Some account of Batavia
Batavia, the capital of the Duch Dominions in India, and Generaly esteemd to be by much the finest town of those in the possession of Europeans in these parts, is situated in a low fenny plain where several small rivers which take their rise in the mountains calld Blaes Berg, about 40 miles inland, empty themselves into the sea. This situation seems to have been pitchd upon by the Duch (always true to their commercial interests) intirely for the convenience of water carriage, which indeed few if any towns in Europe enjoy in a higher degree than this place. Few streets in the town are without canals of a considerable breadth running through, or rather stagnating in them, which canals are continued for several miles round the town, and with 5 or 6 rivers, some of which are navigable 30, 40, or maybe many more miles into the inland countrey, make the carriage of every species of its produce inconceiveably cheap.
It is very dificult to judge of the size of the town; the size of the houses, in general large, and the breadth of the streets increasd by their canals, makes it impossible to compare it with any English town; all I can say is, that when seen from the top of a building from whence the eye takes it in at one view, it does not look near so large as it seems to be when you walk about it. Valentyne, who wrote about and before the year 1726, says that in his time there were within the walls 1242 Dutch houses and 1200 Chinese, without 1066 Dutch and 1240 Chinese, besides 12 Arrack houses; this number however appeard to me to be very highly exagerated, those within the walls especialy, but of all this I confess myself a very indifferent judge, having enjoyd so little health especialy towards the latter part of my stay that I had no proper oportunities of satisfying myself in such like particulars.
The streets are broad and hansome and the Banks of the canals in general planted with rows of trees; a stranger on his first arrival is very much struck with these, and often led to observe how much the heat of the climate must be temperd by the shade of the trees and coolness of the water. Indeed as to the first, it must be convenient to those who walk on foot, but a very short residence will shew him that their inconveniencies far overbalance any convenience he can derive from them in any but a mercantile light. Instead of cooling the air they contribute not a little to heat it, especialy the stagnating ones of which sort are by far the greatest number, by reflecting back the fierce rays of the sun; in the dry season these stink most intolerably, and in the wet many of them overflow their banks, filling the lower stories of the houses near them with water. Add to this that when they clean them, which is pretty often as some are not more than 3 or 4 feet deep, the black mud taken out is sufferd to lie upon their banks, that is in the middle of the street, till it has acquird a sufficient hardness to be conveniently laden into boats; this mud stinks most intolerably, as indeed it must, being cheifly formd from human ordure of which (as there is not a necessary house in the whole town) the Canals every morning receive their regular quota, and the more filthy recrements of housekeeping, which the uncommon police of the countrey suffers every body to throw into them. Add to this that the running ones, which are in some measure free from the former inconveniences, have every now and then a dead horse or hog stranded in the shallow parts of them, a nuisance which as I was inform'd no particular person was apointed to remove - which account I am inclind to beleive, as I remember a Dead Buffaloe laying in one of the principal streets of thoroughfare for more than a week, which was at last carried away by a flood.
The houses are in general large, well built, and conveniently enough contrivd for the climate. The greatest part of the ground floor is always laid out into one large room, with a door to the street and another to the yard, both which generaly stand open; below is the ground plot of one below stairs where a is the street door, b the back door, c a room where the master of the house does his business, d a court to give light to the room as well as increase the draught, and e the stairs for going upstairs where the rooms are generaly large tho few in number. Such in general are their town houses, differing however in size very much and sometimes in shape; the principles however on which they are built universaly the same - two doors opposite each other, and one or more courts between them to cause a draught, which they do in an eminent degree, as well as dividing the room into alcoves in one of which the family dine, while the female slaves (who on no occasion set any where else) work in another.
Shewy however as these large rooms are to a stranger at his first seeing them, his eye has scarce measurd round him before he is sensible of the thinness of furniture which is universal in all of them; in short the same quantity of furniture is sufficient for them as is necessary in our smaller rooms in Europe, as in those we entertain full as many guests at a time as ever is done in these; consequently the chairs, which are spread at even distances from each other, are not very easily collected into a circle if 4 or 5 visitors arrive at once.
Publick buildings they have several, most of them old and executed in rather a clumsey taste; their new church however, which is Built with a dome (that is seen very far out at sea) is certainly far from an ugly building on the outside, tho rather heavy, and on the inside is a very fine room. Its organ is well proportiond, being large enough to fill it, and it is so well supplied with Chandeliers that few churches in Europe are so well lighted.
From buildings I should make an easy transition to fortifications was it not a subject which I must confess myself totaly ignorant of; I shall atempt however to describe what I have seen in general terms. The city of Batavia is enclosd by a stone wall of a moderate hight, old, and in many parts not in the best repair; besides this a river in different places from 50 to 100 paces broad, whose stream is rather brisk but shallow, incircles it without the walls, and within again is a canal very various in breadth, so that in passing out or in their gates you cross two draw bridges; this canal, usless as it seems, has however this merit that it prevents all walking upon the ramparts as is usual in fortified towns, and consequently all idle examination of the Number or Condition of the guns, with which they seem to be very ill provided; all those that are seen being of very light metal, and the west side of the town, where alone you have an opportunity of examining, being almost totaly unprovided.
In the NE corner of the town stands the Castle or citadel, the walls of which are higher and larger than those of the town, especialy near the Landing place for boats which it compleatly Commands, and where are mounted several very large and well looking Gunns. The neighbourhood however of the NE Corner on both sides seems sufficiently weak, especialy on the east side.
Within this Castle, as it is call'd, are apartments for the Governor general and all the members of the council of India, to which they are enjoind to repair in case of a seige; here are also large storehouses, where are kept great quantities of the companies good[s], especialy European, and where almost all their writers &c . do their business. Here are also a large quantity of Cannon laid up in store, but whether to mount on their walls or furnish their shipping in case of the aproach of an enemy I could not learn, tho from their appearance I should judge them to be intended for the latter. As for powder, they are said to be well supplied with it, and that it is dispers'd in various magazines on account of the frequency of lightning.
Besides the fortifications of the town, there are numerous forts up and down the countrey, some between 20 and 30 miles from the town; most of these seem to be very poor defences and are probably intended for little more than to keep the natives in awe. They have also a kind of houses which mount about 8 Guns apeice, and seem to me to be the best defences against Indians I have ever seen; these are generaly plac'd in such situations as will command the navigation of three or four Canals, and at the same time as many roads upon their banks. Some there are in the very town, and one of them it was which in the time of the Chinese rebellion (as the Duch call it) quickly leveld all the best Chinese houses to the ground; indeed I was told that the natives are more afraid of these than any other kind of Defences. Of them are many in all parts of Java and the other Islands in the posession of the Duch; I lamented much not being able to get a drawing and plan of one, which indeed had I been well I might easily have done, as I suppose they never could be jealous of a defence which one gun would destroy in half an hour.
If the Dutch fortifications should be even quite as weak and difenceless as I [imagine,] they have nevertheless some advantages in their situation among morasses, where the roads, which are almost universaly a bank thrown up between a canal and a ditch, might easily be destroyd and consequently the bringing of heavy artillery very much retarded, unless they could be got upon some canal and a sufficient number of proper boats securd to transport them, of which there are plenty, but they all muster every night under the very guns of the Castle from whence it would be impossible to take them. Delays howsoever, from whatever cause they might happen, would be inevitably fatal: in less than a week we were sensible of the unhealthyness of the climate, and in a months time one half of the ships company were unable to perform their duty; but could a very small body of men get soon to the walls of Batavia bringing with them a few Battering cannon, the town must inevitably yeild on account of the weakness of its defence. We were told that of a hundred soldiers who arrive here from Europe it is a rare thing for 50 to outlive the first year, and of those 50 half will at that time be in the hospitals, and of the [other?] half not 10 in perfect health; whether this account may not be exagerated I cannot say, but will venture to affirm that it seemd to me probable from the number of pale faces, and limbs hardly able to support a musquet, which I saw among the few soldiers that were to be seen upon duty. The white inhabitants indeed are all soldie[r]s, the younger ones musterd, and those who have servd 5 years to be calld out on any occasion; but as neither the one nor the other are ever Excersisd or made to do any kind of duty, it is impossible to expect much from them, more versd in handling pens than guns. The Portugese indeed are generaly good marksmen, as they employ themselves much in shooting wild hogs and deer; as for the Mardykers who are certainly numerous, being Indians of all nations who, or whose Ancestors have been slaves made free, few either of them or the Chinese know the use of fire arms; their numbers however might be troublesome as some of them are esteemd brave with their own weapons, Lances, swords, daggers, &c .
Thus much for the land: By Sea it is impossible to attack Batavia on account of the shallowness of the water, which will scarce suffer even a longboat to come within Canon shot of the walls unless she keep a narrow channel walld on both sides by strong piers and running about ½ a mile into the harbour, which channel terminates exactly under the fire of the strongest part of the Castle, where is a large wooden boom which is shut every night at 6 o clock and not opend again till the morn upon any pretence. It is said that before the earthquake in [ ], Ships of large Burthen usd to come up to this place and be likewise shut up by the Boom, but at present nothing but boats atempt it.
The Harbour of Batavia is generaly accounted the finest in India; and indeed it answers that character, being large enough to contain any number of ships, and having such good holding ground that no ships ever think of mooring but ride with one anchor, which always holds as long as the cable. How it is shelterd is dificult to say, the Islands without it being not by any means sufficient, but so it is that there never in it runs any sea to be at all troublesome to shipping. Its greatest inconvenience is the shoal water between the ships and the mouth of Batavia river, which when the sea breeze has blown pretty fresh, as it often does, makes such a cockling sea as is very dangerous for boats. Our longboat once, in attempting to come off, struck two or three times and with dificulty regaind the rivers mouth; the same even, a Duch boat loaded with sails and rigging for one of their India-men was intirely lost.
Round the outside of the harbour are many small Islands, some of which the Duch make use of: as Edam, to which they transport all Europeans who have been guilty of Crimes not worthy of death - some of these are sentenc'd to remain there 99, others 40, 20, 5, &c . years, according to their deserts, during which time they work as Slaves making Ropes &c . &c ; Purmerent, where they have a hospital, in which people are said to recover much faster than at Batavia; Kuyper, where are warehouses belonging to the company, in which are storehouses in which are kept many things belonging to the Company, cheifly such as are of small value as Rice, &c ; here also all foreign ships who are to be hove down at Onrust discharge their cargoes at wharves very convenent for the purpose. Here the Guns, Sails &c . of the Falmouth, a gun ship which was condemnd here in the Year [ ] on her return from the Manilla, were kept, and she herself remaind in the harbour with only her warrant officers on Board, who had remittances most regularly from home but no notice ever taken of the many memorials they sent desiring to be recalld. The Dutch however, for reasons best known to themselves, thought fit about Six months before our arrival to sell her and all her stores by publick auction, and send her officers home in their ships.
The next Island, which indeed is of more consequence to the Dutch than all the rest, is Onrust. Here they heave down and repair all their shipping, and consequently keep a large quantity of Naval stores. On this Island are artificers of almost all kinds that are employd in the Ship building way, and very clever ones, so at least all our most experienc'd seamen allowd, who said they had seen ships hove down in most parts of the world, but never saw that business so cleverly done as here. The Dutch seem to think this Island of not so much consequence as perhaps they would do if all their naval Stores were here, the greatest part of which are at Batavia; be it as it will however, it seems to be so ill defended that one 60 gun ship would Blow it up without a possibility of failing, as she might go alon[g]side the wharfs as near as she pleasd.
It is generaly said in Europe that the Dutch keep a strong fleet in the East Indies, Ready and able to Cope with any European power which might attack them there. This is true thus far and no farther, their Indiamen, which are all very large ships, are peercd for 50 or 60 guns each; now should they be attackd when all these were in India, or indeed a little before the Sailing of the Europe fleet, they might if they had sufficient warning to Get in their guns &c &c . raise 40 or 50 sail, but how it would be possible for them to man this fleet, if they kept any body at all on shore, is to me a mystery; again, should they be atackd when the fleets are saild, they have very few ships and those terribly out of Condition; for they keep no ships even in tolerable repair in India except those Employd to go to Ceylon and the Coast, which places indeed are generaly taken in the way to or from Europe; as for the Eastern Islands, no ships of any force are employd there but all the trade carried on in small vessels, many of which are Brigs and Sloops.
The countrey round about Batavia for some miles is one continued range of Countrey houses and gardens, some of which are very large, and all universaly planted with trees as thick almost as they can stand by each other, so that the countrey enjoys little benefit of being cleard, the woods standing now almost as thick as when they grew there originaly, with only this difference, that one is of usefull, the other was of useless trees; but usefull as these trees are to their respective owners who enjoy their fruits, to the community they are certainly highly detrimental in preventing the Sea breeze from penetrating into the countrey as it ought, or at best loading it with unwholesome vapours, collected and stagnating under their branches. This, according to our modern theory, should be the reason why thunder and lightning are so frequent and mischeivous here that scarce a month passes in which either ships or houses do not feel the Effects of it. While we stayd three accidents happned; the first a few days after our arrival Dismasted a large Duch Indiaman which lay next ship to us, and wounding two or three of her people; Nor were we totaly exempt from the consequences of that very flash, which according to the beleif of those on board came down the lightning chain and certainly struck down the Sentry who stood near it.
Besides these frugiferous forests, the countrey has all the appearance of unwholsomeness imaginable. I may venture to call it for some miles round the town one universal flat, as I know few exceptions to it; this flat is intersected in many directions by rivers, in still more by Canals navigable for small vessels, but worst of all is the Ditches, which as in the marshes of Lincolnshire are the universal fences of feilds and gardens, hedges being almost totaly unusd here; nor are filthy fenny bogs and morasses, as well fresh and salt, wanting even in the near neighbourhood of the town, to add their banefull influence to the rest and compleat the unhealthyness of the countrey, which much as I have said of it I beleive I have not exagerated. The people themselves speak of it in as strong terms as I do, while the pale faces and diseasd bodies of those who are said to be inurd to it, as well as the preventive medicines &c &c . and the frequent attacks of disease they are subject to, abundantly testifie to the truth of what they assert. The very church yards shew it by the number of graves constantly open in them, far disproportionate to the number of people; the inhabitants themselves talk of death with the same indifference as people in a Camp - it is hardly a peice of news to tell any one of the death of another unless the dead man is of high rank or somehow concer[n]d in money matters with the other; if the death of any acquaintance is mentiond it commonly produces some such reflexion as Well, it is very well he owed me nothing, or I should have had it to get from his Executors.
So much for the neighbourhood of Batavia. As far round it as I had an opportunity of going I saw only two exceptions to this general description: one, where the Generals countrey house is situated, which is a gradualy rising hill of a tolerable extent, but so little raisd above the common level that you are hardly sensible of being upon it by any mark but the canals leaving you and the ditches being changd into bad Hedges; the Governor himself has however straind a Point to enclose his own garden with a ditch, to be in fashion I suppose. The other is the place where a famous market calld Passar Tanabank is held; here and here only during my whole stay I had the satisfaction of mounting up a hill of about ten yards perpendicular hight and tolerably steep. About 40 miles inland however are some pretty high hills, where as we were informd the countrey is healthy in a high degree and even at certain hights tolerably cool; there European vegetables flourish in high perfection, even strawberries which bear heat very ill; the people who live there also have Colour in their cheeks, a thing totaly unknown at Batavia where the milk white faces of all the inhabitants are unstaind with any Colour, especialy the women who never go into the sun, are consequently free from tann, and have certainly the whitest skins imaginable. From what cause it proceeds is difficult to say, but in general it is observ'd that they keep their health much better than the men, even those lately arrivd from Europe. On these hills some of the principal people have countrey houses which they visit once a year; the General especialy has one, said to be built upon the Plan of Blenheim house near Oxford, but never finishd. Physicians also often send people here for the recovery of health lost in the low countrey and say that the effects of such a change of air is almost miraculous, working an instant change in favour of the patient, who during his stay there remains well, but no sooner returns to his necessary occupations at Batavia than his complaints return in just the same degree as they were in before his departure.
Few parts of the world I beleive are better furnish'd with necessaries, as well as Luxuries of life, than the Island of Java. The unhealthyness of the countrey about Batavia is in this particular rather an advantage to it, for the very cause of it, a low flat situation, is likewise the cause of a fruitfullness of Soil hardly to be paraleld; which is suficiently testified by the flourishing condition of the immense quantities of fruit trees all round the town, as well as by the quantity and excellence of their Crops of sugar Cane, Rice, Indian Corn &c . &c . Indeed the Whole Island is allowd to be uncommonly fruitfull by those who have seen it, and in general as wholesome, excepting only such low fenny spots as the Neighbourhood of Batavia, far fitter to sow Rice upon than to build towns.
The Tame quadrupeds are Horses, Cattle, Buffaloes, Sheep, Goats and Hogs. The horses are small, never exceeding in size what we call a stout Gallaway, but nimble and spirited; they are said to have been found here when the Europeans first came round the Cape of Good Hope. The Cattle are said to be the same as those in Europe, but differ from them in appearance so much that I am much inclind to Doubt; they have however the Palearia, which naturalists make to be the Distinguishing mark of our Species; on the other hand they are found wild not only on Java but on several of the Eastern Islands. The flesh of those that I eat at Batavia was rather finer Graind than European Beef, but much Drier and always terribly lean. Buffaloes are very plentifull, but the Dutch are so much prejudic'd against them that they will not at all eat their flesh nor even drink their milk, affirming that it causes fevers; the natives however and Chinese do both, and have no such opinion concerning them. Their sheep, which are of that sort whose ears hang down and have hair instead of wool, are most intolerably bad, lean, and tough to the last degree; they have however a few Cape sheep which are excellent, tho intolerably dear, we gave 2£/5s apeice for four which we bought for sea stock, the heavyest of which weighd only 45lb. Their Goats are much of a par with their sheep, but their hogs are certainly excellent, especialy the Chinese, which are so immensely fat that no one thinks of Buying the fat with the Lean; the Butcher when you buy it cuts off as much as you please and sells it to his countrey men the Chinese, who melt it down and eat it instead of Butter with their rice. Notwithstanding the excellence of this Pork, the Duch are so prejudic'd in favour of every thing which comes from Fatherland that they will not at all eat it but use intirely the Dutch Breed, which are sold as much dearer than the Chinese here as the Chinese are dearer than them in Europe.
Besides these Domestick animals their woods afford some wild Horses and Cattle, But these only in the distant mountains and there very scarce. Buffaloes are not wild upon Java, tho they are upon Macassar and several of the Eastern Islands plentifully; the Neighbourhood of Batavia however is pretty plentifully supplyd with Deer of two kinds and wild hogs, both which are very good meat and often shot by the Portugese, who sell them tolerably cheap; Monkeys also there are tho but few in the Neighbourhood of Batavia.
On the mountains and in the more desert part of the Island are Tygers, it is said in too great abundance, and some Rhinocerosses, but neither of these animals are ever heard of in the Neighbourhood of Batavia or indeed any well peopled part of the Island.
Fish are in immense plenty, many sorts of them very excellent, and inconceiveably cheap, But the Dutch, true to the dictates of Luxury, buy none but these which are scarce. We who in the course of our long migration in the warm latitudes had learnd the real excellence of many of the cheapest sorts, wonderd much at seeing them the food of none but Slaves; on enquiry however of a sensible housekeeper he told us that he as well as us knew that for 1 shilling he could purchase a better dish of fish than he did for 10; but said he I dare not do it, for should it be known that I did, I should be look'd upon in the same light as one in Europe who coverd his table with offals fit for nothing but Beggars or dogs. Turtle is also here in abundance, but despisd by Europeans, indeed for what reason I know not: it is neither so sweet or so fat as our West India Turtle even in England. They have also a kind of Large Lizards or Iguanas some of which are said to be as thick as a mans thigh; I shot one about 5 feet long and it provd very good meat.
Poultrey is prodigiously plentifull; very large fowls, Ducks also and Geese are cheap, pidgeons are rather dear, and Turkies extravagant; in general what we eat at Batavia were lean and dry, but this I am convinc'd proceeds from being ill fed, as I have eat there of every kind as good or better than commonly met with in Europe.
Wild Fowl in General is here scarce, I saw during my stay one wild duck in the feilds but never one to be sold; Snipes however of 2 kinds, one exactly the same as those in Europe, and a kind of Thrushes are plentifully sold every day by the Portugese, who for I know not what reason seem to monopolize all the wild game.
Nor is the earth less fruitfull of vegetables than she is of animals. Rice, which every body knows is to the inhabitants of these countreys the Common corn which serves instead of Bread, is very plentifull. One kind of it is planted here and in many of the Eastern Islands which in the western parts of India is totaly unknown; it is calld by the Natives Paddy Gunang, that is mountain rice; this, contrary to the other sort, which must be under water three parts of the time of its growth, is planted upon the sides of hills where no water but rain can possibly come; they take however the advantage of planting it in the beginning of the rainy Season by which means they reap it in the beginning of the dry. How far this kind of rice might be useful in our West Indian Islands, where they grow no bread corn at all, I leave to the judgement of those who know their respective interests; and whether the Cassava or Manihot, their substitute for bread, is not as wholesome and cheaper than any thing else which could be introducd among them. Besides rice they grow also Indian corn or Mayz, which they gather when young and toast in the Ear; they have also vast variety of kidney beans and Lentils, which they call Cadjang, and make a great part of the food of the common people; they have also Millet, Yams both wet and dry, sweet Potatoes, and some European potatoes not to be despisd but dear. Their Gardens produce Cabbage, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Radishes, China white Radishes which boil almost as well as Turnips, carrots, parsley, Selery, Pidgeon pease (Cytissus Cajan), kidney beans of two sorts (Dolichos chinensis and Lignosus), Egg plant (solanum Melongena) which eats delicately broild with pepper and salt, a kind of greens much like spinage (Convolvulus reptans), Onions very small but good, Asparagus scarce and very bad; they had also some strong smelling European plants, as sage, Hyssop, and Rue, which they thought smelt much stronger here than in their native soils tho I cannot say I was sensible of it. But the produce of the Earth from whence they derive the greatest advantage is Sugar; of it they grow immense quantities and have vast crops with little care of the finest largest canes imaginable, which I am inclind to beleive contain in an equal quantity a far larger proportion of sugar than our West India ones. White sugar is sold here for about 2¼d a pound, besides which the Molasses makes their Arrack, in which, as in rum, it is the cheif ingredient, a small quantity of Rice only and some Cocoa nut wine being added, which I suppose gives it its particular flavour. Indigo also they grow a little of, but I beleive no more than is necessary for their own use.
The fruits of the East Indies are in general so much cryd up by those who have eat of them, and so much prefer'd to our European ones, that I shall give a full list of all the sorts which were in Season during our stay, and afterwards my judgement of Each, which I must confess is not so much in their favour as that of the generality of Europeans after their return home, tho while here I did not find that they were more fond of them or spoke more in their praise when compard with European fruits than I did.
|1. Pine apple||Bromelia Ananas|
|2. Sweet Oranges||Citrus Aurant Sinens|
|3. Pumplmoes||Citrus Decumanus|
|4. Lemon||Citrus medica Limon|
|6. Mango||Mangifera indica|
|8. Grapes||Vitis vinifera|
|9. Tamarinds||Tamarindus indica|
|10. Water melons||Cucurbita Citrullus|
|11. Pumkins||Cucurbita Pepo|
|12. Papaws||Carica Papaia|
|13. Guava||Psidium pomiferum|
|14. Sweet Sop||Annona squamosa|
|15. Custard apple||Annona reticulata|
|16. Cashew apple||Anacardium occidenta[le]|
|17. Cocoa nut||Cocos Nucifera|
|18. Mangostan||Garcinia Mangostana|
|19. Jambu||Eugenia Malaccensis|
|20. Jambu ayer||Eugenia|
|21. Jambu ayer Mauwar||Eugenia Jambos|
|22. Pomgranate||Punica Granatum|
|24. Nanca||Sitodium cauliflor|
|28. Boa Bidarra||Rhampus Jujuba|
|29. Nam Nam||Cynometra cauliflora|
|30. Catappa||Terminalia Catappa|
|31. Canari||Canarium commune|
|34. Blimbing||Averrhoa Bilimbi|
|35. Blimbing Bessi||Averrhoa Carambola|
|36. Cherrema||Averrhoa acida|
|37. Solack||Calamus Rotang Zalacca|
Besides these, they have several fruits which the natives only eat, as Kellor Guilindina, Moringa Succum of two or three kinds, the same as is calld bread fruit in the South Seas; all the kinds here however, are so incomparably inferior to the South Sea ones, that was it not for the great similitude of the outward apearance of both tree and fruit, they would scarce deserve that name, Bilinju (Gnetum Gnemon) Boa Bune &c &c . All which I shall pass over in silence as not deserving to be mentiond to any but hungry people, and pass to those of a more gratefull flavour, among the first of which the pine apple Calld here Nanas, will always appear. These are here very large, and so plentifull that in cheap times I have been told that a man who buys them at the first hand may get them for a farthing apeice; when we were there we could get without much hagling two or three for two pence halfpenny at the common fruit shops. In quality they are certainly good and well flavourd, as good but not a bit better than those which are calld good in England. So Luxuriant are they in their growth that most of them have 2 or 3 crowns and a large number of suckers from the bottom of the fruit, I have counted nine; these are so forward that they often while still adhering to the mother shoot out their fruit, which by the time the large one is ripe are come to a tolerably large size; of these I have seen 3 upon one apple and have been told that 9 have been seen, but that was esteemd so great a curiosity that it was preservd in sugar and sent to the Prince of Orange.
2. Oranges are tolerably good but while we were here were very dear, seldom less than 6 pence apeice. 3. Pumplemoeses, calld in the West Indies Shaddocks, were well flavourd but had no juice in them, which we were told depended upon the season. 4. Lemons were very scarce but the want of them was amply made up by the plenty of 5. Limes, of which the best were to be bought for about 12 pence a hundred. Seville Oranges I saw 2 or 3 only, which were almost all peel; besides these there are many sorts of oranges and lemons, none of which are at all esteemd by Europeans or indeed by the natives themselves. 6. Mango; this fruit during our stay was so infested with maggots, which bred in the inside of them, that out of 10 scarce 4 would be free, nor were those which were by any means so good as those of Brazil. Europeans commonly compare this fruit with a melting peach, to which in softness and sweetness it certainly aproaches, but in flavour as certainly falls much short of any that can be calld good. The Climate as I have been told here is too hot and Damp for them, and on the Coast of India they are much better. Here are as many sorts of them almost as of Apples in England, some much superior to others; some of the worse sorts are so bad that the natives themselves can hardly eat them when ripe, but use them as an acid when just full grown. One sort Calld by them Mangha Cowani has so strong a smell that a European can scarce bear one in the room; these however the natives are fond of. The best sorts for eating are first, Mangha Doodool, incomparably better than any other, next Mangha Santock and Mangha Gure, and besides these three I know no other which a European would at all be pleasd with. 7. Of Bananes here are likewise innumerable kinds, 3 only of which are good to eat as fruit, viz. Pissang Mas, Pissang Radja, and Pissang Ambon, all of which have a tolerably vinous taste; the rest however are usefull in their way, some are fried with batter, others boild in Lieu of Bread, which is here a dearer article than meat &c . One of the sorts however deserves to be taken notice of by Botanists, it being contrary to the nature of the rest of its tribe full of seeds, from whence it is calld Pissang Batu or Pissang Bidjis; it has however no excellence to recommend it to the taste or any other way except it is, as the Malayers think, good for the flux. 8. Grapes are here to be had but in no great perfection; they are however sufficiently dear, a bunch about the size of a fist costing a shilling or 18 pence. 9. Tamarinds are prodigiously common and as cheap; the people however either do not know how to put them up as the West Indians do, or do not practise it, but cure them with Salt, by which means they become a black mass so disagreable to the sight and taste that few Europeans chuse to meddle with them. 10. Water melons are plentifull and good, as are also 11. Pumkins, which are certainly almost, or quite, the most usefull fruit which can be carried to sea, keeping without any care for several months, and making with Sugar and lemon juice a pye hardly to be distinguishd from Apple pye, as well as with Pepper and salt a substitute for Turnips not to be despisd. 12. Papaws. This fruit when ripe is full of seeds and almost without flavour, but while green if par'd, the Core taken out, and boild is also as good or better than turnips. 13. Guiava is a fruit praisd much by the inhabitants of our West Indies, who I suppose have a better sort than we met with here, where the smell of them alone was so abominably strong that Dr Solander, whose stomack is very delicate, could not even bear them in the room; nor did their taste make any amends, partaking much of the Goatish rankness of their smell. Baked in pyes however they lost much of this rankness and we less nice ones eat them very well. 14. Sweet Sop, Also a West Indian fruit, is nothing but a vast quantity of large kernels, from which a small proportion of very sweet pulp may be suckd, but almost totaly devoid of flavour. 15. Custard Apple likewise is common to our West Indies, where it has got its name which well enough expresses its qualities, for certainly it is as like a Custard, and a good one too, as can be imagind. 16. Casshew apple is seldom or never eat on account of its astringency; the nut that grows on the top of it is well known in Europe, where it is brought from the West Indies. 17. Cocoa nut is well known Every where between the tropicks, of it are infinite different sorts; the best we met with for drinking is calld Calappa Edjou, and easily known by the redness of the flesh between the Skin and the shell. 18. Mangostan. As this and some more are fruits peculiar to the East Indies I shall give short descriptions of them. This is about the size of a Crab apple and of a deep red wine Colour; at the top of them is a mark made by 5 or 6 small triangles, joind in a circle, and at the bottom several hollow green leaves, the remains of the flower; when they are to be eat the skin or rather flesh, which is thick, must be taken of, under which are found 6 or 7 white kernels placd in a circular figure; the pulp with which these are invelopd is what is eat and few things I beleive are more delicious; so agreably is acid mixd with sweet in this fruit that without any other flavour it comes in competition with, if not excells the finest flavourd fruits. So wholesome also are these Mangostans that they, as well as sweet oranges, are allowd without stint to people in the highest fevers. 19. Jambu is esteemd also a most wholesome fruit; it is of a deep red and oval shape, the largest as big as a small apple; it has not much flavour but is certainly very pleasant on account of its Coolness; there are several sorts of it, but without much reference to kinds the Largest and reddest are always the best. 20. Jambu Ayer. Of these are two sorts, alike in shape, resembling a bell, but differing, one red and the other white; in size they a little exceed a large cherry, in taste they are totaly devoid of flavour or even sweetness, being nothing more than water a little acidulated, and yet their Coolness recommends them very much. 21. Jambu Ayer Mauwar is more pleasant to the smell than the taste, in the latter resembling something the Conserve of Roses, as in the former the fresh scent of those flowers. 22. Pomegranate is the same fruit in England and every where else that I have met with it, in my opinion but ill repaying any one who takes the trouble of breaking its tough hide. 23. Durion in shape resembles something a small Melon, but has a skin coverd over with sharp conical spines, whence its name Dure, signifying in the Malay language a spine; this fruit when ripe divides itself longitudinaly into 7 or 8 compartments, each of which contains 6 or 7 Nuts, not quite so large as chestnuts, coated over with a substance both in colour and consistence resembling much very thick cream; this is the delicate part of the fruit which the natives are vastly fond of, but few Europeans at first however can endure its taste, which resembles sugard cream mixd with onions; the smell also prejudices them much against it, being most like that of rotten onions. 24 Nanca, calld in some parts of India Jack, has like the Durion a smell very disagreable to strangers, like very mellow apples with a little garlick; the taste however in my opinion makes amends for the smell, tho I must say that among us English I beleive I was single in that opinion. Authors tell strange Stories of the immence size to which this fruit grows in some countries which are favourable to it: Rumphius says that they are sometimes so large that a man can not easily lift one of them; the Malays told me that at Madura they were so large that two men could but carry one of them; at Batavia however they never exceed the size of a large melon, which in shape they resemble, but are coated over with angular spines like the shootings of some Chrystals, which however are soft and do not at all prick any one who handles them. 25. Tsjampada differs from Nanka in little else than size. 26. Rambútan is a fruit seldom mentiond by Europeans; it is in appearance much like a Chestnut with the husk on, being like it coverd with soft prickles, but smaller and of a deep red colour; when eat this skin must be cut, and under it is a fruit the flesh of which indeed bears but a small proportion to the stone, but makes rich amends for the smallness of its quantity by the elegance of its acid, superior to any other (maybe) in the whole vegetable kingdom. 27. Jambolan is in size and appearance not unlike a Damson in England, but has always rather to[o] astringent a flavour to Allow it to be compard even with that fruit. 28. Boa Bidara is a round yellow fruit about the size of a musquet Bullet; in flavour it is compard to an apple but like the former has too much astringency to be compard with any thing but a Crab. 29. Nam Nam is shapd something like a kidney, very rough and rugged on the outside and about 3 inches long; it is seldom eat raw, but fryd with batter makes very good fritters. 30. Catappa, 31. Canari are both nutts, the kernels of which are compard to almonds, and indeed are full as sweet, but the difficulty of getting their kernels from out of their tough rinds and hard shells is so great that they are no where publickly sold, nor did I taste any others than those which for curiosity sake I gatherd from the tree, and had opend under it. 31. Madja, under a hardish brittle shell Contains a lightly acid pulp, which is not eat unless mixd with sugar, nor is it then to be calld pleasant. 33. Suntul is by far the worst fruit of any I have or shall mention; it is in size and shape much like the Madja, as large as a midling apple but rounder; it has a thick hide containing within it kernels like the Mangostan, the taste of which is both acid and astringent without one merit to recomend it; indeed I should not have thought it eatable had I not seen it often publickly exposd to sale upon the fruit stalls. 34. Blimbing, 35. Blimbing Bessi, 36. Cherrima are all three species of one genus, which tho they differ much in shape agree in being equaly acid, too much so to be usd without dressing, except only Blimbing Bessi which is sweeter than the other two; they make however excellent sour sauce and as good pickles. 37. Salack is the fruit of a most prickley bush; itself is as big as a walnut and coverd over with scales like those of a lizzard or snake; these scales however easily strip off and leave two or three soft and yellow kernels, in flavour to me resembling a little Strawberries; in this however I was particular, for no one but myself likd them. In short I beleive I may say that bad as the Character is that I have given of these fruits, I eat as many of them as any one, and at the time thought as well and spoke as well of them as the Best freinds they had. My opinions were then as they are now; whether my shipmates may change theirs between here and home I cannot tell.
Besides they no doubt have many more which were not in Season during our stay. We were told also that several kinds of European fruits, as apples, strawberries &c had been planted up in the mountains where they came to great perfection, but this I can only advance upon the credit of Report. Several other fruits they have also which they preserve in Sugar as Kimkit, Boa Atap, &c &c . but these require to be that way prepard before they are at all eatable.
Batavia consumes a quantity of fruits hardly to be beleivd, the greatest part of which before they are sold are over ripe or otherwise bad, nor can a stranger easily get any that are good unless he goes to a street cald Passar Pissang, which lies North from the great church and very near it. Here live none but Chinese, who sell fruit; they are in general supplied from Gentlemens gardens in the neighbourhood of the town, and consequently have the best and always fresh; for this excellence of their goods however they are well paid, for they will not take less for any kind than 3 or 4 times as much as the market price, nor did we ever grudge to give it as their fruit was always ten times better than any in the market. The cheif supplies of Batavia Come from a pretty considerable distance, where great quantities of land are cultivated merely for the sake of fruits; the countrey people to whoom these Lands belong meet the towns people at two great markets, one on Mondays calld Passar Sineen, and the other on Saturdays calld Passir Tanabank, held at very different places for the convenience of Different districts, each however about 5 miles from Batavia; here the best of fruits may be got at the cheapest rates. The sight of these markets is to a European very entertaining: the immense quantities of fruit exposd here is almost beyond beleif, 40 or 50 Cartloads of pine apples packd as carelessly as we would do Turnips in England is nothing extrordinary and every thing else is in the same profusion; the time of these markets is however so ill contrivd that as on Monday or Saturday all the fruit for the ensueing week, both for retailers and houseke[e]per[s], must be bought in. Before Friday there is no good fruit in the hands of any people but the Chinese in Passar Pisang.
Thus much for meat. In the article of Drink nature has not been quite so bounteous to the inhabitants of this Island as she has to some of us sons of the Less abundant north; they are not however totaly devoid of strong liquors tho their religion, Mahometanism, forbids them the use of such, by this means driving them from liquid to solid intoxicators, as Opium, tobacco &c &c .
Besides their Arrack, which is too well known in Europe to need any description, they have Palm wine made from a species of Palm cald in the Malay and Javan Language Aren ( ). This Liquor is Extracted from the Branches which were to have born flowers, but are cut by the people who make it their business and Joints of Bamboe cane hung under them, into which the Liquor intended by nature for the nourishment of both flowers and fruit distills in tolerable abundance; and so true is nature to her paths that as long as the fruit of that branch would have remaind unripe, so long she supplys the liquor or sap, but no longer. This liquor is sold in three states: the first is almost as it comes from the tree, prepard only a little by some method unknown to me which causes it to keep 36 or 48 hours instead of only 12; in this state it is sweet and pleasant, only tasting a little of smoak, which tho at first disagreable becomes agreable by use and not at all intoxicating; it [is] Calld Tuackmanise or sweet palm wine. The other two, one of which is calld Tuack cras, and the other Tuack cuning, are prepard by laying certain herbs and roots in them, and then fermenting so that their taste is alterd from sweet to [a] rather astringent and disagreable taste, and they have acquird the property of intoxicating in a pretty high degree. Besides this they have Tuack from the Cocoanut tree, but very little of this is drank as a liquor, it being mostly us'd for putting into the arrack, in which when intended to be good it is a necessary ingredient.
Next to eating and drinking and one more delicious as well as less blameable luxury, the inhabitants of this part of India seem to place their cheif Delight in sweet smells, of Burning rosins &c . and sweet scented woods; but more than all in sweet flowers, of which they have several sorts very different from ours in Europe, of which I shall give a short account, confining myself however to such as were in season during our stay here, beginning with a list of them.
|1. Champacka||Michelia Champacca|
|2. Cananga||Uvaria Cananga|
|3. Mulatti||Nyctanthes Sambac|
|5. Combang Tonquin||Pergularia glabra|
|6. Sundal Malam||Polianthes tuberosa|
|7. Bonga Tanjong||Mimusops Elengi|
All these sorts were sold about the streets every night at sunset, either strung upon strings in wreaths of about 2 feet (a Duch ell) long, or made up into different sorts of nosegays, either of which cost about a halfpenny apeice. But I shall now proceed to give a short description of each. 1. then, Champacca. It grows upon a tree as large as an apple tree, and like it spreading; the flower itself consists of 15 longish narow petala, which gives it the appearance of being double tho in reality it is not; its colour is yellow, much deeper than that of a Jonquil, which flower however it somewhat resembles in Scent only is not so violently strong. 2. Cananga is a green flower, not at all resembling any European flower, either in appearance which is more like a bunch of leaves than a flower, or smell which however is very agreable. 3. Mulatti is wel known in English hot houses under the name of Arabian Jasmine; it is here in prodigious abundance and certainly as fragrant as any flower they have, but of this as well as all the Indian flowers it may be said that tho full as sweet as any European ones even of the same sorts, they have not that overcoming strengh, in short their smell tho very much the same, is much more delicate and elegant than any we can boast of. 4 and 5. Combang Caracnassi and Combang Tonquin are much alike in shape and smell, small flowers of the dogs bane kind, hardly to be compard to any in our English gardens, but like all the past most elegant in their fragrance. 6. Sundal Malam, the same as our English Tuberose, this flower is less in size considerably as well as more mildly fragrant than ours in Europe. The Malay name signifies intriguer of the night, from an Idea rather pretty: the heat of the climate here allows few or no flowers to smell in the day, and this especialy from its want of smell and modest white array seems not at all desirous of admirers, but when night comes its fragrance is diffusd around and attracts the attention as well as gains the admiration of every passer by. 7. Bonga Tanjong is shapd quite like a star of 7 or 8 rays, about ½ an inch in diameter; it is of a yellowish colour, and like its fellows a modest agreable smell, but its cheif use is contrasting the Mulatti on the wreaths which the ladies here wear in their hair, and this it does very prettily.
Besides these there are in private gardens many other sweet flowers which are not in sufficient plenty to be brought to market, as Cape Jasmine, several sorts of Arabian Jasmine, tho none so sweet as the Common &c . &c . They have also a mixture of several of these flowers and leaves of a plant Calld Pandang (Pandanus ) choppd small, with which they fill their hair and cloths &c ; but their great Luxury is strewing their beds full of this mixture and flowers so that you sleep in the midst of perfumes, a luxury scarce to be expressd nor at all conceivd in Europe, where stewing under 3 or 4 blankets even fragrant odours cannot enjoy that liberty they do in India under none, or at most the covering of a single peice of fine Chintz.
Before I leave the Productions of this countrey I cannot help saying a word or two about spice, tho in reality none but pepper is a native of the Island of Java, and but little even of that. Of pepper however I may say that large as the quantities of it are that are annualy imported into Europe, little or none is usd in this part of the Indies; Capsicum or Cayan pepper as it is call'd in Europe has almost totaly supplyd its place. As for Cloves and Nutmegs, the monopoly of the Duch has made them too dear to be plentifully usd by the Malays, who are otherwise very fond of them. Cloves, tho said to be originaly the Produce of Machian or Bachian, a small Island far to the Eastward and only 15 miles to the Northward of the Line, from whence they were when the Duch came here disseminated over most or all of the Eastern Isles, are now intirely confind to Amboina and its Neighbouring small Islets; the Dutch having by different treaties of peace made with the conquerd kings of all the other Islands stipulated that they should have only a certain number of trees in their dominions, and in future quarrels, as a punishment, lessned their quantity till at last they left them [none] Nor any right to have any. Nutmegs have been in the same manner extirpated in all the Islands except their native Banda, which easily supplys this world, and would as easily supply another if the Duch had but another to supply. Of nutmegs however there certainly are a few upon the Eastern coast of New Guinea, a place on which the Duch hardly dare set their feet on account of the treachery and warlike disposition of the natives; there may be also both Cloves and nutmegs upon others of the Islands far to the Eastward, for those I beleive neither the Dutch or any other nation seem to think it worth while to examine at all into.
The town of Batavia, tho the Capital of the Duch Dominions in India, is so far from being peopled with Dutch men that I may safely affirm that of the Europeans inhabiting it and its neighbourhood not one fifth part are Dutchmen; besides these are Native, Portugese, Indians, and Chinese, the two last many times exceeding the Europeans in Number. Of Each of these I shall speak seperately, beginning with the Europeans, of which there were some especialy in the troops of almost every nation in Europe; the Germans however are so much the most numerous that they 2 or 3 times exceed in number all other Europeans together. Fewer English are settled here than of any other nation, and next to them French: the Politick Dutch well knowing that the English and French being maritime powers must often have ships in the East Indies, and will demand and Obtain from them the subjects of their respective kings, will not enter either English or Frenchman into their service, unless they give in their place of natavity to be in some place out of their own countrey. This trick, foolish as it is, was playd with us in the case of an Irishman who we got on board, and they demanded for a Dane, Offering to prove by their books that he was born at Elsinoor; but our Captn convinc'd by the mans Language what countrey man he was, refus'd to give him up so resolutely that they soon ceasd their demands. Notwithstanding the very great number of other Europeans the Duch are political enough to keep all or near all the Great posts, as Raads of India, Governors, &c . in their own hands: other nations may make fortunes here by trafick if they can, but not by employments. No man can come over here in any other character than that of a soldier in the Companies service, in which before they can be accepted they must agree to remain 5 years; as soon however as ever they arrive at Batavia, they by applying to the counsel [may?] be allowd to Absent themselves from their Core, and enter immediately into any vocation in which they have any money or credit to set them up in.
Women may come out without any of these restrictions, or indeed any others, be they of what nation they will. We were told that there were not in Batavia 20 women born in Europe, the rest of the white women, who were not very scarce, were born of white parents, possibly through three or four families, as many generations distant from their European mothers. These imitate the Indian in every particular: their dress except in form is the same, their hair is worn in the same manner, and they chew Betele as plentifully as any Indians, notwithstanding which I never saw a white man chew it during my whole stay.
Merchandise is carried on in an easier and more indolent way here I beleive than in any other part of the world. The Chinese carry on every manufacture of the place and sell the produce to the resident merchants, for indeed they dare not sell to any foreigner; consequently when a Ship comes in and bespeaks 100 Leggers off Arrack or any thing else, he has nothing to do but to send orders to his China man to deliver them on board such a ship; which done he brings the Master of the ships receipt for the goods to his Employer, who does nothing but receive money from the Stranger, and reserving his profit, pay the China man his demands. With imports however, they must have a little more trouble, for them they must examine, receive, and preserve in their own warehouses, as other merchants do.
To give a character of them in their dealings, I need only say that the Jewel known to English merchants by the name of fair dealing is totaly unknown here - they have joind all the art of trade that a Dutchman is famous for to the deceit of an Indian. Cheating by false weights and measures, false samples, &c , &c . are lookd upon only as arts of trade: if you do not find them out tis well; if you do, Well they say, then we must give you what is wanting, and refund without a blush or the least wrangle, as I myself have seen in matters relating to the ship. But their great fort is asking one price for their commodities and charging another, so that a man who has laid in 100 pecol of sugar, as he thinks at 5 dollars a pecul, after it has been a week or ten days on board will have a bill brought him in at 7, nor will the Merchant go from his charge unless a written agreement or witnesses can be brought to prove the bargain. For my own part, I was fortunate enough to have heard this character of them before I came here, and wanting nothing but daily provision agreed immediately in writing for every article at a certain price, which consequently my Landlord could never depart from; I also, as long as I was well, constan[t]ly once a week lookd over my bill and took it into my posession, never however without scratching out the charges of things which I had never had, to a considerable amount, which was always done without a moments hesitation.
Next to the Dutch are the Portugese, who are calld by the Native Oran serane, that is Nazareens, to distinguish them from other Europeans, Notwisthstanding which they are included in the general Name of Capir or Cafir, an approbious term given by the Mahometans to all those who have not enterd into their faith, of whatsoever religion they may be. These tho formerly they were Portugese have no longer any pretentions to more than the name; they have all chang'd their religion and become Lutherans, and have no communication or even knowledge of the Countrey of their forefathers; they speak indeed a corrupt dialect of the Portugese language, but much oftener Malay. None of them are sufferd to employ themselves in any but mean occupations, many make their livelihood by hunting, taking in washing, and some by handicraft trades; their Customs are precisely the same as those of the Indians, like them they chew Betele, and are only to be distinguishd from them by their noses being sharper, their skins considerably blacker, and their Hair dress'd in a manner different from that us'd by the Indians.
The Duch, Portugese and Indians here are intirely waited upon by Slaves whoom they purchase from Sumatra, Malacca, and almost all their Eastern Islands; the natives of Java only have an exemption from slavery, enforc'd by strong penal laws, which I beleive are very seldom broke through. The price of these slaves is from 10 to 20 pound Sterling apeice, excepting young girls who are sold on account of their beauty, these sometimes go as high as 100 but I beleive never higher. They are a most lazy set of people, but contented with a little boild rice with a little of the cheapest fish, is the food which they prefer to all others. They differ immensely in form of Body and disposition, consequently in Value according to the countries they come from: African negroes calld here Papua are the cheapest and worst disposd of any being given up to stealing and almost incorrigible by stripes; next to them are the Bougis and the Macassars, Both inhabitants of the Island of Celebes, they are lazy and revengefull in the highest degree, Easily giving up their lives to satisfie their revenge; the Island of Bali sends the honestest and most faithful, consequently the dearest slaves; and Nias, a small Island on the Coast of Sumatra, the hansomest women but of tender delicate Constitutions, ill able to bear the unwholesome climate of Batavia. Besides these are many more sorts whose names and qualifications I have intirely forgot.
The laws and customs regarding the punishment of Slaves are these: A master may punish a slave as far as he thinks proper by stripes, but should death be the consequence he is calld to a very severe account, if the fact is provd very rarely escaping with life. There is however an officer in every quarter of the town, calld Marineu, who is a kind of constable; he attends to quell all riots, takes up all people guilty of crimes &c , but is more particularly used for the apprehending runaway slaves, and punishing them for that or any other crime for which their master thinks they deserve a greater punishment than he chuses to inflict. These punishments are inflicted by slaves bred up to the business; on men they are inflicted before the door of their masters house, on women for decency sake within it; they are stripes given in number according to custom and the nature of the Crime, with rods made of split rattans which fetch blood at every stroke, consequently they may be and sometimes are very severe; a common punishment costs the master of the slave a rixdollar, 4s, and a severe one about a ducatoon, 6s8d. For their encouragement however and to prevent them from stealing, the master of every slave is obligd to give him 3 dubbelcheys, 7½d a week.
Extrordinary as it may seem there are very few Javans, that is descendants of the original inhabitants of Java, who live in the neighbourhood of Batavia. But as many countries as the Dutch import slaves from, so many sorts of Indians are there, who are either slaves made free or the desendants of such; they are alltogether calld by the name of Oran Slam or Isalam, a name by which they distinguish themselves from all other religions, it signifying beleivers of the true faith. They are again subdivided into innumerable divisions, every countrey keeping themselves in some degree distinct from the rest; the dispositions generaly observd in the slaves are however verified in the free men, who compleatly inherit the different vices or virtues of their respective countries.
Many of these employ themselves in cultivating gardens and selling fruits and flowers; Betele and Arec, calld here Siri and Pinang, is all grown by them, of which an immense qua[n]tity is chewd by Portugese, Chinese and Slams, slaves and free men. The lime that they use here is however slackd, by which means their teeth are not eat up in the same manner as the Savoo people, who use it unslackd; they mix with it also a substance calld Gambir which is brought from the Continent of India, and the better sort of women use with their chew many sorts of perfumes, as cardamoms &c . &c . to give the breath an agreable smell. Many also get a livelihood by fishing and carrying goods upon the water &c . &c ; some however there are who are very rich and live splendidly in their own way, which consists almost intirely in a number of Slaves.
In the article of food no people can be more Abstemious than they are. Boild rice is of Rich as well as poor the principal part of the subsistence, this with a small proportion of fish, Buffaloe or fowl, and sometimes dryd fish and dry shrimps brought here from China, is the cheif of their food; every thing however must be highly seasond with Cayan pepper. They have also many pastry dishes made of Rice flower and other things I am totaly ignorant of, which are very pleasant, fruit also they eat much of especialy plantanes.
Their feasts are plentifull and in their way magnificent, tho they consist more of shew than meat; artificial flowers &c . are in profusion and meat plentifull tho of no great variety of dishes. Their religion of Mahometanism denies them the use of strong liquors, nor I beleive do they trespas much in that way, having always Tobacco, Betele and opium to intoxicate themselves. Their weddings are carried on with vast form and shew, the families concernd borrowing as many Gold and silver ornaments as possible to adorn the Bride and bride groom, so that their dresses are always costly; the feasts and ceremonies relating to them last in rich mens families a fortnigh[t] or more, all which time the man, tho married the first day, is by the women kept from his wife.
The language spoke among them is intirely Malay or at least so calld, for I beleive it is a most corrupt dialect of that Language, for notwistanding that Java has two or three, and almost every little Island beside its own language distinct from the rest, yet none use or I beleive remember their own language; so that this Lingua Franca Malay is the only Language you hear spoken in this neigbourhood, and I have been told over a very large part of the East Indies.
Their women, and in imitation of them the Dutch also, wear as much hair as ever they can nurse up on their heads, which by the use of oils &c . is incredibly great; it is universaly black, and they wear it in a kind of circular wreath upon the tops of their heads fastned there with a Bodkin, in a taste inexpressibly elegant. I have often wishd that one of our ladies could see a malay womans head dressd in this manner, with her wreath of flowers, commonly Arabian Jasmine, round that of hair, for in that method of dress there is certainly an Elegant simplicity and unafected shew of the beauties of nature, incomparably superior to any thing I have seen in the Labourd head dresses of my fair countrey women.
Both sexes bathe themselves in the river constantly, at least once a day, a most necessary custom in hot climates where the profuse perspiration attracts and retains dirt of all kinds in a high degree. Their teeth also, disgustfull as they must appear to an European from their blackness occasiond by their continual chewing of Betele, are a great object of their attention; every one must have them fil'd into the fashionable form, which is done with whetstones by a most troublesome and painfull operation. First both the upper and under teeth are rubbd till they are perfectly even and quite blunt, so that the two jaws lose not less than ½ a line each in the operation; then a deep groove is made in the middle of the upper teeth, crossing them all and itself cutting through at least one fourth of the whole thickness of the teeth, so that the Enamel is cut quite through - a fact which we Europeans who are taugh[t] by our dentifricators that any damage done to the enamel is mortal to the tooth, find it difficult to beleive; yet among these people, where this custom is universal, I have scarce seen even in old people a rotten tooth. Much may certainly be attributed to what they chew so continualy, which themselves and indeed every one Else agree is very beneficial to the teeth. The blackness however causd by this, of which they are so proud, is not a fixd stain but may be rubbd off at pleasure and then their teeth are as white as Ivory, but very soon again regain their original blackness.
No one who has ever been in these countries can be ignorant of the practise here which is calld Amoc, which is, that an Indian intoxicated with opium rushes into the street with a drawn Dagger in his hand and kills every body he meets, especialy Europeans, till he himself is either killd or taken. This happned at Batavia three times while we were there to my knowledge, and much oftener I beleive, for the Marineu or Constable whose business it is to apprehend such people himself, told me that there was scarce a week when either himself or some of his brethren were not calld upon to seize or kill them. So far however from being an accidental madness which drove the people to kill whoomsoever they met without distinction of persons, the three that I knew of - and I have been told all others - had been severely Injurd, cheifly in love affairs, and first revengd themselves on the party who had Injurd them. It is true they had made themselves drunk with opium before they committed this action, and when it was done rushd out into the streets, foaming at the mouth like made dogs, with their drawn Crise or Dagger in their hands; but they never attempted to hurt any one except those who attempted, or appeard to them to attempt to stop or seize them, whoever ran away or even went on the other side of the street was safe. To prove that these people distinguishd persons, mad as they are with the use of Opium, there is a famous story in Batavia, of one who run Amoc on account of stripes and ill usage which he had receivd from his mistress and her elder daughter, but on the contrary had been always well usd by the younger; he stabbd first the eldest daughter, the youngest hearing the bustle ran to the assistance of her mother and placd herself between him and her, attempting to persuade him from his design, but he repeatedly pushd her on one side before he could get at her mother, who when he had killd he ran out as usual. These people are generaly slaves, who indeed are by much the most subject to insults which they cannot revenge. Freemen however sometimes do it: one of them who did it while I was there was free, and of some substance; the cause was Jealousy of his own brother, whoom he killd with two more that attempted to oppose him before he was taken; he however never came out of his house, which he attempted to defend, but so mad was he with the Effects of the opium that out of three musquets which he attempted to use against the officers of Justice not one was either loaded or Primd.
The Marineu as he is calld, a petty officer of Justice somewhat resembling our constable, who regulates all riotous proceedings &c . &c ., has also these Amoc's committed to his charge; if he takes them alive his reward is great, if he kills them that reward is lost. Notwithstanding which 3 out of 4 are killd, so resolute and active is their resistance when attacked, and that they have contrivances like large tongs or pincers to catch them and hold them till disarmd; those who are taken are generaly wounded severely, for the Marineus assistants, who are all armd with hangers, know how to lame the man if once they can get within reach of him. The punishment of this crime is always breaking upon the wheel, nor is that ever relaxd, but so strictly adheerd to that if an amoc when taken is Judgd by the Physicians to be in danger from his wounds, he is executed the very next day, as near as possible to the place where he committed his first murther.
Among their absurd opinions proceeding from their original Idolatry, of which they have some, is certainly the custom of Consecrating Meat, money &c , to the Devil, whoom they call Satan; this is done either in cases of dangerous sickness, when they by these means try to appease the devil who they beleive to be the cause of all sickness, and make him spare the diseasd mans life, or in consequence of Dreams. If any man is restless and dreams much for two or three nights, he immediately Concludes that Satan has taken that method of laying his Commands upon him, which if he neglects to fullfill he will certainly suffer sickness or death as a punishment for his inattention; consequently he begins to Labour over in his brains all the circumstances of his dream, and try his utmost to put some explanation or other upon them; in this if he fails, he sends for the Cawin or Preist who assists him to interpret them. Sometimes Satan orders him to do this or that or the contrary, but generaly he wants either meat or money, which is always sent him, and hung up on a little plate made of Cocoa nut leaves on the bough's of a tree near the river. I have askd them what they thought the devil did with the money, and whether or no they thought that he eat the victuals: as for the money, they said, so that the man orderd to do so did but part with it, it signified not who took it, therefore it was generaly a prey to the first stranger who found it; and the meat he did not eat, but bringing his mouth near it he suckd at once all the savouryness out of it without disturbing its position in the least, but rendering it tasteless as water.
But what is much more difficult to reconcile to the rules of human reason, is the beleif which these people have that women who bring forth children sometimes bring forth at the same time young Crocodiles, as twins to the Children; these creatures are receivd by the midwives most carefully and immediately carried down to the river, where they are turnd lose, but have victuals supplyd them constantly from the family, especialy the twin, who is necessitated to go down to the river every now and then and give meat to this Sudara as it is calld, who if he is deprivd of such attendance constantly aff[l]icts his relation with sickness. The existence of an opinion so contradictory to human reason, and which seemd totaly unconnected with religion, was with me long a subject of doubt, but the universal testimony of every Indian I ever heard speak of it was not to be withstood. It seems to have taken its rise in the Island of Celebes and Bouton, very many of the inhabitants of which have crocodiles in their families; from thence it has spread itself all over the Eastern Islands, even to Timor and Ceram, and west again as far as Java and Sumatra, on which Islands however such instances are very scarce among the natives. To shew how firmly this prejudice has layd hold of the minds of these ignorant people, I shall repeat one story out of the multitude I have heard confirming it from ocular demonstration.
A Slave girl who was born and bred up among the En[g]lish at Bencoulen on the Island of Sumatra, by which means she had learnt a little English, told me that her father when on his Death bed told her that he had a Crocodile for his sudara, and chargd her to give him meat &c . after he was gone, telling her in what part of the river he was to be found. She went she said constantly, and calling him by his name Radja pouti (white king), he came out of the water to her and eat what she brought; he was, she said, not like other crocodiles but hansomer his body being spotted and his nose red, moreover he had bracelets of Gold on his feet, and ear rings of the same metal in his ears. I heard her out patiently without finding fault with the absurdity of her giving ears to a crocodile. While I am writing this my Servant, who I hird at Batavia and is a mongrel between a Duch man and Javan woman, tells me that he has seen at Batavia a crocodile of this kind; it was about 2 feet long being very young, Many both Malays and Dutch saw it at the same time, it had gold bracelets on. Ah, said I, why such a one at Batavia told me of one which had Ear rings likewise, and you know that a crocodile has no ears. Ah but, said he, these Sudara Oran are different from other Crocodiles; they have 5 toes on each foot, and a large tongue which fills their mouth, and they have ears also but they are very small. So far will a popular Error deceive people unusd to examine into the truth of what they are told.
The Bougis, Macassars and Boetons, many of whoom have such relations left behind in their own countrey, make a kind of Ceremonial feast in memory of their relations. A large party of them go in a boat furnish'd with plenty of provisions of all kinds and musick; in this they row about in places where crocodiles or allegators are most common, singing and crying by turns, each invoking their relation; in this manner they go on till they are fortunate enough to see or fancy at least that they see one, when at once their musick stops and they throw overboard Provisions, Betele, Tobacco &c ., imagining I suppose that their civility to the species will induce their kindred at home to think well of them, tho unable to pay their proper offerings.
Next come the Chinese, who in this place are very numerous but seem to be people of small substance. Many of them live within the walls and keep shops, some few of which are furnishd with a pretty rich shew of European as well as Chinese goods; but far the greatest number live in a Quarter by themselves without the walls calld Campon China. Besides these there are others scatterd every where about the Countrey, where they cultivate gardens, sow rice and sugar, or keep Cattle and buffaloes whose milk they bring daily to town.
Nor are the inhabitants of the town and Campon China less industrious; you see among them Carpenters, Joiners, smiths, Taylors, Slipper Makers and dyers of Cottons, Embroiderers &c ; in short the general character of Industry given to them by all authors who have wrote upon them is well exemplified here, tho the more genteel parts of their customs cannot, on account of the want of rich and well born people be found among them; those China alone can shew, here nothing can be sought for but the native disposition of the lower Class of people.
There is nothing be it of what nature it will, clean or dirty, honest or dishonest (provided there is not too much danger of a halter) which a Chinese will not readily do for money; they work diligently and laboriously, and loth to lose sight of their main point, money getting. No sooner do they leave of work than they begin to game, either at Cards, dice or some one of the thousand games they have which are unknown to us in Europe; in this manner they spend their lives working and gaming, scarce allowing themselves time for the necessary refreshments of food and sleep; in short it is as extrordinary a sight to see a China man Idle, as it is to see a Dutchman or Indian at work.
In manners they are always civil or rather obsequious, in dress always neat and clean in a high degree, from the highest to the lowest. To atempt to describe either their dresses or persons would be only to repeat some of the many accounts of them that have been publish'd, as every one has been wrote by people who had much better opportunities of seeing them and more time to examine them than I have had. Indeed a man need go no farther to study them than the China paper, the better sort of which represents their persons and such of their Customs, dresses &c . as I have seen most strikingly like, tho a little in the Caracatura stile; indeed some of the Plants which are common to China and Java, as Bamboe, are better figurd there than in the best botanical authors that I have seen.
In Eating they are easily satisfied, not but that the richer have many savoury dishes; Rice however is the cheif food of the poorer with a little fish or flesh as they can afford it. They have a great advantage over the Malays, not being taught by their laws or religion to abstain from any food that is wholesome, so that besides Pork, Dogs, cats, Frogs, Lizzards and some kinds of snakes, as well as many sea animals lookd upon by other people to be by no means Eatable, are their Constant food. In the vegetable way they also eat many things which Europeans would never think of even if starving with hunger, as the young leaves of many trees, that lump of Bractea and flowers at the end of a Bunch of Plantains, the flowers of a tree calld by the Malays Combang Ture (Eschinomine grandiflora), the Pods of Kellor (Guilandina Moringa), two sorts of Blites (Amaranthus) - all which are boild or stewd; also the seeds of Taratti (Nympha Nelumbo) which indeed are almost as good as hazel nuts. All these however the Malays also Eat, as well as many more whose names I had not an opportunity of Learning, as my Ilness rendering me weak and unable to go about, prevented me from mixing with these people as I should otherwise have done.
In their Buryings the Chinese have an extrordinary superstition, which is that they will never more open the ground in the place where a man has been buried, by which means it happens that their burying grounds in the neigbourhood of Batavia cover many hundred acres; on which account the Dutch, grudging the quantity of ground laid waste by this method, will not sell them ground for it but at enormous prizes, notwithstanding which they will always raise money to purchase Grounds whenever they can find the Duch in a Humour to sell it, and actualy had while we were there a great deal of land intended for that purpose but not yet began upon. Their funerals are attended with much purchasd and some real lamentations, the relations of the deceasd attending as well as women hird to weep. The Corps is Naild up in a large thick wooden Coffin, not made of Plank but hollowd out of the trunk of a tree; this is let down into the Grave and then surrounded 8 or 10 inches thick with their mortar or chinam as it is calld, which in a short time becomes hard as stone, so that the bones of the meanest among them are more carefully preserv'd from Injury than those of our greatest and most respected people.
Of the Goverment here I can say but very little, only that an uncommonly great subordination is kept up, every man who is able to keep house having a certain rank acquird by the lengh of his services to the Company, which ranks are distinguishd by the ornaments of the Coaches and dresses of the Coachmen of such as have them: as for instance, one must ride in a plain Coach, another Paints his Coach with figures and gives his Coachman a lacd hat, another gilds his Coach &c .
The Governor General as he is calld who resides here, is superior over all the Dutch Governors and other officers in the East Indies, who to a man are obligd to come to him at Batavia to have their accounts past; and if they are found to have been at all negligent or faulty it is a common practise to delay them there 1, 2 or 3 years according to the pleasure of the Governor, for no one can leave the place without his consent and approbation. Next to the general are the Raaden van Indïë or members of the Councel, calld here Edele Heeren and by the corruption of the English Idoleers, in respect to whoom every one who meets them in a carriage is obligd to drive on one side of the Road and stop there till they are past, which distinction is expected by their wives and even children, and commonly paid to them; nor can the coachmen who are hird be restraind from paying this slavish mark of respect by any thing but the threats of instant death, as some of our captains have experiencd, who thought it beneath the dignity of the rank they held under his Britannick majestys service to submit to any such a humiliating Ceremony.
Justice is administerd here by a parcel of gentlemen of the law, who have ranks and dignities among themselves as in Europe. In civil matters I know nothing of their proceedings, but in criminal they are rather severe to the natives, and too Lenient to their countreymen, who whatever crime they have committed are always allowd to escape if they chuse it, and if brought to tryal very rarely punishd with death; while on the other hand, the Poor Indians are floggd, hangd, Broke upon the wheel, and even impald without mercy. While we were there 3 remarkable Crimes were committed by Christians. 2 duelists killd each his antagonist and both fled; one took refuge on board our ship, bringing with him so good a character from the Batavians that the Captian gave him protection, nor was he ever demanded; the other I suppose went on board some other as he was never taken. The other was a Portugese, who by means of a false key had robbd an office to which he belongd of 14 or 15 hundred pounds; he however was taken, but instead of death Condemnd to a publick whipping and banishment to Banda for 99 years.
The Malays and Chinese have each proper officers of their own, a Captain and lieutenants as they are calld, who administer Justice among them in Civil cases, liable to an appeal to the Dutch court, which however rarely happens. Before the Chinese Rebellion as the Dutch, or Massacre as the Chinese themselves and most Europeans Call it, in 1740, when the Dutch upon may be too slight an information massacred no man knows how many thousand Chinese unresisting, for a supposd rebellion, which they to this day declare to have been never so much as thought of by them, the Chinese had two or three of their body in the Council and many more priviledges than now; nor have they from that time to this by any means recoverd either their former Oppulence or numbers, every one now who has got any thing considerable chusing to retire with it either to China, or any where, rather than remain in the power of a people who have behavd so ill to them.
The taxes paid by these people to the Company are very considerable, among which that commonly said to be paid for the liberty of wearing their hair is not inconsiderable; it is however no other than a kind of head money or Poll tax, for no Chinese can wear his hair who has ever been in China, it being a principle of their religion never to let their hair grow again when once it has been shavd off. These taxes are paid monthly, when a flag is hoisted at a house in the middle of the town appointed for that purpose.
The money current here is Ducats worth 11s/- sterling, Ducatoons 6/8, Imperial Rixdollars 5/, Rupees 2/6, scellings /6, Dubblecheys /2½, and doits ¼. Spanish dollars were when we were there at 5/5 and we were told were never lower than 5/4 even at the Companies warehouse. For English guineas I could get no more than 19/, for tho the China men would give 20/ for some of the Brightest they would for those at all worn give no more than 17/. Strangers must however be cautious in receiving money, as there are of several kinds two sorts, milld and unmilld. Ducatoons for example when milld are worth 6/8, unmilld only 6/-. All accounts are kept in Rixdollars and Stivers, both imaginary Coins, at least here: the first worth 4/ the other /1. It must also be remar[k]d that this valuation of their coin is rated on the supposition of a Stiver being worth a penny which is realy worth more, a current Rixdollar of 48 stivers being worth 4/6.