices of cotton hanging on different parts of it, which alone inducd me to beleive it a real machine, otherwise from its slightness I should have taken it for no more than a Duch toy of the best sort. Their spinning geer I also once saw: it consisted of a bobbin on which a small quantity of thread was wound and a kind of distaff filld with cotton from whence I conjecture that they spin by hand, as our women in Europe did before wheels were introducd and I am told still do in some parts of Europe where that improvement is not receiv'd. Their Loom I also saw: it had this merit in preference to ours that the web was not stretchd on a frame but only extended by a peice of wood at each end, round one of which the cloth was rolld as the threads were round the other. I had not an opportunity of seing it usd so cannot at all describe it, only can say that it appeard very simple, much more so than ours and that the shuttle was as long as the breadth of the web which was about ½ a yard; in all probability from this circumstance and the unsteadiness of a web fixd to nothing the work must go on very slow. That they dyed their own cloth we first guessd by the indigo which we saw in their plantations, which guess was afterwards confirmd by Mr Lange; we likewise saw them dye womens girdles of a dirty reddish colour. Their Cloth itself was universaly dyed in the yarn with blue, which being unevenly and irregularly done gave the cloth a Clouding or waving of colour not unelegant even in our eyes.
One Chirurgical operation of theirs Mr Lange mentiond to us with great praises which indeed appears sensible: it is a method of curing wounds which they do by first washing the wound in water in which Tamarinds have been steepd, then pluging it up with a pledget made of fat of fresh pork; in this manner the wound is thouroughly cleans'd and the pledget renewd every day: he told us that by this means they had a very little while ago curd a man in three weeks of a wound of a lance which had peircd his arm and half through his body. This is the only part of either their medicinal or chirurgical art which came to our knowledge, indeed they did not seem to outward appearance to have much occasion for either, but on the contrary appeard healthfull and did not shew by scarrs of old sores or any scurvyness upon their bodies a tendency to disease. Some indeed were pitted with the small pox which Mr Lange told us had been now and then among them; in which case all who were seizd by the distemper were carried to lonely places far from habitations where they were left to the influence of their distemper, meat only being daily reachd to them by the assistance of a long pole.
How the police of their villages is carried on I cannot say I saw, but must allow that they excelld in the article of cleanliness both in their houses and without. In one thing particularly, which is their ordure, they are certainly very clever, for during our stay of 3 days not one among us that I could find out saw the least signs of it notwithstanding the populousness of the countrey, a circumstance which I beleive few of the most polishd cities in Europe can boast of.
Their religion according to the account of Mr Lange is a most absurd kind of Paganism, every man chusing his own god and also his mode of worshiping him, in which hardly any two agree. Notwithstanding this their morals are most excellent, Mr Lange declaring to us that he did not beleive that during his residence of ten years upon the Island a theft had been committd. Polygamy is by no means permitted, each man being allowd no more than one wife to whoom [he] is to adhere during life; even the Radja himself has no more. In favour of their chastity he also said that he did not beleive that a Duch man had ever receivd a favour from a woman of this Island.
The Duch boast that they make many converts to Christianity, 600 sayd Mr L. in the township of Seba where we were: what sort of christians they are I cannot say as they have neirther clergyman nor church among them. The Company have however certainly been at the expence of Printing versions of the New Testament, cathechism &c . &c . in this and several other Languages, and actualy keep a Duch Indian or half bred Duchman whose name is Fredrick Craay in their Service who is paid by them for instructing the youth of this Island in reading, writing and the principles of the Christian religion. Dr Solander was at his house and saw not only the Testaments and Catechisms before mentiond but also the copy books of scolars, about 50 in number, many of whoom wrote a very fair and good hand.
The Island is divided into 5 Principalities each of which has its respective Radja or King. What his power may be we had not an opportunity of Learning: in outward appearance he had little respect shewd him yet every kind of Business which was done seemd to center in him and his cheif councelor, so that in reality he seemd to be more regarded in essentials than shewy useless ceremonies. The Reigning Radja while were there was calld Madocho Lomi Djara; he was about the age of 35, the fattest man we saw upon the whole Island and the only one also upon whose body grew any quantity of hair, a circumstance very unusual among Indians. He appeard to be of a dull heavy disposition and I beleive was governd almost intirely by a very sensible old man Calld Mannu djame who was belovd by the whole principality. Both these were distinguished from the rest of the natives by their dress which was always a nightgown generaly of coarse Chintz; once indeed the Radja receivd us in form in one of Black Princes stuff which I suppose may be lookd upon as more grave and proper to inspire respect. If any differences arise between the people they are setled by the Radja and his councelors without the least delay or appeal,and sayd Mr L. always with the strictest justice. So excellent is the dispostion of these people that if any dispute arises between any two of them they never, if it is of consequence, more than barely mention it to each other, never allowing themsleves to reason upon it least heat should beget ill blood but referr it immediately to this court.
After the Radja we could hear of no ranks of People but Landowners, respectable according to their quantity of land more or less, and slaves the property of the former, over whoom however they have no other power than that of selling them for what they will fetch when convenient, no man being able to punish his slave without the concurrence and approbation of the Radja. Of these slaves some men have 500, others only 2 or 3; what was their price in general we did not learn, only heard by accident that a very fat hog was of the value of a slave and often sold and bought at that price. When any great man stirs out he is constantly attended by 2 or more of these slaves, one of whoom carries a sword or hanger whose hilt is comm[o]nly of Silver and ornamented with large tassels of horse hair; the other carries a bag which contains Beetle, Areca, Lime, Tobacco &c . In these attendants all their Idea of Shew and grandeur seems to be centerd for the Radja himself had on no occasion which we saw any more.
The pride of descent, particularly of being sprung from a family which has for many generations been respected is by no means unknown here. Even the living in a house which has been for generations well attended is no small honour: in consequence of this it is that few articles either of use or luxury bear so high a price as those stones which by having been very much set upon by men have contracted a bright polish on their uneven surfaces; those who can purchase such stones or who have them by inheritance from their ancestors place them round their houses where they serve as benches for their dependants, I suppose to polish still higher and higher.
Every Radja during his life time sets up in his capital town or Nigrie a large stone which serves futurity as a testimony of his reign - in the Nigrie Seba where we lay were 13 such stones, besides many fragments the seeming remains of those which had been devourd by time. Many of these were very large, even so much so that it would be dificult to conceive how the strengh of man alone unassisted by engines had been able to transport them to the top of a hill where they now stand, were there not in Europe so many far grander instances of Perserverance as well as strengh of our own forefathers. These Stones serve for a very peculiar use. Upon the Death of a Radja a general feast is proclaimd throughout his dominions and in consequence all his subjects meet about these stones. Every living Creature that can be caught is now killd and the feast lasts a longer or shorter number of weeks or months according to the stock of Provisions the kingdom happens to be furnished with at the time, the stones serving for tables on which the whole, Buffaloes &c , are servd up, After this madness is over the whole kingdom is obligd to fast and live upon syrup and water till the next crop, nor are they able to eat any flesh meat till some years after when the few animals that escapd the general slaughter, were preserv'd by policy, or acquird from the Neighbouring kingdoms have sufficiently Encreasd their species.
The five Kingdoms say'd Mr Lange of which this Island consists have been for time immemorial not only at peace but in strict alliance with each other, notwithstanding which they are of a warlike disposition, Constant freinds but implacable Enemies and have always courageously defended themselves against foreign invaders. They are able to raise on a very short notice 7300 men armd with musquets, Lances, spears and Targets: of these the different kingdoms bear their different proportions: Laai 2600, Seba 2000, Regëeuä 1500, timo 800, and Massara 400. Besides the arms before mentiond every man is furnishd with a large chopping knife like a streigh[t]ned wood Bill but much heavier, which must be a terrible weapon if these people should have spirit enough to come to close quarters. Mr L upon another occasion took an opportunity of telling us that they heave their Lances with surprizeing dexterity, being able at the distance of 60 feet to strike a mans heart and peirce him through.
How far these dreadfull accounts of their martial prowess might be true I dare not take upon myself to determine: all I shall say is that during our stay we saw no signs either of a warlike disposition or such formidable arms. Spears and Targets indeed there were in the Duch house about 100, the greatest part of which Spears servd to arm the people who came down to intimidate us; but so little did these doubty heroes think of fighting or indeed keeping up apearances that instead of a Target each was furnished with a cock, some tobacco or something of that kind which he took this opportunity of bringing down to sell. Their spears seemd all to have been brought to them by Europeans, the refuse of old armories, no two being of any thing near the same lengh, the whole verying in that particular from 6 feet to 16; as for their Lances not one of us saw one of them; their musquets tho clean on the outside were honeycombd with rust on the inside; few or none of their Cartridge boxes had either powder or ball in them and to compleat, all the swivels and patereroes at the Duch house were all laying out of their carriages, and the one great gun which lay before it on a heap of stones was not only more honeycomb'd with rust than any peice of artillery I have ever seen but had the touchhole turnd downwards, probably to conceal its size which might not be in all probability much less than the bore of the gun itself.
The Duch however use these Islanders as auxliaries in their wars against the inhabitants of Timor where they do good service, their lives at all events not being near so valuable as those of Duchmen.
This Island had been setled by the Portugese almost from their first coming into these seas. When the Duch first came here they were however very soon wormd out by the machinations of these artfull new comers, who content with that did not attempt to settle themselves in the Island but only sent Sloops occasionaly to trade with the Natives, by whoom they were often cut off, as often I suppose as they cheated them in too great a proportion. This However and the probably increasing value of the Island at last temptd them to try some other way of securing it and running less risques, which took place about ten years ago when a treaty of Alliance was signd between the five Radjas and the Duch Company; in consequence of which the Company is yearly to furnish each of these kings with a certain quantity of fine linnen and silk, Cutlery ware &c , in short all species of goods which he wants, all which is deliverd in the form of a present accompanied with a certain Cask of Rack which the Radja and his principal people never cease to drink as long as a drop of it remains.
In return for this each Radja agrees that neither he nor his subjects shall trade with any person except the company unless they had the permission of their resident; that they should yearly supply a certain quantity of Rice, Maize and Calevanses, so many sloop loads. The Maize and Calevances are sent off to Timor in sloops which are kept on the Island for that purpose, each navigated by ten Indians; the Rice is taken away by a ship which at the time of that harvest comes to the Island annualy bringing the companies presents and anchoring by turns in each of the three bays.
In consequence of this treaty Mr Lange, a Portugese Indian who seem to be his second, and a Duch Indian who serves for schoolmaster, are permitted to live among them. Mr Lange himself is attended by 50 Slaves on horseback, attended by whoom he once every two months makes the tour of the Island visiting all the Radjas, exhorting those to plant who seem Idle, and observing where the Crops are got in which he immediately sends Sloops for, Navigated by these same slaves, so that the crop proceeds immediately from the ground to the Duch storehouses at Timor. In these excursions he always carries certain bottles of Rack which he finds of great use in opening the hearts of the Radjas with whoom he is to deal; but notwithstanding the boasted honesty of these people it requires his utmost diligence to keep it from his slaves who notwithstanding all his care often ease him of a great part of it. During the ten years that he has resided on this Island no European but himself has ever been here, except at the time of the arrival of the Duch ship which had saild about 2 months before we came here. He is indeed distinguishable from the Indians only by his colour - like them he sets upon the ground and chews his Beetle &c . He has been for some years married to an Indian woman of the Island has been for some years married to an Indian woman of the Island of Timor who keeps his house in the Indian fashion, and he excusd himself to us for not asking us to his house, telling us that he was not able to entertain us any other way than the rest of the Indians whoom we saw; he speaks neither german his native Language nor dutch without frequent hesitations and mistakes, on the contrary the Indian language seems to flow from him with the utmost facility. As I forgot to mention their language in its proper place I shall take this opportunity to write down the few observations I had an opportunity of making during our short stay. The genius of it seems much to resemble that of the South Sea Isles: in several instances words are exactly the same and the numbers are undoubtedly derivd from the same source. I give here a list of words:
|Momonne||a man||Tooga||the thighs|
|Mobunnee||a woman||Rootoo||the knees|
|Catoo||the Head||Baibo||the legs|
|Row Catoo||the Hair||Dunceala||the feet|
|Matta||the eyes||Kissooei yilla||the toes|
|Row na Matta||the eyelashes||Camacoo||the arms|
|Sivanga||the nose||Wulaba||the Hand|
|Cavaranga||the cheeks||Cabaon||A Buffaloe|
|Wo deeloo||the ears||Djara||a horse|
|Vaio||the Tongue||Vavee||a hog|
|Lacoco||the neck||Doomba||a sheep|
|Loosoo||the breasts||Kesavoo||a goat|
|Caboo Soosoo||the nipples||Gnaca||a dog|
|Dulloo||the belly||Maio||a cat|
|Assoo||the navel||Mannu||a fowl|
|Rangoretoo||the beak||Carow||the tail|
|Maänadoo||a fish hook||8.||Arru|
|Wurroo||the moon||11.||Singooring Usse &c|
|Aidassee||the Sea||20.||Lhuangooroo &c|
|Ailei||water||100.||Sing Assu &c|
|Aee||Fine||1000.||Setuppah &c .|
|Maate||to dye||10000.||Selacussa &c .|
|Tabudje||to sleep||100000.||Serata &c|
|Ta teetoo||to rise||1000000.||Sereboo &c|
In the course of conversation Mr Lange gave us little accounts of the neighbouring Islands: these I shall set down just as they came to me merely upon his authority. First then beginning with the small Island to the westward of Savu calld Pulo ..., this said he produces Nothing of consequence except Areca nuts of which the Duch annualy receive two sloop loads in return for their presents to the Islanders.
Timor is the cheif Island in these parts belonging to the Duch, all the others in the neighbourhood being subject to it so far as that the residents on them go there once a year to pass their accounts. It is now in nearly the same state as it was in Dampiers time. The Duch have their fort of Concordia where are storehouses which according to Mr L's account would have supplyd our ship with every article we could have got at Batavia, even salt Provisions and Arrack. The Duch are however very frequently at war with the natives even of Copang their next neighbours in which case themselves are obligd to send to the neighbouring Isles for provisions. The Portugese still possess their towns of Laphao and Sesial on the North side of the Island.
About two years ago a French ship was wreckd upon the East coast of Timor; she lay some days upon the shoal when a sudden gale of wind coming on broke her up at once and drown'd most of the Crew among whoom was the Captn. Those who got ashore among whoom was one of the lieutenants made the best of their way towards Concordia, where they arrivd in four days having left several of their party upon the road. Their number was then above 80 who were supplyd with every necessary and had assistance given them in order to go back to the wreck and fish up what they could; this they did and recoverd all their Bullion which was in chests and several of their guns which were large. Their companions which they left upon the road were all missing; the Indians it was supposd had either by force or persuasion kept them among them, they being very desirous of having Europeans among them to instruct them in the art of war. After a stay of two months at Concordia their company was dimini[s]hd more than half by sickness's, cheifly in consequence of the great fatigues they had endurd on those days when they got ashore and traveld to that place; these were then furnishd with a small ship in which they saild for Europe.
We enquird much for the Island of Anabao or Anamabao mentiond by Dampier. He assurd us that he knew of no Island of that name any where in these seas. I since have observd that it is laid down in several charts by the name of Selam which is probably the real name of it. Rotte is upon much the same footing as Savu - a Duchman resides upon it to manage the natives; its produce is also much like that of Savu; it has also some sugar which was formerly made by only bruising the canes and boiling the juice to a syrup as they do the Palm wine, lately however they have made great improvements in that manufactory. Their are three Islands of the name of Solor laying to the eastward of Ende or Flores: these Islands are flat and low abounding with vast plenty of provisions and stock; they are also managd in the same manner as Savu; on the middlemost of them is a good harbour, the other two are without Shelter. Ende is still in the hands of the Portugese who have a town and good harbour calld Larntuca on the NE corner of it; the old harbour of Ende situate on the South side of it is not near so good and therefore now intirely neglected.
The inhabitants of each of these different Islands speak different languages and the cheif Policy of the Duch is to prevent them from learning each others language, as by this means they keep each to their respective Island, preventing them from entering into trafick with each other or learning from mutual intercourse to plant such things as would be of greater value to themselves than their present produce tho at the same time less beneficial to the Duch East Indian Company; and at the same time secure to themselves alone the benefit of supplying all their necessities at their own rates, no dout not very moderate. This may possibly sufficiently account for the expence they must have been at in printing Prayer books, catechises &c . at their expence and teaching them to each Island in its own language rather than in Duch, which in all probability they might have as easily done, but at the risque of Dutch becoming the common language of these Islands and consequently the natives by its means gaining an intercourse with each other.