Volume 11, Chapter 13, Section 8 -- 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° 20' S. and long. 107° 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; an 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, 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.
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 clothed in white. At these funerals they employ music to heighten the show, 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 showy 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 everything 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 [[an]]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 everything committed to their charge. He has the supreme direction of everything 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 anything; 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, 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. 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.
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 drunk 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.mA 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.
[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.]
[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.]
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