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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)

Wild fowl in general is scarce. We once saw a wild duck in the fields, but never any that were to be sold. We frequently saw snipes of two kinds, one of them exactly the same as that in Europe, and a kind of thrush was always to be had in great plenty of the Portuguese, who, for I know not what reason, seem to have monopolized the wild fowl and game. Of snipes, it is remarkable that they are found in more parts of the world than any other bird, being common almost all over Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

With respect to drink, Nature has not been quite so liberal to the inhabitants of Java as to some whom she has placed in the less fruitful regions of the north. The native Javanese, and most of the other Indians who inhabit this island, are indeed Mahometans, and therefore have no reason to regret the want of wine; but, as if the prohibition of their law respected only the manner of becoming drunk, and not drunkenness itself, they chew opium, to the total subversion not only of their understanding but their health.

The arrack that is made here, is too well known to need a description: besides which, the palm yields a wine of the same kind with that which has already been described in the account of the island of Savu; it is procured from the same tree, in the same manner, and is sold in three states. The first, in which it is called Tuac manise, differs little from that in which it comes from the tree; yet even this has received some preparation altogether unknown to us, in consequence of which it will keep eight and forty hours, though otherwise it would spoil in twelve: in this state it has an agreeable sweetness, and will not intoxicate. In the other two states it has undergone a fermentation, and received an infusion of certain herbs and roots, by which it loses its sweetness, and acquires a taste very austere and disagreeable. In one, of these states it is called Tuac cras, and in the other Tuac cuning, but the specific difference I do not know; in both, however, it intoxicates very powerfully. A liquor called Tuac is also made from the cocoa-nut tree, but this is used chiefly to put into the arrack, for in that which is good it is an essential ingredient.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 747 - 748, 2004
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To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-jrnl-hv23-747