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


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CHAP. XIV. Some Account of the Inhabitants of Batavia, and the adjacent Country, their Manners, Customs, and Manner of Life.

THE town of Batavia, although, as I have already observed, it is the capital of the Dutch dominions in India, is so far from being peopled with Dutchmen, that not one fifth part, even of the European inhabitants of the town, and its environs, are natives of Holland, or of Dutch extraction: the greater part are Portuguese, and besides Europeans, there are Indians of various nations, and Chinese, besides a great number of negro slaves. In the troops, there are natives of almost every country in Europe, but the Germans are more than all the rest put together; there are some English and French, but the Dutch, though other, Europeans are, permitted to get money-here, keep all the power, in, their own hands, and consequently possess all public, employments. No man, of whatever nation, can come hither to settle, in any other character than that of a soldier in the Company’s service, in which, before they are accepted, they must covenant to remain five years. As soon however as this form has been complied with, they are allowed, upon application to the council, to absent themselves from their corps, and enter immediately into any branch of, trade, which their money or credit will enable them to carry on; and by this means it is that all the white, inhabitants of the place are soldiers.

Women, however, of all nations, are permitted to settle here, without coming under any restrictions; yet we were told that there were not, when we were at Batavia, twenty women in the place that were born in Europe, but that the white women, who were by no means scarce, were descendants from European parents of the third or fourth generation, the gleanings of many families who had successively come hither, and in the male line become extinct; for it is certain that, whatever be the cause, this climate is not so fatal to the ladies as to the other sex.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 749 - 750, 2004
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