A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10.

The governor-general lives in as great splendour as if he were a king, being attended by a troop of horse-guards, and a company of halberdeers, in uniforms of yellow sattin, richly adorned with silver-lace and fringes, which attend his coach when he appears abroad.  His lady also is attended by guards and a splendid retinue.  The governor is chosen only for three years, from the twenty-four counsellors, called the Radts of India, twelve of whom must always reside in Batavia.  Their soldiers are well trained, and a company is always on duty at each of the gates of the city and citadel; and there are between seven and eight thousand disciplined Europeans in and about the city, who can be assembled in readiness for action on a short warning.

Besides Europeans and Chinese, there are many Malays in Batavia, and other strangers from almost every country in, India.  The Javanese, or ancient natives, are very numerous, and are said to be a proud barbarous people.  They are of dark complexions, with flat faces, thin, short, black hair, large eyebrows, and prominent cheeks.  The men are strong-limbed, but the women small.  The men wear a calico wrapper, three or four times folded round their bodies; and the women are clothed from their arm-pits to their knees.  They usually have two or three wives, besides concubines; and the Dutch say that they are much addicted to lying and stealing.  The Javans who inhabit the coast are mostly Mahometans; but those living in the interior are still pagans.  The women are not so tawny as the men, and many of them are handsome; but they are generally amorous, and unfaithful to their husbands, and are apt to deal in poisoning, which they manage with much art.

Batavia is very populous, but not above a sixth part of the inhabitants are Dutch.  The Chinese here are very numerous; and the Dutch acknowledge that they are more industrious and acute traders than themselves.  They are much, encouraged, because of the great trade carried on by them, and the great rents they pay for their shops, besides large taxes, and from sixteen to thirty per cent. interest for money, which they frequently borrow from the Dutch.  I was told, that there were about 80,000 Chinese in and about Batavia, who pay a capitation-tax of a dollar each per month for liberty to wear their hair, which is not permitted in their own country ever since the Tartar conquest.  There generally come here every year from China, fourteen or sixteen large flat-bottomed junks, of from three to five hundred tons burden.  The merchants come along with their goods, which are lodged in different partitions in the vessels, as in separate warehouses, for each of which they pay a certain price, and not for the weight or measure of the cargo, as with us, so that each merchant fills up his own division as they please.  They come here with the easterly monsoon, usually arriving in November or December, and go away again for China in the beginning of June.  By means of these junks the Dutch have all kinds of Chinese commodities brought to them, and at a cheaper rate than they could bring them in their own vessels.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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