Fair Weather and ESE Winds.
The symptoms of a perfect restablishment of health from some unknown cause begin to fail among four of us who have intermitting Fevers but the rest are doing very well.
I find that it is so long back as the 20th April 1630 that the Dutch first made a settlement of Coupang upwards of 159 years, a series of time that one would imagined must have produced something remarkable. One cannot help therefore being surprized at the few advantages which a set of Europeans have implanted among these people and at how little they have benefited the Country. Neither one or the other has certainly ever been even a secondary consideration with them, for if we were to take Coupang away we should discover no signs (if we except a few descendants,) of their having been here, to the honor or Credit of their establishment. As far as absolute necessity or convenience led them to marry, their progeny became an improvement (as it may be called for I do not think so myself) if the Malay Reading and Writing was inculcated and those few were benefitted. Even this degree of improvement one would have imagined must have been dispensed to many by this time, and that it would have spread itself about the Country at least near to Coupang; but on the contrary no marks of it are to be found but in the Town, where the Malay connection with the Dutch seems so totally seems forgot their Original that there does not appear to be one single natural tye of Blood between them and the Country people.
By the long connection however of the Dutch with the Malays they have acquired a perfect knowledge of their language and have reduced it to Grammar, by which means they have had the Scriptures translated and the prayers at church are always in the Evening service performed in that tongue.
The Malays in general are a well proportioned set of People, and to a person acquainted he cannot hesitate a moment to beleive that the South Sea Islanders and them are of the same Origin. Among the real Malays (that are those who are not connected with the Dutch) will be found a great similarity of language and no doubt customs of the latter I observe the Tuggee tuggee of the Friendly Islands which they call Toombook and the Roomee of Otaheite which they call Ramas. They count Ten as follows— Osa, Noah, Tainoo, Ha, Neemah, Nai, Heetoo, Seeoah, Sannaoolu. These numbers bear a great Similarity. They call Fish Eeka, the Eyes Mattah and Mattee signifies dead or killed.
I cannot discover that any kind of spice is cultivated in this Island on the contrary I am assured it is the Companys[*] express commands that it is rooted out wherever it is found.
Among the Curiosities of this place are found the Eatable Birds Nest. Of this article a private Trade is carried on, but as the quantity that is found is but small, it can be of no valuable consideration altho the price appears to make up for the scarcity. They are sold here at 13 Rix Dollars pr pound and at Java for 15 or 20 per pound. I cannot get a knowledge with certainty of what kind of Bird it is that makes this nest, but from some Malay Mens account it is of a Species of the Swallow like the Mother Carey's Chicken. They build in the Rocks and near to the Sea, for according to description the Malays are obliged frequently to dive under the water to get up into the Caverns and Holes into which there is no ac[c]ess from without, and it is certain they have a great deal of difficulty and trouble getting them.
A cockle shell about 3 Inches long is about the Size and form of these nests which are made or wove by threads of glutinous matter that no one has an Idea how it is collected. Whiteness constitutes a great part of the Value of this Article. Its principal virtues is strengthening and nourishing the stomach. I never heard however that it is ever dressed alone, they always add a Fowl, and the broth than [then] appears to be chicken with Vermacelli mixt with it and to the Palate not better. In China they are highly Valued. One nest disolved in a large Tea Cup of boiling water or nearly to that proportion and drank in the mornings is considered very advantageous to weak constitutions.