UNIDENTIFIED AUTHOR [INDONESIA] Précis sur... - Lot 131 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés

Lot 131
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UNIDENTIFIED AUTHOR [INDONESIA] Précis sur... - Lot 131 - Maison R&C, Commissaires-Priseurs Associés
UNIDENTIFIED AUTHOR [INDONESIA] Précis sur l'Île de Java et la Compagnie néerlandaise des Indes Orientales presented to the Intendant des Isles de France et de Bourbon, Motais de Narbonne in 1786. Manuscript large-in-8 (34 x 22 cm) signed (signature not deciphered) At Port-Louis Isle de France, the 1st. 8.bre. 1786, 7 pages written in black ink on laid paper, bound with two blue ribbons. "I wish very sincerely that the précis that I have the honor to present to you of the knowledge that I have obtained of the productions of Java can be pleasant to you. I have them from the most enlightened man in Batavia (Mr. de Radermacher Edel-Heers). I will even go into a few other details that will make you aware of the forces that M.M. the Dutch maintain in this part of the world, and the power that they exercise over the local people. I begin by giving you an idea of the city of Batavia and its trade, it is situated in the north of the Isle of Java in a beautiful and magnificent plain, all the houses are on two levels and aligned and in the middle of each of the streets which are very wide is a canal of about 6 to 7 feet deep, lined with trees on each side. The city is about three leagues in circumference, walled and defended by various bastions. In the eastern part is a very beautiful castle where the Board of Directors sits, very beautiful barracks and immense warehouses; it is the main establishment of the Dutch in the Indies and the center of their trade. The outside of the city is superb and there are houses and gardens of all beauty within two leagues [...] The illumination is striking by the quantity and the distribution of the globes that they maintain every night. Although this expense seems to be considerable, it is not, however, burning only coconut oil, which is very cheap. The carriages are even more common than in Paris: because they are for the use of the greatest to the salt-makers; there is however an etiquette in this respect, it is that there can be only the General and the Edel-Heers who have golden ones and all that is private, in some kind and some fortune that it can have, is held to make stop his car to the meeting of these gentlemen. The island of Java is divided into several kingdoms, the main ones being those of Bantam, Geribon, Jacatra, Ramban, Ivana and Java. The Emperor resides in Suracatra, the Sultan of Mataran resides in Diociacarta. All these different princes, more or less powerful, are independent of each other, but they are in some way under Dutch rule and reign only under its protection, they are even for the most part tributaries and allies of the Dutch. The religion of the Javanese is Mohammedan, which was brought to them by some Arabs. These people are very superstitious and believe in predestination; they are very robust and quite well built, but lazy and without industry. The Chinese, who are very numerous in Batavia, possess all the arts and crafts; they do almost all the trade. The greatest wealth of the Dutch Company in the East Indies is deposited in the vast stores of Batavia, which are filled with all the spices produced in the Moluccas; there is also a lot of Câlin and all the productions of the island of Java, which are very abundant in rice and sugar, pepper, salt, cotton, ginger, caffeine, areca, coconut oil and several species of drugs that this island provides, as well as timber for ships [...The city of Java belongs to the Company; it has very large warehouses, it is the yard where all the small ships and boats for the use of the Company are built. The Dutch maintain 4,000 troops throughout the island of Java; there are only 1,800 left in Batavia to guard the city: these are the old troops and the most acclimatized. In the event of an attack, they could put 2000 Europeans and at least 20,000 Malay and Chinese troops under arms, some of whom are disciplined and in the pay of the Company. The population of Jacatra was reduced to 400,000 souls, including 100,000 slaves led by a small number of free men. The population of Batavia, including the suburbs and the suburbs, does not exceed 150,000 people, of whom 30,000 are slaves; the whites do not number more than 6,000; 50,000 are Chinese; the rest are blacks from various countries. There are 2000,000 inhabitants in the whole island of Java; the slaves form the largest part of them. The trade of slaves in Batavia is usually 6,000 every year of both sexes. Their servitude is not the hardest, they are well fed but they are held in the greatest respect. The free people of the country and all the people are in a very bad state.
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