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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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Some Account of Batavia


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Some Account of Batavia (continued)

The streets are spacious and handsome, and the banks of the canals are planted with rows of trees, that make a very pleasing appearance; but the trees concur with the canals to make the situation unwholesome. The stagnant canals in the dry season exhale an intolerable stench, and the trees, impede the course of the air, by which in some degree the putrid effluvia would be dissipated. In the wet season the inconvenience is equal, for then these reservoirs of corrupted water overflow their banks in the lower part of the town, especially in the neighbourhood of the hotel, and fill the lower stories of the houses, where they leave behind them an inconceivable quantity of slime and filth: yet these canals are sometimes cleaned; but the cleaning them is so managed as to become as great a nuisance as the foulness of the water; for the black mud that is taken from the bottom is suffered to lie upon the banks, that is, in the middle of the street, till it has acquired a sufficient degree of hardness to be made the lading of a boat, and carried away. As this mud consists chiefly of human ordure, which is regularly thrown into the canals every morning, there not being a necessary-house in the whole town, it poisons the air while it is drying to a considerable extent. Even the running streams become nuisances in their turn, by the nastiness or negligence of the people; for every now and then a dead hog, or a dead horse, is stranded upon the shallow parts, and it being the business of no particular person to remove the nuisance, it is negligently left to time and accident. While we were here, a dead buffalo lay upon the shoal of a river that ran through one of the principal streets above a week, and at last was carried away by a flood.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 725 - 726, 2004
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To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv23-725