A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
but I can say little about that place, being all the time unable to stand on my legs, and was only twice out in a coach to take the air, two or three miles out of the city, in which little excursion I saw a great variety of beautiful prospects of fine country seats and gardens, and, indeed, every thing around shewed the greatest industry.  The buildings in the city are generally very handsome, and laid out in very regular streets, having canals running through most of them, with trees planted on each side, so that Batavia may justly be called a fine city:  But the sight is the only sense that is gratified here, for the canals smell very offensively when the tide is low, and breed vast swarms of muskitoes, which are more troublesome here than in any place I was ever in.

A great part of the inhabitants of Batavia are Chinese, who are remarkable for wearing there their ancient dress, having their hair rolled up in such a manner that there is little difference in that respect between the men and women.  Ever since the revolution in China, which brought that country under the Tartar yoke, the Tartarian dress has been imposed upon the whole kingdom, which was not effected without great bloodshed:  For many of the Chinese were so superstitiously attached to their ancient modes, that they unaccountably chose rather to lose their lives than their hair; as the Tartar fashion is to shave the head, except a long lock on the crown, which they plait in the same manner we do.  The Dutch, taking advantage of this superstitious attachment of the Chinese to their hair, exact from all the men who live under their protection, a poll-tax of a dollar a month for the liberty of wearing their hair, which produces a very considerable revenue.

Hearing at Batavia that there were several pirates in these seas, Captain Hill joined the Dutch homeward-bound fleet in Bantam bay, and the Dutch commodore promised to assist Captain Hill in wooding and watering at Mew island, the water at Batavia being very bad.  We fell in with the Francis in the Straits of Sunda, though we imagined that ship had been far a-head.  The Dutch made this a pretence for leaving us before we got to Mew island, and Captain Newsham also deserted us, so that we were left alone.  We continued six or seven days at Mew island, during which time several boats came to us from Prince’s island, and brought us turtle, cocoa-nuts, pine-apples, and other fruits.  From Mew island we had a very pleasant voyage to and about the Cape of Good Hope.  By the good management of Captain Hill, although the Francis and the Dutch ships had the start of us seven days, by deserting us in the Straits of Sunda, we yet got to the cape seven days before the Francis, though she sailed considerably better than we.  By comparing notes with the officers of the Francis, we found that she had suffered a good deal of bad weather off the south of Africa, while we, by keeping about ten leagues nearer shore, continually enjoyed pleasant weather and a fair wind, till we anchored in Table Bay, which we did towards the end of March, 1722.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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