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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13.
him; and numerous insects also continually torment him in the fervent heat of the sun.  His misery is the greater and longer, as the weather is clear and dry.  Should a shower of rain fall, he is soon relieved from torment, as it is noticed that any water getting into the wounds speedily induces gangrene and death.  Stavorinus saw an execution of this sort, and relates some very affecting particulars.  The fortitude of the wretched sufferer was astonishing.  He uttered no complaint, unless when the spike was fastened to the post, when the agitation occasioned by hammering, &c. appeared to give him intolerable pain, so that he roared out.  He did so again when the post was lifted up and put into the ground.  In this dreadful situation he continued till death ended his torment, which happened next day.  This was owing to a light shower of rain, of about an hour’s continuance, half an hour after which he breathed his last.  He continually complained of thirst, which no one was allowed to relieve by a single drop of water.—­E.]

The Malays and Chinese have judicial officers of their own, under the denominations of captains and lieutenants, who determine in civil cases, subject to an appeal to the Dutch court.

The taxes paid by these people to the Company are very considerable; and that which is exacted of them for liberty to wear their hair, is by no means the least.  They are paid monthly, and, to save the trouble and charge of collecting them, a flag is hoisted upon the top of a house in the middle of the town when a payment is due, and the Chinese have experienced that it is their interest to repair thither with their money without delay.

The money current here consists of ducats, worth a hundred and thirty-two stivers; ducatoons, eighty stivers; imperial rix-dollars, sixty; rupees of Batavia, thirty; schellings, six; double cheys, two stivers and a half; and doits, one fourth of a stiver.  Spanish dollars, when we were here, were at five shillings and five-pence; and we were told, that they were never lower than five shillings and four-pence, even at the Company’s warehouse.  For English guineas we could never get more than nineteen shillings upon an average; for though the Chinese would give twenty shillings for some of the brightest, they would give no more than seventeen shillings for those that were much worn.

It may perhaps be of some advantage to strangers to be told that there are two kinds of coin here, of the same denomination, milled and unmilled, and that the milled is of most value.  A milled ducatoon is worth eighty stivers; but an unmilled ducatoon is worth no more than seventy-two.  All accounts are kept in rix-dollars and stivers, which, here at least, are mere nominal coins, like our pound sterling.  The rix-dollar is equal to forty-eight stivers, about four shillings and six-pence English currency.[163]

[Footnote 163:  The reader need scarcely be informed, that the statements given in the text as to the respective value of the coin, are fitted to the circumstances of the period at which the account of the voyage was published.  It was thought unnecessary to correct them to the present times in this place.—­E.]

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