A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 687 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 13.

[Footnote 148:  Besides opium, both betel and a sort of tobacco is much used by most people at Batavia.  A lady scarcely ever goes out unattended by a slave, who carries her betel box, to which she very frequently has recourse.  The constant use of this substance has a very unpleasant (i. e. according to European opinion) effect on the teeth, rendering them quite black!  This, however, is not thought any disparagement of their beauty, and it is believed that the toothache is prevented by the practice of chewing.  A few additional remarks on this subject are given in the following section.—­E.]

The arrack that is made here, is too well known to need a description:  Besides which, the palm yields a wine of the same kind with that which has already been described in the account of the island of Savu:  It is procured from the same tree, in the same manner, and is sold in three states.  The first, in which it is called Tuac manise, differs little from that in which it comes from the tree; yet even this has received some preparation altogether unknown to us, in consequence of which it will keep eight-and-forty hours, though otherwise it would spoil in twelve:  In this state it has an agreeable sweetness, and will not intoxicate.  In the other two states it has undergone a fermentation, and received an infusion of certain herbs and roots, by which it loses its sweetness, and acquires a taste very austere and disagreeable.  In one of these states it’s called Tuac cras, and in the other Tuac cuning, but the specific difference I do not know; in both, however, it intoxicates very powerfully.  A liquor called Tuac is also made from the cocoa-nut tree, but this is used chiefly to put into the arrack, for in that which is good it is an essential ingredient.

SECTION XXXIX.

Some Account of the Inhabitants of Batavia, and the adjacent Country, their Manners, Customs, and Manner of Life.

The town of Batavia, although, as I have already observed, it is the capital of the Dutch dominions in India, is so far from being peopled with Dutchmen, that not one-fifth part, even of the European inhabitants of the town, and its environs, are natives of Holland, or of Dutch extraction:  The greater part are Portuguese, and besides Europeans, there are Indians of various nations, and Chinese, besides a great number of negro slaves.[149] In the troops, there are natives of almost every country in Europe, but the Germans are more than all the rest put together; there are some English and French, but the Dutch, though other Europeans are permitted to get money here, keep all the power in their own hands, and consequently possess all public employments.  No man, of whatever nation, can come hither to settle, in any other character than that of a soldier in the Company’s service, in which, before they are accepted, they must covenant to remain five years.  As soon, however, as this form has been complied with, they are allowed, upon application to the council, to absent themselves from their corps, and enter immediately into any branch of trade which their money or credit will enable them to carry on; and by this means it is that all the white inhabitants of the place are soldiers.

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