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The situation of Batavia was chosen on account of its con venience for water-carriage: but for this the Dutch have paid dear. It is remarked by the translator that the climate is not so fatal to the women as to the men. European women are less exposed to the sun, make frequent use of the cold bath, and live more temperately. The manner of living of both sexes, however, is described as listless, and almost wholly void of enjoyment they are dispirited, no doubt, by the constant mortality that prevails; it being reckoned that one half of those who arrive from Europe, to settle at Batavia, die in the first year. The Chinese, before the barbarous massacre of those unfortunate people at Batavia, had the best quarter of the city allotted to them. Mr. Wilcocke has given the particulars of this transaction, (in vol. 1. p. 263,) from Huyser's life of Reinier de Klerk. Much apprehension was afterward entertained by the Dutch, of the indignation of the Emperor of China deputies were sent to China to endeavour to apologise the Emperor calmly told them that he was little solicitous. for the fate of unworthy subjects, who, in pursuit of lucre, had quitted their country, and abandoned the tombs of their ancestors!"
Before we leave Java, we shall give to our readers the description of the combats between wild beasts; which, the author says, is the most favorite diversion of the Javanese Emperors.
When a tiger and a buffalo are to fight together for the amusement of the court, they are both brought upon the field of, combat in large cages. The field is surrounded by a body of Javanese, four deep, with levelled pikes, in order that if the creatures endeavour to break through, they may be killed immediately; this, however, is not so easily effected, but many of these poor wretches are torn in pieces, or dreadfully wounded, by the enraged animals.
When every thing is in readiness, the cage of the buffalo is first opened at the top, and his back is rubbed with certain leaves, which have the singular quality of occasioning an intolerable degree of pain, and which, from the use they are applied to, have been called buffalo-leaves by our people. The door of the cage is then opened, and the animal leaps out, raging with pain, and roaring most dreadfully.
The cage of the tiger is then likewise opened, and fire is thrown into it, to make the beast quit it, which he does generally running backwards out of it.
As soon as the tiger perceives the buffalo, he springs upon him; his huge opponent stands expecting him, with his horns upon the ground, to catch him upon them, and throw him in the air: if the buffalo succeed in this, and the tiger recovers from his fall, he generally loses every wish of renewing the combat: and if the tiger avoid this first attempt of the buffalo, he springs upon him, and seizing him in the neck, or other parts, tears his flesh from his bones: in most cases, however, the buffalo has the better.
The Javanese who must perform the dangerous office of making these animals quit their cages, may not, when they have done, notwithstanding they are in great danger of being torn in pieces by the enraged beasts, leave the open space, before they have saluted the emperor several times, and his majesty has given them a signal to depart; they then retire slowly, for they are not permitted to walk fast, to the circle, and mix with the other Javanese.
The emperors sometimes make criminals condemned to death fight with tigers. In such cases, the man is rubbed with borri, or turmeric, and has a yellow piece of cloth put round him, a kris is then given to him, and he is conducted to the field of combat.
The tiger, who has, for a long time, been kept fasting, falls upon the man with the greatest fury, and generally strikes him down at once, with his paw, but if he be fortunate enough to avoid this, and to wound the animal, so that it quits him, the emperor then commands him to attack the tiger; and the man is then generally the victim and even if he ultimately succeed in killing his ferocious antagonist, he must suffer death, by the command of the emperor.
An officer in our Company's service, who had long been stationed at the courts of the Javanese emperors, related to me, that he was once witness to a most extraordinary occurrence of this kind, namely, that a Javanese who had been condemned to be torn in pieces by tigers, and, for that purpose, had been thrown down, from the top, into a large cage, in which several tigers were confined, fortunately fell exactly upon the largest and fiercest of them, across whose back he sat astride, without the animal doing him any harm, and even, on the contrary, appearing intimidated; while the others also, awed by the unusual posture and appearance which he made, dared not attempt to destroy him; he could not, however, avoid the punishment of death, to which he had been condemned, for the emperor commanded him to be shot dead in the cage.'
From Batavia, the author was ordered to Macasser and to Amboyna. The inhabitants of Celebes are by most writers described as a very enterprising and capable people. The Captain has given an account of some of the kingdoms into which the southern part of Celebes is divided; and he has also related the manner in which his countrymen established themselves on the island: which appears to have been effected by a system of interference in the quarrels of the different chiefs, similar to that which they practised at Java. Some of the small states in this island have been described as under a republican form of government, or rather under an aristocracy. The king of Goach, who is tributary to the Company, the author tells us, is subject to the laws of the land, and may not perform any important regal functions, without the concurrence and approbation of the body of the nobility. Crimes are punished according to laws, &c.
The authority of the Dutch Company in Celebes, in the author's time, had considerably declined. In the disputes
between the kingdoms of Macasser and Boni, the former being the more powerful, the politics of the Dutch led them to assist the people of Boni, and for a long time it was an adopted maxim that Macasser should be continually kept under. This maxim, says the Captain, was so strictly observed, that Boni has been rendered so great and powerful, that it is at present. out of all question to prescribe bounds or rules to that kingdom. Wadjo, another kingdom, to the north of Boni, likewise maintains itself independent. The author characterises the people as living very peaceably among themselves; and as being the greatest merchants of Celebes, and at present, also, the richest and most redoubted nation of the island. They pay no regard to any engagements either with the Company or with Boni, alleging that they have been cancelled by the last war.'
The principal production of Celebes is rice; of which the island yields more than a sufficiency for its inhabitants, though they are very numerous. A slave trade is likewise carried on here; and Batavia, and many of the eastern Dutch settlements, are provided with slaves from Celebes. They are, in general, kidnapped and sold in secret to the Europeans, who carry them away in their ships.'
The scenes of cruelty and cool villainy, which are so frequently laid open in the narrative of this voyage, cannot fail to produce, in every considerate and humane mind, a sentiment of shame and indignation, at the callous and depraved conduct of our fellow-creatures. Many of the East-Indian nations (not exempting the Malays) are violent in the pursuit of their revenge, and but little restrained by principle in the pursuit of their interest. The picture here exhibited of the European represents a character less addicted to revenge, and more steadily intent on his interest: but capable of deliberately destroying others, or of inflicting on them any misery which he conceives will conduce to that interest.
In the passage from Celebes to Amboyna, the remarks and directions in a navigation so little frequented by any Europeans, except the Dutch, will be the more useful, as the common charts are supposed to be remarkably incorrect; many errors and omissions being, the author thinks, intentionally continued through the policy of the Dutch India Company. The Captain says of the island Bouton, near to which they sailed, that the
king of this island is in alliance with the Company, who pay him a yearly sum of one hundred and fifty rixdollars in new Dutch coin, upon condition that he should not only permit the extirpation by the Company of all the clove-trees in this and the neighbouring islands, but also assist them in effecting it. For this purpose, the Company annually send out a ser
jeant, who is styled the extirpator, and who goes through the woods in all the islands, and causes all the clove-trees which he meets with to be cut down.'
This system of extirpation has been carried by the Dutch to a prodigious extent. The translator has given the following
A short time before the coming of the Portuguese in Amboynas the Cerammers of Cambello secretly brought some mother-cloves in hollow bamboos from Machian, whence they were propagated all over Ceram, Amboyna, and the neighbouring islands, and in the space of fifty or sixty years the whole of Hoeramoebil was covered with them. This was told to the Dutch when they first came to Cambello, and some of the trees first planted were shewn to them, behind the hill of Massili; the memory of it is likewise preserved in the traditionary songs of the Amboynese. The brave and enterprizing inhabitants of Cambello were rewarded for the openness with which they shewed the Dutch their treasures, by the destruction of all their clove-trees, and the deprivation of the fruits of their industry, and exertion; the implacable enmity which they in consequence entertained for the Dutch, and their repeated attacks upon the forts, which their enemies established in their country, have been stigmatized by the Dutch writers, as a base and wicked spirit of disobedience, and an unjust and cruel lust of blood and warfare; "so that," says VALENTYN," it would have been better, if, instead of extirpating their trees alone, we had, at the same time, exterminated this revenge ful and sanguinary nation." T.'
At Amboyna, the growth of spices is likewise limited. On some extraordinary offence being given to the natives there, they threatened to destroy all the remaining trees, and to withdraw from their habitations to the mountains; and this threat, it is said, would have been executed, if they had not been speedily satisfied. Particular descriptions are given in this work of the clove and nutmeg trees; with an account of the quantities of spices collected by the Dutch in different years, and of the various methods practised by them to restrain the growth the cultivation being transferred, and, by force of arms, confined to Amboyna. When we read of three heaps of nutmegs being burnt at one time, each of which was more than an ordinary church would hold, we cannot reconcile practices so repugnant to principles of general benefit, with any other than mistaken as well as most sordid ideas of selfinterest. Spices, after having been transported from such distant climes, have been burnt at Amsterdam, on each of two successive days, to the value of a million of livres. Yet, however assiduous, the translator observes, the Dutch are in the destruc tion of the spice-trees, they never have succeeded, nor can sucREV. JUNE, 1799. L ceed,
ceed, in extirpating them. They grow in many places inaccessible to the destructive axe of the extirpator; and, notwithstanding all the care of the Dutch, they are cultivated by the natives in different islands.
Among the inhabitants of Amboyna, the author mentions the Alfoers or Alforese, whom he believes to be the most antient inhabitants of these countries. His description of these people seems worth transcribing:
The few which I saw of this nation, appeared to me not so dark in colour, and both handsomer and more sinewy than the Amboynesc.
I met with the following account of them, in the description of Amboyna composed by RUMPHIUs, which, having been prohibited by the government at Batavia, has never been printed, but of which a manuscript copy is preserved in the secretary's office at Amboyna.
"Most of the Alforese inhabit the wild mountains and interior parts of Ceram. They are large, strong, and savage people, in general taller than the inhabitants of the sea-shores; they go mostly naked, both men and women, and only wear a thick bandage round their waist, which is called chiaaca, and is made of the milky bark of a tree, called by them sacka (being the sicamorus alba). They tie their hair upon the head over a cocoa-nut shell, and stick a comb in it; round the neck they wear a string of beads.
"Their arms are, a sword made of bamboo, together with a bow and arrows.
"They are sharp-sighted, and so nimble in running, that they can run down and kill a wild hog, at its utmost speed.
"An ancient, but most detestable and criminal custom prevails among them, agreeable to which, no one is allowed to take a wife, before he can shew a head of an enemy which he has cut off: in order to obtain this qualification for matrimony, six, eight, or ten of them go together to a strange part, where they stay till they have an opportunity of surprising some one, which they do with great dexterity, springing upon the unwary passenger like tigers: they generally cover themselves with branches of trees and bushes, so that they are rather taken for brakes and thickets than for men ; in this posture they lie in wait for their prey, and take the first opportunity that presents itself of darting their toran or sagoe (a sort of missile lance) into the back of a passenger, or spring upon him at once, and cut off his head, with which they instantly decamp, and fly with speed from the scene of their wanton barbarity."
Among these Alforese, there is another kind of savage people, who do not dwell in any houses or huts, but upon high warinje, and other trees, which spread their branches wide round: they lead and intertwine the branches so closely together, that they form an easy resting-place; and each tree is the habitation of a whole family: they adopt this mode, because they dare not trust even those of their own nation, as they surprize each other during the night, and kill whoever they take hold of.”