Voyages to the East-Indies; by the late John Splinter Stavorinus…Translated from the original Dutch by Samuel hull Wilcocke. The Whole comprising a full and accurate Account of all the present and late Possessions of the Dutch in India, and at the Cape of Good Hope. Illustrated with Maps. In Three Volumes.
Vol.I. Containing a Voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, Batavia, Bantam, and Bengal, with observations on those parts, &c. in the years 1768-1771. Vi, 572 pp. 2 folding maps. Vol.II. Containing a voyage to the Cape of Good Hope, Batavia, Samarang, Macassar, Ambogna and Surat, with accounts of those places, in the years 1774 and 1775. 512 pp, 1 folding map. Vol.III. Containing a continuation of the Voyage from Surat to Batavia, the coast of Malabar, and the Cape of Good Hope in the years 1775-1778; with an Appendix. 598 pp, 1 folding map.
This work forms an accurate and valuable account of the Cape in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, with an interesting description of Cape Town and its inhabitants. Stavorinus visited Stellenbosch, Hottentot Holland, Vergeleegen, Klapmuts, and other places of interest in the Colony, and contributes notes upon the position of the country farmers, whom he regarded as being superior in character and manners to the colonists living in the towns. He remarks on the avarice exhibited by the residents of Cape Town, their indisposition to study, and “love of repose and inactivity – what may be denominated as laziness.” He comments on the superiority of the women while young, but speaks of their slovenliness after marriage, and their houses and persons, and the apathy of the people generally. He draws a gruesome picture of the Cape Town hospital, then opposite the Dutch Reformed Church, and asserts that this institution had, at times, to accommodate 1000 patients, and the sanitary condition of the place was so bad that the sailors who carried the patients to the building often brought back to the ships a fever contracted from the inmates. He states that the inhabitants of Cape Town were disagreeable to strangers (The French excepted), jealous and envious, and much given to slander and calumny. Stavorinus severely criticises the Government for its arbitrary methods and the public officials for their rapacity, and gives some information respecting the grievances of the colonists, and statistics as to the revenue and expenditure and the settlement. (Mendelssohn, vol.I, pg. 426)
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