Page images

able, he conceived himself more adequate to the task of giving a translation, with the additional information required, to render the whole as complete an account of the Dutch settlements as his materials would admit of, in notes, than to that of composing an original work himself upon the subject.'

We shall make no addition to the account which we formerly gave of the first voyage, otherwise than as we may see occasion to remark on the notes subjoined by the translator. On the 9th of March 1774, the author sailed from Europe on his second expedition, in the ship Ouwerkerk. In the outset of this voyage, we have a strong instance of that negli gence for which the Dutch have been so remarkable in the conduct of their marine; and which is extraordinary in a people so high in maritime reputation, and who had attained to so great a degree of wealth and power almost solely by means of their naval exertions and foreign commerce. So ill-prepared were they to encounter the hardships of a long voyage in unhealthy climates, that between 70 and 80 of the ship's company were in the sick-list, and incapable of duty, when they quitted their native country. The translator has given an account of the adherence of the Dutch seamen to many practices, which, by other maritime powers, have been discarded for more than a century past. The great mortality, so frequent in the Dutch East-India ships, is the natural consequence of this indolent management. In the course of the narrative, the author frequently complains of the little pains bestowed by his countrymen on the improvement of navigation. He appears to have been more than commonly attentive and anxious to preserve the health of his seamen : but, being provided in the beginning with a crew in so sickly a state, it was not to be expected that his ship should escape the common lot. They stopped at the Cape of Good Hope, but for so short a time that, in their passage thence to Batavia, the scurvy broke out among them, and was followed by a malignant putrid fever; by which in one month they buried 42 men, and above 100 of the remainder were in the sick-list.

M. Stavorinus relates many particulars concerning the cultivation of the soil, &c. at the Cape; and he gives the following description of a farm which he there visited:

About four o'clock in the afternoon, we came to the farm of MELK, which at a distance, and indeed close by, appeared like a whole village. It lies among the mountains, upon the gentle declivity of a high ridge, and on the banks of an ever-running stream, which he has led, along his farm, between two brick walls, like a canal, and which turns a watermill, for the purpose of grinding his


[ocr errors]

His dwelling-house, which was of a considerable size, had four or five large and handsome rooms, all furnished in a neat, and even in a costly style, so that it more resembled a gentleman's villa than the mansion of a farmer.

[ocr errors]

Twenty-five, or thirty, paces from the corners of the house, he had four large barns, or warehouses, each one hundred and fifty feet long, in which he housed his corn and wine. Two of them were now empty; in the third were full one hundred and fifty leagers of wine; and in the fourth fifteen or sixteen hundred muds of corn, twenty-seven of which make a Holland last, and eighteen a last of the Cape; each mud being calculated at one hundred and eighty, or ninety, pounds weight Amsterdam, according as the grain be heavy or light.

Between these he had a blacksmith's and carpenter's workshop, and a cartwright's manufactory, together with other work-people, necessary for so large and troublesome a concern. But few of them were Europeans, the largest number were oriental slaves, who had cost him a great deal of money. Among others, he shewed me a slave, who understood smiths' work, and making of tires on wheelbands, whom he had purchased for fifteen hundred rixdollars, or three thousand six hundred gilders *.

A little higher up, stood a range of buildings, calculated for the slaves, of whom he had full two hundred; for he declared to me, that he did not know the exact number.

Every one had a separate brick dwelling to sleep in. Those that were married were kept apart from the others; and every possible precaution was taken to prevent accidents by fire.

[ocr errors]

A little farther were two kraals, or inclosures for cattle; they were surrounded by high stone walls, of eight or ten feet, and con tained each about two hundred and fifty acres. The sheep, the horses, and the horned cattle were contined at night in these, for security against the attacks of wild beasts, especially of wolves and tigers, who do not unfrequently make a great havock here, among the smaller-sized cattle. He calculated the numbers of his sheep by thousands; and respecting his horned cattle, a small proof of the numerousness of his herds, was his informing me, in a careless manner, and as if it were a circumstance of no consideration, that he had lost one hundred and twenty head of cattle, a few days before, by the diseases called the klaauw and tongziekte f.

* Upwards of 3c0l. sterling. T.'


+ These discases of the cattle are peculiar to the Cape of Good Hope. In the klaauwziekte, the hoofs of the cattle grow loose, so that they cannot walk; it appears to proceed from the summer-heats, especially if the oxen have been driven on journies in the daytime; it is thought infectious, and whole droves are successively affected by it; it, however, in general, leaves the cattle, of its own accord, in the course of one or two weeks. In the tongziekte, vesicles, or bladders, break out on the tongue, discharging a thin ichorous matter; in consequence of this distemper, the cattle cannot eat, but grow


There were several other smaller outhouses and offices, for various purposes, relative to the economy of the farm.

Besides this, he was owner of seven or eight other farms, upon which he had placed stewards, who managed them in his behalf, upon hire. Some of these produced corn, some wine, and some were simply destined for pasturage.

With all this, MELK could neither read nor write; but having a good memory, he had the whole in his head of what was necessary for the due management of his extensive concerns, for which any other would require a number of books, and a great deal of writing.' This account, nevertheless, shews at least as much of the spirit of monopoly as of improvement.

Owing to the great variety of the soil, each vineyard at the Cape (the author observes) produces wine of its own peculiar flavour. The translator has suggested many important practicable improvements; and he expresses his opinion that, in the hands of a nation more enterprising than the Dutch, the intrinsic and territorial value of the Cape of Good Hope would be of more consequence than even its relative importance as a place of refreshment and resort in the navigation to the Indies. In a note, vol. 1. p. 544. he informs us that

lean, and sometimes die; the farmers are accustomed to rub the bladders off with salt. Besides these, the cattle are liable to other diseases, which sometimes prove fatal. The blaar, or bloedziekte, is a disorder, in which the veins all over the body become extremely turgid; letting of blood and violent exercise are said to be serviceable in it; the flesh of the cattle who die of it, is not eatable. The sponsziekte begins by the swelling of the foot, which proceeds by degrees to the whole body; this disorder sometimes lasts for three days, but at other times proves fatal in as many hours; if the foot be taken off immediately, the creature's life may be saved: the flesh of such an animal is likewise not eatable: it seems to proceed from no other cause than the bite of some serpent, or reptile, which, in this warm quarter of the globe, is but too common. The lamziekte, is when the cattle are not able to stand; it comes on gradually, and is slow in its progress; after the death of the animal, the bones of its legs are found to be without marrow, instead of which they are filled with water. The horned cattle, as well as horses, are afflicted with the strangury, after feeding on the euphorbia genistoides, which contains a milky juice, that does no injury to the stomach and bowels, but corrodes the bladder, and especially obstructs the urinary passages; if the penis be pressed, this viscid matter is squeezed out; the peasants, therefore, either press it out, or with a straw push it back again. When the cattle are supplied with good and fresh water, this disease cannot get the upper-hand; but in summer, when the water is thick and impure, so that it cannot dilute the peccant matter, the cattle die. As a remedy for this distemper, the farmers give their cattle a teacup-full of powdered ostrich egg-shells, mixed with vinegar. T

• From

From 1400 to 1600 tons of wheat used yearly to be exported from the Cape, for the consumption of Batavia and Ceylon; besides large quantities of pease, beans, butter, and wines: and, on the other hand, Batavia furnished, by a yearly ship to the Cape, a quantity of rice, arrack, sugar, and prepared timber. In the year 1771, the French contracted at the Cape, for the use of their colonies at Mauritius and Bourbon, for 400,000 lbs. of flour, 400,000 lbs. of biscuit, 500,000 lbs. of salt beef, and 1,200 leagers of win.. Since the Cape fell into the hands of the English, in September, 1795, many cargoes of wheat have been brought thence, to this country. T. On the 28th of October, they anchored in Batavia Road. In this voyage, the author gives a more full account of the means by which the Dutch obtained and established their power over the different parts of Java. Divide and Conquer has been the favorite political maxim of the Dutch, and of every European power which has aimed at establishing itself by conquest in India. The largest portion of Java was under the dominion of a prince called the Sorsochoenam. Another prince of the imperial family wanted to have, as an appanage, a certain territory, the province Mataram, which had already been allotted to the hereditary prince Masseyd, son of the Socsochoenam.

This Masseyd was of a short stature, and an excellent disposition; he gloried in the circumstance that he had never killed an European, except in battle. Manko Boeni, on the contrary, and his son and heir apparent, more than once, caused the captive Europeans to be pounded in their riceblocks,' &c. The last mentioned was of a cruel and bloodthirsty temper, and shewed himself an implacable enemy of all Europeans. The sense of gratitude, and the desire of revenge, were equally disregarded by the Dutch. They encouraged Manko Boeni in his claims; and, when a war broke out in consequence, they took part against the Soesschoenam, and at length succceded in splitting his empire into three parts, one for Manko Bocni, one for themselves, and a part was left to the Soesoeboenam. Thus the island, which was before divided into three separate states, was thenceforwards divided into five. The Company also maintain a body of 159 men in the service of each of the princes, nominally as a bodyguard in honour of them. The prince who has the greatest right is not appointed heir to the crown without the consent of the Company; and even the pangorang or prime minister is nominated by them. All the princes are likewise under engagements to dispose of the produce of their respective countries to the Company alone, and not to sell to, nor enter into any connection with, any other nation.-The power obtained by the Dutch was not yielded by the Javanese without a great struggle. In 1777, the author estimates the population of

Java to have been 912,084 souls: a very slender number of
inhabitants for such an extensive island. According to the
statement of the population made in the year 1738, the number
of inhabitants, in the territories of the Soesoehoenam alone,
amounted to 1,858,200. At present (1777) the same lands
contain no more than 708,600 souls; making a difference of
more than one half, which would appear to me too impro-
bable, had I not had the inspection of the authentic docu-
ments relative thereto.' This desolation has been produced.
only in a part of the island. By a statement given in Valentyn's
account, the population of Java in his time was reckoned at
A decrease,' says the translator, from upwards
of three millions to less than one million of people, in about
60 years, is an amazing instance of the destructive agency of


The cruel and dishonest policy, by which the Dutch established their empire at Batavia, is thus concisely stated. The Company possess this empire by RIGHT of conquest; having taken it from its king, who was obliged to yield to their arms in 1619 and Batavia was founded on or near the site of his capital city Jaccatra.' Another right is set up by the Company:

All these princes possess their dominions in the quality of vassals of the Company, whose pretensions to the paramount authority are grounded upon a voluntary cession of all his dominions, alleged to have been made in favour of the Company, by the late deceased Soesoehoenam, upon his death-bed, in the year 1746: this, at least, is what is pretended, for the sake of appearance, as it is otherwise pretty well understood, that the emperor was dead, before this pre-` tended cession was made known to the grandees of the court; but of this is kept as much a secret as possible; though what could they power have done against the Company, who were possessed of the maintaining the validity of the cession, by force of arms?'

The decrease of population is not attributed by the author wholly to the ravages of war. He represents the island as in a state of continually declining population, from the natural operation of the abject state of depression and servitude in which the common people of Java live. These poor islanders are not masters of the little they seem to possess,' and are obliged to deliver whatever is required of the fruits of their industry, at such prices as the officers of the company please to allow them. The author is sometimes frail in his political morality, but on this occasion, he inveighs with a generous warmth against the treatment to which these oppressed islanders are subjected.

The price given by the Company to the king of Bantam, for pepper, was about twenty-two shillings sterling per cwt.


« PreviousContinue »