A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11
by Robert Kerr
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[Footnote 5: Perhaps ambergris ought to be here understood.—E.]

Besides their girdle and bracelets, formerly mentioned, the Popoes, or inhabitants of the Thousand Isles, wear a bit of stick, the size of a tobacco-pipe and the length of a finger, thrust through the gristle of the nose, which they think renders them terrible to their enemies, as some Europeans consider mustachios. They are the worst and most savage people in all the South Seas. The continent of New Guinea appeared a high country, extremely full of trees and plants of a vast variety of kinds, so that, in sailing 400 leagues along its coast, they did not observe one barren spot. Our author thinks that it probably contains many precious commodities, as rich metals and valuable spices, especially as most of the countries hitherto discovered under the same parallel are not deficient in such riches. He was afterwards assured, that some of the free burgesses in the Moluccas go annually to New Guinea, where they exchange small pieces of iron for nutmegs. Schouten and other navigators conceived high ideas of this country, and represented it as one of the finest and richest in the world; but they were unable to penetrate any way into the interior, which could not be done with a small force, as it is extremely populous, and the natives are mostly well armed, and of a martial disposition.

Roggewein and his officers were at this time in considerable doubts, whether to prosecute the route formerly followed by Dampier, or to go by Ternate, Tidore, and Bacian, as the less dangerous passage. To gain time, however, they chose the former, as they most otherwise have coasted round the last-mentioned islands, in their way to the Moluccas. In this view, they steered along shore, or rather through an innumerable chain of small islands, extending from the western point of New Guinea to the island of Gilolo, making their passage with much difficulty and danger, and were greatly delighted and astonished on getting sight of the island of Bouro, in lat. 2 deg. S. [3 deg. 30' S. and long. 127 deg. E.] the most eastern country in which the Dutch East-India Company, maintain a factory. This island is mostly pretty high land, and abounds every where with trees and shrubs of various kinds. On their arrival upon its coast, they were spoken with by a small vessel, in which were two white men and several blacks. The white men examined them very strictly to whom they belonged, whence they came, and whither they were bound. To which they answered, that they came from New Guinea, and were going to Batavia, but wisely concealed belonging to the West-India Company, knowing that the East-India Company permitted no vessels, except their own, to navigate these seas, and had given strict orders to capture all strange vessels that might appear there. Yet, in spite of these precautions, the English sometimes find their way among these islands, to the no small displeasure of the Dutch company, although they keep ships cruizing here during both monsoons, to preserve their monopoly of spices.

The island of Bouro is about forty or fifty leagues in circumference, and is indifferently fertile, formerly producing abundance of clove-trees; but a detachment of Dutch soldiers is sent yearly to grub them up, as they do also in the other Molucca islands, because Amboina is thought to produce enough of that commodity to maintain their commerce. Formerly also the Dutch had a strong fort here, which the natives took and demolished after a long siege, putting all the garrison to the sword. At present, [in 1721,] the company only sends a detachment of soldiers to root out the clove-trees, for which the inhabitants receive some present. The two whites who were on board this Dutch bark were the first Christians seen by Roggewein for the space of ten months, or since leaving the coast of Brazil. Continuing their course for the island of Bootan, in hopes of meeting with refreshments, of which they were now in extreme want, they arrived there in lat 4 deg. S.[6] and sailed along its coast for a whole day, in hopes of finding the strait for which they sought, and at length found they were eight leagues to leeward of it, and the monsoon now blew too strong to be able to bear up for the intended port. They had now no hopes of being able to find any port for refreshments till they should arrive at the island of Java; as, wherever they might attempt to land, they well knew that their ships would be confiscated, in consequence of the invariable maxims of the East-India Company. All men therefore, but especially the sick and feeble, cast an anxious look on the fertile island now left behind them, presaging the melancholy effects which must necessarily attend so pernicious a measure.

[Footnote 6: The northern end of Bootan is in lat. 4 deg. 40' S.]

The situation of the island of Bootan is remarkably advantageous, being in from 4 deg. to 6 deg. of S. latitude, and nearly equal in size to the island of Bouro. It is extremely fertile, especially in rice, and has abundance of cattle and fish. It would also produce plenty both of clove and nutmeg trees, if they were permitted to grow. The king of the island has a very strong fort, on which the Dutch standard is displayed, though there is no Dutch garrison; the company contenting itself with sending deputies yearly to see the spice trees destroyed, in consideration of which the king receives a considerable sum yearly from the company. This nation is the most faithful of all the inhabitants of the Indian islands to the India company, having not only assisted them in expelling the Portuguese, but also against the inhabitants of the Moluccas, whenever they have attempted to revolt; by which means the company has acquired the whole trade of this part of the world. In consideration of this, the inhabitants of Bootan enjoy many privileges that are denied to all other Indians: As, for instance, they are allowed to come into any of the Dutch forts armed, which is never allowed even to the natives of the countries in which the forts are situated. Some time before this voyage, the king of Bootan sent his eldest son ambassador to the governor-general of Batavia, where he was received with every mark of honour and distinction. It would not have been easy to have known this prince for an Indian, had he not worn a triple-rowed turban, richly adorned with gold and precious stones, as the rest of his dress was entirely European, and he wore a sword instead of a cutlass, which no Indian had done before. His train was numerous and splendid, all dressed in the Indian manner: Twelve of them were armed with cuirasses and bucklers, carrying each a naked sword resting on his shoulder. At this time there was a prodigious mortality in Batavia, which carried off 500 of the attendants of this prince, and destroyed no less than 150,000 persons in one year, besides vast numbers of beasts. This mortality was occasioned by a malignant pestilential fever, which attacked indiscriminately all the inhabitants of Batavia, Europeans, natives, Chinese, and blacks. It spread also through Bengal and all the dominions of the Great Mogul, where it made incredible ravages, and extended even to Japan in the most extreme violence, where numbers fell down dead in the streets, who had left their houses in perfect health. This dreadful malady was supposed to have arisen from excessive drought, as no rain had fallen during the space of two years, whence it was conceived that the air was surcharged with mineral vapours.

Leaving the island of Bootan, and passing through the channel of the Moluccas, or between the S.W. leg of Celebes and Salayr islands, during which course the crews of the two vessels suffered inexpressible miseries, by which the greatest part of them were carried off, Roggewein arrived on the coast of Java towards the close of September 1722.


Occurrences from their Arrival at the Island of Java, to the Confiscation of the Ships at Batavia.

Roggewein came to anchor immediately in the road of Japara, and saluted the city and fort, after which the boats were hoisted out to go on shore, where they were astonished to find that it was Saturday, whereas on quitting their ships they conceived it to be Friday morning. This was occasioned by having come round from the east along with the sun, by which they had lost a day in their reckoning. Roggewein immediately waited upon Ensign Kuster, a very civil and well-behaved gentleman, who commanded there on the part of the East-India Company, to whom he gave an account of his motives for coming to this place. Kuster immediately assembled a council, to consider what measures were to be taken on this occasion, and all were much moved at the recital of the miseries which Roggewein and his people had endured. In truth, never were men more worthy of compassion. Only ten persons remained in any tolerable health, and twenty-six were down in various sicknesses, by which, exclusive of those who had been slain in their different engagements with the Indians, they had lost seventy men during the voyage. Their next care was to get the sick men on shore, which was done with all care and diligence, slinging them in their hammocks into the boats. Four of these poor people were in so low a condition that it was thought impossible they could bear removal, and they were therefore left on board, the very thoughts of which, after their companions went ashore, soon killed them. Those who were carried on shore were lodged under tents in an island, where they had every necessary afforded them that the country produced, yet many of them died.

Mr Kuster sent an immediate account of their arrival to the commandant of the coasts of Java, who instantly forwarded it to Mr Swaardekroon, at that time governor-general of the East Indies. He sent a favourable answer, promising every assistance in his power, and adding, that they had nothing to do but to get to Batavia as soon as possible. While waiting the answer of the governor-general and the recovery of their sick, they passed their time agreeably enough at Japara, as their countrymen used them with all imaginable kindness. In a few days, the seamen became as frolicsome and gay as if they had made a pleasant and fortunate voyage; insomuch, that those who, only a few days before, were weeping, sighing, praying, and making warm protestations of leading new lives, if God in his mercy were pleased to save them, now ran headlong into the greatest extravagances; spending their whole time in debauched houses, and in swearing and drinking. This our author attributed to the bad example of those among whom they lived, all the lower people at Japara being as lewd and profligate as could be imagined; insomuch, that the first question they put to strangers from Europe is, if they have brought over any new oaths.

The town of Japara is seated at the bottom of a mountain of moderate height, is of a middling size, and is inhabited by Javans, Chinese, and Dutch; and was of more considerable extent than now, when in the hands of the Portuguese. Before getting possession of Jacatra, now Batavia, the Dutch East-India Company had their principal magazines for trade at this place, which was their chief factory, and on which all the other factories in Java were dependent; but it has fallen much in importance since the factory was transferred to Samarang. The port of Japara is both safe and commodious, and is defended by a fort, built mostly of wood, on the top of the mountain at the foot of which the town is seated. This fort is called the Invincible Mountain, because the Javanese were constantly defeated in all their attempts to get it into their hands, when in possession of the Portuguese; and its guns command the whole road.

The king of Japara mostly resides at a place called Kattasura, about twenty-nine leagues up the country, where the Dutch have a strong fort with a good garrison, serving at the same time to secure their conquest, and to guard the king. This prince is a Mahomedan, and is served entirely by women, of whom he takes as many as he pleases, either as wives or concubines. Some of his priests are obliged to go every year on pilgrimage to Mecca, in order to make vows for the safety and prosperity of the king and royal family. His subjects are extremely faithful, and devoted to his service; the principal persons of his court having to approach him on their knees, every time they have an audience; but in time of war, this slavish custom is dispensed with. Such as commit the slightest fault, are poniarded on the spot by a kriss or dagger; this being almost the only punishment in use among them, as the smallest faults and the greatest crimes are all equally capital. The natives of this country are mostly of a very brown complexion, tolerably well shaped, and having long black hair, which however many of them cut short. Their noses are all flat and broad, and their teeth very black, owing to the incessant chewing of betel and faufel.

The faufel or areka is a kind of nut, not much unlike a nutmeg, but smaller, and in a great measure tasteless, but yielding a red juice when chewed, which juice also is used by the Indians in painting chintzes, so much admired in Europe. The tree which bears this nut is very straight, and has leaves like those of the cocoa-nut tree. The betel is a plant producing long rank leaves, shaped like those of the citron, and having an agreeable bitter taste. The fruit of this plant resembles a lizard's tail, and is about an inch and half long, having a pleasant aromatic flavour. The Indians continually carry the leaves of this plant, which also are presented at all ceremonious visits. They are almost continually chewing these leaves, and they mostly qualify their extreme bitterness by the addition of the faufel or areka-nut, and the powder of calcined oyster-shells, which give them a very agreeable taste; though some mix their betel leaves with shell lime, ambergris, and cardamom seeds, while others use Chinese tobacco. After all the juice is chewed out, they throw away the remaining dry mass. Many Europeans have got into the habit of chewing betel, so that they cannot leave it off, though it has proved fatal to some of them; for the natives are very skilful in preparing betel so as to do a man's business as effectually as a pistol or a dagger.

The prevailing diversion among these people is called tandakes, which are a kind of comedies, acted by women very richly dressed, and consists chiefly in singing and dancing, accompanied by music, not very pleasant to European ears, the only instruments being small drums, on which they beat with much dexterity. Their dancing is mostly of a grotesque kind, in which they are very dexterous, throwing their bodies into all sorts of postures with astonishing agility, and expressing by them the passions of the mind so comically, that it is impossible to refrain from laughing. The men also practise a kind of war dance, in which the king and grandees bear a part. They also practise cock-fighting, like the English, and bet such considerable sums on this sport as often beggars them.

The country abounds in all the necessaries of life, having abundance of beeves and hogs, and amazing quantities of fowls. The only thing scarce is mutton, chiefly owing to the richness of the pasture, which is very apt to burst the sheep. As to wild animals, they have buffaloes, stags, tygers, and rhinoceroses; which last animal is hunted by the Indians chiefly for the sake of its horns, of which they make drinking cups that are greatly valued, owing to a notion that they will not contain poison, but break immediately on that being poured into them. The high price of these tends to shew that the Javanese are addicted to the infamous practice of poisoning. The land is every where extremely fertile, producing vast abundance of pepper, ginger, cinnamon, rice, cardamoms, and other valuable articles. Of late they have planted coffee, and with such success as to have a reasonable hope of rendering it a principal commodity of the country. Cocoa-nuts, figs, and a variety of other excellent fruits grow every where in the greatest profusion; and as the trees on which they grow are verdant during the whole year, and are planted in rows along the rivers, they form the most agreeable walks that can be conceived. Sugar-canes also abound in Java. They have also plenty of vines, which produce ripe grapes seven times every year, but they are only fit for making raisins, and not wine, being too hastily ripened by the climate. The sea, and all the rivers, furnish an infinite variety of the finest fish. Thus, taking it altogether, it may be safely affirmed that Java is one of the most plentiful and pleasantest islands in the world.

Having refreshed at Japara for about a month, Roggewein began to think of proceeding to Batavia, encouraged by the fine promises of the governor-general. Every thing being ready, the voyagers spent two days in taking leave of their kind friends, who supplied them with all sorts of provisions, much more than sufficient for so short a voyage, and they at length departed, feeling a sensible regret at parting with those who had treated them with so much kindness, relieving all their wants with so much generosity, and had enabled them to spend several weeks in peace and plenty, after a long period of sickness and misery. Steering from thence about seventy leagues to the westwards, with a fair wind, they entered the road of Batavia, where they saluted the fort, and anchored close to the ships that were loading for the voyage home, believing that all their distresses were now over, and that they should speedily accompany these other ships homewards. As soon as the ships were safely anchored, Roggewein went along with the other captains into his boat, meaning to have gone ashore to Batavia, but had not proceeded far from the ship when he met a boat having the commandant of Batavia on board, together with the fiscal, and some other members of the council, by whom he was desired to go back to his ship, which he did immediately; and, when the two boats came within hearing of the ships, the fiscal proclaimed, with a loud voice, that both ships were confiscated by order of the governor-general. At this time both ships were so environed by other large vessels belonging to the East India Company, that it was impossible to have escaped, if they had so inclined; and soon afterwards several hundred soldiers came on board, taking possession of both ships, and placing their crews under safe custody. Taught by so many and such unlooked-for misfortunes, Roggewein now thoroughly repented having proposed to return home by way of the East Indies, but was now wise behind hand. He had neglected prosecuting the discovery on which he had been sent, for which he now suffered a just punishment from the East India Company, however unjust in itself the sentence might be considered. By the sentence, both ships were declared legal prizes, and all the goods they contained were confiscated; and to prevent all trouble and delay from representations, reclamations, or memorials, every thing was immediately exposed to public auction, and sold to the highest bidders. The crews of both ships were divided, and put on board several of the homeward-bound ships.


Description of Batavia and the Island of Java, with some Account of the Government of the Dutch East India Company's Affairs.

The city of Batavia lies in the lat. of 6 deg. 20' S. and long. 107 deg. E. from Greenwich, being the capital of all the vast dominions belonging to the Dutch East India Company, serving also as the emporium of its prodigious trade, where all the merchandise and riches of that princely and wealthy company are laid up. It fell into the hands of the Dutch company in 1618, till which time it was known by the name of Jacatra, and soon afterwards they built a fort in the neighbourhood of that native city, to which they gave the name of Batavia. By the time this was hardly well finished, the natives of the island attacked it, animated and assisted by the English, and repeated their attempts several times, but always unsuccessfully, and to their great loss. The last time, they kept it blockaded for a considerable time, till succoured by a powerful squadron from Europe under Admiral Koen, when the siege was immediately raised, and the natives obliged to retire with the utmost precipitation. The Dutch had now leisure to consider the excellent situation of the fort, and the many advantages it possessed for becoming the centre of their East Indian trade and dominion, on which they resolved to build a town in the neighbourhood of the fort. With this view they demolished Jacatra, and erected on its ruins this famous commercial city, which they named Batavia.

This city arrived at perfection in a short time, by the extraordinary diligence bestowed upon its construction, in spite of the many obstacles it met with from the two kings of Matarana and Bantam; the former of whom laid siege to it in 1629, and the latter in 1649. It is surrounded by an earthen rampart of twenty-one feet thick, faced on the outside with stone, and strengthened by twenty-two bastions, the whole environed by a ditch forty-five yards wide, and quite full of water, especially in spring-tides. All the approaches to the town are defended by several detached forts, all of which are well furnished with excellent brass cannon. Six of these are so considerable as to deserve being particularly mentioned, which are, Ansiol, Anke, Jacatra, Ryswyk, Noordywyk, and Vythock. The fort of Ansiol is seated on a river of the same name, to the eastwards, and about 1200 yards from the city, being built entirely of squared stone, and always provided with a strong garrison. Anke is on a river of the same name, to the westwards, about 500 yards from the city, and is built like the former. Jacatra lies also on a river of the same name, and is exactly like the two former, being 500 paces from the city. The road to this fort lies between two regular rows of fine trees, having very fine country houses and gardens on each side. The other three forts are all built of similar materials on the inland side of the city, and at small distances; the two first-named serving to secure the city on the side of the sea, and the other four to defend the approaches towards it from the land, and at the same time to protect the country houses, plantations, and gardens of the inhabitants. By these, all enemies are prevented from coming upon the city by surprise, as on every side they would be sure to meet a formidable resistance; and besides, no person is allowed to pass the forts, even outwards, unless with a passport.

The river of Jacatra passes through the middle of the city, and supplies water to fifteen canals, all faced with freestone, and adorned on each side with ever-green trees, affording a charming prospect. Over these canals, which are all within the city, there are fifty-six bridges, besides others without the town. The streets are all perfectly straight, and are in general thirty feet broad on each side, besides the breadth of the canals. The houses are built of stone, mostly of several stories high, like those in the cities of Holland. The city of Batavia is about a league and a half in circuit, but is surrounded by a vast number of houses without the walls, which may be considered as forming suburbs, and in which there is ten times the population that is within the city. It has five gates, including that leading to the port, near to which there is a boom, or barrier, which is shut every night at nine o'clock, and at which there is a strong guard of soldiers night and day. There were formerly six gates, but one of these has since been walled up. There is a very fine stadt-house, or town-hall, and four churches for the Calvinists. The first of these, named Kruist-kirk, or Cross-church, was built in 1640, and the second in 1672, and in both of these the worship is in the Dutch language. The third church belongs to the protestant Portuguese, and the fourth is for the Malays who have been converted to the reformed Christian religion. Besides these, there are abundance of other places of worship for various sorts of religions.

They have likewise in this city a Spin-hays, or house of correction for the confinement of disorderly women; an orphan-house, and arsenal of marine stores, and many magazines for spiceries: Also many wharfs, docks, rope-walks, and other public buildings. The garrison usually consists of from two to three thousand men. Besides the forts formerly mentioned, the famous citadel or castle of Batavia is a fine regular fortification, having four bastions, situated at the mouth of the river opposite to the city; two of its bastions fronting towards the sea and commanding the anchorage, while the other two face towards the city. There are two main gates to the citadel, one called the Company's gate, which was built in 1636, to which leads a stone bridge of fourteen arches, each of which is twenty-six feet span, and ten feet wide. The other is called the Water-gate. Besides which, there are two posterns, one in the east curtain, and the other in the west, neither of which are ever opened except for the purposes of the garrison. In this citadel the governor-general resides, having a brick palace two stories high, with a noble front of Italian architecture. Opposite to this palace is that of the director-general, who is next in rank to the governor. The counsellors and other principal officers of the company have also their apartments within the citadel, together with the chief physician, chief surgeon, and chief apothecary. There in also a remarkably neat and light small church, and there are many magazines and store-houses well furnished with ammunition and military stores; and in it are the offices in which all the affairs of the company are transacted, and archives for containing all the records.

Besides many Dutch, all of whom are either in the service of the company or free burgesses, the city is inhabited by a vast number of people of many different Indian nations, besides many Portuguese, French, and other Europeans, established here on account of trade. The Portuguese are mostly descendants of those who lived formerly here or at Goa, and who, finding their account in living under the government of the Dutch, did not think proper to remove after the Dutch had reduced the country; but far the greater number of these are now of the reformed religion. The Indian inhabitants consist of Javanese, or natives of the island, Chinese, Malays, negroes, Amboinese, Armenians, natives of the island of Bali, Mardykers, Macassars, Bougis, and others. It is a very curious thing to see so great a multitude of different nations all living in the same great city, and each nation according to their own manners. Every moment one sees new customs, strange manners, varieties of dresses, and faces of different colours, as black, white, brown, yellow, and olive-coloured; every one living as he pleases, and all speaking their different languages. Yet, amidst all this variety of people and customs so opposite to each other, there is a surprising unity among the citizens, occasioned by the advantages of commerce, the common object of all, so that they live harmoniously and happily under the gentle and prudent laws established by the company. All enjoy perfect liberty of conscience, whatever may be their religion or sect, only that none are permitted the public exercise of their religion except the Calvinists, any more than in Holland, so that priests and monks must not walk the streets in the habits of their respective orders. All are however allowed to live here in peace, and may exercise the rites of their religion within doors. Jesuits are, however, excluded, for fear of their intrigues; and the Chinese religion, because of its abominable idolatry, is obliged to have its pagoda, or idol temple, about a league from the city, where also they bury their dead.

Every Indian nation settled at Batavia has its chief or head, who watches over the interests of his nation, but is not allowed to decide upon any thing of importance, his chief functions being those of religion, and to decide slight controversies among his countrymen. The Japanese chiefly addict themselves to agriculture, ship-building, and fishing. These people, for the most part, only wear a kind of short petticoat, reaching to their knees, all the rest of their bodies being naked, having also a sort of scarf or sash across their shoulders, from which hangs a short sword. On their heads they wear small bonnets. Their huts or cabins are remarkably neater than those of the other Indians, built of split bamboos, with large spreading roofs, under which they sit in the open air.

The Chinese are very numerous, as it is reckoned there are at least five thousand of them in the city and its suburbs. These people seem naturally born for trade, and are great enemies to idleness, thinking nothing too hard or laborious that is attended with a prospect of gain. They can live on very little, are bold, enterprising, possessed of much address, and indefatigably industrious. Their sagacity, penetration, and subtilty, are so extraordinary as to make good their own saying, "That the Dutch have only one eye, while they have two;" but they are deceitful beyond measure, taking a pride in imposing on those who deal with them, and even boast of that cunning of which they ought to be ashamed. In husbandry and navigation they surpass all the other nations of India. Most of the sugar-mills around Batavia belong to them, and the distillery of arrack is entirely in their hands. They are the carriers of eastern Asia, and even the Dutch often make use of their vessels. They keep all the shops and most of the inns of Batavia, and farm all the duties of excise and customs. Generally speaking, they are well-made men, of an olive complexion, their heads being peculiarly round, with small eyes, and short flat noses. They do not cut their hair, as all in China are obliged to do since the Tartars conquered the country; and whenever any one comes to Batavia from China, he immediately suffers his hair to grow, as a token of freedom, dressing it with the utmost care; their priests only excepted, whose heads are all close shaven.

The Chinese go always bare headed, carrying an umbrella in their hands to keep off the sun; and they suffer their nails to grow immoderately long, which gives them prodigious dexterity in slight of hand, an art of considerable importance as they use it. Their dress here differs materially from what they wear in their own country, their cotton robes being very ample, and their sleeves very wide. Below this they have a kind of breeches reaching to their ancles, having a kind of little slippers on their feet instead of shoes, and never wear stockings. Their women, who are very brisk, lively, impudent, and debauched, wear very long cotton robes. In general, the Chinese have no distinction of meats, but eat without ceremony of any animal that comes to hand, be it even dog, cat, or rat, or what it may. They are amazingly fond of shows and entertainments. Their feast of the new year, which they celebrate in the beginning of March, commonly lasts a whole month; during which they do nothing but divert themselves, chiefly in dancing, which they do in a strange manner, running round about to the sound of gongs, flutes, and trumpets, which do not form a very agreeable concert. They use the same music at their comedies, or theatrical diversions, of which they are extremely fond: These comedies consist of a strange mixture of drama, opera, and pantomime, as they sometimes sing, sometimes speak, and at other times the whole business of the scene consists in gesture. They have none but women players,[1] who are brought up to this employment from their infancy; but many of them act male parts, using proper disguises for the purpose. Whenever they act a comedy, the city receives fifty crowns for a licence. They erect the theatre in the street, in front of the house of him who is at the expence of the play, the subject of which always turns on the exploits of their ancient heroes, or the austerities of their old saints.

[Footnote 1: This may possibly have been the case at this time in Batavia; but we are assured by recent travellers in China, that they have there none but men players, the female parts being acted by youths.—E.]

The funerals of the Chinese are very singular, as well as very rich and pompous, forming grand and solemn processions, in which sometimes at least 500 persons of both sexes assist, the women being all cloathed in white. At these funerals they employ music to heighten the shew, together with coloured umbrellas and canopies, carrying their principal idol, which they call Joostie de Batavia, under one of their canopies. Their tombs are some of them very magnificent. They follow the idolatrous religion of their native country, and have a pagoda, or idol temple, about the distance of a league from the city, where they assemble for worship. They are perhaps the grossest idolaters, and the most ridiculous in their opinions, of all the pagans of the east, as they openly profess to worship and adore the devil. This does not proceed from their ignorance or unbelief in a God, but rather from mistaken notions in their belief concerning him. They say that God is infinitely good and merciful, giving to man every thing he possesses, and never doing any hurt; and therefore that there is no need to worship him. But with the devil, the author of all ill, they are desirous to live upon good terms, and to omit nothing that can entitle them to his good graces. It is the devil therefore whom they represent by the idol above mentioned, and in whose honour they have frequently great feasts and rejoicings.

Like the Javans, the Chinese are extravagantly addicted to gaming and laying wagers; and this humour, especially at cock-fights and the new-year's feasts, drives them sometimes into downright madness. They will not only stake and lose their money, goods, and houses, but sometimes their wives and children; and when these are all lost, will stake their beards, nails, and winds; that is, they bind themselves not to shave their beards, pare their nails, or go on board ship to trade, till they have paid their game debts. When reduced to this condition, they are forced to hire themselves as the bond slaves of some other Chinese. Under such misfortunes their only resource is, that some relative, either at Batavia or China, pays their debts out of compassion, and by that means reinstates them in their property and freedom.

The Malays who live at Batavia usually employ themselves in fishing, having very neat and shewy vessels, the sails of which are most ingeniously constructed of straw. These are a most wicked and profligate people, who often commit atrocious murders for very trifling gain. They profess the Mahomedan religion, but are so absolutely devoid of moral principle, that they even make a boast and merit of cheating Christians. Their last chief was publicly whipped and branded for his frauds and villainies, his goods confiscated, and he himself banished to Ceylon; since when they have been ashamed to elect another chief. Their habits are of silk or cotton, the men wearing a piece of cotton round their heads, and their black hair tied into a knot behind.

The blacks or negroes at Batavia are mostly Mahomedans, who come chiefly from Bengal, dressing like the Malays, and living in the same quarter of the city. Some of them work at different mechanic trades, and others are a kind of pedlars; but the most considerable of them trade in stones for buildings, which they bring from the neighbouring islands.

The Amboinese are chiefly employed in building houses of bamboos, the windows of which are made of split canes, very nicely wrought in various figures. They are a bold boisterous race, and so turbulent that they are not permitted to reside in the city, but have their quarter near the Chinese burying ground. The chief of their own nation, to whom they pay the utmost submission, has a magnificent house in their quarter, well furnished after their manner. Their arms are chiefly large sabres and long bucklers. The men wear a piece of cotton cloth wrapped round their heads, the ends of which hang down behind, and adorn this species of turban with a variety of flowers. Their women wear a close habit, and a cotton mantle over their shoulders, having their arms bare. Their houses are built of boards, thatched with leaves, usually two or three stories high, the ground floor especially being divided into several apartments.

The Mardykers or Topasses are idolaters from various Indian nations, and follow various trades and professions; and their merchants, under licences or passports from the company, carry on considerable commerce among the neighbouring islands. Some of these people are gardeners, others rear cattle, and others breed fowls. The men of this mixed tribe generally dress after the Dutch fashion, but the women wear the habits of other Indians. These people dwell both in the city and country, their houses being better than those of the other Indians, built of stone or brick, several stories high, and very neat. There are also some Macassers at Batavia, so famous for their little poisoned arrows, which they blow from tubes. This poison is made of the juice of a certain tree, which grows in Macasser and the Bougis islands, into which they dip the points of the arrows and allow them to dry. The wound inflicted by these arrows is absolutely mortal. The Bougis are natives of three or four islands near Macasser, and since the conquest of that island have settled at Batavia. They are very bold and hardy fellows, for which reason they are employed as soldiers by the company. Their arms are bows and arrows, with sabres and bucklers. Besides these enumerated nations, which contribute to form the population of Batavia, there are several Armenians and some other Asiatics who reside there occasionally for the sake of trade, and stay no longer than their affairs require, All the inhabitants around Batavia, and for a track of about forty leagues along the mountains of the country of Bantam, are immediately subject to the governor-general, who sends drossards or commissaries among them, to administer justice, and to collect the public revenues; and the chief men of the several districts resort at certain times to Batavia, to give an account of the behaviour of these commissaries.

The city of Batavia, and all the dominions possessed by the company in the East Indies, are governed by two supreme councils, one of which is named the Council of the Indies, and the other the Council of Justice, both of which are fixed at Batavia, the capital of the dominions belonging to the company. To the first of these belong all matters of government, and the entire direction of public affairs, and to the other the administration of justice in all its branches. The governor-general always presided in the former of these councils, which is ordinarily composed of eighteen or twenty persons, called counsellors of the Indies; but it seldom happens that these are all at Batavia at one time, as they are usually promoted to the seven governments which are at the disposal of the company. This council assembles regularly twice a-week, besides as often extraordinarily as the governor pleases. They deliberate on all affairs concerning the interest of the company, and superintend the government of the island of Java and its dependencies: But in affairs of very great importance, the approbation and consent of the directors of the company in Europe must be had. From this Council of the Indies, orders and instructions are sent to all the other governments, which must be implicitly obeyed. In this council, all letters addressed to the governor or director-general are read and debated, and answers agreed upon by a plurality of voices.

The Council of Justice consists of a president, who is generally a counsellor of the Indies, together with eight counsellors of justice, a fiscal or attorney-general for affairs of government, another fiscal for maritime affairs, and a secretary. The first fiscal has a vote along with the counsellors, and receives a third part of all fines below an hundred florins, and a sixth part of all above that sum. The duty of his office is to observe that the laws are obeyed, and to prefer informations against those who break them. The fiscal of the sea has jurisdiction over all frauds committed in commerce, in cases of piracy, or in whatever tends to disturb the settled rules of maritime affairs. Besides these sovereign tribunals, there is a council of the city of Batavia, consisting of nine burgomasters or aldermen, including a president, who is always a member of the Council of the Indies, and a vice-president. The bailiff of the city, and the commissary of the adjacent territory, have also seats in this council, to which likewise there is a secretary.

The governor-general is head of the empire belonging to the company in India, being as it were stadtholder, captain-general, and admiral of the Indies. By his office he is president of the supreme council, in which he has two voices. He has the keys of all the magazines, and directs every thing belonging to them, without being accountable to any one. He commands by his own proper authority, and every person is bound to obey him, so that his authority equals, and even surpasses, that of several European sovereigns. But he is accountable to, and removeable by the directors at home. In cases, however, of being guilty of treason, or any other enormous crime, the Council of Justice have a right to seize his person and call him to account. In case the governor-general dies or resigns his office, the Council of the Indies meets and elects a successor, when they immediately write to the directors at home, desiring them to confirm and approve their choice. They also write to the same purpose to the states-general of the United Provinces, who have reserved to themselves the power of confirming or excluding a governor-general. It is usual, however, for the directors and the state to confirm the choice of the council, and to send him letters patent, conformable to the desire of the council; yet there have been some instances of the directors rejecting the governor-general thus elected, and sending out another.

The salary allowed by the company to the governor-general is 800 rix-dollars, with other 500 dollars for his table, and also pay the salaries of the officers of his household. But these appointments form a very small portion of his revenue; as the legal emoluments of his office are so great that he is able to amass an immense fortune in two or three years, without oppressing the people or burdening his conscience. Being the head and apparent sovereign of all the countries belonging to or dependent upon the company, he is allowed a court and most of the honours usually paid to crowned heads, in compliance with the customs of the east. When he goes from his palace to his country seat, he is preceded by the master of his household, at the head of six gentlemen on horseback. A trumpeter and two halberdeers on horseback go immediately before the coach. The master of the horse and six mounted halberdeers ride on the right; and he is followed by other coaches carrying his friends and retinue. The whole cavalcade is closed by a troop of forty-eight dragoons, commanded by a captain and three quarter-masters, and preceded by a trumpeter richly clothed. If this office be considerable for its honour, power, and emolument, it is also very fatiguing, as the governor-general is employed from morning to night in giving audiences, in reading letters, and in giving orders in the service of the company; so that he seldom can allow above half an hour for dinner, and even dispatches pressing affairs while at table. He has also to receive all Indian princes and ambassadors who come to Batavia, and of these many arrive every year.

The director-general is the next in authority after the governor-general, and is the second person in the council of the Indies. This employment requires great care and attention, as he has the charge of buying and selling all the commodities that enter into or go out from the Company's warehouses. He gives orders for the kinds and quantities of all goods sent to Holland or elsewhere, keeps the keys of all the magazines, and every officer in the service of the Company makes a report to him daily of every thing committed to their charge. He has the supreme direction of every thing relative to the trade and commerce of the Company, both at Batavia and all other places; and the members of all the factories belonging to the Company are accountable to him for their conduct.

The third person in the government is the Major-general, who has the command of all the forces under the governor-general. The number of regular troops in the service of the Company throughout the Indies may be about 12,000 men, exclusive of the militia, which amount to about 100,000 more, and are well disciplined, and always called out in time of danger. The entire military and naval strength of the Company by land and sea is about 25,000 men, including officers, soldiers, and sailors. For the support of its commerce, the Company keeps in constant employment about 180 ships, of from 30 to 60 pieces of cannon, and in cases of emergency are able at any time to fit out forty of the largest size.

The ecclesiastical government at Batavia, or consistory, consists of eleven persons; viz. the five ministers of the two Dutch churches in the city, and that in the citadel, besides the minister who resides in the island of Ourust, together with the three ministers of the Portuguese churches, and the two belonging to the Malay church. These last five are all Dutchmen-born, though they preach in the Portuguese and Malay languages. As it is deemed necessary that the state should be informed of all that passes among their clergy, the eleventh person is nominated by the government, whose especial business is to see that they do nothing contrary to the laws or to the regulations of the Company. Besides these, the consistory also consists of eight elders and twenty deacons. One principal branch of business confided to the consistory, is to provide ministers for the subordinate governments; where they are relieved after a certain term of years, and either return to Batavia or to Holland, to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Our author relates that one of these ministers went home in the same ship with him, who had made such good use of his time, that he bought a noble fief on his return, and became a man of quality. In the smaller places belonging to the Company, where there are no established ministers, an itinerant is sent once in three or four years, to marry, baptize, and dispense the communion; which is necessary, since the synods do not permit the propagation of any other except the reformed religion in the territories of the Company.

For a long time the Lutherans have solicited for permission to have a church in Batavia, but have constantly been refused, though certainly a just and reasonable demand, especially in a place where Mahomedans and Pagans are freely tolerated in the exercise of their religion, and where the Chinese are even permitted to worship the devil. This ecclesiastical consistory has also dependent upon it all the schoolmasters, consolators of the sick, and catechists. Of these last there are many in the service of the Company in their ships; their duty being to say prayers every day, and to instruct such as embrace the Christian religion; and as they are mostly natives, and speak several languages, they are the better able to give instructions, and to teach the confession of faith to so many different nations. Such as are converted are baptized and receive the communion; and, for the better preservation of uniformity in doctrine, an annual visitation of all the new converts is made by the ministers. In consequence of these regulations, the reformed religion has made amazing progress, especially among the blacks, of whom our author says he has seen 150 at a time present themselves to receive baptism. This however is not rashly granted, as all who receive it must be well instructed, and be able to make their confession of faith. The Chinese are well known to be so obstinately addicted to their great Confucius, as not to be easily induced to embrace any other religion; yet some even of them from time to time have abjured their idolatry, and embraced the protestant faith. Yet our author seems to doubt their sincerity, alleging that the Chinese are seldom sincere in any thing; and he tells us, that a Chinese, on renouncing idolatry; said he was about to embrace the religion of the Company.

The country around Batavia is extremely beautiful, and it may be said that nature and art seem to strive which shall have the greatest share in adorning it. The air is sweet and mild, the land extremely fertile, and the face of the country finely diversified with hills and vallies, all laid out in regular plantations, beautiful canals, and whatever can contribute to render the country pleasant and agreeable. The island of Java is about 300 leagues in circumference, divided into several kingdoms and principalities, all dependent upon the emperor who resides at Kattasura, except the kings of Bantam and Japara,[2] who do not acknowledge his authority. The country produces in abundance all the necessaries of life, as also great quantities of those valuable productions which form its commerce. It is interspersed by many mountains, rivers, and woods, to all of which nature has bestowed her treasures with a bountiful hand. There are gold-mines in some parts of the country, and for some years the government caused the mountains of Parang to be wrought, in hopes of reaping profit; but, after expending a million, the marcasites were found not to be fully ripened.[3] Those who directed this enterprise were much censured, and the works have been long discontinued. Some are thoroughly satisfied that the natives find considerable quantities of gold in several places, which they carefully conceal from the knowledge of the Dutch. During the last war in Java, which continued from 1716 to 1721, the inhabitants of some parts of the country were so often plundered that they were reduced to absolute beggary; yet, after a year's peace, they were observed to have grown excessively rich, having plenty of gold, both in dust and ingots.

[Footnote 2: There is some strange error here, which we do not presume to correct or explain. In the former section, the king of Japara is said to reside chiefly at Kattasura, which in the present instance is said to be the residence of the emperor. In an after division of this collection, more ample and distinct accounts will be found of this rich island, now subject to Britain.—E.]

[Footnote 3: In plain English, the mineral, or ore, was so poor as not to defray the expence of extracting the metal.—E.]

The mountains of Java are very high, so that many of them can be seen at the distance of thirty or forty leagues. That which is called the Blue Mountain is by far the highest, being seen from the greatest distance at sea. Java is subject to frequent and terrible earthquakes, which the inhabitants believe are caused by the mountain of Parang, which is full of sulphur, salt-petre, and bitumen, which take fire by their intestine commotions, causing a prodigious struggle within the bowels of the earth, whence proceeds the earthquake; and they assert that it is common, after an earthquake, to see a vast cloud of smoke hanging over the top of that mountain. About thirty years before Roggewein was in Batavia, Mynheer Ribeck, then governor-general, went with many attendants to the top of this mountain, where he perceived a large cavity, into which he caused a man to be let down, to examine the inside. On his return, this man reported that the mountain was all hollow within, that he heard a most frightful noise of torrents of water on every side, that he here and there saw flames bursting out, so that he was afraid of going far, from apprehension of either being stifled by the noxious vapours, or falling into one of the chasms. The waters in the neighbourhood of this mountain are unwholesome, and even those in the neighbourhood of Batavia are impregnated with sulphur, those who drink much of them being liable to several disorders, particularly the dysentery. But when boiled, their water is entirely freed from the sulphur, and does no manner of harm, though drank copiously.

The fruits and plants of Java are excellent and numberless. Among these the cocoa-nut tree is by far the most valuable, as besides its fruit already described, the bark makes a kind of hemp which is manufactured into good ropes and cables; the timber serves to build houses and ships, and the leaves serve to cover the former. It is said that the father of a family in this country causes a cocoa-nut tree to be planted at the birth of each of his children, by which each may always know his own age, as this tree has a circle rising yearly on its stem, so that its age may be known by counting these circles: and when any one asks a father the ages of his children, he sends them to look at his cocoa trees.

There are numerous woods or forests in different parts of the island, in which are abundance of wild beasts, as buffaloes, tigers, rhinoceroses, and wild horses. These also abound in serpents, some of which are of prodigious size. Crocodiles are numerous and large in this island, being mostly found about the mouths of the rivers; and, being amphibious animals, delight much in marshes and savannahs. Like the tortoise, this creature deposits its eggs in the hot sands, taking no farther care of them, and the sun hatches them in the proper season, when they immediately betake themselves to the water. A short time before the arrival of Roggewein at Batavia, a crocodile was taken in the mouth of the river to the east of the city, upwards of thirty-three feet long, and proportionally large. They have fowls of all kinds, and exquisitely good; particularly peacocks, partridges, pheasants, and wood-pigeons. The Indian bat is a great curiosity, differing little in form from ours, but its extended wings measure a full yard, and its body is as large as a rat.

There are great numbers of excellent fish of different sorts to be had in the adjoining sea, and so plentiful and cheap that as much may be bought for three-pence as will dine six or seven men. Tortoises or sea-turtle also are abundant, their flesh resembling veal, and there are many persons who think it much better. The flat country round Batavia abounds in all kinds of provisions; and to prevent all danger of scarcity, vessels belonging to the Company are continually employed in bringing provisions, spiceries, and all other necessaries, from the most distant parts of the island, together with indigo, rice, pepper, cardamoms, coffee, and the like. In the magazines and store-houses, there are always vast quantities of rich and valuable commodities, not of Java only, but of all parts of India, ready to be transported to other parts of the Company's dominions, in the ships which return annually to Holland.

The homeward-bound ships sail five times every year from Batavia. The first fleet sails in July, generally consisting of four or five sail, which touch on their way at the island of Ceylon. The second, of six or seven vessels, sails in September. The third usually consists of from sixteen to twenty ships, and leaves Batavia in October. The fourth, of four or five vessels, sails in January. And the fifth, being only a single ship, generally sails in March, but not till the arrival of the fleet from China which brings the tea, of which the principal part of the cargo of this ship consists, wherefore it is usually called the tea-ship: The common people call it also the book-ship as it carries home the current account of the whole year, by which the Company is enabled to judge of the state of its trade in India. It is to be observed that these ships, laden with the rich commodities of many countries, all sail from this single port of Batavia; the ships from Mokha which carry coffee, being the only vessels in the service of the Dutch East India Company that are allowed to proceed directly home without going to Batavia.


Description of Ceylon.

The next best government belonging to the Dutch East India Company, after Batavia, is that of the island of Ceylon. The governor of this island is generally a member of the council of the Indies, and has a council appointed to assist him, framed after the model of that in Batavia, only that the members are not quite such great men. Though the governor of Ceylon be dependent upon the Council of the Indies at Batavia, he is at liberty to write directly to the directors of the Company in Holland, without asking permission from the governor-general, or being obliged to give any account of his conduct in so doing. This singular privilege has had bad effects, having even tempted some governors of Ceylon to endeavour to withdraw themselves from their obedience to the Company, in order to become absolute sovereigns of the island. There have been many examples of this kind, but it may be sufficient to mention the two last, owing to the tyranny of two successive governors, Vuist and Versluys, which made a considerable noise in Europe.

When Mr Rumpf left the government of Ceylon, his immediate successor, Mr Vuist, began to act the tyrant towards all who were not so fortunate as to be in his good graces, persecuting both Europeans and natives. Having from the beginning formed the project of rendering himself an independent sovereign, he pursued his plan steadily, by such methods as seemed best calculated to insure success. He thought it necessary in the first place to rid himself of the richest persons in the island, and of all having the reputation of wisdom, experience, and penetration. In order to save appearances, and to play the villain with an air of justice, he thought it necessary to trump up a pretended plot, and caused informations to be preferred against such persons as he intended to ruin, charging them with having entered into a conspiracy to betray the principal fortresses of the island into the hands of some foreign power. This scheme secured him in two ways, as it seemed to manifest his great zeal for the interest of the Company, and enabled him to convict those he hated of high treason, and to deprive them at once of life and fortune. To manage this the more easily, he contrived to change the members of his council, into which he brought creatures of his own, on whose acquiescence in his iniquities he could depend upon. The confiscations of the estates and effects of a number of innocent persons whom he had murdered by these false judicial proceedings, gave him the means of obliging many, and gained him numerous dependants.

Vuist was born in India of Dutch parents, and had a strong natural capacity which had been improved by assiduous application to his studies. His dark brow, and morose air, shewed the cruelty of his disposition: Yet he loved and protected the Indians, either from a natural disposition, or because he deemed them fit instruments to forward his designs. In order to gain the natives in his interest, he preferred them to many vacant offices under his government, in direct opposition to repeated instructions from the Company, to bestow the principal offices on Dutchmen or other Europeans. After carrying on his designs with much dexterity, and having acquired by gifts a vast number of dependants, ready to support his purposes, some of the faithful servants of the Company sent such clear and distinct information of his proceedings to Holland, as sufficiently evinced his real intentions, in spite of all his arts to conceal them. At length the Company sent out Mr Versluys to supersede him in the government of Ceylon, with orders to send him prisoner to Batavia. As soon as he arrived there, abundance of informations were preferred against him, for a variety of crimes both of a private and public nature, into all of which the council of justice made strict inquisition, and were furnished with abundant proofs of his guilt. In the end, he freely confessed that he had caused nineteen innocent persons to be put to death, having put them all to the torture, extorting from all of them confessions of crimes which they had never even dreamt of committing. He was accordingly sentenced to be broken alive on the wheel, his body to be quartered, and his quarters burnt to ashes and thrown into the sea.

Such was the deserved end of the traitor and tyrant Vuist; yet Versluys, who was sent expressly to amend what the other had done amiss, and to make the people forget the excesses of his predecessor by a mild and gentle administration, acted perhaps even worse than Vuist. Versluys was by no means of a cruel disposition, wherefore, strictly speaking, he shed no blood, yet acted as despotically and tyrannically as the other, though with more subtilty and under a fairer appearance. His great point was not the absolute possession of the country, but to possess himself of all that it contained of value. For this purpose, immediately on getting possession of the government, he raised the price of rice, the bread of the country, to so extravagant a height that the people in a short time were unable to purchase it, and were soon reduced to beggary and a starving condition. Their humble representations of the great and general misery which reigned among all ranks of people throughout the island made no impression on his avaricious disposition; but all things went on from bad to worse, till an account of his nefarious conduct was transmitted to Holland. When informed of the distressed situation of the inhabitants of Ceylon, the States-general sent out Mr Doembourgh as governor, with orders to repair all past errors, and to treat the natives with all possible tenderness and indulgence. On his arrival, Versluys, after beggaring the whole nation, took it into his head that they would defend him against his masters, and absolutely refused to resign the government; and had even the insolency to fire upon the Company's ships as they lay at anchor in the road of Columbo. Doembourgh, however, immediately landed, and his authority was readily recognised by all the Company's servants, and submitted to by the people. He caused Versluys to be immediately arrested and sent to Batavia, where a long criminal process was instituted against him, but which was not concluded when our author left India.

Of all the Asiatic islands, Ceylon is perhaps the fairest and most fertile. It lies to the S.E. of the peninsula of India on this side of the Ganges, between the latitudes of 5 deg. 30' and 9 deg. N. and between the longitudes of 79 deg. 45' and 82 deg. 12' E. so that it extends 70 marine leagues from N. to S. and 49 leagues from E. to W. It is so fertile and delicious, that many have believed it to have been the seat of the terrestrial paradise; and the natives certainly believe this, for they pretend to shew the tomb of Adam, and the print of his foot on the mountain named the Peak of Adam,[1] one of the highest mountains in the world. On another mountain there is a salt-lake, which the inhabitants affirm was filled by the tears shed by Eve, while she wept incessantly an hundred years for the death of Abel.

[Footnote 1: This gross absurdity is not worth contesting; but the fact is, that the real natives, the idolaters of the interior, refer both the tomb and the footmark to their false god, or lawgiver, Bodh.—E.]

The principal places in Ceylon are Jafnapatam, Trinkamaly, Baracola, Punta de Galla, Columbo, Negombo, Sitavaca, and Candy. The Dutch East India Company are possessed of all the coasts of the island, and ten or twelve leagues within the land, and most of the before-mentioned towns, except the two last. While the Portuguese had possession, they built abundance of forts for their security, so that the Dutch found it a difficult matter to dislodge them; but having contracted a secret treaty with the king of Candy, the Portuguese were attacked on all sides, by sea and land, and were driven by degrees out of all their possessions. Since then, the Dutch have taken much pains to cultivate a good understanding with that native sovereign, from whom they have obtained almost every thing they demanded. They send every year an ambassador to him with various presents; in return for which his Candian majesty sends to the company a casket of jewels, of such value that the ship which carries it home is reckoned to be worth half the fleet.

Punta de Galle and Columbo are the two principal places in the island, the latter being the residence of the governor, and the other, properly speaking, is only the port of that city. Though extremely hot, the air of Ceylon is reckoned healthy, and the country abounds with excellent fruits of many kinds. The sea and the rivers afford plenty of various kinds of fish. There are also on the land great abundance of fowls, both wild and tame, and many wild animals, particularly elephants that are larger than any other country in Asia, also tygers, bears, civet cats, monkeys, and others. Cinnamon is the production for which this island is peculiarly famous, as that which is procured here is estimated far superior to any other. The Dutch East India Company have the entire monopoly not only of this, but of all the other spices, with which they supply all parts of the world. Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tree resembling the orange, the flowers of which very much resemble those of the laurel both in size and figure. There are three sorts of cinnamon. The finest is taken from young trees; a coarser sort from the old ones; and the third is the wild cinnamon, or cassia, which grows not only in Ceylon, but in Malabar and China, and of late years in Brazil. The company also derives great profit from an essential oil drawn from cinnamon, which sells at a high price; and it also makes considerable gain by the precious stones found in this island, being rubies, white and blue sapphires, topazes, and others.

Off the coast of this island, at Manaar and Tutecorin, there is a fine pearl fishery, which brings in a large revenue, being let twice a-year in farm to certain black merchants. The oysters are at the bottom of the sea, and the fishery is only carried on in fine weather, when the sea is perfectly calm. The diver has one end of a rope fastened round his body below the arm-pits, the other end being tied to the boat, having a large stone tied to his feet, that he may descend the quicker, and a bag tied round his waist to receive the oysters. As soon as he gets to the bottom of the sea, he takes up as many oysters as are within his reach, putting them as fast as possible into the bag; and in order to ascend, pulls strongly at a cord, different from that which is round his body, as a signal for those in the boat to haul him up as fast as they can, while he endeavours so shake loose the stone at his feet. When the boats are filled with oysters, the black merchants carry them to different places on the coast, selling them at so much the hundred; which trade is hazardous for the purchasers, who sometimes find pearls of great value, and sometimes none at all, or those only of small value.

The inhabitants of Ceylon are called Cingolesians, or Cingalese, who are mostly very tall, of a very dark complexion, with very large ears, owing to the numerous large and heavy ornaments they wear in them. They are men of great courage, and live in a hardy manner, and are therefore excellent soldiers. They are, for the most part, Mahomedans,[2] though there are many idolaters among them who worship cows and calves. The inhabitants of the interior do not greatly respect the Dutch, whom they term their coast-keepers, in derision; but the Dutch care little about this, endeavouring to keep in good correspondence with the king of Candy, whose dominions are separated from theirs by a large rapid river, and by impenetrable forests. The Ceylonese are remarkable for their great skill in taming elephants, which they employ as beasts of burden in time of peace, and render serviceable against their enemies in war.

[Footnote 2: The author has probably confounded the original natives of Ceylon, who are idolaters, with the Malays, who are Mahomedans, and of whom a considerable number are settled on the coast country.—E.]


Some Account of the Governments of Amboina, Banda, Macasser, the Moluccas, Mallacca, and the Cape of Good Hope.

The third government under the East India Company is that of Amboina, one of the Molucca islands, which was formerly the seat of the governor-general till the building of Batavia, when it was transferred there on account of its advantageous situation, in the centre of the company's trade and settlements, while Amboina lay too far to the east. The island of Java also is vastly more fertile than Amboina, producing all the necessaries of life in abundance, so that it has no dependence for provisions on any other country, while they had provisions to search for in all other places, at the time when the government was established at Amboina. This island is one of the largest of the Moluccas, being situated in the Archipelago of St Lazarus, in lat. 3 40' S. and long. 128 deg. 30' E. 21 deg. 30' or 430 marine leagues east from Batavia. It was conquered in 1519 by the Portuguese, who built a fort there to keep the inhabitants under subjection, and to facilitate the conquest of all the adjacent islands. This fort was taken by the Dutch in 1605, but they did not entirely reduce the whole island of Amboina and the neighbouring islands till 1627, by which conquest they acquired entire possession of the clove trade, whence these islands are termed the gold-mine of the company, owing to the vast profit they draw from them, and it is so far superior to other gold-mines, that there is no fear of these islands being ever exhausted of that commodity. A pound weight of cloves or nutmegs, for the company has the entire monopoly of both, does not in fact cost the company much more than a half-penny, and every one knows at what rate the spices are sold in Europe. Amboina is the centre of all this rich commerce; and to keep it more effectually in the hands of the company, all the clove-trees in the other islands are grubbed up and destroyed; and sometimes, when the harvest is very large at Amboina, a part even of its superfluous produce is burnt.

This valuable spice grows only in Amboina and the other five Molucca islands, and in the islands of Meao, Cinomo, Cabel, and Marigoran. The Indians call cloves calafoor, while the inhabitants of the Moluccas call them chinke. The clove-tree is much like the laurel, but its leaves are narrower, resembling those of the almond and willow. Even the wood and leaves taste almost as strong as the cloves themselves. These trees bear a great quantity of branches and flowers, and each flower produces a single clove. The flowers are at first white, then green, and at last grow red and pretty hard, and are properly the cloves. While green, their smell is sweet and comfortable, beyond all other flowers. When ripe, the cloves are of a yellow colour, but after being gathered and dried, they assume a smoky and black hue. In gathering, they tie a rope round each bough, and strip off the whole of its produce by force, which violence injures the tree for the next year, but it bears more than ever in the following season. Others beat the trees with long poles, as we do walnut-trees, when the cloves fall down on cloths spread on the ground to receive them. The trees bear more fruit than leaves, the fruit hanging from the trees like cherries. Such cloves as are sold in the Indies are delivered just as procured from the trees, mixed with their stalks, and with dust and dirt; but such as are to be transported to Holland are carefully cleaned and freed from the stalks. If left ungathered on the tree, they grow large and thick, and are then termed mother-cloves, which the Javanese value more than the others, but the Dutch prefer the ordinary cloves.

No care is ever taken in propagating or planting clove-trees, as the cloves which fall to the ground produce them in abundance, and the rains make them grow so fast that they give fruit in eight years, continuing to bear for more than an hundred years after. Some are of opinion that the clove-tree does not thrive close to the sea, nor when too far removed; but seamen who have been on the island assert that they are found everywhere, on the mountains, in the vallies, and quite near the sea. They ripen from the latter end of August to the beginning of January. Nothing whatever grows below or near these trees, neither grass, herb, or weed, as their heat draws all the moisture and nourishment of the soil to themselves. Such is the hot nature of cloves, that when a sackful of them is laid over a vessel of water, some of the water is very soon wasted, but the cloves are no way injured. When a pitcher of water is left in a room in which cloves are cleaned, all the water is consumed in two days, although even the cloves have been removed. Cloves are preserved in sugar, forming an extraordinary good confection. They are also pickled. Many Indian women chew cloves to give them a sweet breath. A very sweet-smelling water is distilled from green cloves, which is excellent for strengthening the eyes, by putting a drop or two into the eyes. Powder of cloves laid upon the head cures the headache; and used inwardly, increases urine, helps digestion, and is good against a diarrhoea, and drank in milk, procures sleep.

A few days after the cloves are gathered, they are collected together and dried before the fire in bundles, by which operation they lose their natural beautiful red colour, changing into a deep purple or black. This is perhaps partly owing to their being sprinkled with water, which is said to be necessary for preventing worms from getting into them. Those persons who are sent for this commodity in the company's ships, practise a fraud of this nature, in order to conceal their thefts: For, having abstracted a certain quantity or proportion from the cloves received on board, they place two or three hogsheads of sea-water among those remaining, which is all sucked up in a few days by the cloves, which that recover their former weight. By this contrivance, the captain and merchant or supercargo agreeing together, find a way to cheat the company out of part of this valuable commodity. Yet this fraud, though easy and expeditious, is extremely dangerous as when detected it is invariably punished with death, and the company never want spies. Owing to this, cloves are commonly enough called galgen kruid, or gallows-spice, as frequently bringing men to an ill end.

The king of Amboina has a pension from the company, and a guard of European soldiers, maintained at its expence. The inhabitants of the island are of middle stature, and of black complexions, being all extremely lazy and given to thieving; yet some of them are very ingenious, and have a singular art of working up the cloves while green into a variety of curious toys, as small ships or houses, crowns, and such like, which are annually sent to Europe as presents, and are much esteemed. Those of the Amboinese who acknowledge the authority of the king are Mahomedans, but there are many idolaters who live in the mountains, and maintain their independence, considering themselves as free men, but the king and the Hollanders reckon them savages; and as they are guilty of frequent robberies and murders, they are always reduced to slavery when caught, and are treated with the utmost rigour, and employed in the hardest labour. On this account a most excessive hatred subsists between them and the other inhabitants of the island, with whom they are perpetually at war, and to whom they hardly ever give quarter. Their arms are bucklers; swords, and javelins or pikes.

The garrison kept in the fort of Amboina is numerous, and constantly maintained in excellent order, being composed of the best troops in the company's service. The fort is so strong, both by nature and art, as to be reckoned impregnable, and so effectually commands the harbour, that no vessel can possibly go in or out without being sunk by its cannon. Although the rich commerce in cloves might make a sufficient return to the company for the charges of this island, yet of late years coffee has been ordered to be cultivated here, and is likely to turn out to advantage. While this island was under the government of Mr Barnard, it was discovered that considerable quantities of gold-dust were washed down by the torrents in some parts of the mountains, and by tracing up the auriferous streams to their sources, the mine has at last been found. Amboina also produces a red kind of wood, which is both beautiful and durable, and is naturally embellished in its grain with abundance of curious figures. Of this wood they make tables, cabinets, writing-desks, and other beautiful pieces of furniture, which are sent as presents to the principal persons in the government, the rest being sold at extravagant prices all over India.

The fourth government under the company is Banda, an island about fifty leagues from Amboina towards the east, and to the southward of the Moluccas. The governor, who is generally an eminent merchant, resides at Nera, the capital of the country, and has several other neighbouring islands under his jurisdiction, in the government of all which he is assisted by a council, as at Amboina. In some representations sent home, and published by the company, this island is set forth as being very expensive to the company, and so thinly inhabited as to take off very little goods, while it is so barren as to require large supplies of provisions. All this is pure artifice; for, though Banda is a very small island in comparison with Amboina, being only about twelve leagues in circumference, it certainly affords as great profits, which arise from the important commerce in nutmegs, which grow here in such prodigious quantities as to enable the Dutch company to supply all the markets in Europe.

This admirable and much-valued fruit grows in no other part of the world except Banda and a few other small islands in its neighbourhood, named Orattan, Guimanasa, Wayer, Pulo-wai, and Pulo-rion. The nutmeg-tree is much like a peach-tree, but the leaves are shorter and rounder. The fruit is at first covered by two skins or shells, the outer one being tough and as thick as one's finger, which falls off when the fruit ripens. This outer rind when candied has a fine taste and flavour. When this falls off, the next is a fine smooth skin or peel, which is the mace, or flower of the nutmeg; and below this is a harder and blackish shell, much like that of a walnut; and on opening this shell, the nutmeg is found within, being the kernel. The mace is at first of a fine scarlet colour; but, when ripe, it falls off the shell, and is then of an orange colour, as it comes to Europe. They preserve whole nutmegs in sugar, which make the best sweetmeat in India. The Bandanese call nutmegs palla, and mace buaa-palla. There are two sorts of nutmegs; the one being of a long shape, called males, and the other round and reddish, called females, which latter have better taste and flavour than the other. When gathered and the mace carefully preserved, the shells are removed and the nutmegs dried, being first thrown among quicklime, as otherwise worms would breed in and destroy them.

There are several islands in the neighbourhood of Banda in which the nutmeg-trees grow, but these are carefully destroyed every year, which at first sight may seem extraordinary, as, if once destroyed, one would imagine they would never grow again. But they are annually carried by birds to these islands. Some persons allege that the birds disgorge them undigested, while others assert that they pass through in the ordinary manner, still retaining their vegetative power. This bird resembles a cuckoo, and is called the nutmeg-gardener by the Dutch, who prohibit their subjects from killing any of them on pain of death. The nutmeg is a sovereign remedy for strengthening the brain and memory, for warming the stomach, sweetening the breath, and promoting urine; it is also good against flatulence, diarrhoea, head-ach, pain of the stomach, heat of the liver, and amenorrhoea. Oil of nutmegs is a powerful cordial. Mace is an effectual remedy for weakness of the stomach, helps digestion, expels bad humours, and cures flatulence. A plaister of mace and nutmegs in powder, and diluted with rose-water, greatly strengthens the stomach. Being peculiar to Banda, merchants from Java, Malucca, China, and all parts of the Indies, come to Nera and the other towns of Banda to purchase mace and nutmegs; and immediately on their arrival, they all purchase wives to keep house for them and dress their victuals during their stay, which is usually two or three months, and when they go away again, they give liberty to these temporary wives to go where they please.

The island of Banda is very hilly, yet fertile, the government among the natives being a kind of commonwealth, administered by the Mahomedan priests, who are very strict and severe. The population of the whole island may be about 12,000 persons of all ages, of whom about 4000 are fighting men. It is so well fortified as to be deemed impregnable, yet there is always a numerous squadron of small vessels on the coast for farther security. The garrison is numerous, but in a worse condition than those of any other garrison, belonging to the company, owing to the scarcity of victuals, as the island is of a barren sandy soil,[1] wherefore the soldiers eat dogs, cats, and any other animal they can find. For six months of the year they have tolerable abundance of turtle or sea-tortoises, and after this they are glad to get a little sorry fish, now and then. Their bread is made from the juice of a tree, which resembles the grounds of beer when first drawn, but grows as hard as a stone when dried: Yet, when put into water, it swells and ferments, and so becomes fit to eat, at least in this country, where nothing else is to be had.[2] Butter, rice, dried fish, and other provisions, are all imported from Batavia, and are much too dear to be purchased by the soldiers, at least in any great plenty. Thus the inhabitants are none of the happiest; but, to do them justice, they live fully as well as they deserve, as there is not an honest man on the island.

[Footnote 1: This is contradictory, having been before described as hilly, yet fertile.—E.]

[Footnote 2: This account of the matter is not easily understood, and seems to want confirmation. Perhaps it is an ignorant or perverted report of sago: Yet there may possibly be some tree or plant affording a considerable quantity of fecula or starch by expression.—E.]

According to the Dutch, the original natives of this island were so cruel, perfidious and intractable, that they were forced to root them out in a great measure for their own security, and to send a Dutch colony to occupy the island: But such a colony as has not much mended the matter, being entirely composed of a rascally good-for-nothing people, who were either content to come, or were sentenced to be sent here, almost to starve, not being able to live elsewhere. Their misery at this place does not continue long, as they are usually soon carried off by the dry gripes or twisting of the guts, which is the endemic, or peculiar disease of the country. Hence, and because wild young fellows are sometimes sent here by their relations, the Dutch at Batavia usually call this Verbeetering Island, or the Island of Correction.

Macasser, or the island of Celebes, is considered as the fourth best government after Batavia. This island lies between Borneo and the Moluccas, 260 leagues or 13 deg. E. from Batavia. It is a singularly irregular island, consisting in a manner of four long peninsular processes, two projecting eastwards, and two towards the south, reaching from lat. 1 deg. 30' N. to 5 deg. 45' S. and from long. 119 deg. to 125 deg. 20', both E. It is called, and with great reason, the key of the spice islands, and the form of its government is much the same as in the other islands, consisting of a governor and council. Since the Dutch conquered these islands from the Portuguese, they have carefully fortified the sea-coast, and have always a very numerous garrison in the fort of Macasser, where the governor resides; which is particularly necessary, as the island is very populous, and the natives are beyond comparison the bravest and best soldiers in India. This nation long gave inexpressible trouble to the Dutch, but was at length, subdued, and stands now in as much awe of the company as any other nation: But, till very lately, the expences of the troops at this place were so large, that the company derived very little gain from the conquest, although the slave-trade here is very profitable.

Before the last Macasser war, which ended in the entire subjugation of the prince of this country, he was able to procure great quantities of mace, nutmegs, and cloves, which he sold to the English and other nations, at much more reasonable rates than they could procure them from the Dutch. For which reason the Dutch were at great pains and expence to reduce this island to entire subjection, that it might become the bulwark of the Moluccas, and secure their monopoly of the spice-trade: But, for similar reasons, the other European powers ought to have supported the king of Macasser in his independence. The island of Celebes is very fertile, and produces abundance of rice, and articles of great value in the Indies. The inhabitants are of middle stature, and have yellow complexions, with good features, and are of brisk and active dispositions: But are naturally thieves, traitors, and murderers to such a degree, that it is not safe for an European to venture beyond the walls of the fort after dark, or to travel at any time far into the country, lest he be robbed and murdered. Yet many of the natives live under the protection of the Dutch forts, being free burgesses, who carry on considerable trade. There are also a considerable number of Chinese residents, who sail from hence in vessels of their own to all parts of the company's dominions, and who acquire immense wealth by means of extensive commerce.

The inland country is under the dominion of three different princes, who, fortunately for the Dutch, are in continual opposition to each other; for, if united, they might easily drive the Dutch from the island. One of these princes is styled the Company's King, as he lives in good correspondence with the Dutch, and promotes their interest as far as he can. On this account the Dutch make him presents of considerable value from time to time, such as gold chains, golden coronets set with precious stones, and the like, in order to keep him steady in his allegiance, and to prevent him from uniting with the other two princes of the island. Some little time before the arrival of Roggewein at Batavia, a rich gold-mine was discovered in Celebes, to which a director and a great number of workmen were sent from Batavia; but how far this has been attended with success, our author was unable to say.

Ternate is the fifth government at the disposal of the company, and the farthest east of all belonging to the Dutch dominions in India, so that it is a kind of frontier. The governor is always a merchant, and has a council, like all the others already mentioned. This is one of the largest of the Molucca islands, and the king of Ternate is the most valuable of all the allies of the company; as, although his island would abound in cloves, he causes them to be rooted out annually, for which the company allows him a pension of eighteen or twenty thousand rix dollars yearly. He has likewise a numerous life-guard, with a very strong fort well garrisoned, all at the expence of the company. The kings of Tidore and Bachian are his tributaries. Ternate is very fertile, and abounds in all sorts of provisions, and in every thing that can contribute to the ease and happiness of life, yet its commerce is of no great importance, hardly amounting to as much as is necessary to defray the charges of the government. It was at this time, however, expected to turn out to better account, as a rich gold-mine had been recently discovered. The natives are a middle-sized people, strong and active, more faithful than their neighbours, and better affected towards the Europeans. In religion they are mostly Mahometans or Pagans; but of late many of them had become Christians, chiefly occasioned by their king having declared himself of that religion, a point of great consequence towards the conversion of the people. The inhabitants of Ternate make a species of palm wine, called Seggeweer, which is excessively strong. There are here many most beautiful birds, having feathers of all sorts of colours, charmingly diversified, which are sent to Batavia, where they are sold at high prices on account of their beauty and docility, as they may be taught to sing finely, and to imitate the human voice. Many Birds-of-Paradise are also brought from this island. There are several sorts of these birds. The most common kind is yellow, having small bodies, about eight inches long exclusive of the tail, which is half a yard long, and sometimes more. The second kind is red, the third blue, and the fourth black. These last are the most beautiful and most in request, being called the King of the Birds-of-Paradise. This kind has a crown or tuft of feathers on the top of its head, which lies flat or is raised up at pleasure. In this they resemble the cadocus or cockatoo, a bird entirely white, with a yellow crown on its head.

The sixth government is Malacca, which city is the capital of a small kingdom of the same name, inhabited by Malayans or Malays. The governor here is a merchant, and is assisted by a council like all the others. This kingdom of Malacca is the south part of the peninsula of India beyond the Ganges, being divided from the island of Sumatra by a strait, named the strait of Malacca. This city is of considerable size, and carries on an extensive commerce, for which it is admirably situated, and is the storehouse or emporium of all that part of India. It is also the rendezvous of all the homeward-bound ships from Japan, which make at this place a distribution of their merchandise into various assortments, which are sent from hence to all the settlements of the company in India. It is however subject to the great inconvenience of scarcity of provisions, having nothing of that kind except various sorts of fish. The princes of the adjacent countries and their subjects are all notorious pirates, and give much disturbance to the trade of India; but are particularly inimical to the Dutch company, and omit no opportunity of doing all the evil in their power to its subjects. These people suffered formerly some severe reverses from the Portuguese, who were formerly established here, and since from their successors the Dutch, which has gradually reduced their power, so that they are now much less able to carry on their depredations. The natives of Malacca are of a very dark complexion, but brisk and active, and greatly addicted to thieving. Some are idolaters but they are mostly Mahometans.

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