A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.

When we came to this place, we had not one man sick in either of the ships; but as I knew it to be more unhealthy than any other part of the East Indies, as the rainy season was at hand, and arrack was to he procured in great plenty, I determined to make my stay here as short as possible.  I went on shore to wait upon the Dutch governor, but was told that he was at his country-house, about four miles distant from the town.  I met however with an officer, called a shebander, who is a kind of master of the ceremonies, and he acquainted me, that if I chose to go to the governor immediately, rather than wait for his coming to town, he would attend me; I accepted his offer, and we set out together in his chariot.  The governor received me with great politeness, and told me, that I might either take a house in any part of the city that I should like, or be provided with lodgings at the hotel.  This hotel is a licensed lodging-house, the only one in the place, and kept by a Frenchman, an artful fellow, who is put in by the governor himself.  It has indeed more the appearance of a palace than a house of entertainment, being the most magnificent building in Batavia; nor would a small edifice answer the purpose, for as there is a penalty of five hundred dollars upon any person in the city who shall suffer a stranger to sleep a single night at his house, the strangers who make it their residence are never few:  All the houses indeed have a stately appearance on the outside, and are elegantly fitted up within, and we were told that the Chinese, of whom there are great numbers at this place, were the architects.  The city is large, and the streets well laid out, but they have greatly the appearance of those in the cities of Holland, for a canal runs through most of them, with a row of trees planted on each side:  This is convenient for the merchants, who have every thing brought up to their own doors by water, but it probably contributes to the unhealthiness of the place; the canal, indeed, as the city is built in a swamp, might be necessary as a drain, but the trees, though they have a pleasant appearance, must certainly prevent the noxious vapours that are perpetually arising, from being dispersed, by obstructing the circulation of the air.  The number of people here is incredible, and they are of almost every nation in the world, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Persians, Moors, Malays, Javanese, and many others:  The Chinese, however, have a large town to themselves, without the walls, and carry on a considerable trade, for they have annually ten or twelve large junks from China; and to these the opulence of the Dutch at Batavia is in a great measure owing.  The beef here is bad, and the mutton scarce, but the poultry and fish are excellent and in great plenty.  Here are also the greatest variety and abundance of the finest fruit in the world, but the musquitos, centipedes, scorpions, and other noxious vermin, which are innumerable, are extremely troublesome, especially

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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