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Title: Narrative of the Circumnavigation of the Globe by the Austrian Frigate Novara, Volume II - (Commodore B. Von Wullerstorf-Urbair,) Undertaken by Order - of the Imperial Government in the Years 1857, 1858, & 1859, - Under the Immediate Auspices of His I. and R. Highness the - Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, Commander-In-Chief of the - Austrian Navy.
Author: Scherzer, Karl Ritter von
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Narrative of the Circumnavigation of the Globe by the Austrian Frigate Novara, Volume II - (Commodore B. Von Wullerstorf-Urbair,) Undertaken by Order - of the Imperial Government in the Years 1857, 1858, & 1859, - Under the Immediate Auspices of His I. and R. Highness the - Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, Commander-In-Chief of the - Austrian Navy." ***

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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note: The original publication has been replicated
faithfully except as shown in the List Of Corrections at the end of the
text. Words in italics are indicated like _this_. Footnotes are located
near the end of each chapter. [oe] represents the oe ligature.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                OF THE
                      Circumnavigation of the Globe
                         BY THE AUSTRIAN FRIGATE

           _Undertaken by Order of the Imperial Government_,

                    IN THE YEARS 1857, 1858, & 1859,


                           DR. KARL SCHERZER,


                                VOL. II.


                      _SAUNDERS, OTLEY, AND CO._,
                   66, BROOK STREET, HANOVER SQUARE.


                    JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PRINTERS.



                               CHAPTER X.

                          THE NICOBAR ISLANDS.

    Historical details respecting this Archipelago.--Arrival at
    Kar-Nicobar.--Communication with the Aborigines.--Village of
    Sáoui and "Captain John."--Meet with two white men.--Journey to
    the south side of the Island.--Village of Komios.--Forest
    Scenery.--Batte-Malve.--Tillangschong.--Arrival and stay at
    Nangkauri Harbour.--Village of Itoe.--Peak Mongkata on Kamorta.--
    Villages of Enuang and Malacca.--Tripjet, the first settlement
    of the Moravian Brothers.--Ulàla Cove.--Voyage through the
    Archipelago.--The Island of Treis.--Pulo Miù.--Pandanus Forest.--
    St. George's Channel.--Island of Kondul.--Departure for the
    northern coast of Great Nicobar.--Mangrove Swamp.--Malay
    traders.--Remarks upon the natives of Great Nicobar.--Disaster
    to a boat dispatched to make Geodetical observations.--Visit to
    the Southern Bay of Great Nicobar.--General results obtained
    during the stay of the Expedition in this Archipelago.--
    Nautical, Climatic, and Geognostic observations.--Vegetation.--
    Animal Life.--Ethnography.--Prospects of this group of Islands
    in the way of settlement and cultivation.--Voyage to the Straits
    of Malacca.--Arrival at Singapore.                                   1

                               CHAPTER XI.


    Position of the Island.--Its previous history.--Sir Stamford
    Raffles' propositions to make it a port of the British
    Government free to all sea-faring nations.--The Island becomes
    part of the Crown property of England.--Extraordinary
    development under the auspices of a Free Trade policy.--Our
    stay shortened in consequence of the severity of the cholera.--
    Description of the city.--Tigers.--Gambir.--The Betel
    plantations.--Inhabitants.--Chinese and European labour.--
    Climate.--Diamond merchants.--Preparation of Pearl Sago.--Opium
    farms.--Opium manufacture.--Opium-smokers.--Intellectual
    activity.--Journalism.--Logan's "Journal of the Indian
    Archipelago."--School for Malay children.--Judicial procedure.--
    Visit to the penal settlement for coloured criminals.--A Chinese
    provision-merchant at business and at home.--Fatal accident on
    board.--Departure from Singapore.--Difficulty in passing through
    Gaspar Straits.--Sporadic outbreak of cholera on board.--Death
    of one of the ship's boys.--First burial at sea.--Sea-snakes.--
    Arrival in the Roads of Batavia.                                   137

                             CHAPTER XII.


    Old and New Batavia.--Splendid reception.--Scientific
    societies.--Public institutions.--Natives.--A Malay embassy.--
    Excursion into the interior.--Buitenzorg.--The Botanic Garden.--
    The Negro.--Prince Aquasie Boachi.--Pondok-Gedeh.--The infirmary
    at Gadok, and Dr. Bernstein.--Megamendoeng.--Javanese villages.--
    Tjipannas.--Ascent of Pangerango.--Forest scenery.--Javanese
    resting-houses or Pasanggrahans.--Night and morning on the
    summit of the volcano.--Visit to Gunung Gedeh.--The plantations
    of Peruvian bark-trees in Tjipodas.--Their actual condition.--
    Conjectures as to the future.--Voyage to Bandong.--Spots where
    edible swallows' nests are found.--Hospitable reception by a
    Javanese prince.--Visit to Dr. Junghuhn in Lembang.--Coffee
    cultivation.--Decay in value of the coffee bean of Java.--
    Professor Vriese and the coffee planters of Java.--Free trade
    and monopoly.--Compulsory and free labour.--Ascent of the
    volcano of Tangkuban Prahu.--Poison Crater and King's Crater.--A
    geological excursion to a portion of the Preanger Regency.--
    Native fête given by the Javanese Regent of Tjiangoer.--A day at
    the Governor-general's country-seat at Buitenzorg.--Return to
    Batavia.--Ball given by the military club in honour of the
    Novara.--Raden Saleh, a Javanese artist.--Barracks and prisons.--
    Meester Cornelis.--French opera.--Constant changes among the
    European society.--Aims of the colonial government.--Departure
    from Batavia.--Pleasant voyage.--An English ship with Chinese
    Coolies.--Bay of Manila.--Arrival in Cavite harbour.               180

                              CHAPTER XIII.


    Historical notes relating to the Philippines.--From Cavite to
    Manila.--The river Pasig.--First impressions of the city.--Its
    inhabitants.--Tagales and Negritoes.--Preponderating influence
    of monks.--Visit to the four chief monasteries.--Conversation
    with an Augustine Monk.--Grammars and Dictionaries of the idioms
    chiefly in use in Manila.--Reception by the Governor-general of
    the Philippines.--Monument in honour of Magelhaens.--The
    "Calzada."--Cock-fighting.--"Fiestas Reales."--Causes of
    the languid trade with Europe hitherto.--Visit to the
    Cigar-manufactories.--Tobacco cultivation in Luzon and at the
    Havanna.--Abáca, or Manila hemp.--Excursion to the "Laguna de
    Bay."--A row on the river Pasig.--The village of Patero.--
    Wild-duck breeding.--Sail on the Lagoon.--Plans for
    canalization.--Arrival at Los Baños.--Canoe-trip on the
    "enchanted sea."--Alligators.--Kalong Bats.--Gobernador and
    Gobernadorcillo.--The Poll-tax.--A hunt in the swamps of
    Calamba.--Padre Lorenzo.--Return to Manila.--The "Pebete."--The
    military Library.--The civil and military Hospital.--
    Ecclesiastical processions.--Ave Maria.--Tagalian merriness.--
    Condiman.--Lunatic Asylum.--Gigantic serpent thirty-two years
    old.--Departure.--Chinese pilots.--First glimpse of the coasts
    of the Celestial Empire.--The Lemmas Channel.--Arrival in
    Hong-kong Harbour.                                                 281

                              CHAPTER XIV.


    Rapid increase of the colony of Victoria or Hong-kong.--
    Disagreeables.--Public character.--The Comprador, or
    "factotum."--A Chinese fortune-teller.--Curiosity-stalls.--The
    To-stone.--Pictures on so-called "rice-paper."--Canton English.--
    Notices on the Chinese language and mode of writing.--
    Manufacture of ink.--Hospitality of German missionaries.--The
    custom of exposing and murdering female children.--Method of
    dwarfing the female foot.--Sir John Bowring.--Branch Institute
    of the Royal Asiatic Society.--An ecclesiastical dignitary on
    the study of natural sciences.--The Chinese in the East Indies.--
    Green indigo or Lu-Kao.--Kind reception by German countrymen.--
    Anthropometrical measurements.--Ramble to Little Hong-kong.--
    Excursion to Canton on board H.M. gun-boat _Algerine_.--A day at
    the English head-quarters.--The Treaty of Tien-Tsin.--Visit to
    the Portuguese settlement of Macao.--Herr von Carlowitz.--
    Camoens' Grotto.--Church for Protestants.--Pagoda Makok.--Dr.
    Kane.--Present position of the colony.--Slave-trade revived
    under the name of Chinese emigration.--Excursions round Macao.--
    The Isthmus.--Chinese graves.--Praya Granite.--A Chinese
    physician.--Singing stones.--Departure.--Gutzlaff's Island.--
    Voyage up the Yang-tse-Kiang.--Wusung.--Arrival at Shanghai.       355

                                CHAPTER XV.


    A stroll through the old Chinese quarter.--Book-stalls.--Public
    Baths.--Chinese Pawnbrokers.--Foundling hospital.--The Hall of
    Universal Benevolence.--Sacrificial Hall of Medical Faculty.--
    City prison.--Temple of the Goddess of the Sea.--Chinese
    taverns.--Tea-garden.--Temple of Buddha.--Temple of Confucius.--
    Taouist convent.--Chinese nuns.--An apothecary's store, and what
    is sold therein.--Public schools.--Christian places of worship.--
    Native industry.--Cenotaphs to the memory of beneficent
    females.--A Chinese patrician family.--The villas of the foreign
    merchants.--Activity of the London Missionary Society.--Dr.
    Hobson.--Chinese medical works.--Leprosy.--The American
    Missionary Society.--Dr. Bridgman.--Main-tze tribe.--Mission
    schools for Chinese boys and girls.--The North China branch of
    the Royal Asiatic Society.--Meeting in honour of the Members of
    the _Novara_ Expedition.--Mons. de Montigny.--Baron Gros.--
    Interview with the Táu-Tái, or chief Chinese official of the
    city.--The Jesuit mission at Sikkawéi.--The Pagoda of Long-Sáh.--
    A Chinese dinner.--Serenade by the German singing-club.--The
    Germans in China.--Influence of the Treaties of Tien-Tsin and
    Pekin upon commerce.--Silk.--Tea.--The Chinese sugar-cane.--
    Various species of Bamboos employed in the manufacture of
    paper.--The varnish tree.--The tallow tree.--The wax-tree.--
    Mosquito tobacco.--Articles of import.--Opium.--The Tai-ping
    rebels.--Departure from Shanghai.--A typhoon in the China sea.--
    Sight the island of Puynipet in the Caroline Archipelago.          416

                              CHAPTER XVI.

                        THE ISLAND OF PUYNIPET.

    Native boats in sight.--A pilot comes on board--Communications
    of a white settler.--Another pilot.--Fruitless attempts to tack
    for the island.--Roankiddi Harbour.--Extreme difficulty in
    effecting a landing with the boats.--Settlement of Réi.--Dr.
    Cook.--Stroll through the forest.--Excursions up the Roankiddi
    River.--American missionaries.--Visit from the king of the
    Roankiddi tribe.--Kawa as a beverage.--Interior of the royal
    abode.--The Queen.--Mode of living, habits and customs of the
    natives.--Their religion and mode of worship.--Their festivals
    and dances.--Ancient monumental records and their probable
    origin.--Importance of these in both a historical and geological
    point of view.--Return on board.--Suspicious conduct of the
    white settler.--An asylum for contented delinquents.--Under
    weigh for Australia.--Belt of calms.--Simpson Island.--"It must
    be a ghost!"--Bradley Reef.--A Comet.--The Solomon Islands.--
    Rencontre with the natives of Malaýta.--In sight of Sikayana.      551

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                     THE CORAL ISLAND OF SIKAYANA.

    Natives on board.--Good prospects of fresh provisions.--An
    interment on board.--A night scene.--Visit to the Island
    Group.--Fáole.--Trip ashore to Sikayana.--Narrative of an
    English sailor.--Cruelty of merchantmen in the South Sea
    Islands.--Tradition as to the origin of the inhabitants of
    Sikayana.--A king.--Barter.--Religion of the natives.--Trepang.--
    Method of preparing this sea-slug for the Chinese market.--
    Dictionary of the native language.--Under sail.--Ile de
    Contrariété.--Stormy weather.--Spring a leak.--Bampton Reef.--
    Smoky Cape.--Arrival in Port Jackson, the harbour of Sydney.       601

                        LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

                                VOL. II.


      1. A Landscape in the Nicobar Islands                        1

      2. A Forest Scene in Singapore                             137

      3. A Chinese Counting Board                                170

      4. Javanese Weapons                                        180

      5. The Seal of Union of the Brotherhood
           of the Heavens and the Earth                          197

      6. Javanese Bee-hive                                       213

      7. View from the Battlements at Manila                     281

      8. Life in Hong-kong                                       355

      9. Flower Boat on the Wusung at Shanghai                   416

      10. Distant View of the Island of Puynipet                 551

      11. Barrier Reef and Atoll of Sikayana                     601

            [Illustration: A Landscape in the Nicobar Islands.]


                          The Nicobar Islands.

             Stay from 23rd February to 26th March, 1858.

    Historical details respecting this Archipelago.--Arrival at
    Kar-Nicobar.--Communication with the Aborigines.--Village of
    Sáoui and "Captain John."--Meet with two white men.--Journey to
    the south side of the island.--Village of Komios.--Forest
    Scenery.--Batte-Malve.--Tillangschong.--Arrival and stay at
    Nangkauri Harbour.--Village of Itoe.--Peak Mongkata on Kamorta.--
    Villages of Enuang and Malacca.--Tripjet, the first settlement
    of the Moravian Brothers.--Ulàla Cove.--Voyage through the
    Archipelago.--The Island of Treis.--Pulo Milù--Pandanus Forest.--
    St. George's Channel.--Island of Kondul.--Departure for the
    northern coast of Great Nicobar.--Mangrove Swamp.--Malay
    traders.--Remarks upon the natives of Great Nicobar.--Disaster
    to a boat dispatched to make Geodetical observations.--Visit to
    the Southern Bay of Great Nicobar.--General results obtained
    during the stay of the Expedition in this Archipelago.--
    Nautical, Climatic, and Geognostic observations.--Vegetation.--
    Animal Life.--Ethnography.--Prospects of this group of Islands
    in the way of settlement and cultivation.--Voyage to the Straits
    of Malacca.--Arrival at Singapore.

The earliest visitants of whom we have any certain information to this
cluster of islands (situated in the Bay of Bengal, between 6° 50' and 9°
10' N., and 93° and 94° E.), appear to have been Arabian traders, who, on
their voyages to Southern China, landed on these islands, then known as
Megabalu and Legabalu, on the first occasion in 851, and on the second in
877 of the Christian era. Abu-Zeyd-Hassan, one of these adventurers, gave
a circumstantial account of these voyages, which has been translated into
French, and published by Eusebius Renaudot.[1]

After the Cape of Good Hope was doubled in 1497, the Nicobars were chiefly
frequented by voyagers in East Indian seas, but without any such visits
having in the least contributed to enlarge our information respecting a
group so important by geographical position.

In 1602, Captain Lancaster, commander of an English ship, passed ten days
on the Nicobars, during which he hardly visited the southern islands,
Great and Little Nicobar, but kept to the small island of Sombrero, of the
northern cluster, now called Bampoka. He there found trees of such
circumference and height, as would serve for the construction of the
largest ships. Towards the middle of the seventeenth century, Koeping, a
Swede, made his appearance at the Nicobars. Happening to be on board a
Dutch vessel, which touched in 1647 at one of the islands, he thought he
perceived among the inhabitants certain men furnished with caudal
appendages, whereas it was their peculiar clothing, which consists of a
long narrow piece of woven stuff, wound round the body and then left to
hang loosely, which gave rise to such a report. With the arrival in Indian
waters of Dampier, that daring but most trustworthy of navigators, the
information respecting these islands first becomes more definite. He
landed in the north-western Bay of the largest of these, to which he
assigned the latitude 7° 30' N., and gave a most extensive narrative of
his adventurous career from the moment he abandoned the corsair-craft he
had brought from Europe to seek for assistance on the Nicobars, to the
period when, after braving a tremendous storm in a canoe, along with seven
of his companions in misfortune he landed half dead on the northernmost
point of Sumatra about 1706.

In 1708, Captain Owen, another English shipmaster, paid an involuntary
visit to this Archipelago, his ship having been stranded on the
uninhabited island of Tillangschong, whence he escaped with his crew to
the islands Ning and Souri, only four miles to the westward, apparently
what is now known as Nangkauri. For the first time history now records an
outrage of which the natives were guilty towards the strangers.

It would appear that the captain, after having experienced an exceedingly
friendly reception, laid down his knife, upon which one of the islanders,
very possibly out of curiosity, laid hold of it, pushed the owner aside,
and ultimately possessed himself of the knife. On the following day, as
Owen was taking his mid-day meal under a tree, he was set upon and killed
by several of the natives, who shot him down with their arrows; on the
other hand the crew, consisting of sixteen persons, were furnished with
canoes and provisions, so that without experiencing any further
ill-treatment they were so fortunate as to reach Junkseilan.

The first essay towards a settlement of the Nicobar Islands was made by
the Jesuits in 1711, upon the most northerly island of the group,
Kar-Nicobar. They succumbed however to the noxious influences of the
climate, and the few neophytes speedily sank back into heathendom.

The second attempt at colonization by Europeans took place in 1756, when
Lieutenant Tanck, a Dane, after taking possession of the entire group in
the name of his sovereign, the King of Denmark, named the islands
"_Frederiks Oerne_" (Frederick Islands), and founded the first colony on
the northern side of Great Nicobar, or Sambellong. In the year 1760 this
was transferred by the followers of Tanck to the island of Kamorta, but
here too after a short time the experiment failed, owing to the
unhealthiness of the climate.

In 1766, fourteen Moravian Brethren were settled on Nangkauri, with the
view of extending the influence of the Danish East India Company. The want
of information respecting the necessary conditions under which this colony
was called into existence, was in all probability the cause of its speedy
declension. Within less than two decades the majority of these settlers
had fallen under the baneful influence of the climate.

On 1st April, 1778, the Austrian vessel _Joseph and Theresa_, commanded
by Captain Bennet, landed on the N.E. side of Kar-Nicobar, or New Denmark.
This vessel had been commissioned by the Imperial Government to select, in
the name of H.M. Joseph II., Austrian plantations and commercial stations
on the farther side of the Cape of Good Hope. Of this remarkable
expedition nothing more has been handed down to us than is related by
excellent Nicolas Fontana, who accompanied the expedition as surgeon, in
his book of travels, which was published at Leipzig in 1782.[2]

Neither the libraries nor the archives of the empire seem capable of
furnishing more definite information respecting this interesting
undertaking. However, on the other hand, through the kind offices of
H.I.H. the Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian with the Government of H.M. the
King of the Belgians, there have been found in the Royal Archives at
Brussels several highly important documents, bearing upon this expedition,
of which M. Gachard, keeper of the State Archives in that country, had the
kindness to furnish us with copies; and while we propose in the following
remarks to avail ourselves of the most interesting data, the more
particular consideration of this circumstance, so interesting in the
history of the development of our trade, will be deferred till the
appearance of the commercial section of the Novara publications.

A Dutchman, named William Bolts, formerly in the service of the British
East India Company, in the year 1774 made to Count Belgiojoso, at that
period Ambassador in London of the Empress Maria Theresa, proposals for
direct commercial intercourse between the Netherlands and Trieste and
Persia, the East Indies, China, and Africa, with the object of supplying
the harbours of the Austrian dominions with the products of India and
China, without the costly intervention of other countries. This
proposition having been brought under the notice of the Imperial
Chancellor, Prince Kaunitz, at Vienna, was so cordially received by that
minister, that Bolts received an invitation to present himself at the
Empress's palace, in order to develope his plans more fully in person in
that august presence. Bolts arrived in Vienna in April, 1775, and very
shortly afterwards was invested by the Empress with all the requisite
privileges for facilitating the prosecution of his great project. The
imperial officials at Trieste were entrusted with the equipment and arming
of the vessel, the supreme military council were required to provide the
necessary pay for the soldiers and subaltern officers, and Bolts by
special commission was formally empowered in the name of the Empress
Queen, as also in that of her successors upon the throne, to take
possession of all the territories which he might succeed in getting ceded
by the princes of India, for the behoof of such of Her Imperial Majesty's
subjects as should purpose trading with the Indies.

It was the wish of the Government that the first expedition should take
its departure from Trieste; Bolts however opposed this, for the reason
that his vessel must take part of its lading from London, but declared
himself prepared to make the most strenuous efforts to found a mercantile
house in Trieste, and to take such precautions as should result in the
second and all future expeditions being dispatched from Trieste.

Bolts hereupon first proceeded to Amsterdam with his newly acquired
privileges, and thence to London, as yet without being more fortunate in
his attempt to set on foot the proposed association in the one locality
than in the other. At last, at Antwerp in the Netherlands, he succeeded in
interesting in his project a certain Baron von Proli, and two merchants,
by the name of Borrekens and Nägeles, and with these three persons he
entered into a contract of association, on 20th Sept. 1775. At the same
time a fund of £90,000 was raised for the armament of a second trading
vessel to the East Indies and China, and out of the same amount to
establish a mercantile house in Trieste.

In possession of £25,000 sterling, which he had procured from his
associates, Bolts proceeded to London, where he purchased a vessel, which
he named the _Joseph and Theresa_, put a portion of her cargo on board,
and on 14th March, 1776, set sail thence for Leghorn. Here certain
articles were to be taken on board, which the Government had promised to
have ready, and which consisted of copper, iron, steel, and tools. Before
Bolts left harbour on his voyage to the Indies he was invested by the
Empress with the grade of Lieutenant-Colonel in their service, and for the
better prosecution of his objects was provided by the State Chancery with
comprehensive powers,[3] and a pass for barbarous countries, called a
"_Scontrino_."[4] The Empress at the same time provided the daring
adventurer with letters of introduction under her own hand to the Emperor
of China, the "King" of Persia, and the Indian satraps whose dominions he
was to visit.

Baron Proli, one of the chief partners, went first of all to Vienna, and
thence to Leghorn, and concluded an agreement with Bolts to dispatch a
ship to the Indies in each of the years 1777, 1778, 1779, the cargoes of
which should be worth at least £30,000 each, while Bolts, on his part,
engaged to remain in the Indies three and a half years from the day of his
departure, there to found factories, and to lay out to the best advantage
the money realized by the sale of the merchandise consigned to him. The
Empress Maria Theresa rewarded Proli for services already rendered, as
also for those which he undertook to perform in the establishment of
trading-exchanges in Trieste and Bruges, for the support of the oversea
commerce of the Austrian and Belgian provinces, by raising him to the
dignity of Count.

The ship _Joseph and Theresa_, bound for the east coast of Africa, as also
for the shores of Malabar, Coromandel, and Bengal, set sail from Leghorn
in September, 1776, with a crew of 155 men. Unfavourable winds compelled
Bolts to make the Brazilian coast, in order to take in fresh stores.
Thence he lay a course for Delagoa Bay, on the S.E. coast of Africa,
opposite the island of Madagascar, on which, on 30th March, 1777, he was
so unfortunate as to get stranded, when he was compelled to start a
portion of his cargo overboard. Bolts, however, turned to excellent
account his stay on this coast, having purchased from two African kings,
named Mohaar Capell, and Chibauraan Matola, a site of ground on both banks
of the river Masoûmo, and, at a total expenditure of 126,267 florins
(about £12,600), in which was included the cost of constructing the
necessary vessels, founded a factory, for whose protection he also erected
two small forts, which he furnished with cannon, and named after his two
illustrious patrons, Joseph and Theresa.

After a more protracted stay on the coast of Malabar, where he purchased
from the Nabob, the celebrated Hyder Ali Khan, a number of plots of
ground in the vicinity of Mangalore, Carwar, and Balliapatam, the very
centre of the pepper trade, and erected a factory at an expense of 28,074
florins (£2800), this enterprising man set sail for the Coromandel Coast
and the Bay of Bengal, and about the commencement of 1778 visited the
Nicobar Islands, in order there also to found a factory. Unfortunately, of
this visit there nowhere survive any detailed particulars, and the only
document extant under Bolts' hand, which can throw any light on the
subject, is a statement of the expenditure incurred in erecting a fort on
the Nicobars, which, together with the purchase of a _goëlette_, and a
snow, or two-masted vessel, for the coasting trade between Madras, Pegu,
and the group of islands, amounted to 47,659 fl. 48 kr. (about £4760).

At the close of 1780 Bolts returned to Europe, and in May, 1781, cast
anchor in the harbour of Leghorn. His exertions and his speculation had
not been attended with the success anticipated, and despite fresh
assistance afforded by the Austrian Government to the Association, which
at first seemed to promise a more auspicious future for the undertaking,
yet the political complications of the period, and especially the sudden,
totally unlooked-for rupture of peace between France, England, and
Holland, ere long entailed utter ruin on the trading company, which, in
the year 1785, found itself compelled to stop payment.[5] Bolts died at
Paris in April, 1808, in utter destitution, and Michaud, in his
_Biographie Universelle_, dedicated an article to this hardy and
enterprising, rather than shrewd and prudent, adventurer.[6]

About two years after the appearance of the Austrian ship in the Nicobar
Archipelago, the Danes endeavoured to found there a missionary station of
Moravian Brothers. Towards the close of 1778 the missionaries, Hänsel and
Wangemann, sailed from Tranquebar to Nangkauri, where they arrived in
January, 1779. In 1787 the mission at Nangkauri was once more abandoned,
when the only surviving Moravian Brother returned to Tranquebar, and
shortly after to Europe.

In 1795 an Englishman, Major Symes, touched at Kar-Nicobar, while on his
voyage as Envoy to Ava and Burmah. His observations there may be found in
the second volume of "Asiatic Researches," p. 344, in an article entitled
"Description of Carnicobar."

In 1831, Denmark once more made an attempt to colonize, by means of a
missionary enterprise, the group formerly known as New Denmark, and
occasionally as Frederick Islands. Pastor Rosen landed in August of that
year on the island of Kamorta, and first set up his establishment on the
so-called Frederick Hill, then on the adjoining Mongkata Hill; somewhat
later on the island of Trinkut, and lastly on the shore immediately
beneath the Mongkata Hill. In December, 1834, after about a four years'
stay, Pastor Rosen left the islands, and in 1839 published, at Copenhagen,
his own experiences and personal observations, under the title:
"_Erindringen om mit Ophold paa de Nikobariske Oerne_" (Recollections of
my Residence on the Nicobar Islands).

In 1835, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Straits of Malacca dispatched to
Kar-Nicobar two French missionaries, the Fathers Chopard and Borie. But
after a certain lapse of time, during which their missionary efforts gave
promise of the most pleasing results, and when they had lived about a year
on the island, the pious work fell through, owing to the credulity and
prejudices of the natives, to whom the two missionaries were represented
by the crew of a ship from the adjacent shores of the continent as English
spies, whose object probably was to ascertain the products of the country,
which thereupon would speedily be annexed by the English Government. The
missionaries had to flee, and Borie expired in the arms of his companion
before he could get off the island. Chopard afterwards, in the year 1849,
published his adventures in this group of islands in the "Asiatic Journal
of the Indian Archipelago," under the title, "_A few Particulars
respecting the Nicobar Islands._"

In March, 1845, Mr. Mackey, Danish Consul in Calcutta, set on foot a
small expedition to the Nicobar Archipelago. That gentleman hoped to find
amongst the southern islands strata of coal, and made a voyage thither in
prosecution of that object, on board the schooner _Espiègle_, commanded by
an Englishman named Lewis, and accompanied by two Danes, Mr. Busch, the
sole commander of the expedition, and a certain Mr. Lowert. By the end of
May the adventurers were once more in Calcutta. With the exception of a
few lumps they had not found coal-beds on any part of the island, while
they lacked the physical strength requisite for founding the agricultural
colony, which it had been intended to set on foot at the same time. The
scientific results of this voyage are comprised in a small _brochure_, "H.
Busch's Journal of a Cruise amongst the Nicobar Islands," (Calcutta,

A further scientific exploration of the Nicobar group was made by the
naturalists attached to the Danish corvette _Galatea_ in the course of
their voyage round the world in the years 1845-7. A thorough examination
of the Nicobars was one of the chief objects of the expedition set on foot
under the auspices of the Danish Government. On the 25th January, 1846, at
Nangkauri, Captain Steen Bille took formal possession of this group of
islands in the name of H.M. the King of Denmark. Two natives, father and
son, named respectively Luha and Angre, the former resident in Malacca,
and the latter in Enuang, were on that occasion installed as chief
magistrates; each being at the same time provided with a staff bearing the
cypher of Christian VIII., and instructed, by means of a document drawn
up in the English and Danish languages, on the subject of their duties,
which consisted principally in hoisting the Danish Standard on the arrival
of foreign ships in the harbour of Nangkauri.[7]

After the decease of Christian VIII., the Danish Government, in
consequence of the violent political agitations of the period, did not
show itself disposed to make practical use of their possession of the
Nicobar Islands by any lasting colonization, but on the contrary in the
year 1848 dispatched the royal corvette _Valkyrien_ to the Archipelago, to
bring away the flag and bâtons.[8]

In consequence of this, according to "Thornton's Gazetteer of India," the
chiefs of the island of Kar-Nicobar hoisted the English flag, and through
certain English merchants resident in Moulmein, expressed a wish to be
permitted to place themselves under the protection of the British Crown.
This information, however, seems to be inaccurate, in so far as it
professes to describe the conduct of the native chiefs. The inhabitants,
it is true, hoist any flag given to them, because they are fond of
imitating European customs, and by so doing believe they secure themselves
against the pretensions of other nations; but there is nothing they so
much dread as a regular occupation of the islands, and on every appearance
of a war-ship are forthwith filled with alarm lest they should be about to
be deprived of their liberty, and--their cocoa-nuts. Indeed they have a
saying widely diffused among them, probably through the craft of some
smart chiefs, that whenever a European should settle among them all the
cocoa-nuts will drop from the trees, and they will thus see themselves
deprived for ever of their most important means of subsistence. It is, on
the contrary, more probable that the English ship captains, who trade with
these islands in order the better to secure their highly profitable trade
in cocoa-nuts, made some propositions to the East Indian Government to
take possession of this important group, by a similar procedure as that by
which the Andaman islands were annexed somewhat later.

Since the unsuccessful attempt at the end of last century to extend
Austrian commerce with the Indies and the coast of Africa, by founding a
few colonies in those places, no vessel sailing under the Austrian flag
had again visited the Nicobar Islands, and accordingly, on the dispatch of
an Imperial ship-of-war to those waters, it was naturally wished that she
should on her voyage to China visit this group, on whose shores the
Austrian flag had once been unfurled as a symbol of possession. On this
occasion, however, the object was rather scientific than political. It was
intended, so far as the time allotted for visiting these islands and the
appliances at hand admitted, to undertake inquiries as to the most
important geodetical points, together with astronomical, magnetic, and
meteorological observations, and at the same time to make investigations
and collections of the various objects of natural science, and thus to
complete as it were the valuable labours carried out in 1846 by the Danish
Expedition to the Nicobar Islands. The following pages are simply limited
to giving a popular narrative of our own stay on this interesting island
group, while more circumstantial information of the various scientific
results obtained there will be deferred till the appearance of the special
works being drawn up by the members, each in his own special section.

On 25th February, at 10 A.M., the naturalists, accompanied by the officers
in charge of the scientific apparatus, and the midshipmen, after very
considerable difficulty, succeeded in effecting a landing on the island of
Kar-Nicobar, in a bay protected by a coral reef (by observation 9° 14' 8''
N., and 92° 44' 46'' E.), between the villages of Moose and Sáoui. At this
point the surf beats incessantly over the huge reefs of coral upon a waste
of gleaming white sand, which stretches in graceful curves from one point
of rock to that next adjoining. The few fruits which have been thrown up,
or been carried hither, probably from some distant shore, have struck root
in this coral sand, and a coronal of luxuriant palms, with their slim
stems, and loaded with thousands of nuts, serves as food for man.

In the vicinity of the spot where we disembarked was anchored a barque
from Moulmein, with a Malay crew, the majority of whom were tattooed on
the thigh with extraordinary skill. They had been for a considerable
period taking in a cargo of cocoa-nuts, which the natives had been
exchanging against various merchandise. About thirty dusky natives, almost
entirely naked, and for the most part without any head covering beyond the
splendid raven locks which hung down over their shoulders, some carrying
in their hands cutlasses, others long wooden lances tipped with bone,
stood near the beach, and while we were yet a little distance off, called
out to us in broken English, and with visible anxiety, "Good friend? No
fear!" apparently anxious, in the first place, to have confirmation from
us that we were really "good friends," and that they had nothing to dread,
before they ventured quite close to us. When they were no more than twenty
paces distant, they suddenly came to a halt, upon which some of their
number, who appeared to be chiefs, gave their spears and cutlasses to
those around, and advanced to us with a tolerably friendly air, at the
same time stretching out their hands by way of salutation. They were for
the most part large, well-proportioned men, of a dark bronze colour of

The most disagreeable feature is the mouth, which, in consequence of the
loathsome custom of incessantly chewing the betel-nut, seems to have
become utterly distorted in shape. In a few cases this filthy habit had
resulted in such deformity among the teeth, that these were barely visible
between the thick swollen lips, like a malignant tumour! The apparel of
the natives is pretty universally entirely primitive, consisting of
nothing but a long very narrow strip of dark blue linen, which they wind
round the body, bringing it from the front between the legs backwards,
when it is made fast to the girdle, and the ends left to hang loosely
down. Some of the natives make a very singular use of the different
articles of old clothes which they receive in exchange from the ship
captains, or have had given as a present, as they appear now in a black
hat, now in a coat or a shirt, without a vestige of other clothing!

Almost every native we saw brought to us a soiled, crumpled-up
testimonial, setting forth his good character, and his honesty in the
cocoa-nut trade, which he had received from various ship captains, who
bartered their merchandise for ripe cocoa-nuts, which they afterwards sold
in the East Indies or Ceylon at an immense profit. The greater number of
these testimonials were written in English; we found only one in German
from the skipper of a Bremen ship, and one in Dutch. In these certificates
are set forth the objects best worth enquiring for, as also a statement of
the articles bartered in the course of exchange for cocoa-nuts, a practice
which is not alone of the utmost utility for those who may afterwards
visit the islands for purposes of commerce, but also throw a most
interesting light upon the evidences of civilization among the natives.[9]

These testimonials also frequently contain very humorous remarks about the
unsuspecting natives, who assuredly would be less eager in producing them
if they were acquainted with the contents. One of the earliest to extend
to us the hand of welcome was a native who called himself Captain Dickson,
a handsome, slim, dark brown figure, with very long, fine, glossy hair
hanging over his shoulders, and neatly gathered together with a bark
ribbon. In the document presented to us, which was dated 15th January,
and bore the signature of the captain of the ship _Arracan_, there was
written beneath, "Dickson, though a shabby-looking fellow, is a man of
substance." In a second testimonial, it was said of a native: "He will do
honour to England when she comes!" a remark which leaves plainly apparent
the hope of the ship captain that these islands will speedily be occupied
by the English. These certificates likewise contain a variety of important
hints, especially with reference to the method of dealing with the
natives, the most commodious anchorage, the difficulty encountered in
landing, &c.[10]

Thus the most cursory communication with the natives convinced us that
they must already have repeatedly done business with English ship
captains, who had imparted to them a slight knowledge of the English
language, and a few of the simpler principles of humanity and religion.
When we gave them to understand that we visited them as friends, they
replied in their broken English: "Not merely friends--brothers! all
brothers! all only one father and one mother!" Hereupon each proceeded to
light one of the cigars that had been presented to them, while, for want
of any other receptacle, they secreted the remainder in the wide holes
transpiercing the lobes of the ears, after which they with the most frank
munificence, and in token of their hospitality, pulled a number of young
cocoa-nuts from the tree, and gave us their fluid contents to drink. Very
singular was the method in which this was effected. They tie their feet
together by the ankles with a loop of the same bast, or bark rope, which,
when employed in fastening their long black locks, usually forms such a
picturesque frontlet, and then clamber with the agility of cats to the
summit of the palm, throw to the bottom the separated fruit, and slide
swiftly down to the ground again. Holding in one hand a tolerably heavy
young nut, in the other a sharp cutlass, they proceed at one sure blow to
open the nut, in such manner that a small orifice is made, through which
the refreshing liquid contents can be conveniently quaffed. When this has
been evacuated the nut is usually split in half, in which form it serves
as a most nutritious food for the fowls and hogs. Despite their
hospitality, there was perceptible in all of them great anxiety, and the
upshot of all their conversation always resolved itself into the
stereotyped questions, "What did we really require? whether we wished to
purchase cocoa-nuts, and would soon be leaving?"

Great and natural as our desire was to penetrate from the shore, thickly
covered with its belt of cocoa-nut palms, into the rather flat interior,
and thus obtain a nearer view of the hive-shaped, basket-formed huts which
were visible under the forest trees, we judged it much the better course
to endeavour first of all to make the natives more confiding, and for that
purpose invited them to accompany us on board. Eight of their number were
finally induced to follow us, and came alongside in their elegant canoes,
formed of the wood of the _Calophyllum inophyllum_, one of the most
splendid trees of the primeval forest of the islands. As soon as we
reached the frigate, only a single one, Captain Dickson, could be induced
to clamber up of the man-ropes; the rest did not venture to leave their
canoes, and one, who called himself Captain Charlie, a short, lank little
fellow of boyish appearance, who for all apparel wore a dirty cloth cap on
his head, trembled with terror through his whole frame when he saw our big
guns. Captain Dickson, too, did not seem to feel himself altogether
comfortable while on board, and although there was much to excite his
curiosity, he soon longed to get out of the large ship, back again into
his own frail skiff. Quite peculiar was the impression made upon him by a
pair of live cows; such large animals he gave us to understand were not
found upon his island.

Meanwhile a number of natives had approached the frigate in their canoes,
bringing swine, fowls, plantains, yams, and eggs in hollowed-out cocoa-nut
shells, which they offered as presents, but at the same time inquired what
we intended giving them in return. They greatly wished for biscuit,
brandy, medicines, clothes, but above all else for black hats, which most
probably results from their having occasionally seen the captains of
English ships wearing round hats, whence they now seem to imagine that
such a head-gear is the insignia of captain's rank, or of a chief.

Their knowledge of money was confined to Rupees, which they discriminated
into two sorts, viz. the ordinary East Indian coin, and the English
sixpenny-piece, which they called "small Rupees," covering with them, by
way of ornament, the ends of the small bits of bamboo which they usually
wear through the hole that transpierces the greatly distended lobe of the

Of the two Catholic missionaries, Borie and Chopard, who in 1835 had
remained a short time on the island, not one of the natives could give us
any particulars; and likewise of the Danish corvette _Galatea_, which
visited the group in 1846, they had but a dim remembrance, and even this
of a far from complimentary character; the poor people having been
overwhelmed with the apprehensions that their island was about to be taken
possession of, and themselves exposed to a lingering death by hunger.
"Danish bad people," they exclaimed, "wanted to take our island. Suppose I
could come to your island and take it? Not good! no good people!"

We returned on shore with the natives, who, in consequence of their
friendly reception on board, had already become somewhat more tranquil and
trustful. Tents were now pitched, the astronomical and geodetical
instruments, together with the barometer and thermometer, were adjusted,
the tide-gauge fixed at the most suitable point, and the island traversed
in all directions for scientific purposes, so far at least as the density
of the forest and the mistrust of the natives would permit.

On the very same day we visited the Cove of Sáoui, on which is situated
the village of the same name, whose chief is called "Captain John." This
worthy had received by way of present an old cast-off blue uniform frock,
and was now making strenuous exertions to squeeze his all too little
flexible limbs into this tight thick cloth coat, and to button it, despite
the tropical heat, round his naked body up to the very throat. He was
anxious it should not be reported of him that he did not sufficiently
value the distinction awarded him, or did not comprehend how to make a
proper use of it. Unlike the rest of his compatriots, Captain John also
wore shoes and pants, and in consequence openly claimed to belong to the
privileged classes. He was surrounded by a considerable number of natives,
who presented themselves to us, as Captain Morgan, Captain Douglas, Dr.
Crisp, Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, Lord Wellington, and so forth, having been
indebted to the singular whimsies of some English captains, who thought it
a good joke to confer on these filthy brown people the illustrious names
of the hereditary and intellectual aristocracy of Great Britain.

Captain John accompanied us along the coast to his own domicile by an
exceedingly difficult and sunny path, having designedly concealed from us
the existence of a much more commodious track through the forest to the
village, which contains only seven houses. These are erected in a broad
open space, and in consequence of the great humidity of the soil during
the wet season, consist of eight or ten poles, from six to eight feet in
height, so that a man can easily pass under them. They comprise but one
large apartment, into which access is obtained by a neatly-carved ladder
of bamboo-reed, which during the night, or when the occupants leave the
hut, is usually taken away, so that, without using locks or bolts, it is
pretty difficult to get in. The flooring is constructed of bamboo planks,
bound together with Rotang (_Calamus Rotang_), in such a manner that the
air from beneath can circulate freely through, and, in a similar way, the
neat basket-work of the hive-shaped structure is vaulted. A dense straw
thatch serves as well to keep out the sun's rays as the rain. The internal
arrangements are very simple. In the rear is a sort of fire-place, a low
block of wood hollowed out, and the cavity filled with sand and stones,
upon which is placed a variety of utensils of clay, imported from the
adjoining island of Chowry, the only island of the entire Archipelago
where any industry is carried on. From the beams of the roof are suspended
hollowed-out cocoa-nuts, strung together in pairs, and serving as water
jars, as also elegantly plaited baskets and the few possessions of the
family, and, lastly, some fruits, betel-leaves, and tobacco, as offerings
to the Eewees, or evil spirits, in the event of their paying a visit, and
having an appetite for such fare. Further forward, opposite the entrance
of the hut, there are stuck on the side walls, as evidences of special
prosperity, numerous cutlasses, spears, javelins, and paddles. Besides,
there are laid on the floor plaited straw-mats, which, rolled up during
the day, are stretched out at night and, together with a small wooden
stool for a pillow, serve as couches on which to repose. The hut might
furnish sleeping quarters for about ten men. As, moreover, all the cookery
is carried on therein, and there is no means of ventilating from above,
the interior is completely saturated with smoke, and all articles are soon
begrimed with smoke and soot. The natives, however, apparently take no
precautions to get rid of the smoke, because it contributes to keep them
free of a far more subtle foe, the mosquito, who, especially during the
rainy season, becomes a formidable torment for their naked bodies.

In the shady space beneath the hut, which sometimes serves as a
workshop,--if one may venture so to designate the industry of the
inhabitants of the Nicobars generally,--Captain John had suspended upon a
transverse beam a sort of swing, in which he occasionally rocked himself,
much to his own delight, while for his guests was provided a wooden
arm-chair, which had evidently come into his possession in the course of
some barter with the captain of a merchant vessel.

The old chief spoke with marked predilection of the captain of the barque
_Rochester_ of London, a gentleman named Green, who, by his humane and
strictly conscientious dealings with the natives, seemed to stand in high
respect, and afforded a striking example of what beneficial influence is
exercised by individual English ship captains over the wild races with
whom they come in contact in the way of trade, and how much they have it
in their power to make their nation respected in all parts of the globe.
We venture to assert that these English merchantmen, during their cursory
visits, have done more towards paving the way for civilizing the Nicobars
than the Danish and French missionaries during their residence of years.
Not a single native understands one word of Danish or French, but almost
every one speaks English, sufficient, at all events, to make himself
understood in that language. The talkative old fellow next held forth an
English Bible, which had been carefully stowed away on one of the
cross-beams of his hut, and of which, as he told us, he had been made a
present by Captain Green, on that gentleman's last visit. "This is my
Jesus Christ," said Captain John, full of unquestioning faith in the
marvellous power of Holy Writ:--"when I feel ill, I lay this little book
under my head, and I get well again!" The worthy fellow could neither read
nor, so far as we could perceive, did he precisely comprehend what was
printed in the book, yet he seemed instinctively to feel that it was of no
ordinary purport, and accordingly held his present in high honour, as a
sort of talisman, whose power and efficacy one might confide in, without
his being able precisely to account for such a belief. We turned over the
leaves of the little volume, which had been issued by the renowned,
wide-spread, and beneficent London Bible Society, and found on the
fly-leaf some English verses in Green's handwriting, and some encomiums
upon the inhabitants of Kar-Nicobar, "The most virtuous people that
Captain Green had fallen in with during eight and thirty years'
sea-faring;" closing with the remark, "What a pity they have no

In truth, the inhabitants of Kar-Nicobar are among the most perfect of
human-kind. In their commerce with us they showed themselves to be
child-like and ignorant, yet virtuous, trustworthy people, without
ambition or the thirst of knowledge, but also without jealousy or envy. If
ever any breach between themselves and the Europeans has been pushed the
length of violence, such has pretty certainly resulted rather from their
being in a measure suddenly incited to self-defence than from any open
predisposition to mischief. When we inquired of one of the natives in what
manner breach of faith is punished on the island, he replied with the
utmost _naïveté_;--"We never have such--we are all good;--but in your
country there must be many evil men, else what for would you require so
many guns?"

In company with some of the natives we had proceeded upon a stroll through
the magnificent cocoa forest along the beach, in the course of which we
reached several huts scattered at random through the thicket, the
inhabitants of which received us in the most cordial manner. Their wives
and children however had all retired in a body, and during our entire stay
never once made their appearance. Indeed the natives, in the hope of
hastening our departure, pretended that their families had in their panic
fled into the forest, and must starve of hunger if we should remain long,
and so prevent them from returning to their usual abodes. This however was
but a hoax. The natives knew well enough where their families were
lurking, and provided them with food and drink. This extreme shyness of
the female portion of the population arises apparently from the
incivilities of which the sailors of the merchant vessels were guilty
towards the natives, whose moral feelings and delicacy of mind,
considering their low state of civilization, becomes doubly extraordinary.

An attempt to penetrate deeper into the interior of the island was baffled
through the obstacles which are interposed by the unchecked luxuriance of
tropical nature. The vegetation grows densely down to the very sea, which
is separated from the rich foliage above only by rocky reefs and narrow
dunes of sand, washed by the furious surf. A broad belt of _Rhizophoræ_,
gigantic _Barringtonias_, _Pandanus_, _Areca_, and cocoa-palms, encircles
the island, to which succeeds a somewhat higher land grown with dense
grass and interspersed with groups of trees, from which, lastly, spring a
few thickly-wooded peaks of about 150 to 200 feet in height. Through this
girdle it requires the most violent efforts to force one's way, while, on
the other hand, it is wholly impossible, owing to the dense tangle of
climbing plants and bamboo, to advance further into the forest over the
grass flat, unless a path be previously cleared with hedge-knives, which,
even could more time be devoted, would call for immense exertion. Our
researches therefore were necessarily confined for the most part to the
coast region.

After several hours of strolling about, collecting and examining as we
went on, the naturalists found themselves collected once more on the open
space facing Captain John's hut, where meanwhile a pig had been roasted by
our sailors in the open air, which we had purchased for three shillings of
our corpulent friend Dr. Crisp. The natives had at first protested against
this improvised hearthstone, being apprehensive lest the fire should reach
their huts, the roofs of which are thatched with dried palm-leaves. "It is
as inflammable as gunpowder," remarked the old chief in an anxious tone,
when our people had with great want of foresight lighted the fire too near
the buildings. Captain John and his kindred did not need to be invited
twice to partake of our meal, at which they proved themselves excellent
trenchermen. The inhabitants of these islands generally eat vegetables
only, the use of meat being for the most part restricted to festive
occasions. The use of salt is as yet unknown to them. They only use
sea-water for the purpose of seething their pigs and hens, by which
process the flesh gets a slight flavour of salt. During our luncheon,
which had made the natives yet more confiding than ever, we found an
opportunity of hearing something about the various festivals of the
Nicobar islanders.

When a native falls down from a tree, or is bitten by a snake, or is
otherwise wounded or dies, the Nicobarians forthwith discontinue all work,
and institute a fast, which they term Uraka. With the commencement of the
S.W. monsoons or rainy season (when the wind comes from "yonder," quoth
Dr. Crisp, and pointed with his finger to the southward), the inhabitants
of Kar-Nicobar hold their chief festival, which lasts fourteen days, and
is called Oïlere.

They have a similar festival at the end of the damp season, or N.E.
monsoon, to which the pigs, which play quite a conspicuous part in it,
impart an entirely peculiar character. Several weeks before the
commencement of this _fête_, a large number of these unclean but useful
animals are confined in small stalls, whence they are released on the
feast-day, and set loose in a well-fenced space, where they are teased and
pricked with lances by all the courageous, or rather mischievous, youth of
the island. The Nicobarians seem to attach special importance to the swine
being driven wild, and themselves engaged in a regular struggle with the
infuriated animal, in the course of which severe wounds are by no means of
rare occurrence. We ourselves saw several young natives, who a few days
previously had been severely injured in a similar contest with some
enraged pigs. When this anything but æsthetic spectacle has lasted some
time, the pigs are killed, roasted on the fire, and devoured by the
combatants and spectators.

A not less strange and even more barbarous festival is that which is held
about the same time as the one just mentioned. This consists in exhuming
the bones of all those who have died during the year elapsed since the
last N.E. monsoon, and have been interred in a sort of cemetery called
"_Cuyucupa_."[11] They next bring these bones into a hut, seat themselves
in a circle around the ghastly mementos, and shriek and howl as at the day
on which the relation died. While this scene of lamentation is going on, a
lighted cigar is usually stuck into the bony mouth of the grisly skull,
after which the latter is consigned to the grave again. The rest of the
bones however are either thrown into the deep sea or hid far in the
forest, while at the same moment, as a farther evidence of sorrow, a
number of cocoa-palms are cut down, and their fruit scattered to the
winds. By such symbols they apparently wish to express their overwhelming
grief, their weariness of existence, and their indifference to the most
valued gifts of nature, so that they would even deprive themselves of the
most universally necessary of the means of subsistence--were it not that,
owing to the readiness with which the sea-shore palm is propagated, the
nuts thus scattered at random, in all the indifference to sublunary
considerations incidental to a paroxysm of grief, speedily strike root,
and after a few years lift up their heads again in the forest, at once
ornamental and nutritious.

At all these festivals the natives assemble in the various villages, and
at these seasons spend days and weeks with each other. Earlier visitors to
Kar-Nicobar estimate the number of villages on the island at about six or
seven only. The natives on the other hand gave us the names of the
following thirteen: Arrong (or Arrow), Sáoui, Moose, Lapáte, Kinmai,
Tapóimai, Chukchuitche, Kiukiuka, Tamalu, Páka, Malacca, Komios, and
Kankéna, which all together would hardly number much above 100 huts, and
about 800 or 900 inhabitants.

Southward of our anchorage we fell in with a small stream, which near its
embouchure on the beach was lost in a sand-bank. Some of the members of
the Expedition explored it in a very small flat-bottomed boat, a Venetian
gondola, which was transported across the bar in order to admit of its
being sculled up the river. At first it was found to be about 2-1/2 feet
deep, by about 12 to 14 yards in width; the general direction of its very
sinuous course being towards E.S.E. All around the forest presented a
scene to which perhaps only the fantastic whimsicality of certain
theatrical forest sceneries might furnish a dim resemblance. Along the
steep bank of the river rose to a height of nearly 100 feet the slender
Nibong palm, adorned with blossoms and clusters of fruit, and close
adjoining the graceful Catechu palm. Gigantic forest trees, with thick
squat trunks, extended their shady masses of foliage far over the stream;
screw-pines towering up from the scaffold-like arrangement of their
numerous roots, were reflected from the glassy bosom of the water; clumps
of bamboo, absolutely alive with butterflies; nymph-like aquatic plants,
mossy green banks, and tree-ferns with indescribably graceful corollæ, all
combined here to form a landscape of the most enchanting richness, in the
water, on the shore, and in the air. Suspended over the whole scene,
partly in leaf, partly in bloom, a gigantic garland of climbing and
creeping plants, in living cords of every variety of thickness, rose in a
lofty arch above the limpid element, interlaced and girt round with
thousands of blooming and flourishing parasites! Then, too, from amid the
mysterious gloom started forth the strangest voices and cries, without our
being able to descry the animals themselves. In the water, which was
perfectly sweet to the taste, swarmed multitudes of fish of from one to
four inches in length. After rowing about one nautical mile and a half up
the stream, some rapids and rocks prevented our further progress, the
stream itself being but twelve feet wide. A little further to the east
occurs a similar small river, which however had even less water, and at
its mouth is yet more sanded up and inaccessible than that above

After we had lain for six days at anchor on the N.W. coast of Kar-Nicobar,
and were once more casting about how to make out our long-desired
excursion through its almost impermeable forests, we suddenly perceived in
the distance upon the beach two men in European dress, with muskets upon
their shoulders, who, conducted by some absolutely naked natives, speedily
approached us. One, a fine-looking, well-formed young man of about 20,
addressed us in French, saying he was supercargo of the Sardinian brig
_Giovannina_ of Singapore, and was occupied in taking in a cargo of
cocoa-nuts upon the southern shore of the island. The natives had been so
unsettled by the arrival of a war-ship, that they loudly affirmed a pirate
ship had made its appearance, which would rob and destroy them all;
whereupon the most anxious of their number entreated the few whites who
fortunately happened to be among them to start immediately for the north
side of the island, where the Colossus lay at anchor, so as at all events
to ascertain what was to be their fate. In the course of the conversation
which sprung up between ourselves and the two strangers, we found that the
supercargo was a Frenchman, born at St. Denis in the island of Bourbon,
and was named Auguste Tigard, while his companion was a Sardinian. They
were both singularly pale and embarrassed on first falling in with us,
apparently from surprise and delight at finding themselves so unexpectedly
in the society of white men at so solitary a spot; ere long however they
felt themselves more at their ease, visited the frigate, were provided
with clothes, medicines, and wine, and at a later period were of much use
to us in our intercourse with the natives. Tigard remarked that the
sugar-cane, which at present grows wild on the island, could, judging by
his own personal experience, be very profitably grown for the production
of sugar, as also that tobacco, cotton, and rice thrive in the most
conspicuous manner.

At present the cocoa-palm is the sole plant which is cultivated by the
natives of Kar-Nicobar. It supplies them with all they require for food
and lodging, for house-furniture, or for commerce with foreign peoples.
The stem of this slender column, from 60 to 100 feet in height, by about
2-1/2 in thickness, with its heavy green thatch of leaves, is very porous
and slight looking, but is yet stiff and strong enough to furnish
cross-beams, laths, and masts for huts and boats. The fibres of the bark
and of the nut-shells (known in commerce as _Coir_) supply cordage and
line; the immense fan-shaped leaf (3 feet wide by 12 to 14 in length) of
the coronal serves as a covering for the roof, as also for plaited work
and baskets. The juice of the nut, shaped like an egg, yet somewhat
triangular, and about the size of the human head, prevents the native from
feeling even in the slightest degree the absence of available spring
water, and is the sole beverage which invigorates and refreshes the
wayfarer through these forest solitudes. Frequently did we experience a
glow of thankfulness to all-bounteous Nature, as often as some hospitable
native handed to us for our refreshment, exhausted and thirsty as we were
after our fatiguing wanderings, a green cocoa-nut, that vegetable spring
of the tropical forest.[12] The kernel of the ripe nut, thoroughly dried
and pressed, gives forth a strong, clear, tasteless oil, which is used by
the natives for anointing their skin and hair, and at the same time forms
so important an article in European commerce, that above 5,000,000 ripe
cocoa-nuts are annually exported through foreign mercantile houses in
exchange for European fabrics. The hard shell of the cocoa-nut is the sole
drinking cup of the Nicobar islanders, and the cooling, refreshing juice,
which is extracted by an incision in the sheath of the palm-blossom before
the latter has expanded, is the sole fermented beverage of which they make
use. When brought into a state of fermentation it possesses similar
intoxicating effects with the Chicha of the American Indian. Here, as
among other half-savage races, we had occasion to remark, that the chief
food of the aborigines is also made available for supplying them with
their favourite liquid stimulant, and just as the native of India effects
this purpose with rice, the African from the Yucca, or the Yam, the
South-Sea Islander with the Kawa, and the Mexican with the Maize or the
Agave, so the inhabitant of the Nicobars avails himself of the cocoa-nut
at once for the supply of the first necessities of his existence, and the
excitement of his brain by artificial stimulant.

On 27th February, towards evening, after a stay of seven days on the north
side of Kar-Nicobar, which had been spent in scientific operations of the
most varied nature, we again set sail, and next morning cast anchor on the
south side of the same island, close to the village of Komios. The
current, which at this point sets to the E.S.E., runs about three miles an
hour, so long as the flood-tide continues, but as soon as the ebb-tide
sets in, it chops round, and runs with greatly diminished velocity. The
landings on the south side, which, on leaving the northern promontory,
shows a much richer vegetation, are somewhat difficult to discover, since
at almost all points reefs and coral banks project from the shore far into
the sea, so that after doubling the cape it is necessary to stop short a
pretty considerable distance from the land.

While we were coasting along the eastern shore we could perceive through
the telescope, at the village of Lapáte, consisting of some eight or ten
huts, a great number of women and children, who were rushing to and fro
among the huts in the utmost confusion, till suddenly all disappeared in
the forest. These were evidently fugitives from the north side, who were
now once more betaking themselves to the forest, accompanied by the native
females of the east and south sides, when they saw the dreaded floating
giant approaching them. A beach of dazzling white coral sand, sprinkled
over with thousands of living mussels, low melancholy-looking mangrove
swamps, and a superb forest of trees with lofty stems, through which lay a
beaten footpath, was all that the flat shore offered to our view. The
Frenchman already mentioned had indeed apprized the inhabitants of our
arrival, and had endeavoured to explain to them our friendly intention,
but it was in vain,--the greater portion of the population had taken to
flight, and only dogs and armed men were left behind. Here also we could
not see a single woman. However, we were informed by M. Tigard, who lived
several weeks in the village of Kankéna, and had been treated by the
natives as one of themselves, that the Nicobar women have their hair cut
quite short, and simply wind round their dusky bodies, all smeared with
oil, a piece of white or red calico at the loins. They are generally ugly,
but strictly virtuous, and regard the Europeans as an inferior race, as
compared with their native lords.

As we were making for the land in what is called Komios Bay, near the
village of the same name (situate according to our observations in 9° 37'
32'' N. Lat. and 92° 43' 42'' E. Long.), a number of stalwart natives
approached us from the forest, one of whom, who called himself Captain
Wilkinson, proved to be the most intelligent and graceful of their number.
He was extremely eager to give us a lot of information respecting the more
southerly islands of the Nicobar Archipelago, with which the inhabitants
of the southern coast appear to carry on more extensive commerce than
those on the northern shore. During the N.E. monsoons, canoes occasionally
start hence for the islands of Teressa, Bampoka, and Chowry. Wilkinson
himself once visited these islands in the barque _Cecilia_ of Moulmein,
with the view of fetching cocoa-nuts. The natives of Teressa, however,
showed such determined hostility to the captain of the vessel, that
Wilkinson advised him to abandon the island without further delay, ere the
intended shipment of cocoa-nuts was completed.

Another English captain, named Iselwood, seems once to have carried over
some natives of Teressa to Kar-Nicobar, and afterwards taken them back
again. There does not exist, however, any regular commercial intercourse
between Kar-Nicobar and the remaining islands of the Archipelago. The
boats of the natives are much too small, and unsuitable to admit of their
undertaking voyages to any distance, unless for some very important
purpose, such, for instance, as bringing pottery ware from the island of
Chowry, or Chowra, where alone in the Archipelago that manufacture is
carried on.

The Frenchman, Tigard, affirmed that the natives constantly spoke of
another race of men inhabiting the interior, who have but one eye in the
middle of the forehead, who possess no fixed habitation, but pass the
night among the trees like wild beasts, and subsist upon fruits and roots
dug up in the forest. This superstition meets with the more ready
acceptance among the natives, as not one of them has ever penetrated into
the interior. All their villages lie along the shore, as far as the tract
of coral sand reaches and the cocoa-nut is thriving. Here the frugal
native finds all that is necessary to satisfy his very limited
requirements. The cocoa-palm and the screw-pine (_Pandanus
odoratissima_), whose fruit forms his chief article of food, as also the
betel shrub and the Areca palm, which furnish their cherished masticatory,
grow here, and the coral sand, which can be worked into the most excellent
lime for building purposes, is only used by them for the purpose of
obtaining that ingredient so prejudicial to the teeth, which serves to
impart to the betel the proper relish.

From a passing observation of Wilkinson's we gathered that occasionally,
during the S.W. monsoons, earthquakes are experienced at Kar-Nicobar, and
this volcanic indication is yet more strongly marked on the adjoining
island of Bampoka. Despite the almost stifling heat, which raised the
column of mercury to 99° in the shade, some of the members of the
expedition endeavoured to penetrate, with indescribable toil, into the
swampy forest tract along the shore, and eventually succeeded in bringing
back several objects which, though few in number, were of the utmost
importance, and well repaid their labour. Among the animals knocked over,
there was a gigantic bat, or flying Maki (_Pterops_), the native name of
which is _Daiahm_.

A foot-track led direct through the forest, cutting off the southern
corner of the island towards the western side. The natives had in vain
endeavoured, with their customary importunities, to deter us from
following this path, assuring us that we should land ourselves in the
thick of the jungle, which was full of poisonous serpents. However,
nothing would serve us but to penetrate for once a little deeper into the
forest. A youthful native, of the most elegant and symmetrical
proportions, followed us at a long interval, but disappeared finally in
the woods. We wandered along in deep shadow between lofty colossal banyan
trees with hundreds of stems, and trunks interlaced with enormous branches
of ivy, from whose summits hung down lianas of all sizes and dimensions,
by which one might have clambered to the top as though by a rope, between
trees with smooth and glossy, or scarred and rugged, bark, which were
thickly overgrown with parasitical plants. Enormous crabs, with fiery red
claws, and bodies of the most lovely blue-black, fled before us to their
lurking-places in the depth of the forest. On right and left amid the
parched foliage was heard the rustling of lizards, and from the summits of
the imposing forest trees resounded the musical hum of swarms of _cicadæ_,
while green and rose-coloured parrots flew shrieking from branch to
branch, and from the boughs and tendrils was heard the call of the Mania,
or the cooing, murmuring love-note of the great Nicobar wood-pigeon.
Gradually the noise of the surf became once more audible, like distant
thunder, just where a few cocoa-nut palms and screw-pines mingled with the
laurel trees around. We had reached the beach again.

The same day, towards 4 P.M., the frigate quitted the south coast of
Kar-Nicobar, and steered in a S.S.E. direction towards the little island
of Batte-Malve, about twenty-one miles distant, in the neighbourhood of
which we kept beating about the whole of the following day, without being
able, in consequence of a stiff breeze and strong contrary current, to
approach it sufficiently near for a boat to get to land, and thus enable
us to make a more complete examination. Batte-Malve is a small, entirely
uninhabited island, some two miles in length, and seems to be of a
quadrangular form; the upper portion is thickly wooded; the highest
elevation being from 150 to 200 feet. Towards the N.W. the island becomes
somewhat flattened when approaching the coast, whereas on the west side,
as also on the S. and S.E. shores, the rocks descend perpendicularly into
the sea. According to our observations, instituted on the spot, there is
in the longitude, as we ascertained it, when compared with that assigned
by the officers of the Galatea, a discrepancy of ten nautical miles.

Early on the morning of the 3rd of March, while still to the N.W. of
Batte-Malve, but steering a S.E. course, the islands of Teressa, Chowry,
and Bampoka became visible at a distance of from eight to ten nautical
miles. From the main-mast-head we could also descry further to the
eastward the island of Tillangschong, to which we were now proceeding.

Next morning we found ourselves close in with its N.E. promontory. Both
wind and weather were highly favourable, the look-out man was stationed
upon the fore-top, the lead line on being hove overboard with forty
fathoms found no bottom, and the water had the deep blue colour of the
open ocean. We were therefore able to approach the shore fearlessly, and
accordingly stood in till we were barely 100 feet distant from the steep
octagonal-shaped cliff, which rises like a bastion at the north extremity
of the island. We now edged off with the frigate and ran under the lee of
the land, coasting along the west side from north to south, never above
150 or 200 feet distant from the shore; so close, in short, that, standing
on the deck, it seemed almost possible to stretch out the hand and touch
the beetling shore-cliffs, every stone and shrub being perfectly
distinguishable. Only a narrow rocky belt overhanging the surf appeared
barren of vegetation, the entire island with that exception being covered
with dense forest to the very summits, from 400 to 600 feet in height, of
the steep, projecting, knob-like eminences. It was a delightful,
never-to-be-forgotten sail along this rock-bound coast, the romantic
beauties of which passed before us like green dissolving views. The sea
was so smooth and peaceful that we seemed to be sailing on a mill-pond. At
last we opened a small sandy cove, in which we perceived a few cocoa-nut
palms directly opposite. Here the lead promised us good holding ground,
and the anchor was accordingly let go.

One of the side-boats conveyed to land the officers entrusted with the
astronomical operations, as also the naturalists. Only with the utmost
difficulty was it possible to make way through the surf, and get under the
lee of a reef, whence it was requisite to make a spring to get ashore. At
the spot at which we landed (named by us Morrock's Cove, and according to
observation in 8° 32' 30'' N. and 93° 34' 10'' E.) the island was almost
exclusively clothed with trees and brushwood. Only close to the shore did
any cocoa-nut palms present themselves to the view. Although quite
uninhabited at the period of our visit, it was evident, by the traces of
abandoned fire-places, split cocoa-nuts, and so forth, that human beings
occasionally make this island their abode, albeit the assertion repeated
by several writers, that Tillangschong is the Siberia of Nicobar
criminals, can only be set down to travellers' tales, or some utter
misapprehension of the meaning of the natives. It would seem that the
residents in Chowra and Bampoka come to this island from time to time, for
the purpose of collecting cocoa-nuts, and the fruit of the _pandanus_. By
dint of strenuous exertion we made our way along river-courses, which
during the rainy season must rush down as most violent torrents, through a
thick plantation of screw-pines, into the forest proper, which was
overgrown with the most majestic representatives of tropical vegetation.
To the botanist presented itself a great variety of interesting plants and
timber; to the lovers of sport numerous descriptions of birds, and more
especially pigeons, in such quantities that the various messes on board
ship were amply provided with them.

Sundown saw us returned on board, when the anchor was once more weighed.
During the night we got so close in with the north side of the island
that, on the following morning, a boat well-manned and carefully equipped
was detached with one of the officers, who was instructed to round the
northernmost promontory, in order to examine the northern and eastern
sides of the island, and rejoin us on its southern shore. One of the
zoologists, conceiving this minor expedition would furnish him with an
excellent opportunity for examining some of the lower orders of marine
life, attached himself to it. The frigate now put about, and coasted down
the west side southwards. Seen from a distance the vegetation seemed quite
of a European character. The eminences varied in elevation from 250 to 300
feet. Judging from the direction of the foliage on the trees, the S.W.
monsoon seems to commit great ravages. Everywhere along the coast, but
more especially on the south side, serpentine cropped out--giving little
promise of fertility. At many spots the cocoa-palms disappeared entirely;
a circumstance which must ever interfere materially with the settlement of
this island by a people to whom the most profuse natural treasures are
worthless and unknown, beyond wealth in cocoa-nuts.

Near the southern point we were suddenly alarmed at noticing an alteration
in the colour of the sea, which led us to suspect the proximity of a
sand-bank. Nevertheless a boat, lowered to try for soundings, found no
bottom at 45 fathoms. In fact, the water was found to be transfused with
an enormous mass of _crustaceæ_, and small brownish filaments of 1/48 to
1/12 of an inch in length, occasionally collected into a knot, which
rendered it cloudy and muddy, and at once explained a phenomenon at first
sight so unexpected. Towards 5 P.M. we passed the southern point of the
island, and somewhat later discovered a well-sheltered anchorage on the
S.E. side of the island.

Considerable anxiety was felt as the sun went down, since the boat that
had been dispatched not only had not rejoined us but was not yet even
visible. As soon as darkness had fairly set in, blue lights were burnt on
board the frigate, of which the third was at last responded to by the crew
of the boat, which had been provided with port-fires for such a
contingency. It seemed to be steering for the frigate. Hour after hour,
however, flew by without its approaching us, and the rest of our signals
remained unanswered. Thus morning broke, and still no boat was visible.

At length, about 7.30 A.M., the anxiously expected little wanderer hove in
sight at a little distance, and half an hour later she came alongside all
safe. The projected operations had been only partially successful, owing
to the extreme difficulty in making a landing. Surprised by nightfall, it
was no longer practicable to make out the ten nautical miles at least they
were still distant from the frigate, and the scanty crew consequently saw
nothing for it but to anchor close in with the shore, and await the light
of dawn in the boat. The cause of our later blue lights not being
answered, was partly the want of a sufficient supply of signal lights,
part having been already expended, and the rest having got damp.

We now steered for Nangkauri harbour. Full in view lay the north shore of
the island of Kamorta, and, as we glided smoothly thither over the glassy
sea, it loomed gradually nearer; an island of flat-topped hills, which,
despite its rank vegetation, had a park-like aspect, consequent on the
alternations of forest and grass-slopes with the white coral beach,
crowned with cocoa-palms. Gradually the island of Tringkut came into view,
singularly level, and abounding in cocoa-palms and edible sea-slugs
(Trepang), lying directly facing the entrance of the harbour-like channel,
between Kamorta and Nangkauri. Our course, on which we were being
propelled on a beautiful evening by a gentle soft wind which wafted us
slowly but surely forwards, was indeed entrancingly delicious. Directly
ahead lay the low strand of Tringkut, shimmering whitely under the dark
green canopy of foliage, while the long swell, breaking on the coral reefs
like glancing walls of foam, sunk away in the distance into the smooth
mirror-like sea, which rose and fell almost imperceptibly, as though
peacefully breathing. On the left lay Nangkauri, with its forests. On both
sides of Kamorta and Nangkauri, huts and villages were visible sprinkled
along the shore, from which numerous natives put off in their canoes to
the frigate, but presently lay on their oars at a respectful distance, and
followed us like a sort of squadron of observation. On the right was
visible in mid-channel between Tringkut and Kamorta the solitary rocky
island of Tillangschong; the shores of all these islands, and indeed the
whole horizon, being lit up with a gorgeous Fata Morgana. The extreme
southernmost cliffs of Tillangschong seemed to be suspended entirely in
the air. The corners, at which jutted out the coast-lines of Tringkut and
Kamorta, seen along the horizon of the ocean resembled wedge-shaped
incisions into the domain of the atmosphere; while the tips of the waves,
lashed into foam as they broke upon them, seemed as if dancing in the air.
The canoes of the natives were reflected upside down, till the figures
seated in them were so enormously lengthened that one could almost fancy
they were gigantic 'genii' disporting on the surface of the sea.

As we were sailing along in front of the village of Malacca into the
splendid harbour, and just as the lead had almost a moment before marked
23 fathoms, the look-out man suddenly descried a shoal. Notwithstanding
the man[oe]uvres that were at once put in execution, it was found
impossible to get entirely clear, and the frigate grounded forward of the
beam on the port-side. Although it was ebb-tide, yet deep water was
observable both ahead and astern, and accordingly an effort was made, by
running out the guns and laying out a spring for the frigate to haul upon,
to get the ship once more afloat, which accordingly speedily proved
successful, so that by sundown we were enabled to anchor in good holding
ground, opposite the village of Itoe, in the island of Nangkauri.

Here we lay in a calm, tranquil sheet of water, such as we had not fallen
in with throughout our voyage hitherto, surrounded by dense forest, from
which were heard distinctly, on board ship, the disagreeable shrill sound
of innumerable crickets, and the deep coo of the great Nicobar
wood-pigeon. Except for these, the most profound stillness reigned. There
was not the smallest movement either in sea or sky. Although on our
excursion to Kar-Nicobar we had to endure great heat, it was here that for
the first time we experienced in all its discomfort the oppressive,
relaxing sultriness of the tropical atmosphere, when saturated with
vapour. The thermometer stood pretty regularly at 84° to 86° Fahr., nor
was it possible to find any relief by plunging into the water, which was
if anything even warmer than the air. Hemmed in on all sides, and with the
welcome beneficent sea-breeze frequently ceasing to blow for a week
together, it was speedily pronounced a riddle, impossible to be solved,
how this harbour came to be once and again selected by German and Danish
Missionaries for the purposes of colonization, unless the key to the
mystery be found in its secure situation, the exquisite beauty of the
mountain landscape, and the numerous clear spots around.

The very morning after our arrival we set out on a small reconnoitring
excursion to examine the ground, in order to decide, among so many objects
claiming our attention at once, what, considering the brief time at our
disposal, we might hope to undertake successfully, and what must once for
all be abandoned. Our first visit was to the village of Itoe, which lay
directly opposite our frigate's anchorage. The natives had all fled into
the forest, only their dogs having remained behind, who saluted us with a
tremendous howl. The huts, six or eight in number, had a poor, miserable
appearance, and were built close to a cocoa forest, so that there was not
the slightest space to move about in between the huts, the forest, and
the luxuriant underwood, so that free circulation of air was entirely
prevented. In front of the village a number of Bamboo poles, with large
bunches of ribbons waving about from their upper end, were stuck into the
water, for the purpose of frightening away the evil spirit or Eewee, and
driving him into the sea! In the interior of these few huts built of
stakes, and of much inferior construction to those in Kar-Nicobar, was a
large number of rudely cut figures of all possible sizes, and every
variety of position, suspended by strings, and supplying the most
unmistakeable evidence of the superstitions of the natives. We had never
seen these kinds of charms against the evil spirit at Kar-Nicobar, nor had
even heard them spoken of. Quite close to the huts was the place of
interment. At one grave, apparently quite lately used, a large pole was
erected, which was adorned with innumerable white and blue stripes waving
in the wind, and from which had also been suspended axes, piles, bars,
nails, and other tools and implements of labour of the deceased, so that
the whole scene much more resembled a rag-shop than a grave heap.

From Itoe we proceeded to the peak of Monghata, on the island of Kamorta,
lying just opposite Nangkauri. It was here that, in 1831, Pastor Rosen
wished to found the projected settlement. He could hardly have selected a
more unsuitable site, since all around is either dense forest or mangrove
swamp. The spots that had been cleared are now overgrown with _Saccharum
Konigii_ (Lalang grass), of the height of a man, which usually follows
here upon spots that have been once cultivated and are afterwards
abandoned, and which, if once taken root, can only with the utmost
difficulty be eradicated. From this peak, barely 200 feet in height, it is
practicable to descend by a small footpath to the cove of Ulàla, whose
shores are entirely overrun with dense impassable mangrove swamp, and
accordingly present a most dreary, gloomy aspect.

Our next excursion was to the village of Enuang or Enong, where lay at
anchor, under the British flag, two Malay prahus from Pulo Penang, manned
by Malay crews, and taking in cargoes of ripe cocoa-nuts, edible birds'
nests, and sea-slugs, or Trepang. The captain of one of these prahus and
the greater number of the crew were laid up with fever. The supercargo, a
Chinese named Owi-Bing-Hong, spoke English fluently, and was of the utmost
service to us in our communications with the natives. Enuang is larger
than Itoe, and has about a dozen huts, but these are one and all
half-ruinous, very filthy, and utterly neglected. In all the huts we found
numbers of figures, cut in white wood in the very rudest style in various
postures, mostly with a threatening, combative expression, intended to
drive away the evil spirit, of whom the natives seem to stand in great
dread; for it is the universal practice of these islanders to ascribe
whatever happens to them to the influence of an evil spirit, and probably
also the appearance of the _Novara_ in the harbour of Nangkauri was laid
to the account of the ill intentions of an Eewee. One constantly sees
fruit, tobacco, or betel-leaves, prepared with pearl-lime, strewed in
small portions at various spots in the interiors of the huts, or suspended
on the bamboo ladders by which they are entered, the object being to
propitiate the Eewee in the event of his being hungry on his arrival! In
one of the abandoned huts we discovered a figure resembling a cat, rudely
carved in wood, before which the natives had placed tobacco and
cocoa-nuts; almost all these figures were besmeared with soot, and daubed
with some red pigment, and their abdomens hung with long pendent dried

Not one of the natives at Enuang understood English. Only a couple of old
men spoke a few words of Portuguese, of which they were not a little
conceited. The Portuguese, in the 17th and 18th centuries, seem to have
been the first European nations that had any commercial dealings with the
Nicobar islanders. A number of words of their language, all referring to
objects of civilization, and but little corrupted from the Portuguese,
such for instance as "pang" (for _pan_, the Portuguese for bread),
"zapato" (shoe), "cuchillo" (knife), and so forth, are evidences of this.
The natives here seemed to us yet more hideous than those of Kar-Nicobar,
especially as the everlasting betel-chewing had disfigured their mouths in
the most shocking manner. It is however incorrect to allege, as has been
the case hitherto, that they avail themselves of a particular substance
with which to discolour the teeth, and which it was supposed induced this
frightful distortion of the mouth; it is unquestionably only the abuse of
the betel (consisting of Areca-nut, betel-leaves, and coral chalk) which
causes these disgusting disfigurements. At this settlement also the women
and children had disappeared. Only one native woman, married to a Malay
from Pulo Penang, who was at the moment officiating as cook on board one
of the prahus lying at anchor in the bay, had the courage to present
herself before us. She was, according to the custom of the Malays, dressed
in silk, but bore on her body all the disagreeable traces of her Nicobar
origin. She showed no reluctance to talk with us, and, in her somewhat
scanty toilette, was the one solitary native woman with whom we found an
opportunity of communicating during our entire stay at the various

From Enuang we visited the first settlement of the Moravian Brothers,
lying on the small neck of land between Enuang and Malacca, where
apparently the amiable Father Hänsel seems to have lived, for whose
interesting memoir, narrating his many years' residence upon the Nicobar
Islands, we were indebted to the kindness of Dr. Rosen of the Moravian
Mission at Genaadendal in South Africa.[13] At present all is once more
thick majestic forest; a marvellous leafy dome, like a green pantheon,
encircles and overshadows the scene of the once benevolent activity of the
devoted missionary. Only a ruined well and a few brick fragments of what
was the oven, lying about, remain to show that a dwelling once stood
here. At the well there were a variety of beautiful flowers growing
between the stones. The place is still called, as then, Tripjet, or the
"Habitation of the Friends." Here in quick succession most of the Brethren
died, (no fewer than eleven out of the thirteen,) upon which the mission
was transferred to the opposite island of Kamorta, first of all to the
clearing at Kalaha, and ultimately to Kamút. But all these sites were as
ill-selected as the first. An abode located between swamp and forest, of
which latter only a space of barely 1000 feet in circumference was
cleared, could not but prove fatal in a very short space of time to the
unfortunate colonists. At the village of Enuang too it would seem to be
that the last attempt at founding a settlement was made in 1835 by the two
French missionaries; at least we were informed by several natives, who
seemed to be at present about 34 to 36 years of age, that they were
themselves but boys when the last missionaries lived at Nangkauri. They
also further recollected that the gigantic cocoa-palms, which at present
skirt the forest, were at that time quite small saplings, and the only
vegetation between the beach and the mission house. At present enormous
roots are stretching over the foundations of the earlier settlement. The
natives who accompanied us spoke with warm feeling of the missionaries,
and seemed to regret their departure. Many professed themselves with much
earnestness to be Christians, but they were so only in name. According to
what they reported, many natives must at that period have been baptized
in the islands of Chowra and Bampoka.

During this visit to Enuang and Malacca, it had been one of the objects
aimed at by the members of the Expedition to draw up a small vocabulary of
the language of the natives, when it speedily appeared that, despite the
proximity of the two islands, the dialects used by the inhabitants were
entirely different. Even for trees and plants, for the feathered
inhabitants of the forests, as well as domestic animals, the inhabitants
of the central groups of islands have different names. The cocoa-palm and
its noble fruit, the betel and its ingredients, are here known by entirely
different names. The accurate transcription of each individual word into
German as pronounced by the native was hard work. It took us two days to
make a vocabulary of one hundred words! And even this slight success would
have been impossible but for our serviceable Chinese friend, Bing-Hong,
who had gone to school for two years at Pulo Penang, and could read and
write English with tolerable readiness and accuracy. The distortion of
their mouths is one main reason why the natives pronounce the greater
number of their words almost unintelligibly; it is more a lisping mutter
than a language. Hence, apparently, their ability to follow out the
concatenation of ideas is so slightly developed, that it is only with much
difficulty they can be made to comprehend the particular subject
respecting which the information was wanted. For example, if it was wished
to know the word in their language which expressed "_blue_," and in order
to make more intelligible what was required, a variety of objects of a
blue colour were pointed out, they almost invariably named the object
itself, and not the colour. Or again, one wanted to know what they called
"_leaf_" in their language, and indicated the leaf of a tree standing
near; the native, however, replies by giving the name of the tree
_itself_, instead of the word expressing leaf. It seems to us not
unimportant to call attention to this circumstance, in order more
completely to lay before the reader the great and manifold obstacles which
present themselves in drawing up vocabularies of the languages of
half-savage races, and thus more readily secure indulgence for the
discrepancies which are frequently to be met with in such works.[14]

Bing-Hong invited us to pay him a visit on board his vessel, which had
already been lying for several months at anchor in Nangkauri harbour,
taking in a cargo of ripe cocoa-nuts, of which a _Picul_, or 133-1/3
pounds, is worth in the Pulo Penang market 5-1/2 American dollars (£1
3_s._ sterling). This hospitable Chinese informed us it was at the period
of our visit the least unhealthy season in Nangkauri harbour: that as soon
as the S.W. monsoon sets in, all foreign ships hurry away, through dread
of the illnesses that follow in its track. However, feverish attacks are
of daily occurrence throughout the year. Of the thirteen men who formed
the crew of the barque, ten were laid up with fever. The disorderly habits
of life, however, of foreign visitors are much more to blame for these
frequent attacks of disease than the unhealthiness of the climate.
Constantly they are guilty of excesses in diet and general negligence of
health, bathing during the utmost heat of the day without any covering to
the head, exposing themselves to the burning rays of the noonday sun,
drinking for the most part nothing but the fluid contents of the unripe
cocoa-nut, eating quantities of juicy fruits, the constant use of which
acts injuriously on the systems of strangers, and sleeping on the damp
soil under the open air, exposed to all the noxious influences of the
atmosphere of a tropical forest without the slightest shelter. Bing-Hong
showed us the dried edible nests of the _Hirundo esculenta_ (in Malay
_Salang_, in Nicobar _Hegái_), and presented us with a small packet of
about thirty nests. When properly dried, seventy-two of these tiny nests
weigh one catty, or 1-1/4 lb., and they are sold at two rupees (4_s._) for
three of the inferior sort. The best quality is far more expensive. We
caused some of these Chinese dainties to be prepared exactly as prescribed
by Bing-Hong, that is to say, they were boiled for one hour in hot water,
but we found the gelatinous mass quite tasteless, and, in fact, resembling
dissolved gum. The swallow which constructs these edible nests does not
however seem to be a regular visitant of the Nicobar Islands, and the
profits on this article of commerce, which is of such importance in Java
and the rest of the Sunda Islands, are here scarcely worth naming.

It has been long disputed whence this industrious little warbler obtains
the material for his nest, and it was in all probability the circumstance
that it was generally believed to consist of particles of sea-weed,
fish-roe, and marine animalculæ of the _medusa_ class, which secured for
these nests such a celebrity among Chinese gourmands. A German naturalist,
Professor Troschel of Bonn, affirms however, on the strength of an
analysis of these nests, that the notion hitherto prevalent as to the
component parts of these nests is entirely erroneous, as they consist of
nothing else than a thick, glutinous slime, secreted from the salivary
glands, which, at the period when the Indian swallow builds its nest,
swell out into large whitish masses. This slime, which is susceptible of
being drawn out in long filaments from the bill of the animal, is quite
analogous to gum Arabic. Whenever the bird is desirous of constructing its
nest, it causes this salivary substance, which at that period is copiously
secreted, to adhere to the crags, till its elegant nest is finished.

One of the days during which the frigate lay in Nangkauri harbour, the
geologist of the Expedition made an excursion in a native canoe along the
coasts of Kamorta and Tringkut, as these islands at the points where the
shores are precipitous furnish the only possible geognostic facilities,
the forest or the thick covering of vegetation in the interior of the
island quite concealing the geological conformation. Our Chinese friend
Bing-Hong aforesaid accompanied him in the capacity of interpreter. When
the geologist had got some distance from the frigate, he found that the
natives had not abandoned their villages, and to this one alone of our
fellow-travellers, manned and rowed along by natives, did some of the
women become visible. They were as tall as the men, and quite as loathsome
in appearance, the mouth similarly disfigured by betel-chewing, but the
hair cut short. Around the body they wore a petticoat of red or blue
cloth, reaching from the loins to the knee.

Another excursion was made to Ulàla Cove, distant about four nautical
miles from our anchorage on the W. side of the island of Kamorta, on which
occasion our Venetian gondola, specially constructed for similar
expeditions, was pressed into the service. The entrance to the cove is
about 3/4 of a mile in breadth, after which it expands in an easterly
direction with varying width, at the same time sending off arms in every
direction. The vegetation is exceedingly luxuriant and plentiful, and
along the swampy shore consists mainly of mangrove bushes, which at most
points make it almost impracticable to disembark, and impart to the entire
bay a dreary, desolate appearance. At the few villages scattered along the
shore, most of the natives had taken to flight. On this occasion, however,
it was not child-like terror that had driven them away, but an evil
conscience, for among the other inhabitants this bay enjoys the sad
reputation of having on various occasions massacred the crews of small
vessels, after having plundered them of everything. So strong is this
feeling that the natives of the rest of the Nicobar group, according to
their own report, refuse to have anything to do with this ferocious set,
and could not by any means be induced to accompany us in their canoes as
far as Ulàla Cove.

The frigate lay five days in Nangkauri harbour, until the soundings and
general survey of this large bay with its numerous branches had been
completed, when, on the morning of the 11th March, she sailed, with a
fresh breeze from N.W., through the western entrance, which is scarcely a
hundred fathoms wide, by fourteen in depth, and is marked by two rocky
pinnacles. Directly opposite lies the island of Katchal, thickly wooded to
the water-edge, and stretching out long and low, without any marked
elevation above sea-level. We now sailed in between these islands of
Katchal and Kamorta in a northerly direction towards the islands of
Teressa and Bampoka. On the W. side of Kamorta a number of villages were
visible; on the N.W. we perceived at several spots natural meadows, while
hereabouts the land gradually culminated into the highest point of the
island,--a conical hill, rising not very far from the shore, almost
entirely without trees, except where near the summit a number of bushes
and shrubs nestled in a sort of hollow. Three days were now lost in
unsuccessful attempts to make head-way against wind and tide, so that for
four mortal days we were tossed about in full view of Bampoka, Teressa,
and Chowra, never indeed above twenty miles distant, yet utterly unable to
make any one of them. As the time at our disposal for visiting these was
exhausted in consequence of this unexpected difficulty, we were, very much
to our regret, compelled to forego the satisfaction of setting foot on
either of these islands, which, especially Chowra, would have presented a
rare opportunity of examining the effect upon tropical races of men of an
excess of population. That rather barren island possesses, it seems, more
inhabitants than it has the means of subsisting, and appears to be the
only spot of the entire Nicobar group where the natives follow industrial
avocations. All manner of pottery ware comes from Chowra, so that it would
almost seem as though the lamentable spectacle of a superabundant
population had given the natives the first impulse towards active

In the island of Teressa the Austrian Expedition had a more special
interest, in so far as it is by no means improbable that the adventurous
Bolts, who in 1778 visited the Nicobar Archipelago in the Austrian ship
_Joseph and Theresa_, named this island, as he already had done in the
case of a fort on the coast of Africa, after the renowned Austrian
Empress, which, corrupted by the native dialect, had been gradually
transformed into Teressa or Terassa.

At sunrise on the 17th March there loomed on the horizon in a S.E.
direction, first the island of Meroe, then the two small islands of Treis
and Track, and lastly the long mountain-chain of Little Nicobar, with the
beautiful island of Pulo Milù. The breeze was light, and a current of a
velocity of five miles an hour, which ran rushing and seething like a
mill-race through the calm sea, so completely checked our progress that
the anchor had to be let go. This procured us the very unexpected pleasure
of visiting these two small wooded islands. Owing to the heavy surf, we
only succeeded in effecting a landing by the assistance of some natives,
whom we happened to fall in with in their canoes off these all but
uninhabited islets. Treis is a veritable pigeon island, full of the most
various and beautiful species of that bird; nevertheless we could only
procure a single specimen of the exceedingly elegant Nicobar dove. Here
too it was that the geologist found the first traces of brown coal, which
however did not present itself in layers suitable for domestic use.

The same afternoon, with the turn of the tide the current set in our
favour, and towards 10 P.M. we reached the roadstead protected to the
eastward by the northernmost point of Little Nicobar, to the westward by
the island of Pulo Milù, and southward by the mainland of Little Nicobar
itself. It is not very large, but it has excellent holding ground, and
would be available at all seasons as a harbour of refuge for vessels. As
most of the villages of Little Nicobar lie on the N.W. and S. sides of the
island, and were with difficulty accessible from our anchorage, it was
thought preferable to select the small but beautiful island of Pulo Milù
for our visit. Already, while we were lying at anchor in front of the
island of Treis, a few natives had come on board the frigate, and had
shown much confidence. They possessed all the characteristics of the
residents of Nangkauri, and they also spoke, with but slight variations,
the same idiom. Only for certain objects, and those, singular to say,
articles of the very first necessity, such as cocoa-nut trees, palms,
screw-pines, and the like, did they employ different expressions.

The island of Pulo Milù, with its variety of forest-vegetation, and its
charming woodland-scenery, displays all the beauty and all the marvels of
the tropics. The screw-pine (of the family of _Pandaneæ_), that peculiar
tree which imparts to the forests of Asia a character so different from
those of America, is seen here in exceptional size and majesty. Nowhere
have we met with this marvellous tree growing in such luxuriance as on
Pulo Milù, where it appears in such quantities as to resemble a forest,
and leaves an impression of such lonely wildness as makes one almost
imagine it a remnant of some earlier period of our earth. Wondering at the
capricious vagaries of nature, the traveller contemplates these
extraordinary trees, which have leaves arranged in spiral order like the
dragon trees, trunks like those of palms, boughs like those trees
presenting the ordinary characteristics of foliage, fruit-cones like the
_conifer[oe]_, and yet have nothing in common with all these plants, so
that they form a family by themselves. On Pulo Milù we saw some of these
trees with slim smooth stems 40 or 50 feet in height, which are nourished
by and supported upon a pile of roots of 10 to 12 feet high, resembling a
neatly-finished conical piece of wicker-work, composed of spindle-shaped
staves. Many of these roots do not reach the soil, and in this undeveloped
state these atmospheric roots assume the most peculiar shapes. Higher up
the same formation is repeated among the branches, from which depend
beautiful massy fruit-cones, a foot and a half in length, by one in
thickness, which, when ripe, are of a splendid orange hue.

The screw-pine is not cultivated in the Nicobar Islands; it grows wild in
the utmost luxuriance, and, after the cocoa-nut, is for the natives the
most important plant that furnishes them with subsistence. The immense
fruit-cones borne by this tree consist of several single wedge-shaped
fruits, which when raw are uneatable, but boiled in water, and subjected
to pressure, give out a sort of mealy mass, the "Melori" of the
Portuguese, and called by the natives "Laróhm," which is also occasionally
used with the fleshy interior of the ripe fruit, and forms the daily bread
of the islanders. The flavour of the mass thus prepared strongly resembles
that of apple-marmalade, and is by no means unpalatable to Europeans. The
woody, brush-like fibres of the fruit which remain behind, after the mealy
contents have been squeezed out, are made use of by the natives as natural
brooms and brushes, while the dried leaves of the Pandanus serve instead
of paper to surround their cigarettes.

At Pulo Milù, as is yet more markedly the case among the southernmost
islands, the cocoa-palm does not grow so luxuriantly as on Kar-Nicobar,
and to this circumstance may be chiefly ascribed the fact that the
natives are not so liberal as at the last-named island. The Swedish
naturalist, Dr. Rink, who has so largely and valuably added to our stock
of information respecting the Nicobar group, resided here for a
considerable time with some forty Chinese labourers, and, with a view to
ultimate colonization, had caused to be cut through the forest several
paths, by means of which this island has been rendered much more permeable
than any other in the Archipelago. The selection was an extremely happy
one, and had the projected colonization of the island been carried into
effect, very different results would have been obtained than those of poor
Dr. Rosen in Nangkauri Harbour. Next to Kar-Nicobar, it has been clearly
decided that Pulo Milù is the most suitable spot for a first settlement,
in the event of any European power or any capitalist undertaking to solve
the problem of colonizing this Archipelago.

In the cove at which we landed five huts stand upon the beach, much
similar to those at Nangkauri, and like them having before them a number
of lofty singularly ornamented poles emerging from the water, called by
the natives Handschúop, and intended to keep Davy Jones at a respectful
distance from the village,--not unlike the scarecrow with which we at home
seek to frighten from the ripening corn the rapacious troop of feathered
epicures. These banners for scaring away the Eewees are erected within the
sea limit by the Manluéna, or exorcist, who in these islands, like the
medicine-man of the Red Indian of America, or the Ach-Itz of the Indian
races among the highlands of Guatemala, exercises the utmost influence
over all the affairs of life. Here, as elsewhere, most of the natives had
disappeared on our approach. We found but five men, who were all at least
partially clad; some wore shirts, trowsers, and caps; another had
enveloped his person in an immense, and by no means over-clean, piece of
linen. One of this number, who acted as our guide through the island, and
called himself "John Bull," was not a regular resident in Pulo Milù, but
in Lesser-Nicobar, and had only come over to the island for the purpose of
constructing canoes of trunks of trees hollowed out. He spoke English with
tolerable fluency, and displayed quite child-like satisfaction, as often
as any English word, no matter what, was recalled to his recollection,
which had slipped his memory from want of practice. John Bull soon became
very insinuating, and expressed a wish to accompany us to Great Nicobar,
where, as he assured us, at Hinkvala, one of the villages on the southern
shore, he had several relatives, among others one named "London," who
could be of the utmost service to us. For his kind offices we promised him
a present, upon which he asked with the most naïve simplicity: "You not
talk lie?" from which we may conjecture that not every promise made to him
by a stranger was duly fulfilled. The huts of the natives were constructed
of beams, exactly like those in the central island; and the internal
arrangements were precisely identical. Here also are figures sculptured
in wood, Eewee-charms, which especially are found in the interiors of the
houses in such numbers and in such quaint costumes, that one is almost
tempted to imagine the inhabitants of these huts must be proprietors of
some Marionette-theatre. We also found here various objects carved in soft
wood, among others a large serpent, a tortoise, and several droll figures,
as also a seven-holed flute of bamboo-reed, the model for which had
evidently been supplied by some of the Malay sailors from Pulo Penang.

The same evening we weighed anchor, and shaped our course along the
eastern shore of Lesser-Nicobar, which is thickly covered with swamp and
forest. On the morning of 19th March, we were abreast of the island of
Montial in St. George's Channel, and by evening had anchored on the
northern side of Great Nicobar, S.E. of the island of Kondul, which also
lies in the Channel. Already before sunrise the boats were lowered and
everything got in readiness for a visit to the small but delightful island
of Kondul, which, though on the N.W. side so lofty and rocky as to be
almost inaccessible, presents on its E. side a tolerably secure
landing-place, situated according to our observations in 7° 12' 17'' N.
and 93° 39' 57'' E. Here we found a number of huts, but not one single
native was visible. We now endeavoured, by following up a torrent bed, to
climb to the highest point of the island, which has an elevation of 350 to
400 feet. In this we only succeeded after most severe exertion,
occasionally having to avail ourselves at the steepest parts of the ascent
of the gigantic roots of trees, or of the climbing plants that hung
suspended like natural ropes, by means of which we swung ourselves among
the huge blocks of rock, till we could gain a secure footing. Instead,
however, of finding, as we had hoped, a small _plateau_ at the summit, or
at all events discovering some less difficult path by which to descend, we
were sorely disconcerted, on arriving thoroughly exhausted on the top, at
finding the rock descended so sheer and precipitous on the other side that
it was impossible to make one step further. However, we found here a
delicious refreshing breeze. With pleasure indescribable, our gaze
wandered to the island of Great Nicobar and the islet of Cabra, lying
immediately opposite us, their green luxuriant shores bathed on all sides
by the azure ripple of the ocean. Although no rain had fallen for more
than six months, the vegetation was on the whole wonderfully fresh and
abundant, the forest lovely and majestic as on "the first day of

We found ourselves compelled to retrace our steps by the same break-neck
path by which we had ascended the peak. On the shore we encountered some
of the natives, whose curiosity had got the better of their apprehensions,
and who now slunk out of the forest, to discover what was our peculiar
object in landing on the island. Among their number was a native doctor,
and Eewee exorciser; he was however in no way distinguishable from the
rest of his brethren, unless by the inordinate length of his hair, which
flowed down far below his shoulders. One of the members of the Commission,
desirous of getting at the treatment pursued by these sly knaves when
they go to work with their poor credulous dupes of patients, promised this
dusky disciple of Æsculapius a present, if he would cure him by his own
method, and affected to have an intolerably severe pain in the left arm.
The Manluéna displayed his treatment with a vengeance; he laid hold of the
supposed sufferer by the arm, which he pinched and punched, till there was
not a spot that had not received his attentions, while during the entire
process he now screamed aloud, now whistled, now blew vigorously upon the
bare skin, as though endeavouring to expel the Evil Spirit. According to
the belief of these poor people, every bodily pain is nothing other than a
demon magically introduced into the system through the evil influence of
an Eewee. The Manluéna commenced to pinch the arm from above, performing
this anything but agreeable manipulation with his hands lubricated with
cocoa-nut oil, from above downwards, the object being to drive out the
Eewee from the arm by the finger points! Although the doctor had not used
his patient very tenderly, he nevertheless in the opinion of the natives
had not appeared to put forth all his powers, and had made use of far
fewer noises and contortions than had been usual with him when one of
themselves was undergoing treatment. Moreover his original confidence
seemed to fail him in his anxiety lest some mischance should befall him in
case this attempt at a cure should miscarry, and accordingly he speedily
made off, after he had been complimented with a few threepenny bits for
his trouble, nor did he again make his appearance the whole day.

Some of the members of the Expedition had resolved to ramble quite round
the island; the circumference of which is little if at all more than eight
English miles. At early morning they had started with their guns and
botanical boxes on their shoulders full of the most buoyant expectation of
securing an ample store of curiosities, starting from the east coast and
thence to the north side of the island; and towards sunset they made their
appearance at the south side, foot-sore and nearly exhausted. In the
ardour of the chase and of collecting "specimens," they had plunged so
deep into the forest, thereby losing all trace of the direction by which
they had entered, that as the sun was already beginning to descend, they
had no alternative but to hew a path with their hatchets through the
thickest of the forest, so as to reach the beach once more. At times
hanging by creepers, at others swimming at various spots where the rocks
dipped perpendicularly into the sea, they at length arrived at the spot
where we were re-embarking, hungry, thirsty, and in a state of such
extreme exhaustion that we at first were really apprehensive for their
lives. Singularly enough these severe hardships were followed by no evil
consequences to any one of the party, though the recollection of them will
surely not fade out of their memory for the rest of their lives.

The 21st March, being a Sunday, was duly observed, and was kept as a
much-needed day of rest, no boat going to shore. Towards noon a pretty
smart shower of rain fell, the first for six months. Several of the
natives came off in their canoes, and brought fowls, eggs, cocoa-nuts, and
various other fruits, as also monkeys and parrots. Rupees, English
shillings and sixpences, were evidently not unknown to them, as they
greatly preferred these in exchange to mere toys and showy articles.

On the 22nd we made an excursion to a bay on the island of Great Nicobar
or Sambelong. All that portion of the coast lying opposite our anchorage
was quite uninhabited, evidently in consequence of the entire absence at
this point of the cocoa-palm, whereas on the west coast there are several
good-sized villages. Unfortunately, however, these lay at far too great a
distance from the frigate to permit of an excursion being made thither. As
our boat, after an hour's rowing, approached the little bay, we perceived
at the mouth of a small creek the singular spectacle of a dead mangrove
forest. Some great storm had apparently thrown up a sand-drive here, so as
to cut off the supply of sea-water even at full tide. As the mangrove only
flourishes in salt or brackish water, it had thus been deprived of its
vital element, and the trees had accordingly perished in the fresh water.
But the lofty stems still stood, withered and blighted, a ghastly garden
of death amidst delicious green peaks covered with forest. As the sun
rose, a white vapour lay like a winding-sheet over the dead swamp: one
felt the uncomfortable sensation of being in a place where miasmata were
poisoning the air, while the soil was generating death. The rigid
skeletons of these trees recall to the recollection of the stranger, who
stands marvelling at the all-powerful energies of Nature to create and
destroy in these regions, how many corpses of his fellow-Europeans are
mouldering beneath the damp soil of this island! Fortunately the river has
once more broken through the bar, and given access to the sea-water, so
that beneath the dead forest a fresh green vegetation was fast springing

The crew of a Malay prahu from Penang had selected this dull spot for a
regular settlement, in order to collect ripe cocoa-nuts, and Trepang, the
edible sea-slug (_Holothuria_) already mentioned, the latter for the
Chinese market. These people occupied a large wooden shed, and were
provisioned for a somewhat long stay. Except this shed there was not one
single hut here, all around being nothing but dense forest and swamp; but
some natives of the island of Kondul came over in their canoes to trade
hens and eggs with us. The Malay vessels which visit these islands almost
all come hither from Penang, about the beginning of the N.E. monsoon, and
remain during the whole of the dry season, so as to take in a full cargo
of the various natural produce of the island. They bring for barter fine
Chinese tobacco, calico, knives, axes, hatchets, cutlasses, clothes, and
black round hats. In former years they also imported the betel shrub into
Great Nicobar for propagation; where, in fact, it has been planted, and
has since then increased to such an extent that its importation is no
longer remunerative. With the commencement of the S.W. monsoons and the
rainy season, the Malay traders with their profitable cargoes make their
way back to Penang, and the other places along the coast of the peninsula
of Malacca. Thanks to the presence of these people, the members of the
Expedition were enabled to compare the Nicobar idiom with that of the
Malays, and could thus ascertain the exceeding discrepancies between these
two languages.[15] These merchants ordinarily bring with them a few
individuals who have a slight knowledge of the Nicobar language, as the
Malay tongue is not understood anywhere in this archipelago.

One of the Malay seamen, named Tschingi, from Penang, whose caste was
indicated by the long stripes of a bluish green colour painted upon his
dark brown forehead, peculiar to the Hindu god Siva, told us that he
recollected being employed as a boy in the service of Pastor Rosen on the
island of Kamorta, with whom he remained till his return to Europe. He
spoke with much admiration of that estimable and thoroughly deserving
gentleman, and remarked that many Chinese and other settlers had
accompanied him to Kamorta, all of whom speedily succumbed to the fever.

The native known as John Bull, who had followed us hither from Pulo Milù,
made his appearance at the bay, accompanied by some of his kindred, and
brought us some provisions. He seemed firmly to believe that in the
interior of the island of Sambelong, in its southern part, there existed
some wild inhabitants of a different race, Baju-oal-Tschùa (or junglemen,
as he called them), who lived entirely in the woods, in small huts
erected upon the banks of the streams, and were so timid that they took to
flight so soon as any one endeavoured to approach them. He also told us
that in the S. and S.W. sides of Sambelong there were eleven villages:
viz. Hinkóata, Changanhéi, Hinháha, Haenganglóeh, Kanálla, Taéingha,
Dayák, Kanchingtong, Dagoák, Hinláwua, and Kalémma.

In the course of the day, not only was a highly successful onslaught made
on the denizens of the woodland, but even the fishes in bay were not
exempted from our attentions;--a net, which was flung over the side and
retained there barely half an hour, being hauled ashore with upwards of a
hundred weight of small fish. Of this the entire ship's company partook,
and sufficient was left over for the next day. Our quarry in the swamps
and forest consisted of snipes, of a splendidly plumed Maina bird
(_Gracula Indica_), eagles, and apes; unfortunately a number of the
animals shot were lost by their retreating into the thicket, where they
could not be recovered.

On the morning of the 23rd of March the frigate again made sail and
steered along the west coast of Great Nicobar, while two boats' crews were
despatched with the requisite instruments to examine this quite unexplored
coast. This plan, however, proved only half successful. The tremendous
surf, into which the long swell setting in from the S.W. is broken
hereabouts, hurled the larger boat upon the beach with such violence that
it was capsized, by which a great portion of her freight was utterly lost,
and her crew could only escape to shore by swimming. The smaller, or
jolly-boat, returned to the ship with two of her crew to fetch assistance
for these woe-begone wights. One of the latter, who coolly spoke of the
accident as a "_piccola disgrazietta_,"[16] with the same breath informed
us that almost all the instruments, note-books, and implements of the
chase which had been taken on board, were irretrievably gone. Another
quarter-boat was despatched to bring off our shipwrecked companions, who
meanwhile remained on the shore in anything but enviable plight, soaked to
the skin, hungry and thirsty, and busily employed in fishing up some few
of the articles that had been overturned into the water. At last both
boats got safely back in company about midnight, but under such
circumstances that it was out of the question to think of prosecuting the
examination that had been commenced. We now lay a course for the southern
bay of Great Nicobar, where, shortly after 9 P.M. of the 24th March, we
cast anchor near the little stream called "Galatea" by the Danish
expedition. The midshipman intrusted with the commission of selecting the
most suitable spot to disembark, returned after several hours' absence,
with the little consolatory intelligence, that along the entire reach of
coast which he had examined, there was but one solitary spot at which it
was possible to land without danger from a boat of European construction.
In the course of the day we received numbers of natives on board; among
the rest, one man still young, with immense spectacles, which undoubtedly
were worn much more for personal adornment than for use. They brought off
for sale a few apes, parrots, hens, swine, cocoa-nuts, as also some rosin,
tortoise-shell, amber, and a few large eggs of a species of wood-pigeon,
called by the natives Mekéni, of which unfortunately we did not succeed in
seeing a single specimen, despite our utmost exertions.

The following morning, 26th March, amid occasional premonitory symptoms of
the approach of the rainy season, the naturalists and some officers
endeavoured to effect a landing at a place where alone it seemed possible
for the broad, clumsy boats of our western waters. In this we succeeded.
Again we were able, although drenched to the skin, to set foot on Nicobar
soil. It was for the last time we did so. Not a single vestige could be
discerned along the beach of any human habitations:--all was thick
tropical forest, fringed with enormous _Barringtoni[oe] Gigante[oe]_,
which in all their primeval weirdness flung their branches over the water,
interlaced in wild confusion. After half an hour's wandering along the hot
beach, we came unexpectedly, at a point somewhat south of our point of
disembarkation, upon a couple of wretched disconsolate-looking huts. Not a
human being was visible,--only a pair of hens and a pig, which were
parading about untended; the bamboo poles, which usually figure in front
of the native huts, had been carried away. However, in their absence it
did not cost us much trouble to penetrate into the interior. A few weapons
of war or the chase, a number of hollowed-out perfumed cocoa-nut shells
suspended above the fire-place, a pair of elegantly plaited baskets, a
boat's sail made of pandanus leaves, some straw mats, and a couple of
marvellously finished figures, formed the very miscellaneous inventory of
this Nicobar household. The figures (cut in wood) and a very
neatly-executed basket attracted to themselves our special attention as
interesting specimens of the industry and taste of the natives of Nicobar.
We could not resist possessing ourselves of these, at the same time
leaving in recompense a quantity of shining six-penny pieces, fully twenty
times the utmost possible value of what had been taken away, depositing
them in one of the baskets which was suspended in a conspicuous position
in the middle of the hut.

Adjoining this hamlet was a forest of cocoa-palms. We penetrated into it,
and suddenly found ourselves, to our great astonishment, on the track of a
well-worn footpath, which was probably, with the exception of the paths in
Great Nicobar and Pulo Milù, in better condition than any other we had
hitherto encountered in the Nicobar Islands. What more natural than to
suppose that a path so well worn must necessarily lead to an important
settlement? It passed first through an extensive and splendid
palm-plantation, and afterwards through a very beautiful clump of leafy
trees, fringing a little brook, whose channel, it being then the end of
the dry season, was quite dried up. Frequently we were obliged to clamber
over steep blocks of rock, with footsteps hewn in them by the hand of man,
for facilitating the passage, and at last, after a scramble of several
hours, highly interesting, but exceedingly fatiguing, we reached a cleared
spot on the sea-beach, but without being able to discern the remotest
trace of any human habitations. On the contrary, it seemed to admit of no
doubt that this path, as also some spots that had been cleared, were
nothing but the preparations for an intended settlement, which can only be
successfully carried out here where the cocoa-palm and screw-pine have
first struck root. Some of the sailors, who accompanied us as porters and
escort, went forward as far as the extreme point of the bay, but there
also they found no trace of any human abode. After a brief rest we
returned by the same track, to the spot at which we had disembarked, where
we were joined by some of the officers, who, more fortunate than
ourselves, had encountered some of the natives, and had even seen them in
their dwellings. They spoke of the interiors of the huts they visited as
being quite as wretched as those on the other islands, only the
inhabitants did not seem so shy or timorous. Far from this, they had
regaled our lucky companions with palm-wine, and had accompanied them till
they fell in with us. With this visit ended the thirty-second day of our
stay in the Nicobar Archipelago, only one half of that period having been
spent on land, the rest having been occupied in beating about against
unfavourable winds.

Before, however, we take our departure from this most interesting group of
islands, _en route_ for the Sunda Islands and China, we shall be excused
for briefly recapitulating the main results of our observations and
investigations, while referring the reader for a more detailed
specification of our labours to the various special divisions yet to

The Nicobar Islands, situated right in the most important highway of
commerce, which is destined to acquire yet greater importance, so soon as
the projected opening of the Suez Canal has been carried out, and
extending in their general direction from S.S.E. to N.N.W., seem like an
extension of the main central mountain-chain of Sumatra, which is
prolonged yet further to the northward through the Andaman group, and in
its crescent-shaped arrangement, with the convexity towards the westward,
corresponds with Cape Negrais in the peninsula of Malacca. If from this
Archipelago, as a centre, a circle be described of about 1200 nautical
miles of radius, it will include the most important commercial cities of
India, as well as Ceylon, the majority of the Sunda Islands, and Cochin
China. The winds usually prevalent here greatly facilitate the passage of
vessels from the adjoining islands and coasts of _terra firma_, and
proportionately enhance the importance of this Archipelago.

With but few exceptions, the shores of the whole group of islands consist
of coral sand, or are fringed with coral banks, which latter extend
seaward to a depth of thirty fathoms. In like manner almost all the bays
seem to be edged with coral reefs, if indeed they are not actually studded
with them. The promontories frequently present cliffs both above and below
the level of the ocean, extending a couple of miles into the sea, which,
what with the occasional rapid currents and light breezes, are not always
very easily weathered. The prevailing winds are the two monsoons, the N.E.
in the months of November, December, January, February, and March, the
S.W. in May, June, July, August, and September. During the months of April
and October, there are variable winds and calms, extending more or less
into the adjoining months. The currents vary in direction with the
passages between the islands, and depend upon the ebb and flow of the
tide, varying in force and direction with the tidal phenomena. Ordinarily
these make themselves felt during the making of the tide from S.W. to
N.E., and in a contrary direction during the ebb.

Due south of Kar-Nicobar, we found while lying at anchor a current running
3-1/2 miles an hour, two days after the full moon; north of Little
Nicobar, near the small island of Treis, where the current compelled us to
anchor, its velocity, as we experienced two days after new moon, is as
high as 4-1/2 miles an hour. These observations refer to a period when the
velocity of the current was at its maximum. In light winds, and when near
the coast, one must always let go the anchor, or at least lay out a kedge,
the latter however being barely sufficient at several spots immediately
after the full or the new moon. According to observations made during five
days about the period of full moon, the course of tide at Kar-Nicobar may
be assumed at 9h. 40m., and the difference in height between ebb and flood
at five feet.

In these waters, and in a still more marked degree in the latitude of
Sumatra, occurs a belt within which the wave-currents form what is known
to English navigators as "The Ripples." The sea here is ranged
zone-fashion, so to speak, as though in fact in a state of ebullition, and
makes a considerable noise, yet without there being anything to indicate
an increased strength of current; since, on the contrary, we found when
reaching these tracts, that the velocity of current was if anything rather
diminished. We conceive this phenomenon may be attributed to the agitation
caused by partial tidal currents, crossing each others' course, and
occasionally even running counter to each other, as also to certain
special conditions of ocean temperature at varying depths. The changes of
the tides at points of the coast, proportionally speaking so near each
other, are so widely different in point of time, and the height reached by
the waves is so little uniform, that any such phenomenon as the above must
naturally make itself perceptible at the surface in the open sea.

While the change of tide at Kar-Nicobar takes place every 9h. 40m., that
of Cape Diamond in Sumatra is laid down in the English chart at 12h., and
on the sand-banks in the Straits of Malacca at only 5h. 30m. The
difference in elevation assigned exhibits a similar discrepancy in the
estimates; that for Kar-Nicobar being stated at five feet, that for Cape
Diamond at 10 feet, and on the sand-banks already mentioned at 15 feet.
The hurricanes of the Bay of Bengal never visit the Nicobars; they seem to
originate part in or about the Andaman Islands, part from the west coast
of Sumatra, proceeding in the former case towards the northern portions of
the gulf, and in the latter towards the Coromandel coast and Ceylon.

During the S.W. monsoon, in which occurs the rainy season, frequent
thunder-storms and even gales of wind occur, especially in the vicinity of
Great Nicobar. The dry N.E. monsoon again brings fine weather, but
sometimes blows with considerable strength.

Kar-Nicobar has no regular harbour, but presents on its north side a
spacious land-locked bay nearly rectangular, the holding ground of which
is a coral sand of from 10 to 16 fathoms, and is thoroughly sheltered to
the S.W. and N.E. During the N.E. monsoon it is advisable to lie somewhat
closer in with the northern promontory of the island. At this season it is
difficult to find any spot at which small boats can disembark. However,
near the northern point it is possible to reach the shore in a small cove,
the western boundary of which presents an open space of coral sand, where
it is possible to lie to in deep water with even a good-sized boat. The
village of Sáoui, which gives its name to the roadstead, is not readily
accessible during the N.E. monsoon in consequence of the surf, but the
very next indentation of the coast facing eastwards, which is protected
seaward by a coral reef, offers a well-sheltered point of disembarkation,
where the boats can be beached on the smooth coral sand, and thereafter
drawn up high and dry.

During the N.E. monsoon it is also practicable to avail oneself of the bay
on the S. side of Kar-Nicobar, or to anchor anywhere along the W. side of
the island, but such anchorages possess no other protection than is
afforded by long points of land projecting far into the ocean, and usually
protracted by coral reefs.

Both in the bay of Sáoui, and on the south side of Kar-Nicobar, are found
small brooks, which run with water even during the dry season. It is
difficult however to water hereabouts, because these rivulets are blocked
up with sand-bars, not to speak of the obstacles interposed to the landing
of boats, by the tremendous surf and the low swampy shore at most periods
of the year. In cases of extreme necessity, however, the little rivulet
called the Areca might with some difficulty be made available.

Chowra, Kamorta, and Bampoka, have no regular anchorages; a vessel must be
content to ride to leeward of that coast, which will act as a shelter
against whichever monsoon happens to be blowing. Disembarkation by means
of boats is extremely difficult, and it is much better to make use of a
native canoe, which, after transporting the visitor through the surf to
the land, can be more easily drawn up on the beach.

Tillangschong possesses a beautiful harbour on the S. side, which however
is open to the S.E., but during the greater part of the year affords an
excellent anchorage. The most southerly point has numerous cliffs and
needles of rock where it projects into the sea, but it is possible to
approach within a few fathoms of the southernmost of these with vessels
of any size.

On the west side of the island, at the spot where its two halves may be
said to blend, the northernmost rugged, the more southerly flat, a pretty
good anchorage will be found, which seems to be sheltered towards the S.W.
by several solitary projecting rocks. Generally speaking, but more
especially to the N. and E., this island presents a steep precipitous
shore, so that, with the exception here and there of a few solitary rocks,
close in to the shore, there is nothing but clear deep water around almost
the entire island to within about 10 fathoms of the land.

The harbour of Nangkauri is rather roomy, but of very unequal though for
the most part considerable depth; the soundings in its midst giving
between 20 and 30 fathoms. The promontories are all more or less
low-lying, and thickly beset with coral reefs, and caution is the more
necessary, since it is far from unusual after working in from 20 to 16
fathoms, to find the water shoal suddenly to four or even three fathoms.
The anchorage formed by the two islands of Kamorta and Nangkauri has two
entrances, from the east and from the west, the navigation of which by
large ships demands the utmost vigilance. The western entrance is barely a
cable's length in width, while the island of Nangkauri has hardly any
fair-way for vessels along its exterior coast-line. In consequence of the
two islands trending towards each other at that point, the harbour near
its middle is greatly narrowed, so that there may almost be said to be
two harbours. In either of them a vessel is quite safe, being in fact so
thoroughly sheltered from all winds that the heat is occasionally

On the west side of Kamorta, six or seven miles north of the western
entrance of the harbour, will be found a large sheet of water, called
Ulàla Bay, in the first half of which there is excellent anchorage; but
the vapours emanating from the abundant mangrove swamps render residence
here extremely unhealthy. As Ulàla Cove runs for the most part parallel
with Nangkauri Harbour, and is separated from the latter only by a range
of low eminences, the near proximity of these mangrove swamps likewise
imparts their baleful influence to the air of Nangkauri Harbour. There is
absolutely no water here fit for drinking.

Katchal has large bays on both its west and its east sides, but they are
almost entirely silted up with coral sand. The channel between Katchal and
Kamorta is clear. Here we made short tacks in passing through, approaching
the shores on either side within half a mile.

Little Nicobar has a good harbour on the north side, formed by the island
of Pulo Milù and the N. coast of Little Nicobar, which is bent almost at a
right angle. This anchorage is accessible in all winds, and is well
sheltered, but a considerable portion adjoining the shore of Little
Nicobar is rendered useless by banks of coral.

Notwithstanding the most careful examination of this part of the coast,
we could not discover the spot, which in the Danish charts is marked as
furnishing water fit for drinking, but perceived nothing save mangrove
swamps, with numerous water-courses filled with brackish water, the two
largest of which we navigated in our gondola as far as was practicable.

The island of Kondul in St. George's Channel forms another very fair
anchorage; and similarly on the N. side of Great Nicobar, one finds
several suitable bays, the most easterly of which, called Ganges Harbour,
is fringed with coral banks, rendering it proportionately difficult of
access. The anchorage of Kondul may be selected for one reason, namely,
that it is land-locked towards both N.E. and S.W., besides having the
additional advantage of being airy, and distant from the mangrove swamps,
whereas in the bays on the N. coast of Great Nicobar these are of immense
extent. One of these mangrove swamps in the central cove was traversed by
one of the naturalists, the result of which was that he found a river
debouching into the sea through the very heart of the swamp, which,
however, so long as the sea-water could find entrance, was not of course

On the west side of Great Nicobar, along the whole length of which we
sailed, but which we could not visit more carefully, owing to want of time
and the heavy S.W. swell of the ocean, several other promontories and
coves are apparently available as harbours, and moreover may be supposed
to be the embouchures of rivers. At the south point of Great Nicobar there
is a large bay, which however being quite exposed from S.W. to S.E. must
be anything but a safe anchorage during the S.W. monsoon. During the
prevalence of the N.E. monsoon it seems tolerably well suited for an
anchorage, if the eastern promontory be kept S.E. by S., and the anchor be
cast in soundings of from 10 to 13 fathoms. Landing, however, is at all
times a matter of difficulty, as the surf is very boisterous and the swell
of the sea pretty heavy. Its most remote point is the mouth of the river
Galatea, which, however, is closed by a sand-bar, and for that reason
cannot be easily reached. This bay, owing to its configuration, is
excessively hot and sweltering, and with reference to its salubrity cannot
be recommended as a suitable abode.

The climate of the Archipelago, though tropical, is not nevertheless to be
ranked among the hottest, in consequence of its insular position, and of
the whole of the islands being thickly clothed with forest. Hence the
quantity of rain, which, as has been seen, is sufficient to keep the
rivers full even in the dry season. According to the meteorological
observations made on these islands by various observers at different
periods of the year, the average temperature does not exceed 77° Fahr.,
much about the temperature of the fluid found in the fresh unripe
cocoa-nut. But during the months of April and October respectively, at
which period calms prevail in these islands, the maximum temperature of
86° to 88° Fahr. is reached.

Considering the violence with which rain falls, and that the dry season of
the N.E. monsoon from November to March, and the damp season of the S.W.
monsoon from April to October, are by no means so sharply defined on these
islands as on the adjoining coasts of the mainland, the quantity of annual
rainfall must be enormous. At certain times it is not much less than 100
or even 150 inches, and yet it probably is not so high as that presented
by other localities, which experience the regular changes of the monsoons,
as for instance, in the Straits of Malacca, where the annual rainfall is
208 inches, or Mahableshwur south of Bombay, where it amounts to no less
than 254 inches! March is the dryest month in the year. During the whole
of the month, which we spent on the islands or in their immediate
vicinity, we only had three sharp thunder-storms. These become more
frequent and severe during April, until about May or June the S.W. monsoon
sets in and envelopes the islands in rain-clouds. Where some special
physical configuration of the soil does not admit of the rapid carrying
off of the redundant deluge of rain, the island must necessarily be
unusually well off for water. Of the correctness of this theory we were
enabled thoroughly to satisfy ourselves, since the close of the dry season
is necessarily unfavourable to there being any water remaining in the
streams and brooks; notwithstanding which even the smallest of the
islands, Pulo Milù and Kondul, although their rivulets had ceased to flow,
possessed a sufficient supply of sweet drinkable water among the numerous
basin-shaped pools that occur in the beds of the various streams. From the
forest-covered slopes of Tillangschong also, small streams of fresh water
are continually trickling. The insignificant brooks and rivers of the
large well-wooded islands lying further to the south of Great and Little
Nicobar, are in like manner kept full the whole year by the blessed
abundance of the watery element. On the other hand, the northern islands,
so far at least as the marl-formation extends, seem to be but scantily
supplied with water, especially on Kamorta, Nangkauri, Tringkut, and
apparently Teressa and Bampoka as well. All the small streams on the two
first-named islands, which fall into the Nangkauri harbour, were found to
be very nearly dried up.

The principal beverage of the natives of these islands is the fluid
contents of the unripe cocoa-nut, while it should seem that they fetch the
water required for house purposes from the pools of sweet water, which
they find scattered here and there among the river-courses. Springs we saw
none, with the exception of the old ruined one of the Moravian Brethren
near the village of Malacca on the island of Nangkauri. Kar-Nicobar,
although likewise belonging to the same marl-formation as the
before-mentioned islands, has nevertheless no lack of drinkable water,
since the expanse of land raised from eight to twelve feet above the level
of the ocean constitutes the site of those singular springs, the sweet
water in which rises and falls with the ebb and flow of the tide. The
explanation of this singular phenomenon must not be sought for in the
filtration of the sea-water by the coral rock, but is simply due to the
rain-water, being the lighter, floating upon the surface of the
sea-water, which is heavier, while the porous coral rock prevents the
complete intermixture of the salt and fresh water. In the villages of
Moose and Sáoui on Kar-Nicobar we saw several such cisterns, which always
had eight or ten feet good fresh water. Of rivers, properly so called, we
found but two, one falling into the northern Bay of Kar-Nicobar, the other
at the southern point of Great Nicobar. The former, which from the
luxuriant growth of the cabbage tree along its banks we named
"Areca-river," is navigable for flat-boats for about two miles from its
mouth, at which point further progress is arrested by some small rapids.
Here the water is quite sweet, holding but a very little chalk in

We found no mineral waters or warm springs. The hardened marl deposits of
Nangkauri harbour we perceived however to be encased in a crust an inch
thick of sulphate of magnesia, and fine silk-like glistening fibres; this
results from the clay-marl containing sulphate of magnesia, so that very
possibly by digging cistern-shaped cavities, a bitter saline solution
might be obtained similar to that at present obtained under similar
circumstances at Billin in Bohemia.

In consequence of the extraordinarily rich vegetation, the dampness of the
soil, and the numerous mangrove swamps all along the coast, the climate,
as may readily be conceived, is at present anything but salubrious. During
the changes of the monsoons especially, a fever breaks out of so malignant
a type that it is very frequently fatal to Europeans.

But, so long as dense forest, creeping plants, and swamps encumber the
soil, there can be no country within the tropics favourable to the health
of man, and all immigrants or other persons who make a sufficiently long
stay in such localities, prepare themselves for being visited by maladies
of the most formidable nature, among which fever and dysentery play the
most conspicuous part.

Similar conditions are occasionally met with in certain parts of Europe
where swamp and uncultivated land are exposed to the influences of a high
temperature, of which examples enough are furnished in the malaria of
Italy, and the marsh fever of the lagoons of Venice and along the coasts
of Istria. And if such visitations make less impression upon us in Europe,
it is not that there is little danger, but simply because, as habit is
second nature, the regularity of their return has ceased to attract

This is precisely what the English have experienced in the East Indies, it
is what the German emigrant is now going through on the banks of the
Mississippi and Ohio, in Brazil and in Peru, until the forests are cleared
and rendered productive, until, in short, advancing cultivation has
dispelled those miasmata, which are inevitably developed amid the
undisturbed voluptuousness of nature.

When at certain seasons of the year the vital principles of millions upon
millions of organisms begin to be active, they throw off oxygen into the
atmosphere, replacing it by absorbing carbonic acid; while, on the other
hand, different organisms, in conformity with known chemical laws, are
destroyed under similar conditions, and, under the influence of the
atmosphere co-operating with humidity, ferment and become decomposed. From
all which processes result products of emanation, which, caught up into
the atmosphere and whirled away by the wind, become in their turn the
means of nutriment and fertilization to other plants, thus imparting to
tropical vegetation that marvellous rankness and super-abundance so fatal
to the human frame. But the conditions which produce this tendency in the
atmosphere to generate fever are not peculiar to certain localities, or
strictly confined to these; they can be averted, and with them the vapours
so prejudicial to health may be removed. We have but to raise up a barrier
against that mighty all-devouring process of life and vegetation, which
imperils our own conditions of existence, we have but to withdraw from the
powerful agencies of chemical action the substances undergoing
decomposition, to constrain the waters of heaven to follow certain
definite directions, to drain every swamp, to clear the forest, to sweep
away the dense underwood in order that the wind may wander unchecked over
the now fertilized soil, and a wondrous alteration will take place in the
climatic conditions of the Nicobar Islands. Of what may be achieved under
such circumstances by energy and perseverance, the island of Penang, some
350 nautical miles distant, furnishes the most striking example, which
within a very few decades has, by dint of the progressive clearing and
cultivation of the soil, been converted from a den of fever and malaria,
a spot shunned by all men as a residence, into one of the most healthy
localities in the East, so much so indeed that it has been made a resort
for invalids!

Seduced by the attractive beauty of the harbour of Nangkauri, the various
attempts at founding a settlement have almost without exception been
confined to that site. Upon a more close examination however of the
precise spot selected for these settlements, it becomes at once apparent
that they were for the most part pitched upon the neck of land which
divides the land-locked ill-ventilated harbour of Nangkauri from the Bay
of Ulàla, surrounded as it is on all sides by thick mangrove swamps.

On such a site did the settlers erect their huts, and there, often at but
a short interval after their arrival, did they find their grave; and if a
very few of their number resisted the deadly influence of the miasmatic
vapours, if even they were able for several years to drag along a
miserable existence in such a scene, these can only be regarded as
striking examples of an unusual vigour of constitution. It is true that
most of these missionaries who founded settlements here were by no means
properly housed and fed, which in such a climate is a matter of absolute
prime necessity for the preservation of health. Often when already
attacked with fever they toiled, spade in hand, delving the ground amid
the exhausting heat of a tropical day in order to secure the means of
subsistence, or gathered shell-fish along the beach, or hunted for
reptiles or birds through the swamps and forest, in order to provide
themselves, by the sale of these natural curiosities in Europe, with the
means of existence in those distant regions. Not without feelings of the
keenest emotion and deepest sympathy is it possible to peruse the
description given by one of these missionaries, Father Hänsel, of his mode
of life on the island of Nangkauri, where he lived for seven years amidst
the greatest privations and hardships. "On my frequent excursions along
the sea-coast," says the noble, high-souled missionary, "it sometimes
happened that I was benighted, and I could not with convenience return to
our dwelling; but I was never at a loss for a bed. The greater part of the
beach consists of a remarkably fine white sand, which above high-water
mark is perfectly clean and dry. Into this I dug with ease a hole large
enough to contain my body, forming a mound as a pillow for my head; I then
lay down, and by collecting the sand over me buried myself in it up to the
neck. My faithful dog always laid across my body, ready to give the alarm
in case of disturbance from any quarter. However, I was under no
apprehensions from wild animals; crocodiles and caimans never haunt the
open coast, but keep in creeks and lagoons; and there are no other
ravenous beasts on the island. The only annoyance I suffered, was from the
nocturnal perambulations of an immense variety of crabs of all sizes, the
crackling noise of whose armour would sometimes keep me awake. But they
were well watched by my dog, and if any one ventured to approach too near,
he was sure to be suddenly seized and thrown to a more respectful
distance. Or if a crab of a more tremendous appearance would deter my dog
from exposing his nose to its claws, he would bark and frighten it away,
by which however I was sometimes more seriously alarmed than the occasion
required. Many a comfortable night's rest have I had in these sepulchral
dormitories when the nights were clear and dry, and the heavens spangled
with stars."[17]

After such a description, one cannot but feel astonished that any of these
men, jealous for the faith, should have been able to linger on for years
in such a plight, and assuredly no one will refuse to these heroes of
Christianity their meed of the deepest admiration and gratitude, which
they merit none the less that their labours among these natives were
almost entirely unattended by any permanent good results.

It seems specially worthy of remark that the crew of the Austrian ship
_Joseph and Theresa_, which spent as much as five months here, and that
too during the rainy season (April to September), almost entirely escaped
fever. This fact sufficiently proves that the rainy season is by no means
the most unhealthy, but that the periods of transition from the dry to the
wet season, and _vice versâ_, must be considered as invariably
prejudicial. At these times light variable winds alternate with
thunder-showers, after which there is usually experienced great heat by
solar radiation, which at once liberates the noxious emanations of the
humid soil. Further on, during the actual rainy season, when the heavens
are almost continually veiled, and the condition of the atmosphere and the
soil is alike one of complete saturation, this phenomenon appears much
less marked, and becomes in a corresponding degree less dangerous to human

We are also of opinion that the time from the end of March to the end of
April, as also the months of September and October, are the most
insalubrious parts of the year, although on the Nicobars a man may be
struck down with fever at any season, so soon as those precautions have
been neglected, which are so necessary to observe in the uncultivated
regions of the tropics. An instance on this point is furnished in the case
of the crew of the Danish corvette _Galatea_. Of thirty individuals
engaged in an exploring expedition up what is known as the Galatea river,
in the southern Bay of Great Nicobar, and caught one night in a
thunder-storm, which compelled them to remain in the forest wringing wet,
no fewer than twenty-one fell ill of fever, which ultimately proved fatal
in four cases.

So far as our own experience goes, the state of health on board the
frigate during a stay of thirty-two days was highly satisfactory. During
that entire period, out of 350 men only six took ill with fever, which
number, however, at a later period during our passage to the straits of
Malacca, was increased to 21. Singular to say, those of the ship's
company, who during our stay had _never set foot_ on the Nicobar Islands,
furnished the largest contingent of cases of fever, while of both officers
and naturalists, who spent the whole day together among the swamps and the
forest, and were exposed to all manner of fatigue, only three got upon the
sick list. On the whole, however, even the few severer cases made an
excellent recovery, and by the time we had anchored in the harbour of
Singapore, all the fever patients were once more either quite well, or in
a fair way towards convalescence.

As the examination of this Archipelago was, in consequence of the all but
impenetrable forests, confined to the narrow strip of land along the
shore, we had almost said to the region of cocoa-palms exclusively, its
various geognostic features were very inadequately, yet withal
approximately, ascertained. If we admit that a covering of vegetation of
the utmost variety and primeval luxuriance, untouched by the hand of man,
and entirely unreclaimed by cultivation, may be considered as the
expressive feature by which an estimate could be arrived at of the
different geognostic conditions of soil beneath, we may succeed in our
attempt from the characteristics of this primeval vegetation, to come to
some definite conclusion as to the quality and the greater or lesser
productiveness of the ground. According to this method of computing, it
would seem that,

I. The forest, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, includes 70/100
of the entire surface of the island:--the soil being limestone, rich in
alkalies, spungy, with clay-sand, and exceedingly fertile.

II. On the other hand, the grass vegetation proper may be set down at
15/100 of the surface: a barren, clay soil.

III. The cocoa forest may be estimated at 5/100 of the entire area; upon a
fruitful soil of coral conglomerate, coral sand, and dried alluvium.

IV. In like manner the screw-pine forests cover 5/100 of the entire
insular surface, the soil marshy but well suited for cultivation, with
fresh-water bogs, and moist fresh-water alluvium.

V. Lastly, the mangrove forest in like manner may be roughly estimated at
5/100 of the superficial area, and is a swampy soil, unfitted for
cultivation, consisting of salt-water marshes, and alluvium, moistened by

The entire superficial area of the islands may be computed at about 627
square miles. Reckoning only 7/10 therefore of the surface as consisting
of soil suitable for culture, which may undoubtedly be assumed as a fair
approximation, we have a surface of 439 square miles capable of being made
productive. But even the very ground now exclusively covered with grass,
might be made productive with a more numerous population and a
corresponding improvement in cultivation, so that these islands, now the
abode of about 5000 savages, could easily support in comfort a population
of over 100,000 industrious men.

At present the chief product of the islands is the cocoa-nut palm, which
grows for the most part on the sea-shore, so far as the coral sand
reaches. Within the same limits is the existence of the inhabitants
confined, destitute as they are of industry or the capacity to cultivate
the soil. This invaluable plant seldom extends far into the interior, and
from this circumstance was named by a celebrated German traveller and
botanist, Martius, the "Sea-shore palm." It is, however, as yet undecided
whether the cocoa-palm is indigenous to the Nicobar Islands, or whether,
cast on these shores by the waves, it has, by virtue of its well-known
property of putting forth shoots even in salt-water, gradually propagated
itself without any assistance from man.

It is said that the profit realized by those engaged in the trade in these
nuts, amounts to from 20 to 40 per cent., and could greatly be increased,
if, as for example in Ceylon, oil-presses were erected, by means of which
the expense of transporting the heavy bulky loads of nuts would be
economised, the oil being exported direct. On the more northerly islands
the cocoa forest embraces proportionately a far larger area, those more to
the south being much less abundantly supplied, especially Greater Nicobar,
where there is hardly any. Accordingly the more northerly islands are much
the more densely peopled, and the cocoa-palms are there subdivided as
property, while on the southern islands they seem to be freely enjoyed in

Next in importance to the cocoa-nut palm, as a means of subsistence to
the inhabitants, is the _Pandanus Melori_, of the family of the Pandaneæ,
the fruit of which (Melori or Caldevia of the Portuguese, the Laróhm of
the natives) supplies the place of rice and Indian corn, neither of which
are grown on the island, owing to the ignorance of the islanders of the
principles of cultivation, although the nature of the soil seems eminently
suited to the production of both. From the huge fruit of this Pandanus, a
species of bread is prepared, very similar to apple-marmalade, which is
eaten by the natives along with the soft white kernel of the ripe
cocoa-nut. The leaves are prepared as mats of every sort and description,
and are occasionally used for the manufacture of sails.

The Bread-fruit tree (_Podocarpus incisa_), which furnishes such excellent
nutriment, that, according to Cook,[18] three trees suffice to support a
man during eight months, is found on the islands in single individuals,
and we never happened to see its fruit used by the natives. The plantain
too seemed but sparingly planted, although the elegant leafy green canopy
of this the most important and nutritious plant, after the cocoa-nut,
requires but little care in cultivation. The sugar-cane, the muscat-nut
tree (_Myristia Moschatea_), and the _Cardamum Elettaria_,[19] grow and
flourish on most of the islands, and orange and lemon trees of the most
stupendous proportions may be met with, growing wild in the immediate
vicinity of the native dwellings.

Of tubers we only found the yam growing in considerable quantities, but it
seems to be cultivated by the natives more as an article of exchange with
the ships visiting the islands, than for their own use. So far however as
we could ascertain the capabilities of the soil, the Jucca (_Jakopha
Manihot_), the sweet potato (the _Camote_ of the Spanish colonies), and
other American tuberous roots, might flourish here at least as well as on
the hot damp coasts of the western continent.

The number of plants collected by our botanists throughout this group of
islands, amounts to 280 different species; however by a more thorough
exploration of the Archipelago, the _Phanerogamous_ species may be
increased one half in number.

There are also two plants, which, although they cannot be included among
the vegetable products suited for the sustenance of man, must nevertheless
be taken into account as contributing in an important degree to the
subsistence of the natives. These are the Areca palm, and the Betel shrub.

The nut of the _Areca Cateehu_, and the green leaf of the _Piper Betle_,
constitute as already mentioned, together with coral lime, the chief
ingredients of _Betel_, that singular salivatory compound, which has
become a prime luxury for the inhabitants of the Indies, and the adjacent
islands. The Areca palm, with its graceful straight stem and elegant tuft
of leaves, is indigenous to the entire group, and is found in considerable
quantities. With the enormous demand for it as a salivatory, as also as an
article of medicine, it might, had the natives the slightest turn for
cultivation, yield a large profit as an article of commerce. The Betel
shrub is also found in large quantities in these islands, and needs but
little looking after.

The wealth of the forest in ornamental timber, and wood fit for building
purposes, is so great that, if carefully surveyed and judiciously thinned,
they would not only furnish the settler with cleared soil suitable for
cultivation, but would likewise permit an immense profit to be

The Nicobar Islands had been recommended by a learned member of the
Society of Physicians of Vienna, as a special subject of inquiry as to
whether this group were not by position, conditions of soil, and climate,
particularly suitable for the cultivation of the Peruvian bark tree, whose
importance for medical purposes is daily increasing. So far as our brief
stay admitted, we did not lose sight of this object, but the practical
observations we made in the course of our voyage led us to conclusions
widely different from those which, representing the quinquina tree as in
danger of being extirpated on its native soil, South America, by the
carelessness of the Indians, regarded its transplantation into other
countries as a question of the utmost importance for the interests of the
human race. The China tree, very far from becoming extinct, is carefully
cultivated in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The bark is systematically
cropped in most of these localities, and consequently there is no occasion
to anticipate any considerable increase in price, or failure in the supply
of this precious drug. We shall have an opportunity, when describing our
stay at Java and at the west coast of America, to revert at length to this
question, and shall have only to add the remark, that the great expense of
such an attempt, and the extraordinary watchfulness and care which must be
bestowed on the China tree for a number of years before the slightest
profit can be derived from it, seem alone to render hopeless such an
undertaking as its introduction in the Nicobar Islands, even were the
climatic conditions better suited to such an experiment than we have
reason to believe that they are.

As for the zoology of these islands, it seems to be much less developed,
whether as regards numbers, or size, than might be expected, considering
the luxuriance of the vegetation. The forests are by their very nature
poor in living denizens, the majority of these consisting of various
species of birds. In like manner the sea is but little productive, and the
nets which we cast over the ship's side at Kar-Nicobar, Pulo Milù, and
Ganges Harbour, like the hook and line, brought up but few specimens, and
those hardly deserving of notice. The natives have no nets of any sort,
their mode of fishing consisting simply of raising a succession of weirs,
in which they can harpoon or take their prey.

Of domestic animals we saw only swine, hens, dogs, and cats, all of which
live upon cocoa-nut. The dog, a smooth-haired cur of a light
brownish-yellow colour, with pointed ears, is a sad coward, and his bark
rather resembles a prolonged howl. The cats and the hens are exactly like
those of Europe. Cattle for draught or the dairy, are as yet entirely
unknown to the natives; yet they might easily be introduced from the
adjoining shores of India. The zebra breed especially, already
acclimatized in the tropics, would be of conspicuous utility as beasts of
draught, supposing any attempt made at cultivation of the soil.

Judging by the experiments made at Pulo Milù, the introduction of goats
and sheep could only be accomplished with much difficulty. On the other
hand all manner of poultry would be found to thrive in these islands.

In passing from this very cursory consideration of the natural history of
these islands[21] to the race of man who inhabit them, we find ourselves
confronted with a people, who, on account of the primitive manner in which
they live, attract our interest in the highest degree. The natives of the
Nicobar group, whose entire number may be estimated at from 5000 to 6000
souls, are, as we have already remarked, large and well formed, the skin
of a dark brown, bronze-like hue, and owing to the prevailing custom of
anointing their bodies with cocoa-nut oil, usually presenting a glancing
appearance, and emitting a peculiar odour. This inunction is apparently
intended to obviate superabundant perspiration, as also any skin diseases,
just as the Indian races west of the Mississippi are accustomed to protect
their naked bodies against the direct influences of the cold, by rubbing
in the fat of animals. The practice of daubing the face does not seem to
be so extensively resorted to, as previous descriptions of the Nicobar
islanders had led us to believe. We saw only one solitary native, at the
village of Malacca in the island of Nangkauri, who had painted his
forehead and cheeks with the red pigment obtained from the seeds of the
_Bixa Orellana_ (the well-known Annatto dye). Instances of tattooing we
never fell in with, nor do these islanders seem to have any desire to
imitate the beautiful, sometimes absolutely artistic, designs punctured on
the hands and feet of the Malays and Burmese who occasionally visit them.
Moles and blotches on the breast and arms are of frequent occurrence. The
forehead of the Nicobar islander is slightly rounded, and in many cases
may even be said to be well formed, but it falls away somewhat suddenly;
the face is usually broad, and if we except the rather prominent zygomatic
process, approaches the oval type; the hinder portion of the head is flat
and seems as though crushed inwards, a circumstance of which Fontana, in
his well-known journal already mentioned, takes special notice, and which
deserves the more attention, that we think we are in a position, by means
of actual measurement, and inquiries made on the spot, to say with
certainty that this modification of the normal form of the skull is not
natural to this race, but is artificially produced. We especially rely
upon the circumstance, that among the natives of Nangkauri and others of
the islands, the custom prevails of pressing quite flat the head of the
newly-born infant, probably in conformity with Nicobar laws of taste and
beauty: in order to make the result more certain, they keep continually
repeating this experiment by a variety of different means during a
considerable time. The nose is of ordinary dimensions, but is always of
unusual breadth, and coarse of outline; we found a few individuals with
noses of exorbitant length. Owing to the incredible extent to which the
disgusting practice of chewing the betel-nut is carried, their mouth,
naturally large, is hideously distorted. On the island of Treis we saw an
aged native, whose tongue, in consequence of the incessant betel-chewing,
had been attacked in a similar manner as his teeth. The chin is for the
most part without any marked characteristic, and is usually rather
retreating. The maxillary bones are broad and projecting, and the zygoma
has a rather bold curve. The ears are small, but the flaps on the other
hand are so broad, that when pierced they are ornamented with a piece of
bamboo an inch thick.

Some of the natives make use of this broad aperture to store away cigars.
The thin eye-brows do not curve over the whole of the superior arch of the
eye. The hair for the most part is beautiful, thick, black, and soft, in
many instances depending low on both sides. The beard is universally very
thin, and instances of mustachios or goatees are very rarely encountered.
However a beard does not seem to be classed among those objects which add
to the Nicobar ideal of beauty. At least, as often as they found an
opportunity of seizing a pair of scissors from our dressing-cases, we used
always to see the natives eagerly setting about extirpating the few hairs,
which despite all their endeavours would persist in appearing upon the
upper lip on either side of the mouth. The expression of their face is
grave, tranquil, and rather _insouciant_. We never saw in their features
any expression of emotion, such for instance as might have been imparted
by delight at having obtained some coveted object, not even when they had
manifested the utmost eagerness to possess it. The only excitement which
their ordinarily impassive countenances were however many a time called on
to indicate, took the form of an expression of pain and anxiety, as often
as they saw a number of strangers make a descent upon their islands. The
singularly marked similarity of feature in each and every individual, may
safely be ascribed to the similarity of condition universally prevalent,
to the small scope given to the play of their affections, and to the
frequent intermarriage, which must necessarily be the case where, as in
these islands, a couple of hundred human beings form the whole population
of an island, and where intercommunication with the adjoining islands is
so confined.

The assertion by Fontana, that the natives never cut their nails, but on
the other hand shave off their eye-brows, we have never found confirmed in
any of the islands we visited, although very possibly some few
individuals, certainly so far as we could find very scanty in number, may
ape the customs of their Malay and Chinese visitors, by letting their
nails grow. Of cripples, or at all events of individuals stunted in their
growth, we saw but two, the first case being that of a native of
Kar-Nicobar, who in consequence of a dislocation of the _radius_ at the
wrist joint was entirely powerless of the left arm; while the second, a
sort of dwarf, who was likewise an inhabitant of that island, presented a
well-marked corpulence in the extremities, and fingers so swelled up and
short, that he was known among his neighbours by the nickname of
_Kiutakuntí_ (short finger).

Hitherto the natives seem to have escaped the ravages of syphilitic
diseases. As to any instances of visitations of virulent though temporary
epidemics, we could not get any information of such having occurred; they
have however in their language a word (Mallók) for the small-pox, of the
existence of which we had convinced ourselves by personal demonstration
in the case of a Malay, whose face was frightfully disfigured by the marks
of this appalling disease.

Although in a climate the annual average of which is 81° Fahr., clothes
are all but unnecessary, the natives nevertheless manifest an
extraordinary passion for European clothing, and when it seemed
impracticable by any other means to elicit an expression of pleasure on
their calm, indifferent, emotionless countenances, it was always possible
to succeed by presenting them with a shirt, a coat, or a black silk round
hat. As however the natives have seldom been presented with more than one
such article at a time, and many a year is apt to elapse ere he gets
another, by which he might succeed in gradually completing his dress, the
Nicobarian makes his appearance before strangers attired in the most
extraordinary fashion, almost entirely naked, sometimes with only a black
hat on his head, or pluming himself on being spruced up in a frock coat
(but without shirt, stockings, or head-gear), which on the plump naked
brown skin of this child of nature has far more the appearance of a
straight-waistcoat than a comfortable article of dress.

The natives show infinitely more vanity in the selection of a piece of
clothing, than calculation as to its real necessity or suitability. A
large low-crowned white hat with broad rim, which we presented to one
native, gained not the slightest approval, although both in form and
colour it was far better suited to protecting the wearer against the rays
of the tropical sun than a high, narrow-brimmed, fashionable black silk
hat, to the possession of which the natives of Kar-Nicobar and Nangkauri
attach quite an inordinate value. For such an article, in the course of
barter, they offer 1600 ripe cocoa-nuts, while for a long piece of wide
dark-coloured muslin, in which they are wont to envelope their dead, they
will give only 1200 such fruits. But the most characteristic head-gear of
the Nicobarians is a bandeau made of dried leaves of the cocoa-nut palm,
which gives them quite a picturesque appearance. We saw but few ornaments
worn, such as necklaces, bracelets, &c., only one or two of the younger
men having their hands and their necks adorned with massive rings of
silver and iron wire.

The dwellings of the natives are usually round, beehive-shaped huts,
resting on a number of stakes of from six to eight feet in height. Simple
as is the construction of these huts, it nevertheless, especially on the
island of Kar-Nicobar, possesses a certain degree of ornament, we might
almost say elegance, while the thatching of dried palm-leaves, as also the
beams and the walls constructed of reeds (_Calamus Rotang_), are a branch
of industry which would do honour even to civilized races of the world.
The natives usually cower or squat on the ground, or seat themselves upon
some cocoa-nut that has chanced to fall, while at night, stretched out
upon the flowers shed by the Areca palm, and with their heads elevated by
a piece of hard wood, they find anywhere a sufficiently comfortable couch.

The means of subsistence of the Nicobar islanders are anything but
abundant. As they are utterly ignorant of cultivation, they are entirely
indebted for the very first necessaries of life to the provision which a
bountiful nature has supplied to them, without the assistance of man's
labour. Their chief articles of food are the cocoa-nut and the pandanus
fruit. As with the natives of India, so among the natives of the Nicobar
group, the cocoa-palm is applied to the most various purposes, although it
would be difficult to make it fulfil all the ninety and nine useful
purposes which the Hindoo proverb assigns to this noble individual of the
royal race of palms. The cocoa-palm likewise constitutes the chief article
of export of the entire group, while the profit from the Trepang (Biche de
Mar of the English, a sort of cockle), edible swallows' nests,
tortoise-shell, amber, and so forth, is of the highest importance in the
interchange of commerce.

The betel shrub (_Piper Betle_), next to the cocoa-nut and pandanus fruit,
one of the most important necessities of the inhabitants of these islands,
is not indigenous, but has been introduced hither from the peninsula of
Malacca, and formed for a long time an article of commerce and exchange.
At present this creeper, which spreads with hardly any particular care, is
found in such quantities that only a small proportion of the leafy produce
can be consumed by the sparse population. It was always incomprehensible
to us in what could consist the great charm of betel-chewing, that a habit
so loathsome should be so extensively practised by the very lowest slaves
of the princes of India, by poor as well as rich, nay, should fling its
chains, as it actually does, even over women and children. A lucky chance,
however, threw in our way a Sanscrit poem (_Hytopedesa_) which celebrates
as follows the thirteen cardinal virtues of the betel-leaf:--"Betel is
pungent, bitter, aromatic, sweet, alkaline, astringent, a carminative, a
dispeller of phlegm, a vermifuge, a sweetener of the breath, an ornament
of the mouth, a remover of impurities, and a kindler of the flame of love!
O friend! these thirteen properties of betel are hard to be met with, even
in heaven!"[22]

It would be an inquiry of considerable interest to trace the influence
which the incessant betel-chewing exercises over the longevity of the
inhabitants, and the changes caused in the masticatory organs, which are
so constantly exposed to these pernicious practices.

That which most deeply struck us throughout the Nicobars, was the
frightful decomposition of the teeth, whereas in other betel-chewing races
these were stained only of the same deep crimson as the lips and the gums.
We at first ascribed this difference to some variation in the mixture of
the ingredients, but we repeatedly perceived afterwards that the betel
used on the Nicobar group consisted of nothing else than a small piece of
Areca-nut, which, sprinkled with a little chalk, was enveloped in a green
aromatic betel-leaf, and so was popped into the mouth. The Hindoos, on
the other hand, add to these ingredients, which they always carry about
with them in elegant cases, a certain astringent substance (formerly
called _Terra Japonica_, because it was long supposed to be a mineral
product) made out of the pith of the _Acacia Catechu_, a species of
Mimosa; or occasionally add to the usual masticatory composition a species
of resin obtained from the _Melaleuca Cajeputi_, as also a little tobacco.

The frightfully destructive effects of the betel on the teeth and lips of
the Nicobar natives, is apparently attributable only to some difference in
the proportions of the ingredients used, very probably to the use of a
larger quantity of coral lime. What is alleged of a custom the Nicobarians
have of filing down their teeth and rubbing them with some corrosive
substance, rests exclusively upon conjecture, and is confirmed neither by
personal observation nor by the account given by the natives themselves,
nor by the Malay traders who frequent Great Nicobar and Nangkauri.

In social as well as in religious matters, we must consider the
inhabitants of this Archipelago as among the child-races of the world.
They consider it a duty to marry very young and take but one wife, but
they age with uncommon rapidity. Of about 100 natives with whom during our
stay on the various islands we were in communication, hardly one was above
forty, and the majority may be roughly estimated at from twenty to thirty.
If, moreover, we set it down as improbable that all the aged men should
have taken to flight like the women and children, it should seem that
these natives never attain a very extended duration of life.

Of the therapeutic powers of various plants that are found in their
forests, the natives have but little knowledge. All that they have ever
had of drugs have been almost entirely supplied from Europe by captains of
English vessels. Although they attach the most extravagant importance to
the possession of these, these medicines are, if anything, more
prejudicial than beneficial to them, as they of course understand nothing
of their use, and often apply them in the most absurd manner. It seems
that once some ship captain in order to get quit of their importunities
made over to them all the articles he could most conveniently spare, such
as castor-oil, Epsom salts, spirit of camphor, turpentine, peppermint, eau
de Cologne, &c. &c., and ever since they pester each visitor for medicine!
A native once urgently begged us to give him a little spirit of
turpentine; on our asking him to what purpose he wished to apply it, he
answered that he wanted to rub himself with it, and take a few drops
internally, because he believed it was an excellent preservative against
ague and pain in the chest!

The maladies with which the natives are most commonly afflicted, are
intermittent fever, phthisis, and rheumatism. In some cases we remarked
_Elephantiasis Arabica_ (the Juzam of Arab writers), called by the
Nicobarians _Kelloidy_, attacking the bones, and several different forms
of cuticular eruption. The severity of these diseases must be ascribed
less to the insalubrity of the climate than to the unwholesome mode of
existence of the natives. Can we feel surprised that naked men, who do not
inhabit the more favourably situated spots ventilated by regular winds,
but live on the swampy coast, in the sandy bays that are fringed with a
forest belt, where they can grow their cocoa-palms with the least labour
to themselves, who leave their bodies exposed now to the violence of
tropical rains, now to the fiery rays of a tropical sun, and whose food
consists almost exclusively of cocoa-nuts and the fruit of the
_pandanus_,--can we wonder that they should be in an especial degree
subject to disease? It is a mistake to suppose that the food of
inhabitants of the tropics is that assigned by Nature herself, and
therefore the most beneficial and suitable. For, despite all theory, which
for residents in the tropics chiefly prescribes substances with plenty of
carbon and nitrogen as the proper articles of food, we see Europeans, more
especially Englishmen, in the hottest climate in the world, with a
thermometer that rarely falls below 86° Fahr., devouring, just as in a
more northern climate, strong soups, gigantic beef-steaks, and mutton
cutlets to any extent, contemptuously turning up their noses at mere
vegetable diet, and barely touching marmalade or sweetmeats; yet there
they are blooming in the best of health, far better even than that of the
natives. Indeed, it is a fact full of interest, and confirmed by
observations carried on for years, that in the Presidency of Madras, for
example, the Hindoos and Mahmudas, so widely different in their customs
and mode of life, were much more seriously attacked by fever than the
Europeans resident there, in such entirely different conditions of climate
than they were accustomed to. On the other hand, so far as regards
sanitary measures, that portion of the aboriginal population presents the
most favourable results which is most intimately allied to the Europeans,
and applies in its own case the precepts of modern civilization.

So soon as the natives are attacked by fever with any severity, they
rapidly succumb. However, we have never heard tell of any of that
barbarous inhumanity which any medicine-man, whose treatment is
unsuccessful, is said to experience at the hands of the relatives and
friends of the patient, which indeed is all the more improbable as, were
such really the case, considering the small advantages and scrimp fees
likely to be picked up by a smart medicine-man among such an impoverished
race, there would hardly be met with one Manluéna in the entire group! The
head-mark of a doctor in the southern islands is his unusually long
floating hair. On our inquiring of a native what qualifications were
requisite in order to become a doctor, he replied with the most charming
naïveté: "One must be the son of a doctor!" From this reply we may gather
that in the Nicobar Islands medical skill and knowledge of the healing art
are confined to certain families! We afterwards found this information
confirmed, upon our discovering that the youthful Manluéna of Great
Nicobar, who so severely kneaded and twisted the arm of one of the
associates of the Expedition, was the son of an aged doctor of the island
of Kondul, and owed his reputation solely to the circumstance of his
kindred. Besides cases of sickness, the advice, the adroitness, and the
zeal of the Manluéna are held in special repute for the driving out of the
evil spirit or _Eewees_, by which, as already mentioned, the inhabitants
of the Nicobar Islands believe themselves to be incessantly surrounded.

Of idols proper, such as barbarous tribes construct and honour, and to
whom they dedicate temples, they have none; nor have they any object in
nature, as, for instance, a lofty tree, a huge rock or a hill, to which
they attach a certain charm, like some of the Central American tribes.
They have not even a word for the Divine idea in their language, nor for
Godhead, nor for any Beneficent Principle or Being, and the rudely carved
figures, which are found set up in all sorts of comical postures within
their huts, are intended to serve no higher purpose, than to frighten away
those evil spirits which even the Manluéna has been unable to see, though
he sets himself forward as able to hold converse with them.

The notion of a Being, whose wisdom and whose love rule the world, is
quite as foreign to their minds as the conception of a spiritual life in
the future after death. We repeatedly asked one of their most intelligent
leaders, who also spoke a little English, whether he believed he should
ever again recognize his dead friends and relatives? But he replied
invariably with a cold, indifferent, "Never, never!" All that we told them
of the privileges of a believing Christian, of a Divine Being, of the
belief in a future state of existence after death, served only to fill
them with astonishment, but they seemed ready enough to listen to such
subjects. What little they had heard upon these truths from missionaries
and ship captains, appeared however to have left them with very confused

From all that came under our notice, the mode of life of these islanders
is singularly uniform and indolent, its most important events consisting
probably of the alterations necessary by the interchange of the seasons.
They know of no other method of computing time than the change of the moon
and of the monsoons. At the beginning of the wet season or S.W. monsoon,
and at the corresponding period of the dry season or N.E. monsoon, there
are certain festivals, which somewhat resemble the "sowing feasts" and
"harvest homes" of the American aboriginal stocks. They have however no
appointed day of rest, corresponding to the sabbath of the Christian
Church, nor indeed do they need such, seeing that in their mode of life
every day is a holiday! They have no measure for time, nor indeed for
anything else: not a single native could give us any idea of his own age,
nor could count above 20.[23] Time has for them not the slightest value:
the watchword "_Time is money!_" which first given by England, is at
present resounding throughout the world, falls voiceless and ineffectual
on their insensible ears. Their reckoning of time is as limited as their
capacity for recollecting by-gone occurrences. The presence of Christian
missionaries at various periods, as also the visit of the Danish corvette
_Galatea_ in 1847, had already almost entirely disappeared from their
memory. Only among a very few of their numbers have some of the names
clung to the recollection, such as _Galatea_, and _Steene Bille_ (which
they pronounced _Piller_).

We could not find anything that bore the least resemblance to any settled
form of government, to any distribution upon fixed principles of the
possessions of the general community, to any recognition of individual
right, to any tribunal for settling quarrels, &c. &c. They recognize the
relations of family and of property; on the other hand, the power of the
captain, one of whom the greater number of villages has each for itself,
and whom they call _Mah_ or _Umiáha_ (old), extends no further than giving
him the right to be the first to trade with such foreign ships as make
their appearance, and to inaugurate the barter-system. Indeed this very
institution of captainship, although much liked by the natives, does not
at all seem as though it were part of their own system, but to date from
the period when English merchant vessels began to visit these islands

As to the social life of the natives, their family relations, and so
forth, we could get such scanty and uncertain data to go upon, what with
the cursory visits we paid to the various islands, and considering the
women and children had everywhere fled, while the men regarded us simply
as intruders, that we do not venture to publish any special information
upon this point. Be it however permitted to express our opinion, that,
judging by the tendency to a decent style of dress and the extreme
elegance of the decorations of the canoes and the huts of the islanders of
Kar-Nicobar, as contrasted with the destitution, nakedness, and wretched
condition of the natives of the southern islands of the group,
civilization seems to be advancing from north to south with slow but sure
steps. And it will probably interest the philologist to be informed that
both in Kar-Nicobar and Nangkauri, the most important settlement bears the
same name, Malacca, as the chief city on the adjoining Malay peninsula. As
the natives in this delicious _far niente_ existence live exclusively upon
the precious gifts of an all-bountiful Nature, which provides them at once
with food and drink, one naturally finds among them few implements of
labour, indeed only such as are indispensably necessary in erecting their
huts, in preparing their canoes, and in enabling them readily to open the
cocoa-nuts. And even these tools, as, for instance, hatchets, cutlasses,
files, &c., were first procured through intercourse with civilization.

Their weapons consist merely of lances or javelins with points of iron or
hardened wood, by the number of which, it is presumed, the wealth of a
Nicobar islander is estimated. A cross-bow, which we saw in the possession
of a native of Kar-Nicobar, although made on the island, was manifestly of
European design originally, and merely an imitation.

Of musical instruments we did not find a single specimen in Kar-Nicobar,
whereas on the southern islands there is a six, sometimes a seven-holed
flute in use, made of bamboo-cane, which, as we afterwards discovered, had
been brought hither by the Malays; and also a kind of guitar about two or
three feet in length, hollowed out, and with sound-holes in the side, and
made of thick bamboo and reed strings. On the whole, however, the
Nicobarians seem to be much too apathetic and indifferent a race to have
any special predilection for music, singing, or dancing. Accordingly at
their monsoon festivals and other holiday-times, their notion of dancing
is limited to hopping round in a circle with arms entwined, while they at
the same time keep up a listless humming noise.

In the case of such a race, which has no civilization or industry of its
own, it is out of the question to speak of their having any regular
industrial occupation in the strict sense of the word. The particular and
to them most beneficent plant, which supplies them at once with enough to
eat and to drink, at the same time brings them, very reluctantly, into
contact with civilization, and will yet become a main agent in introducing
a knowledge of those necessities and acquaintance with those articles
which are the product of a higher grade of civilization alone. The ripe
nuts of the cocoa-palm constitute the chief article of export of the
Nicobar Islands, and, what is even more important, supply the stimulus,
which already arouses the native to a certain degree of activity, although
most of the nuts that are put on ship-board are collected not by the
natives, but by the crews of the Malay vessels. All other articles of
export, such as _Biche de mar_, edible birds' nests, tortoise-shell,
amber, &c., are of very inferior importance, and are only taken as
by-freight. According to published documents the northern islands can
supply 10,000,000 cocoa-nuts, of which however, at present, not much more
than 5,000,000, to wit, 3,000,000 from Kar-Nicobar alone, and 2,000,000
from the rest of the islands, are exported in all. As this fruit is
one-sixth of the price it bears on the coasts of Bengal, the concourse of
English and Malay vessels, especially from Pulo Penang, increases every
year.[24] The trade is carried on by way of barter instead of money
payments, although silver is highly valued too; for here also, despite all
that is reported of the inordinate longing of the Nicobar natives for
tobacco, glass beads, and such like rubbish, the truth of the adage is
fully borne out that "Money is the most _universal merchandise_." Of
silver coins, the natives are only acquainted with rupees, Spanish
dollars, and English threepenny pieces, which latter they call "small
rupees." Gold is as yet unknown among the southern islands, and therefore
is valueless in the eyes of the natives.

So long as the relations of the natives with foreign nations were
exclusively confined to barter with some couple of dozen English and Malay
vessels, which latter visited the islands with the N.E. monsoon and left
with the S.W. monsoon, thus making but one voyage in the course of the
year, the natives of the various islands kept up among themselves quite a
frequent and regular communication. This favourable trait was undoubtedly
owing in great measure to the defectiveness of their otherwise very
elegant, but small, slight-built canoes, which are but ill adapted for
voyaging to any remote distance.

Respecting that other swarthy, crisp-haired, savage race, widely different
from that inhabiting the coasts of Nicobar, which, according to a legend,
dwells in the forests of Great Nicobar, and lives upon snakes, vermin,
roots, and leaves of plants, and in the Nicobar idiom called
_Baju-oal-Tschùa_, we could only add to our stock of information by
recitals that obviously pertained to the domain of Fable-land. When,
however, we remember that not a single traveller or author who has
indulged such gossiping, nay, that not even the natives who tell such
stories of them, have ever seen one of this race, we shall be excused for
suggesting in reply to the numberless conjectures afloat respecting these
mysterious inhabitants, that the alleged denizens of the interior of Great
Nicobar are neither a widely different race of men from the coast-natives,
nor yet an offshoot of the crisp-haired swarthy race of Papuas from New
Guinea, but that, dispossessed and degraded by a conjuncture of various
hostile influences, they hold, with respect to the inhabitants of the
sea-board, a similar position to that occupied by the Bushmen of
Namaqualand to the Hottentots of Cape Colony.

In the circumstances in which the inhabitants of this group of islands at
present find themselves, without traditions, without proverbs, without
songs, without monuments, and especially without any characteristic
peculiarity in their habits and customs which could possibly throw a ray
of light upon the obscurity of their origin, it is a bold undertaking to
express any decided opinion as to the derivation and genealogy of this
people. By far the most probable theory, as is also admitted by Dr. Rink,
who visited these islands with the Danish Expedition, would represent them
as an offshoot from the north-westerly boundary of the Malay race, as a
people which, while possessing much in common with the Indo-Chinese stock,
nevertheless in its physical characteristics seems to hold a middle rank
between the Malay and the Burmese.

Considering the study _of language_ as a most important and reliable
source of information, the members of the Expedition made it their main
object to draw up, in conformity with what is known as Gallatin's method,
so extensively used by all American and English travellers, a vocabulary
of about 200 words in both languages, viz. that used by the inhabitants of
Nicobar, and that (widely different in all respects except the numerals)
in use among the natives of the more southern islands. As a Malay barque
from Pulo Penang was lying at anchor during our stay on the northern
shores of Great Nicobar, so favourable an opportunity was of course made
use of to prepare a similar vocabulary of the Malay idiom spoken at that
port, which will give the philologist the advantage of being able to judge
for himself as to the similarity existing between these two idioms, and
thence, by analogy, between the two races, and discriminate whether those
scholars, such as Vatu, come nearer the truth who maintain that the
Nicobar language is of Malay derivation with an admixture of foreign
words, principally European, or those other students of philology who, as
for instance Adelung, hold that the idiom used by these islanders is
identical with some of the languages of the Indo-Chinese peninsula.

At the same time the ethnographer of the Expedition had endeavoured to
ascertain by means of a new system of measurements of the human frame,
drawn up by himself in concert with Dr. Edward Schwarz, one of the
physicians of the Expedition, and with the co-operation and assistance of
the latter, various data, such as, when applied to the various races
inhabiting the earth, might justify many new and striking conclusions, and
ultimately result in definitely fixing the relation, resemblance, or
physical dissimilarity of the various races of man. Such a plan makes it
much more easy by means of figures, those most undeniable evidences of the
results of investigations, to get speedily and accurately at the required
results, than by all the most specious theories laid down in the less
certain domain of philosophic speculation.

These measurements, applied at three chief regions of the body, namely,
the head, the trunk, and the upper and lower extremities, are intended to
be scientifically discussed in a special memoir,[25] and we accordingly
confine ourselves here to remarking that the various points of
measurements were not only determined in an anthropological point of view,
but that among the 68 different categories, into which these measurements
are naturally distributed, there occur some which supply many curious
points of inquiry, as also considerable assistance not merely to national
economics, the result of the light thrown upon the subject of the average
of muscular strength of the various races as found by the dynamometer, but
also to the graphic art, with respect to a more accurate acquaintance with
the human skeleton as well as the entire figure.

In like manner we never omitted to collect some of the hair of the head
from as many as possible of the various individuals measured, since the
laborious researches of Peter Brown of Philadelphia on the human hair,
have elevated it into a very remarkable means of tracing the origin of the
various disparities of race.

It must also be considered as an especial boon for the science of
comparative anatomy, as well as universal ethnography, that we succeeded
in bringing away with us from the Nicobar Islands the skulls of two of the

Lastly, a small collection of twenty-three subjects of ethnographical
inquiry, collected from the various islands, will be found useful, partly
as illustrating the information already obtained, partly as affording
evidence of the amount of culture of the inhabitants of the Nicobar

We are still called upon to answer the question already propounded,
whether the Nicobar Islands are suited as the site of a colony, and
whether the numerous attempts already made in this direction did not
probably fall through for other reasons than those of climate.

According to inquiries instituted by the members of the Austrian
Expedition, this insular group, by its geographical position in one of the
very chiefest commercial routes of the world, and by the richness and
abundance of the products of its soil, offers sufficient points of
attraction to interest any leading commercial or maritime power, in
securing possession of it. With regard to any colonization or cultivation
of the soil by free European immigrants, there is as little to be said as
of almost any other islands in the tropics. In order to make such spots
aids to the extension of civilization, the utmost certainty of rule is
imperatively necessary, such as was instituted with such marvellous
results by England in Pulo Penang, Singapore, Sydney, &c. The climate of
the Nicobars is very far from being so deadly, that mere residence upon
them must speedily prove fatal to Europeans, and it will undoubtedly be
signally ameliorated by a partial clearing of the forests, cultivation of
the soil, channelling of the rivers, and drainage of the swamps. All such
works however must be executed by Malay or Indian labourers, under the
superintendence of Europeans. From what we have learned by personal
observation of the surprising influence which the transportation system
has exercised in Australia upon the cultivation and development of the
soil, as also upon the social condition of the convicts themselves, we do
not hesitate, despite the distrust of experiments of such a nature which
prevails in certain philosophic circles of Europe, to express our opinion,
that with a little prudence and forbearance convict labourers in abundance
could be imported, who would be at once better off, more contented, and
more disposed to do honour to their man's estate than as at present
confined at home in their dreary prison cells.[26]

If the various experiments hitherto made have all fallen through, the
"effect defective" undoubtedly arises from the deficiency of means
requisite for such an undertaking, and in the limited number of men,
merely humanly speaking, who were engaged in such enterprises. The mere
prime cost of clearing and cultivation, so as to enable them to anticipate
a good return for their labour, must be set down as at the lowest
computation between £100,000 and £150,000; the number of labourers
employed in the undertaking at from 300 to 400; of whom all skilled
artisans, such as carpenters, joiners, locksmiths, blacksmiths,
bricklayers, masons, &c., must accompany the settlers from Europe.

The sums expended for the first outlay must not however be set down as
entirely thrown away, since the fertility of the islands in those
colonial products that are most valuable, and the enormous quantity of
cocoa-nut palms, must, under the impulse of cultivation and industrious
habits, speedily make returns in countless tides of prosperity. So far as
regards the aboriginal population, of whom there are not above 5000 or
6000 on all the islands, they would experience but little annoyance from
the carrying out of such an enterprise. In fact, morally and materially
they could only gain from the introduction of a foreign element. At
present they are confined to the narrow belt of shore, where grows the
cocoa-palm, their sole support. The interior of the island, so prolific in
natural wealth of the most varied description, and which would become
infinitely more valuable under a proper development of its capabilities,
is utterly unknown and valueless to the native.

Once a settlement were fairly set a-going on the above-mentioned
principles, the inhabitants of the Nicobar Archipelago would be placed
under the tutelage of European civilization, and in their transactions
would no longer be exposed to the knavery and caprices of ships' captains.
It would be necessary to watch over the natives as over minors, so as not
alone to secure for them material benefits, but by liberal sympathetic
treatment as the groundwork of their education, gradually to establish
that faith whose introduction hitherto, despite numerous praiseworthy
endeavours in the past as well as the present century, has been doomed to
be unsuccessful through a variety of extraneous circumstances. Moreover,
the Nicobar Archipelago would be a most convenient central station whence
to impart the blessings of Christianity to the pagans of the adjoining
groups of islands.

       *       *       *       *       *


Relating to those points of the Nicobar Archipelago whose geographical
position was ascertained by the _Novara_ Expedition.

  |   PLACE OF   | Latitude North. | Longitude East  |
  | OBSERVATION. |                 | from Greenwich. |
  | Sáui Cove    |   9° 14'  8''   |  92° 44' 46''   |
  | Komios       |   9   7  32     |  92  43  42     |
  | Morrock Bay  |   8  32  30     |  93  34  10     |
  | Kauláha      |   8   2  10     |  93  29  40     |
  | Kondul       |   7  12  17     |  93  39  57     |
  | Galatea Cove |   6  48  26     |  93  49  51     |

A very careful measurement, made at the point of observation in Sáui, of
the Moon's distance from Jupiter, gave 6 h. 11 min. 2 sec., or 92° 45'
30'' East.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our voyage from the south side of Great Nicobar to Singapore occupied
twenty days. This time the fine weather seemed to have entirely abandoned
us. Day and night, at almost all hours and from all parts of the sky, we
encountered severe thunder-storms, with water-spouts, lightning, thunder,
and the most tremendous rain-squalls. We could thoroughly realize that we
were in the tropics at the beginning of the rainy season. One day during
the prevalence of one of those floods, five tons during the first half
hour, and in the course of an hour and a half eight tons, or 32,000 pints
of water, were collected by the sailors in buckets and other similar
utensils. These storms came now from the coast of Sumatra, now from the
Malay peninsula, or yet again from the Straits of Malacca, and gave our
jolly tars not a moment of repose. These tempests alternated with calms
accompanied by a most oppressive sweltering hot temperature, and if by
chance a breeze sprang up, it was sure to come out of the straits dead
against us, and, coupled with the strong contrary current, fairly arrested
our progress. Thus tacking about for 14 days between the north shore of
Sumatra and Junk-Ceylon, we made as much way in that time as a fast
steamer would have done in as many hours, and it was but poor consolation
to us that several ships close to us, perhaps six or eight, shared the
same adverse destiny.

An incident of a very singular nature suddenly gave us all plenty of
excitement. As our deeply respected chaplain was sitting reading one
evening in his cabin, he became sensible of a peculiar pressure on his
foot; the servant being called, made his appearance with a candle, and on
examining the floor was horror-struck at perceiving a pretty large
sea-snake (_Chorsydrus fasciatus_), coiled round the foot of the priest.
In the same instant this gentleman instinctively rid himself of the
poisonous reptile by a vigorous kick, while the various persons who
hurried to the spot were resolved they would secure this dangerous
assailant dead or alive. Within the narrow limits of a ship's state-room,
a campaign is speedily brought to a close. His snakeship was forthwith
routed out of his asylum, and hacked into more pieces than was exactly
agreeable to the zoologists, who had been extremely anxious, and even
expected, to preserve this now doubly interesting reptile almost uninjured
in spirits of wine. It was a tolerably large specimen, one inch thick, and
about three feet long, and had apparently either wriggled up the cable, or
had been washed on board by a wave through the open sky-light of the

At length on the 9th of April wind and weather changed, and, in company
with the entire squadron of companions in misfortune, we sailed gaily into
the Straits of Malacca, with all sail set, and dead before the wind. On
the 11th of April, early in the morning, we found Pulo Penang (also called
Areca, or Prince of Wales' Island) lying broad on our port beam. Its
chains of forest-clad mountains, gloomy, and overcast with dense masses of
cloud, prevented our realizing the charms of this possession of England,
such as they have been described by all who have visited it.

On the 12th of April we steered between the Sambelongs, or Nine Islands,
and the island of Djara, and caught a glimpse of the lofty well-wooded
mountains of the kingdom of Perah. The channel through these straits is
becoming more and more contracted owing to the _débouche_ at this point of
the river Perah. Shallow sand-banks and small rocky islands impede the
navigation, and it is a common precaution for ships to cast anchor at the
least approach of foul weather, an operation which is the more readily set
about that the water is nowhere above twenty fathoms, but good holding
ground throughout the straits. Moreover, the charts of these regions are
thoroughly reliable and accurate, while at the most dangerous spot, where
a sand-bank with only one fathom of water over it lies right in the tracks
of vessels, a light-ship is moored, which we passed on the 13th of April,
and continued our voyage through the night in perfect safety.

On the morning of the 14th April, the hill of Ophir (called also Ledang or
Pudang), 5700 feet high, lay fair before us. We now found ourselves
opposite the town of Malacca. The channel at this point approaches so
close to the mainland, that we could easily distinguish churches and
houses, and the frigate exchanged signals with the neighbouring semaphore.

Malacca, once the Malay capital, has at present altogether lost its former
importance, and of the three English colonies in the Straits of Malacca,
usually known as the _Straits Settlements_, is the least important in
either a political or a commercial sense. The entire region was, until
within these few years, in most evil repute for the atrocious piracies
perpetrated here. Natives used to lie in wait in small canoes filled with
merchandise of all sorts, with which they boarded the passing ships, and
while these were supplying themselves with fruit and fresh provisions, the
former were spying the number of crew, as also the means of defence of the
unfortunate vessel; after which it usually happened, that during the night
the more defenceless of them, while becalmed or lying at anchor, would be
attacked by an overwhelming force of pirates and ruthlessly plundered.
Captain Steen Bille relates, that even so late as 1846, he loaded his
cannon with shot, and maintained extra vigilance during the night.

We now sped along, still favoured by the wind, during the ensuing night,
and on the morning of the 15th April had the satisfaction of reaching the
entrance of the bay of Singapore, without once having to lie at anchor in
the straits. The landscape that lay outstretched before us was
splendid,--lofty wooded islands on the coast of Sumatra, and a whole
archipelago of islets lay around us, in the channels between which prahus
were sailing about, while Chinese junks, full-rigged ships and barques,
were working in or out as the case might be, all intimating the proximity
of a great mart of commerce. Equally fortunate as in the straits was our
passage through the labyrinth of islands, through which a vessel must wind
in order to reach Singapore. And this roadstead itself, what a contrast it
presented to the lovely beach of the Nicobar Islands! Here were thousands
of ships of all sizes and rigs, and the flags of nearly all sea-faring
nations in the world. We found at anchor the English frigate _Amethyst_,
and the screw corvette _Niger_; and having warped ourselves into their
vicinity, by 2 P.M. we had cast anchor in 13 fathoms water. Almost
immediately afterwards an officer came off from the _Amethyst_ to welcome
us, and to impart to us the unpleasant intelligence that cholera had been
raging in the city for some weeks past, and had also committed great havoc
among the shipping in harbour. Even the captain and one of the crew of an
English merchantman had succumbed but a few hours previously to this fell
scourge, and the vessel had her flag half-mast high as a signal of
mourning. This information at once deranged all our plans and projects
with respect to Singapore, and had we not been compelled to victual here,
we should at once have set sail. However, under the circumstances there
was nothing to do but to spend five or six days at Singapore, and this
breathing-space we availed ourselves of to obtain as much information as
possible both by eye and ear touching this very remarkable colony, and its
not less interesting inhabitants.


[1] Anciennes rélations des Indes et de la Chine de deux voyageurs
Mahométans, qui y allèrent dans le IXème siècle. Traduit de l'Arabe avec
des remarques par Eus. Renaudot. Paris, chez Coignard, 1718. 8vo.

[2] Journal of the Voyage of the I.R. Ship _Joseph and Theresa_ to the new
Austrian plantations in Asia and Africa, by Nicolas Fontana, ship-surgeon
to Mr. Brambilla, body physician to the Emperor, assistant surgeon in the
army. Translated from the Italian MS. by Joseph-Eyerle. Dessau and
Leipzig,--"_Buch-handlung der Gelehrten._"

[3] "I have drawn up these documents," writes Prince Kaunitz, in a state
paper addressed to the Empress, dated 27th March, 1776, "in such manner as
to advance the objects of your Majesty in establishing commercial
intercourse between Austria and the Indies, without incurring disagreeable
results, which might accrue from the conferring of unrestricted

[4] A piece of parchment, cut out of a book in zig-zag fashion, which in
former times was necessary in all commerce with barbarians, the captains
of privateers, when unable to read, being enabled, by comparing the
torn-out leaf (_scontrino_) with the counterfoil, which it was customary
to give to all trading persons, to determine to what nationality the
vessel belonged.

[5] A few years previous, in 1782, a certain C. F. von Brocktroff, of
Kiel, had addressed a memorial to the Emperor Joseph II., in the course of
which he warmly advocated the annexation, settlement, and reclamation of
the Nicobar Islands, and, on the strength of fifteen years' experience in
the East Indies, promised immense profits to the Austrian-German trade by
this method of procedure. This interesting treatise will be found among
the Government Archives at Vienna, and will be published in full in
another section.

[6] Bolts had several times come before the public as an author. In 1771
he issued in London a work in two volumes 4to, entitled, "Considerations
on Indian Affairs," which was also translated into French. Further, he
published a "_Recueil des pièces authentiques rélatives aux affaires de la
ci-devant société Impériale-Asiatique de Trieste, gérées à Anvers_," which
appeared in 4to (116 pages) at Paris, in 1787.

[7] The results of this voyage of discovery are embodied partly in a work
in two volumes: "Steen Bille's account of the voyage of the corvette
_Galatea_, round the world" (Copenhagen, Leipzig, 1852), partly in a
Geographical sketch of the Nicobar Islands, with special remarks upon
Geology, by Dr. H. Rink (Copenhagen, 1847): there will be likewise found
in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, under the heading
"Nicobar Islands," and at p. 261 of the third volume of the "Journal of
the Indian Archipelago," under the title "Sketches at the Nicobars," a
variety of valuable contributions to our stock of knowledge respecting
this island group. In addition, Mr. A. E. Zhishmann, Professor in the
Imperial Royal Academy of Commerce and Navigation at Trieste, published,
in anticipation of the projected visit of the _Novara_ to this
Archipelago, a valuable historico-geographical sketch, entitled, "The
Nicobar Islands" (Trieste, Printing Office of the Austrian Lloyds, 1857),
which appeared at the same time in the Transactions of the Imp. Roy.
Geographical Society for 1857.

[8] Vide, "Indian Political Dispatches," of 1st February, 1848: also the
"Hamburger Correspondent," of 30th August, 1848, and "Friend of India,"
for 1853, p. 455.

[9] Thus, for example, we find on the island of Kar-Nicobar the following
specimens of barter:--

         For                            Pair of ripe cocoa-nuts.

  a sort of hunting-knife or
      cutlass, worth about $1-1/2                  300
  a small knife-blade                              100
  six table knife-blades                           300
  an American knife                                 50
  a hatchet                                        300
  a musket                                         500
  a double-barrelled gun                          2500
  a large spoon                                    150
  thirty feet of silver-wire                      2500
  a small cask of rum                             2500
  a flask of arrack                                 10
  three "sticks" of (negro-heads) tobacco          100
  a flask of castor-oil                             50
  a cabin lamp                                     500
  a sack of rice                                   300
  a piece of blue calico (about 6 to 8 ells)       100
  a neck-cloth                                     100

Epsom salts, turpentine, spirit of camphor, eau-de-Cologne, and
peppermint, are also much-prized articles of barter, and bring a large
profit, being exchanged for old clothes, salt meat, onions, and biscuit.

[10] Thus, for instance, there occurred in one of these documents:--"In
the village of Aurong, or Arrow, the best anchorage is opposite Capt.
Marshall's hut, in from 13 to 15 fathoms water. At many points the coast
is so dangerous, that one ship lost two of her men, who were endeavouring
to land in a boat." In another certificate it was announced that the
barque _Batavia_ of Rotterdam, freighted with rice, of 442 tons burthen,
while on her voyage from Rangoon to Europe, was wrecked in Danson's
passage, 7th April, 1857, and her crew was very hospitably treated by the
natives of Kar-Nicobar. Almost every one of these certificates concludes
with the remark that whoever wishes to be on friendly terms with the
natives must play no pranks with their women, nor shoot their fowls or
hogs in the forest.

[11] This place of interment is situated close to a small village on the
north-east side of the island, where the graves are visible in the shape
of a number of round stakes sunk about three or four feet into the earth,
which are adorned with all sorts of variegated cloths and ribbons.

[12] It is customary to call the liquid contents of the green, unripe
cocoa-nut by the name of _cocoa-nut milk_; but it is rather a clear,
delightfully palatable water, which neither in colour nor taste at all
resembles milk. This is obtained or pressed from the white, sweet, rather
hard kernel, which is itself extraordinarily nutritive, and forms the
daily food of the inhabitants. For an entire month, during which we could
procure neither cows' nor goats' milk, we experimented on the use of the
fluid obtained from the ripe cocoa-nut in our tea and coffee, and found it
so excellent that we hardly felt the privation of animal milk.

[13] See Vol. I., p. 240.

[14] This vocabulary, which probably will not be found altogether
valueless for the purposes of comparative philology, as also for the
assistance of future travellers, will appear at the end of this volume as
an Appendix.

[15] See Appendix.

[16] Most of the Austrian sailors are from the Adriatic coast, and
accordingly speak an Italian patois.

[17] "Letters on the Nicobar Islands, etc. Addressed by the Rev. I.
Gottfried Hänsel, the only surviving missionary, to the Rev. C. J.
Latrobe. London, 1812." We are indebted for these rare pamphlets to the
kindness of Dr. Rosen of the community of the Moravian Brethren at
Genaadendal in South Africa, and do not think, despite its deep interest
in the history of missions, that it has ever been translated into another
language. Brown in his "History of Missions" has made a few brief extracts
from it.

[18] "If an inhabitant of the South Sea Islands have planted during his
life but ten bread-fruit trees," says Cook, "he has fulfilled his duties
towards his own and his grand-children as fully and effectually as the
denizen of our rougher clime, who during his life-long endures the
severity of winter, and exhausts his energies in the heats of summer, in
order to provide his household with bread, and to save up some trifle for
his family to inherit."

[19] From the Malabar word Elettári. This is the common seed so well known
in the pharmacopeia in the form of a carminative tincture, and is usually
known as Alpinia Cardamomia.

[20] With respect to the resemblance if not indeed identity of the
vegetation of the Nicobar Archipelago, with that of the surrounding
islands, and the mainland, we beg to refer here to the excellent work of
an Austrian naturalist, the learned Dr. Helfer, who, stricken in the
flower of his days by the poisoned arrow of a native of the Andaman
Islands, fell a victim to his zeal for travel. To the Imperial Royal
Geographical Society of Vienna, science is indebted for the German edition
of this important information, under the title of the Published and
Unpublished Works of Dr. J. W. Helfer upon the Tenasserm Provinces, the
Mergins Archipelago, and the Andaman Islands, in the third volume of its
Proceedings for 1859.

[21] An extensive description of the zoology of these islands is reserved
for the zoological part of the Novara publications, published at the
expense of the Austrian government, at the Imperial Printing-office in

[22] The Tagali maidens of Luzon regard it as a special proof of the
honourable intentions and eagerness of passion of their admirers, if these
latter take the betel quid from their mouths!

[23] We did fall in with some few individuals on these islands who by dint
of much exertion could count as high as 100.

[24] At Pulo Penang the _picul_ of ripe cocoa-nuts, 300, is worth 5-1/2

[25] "On measurements as a diagnostic means for distinguishing the human
races, being a systematic plan established and investigated by Dr. Karl
Scherzer and Dr. Edward Schwarz, for the purpose of taking measurements on
individuals of different races, during the voyage of H. I. M.'s frigate
_Novara_ round the world." Vide Proceedings of the I.R. Geographical
Society of Vienna, vol. II. of 1859, p. 11.

[26] In the Sydney chapter the reader will find the Transportation
question pretty fully discussed.

               [Illustration: A Forest Scene in Singapore.]



                  Stay from 15th to 21st April, 1858.

    Position of the Island.--Its previous history.--Sir Stamford
    Raffles' propositions to make it a port of the British
    Government free to all sea-faring nations.--The Island becomes
    part of the Crown property of England.--Extraordinary
    development under the auspices of a Free Trade policy.--Our stay
    shortened in consequence of the severity of the cholera.--
    Description of the city.--Tigers.--Gambir.--The Betel
    plantations.--Inhabitants.--Chinese and European labour.--
    Climate.--Diamond merchants.--Preparation of Pearl Sago.--Opium
    farms.--Opium manufacture.--Opium-smokers.--Intellectual
    activity.--Journalism.--Logan's "Journal of the Indian
    Archipelago."--School for Malay children.--Judicial procedure.--
    Visit to the penal settlement for coloured criminals.--A Chinese
    provision-merchant at business and at home.--Fatal accident on
    board.--Departure from Singapore.--Difficulty in passing through
    Caspar Straits.--Sporadic outbreak of cholera on board.--Death
    of one of the ship's boys.--First burial at sea.--Sea-snakes.--
    Arrival in the Roads of Batavia.

The island of Singapore or Singhapura[27] is situated at the southernmost
point of the peninsula of Malacca, from which it is only separated by a
strait nowhere above a mile in breadth. It is about 29-1/3 statute miles
in length from east to west, by 16-3/5 in breadth from north to south. The
superficial area of the island is estimated at 206 square geographical
miles, which will make it about one half larger than the Isle of Wight.

Up to the year 1819, Singapore was a howling wilderness, and the only
settlement upon its shores was a couple of wretched Malay fishermen's
huts; a lurking-place for the pirates, who at that period made it
dangerous to navigate those waters. After the rendition of the Dutch
colonies in the Indian Archipelago, which it will be remembered were the
property of England throughout the great continental war up to the year
1814, Sir Stamford Raffles, the former Governor of Java, was intrusted
with the office of founding on it, as the most suitable spot in all the
Malay seas, a free emporium where the general trade in those seas of all
the sea-faring nations of the world might be concentrated and exchanged.
England had further in view to leave not a single foot to stand on to the
Dutch, whose interests in those seas clashed with her own, to obtain an
emporium in which to collect all the more important products of the
Archipelago for exchange against the teas and silks of China; and, lastly,
to procure for the reception and repairs of the ships of war and
merchantmen, a suitable harbour, such as, being in the vicinity of the
teak-growing countries, would also have the advantage of supplying timber
for her ships at any period when there might be in England a deficient
supply of oak.

Sir Stamford, having previously examined several other localities,
ultimately selected Singapore, and on 6th February, 1819, the English flag
was hoisted on this solitary island, thus unsuspectedly inaugurating the
beginning of a new era for the sea-faring world! At last, in 1824, came
the Treaty of Cerum, by which Holland withdrew her pretensions in favour
of England, and Singapore became an inalienable possession of the British
Crown for a sum of 60,000 Spanish dollars paid over to its previous owner
the Sultan of Djohore, together with a life-rent of 24,000 dollars
annually payable to the same Malay chief. The slaves on the island were
set at liberty, slavery was entirely abolished, and Singapore proclaimed a
Free Port. The importance of Singapore as a site for a colony had already
been pointed out and justified a century since by Captain Alexander
Hamilton, who visited these seas at the beginning of the 18th century, and
in a work entitled "A New Account of the East Indies," describes most
circumstantially his stay at Djohore in 1703 on his voyage to China. In
that work Hamilton narrates how the Sultan of Djohore wished to make him a
present of the island, and how he declined this proposal with the remark
that this island could be of no use to a private man, but would be
eminently suitable for a colony and an emporium of trade,[28] because the
winds were at all seasons favourable for egress from and entrance into
these waters on every side. A hundred years later, the choice of Sir
Stamford Raffles, to whom this relation of Hamilton seems to have been
entirely unknown, fell upon the same locality, thus testifying alike to
the eligibility of its position, and to the wise forecast of the founder
of this British settlement.

Before the arrival of the Europeans in India round the Cape of Good Hope,
towards the commencement of the 16th century, the trade of these countries
was exclusively confined to the Arabs and Hindoos, who acted as a medium
between the far East and Europe. Every island in the Archipelago, in
proportion to the abundance and value of its vegetable produce and its
foreign intercourse, had one or more harbours, at which the products of
the surrounding districts and islands were gathered and heaped up until
the monsoon permitted the arrival of the merchant vessels from the West.
At the beginning of the fine season, Arabs and Indians entered these
harbours in their ships, and brought Indian and other manufactures and
merchandise, which they were in the habit of exchanging for gold, gum,
spices, tortoise-shell, rosin, jewels, and such like. Acheen in the north
of Sumatra, Bantam in Java, Goa in Celebes, Bruni in Borneo, and Malacca
in the peninsula of the same name, were the most important of these depôts
for merchandise and centres of trade. At present the importance of all
these places has faded into history, whereas Singapore, from its
singularly favourable geographical position, and the liberality of its
political institutions, has made such a stride, as is entirely without
parallel in the history of the world's trade. From a desolate haunt of
piratical foes, the island has been converted into a flourishing emporium;
about 1000 foreign vessels, and fully 3000 Malay prahus and Chinese junks,
flit backwards and forwards annually with all sorts of merchandise and
produce, while the value of the goods annually exchanged here amounts to
about £11,000,000. Such is the change that has come over the old
unhealthy, ill-omened Malay pirate abode: thanks to a clearly defined Free
Trade policy! If a doubt should still obtrude itself as to these brilliant
results of the utmost freedom and absence of restriction upon trade, it
must give way before the spectacle presented to the view of the astonished
beholder in the harbour of Singapore, the Alexandria of the 19th century!

Unfortunately, however, our stay in this harbour, so interesting in a
scientific as well as in a commercial point of view, was sensibly
curtailed by the prevalence of such exceedingly unfavourable conditions of
the public health. Hardly had we cast anchor ere an officer of the English
frigate _Amethyst_ came on board to salute, and to inform us that for
several weeks past the cholera had been ravaging the city, especially what
is known as the Chinese quarter. In another war-ship then in the harbour,
the screw corvette _Niger_, several of the crew had already succumbed to
the pestilence; and even in our own immediate neighbourhood was anchored a
ship with flag half-mast high, a melancholy signal that the angel of death
was once more seeking victims. Our original plan of passing several weeks
at Singapore had of course to be abandoned, and we determined at once to
get under weigh, so soon as the ship had been re-victualled and sundry
other matters of imperative necessity carefully looked to. Meanwhile the
naturalist corps landed, and proceeded to see and examine as much as they
possibly could.

The town of Singapore, situated at the southern extremity of the island of
the same name, is divided by the river Singapore, on whose banks it is
built, into two parts, in the northernmost of which are the churches, the
law courts, the residences of the European settlers, and a little further
away the native dwellings, as also the Kampong-Klam or Bugis quarter, so
called from the number of Bugis from Celebes who congregate there to do
business; while on the south bank of the river, only a few feet above the
level of the sea, are the warehouses and offices of the various European
and Chinese merchants. Still farther to the southward and in another small
cove, called New Harbour, are the buildings and docks of the Peninsular
and Oriental Steam-Ship Company.

Behind the city are visible three hills of inconsiderable height, called
Pearl Hill, Government Hill, and Sophia Hill. The middle one, on which
stands Government House, rises on the left bank of the river, about half a
mile from the sea-shore, to a height of about 156 feet above sea-level. On
Pearl Hill, which commands the Chinese and mercantile quarters of the
town, a citadel has been constructed. The environs of the town on every
side consist of a rolling sweep of hilly country, diversified in outline
by about 70 different eminences varying in height from 60 to 170 feet,
crowned with the elegant villas of the European merchants or government
officials, or the residences of wealthy Chinese or Malays. The loftiest
point is Bukit Turiah or Tin Hill, lying about the centre of the island,
and 519 feet in height. Although accessible in a few hours from the city,
it is very rarely made the scene of any excursions, in consequence of the
forests which encircle it having for long been frequented by great numbers
of tigers. These animals, eager for prey, cross from the mainland by
swimming the narrow strait, hardly more than half a nautical mile in
width, which separates it from the island. Dr. Logan, the excellent editor
of the Singapore Free Press, assured us that till within the last six or
seven years, 360 natives had annually been carried off by the tigers! Even
at present, over 100 persons a year are killed in the forest by the tigers
that prowl there. Shortly before our arrival, in the month of March, four
persons had perished by these voracious animals. For an explanation of
such horrible occurrences, we must consider the heedlessness of the
natives, and the peculiar conditions affecting the mode of agriculture
followed on the island. The soil of Singapore is not sufficiently fertile
to make the cultivation of land a customary occupation. Even for
rice-growing it is found to be unsuitable, so that the greater part of
that chief staple of subsistence has to be imported from the neighbouring
islands. So far as the island has been cleared, viz. to a distance of
about five miles round the city, attempts have been made to plant nutmeg,
clove, and fruit-trees. But the majority of the natives busy themselves
with sowing the Gambir and Betel shrubs in the jungle, the leaves of which
are readily disposed of at a good profit among the betel-chewing
inhabitants of the Indian Archipelago for an ingredient of their beloved
masticatory. The mode of cultivating these, however, is very peculiar. As
Gambir speedily exhausts the soil in which it is planted, and renders it
quite barren, the cultivators find themselves compelled to advance as
though by a sort of perpetual emigration. They hew their way into the
jungle, where they plant the Gambir (_Nauclea Gambir_),[29] the withered
branches and leaves of which, after it has served their purpose, are used
as manure for the _next_ shrub planted, the Betel (_Piper methysticum_).
After a short time the soil becomes unsuited for this also, and needs
several years' rest before it can again be made to produce any crop.

In the prosecution of this thriftless cultivation the natives are
compelled to penetrate deeper and deeper into the forest, in order to
clear away with the axe spots of virgin soil for the planting of the
Gambir. They frequently pass months at a time in the jungle, and with the
carelessness characteristic of all southern races, constantly allow
themselves to be surprised by wild beasts. Government, however, does not
neglect publishing ordinances, by which as far as possible to discourage
these formidable invaders. They have offered a reward of 50 dollars for
every tiger killed. So soon as the track of a tiger has been struck, the
natives usually dig a pit fifteen or twenty feet deep, which they cover
slightly with grass and brushwood, and fasten close by a goat, a dog, or
some other living creature. As soon as the tiger, eager for his prey,
seeks to seize the poor animal, the brushwood gives way under him and he
falls into the pit, where he is speedily finished with muskets.

The entire population of the island amounts to about 100,000 souls, of
which the greater number, say 60,000, inhabit the town itself or the
surrounding villages. One meets here with a singular mixture of races,
Europeans, Malays, Chinese, Klings (as the natives of the Coromandel coast
are called), Arabs, Armenians, Parsees (Fire-worshippers), Bengalees,
Burmese, Siamese, Bugis (from Celebes), Javanese, and from time to time
visitors from every corner of the Archipelago. Of these the Europeans,
although exercising far the largest and most preponderating influence upon
the trade of the place, are much the weakest in point of numbers, the
entire community not exceeding 300 or 400 on the whole island. On the
other hand, the Chinese out-number all the rest, and are still constantly
on the increase. Every year, as the N.E. monsoon sets in, in December and
January, vast swarms of Chinese flock hither, fleeing from the poverty and
distress of their native land. There are individuals, who make a regular
trade of importing into Singapore coolies from China and the Coromandel
coast. At the port of embarkation, each coolie engages with the captain,
to serve one year after his arrival in Singapore with a European or native
master, and to repay the cost of his passage out of his monthly wages. He
usually receives at first 3 dollars a month (about 12_s._ 6_d._), out of
which he lays aside 1-1/2 dol., and so gradually pays off his indebtedness
to the ship captain. The passage-money, which a few years back was only
about 10 or 12 Rs. (£1 to £1 4_s._), is at present as high as 20 Rs., or
£2. After the first year his earnings may amount to about 4 or 5 dols. a
month. If, however, the coolie have repaid his debt, he is free, and may
either earn a very good wage as a servant, or start in any business for
himself. The facilities for earning money are so great here for men of
industry and steadiness, that a few years' stay suffices to convert these
naked, filthy, hang-dog looking wretches into clean well-to-do workmen,
and some of them even attain a certain status in the community, as
planters and merchants. Many a Chinese, who is now an important and
wealthy man, possessed not a farthing when he landed on the hospitable
shore of the English colony. The number of Chinese resident in Singapore
is estimated at 60,000, or nearly two-thirds of the entire population of
the island.

We need not feel surprised therefore to find that the long-tailed children
of the Flowery Land living in Singapore have begun to develope a certain
taste for luxury. They already boast a theatre of their own, a wooden
booth, like a gigantic dolls' house, in which actors from China yell out
their "sing-song," while the auditory, penned in within a
carefully-locked court-yard, chant a vociferous accompaniment to this
somewhat monotonous exhibition. Moreover, Singapore possesses a Chinese
temple of such splendour, that one would hardly find its match in the
Flowery Land itself. This is called the Telloh-Ayer, situated in the
street of the same name, and is decorated with handsome carvings,
innumerable mysterious inscriptions, and grotesque figures of stone and
wood. The Chinese who conducted us all round were exceedingly friendly,
and when, at parting, we slid a few pieces of silver into their hands as a
recompense for their trouble, they gave vent to their feelings in repeated
chin-chins, a mode of greeting which corresponds to the Salaam of the
Mahometan races.

Many of the Chinese of Singapore belong to secret societies (Hóes), the
members of which seem banded together for both good and bad objects and
for mutual protection. Their rules are so strict, and their slightest
infraction is so fearfully punished, that hardly an instance has ever been
known of an associate having been denounced or proved a traitor. In the
British possessions, where the government attaches no sort of importance
to these associations, and suffers them to pass unmolested so long as the
laws of the country are not violated, these societies are unimportant, and
are productive of no evil consequences; but in the Dutch East Indies,
where the government has always kept their subjects in a state of
tutelage, and is in a marked degree adverse to the Chinese settled in
their colonies, these secret societies assume a far more dangerous
character, and murders on purely political grounds are far from

The natives proper of Singapore are Malays, and their language is that
most in use for general intercourse and trade. But as open-air labourers
they are far inferior to the Chinese, who are much more enduring, more
contented, and more sociable. In this connection the following comparative
statement, prepared a few years since by W. J. Thompson, Esq., government
engineer in Singapore, of the relative values of English and Chinese
labour, will be found of much interest. To build a wall in England
containing 306 cubic feet would, according to Mr. Thompson's estimate,
employ one bricklayer and one ordinary labourer 4-44/100 days, the former
receiving 5_s._ 6_d._ per day, the latter 3_s._ 6_d._, the total expense
amounting to 30_s._ In Singapore a similar piece of work, executed by
Chinese labourers, would require 8-54/100 days, and the daily wage would
amount to 2_s._ 9-3/5_d._ for the bricklayer and 1_s._ 7-3/5_d._ for his
assistant, the total expense amounting to 37_s._ 6_d._ Thus, English
labour shows an economy over Chinese in the proportion of 52 to 100 in
time, and of 4 to 5 in actual expense. The following is also interesting
by way of confirmation. It had been resolved to fill up a swamp in
Singapore, the material for which was at hand at either extremity. The
swamp was 1200 feet long, 1 foot deep, and 21 feet wide. The contract was
allotted to the Chinese, and completed in 326 working days, at 13 cents or
11-1/2_d._ a day. An English, or indeed any other European labourer,
would have completed the same in 187 days, so that here also English or
European labour in general is more valuable than Chinese or any other
Asiatic labour in the proportion of 100 to 57.

These results must not however be held to indicate that the Chinese
labourer possesses less physical strength than the European, nor must we
leave out of view this element in the calculation, that the one executes
his work in a temperate, the other in an excessively hot climate, to which
European labourers speedily succumb, or at all events lose their powers
and their strength in a very marked degree. Indeed it seems to decide the
question in favour of the Chinese over the European labourer, that the
former can work without taking any heed for his health in even the most
variable temperatures. These instructive comparisons seem to be in so far
especially valuable and useful, wherever it is projected to carry out
certain undertakings, the cost of which may be estimated, due reference
being had to the well-ascertained expense of constructing similar works in

Next to the Chinese, the Klings, or natives of the Coromandel coast, are
in the greatest request as boatmen, coachmen, pedlars, porters, and
house-servants, by Europeans as well as by their own successful
fellow-countrymen. From their habits of extreme sobriety, they speedily
save money, and generally return home, although a certain number continue
permanent settlers in Singapore. The Armenians resident here are the most
like the European mercantile community; the Arabs are the descendants of
those Mahometan priests and merchants whom the Portuguese found here when
they first visited this quarter of the globe, and are recruited from time
to time, but on the whole rarely, by fresh arrivals from their mother

One very marked peculiarity of the population of Singapore is the enormous
disparity between the numbers of the sexes. The proportion of females to
males is as one to seven. The most probable explanation of this phenomenon
is the circumstance that hitherto the emigration of females from China has
been entirely prohibited, and consequently almost all the Chinese
residents, who constitute by far the majority of the whole population, are
unmarried. Among them the proportion of females to males is as one to

The health of Singapore is not always so bad as at the period of our
visit; indeed, judging by perquisitions made for the purpose, the climate
may rather be regarded as salubrious, particularly since the immediate
vicinity of the town has been so extensively cleared. The outbreak of
cholera was entirely new, and on that account an all the more appalling
visitation. The temperature is tolerably equal throughout the year.
Observations carried on uninterruptedly during five years give an average
of 81° 3. Fahr. for the hottest month (May), and of 79° 5. Fahr. for the
coldest (January). Once only during the five years (in June) did the
thermometer attain a height of 87° 2. Fahr. and once only in January did
it fall as low as 74° 8. Fahr. By comparing the present range of
temperature with that of thirty years since, it appears that since the
foundation of the settlement it has gained three degrees in temperature, a
phenomenon which may be ascribed to the increase of buildings, and to the
large clearings for a distance of five miles round the town, and perhaps
also to the spot itself where these observations were made being exposed.

There is no regular rainy season in Singapore. Rain falls every month
throughout the year, the heaviest falls occurring in August and December.
According to observations carried on during four years, the annual
rainfall averaged 93 inches. The tolerably regular distribution of the
rain throughout the year imparts to the vegetation a freshness that makes
the change of seasons pass almost unheeded.

In Singapore as elsewhere the members of the _Novara_ Expedition
experienced from all classes of society the most cordial and hospitable
reception. Every one bestirred himself to point out to us everything that
was worth knowing, or that the city could present of interest or deserving
special attention. After a cursory stroll through the most frequented
streets, with their dense crowds of people, which sufficiently proved to
us that trade was in fact the chief occupation of the inhabitants, we
turned our attention to the shops of some of the Mahometan merchants, when
our eyes were dazzled with all the most various products of India.

In one of these we were shown some exceedingly valuable diamonds from
Borneo, one of which weighed 17 carats, and was worth £4000 sterling,
while another of 19 carats, but less pure and brilliant, was for sale for
£2000. The seller, a Mahometan, himself wore on his finger a diamond-ring
which our companion estimated at £1000. In the stores of several other
merchants we saw the Malay servants sitting cross-legged on the bare floor
of the porch, with huge heaps of Spanish dollars before them, which they
were busy counting. The Spanish or Mexican dollar is here almost the only
medium of exchange, payments being made all but exclusively in that
currency, whereas gold, even English, is but sparingly used, and then with
ill-concealed reluctance! The utter want of any other recognized medium of
exchange than silver makes all extensive money transactions exceedingly
onerous, owing to the expense of transmitting the precious metals, in
consequence of which any one wishing to pay in a certain sum of a few
thousand dollars in cash, must employ a convoy for the purpose of
transporting the money![30]

Although, as already remarked, the chief business of the island is purely
commercial, and although, ordinarily speaking, every branch of industry
merges in that predominant occupation, there is yet one manufacture in
Singapore which calls for most special notice. This consists in the
preparation of pearl, or white sago, from the raw state, which is brought
from the N.E. coast of Sumatra, and the N.W. coast of Borneo. Almost the
whole of the sago of commerce is prepared here, and all but exclusively by
Chinese labour. Sago is chiefly obtained from the pith of several species
of palm, but more particularly from the _Sagus Rumphii_ and the _Sagus
Laevii_, both of which are rather limited in their area of cultivation,
and are not, like the cosmopolitan cocoa-nut palm, found in every quarter
of the tropical zone, both in the Old and New World, but are indigenous to
the Indian Archipelago alone. The trunk of the sago-palm, when felled, is
a cylinder of about 20 inches in diameter, and from 15 to 20 feet in
length, which, when the woody fibres have been separated, contains about
700 lbs of clear fine fecula. One may form some conception of its
extraordinary productiveness on learning that three sago-palms contain as
much nutritious matter as an acre of land grown with wheat! One piece of
ground of the extent of an English acre planted with sago-palms
occasionally yields 313,000 lbs of sago, or as much food as 163 acres of
wheat. The sago however is neither as palatable nor as nutritious as it is
productive, and nowhere, where rice is in common use, will it be displaced
by this article of food. We visited the largest sago manufacture in
Singapore, in which the sago, as it comes in the raw state from Borneo and
Sumatra, is washed and roasted, when it becomes the pearl sago of
commerce. The quantity thus prepared annually amounts to about 100,000

Singapore was also the first place where we found an opportunity of
becoming acquainted with opium-smokers, and of observing the noxious
effects of this custom, which was forced upon the Chinese for the purpose
of compelling commercial relations. Although in almost every street in
Singapore there are houses in which opium is sold and can be smoked (the
so-called "Licensed opium shops"), there is, in order to keep more control
over it, only one single place where the opium is prepared for smoking
from the raw material, called by the English the "Opium farm," from which
all retail dealers must purchase their supplies of stock.

Before describing our visit to this curious factory we shall indulge in a
few observations upon a plant whose intoxicating, poisonous milky sap
produces such singular effects upon the human system. The poppy (_papaver
somniferum_), is chiefly grown in Hindostan in the districts of Benares,
Patna, and Malwa. Its cultivation is exceedingly arduous, and very
precarious, since the tender young plants require constant care and
attention in the way of repeated watering, as well as weeding and turning
up the soil, besides which there is the ever-present danger of its
destruction by insects, or its loss through storm, or hail, or untimely
rains. The plant blooms in the month of February, and three months later
the seed is ripe. The incision into the capsule however is made three or
four weeks earlier, so soon, in short, as it is covered with a fine white
mealy dust. The instrument employed in this operation has three prongs
with very sharp points, with which the plant is carefully scratched. Each
plant is thus tapped for three consecutive days, the operation beginning
with the first warm beams of the morning sun; the milky sap is scraped off
in the cool of the next morning, and on the fourth morning each plant is
again tried as to whether it still exudes sap, but usually it proves to
have been exhausted. The juice as scraped off in its coagulated form, is
put into a cask along with linseed oil, in order not to get too quickly
dry, and then is made by hand-kneading into round flat cakes, of about
four pounds' weight, and about five inches in diameter, which, enveloped
in poppy and tobacco leaves, are spread out to dry in earthen dishes, till
ready for purposes of commerce. In this stage the opium is packed in boxes
of ten cakes or about 40 lbs, and thus passes from the hands of the grower
or the speculator at certain fixed prices into those of the agents of the
East India Company. The very anxious and precarious cultivation of the
poppy must prove far less remunerative to the proprietor of the land than
the much easier task of raising tobacco or sugar-cane, and it is only the
long-established but most impoverishing system of payments in advance,
pursued by the agents of the East India Company, that keeps the Hindoos
engaged in opium cultivation.[31]

At the opium farm in Singapore we saw this same coagulated juice, as
obtained from the poppy, converted into opium suitable for smoking, which
is called _chandú_, the process consisting in its being exposed to the
action of heat in large semicircular brass pans, strained through filters,
and once more exposed to a low heat, until it finally coagulates into a
consistency strongly resembling treacle or syrup. The whole manipulation
occupies from four to five days. A cattie or ball of this thickened
poppy-juice costs the manufacturer about 20 dols. From ten such balls of
the raw sap, or about 40 lbs, which is the usual weight of each "chest,"
as imported from Hindostan, 216 "tiles" or about 18 lbs of opium are
obtained upon an average. We saw the Chinese dealer place in one of the
scales a Spanish dollar, instead of a regular weight, and measure off a
corresponding weight of opium in the other, A _Chí_, weighing about 1/16
oz., the ordinary quantity consumed by an opium-smoker, costs 17-1/2
cents, or nine-pence. The duty levied upon this manufacture gives the
government a revenue of £3000 a month, for the exclusive right of
preparing opium fit for smoking, _chandú_, for consumption on the island.

As often as the apparatus is called into activity, the Chinese employed in
the preparation of the opium, in pursuance of what seems with them a
regular custom at the commencement of any spell of work, commit to the
flames, after repeating a certain set of formulas of prayer, a number of
octavo-sized leaves (_Tschni-tschni-sóa_) of paper printed upon one side
only, and occasionally provided in very large quantities: on these fabrics
of the roughest material are printed sometimes prayers in Chinese,
sometimes all kinds of drawings, intended to express the wishes of those
making the offering, and which ordinarily represent in very sketchy
outline those objects which they pray their deities to bestow on them. In
thus burning, in a copper vessel specially prepared for the purpose, not
unlike the baptismal font in a Christian church, these small slips of
paper, the Chinese operative believes that his petition ascends to heaven
as smoke, and so comes under the cognizance of his protecting gods.
Similarly in all temples and pagodas, large quantities may be found stored
away of these paper intercessors with the Chinese gods, intended for the
use of believers, or rather of those who make profession of faith.

The workmen of the opium farm have a part of their wages paid in opium.
The greater number are themselves opium-smokers, and thus are all the more
surely attached to the manufacture. We saw a number of these fellows lying
stretched out on straw mats, in wretched filthy-looking dens of rooms,
with blue curtains barely concealing them from view, and the spirit-lamp
placed conveniently near to enable them from time to time to heat the
_chandú_, the smoke of which they inhale through a peculiarly constructed
pipe (_Yeu-tsiang_). The quantity of opium taken up at each dip by the
instrument used, a three-cornered, flat-headed sort of needle specially
adapted for the purpose, is about the size of a pea. The practised
opium-smoker holds his breath for a considerable time, and passes the
smoke through the nostrils. The taste of the half-fluid juice of the
poppy is sweetish and oily, but the odour of the _chandú_ when heated,
which one of the workmen addicted to smoking insisted on our regarding as
one of the most valuable of perfumes, is so disagreeable as almost to
cause nausea. We saw numbers of smokers, athwart the filthy gossamer-like
curtains, utterly stupefied, and lying carelessly stretched out on the
hard bedsteads, the pipe fallen out of their hands, and the lamp on the
table in front of their couch extinguished. They, however, did not want
the curtain for the purpose of preventing their being disturbed in the
luxurious enjoyment of their beatific dreams; for they continued in a
state resembling death itself, from which hardly anything could possibly
rouse them so long as the effects of the poisonous drug lasted. Others of
the smokers were so affected by it as to have utterly lost their senses,
and seemed on the whole entirely indifferent to all that was passing
around them. One of the workmen, who was in a high state of excitement,
and was uncommonly talkative, informed us however that he had to smoke
about one shilling's worth of opium ere he could feel its effect, that
there was nothing more annoying or insupportable than mere partial
stupefaction, when one had no more money wherewith to buy opium so as to
be able to get into a proper state of somnolence. The entire system at
such times gets into a frightful state of irritation; there is severe
headache, a sensation of pressure on the stomach, nausea, in a word all
the ill-effects of the use of opium, without any of its more agreeable
sensations. The state of intoxication and drowsiness usually lasts from
forty to sixty minutes, when consciousness gradually returns, without any
ill-effects being experienced at the moment from the inhalation of the

In Singapore, where comparatively high wages are paid, and the Chinese
population is the most numerous, the annual consumption of opium amounts
to about 330 grains per head. In the Island of Java, where, in consequence
of certain limits prescribed by government, the Chinese element amounts to
but 1/100th of the entire population, the consumption is hardly forty
grains per head. Even in China, where this perilous narcotic is consumed
in such enormous quantities, the amount sold only indicates 140 grains for
each smoker, which however is chiefly attributable to the poverty of the
populace, by whom this luxury is unattainable. Unfortunately we could get
no reliable information as to the number of opium-smokers, and the
quantity of opium consumed, in Singapore. Mr. Allen, a North American
missionary, estimates the number of persons who surrender themselves to
this practice throughout the Chinese Empire, at from 4-5,000,000, who
annually consume about 50,000 chests of opium. The quantity consumed by
each smoker daily varies in an extraordinary degree. At first the beginner
cannot inhale above two or three grains at a time, but gradually, as he
becomes habituated, the dose increases, till the confirmed smokers
consume as much as 100 grains daily!! Many Chinese spend two-thirds of
their earnings in the purchase of this drug, which has become for them a
necessity of life.

The practice of eating opium in the form of pills, which prevails in every
Mahometan country in the East, and has in a special degree been readily
adopted by the disciples of the Koran, in consequence of the prohibition
of wine, would seem, judging by the researches of physicians, to be much
less injurious and much slower in affecting the human system than smoking
the opium, or otherwise bringing it directly in contact with the lungs,
while the effects of the former practice is likewise different.

We shall have an opportunity, when describing our stay in Chinese waters,
to revert to this most remarkable and most profitable, but at the same
time most iniquitous, monopoly of the (late) East India Company, which
crushes millions of human beings in the most appalling and hopeless of all
slaveries, and against the continuance of which the Chinese government has
repeatedly but ineffectually set its face. The words of the
idol-worshipping Emperor of China, when in 1840 he was solicited to
convert the importation of opium into a source of revenue to the state,
were worthy of a Christian monarch: "It is true," said the Chinese ruler,
"I cannot hinder the importation of this subtle poison; infamous men in
the lust for gain will out of covetousness or sensuality set at nought the
fulfilment of my wishes;--but they shall never induce me to enrich myself
by the vices and the wretchedness of my people!"

Despite the very small proportion of Europeans resident in Singapore, and
that almost the entire time of those few seems to be absorbed in business,
there is nevertheless considerable intellectual activity. Several
newspapers in the English language, among which the "Singapore Free
Press," edited by Mr. A. Logan, occupies the foremost rank, supply
information as to all that is worth knowing in every part of the East
Indies, while the "Journal of the Indian Archipelago," which has been for
many years so ably and carefully conducted by the well-known and
widely-famous J. H. Logan (brother of the editor of the "Press"), is a
veritable mine of information for the naturalist, who wishes to make the
history of the Indian Archipelago and its inhabitants the object of his
study. It contains exceedingly useful data for extending our knowledge of
these very remarkable countries, susceptible as they are of such
extraordinary development.

The colony also boasts a Museum of Natural History adjoining a library
with several thousand volumes, and a reading-room, copiously supplied with
newspapers and periodicals, the whole forming what is called the
"Singapore Institution." This enterprise was founded by shares of 40
dollars each, and is supported by an annual subscription of 24 dollars by
each member, which confers the privilege of using the well-selected
library of books, and a great number of English and French papers and
periodicals. The small ethnographic collection consists chiefly of
specimens from Borneo, Sumatra, and the adjoining islands.

Among the educational institutions most deserving of attention and
recognition must be specially noticed the school for the instruction of
Malay boys and girls, under the management and preceptorship of that most
deserving missionary, Mr. B. P. Keasberry, who has pursued a career of
useful activity in this Archipelago during thirty years past. The parents
of the children taken in here have to contribute to their support, and to
leave them there for at least ten years, under the affectionate spiritual
care of the missionary, and must not remove them till after the expiry of
that period. This condition was rendered necessary by the fickleness of
the Malay nature, which otherwise would frequently withdraw the children
from the supervision of the missionary at the very moment when they were
beginning to become amenable to the influences of instruction in
Christianity and civilization. The Institution is supported partly by
voluntary contributions, partly by the profits of a printing business, in
which, however, hardly anything is printed except educational and
religious works in the Malay language. Mr. Keasberry was so kind as to
present us with a small collection of the works thus published during the
past year, comprising among others a dictionary of the English and Malay
languages, the New Testament, a volume of Natural History, a Manual of
Geography, a Universal History, a Biblical History, and numerous
educational works in Malay for the use of the pupils.

In the course of a visit we paid to the Police Court we had the pleasure
of becoming acquainted with Mr. Windsor Carl, the well-known author of
numerous valuable works relating to the Indian Archipelago and the Papuan
Negroes, a gentleman whose career in life has been of the strangest, at
present holding the position of magistrate in Singapore, where his great
experience and his thorough acquaintance with the Malay language must be
of the utmost service to government. The audience assembled in the Court
room, in which only causes under 50 Rs. are tried, consisted for the most
part of Chinese. Almost all the officials, clerks, inspectors, and
policemen were coloured. In one month 414 causes came on for trial, of
which 315 were disposed of by the imposition on the culprits of fines
amounting in the aggregate to 5975 Rs., but of this sum only 5105 Rs. were
realized. The largest number of sentences are passed in March, because the
Chinese celebrate the New Year on the first day of that month, and
accordingly the largest number of cases of assault, &c., occur at that
period. The police _employés_ registered in that period above 100 cases of
transgressions of the law. The New Year is however, as must be remembered,
the solitary festival which John Chinaman takes out of his appointed work,
since recognizing as they do neither Sunday nor feast-day they continue
hard at work for all the rest of the year. The majority of decisions refer
to prohibited games; and whoever knows the inextinguishable love of the
Chinese populace for spending their time in gambling, will readily
comprehend how in a single year there occurred above 2000 cases in which
the law was violated. While we were in the justice-room, a paper was
handed in to the presiding magistrate, in which an English sailor, at that
moment in hospital, urgently requested that he might leave the same,
inasmuch as he felt no longer sure of his life, owing to the numbers daily
brought thither to die of cholera. In fact the hospital, and the
localities adjacent, seemed to be the spots most seriously visited by the
pestilence, so that the prayer of the petitioner to be removed from that
neighbourhood was not altogether unfounded.

One highly interesting establishment, deserving of universal imitation, is
the penal colony for criminals sentenced to transportation for life from
all parts of India, and known as "The Convict Settlement." In order to
comprehend the object and tendency of this institution, it seems necessary
to premise certain remarks upon the political relation of Singapore to
India at large. Singapore in conjunction with the colony of Malacca, which
gives its name to the entire peninsula, and the island of Penang,
including the district of Wellesley, form that range of British
settlements in the Straits of Malacca which is usually known to the
English as "The Straits Settlements." Up to quite a recent date, these
colonies, founded almost exclusively in the interests of British commerce,
were under the authority of the Indian government, and were in fact
controlled from Calcutta. To the Directors of the East India Company,
however, these settlements, of whose future destiny the mother country has
hitherto taken but little heed, notwithstanding their enormous political
and commercial importance, appeared to be specially adapted as a place for
maintaining common criminals, as also the more dangerous class of
political offenders, and accordingly converted these settlements into
penal colonies for the Indies, of which that of Singapore is the most

The director of this institution, Captain McNair, had the kindness to
accompany the members of the Novara expedition through the extensive
buildings, for the most part only one storey high, but well adapted for
this purpose, and to furnish us with much information on the various
particulars and special matters of interest relating to the establishment.
Ever since the year 1854, the wretched, confined, wooden huts thatched
with straw, in which up to that period the unfortunate criminals were
confined, have been removed, and in their stead lofty, airy, good-sized
apartments have been substituted. At the period of our visit in April
1858, there were over 2000 transported for life, and 245 sentenced to
various terms of from five to ten years, confined here. All the public
buildings of the island, churches, hospitals, barracks, works in the
streets, sometimes constructions of a most expensive nature, were executed
throughout by criminals. After sixteen years' good conduct, the prisoner
was entitled to a "ticket of leave," authorising him to settle within the
jurisdiction of the island as a free colonist, coupled with the condition
of presenting himself once a month before the superintendent of the
settlement. In case of bad conduct, or failure, or irregularity in
fulfilling such stipulations, these concessions are revoked. All the
overseers of the convict settlement, who receive monthly pay at the rate
of from one to two dollars, are prisoners who have already given proof of
their desire to return to a better mode of life, and it is well worth
remark, that the 2000 convicts, consisting for the most part of the very
dregs of the various Indian races, and condemned for grave crimes to
perpetual imprisonment, are under the charge of a single white turnkey,
and by him maintained in perfect order and propriety of demeanour. Besides
this one official there is only a small detachment of Indian soldiers,
from twelve to fifteen in number, stationed at the settlement as a measure
of precaution. The best evidence of the excellent system on which this
institution is administered, will be found in the published reports of its
health, from which it appears that of the 2000 there confined, there were
but forty sick at the very period when the cholera was committing such
terrific ravages in the town among the poorer classes, and the change of
the monsoon had been accompanied by great sickness and general
unhealthiness. The convicts go to work at six every morning, and return to
the barracks about 4 P.M., the rest of the day being spent in preparing
their victuals, consisting of rice, vegetables, cayenne-pepper, and fruit.
As most of those confined are Hindoos and profess Brahminism, they bathe
several times a day, in a large tank filled with excellent water. This
wise religious custom must in such a sultry climate conduce in a marked
degree to the preservation of their health, by its beneficial and
refreshing action upon the frame.

Some of the convicts are also employed in manufacturing cordage, ropes,
twine, &c., of the fibres of the wild plantain (_Musa textilis_), the
Ramé-shrub (_Boehmeria nivea_), and the wild pine-apple (_Bromelia Ananas_
or _Ananassa Sativa_). All these textures are of excellent quality, and
possess all the best properties of Russian hemp-fabrics, at a considerable
reduction of cost.

In the dormitories the convicts are not classified by nationalities as
during the labours of the day, but according to the nature of the offences
for which they are incarcerated, so that in one division all the thieves
are together, in another all the homicides, in a third all those convicted
of arson, &c. Although from a psychological point of view much might be
urged against the judiciousness of such a system, yet, as we were
informed, this method of confinement by classification of offences
exercises no prejudicial effect upon the moral amelioration of the
convicts, but on the contrary most encouraging results have been observed
to arise from its operation. Among others we were told of a Hindoo from
the Malabar coast, a convict for life, who after sixteen years'
confinement received permission to settle on the island as a free
colonist. By industry, ability, and some fortunate speculations, this man
in the course of years acquired a large fortune. He now felt an intense
yearning to revisit his own home, and expressed his willingness to present
a large portion of his newly acquired wealth for such a permission. But
the law was explicit upon this point. Only a free pardon from the
Governor-general of India can as a rule avail to make such an exception,
which is of but rare occurrence. This he actually succeeded in obtaining
after repeated supplications, and this "fortunate unfortunate" was at last
permitted to return to his longed-for home. It is worth noting that of the
2245 prisoners, only fifty are of the female sex, chiefly Hindoo women
from Bengal. Among those imprisoned while we were there, we remarked three
white men, who had been sentenced to several months' confinement for
riotous conduct and drunkenness. Surrounded as they were by these bronzed
half-savage Hindoo offenders, these men made a doubly painful impression
upon Europeans.

As the prevalence of disease in the town and harbour made it especially
desirable that we should as speedily as possible change our quarters, in
order not to be surprised by a visit on board from a guest so formidable,
we made all possible efforts to complete with the utmost dispatch the
revictualling of the ship, and transact whatever other business was
necessary. For this purpose we were recommended in several quarters to
employ a Chinese merchant, whose name is already favourably mentioned by
Commodore Wilks on the occasion of his visiting Singapore in 1842. This
was Whampoa, a ship-chandler, who indeed in similar departments of trade
carries on by no means insignificant competition with the long-established
English firms. His business is unquestionably the most extensive in this
line in Singapore, and furnishes a striking example of what Chinese
industry, economy, and perseverance are capable of. Immense quantities of
provisions and ship-stores are accumulated in his extensive warehouses, so
that he can supply orders to any extent in an incredibly short space of
time. Within two days, Whampoa had completely victualled the ship for six
months, besides supplying her from the adjoining stream with 100 tons of
good water, which was brought alongside in boats specially constructed for
the purpose, and thence pumped through hose into the iron water-tanks in
the hold, an operation which in any European port would have taken thrice
the time required here. Moreover all the articles supplied by Whampoa were
of the best quality, and proportionally moderate in price. He employs none
but Chinese, with long tails, and black silk apparel. All the books are
kept in the Chinese language, and even the additions and subtractions are
not made in the European method, but by the Chinese _counting_ board, that
is, by shifting a number of wooden beads or rings, which run in different
rows, and have a variety of values. This reckoning-board consists of an
oblong frame, divided in its length by a partition into unequal divisions,
in the larger of which are hung five, in the smaller two, beads upon metal
cross wires. Each wire with the seven beads running upon it constitutes a
single row, and in each such row, a single bead of the smaller division is
equal in value to the five corresponding beads in the larger compartment;
while, just as in the Russian reckoning-board, each row represents a
value tenfold greater or less with reference to the two arms adjoining it
on either side. On the Chinese board the number of cross wires is not
always the same, but depends upon the extent of the calculations intended
to be made upon it.[32]

                [Illustration: A Chinese Counting Board.]

Accordingly when a Chinese wishes to make a calculation upon his
reckoning-board, he lays it crosswise before him, with the large
compartment next himself, pushes the beads of the two divisions to the
edge of the frame, whence, as the process of calculation may require, he
shifts them into the middle against the partition-wire, or pushes them
back again. In the former case the beads are said to "count on the
board," in the latter to be "off the board." Consequently, in order to
have 1, 2, 3, and 4 "counting," a corresponding number of beads in the
larger compartment must be pushed away from himself till they reach the
partition; to mark 5, he similarly draws towards himself a bead in the
smaller compartment, and as 6, 7, 8, and 9 are formed by the addition of 5
and 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively, these will be marked by adding one bead
from the lesser compartment to the requisite number of beads in the
greater. The tens are indicated by the beads of the next wire to the left;
the hundreds by the next again to that, &c.

Within his own house, Whampoa lives entirely in the European fashion.
Plentifully blessed with this world's goods, he displays a degree of
luxury such as we are unaccustomed to see save in the most elevated
circles of society. One of his properties, which is several miles in
circumference, has a spacious, elegantly furnished mansion with a splendid
colonnade, a beautiful flower-garden, and a perfect menagery of useful
domestic animals. Within the house all the arrangements are European, with
the exception of the oval doors, communicating between the great saloon
and the antechambers, which are pushed into the wall on either side, and
have a very surprising effect. In the evening, especially when the saloon
is illuminated, if a person passes through this oval entrance, the effect
is as of a life-size portrait set in a golden frame. It would not be a bad
idea to introduce this Chinese form of door-way into our European
residences and country-seats, and it is assuredly not the only improvement
in the decorative art which we could borrow with advantage from the
Chinese. Whampoa's own favourite habitation is about four miles outside
the town, and presents a curious admixture of European comfort and taste
with Chinese notions of ornament. In the saloons, adorned with a quantity
of neat fancy ornaments, are suspended from the walls verses and proverbs
of the most renowned Chinese poets, all written on long elegantly
illustrated rolls of paper. Our host also showed us a variety of objects
which had been presented to him by foreign ship captains, officers of the
navy, and even singers, as the late Mrs. Catherine Hayes Bushnell, whom he
had shown much attention to. A banquet, to which we were invited by this
hospitable Chinese to meet a number of the most prominent commercial
magnates of the colony, was served entirely in the European style. The
viands were cooked by a Chinese cook, in the English and French styles,
only the dessert came part from Japan, part from China, and consisted of a
variety of fruits, which were utterly unknown to the eye and the palate of
the European guests. Our Chinese host seemed quite at home in doing the
honours. Although outwardly a Chinese of the most orthodox stamp, with
shaven head, (except the long tail reaching almost to the earth,) and his
body robed in a black silken stuff, he drank to each of his guests in good
old English style, and seemed as little afraid of Sherry as of Champagne.
Indeed, we even had toasts, in the course of which this Chinese friend to
foreigners remarked in English, that any amelioration of the present
critical condition of his native land, can only be effected by the
progressive influence of the British government. Whampoa is in all
probability the first Chinese who has sent his son to Europe.

On the very last day of our stay in Singapore, a melancholy accident
occurred on board. One of our sailors named Rossi, while unbending a sail
for the purpose of repair, fell from the fore-yard on the forecastle,
where he lay insensible, and died a few hours afterwards. Latterly
repeated instances had occurred at short intervals, of the sailors, while
working at various elevations, losing hold and falling on deck, but none
of these had had such a tragical result as the present, and a few slight
injuries was all the penalty the sufferers received for their
carelessness. Singularly enough, such accidents mostly occur to the able
seamen, because that class usually feel themselves as secure while resting
on the foot-ropes, and working among the masts and sails, as on the ground
itself, and from their carelessness come much more frequently to grief,
than their comrades less experienced in man[oe]uvring among the cordage.
Rossi was reverently committed to the earth in the Catholic burying-ground
of Singapore, and arrangements were at the same time made for the erection
of a small grave-stone over his distant resting-place, informing the
visitors to this "Court of Peace," that below reposes a member of the
_Novara_ Expedition, who had lost his life in the discharge of his duties.

As we were now at the season of the change of monsoon, at which period the
always difficult navigation of the narrow seas between Singapore and
Batavia demands an unusual degree of carefulness, in consequence of
frequent squalls, we engaged a pilot, who for a stipulated sum of 175
dollars was to convoy us to the next station on our voyage. Captain
Burrows, as our pilot was named, had the reputation of being a specially
competent, thoroughly trustworthy person, who for a long period had
navigated these waters in his own ship, and, as we were informed, had,
owing to some unfortunate speculations, been compelled to become a pilot
of other vessels, after having for years sailed in command of his own
ship. He had already come on board with his traps, but, as wind and tide
were both unfavourable, he obtained permission to return to shore till
sunset. This however the pilot did not do, and on the following morning,
finding he did not come off despite our signals, we set sail without him
about 9 A.M. with favourable wind and tide. No one could account for the
default of a pilot so strongly recommended on all hands, particularly as
all his baggage had remained on board, and must now of course make the
voyage to Batavia. For a moment we conjectured that he had immediately on
landing been seized by the dread distemper, only it seemed improbable we
should not have been informed of such a catastrophe. And in fact it
afterwards appeared that his having missed us was entirely due to his own

We at first had intended to pass through the narrow strait of Rhio,[33] by
which the route is materially shortened, but as the squally weather had
fairly set in, while the breeze had crept round to the S.E., and the tide
set strong to the northwards, we abandoned this plan, and decided on
sailing through the channel between Horsburgh light-house and Bintang, so
as to pass to the eastward of this island as far as Graspar Straits, which
however we only reached the following day, owing to light fitful breezes
from the northwards. So soon as we entered Gaspar Straits we found the
sea, which is here of no great depth, never exceeding 25 fathoms, partly
covered with trunks of trees and sea-weed, while the water had lost its
transparency and was of a dirty green colour.

At 10 A.M. of the 25th April, we crossed the equator for the third time,
and the same day about 11 P.M. were in sight of the rocky island of Tothy,
a rain-squall from the N.E. blowing at the time. We passed between this
island and the dangerous because invisible Vega Rock, just below the
surface of the sea, and found ourselves in an archipelago of islands and
shoals requiring the utmost vigilance in navigating ships of large size.
But the moon, "the seaman's friend," shone brightly at night, and the
well-known transparency of the air in tropical countries enabled us even
during the hours of darkness to make out with perfect distinctness islands
lying 25 to 30 miles distant, so that we were by these means, coupled with
occasional casts of the lead, enabled on every occasion to make out with
sufficient exactness at what point we had arrived. We were so lucky as to
have never once throughout this intricate navigation been compelled to
cast anchor (as is so frequently the case here), and thus succeeded in
overhauling in Gaspar Straits more than one merchantman, that was a far
better sailer than the _Novara_.

On 30th April in 2° 48' S., and 107° 16' E., we celebrated the anniversary
of our departure from Trieste, with hearts filled with gratitude to the
illustrious projector of an expedition devoted to such lofty aims.

Although during our stay in Singapore the cholera had not alone carried
off its victims in the town, but also in the harbour, especially in the
screw corvette _Niger_, anchored in our immediate vicinity, which lost at
the rate of about a man daily till she changed her moorings, and
ultimately had to put to sea (which under such circumstances gives hope
from the very first for a change for the better in the requisite sanitary
conditions for restoring to health), yet the crew of the _Novara_ seemed
destined to escape the slightest evil effects from our six days' stay in
this plague-stricken harbour. But the result did not justify these
expectations. Five days after our departure from Singapore, just as we
were entering Gaspar Straits, one of the ship's boys fell ill with all
the symptoms of the Asiatic pestilence, and two days after the man
appointed to attend him was similarly seized. Every necessary precaution
was taken, the crew were kept as much as possible on deck, the band played
frequently, in order to keep up cheerfulness, and thus by great good
fortune the malady was confined to the two individuals seized. The
attendant ere long recovered, but the lad, after the choleraic symptoms
had subsided, gradually fell into a typhoid state, under which, despite
the utmost medical skill, he succumbed on the afternoon of May 4th. Owing
to the rapidity with which decomposition sets in in organic structures in
these hot latitudes, it was at once arranged that the body should be
committed to the deep the same evening. It was the first occasion
throughout the voyage that we had to perform this sad but most impressive
ceremony. The officers and crew mustered on the deck. The body wrapped in
an ensign lay upon a platform, close to the man-ropes on the starboard
side. The chaplain prayed over the corpse of one so young, about to rest
in the bosom of ocean far from friends and family, after which there was a
dull hollow sound; the sea had got his prey, the waves closed with sullen
glee over their booty,--and all was over!

In the course of the passage we also celebrated a funeral service on board
for Austria's great, never-to-be-forgotten commander, Field-marshal
Radetzky, of whose death we had shortly before been apprized. As far as
circumstances admitted, everything was done to celebrate this solemn duty
in a befitting manner.

Several times during this part of our voyage, owing to the slight depth,
averaging only 14 fathoms, of the Gaspar Strait, we observed sea-snakes
basking on the surface of the sea, and letting the waves roll them lazily
forward, several of which, about four feet long, were caught in a common

At last, on the afternoon of May 5, we anchored in the roads of Batavia,
in 6-1/2 fathoms, mud bottom. The aspect of the roads, especially in bad
weather, is rather melancholy, the coast being low and swampy, and densely
covered with mangrove-bushes, through which glittered a portion of the
red-tiled roofs of the lower ancient city of Batavia, now abandoned on
account of its insalubrity. Under a more cheerful sky the country round
would of course assume a more agreeable and even imposing appearance, when
the outline of the gigantic volcanoes of Java come into view in the
background, with their heavenward towering peaks, partly covered with
snow, permitting us to form some faint conception of the prodigality of
Nature in this, the most beautiful island of the Malay Archipelago.

In the roads of Batavia we found much less bustle and animation than one
could anticipate, considering the favourable situation and immense
importance of the place. A short distance from us lay the Dutch frigate
_Palembang_, carrying the flag of a Vice-admiral, and the steam-corvette
_Gröningen_, besides which we counted some sixty foreign merchantmen, and
over a hundred native boats and coasting vessels. This rather small
evidence of commercial activity is the more noticeable when one has just
come from the free port of Singapore, where several hundred ships are
always lying at anchor, sporting the flags of every sea-faring nation,
without taking account of the almost innumerable Chinese and Malay
coasters, trading between Singapore and the other islands of the Sunda
Archipelago. Moreover, there are here no small boats plying to and fro,
because the communications between the city and the roadstead being over a
space requiring an hour and a half to traverse, the transit is necessarily
dear, and remains therefore confined within as small limits as possible.
For a small boat with two rowers from the roads to the landing-place the
charge is from four to five florins (6_s._ 8_d._ to 8_s._ 4_d._), and
3-1/2 florins (5_s._ 10_d._) more for a vehicle to transport them to the
town. For this reason no artisans, trades-people, or washerwomen will come
off to where the shipping is at anchor, to take orders--every commission
of whatever nature must be executed in the city itself. Here we lay at
anchor, an Austrian frigate, surely a most unwonted visitant, from the
afternoon till the following morning without one single boat coming off to
visit us!


[27] City of Lions, from Singha, the Sanscrit for Lion, a title of Indian
princes, which we again meet with in Singhala, the kingdom of Lions, as
Ceylon is called in ancient records and histories.

[28] Captain Alexander Hamilton's "New Account of the East Indies,
1688-1723." Edinburgh, 1727. 8vo, Vol. II., p. 63.

[29] From this shrub is prepared the drug _Kino_, once much used in the
Pharmacop[oe]ia, but now displaced by _catechu_.

[30] A similar system prevails to this day throughout Hindostan, where the
necessity for convoy of specie forms one of the most important items of
expense in the maintenance of local police, outlying military stations,
&c. And unfortunately such a policy reacts upon the respect of the natives
for British rule, for seeing that even the government requires such
convoys, they naturally presume that government feels itself insecure, and
hence refuse to co-operate in the development of Indian resources.

[31] The net produce of an acre of land grown with poppy amounts to about
20 or 30 rupees, producing about 30 lbs of opium. The oil extracted from
the seed-vessels of the plant gives a return of from 2 to 3 rupees per

[32] Among the valuable contributions of the Russian Embassy to Pekin,
respecting China, its people, its religion, its political institutions,
its social peculiarities, &c., there is one long and very copious treatise
upon the Chinese reckoning-board, and the method of using it. See the
German translation of the work by Dr. Karl Abel, and F. T. Mecklenburg.
Berlin, F. Heinicke, 1856, vol. i. p. 295.

[33] The Rhio group of islands is about 50 miles S.E. of Singapore, the
most important of which is Bintang, with a town of the same name.

                   [Illustration: Javanese Weapons.]



                   Stay from 5th to 29th May, 1858.

    Old and New Batavia.--Splendid reception.--Scientific
    societies.--Public institutions.--Natives.--A Malay embassy.--
    Excursion into the interior.--Buitenzorg.--The Botanic Garden.--
    The Negro.--Prince Aquasie Boachi.--Pondok-Gedeh.--The infirmary
    at Gadok, and Dr. Bernstein.--Megamendoeng.--Javanese villages.--
    Tjipannas.--Ascent of Pangerango.--Forest scenery.--Javanese
    resting-houses or Pasanggrahans.--Night and morning on the
    summit of the volcano.--Visit to Gunung Gedeh.--The plantations
    of Peruvian bark-trees in Tjipodas.--Their actual condition.--
    Conjectures as to the future.--Voyage to Bandong.--Spots where
    edible swallows'-nests are found.--Hospitable reception by a
    Javanese prince.--Visit to Dr. Junghuhn in Lembang.--Coffee
    cultivation.--Decay in value of the coffee bean of Java.--
    Professor Vriese and the coffee planters of Java.--Free trade
    and monopoly.--Compulsory and free labour.--Ascent of the
    volcano of Tangkuban Prahu.--Poison Crater and King's Crater.--A
    geological excursion to a portion of the Preanger Regency.--
    Native fête given by the Javanese Regent of Tjiangoer.--A day at
    the Governor-general's country-seat at Buitenzorg.--Return to
    Batavia.--Ball given by the military club in honour of the
    _Novara_.--Raden Saleh, a Javanese artist.--Barracks and
    prisons.--Meester Cornelis.--French opera.--Constant changes
    among the European society.--Aims of the colonial government.--
    Departure from Batavia.--Pleasant voyage.--An English ship with
    Chinese Coolies.--Bay of Manila.--Arrival in Cavite harbour.

In order to get from the roadstead of Batavia to the "Stad Herberg," the
sole landing-place for boats, distant some miles from the open sea, it is
necessary to steer for some distance up the canal-like channel of the
Tjiliwoeng (pronounced _Chili-wung_) River. Old Batavia (Jacatra), built
by the Dutch in 1619, on an extremely swampy and most unhealthy spot, is
at present entirely abandoned by the white population, and the numerous
handsome edifices still standing there are now only used as warehouses,
counting-houses, and offices generally. Where in days of yore a hundred
thousand human beings bustled to and fro, there are at present dwelling
but a couple of thousand wretched, poverty-stricken Portuguese and
Javanese. The Dutch in selecting such a site undoubtedly took their own
Amsterdam for a model, and the houses were accordingly built as close as
possible to each other, and several storeys high, a mode of building
eminently unsuited to a tropical climate, and accordingly adding another
element of insalubrity. The thick fog, which every evening at sundown
spreads over the city, situate as it is hardly above the level of the sea,
is not only very injurious to Europeans, but proves quite frequently
fatal, so that by 5 P.M. old Batavia assumes the appearance of a city of
the dead, and a regular emigration takes place in waggons, on horseback,
or on foot, to the more elevated and therefore more healthy parts of the
town, to Ryswick, Molenvliet, Weltevreden, &c., where during the last
twenty years an entirely new and very elegant settlement has sprung up.
Handsome villas rise amid the blooming fragrant gardens, and everything is
arranged in accordance with the requirements of a tropical climate; and
of an evening, when the low verandahs and beautifully furnished
drawing-rooms of these airy, well-ventilated mansions are profusely lit
up, and filled with a gaily-dressed social circle, while numbers of
equipages, carrying torches, flit through the wide streets, the whole
scene has quite a fairyland appearance. The gloom without makes the
dazzling brightness within-doors still more marked, and renders the law a
perfect boon, by which no native, so soon as it becomes dark, is permitted
to walk through the streets unless he carries a lighted torch (_obor_).
Owing to the distance intervening between each house, Batavia, although
numbering only 70,000 inhabitants, apparently covers a larger area than
Paris, and as the wealthy classes are concentrated in the upper quarters
of the town, just as they are in the West End of London, it is there that
one may see all that Batavia has to show of luxury, comfort, and elegance.
The old haughty, aristocratic capital of the Netherland Indies, whose
beauty once obtained for her the title of "Queen of the East," is found
here in more than pristine freshness, and not alone in wealth and
splendour, but even in social stiffness and pedantic etiquette, vies with
the most ultra-refined centres of fashion in Europe.

The _Novara_ had long been expected in Batavia, and months beforehand
orders had been issued by the Governor-general to all the Dutch colonies
in the East Indies, for the courteous reception of the Expedition, and
energetically assisting its members. A German merchant from Celebes, whom
we happened to meet the day of our arrival, informed us that in Macassar
the entire population had been for several months past looking for the
arrival of the foreign man-of-war, and those on the look-out at the
signal-station, as often as a large ship made its appearance on the
horizon, were continually hoping that it might prove to be the
long-expected visitor.

All that the resources of a mighty and generous power, such as is that of
Holland in Java, could furnish to make our short stay at the island as
agreeable and instructive as possible was exhibited on the most lavish
scale, and all that could be done to promote our objects in view by men of
science, of which Java possesses a considerable number, and even some of
European celebrity, was offered with the most praiseworthy alacrity.
Several eminent scholars and naturalists, headed by the renowned
ichthyologist, Dr. Bleeker, who shortly before had been decorated with an
Austrian order of merit for his valuable contributions to our knowledge of
the natural history of the Sunda Islands, did the honours, so to speak,
for the members of the scientific commission, of whom they became the
constant companions.

The very day we landed we visited the Museum, in the company of our new
friends, where we found an extremely interesting and most valuable
collection, principally of ethnographic objects. Here we saw idols of the
palmy days of Buddhism, made of bronze and silver, beautifully carved,
which came from the interior of Java, as also from Sumatra and the Engano
Islands; clothes of the bark of trees, garments of fish-scales, of a
species of _Scarus_ (probably _Scarus Schlosserii_), head-gear, armlets,
and necklaces of the teeth of men and wild animals, richly adorned
"creeses" or Malay daggers, lances and arrows of bamboo, whose iron heads
were poisoned by a wash of arsenic mixed with lemon-juice; a great variety
of musical instruments, among which were specimens of the well-known and
singular _Gamelang_, which consists of a row of bells of all sizes and
tones, which are struck with slender pieces of bamboo, and makes a regular
orchestra of bells. There was also a very singular-looking collection of
parasols, which as used by the natives are emblems of rank, and of which
there are no less than thirty different kinds. Any one may carry a simple
green, or blue, or black parasol, but those with gold thread or gold
tassels are only permitted to be used by persons of a certain social
standing, so that one may always know the social position of a Javanese by
the parasol he carries, just as among the Chinese, rank is indicated by
the number of peacock feathers, and the colour of the button on the
bonnet. The higher the rank, the broader is the gilded fringe, so that the
parasol of a Javanese prince of the highest rank is all gold together, and
when fully expanded consists of three parasols, one above the other, which
open by one and the same movement. Most of these parasols, prepared from
the leaves of the screw-pine, are imported hither from China.

In one of the rooms is a statue of Durga, one of the goddesses of the old
Hindoo mythology, moulded in metal, a present from the Sultan of
Surakarta in the centre of Java to one of the former governors of the
island, who presented this fine specimen of native art to the Museum. A
large number of Javanese and Sunda MSS., written on palm-leaves, have been
placed by, and at the expense of, the government in the hands of Dr.
Friedrich, a German philologist, to be deciphered and translated. In the
same apartment we saw a large number of trachytes, with very beautiful
sculptures and inscriptions, as also several figures from the island of
Bali, quite modern in aspect, carved in wood and coarsely painted,
representing some beautiful female figures; other hideous caricatures,
which are used by the natives as decorations of their household altar, but
without any religious significance being attached to them. The fact that
these sculptures are no longer, as formerly, executed in stone, but are
carved in wood, may be held to evidence the decay of this branch of art. A
rather considerable craniological collection, comprising some 60 heads of
the various types of races inhabiting the Malay Archipelago and the
adjoining continent, was in the most handsome manner presented to the
Expedition, and must, considering the many difficulties which stand in the
way of our acquiring correct scientific knowledge of this interesting
question, especially among races inhabiting uncivilized countries, be
regarded as an exceedingly valuable addition to our collections of objects
of natural history at home.

The Ethnographic Museum and the library attached are, however, only
branches thrown out by the indefatigable activity of the oldest
scientific society in Java, the _Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en
Wetenschappen_, which, founded in 1778 by the Europeans then resident in
Batavia, has since that period published some thirty volumes of valuable
statistics of the various objects of which it takes cognizance, and is in
correspondence with upwards of 150 learned societies. Since 1852 there has
also appeared under the auspices of this Society, conducted by three
members of the direction, Dr. Bleeker, Mr. Netscher, and Mr. Munnich, a
monthly journal of Indian History, as also of physical and ethnographic
statistics (the "_Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal Land en Volkenkunde_"),
of which seven volumes have already appeared, published in 8vo. Not less
valuable, especially in the interests of natural science, is the
Association known as the "_Natuurkundige Vereeniging_," which has been in
existence since 1850, and, under the superintendence of that indefatigably
active scholar Dr. Bleeker, has within that period published a
considerable number of most interesting memoirs, while the Society for the
advancement of Medical Science (_Vereeniging tot Bevordering der
Geneeskundige Wetenschappen in Nederlandsch Indie_), under the guidance of
the distinguished Dr. G. Wassink, has given to the world through its
annual publications a large variety of experiences and observations on the
study of Medicine.[34] All these scientific institutions are the more
deserving of commendation, when we reflect that there are but 6000
emigrants from Holland, scattered abroad throughout the Netherland
Indies, of whom only some 3000 are in Batavia, and that the white
population is for the most part constantly changing. It is obvious this
latter condition must have this prejudicial effect, that the various
branches of scientific inquiry cannot always enjoy a uniform degree of
attention, and that the task of maintaining them in a proper degree of
efficiency must depend almost exclusively upon the continuance in office
and constant attention of individuals. Owing to this frequency of change
the active prosecution of scientific inquiry has undergone marked
fluctuations in Batavia, and while occasionally it was at the lowest ebb,
so to speak, at another time, as happily was the case at the period of our
visit, it presents, in the convergence of numerous powerful minds devoted
to the pursuit of knowledge, the imposing spectacle of a strong set of
public opinion towards intellectual enjoyment and cultivation.

Accompanied by Dr. Bleeker the members of the Expedition visited several
of the most interesting of the public institutions, the establishment of
which reflects the greatest honour on the government, as well as the
public-spirited individuals who projected them. The Military and Civil
Hospital at Tjiliwoeng, or Great River, does not indeed present the
palace-like appearance of the Misericordia Hospital at Rio, but the small
neat buildings, one storey high, scattered among beautiful flower-gardens,
and occupying a flat space of great extent, are kept scrupulously clean,
and are arranged with great comfort. Six physicians are on duty here, and
the most exemplary care and attention are bestowed on patients. Officers
and public servants who fall sick have, in particular, large, light, airy,
elegantly furnished apartments; other patients are received into lofty,
well-ventilated, spacious halls, usually holding from 50 to 60 beds.
Altogether the hospital can accommodate 600 patients. The most common
diseases are dysentery, intermittent fever, and heart and liver
complaints. Here we saw numerous cases of _Beri-Beri_ (the Barbiers of
English medical writers), that singular, usually incurable disease which
begins with intermittent fever, and generally ends with paralysis of the
spinal chord. In the year 1857, of 500 patients at Batavia no fewer than
348 were attacked with this frightful complaint, of whom 249 died within a
brief space. In the medical section of the _Novara_ publications will be
found a complete account of this most interesting malady, which
fortunately is very limited in its ravages, and hitherto has been almost
exclusively confined to the natives.

In one of the wards we were shown a Dutch sailor labouring under an
asthmatic attack, whose hands and feet had been shockingly mutilated in
1846 by pirates in the Straits of Malacca. We also found among the
patients several German sailors and soldiers, whose transports of joy were
unmistakeable on hearing once more the sound of their native language, and
at the opportunity of conversing with a fellow-countryman.

The heavy expense of building in Batavia, and the anxious vigilance
exercised over those of the community who are sick, will best be
understood from the fact that one single new ward, making up from 60 to 80
beds, cost the government about 60,000 guilders (£5000). One of the
buildings, at a little distance from the rest, is set apart for female
invalids, as also for lunatics and sick prisoners. Attached to this
hospital is a school of midwifery for the instruction of native women in
obstetrics, which at the period of our visit was attended by sixteen women
from various islands in the Malay Archipelago, and which, in a land where
the birth of a child is accompanied by so many superstitious and hideous
ceremonies, cannot fail to be followed by most beneficial results.

One very important and useful establishment is the Javanese medical school
(_Geneeskundige School voor Inlanders_), which, founded in 1851 by Mr.
Bosch, at that period chief of the medical staff, is intended to supply
the sons of the more prominent natives of Java and the adjacent islands
with a thorough training in and acquaintance with the art of medicine as
practised in Europe. Government defrays the travelling expenses of these
youths, as also all expenses of maintenance and education. Among the
four-and-twenty scholars here, we saw sons of native princes of Java,
Palembang, Celebes, Amboina, Ceram, Sumatra, and Borneo, who intended
following up the profession; and it is worthy of remark that two natives
of Menado in the island of Celebes of the savage cannibal race of the
Alfuras, were pointed out to us as among the most apt and docile of the
scholars! Those of the students who are Christians, are clothed in the
dress of Europeans, the rest, chiefly Mahométans, wear Oriental attire.
Instruction is imparted in Malay, since as a rule not one of the students
on entering the college understands a word of Dutch. For the same reason
the books usually employed in instruction cannot be made use of, while,
owing to the poverty of the Malay language, any translation into it must
be fraught with difficulty. All technical names are therefore converted
into Latin. The course of instruction is carried on the first year in the
class-room, the second by the bed-side of the patient, or the dead body.
After strict and thorough examination each pupil receives a diploma as a
"Doctor--Java," besides a monthly salary of from £2 2_s._ to £2 10_s._,
and an outfit of the most important drugs and surgical instruments. By
this system some fifty young men have already returned to their homes as
physicians and government officials, and thus greatly contribute to the
extension of European civilization.

In the chief streets of Batavia the stranger comes upon some small open
watch-houses, or rather huts, consisting simply of four poles and a roof
of palm thatch, in which is suspended a long, slender piece of wood
(_Tong-tong_), which is used for three different objects. The Javanese who
in this little hut is watching over the property and personal safety of
the inhabitants, strikes the _Tong-tong_ with a sort of drum-stick, in
order to announce the hours of the night, or to give notice of the
outbreak of a fire, or in case of any one _running a-muck_. This singular
phenomenon, in which a Malay with open knife or drawn dagger rushes madly
through the streets, and seeks to kill every one he encounters, occurs
perhaps a dozen times a year. The first murder is very probably
intentional, the offspring of hate or revenge, but that once accomplished,
the murderer, usually under the influence of opium, runs recklessly
forward through the streets, with the wild cry of "Amok"--"Amok"
(Kill!--Kill!), knocking down and stabbing whoever he encounters. As one
can only approach the miscreant at the peril of one's life, there is kept
in these watch-houses a peculiarly constructed weapon of long wooden
staves, and shaped at the upper end not unlike a hay-fork, with which the
desperate wretch can be seized. The various methods in which the Tong-tong
is struck at once conveys notice as to which one of the three
announcements conveyed by the instrument it is the watchman's object to

The natives, although they divide themselves into the Java and Sunda
nations, belong nevertheless to the same race, viz. the Malay, and are
readily recognizable by their short thickset form, round face, wide mouth,
short narrow nose, small black eyes, by their brown complexion, verging on
yellow, and their luxuriant but always rough and coarse hair. As to their
moral characteristics, the Javanese are a mild, easily contented,
temperate, simple, industrious people. The principal occupation of the
10,000,000 inhabitants of Java and Madura, is agriculture, which with
them is at least equally, if not in a much higher degree, understood by
them than by any other Asiatic community, with the exception of the
Chinese. This is apparent from the neatness and careful cultivation of
their fields, the excellent condition of their farm-stock, the careful
observance of seed-time and harvest, and above all by their regular
irrigation of the soil. When Java first became known to Europeans, the
chief produce of the island consisted of rice, leguminous vegetables,
indigo, and cotton. Intercourse with Europe has superadded to these two
American products, maize and tobacco, and one African, coffee.[35] The
Javanese have even less time for the mechanical arts than for agricultural
pursuits, yet in the construction of boats and dwelling-houses, as also in
making agricultural implements, shields and weapons of war, they have more
aptitude than the majority of the people of the Malay Archipelago.[36] The
only other stuff, except cotton, of which they make clothing is silk,
chiefly the raw, coarse, Chinese silk; all endeavours to naturalize the
silk production in these islands having failed hitherto.

In addition to the ordinary language used for communication and every-day
purposes there are in Java two special idioms,--Javanese in the centre and
east of the island, and Sunda in the west of the island. The small river
Losari in the province of Cheribon on the north side of the island
indicates the boundary line of the two languages. Owing to the
circumstance that both the idioms are used in Cheribon, many writers have
deduced thence the origin of the name of that province, which signifies in
Javanese "mingled," or mixed. The Javanese tongue, which of the two is far
the more highly cultivated, has been a written language for untold ages,
and its alphabet is universally used among the Sunda groups as well as in
the adjoining Malay groups. Various inscriptions in stone and brass carry
us back in the history of Java to the 12th century, and it would almost
seem that the Javanese at that period had already attained the same degree
of civilization as when four centuries later the Europeans for the first
time landed on their soil.

Of the original Javanese language there are three dialects,--the language
of the populace (Ngoko), or low Javanese, the ceremonial language (Kromo),
known as high Javanese, and the old mystical dialect, or _Kawi_.

Javanese has borrowed a number of words from Sanscrit, Arabic, and
Telingu, especially since the introduction of religion and commerce.

One of the most important events in the history of the Javanese was their
conversion to Brahmanism, and still later to Mahometanism. The precise
period at which the first of these took place seems to be as yet quite
uncertain, but this much is known, that from the 13th to the 15th century
Brahmanism prevailed in Java. The conversion of the Javanese to Islam,
whose religion is at present professed by the great majority of the
inhabitants,[37] took place in 1478 under the ruler of Salivana, after
Arabian, Persian, Malay, and Mahometan Hindoos had since the year 1358
vainly endeavoured to introduce that faith.[38]

In addition to the native population there is also a large number of
foreign settlers in Java, of whom the Chinese constitute far the largest
contingent. Their number is above 140,000, and would be much greater were
their attempts at colonization not kept down by numerous limitations, and
heavy taxes and imposts. The Chinese, who in more than one respect may be
regarded as the Jews of India, are only admitted by the Indian Government
at certain points of the coast, and in many of the Regencies must not
transgress those limits. Although they are extraordinarily industrious,
ingenious, and well suited for hard labour, yet the government is of
opinion that their unchecked intercourse with the natives would inevitably
prove prejudicial to the latter, who are plundered by the Chinese in every
possible manner. Their main, indeed sole, object is to make money, and at
all public auctions it is they who chiefly buy at a small price, and
directly afterwards succeed in getting off their purchases at an enormous
advance. One can purchase of these Chinese dealers at prices almost
unheard of for cheapness, but quality and lasting capabilities are not
guaranteed. A German writer compares the Kampong or Chinese quarter to a
Polish country town on a fair day. Every house and store is crammed with
all manner of useless trash, and everywhere there is the utmost bustle.
The most various articles are exposed for sale in each magazine. Here too
are found the Chinese theatrical booths, in which at various hours
throughout the day Chinese comedians, richly dressed in Chinese fashion,
perform Chinese plays, which are applauded by a numerous ragged auditory,
collected in the open space in front!

Each Chinese colony, or _Kampong_, has a chief, appointed by government,
with the title of lieutenant, captain, or major, available within the
limits of the Kampong, but which, it is needless to say, confers no
military privileges. Those of the Chinese residing in Java belong to
mutual societies, whose members assist each other, and which have not
merely humanitarian, but also political tendencies.

We are in possession of the affiliation-ticket of a member of the native
Chinese society of Hoei, or Tuité-Huy (Brotherhood of the Heavens and the
Earth), printed on a fabric of reddish cotton, which bears 91 various
written characters, for the following translation of which, as also for
the accompanying particulars respecting the objects of this very
remarkable society, we are indebted to the kindness of the renowned
Chinese scholar, Professor J. Neumann of Munich:--

"The Brotherhood of the Heavens and the Earth frankly declares that it
considers itself called on by the Supreme Being to put an end to the
frightful contrast between wealth and poverty. In its view the possessors
of earthly power and wealth have come into this world under the same
ceremonies, and leave it in the same manner, as their defrauded brothers,
the poor and oppressed. The Supreme Being never willed that millions
should be held in slavery by a few thousands. Father Heaven and Mother
Earth have never conferred on the few thousands the right to swallow up
the property of millions of their brethren for the mere satiating their
own luxury. To the rich and powerful their fortunes were never bestowed by
the Supreme Being as an exceptional right; it consists rather in the
labour and the 'sweat of the brow' of the millions of their oppressed
brethren. The sun with his beaming face, the earth with her treasures of
wealth, the universe with all its joys, are boons common to all, and must
be seized from the grasp of the few thousands for the satisfaction of the
necessities of the naked millions. The world must ultimately be purged of
all oppression and woe; this must be initiated in brotherly unity, must
be steadily followed up with mind and hand, and must be completed. The
good seed of this brotherhood must not be stifled beneath noxious weeds,
rather is it our duty to root up these noxious weeds, that overshadow all
things, to the benefit and advancement of the good seed. The problem, be
it frankly confessed, is a mighty and a difficult one, but let each man
bethink him, that there is no victory, no redemption without storm and
strife. Until the great majority of the dwellers of all the cities of each
province have taken the oath of fidelity, each man may continue outwardly
to obey the mandarins, and ingratiate himself with the police by presents.
Ill-timed demonstrations will injure the plan. So soon as the majority of
the inhabitants in each city and province has acceded to the bond of our
union, the old monarchy must fall to the ground, and we shall be able to
found the new reign upon the ruins of the old. Millions of grateful
brethren shall honour the founders of our brotherhood after they shall
have gone to the grave, mindful of the mighty benefit they have
conferred;--the redemption from chains and bondage of a ruined social

[Illustration: The Seal of Union of the Brotherhood of the Heavens and the

The seal of union of this Brotherhood of the Heavens and the Earth is
engraved with numerous hieroglyphics, and many-cornered in its inner
circumference, emblematic of the supreme states of felicity, according to
Chinese notions, viz. wisdom, justice, posterity, honour, and riches.
These five states of felicity correspond to their five elements, earth,
wood, water, metal, fire, whose symbols figure at the corner of the seal.
Immediately below are seen certain other engraved emblems, indicating
mighty undaunted leaders, ancient heroes of China, who are standing
closely together with unshaken front. Then follow a number of proverbs,
partly of symbolic significance, and in rhythmical sayings, such as:--

                In close array the ranks of heroes stand,
                Obedient to the master-mind's command.

One tie unites the old and the young brethren; in order of battle old and
young are intermingled. Each man stands ready to obey the smallest signal
of his immediate commander. As the swollen mountain torrent spreads itself
over the level ground, innumerable bands of these pour forth on all sides:

                   Mingle brown, and white, and red,
                   And strike till ev'ry foe lie dead.

The by-laws of this secret society are so strict that there is hardly an
example on record of a member incurring a denunciation, or being guilty of
treason. In consequence of the cloud of mystery which envelopes these
societies, they are the more dangerous, because unassailable by the
government. And accordingly, all precautions hitherto taken for
suppressing these secret societies of the Chinese population have proved
unavailing. Secret societies however are anything but forbidden under
Dutch rule in Java,--on the contrary, it is rather _bon ton_ to belong to
some one of the lodges of freemasonry existent out there.

Before setting out on our excursion into the interior of Java, we had an
opportunity of being present at the festivities which it is customary to
get up on the occasion of the reception of an embassy from one of the
native princes. On the present occasion it was the ministers of the Kings
of the Island of Lombok,[39] eastward of Java, who had to deliver on
behalf of their illustrious masters letters for H. E. the Governor-general
of the Dutch East Indies. During the whole of their stay they were
maintained at the expense of government in the house of a specially
appointed master of the ceremonies, a native of the Island of Borneo, and
nephew of the Sultan of Pontianab, whose official position imposes upon
him the duty of showing all that is worth seeing in the city to these
occasional illustrious Malay guests. Both ministers were accompanied
everywhere by a Malay dolmetsch, although they spoke Javanese with the
utmost fluency, in addition to their mother tongue.

On the day of the reception they made their appearance in ceremonial
dress, and in gala "turn-outs," at the government palace, where they were
presented to the Governor-general by the Resident of Batavia, the highest
authority in the city. The master of the ceremonies took charge of the
letters of the Kings of Lombok, as also of two immense spears, at least
twelve feet long, each richly gilt and gaily bedecked with yellow
tissue,[40] which were presented by the ambassadors as presents from the
Kings of Lombok to the Governor-general. It is however strictly forbidden
to the Dutch employés to accept any presents of the most trifling nature,
and even in cases such as the present, where the refusal of the gifts
would be an insult to the donor, all such must be sold for the benefit of
the treasury, or at least a corresponding amount must be returned by the
receiver out of the state treasury. Accordingly, it is the custom to
recompense all presents made by the various regents with others of far
greater value.[41]

At the entrance to the palace a guard of honour of European soldiers was
drawn up in full uniform, between whose ranks the ambassadors were ushered
into the hall of reception. One of the attendants now held a large
rich-looking, highly-gilt parasol above the letter of the Kings of Lombok,
which was borne along by the master of the ceremonies on a silver waiter.
A similar mark of distinction was conferred on the two ambassadors and the
resident. The Governor-general in full official uniform, and surrounded by
a number of government officials, received the embassy on a platform,
where he sat on a beautifully covered gilt chair, canopied with costly
tapestry. The elder of the two ambassadors, having been introduced by the
resident, thereupon proceeded to say that he was charged to present the
homage of his master to the Dutch Government, and to remit a letter. On a
formal sign by the Governor-general, the government interpreter, Mr.
Nitscher, took the letter off the silver waiter, at which moment a salute
of nine cannon-shot was fired in the garden behind the palace, to announce
to the people outdoors the moment at which the king's letter had been
received. The letter, enveloped in yellow silk, and written in Malay with
Arabic characters, was thereupon opened by the government interpreter, and
read with a loud voice, after which it was translated into Dutch. In a
similar manner the reply of the Governor-general was translated for the
two ambassadors into the Malay language.

At last, after these stiff and wearisome formalities had been gone
through, the ambassadors were invited to occupy chairs that had been
specially prepared for them next the Governor-general, when a short
exchange took place of civilities and commonplace phrases, until the
Governor-general gave the signal for breaking up, by rising from his seat.
The ambassadors were thereupon ushered forth in the same ceremonious
manner in which they had entered.

The occasion of the present embassy was a dispute with the Sultan of
Sumbawa, in which the Kings of Lombok invoked the mediation of the Dutch
Government. The Sultan of Sumbawa had in fact refused to restore two
subjects of the Kings of Lombok who had fled to Sumbawa. But for the
preponderating influence of the Dutch Government the two disputants would
long before have resorted to war.

On the 13th May we set forth in two large and very comfortable coaches for
Buitenzorg (signifying in Dutch "on the farther side of sorrow"), the
usual residence of the Governor-general, who only comes to Batavia on
certain days in the month to give audiences. He had not alone invited the
members of the Expedition to visit the Preanger Regencies as guests of the
government, and caused arrangements to be made for their ascending with as
little trouble as possible the volcanic peak of Gunung Pangerango (10,194
feet), but likewise detached one of his adjutants, M. de Kock, and Dr.
Bleeker, both well acquainted with the natural history of the country, to
accompany us upon this excursion. Messengers were sent in advance, to
announce our approach at each station, so as to secure us a comfortable
and courteous reception wherever we wished to pass a few hours, or to take
a night's rest.

Buitenzorg is distant from the capital 39 paals or Javanese miles,[42]
which distance, thanks to the excellence of the roads and the horses in
Java, is traversed in about three hours, two "loopers," or runners, as is
the custom here, as elsewhere in the East, accompanying each coach, who
are incessantly on and off the waggon, yelling and cracking their long
whips at the horses to keep them to their speed. About every five paals,
or 4-3/4 miles (English), the cattle and the runners are changed, so that
an unvarying speed is attained. All along the roads stretches the
telegraphic wire, which unites Batavia in one direction with Angier (75
miles) and Surabaya (543 miles).[43] The wood of which each post is
constructed is the _Kapok_ tree, a species of _Gossypium_, or cotton tree,
and here for the first time we saw the slender, tightly-strained wires
suspended on the stem of a luxuriant green tree. Thus, if the experiment
succeeds, the elsewhere naked, dead telegraph-poles will here be made at
once useful and productive, as each post that supports the wire will
produce a small quantity of cotton.

Buitenzorg possesses one of the finest and most extensive botanical
gardens in the world. It was laid out as far back as 1817, during the
vice-royalty of Baron van Capellen. The distribution of the various orders
is contrived equally to assist and promote the instruction of the general
observer, and to accustom the naturalist to the phenomena of Eastern
vegetation. Each order of plants has its own area. The various species of
palms are the most extensively represented, and there is scarcely one of
the genus, whether ornamental or useful, found in the Netherland Indies
or Australia, of which a representative is not to be found here. The
superintendence of this garden has been intrusted to that indefatigable
_hortulanus_, Mr. J. C. Teijsmann, who in his department assisted to the
utmost the objects of the _Novara_ Expedition. He not only presented us
with duplicates of all the more valuable plants in his very extensive
collection, but also with valuable seeds. By such kind co-operation we
found ourselves provided with some twenty various species of fibrous
plants, amongst others the well-known Ramé-shrub (_Boehmeria utilis_), and
that useful species of wild plantain, the _Musa textilis_ (from the leaves
of which is manufactured Manila hemp), as also twenty-four different
species of rice. Of these latter two were of special interest, one needing
no watering, but flourishing best in mountainous, dry soil, the other
being chiefly used by the natives for the preparation of a dye.

Mr. Teijsmann has the great merit of having been the first to introduce
into Java the cultivation of the valuable and costly Vanilla plant
(_Vanilla planifolia_), by using artificial means of fructification, after
all the many expensive experiments previously made had failed, because the
insect which effects the fructification of the plant in its original
climate, the West Indies, is not found in Java. At present the yield is so
great, that not alone does Mr. Teijsmann annually secure and send to
market several hundredweights of this aromatic pod, but several other
landowners have applied themselves to the laying out of Vanilla
plantations. The fruit, from six to ten inches in length, by three to five
lines in width, of a dark brown colour, flexible, and somewhat unctuous to
the touch, requires about five months to ripen. They are carefully dried,
first in the shade and afterwards in the sun, and are then packed away in
bundles in air-tight metal cases. One hundred pounds of fresh pods yield
about one pound of the Vanilla of commerce. Formerly the value of a pound
of Vanilla was as high as £6 sterling, but it is at present sold at about

In the beautifully situated Hotel Bellevue, where we lived while at
Buitenzorg, we chanced to become acquainted with a curious individual, a
young negro named Aquasie Boachi, son of an African prince of Coomassie,
the chief city of the kingdom of Ashantee on the Gold Coast,[44] who,
while a child of nine years, had been sent by the colonial government to
Europe, in order to be educated in Germany. It was the intention to make
apparent what early education and instruction can do for the negro, and
how the present low state of the black race is principally attributable to
their oppression hitherto, and to the limited application, in their case,
of European civilization. The experiment proved most satisfactory. Aquasie
Boachi speaks German, English, Dutch, and French quite fluently, and holds
a diploma, as mining engineer, from the mining academy of Freiberg in
Saxony. He is a pupil of the celebrated Professor Bernhard Cotta, whom he
still remembers with affection and gratitude. As Aquasie had become a
Christian he could not, save at the risk of his life, return to his
heathenish native land, to the bosom of his own family. The Dutch
Government accordingly, regarding him in the light of a victim to
philanthropical experiments, at present pays the young miner out of the
state funds about £400 per ann., and occasionally employs him on mining
researches. Aquasie had resolved to settle for life in Germany, where, as
he told us, he felt himself thoroughly at home, but the climate did not
agree with him, upon which he returned to Java, and had since occupied
himself in coffee-culture.

From the terrace of the hotel one enjoys a magnificent prospect bounded by
the mountains around. On the right rises a lofty peak, whose summit-cone
has been cloven into three pinnacles, the Gunung Salak 7204 feet
(English), an extinct volcano, from which, however, in 1699 issued immense
volumes of sand and mud, accompanied by columns of flames, tremendous
bellowings, and convulsions of the soil. The torrent of liquid mud hurried
along trunks of trees, carcasses of animals, tame as well as wild,
crocodiles and fish, and, still preserving its character of a mud torrent,
rushed into the sea near Batavia, stopping up the mouths of several rivers
and brooks. Since then this colossal hill, torn to its innermost core by
this fearful eruption, has remained silent, and peaceful fields,
alternating with luxuriant forest, stretch upwards to the very flanks of
its once dreaded summit. To the left of Gunung Salak, and in appearance
and elevation far more imposing, stands out the Gedee Range. Its highest
point is the tapering regular cone of Gunung Pangerango, still further to
the left of which rises, almost equal in height, the bare rocky wall of
the still active crater of Gunung Gedeh, from the abyss of which there
occasionally issued light clouds of vapour. But this exquisite landscape
unveils itself to the ravished view of the beholder only during the early
hours of morning. By 10 A.M. thin vapours have gathered round those lofty
summits, which gradually accumulate as noon approaches, until by 3 P.M.
there is almost invariably a dense mass of clouds resting over the entire
range, which very frequently dissolve with fearful violence in the shape
of tremendous tropical thunder-storms. The annual rainfall at Buitenzorg
would seem to be higher than at any other spot on the face of the earth.
During some years it occasionally attains the depth of 200 inches
(English), which is far beyond the utmost known in Central or Southern

The evening we spent at the residence of M. Van de Groote, inspector of
the tin-mines of Banka and Borneo, who was of very great use to the
geologist of the Expedition, and at whose hospitable house we met a number
of personages of distinction.

On the following morning (14th May), before prosecuting our journey, we
made an excursion to the neighbouring Batoetoelis (pronounced
Batootoolis), as a number of trachytic rocks are called, to which young
Javanese wives, who wish to become mothers, ascribe the most marvellous
virtues. The inscriptions hewn on the stones have been deciphered by the
German philologist, Dr. Friedrich. There is also shown a stone with a
depression like a human foot, which tradition asserts to be the footstep
of a native prophet, who is supposed to have stood thereon at a time when
the mass was not yet solid and hardened. There evidently is some
association of ideas similar to that of the Cingalese respecting Adam's
Peak, but without the poetic colouring of the latter.

From Buitenzorg we went to Tjipannas,[46] a country-seat of the
Governor-general, at the foot of Pangerango. The road from Buitenzorg to
Tjipannas is part of the great post-road from Batavia to Surabaya, which
just at this point traverses the mountain pass of Mengamendoeng, 4925
feet high, an outlier of the Gedeh range. It passes at first through
richly-cultivated properties, with splendid rice-crops, and a little
further on through coffee plantations, after which comes uninhabited
wilderness, when the road becomes so steep that a pair of buffalos are
harnessed in front of the horses of each carriage. _En route_ we visited
at Pondok-Gedeh the beautiful property of the family of Van den Bosch,
whose founder greatly distinguished himself in promoting the agricultural
prosperity of the island, while Governor-general of the colony, 1830-33.
In the extensive gardens here we saw several large species of _Vanilla_
and _Cactus_ (_Nopal_), the latter of which are devoted to the propagation
and gathering of the diminutive cochineal insect, from which is procured
such a valuable dye. In 1826, a pair of this very fecund insect were
brought from Spain to Java, and at present[47] there are in Pondok-Gedeh
alone 500,000 plants, from which between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds of
cochineal are obtained annually, while other gardens of Nopal of equal
size occur elsewhere throughout the island. We were also filled with
astonishment at the variety and richness of the brushwood and forest
trees, which the European is accustomed to see only as diminutive, tender
specimens, the rare plants of a hot-house! Under the influence of a
tropical climate, and a fruitful soil, the tea plant, the nutmeg, the
cinnamon, the sugar-cane, the coffee bean, and the indigo, all flourish
in wildest profusion, and the various warehouses are as crammed with the
splendid produce of these valuable colonial staples as our northern
granaries are with the necessaries of subsistence in the shape of dried

Quite close to Pondok-Gedeh, amid the majestic mountain scenery of Gadok,
is the _maison de Santé_ of Dr. Steenstra Toussaint, which enjoys a
well-earned reputation under the management of Dr. Bernstein, a German
physician and naturalist. Invalid residents of the coast, when recovering
from climatic diseases, make a point of hurrying to this institution, in
order to benefit by the keen, bracing mountain air. Dr. Bernstein is, as
far as his professional engagements will admit, at once a zealous
collector, and a skilful preparer, who has already made some very
beautiful collections, and who, if he stay here any length of time, will
be in a position to enrich considerably the museums of natural history in
Europe, with numerous rare and valuable specimens.

Just at the summit of the pass of Megamendoeng (dark cloud), begin the
Preanger Regencies. This pass moreover forms a boundary line between the
Malay language, chiefly used for commercial transactions along the coast,
and that of Sunda, the difference between which two idioms, as regards the
uninformed stranger is only so far important, that in asking a native for
a light for his cigar, he must now say "Sono," instead of "Api," as
hitherto, always supposing that he is a smoker, a qualification which
rarely fails to appertain to the inhabitants of the Dutch East Indies.

Here, in a wooden building open on all sides, and commanding an exquisite
panoramic view, we partook of a _déjeuner à la fourchette_, prepared quite
in the European style, after which, amidst a drenching thunder-plump, we
pursued our course to Tjipannas, which lies about 1000 feet below the
level of the pass.

At every village we passed, the authorities, as is the custom of the
country, provided us with an escort. Thus we almost constantly had some 20
or 30 persons riding behind our carriages. The poor people had indued
themselves in their best apparel, and looked very pretty in their varied
fantastic attire. Even the rain, which still continued to descend in
torrents, did not prevent them from following us, in order to do justice
to the requirements of Javanese etiquette. So too, every one whom we met
on the road assumed a respectful attitude, resting on the knees in a
half-kneeling position, and cowering down in the road with folded hands,
till our vehicle had rolled by. All the villages we saw had a very neat,
clean, cheerful appearance. The houses of the Javanese (with the exception
of those of the native authorities) are as a rule built entirely of
bamboo, part being of wicker-work, part of the cane placed either side by
side, or above each other, the whole roofed in with palm-leaves, or
Allang grass (_Imperata Allang_), or narrow shingles of cut bamboo, and
with a flooring raised two or three feet above the level of the soil. The
beautiful yellow wicker-work is usually stained in alternate squares of so
black a colour that the walls of a Javanese hut resemble nothing so much
as a gigantic draught-board. Under the eaves of the dwelling, which
project five or six feet, and is supported in front upon poles, so that
there is a sort of verandah beneath, are suspended cages with various
feathered inhabitants, which the Javanese cherish with much tenderness, or
else a very peculiarly constructed bee-hive, consisting of a bamboo-cane,
six or nine inches thick by three or four feet in length, which is split
through the centre, hollowed out, and fastened together again on the upper

Through a small orifice left in front, this artificial cavity is within a
week or two peopled with a swarm of tiny stingless bees (_Meliporia
minuta_) which in the wild state inhabit the holes and cavities of the
calcareous cliffs, and provide the Javanese with honey and wax. The latter
product is blackish, slimy, and adhesive, and is employed in the
delineation of the beautifully coloured figures in the gowns (_Sarongs_)
of the native women.

                  [Illustration: Javanese Bee-hive.]

At the station of Tjianjawar, we were saluted, while changing horses, by a
Javanese chief, from Tjiangoer, named Radben Rangga Padma Negara, who,
despite the tremendous tropical rains, accompanied us on horseback in his
rich uniform, overlaid with gold lace, as far as Tjipannas, where we were
received by two government officials, and welcomed with the utmost
cordiality. Here it was arranged we were to pass the night, so as, early
the following morning, to make the ascent of Gunung Pangerango. We also
found awaiting us a letter from Dr. Junghuhn, the renowned geologist and
writer on the natural history of Java, who for years has resided about a
day's journey from Tjipannas, at Lembang, at the foot of Tankuban-Prahu,
and has latterly been engaged by government to superintend the china-plant
cultivation. Dr. Junghuhn had come to meet us as far as Tjipodas, where
the first attempts at cultivation of the china plant were being made with
roots imported from South America, but, owing to a press of important
business, was compelled to return to his own station before we reached the
Preanger Regencies. This estimable German gentleman urgently besought us,
by letter, to visit him in his forest abode, and painted in the most
glowing colours the wonders of Nature, and the interest in a scientific
point of view of his mighty mountain neighbour. At the same time he sent
over his learned assistant, Dr. de Vrij, to welcome in his name the
Austrian travellers, to explain to them in all their detail the
Cinchona-plantations at the foot of Pangerango, and to enlighten them as
to the present condition and prospects of this very important branch of

On the morning of 15th May we set off on horseback for the Pangerango,
which was covered with dense vapours, which wholly concealed it from view,
and rather damped our hopes of enjoying a fine view from the summit. A
path for horses has been made to the very top, and although at certain
points this passes over exceedingly steep ground, yet the Javanese horses
climb with such safety and dogged perseverance, even in the most dangerous
spots, that one may leave these small but powerful animals to choose their
way, with as much confidence as in the case of that most sure-footed of
animals, the mule of South America. Our cavalcade consisted of thirty
riders, while an immense number of natives took on themselves the duties
of an honorary body-guard. The forests, usually so lonely, were now alive
with hundreds of men, busy transporting our horses, provisions, couches,
tables, and stores, which were all to be conveyed to the highest peak of
the mountain, where we intended to spend the evening. After we had
attained a considerable distance from Tjipannas, constantly ascending till
we were about 4000 feet above it, we found the flanks of the mountain
quite free of wood. The traveller sees a few villages scattered at random,
and rides over grass pasturages, on which are feeding troops of buffalos,
alternating with plantations of tobacco or coffee. But at the very point
where the forest gradually begins, where gigantic trees have been left
standing like so many sentinels, there it is that the amazed European
falls in with most luxuriant beds of artichokes and strawberries, and is
welcomed on this distant soil by all the well-known fruits of his remote
home. The path leads past Tjipodas, into a deep narrow valley, overgrown
with the most luxuriant vegetation, and thence through a forest of
indescribable majesty, filled with the straight, tapering, pillar-shaped
trunks, 80 to 100 feet in height, of the imposing Rasamala
(_Liquidambar-Altingiana_), and a thoroughly tropical underwood of wild
_Musaceæ_, and splendid tree-ferns, till finally the broad plateau-shaped
Tjiburum (red-water) is reached. Here at an elevation of 5100 feet we
found some Pasanggrahans, or resting-houses, erected by government for the
shelter and accommodation of all travellers through these mountain
solitudes, who may happen to be surprised by night, or inclement weather.
Such hostelries are found everywhere in the interior of Java, especially
in those districts where they are most likely to be needed by European
travellers, or by government employés, during their frequent tours of
inspection, in which they occasionally undergo severe privations. At
Tjiburum, lying far above the regions inhabited by man, there is a small
nursery of useful plants of colder climes, bearing ample testimony to the
indefatigable activity of Mr. Teijsmann of Buitenzorg, to whom the
community is moreover chiefly indebted for the laying out of the entire
road to the summit of the mountain. As there was every indication of a
severe storm coming on, and as we hoped by pressing forward to get to our
goal before it should burst, we halted here only long enough to change
horses. This done we again resumed the ascent, much refreshed by the
delay, which imparted renewed vigour to climb the steep zig-zag pathway,
which now led through a gloomy, silent forest, whence not a sound issued
except the _blowing_ of our cattle, as they breasted the steep, and far
below us the hollow roar of the mountain brook, which swept through the
valley beneath. We then found ourselves approaching nearer and nearer to
some resounding torrent, which went on increasing, till to our amazement
we suddenly perceived amid the keen cool mountain breezes a smoking
cascade of hot water!! (_Tji-olok_, or Sulphur spring). This warm spring,
with a temperature of 113° Fahr., which even at its source forms a
tolerable-sized brook, issues with much spluttering from a trachytic rock
close by the way-side, and rushes, brawling and foaming, down a narrow
defile, overgrown with splendid tree-ferns, and which is crossed by means
of a slight rustic bridge. Scarcely is it possible to conceive a richer
landscape, recalling as it were the primeval days of earth in all the
luxuriance of Nature in the flush of youth, than this forest of
tree-ferns, enveloped in clouds of warm vapour, which rise from this
volcanic spring, close alongside of a clear, cold mountain torrent, which
just here leaps into the same chasm! This hot spring thus early indicates
the presence of volcanic fires, which is further evidenced by a tract of
volcanic débris, over which it is necessary to clamber, and which has been
ejected by the destructive energies of the neighbouring active crater of
Gedeh, from which the subterranean forces usually throw up, not red-hot
lava-streams, but from time to time tremendous stone and mud currents,
which, rushing down the steep flanks of the mountain, overrun and destroy
everything around.

About 10 A.M. we reached Kandang Badak, or the spot where rhinoceroses
assemble, which is the second station, 7200 feet above sea-level. Solitary
specimens of the formidable animals which have given their name to this
place are still met with here; but a troop of some hundred men,
accompanied by almost as many horses, must necessarily make such a din in
the usually solitary forest, as at once to account for our being unable by
personal observation to speak as to whether it deserves the name it has
received. The rhinoceros, despite his immense size, is a shy, timid
animal, who flees before man, and only attacks him when fairly compelled
to do so in self-defence. The Pasanggrahan erected at this spot has
several times already been burnt down by red-hot stones ejected from
Gedeh. Here the path divides, one branch leading to the still active
crater of Gedeh, which can only be reached on foot, the other leading to
the summit of Pangerango. For the second time we changed horses, and now
had the last bit of the way before us--the steep, almost precipitous, cone
of Pangerango. It was enveloped in thick clouds, and it was only by the
short windings of the path we could realize that we were riding up an
isolated cone of regular form, the slope of which was between 25 and 30
degrees. The cool air of these elevated regions now began to make itself
felt, while our sensations bodily testified to the northern character of
the vegetation around us. The tree-ferns indeed continued to grow up to
the very highest point, but long ere reaching the summit they ceased to be
found among the gigantic forest-pillars of the _Liquid-ambar_, but grew
between dwarfish, knotted, stunted trees, whose trunks were overrun with a
bright green moss, while from the branches hung festoons of greyish-green
beard-moss (_Tillandsia usnioides_), greatly resembling hair. The trees,
instead of stretching out their brown limbs to the air and light above,
left them to droop sullenly to the ground, turning themselves, as though
in pain, away from the rude wind which swept through their branches, and,
as it were, seeking for warmth and sustenance from mother Earth alone. All
the plants here showed a tendency to become creepers, as also to a
circumscribed growth and extent of foliage, as well as uniformity of
species. By 3 P.M. the whole party, including a rear-guard of irregular
naturalists and sharp-shooters, had finally reached the summit of the
mountain. When Dr. Junghuhn, the first man who trod this solitude, made
the earliest ascent of this mountain in 1839, he found not a trace of a
human step, and had painfully to make his way by rhinoceros-paths, beneath
a thick overhanging canopy of leaves, and through dense underwood. Thus he
finally succeeded in forcing a passage through the forest, till he emerged
upon a naked patch in the middle of the peak, where a rhinoceros was
lying in the middle of the stream, while another was browsing on the edge
of the forest: they fled snorting away on beholding him. How different was
what we now witnessed on the same spot!

The flat space on the summit, somewhat concave in shape, and sinking
gradually away, the deepest part being towards the S.W., whence issues the
highest spring in Java, now resembled the bivouac of a detachment of
troops. Everywhere were men and horses, with cheerful blazing fires for
cooking and warming, while immediately adjoining a strawberry garden
filled with delicious fruit, rose a hut for shelter against wind and
weather, in which we found a surprising degree of comfort. Tables, chairs,
beds, excellent provisions and drinkables, were ready for us at an
elevation of more than 9000 feet above the level of the sea, so that there
was nothing wanting which could in any way contribute to our comfort. Even
the necessary warmth was supplied by a huge iron stove, constantly kept
supplied with fresh fuel by a Javanese servant, cowering on the ground.
This was the more necessary that our systems, accustomed of late to
tropical temperature, were unusually susceptible to this sudden and
extreme change. In the morning when we left Tjipannas the thermometer even
at that early hour marked 70°, while the mercury had now sunk to 48°.22
Fahr. The longings we so often expressed, during a sojourn for months
together on the bosom of the ocean, amid the moist, sultry strata of the
lower atmosphere, in an almost unvarying Turkish-bath-like temperature of
86°, of being once more re-invigorated by a little cold, were now being
gratified to the letter.

Unfortunately our anticipated enjoyment of the view from the summit was
entirely frustrated by rain and cloud: we could hardly see anything a
hundred yards distant, and the only idea we could form of the gigantic
mountains and splendid hill-scenery that we knew surrounded us on all
hands, had to be derived chiefly from the topographical charts we found in
the hut. It was only during the occasional fleeting glimpses, when the
S.E. trade-wind of the upper atmosphere, generally the chief ruler of
these lofty regions, and almost always accompanied by a pure, blue sky,
overpowered the N.W. trade (which blew from beneath; and, trending upwards
along the cleft in the western side of the crater of Mondolawangi,
continually enveloped anew in clouds the summit of the Pangerango), that
it was permitted us to descry, now here, now there, small stretches of the
country lying spread out at our feet, or to perceive closer at hand the
inner slope of the crater of Gedeh, lying exposed to our wondering vision.
We did what we could to secure a few thermometrical and barometrical
observations, as also to shoot, to geologize, to botanize; and many a
valuable discovery was made ere night set in and compelled us to seek
shelter against the raw, cold night air, in the Pasanggrahan, which had
been so carefully fitted up for our accommodation. On the summit we found
quite an accumulation of various elegant little plants, which recalled to
us the Alpine districts of our own land, one of which, first discovered
by Junghuhn, and named by him _Primula Imperialis_,[49] is one of the
loveliest flowers in Nature, and which has never yet been found in any
other part of the globe; while in the brushwood around we heard the cooing
of a bird of the thrush species (_Turdus fumidus_), which, with the
exception of a small, very elegant little fellow, somewhat resembling the
willow-wren, was the sole representative of the feathered tribe in these
elevated regions.

All our hopes were now directed towards the ensuing morning, which it was
hoped would bring us better weather. By five in the morning every one was
on foot, watching with anxious look the advent of the star of day. But
alas! ere long all was once more enveloped for us in a dense but fine
vapour, and the thermometer indicated only 47°.33 Fahr.

About fifty feet higher than the two huts for shelter erected on the
plateau rises a trigonometrical pole, which, visible from a great
distance, serves as a land-mark for the government surveyors during their
labours in this neighbourhood. Any clear morning, when the sky is free
from clouds, one must enjoy from this free, airy out-look a splendid
distant view over a large portion of the Preanger Regency. As for
ourselves our panorama continued to be lamentably circumscribed, and all
we could do was, to watch for those fleeting moments during which the
clouds lifted and gave us a brief yet comprehensive glimpse of the
wondrous natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Pangerango, 9326 Paris, or 9940 English, feet in height, is the loftiest
of the extinct volcanic cones of Java, rising on the eastern slope of an
enormous crater-gulf, likewise extinct. Close in the vicinity, not above a
mile distant to the S.E., and communicating with it by the ridge of Pasce
Alang, 7000 (Paris) feet in height, rises another volcanic peak, Gunung
Gedeh, of almost precisely identical height (9323 Paris, or 9937 English,
feet). Its summit has fallen in, and from amid the débris on the floor of
this ruined crater rises a second cone far less in height, but in full
activity, with a deep crater, which is the true fiery gorge of the still
active Gedeh. Towards 7 A.M. the clouds dispersed for a considerable
space, when directly opposite us we saw the beautifully regular cone of
Gedeh, with its perpendicular precipitous crater-wall, some 600 or 700
feet high. So near, indeed, did it appear to the eye that we could almost
fancy it possible to throw a stone from the one summit to the other, so
that it should fall exactly into the crater, from amid whose rents and
cavities thick volumes of smoke were bursting forth at several points.

By 10 A.M. our caravan was once more under weigh on our return to
Tjipannas. The geologist of the Expedition, however, accompanied by Dr.
Vrij and one of the government employés, set off upon a rather dangerous
adventure, viz. the ascent of the Gedeh. Of this interesting excursion,
Dr. Hochstetter gives the following interesting details:--

"A short distance before reaching the station of Kandung Badak, the path
leaves the road by which we had come thus far. Here we had to clamber
upwards as best we might, by a narrow path densely overgrown, and
evidently but rarely traversed, till presently we emerged from the forest
upon a tract of loose stone and scoriæ, which, sparsely covered with low
bushes and grass, forms the upper portion of the peak of Gedeh. A strong
odour of sulphuretted hydrogen greeted us here, issuing from a Solfatara,
which nestled under the true crater in a deep savage cleft of rock. Hot
sulphureous and watery vapours were emitted from among the dark crannies
of the rock, the upper edges of which were coloured yellow with pure
sulphur: with much difficulty we still pressed on, and finally reached the
edge of the ruined crater. What a contrast presented itself here in the
view before us and the landscape behind!

"Behind we could see from base to summit clear and unbroken the beautiful
luxuriantly-green well-wooded peak of Pangerango, on whose highest point
stood out near and distinct the trigonometrical pole, or land-mark, while
from the forest was heard an occasional musket-shot, sure sign that the
company of travellers from the ship were on their way down. On the other
hand, when we cast our eyes forward we saw but dismal desolate groups of
grey rock, around the lofty amphitheatre-shaped rock wall of the
broken-down lip of a crater, regularly constructed of pillar-like masses
of trachyte, each sundered from the column immediately adjoining, beneath
which was the smoking cone of the active region of the crater, a bare heap
of stone and scoriæ, of the utmost variety of colour. Stretching from the
vast abyss of the crater-ruins, on whose bald slope is situated the cone
of the new eruption, there is visible at intervals on either side, far
down, until indeed it is lost in the dark gloom of the forest, a bare
rocky ravine, full of stones and débris, which the active vent of the
crater has from time to time vomited forth. We had on the previous day
passed the lower extremity of this stream while riding to Pangerango.

"But we were not yet at the goal of our wanderings. We still had to climb
from this point, and afterwards to scramble up to the summit of the active
cone. This, however, proved to be much more easy than we had thought when
looking at it from below, and we arrived without any disaster at the

"Here then we were standing upon the edge of a yawning crater, in full
activity! Not a single step forward was it possible for us to make. In
front of us lay a funnel-shaped slope, 250 feet in depth, the floor of
which was covered with mud, in which stood frequent pools of boiling water
of a yellow tinge. The Javanese who accompanied us stated that they had
never before seen it so quiet, the crater having always been quite full
of steam and vapour. On the present occasion the steam only escaped in
small volumes through a few fissures in the sides of the inverted cone,
and more particularly from the cracks and crevices on the exterior of the
cone of scoriæ. We could perceive only water, steam, mud, and
sharp-cornered fragments of rock, the débris and rubbish formed by the
disintegration of the rocky masses thrown up by the crater, but not a
trace, not a vestige, of any molten stream of lava, heaped up by the
present crater of Gedeh. The whole history of the activity of this volcano
may be compared to the explosions of a vapour cauldron in the interior of
the earth, which has been heated by the masses of old trachytic lava
currents in an incandescent state, but not yet thoroughly cooled, whose
eruptions formed the principal means of erecting the volcanic cone.
Repeatedly up to our own times has the mountain thrown up water, mud, and
stones, together with fine powdered sand and volcanic ashes, which have
travelled as far as Batavia, as also masses of melted stone cemented by
liquefied sand, while marvellous volumes of flame were visible to an
immense distance; but at no period within the memory of man has the Gedeh
poured forth the hot liquid lava, or thrown up into the air melted
volcanic matter. We must regard it as in its last stage, as about to
become extinct, like all the other volcanoes of Java. It is the last
reaction of the internal fires against the atmosphere penetrating from
without. Even the most active volcanoes of Java, such as Gunung Guntur and
Gunung Lamengan eject only masses of liquefied rock and scoriæ, cemented
by the heat, but the regular lava currents have never been observed."

While Dr. Hochstetter was occupied with this excursion to the active
crater of Gedeh, the remaining members of the Expedition had reached
Tjipodas at the foot of this fire-mountain, where, at an elevation of 4400
feet above sea-level, and at an annual average temperature of 63°.5 Fahr.,
the first attempts were made to acclimatize in Java the valuable quinquina
tree (_Cinchona sp._).

Although for twenty years past the introduction into Java of the
cultivation of the quinquina tree, the bark of which is of such
superlative importance for suffering humanity, had been repeatedly tried,
this praiseworthy intention was only successfully carried into effect in
1852, through the purchase of a specimen of _Cinchona Calisaya_ from the
_Jardin des Plantes_ at Paris by the then colonial minister of the kingdom
of the Netherlands, M. Pahud, afterwards Governor-general of the Dutch
East Indies. M. Pahud had the plant brought to Leyden with the utmost
care, whence it was conveyed to Rotterdam for shipment to Batavia.
Immediately on its arrival this plant, the progenitor of all that have
been grown since, was placed in what is called the Governor-general's
strawberry garden in Tjipodas, where it was protected by a bamboo shed
from rain and sun, and at the time of our visit was 16 feet high. Dr.
Hasskarl, widely renowned as a botanist, was, on the recommendation of Dr.
Junghuhn, who had himself been urgently requested to undertake the duty,
entrusted with a mission to Peru, whence he was to bring back offshoots,
and germinating seeds, of the various species of Cinchona from which
quinine is obtainable. Two years later, a Dutch man-of-war was specially
despatched to Callao, the harbour of Lima, to convey Hasskarl with his
valuable booty. That gentleman accordingly brought away with him four
well-rooted young trees, and the seeds of four species of Cinchona,[50]
but only the saplings gave promise of success, whereas the greater part of
the seeds, on being sown, were lost. M. Hasskarl has had the reproach cast
upon him, that during his expensive residence of two years' duration in
Peru, he should have collected such few data of the higher and lower
limits of vegetation of the China plant, and the conditions of soil and
mountain temperature under which it best flourishes, of the general
influence exercised on it by storm and humidity, as also upon the annual
quantity of rain it requires, whether a shady or sunny place of growth be
best adapted to it, the period of flowering and fructification, the
alterations which may be rendered necessary by its habits of growth at
various points, as to what are its natural enemies, and how far its
alkaloid properties are affected by the greater or less elevation above
the sea of the spot in which it is growing, &c., &c. Nay, some persons
went so far as to allege that the botanist had never seen one single
China plantation, and had never personally selected either the plants or
the seed, but had made arrangements for being supplied with the specimens
he brought by means of the native bark-collectors (_Cascarilleros_). As
though still further to enhance the public discontent with Hasskarl, and
the failure of his expensive mission, fate unhappily willed that his wife,
who was said to be bringing with her his papers and memoranda of his stay
in Peru, was lost, together with the vessel which, after several years'
separation from her husband, was about restoring her to his arms, in
consequence of which many questions relating to the cultivation of the
China plant in northern and southern Peru remained unanswered! Hasskarl
ere long returned to Europe "for his health," and the superintendence of
the China cultivation was in June, 1858, committed to Dr. Junghuhn, in
whose careful charge it now is, and has taken a start which leaves no room
to doubt its ultimate and permanent success.

In October, 1856, there were in Tjipodas 105 China trees of 2 feet 6
inches high (41 of _C. Calisaya_, 64 of _C. Condanimea_). On 31st October,
1857, there were only 95 about 4 feet 11-1/2 inches in height, all in
flourishing condition, while 10 had died. The cause of this lamentable
phenomenon could not long escape the piercing glance of Junghuhn. The
first tender shoots had been planted in a Tufa soil, the fertile covering
of which barely exceeded 6 to 9 inches in thickness, and were surrounded
by roots and stumps of immense forest trees that had been cut down, which
of course prevented anything like expansion, and, in a word, completely
stifled their growth.

In the case of the earlier plants, there was far too little attention paid
to the requisite amount of shade. The timber had been entirely cleared
away, and the young plants were consequently exposed during the whole day
to the fierce heat of the tropics. Unless people were prepared to see the
whole plantation go to ruin it was necessary at once to take protecting
measures against it. Junghuhn was a man fit for any emergency, as he had
already shown on the banks of his native Rhine, when the very cells of
Ehrenbreitstein, with which a chivalric adventure had made him acquainted
in his youth, had for once been found too narrow to hold him. So in
Tjipodas, the man of resources was able at once to devise a remedy. With
incredible toil, and the most fostering care and attention, nearly all the
trees were, without detriment to one single twig, transplanted from a soil
so little congenial to them to the adjoining Rasamala-wood, in which the
proud, slight _Liquid-ambar Altingiana_ imparts its own peculiar character
to the primeval forest, where they were transferred to spots partly
shaded, which had already been prepared for their special reception, the
sites having been surrounded with trenches to carry off the superfluous
water. In October, 1857, some of the trees had already attained a height
of 14-1/2 feet; by 31st March of the following year they were already
15-1/2 feet, while their stems were 3.44 inches thick. Many of the trees
planted near the forest had within three months grown from 9 to 21
inches, while the few that remained on their old site had only gained 9 or
10 inches in height, a fact which seemed incontestably to prove that the
new site was the better adapted to them. In June, 1857, the first blossom
had made its appearance on one of the _Condanimea_, but it was not till
May, 1858, that the majority of the trees were in full bloom, or that the
ripening fruit began to make its appearance. When all the fruits ripen,
Dr. Junghuhn told us he was in hopes he would secure 80,000 fruit, which,
as each fruit contains about 40 seeds, would provide him with 3,200,000
seedlings. It is not indeed a question merely of ripe and at the same time
fertilized seeds, but chiefly whether the bark of this plant contains in
the land of its adoption, and under different conditions, that costly
alkaloid quinine, which seems daily to become more indispensable in the
science of medicine.

Despite the most anxious solicitude there had long been remarked in
Tjipodas a gradual decay of some of the shoots, but it was only a few days
before our arrival that after a most minute zealous inquiry the cause of
this phenomenon was discovered. A minute insect, scarcely 1/25 of an inch
in length, of the _Bostrichus_ species, proved to be the foe of these
plants. The holes which are burrowed by this insect, are drilled quite
through the wood of the stem and branches into the very pith, in which it
finally stops and lays its eggs. The Cinchona trees thus bored through are
irremediably ruined, but there is always the hope that, as the roots
remain sound, they may afterwards put forth new shoots. However, the
appearance of this insect does not seem to be the primary cause of the
disease of the trees,--on the contrary, disease is the cause of the
appearance of the insect. If the other trees prove to be successfully
reared, the insect will disappear, since it was convincingly proved by one
of our zoologists that it had not come to the country with the Cinchona
seeds and plants, but was undoubtedly indigenous to Java.

Altogether there were, in May, 1858, upon the whole island three quinquina
plantations, which have been specially established with a view to the
solution of certain questions of climate at various elevations, and are
situated in the following localities:--

1. In Tjipodas at the foot of Gunung Gedeh (4400 to 4800 feet above
sea-level), in a beautiful Liquid-ambar forest, and containing 80 plants.

2. In Bengalenzong, on the declivities of the Malabar Range (4000 to 7000
feet in height), in the midst of a considerable oak forest (_Quercus
fagifolia_), containing 600 plants.

3. South of Besuki on the Ajang Range (about 6800 feet above sea-level),
in a plantation[51] containing 21 plants, to which Dr. Junghuhn gave the
name of Wono Djampie, i. e. Forest of medicines.

The Dutch Government has spared neither trouble nor expense, and has made
considerable sacrifices, to bring over the quinquina plant from its native
country, where it was believed to be threatened with utter destruction, to
Java, there to be acclimatized. The chances in favour of an adequate
return are very great, and the attainment of this object has been secured
within certain limits. Of all the tropical regions we visited, the Island
of Java seems by its natural advantages to be the best capable of
affording to the tree which produces the febrifuge bark, so invaluable a
boon of nature to suffering humanity, a second home, amid the magnificent
scenery of its mountain ranges.

However, the wide-spread idea that the China plant is exposed to utter
extinction in its native land of Peru has proved to be quite unfounded. We
shall revert to this subject when we come to treat of our visit to the
western coast of South America, and shall take pains to solve at least
some portion of the question in dispute, as to certain necessary
conditions being requisite to be observed in the case of the quinquina
plant in its original home, the investigation of which, the superintendent
of the quinquina tree culture in Java, Dr. Franz Junghuhn, so earnestly
commended to the attention of the scientific members of the _Novara_

However, our interest was not confined to these China-tree plantations;
our attention was riveted by the marvellous Rasamala (Liquid-ambar) forest
in which we now found ourselves, while those fond of the chase were not
less amazed and gratified, at bringing down a splendid specimen of what
is known as the Kalong or Roussette Bat (_Pteropus vulgaris_). These
singular nocturnal animals hang in enormous quantities throughout the
entire day from the branches of the trees, amid the profoundest stillness,
till evening sets in and dismisses them to their nightly evolutions. They
are then visible flying through the air like gigantic bats, or flying

While riding back to Tjipannas we remarked amid the smiling rice fields
several poles with hangings of various kinds, resembling those erected on
the shore in front of their huts by the superstitious natives of the
Nicobar Islands, in order to keep his Satanic Majesty at a distance. The
natives call these poles Tundang-Setan (talisman against the devil), and
believe they can by their aid frighten away the evil spirits, while they
are gathering the crop from their rice fields.

From Tjipodas the excursionists proceeded to Tjiangoer,[52] the present
capital of the Preanger Regency, containing about 15,000 inhabitants,
where some days were to be spent in excursions, collections, hunting, and
other amusements, after which we were compelled by the limited time
available to return to Buitenzorg and Batavia. Two members of the
Expedition, Drs. Hochstetter and Scherzer, penetrated a little further
into the interior, with the purpose of paying a visit to Dr. Junghuhn, to
whose researches in the Natural History of Java we are so much indebted.
The following few pages are devoted to an account of this interesting

Towards 5 P.M. we arrived at Tjiangoer, in company with Dr. de Vrij and M.
Vollenhoven, and immediately set out on our journey to Bandong, so as to
reach the same evening that neat little town, whose singularly favourable
position, almost exactly in the centre of the Regency, makes it a
dangerous rival to Tjiangoer as the seat of government. _En route_ we
passed Tjisokan, a small village, most of whose inhabitants are engaged in
procuring edible swallows'-nests, which are found in great quantities at a
chalk mountain about twelve miles distant, known as Radjamandula.[53] The
spots at which the edible nests of the _Hirundo esculenta_ are found are
anything but grottoes peculiar to this product, as is usually alleged, but
steep, almost inaccessible, cliffs, crannies, and fissures in the rock, in
which the swallows build their nests, and which can only be reached by the
utmost exertion, frequently accompanied by danger to life. They are met
with partly upon the south coast, close above the raging surf, partly deep
in the interior, about 2000 feet above the level of the sea, distant
several hundred English miles from the nearest part of the sea-shore; and
while the inhabitants of Karangbólong have to scale the almost
perpendicular coast-wall by means of ladders[54] of Rotang (_Calamus
Rotang_) and Bamboo, ere they can reach the entrance of the cavern, the
natives of Bandong, on the contrary, are compelled to climb up to a yet
greater elevation among the precipices and rocks, ere they are able to
reach the openings that lead to the various hollows.

While the birds are breeding, or if they have their young, which happens
four times each year, one half remain in the cavities, and both males and
females take their turns in sitting to brood, every six hours. Each nest
is inhabited by a pair of swallows, so that if 1000 nests are found in a
cave, they are inhabited by 2000 grown swallows (half male, half female).
The fecundity of this bird is so great, that, although the nests are
gathered four times a year, and that somewhere about a million of their
progeny is at each plucking wasted or destroyed by the collectors, they
never seem to diminish. The six caves at Bandong give yearly about 14,000
nests, that at Karangbólong about 500,000: one hundred nests weigh about
one _catty_ (1-1/4 lb.), and one hundred catties (125 lbs.) make one
_picul_.[55] For each picul of these nests, which they look upon as a
special delicacy, the Chinese pay from 4000 to 5000 guilders (£350 to
£420). The nest-gatherers are apparently a special class, whose occupation
is handed down from father to son.

Close to the village of Tjisokan, a very elegant wooden bridge,
constructed on the American system, but entirely erected out of the
resources of the colony, has been thrown over the Tjisokan river. The
roads, although broad and kept in excellent order, nevertheless lead
occasionally over hills so steep, that to descend them in a heavy
carriage, especially considering the rapidity with which the Javanese
drive, is exceedingly uncomfortable, and even dangerous, although the
wheels are in such cases provided with a solid "_sabot_," and where this
seems likely to prove inadequate, a number of natives hang on to the
wheels behind, who for a small gratuity control the rate of descent by
means of ropes.

At last, about midnight, shortly before which we passed the river
Tji-Tarum by a ferry, we reached Bandong, and on gaining the residence of
the Javanese Regent, Raden Adipati Wira Nata Kusuma (spelt by the Dutch
_Koesoema_, but pronounced as spelt in the text), were received,
notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, in the most hospitable and
friendly manner. Here we found everything, even to the minutest detail,
managed in the European fashion; and no guest would imagine that he was in
the house of one of the Mahometan princes of Java, were he not reminded of
the fact by the rich Oriental costume of his host and his family, as also
by the Javanese domestics, bearing elegant richly-adorned Siri, or
betel-boxes, of gold or silver, and invariably tendering their services to
their masters in a stooping posture, or rather sliding after them upon
their knees. For the Javanese, too, greatly affect the leaf of the betel,
mingled with powdered areca-nut, powdered coral, or pearl chalk, and
Gambir (_Nauclea Gambir_); however, this mixture is not chewed, but
placed between the lips and the front teeth, where it is barely kept long
enough to admit of the saliva collecting in the mouth of a blood-red
colour, which they spit out, the poor in their huts into cocoa-nut shells,
the wealthier classes into copper vessels, but princes and rich people
into golden spittoons. Even the ladies have given way to this custom, and
the native belles make use occasionally of this filthy juice in order to
keep importunate admirers at a distance!

Supper, which, in anticipation of our arrival, had been made ready for us,
was served entirely in the European mode, and our Mahometan host went so
far in his assimilation to Western ideas as to overcome certain religious
scruples, and himself join us at table. As we sat round the board long
after midnight the Assistant Resident of the district made his appearance,
M. Visscher van Gaasbeek, a Hanoverian by birth, who however has lived
twenty-five years in this country, and immediately placed himself entirely
at our disposal. We now proceeded to chalk out our plan of operations for
the ensuing day, and the Regent gave orders in advance to have in
readiness his own coach and several saddle-horses for an excursion to
Lembang, the residence of M. Junghuhn. Before we separated, the Regent,
with whom unfortunately we could only communicate through a Malay
interpreter, with much condescension produced out of a leathern case his
own elegantly-engraved _carte-de-visite_, and expressed his desire to
exchange with ourselves. The Javanese princes seem to attach especial
importance to anticipating the Europeans in good-breeding, and
forestalling the desires and wishes of strangers. At last, towards 2 A.M.,
we went to rest, and despite the fatigue of the previous day, were by 5
A.M. seated in the carriage of the Regent, _en route_ to the residence of
Dr. Junghuhn. We drove the two first posts, about 10 _paals_, when we
exchanged that mode of conveyance for our horses, which in less than an
hour brought us to Lembang, situated about 4000 feet above sea-level, in
an almost European climate. Standing alone close to this village is the
beautiful dwelling of Junghuhn, at the foot of the volcano Tangkuban
Prahu, and surrounded on all sides by beautifully-laid-out gardens, in
which, cut off from the scientific world, he lives with his family.
Everything around gives to the stranger a thoroughly home-feeling; in
every countenance is visible content, in every glance the most heart-felt

Franz Junghuhn, a German by birth, from the district of Mansfeld in the
Harz-mountains, saw many years hard service as a military surgeon in the
service of the Dutch Government, and at present holds the appointments of
Inspector of Scientific Explorations, and Director of the entire
China-tree cultivation of the Island of Java, with ample means for the
solution of this problem. This indefatigable naturalist (of whom there is
an excellent engraving at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew), to whom
science is indebted for the most comprehensive information relating to
Java, has himself ascended 45 different volcanic peaks, and that at a
period when there were no bridle-roads leading to their foot, but only
those singular zig-zag paths which the rhinoceros has worn for himself, in
order to browse at his leisure and undisturbed on the roots and rich grass
of these lofty pastures. His imposing exterior and expression of
countenance all betoken the indefatigable perseverance and gigantic
powers, both physical and intellectual, which find expression in his
incomparable work upon Java, and his great chart of that island.

The renowned _savant_ received us like old friends, with the most
delightful fervent hospitality, related to us his very latest experiments
and observations with respect to the cultivation of the quinquina plant,
and presented us with his last work,[56] to which he seemed exclusively to
devote his entire activity. For our own part, we in return promised Dr.
Junghuhn to make most special inquiries upon the subject during the period
of our stay in the native country of the Cinchona, and to endeavour to be
able to answer to the questions we were charged with; as by so doing we
hoped to repay in some degree our tribute of gratitude, for the countless
instances of personal interest and attention which had been shown us by
the scientific gentlemen in Java, as well as by all the government

Adjoining Junghuhn's dwelling, a large proportion of the coffee beans
raised in the Preanger district are prepared for the European market. The
Government has farmed the process to one M. Phlippan, and first deals with
the beans when, packed in sacks, they are ready for exportation. The
entire coffee crop of the environs of Bandong, averaging about 80,000
piculs (or 10,000,000 lbs.), is conveyed annually over the hills to
Lembang, where the fleshy berries are first shelled and made ready. For
this purpose they use the Brazilian or moist mode of treatment, by which
process, however, according to the opinion of connoisseurs in coffee
beans, much of their flavour must be lost. But, instead of attributing the
well-marked decrease of flavour of the Java coffee bean to this mode of
preparation,[57] others are disposed to find the cause of this
deterioration in degeneration of the coffee-shrub itself, and accordingly
the Dutch Government sent out to Java the well-known botanist Professor
Vriese (with appointments[58] which must appear almost fabulous to a
German botanist), in order to determine upon scientific data the cause of
the falling off of the coffee bean. The sending out to Java a Professor of
the University of Leyden, who had never before been in the Dutch East
Indies, in order to enlighten the practical coffee planters, already on
the spot, as to the deterioration of that plant, made anything but a
favourable impression. Some bitter wags, indeed, of whom there is no lack
in Java, any more than of Punches or Charivari at home, said that the
mission of Professor Vriese was as singular as if a native Javanese had
been despatched to Holland in order to teach the farmers there how to make

Nevertheless, the solution of this question of the degeneracy of the
coffee is of the very highest importance to the country, as it produces
annually about 800,000 piculs (100,000,000 lbs.) coffee beans,[59] and as
its climate and soil are eminently suitable for a far more extended
development of that branch of cultivation, which was first introduced from
Mocha into Java, about 1718, by the then Governor, Hendrik
Zwoardecroon.[60] The entire coffee crop must be delivered by the coffee
planters to the Government at a fixed price, and while paying in the
interior 3-1/2 guilders (5_s._ 10_d._) per picul (125 lbs.), it fetches in
Batavia, where the people are far more heavily taxed, 9 guilders (15_s._)
per picul. The Netherlands Trading Company (_Nederlandsche
Handels-Maatschappy_), which possesses the sole right of shipment, pays
the Dutch Government from 28 to 30 guilders (46_s._ 8_d._ to 50_s._) per
picul of coffee, which it sells in the European market for its own
account. How thoroughly such a monopoly must check the growth of trade and
commerce may be best seen in the stagnation of haughty old Batavia, as
compared with the youthful, flourishing free port of Singapore. The Dutch
Government has, however, within the last few years taken a stride in the
direction of liberalism, and has thrown open a portion of the products of
the Island (as, for example, sugar, the whole of which Government itself
had hitherto sent to Holland) to public auction on the spot; and it is
hoped this system may ultimately be extended to other colonial products,
especially coffee, and that a little later, not alone Batavia, Samarang,
and Soerabaya may be declared free, but that all the harbours may be
thrown open to free trade. With this question of free interchange of
commodities is intimately bound up that of compulsory labour, which
consists in the natives of the interior being compelled to work for the
Government at certain fixed rates. In all districts where the Government
owns coffee or other plantations, the cultivation of these must be
attended to by the natives of the nearest villages, for a remuneration
fixed by the Government. The coolies or porters must, for the fixed price
of 2-1/2 or 3 doits per paal, carry goods or do service as runners or
messengers, while free labour is at least four times as dear. A party,
strongly supported at home, has arisen in Java, advocating the doing away
with compulsory labour throughout the island, but, owing to the many
important interests imperilled by such a policy, it has been very
generally repudiated. It is impossible in Java to broach the topic of
doing away with compulsory servitude without inaugurating an envenomed
discussion. For this question concerns many planters and Government
officials not less closely than that of the abolition of slavery does the
planters of the southern States of America. On this point we have heard
such widely different opinions pronounced by experienced, thoughtful,
impartial men, that we are the less disposed to express, on the occasion
of so short a visit as ours, any decided sentiments, since such would have
probably been entirely changed, or at all events modified, if we had lived
all our lives among the natives, and had become better acquainted with
their customs and peculiarities of character.

It is believed--such at least is the general impression--that in a land so
favoured by Nature as Java there is but little to be hoped for from free
labour, as the requirements of the natives are very limited, and easily
satisfied. Abandoned to his own impulses of activity, the Javanese would
only work sufficiently to supply what was necessary for his mere
subsistence, or would only perform any extra duties so long as the
imposition of regular labour does not set itself in direct antagonism with
his docile, gentle disposition. The manners and customs of the country,
the condition of the populace relative to their princes and chiefs, are
favourable to the condition of forced labour, in which they have been
confirmed by their Dutch conquerors, thus rendering it less perceptible
and intolerable. It is patent to all that since the introduction in 1830
by General Van den Bosch of the Culture system, or system of compulsory
labour, the internal state of the colony has enormously benefited,[61] and
the revenues of the Government increased in a most extraordinary degree.
In fact, what is known as the _Batig Stal_, or balance of the colonial
administration for the past year (1859), gave a total of 41,000,000
guilders (£3,416,000). But the pecuniary profits which the State Treasury
wrings from the labour of its subjects are, unfortunately (as was amply
proved in the South American colonies during the days of Spanish
ascendency), not always a correct standard of the prosperity of a country
or of the felicity of its inhabitants.

In company of Dr. Vrij the geologist of our Expedition ascended from
Lembang the volcano of Tangkuban Prahu, whence, following an excellent
route of travel drawn up by Dr. Junghuhn, he was enabled to visit all the
more important points of geological interest in the Preanger Regency. Of
these two highly interesting excursions, which derived an additional charm
from the cordial hospitality of the Javanese princes, we borrow from Dr.
Hochstetter's memoranda the following particulars:--

"On the northern side of the table-land of Bandong, which is a veritable
garden of Eden, hemmed in by roaring volcanic mountains, there rises a
mountain-chain 6000 feet above the level of the sea, and 4000 above the
lofty plateau of Bandong. In this range three peaks are conspicuous. The
native, accustomed to indicate each majestic natural feature of his lovely
native land by some name which gives a clear idea of its peculiar
character, or expresses the emotion it makes upon his senses, has named
the easternmost truncated conical peak Gunung Tungul (7800 feet), that is,
the Broken Stump or Tree, and affirms that the long central ridge of
Tangkuban Prahu (6427 feet), or the Inverted Boat, was formed by the
overturned trunk of the tree, while the third very serrated peak, the
Buranguang (5690 feet), or Boughs of the Tree, forms the crown of the tree
with its branches and twigs. Only the long central ridge, the actual hill,
though its shape would not readily lead us to suppose so, is at this day
an active volcano. Its crater is one of the most extraordinary spectacles
in the volcanic system of Java. Formerly it was necessary to follow in the
tracks of the rhinoceroses up the sides of this mountain, and the ascent
was not indeed without danger, since it occasionally happened that the
traveller, while treading some of these funnel-shaped, narrow, tremendous
defiles, unexpectedly found himself at some sudden turn face to face with
one of these gigantic animals, and that, with a precipice on one hand and
a wall of rock on the other, there was no visible means of escaping. Under
such circumstances there was nothing for it but to fight for life and
death, until the stronger marched over the corpse of the weaker. At
present an excellent bridle-path leads from Lembang to the summit of the
mountain, for the construction of which the community is indebted to Dr.

"On the morning of 18th May we set out from Lembang for the summit of
Tangkuban Prahu, in company with Dr. de Vrij. The Regent of Bandong had
sent us capital horses of the pure Macassar race, and, followed by a crowd
of well-disciplined Sundanese, we at length after a two hours' ride stood
at the edge of the crater.

"Dense clouds of vapour filled the abyss below, from which at a
considerable depth and in various directions issued the most appalling
sounds, as though hundreds of steam engines were sobbing at work far
beneath us, or like the broken sound of water falling in spray from a
great height upon the rocks. Some dead trees standing on the brink of the
abyss had a blackened appearance as though they had been charred, which we
ascribed to the sulphureous vapours, that must be evolved with most
destructive power when the crater is in full activity. Into this hideous
abyss we now prepared to descend, by a narrow, steep ledge of the rock,
which gradually lost itself among the vapour between two perpendicular,
precipitous walls. We followed the Javanese, who were scrambling down
before us, having ourselves given orders to be conducted if possible to
the bottom of the crater, and therefore continued on as best we could,
confident that those people had already often descended into the depths to
get themselves sulphur.

"Fortunately the vapours dispersed during our arduous clamber, and there
at one view lay plain before us the fearful chasm from its floor to the
rim running round it. With amazement and surprise, we perceived that the
ledge on which we stood was but a narrow central ridge, separating two
deep nearly circular volcanic cauldrons, which were both surrounded by a
lofty ellipse-shaped crater-wall! There was also a singular double or twin
crater. In both cavities, right and left, white clouds of steam rose
hissing and sputtering to the height of the rim. In the left-hand or
western crater, which the natives called _Kawah Upas_, or the Poison
Crater, we perceived in the midst of the smoking _solfataras_ a tranquil
pool of water of a sulphur-yellow hue, while the lofty internal slopes of
the crater, nearly 1000 feet high, were densely covered with brushwood,
down almost to the bottom. Very different was the eastern crater, _Kawah
Ratu_, or King's Crater; its floor seemed to consist of dried mud, from
the clefts and springs in which steam and sulphureous vapours were
constantly bursting impetuously forth. The wall of this crater, not above
500 or 600 feet high, was naked and bare to the very summit. At the first
glance one could almost fancy he gazed on an expanse of snow amid a green
forest, so bleached and greyish-white did everything look, owing to the
rocks being pulverized and changed by the vapours which continually issued
from the soil. Above these white desolate masses of rock were
distinguishable the blackened, charred, knotted stems of bushes and trunks
of trees, the relics of the vegetation formerly here, tokens of the last
eruption in 1846, in which this King's Crater threw up boiling mud,
impregnated with sulphur, besides sand and stones, till throughout an
extended area the green forests on every side were killed or desolated.
Already however the rich green of the fern, and the _Thibaudia_ (not
unlike our own whortleberry), is seen shooting up amidst the bare stones,
in close proximity to the blackened trees and shrubs, charred and altered
by the action of the sulphureous vapours and the soil, impregnated as it
is with sulphur.

"Continuing to scramble forward, we reached in safety the floor of the
Poison Crater, and had to observe the greatest vigilance, for the entire
ground around the boiling lake in the crater to the steep walls consists
of nothing but smoking solfataras, or a dense crust of sulphur, full of
holes and fissures, over the cooled surface of which the traveller walks,
constantly in danger of breaking through, not indeed into a fathomless
abyss, but into boiling hot, bitter water, in which we would counsel no
one to take a foot-bath. If the crust be broken off, there are seen
shining beneath the most exquisite lustrous crystals of sulphur. This
sulphur, which is exhibited here piled up in immense masses like small
hills, is the same as that which occasionally entices the Javanese into
these appalling abysses. The most powerful solfatara, which lies exactly
in the middle ridge, and like a geyser throws up to a height apparently of
one or two feet a column of boiling water, consisting in part of sulphur,
is for that reason unapproachable by man.

"From the Poison Crater we climbed over into the King's Crater. The hard
masses of rubbish thrown out during the last eruption afforded firm
footing here, until we got near the sputtering solfataras, when the hot
yielding mud made further progress impracticable.

"The visit to these two craters, which change features from year to year,
furnished much material for observation. It was long past noon when we
retraced our steps upwards along the precipitous path by which we had
descended. Ere long we found ourselves once more on the summit, protected
from the sun's vertical rays by the grateful shelter of the hut which
Junghuhn had erected here, and from which we could take in at one glance,
in all its vast proportions, the entire abyss, with its two smoking
craters in all their horrid sublimity. The oval of the exterior rim
measures not less than 6000 feet in length by 3000 in breadth, and from
the upper wall the descent sheer into the abyss is not less than 800 feet

"This was the last crater which we had an opportunity of visiting while
in Java--our further peregrinations being directed towards the schistose
formation abounding in petrifactions, which is found in the S.W. mountain
range of the table-land of Bandong.

"On the evening of the 18th, after we had returned from Tangkuban Prahu,
we left Lembang, still in the company of Dr. de Vrij, who sacrificed his
own convenience to accompany us throughout our interesting tour, and
returned to Bandong.

"Junghuhn had sketched out a second _carte de voyage_, which he had sent
to the Resident of Bandong, with a request that this gentleman would make
all necessary preparations to enable the projected excursion to be made in
the shortest possible time, and for our comfort while on the road. We thus
found everything prepared beforehand, and, after passing a most agreeable
evening with the Resident and the Regent of Bandong, the latter of whom
caused his dancing-girls to execute in our presence some of their most
characteristic national dances, we were enabled to start early the
following morning to prosecute our journey further among the mountains.

"Gratitude to M. Visscher, the Assistant Resident, and to Raden Adipata
Wira Nata Kusuma, the Regent of Bandong,[62] makes it an imperative duty
that we should make the most ample acknowledgment for the great pains
taken by both those gentlemen to enable us, without losing time consulting
about other cares, to devote our entire attention to scientific
examination. Indeed, the whole arrangements of this trip may be held to
indicate what the Dutch Government is able to attain by the astute policy
of leaving the executive power entirely in the hands of the native chiefs,
and with what admirable exactness the despotic orders of these two united
powers are carried into execution.

"The brother of the Regent of Bandong, a truly chivalrous soul, but
imperious and full of aristocratic hauteur in his deportment towards the
peasantry, was our companion and guard of honour. All our material
requirements had been cared for by the Regent in the most luxurious
profusion. Four servants and a special cook, together with a number of
coolies, were sent in advance to our next designated resting-place,
sometimes in the heart of a forest, or upon a hill, or in a narrow defile,
so that on our arrival we found our table already set for us. On these
occasions, when there was no Pasanggrahan or comfortable hut at hand for
our mid-day siesta, or for our accommodation at night, we found an elegant
hut of bamboo and palm-leaves (of which materials the Javanese construct
a thousand articles of every-day use) newly erected, and containing
dining-room, sleeping-apartment, and bath-room. In order to travel with as
much celerity as possible, our riding horses were changed three or four
times a day. The fresh animals were everywhere ready for us to mount. At
those points where petrifactions were likely to be found collected
together natives would be sent forward, and that not by twos and threes,
but by dozens and twenties, who were charged to dig and collect together
whatever was found, so that all we had to do was to select what we
required, when we found we had a splendid collection without trouble or
loss of time. Even on roads seldom frequented, in outlying districts among
the mountains, we found everything arranged anew, and we do not exaggerate
when we say that between forty and fifty small bridges and narrow stiles
made of bamboo and with bamboo balustrades must have been constructed
solely to make this path passable. But still more particularly we had
occasion to remark, that when it was necessary to descend into the
defiles, which would naturally be of special interest to a geologist on
account of their explanations of the phenomena of nature, fresh paths had
been made, and all obstacles presented by the rocky soil overcome by means
of steps cut in the rock or bamboo ladders! And all this had been planned
and executed after the Regent had been informed of the day fixed for our
departure from Bandong on our projected tour.

"No fewer than thirty-eight mounted Sundanese, all gaily dressed in their
national costume, being in fact the chiefs and magistrates of the
district, had attached themselves to us with all their retinue, besides a
number of porters to attend upon the cavalcade, by all of whom we were
cordially welcomed. Towards evening we entered amid music and dancing into
the village, which it had been arranged was to be our quarters for the
night, and amid more music, and a general gathering of the population, we
once more, in the grey dawn of the next morning, mounted our horses. Such
is the mode of travel in Java when a Junghuhn prescribes the route, when a
Dutch Government official issues the requisite orders, and when a native
Regent carries them out.

"On the 19th May we set off in an easterly direction from Bandong for the
river Tji-Tarum. Our object was to explore the beautiful natural defile
which is presented by the deep chasm which forms the bed of that stream,
where it has forced a passage in a northerly direction through a
round-backed range of green-stone and porphyritic mountains which spring
from the table-land of Bandong, forming in this part of its course the
beautiful water-falls of Tjuruk-Kapek, Tjuruk-Lanong, and Tjuruk-Djombong.
In close proximity to the very oldest volcanic formations of Java, one
sees here, laid bare by the river, lofty walls of the latest fresh-water
strata of the plateau of Bandong. We now rode through the porphyritic
ridge to the rocky cone of Batu-Susun, on the flank of the Gunung Bulut,
formed of vast columns of a sort of porphyritic green-stone, and the same
evening reached Tjililui, the chief town of the district named Rongga,
owing to its richness in petrifactions. Not greater was our surprise at
our exceedingly hospitable reception, than at beholding, as we sat down to
our evening meal in the Pasanggrahan where we were stopping, a huge table
drawn forth, loaded with petrifactions and geological specimens, which the
Wedanah had collected, and which, classified according to a chart of the
district which he had himself prepared, he now placed at our disposal. The
name of this spirited Sundanese is Mas Djaja Bradja, Wedanah of Tjililui.

"On the 20th we inspected the spot itself where these are found. By
daybreak we were _en route_ for the chalk-kilns of Liotji Tjangkang, where
a coral bank, abounding in petrifactions, lies full in view from the
summit of an adjoining eminence. Hence we directed our steps in a S.E.
direction, getting deeper into the mountains, in the neighbourhood of
Gonnong Gatu, renowned for the numbers of tigers which range the immense
wilderness of _allang_ grass (_Imperata Allang_), which now forms the
covering of these mountains, utterly denuded as they are of their original
vegetation, and in which they find plenty of prey among the stags, wild
boars, and buffaloes. Hunting however was not our object, but the
succession of chasms, 100 feet deep, worn through the soft pumice and
trachytic tufas by the action of the Tji-Lanang and its little tributary
streams. First we had to scramble down to the confluence of the Tji-Burial
and the Tji-Tangkil, where, in close proximity to the dykes of trachyte,
several well-preserved _conchylia_ were found amid the rubbish that had
been detached from the sides of this cavity, which are composed of a sort
of muddy tufa. After riding at full speed through a thinly-inhabited
mountain district, in order to avoid an impending thunder-storm, we
luckily reached the little mountain village of Gunung-Alu, lying on the
Tji-Dadass, at the foot of a mountain ridge, which forms the water-shed
between the northern and southern coasts of Java.

"On 21st May we set off for the valley of the Tji-Lanang, which stretches
beneath the steep sandstone acclivities of the Gunung Sela, another spot
where petrifactions are exceedingly abundant, and where the remains of the
fossils may be observed in the position they originally occupied, imbedded
in the strata of mud and sandstone. A species of fossil resin is also
frequently found there, in juxtaposition with other beautiful fossils.
From this point we followed the valley of the Tji-Lanang in a northerly
direction, and on quitting it we came upon a little traversed road leading
to the valley of the Tji-Tjamotha, at the calcareous-brecciose rocks of
Batu-Kakapa, and still further on reached the mountainous village of
Tji-Jabang, whence we descended once more to the river Tji-Tarum, which at
this point passes through a narrow cleft in the rock, more than a thousand
feet deep, forming thus the grandest waterfall in Java, as it breaks
through the western barrier range of the plateau of Bandong, consisting
of porphyritic green-stone, trachytic-basalt, and perpendicular cliffs of
chalk. Below this, after a series of splendid cascades, it becomes a
navigable stream, flowing gently over the terrace of Radjamandala.

"The majestic scale of the natural scenery of Java is seen fully developed
in these savage, awful rocky defiles, shaded by primeval forest, and
haunted by every description of wild animal. There are three points of
special interest, Tjukang-Raon, Tjuruk-Almion, and Sangjang-Holut, at any
of which one may study in the very bowels of the earth the geognostical
structure of the Lanang chain, where the river has burst through. These
points lie quite near to each other on the edge of the stream which here
frets in its channel, hemmed closely by the rocks, but in order to reach
any one of them it is always necessary to retrace one's steps to the
village of Tji-jabang, on the plateau of the mountain, and thence scramble
down and up again the precipitous rocky wall in height from 1000 to 1600
feet! One can readily believe what Junghuhn writes in 1854, that 'although
Tjurak-Almion' (dust or vapour fall) 'is the grandest waterfall in Java,
no European had, as yet, visited the spot but himself.' It was here
especially that we had occasion to notice what pains the natives had taken
to render the various localities more accessible. We found fresh-hewn
steps, ladders, and Rotang ropes, and thus we were enabled, so to speak,
to tread in the footsteps of Junghuhn.

"On the 21st we could only visit the Tjuruk-Baon, where the Tji-Tarum,
raging along in its entire volume, is compelled to pass through a gate of
rock not above 12 feet wide. A frail-looking bamboo ladder, with Rotang
ropes suspended on either side at a dizzy elevation above, leads down the
perpendicular walls of this stone portal.

"On the morning of the 22nd we visited Tjuruk-Almion, the finest waterfall
of the Tji-Tarum, which is here precipitated over a precipice of
green-stone forty feet in height, and thence, after passing the steep
basaltic chain of Gunung-Lanang, we descended from a height of 2653 Paris
feet, into the deepest part (990 Paris feet above sea-level) of the chasm
formed by volcanic eruption in the mountain Sangjang-Holut, where close to
the steep broken rim, and in juxtaposition to the tertiary formations on
the level of Radjamandala, the perpendicular sandstone banks of the river
leave a passage only 10 feet in width.

"The same day we reached the little village of Gua, at the foot of the
northern side of Gunung Nungnang, an enormous mass of limestone, whose
steep sides form a portion of the extensive limestone barrier, which
bounds the table-land of Radjamandala to the southward. Gunung Nungnang is
traversed by fissures and clefts from top to bottom, in which the Salangan
swallow builds edible nests, which the natives gather for the Regent, not
without peril to life.

"On the 23rd May we carefully explored Sangjang Tji-Koro, a
limestone-hill, through which one arm of the Tji-Tarum, after it has
burst through the barrier-ridge, flows in a subterranean channel;
interesting in a geological point of view, because at this point we find
the very same limestone rocks which in an upright position form the
structure of the hill, lying horizontally on the flat plain of
Radjamandala, on the opposite bank of this brook. At Radjamandala we once
more struck the main road, and found our travelling chaise ready, which
conveyed us to Tjiandjur, and thence back to Batavia."

While the geologist of our Expedition was occupied in the excursion above
described, the commodore and his companions witnessed a most interesting
spectacle in an ethnographical point of view. The Javanese Regent of
Tjiandjur prepared a great fête, to which all the populace were invited,
in the great hall of the palace, where a variety of entertainments, games,
and dramatic representations took place. Here, as at Bandong, the interior
of the house was entirely furnished in the European fashion, and only the
ear-splitting, deafening tones of the gamelong,[63] the stout, bustling
female house-keeper, who, richly apparelled and wearing yellow
unmentionables, did the honours with a somewhat waddling gait, and the
Oriental dress of the Regent, behind whom a couple of Javanese servants,
crouched on their hams, carrying a neatly-carved silver box of exquisite
workmanship, containing the ingredients for the betel, recalled to our
recollection that we were in Java, in the residence of a native prince.
The stiff, troublesome formalities of the Dutch were outdone by those of
the Javanese: nay, so great is the observance of etiquette by these
people, that even the nearest relatives of the house are fain to take up
their place in the verandah or colonnade which runs round the house, but
do not dare venture into the saloon itself. In this latter, besides the
Regent and his consort, there were only the European guests invited, while
the people thronged the doors and windows as spectators of what was going
on. The fête began with some very monotonous, infinitely tedious dances
executed by the _Bayadères_. In the choreographic art, despite the
important part which dancing plays in their religious worship, the
Javanese, like all the other populations of Asia, lag far behind the
natives of the north. True, the dance with them has a widely different
meaning, compared with that which we attach to it, who waltz and polka
away in joyous, frolicsome mood, whereas the Asiatics, the Malay and the
Hindoo, also dance during seasons of grief and anguish; with them dancing
is nothing but a mode of expressing their feelings, whether these be grave
or gay, joyous or sad. And so deeply is this custom implanted among the
coloured races, that we have ourselves seen in Costa Rica Indian parents,
who had been converted to Christianity, dancing before the dead body of
their child, which was about being committed to consecrated earth.[64]

The figures of the dance performed by the Javanese dancing-girls were
nothing but a series of very slow rigid movements of advance and retreat,
in the course of which they went through all sorts of attitudes and
contortions with their hands and fingers. We were informed that these
dancers were representing four sisters who were searching for their lost
mother, and by their various postures and figuring hoped to obtain her
again from the deity. This exhibition was succeeded by a war-dance,
performed by eight maidens clothed as warriors, which however scarcely
differed from the former, and was not less tedious. These dancers all
appeared in extremely elegant richly-appointed dresses, which
unfortunately only made the ugliness of their features more disagreeably
conspicuous. Amid all these representations the deep boom of the gamelong
almost unceasingly resounded in our ears, being struck, evidently for the
purpose of stunning the senses, by a crowd of Javanese cowering on the
ground with their feet crossed beneath them, while from without there fell
on our ear the tunes of a brass band, especially noticeable by its
overpowering penetrating sound. About 10 P.M. a number of rockets and
fire-wheels were let off, and a disorderly crowd of maskers, on horse and
foot, to the great delight of the assembled populace, made their
appearance and marched about a dozen times round the great room. The chief
honours of the entire procession were reserved for a transparent serpent,
at least 20 feet long, which was borne along in the air by six or eight
youths, who imitated with surprising address the wriggling motions of that
lithe reptile.

To a European observer, however, what was going on in one corner of the
great room seemed far more extraordinary and surprising. A number of
native fanatics were standing here round a heap of red-hot coals and
ashes, before which a Mahometan priest, holding in his hand a small open
book, was murmuring a prayer, accompanied by doleful cries and
unintelligible groans. Several natives sprang barefooted into the fire,
and turned about several times in its midst. The priest also, singing and
praying the while, skipped upon the red-hot floor, apparently with the
intention of inciting the by-standers to yet further exertions. The whole
exhibition bore the character of being a form of religious expiation,
although it was carried on amid all the noise and fun of a popular

A still more painful impression was made by several Javanese, who placed
iron circlets set with fine sharp points on the cheeks, forehead, and
eyes, and thus accoutred, twisted their bodies about in every conceivable
direction, as though they were striving all they could to drill deep into
their flesh with this heavy iron instrument. The leading idea contemplated
in this rude fearsome exhibition, seems, however, to have been simply to
amuse a circle of curious spectators, and gain their applause.

The Javanese Regent, Radhen Adhipati Aria Kusuma Ningrat, who gave this
fête, a tall, robust man, of about fifty years of age, is held in high
esteem by the inhabitants of his district, not alone for his political
worth, but also for his intellectual qualities. He is an author and a
poet, and availed himself of the opportunity to present to the foreign
guests his last poem, an epic.

Early on the morning of the 17th the entire company of travellers set out
from Tjiandjur on their return to Batavia by the Java road, by which they
had come. The naturalists, too, did not leave the capital of the Preanger
Residency without substantial tokens of amity, since a medical gentleman
settled there, Dr. I. Ch. Ploem, presented them with a number of
interesting specimens, botanical and zoological, and not alone enriched
their collections in natural history with many new objects, but also
promised in future to maintain an active interchange of objects of
scientific interest with the museum of the Empire-city on the Danube.

The journey back to Buitenzorg, despite a tremendous thunder-storm,
accompanied by such a shower as is only encountered in the tropics, was
nevertheless pretty quickly got over, and even one trifling adventure
which was encountered on the way--in the course of which one of the
travelling carriages fell into a ditch on one side of the road, near
Megamendung, in consequence of which the coachman and attendants were
somewhat injured by their sudden precipitation from the box--had no more
serious ulterior consequences than that we had to get out of the carriage
for a short space under a deluge of rain, so as to admit of its being more
readily put into running order again. Despite the inclemency of the
weather we were on this occasion accompanied on horseback by the
magistrates of the villages through which we passed, and although many of
these were shivering and chattering with the wet and cold, they were
nevertheless inexorable in assisting to send us forward, and though not
required to do so, accompanied us to our next station, where their place
was supplied by others not less attentive.

While still on the road, the commodore and several members of the
Expedition received an invitation from the Governor-general to stop at his
summer residence of Buitenzorg, and to make it for some days their
resting-place. It was unfortunate, that this display of hospitality was
somewhat weakened in cordiality by a too rigid observance of those minor
matters of etiquette, which his Excellency seemed to think he could not
afford to dispense with even in his quiet, unostentatious country-seat.
The stringent observance of such unbending measured ceremony is the more
remarkable, in the case of a man who has raised himself from an obscure
grade of citizenship to this lofty post, and who does not even indulge in
that lavish expense or profuse luxury, which would at least be in harmony
with the ceremonial usages with which he surrounds himself. M. Van Pahud
came to Batavia about twenty years before, as a school-master, and ere
long, having become an employé in the civil service, secured through his
administrative capacity, and restless activity, the confidence and
sympathies of the Government, was somewhat later appointed Colonial
Minister in Holland, and finally, in 1856, Governor-general of the Dutch
East Indies. The introduction of the _quinquina_ plant from Peru and its
present extension throughout Java, are his chief claims to recognition.

As M. Van Pahud is a widower, the honours of his mansion were performed by
his daughter, a lady in delicate health, who a few years previously had
the distressing trial of beholding her husband, who filled one of the most
important posts as Resident at a Regency in the interior, cut down before
her eyes by a Malay!

We spent a couple of days in this charming retreat of Buitenzorg, whose
botanical garden ever unfolded fresh beauties, and had the pleasure on
this, as on the occasion of our first visit, to make several most
agreeable acquaintances. A deep interest attaches to our visit to Madame
Hartmann, the widow of a former Resident in Borneo, who possesses a small
but every way remarkable collection of ethnographic objects illustrative
of that island, and who not alone had the thoughtful courtesy to show us
all these treasures of natural history, but even presented us with a
considerable portion of them. The writer of this account felt himself in
an especial degree under obligation to this excellent lady for a number of
skeletons of the various races of men inhabiting that island, which it
would have been exceedingly difficult to procure otherwise. There existed
but one object in this anthropological collection with which Madame
Hartmann would not part: this was the skull of a Chinaman, who, during the
fearful insurrection of these emigrants in Borneo in 1819, made a
murderous onslaught on her husband, whose servants fortunately succeeded
in rendering timely aid by cutting the miscreant down.

Early on 20th May we quitted Buitenzorg. On the same morning two criminals
accused of murder and robbery were brought thither. Although the
punishment of death is only inflicted in cases of extreme atrocity, yet we
were informed that in the capital scarcely a month passes without the
infliction of this last penalty.

On our return to Batavia we once more found ourselves the objects of that
charming hospitality, to which we are indebted for the memory of many most
agreeable hours.

There was one gentleman in particular, a German countryman, Colonel Von
Schierbrand, who has lived nearly thirty years in Java, and at present
holds the high position of head of the Engineer department and President
of the Topographical Institute, who most hospitably entertained the
voyagers of the _Novara_ in his elegant, comfortable dwelling, and
arranged a variety of amusements and agreeable receptions.[65] Among
these, the gentlemen who took part in it will long have a special
recollection of a hunting party, which, owing to the great interest taken
by all classes of the community near the seat of action, abounding in
antelopes and wild hogs, became ultimately a regular ovation and popular
festival. At various points arches covered with leaves were erected, flags
fluttered to the breeze on every side, and all along our path the
inhabitants, gaily attired, formed a dense array lining the road; while
the evening was whiled away in the elegantly furnished mansion of a
Chinese, the Mayor of his district, by Javanese dancing-girls, who
performed a variety of national dances to the monotonous, lugubrious sound
of the gamelong and other musical instruments, after which there was a
comedy, the whole winding up with Chinese fire-works on the grandest

Another splendid entertainment was got up in honour of the _Novara_
Expedition by the military "Concordia" society, in their large, handsome
assembly-room in Weltevreden. The dancing-hall was tastefully fitted up,
adorned with blue and green hangings and parti-coloured flags, while over
the entrance was suspended a portrait of our Emperor. In the background of
the saloon there was set up in front of a transparency an elegant boat,
with an Austrian flag at the gaff, and carrying a cannon crowned with
flowers and nautical emblems, all artistically designed and executed. The
stewards all wore red and white ribbons round their dress, while the rich
attire of the ladies consisted principally of stuffs in the Austrian
colours. When the commander of the Expedition entered the saloon with his
staff, the band struck up the Austrian National Hymn. The whole festivity
went off most agreeably, and the majority of the company, which numbered
about 800 guests, kept it up till daybreak. Both Dutch and Austrian
officers vied with each other in making this a truly fraternal feast.
Still as the band played on, there seemed no end to the fun and frolic,
and one pair of joyous spirits suddenly bethought them of the droll idea
of hauling the cannon "with all its honours thick upon it" through the
apartment, with a not less frolicsome comrade sitting astride it, singing
and shouting! Unluckily, during this peregrination one of the Dutch
officers fell under the wheel, and had his thigh broken near the knee. The
unfortunate had to be conveyed to the hospital forthwith, where for weeks
he could ruminate upon the consequences of a moment's misplaced revelry.
This gentleman, singularly enough, had just retired home and gone to bed,
when a couple of his comrades insisted on his accompanying them, amid much
cheering and noise, back to the apartment, where the accident happened to

One remarkable character in Batavia, whose acquaintance we only made
during the latter days of our stay, is Raden Saleh, a Javanese of high
birth, and princely descent, who, born in 1816 at Djokjokarta in the
interior of the island, was at the expense of the Dutch Government brought
to Europe when a boy of 14, where he lived for a long time at the Hague,
and afterwards in Dresden and Paris, turning his attention chiefly to
painting, and who, after 23 years' absence, had returned to Java shortly
before our arrival. Raden Saleh, who speaks and writes several European
languages with fluency, draws a not inconsiderable sum yearly from the
Colonial Government, by way of remuneration for pictures which he is from
time to time commissioned to paint for Government House. At the period of
our visit the artist was busy engaged in executing for the King of Holland
a large oil-painting, representing a stag-hunt on the plain of Mundschul,
in the Preanger Regency, at the foot of the Malabar range. The
composition, the landscape, the aerial perspective, the attitudes and
grouping of the mounted huntsmen, gave evidence of uncommon talent, which
unfortunately, however, has not been cultivated to that extent as to
enable him to stamp all his performances with the impress of artistic
perfection. Raden Saleh cherishes a warm feeling for Germany, which even
his placid, delightful residence among the Eden-like landscapes of his own
native land has not been able to weaken. "I owe so much to Germany," he
would say to us; "my thoughts and my feelings ever revert to Germany!" It
seemed that in his case, as in that of the young negro prince, Aquasie
Boachi, of the Gold Coast, considerations of health were the main reason
for his return to the Dutch East Indies.

The last days of our stay at Batavia we devoted to an inspection of
various public institutions. First of all we carefully examined the
barracks, which present several points of special interest. Major Smits
was so kind as to accompany us over the extensive grounds, in which were
at the time some 800 men. The soldiers are all volunteers, and consist of
about 250 whites, and 600 of the various coloured races of the Malay
Archipelago. The white troops sleep in beds, the coloured upon wooden
settles covered with mosquito-nets. Each soldier is allowed to have his
wife beside him, and it is affirmed that this extraordinary practice tends
to make them more orderly and regular, by accustoming them more speedily
to life in the barrack, which thus becomes for them a sort of small town!
The women for their part prove highly serviceable as cooks, washerwomen,
vendors of edibles, &c., and manage a sort of small market for each
company, where the soldier can find everything he may require for
satisfying his usually very moderate wants.

Major Smits ordered a number of the soldiers, representatives of the most
important Malay types, to be submitted to a series of anthropometrical
measurements, and made a present to the Expedition of a number of objects
of ethnographical interest.

In company with Dr. Steenstra Toussaint, an ardent and amiable companion,
we visited the various prisons, and the Loar-Badang,[66] of evil repute,
which will be discussed in the medical section of the _Novara_

The prisons of Batavia stand in much need of reform, especially as regards
construction, management, and treatment. The humane sentiments that
characterize our century, have more care even for a robber or murderer
than to load him with chains, and make him still more dangerous to
society, by lengthened confinement within the thick lofty walls of a
prison. There are two categories, into which all criminals in Java are
divided, those who during the entire term of their sentence are to remain
within the prison, and those who during the day are employed outside the
prison on the public works, most of whom wear an iron ring round their
neck, or chains on their hands or feet, whence they are usually termed
"chain-gang" prisoners.

In the city Bridewell, where the criminals serve their sentences in cells,
there is room for 200, and at the time of our visit there were 70 male and
two female prisoners in confinement. The disagreeable impression made at
finding such an establishment located in an exceedingly unhealthy site, is
anything but diminished when the visitor perceives that it consists mainly
of a large number of narrow corridors and high walls running parallel
with each other at short distances, between which the prisoners, in
divisions of from six to ten, are confined in small cells, two
occasionally inhabiting the same cell. Those condemned to imprisonment for
debt are shut up in a special compartment, apart from the common run of
criminals, but in respect of accommodation and general treatment are in no
respect better off than the latter. The law permits the incarceration of a
debtor for three years, but the creditor is compelled to pay 10 guilders a
month (£10 per annum), to defray the cost of his maintenance. It is
illustrative of the Chinese character, and its speculative propensities,
that hardly any of that nation are to be found on the criminal side,
whereas they furnish the longest quota of those imprisoned for debt. We
saw one Javanese woman, who of her own free will submitted to be
imprisoned with her husband who had been condemned to several years'
incarceration, although she could only communicate with him in the
presence of witnesses, and had to live in an entirely different part of
the building.

In the prison where the "chain-gangers" were confined, there were 170
prisoners.[67] Owing to the circumstance that those committed in Batavia
are draughted off to the prisons in the interior, while those sentenced in
the provinces are sent to fulfil their sentences in the prisons of
Batavia, the stranger encounters in these latter numerous peculiar types
of natives from the various districts of Java and the adjoining islands,
and this rare opportunity was made use of by myself and Dr. Schwarz to
obtain some corporeal measurements of individuals presenting the
characteristics of their respective races, as had already been done in the

Dr. Toussaint presented the Expedition with several pathological
preparations, as also with one curiosity rather of historical than
scientific interest, namely, the skull of a man, found a few years before
in the maw of a shark which had been picked up dead at sea!

A very singular impression was left on us by a visit we paid to "Meester
Cornelis," a sort of bazaar in the outskirts of Batavia, where a singular
phase of life may be seen nightly in full activity. On a wide open square
are a large number of booths, in which are sold all sorts of eatables and
drinkables, while there is at the same time no lack of dancing-girls,
Javanese musicians, opium-dens, gambling "hells," and other
breeding-places of human depravity. The majority of its frequenters are
Chinese, who spend here in the most extravagant manner what they have
earned during the day. They especially affect the filthy little closets,
where for a couple of doits (a halfpenny English) they can lie stretched
out in a pitiable state of stupefaction, the result of opium-smoking, but
are likewise by no means backward in patronizing the gambling booths. A
group of these half-naked children of the Celestial Empire, seated in a
circle on the ground amid the flare of torches and lamps, each holding in
his lean hand a pair of greasy, well-worn cards, and with a little heap of
copper or silver pieces spread out before him, following the chances of
the game with a wild eagerness that makes him utterly heedless of what is
passing around him, presents a spectacle of such powerful interest, that
the beholder, especially if a foreigner, likes to remain amid a scene so
peculiar, despite its repulsiveness. The most melancholy consideration
perhaps of all is that this form of dissipation seems by no means
indigenous to Java, but was first introduced with many other forms of vice
under the influence of foreign civilization.

For the observant traveller, a visit to such so-called "places of
amusement" possesses a far deeper interest than theatres or operas, which
one may see and hear among the various settlements in this Archipelago.
Such wandering companies, even those which are as highly remunerated as
the "troupes" who minister to the æsthetic tastes of the wealthy
inhabitants of the countries beyond sea,[68] or rather to an indispensable
fashion, must awaken among European visitors melancholy reminiscences of
vanished triumphs of art. Thus Batavia, during our stay, could boast a
French operatic company. The theatre, lofty and airy, though of but one
storey, without either boxes or gallery, had far more the appearance of a
concert-room than a regular theatre. The rather heavy cost was defrayed by
lotteries, which were set on foot by the Colonial Government from time to
time for the behoof of the funds of the theatre. Several of the
"cantatrices" carry on simultaneously with their engagements a lucrative
business in French articles for the toilette, while the men-singers give
instruction in vocalization, by which they not merely eke out their
living, but contribute handsomely to the annoyance of their next-door

There is but little sociability in Batavia. The people live in a
thoroughly retired manner, each usually receiving only a small circle of
friends in his own house. On this point, as on many others, our _own_
experience is _directly contrary_ to the actual state of matters, seeing
that during our entire stay one invitation followed on the heels of
another;--but those who live here for years together, even under the most
favourable auspices, have repeatedly assured us that life in Batavia is
unsociable and tedious.

This is the misfortune of all countries "beyond sea," where Europeans do
not settle permanently, but flock thither with the intention, after a
certain number of years of industry and activity, of returning home with a
fortune made by their own personal exertions. We see this in Brazil, in
the West Indies, in the Western coast of South America; in a word, in all
tropical or sub-tropical countries where, on account of climatic
considerations, the greater part of the European population is changed
every ten years, and is recruited by fresh arrivals from Europe. How out
of place, accordingly, does social or intellectual life appear in such
countries, as compared with the colonies settled in temperate climates, in
North America, at the Cape, in Australia, in New Zealand, in all of which
the immigrant population is of a fixed character, building up for
themselves a second home, and clinging with love and gratitude to the soil
that gives them sustenance, and on which their sons will grow up, under
the invigorating influences of free institutions, into free, prosperous,
self-relying men!

Even in Batavia the majority of the European residents change every eight
or ten years; instances such as that of Colonel von Schierbrand, of men
who during 30 years have never once left the island, never yet seen a
railroad, being of rare occurrence.

Of the numerous friends whom we were so fortunate as to make during our
stay in Java, and to whom such heart-felt thanks are due for their
hospitality and the warm interest they took in the objects of our
Expedition,[69] many have since left the island for ever, and by their
return to Europe left many a lamentable vacancy.[70] The more deserving
of acknowledgment is the constant endeavour of the present Colonial
Government to attract to itself fresh intelligence, and so not alone
stimulate the scientific activity of the present, but also provide for the
filling up of the various posts by properly qualified persons. The
magnificent and expensive works which have been published of late years in
Java by men of science, are the splendid fruit of that noble-minded
support, and it is much to be regretted that the Government does not
extend this liberality to their _political_ system,--that despite the
glorious example in their own immediate neighbourhood of the results of
English Free Trade, Government still cramps the energies of the colony
with monopolies and privileges, and thereby checks the development of a
country, which, alike by its position and its manifold natural advantages,
bids fair to be one of the wealthiest and most prosperous countries in the

At seven A.M. on the 29th May, the _Novara_ weighed anchor in the roads of
Batavia, after a stay of 23 days. Our next visit was to be paid to the
Philippine Archipelago,--to the flourishing island of Luzon, or rather to
Manila, the most important settlement in the entire group. This was the
pleasantest trip throughout the whole voyage. The distance, some 1800
nautical miles, was achieved in 17 days, with delightful weather, and
balmy south-west monsoons.[71] By the 14th June we were in sight of the
coast of Luzon, and on the following day we ran on before the freshening
monsoon into the broad, beautiful gulf of Manila. As we passed between the
rock La Monja (the Nun) and "El Corregidor," or Governor's Island, which
lie right in the channel, we met the _Cleopatra_, a large English
screw-steamer, which had a freight of 1150 Chinese, who were to be
imported into the Havanna as so-called "free" labourers. These poor
wretches came from Amoy, and, as we afterwards learned, had been put on
board so scantily provided, and so little cared for by the authorities,
that thus early, during the voyage from Amoy to Manila, only 700 miles,
eleven of these "passengers" had died, and the captain found himself
compelled to bear up for the nearest harbour in consequence of a sort of
malignant fever having broken out on board, so virulent that there were
deaths occurring almost every day. We shall treat more particularly of
this hideous trade in men, which is chiefly carried on by the Portuguese,
when describing our visit to Macao.

The Bay of Manila is a beautiful land-locked basin, of such splendid
proportions that when we had passed Governor's Island the city of Manila
was still below the horizon. We anchored on the afternoon of 18th June in
the harbour of Cavite (seven nautical miles south of Manila), because
during the S.W. monsoon this harbour is more sheltered, and therefore
safer for ships, than the shallow open roadstead of the capital. Cavite,
which boasts a fort, an arsenal, a dockyard, and a cigar manufactory, lies
on a low, narrow tongue of land projecting into the bay. Whoever may have
first set foot at Cavite, on the soil of the Island of Luzon, so renowned
for its natural magnificence of scenery, must involuntarily feel that his
anticipations have been sorely disappointed; he will with all possible
diligence make the best of his way from the glaring white sands and black
walls of the fortress here to Manila, the next object of our hopes. A
small screw plies daily between Cavite and the last-named city, and this
vessel also conveyed the Expeditionists from Cavite to the capital of the
Philippine Archipelago.


[34] Several copies of these various publications of the different
scientific societies of Java were presented to the Expedition by the
members of these learned bodies.

[35] Still the chief article of cultivation is rice, which constitutes
almost the sole bread-stuff of the Javanese. Crauford in his admirably
digested dictionary of the Indian Archipelago calculates that the annual
rice crop is about 500,000,000 lbs., and that each individual consumes
annually one quarter, or 480 lbs.!

[36] For some extremely beautiful and costly weapons used by the Malay
races we are especially indebted to Mr. J. Netscher, one of the directors
of the Society of Arts and Sciences, a profound scholar in the various
idioms spoken in Java, and who on the same occasion enriched our
collections with some of his own valuable numismatic specimens and
philological researches, and to this day neglects no opportunity of
advancing the special objects of our Expedition.

[37] Only two of the various races of Java have remained constant to the
belief of their fathers, and still honour, some of them Buddha, some
Brahma. Among these are the Badawis, who constitute all that remain of a
once mighty race at the east end of the island, among the hills of Kendang
in the Residency of Bandang, on the Tenggers, also at the east of the
island in the Residency of Passeruwan, the former numbering 1500, the
latter about 4000 souls.

[38] Garsick, the Grisse of modern days, was the first spot where these
jealous sectaries settled about the year 1374, and the two Arabic sheikhs
Dulla and Moellana are usually cited by later historians as the
introducers of the Mahometan worship into Java.

[39] There are at present two kings reigning on the Island of Lombok: Ratù
Agong Agong Suedé Carang-assem, and Ratù Agong Agong Madé Carang-assem.
These had submitted under special treaties to the Dutch Government, whose
vassals they now are.

[40] Yellow is the royal colour of the Ruler of Lombok. According to the
prevalent custom, no one but the king and members of his family is
permitted to use that colour in their dress or ornaments.

[41] This peculiarity of Eastern manners is universally prevalent wherever
Oriental nations have come in contact with Europeans. It is of course as
entirely unlike the genuine hospitality of the rude Bedouin or Tartar as
it is possible to imagine, and seems to belong to an early and very
imperfect notion of true refinement. Traces of it will be found in all
countries, even in Europe, and in its original form of making a present in
the expectation of receiving something more valuable in return, which lies
at the bottom of all this pseudo-generosity. The astuteness of the Scotch
Highlanders, themselves a race remarkably free from such meannesses, has
hitched the system into a pithy proverb, the sense of which is to "send a
hen's egg in order to get a goose's in exchange."

[42] 73.75 paals (posts) are equal to one degree of the equator, whence
one paal = within a small fraction of 4943 feet 6 inches. This method of
indicating land-measure originated in the circumstance that on every road
intersecting Java from west to east, the respective distances from the
three chief places, Batavia, Samarang, and Surabaya, are marked up upon
wooden "paale" or posts.

[43] As yet there are no railroads on the island. But a company has been
formed with the intention of uniting the more important and productive
districts of the island, an enterprise which will extend to about 1000
miles (English), and will cost about £8,500,000.

[44] It is well known that Holland in former days recruited her black
regiments of the Netherland Indies by men from the Gold Coast, and in fact
had set on foot a sort of traffic in men with the king of Ashantee.

[45] Dr. Junghuhn, in his admirable work upon Java, describes the rainy
season--which usually has fairly set in by the month of January, when the
westerly and north-westerly winds are driving the rain-clouds before
them--in the following spirited language:--"The floods stream from the
clouds often for four-and-twenty hours at a stretch without the slightest
interruption, and with such violence that the noise of the plash of the
falling element drowns the voices of the inhabitants, compelled as they
are to keep to their houses. Every brook and river overflows its banks,
covering with a tide of muddy brown water the alluvial soil wrested from
the bed of ocean, while the frogs croak incessantly day and night, and the
lizards and snakes emerge from their holes, and creep into every corner of
the dwellings of every man; all through the hours of darkness is heard the
loud thousand-voiced hum of insects, of myriads of mosquitoes, till it is
hardly possible to find a dry place throughout the house. The hot, sultry
air is saturated with moisture, so that everything becomes damp, in
consequence of the fine particles of the rain-vapour penetrating into the
inmost corners of the house."

[46] Pronounced _Chipannas_ (hot stream), from _Tji_, water, and _Pannas_,
hot. _Tji_ is always pronounced like _chi_, and _oe_ like _oo_.

[47] One can form some idea of the enormous fecundity of this insect, if
we mention that it takes 200,000 in a dried state to make one pound of the
cochineal of commerce.

[48] Two Vanilla plants, imported in 1841 from the Botanical Garden of
Leyden, remained barren for nine years, till recourse was at last had to
the system of artificial fructification, upon which these plants increased
so rapidly that the plants at present under cultivation at Pondok-Gedeh
amount to 700,000!

[49] Now named _Cankrienia Chrysantha_. The plant most characteristic of
this region was the _gnaphalium arboreum_.

[50] These four species were _Cinchona Calisaya_, _C. Condanimea_, _C.
Lanceolata_, and _C. Ovata_.

[51] According to our latest advices from Java, which extend to November,
1860, there are at present in the Preanger Regency upwards of 100,000
China plants in the very best order, so that this valuable commodity not
only may be regarded as fully naturalized in that island, but the Dutch
Government even complied with the request of the British Government for a
certain number of seedlings for introduction into India.

[52] Pronounce _Tschipodas_ and _Tschangschoor_ (Sweet Water)

[53] Called in the Sunda dialect Gunung Masigit, or Hill of the Mosque, in
consequence of the chalk, of which it is composed, being broken into
pinnacles of remarkable uniformity, and strongly resembling the appearance
presented by the minarets of a mosque.

[54] As these edible swallows'-nests form a very important article of
commerce among the Colonial products, and their collection provides the
means of subsistence to a considerable section of the population of Java,
we shall follow here the description given by Dr. Junghuhn, in his truly
classic Monograph upon Java, in which (Book I. p. 468) he speaks as
follows respecting the marvellous abodes selected by this species of
swallow, and the perils dared by the native in obtaining their nests. "In
Karangbólong, a portion of the entrance to the holes where the swallows
breed is on a level with the surface of the water, and at times covered by
the sea. In one of these cavities, the Gua Gedé, the edge of the
coast-wall rises 80 Paris feet above low water, in a concave form, so that
it actually overhangs; however, at an elevation of about 25 feet there
occurs a projection, which the Rotang-ladder reaches by being suspended
perpendicularly. The ladder is made by two side ropes of reed, which every
inch-and-a-half, or two inches, are bound to each other by cross-bars of
wood. The roof of the entrance to the cave is only 10 feet above the sea,
which even at ebb-tide washes the flow throughout its extent, while at
flood-tide the mouth of the cave is entirely closed by the sweep of the
rollers. Only during ebb-tide therefore, and with perfectly smooth water,
is it possible for any one to penetrate into the interior. Even then this
would be impossible, were not the rocky vault, or roof of the cavern,
pierced through, eaten away, and corroded into innumerable holes. By the
projecting angles of these holes it is that the strongest and most daring
gatherer who first makes his way in, has to hold on, while he attaches to
them ropes made of Rotang, which thus hang from the roof to a length of
four or five feet. At their lower extremities other Rotang ropes are
securely fastened crosswise, thus running, rather more horizontally,
parallel with the roof, so that they form a hanging bridge as it were
along the whole length of the roof. The roof is about 100 feet wide, and
from the entrance at the south to the deepest recess in the north end, the
cave is about 150 feet in length. Although only 10 feet high at the
entrance, the roof becomes gradually more and more lofty as the cavern
retreats, till at the farthest extremity it is about 20 to 25 feet above
the sea-level. Before any one of the nest-hunters proceeds to erect his
ladder, and again before proceeding to climb up upon it in such fearful
proximity to the thundering swell, a solemn prayer is proffered to the
goddess or queen of the sea-coast, whose blessing is invoked. At this
place she bears the name of _Njaï-Ratu-Segor-Kidul_, or sometimes
_Ratu-Loro-Djunggrang_, and has dedicated to her in the village of
Karangbólong a temple, which is kept scrupulously clean. Occasionally the
gatherers make also a solemn sacrifice at the tomb of _Serot_, who,
according to a Javanese legend, is revered as the first discoverer of the
bird-nest caves." (The meaning of the above Javanese words is as follows:
_Njaï_, the title of honour of a female, corresponding to our
"Madame:"--_Ratu_, Queen:--_Segoro_, ocean:--_Kidul_, south:--_Lero_,
maiden:--_Djunggrang_ is a surname.) Compare "Java, its physical Features,
Vegetation, and internal Structure," by Franz Junghuhn. Leipsig, Arnold,

[55] The picul varies in weight between 125 and 133-1/3 pounds.

[56] Toestand der aangeweekete Kinabomen op het eiland Java in het laatst
der Maand Julij, en het begni van Augustus, 1857. Kort beschreven door F.
Junghuhn, 116 pp.

[57] At all events, among the planters up the country the opinion prevails
that the coffee beans prepared by the native population on what is called
the parching method are of far finer and more durable quality than those
prepared by the former process.

[58] Professor Vriese, besides having all expenses paid, drew a salary of
£1000 per annum, besides 10 guilders (16_s._ 8_d._) a day for every day
passed by him in the interior of the island while engaged in its

[59] The commercial and statistical particulars of Java, for which we are
mainly indebted to the kindness of Mr. Fraser, the Austrian Consul in
Batavia, will be specially considered in a different part of the work.

[60] The Javanese agriculturist, especially the coffee planter, is sadly
tormented by three kinds of grass, which Dr. Junghuhn has named the
Javanese Trinity, and which are invariably found with the coffee
plant--_Erichthitas Valerianifolia_ (which was introduced from Mocha with
the coffee-shrub, and was never before known in Java), _Agerahun
Conisoïdes_, and _Bideus Sundaica_. The civet-cat, too (called _Luah_ in
Javanese, Jjáruh in the Sunda language), does great damage to the coffee
plantations, just as the crop is being collected. It eats only the fleshy
part of the brown berry, the beans, at least according to what the
Javanese say, actually gaining a flavour by the process to which they are
subjected in the maw of the animal!

[61] In 1859 the most important of the colonial products, grown for
account of the Government, presented the following quantities:--

  Coffee                      piculs 727,000 (of 125 lbs. each)
  Sugar                         "    901,000.
  Indigo                                                    558,800 lbs.
  Cassia                                                    256,000  "
  Cochineal (a failure in the crops owing to incessant rains) 6,700  "
  Tea                                                     2,057,400  "
  Pepper                                                     45,000  "

The duties on imports and exports for that year in the islands of Java and
Madura alone amounted to 7,440,579 guilders, or £620,048.

N.B. The picul of 125 lbs. = 136 lbs. 10 ounces avoirdupois.

[62] Since this was written a number of the Dutch officials and _savans_
at Java, who showed so many civilities to the Austrian travellers, were
decorated by our Government with Austrian orders, among whom was also the
Raden Adipata Wira Nata Kusuma, the first native Javanese Regent ever
decorated by a foreign power. The prince was extremely delighted when he
was informed of it, and said he longed for the hour when the imperial
decoration was to arrive that he might put it on and wear it. Singularly
enough the presents and letters of acknowledgment sent to the Dutch
Government in the Hague for remittance, were not forwarded direct by the
mail steamer, but as customary by sailing vessels, so that they only
arrived six months after they were presented!

[63] A genuine Javanese musical instrument, consisting of a number of
bells all differently tuned, which are struck with two small

[64] Die Republic Costa Rica, in Central-America, mit besonderer
Berücksichtigung der Naturverhältnisse, und der frage der deutschen
Answanderung und Colonisation. Reisestudien und Reiseskizzen aus den
Jahren 1853 und 1854. Von Dr. M. Wagner and Dr. Karl Scherzer. Leipzig,
Arnold'sche Buchhandlung. 1856. S. 196-197.

[65] Colonel Von Schierbrand, to whom natural science is already under
deep obligations for acquiring a variety of valuable objects, is
constantly and indefatigably endeavouring, both as a friend of knowledge
and a zealous sportsman, to procure, sometimes by personal exertion,
sometimes by employing natives engaged at his own expense, a series of
rare geological specimens. He appears to be, like so many other of our
excellent friends in Java, a living contradiction to the proverb, "Out of
sight, out of mind," as he has since the return of the Expedition already
sent over as presents to the museums of our native country, valuable
selections of curious objects of natural history from the Indian

[66] The Loar-Badang (Public Market) is an immense building, a sort of
brothel on a large scale, kept by a Frenchman, who pays a handsome annual
sum to Government for the privilege of his infamous traffic. Here, among
others, are some 40 or 50 wretched outcasts, whom he sends off in boats
every evening to the merchantmen in the port, for the accommodation of
their crews!!!

[67] According to official return, the number of criminals, in the year
1857, convicted in the islands of Java and Madura, was 3864, of whom 198
were females and 955 were sentenced to the chain-gang. In the year 1857
alone, 2525 coloured criminals were sentenced to hard labour, with or
without chains. The number of convictions in the Dutch East Indies,
exclusive of Java and Madura, amounted in the same year to 4430.

[68] Thus the "Prima donna" receives for tragic opera 1500 guilders
(£125), and for comic opera 1800 guilders (£150) per month during the
season. The "troupe" is usually engaged for a year and a half or two years

[69] Of these we cannot refrain from mentioning Dr. Van den Broek, who
shortly before our arrival had returned from Japan, where he had resided
seven years as physician and Government agent. Dr. Van den Broek, who is
at present engaged in the editing a dictionary of the Dutch and Japanese
languages, presented us with a botanical work in Japanese with numerous
woodcuts, and at the same time was so exceedingly kind as to present us
with a small vocabulary of the Court and the popular dialects used in

[70] Among scientific circles in Batavia the recent departure of the
renowned ichthyologist, Dr. Bleeker, who intends to settle in Holland or
Germany, will be the more appreciated, that this resolve will be regarded
by his numerous European friends as a satisfactory assurance that the
valuable materials relating to natural history which he has collected will
ere long make their appearance in a suitable form.

[71] Voyagers between Batavia and Manila must not, however, always expect
to make so rapid a voyage. In Manila we fell in with a ship captain, who
had left Batavia in April, and, owing to the prevalence of calms and
contrary winds, had been 59 days on the passage!

           [Illustration: View from the Battlements at Manila.]



                  Stay from 15th to 25th June, 1858.

    Historical notes relating to the Philippines.--From Cavite to
    Manila.--The river Pasig.--First impressions of the city.--Its
    inhabitants.--Tagales and Negritoes.--Preponderating influence
    of Monks.--Visit to the four chief monasteries.--Conversation
    with an Augustine Monk.--Grammars and Dictionaries of the idioms
    chiefly in use in Manila.--Reception by the Governor-general of
    the Philippines.--Monument in honour of Magelhaens.--The
    "Calzada."--Cock-fighting.--"Fiestas Reales."--Causes of the
    languid trade with Europe hitherto.--Visit to the
    Cigar-manufactories.--Tobacco cultivation in Luzon and at the
    Havanna.--Abáca, or Manila hemp.--Excursion to the "Laguna de
    Bay."--A row on the river Pasig.--The village of Patero.--
    Wild-duck breeding.--Sail on the Lagoon.--Plans for
    canalization.--Arrival at Los Baños.--Canoe-trip on the
    "enchanted sea."--Alligators.--Kalong Bats.--Gobernador and
    Gobernadorcillo.--The Poll-tax.--A hunt in the swamps of
    Calamba.--Padre Lorenzo.--Return to Manila.--The "Pebete."--The
    military Library.--The civil and military Hospital.--
    Ecclesiastical processions.--Ave Maria.--Tagalian merriness.--
    Condiman.--Lunatic Asylum.--Gigantic serpent thirty-two years
    old.--Departure.--Chinese pilots.--First glimpse of the coasts
    of the Celestial Empire.--The Lemmas Channel.--Arrival in
    Hong-kong Harbour.

Luzon, or Manila, the largest and most important island, politically
speaking, of the Philippine Archipelago, is the sole possession of the
Spanish Crown which was visited by the _Novara_ during her numerous
traverses and diagonal tracks on her voyage round the world. As we had
hitherto come into contact for the most part with the Anglo-Saxon race and
its colonies, it was naturally doubly interesting to have an opportunity
of becoming likewise acquainted with the results of civilization and
colonization as exemplified by what are called the Romaic or Latin
branches of the great Caucasian family, and by personal examination to
satisfy ourselves in what fashion the Castilians have succeeded in
identifying their own advantages with those of the natives of these
islands. True it is, that the history of the earlier Spanish dependencies
is by no means calculated to heighten our regard for the wisdom and
mildness of the colonial policy of Spain, or to give a particularly
favourable impression of the political and social condition of the
Philippine Islands. A state, whose power at the commencement of the
present century was still beaming in all its lustre, who has lost the
fairest and most fertile lands on the face of the earth, which it had
possessed for above three hundred years, without the slightest attempt to
defend them, whose Government, through its inflexible adherence to
obsolete forms and ordinances, after the dizzy pre-eminence of ruling the
world has dwindled into a power of the third class,--leaves nothing to
hope that any part of its organization should have remained intact, that
the canker in its political and social proclivities, which so suddenly and
so disastrously brought about the downfal of one of the mightiest and
most extended empires in the world, should not likewise have made its
appearance in the Philippines. However, it is precisely these
considerations which make the contrast between the colonies founded by the
Anglo-Saxon race in remote regions of the globe, and those of the Spanish,
Portuguese, Dutch, and so forth, so valuable and instructive, although a
rigid analysis of the causes which have conduced to the present condition
of the majority of the countries conquered and ruled by races of Latin
origin, must necessarily impress the unprejudiced inquirer in a sense
little flattering to these latter, namely, that the history of every
quarter of the globe would have assumed an entirely different aspect had
these countries been first discovered and colonized by the Anglo-Saxon
race, with its watchwords of freedom and religious toleration, instead of
the Spaniard or Portuguese, with tyranny and fanaticism inscribed on its

The Archipelago of the Philippines comprises those numerous islands and
islets between the parallels of 5° and 21° N., and which are scattered
between the North Pacific Ocean on the east and the Chinese Sea on the
west. The entire group, which, according to the Spanish account, consists
of not fewer than 408 islands, extends over 16° of latitude by 9° of
longitude, covering a superficial area of 91,000 square miles, or about
the dimensions of England, Ireland, and Wales, exclusive of Scotland. Only
two islands however of the whole cluster are of considerable dimensions,
viz. Luzon, or Manila, which is about the same size as Galicia, Moravia,
and Silesia taken together, and Mindanão, which, in superficial area, is
about equal to Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola.

As in size, so in fertility, natural advantages, and commerce, Luzon is
the most important island in the Archipelago, as it is likewise one of the
most delightful spots in the tropics. The climate is adapted to the
cultivation of all the plants and various forms of vegetation alike of the
torrid and the temperate zones. On the coast the thermometer never falls
below 71°.6 Fahr., nor rises above 95° Fahr. In the highland valley of
Banjanao, 6000 feet above the level of the sea, albeit not above 36 miles
distant from Manila, the thermometer frequently descends as low as 44°.6
Fahr. The highest register of the thermometer is during the rainy
months,[72] from May to September; but we were assured over and over again
that in Manila the heat is very equably distributed over the entire year,
and never attains such a high degree as many summer days in Madrid. The
most valuable and most extensively used plants of the tropical and
sub-tropical zones, suck as sugar, coffee, cocoa, cotton, bananas, maize,
tobacco, and rice, flourish here. The forests abound in all the most
valuable descriptions of cabinet-wood, but the narrow-minded illiberality
that has always characterized the colonial policy of Spain, the
numberless restrictions to which her commerce is subjected, do not admit
of that magnificent development of which this insular cluster, so
abounding in natural wealth, would be susceptible under a more free-souled
rule. The Spaniards have conquered and have subjugated the islands,
fanatical monks have what they call Christianized the people, but, during
the three hundred years that the Castilian has held the supremacy here,
little if anything has been done for the prosperity and development of the
country, or the intellectual and moral advancement of the people.

The Philippine Islands were discovered by Magelhaens and Pigafetta on the
17th March, 1521, nearly twenty-nine years after the discovery of America
by Columbus, and two years after the conquest of Mexico by Fernando
Cortez. In consonance with the religious customs of that age, the group
was named by Magelhaens "The Archipelago of St. Lazarus," because the day
on which it was discovered corresponded with the fête-day of that saint in
the calendar. But the discovery did not imply the conquest of the
Archipelago. Four expeditions were dispatched at various intervals,
without their succeeding in subduing the natives. The solitary result
obtained thence was, that the commander of the fourth expedition, that of
1542, Don Ruy Lopez de Villalobos by name, changed the Scriptural name of
the Archipelago for that by which it is at present known, in honour of the
prince of Asturias (then 15 years old), afterwards Philip II.

It was not till a fifth expedition had started in 1565, forty-one years
after the first discovery of the Archipelago by Magelhaens, that the
conquest was finally completed. The leader of this was Miguel Lopez de
Legaspi, a man noways inferior to a Cortez or a Pizarro in venturesomeness
of spirit, inflexible perseverance, and brilliant courage, and in humanity
far exceeding either. His squadron consisted of five ships, and his entire
force, including soldiers and mariners, was but 400 men.

On 21st November, 1564, Legaspi sailed from Port Natividad in Spain, and
on 16th February, 1565, hove in sight of the Philippines. The hardy
navigator was accompanied by a number of Augustinian monks, who in the
subsequent subjugation of the islands proved far more serviceable than his
soldiers. The superior of these monks, Fray Andres de Urdañeta, a very
remarkable man, had commanded a ship in the first expedition, and had
afterwards been admitted into the order of St. Augustine.

Four years after their arrival at the Philippines, and after they had
subdued the native inhabitants of the fertile islands of Cebu and Panay,
Legaspi first discovered Luzon, and there in the year 1571 founded the
city of Manila. Since this first conquest the Spaniards have by no means
been permitted to retain undisturbed possession of this smiling cluster of
islands. Not alone the Portuguese and the Dutch bestirred themselves at
various intervals to drive the Spaniards out of the Archipelago, but the
English likewise, in 1762, towards the close of the Seven Years' War,
invaded these settlements.[73]

The area conquered, however, did not extend further inland than to a
distance of ten miles from the walls of the city, and after an occupation
of ten months, Manila was restored to the Crown of Spain by the Peace of
Paris, 1763. Since that memorable period, the Philippine group has
remained uninterruptedly under the dominion of the Spaniards, and has up
to the present day been a faithful dependent of the Royal House of
Castile. In fact, with the exception of Cuba and Porto Rico, the
Philippine and Marianne Archipelagoes are the sole colonies that Spain
still retains of her once so enormous possessions in the distant portions
of the globe, although in Manila even in our own day, as will be more
fully detailed presently, despite her honourable distinction of "_La
Siempre real ciudad_" (The Ever Loyal city), there is no lack of
discontent, and the generally prevailing "loyal tranquillity" is, none the
less, boding many serious perils for the Spanish supremacy.

The most striking peculiarity of the natural configuration of Luzon[74]
is its strongly-marked separation into two peninsulas, a northern, which
comprises the larger portion, and a southern, smaller island; the former
named Luzon by the Spanish, the latter Camarinas. The length of the entire
island, including its numerous curves, is about 550 miles, and its
greatest width about 135 miles, but in many places it is little more than
thirty miles in breadth. The chain of the Caraballos mountains traverse
Luzon from north to south, and sends off spurs in various directions,
which impart an exceeding hilly aspect to the entire island.

The Spaniards divide Luzon into three main divisions; Costa, Contra-Costa,
and Centro, corresponding pretty nearly with the western side, the eastern
side, and the interior of the island, and formerly indicating in what
order these different sections of the country had been subjected to the
Spanish dominion. The latest distribution is into 35 provinces and 12

Manila, the capital of Luzon, as also of the whole Archipelago, and the
oldest European settlement in this region of the globe, lies at the mouth
of a small but rather rapid river, the Pasig, which after a course of
about 30 miles, draws off to the sea the waters of the great Bay-Lake
(_Laguna de Bay_). In consequence of a not very conveniently situated
mole, the Pasig is forming a bar close to its own embouchure, which makes
it somewhat dangerous for boats to attempt an entrance in bad weather.
Ships, however, can anchor about 1-1/2 miles below the fortified walls of
the city, which, though impregnable to the attack of a native force, would
probably be found powerless to repel a European force attacking from

The members of the Scientific Commission started from Cavite, where the
frigate lay at anchor, in the small steamer which plies daily to the
capital, which, when beheld from a distance, with its gloomy, lofty,
defiant fortifications, and its dense clusters of monastic buildings and
church towers, gives the impression rather of some great Catholic Mission
than a place of commerce. In the roads there were not above 16 ships lying
at anchor, whereas we counted 165 in Singapore, a disproportion which,
considering the favourable site of Manila and its wealth in all manner of
valuable produce, can only be accounted for by the pressure of political
and administrative regulations, which weigh like a mountain upon trade and

On pulling up the river from its mouth, where it is about 300 feet wide,
we find ourselves in the vicinity of the light-house, in front of a dense
mass of the inevitable filthy bamboo huts, which being inhabited by the
very poorest section of the population, increase the dismal, gloomy
impression left by the first view of the city. We land in the
neighbourhood of the harbour-master's office, and have to pick our steps
through a dirty quarter of the town in order to reach the focus of public

The river Pasig divides Manila Proper from its sister city of Binondo. Two
handsome bridges, one an old-fashioned stone one, the other a modern
suspension bridge of imposing dimensions, form the communication between
the two cities. Manila, situate on the southern or left bank, and enclosed
on all sides with ditches and fortifications, has all the peculiar
features of a Spanish town of the ancient type. It consists of eight
straight, narrow streets, all running in one direction. Within these are
most of the public buildings; the Governor-general's Palace and that of
the Archbishop, the Municipality, the Supreme Courts, the Cathedral, the
Arsenal, the Barracks. Profound silence reigns in the grass-grown streets,
between the gloomy masses of stone, of which at least one-third are Church
property. There is no evidence anywhere of joyous life or social progress,
and the variegated, charming flower-garden, lately laid out in the square
in front of the Cathedral, stands out like a solitary gay picture, amid
austere, sombre, historical paintings of vanished might and faded
splendour. Within the walls of this melancholy old city only Spaniards and
their descendants may dwell, all other races being excluded from this
privilege. The number of inhabitants within the fortifications does not
probably exceed 10,000 souls.

On the other hand, Binondo, on the northern or right bank of the river, is
the true business city and head-quarters of trade. Here Europeans,
Chinese, Malays, and their endless intermixtures of blood, amounting in
all to more than 140,000 souls, reside in the most perfect harmony with
each other; here are all the warehouses, shops, and manufactories; here
prevails from morning till night a perpetual whirl of busy, cheerful
crowds circulating through the streets, of which that called the Escolta
is the most frequented, as it is the handsomest and most attractive. The
houses, on account of the frequency of earthquakes, are usually one storey
high, enclosing large courts (_patios_), and very frequently with a sort
of terrace on the roof. The interiors of the houses have an unusually
spacious appearance, owing to their almost universally having but little
furniture, in many cases simply a number of chairs ranged along the walls.
But the most singular aspect of these houses is to be found in the
windows, the panes of most of them being made, not of glass, but of the
shell of a species of oyster (_Placuna Placenta_), ground down to the
requisite thinness! The subdued light which is thus obtained is
exceedingly grateful, and these mussel-shells have been found to be
cheaper and more lasting than panes of glass, which, in a country so
frequently visited by earthquakes and hurricanes, could only be replaced
when injured at an immense expense. The streets are rather narrow, so much
so that linen awnings are stretched across the streets from one row of
shops to that opposite, thus securing to the foot-passenger the
inestimable boon of being able during the hottest hours of the day to
traverse almost every street in Binondo under shade.

That which the stranger understands by the emphatic word "comfort" is only
to be found in the houses of European residents, and is not obtainable by
money. The two hotels lately started to levy, unchallenged, Californian
prices for even the most moderate requirements, and so far as cleanliness
and orderliness are concerned, lag far behind the commonest country inn in
North America or the British colonies.[75]

Despite the various races that meet the stranger's gaze, Manila has,
beyond any other colony in the East, the appearance of a European town.
One remarks here, that the colonists are more completely amalgamated with
the natives, and that with the religion these latter have also adopted a
considerable proportion of the customs of Europeans.

Among the populace of Manila belonging to the coloured races, that most
prevalent in the capital is the Tagal, or Tagalag, on whose territory the
Spaniards founded their first settlement. The obscurity that envelopes
their origin has never been dispelled, although some of the older
religious writers thought they found on Borneo and other islands of the
Sunda Archipelago some traces of their stock. They were confirmed in this
impression by the fact, that in the most cultivated dialects and idioms
of the Tagal is to be found an unusually great number of Malay and
Javanese words. The majority of the plants cultivated here, such as rice,
sugar-cane, yam, indigo, cocoa-palm, as also all domestic animals, many of
the metals, and even the digits used in enumeration, are, although greatly
corrupted, directly traceable to the corresponding words or names in
Malay. Moreover, there is a tradition very prevalent throughout Luzon,
that the Spaniards, at their first arrival in this Archipelago, found
certain Bornese officials here, who were levying taxes and tithes for the
Rajahs resident in that island.

Next in number to the Tagals rank the Chinese with their descendants, and
to these succeed the Spaniards, with their offspring born in the country,
who amount together to barely 5000, or about a 28th of the whole
population of the capital; of Spaniards of pure descent, there are not
above 300 in Manila.[76]

Besides the Tagal there is in this Archipelago yet another race, the
_Negritos_, who only inhabit the mountain districts of the islands of
Luzon, Mindoro, Panay, Negros, and Mindanão, and are estimated at about
25,000 souls. These Negritos del Monte, or Negrillos, also called Aeta,
Aigta, Ite, Inapta, and Igorote, are small in physical conformation as
compared with their African congeners. The characteristic features of the
negro are less strongly marked, the colour of their skin and their
complexion are both less black. For this reason old Spanish authors speak
of them as "_menos negro y menos feo_" (less negro-like and less hideous).
Owing to their small stature, which does not average above 4 feet 8 inches
English, they have received the appellation of Negritos (diminutive
Negroes). By Spanish writers upon the Philippines they have been described
as a still existent branch of the lowest type of humanity, without fixed
dwellings, without regular employment, eking out a bare subsistence on
roots and wild fruits, and such animals as they could bring down with the
bow and arrow, their only weapon. Through the kind offices of Mr. Grahame,
we had an opportunity of gratifying our curiosity to see an individual of
this singular race of Negritos. This was a girl of about 12 or 14 years of
age, of dwarf-like figure, with woolly hair, broad nostrils, but without
the dark skin and wide everted lips which characterize the negro type.
This pleasing-looking, symmetrically formed girl had been brought up in
the house of a Spaniard, apparently with the pious object of rescuing her
soul from heathenism. The poor little Negrilla hardly understood her own
mother tongue, besides a very little Tagal, so that we had considerable
difficulty in understanding each other. The received opinion that the
Negrillos and the Igorotes are of a distinct race, but having some
affinity with the Papuans of New Guinea, seems to us for many reasons very
problematical. We are as yet far too little acquainted with the races
inhabiting the most inaccessible parts of the island, to be able to
pronounce a correct opinion upon such a point. The probabilities are not
less that the Negritos and Igorotes stand in the same relation to the
dwellers on the coast as the Bushmen to the Hottentots, the Weddahs to the
Cingalese, or the savages of Sambalong to the natives of the rest of the

The Spanish language is only available in Manila and the vicinity;--a few
miles in the interior, even in places which hold almost daily
communication with Manila, Tagal is much more commonly used. At present
Tagal is written and printed exclusively in the Roman character. While in
Manila, we never once saw a book or MS. in which the ancient character had
been used. Even the oldest printed matter, such as, for instance, a Tagal
grammar, published in Manila in 1610, contains only a few samples of the
native alphabet, while as to its original arrangement, as also the form of
the numerals, the utmost uncertainty prevails. The entire alphabet, which,
including the three vowels, consists of but 17 letters, comprises the
following characters:

[Transcriber's Note: Each of the italicized character groups below
designate the Roman equivalent to a Tagal character. The Tagal character
can not be rendered here. It is available in the .html version of this


               _a_      _e_ and _i_      _o_  and  _u_


          _ba_     _ca_     _da_ a. _ra_     _ga_     _ñga_

          _ha_     _la_     _ma_     _na_     _pa_ a. _fa_

                   _sa_     _ta_     _va_     _ya_

A dot _above_ the character changes the vowel sound _a_ of the original
consonants into _e_ and _i_.

  _be_   _ke_   _de_ a. _re_   _ge_   _ñge_   _he_   _le_   _me_   _ne_

                      [Line of Tagal characters]

  _bi_   _ki_   _di_ a. _ri_   _gi_   _ñgi_   _hi_   _li_   _mi_   _ni_

              _pe_ a. _fe_   _se_   _te_   _ve_   _ye_

                      [Line of Tagal characters]

              _pi_ a. _fi_   _si_   _ti_   _vi_   _yi_

A dot _below_ the character changes the vowel sound _a_ of the original
consonant into _o_ and _u_.

  _bo_   _co_   _do_ a. _ro_   _go_   _ñgo_   _ho_   _lo_   _mo_   _no_

                      [Line of Tagal characters]

  _bu_   _cu_   _du_ a. _ru_   _gu_   _ñgu_   _hu_   _lu_   _mu_   _nu_

                _po_ a. _fo_  _so_   _to_   _vo_   _yo_

                       [Line of Tagal characters]

                _pu_ a. _fu_  _su_   _tu_   _vu_   _yu_

From the foregoing characters it would appear that _a_ and _o_, as also
_e_ and _i_, _da_ and _ra_, _pa_ and _fa_, had each but one and the same
character.[77]--Besides the Tagal, five other different idioms are used by
the civilized races of Luzon, namely, Bisaya, Pangasinana (the same as
Ilocano), Tbanác (same as Cagayana), Bicol, and Pampanya.

The Tagals are a small race, of a clear yellow complexion, and,
notwithstanding their broad flat noses and thick lips, are by no means of
unpleasing appearance. The hair of the head is rigid, bristly, and black;
the beard very sparse. They all wear European clothes more or less,
although the fashion in which they wear them is quite peculiar and
ludicrously odd. Not merely do the lower orders and servants wear the
shirt ironed perfectly smooth and unwrinkled, instead of a coat, above
their continuations, but the Tagal dandy prides himself on his
well-lacquered boots, his white stockings, his new Paris silk hat worn
with a jaunty cock to one side, and above all his carefully plaited
resplendent white shirt, as he struts through the streets of Manila,
cigaret in his mouth, and swinging an elegant little cane! The women wear,
like the Javanese women, the "Sarong," a parti-coloured striped cotton
dress, rolled round the loins, and a close-fitting very short jacket, so
short indeed that between it and the gown a space about an inch wide
intervenes through which the naked body is visible, while the fine
transparent gauze-like stuff of which the jacket is made is much better
calculated to show off than to conceal their attractions. This universal
fashion of dress is the more surprising, as the various orders of monks
exercise in all other respects an almost despotic control over the
natives, and as it is much more attributable to their influence than to
that of the secular authorities that the speech, manners, and customs of
old Castile have taken firm and extensive root in the Philippines. It
seems, however, unjust to compare this group of islands, as has been done
by modern writers, on account of the all-pervading influence of the
Spanish element, with a province of Spain, in contradistinction to the
colonies of other nations, where the Europeans have always been regarded
by the natives as the lords of a conquered country. The English in India,
Ceylon, and New Zealand, and the Dutch in Java, all appear to have a much
firmer and more secure footing than the Spaniards, despite their having
mingled with the people. How little can be effected by forced amalgamation
of speech and manners, is best illustrated by the late separation of
Central and Southern America from the Spanish rule, although in most of
these countries the majority of the people speak only Spanish, and are
governed entirely in accordance with Spanish customs. Much better founded
seems to us the observation that it was less the sword than the cross of
Spain which brought the Philippines under the throne of Castile, and that
the natives have become Spanish Christians, without being Spanish
subjects. The entire Archipelago is nothing but one rich church domain, a
safe retreat for the legion of Spanish monks, who are able to lord it here
with unrestrained power. There is a Governor-general of the Philippines
only so long as it pleases the Augustinian, Dominican, and Franciscan
friars; and if ever an insurrection breaks out in the Archipelago,
designed to shake off the Spanish yoke, there will be more than one monk
to head the movement.

In a country where the cloister and its denizens interfere so arbitrarily
in all the concerns of life, and impart to the capital itself, as indeed
to the entire Archipelago, a character entirely peculiar to itself,
religious establishments and their zealous occupants call for special
consideration, and the reader need assuredly feel no surprise that we
should begin the narrative of our visit to the capital of the Philippines
by a description of its monasteries. In Manila these unfortunately are
not, as they were in the middle ages, the nurseries of culture and
civilization, of science and art, but rather give the impression of being
simply huge establishments for the maintenance of zealous souls, weary of
life, who wish to close their days of labour in tranquil contemplation,
exempt from all anxiety.

The four orders of monks to whose hands are confided the entire spiritual
and very much of the secular well-being of the inhabitants of the
Philippines, are the Augustines (_Agustinos Calzados_--sandalled friars),
the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and the barefoot Augustinian mendicants
(_Agustinos descalzados_ or _Recoletos_).

The monastery of the Bare-Foot Friars, lying close to the wall of the
fortifications, consists of a number of spacious buildings, some of which
date from the 17th century. Everything here tells of former power and
splendour. From the billiard-room and parlour on the first storey, the eye
is charmed by a marvellous landscape commanding the Bay of Manila and the
mountains that surround it. How delightful must it be in the evening
twilight to pace these airy chambers in the society of congenial souls,
and, while the brow is fanned by the cool sea-breeze, to give free scope
to the reins of fancy, as it swept far away over the Bay of Manila! For
what privations must not such a source of pure exquisite enjoyment
indemnify the ascetic brethren of the cloister! That spiritual meditation
and converse however do not form the sole topics discussed in these
departments, was abundantly evidenced by the hints let fall by several of
the monks who conducted us through the various corridors and apartments,
and who were constantly indulging in visions of Carlist supremacy and a
return of the halcyon days of monasticism. On our remarking that so far as
worldly consideration was concerned, the cloister enjoyed far more cordial
support in Manila than either in Spain or Cuba, one of the Augustinians
who was accompanying us, a tall commanding figure, attired in the plain
garb of the order, replied: "The Government knows that it has need of us,
that it could not get on a day without us, therefore it leaves us in
peace, and places no impediments in our path as in Spain."[78] And he was
right. Whensoever the monks lift the finger, Spain has ceased to rule in
the Philippines. The spiritual reins have ever bridled the secular
authority, and such a state of things is the severest impediment to the
development of the country and its intellectual growth.

Of the various monastic orders resident in Manila the Augustinians are by
far the best educated. They have made the various dialects of the native
races their study far more deeply than the other orders. The "_Flora de
las Filipinas_," the _only_ botanical work which has ever been published
in the Spanish language, treating of this interesting Archipelago, was
compiled by an Augustinian monk, Fray Manuel Blanco.[79]

The number of monks resident in the monastery of Manila when we were there
was 48, but there was room enough for three times as many. Altogether
there were of the Augustinian order 58 monasteries and parishes in the
island of Luzon, extending from one end of the island to the other. In the
entire Archipelago there are, according to public documents, 145
Augustinian monks, whose authority extends over 14 provinces and 153
villages, numbering 1,615,051 souls.[80]

The monastery of the Dominicans is kept clean and comfortable, and its
wide spacious apartments leave a less vivid impression of decay and human
indifference than the majority of the monastic edifices. Here also the
lofty, light chambers in the upper storeys command a magnificent prospect.
The Prior, Padre Vellinchon, received the Austrian travellers with much
cordiality, and conducted them in person round all the apartments of the
very extensive building. He spoke Latin pretty fluently, and without the
peculiar Spanish accent, besides possessing a slight acquaintance with
French; and was somewhat better informed upon European matters than his
spiritual _confrères_. The library of the order is not kept in the
convent, but in one of the buildings of the University of St. Thomas also
used by the Dominicans, but it is quite unimportant, whether as regards
the number of works it contains or their scientific value.

The spiritual jurisdiction of the Dominicans extends over eight provinces
of the Archipelago, including 76 villages, with in all 427,593 souls,
whose eternal interests are watched over by 76 brethren of the order.[81]

A Dominican friar, Joaquin Fonseca, is president of the permanent
commission of Censorship of Books, consisting in all of nine members, five
of whom are nominated by Government and four by the Archbishop of
Manila.[82] We had the pleasure of being made acquainted with Fray
Joaquin Fonseca, who also holds the appointment of Professor of Theology
in the University of St. Thomas, and were presented by him with a copy of
an imperfect epic poem composed in Spanish, which had for subject the
history of the island of Luzon and its inhabitants.[83] Of this
interesting fragment we shall publish a translation in another place.

Just as we were leaving the Dominican monastery, its worthy Prior begged
our acceptance, by way of souvenir of our visit, of a copy of Dante's
Divina Commedia in the original text, and a dictionary of the Ybanác, one
of the idioms most extensively used throughout the Archipelago.

The monastery of the Franciscans presents no other feature of interest,
than in so far as it is an emblem of the melancholy spiritual decay in
which the members of this order at present find themselves in Manila. The
dirt and untidiness which were not merely apparent in the various
apartments, but which were even but too obvious in the external appearance
of the brothers of the order, make a most disagreeable impression; for
poverty and necessity, these two cardinal principles of the mendicant
orders, are by no means incompatible with cleanliness and neatness.

The Franciscans possess 16 missions in 14 of the provinces, comprising
159 villages and 749,804 inhabitants.[84] The spiritual instruction of
these is intrusted to 184 brethren of the order, 74 priests, and 43
_Clerigos Interinos_ (occasional preachers).

The monastery of the _Recoletos_, or Reformed Augustinians, offers a not
less impressive prospect than that of the Franciscans. Here, too, the
occupants permit to appear a careless indifference utterly destructive of
the value of their ghostly ministration. As we entered, the brethren of
the order had finished their mid-day repast. Some of the monks were still
sitting in a dirty, gloomy verandah round a table on which was spread a
table-cloth stained with food and drink, while in front of each stood a
half-empty wineglass. A lay brother announced us, upon which one of the
monks rose to bid us welcome. From his rather jovial appearance, and the
suspicious colour of his nose, we presumed he was the cellarer, and were
not a little surprised when, in the course of conversation, he announced
that it was the Prior himself who was speaking with us.

We had the utmost difficulty in making the brethren, whose information was
of a most limited extent, comprehend from what country we came. The
circumstance that the original German name _Oesterreich_ is pronounced
Austria in Spanish, puzzled still more hopelessly the comprehension of
the monks, whose geographical knowledge did not seem to extend much
beyond the sphere of their vision. At first they confounded Austria with
Australia, and fancied we must have come direct from the fifth quarter of
the globe, but when the _Novara_ voyagers, proud of their Fatherland,
refused to permit this opinion to pass current, and gave a more clear
explanation, one of the younger monks thought he had at last found out our
_habitat_, and evidently priding himself on having solved the riddle, gave
his less ingenious brethren to understand that we came, not from
Australia, but from Asturias, and were consequently fellow-countrymen! The
limited intelligence of the Franciscan mistook Austria for Asturias, and
made of the Austrian Empire a Spanish province! Lest the hypothesis should
suggest itself to the reader, that this confusion of foreign empires with
domestic provinces might possibly have originated in our not being
acquainted with the language of the country, it is necessary that we
should inform him that one member of the Expedition was thoroughly versed
in Spanish, so as to be able to maintain fluent conversation, and that he
was perfectly comprehended upon all other topics. Just as little must it
be supposed that the above anecdote is but an ill-natured imputation, or
the expression of a long-vanished national jealousy, or anything else than
a proof of the present state of education among the present occupants of
the monasteries of Manila.

The Recoletos watch over the spiritual weal of 567,416[85] children
belonging to parishes in the various islands of the Archipelago, and
number 127 brethren.

In each monastery there is what is called a _Procuracion_, where the
various printed books published by the order (almost exclusively
dictionaries and grammars of the native languages and dialects) are sold
for the behoof of the funds of the monastery. The members of our
Expedition exerted themselves to form a very complete collection of all
such publications; and while thus engaged they also succeeded in getting
several MS. treatises on language.[86] Works and memoirs on the history of
the island and the state of its inhabitants are scarcely met with in the
wretchedly deficient libraries of the monasteries, which consist of not
more than 500 or 600 volumes, mostly works of theology and philosophy.
Whatever of valuable literary material may once have belonged to these
institutions has apparently been removed to Spain, whose libraries have
also gradually absorbed the literary treasures of the monasteries of
Central and Southern America.

Besides the monasteries, Government Square (Plaza de Gobierno), in the
inner portion of the city, possesses some little interest for strangers.
It has the shape of a large oblong, surrounded on each of its four sides
by the palace of the Governor-general, that of the archbishop, the
cathedral, and the law offices, with a well-kept garden-plot in the
centre, in which is a handsome statue of Charles IV., the whole strongly
recalling the principal square in the Havanna. The cathedral is equally as
remarkable for the clumsiness of its exterior as for the profusion of
perishable gold and silver within. The first edifice was erected by
Legaspi, the conqueror of Luzon, in 1571, and was composed of bamboo-cane
thatched with palm-leaves. The present temple was built in 1654 during the
papacy of Innocent X., after several previous buildings had been
destroyed, some by fire, others by earthquake. The palace of the
Captain-general is an extensive but very simple building, with long wide
corridors internally, but which can make no pretensions to architectural
magnificence externally. In one of its saloons our Commodore and his
companions were received by the Captain-general of the Philippines, Don
Fernando Narzagaray, who had held this elevated post since 1857. Formerly
Governor of the island of Porto Rico, in the West Indies, Don Fernando
was, in consequence of his openly avowed Carlist proclivities, sent into
honourable exile to the Philippines, and by a lucky chance is at present
once more invested with the dignity of one of the highest officials of
Queen Isabel II. of Spain. This gentleman received the voyagers of the
_Novara_ with the proverbial lofty courtesy of the Spaniards, yet not
without suffering to appear in his address a certain embarrassment and
hesitation, which however may have been due to his not being sufficiently
acquainted with any other tongue than the Spanish, to enable him to use it
in giving fluent expression to his thoughts. The conversation turned
chiefly upon the scene of our latest visit, Java. Notwithstanding the not
very formidable distance, and the constant communication existing between
the two islands, the Captain-general seemed to have but a very vague
conception of the political and social condition of Java, and framed his
questions as though they related to some remote island, in some entirely
different section of the globe, rather than an island in all but immediate
vicinity. As we prepared to return to our vehicles, Don Fernando made use
of the usual unmeaning compliment "_Usted[87] sabe que mi casa es à la
disposicion de Usted!_" (You know you may consider my house as entirely at
your disposal):[88] it would rather have astonished him though, had his
visitors taken him at his word!

Passports, which are absolutely necessary in Manila to make the very
shortest excursion into the interior, are given with the utmost alacrity
to strangers, without any one thenceforward paying the slightest attention
to enabling any expedition to carry out its objects. This cold, utterly
indifferent treatment was doubly felt by travellers fresh from Batavia,
where they had been overwhelmed with every sort of attention.

In the office of the Captain-general we saw several large sheets of
printed matter in columns, suspended on the walls, which we presumed were
the annual statistics of the commerce of the Archipelago, and accordingly
requested one of the officials to provide us with one. It was only when
unfolding a little later the documents which had been so readily given to
us that we discovered our error, and became aware that these tables
printed with such care and elegance did not in any way refer to what we
had supposed, but were the statistics of the various monasteries, and
their inhabitant brethren throughout the Philippines. We had far greater
trouble and difficulty ere we could get at the particulars of the natural
productions and state of trade of Manila.

When the visitor passes through the St. Domingo gate to the suburb of
Binondo, on the N.E. side of the inner city, we traverse what is called
the Isthmus, a narrow strip of meadow-land, surrounded by water on both
sides, on which has been erected within these few years a simple monument
in honour of Magelhaens, the discoverer of the Philippines, who, wounded
by a native with a poisoned arrow, breathed his last, 15th April, 1521, on
the small island of Mactan, lying opposite Cebu. A Doric column of black
marble, 76 feet high, with inscriptions engraven on the four sides of the
pedestal, lifts its head here since 1854,[89] and is altogether a more
appropriate monument than that which the Spaniards erected at Havanna to
the greatest navigator of any age, Christopher Columbus, to whom they owe
all their after power and greatness, on the spot where his ashes reposed
for many a long year in the cathedral before they were conveyed back to
Spain. A poor insignificant votive tablet, built into a recess near the
altar, is all that intimates that there once reposed there for a season
the mortal remains of the man who, to use the words of a German poet,
"bestowed on the world another world."[90]

On this isthmus are situated the most delightful pleasure grounds in
Manila; the esplanade, with its simple, shady walks, and benches on which
to repose, and further on, nearer the sea on the left bank of the river,
the "Calzada" dam (causeway). Hither every evening comes the gay world of
Manila, in long rows of carriages, to be fanned by the delicious cool
sea-breeze. Arrived at the farther extremity of the promenade, the
coachman, resplendent in gorgeous livery and large shining top-boots, for
he does not drive from the box but rides postilion, is usually ordered to
stop, and the gentlemen leave the carriage in order to chat with the
ladies in the surrounding vehicles, just as we accost our fair friends in
the theatre, and pay our visits in the boxes. For in Manila there are
neither theatres nor concert-rooms, and the public promenade is therefore
the only rendezvous of the "beau monde."

Unfortunately we reached Manila in the height of the rainy season, when
even the attractiveness of nature can only be guessed at by occasional
glimpses, and the delightful outdoor life which enlivens the streets and
the front porch of the private residences of the inhabitants, is utterly
arrested. Here, as in Batavia, the tropical rains fall with a violence of
which a native of the northern climates, who has never lived in the
tropics, and knows only the rainfall of his own country, can hardly form
any conception. In July, 1857, it rained here for fourteen days
uninterruptedly, so that the Pasig overflowed its banks, and people were
ferried about the streets of Manila, as in the city of Lagoons, by means
of small boats, called here _bancas_. This inundation was converted into a
merry-making, and visits were paid on all sides in elegant little boats.

The one sole amusement with which even the rainy season cannot interfere,
is cock-fighting. So soon as the bad weather has fairly set in, universal
recourse is had to this, the most popular of amusements, whose cruel,
murderous issue is strangely in contrast with the mild, soft, timid
character of the natives. These "_Gallos_," as they are called, are a
monopoly of Government, that is to say, they can only be held with their
permission, and upon payment of a fee for such license. The revenue which
Government derives from this anything but civilized amusement is very
considerable,[91] and the fee paid by the owners of the cocks and the
spectators is at any rate the least objectionable part of the spectacle,
for far larger sums are lost in the betting. What cards and hazard are for
_blasée_ Europe, cock-fighting is for the simple native of Manila. Such is
their passionate excitement, that several days elapse before their
ordinary apathy subsides into its state of chronic contentment. It is
singular that, with the exception of the Spaniards and the mixed race
founded by them in various distant parts of the world, there is not now
one single civilized nation that can find any pleasure in such brutal
amusements as cock-fights and bull-fights.

The scene of action is a small building, built of bamboo, and thatched
with palm-leaves, in the interior of which the benches for the spectators
rise behind each other in form of an amphitheatre, while the arena, or
pit, is filled with the owners of cocks and betting-men, until the signal
for the commencement of the combat is given. Each owner caresses or
incites once more his champion, or to prove his courage flings him against
one of the other cocks. At last the spectators have decided to back one or
the other of the cocks, red or white, the flat comb or the round comb; the
bets are "on," and the "spur," a sharp-pointed weapon above two inches in
length, and provided with a sheath, is firmly attached to the right foot.
Then the two cocks are simultaneously swung against each other, and a few
feathers are plucked from their necks to excite their fury. The bell in
the hand of the director gives the signal for the commencement of the
"main." The spectators retire from the "pit," the sheaths are taken off
the trenchant spurs, and the encounter commences. Most marvellous is the
eagerness for the fray, the dogged valour, which these two knightly
antagonists display to the very last gasp; how even wounded, bleeding, and
sorely fatigued, they will not give up the contest! Occasionally it
happens that neither of the combatants is hailed the victor. The
extraordinary keen, sharp "spur" sometimes wounds both warriors with
terrible severity, till with severed limbs, and bleeding from every pore,
both lie dead on the field of battle.[92]

Very comical is the method hit upon in those places of amusements to
supply the places of the return tickets in use amongst ourselves, and at
the same time render it impossible for any different person to make use of
them. When a native wishes to leave the apartment with the intention of
returning he has his naked fore arm, near the wrist, stamped as he goes
out with a black die, which secures his re-admission, and at the same time
obviates all anxiety as to his losing his return ticket! On his return
this mark is easily wiped out.

During our stay occurred the "_Fiestas Reales_," or royal fêtes, which
were given by the Colonial Government in honour of the birth of an heir to
the Spanish throne, Don Alfonso, Prince of the Asturias. The little
heir-apparent had, in fact, seen the light in the month of November
preceding, at Madrid, but when the news reached the Philippines it was
Lent; respect for the tenets of the Catholic Church deferred the
festivities, and afterwards the various fire-works, triumphal arches,
illuminations, &c., took so long a preparation that the month of June and
the rainy season were again at hand before the fête could be held, which
owing to the latter circumstance fell through, and excited hardly any
interest. That intelligence should be so many months in arriving at the
Philippines is due less to their great distance, than to the little care
taken by Government to promote the public interests. Until 1857, all
letters to Europe were for the most part dispatched by sailing vessels, so
that letters remained four or five months on the way, and owing to the
uncertainties of the length of passage made by the various vessels, it was
constantly happening that the last letters sent came to hand before those
dispatched several weeks earlier. This irregularity and uncertainty
weighed so heavily upon commerce, that since March, 1858, there has been
established regular communication by steam between Manila and Europe, the
epistolary matter from Europe, for the residents throughout the
Archipelago, being conveyed by a Spanish steamer from Hong-kong, which is
distant only 600 miles, while all letters for Europe are conveyed to the
latter port in time for the mails of the 1st and 15th of each month,
whence they are forwarded together with the English correspondence viâ
Singapore and Suez.

On the other hand there is up to this moment no regular communication with
any of the adjacent islands in the Archipelago, even the Government only
availing itself of such sailing vessels as private adventurers may from
time to time charter. When any change of officials takes place, the new
appointment must often remain vacant for months till the occupant reach
his post; indeed, during our stay in Manila we witnessed a case in which
the consort of the Governor of the Marianne Archipelago had been vainly
waiting for months for an opportunity to return to her husband.[93] Some
foreign merchants settled at Manila had made an offer to the Government,
in consideration of a fixed subsidy, to establish regular communication
between the various islands of the Archipelago, and to keep it on foot by
means of five steam vessels. But the Colonial Government did not see its
way to giving the company a larger subsidy than 43,000 Spanish piasters
(£6763 at par), and thus the whole plan once more fell through, the
carrying out of which would so greatly tend to the development of these

Notwithstanding the fertility of the islands in all manner of natural
wealth, there are at present but three products of the soil which are
exported in anything like large quantities to the European and North
American markets, and which thus give this group any importance in the
eyes of the commercial world, viz. tobacco, Abáca, or Manila hemp, and
sugar. The amount of all other articles exported, such as coffee, indigo,
Sapan wood (_Cæsalpinia sapan_), straw-plait,[94] hides and skins of
animals, &c., is proportionately but small. We visited the great
manufactories of Binondo, as also that of Arroceros, where _cigarillos_,
or paper-covered cigarettes, are exclusively manufactured. The former
gives employment to about 8000 work-people, mostly women. In the long
workshops, where it is common to see 800 females sitting at work on low
wooden benches in front of a narrow table, there prevails a most
disagreeable deafening hubbub. Some are busy moistening the leaves, and
cutting off the requisite lengths, or are sorting the fragments and
smaller pieces, of which inferior cigars will be made; others hold in
their right hand a flat smoothed stone, with which they keep continually
pounding each single leaf, in order to make these more susceptible of
being rolled up. This drumming noise, and the cries of several hundreds of
workwomen, who, on the appearance of foreign visitors, handle their
implements of stone with yet more energy, apparently out of sheer
wantonness, the strong odour of the tobacco, and the disagreeable
exhalations from the bodies of so many human beings shut up together in
one close apartment, in a tropical temperature, have such an unpleasant,
uncomfortable effect that one hastens to exchange the damp sultry vapours
of the workshops for the fresh air without.

In the _Cigarillo_ manufactory about 2000 workmen find employment. Here
also there is felt in the workshops the same clammy, sultry atmosphere. A
workman can make about 150 packages of 25 cigarettes, or 3750, per diem,
for which he is paid four reals[95] (1_s._ 7_d._ English). Most
extraordinary is the rapidity, bordering almost upon the magical, with
which the cigarillos are counted, divided into packages, bound up, and
stamped. The unpractised vision of the visitor is hardly able to follow
the celerity of motion of the workman's hands and fingers.

Besides the two factories already mentioned, there is yet a third
cigarillo manufactory in Cavite, which employs 4000, and a fourth in
Malabon, employing 5000, workwomen. The quantities annually produced by
these various manufactories amount to about 1,200,000,000 cigarillos. If
we deduct the numerous holidays of the Church, on which no work is done,
we shall find that about 5,000,000 must be made daily. Government buys up
each year from the planters the entire crop of tobacco at a fixed price,
and exports it partly in leaf, but for the most part in cigars, the right
to manufacture which no one possesses but the Government. The monopoly of
tobacco was, after great difficulties had been encountered, first
introduced into the Philippines in 1787 by Don José Basco, the then

The greater part of the cigars are shipped to the East Indies, the islands
of the Malay Archipelago, and North America, only a small quantity in
proportion coming to Europe for sale.

The principal tobacco-growing districts of the island of Luzon are Cagayan
and Bisayx, in which on an average 180,000 cwt. of tobacco are grown
annually; of these about 80,000 cwt. are sent annually in the leaf to
Spain, while the surplus are worked up into cigars in Luzon itself, sold
at auction (_al martillo_) every month, and knocked down to the highest
bidder. The average price is 8 to 10 dollars per 1000 _Costados_. There is
but one species of tobacco grown in Manila, and the size of the leaf is
the sole element that regulates the value. The Manila tobacco is a very
strong narcotic; there is, notwithstanding the prevailing opinion in
Europe, no opium mingled with it; one end being simply dipped in rice
juice to glue it together. Indeed, the enormous cost of that liquid drug,
which plays so important a part in the history of the Chinese empire,
would alone prevent its being used. As cigars are greatly in request by
both sexes in Manila, and it is necessary first to provide for the supply
of the country itself, it occasionally happens that the stocks are not
sufficiently large at once to supply all demands for exportation. Except
during the public sales by auction, no one is permitted to buy of
Government more than 1000 cigars at once, a regulation most vicious in
principle and useless in practice, as persons who wish to possess larger
quantities of cigars have simply to send round to any number of persons in
the tobacco trade, in order to provide themselves with what they require.
We ourselves experienced how any one, who was desirous of buying 45,000
cigars, sent 45 different individuals to the bonded magazine, from which
each brought 1000 cigars without any further interference.

Although altogether more tobacco is raised on the island of Luzon than in
Cuba, yet the exportation from the former is far less in quantity, for the
reason already commented upon, that a large portion of the tobacco so
grown is consumed in the country itself. Luzon provides 1/10th, and Cuba
1/12th of the entire production of tobacco on the earth, which amounts to
4,000,000 cwt.[96] There are indeed two countries which produce a far
larger quantity of tobacco than either Luzon or Cuba,[97] but in no other
country does the tobacco leaf attain such superior quality, owing to
favourable climate and congenial soil, as in the Spanish possessions
already named.

Another chief product of the Philippines, which first found its way into
the markets of the world from these islands, is what is called Manila
hemp. This, however, is not the common hemp plant (_Cannabis sativa_), but
is procured from the fibres of the "_Musa textilis_," a species of
banana, and is called by the Tagals _abáca_. The plant comes in great
quantities from almost every one of the Philippines, from Luzon to
Mindanão, so that the area over which it extends stretches between the
equator and 20° N. This seems, however, to be the most northerly limit of
vegetation of the _Musa textilis_, and consequently it is out of question
to attempt to introduce into Europe the cultivation of this most useful
plant, which, ere it can be profitably grown, requires a temperature of
77° Fahr. The stem of this _musacea_ grows in the Philippines to a height
of from 9 to 12 feet, by about 6 inches in thickness, its leaves being of
an exceedingly dark green colour, 8 feet in length by 1-1/2 feet in width.
The fruit is smaller, and neither so yellow nor so palatable as that of
the common banana. To procure the hemp, the trunk, so soon as the fleshy
bulbous fruit makes its appearance, is stripped of its splendid leaves,
which serve as fodder for the oxen, and is left about three days to
ferment. It is then peeled off in pieces, which by the application of a
corresponding pressure are drawn between two knives, not too sharp, in
order to separate the hemp, which now begins to be visible, from the bast,
which, owing to the fermentation, has become rather brittle. This process
is continued until the hemp is sufficiently cleaned to admit of its being
spread out and dried in the sun. A skilful workman may make extract from 8
to 10 feet of hemp a day. There are 450,000 cwt. of hemp produced
annually, of the value of £520,000, the greater part of which is sent to
the United States of North America, while from 30,000 to 60,000 cwt. is
manufactured into rigging for ships in the country itself, at the splendid
factory of Messrs. Russell and Sturgis, an American firm, by whom it is
exported to Singapore, Australia, and China. This raw material, as well as
the various products manufactured from it, has a magnificent future
opening to it, and will ere long compete advantageously with English and
Russian hemp in the European markets. The principal objection as yet made
to the use of the Manila hemp for rigging, viz. its contracting in wet
weather, can easily be obviated by more careful treatment of the fibres in
the process of manufacture. On the other hand, in strength and elasticity
the abáca surpasses its rival, as has been proved by repeated experiments,
especially over common European, and even Russian, hemp.[98] Messrs.
Russell and Sturgis have, it is true, monopolized the hemp product of the
entire Archipelago, but under their fostering care it must sensibly
increase and become perceptibly improved. From the leaves of _Musa
textilis_, like those of all other species of the banana tribe, very
excellent paper can be made, and by the increasing cultivation of the
_musaceæ_ in the tropics, two main objects could be attained, viz.
providing a plentiful subsistence for the natives, and extending and
cheapening the medium that mainly contributes to widen the circle of
knowledge of mankind.[99]

Next to _Musa textilis_, the Ramé-shrub (_Boehmeria tenacissima_)
especially deserves the attention of business men. The fibre of this
member of the _urticaceæ_, which unites extraordinary toughness with much
beauty and fineness, is stronger and more durable than that of Russian
hemp, and with careful preparation would make into finer thread than the
very expensive material which is used in Europe at the present day for
making the world-famous Brussels point-lace. The variety of purposes to
which this useful plant may be applied has hitherto been less fully
recognized than those of the Manila hemp. In Europe the _Boehmeria
tenacissima_ is but found in botanical gardens, or herbariums, and as yet
not the slightest use is made of it for industrial purposes. And yet the
introduction on a large scale of Manila hemp and Ramé fibre into the
European markets in place of Russian hemp, would have more than merely a
commercial and industrial importance![100]

We may also notice in this connection another description of fabrics made
from fibrous material, which, though but little known beyond the limits of
the Archipelago, seems to us to deserve to be more extensively known, and,
it would seem, may be most profitably taken up. These are the delicate
almost transparent tissues prepared from the fibres of one of the
_Bromeliaceæ_ (_ananassa sativa_), which are used by the natives for
ornamental shirts, _chemisettes_, and necklaces, and are known in commerce
by the names of _Piña_ or grass-cloths.[101] The threads of these textures
are so thin, that they can only be woven in apartments where there is not
the slightest breath of air. The natives contrive to weave them into the
most beautiful designs, and were they submitted to some chemical process
which should impart to the web a clearer colour, less of a dirty yellow,
the world of taste would be enriched by the addition of one of the most
exquisite materials that could be presented to adorn the graceful form of
woman, and while seeming to conceal her charms, would but render them more
conspicuously attractive.

Although the rainy season, during which we visited Manila, was but little
inviting for excursions, we yet could not resist the temptation to make an
excursion to the celebrated _Laguna de Bay_, a short distance in the
interior. Mr. J. Steffan, consul for Bremen, a Swiss by birth, and a
partner in one of the most eminent mercantile houses in Manila (Jenny and
Co.), who from the moment the Austrian expeditionaries set foot in the
Philippines manifested to them the most delightful hospitality, was on
this occasion also our companion and cicerone. Two other foreigners, an
English artist and a merchant from Amsterdam, joined our party. The
first-named had lived for long on the island, and had already visited all
its most accessible spots, whence he had returned with some very accurate
sketches; the latter had been sent out by his firm to Manila, in 1857,
when the price of sugar had fallen, for the purpose of purchasing, at the
price to which he was limited, a large quantity of that important article
of colonial produce. By the time, however, he had reached the capital of
the Philippines, the value of the sugar had already, in consequence of a
favourable crop, exceeded the limit assigned him, and has since then
advanced 300 per cent. Still the Amsterdam agent held on, awaiting a fall,
and meanwhile did his best to wile away his time of exile by feasting his
eyes with all the various beauties of the island.

On a grey, dreary morning we found ourselves pulling up the Pasig in small
covered boats, till we reached the Lagune, where a larger craft was
awaiting us, to take the entire company of pilgrims on board and transport
them to the opposite shore of this inland lake, as far as Los Baños. In
clear sunny weather a row in a _banca_ upon the river Pasig, the aorta of
Manila, which forms the communication between the city and the Lagune,
together with all the various settlements along the shores of that
internal sea, must be exceedingly pleasant. The banks of the river,
indeed, are flat and unsightly, but the vegetation rejoices in a
marvellous profusion of the most beautiful forms and colours. The
_Bambusaceæ_ are the chief ornament of the shores, on which there are but
few palms to be seen, while the banana, the sugar-cane, or the rice-plant
are only exceptionally met with at certain points. The delicate-leaved
bamboo accordingly presents hereabouts an elegance and variety of form,
which at first sight seems to mark out its individual representatives as
belonging to so many different families of plants. Wherever the subjacent
rock is visible along the banks it presents beds of an ashen-grey
pumice-stone, which constitutes the chief building material of Manila. On
the shores of the river, near the city, are situate the various factories
and iron-foundries, above which are the residences of the wealthy
Mestizoes and foreign settlers, as also the country-seat of the
Governor-general, whence, still ascending the stream, are Tagal villages
of wretched cane huts, grouped round stately churches and parsonages,
which peep picturesquely through lovely groves of bamboo.

There are three modes of boating on the Pasig and through the Lagune,
namely, the _banca_, consisting of a large trunk of a tree hollowed out
and covered with an awning of bamboo; the _lorcha_ or _falúa_ (corruption
of felucca), large, comfortable, but exceedingly clumsy row-boats, which,
particularly during the rainy season when there is a heavy sea running,
are those chiefly used in this navigation; and finally, the _casco_, which
is of equal breadth at either end, and has more the appearance of a raft.
The last-named is principally made use of for the transport of heavy
merchandise, and is in especial favour with the natives, for the reason
that it is practicable to hoist sail upon it as well as to row. On the
Lagune there is also found yet a fourth kind of boat, the Paráho, the
principle of which, as well as the name, has obviously been borrowed from
the Malay _Prahu_, which it closely resembles in form and mode of

On the Pasig there is a constant and amazing tide of human activity.
Numberless boats pass and repass, some bound for the city, to supply it
with provisions and other necessary articles, even to drinking-water,
which has to be shipped in casks at a considerable distance, others
returning with all sorts of purchases made in Manila, for the supply of
the various residents on the shores of the Lagune with the necessaries of
life. On this voyage we got a sight of numbers of grackles (_Pastor
Rosen_), the well-known grasshopper-destroyer, which, about five years
before, had been introduced from China at considerable expense, with the
view of extirpating this formidable locust. But since these birds, to kill
which is punishable by imprisonment, have become acclimatized, they seem
to have lost all relish for grasshoppers, sitting quiet and unmoved on the
trees and roofs of the houses, while swarms of locusts are disporting
under their very eyes. Apparently the number of these destructive insects
is less great in China than in Manila, where these voracious wanderers
often appear in dense swarms, which, in the shape of black clouds,
absolutely obscure the daylight! Probably, too, their means of sustenance
is much more limited in China than in the Philippines, where these birds,
being in fact treated as tame animals, and fairly domesticated, find
frequent opportunities of satisfying their hunger otherwise.

At the village of Patero (from _Pato_, duck), which is situated five miles
from the capital on the left bank, the inhabitants are mainly employed in
breeding ducks. In front of each hut, and near the river, there is a large
area fenced in, where these birds can bask in the sun or bathe at
pleasure. The floor of the little poultry house is carefully cleaned every
morning with river-water, and the ground dug up and plentifully filled
daily with shell-fish for the use of the ducks, which the natives bring in
their small canoes from the sea, where they thrive by millions in the mud.
The spectacle of the gently-sloping assembling-places of these cackling
denizens of the watery element, and the clamours with which we were
saluted, strongly recalled to us the penguins of the Island of St. Paul.
In Patero millions of ducks are annually reared as articles of trade, as
the Tagalese look upon the half-hatched eggs and the new-born chickens as
special dainties.

The natives whom we met on the way all wore large round hats, made of
plaited straw or bamboo, white hose, and above these the invariable shirt,
a custom so singular, that it is but very gradually the eye of the
foreigner becomes reconciled to it. The farther we got from the capital
the more the use of Spanish seemed to diminish, till at the Lagune the
natives only speak Tagal and Bisay.

Our original intention had been to row up in _bancas_ as far as the
entrance to the Lagune, where it had been arranged that the _lorcha_,
which had started from Manila a day or two before, was to await our
arrival. But when little more than half way beyond the village of Pasig we
overtook the great clumsy concern, and it was forthwith resolved to remove
into it bag and baggage, not forgetting the "provant," and endeavour to
make ourselves as comfortable as we could for a few days and nights.

As it was perfectly calm, and the _lorcha_ had to be poled along, we were
a considerable time before reaching the entrance to the Lagune, where the
industrious natives had erected a variety of nets and other fishing
apparatus of very peculiar nature. The banks of the Lagune are for some
distance from the shore thickly studded with thousands of what are called
_coráls_, or fish-runs, and a special pilot is required to enable the
_lorcha_ to thread this labyrinth of fishing apparatus of every
conceivable form, so as to reach the open water. Singularly enough, it is
for the most part the Tagalese women who manipulate the fishing
instruments, while the men, as we were told, sit in the house and
embroider. Near the entrance is stationed a sort of guardship. A Tagalese
overseer overhauled our passports, turned them over in his hands two or
three times with much official importance, and then returned them to us.
The worthy officer of the law was obviously ignorant of the art of
reading, but for that very reason he looked doubly massy, for fear of
exposing his weak side to the Europeans.

The Lagune de Bay is a fresh-water lake of such dimensions, that even on
a clear day it is impossible, from the entrance, to see the coast on the
further side, much less, of course, in the wretched rainy weather which
stuck by us throughout our trip. Nevertheless, it is far inferior in size
to the great lakes of North America. Its greatest breadth is little more
than 30 miles.[102] All around the fertile shores of this charming lake
nestle little villages, and the daily intercourse with the capital is so
extensive that a steam-boat company would pay well. While on the one hand
the Colonial Government objects to the expense of entering upon an
undertaking so important for developing the general trade, engineers, on
the other hand, have for the last 14 years been busily engaged projecting
the immense work of connecting the Lagune with the ocean by means of a
canal, in such manner as would enable ships approaching Luzon from the
southwards to reach Manila easily, and with great saving in time, instead
of having to sail all round the island. This short cut through the tongue
of land would, it may well be supposed, be in other respects of
incalculable benefit for the country, for the shipping and for trade
generally, especially were the execution of this splendid project to be
carried out hand in hand with a liberal policy, that should shake off that
despotism which at present weighs like a mountain upon every sort of
intellectual and political activity. Let Manila be declared a free port,
let the ships of all mercantile nations visit unrestrictedly the various
harbours of the Archipelago, and Spain will under such relaxations reap
far more profit than from her present retrograde colonial policy, which
can only result in permanent discontent and impoverishment. A thoroughly
unprejudiced Spanish statesman might make most valuable observations by a
brief visit to the neighbouring colony of Singapore, that marvellous
British settlement, which, owing to a commercial policy conceived in the
free, liberal spirit that characterizes the 19th century, has sprung up
from a nest of pirates into the most flourishing and the wealthiest
emporium in the entire Malay Archipelago. The situation of Manila, as also
its numerous natural advantages and resources, would soon make it a rival
to Singapore. But of what avail are the choicest treasures of nature, if
the mind be wanting which can turn them to their proper use, and elicit
their real value?

The continued bad weather compelled us to pass the night most
uncomfortably on board the _lorcha_; however, the morning after our
departure from Manila we arrived at the village of Los Baños on the
southern shore of the Lagune, where we were most courteously received by
Padre Lorenzo, a Tagalese (only the monks being of Spanish blood, whereas
among the secular clergy there are numbers of coloured persons). The
parsonage, formerly an hospital, is an extensive edifice, with covered
terraces, from whence the visitor enjoys the most splendid views of the
neighbouring hills, as also over the village. Here we were rejoined by
those members of the Expedition who, there not being room for all on board
the _lorcha_, had made out the voyage to Los Baños in a small boat. The
Government officer of the village of Pasig was so kind as to provide for
our exploration of the lake a well-appointed, thoroughly armed and
equipped war-galley; by no means a superfluous precaution when making an
excursion upon the lake, as it has not unfrequently happened that
unprotected strangers have returned to Manila robbed of everything.

We had great difficulty in making our kind Father Lorenzo, whose
wanderings had been rather limited, comprehend from what country we came,
and to what nation we belonged. The natives of Luzon for the most part
believe that all mankind consists of but two nations, Spaniards and
English; the former they regard as their own masters, while the political
and commercial power of the latter impress them with more terror than
sympathy, and this feeling is still further deepened by that spiritual
teaching, which makes everything seem to their untutored minds of the most
terrible criminality, which does not strictly accord with Roman

Los Baños (the baths), so named on account of the numerous hot springs,
whose source is close at hand at the foot of the now extinct volcanic cone
of Maquilui, thickly wooded to its very summit, was so far back as the end
of the 16th century a place of resort for invalids, who hoped here to find
a cure for their various maladies. In the interests of suffering
humanity, the Franciscans of those days, then in the height of their
influence, built over the baths a sort of hut, and a hospital dedicated to
"_Nuestra Señora de las Aguas santas de Maynit_" (our Lady of the Holy
waters of Maynit, the latter name expressing _hot_ in Tagal). Although at
present in a very forlorn and dilapidated condition, there is still in
existence, quite near to the edge of the Lake, an apartment enclosed
within a wall, within which there boils up from a considerable depth a
spring of hot water of a temperature of 186°.8 Fahr.; which is
occasionally used, both by natives and foreigners, as a vapour bath,
although these _Thermæ_ are more used to scald poultry than for their
original purpose of curing disease. The entire neighbourhood is volcanic.
Behind Maquilui, which is about 3400 feet high, lies, surrounded by a deep
lake, the active crater of the renowned volcano of Taal, while to one side
of the first-named mountain rises in the blue distance, to a height of
from 6000 to 7000 feet, the gigantic mass of the Majayjay[103] range, a
volcanic system long since extinct. An oppressive sultriness in the
atmosphere, such as we had never before experienced, and a drenching
thunder-storm, put a complete stopper on our projected excursion to make a
closer acquaintance with the hills. Somewhat of the terrific heat
experienced here, may, with much justice, be attributed to the great
number of almost boiling springs which issue from the foot of the
Maquilui, so that even on entirely clear days, when the mountain-top is
quite free of clouds, the country about Los Baños seems enveloped in an
atmosphere of mist.

The main object and ever-memorable result of our excursion was the _Laguna
Encantada_ (or Enchanted Lake,--the _Socol_ of the Tagalese), distant not
much more than a mile from Los Baños. Volcanic agency and tropical beauty
have combined to prepare here one of the most singular and mysterious
phenomena that the eye of man may ever behold. Although this small lake is
only separated by a low hill from the larger basin, yet the approach to it
is extremely troublesome and arduous. It is necessary here and there to
use one's hands, in order to creep through the brushwood along the steep
wall of rock, till the shore of the lake is at last reached. Even the very
"dug-outs," in which the lake is to be navigated, have to be transported
over this lonely inhospitable hill. As the Lagune enjoys the unenviable
reputation of being the haunt of numbers of ravenous crocodiles, which
have on several occasions overturned the light canoes navigating it at the
time, and without further ceremony devoured their crews, the natives had
learned to take the precaution of binding two or three canoes close
together with bamboos and cords, in order to diminish the risk of being
overturned while boating on this dreary haunt of "caymano."

While the natives were getting ready this handsome specimen of a craft, we
stood on the shore, every one absorbed in gazing at this singular natural
picture. Calm and mysterious-looking the lake lay before us, a circular
basin, of a deep green from innumerable almost microscopic water plants,
unfathomable, if we may trust common report, and enclosed by a crater-like
wall of lava-blocks. All along the shore grew the tropical forest;
gigantic primeval trunks, wildly festooned with wondrously luxuriant
creepers, raised their towering crests, their splendid coronets of leaves
reflected in the calm mirror below, and casting the lake in every corner
into a dusky, shadowy obscurity of outline. From the topmost branches of
the trees were suspended huge brown, indistinct-looking fruits. There was
death-like silence all around. Only at fitful intervals might be
distinguished the note of a bird, or the muttered growl of distant
thunder. We now got into our canoes and rowed silently over the waters of
the lake. As though to add to the interest of the adventure, it came on to
rain pretty heavily. Some of the party followed the very practical custom
of the natives, who forthwith divested themselves of their clothing, and
left the rain to beat upon their naked bodies, while they put their
dresses under the seats of the boat to prevent their being soaked.
Fortunately the alligators at no time made their appearance in such
numbers as the tales of the natives had led us to anticipate. We saw but
one of these monsters, apparently about 15 feet long, who however speedily
dived out of our sight.[104] Our guides maintained it would be advisable
to take a dog with us, whose howl would have aroused the alligators and
brought them up to the surface in hope as of prey. Indeed people
frequently sacrifice dogs in order to entice these rapacious monsters from
their haunts for the purpose of hunting them.

If however disappointed in this spectacle, we were recompensed by another
not less peculiar. For hardly had a shot been fired at one of the
water-fowls which were skimming to and fro over the lake, than at once
tree and thicket seemed filled with life. Birds of all kinds, screaming
and whirring, fluttered about or dashed wildly against each other on every
side. Thousands that had been sitting on the beach concealed in the deep
shade, wood-pigeons and legions of gigantic bats, which had been suddenly
frightened out of their listless repose, now flew about directly before
the murderous fowling-pieces. The singular-looking fruits which seemed to
be so strangely dependent from the trees, were transformed into Kalong
bats (_Pteropus edulis_), and flew about in immense flocks that obscured
the light of day, directly over our heads, hastily seeking a shelter in
the forest, which should hide them from the gaze of the sportsmen.
Probably we should have brought down some of these singular animals, had
not our fowling-pieces, owing to the incessant pour of rain, got so
thoroughly out of order that we had to content ourselves with getting a
very few specimens for our zoological collection.

On returning to the parsonage from this interesting excursion, we found
the _Alcalde Mayor_, who had come to Los Baños from the adjacent small
town of Santa Cruz, to welcome the foreigners, and be of service to them.
The _Alcalde Mayor_, or _Gobernador_, is the highest official, the chief
both of administration and justice in the province, a sort of prefect,
under whom are the _Gobernadorcillos_, or departmental administrators,
beneath whom again the Cabezas,[105] or parish justices, form yet a lower
grade. The chief duties of these native officials consist in seeing that
the proper amount of tribute or head-money is duly collected. This impost
is divided into three parts: the duty for defraying the State expenses
amounting to five reals, that for supporting the Church amounts to three
reals, and that for the wants of the community amounting to one real, so
that the whole taxation levied upon each individual liable is about nine
reals (4_s._ 9_d._ English). In addition to the natives, the Chinese
resident in Manila and the half-breed Chinese are subject to a poll-tax,
the pure Chinese being rated according to their social position and the
nature of their calling. They pay on the average about 17 dollars, or
about 15 times as much as the native. The poll-tax of the Chinese Mestizo
amounts to 18 reals, or about twice as much as that on the native. All
males are liable to be rated for the poll-tax, as also all females when
married, or when they have attained the age of 25. Those exempted from
the poll-tax are all Spaniards and their half-caste children, all foreign
residents except the Chinese, as also all natives above 60, and a few
native families, whose ancestors had performed certain services for the
Spaniards at the period of the conquest; and, lastly, all native
authorities during their tenure of office (usually six years).[106]

The morning after our excursion to the Enchanted Lake, a hunt of
water-fowl was organized among the swamps surrounding Calamba, which
furnished us with plenty of sport, as well as important scientific
results, in which it would have been yet more productive, had it not been
suddenly brought to a close by the acute illness of one of the canoe-men.
As some cases of cholera had occurred during the few days immediately
preceding, it seemed to be only a wise precaution to exercise some little
prudence on the present occasion. Strange to say, however, the man
attacked, despite his sickness, rowed resolutely till the party reached
Los Baños, during all which period he showed the most lively interest in
the hunt, constantly calling our attention to birds which his keen eye
detected at a distance, or which were moving softly over the water without
being observed.

Meanwhile one of the zoologists was busy at the parsonage, making
preparations of the most interesting specimens procured. Padre Lorenzo
could hardly believe his eyes when he beheld the naturalist engaged in
such a bloody business, apparently on precisely the most agreeable spot of
the whole terrace, and performing the various dissections requisite upon
the dead bodies of some couple of dozen of birds. In whatever direction
one turned in the apartment, the eye encountered nothing but birds of
variegated plumage, gigantic Kalong bats, monkeys, or else barrels filled
with spirits of wine, in which were preserved snakes, fish, and other
small inhabitants of the deep. The poor padre, accustomed to peaceful
meditation and full of simplicity, appeared quite convinced he must have
sinned grievously that such a visitation should have overtaken him, as
that this horde of foreigners should have disturbed the repose of his
peaceful asylum with such appalling practices. The youths of the village,
encouraged by the promise of remuneration, busied themselves with yet
further increasing our zoological collection, and made their appearance,
breathless with running, each with some still more curious and important
object to show to the strange gentleman, who found such interest in snakes
and insects, that he even paid money down for them!

Padre Lorenzo, however, was ere long rid of his singular guests, with whom
he could even not get upon an intelligible footing. On the same day on
which the hunt among the swamps of Calamba took place in the morning, the
Expeditionary party returned from Los Baños, and by way of recompense to
the obliging padre for the discomfort inflicted, they presented him with
some provisions and some bottles of claret, which filled the worthy
gentleman with delight, and seemed completely to reconcile him to the
"Estranjeros." Some of the members of our Expedition also visited the two
villages of Jalla-jalla and Binangonan, lying close to the shore of the
lake, places of great interest in a geographical sense, while the
remainder of the party returned to Manila in the same way they had come.
Unfortunately throughout the entire distance the rain fell worse than
ever. It never ceased pouring in deluges, so that for hours together we
could not get upon deck, but had to remain below in the small bleak,
comfortless cabin. Here there was nothing for it but to wile away the time
as best we might. We talked "_de omnibus rebus, et quibusdam aliis_," we
laughed, we sang, and we--SMOKED, a habit, be it remarked incidentally, so
constant and universal here, that the _Pebete_ with its glowing top is
constantly circulating from hand to hand. This is a sort of tinder in the
shape of small thin rods, a cubit long, which is prepared in China from a
mixture of fine dried sawdust, fir, and clay, and forms a by no means
insignificant article of commerce, the greater part coming from
Macao.[107] A chest of eight cubic feet, filled with _Pebete_ or
"joss-sticks," as the English call this tinder, the use of which pervades
the entire Malay Archipelago as far as Madras, costs from 10_s._ to 16_s._
6_d._ sterling.

By 11 P.M. we had got back to Manila. The weather had cleared up somewhat,
the rain had ceased, and the city and environs were gay with the gleam of
innumerable variegated lamps, intended to represent the illuminations
expressive of the joy of the people at the birth of a prince of the
Asturias. This did not however continue long; the enthusiasm that was
finding vent through the glitter of the lamps was drowned in another
deluge of rain, and as the exhibition had now lasted for several nights in
succession, people at last had got weary of the trouble of constantly
relighting them; the gaudy triumphal arches were decomposed into their
constituent atoms--rough boards, wooden pegs, nails, and filthy little

The continuance of the wet weather put more distant excursions out of the
question. We had to content ourselves with having seen all that was really
worth seeing in the city and environs during our limited stay.

Many additional visits were paid to the interior of the city, to the fort,
to the monasteries, and the various public institutions. Of these latter,
two call for a more particular notice: the "_Biblioteca Militar_," and the
immense hospital of San Juan de Dios, under the charge of the Charitable

The attraction of the Military Library, which is situated in one portion
of the cloister of the Jesuits which had been almost entirely
destroyed[108] by a former earthquake, consisted far less in its
bibliographic treasures, than in a small collection of objects
illustrative of natural history, of which the first beginning had been
made but a few months before our arrival. It deserves the more notice that
it was not the project of a professed naturalist, but solely of an
"aficimado," or friend to scientific inquiry, Colonel Miguel Creus.
Although very deficient, still the bare experiment has paved the way to a
better and more complete collection, which at present comprises, besides
about 100 species of birds and a few mammalia, a number of objects
illustrative of ethnography, geological specimens, and the various
manufactures and natural products of the Archipelago (among which are 37
species of rice). Considering the natural resources of this Archipelago,
(some of which, especially the Conchylia,[109] far surpass in richness of
colour, beauty, and gracefulness of form anything that has yet been met
with in any part of the globe,) the inauguration of this small collection
may yet prove the foundation of one of the most magnificent and marvellous
museums of natural history, provided the laudable intention of the
founder receive adequate support; and the work, commenced as a labour of
love, be continued and promoted with energy and perseverance.[110]

The great Civil Hospital, to which Dr. Fullerton, a Scotchman settled in
Manila, was so kind as to accompany us, is a very extensive range of
buildings, with large airy rooms, but so unclean and ill-kept, that it is
no wonder if the report be true, that many natives in bad health prefer to
run the chance of death without, to being brought to this infirmary.
Indeed most of the rooms are empty and unoccupied, there being in the
whole building but 30 confined to their beds, which in a city of not less
than 130,000 souls, with but _one_ hospital, is at all events a remarkable
phenomenon. Every year on St. John's day the brethren of the order give a
fête, when all the different rooms are scoured, swept, and garnished, and
the sick in the hospital are present at the festivities, and, unrestricted
by considerations of diet, are regaled with food and wine to their heart's
content. This is likewise the period at which the hospital is most
extensively patronized, and not only by those actually sick, but far more
by those who qualify for a residence in the hospital by a too great
devotion to the plentiful viands provided on St. John's day. When the
English were in possession of Manila during the Seven Years' War, this
range of buildings was used as a barrack, for which reason the church was
considered as desecrated for 90 years, and only in 1857 consecrated once
more as a temple of God.

There is also in the _Calle de Hospicio_ a Military Hospital, somewhat
better kept, and not like the former under the charge of a brotherhood,
but of a medical staff. Unfortunately the arrangements here leave very
much to be desired. The rooms, insufficiently ventilated, are in the
immediate vicinity of the kitchen, the smoke and odours from which cannot
but be very prejudicial to the patients. In the various wards there were
about 150 to 200 sick, whose lot called for redoubled sympathy,
considering the little attention paid them.

Unfortunately no opportunity presented itself during our stay at Manila of
witnessing any of those processions of the Church, which are necessarily
so frequent in the course of the year. This was the more to be regretted,
as we were told of many peculiarities of these costly processions. Here
apparently, as in the earlier dependencies of Spain, in Central and
Southern America, the Roman Catholic ritual has become mingled in the most
extraordinary manner with ceremonies borrowed from paganism. The earliest
Spanish missionaries were especially prone to believe that by retaining
some of the former ceremonies they would facilitate the work of
conversion, and increase the number of neophytes. They saw no scandal in
the native, attired sometimes as a giant twelve feet high, sometimes as a
Malay warrior, sometimes as an aboriginal savage, fantastically painted,
and accoutred with bow and arrow, in a word, in all sorts of masquerading
costume, frolicking in the very midst of the sacred procession, and
performing all manner of buffoonery in front of the life-sized and
gaily-adorned images of saints; but appeared rather to contemplate with
pleasure that these wild beings, who had resisted the Spaniards on their
first arrival on the island, were now subjected to the Holy Church, and
rejoiced in her service! There are also numbers of natives dressed up as
animals, and girls gaily decorated with flowers and in robes of spotless
white, as also a fantastically-attired jester, who from time to time gives
national dances and sings national songs, to the best of his ability, all
in one long procession, accompanied by monks singing chorals and carrying
wax tapers, while a promiscuous crowd of the faithful bring up the rear.

The sight of such processions have anything but an edifying influence upon
a European, but on the mind of the masses they seem to make a deep
impression, and for weeks after, when smoking a cigarette in the privacy
of the family circle, they will talk of the splendour of such solemnities,
and the motley episodes that accompanied it. If it were admissible to
judge of the religious mind of a people by their outward observances, the
Tagalese would be the most devout race in the world. Wherever the natives
come in contact with the Church, they put on an extraordinary stern and
reverential deportment, and even in the most trivial matters the great
influence of the priesthood upon the masses becomes abundantly apparent.
This is the most conspicuous every evening as the clock tolls for the Ave
Maria. The tones work like enchantment upon the people at whatever
distance they may be audible, and for a few moments a profound silence
succeeds to the noise and bustle. The labourer and the promenader, the
ladies and gentlemen of the upper ranks in their elegant carriages, as
well as the poor Tagale returning homeward from his hard day's work, and
driving his laden mule before him, are for the space of an instant awed by
the solemn sounds. All vehicles stop suddenly short, the gentlemen and
servants uncover their heads, the restless masses stand as though nailed
to the ground, and then sink gradually on their knees in prayer, their
heads bared and their cigars extinguished; no one would venture to break
in upon the universal stillness so long as the bell continues to toll. But
as soon as it is silent, each jumps to his feet, and proceeds on again,
believing he may now in safety give way to his frolicsomeness and pursue
his pleasures.

Life in Manila during the dry season was described to us as exceedingly
agreeable and gay. Then almost every evening joyous groups thread the city
singing and joking, while from every hut resounds some snatch of melody
accompanied by the guitar. We had a slight foretaste of the joviality
which must prevail in Manila during the delicious summer evenings from the
joyous disposition manifested by the various Tagal families, even during
the wet season, when the almost incessant rain, and the swampy state of
the streets, compelled the natives to remain crowded in the narrow rooms
of their poor little huts. In St. Miguel, a hamlet in the immediate
neighbourhood of Manila, with a number of country-seats of wealthy
foreigners and natives, we repeatedly heard the sweet plaintive notes of
the native women singing Tagal ditties, which for pathos and thrilling
tenderness surpassed all we had hitherto heard or read of the talents of
the coloured races for song and melody. We shall be able in the Appendix
to give the notes of a very characteristic melody, the words of which form
a very favourite popular song (Condiman), which we ultimately succeeded in
taking down through the kindness of Señor Balthasar Girandier of Manila.

It was at San Miguel that we had not alone the most agreeable, but also
the most melancholy, experience of our entire stay in the capital of the
Philippines. On an island opposite the handsome, beautifully situate
residence of our hospitable friend Mr. Steffan, the Bremen Consul, is the
Poorhouse, in which the insane as well as the sick are confined together,
the whole being, like all the other humane institutions of Manila, under
the superintendence of an ecclesiastic, in the present case a Mestizo. It
appeared there was no proper or regular medical attendance. Without
assistance, or any one responsible for their proper care, these miserable
beings, left in an indescribably desolate and neglected condition, cower
down upon the bare stone floor in the damp, filthy rooms, staring vacantly
before them, or slink about among the cool corridors, murmuring
unintelligibly to themselves. The padre, habituated to such a state of
matters, seems never to give it a moment's thought, but rather to make it
his amusement to conduct strangers through the dismal, horrible wards,
where at each step one encounters some fresh form of misery. We felt most
pity at the sight of a female, whose features and whole appearance spoke
of a happier lot in by-gone days. It seemed a mystery crying aloud for
reparation, that this unhappy being, an orphan, worthy of all compassion,
should for a slight attack of melancholy be liable to be sent to the
asylum for the insane by her unscrupulous relations, that they might with
the greater security possess themselves of her property. So deep and so
permanent was the impression made by this melancholy spectacle, that even
now, after the lapse of years of varied experience, since our visit to the
lunatic asylum of Manila, the ill-fated being, with her wan yet striking
features, her large, melancholy black eyes, and her wavy, shining black
hair, her dress neglected and half torn into pieces, stands out life-like
before us, as an embodiment of misery.

Early on the day on which we bade adieu to Manila we found an opportunity
of seeing a live boa-constrictor, said to be 48 feet long and seven
inches thick, at the house of a secular ecclesiastic in the suburb of
Santa Cruz. This gigantic reptile had been confined for 32 years in a
large wooden cage, where it had enjoyed such a carefully tended existence
that it had fairly outlived the good padre, and was now for sale by his
heirs. The indolent animal, constantly lying almost motionless among the
sand, is fed only once in every four weeks, when it is usually presented
with a young pig.

On the 24th of June the members of our Expedition went on board the small
steamer plying to Cavite, where lay the frigate, on board which all
necessary preparations had been made. Now, on the eve of departure, almost
every one of our number mourned the disappointment of cherished
expectations. The inclemency of the weather had not alone precluded our
undertaking the more distant excursions which would have repaid our
researches in the natural history of the islands, but had even interposed
serious obstacles to our wanderings in the immediate neighbourhood;
moreover, up to the very moment of our departure the Government manifested
the utmost indifference to the objects of the Expedition, while even the
educated portion of the Spanish residents never took the slightest notice.
The more reason therefore is it, under such circumstances, that we should
not be unmindful of the few, such as Messrs. Steffan, Schmidt, Wegener,
Wood, Fullerton, Fonseca, Girandier, and Creus, who, with warm interest in
our plans, furnished us with new material relating to the Philippines and
their inhabitants, and left us with the agreeable prospect of a permanent
exchange of literary and scientific labours.

At one A.M. of the 25th June we weighed anchor in the harbour of Cavite,
on our voyage to the Empire of China. The land breeze, which sets in
regularly every night, carried us clear out of the Bay of Manila, but in
the open sea outside we found, contrary to expectation, instead of the
S.W. monsoon, light variable winds and calms, which materially interfered
with our progress. At last, when we were about mid-way across the China
Sea, we fell in with the long-looked for S.W. wind, which speedily wafted
us to the next station we were to visit, the British colony of Hong-kong,
or Victoria. With favourable winds the voyage from Manila to Hong-kong, a
distance of about 700 nautical miles, is four or five days' sail; owing to
the constant contrary winds we were double that time.

Already, before we came in sight of land, a Chinese fishing vessel had put
a pilot on board in the shape of a long-tailed son of the Celestial
Empire, who jabbered English in a fashion to set the hair on end, and was
lost in wonder at our flag, which he had never before seen. We afterwards
found that the dialect used by our pilot was what is called
Canton-English, such as is spoken by all Chinese who have dealings with
the British, and consisting exclusively of a most ludicrous distortion of
the commonest English phrases.

About noon on the 4th July we sighted the Chinese coast; and before
sundown we had passed the Lemmas islands, and found ourselves in the
island-studded, many-bayed archipelago at the mouth of the Canton River,
where the English have selected Hong-kong, with its admirable harbour, for
the site of their colony. Thousands of fishing-boats covered the surface
of the ocean all around us, always sailing parallel with each other, in
fact, quite a fleet of fishermen, who, on a favourable opportunity, add a
little buccaneering, and have numerous secure retreats among the thousands
of coves all around, so that even up to the present day they can carry on
almost unpunished their piratical attempts upon their own
fellow-countrymen, as well as upon foreigners ignorant of their danger. It
was the first time we had seen in any numbers the Chinese Junk, with its
strange-looking rigging. On most of these small but clumsy vessels there
was cut or painted on either side of the forecastle a huge eye, as though
the crew were anxious to increase the power of vision of their vessel, so
that it might more readily pick its way through the numerous dangerous
reefs and coral banks. On the other hand the superstitious sea-faring
Chinese sometimes veil and cover up the eyes of their vessels, in order
that they should not behold certain strange things passing by, as, for
instance, a dead body, or an approaching thunder-storm, and not be
frightened by them.[111]

The nearer we approached the coast, the more was our gaze rivetted by a
landscape of the most imposing character, and now not owing to the
altitude of the hills (for the highest peak is only 3000 feet), but to the
grandeur of their form and their contour. Here are sharp, needle-shaped
pinnacles, their steep rocky cones reminding one of the Sugar Loaf at Rio,
and then round shoulders of hills, and far-extending ranges, penetrated by
deep defiles, all nearly perpendicular, and without any extent of level
land, and rising sheer out of the sea. These mountain ranges are almost
entirely naked, or covered only with a scanty grass or bush vegetation: no
tree, no forest hides the majestic groups of rocks and stones, and when
the setting sun picked out with dark, well-defined shadows the sharp
outline of the granite rock, it was as though there lay before us a "bit"
of the Swiss Alps, bathed in the sea as far as the limit of
forest-vegetation, and our sailors contemplated with redoubled enjoyment a
scene which reminded them of their native Dalmatia.

As the night was dark, with neither moonlight nor light-house (of which
latter there is unfortunately an utter lack here), we could not venture to
wind our way through the narrow channel into the harbour of Hong-kong, on
the north side of the island, and we anchored therefore about 9 P.M. on
the west side, in the Lemmas Channel; and with the first beams of the sun,
on the morning of the 5th July, we stood in to the enchanting harbour of
Hong-kong. Where the previous day we could descry from seaward hardly any
traces of human activity in the hills and rocks along the coast, so that
the land seemed desolate and deserted, there now smiled upon us, as we
doubled Green Island, the city of Victoria, rising amphitheatre-like; and,
lying invitingly before us, its harbour, all alive with numbers of stately
ships and steamers, looking like an inland lake,--in fact, entirely
land-locked. Several old ships of the line, which the English use as
hospitals and coal depôts, filled the background, among which was the
Royal Charlotte, 130 guns, the first three-decker that has passed the

At 10 A.M. we cast anchor directly opposite the town; and amid the flags
of England, America, France, Holland, and Russia, there now flaunted
proudly forth the flag of Austria!


[72] In Manila the minimum annual rainfall is 84 inches, the maximum 102

[73] The expedition sailed from Madras with about 2300 men; the squadron
consisted of 13 ships of war and transports. The English landed without
any opposition, laid siege to Manila, stormed and captured the city proper
within ten days after their arrival. The Citadel capitulated; the
Governor, an Archbishop, binding himself to pay a contribution of
4,000,000 dollars (£833,000), in order to save the city from being sacked.
This expedition was always looked on by the Spaniards of the Philippines
as a very rash adventure, which by no means tended to diminish the
national antipathy to the English race, although after such freebooting
expeditions as have within these last two years been witnessed on the part
of civilized states in law-abiding Europe, this invasion by an army of
declared enemies must be viewed in an entirely different light.

[74] Spanish writers, treating of the Philippines, derive this name from
"Losong," which in the native language means the wooden mortar in which
the rice, which forms the chief subsistence of the inhabitants, is shelled
and pounded. The first strangers who came to this island, and found in
every hut one of these very peculiar clumsy-looking implements, spoke of
the newly discovered island as "Isle de los Losenes" (island of wooden
mortars), whence in process of time it became transformed into Luzon.

[75] One of these hotels, the Hotel Français, was, at the time of our
visit, kept by a Frenchman named Dubosse, a man of a most adventurous
disposition, who afterwards accompanied the French army to China as a
mess-man, and was one of the victims seized by Sang-ko-lin-sin's soldiers,
near Pekin, in September, 1860, who met with such a horrible fate. The
other inn, the Hotel Fernando, kept by a North American, is yet more
filthy and noisy than the first-named, since, being situated on the
harbour, it serves for a rendezvous for the various ships' captains. In
neither of these is the charge less than 4 to 5 Spanish dollars a day, or
about £1 sterling.

[76] The Stranger's Guide to the Philippines (_Guia de Forasteros_) for
the year 1859 gives the names of 61 commercial houses established by
Spaniards in Manila. Besides these, there are in the capital of the
Philippines, seven English, three North American, two French, one German,
and two Swiss trading firms.

[77] We borrow this alphabet from the valuable work of Baron von Hügel,
entitled the Pacific Ocean and the Spanish Colonies of the Indian
Archipelago (Vienna, printed at the Imperial Press, 1860), and believe the
reader will the more gratefully welcome it that only a small number of
copies of Baron von Hügel's interesting journal were printed in manuscript
for private circulation.

[78] This opinion of our Augustinian guide is not shared out there. An
Austrian traveller, as widely renowned as highly cultivated, Baron Von
Hügel, relates, in his Diary already alluded to, the following singular
revelations by a friar in Manila: "The Philippine Islands belong to the
Augustine monks; in Manila, Don Pasquale (the then Governor) or another
may ruffle it and talk large,--in the interior we are the true masters.
Tell me where you want to go and everything shall be laid open for you!...
Police in the interior? It is laughable to hear of such an idea! As if
such were possible! and I should be glad to make the acquaintance of that
official who would venture to ask even the simple question of who any man
is, who is under the protection of our order!... Should you like to ascend
the Majayjay, the highest hill in the interior? An Augustinian friar shall
accompany you thither. Should you care to make an excursion to the Lagoons
and thence proceed to the Pacific Ocean? An Augustinian friar shall be
your guide. Have you a hankering to visit the forests of Ilocos, northward
from Manila, or to sail down the great river Lanatin? An Augustinian shall
arrange all that for you. In one word, say what you wish to do!"

[79] Fray Manuel Blanco, whose portrait, the size of life, but by no means
artistically executed, adorns one of the corridors, was born 24th
November, 1778, at Navianos, in the province of Zamora in Spain, and died
in the convent of Manila 1st April, 1845.

[80] Of these there were in 1857, 373,569 liable to taxation. Within the
same year there were 85,629 persons baptized, 16,768 married, and 49,999
buried with the rites of the Church.

[81] In 1857 there were baptized in these 76 villages 21,604 children,
4512 couples were united in wedlock, and 12,002 were buried.

[82] In the entire Archipelago there is but _one_ newspaper, "El Boletin
Oficial," published under the auspices of Government, and which treats
much more of religious than of political topics. There are but two
printing and publishing houses in Manila, one of which is in the hands of
the Dominicans, and prints almost exclusively Prayer-books and religious

[83] This historical poem is entitled "_Luzonia, ò sea Los Genios del

[84] Of this number of souls there were in 1857, 188,509 amenable to
taxation, while during the year there occurred 31,285 births, 21,029
deaths, and 5713 marriages.

[85] In 1857, the order baptized 23,227, joined in marriage 4830 couples,
and buried 15,627.

[86] The printed works obtained in the various monasteries of Manila
consist of dictionaries and small grammars of the Togala, Bisaya, Ilocana,
Tbanác, Bicol, and Pampangu dialects. The MSS. embrace vocabularies of the
Igorotes and Ilongotes languages of Luzon, as also the idiom used by the
natives of the Marianne Archipelago, together with a short treatise on the
Marianne group written in Spanish by a missionary. All these works will be
thoroughly and exhaustively treated of in the ethnological portion, where
also the manuscripts will be published.

[87] _Usted_--contraction for "_Vuestra Merced_" (your Grace).

[88] The fair speeches and amiable phrases of the Spaniards lose all their
value when one finds upon nearer acquaintance with this courteous nation,
that the heart and the feelings take no part therein. There is nothing
which a Spaniard will not offer to a stranger--but it is always on the
clear understanding that the latter will with equal politeness refuse the
proffer. We on one occasion, however, saw a Yankee take these professions
at their apparent value, and by so doing put his Spanish host to no small
confusion. The Spaniard wore a very costly diamond breast-pin, for which
the American could not find words sufficient to express his admiration. To
his exclamations of delight, the Spaniard kept repeating his nauseous "_à
la disposicion de Usted_," till at last the American fairly took the pin
out of the Spaniard's scarf and transferred it to his own. The latter felt
so ashamed and dumbfounded that he could not utter a word. The following
day the American, who had only taken it by way of joke, returned the
costly bauble to the agonized Spaniard, but took occasion in so doing to
remark that he now knew what was meant by Spanish courtesy.

[89] On the island of Mactan (10° 20' N., 124° 10' E.) there was also
erected on the promontory of Sugaño, a monument to the memory of
Magelhaens, and the happy idea was entertained of making it also into a
light-house, to warn ships of the danger in approaching the immense
numbers of reefs that are found here.

[90] V. Heinrich Heine's "Romanzero."

[91] It was estimated, we were told, at from $35,000 to $40,000 annually.

[92] Cock-fighting has been so long disused in England, that to most
persons it only lingers as a grim tradition, mainly authenticated by
Hogarth's well-known painting. The degrading associations which a
cock-fight generated are sufficiently well illustrated by the prince of
pictorial satirists. The "betting-ring" still brings together in England
the same intermingling of grades of society, and consequent utter
disruption of all social respect, but with all its faults it never has,
nor can have, the same brutalizing effects of cock-fighting, which are
instanced by the following anecdote, extracted from the _Gentleman's
Magazine_ for April, 1789, and which may even now be found to repay
perusal:--"Died at Tottenham, John Ardesoif, Esq., a young man of large
fortune, ... who if he had his foibles, had also his merits (!) that far
outweighed them. Mr. Ardesoif was very fond of cock-fighting, and had a
favourite cock, upon which he won many very profitable matches. The last
bet he laid upon this cock, he lost; which so enraged him that he had the
bird tied to a spit, and roasted alive before a large fire. The screams of
the miserable animal were so affecting that some gentlemen who were
present attempted to interfere, at which Mr. Ardesoif was so enraged that
he seized a poker, and with the most furious vehemence declared that he
would kill the first man that interfered, but in the midst of his
asseveration he fell dead upon the spot! Such we are assured were the
circumstances attending the death of this great pillar of humanity!"

[93] This unhappy lady died a melancholy death, having, what rarely occurs
among Spanish women, committed suicide at her hotel by swallowing Prussic
acid. It was rumoured that an unhappy attachment led to this fatal

[94] Of these straw-plait manufactories the cigar-holders are especially
noticeable for their fine texture and elegance. These are usually sold at
very high prices; some of the more elegant of these fetching from 40 to 50
dollars (£8 to £10). Straw mats and hats, not inferior in fineness of
texture to those of Panama, are made here of palm fibre, and form a not
unimportant article of exportation.

[95] 8 reals = 1 Spanish piastre = 3_s._ 1-3/4_d._ at par; hence 1 real =
4.71875_d._ English.

[96] Owing to the universal interest felt in tobacco, the use of which has
spread over the globe, till it has become a necessary of life to the
civilized man as well as the half-savage races of mankind, we subjoin by
way of completing the information above attained, the following remarks
upon the tobacco culture in other possessions of Spain, extracted from an
unpublished journal, kept by a member of the Expedition, during a visit
previously paid to the West Indies.

"The best sites for growing tobacco in Cuba lie to the westward of the
capital in what is called the _Vuelta abajo_, between Rio Hondo and San
Juan de Martinez, and is about ten English miles in circumference; the
tobacco grown on the _Vuelta arriba_ is usually of inferior quality. In
1856 there were in Cuba 10,000 plantations or _Vegas_, with a superficial
area of 8000 _Caballerias_, (about 414 square miles, 1 Caballeria being
equal to 160,371,041 English square yards, or 33,134 acres), cultivated by
from 14,000 to 16,000 negro slaves. The total value of the capital
employed in this branch of culture (including manual labour, building
utensils, draught animals, &c.) may be estimated at 13,000,000 piasters
(£2,730,000), and the average weight of tobacco produced at a million and
a half _arrobas_, or 37,500,000 lbs. annually. Of this quantity 400,000
_arrobas_, or 10,000,000 lbs., are consumed in Cuba itself, while the rest
is exported partly in the leaf, partly in the manufactured state. One
_Caballeria_ of ground can produce on the average about 360 _arrobas_, or
9000 lbs., of which however only 1/20th will be of superior quality.

"A '_vega_' usually consists of three _Caballerias_, which are in regular
succession devoted to the tobacco cultivation, so that while two are
devoted to maize and other vegetables for human subsistence, only the
remaining third is under tobacco. The season for sowing is in October or
November, and the crop is got in in January or February. On one
_Caballeria_ there are usually found under favourable circumstances
500,000 plants or _Matas_. Hence it results, that as the tobacco culture
of Cuba extends over 8000 _Caballerias_, there are throughout the island
4,000,000,000 plants. Each plant has from 8 to 10 suitable leaves. They
are collected together in bundles, called _manojos_ (handfuls), of from
120 to 130 leaves each, and 80 _manojos_ make one _tercio_, or 150 lbs. of
tobacco. One _manojo_ weighs about 1-1/4 lbs., and when prepared
makes into about 400 cigars. There are in Cuba altogether 600
cigar-manufactories, of which above 400 are in the capital alone. A
workman can make about 150 cigars a day; the rate of pay is about 10
Spanish piasters or _duros_ for 1000. The manufacture of cigars gives
employment to about 20,000 workmen, chiefly males. Under the designation
of _Tabagueros_, they constitute almost an exclusive class, and owing to
their improvidence are usually in wretched plight. In Cuba (as in Luzon)
there is but one species of tobacco raised, but more attention seems to be
paid to its cultivation in the former island. The leaves are sorted in
Cuba according to colour and 'vein' (_venas_), and their quality fixed
accordingly. In commerce there are three sorts, viz.--

  No. I. 42 to 45 Spanish piasters (£6 15_s._ to £7 5_s._) per 1000.
     II. 32         "       "      (£5)                          "
    III. 28         "       "      (£4 10_s._)                   "

The number of cigars annually exported from the Havanna averages from
200,000,000 to 250,000,000, without including the _ramos_, or tobacco
exported in the leaf. The cedar-tree (_Cedrela odorata_), of which the
cigar-boxes are chiefly made, is occasionally prejudicial to the contents,
in consequence of the slight dampness still remaining in the wood bringing
out white spots of decay upon the tips of the cigars."

[97] The United States of North America produce above 200,000 cwt., or
more than one half the whole supply. The annual consumption of tobacco by
the individual is in the United States 3-1/2 lbs., in England 1 lb. and
1/2 oz., in France 1 lb. 1-1/2 oz., and in Germany 2 lbs.

[98] The experiments made at Fort St. George near Madras in July, 1850,
with lines and rigging made of abáca and European hemp, with the view of
testing their respective availability, gave the following interesting
results: a rope of Manila hemp, 12 feet long, 3-1/4 inches in
circumference, and weighing 28-11/16 oz., required a strain of 4460 lbs.
to break it: on the other hand a rope of English hemp of similar
dimensions, weighing 39 oz., broke with a strain of only 3885 lbs. A
second smaller rope of Manila hemp, 1-3/4 inches thick, and 9-1/2 oz.
weight, also 12 feet in length, required 1490 lbs. to break it, while an
exactly similar cord of English and Russian hemp, weighing 13 oz. per
fathom, broke with 1184 lbs., so that in the first instance the abáca line
was 13 per cent., and in the second nearly 22 per cent. stronger than
ropes of similar size of European hemp.

[99] Compare with Forbes Royle's valuable treatise upon Manila hemp,
entitled "The Fibrous Plants of India fitted for cordage, clothing, and
paper." London, 1855.

[100] The best Manila hemp is worth from 4-1/2 to 6 dollars per Spanish
_picul_=140 lbs. Cordage made by steam power of the various dimensions,
from half to one inch thick, sells at 25, and from one to five inches
thick, at 10, piasters per _picul_.

[101] The fabrics known by the name of _Sinamay_ are on the other hand
made of the fibres of the _Musa textilis_. They are of less gossamer
tissue, but almost transparent, and far more durable than the fabrics made
from the Piña.

[102] According to Buzeta the Lagoon is 36 Spanish leagues in
circumference, by an average depth of 15 to 16 _brazos_ (fathoms). While
thirteen rivers of various dimensions flow into the lake, the Pasig alone
issues from it, to carry off its waters to the sea.

[103] Pronounce Mahayhay.

[104] The size attained by the alligator or cayman in the Laguna de Bay
borders on the incredible. Baron Von Hügel, in his work already referred
to, tells of a French settler in _Jalla-Jalla_ (pronounce Halla-Halla),
who assured him that he had once killed an alligator, whose head alone
weighed 250 lbs., while the body was 10 feet in circumference! It lay
buried in the sluice at the mouth of a river, and it proved so difficult
to get it brought to land and cut up, that only the head was severed by
way of trophy, and brought home to his house.

[105] Cabeza, the head, whence it is further applied to express "chief,"
or "chieftain."

[106] Another description of tax is the compulsory labour exacted from the
natives, which is expended in the construction of roads and bridges,
transmission of mail matter, transport of military baggage, luggage of
travellers, &c. &c.

[107] These joss-sticks, by the Chinese called "shi-shin-hiang," burn,
when lighted, so slowly and regularly, that the Chinese often use them to
mark the divisions of time.

[108] The church was utterly ruined, and a large portion of the buildings
are similarly in a most desolate, neglected condition. A hope was however
expressed that in the following year, 1859, members of the Society of
Jesus would come from Europe to settle in the Philippines, who would
include among their other labours that of rebuilding their own cloister.

[109] The graceful elegance of the Conchylia brought from Manila is so
remarkable that an English ship captain, who, without a special knowledge
of the matter, brought on speculation a freight of mussels from the
Philippines to Europe, not only made by their sale an enormous profit, but
even attained in consequence to a certain degree of celebrity in the
scientific world!

[110] Unfortunately the students of Natural Science have met with but
little encouragement or support from Government, and many parts of the
interior still remain a sealed book to them, or are only accessible under
great difficulties. The deficiency of definite information respecting the
island attracts foreign naturalists thither, and of late there have been
exploring it, M. M. Feodor Jagor of Berlin, Dr. Karl Semper of Hamburg,
and La Porte of Paris, all intent on matters connected with the natural
history of this Archipelago, but the majority of such visitants come back
discontented and thoroughly undeceived to land, where all activity of
scientific inquiry is allowed reluctantly, and regarded by the Government
and the priests with an envious eye.

[111] A Chinese sailor, on being asked why his vessel had an eye painted
on its bulwark, replied in Canton-English, "Suppose no hab eye, how can

                   [Illustration: Life in Hong-kong.]



             Duration of Stay from 5th to 18th July, 1858.

    Rapid increase of the colony of Victoria or Hong-kong.--
    Disagreeables.--Public character.--The Comprador, or
    "fac-totum."--A Chinese fortune-teller.--Curiosity-stalls.--The
    To-stone.--Pictures on so-called rice-paper.--Canton-English.--
    Notices on the Chinese language and mode of writing.--
    Manufacture of ink.--Hospitality of German missionaries.--The
    custom of exposing and murdering female children.--Method of
    dwarfing the female foot.--Sir John Bowring.--Branch Institute
    of the Royal Asiatic Society.--An ecclesiastical dignitary on
    the study of natural sciences.--The Chinese in the East Indies.--
    Green indigo or Lu-Kao.--Kind reception by German countrymen.--
    Anthropometrical measurements.--Ramble to Little Hong-kong.--
    Excursion to Canton on board H.M. gun-boat Algerine.--A day at
    the English head-quarters.--The Treaty of Tien-Tsin.--Visit to
    the Portuguese settlement of Macao.--Herr von Carlowitz.--
    Camoens' Grotto.--Church for Protestants.--Pagoda Makok.--Dr.
    Kane.--Present position of the colony.--Slave-trade revived
    under the name of Chinese emigration.--Excursions round Macao.--
    The Isthmus.--Chinese graves.--Praya Granite.--A Chinese
    physician.--Singing stones.--Departure.--Gutzlaff's Island.--
    Voyage to the Yang-tse-Kiang.--Wusung.--Arrival at Shanghai.

Victoria, the name by which the settlement situate on the north side of
the island of Hong-kong is known in official documents, strongly recalls
another renowned British possession, Gibraltar. A mere uninviting granite
rock of about 9 miles in length, 8 in breadth, and 26 in circumference,
Hong-kong, situate as it is at the mouth of the Canton River, is one of
the best harbours in the Chinese Empire. Owing to the barren, treeless
surface, which consists for the most part of chains of hills, the highest
point of which is 1825 feet above sea-level, with narrow valleys between,
and a small extent of level ground around the bay, hardly a twentieth part
of its surface is adapted to agriculture. The modern cheerful town,
thoroughly European in character, has within these few years rapidly
attained large dimensions, and its numerous palatial structures speak
volumes for the wealth and prosperity of the residents. The buildings of
the colony rise terrace-like one above another, and extend in rows all
along the steep slope of the granite, for a distance of nearly three
miles. Besides the population inhabiting the town, many thousand Chinese
of the very lowest class with their wives and children live here in small
boats year after year, so that the total population of the island amounts
to about 80,000 souls.

Twenty years back Hong-kong was but an insignificant place. Only since the
peace of Nangking in 1842, which shook to its foundation the exclusive
system till then prevalent, and among other important advantages secured
the island of Hong-kong to the English, besides bringing into the
community of nations the huge unwieldy empire with its 400,000,000,
occupying 78 degrees of longitude and 38 of latitude, has it been
developed into the most important business centre of China. It became an
emporium for all European manufactures, as well as for all produce from
the interior, which is shipped hence to the various marts of the world.
Unfortunately the period at which the flag of the great Mandjing, or
Double Eagle, as the Chinese call Austria, was for the first time unfurled
on the shores of the Celestial Kingdom proved most unsuitable for
scientific observation. While in the interior a variety of circumstances
seriously threatened the stability of the throne of the reigning dynasty,
the flames of war were once more breaking out along the coast also, and
adding to the confusion and distress of the Chinese diplomatists. In the
present war the English were for the first time in these waters fighting
side by side with the French, while the Russians and North Americans were
cautiously maintaining an observant, but none the less on that account
menacing attitude. The hatred and animosity of the Chinese populace,
stirred up by their own authorities, was continually goaded to increasing
fury with each new victory of the "red-haired barbarians." The Chinese
bakers in Hong-kong had devised the cruel expedient of poisoning the bread
purchased by the English, and thus avenging themselves on the foe more
fatally and more certainly than by Chinese weapons. Even while walking in
the neighbourhood one's life was not safe, and even the usually not very
easily terrified Englishman was now begirt with "revolvers," when he rode
forth of an afternoon with his wife, or was taken in a sedan-chair to a
friend's house of an evening.

Shortly before our arrival, the captain of a merchantman, while taking a
walk outside the city, was set upon by some Chinese, robbed, and so
severely maltreated that he expired of the injuries he received. So too
the clerk of a mercantile house had been picked up just outside the city
weltering in his blood and pierced with a number of wounds from a dagger,
the murderer in this case also evading detection. An attempt was even made
against the life of the Governor, Sir John Bowring, which was only
frustrated through the vigilance of the sentinel, who discharged his piece
at the scoundrels just as, favoured by night, they were stealing over the
walls of the Government-house, with the view of creeping through the
garden as far as Sir John's cabinet.

Even in the most ordinary domestic matters might be traced the same
relentless hostility on the part of the Chinese, and the state of affairs
was becoming every day more intolerable to the European residents. All the
domestic servants at Hong-kong are Chinese, who come hither from the
nearest provinces of the mainland, in order to benefit by the rate of
wages paid by the "foreign barbarian." The Chinese officials, vying with
each other in every possible method of showing their implacable hatred to
the strangers and to embitter their life in China, now issued an order to
all the Chinese resident in Hong-kong to quit the island and return to
their native country. This ordinance would assuredly have been disregarded
by most of the resident Chinese of the Middle Empire, had not any
violation of the Imperial rescripts been visited with such appalling
consequences. For by the Draconic laws of the Empire, the family of the
criminal expiate his offence, should he take to flight and get beyond the
reach of the arm of Chinese justice. For any such absentee from justice,
some other member of the family is substituted, who may be still on the
spot; as for instance, the father, mother, or brother, who is punished
exactly as though he had in person been guilty of the crime or
misdemeanour. With such terrific means of repressing disobedience
impending over him, no Chinese would venture to set at defiance the orders
of the Mandarins; and accordingly, during the summer of 1858, 10,000
Chinese returned home at once; others, who did not dare to return, but
could not endure that the ruthless doom should be executed upon their
relatives, committed suicide. The position of European ladies in Hong-kong
became anything but enviable, as they had at a moment's notice to take up
the pot-ladle for themselves, and get through the various fatiguing
details of their households with what skill they could. Moreover there was
good ground for apprehension that the Mandarins might cut off all
communications with the neighbouring provinces, which move, as the greater
part of the every-day necessaries of life are supplied from the mainland,
might have exposed the population of Hong-kong to the severest straits.

Under these circumstances any more remote excursions, or visits to the
adjacent mainland, were of course impossible. We had to confine our
investigations to the island itself, there to collect what memoranda we
could, and see as much of the island and its inhabitants as the shortness
of our stay and the prevailing disorders might admit.

Life in Hong-kong has already a strong leaven of western civilization.
Only in the narrowest streets does the visitor come upon examples of the
genuine Chinese type. Most of the natives even inhabit houses built in the
European style, so that one feels as though in a European city inhabited
by a Chinese population, the latter having however greatly altered from
its originality. Only very few types of Chinese popular life are met with
in this English colony. Of these characters the most interesting and
unique is the _Comprador_ (_Mai-pau_), a sort of factotum, whom no
household can dispense with, and whose importance only those can
adequately do justice to who have lived some time in the country. The
Comprador, or _shroff_, is the soul, the good or evil genius, of the
house: he sees to all sorts of purchases, manages the domestic economy,
and maintains order and discipline in the house and household. The entire
domestic control is exclusively lodged in his hands, to that extent that
even the master and mistress of the house may not, without consulting the
Comprador, dismiss one of the servants or engage a new one. For all that
goes on, the latter is responsible. He has to answer for the honesty of
the servants, and must replace anything that may have gone amissing from
the house inventory. If the family leave their house for any time, the
Comprador is informed of the place where the most valuable articles are
deposited, where they are more likely to be found in proper order on their
return than by any other device. Even during the late war, in which the
feeling of the Chinese to the Europeans was anything but friendly, the
Comprador held to his fidelity, and was as useful as ever. In view of the
actual state of matters, a traveller must feel no little astonishment at
beholding the doors and windows of the private dwelling-houses everywhere
wide open, and valuable articles lying exposed in the various apartments.
As however the Comprador himself must get a number of bails to become
responsible for him, and as the post is a very profitable one, it follows
that there are but few cases of dishonesty in this singular profession. It
is especially remarkable that few of the populace seem to be as hostile to
the strangers as the Mandarins, and all the numerous annoyances inflicted
on the latter are invariably to be traced to the intrigues of the Chinese
authorities. How else would it be possible for a couple of hundred
Europeans to rule a colony in which are 80,000 Chinese, and which moreover
is dependent upon the mainland for the very first necessities of life?

The Comprador receives for all his services and attentions no higher pay
than from 12 to 15 dollars a month, besides support for himself and
family. This however is not his sole income, as every tradesman must give
the Comprador a per-centage upon everything, even the most insignificant
article that enters the house, and this custom even extends to any
purchases made by a Chinese in the warehouses of the foreign merchant.

Another "public character," whom one frequently meets in the lower parts
of the city in the public streets of the Chinese quarter, is the
"soothsayer." On a small table before him stands an open draught-board
with a number of squares, on which are inscribed a variety of proverbs and
oracular sayings. In each square is a grain of rice, and quite close to
the board is a bird-cage with a tame canary. Presently some good-humoured
gaping rustic comes up, who wishes to learn his destiny, upon which the
soothsayer suffers the canary to hop out of his cage upon one of the
squares, and pick up a grain of rice _ad libitum_. The sentences and
interpretations, which are inscribed on each square from which the canary
snaps up his food serve for a reply and decision to the curious
questioner, who hands over a small _honorarium_. The apparatus is simple
and ingenious, but the proverbs are excessively silly, and recall much
less the land of Confucius than the dream-books of certain countries
standing high in European civilization.

The stores which seem most to attract the attention of a stranger are the
"Curiosity-shops," in which are heaped up those innumerable articles of
Chinese industry and Chinese taste which are so characteristic of the
country and its inhabitants. Here the eye rests upon objects of the most
bizarre shapes, which in material design and execution are totally unlike
anything the European sees elsewhere; workmanship in wood and stone, that
illustrates in a remarkable manner the extraordinary patience of the
artisan, such as drinking-cups, barrels, frames, cut all in one piece, and
beautifully carved, elegant fancy articles of horn, stone,
mother-of-pearl, ivory, roots of trees, metal, or wood, vases and dishes,
statuettes in copper and clay, woven portraits, embroidery, &c. &c.

Among all these various manufactures, one especially remarks those
prepared from a leek-green, slimy-feeling stone (nephrite), which is in
much request among the Chinese, and is highly valued. The Chinese name,
Yo, from which in all probability is derived the French name _Jade_, does
not indicate however a peculiar species, but is used for all sorts of
carved stone-work and gems, while the most valuable one is called by the
Chinese the "mutton-fat" stone. The articles prepared of what is named
steatite, or soap-stone, are largely used in commerce, but are of very
small value, and usually cut only in very clumsy figures.

But these manufactures make much less impression upon the stranger than
the beautiful pictures of the Chinese artists upon rice-paper, a peculiar
branch of art, cultivated by the Chinese alone, and which as yet has never
been successfully imitated in any other country. The most exquisite
specimens of these are sent to Canton, but among the Chinese in Hong-kong
we saw several beautiful works in this style of painting. The common
designation of rice-paper has led to the erroneous idea that the substance
of which these pictures are made is manufactured from the leaves of the
rice-plant, whereas it is prepared from the pith of an entirely different
plant (_Aralia papyrifera_), which grows in Funan and Tukun. The marrow is
steeped for some time in water, after which it is split by means of very
keen sharp knives into thin leaves, which are then subjected to gentle
pressure. The largest are about a foot square, and are reserved almost
exclusively for pictures, the shreds and inferior sorts alone being used
for the manufacture of artificial flowers. We saw portraits of the Emperor
and Empress, of the rebel leader, Tai-ping, of the notorious Yeh,
ex-governor of Canton, and other well-known or conspicuous personages.
Latterly there has sprung up a strong tendency among the Chinese artists
to daguerreotypes and photographs in miniature upon ivory; and in the
_ateliers_ of Hong-kong a number of artists were engaged in this, at
present the most profitable branch of Chinese artistic skill.

In all these shops the medium of trade is what is called Canton-English,
less a dialect than a confused jargon of English and Chinese words,
consisting of concessions made on either side to the grammar and idiom of
the other, so as the more readily to comprehend each other. A few Spanish
and Portuguese words have also crept in, recalling the former relations of
these countries with China. All English words ending in _e_ mute have in
this gibberish an _i_ attached to them, as also all other words whatever.
Thus they say _timi_, _housi_, _pieci_, _coachi_, _cooki_, &c. &c. There
are certain Chinese, especially in Canton, who pick up a living by
initiating young country folks, who are about entering service in English
mercantile houses, in this singular language. Curious and unpleasant as
this Chinese English dialect sounds in the ears of strangers, it is found
greatly to facilitate intercourse with the Chinese, in consequence of the
immense difficulties attending the study of Chinese, so that most
Europeans find it far more comfortable to master this jargon, which is not
without some influence on the spread of English in the chief commercial
cities, than to occupy themselves with mastering Chinese. The language
spoken by the sons of the "middle kingdom" consists of 450 monosyllabic
sounds, which by various delicate differences in accentuation may increase
to about 1600. The slight, and to unaccustomed ears almost inappreciable,
shades of aspiration and accentuation, are the main difficulty in the way
of foreigners desirous of learning the Chinese language.

To learn the written characters is equally arduous, and requires not less
time and perseverance; for this does not consist of a number of letters,
the varying arrangement of which constitutes words, but of 40,000 more or
less complicated signs, each of which expresses a whole word. They are
rude forms, representing most imperfectly ideas and material objects;[112]
however, the knowledge of 4000 to 6000 such signs, with their various
significations, suffices to understand most of the common Chinese books.
These singular hieroglyphics are not written horizontally but vertically.
Moreover, the Chinese begin from the right side, so that, directly the
reverse of the European custom, the title of a Chinese book is found on
the first page, the leaf furthest to the right hand. Long ago, the
Chinese, like most other Asiatic nations at the present day, wrote with
metal _styli_ upon split leaves of bamboo. Ever since the third century
before Christ, however, when the art was invented of making paper from the
rind of the mulberry tree and the bamboo-cane, and preparing pin-soot,
glair, musk, glue, Indian ink[113] (méh), and other substances, the
pencil has taken the place of the graver. The hieroglyphics now made on
paper are softer, more elegant, and in distinctness of outline admit
greater varieties of form. Most of the Chinese whom we saw engaged in
writing formed the most complicated characters with great celerity and
ease upon the thin paper, and without the firm strokes losing anything of
their neatness and clearness of outline.

Among the various scientific objects recommended as important objects of
inquiry to the members of the Expedition, during their visit to China, by
the renowned sinologue Dr. Pfitzmaier, was the obtaining of rare Chinese
books, and the elucidation of certain ethnographic and linguistic
questions. Whatever was achieved by us in throwing light upon these
matters is due in great measure to the cordial reception with which we
were received by men of science resident at Hong-kong. Especially we would
name in this respect Dr. M. Lobscheid, a German by birth, a missionary and
inspector of schools, who, thoroughly conversant with the Chinese
language, exerted himself to the utmost in forwarding the objects of the
scientific corps, besides assisting us in the purchase of a variety of the
most valuable Chinese works, and giving us much interesting information
respecting the country and the inhabitants. Dr. Lobscheid himself has a
well-selected, valuable, and extensive library of rare Chinese works on
geography, natural science, history, philology, and numismatics, and
presented a number of valuable gifts to the Expedition. One of his
colleagues, Dr. Ph. Winnes, also a German, and a missionary from the
Mission Society of Bâle, compiled for us a list of words of the Hakka
dialect, as spoken in the interior of the province of Quang-Tung, hitherto
so little known philologically. It is indeed astonishing what English, and
German, and American missionaries have effected as publicists, during the
short period they have been resident here. The educational and religious
works published in Chinese at the expense of the various religious
societies form already quite a respectable literature of themselves,
although the Chinese language puts as many obstacles in the way of mere
Christian civilization as in that of the propagation of the Evangile
itself. Most of the missionaries consider any attempt to substitute Romish
for Chinese characters as being quite vain. The indistinctness of Chinese
signs has already been fruitful of much controversy among the missionaries
themselves. Thus, for example, those engaged in promulgating the Christian
faith are not as yet agreed by what Chinese word the God of Christianity
may best be indicated. The Roman Catholic missionaries write _Tientschù_
(the Highest of all things); the English and German Protestants use the
sign _Schang-Ti_ (the Most High); the American Protestants make use of the
word _Schin_ (Spirit). These varieties of opinion as to the mode of
expressing the idea of "God," have given rise to a vast number of
publications, which however have unfortunately tended rather to envenom
the dispute than smooth the way to a common understanding.

Conspicuous, however, as are the services of the missionaries in the
publication and diffusion of useful and moral books in the Chinese
language, their direct efforts have, on the other hand, been attended with
but limited results hitherto, and although it is always laid down as an
axiom in the books and manifestoes of the Tai-Ping insurgents, that the
doctrines of Christianity, as deduced from the writings of the Missionary
Societies, are the leading principle of the movement, yet, as set forth
and promulgated by the insurgent chiefs, they cannot be said to deserve
recognition by any known form of Christianity.

As in their religion, so in their mode of life, and their national
customs, the Chinese remain stiff-necked and obstinate, and in this
direction also Christianity is in but few cases capable of mitigating
their frequently barbarous customs. Children in China are constantly
exposed in large numbers, and that not owing to poverty, but from
indifference to the female children. One Chinese woman who at present
professes Christianity, and is a member of the Bâle missionary community,
has herself killed eight female children whom she had herself carried in
her womb! Dr. Lobscheid informed us that he was personally cognizant of
one case, where a Chinese mother-in-law, irritated at the birth of a
female child, murdered it before its mother's eyes, almost immediately
after it had come into the world, and this in a rather well-to-do family!
Young mothers often lay their children down in the open field, or on the
sea-beach, watching anxiously if any one takes it away, or till a wave
mercifully sweeps it off. One such infant, accidentally found by some of
the crew of the English frigate _Nankin_, and tended with all the
tender-heartedness of Jack when he finds an object of compassion, is at
present in the German Mission House at Hong-kong, and was baptized in the
cathedral by the chaplain of the frigate, who gave her the name of
Victoria Nankin. Other mothers endeavour to choke the new-born girl with
moistened ashes, which, not unfrequently with caressing hand, they lay
upon the mouth of the little unconscious innocent. Male children, on the
other hand, even such as are crippled or deformed, are very seldom, indeed
quite exceptionally, exposed or put to death. In proportion to the harsh
treatment which the female offspring experience, is the pride and anxious
carefulness which wait on the male children. Indeed the Chinese are very
much in the habit of having several wives, simply because by so doing they
of course have a better chance of a number of male offspring, and it very
frequently happens that the lawful wife of a Chinaman, if she has
continued any length of time childless, will even seek out and bring to
her husband a concubine by whom he may have heirs, that is, _sons_.[114]
In such cases the two wives usually continue on the best of terms, which
cannot be said of those instances where the second or third wife is
introduced into the family by the husband, without the intervention of his
wife. According to the old Chinese law, the man had to be thirty, the
woman twenty, before marriage. At present marriages, as a rule, are made
between sixteen and twenty years of age. It may be assumed that one in
every fifteen Chinese has more than one wife; the first, usually known as
"number one," is generally taken from inclination, whereas the rest are
usually bought, the price varying, according to their youth and beauty,
from 100 to 600 dollars. This custom gives rise to quite a peculiar trade.
Chinese women make a practice of purchasing for themselves from the poorer
classes such of the female children as are of good health and well formed,
whom they bring up with great care, with the view of selling them, when
grown up, to the wealthy Chinese, and even sometimes to--European
residents.[115] The custom of child-murder is most prevalent in the coast
districts of the province of Fo-kien, so that latterly there was a
positive scarcity of women, and marriageable girls had to be imported from
the northern part of the province. The prevalence of this custom of
child-murder in these localities is to be ascribed to the enormous
migration of the male population to Siam, to the islands of the Malay
Archipelago, and other points. These emigrants supply the labour market in
foreign countries, and but seldom return to their families. Numerous
placards and pamphlets, pointing out the enormity of child-murder, and
dissuading from its commission, are printed annually, partly at the cost
of philanthropists, partly at that of the Chinese Government, and widely
diffused, yet without producing any diminution in the practice of this
appalling custom.

The custom of distorting the feet of the better class of women at the
period of their birth, seems to have arisen from the jealousy of the
husbands, who in thus preventing the possibility of gadding about, think
they have secured an additional guarantee for the fidelity and chastity of
their wives. However, one occasionally hears the first introduction of
this singular and cruel custom ascribed to a Chinese empress having once
been born with such distortion of the feet, and that in consequence it not
only became the fashion among the females of the higher class in those
days, out of pure obsequiousness, to imitate by artificial means a
disfiguration accidentally arising from a freak of Nature, but even to
recognize it as a necessary concomitant of the Chinese ideal of beauty.

The Governor of Hong-kong, Sir John Bowring, a distinguished _savant_, who
received the members of the Expedition with the utmost consideration,
invited them to his house and endeavoured to bring them into personal
communication with those residents in the colony most interested in
scientific pursuits, so that each one of us could consult with the
gentleman best able to advise him in his own department, and thus attain
in the shortest time the most satisfactory results. Sir John, moreover, as
President of the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, admitted the
members of the Expedition to the honours of an extraordinary session. He
welcomed the Austrian naturalists in the heartiest manner, and expressed
the most flattering anticipations from their visit. Very deserving of
remark was the speech made on this occasion by the Lord Bishop of
Hong-kong. In his capacity of a dignitary of the Church, he too bade us
welcome in the warmest manner, and expressed his conviction that
Christianity had nothing to fear, but only to hope, from the study of
natural sciences! What would certain ultramontanists, had they been
present, have replied to this remark of a high ecclesiastical
dignitary?--they who consider government impossible without restricting
the study of the natural sciences!

Among the various subjects discussed at this meeting were several of great
interest, which sufficiently evidenced what a thorough disposition to
mental activity the English show, even in a place where material interests
are necessarily the main objects of attention, and where they, moreover,
are continually exposed to great personal danger.

One of the communications received by the Society was a memoir by Mr. W.
Alabaster, who had accompanied ex-governor Yeh to Calcutta as interpreter,
treating of the Chinese population there, and its influence on the state
of society. The memoir contained the very remarkable statement that the
Chinese colony in Calcutta, which in 1858 counted little more than 500
souls, had not alone monopolized several employments, such as shoemakers,
tailors, &c., but had, even when thousands of miles distant from home,
jealously maintained several of their customs and rites intact. This
Chinese community, so inconsiderable in point of mere numbers, already
possesses its own temple, its own priests, and its own teachers, who guard
any Chinese immigrants from the perils of proselytism; it has founded a
special association, whose object it is to transmit to their native land
the bodies of such as die abroad, while their luxury is beginning to
develope itself to the extent of ordering from China at considerable
expense troops of actors, so as even at this distance to provide
themselves with the national amusement of a genuine Sing-Song. This
peculiarity is of great importance, inasmuch as the emigration from China
is ever assuming more extended dimensions, and already embraces several
portions of the world. We find Chinese scattered throughout Eastern Asia,
in Australia, in California, in Peru, in Brazil, in the West Indies, and,
what is very astonishing they thrive and prosper at most places they
visit, despite the not very humane treatment they receive, and the
wretched, desolate state in which they leave their homes. This enormous
emigration of the sons of the Flowery Land seems destined to be of immense
importance, and to be fraught with momentous influence upon the future of
the other Asiatic populations, whom the Chinese greatly excel in capacity
for work, mechanical dexterity, and dogged perseverance. Even the
religious movement gives the Chinese certain advantages over all other
nations of the Asiatic type of civilization. The Hindoo, like the
Catholic, has numbers of festivals, which greatly diminish the number of
his actual working days; the daily ceremonies prescribed by Brahminism
further curtail the most precious hours of labour; his exclusively
vegetarian food not alone prevents the proper development of his muscular
power, but also by its ostentatiously morbid delicacy, brings him
constantly into collision with the social order of a Christian household.
The Chinese, on the other hand, keeps but one holiday-time, the beginning
of the new year, which he celebrates for fourteen days without
intermission. But the remaining 11-1/2 months of the year are for him but
one long day of work. Moreover, the Chinese has no fastidious notions
about his food. He eats pork, and drinks wine, and prefers fat meat to
meagre fruit diet, thoroughly unrestrained by any considerations as to
whether such a mode of life accords with the institutes of Brahma and
Menu, or the teaching of Confucius. Their sobriety, their capacity, their
industry, their frugal mode of life, and their numbers, all seem to
indicate the Chinese as destined to play an important part, not alone in
the development of the Oriental nations, but also in the history of
mankind. They are, as a German philosopher has profoundly remarked, the
Greeks and Romans of Eastern Asia, and they will, if once hurried onwards
by the great tide of Christian civilization, perform such feats as to
fill even the nations of the old world with wonder and amazement.

Another communication, made during the same meeting of this meritorious
branch of the Royal Asiatic Society in Hong-kong, related to that singular
plant, which has within the last few years excited so much attention in
industrial circles throughout Europe under the name of "Green dye," or
"Vert Chinois." Notwithstanding the experiments hitherto made with this
valuable dye, and the excellent use which has been made of it, more
especially by the Chamber of Commerce at Lyons, the first in Europe to
make application of the new colour, there was yet much to be learned
respecting the mode of raising and manufacturing it, in order to render
its employment entirely practicable. The elegant pamphlet of the Lyons
Chamber of Commerce[116] had just arrived from Europe, and led to a
variety of interesting investigations. Nothing was known in Hong-kong
respecting the plant beyond what was already contained in Robert Fortune's
excellent work and Rondot's treatise. Somewhat later, we were furnished
with more accurate and circumstantial information respecting the Lu-Kao,
the well-known "Green dye" of the English (a species of _Rhamnus_ or
buckthorn), which we shall here transcribe pretty fully.[117]

Lu-Kao is grown chiefly in the northern provinces, extensive plantations
of this valuable plant existing in the country around Foo-Chow and the
environs of the city of Haening. The valuable green dye matter is
obtained, however, from the rind, not of one but of two species _Rhamnus_,
of which the "yellow" grows on the flats, the "white" on the high-grounds
in a wild state. The preparation of the substance, which does not differ
much in appearance from common indigo, is exceedingly primitive. Both
plants are boiled for a considerable time in iron kettles, the yellow
deposit or _residuum_ being suffered to remain undisturbed for several
days. Transferred thence into earthen vessels, a piece of cotton cloth is
steeped into it five or six times, after which the adherent dye is wrung
out, and exposed a second time to the process of boiling in iron pans. The
next step in the manipulation consists in permitting the dye stuff, which
now has much more consistence, to be soaked up by some pieces of cotton,
when it is once more washed, sprinkled upon thin paper, and, lastly,
exposed for some time to the sun.

The Chinese have as yet only used the dye for colouring cloths of coarse
texture; all attempts hitherto to apply it to silks, &c., have proved
fruitless. But the great development of chemical science in Europe
justifies us in expecting that a method will ere long be devised for
fixing this beautiful, durable light green tint, which does not alter even
in candlelight, upon fabrics of fine smooth texture, and thus greatly
enhance its value in the industrial arts. The Lu-Kao has from time
immemorial been used by the Chinese in watercolour paintings, but its use
in industrial processes only dates from about 20 years back. The very
price charged for the small quantities hitherto brought from China, is by
no means natural, but seems to have been artificially forced up by
speculation, apparently in consequence of an unusual demand. In Foo-Chow
the price of one Catti, about 1-3/4 lbs., is 20 _Taels_, or about £6
10_s._ Were the production of this dye stuff really so expensive, we may
be sure it would not be made use of by the Chinese for their ordinary
stuffs, nor could these be sold as cheap as they are. We have found our
opinion confirmed by competent observers in various parts of China, that
this valuable product is susceptible of being acclimatized in Europe, and
of being cultivated with profit, especially in those places where,
together with favourable conditions of temperature and soil, the wages of
labour are not too high.

Like the English authorities and Government officials, our German
fellow-countrymen, resident in Hong-kong, did not fail to exercise their
hospitality for the benefit of the associates of the Expedition, and we
cannot sufficiently express our obligations to the Austrian Consul, Mr. G.
Wiener, and the Prussian vice-consul, Mr. Gustav Oberbeck, for their
delicate attention. The latter presented the Expedition with a number of
articles interesting as illustrating the advances of civilization, which
he had obtained during the siege of Canton, in Dec. 1857, and of which the
greater part have since been deposited at the Imperial Cabinet of
Antiquities at Vienna.

Through the kindness and interest of Dr. Harland (since deceased),
surgeon-in-chief of the colony, some of the members of the Expedition were
enabled to make corporeal measurements in the great prison, the inmates of
which come from the most various parts of the empire, as well as in the
hospital, upon a number of individuals of either sex, all "fair specimens
of the Chinese race," as Dr. Harland assured them, the results of which
will be found in the anthropological section of the _Novara_ publications.

Before the frigate left Hong-kong, despite the insecurity of public
affairs, several excursions were made to the south side of the island, to
Canton, and to the Portuguese settlement of Macao, which proved as
interesting as they were satisfactory.

In the course of their peregrinations about the mountains on the island,
as far as the fishing village on the south side of the island, known as
Little Hong-kong (sweet-waters), the naturalists of the Expedition were
accompanied by Dr. Hance, the botanist, and the missionary, Dr. Lobscheid,
both thoroughly acquainted with the Chinese language. Little as the pretty
name of this small settlement, founded so far back as 1668, is applicable
to the entire island, it yet corresponds well, and is eminently suitable,
to the smiling valley, entirely shut in by lofty rocks, in which lies
wretched Little Hong-kong. A beautiful wood filled with tufts of flowers,
forming for the labours of the botanist a rich supply of the most splendid
plants, and refreshed by copious springs of water from the mountains,
constitute a lovely landscape. Above the limit of vegetation of the
foliage trees, are seen on the slopes of the mountain groups of pines,
while the level ground at the bottom of the valley is laid out in smiling
rice fields. The miserable inhabitants of the village, which looks
gloomily out from among the trees, are not safe from the predatory
onslaughts of ferocious pirates, even among the recesses of the valley.
The streets of the village, hidden between trees, are uncommonly narrow,
so that two men can scarcely pass each other, and the huts are all placed
on purpose close against each other, in order, we were told, to be able
more easily to admit of defence. Our rambles were rewarded with an
abundant collection of specimens, and were particularly instructive in a
geognostical point of view, as satisfying us that the island does not
consist entirely of granite, but that a large proportion of the mountain
is porphyritic.

Another excursion was made by the Commodore and some of his staff as far
as Canton. The Commandant of the station, Commodore Stewart, had for this
purpose placed the gun-boat _Algerine_ at our disposal. The distance from
Hong-kong to Canton is about 87 nautical miles (100 statute miles), and
the voyage took full eleven hours, viz. from 6.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M.

Canton, the third capital of the Chinese Empire, and its most flourishing
commercial city, which but a short time before had numbered about
1,000,000 inhabitants, was at this period a desolate, almost entirely
abandoned mass of houses, half in ruins, half burnt. The stately European
factories, which had adorned the banks of the river up to the walls of the
Chinese city, were heaps of ashes. The floating town upon the river
itself, the renowned flower-boats of Canton, with their marvellous
splendour and their luxurious beauty, had entirely disappeared, leaving no
trace. Whoever had anything to lose had fled the country. English
sentinels patrolled the walls and occupied the streets of the interior of
the city, and only the very poorest of the mob remained behind, watching
every opportunity of getting the "head-money," which the Mandarins of the
province of Kuang-Tung had offered for every head of a "barbarian" brought
in. "The state of matters in Canton gets worse and worse every day," said
the latest issue of the Hong-kong journals. Since the Americans and
Russians had concluded private treaties with the Imperial Government, and
the English and French allied fleet had gone north to the Gulf of
Pe-Cheli, to treat at Tien-Tsin with the Imperial commissioners, the
Chinese of Canton had been plucking up courage. They conceived the allies
to be isolated; the Russians and the Americans they held to be hostile to
them. The Mandarins and Imperial commissioners launched proclamations by
the dozen at the "foreign devils,"[118] set on foot organized Guerilla
bands, which were called "Braves," who every night discharged rockets
into the city, murdered and pillaged, and kept the allied troops, who were
only 3500 strong (800 of whom were in hospital) almost continually on the

When the gun-boat _Algerine_ arrived off Canton, the Commodore, although
it was late in the evening, was accompanied by a military escort to the
head-quarters of General Straubenzee, commander of the allied troops. A
stillness as of a grave-yard reigned throughout the city, and not a light
was to be seen. By 10.30 P.M. the Commodore reached the post, and was
most hospitably received by the General. The head-quarters were situated
on a hillock commanding the city, surrounded by the numerous buildings of
a country-seat or _Yamun_, which had been the property of the father of
Governor Yeh, who had acquired such notoriety during the recent warlike
troubles. The ostentatious splendour of the apartments, the splendid ebony
carved work, gave such an idea of the magnificence, the luxury, the
gorgeousness of the Chinese princes, as can only be paralleled by what we
read of the palaces of the emperors of ancient Rome. Yeh himself had by
this time been removed from the political scene, and was a state prisoner
in Calcutta, where he lived in more than monastic seclusion. To judge by
his portrait, which was for sale in all the print-shops of Hong-kong, Yeh
was a fine-looking man with energetic features, and an expression full of
intellect, and, so far as his physical appearance went, seemed to take
after his father, who in his ninety-second year was still tasting joys of
paternity. In his own country, even among the Europeans, Yeh enjoys the
reputation of being not only an able diplomatist, but a man of varied
information as well. While at Hong-kong we were shown some large
anatomical woodcuts, which Yeh had himself borrowed from a European work
on anatomy, and published at his own cost on an enlarged scale,
accompanied by a preface from his pen.[119]

Even more extensive and elegant in its outward aspect than that of Yeh,
was the palace of the Tartar general Pihkwei, now employed for barracks
and the officers of the English and French commissariat, while a much less
pretentious building had been assigned to the Tartar general for his
present residence.

The Commodore had reached head-quarters and was sitting at the tea-table
with General Straubenzee, when an alarm of fire was heard. The "Braves"
had fired a house close by in the hope, it should seem, that the flames
would catch the barracks as well as the powder depôt, or at all events
compel the English to withdraw their troops from the post, and give an
opportunity for inflicting some loss on them. Fortunately, however, what
had been set on fire burned quite out, without fulfilling the
anticipations of the "Braves."

In the course of a stroll, which our Commodore took with the General
somewhat later in the night, they perceived that the Chinese kept up a
continual flight of rockets against the sentries and buildings of the
post, from a small eminence not two hundred yards distant, which was
provided with ramparts and cannon, and the Austrian guests greatly
marvelled that no energetic steps were taken to obviate the disorders
produced by these guerilla bands of Chinese, who every night with their
incendiarism and fire-balls kept the city, the head-quarters, and the
pickets in constant alarm, seeing that their inactivity only tended to
animate the courage of the Chinese, while in such harassing service,
unattended as it was with any results, their own forces, already very much
reduced, were proportionately weakened.

The morning after their arrival the Austrian officers, accompanied by the
English commissioner Mr. Parkes, whose imprisonment near Pekin has since
made his name widely and universally known, paid a visit to the sole
Chinese authority still remaining in the town, the Tartar General and
Mandarin, Pi-Kwei. An immense crowd had assembled in the streets through
which the foreigners wended their way, and their reception by the Tartar
General was accompanied by all the ceremonial of Chinese etiquette: three
howitzer salvo-shots, and ear-splitting Chinese music, the General's
body-guard, disarmed, drawn up on the staircase, the General himself,
wearing his Mandarin cap on his head, nodding and laughing more or less to
the foreigners presented, according to their higher or lower rank. The
Commodore was provided with a raised seat. In the course of conversation,
during which Mr. Parkes kindly acted as interpreter, tea was served.
Pi-Kwei inquired as to the objects of the Expedition, and asked the names
of the officers, which, owing to the symbolic nature of Chinese writing,
could not be done but after much difficulty. Pi-Kwei, a man of colossal
proportions, behaved and spoke like a lamb in presence of the small
physically insignificant-looking Mr. Parkes. Like the regents appointed by
the Dutch Government in Java, he was nothing more than the agent to carry
out the orders of the English.

Our departure was not less ceremonious and noisy than our reception: a
number of fire-balls were let off in front of the building, the noise of
which gave much more the impression of an infernal machine than a salute.
The rest of the day the officers spent in reconnoitring various parts of
the city, as far as circumstances admitted, and all returned in the
evening to Hong-kong in the same gun-boat which had conveyed them to

While we were lying at anchor in Hong-kong, an extra sheet of the "_North
China Herald_," published at Shanghai, brought intelligence of a treaty of
peace having been signed at Tien-Tsin, by Lord Elgin, on the part of
England, and the Imperial Commissioners, and that it had been dispatched
to Pekin for the purpose of being ratified by the imperial autograph. This
treaty, which contained 56 clauses, invested England with far more
extensive rights than she had hitherto possessed. Especially it was
stipulated that an English ambassador should reside in a palace at Pekin,
and be accorded all the honours due to his rank, and that the Christian
religion should be professed and taught without any restrictions. British
subjects, provided with passes from their own consuls, to be countersigned
by the local Chinese authorities, were to be permitted to traverse the
empire in every direction on business or pleasure; the navigation of the
Yang-tse-Kiang, or Blue River, was also declared free; and in addition to
the five harbours already opened to foreign commerce by the treaty of
Nankin, the English were now to be at liberty to trade with New-Chwang,
Tang-Char, Tai-Wan (on the island of Formosa), Chau-Chow, and Kiung-Chow
(in Hainan), to settle in any of these, to buy and sell house property,
as also to erect churches and hospitals, and lay out cemeteries. Chinese
subjects guilty of crimes or offences against the English, to be punished
by the native authorities in conformity with the law of the land. English
subjects, on the other hand, to be subject to the jurisdiction of the
British authorities, in similar circumstances, and treated according to
British law. All official communications on the part of the English
authorities to be drawn up in English for presentation to the Chinese
Government, and although, for the present, accompanied by a translation,
shall in the event of uncertainty be construed according to the text of
the English original. Article L provides that the symbol [Chinese
character(s)] (Barbarian) shall be discontinued in all official documents,
whether in the capital or the provinces, and the term "English" or
"English Government" be substituted. On the other hand, the Treaty of
Tien-Tsin is silent on the subject of the opium trade, the main point in
dispute, the prime cause of the various wars hitherto broken out! There
was mention made of a revision of the tariff only. Obviously the British
plenipotentiaries thought they would more readily attain their object if
they endeavoured to get this difficult question solved in some less
conspicuous manner. The opium merchants, as well as their antagonists the
London philanthropists, seemed equally dissatisfied that the opium matter
was still left a "pending question." On the whole, however, this was one
of the most marked diplomatic peculiarities of the Treaty of Tien-Tsin.
Instead of rousing anew the passions of the Chinese, and, by wringing such
an open and public concession from that Government, weakening still more
the hold of the Emperor over his own people, and, whatever their
professions of amity, rendering the authorities yet more hostile and
rancorous against the foreigners, the wily English ambassador preferred
quietly to include opium amongst the other articles of import under the
revised tariff, and thus convert it into a common article of import.
Accordingly, opium, like cotton, hides, and stockfish, may now be imported
at a fixed duty of 30 _taels_ (£8 15_s._) per _picul_ of 100 _catties_
(133-1/2 lbs.).

The events of which China was the scene shortly after the signature of the
treaty, the hostilities of the troops in the Taku forts, the desperate
resistance which was made to the advance of the British ambassador, when
the latter, agreeably to the stipulations in the new treaty, was preparing
to travel to Pekin, all combine to prove that, in their professions of
peace and friendliness, the Chinese were not in earnest.

Since that period an army of 20,000 Europeans has dictated a peace to
400,000,000 Asiatics, and their till then deemed impregnable capital; and
on 24th October, 1860, Lord Elgin countersigned a new treaty, which,
together with the clauses contained in the previous Treaty of Tien-Tsin
drawn up two years before, provides for the permanent residence of a
British ambassador in the capital of the Chinese Empire, as also for a war
indemnity of 8,000,000 _taels_ (£2,333,333); throws open the harbour of
Tien-Tsin to foreign commerce, permits Chinese subjects to emigrate,
without any restrictions, to any part of the British colonies, and to take
service there; assigns to Great Britain a portion of the district of
Kow-loang or Cow-loon on the mainland opposite Hong-kong; and, finally,
ordains that the original treaty, and all the various additional articles,
shall be published by placard in every part of the Empire. Never before
had the Middle Kingdom sustained such a humiliation. True, during the rule
of the former dynasty, Tao-Kwang (Light of Reason), an end was put to a
system that had endured for a thousand years, but conditions such as those
that had been imposed by the western nations in the treaties of Tien-Tsin
and Pekin, were altogether unheard of in the history of China, and afford
convincing proof of its weakness and approaching downfal, the more so, as
the late Emperor Hien-fung was a jealous upholder of the old Asiatic
doctrines and state craft. Only the utmost necessity and unceasing
pressure could have induced him to lower his arms before the barbarians of
the west, and to endure that an enemy should have dictated conditions of
peace in his own capital, hitherto inaccessible to foreign nations.
English, French, and American ships of war hold possession of the most
important forts of China. In several provinces of the interior, a rebel
emperor has set up his camp, while on the banks of the Amoor, on the north
of the Empire, Russia is building fortresses, and acting as if she were
quite at home in that region. But all these phenomena, however divergent
the interests, may at present point to one stupendous result,--rousing
the immense Chinese Empire from its thousand years' lethargy, and forcing
the natives who populate it to follow in the great onward career of
civilization, which in our days is rushing with the rapidity of a tempest
through the world!

While the Commodore and some of his staff were proceeding to Canton in the
gun-boat, the naturalists made an excursion to the Portuguese settlement
of Macao, about 35 miles distant from Hong-kong, with which there is
bi-weekly communication by an English steamer. Usually this voyage
occupies from four to five hours, but the _Sir Charles Forbes_ was a small
slow-going tub, and as our departure was delayed several hours in
consequence of a large shipment of chests of opium, for which it was hoped
a better price would be obtained at Macao, and as we had on our way
thither to contend with rain, squalls, and contrary winds, it was dark ere
we reached Macao.

We were not a little taken aback at finding several of the passengers
armed with revolvers. However, these seemingly superfluous precautions
against danger in a pleasure sail of a few hours were well founded. Not
long before, it had happened that the European passengers to Macao had
been assailed by the Chinese on board, and all murdered in cold blood! the
Chinese had stealthily watched for the moment when the captain and
passengers were at table in the confined cabin of the little craft, took
possession of the vessel, and murdered every European on board. The
captain and some of the passengers sprang overboard to save their lives,
but only one man, an Englishman, succeeded in effecting his escape, and
giving intelligence of this terrible affair. After they had possessed
themselves of a considerable booty, the pirates set the vessel on fire,
and set at nought all efforts to bring them to punishment by escaping into
the interior of the country.

The arrangements for paying passage-money, expenses, &c., are apt to
strike a stranger as singular. Gold is absolutely out of use, and the
current coins, such as Mexican dollars, and copper money, or cash, are too
bulky to admit of their being lugged about to pay large amounts. In order
to provide for the expenses of a pleasure party of a couple of days it
would be necessary to take a large bag, which there was the further danger
might disappear somewhere without hands. An excellent arrangement has
accordingly been introduced, by which each passenger pays his fare and
other expenses, by means of a check on any one of the mercantile houses in
Macao or Hong-kong, which is filled up with the entire amount for
collection by the controller, and is cashed on his return. This custom is
also a remarkable example of mutual confidence in public life, even if it
be explained by the fact that the majority of the passengers are well
known, and that China has as yet only been frequented by well-off

The passage from Hong-kong to Macao is not entirely devoid of interest.
The course of the steamer lies at first among narrow canals, between
lofty granite rocks: so soon as she emerges from these, the muddy
disturbed colour of the water indicates that she is now crossing the mouth
of the Canton River proper. Stately ships are seen passing up or down,
while junks and fishing-boats are plying on every side. The majestic
conical peak, 3000 feet high, of the island of Lantao, and the Castle Peak
scarred with a deep furrow from top to bottom, on the mainland of the
province of Quang-tong directly opposite, form the background. The
regularity of the conical shape in these peaks, which seems to point to
their being of volcanic origin, renders it probable that they are either
granite or porphyritic in structure. The mouth of the Canton River is so
wide, that the opposing shores only gradually become visible, the wide
expanse of water, extending on every side till lost in the horizon, giving
the traveller the impression that he is on the open sea.

Already, before the houses of Macao could be very easily made out, we
passed the merchant ships lying in the roads, which cannot approach within
from six to eight nautical miles. The small thoroughly land-locked "inner
harbour," as it is called, lying on the other side of the narrow tongue of
land on which Macao is situate, is only accessible for small vessels and
Chinese junks, which visit it in large numbers.

The first view of the city of Macao is not less charming than that of
Victoria. The long ranges of houses are picturesquely grouped around the
numerous little hills surmounted by forts, which form the greater part of
the isthmus; while the beautiful Praya Grande, where palaces and imposing
mansions are disposed in long array close along the shore, in order to get
the benefit of the refreshing sea-breezes, makes a deep and lasting
impression upon the stranger. Churches with lofty double towers shooting
into the air, and the vast dome of the Jesuit College, at once single the
city out as Catholic, and impart to its external aspect a strong contrast
with the adjoining English colony.

Macao is a favourite resort of the foreigners settled in Hong-kong for
change of air, which in these latitudes seems to be even more necessary
than in Europe. So long as Canton was the chief seat of the European
traders, the Portuguese settlement was used by them as a summer residence
for their families, whither they could themselves occasionally retire from
the bustle of Canton, and the attendant insecurity of life, to spend a few
days of calm enjoyment with their families. On account of the alarms of
war of the previous year, most of the Canton merchants had come down to
Hong-kong and Macao to settle, in consequence of which the latter town has
an unusually lively appearance, while its trade, which had previously been
in a rather languishing condition, has materially improved.

When the steamer makes its appearance in the roads of Macao, it is
immediately surrounded by an innumerable swarm of what are called
Tanka-boats, mostly propelled by women, who with yells and shrieks bid for
the privilege of conveying the passengers to shore. As there is no
suitable landing-place on the eastern side of the roads, the traveller is
conveyed to the shore through the lash of the waves in a small
cockle-shaped boat, just as at Madeira or Madras, and equally
uncomfortably; but although the boat and the mode in which it is navigated
are anything but calculated to inspire confidence, such a thing as an
accident is of rare occurrence.

The naturalists of the _Novara_ found an exceedingly friendly and hearty
reception at the beautiful residence of the Russian Consul, M. Von
Carlowitz, who shortly before had come from Canton to settle in Macao,
with his excellent wife, a very beautiful lady of Altenburg in Germany,
there to await the upshot of the war.

Our first visit the following morning--a bright and beautiful Sabbath
morning--was to the renowned Camoens Grotto, situated in a large
well-wooded park, partly covered with primeval forest, the property of a
Portuguese family of the name of Marquez. All around there reigned utter,
almost sacred silence. Here it was that Camoens, banished from his native
land, wrote his Lusiad. The park with its fragrant shady aisles, its
majestic leafy domes, impervious even to the rays of the tropical sun, its
huge piles of rock round which clamber the immense roots of gigantic
fig-trees, its deliciously cool atmosphere, its soft green velvet paths,
its heaps of ruined walls, and its death-like quietness, seems as though
destined for the asylum of an exiled poet, who, instead of lamenting his
destiny like common men in sullen silence, felt his spirit roused amid
this wonderful tropical beauty to fresh sublime efforts,--"Things
unattempted yet in prose or rhyme!" In an ill-contrived niche in the
substructure of the grotto is a bust, in terra-cotta, of the great poet,
with the inscription, "Louis de Camoens, born 1524, died 1579." On the
broad marble pedestal whereon stands this bust, which savours but little
of artistic taste, various verses from the Lusiad have been engraved with
an iron stylus.[120] Formerly this grotto must have had a much more
agreeable appearance, but the present proprietor thought to beautify it by
making an addition to it, which has resulted in its having almost entirely
lost its original character. From one point within the grotto, called the
observatory, and traditionally used as such by Camoens, there is a
beautiful peep over the inner harbour, with its throng of busy human ants.
Quite close to this singular abode for a poet, is the meeting-house of an
evangelical Christian community, numbering about 200 souls, with a
cemetery attached, which, with its handsome stone monuments and
beautifully laid-out gardens, constitutes one of the most interesting
places of outdoor resort in the colony.

The most extensive and important edifice in the settlement of Macao,
founded in 1563 by the Portuguese, on a peninsula of the same name, about
five square miles in extent, is the Pagoda of Makok and its different
temples, situate on the slope of a hill between picturesque groups of
granite rocks, studded with gigantic Chinese inscriptions and splendid
clumps of trees. At the entrance of this retreat for the gods, is a large
fantastically-adorned Buddhist temple, surrounded by a large number of
apartments, in which reside the priests, and where they carry on their
household duties, and prepare tapers and sycee-paper for the worship of
their deities, and where are also a few private altars to divinities,
whose influence and protection the Chinese ladies of doubtful reputation
do not, it seems, venture publicly to invoke.

Steps cut in the granite rock conduct to the highest point, about 200 feet
above sea-level, on which there is likewise a temple. At the time of our
visit, a number of Buddhist priests in long yellow plaited garments were
ascending to the summit, preceded by flute-players, there to perform their
devotions. On their return they distributed among the poor Chinese
congregated in the chief apartment of the temple, a large quantity of
fruit and other eatables.

While at Macao we visited one of the most respected of the foreigners
settled there, Dr. Kane, an English physician, who has for years resided
in the colony. This gentleman was so kind as to present us with the head
of a statue from the renowned nine-storied or Flower Pagoda (Hwa-tah) near
Canton, which during a visit he paid to that half-ruined edifice in March,
1857, he had found lying on the ground, a fragment from a sandstone figure
on the seventh story, representing a pupil of Buddha. This Pagoda, 160
feet high, was constructed upwards of a thousand years since, which must
accordingly be the age of the relic in question.

The number of inhabitants at present in Macao amounts to about 97,000, of
whom 90,000 are Chinese and 7000 Portuguese and Mestizoes. Of other
foreign nations there are but a very few in the peninsula. The chief
article of commerce in the colony is opium, which finds its way hence into
the interior in large quantities. Hong-kong is in too close proximity, is
too favourably situated, and is inhabited by too energetic a race, to
admit of Macao, especially so long as it remains in the hands of the
Portuguese, recovering its former commercial importance. Portugal derives
but little profit from her colonies, and it is only national pride that
will not hear of this possession, which is more a burden than a source of
aid to the mother country, being disposed of by way of sale to either the
English or the North Americans. However, the maintenance of this colony
costs the Portuguese home Government but little, as the colonists support
the chief expenses themselves. Thus the pay of the Governor, who receives
£1260 per annum, as also that of the military force of about 400 men, and
of a small ship stationed in the harbour, are all defrayed by the

Macao is at present the chief point for the shipment of Chinese labourers
or coolies to the West Indies. There are above 10,000 Chinese annually
whom hunger and want drive to sell themselves virtually as slaves to the
traders in human flesh, to drag out a miserable existence far from home.
They are chiefly sent from Macao to the Havanna. We visited the house in
which these pitiable objects are confined till the departure of the ship;
we saw the haggard, reckless look of these wretched beings, who, despite
the dreadful fate that awaits them, hire themselves out to Portuguese and
Spanish kidnappers. In return for a free passage to Havanna, they bind
themselves to work for eight years after their arrival with whatever
master is found for them at four dollars a month,[121] a rate of wage very
much lower than that paid to the labourer of the country, or even to the
manumitted slave. This immense difference however does not accrue so much
to the West India planter as to the speculators who are engaged in the
importation of Chinese, for each of whom a large premium is paid. The
voyage, which usually lasts from four to five months and costs about £70 a
head, is chiefly carried on in French, Portuguese, and--alas! that it
should be so--English and German ships. What sufferings the unhappy
emigrants are exposed to during the voyage, appears from the fact that a
number of them not unfrequently jump overboard, to seek a refuge from
their misery under the waves. Cases have been known in which, owing to
hard fare and mismanagement, 38 per cent. of the emigrants have died on
the passage![122]

The society which takes charge of this trade in exporting men is known as
the _Colonisadora_, and has its head-quarters in the Havanna. Each Chinese
must before leaving Macao subscribe a contract which is for the exclusive
benefit of the society, and by which the poor emigrants explicitly
renounce all the advantage they might derive from certain paragraphs in
the Spanish Emigration Act, passed in 1854, which bear upon the
interpretation of such contracts. As it is usually only the very poorest,
most shiftless, and most ignorant class that emigrates, the contract is
enforced without the smallest scruple, and if afterwards the emigrant in
the foreign country becomes aware of the privations and oppression he has
to submit to in comparison with other workers, the obligations he has
entered into are made use of to invoke the protection of the Spanish
authorities.[123] The fact however that these latter secretly favour the
objections of the colonization society, sufficiently proves that the
interests of a social class and the extension of the labour market in the
island are considered by them as of far higher importance than the good of

To the English Government is due the credit of having initiated an
energetic protest against this trade in human beings, and of having taken
such steps as tend to mitigate the evil consequences which cannot but
result from such a system of deportation. Its representative at the
Havanna, Mr. Crawford, was the first and indeed only individual who
ventured to make representations to the Spanish Government as to the
little humanity shown for these poor Chinese emigrants, and to draw public
attention to the system.[124] Under a humane and well-managed
administration of the emigration system in China, it might prove of
immense service to those countries which are eager to absorb labour, as,
owing to the super-abundance of labour in China, a far larger supply as
well as a much higher class of labourers might be procured.

M. de Carlowitz was so kind as to accompany us in our various rambles to
the more interesting sights and points of view, and more especially when
we were busied "doing" the "lines" of the city. On an eminence in the
suburbs, about 200 feet high, is what is known as Monte fort, garrisoned
by 150 men, whence there is a charming panorama, and the eye catches sight
of the Chinese village of Whang-hia, at the period of our visit most
hostilely disposed, and where on July 3rd, 1844, the first treaty of
peace, friendship, and commerce, was drawn up and signed between China and
the United States. Another hill, about 300 feet high, at the outer
extremity of the peninsula, on which many years ago the Portuguese had
erected a fort, of which only the foundations can now be traced, commands
the tongue of land on which stands the city, as well as all the eastern
portion of the island, and amply repays the trouble of ascent. On the road
thither, by which the communication with the mainland of China is mainly
carried on, we came upon the corpse of a coolie, which had apparently lain
for several days in the very middle of the road. A part of the head and
the right hand had been already stripped of the flesh by the
carrion-crows, and enormous swarms of insects had fastened on the upper
portions of the naked horribly swollen dead body. The miserable being had
obviously fallen a victim to want and destitution. His strength seemed to
have failed him while he was earning his miserable subsistence, as two
empty broken panniers were lying close beside him. Crowds of people were
passing daily, men, women, children, even Portuguese taking their
customary promenade on foot or on horseback, without any person giving
himself the least trouble to remove the shocking spectacle. Even the
representations of the foreign consuls seem to have but little influence
on the Portuguese authorities in these matters, and it appears that it is
by no means an infrequent occurrence to see dead bodies lying about. A
hardly less sickening spectacle was presented on the slope of the hill,
where were erected a couple of dozen of small, wretched, filthy huts of
palm-straw, which served for the reception of a number of sick and lepers,
who, shunned and abandoned by all the world, were sinking in their misery
into the grave. Leprosy is regarded by the Chinese as a punishment for
secret sins, and those visited with it are accordingly deprived of all
assistance or attention. Very probably this coolie, whose body we thus saw
lying on the road, was one of those unfortunates who were here digging, as
it were, their own graves.

The isthmus which unites the Portuguese settlement on the peninsula with
the mainland, is barely a quarter of a mile in length by 500 feet in
breadth. Formerly there was a wall built right across the centre of this
tongue of land, which marked the limit of the colony. Here Chinese
sentinels used to march to and fro to protect the Flowery Kingdom. This,
however, did not prevent the "_Macaoistas_," as the inhabitants of Macao
are accustomed to call themselves, from making frequent excursions and
pic-nic parties to the mainland and the adjacent Chinese villages. On 22nd
August, 1848, however, when the then governor of Macao, Dom Joâo Maria
Ferreira do Amaral, while riding along the narrow part of the isthmus, was
set upon by a couple of armed Chinese, torn from his horse, and beheaded,
his skull and hand being carried off by the murderers, the Portuguese
pulled down the wall and destroyed the adjoining Chinese fort, so that not
a vestige of either now remains. The government of Macao insisted on the
murderers being delivered up, as also on the restitution of the head and
hand of the victim, but after the lapse of a year the authorities received
an official notification that the murderers had been discovered, and on
confession of the crime had been executed at Shunteh. The head and hand of
the unhappy Amaral were delivered to the Portuguese officials by two
Chinese commissioners, and solemnly interred with the other remains. In
the course of the correspondence with reference to this matter[125]
between the Chinese and Portuguese authorities, it appeared that, owing to
certain stringent regulations he had laid down, Governor Amaral had long
been marked out for destruction by the Chinese population of Macao. The
chief complaint against him was that he had profaned the graves of their
ancestors in the suburbs of Macao, and had constructed new streets right
through them. Every attack of illness, every unlucky speculation, every
unexpected mischance, which happened to any of the Chinese residents in
Macao, was ascribed to the vengeance of those spirits, whose repose had
been so wantonly violated for such an insignificant purpose. The Chinese
have no regular cemeteries for their dead. They inter them anywhere about
the township, simply marking the spot with a stone or an inscription. At
the new-year's festival these graves are adorned in the most gaudy manner,
none, not even of the poorest, being neglected in this respect. This pious
feeling for the dead is in singular and rude contrast with the
indifference with which the Chinese regard the misfortunes of their
neighbours, and the cruelty with which mothers expose their new-born
children, or even leave them to die.

The trade between Macao and the mainland is very active: in the quarter of
an hour that we were upon the isthmus there passed at least 60 men loaded
with goods or provisions, moving to and fro to the settlement. Among these
there were also sedan-chairmen, conveying back to the neighbouring
villages such of the better class of Chinese as had been doing business in
the city. The effect of warlike rumours from Canton and the Pei-ho had
meanwhile become apparent among the European population of Macao. The
insecurity of life and property increased daily. No one could venture to
go a mile or two beyond the city. Even a beautiful pic-nic house, erected
by the foreigners on "Green Island," close by the town, whither during
peaceful times frequent excursions were made by European residents with
their families, had been for months empty and gutted.

The Praya Grande, or rather the shady promenade, at its eastern extremity
serves as a rendezvous for the gay world, and on Sundays, when a band of
music plays here, one can scarcely pass through the crowd.

The Portuguese, who even in their native country are not a handsome race,
lose still more in their physical qualities by the unscrupulous manner in
which they cross with the native races. This circumstance makes the
contrast still more apparent of simple, graceful, pale ladies of the
Anglo-Saxon race, who now and then appear between the ugly dark natives.
In the evening, towards sunset, these lovely creatures make their
appearance in their sedan or other chairs in the Campo San Francisco,
there to enjoy the cool evening sea-breezes. A great number of sedan
porters halt here with their precious burdens, and elegantly-attired
cavaliers saunter about, striving by amiable phrases and flattering
remarks to elicit a smile. While these vehicles form the commonest mode of
conveyance, we also saw there but few saddle-horses, and only one single
carriage, the property of a rich brownish native, baronized for the amount
of 40,000 dollars, and who thought by this means to display his taste,
his luxury, and his nobility!

We had heard so much of certain wonderful singing stones, on a large
island opposite the inner part of the harbour, that several of our party
made an excursion thither. Neither natives nor indeed Europeans could give
us any explanation of this singular phenomenon, but all hold that the
stones must contain metal in some certain proportion, while electricity
and magnetism would do the rest. The naturalists were accompanied to this
mysterious spot by M. Von Carlowitz, Dr. Kane, and a Chinese physician,
Dr. Wong-fun. The estimable and highly-educated Wong-fun had graduated as
Doctor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh, and had afterwards
enlarged his experience by practising some time in the United States,
since which he had practised the healing art with great success upon his
own countrymen. A European in intelligence and education, he was still a
Chinese in external appearance, and wore, as formerly, a long tail.
Probably Wong-fun adhered to this ancient custom in order the more readily
to indoctrinate his fellow-countrymen with European ideas.

Some small Tanka-boats, in which, as already mentioned, only two persons
can be accommodated at once, and which are exclusively managed by women,
conveyed our party over the bosom of the inner harbour to the opposite
shore. We then proceeded through a beautiful valley, covered with rice
fields, and traversed in its entire extent by a mountain torrent, which
is dammed off, and drives a number of Chinese mills with the small
water-courses. In the background of this valley lies the mysterious spot.
The marvel itself presently became visible in a large expanse of syenite
rock, greatly resembling that in the Oderwald of Hesse. Some of these have
been tilted on the others, and the hard syenite resounds when struck with
a hammer, just as a block of marble or basalt vibrates when struck, with a
bell-like sound. These musical blocks therefore are but little
interesting, unless that the Chinese make use of them to sculpture the
figures of lions and tigers to adorn the entrances of their temples.

After a stay of two days in Macao, the naturalists returned to Hong-kong,
where they had to devote the little time that would elapse ere the frigate
sailed to sorting and packing the collections, and arranging for their
transmission: for the manipulation of packing is, as Humboldt well
remarked, as important as actual science in such undertakings. That
naturalist confers but a small boon on science, whose only care is to
collect, but who takes no pains to preserve, the fruits of his labour, by
an exact indication of the place where found, and such special particulars
as may prevent mistakes, and by carefully guarding against damage to the
objects about to be sent, while on their way.

The kind reception and hospitality of our new friends in Hong-kong
remained undiminished to the very last moment of our stay. We were fairly
overwhelmed with attentions of all sorts, each apparently striving to
make us forget the unfavourable circumstances under which we visited the
Empire of China.

The steamer _Hong-kong_, early on the morning of 18th July, towed us out
through the narrow Eastern Straits, the Ly-e-num Pass, and the
Ta-thong-wun Channel, into the open sea. As we passed alongside the
English frigate _Nankin_, carrying the broad pendant of the amiable and
excellent Commodore Stewart, our band played "God save the Queen," while
the English ensign was dipped, by way of parting salute. A little further
on the Chinese Comprador, who had supplied the _Novara_ with provisions
daily during her stay, had stationed himself in his boat to give us a
parting farewell with a roar of gong-gong, while innumerable rockets
whizzed and exploded in the air.

We found a tolerably high sea outside, but a fine fresh S.W. breeze, under
which we rapidly increased our distance from the shore. In like manner as
when we entered, we had now in getting out to thread our way among
thousands of fishing-boats sailing about in couples, which cruise about to
a distance of even 50 and 60 miles to sea. The steamer which towed us
through the narrow Eastern Channel, and had us just four hours and twenty
minutes in tow, charged the amount of 300 dollars (£63), so that each
minute of towing cost rather over one dollar. After making a tack towards
Lemma Island, in order to avoid the dangerous Nine-pin rock, the wind
sprung up from E.S.E., so that we were enabled to lie our proper course,
and by sundown had cleared _Piedra bianca_.

With fine weather and a fresh S.W. monsoon our voyage was so speedy, that
by 2nd July we were in the latitude of Formosa, but without being able to
distinguish the high land, either on the Chinese coast or on that island,
and by 23rd July we were off the Saddle Islands, at the mouth of the

Just as we reached this, the door, as it were, through which we had to
enter, the weather chose to change with the utmost suddenness. Calms and
contrary winds, coupled with the powerful current of the mighty river,
sweeping through the islands, prevented our further advance, and on the
24th we had to cast anchor near the easternmost Saddle Island. Close to us
on every side were numbers of other ships equally unfortunate with
ourselves, while the spectacle of the steamers, pursuing their course
without feeling any obstruction, filled us with envy. We had taken a
Chinese pilot on board, and by 25th July were in sight of Gutzlaff, a
small islet of rock 210 feet high, the best land-mark of the "Son of
Ocean," and just before sunset anchored off the outer bar. We now had fair
breezes, and without further obstacles passed over the bar in from 30 to
33 feet water, which in bad weather, however, is exceedingly dangerous. We
were still out of sight of land; even the islands we had already passed
sank below the horizon, and still there was nothing visible but an
unbroken expanse of yellowish-red water, which reflected with the utmost
brilliancy the rays of the sun. A light-ship moored to a sand-bank, and a
wreck on another sand-bank, are, after leaving Gutzlaff Island, the sole
land-marks by which the pilot can hope to keep the channel, which is only
from one to two miles wide in this vast shoreless river estuary. Indeed
the entrance of the Yang-tse-Kiang is regarded as one of the most
difficult feats for a large ship. With favourable wind and weather, the
_Novara_ cleared without accident the 47 miles between the bar and the
place where the Wusung falls into the Yang-tse-Kiang, and on the evening
of the 26th July dropped anchor in front of Wusung. The navigation
presented little that was interesting, yet each man involuntarily felt a
thrill as he reflected that he was sailing in the current of the longest
river in China, whose source lies thousands of miles inland at Khukkunor,
among the Mangolians.

As we neared Wusung, signs of life began to be visible on the river
itself; tall three-masters were passing, bound in or out, and scores of
Chinese junks with their peculiar rig and build. Far above the light-ship
the shore first became visible, low, flat, scarcely above the level of the
river, but green and fertile. A Pagoda of the well-known form of the
Porcelain tower of Nankin and a few lofty trees enable the pilot to take
the bearings of the channel at this point. Only the land on the left is
actual mainland, the shore on the right being the coast of the island of
Tsuning, lying at the mouth of the river. At the mouth of the Wusung, this
southern arm of the Yang-tse-Kiang, as formed by the above-named island,
is about six and a half nautical miles in width, and a little higher up is
further narrowed by Bush Island to a width of four miles.

The first inhabited spot at the junction of the Wusung and Yang-tse-Kiang
is the wretched filthy village of Wusung, which owes its importance solely
and exclusively to the opium boats, which the merchants of Hong-kong and
Shanghai used to station here in the stream, in order more readily to sell
and deliver to the Chinese that forbidden article. Thus the natives took
on themselves the responsibility of opium smuggling, while the foreign
merchants became thereby involved in a conflict with the Chinese
Government. The opium sold per month from the ships stationed at Wusung
amounts to from 2500 to 2800 chests, in value about 500 _taels_ (£150) per
chest (£375,000 to £420,000).

The mouth of the Wusung is the entrance to Shanghai, which lies about 12
miles up the Wusung or Shanghai river, but in consequence of a mud-bank is
only accessible to large ships at spring-tide. Nankin lies up the
Yang-tse-Kiang 180 miles from Shanghai, the channel being so deep that
even a frigate may sail close up under its walls. Six hundred miles
distant from the embouchure of the Wusung lie the three immense cities of
Wu-chang, Hang-iang, and Shan-Keu, containing 8,000,000 inhabitants, the
central point of the internal commerce of China; and about 400 miles
further up are the first rapids of the Yang-tse-Kiang, which completely
prevent all further navigation. Up to this point the mighty river, like
the Mississippi, the Rhine, or the Danube, may be navigated by river
steamers, without the slightest danger or difficulty. What an enormous
trade, what a tremendous development, will ere long be witnessed here, so
soon as, in accordance with the stipulations of the Tien-Tsin and Pekin
treaties, English ships, freighted with goods and necessaries of all
sorts, shall steam up this most splendid of rivers and its tributaries,
and the inhabitants of the far interior shall become acquainted with the
products of European industry, and in exchange shall export to Europe
innumerable articles of new and valuable trade. For it is the greatest
service of the merchant that he not alone opens new channels of commerce,
and by increased exportation of the fabrics of his native land tends to
build up his power, but that he civilizes foreign nations, and enriches
science and industry with innumerable fresh acquisitions.

The larger ships usually lie at anchor at the little Chinese village of
Wusung on the river of that name, just where it falls into the
Yang-tse-Kiang, and here accordingly, owing to the hostilities, we found
upwards of twenty ships of war of various nationalities at anchor. Among
others the powerful American steam-ship _Minnesota_, and the French
frigates _Audacieuse_ and _Nemesis_, an imposing spectacle in these
distant regions, and to which the half-ruined Chinese fort on the tongue
of land between the Wusung and the Yang-tse-Kiang, with its couple of
wretched cannon, presented a tragi-comic contrast. Numbers of Chinese
boats, from the smallest cloth-awning _sampan_ propelled by one man with a
paddle to the large junk with fifteen masts, and sentences painted along
the bends, were cruising in every direction. Ere long a Comprador found
his way on board, who according to custom undertook to provide the frigate
with everything she required.

Commodore Wüllerstorff purposed proceeding with the frigate to Shanghai;
but as it would be necessary to wait for a fair wind, or else to engage
another steam-tug, implying a delay of several days, the naturalists were
permitted to avail themselves of the opportunity offered by the
Comprador's boat to proceed at once to Shanghai, which voyage we were two
hours and a half in performing.

While the number of European merchantmen that we passed, some lying at
anchor in front of Wusung, others sailing up or down stream, was quite
surprising, yet the sight of the river at Shanghai far surpassed all
expectation. Here, close packed together in a channel rather narrower than
elsewhere, was drawn up tier after tier of shipping, a quite impervious
forest of masts, athwart which at intervals the large warehouses of the
European merchants indistinctly loomed, lining the banks on either side.
The newspaper lists at the time of our visit gave the names of no less
than 102 large American and European merchantmen in the Shanghai River, in
addition to which there were upwards of a thousand native junks lying in
the stream with their short crooked masts, the most convincing evidence of
the commercial importance which this place has attained within the short
space of time that has elapsed since by the Treaty of Nankin in 1842
foreign factories were authorized to be erected here.

On the shore the flags of the Consulates of the more important sea-faring
nations fluttered gaily in the breeze from lofty flag-staffs on the top of
the imposing buildings. Hardly had we landed ere we were surrounded by an
ungainly crowd of Chinese coolies, who with their bamboo staves began such
a serious battle among themselves for the right of carrying our baggage,
that it was only by the interposition of the police that several were not
left on the spot severely wounded.

The intelligence that there was in Shanghai not a single house of
entertainment, such as we understand by the name of "hotel" in Europe, was
the less agreeable, as the dwellings of the resident Europeans, where,
under ordinary circumstances, strangers are received with the utmost
hospitality, happened at present to be occupied by the officers of the
numerous war-ships, as well as by members of the two embassies. The only
place where we could be received was what is known as the Union Hotel, a
den in the fullest sense of the word, in which we passed one of the most
uncomfortable nights we ever remember. Myriads of mosquitoes, the true
blood-thirsty "gallinipper," loud-shouting drunken seamen, dogs howling,
intolerable heat, which not even a tremendous thunder-storm that broke
forth during the night could assuage,--such were some of the amenities of
our reception, which, despite our exhaustion, utterly precluded sleep.
With unspeakable longing we watched for the dawn of the morning, and,
thanks to the hospitality of our new friends, we were in the course of the
day fortunate enough to be released from this hideous abode.

The _Novara_ did not remain long behind us. A few days later, on 29th
July, she sailed gallantly up in an hour and a half, from Wusung, on the
top of a spring-tide, and with favourable breezes, and on reaching
Shanghai was welcomed with pride and delight by the German residents
here--the first ship-of-war of a first-class German power that had ever
been seen in the river Wusung.


[112] The analysis of these hieroglyphics, by which abstract ideas are
sought to be expressed, is extremely interesting. Thus a heart with the
badge of slavery over it represents "anger;" a hand, and the sign for the
middle, signifies an "historian," because it is his duty not to lean to
either side; by the sign of uprightness and motion is represented
"government," because it must always observe probity in the transaction of
affairs; to indicate the idea of a "friend" two pearls are represented
side by side, because friendship is as rare as two pearls, exactly
resembling each other! The well-known French missionary Huc, in his
valuable work on the Chinese Empire, gives a variety of most interesting
particulars respecting the Chinese language.

[113] A very abstruse treatise upon the preparation of the Chinese ink is
contained in the important labours of the Russian Embassy at Pekin,
relating to China, published in German by Dr. Abel and Mecklenburg,
Berlin, F. Heinike, 1858, vol. ii. p. 481. The information is borrowed
from a small treatise which was written in 1398 by a certain
Scheu-zsi-Sun, who had been for thirty years engaged in the fabrication of
the India ink. The author therein mentions how, after he had tried every
known method, and every substance usually employed, without attaining any
result, he at last put them all on one side, mingling only pin-soot with
glue together, and diluting this mixture with but hot water, again kneaded
it thoroughly, and thus succeeded in getting an ink "black and lustrous as
a child's eyes." According to another method, India ink is prepared,
besides pin-soot and lime, of a sort of tincture, consisting of the
following various pigments,--pomegranate-rind, sandal-wood, sulphate of
iron and copper, gamboge, cinnobar, dragon's-blood, gold-leaf, musk, and
glair. This tint is said to be remarkable for preventing the glue from
getting spoiled by age, or the colour changing, and may be thus kept for
any length of time. 1/2 lb. of glue and 1/4 lb. of this colouring matter
are the proportions for one pound of pin-soot. However, only a very small
portion of the different materials used seems to possess the power
ascribed to them, and many are used out of mere prejudice, and not at all
to the advantage of the ink prepared.

[114] This custom is of remote antiquity in Oriental countries, as witness
the circumstances attending the birth of Ishmael, and also of several of
the children of Israel.

[115] Many European residents at Hong-kong and Shanghai have Chinese
mistresses _bought_ in this way, who are bound to live with them only so
long as their masters choose.

[116] The title of this work is:--"_Notices sur le vert de Chine et de la
teinture en vert chez les Chinois, par Natalis Rondot, imprimé aux frais
de la Chambre de Commerce de Lyon, à Paris, 1858._"

[117] The Chinese of Shanghai called the plant _Li-lu-schu_, and the
substance obtained from it _Gah-schik_.

[118] We give the following translation of one of these proclamations:
"Listen, O listen, ye detestable barbarians! We, patriots and honourable
subjects of the reigning dynasty, wish to hold up a mirror to you, that ye
may see what ye are doing, and what like you are! Only in speech, and in
no other respect, do ye differ from wild beasts! We have understanding, we
observe laws and commandments; but you are blind and dumb, and will not
receive advice. You must--there is nothing else for it--you _must_ be cut
off to the very last man!... Since you first came to the MIDDLE KINGDOM,
you have done all that you can to destroy us; you have shot at us from
your ships; you have poisoned us with opium, you have erected devils'
houses (churches) within the walls of the city! Nay more, in order to hold
your horse-races, you have profaned graves, and not suffered the dead to
rest in peace! Insatiable as sharks, greedy as a set of silk-worms upon a
mulberry tree, the more you get the more you want. Even our most trifling
profit you have taken to yourselves. Now, however, the cup is full, Heaven
in its wrath has decreed your destruction,--our people shall cut you off
with divine weapons of fire. Hearken now, O people, to the four following
rules for the extermination of the barbarians: All barbarians must be
beheaded, that our reproach may be removed, and our Middle Kingdom be no
longer insulted. So runs the order of the leader!--To none other shall any
disaster happen, no one shall be molested. Whoever strikes back, shall
himself be struck.... The day of vengeance shall be secretly appointed. We
shall circumvent the barbarians with treachery, we shall fall on them
unawares, and destroy them. Natives who are in the habit of attending
their schools, or of serving them, or of trading with them, must leave
them and return to their old pursuits. If they remain, then the subjects
of the exceedingly beneficent dynasty as well as the barbarians, the
diamonds and the hailstones, shall be destroyed together.... After the
destruction of these hideous hordes, their possessions shall be
distributed among those who have distinguished themselves on the day of
battle. So runs the order of the leader!"

[119] Yeh, as is well known, has since died in imprisonment at Calcutta.

[120] In front, Canto X. v. 25; XII. vv. 79-80. On the back, Canto VI. vv.
95, 131, and Canto VIII. v. 42.

[121] Even these four dollars sustain a reduction during the first year,
since the emigrant must for the first year pay one dollar a month to
defray necessaries, partly provisions, partly clothes, supplied to him to
the amount of $12, before his departure.

[122] J. F. Crawford, Esq., British Consul-General at the Havanna, in an
official document respecting the number of Chinese imported in the course
of one year into Havanna proves that in the case of the Peruvian ship
_Cora_, 117 out of 292 coolies perished owing to bad water. In one single
year (1857) 63 ships, of 43,933 tons, cleared from Chinese ports for the
Havanna, with 23,928 Chinese labourers, of whom 3842, or above 16 per
cent., died during the voyage.

[123] We give in the Appendix the original text of one of these contracts,
which the Chinese emigrants have to sign preparatory to their going on
ship-board, together with a translation, and shall leave the reader to
judge whether those are very far wrong who denounce the system as but
another form of slave-trade.

[124] The cruelty and injustice with which the poor Chinese emigrants are
treated, have repeatedly had the most appalling consequences. The "_China
Overland Trade Report_," published at Hong-kong, under date 28th February,
1861, gives the particulars of one such tragedy, which had shortly before
occurred on board of one of these emigrant ships. On 22nd February, the
American ship _Leonidas_ sailed from Canton for the Havanna with a number
of coolies on board. Near what is known as the Macao passage, a tremendous
noise was suddenly heard in the between-decks. Two of the mates, on
descending to inquire into the cause of the disturbance, were attacked
with knives and severely wounded. Meanwhile some of the coolies had
overpowered the captain and his wife, and had inflicted on them several
dangerous wounds. However, the crew ultimately succeeded in driving all
the coolies into the hold, though not till after the 29th had been passed
in constant fighting. In their desperation they sought to set fire to the
ship, by preparing a regular pyre of combustibles, to which they set fire.
Ere long, however, the smoke became so intolerable in the hold, that they
themselves speedily made every effort to extinguish the fire. The ship
returned to Canton. Out of 250 coolies, 94 were dead, of whom some were
shot, some were drowned, some suffocated. Singular to say the French
man-of-war _Durance_ refused to render any assistance. Other accounts
speak in the highest terms of the efforts of a German missionary to put a
stop to this practice of kidnapping, dignified by the name of emigration,
it having not unfrequently happened that young Chinese were openly carried
off to Macao, and there as openly sold. This is the more readily credible,
inasmuch as the Chinese are most desperate gamblers, and after they have
lost all they possess, think nothing of staking their personal liberty.
Thus, a short time since, the son of respectable parents in Sunon was sold
by the Emigration Society at Macao for 40 dols., and it was only by the
most unremitting efforts of the German missionary already mentioned that
the wretched lad was re-purchased for £60, and thus escaped a terrible
destiny. Two other Chinese were shipped at the same time, the bargain in
their case being recognized.

[125] See "Chinese Repository," vol. x., of October, 1849.

          [Illustration: Flower Boat on the Wusung at Shanghai.]



         Duration of Stay from 25th July to 11th August, 1858.

    A stroll through the old Chinese quarter.--Book-stalls.--Public
    Baths.--Chinese Pawnbrokers.--Foundling hospital.--The Hall of
    Universal Benevolence.--Sacrificial Hall of Medical Faculty.--
    City prison.--Temple of the Goddess of the Sea.--Chinese
    taverns.--Tea-garden.--Temple of Buddha.--Temple of Confucius.--
    Taouist convent.--Chinese nuns.--An apothecary's store, and what
    is sold therein.--Public schools.--Christian places of worship.--
    Native industry.--Cenotaphs to the memory of beneficent
    females.--A Chinese patrician family.--The villas of the foreign
    merchants.--Activity of the London Missionary Society.--Dr.
    Hobson.--Chinese medical works.--Leprosy.--The American
    Missionary Society.--Dr. Bridgman.--Main-tze tribe.--Mission
    schools for Chinese boys and girls.--The North China branch of
    the Royal Asiatic Society.--Meeting in honour of the Members of
    the _Novara_ Expedition.--Mons. de Montigny.--Baron Gros.--
    Interview with the Táu-Tái, or chief Chinese official of the
    city.--The Jesuit mission at Sikkawéi.--The Pagoda of Long-Sáh.--
    A Chinese dinner.--Serenade by the German singing-club.--The
    Germans in China.--Influence of the Treaties of Tien-Tsin and
    Pekin upon commerce.--Silk.--Tea.--The Chinese sugar-cane.--
    Various species of Bamboos employed in the manufacture of
    paper.--The varnish tree.--The tallow tree.--The wax-tree.--
    Mosquito tobacco.--Articles of import.--Opium.--The Tai-ping
    rebels.--Departure from Shanghai.--A typhoon in the China sea.--
    Sight the island of Puynipet in the Caroline Archipelago.

Shanghai, or Shanghai-Hein (the city near the sea), is divided into the
Chinese city proper, enclosed within walls twenty-four feet in height,
and the foreign quarter, which has been laid out beyond the walls since
the year 1843, and is as much distinguished by elegance as by comfort. Old
Shanghai, only accessible by three of the six gates with which it is
furnished, contains 250,000 inhabitants in a superficial area of nine Li,
or about two and one-third English miles, and, including the population of
neighbouring towns, who are constantly flocking to and fro, about 400,000.
The streets are filthy and singularly narrow, so much so that occasionally
it is difficult for two men to pass each other, the small cross streets
vividly recalling Venice, or the "lanes" of London. It is with difficulty,
and only by a constant succession of cries and hearty buffets, that the
bearers of merchandise can force their way through these intricate
passages, and find their way to their destination. The houses, for the
most part one and two storeys in height, usually consist of shops on the
ground-floor, each with a flaming superscription in gigantic characters,
which, the better to arrest the curiosity of the passers-by, is generally
hung diagonally across the narrow street. The living throng, which
throughout the entire day surges to and fro here, is so immense and so
various that it leaves upon a stranger an impression even deeper than that
made by the crowds and bustle of Piccadilly or Regent Street, on a fine
day in the height of "the season." The grotesqueness and filth of almost
everything that meets the eye rather adds to the singularity of the
spectacle, and while the visitor on the one hand speedily finds ample
justification for extricating himself from the din and confusion, he
nevertheless encounters at every step some new object of attraction and
absorbing interest.

Entering the city through the east gate, on whose walls, by way of example
to the multitude, are suspended in sacks and wicker-work numerous skulls
of rebels and murderers, on whom justice has been done, we find ourselves
in China street, one of the principal streets of Shanghai, and in which
are most of the best class of native shops. It is however no wider or
cleaner than the other streets of the city, and might be termed a "lane"
with far more propriety than a street. We were conveyed within the lofty,
gloomy "enceinte" of the walls in the sedan-chair of the country, after
which, under the guidance of Mr. Muirhead, an English missionary, who in
the kindest manner had offered to be our _cicerone_, we proceeded to
stroll through the town.

Close to the east gate we entered a book-stall, in which were heaped up
immense piles of stitched books. A number of Chinese in white nankeen
jackets, their foreheads smooth shaved, and each with a "tail" behind
dependent to the heels, started forward to inquire the strangers' wants,
and minister to them. Our inquiries however were by no means merely
dictated by the desire to gratify a silly curiosity. A learned countryman,
Dr. Pfizmaier, one of the profoundest of Chinese scholars, had intrusted
us with a list of fourteen rare Chinese books, the purchase of which
seemed to us specially desirable, and we accordingly made every exertion,
with the assistance of our companion, himself well acquainted with
Chinese, to crown our search with success. With one exception we succeeded
in purchasing the entire catalogue, and therewith gladly brought to an end
our wearisome stay of upwards of an hour in the close steaming book-shop,
exposed the while to a more than tropical temperature.

Chinese authors are, it must be allowed, terribly prolix in the treatment
of their subjects, and instances are by no means uncommon in China of
works, especially those of an historical nature, extending to from forty
to fifty volumes! Thus, for example, the "Seventeen Historical classics"
consists of 337 parts:--"Mingschintschuen" (History of the most renowned
ministers and statesmen), of thirty volumes:--"Singpu" (Lives of
remarkable persons), of 122 parts:--the "Encyclopedia of Matuanlin," with
its additions, even reaches the immense number of six hundred
volumes!![126] Books are generally far from expensive in China; for a few
dollars, comparatively, one may, owing to the cheapness of labour and of
cost of production, purchase quite a large supply of ordinary literature.

Adjoining this book-shop is a public bath establishment, where for 16
copper cash[127] (rather less than 1_d._ sterling), one may get a vapour
bath, while six cash more are paid for keeping custody of the habiliments.
The bath is far from being elegant or comfortable, but when one reflects
on such extraordinary cheapness, it seems as though the very utmost had
been attained. It consists of a large apartment, filled with steam, which
is from time to time renewed, by dashing hot water upon stones, maintained
at a high temperature, while ranged in readiness all round are a number of
tubs of cold water for cooling the bather. In one of these establishments
about thirty persons may bathe at once, and as John Chinaman, despite his
filthy manners, is passably clean about the body, as testified by the
pains he is at with his head and hands, these places are as extensively
patronized as they are greatly needed.

Our next stoppage was at a pawnbroker's, an institution which, to all
appearance, has been far longer in vogue in China than in Europe, and is
made great use of by the wealthy as well as the poorer classes. In the
Celestial Kingdom, the same custom prevails as with us of pawning the
winter habiliments in summer, and summer apparel in winter; and this not
so much for the sake of the money borrowed upon them, as to have them kept
in safety and carefully preserved, especially in the case of costly furs.
In China the usual advance is of one half the value, upon a very low
computation of the article pledged, for which the monthly charge is ten
cash per 500, or twenty-four per cent. per annum. Whatever has not been
redeemed at the end of three years, or of which the interest has not been
paid, is put up to auction and knocked down to the highest bidder, the
proceeds going to the benefit of the establishment. The utmost per-centage
allowed by law is three per cent. a month; but it must not exceed two per
cent. in winter, in order that the poor may be enabled to redeem the
articles pledged. The broker gives a ticket for the articles pledged,
which have a definite value, and may be sold in the street. Thieves find
these establishments very handy for disposing of their plunder, as they
deface or destroy the pawn-ticket so as to prevent the rightful owner from
regaining possession of the stolen articles. When a pawnbroker sustains
any loss through theft, or the outbreak of fire on his premises, he must
make good to his customers the value of the destroyed articles that had
been left with him as pledges. If, however, the fire has broken out in the
house of a neighbour, he is only bound to pay one half of the loss he may
sustain. The establishment is managed by fifty individuals, whom the
concourse of people flocking in to pledge or redeem property keeps in
constant activity.

Considering the notorious and openly avowed indifference everywhere
manifested throughout China for the poor, the sick, and the unfortunate,
the number of charitable institutions to be found in all parts of China is
very surprising, all which, as has lately been proved, do not owe their
origin to the introduction of Christianity, but had been in a flourishing
condition for a long time previously. Thus in several of the streets of
Shanghai, we came upon hospitals for children and foundlings ([Chinese
character(s)]), of the latter of which the one we visited was founded by
voluntary contribution so far back as 1710. This humane institution has a
landed property of about 30 acres, by the produce of which, as well as
frequent public collections, it is supported. In 1783, this orphan
hospital was amalgamated with an asylum for old and decrepit persons, and
others incapacitated for labour, and one wealthy Chinese gentleman
provided 3000 taels[128] for this praiseworthy object, but somewhat later
this joint plan was abandoned, and the Orphan Asylum remains to this day
self-supporting, while the poor, the sick, and the aged are relieved every
month at the Custom-house out of funds specially set apart.

At the period of our visit we found thirty infants in the building, who
had been deposited by their mothers in a basket suspended in a recess at
the entrance. After the new-born child has been deposited, a signal is
given with a bamboo-stick, after which the receptacle is turned inwards
and the innocent without delay taken charge of. Each child has its own
wet-nurse or attendant.

The building is lofty, roomy, and passably clean, but the children, one
and all without exception, have a sickly appearance, and seem to suffer
much from eruptions and affections of the eye. There was not one child
above two years of age. It is worth recording that every one of these
children was of the female sex; their male offspring, even when
illegitimate, the mothers seem much less disposed to part from. It
frequently happens, moreover, owing to the low considerations in which the
female sex are held, that even legitimate children of that sex are
occasionally committed to the silent receptacle of the foundling's basket.

We inquired of one of the overseers what was the destiny of these unhappy
children when they grew up, but could get no satisfactory reply. We were
informed that they were occasionally adopted as children by those who had
no family. But more extended inquiries leave us rather inclined to believe
that these poor waifs of humanity constitute a not inconsiderable
contingent to that unhappy class of beings who, carefully brought up,
clothed, and fed by speculative foster-mothers, are at a suitable age sold
for concubines to the well-to-do Chinese.

One very remarkable charitable institution, for which there is no
parallel in Europe, is the Tûng-jin-tang ([Chinese character(s)]) or Hall
of United Benevolence, founded by a number of philanthropists in 1804, for
the interment of the poor. This establishment, through its legacies,
donations, and voluntary contributions, speedily became so wealthy that it
has been enabled to take up, in addition to its original business, other
objects of a not less humane nature. It pensions poor widows of
respectable families with 700 cash (about £1 8_s._) per month; it presents
persons above 60 years of age, if sickly and unable to work, with 600 cash
(about £1 4_s._) a month, and provides, free of charge, wooden coffins, as
also digging implements, for those who are too poor to inter their dead
relatives. Another humane occupation of the society is the interment of
coffins containing dead bodies, which used to be exposed on the bare
ground in various parts of the city. Finally, it was the intention of the
founder of this charitable institution, so soon as the money should
permit, to erect schools for the poor, to provide warm clothing in winter
for the helpless, as also to buy up animals destined for the
slaughter-house, and set them at liberty again.

The proceedings connected with the direction of the institution are
transacted in public, and the managers for the time being are bound to
furnish for each year a detailed report[129] of the management. This
humane institution has since its foundation undergone many reforms, and
at the period of our visit was confining its sphere of usefulness to three
main objects: 1st, The pensioning aged and broken-down persons of both
sexes, with 600 cash a month. These however were not supplied with the
money, but were for the most part taken into the house itself, or at least
supported through it. 2nd, The dispensing free of charge of various
so-called universal medicines, for headache, stomach-complaints, fever,
diarrh[oe]a, spasms during the unhealthy season (June to October). On the
3rd, 8th, 13th, 18th, 23rd, and 28th of each month (that is, on every date
ending with a 3 or an 8), during the continuance of the sultry, damp,
unhealthy season there was also provided for the sick and poor, gratis,
advice from Chinese physicians in the great hall. 3rd, The furnishing
coffins for the interment of those who died without means, or on payment
in part by families not altogether penniless. In one of these extensive
magazines we saw a coffin bearing the number 1084, which was just coming
into requisition. During 36 months 1000 coffins and upwards had been
supplied to poor families for the interment of their dead! As we were
leaving the building, we remarked in the principal apartment a large
quantity of paper, partly written upon, partly in shreds, all heaped up.
On inquiry as to the object of this collection, we were informed that it
was for no industrial purpose, but solely to be ascribed to the profound
respect the Chinese have for every sort of writing. They regard written
leaves as positively holy, and are particularly careful that no written
paper shall chance to fall into improper hands, that might make a wrong
use of it. For this reason the society pays for every pound of old waste
paper which the poor of Shanghai pick up in the street and bring to the
Institution three copper cash, and when the pile has attained a sufficient
height it is set on fire at a particular season.

Built in close proximity to this "Hall of United Benevolence" is the
sanctuary of the medical profession, or, as Mr. Muirhead translated for
our benefit the gigantic Chinese inscription over the portal, "the
sacrificial hall of the medical faculty." This is a temple erected at the
expense of the nation to a celebrated Chinese physician, whose stature, in
an easy, erect attitude, cut in wood the size of life and richly gilt, is
erected upon a platform somewhat resembling an altar. Part of the drapery
consists of gigantic leaves, while his folded hands clasp a lotos-flower.
In front of the image is placed the inscription: "The shrine of the spirit
of the King of Medicine." Above the idol are the following words in
Chinese, cut in the stone and gilt, "The divine husbandman and sacred
ruler!" and thereafter, "For all ages the instructive teacher."

This renowned physician had, it seems, instituted many experiments on
himself with new healing remedies, and according to popular belief had
attained to an exact knowledge of all that was going on in the human
frame, so that he could point out the seat of the malady by simply placing
a piece of common window-glass upon the pit of the patient's stomach, and
looking into it!

Adjoining this College of Health is the city prison, or Tschi-hin, in
which, when we saw it, were confined about 100 prisoners in the various
wards. In that set apart for the worst class of criminals, we saw about
40, heavily shackled and manacled. Three of these were confined in low
wooden cages, about three feet in height and width, and four feet in
length, and fastened to each other by iron chains running through. These
men also wore iron rings on their feet. One of these unfortunates was
sentenced to 70, and each of the other two to 60, days of such durance,
without being suffered for one moment to come out from the cage, which was
placed on the ground, and like a hen-roost, was provided with perches
running through it, so as to interfere still further with freedom of
movement. Their food consisted of rice and vegetables. According to their
own showing, these three were sentenced to this terrible punishment in
consequence of some affray, but we had reason to believe that some more
serious matter was the real cause of their having this penalty inflicted
on them. We gave the unhappy wretches a few pieces of silver. Each hastily
secured the donation in a corner of his cage, and seemed in his forlorn
condition doubly sensible of the value of a metal whose influence,
especially in China, is so powerful, so all-pervading, and so infallible.

One very peculiar institution is the Wei-kwan, a sort of Council Chamber,
situated on the N.E. side of the city between the walls and the river, in
which all matters in dispute between mercantile men are adjusted, and in
conjunction with which is a temple in honour of the goddess of the seas
(Tien-Mú). In the centre of the council-room is a large elegantly-shaped
iron pan (Schang-Lú), in which the merchants and seamen frequenting the
hall burn slips of paper, on which are written the wishes of those making
their offerings. Also money, fruit, &c., are here sacrificed, and Chinese
mariners, whose "junks" have come unscathed through a storm, or have been
preserved, make their thank-offerings in the shape of elegant little
models of their ships, which are placed in various parts of the building.
This hall was founded in 1270 by the Sung dynasty, on a site where certain
Chinese believed they had observed that the tumultuous tide of the Whampoa
river gradually lost its violence, as it approached the spot, a phenomenon
which to them seemed of marvellous significance. Under the Yuen and Múi
dynasties the temple was repeatedly plundered and burnt to the ground, but
was rebuilt through the influence of a Tao-priest. In 1735, an imperial
edict ordered the observance of certain religious ceremonies from time to
time, an example which has been followed to the present day.

Directly facing the goddess of the sea (called also Kwan-Yin, Queen of
Heaven),[130] who is represented by a life-size figure placed at the
bottom of the apartment, a large stage is erected, on which Chinese dramas
are represented for their entertainment from 10 o'clock in the morning
till nightfall.

In one part of the immense pile of buildings there are also provided
dwellings for such Chinese merchants as visit Shanghai from the interior
of the kingdom, and have neither friends nor relatives in the city with
whom they can take up their residence, for public taverns are in China
only frequented by the very lowest classes. We entered one of these
Chinese hotels, which we had come upon during our ramble, and inspected
the eating-rooms and bed-rooms, which are usually situated on the first
floor. The usual charge is from 100 to 140 cash a day for board (4_d._ to
6_d._), and from 20 to 40 cash for lodging (1_d._ to 2_d._). The gloomy,
filthy, cavernous aspect of each room makes even a moment's stay
intolerable. The victuals supplied consist chiefly of rice, vegetables,
and fish. In the interior, board and lodging in these taverns is very much
cheaper, and the well-known and highly meritorious English missionary Dr.
Medhurst, who, in 1845, traversed, in the dress of a Chinese, a large
portion of the silk and tea districts, relates that the customary charge
for supper, bed, and breakfast next morning altogether amounted to 80 cash
only, or about 3-3/8_d._![131] In the streets of Shanghai, the
eating-houses are greatly out-numbered by the tea-houses, where one gets a
cup of tea for 6 cash (1/4_d._). These, like our own cafés, are laid out
with little tables, stools, and benches. As soon as a guest enters and
takes his seat, a Chinese attendant brings a cup, throws into it the
proper quantity of tea-leaves, and pours boiling water upon it. After the
lapse of a few minutes the hot light yellow liquid is hastily swallowed,
but avoiding the leaves which are swimming on the surface, and usually
serve for a second or even a third infusion. These tea-houses are crowded
with visitors throughout the day, who sometimes transact business here
over a cup of tea and a pipe of oiled tobacco, sometimes resort hither to
wile the time listlessly away.

The chief place of amusement, however, of the native population of
Shanghai is the Tea-Garden (Tschin-Huang-Mian), or temple of the Emperor,
which contains numerous gardens laid out in Chinese fashion, and booths of
all sorts, besides the attractions of jugglers, singers, actors,
soothsayers, musicians, and mountebanks, all driving their respective
avocations. The whole scene is eminently characteristic of the
grotesqueness of Chinese taste. Artificial canals and tanks filled with
green stagnant water, redolent of miasmatic effluvia, amid which the Lotos
opens its lovely white blossoms, quantities of zig-zag bridges with
beautifully carved balustrades, islands with artificially constructed
rocks and grottoes, subterranean passages, flags of all shapes and sizes,
bearing the most bombastic inscriptions--such are the chief attractions of
a Chinese People's Garden, every large town boasting one such, erected at
the expense of the State, in which from early morning till late in the
evening a vast crowd of human beings is incessantly surging to and fro,
intent on pleasure, dissipation, or profit. The rabble, however, have not
access to every part of the Tea-Garden, a certain portion being set apart
for the recreation of the chief officials of the city (Táu-Tái). This
portion, shut off by a lofty wall, is elegantly laid out, and is made
attractive with all manner of dwarf trees nursed with great care and
expense, besides the usual grottoes, artificial hills and precipices,
pavilions, &c. Hither the head magistrate occasionally resorts to pass the
warmest hours of the day, and dozes away undisturbed by the cares of his
onerous responsibilities. All the public gardens of China present almost
the identical features of the one we visited; a park without artificial
islands and wooden bridges, without canals (in lieu of paths), without
pools of stagnant water thickly covered with the broad leaves of the
_Nelumbium_, would, in the eyes of a Chinese, be deprived of its chief
pleasure and its greatest attraction.

Close to the Tea-Garden is the largest Buddhist Temple within the city
walls, in which throughout the day the over-credulous Chinese kneel before
their idols, and with many reverences murmur their set formulas of
prayers. Like everything else in China, even religious observances are
regarded from the most practical point of view. They think they have done
enough when they have gone through a certain round of outward ceremonies.
The condition of most of the temples, the utter neglect of some, and the
various employments of others, indicate that the Chinese either has no
sense of the sanctity attaching to such places of devotion, or else
attaches but little value to the act itself. The men rarely enter the
temples. It is only the women who, to satisfy the cravings of the heart,
have recourse to invoking the Deity. Frequently one sees a worshipper
approach the attendant sitting in the porch of the temple, in order to get
their horoscope calculated by him for a few cash. For this purpose she
shakes with eager devotion a box of bamboo-cane filled with thin wands,
until one of these wands springs out. The words inscribed on each wand
furnish the oracle-expounder with an infallible sign, by which, after
consulting one of the books of Chinese wisdom spread out before him, he is
enabled to pronounce the answer of the divinity to the prayers preferred
by the poor dupe. The most prolific source of revenue of the temple and
its ministrants, consists, however, in the sale of the gold and silver
tissue paper,[132] which plays so important a part in the worship of the
Chinese, and owing to their zealous and frequent use are heaped up in
immense piles, for consumption by fire in a gigantic furnace.

Much more edifying than the interior of the great Buddhist temple with its
troops of swag-bellied idols in their parti-coloured apparel, some with a
good-humoured leer, others sulkily scowling on the beholder, is the
appearance of the temple of Confucius[133] in a remote quarter of the
city. In this extensive building, at once elegant and simple, and with
numerous halls and corridors, the scholars undergo their examination for
the service of the state; here the Government officials at stated seasons
perform certain religious ceremonies, and here all the _literati_ assemble
for the discussion of grave questions of debate. The main hall has its
red-tinted walls covered with Chinese and Tartar inscriptions, all of
which refer to Confucius, his doctrines and his wisdom. At intervals, a
number of tablets let into the wall inform the visitor that this edifice
is devoted to the instruction of the virtuous, and the cultivation of the
endowments. At the same time every person who passes this in a sedan-chair
or on horseback, whether an official or one of the people, is compelled
to quit his vehicle and traverse the consecrated space on foot. Over the
entrance to the right is written: "His virtue is comparable to Heaven and
Earth;" and above the door to the left we read, "His teachings comprise
all the wisdom of ancient and modern days." Behind the temple is a smaller
edifice, dedicated to the five progenitors of Confucius. The temple itself
is similarly surrounded with various apartments, all, as their bombastic
inscriptions announce, devoted to the honour and advancement of knowledge.
One of these chambers is dedicated to the god of Literature, another to
the guardian spirit of Science. The latter is curiously represented as a
figure holding in one hand a _stylus_, in the other a lump of silver,
emblematic, we presume, of "man through wisdom attaining unto riches."

In every city throughout China there is, as well as a tea-garden, a temple
in honour of the great teacher Kong-fu-tse, whose knowledge and whose
moral system, 2400 years after his mortal pilgrimage, instruct and gladden
not merely his own countrymen, but all admirers throughout the world of
what is noble and virtuous.

Among the various monasteries of the city, we visited one of the Taouists,
called the Du-Kung or Great Mirror (probably of Virtue), where strangers
provided with introductions are received and entertained at 150 cash
(6_d._ per diem). This cloister, whose sole inhabitants are some five or
six Chinese monks, is situated close to the wall, and forms one of the
best points whence to obtain a view of the entire city.

The Taouists, who follow the Tao, the "way of knowledge," and arrogate to
themselves a more profound insight into the mysterious powers of nature,
as well as more special acquaintance with and definite powers over good
and evil spirits, are disciples of the doctrines of Lao-tse,[134] and are
extensively scattered throughout the country, although at present, in
consequence of their losing themselves deeper and deeper in a slothful,
sensual mode of existence, their proselytism is proceeding at a much
slower ratio than formerly. It is purely accidental that there is
immediately adjoining the Taoui monastery a convent known as that of the
"White nuns," a small one-storey building, kept however singularly neat
and clean. Here we saw six Buddhist nuns, with close-shaven heads and in
long white dresses, which gave them quite a masculine aspect. They
received us with much courtesy, and escorted us round the various
apartments with considerable _empressement_. They were mostly widows, who
pass their lives here in calm retrospective contemplation, and occupy
themselves with preparing little articles for the Buddhist ritual, such as
censers, tapers, printed sacrificial papers, &c., with which apparently
they contrive to support themselves. These associations (Ni-koo) were
usually founded by legacies and donations by pious Chinese, and are
exceedingly useful as providing an asylum for poor, helpless women, weary
of life. Many widows withdraw into these abodes of peace, there to pass
the rest of their lives, free from the tumult of the world, in the
exercise of devotion and of works of neighbourly love and charity.
Nevertheless, if we are to believe common report, works of piety are not
the only objects occasionally pursued in these Buddhist convents, and the
web of intrigue and amorous adventure, of which they have frequently been
the scene, has not a little tended to lower the estimate in which these
religious societies are held, and even threatens to cut short their
existence. A people of such a materialistic mode of life, and such
ant-like industry, as the Chinese, who rarely know what it is to have one
holiday in the entire year, must involuntarily look with argus-like eye on
all religious communities, which pass their time in luxurious ease and
exemption from care, without in any way advancing the well-being of their
fellow-creatures by either mental or physical labour.

In the course of our peregrinations through the streets of Shanghai we
also came upon the shop of a Chinese apothecary (Yak-Tien), which
externally bears a considerable resemblance to a similar establishment in
Europe, but widely differs in respect of details. The Chinese Materia
Medica is especially abundant in patent medicines, the use and application
of which, it must be allowed, is frequently of the most extraordinary

According to the latest researches of Dr. Hobson, of whose important
services in the diffusion of European medical science in China we shall
have much to say in a future page, we are acquainted with 442 drugs from
among the three great kingdoms of Nature, which must be kept in every
well-stocked Chinese drug-store, of which 314 belong to the botanical, 78
to the animal, and 50 to the mineral world. We shall, however, in this
place only indicate those of which Chinese physicians avail themselves
most frequently in the preparation of their medicines, such, for example,
as birds' nests, dried red-spotted lizard, the fresh tips of stags'
antlers, the shell of the tortoise, dogs' flesh, bones of animals,
preparations from various parts of the human body, whale-bone,
oyster-shells, skins of snakes, shark's maw and fin, tendons of deer and
buffalo, dried silk-worms, their larvæ and excrement, bamboo shavings, the
bear's gall, preparations from human _fæces_, scraped rhinoceros and
antelope horn, rabbit dung, cuttle-fish bone, dried varnish, dried leeches
and earthworms, red marble, refuse of ivory, preparations from toads,
petrifactions, old copper money,[135] snow-water,[136] human milk,[137]
&c. &c.

These pharmaceutics are brought from various parts of China, as well as
from Japan, Siam, and the Straits of Malacca, and constitute an important
and profitable branch of commerce. Many of them are sold at the druggist's
in the raw state, when they are used as sympathetic remedies, amulets, or
generally for external use. The Chinese druggists sell their medicaments
for the most part in the form of powders or pills. These latter are
usually made up in a capsule of bees-wax for greater facility of
administration, so that the dose as it comes from the shop resembles
those small wax-cakes used by house-wives for waxing their thread. One
such cake contains four or six pills, called _Tzi-páu-tan_, or very costly
pills, which are used as a sort of universal specific against fevers,
affections of the digestive organs, headaches, &c. &c.

The most valuable and costly article in the Chinese pharmacop[oe]ia is,
however, the Ginseng (_Panax Ginseng_, or _Panax Quinquefolia_), which is
chiefly found in Mantchooria and the deserts to the north of the peninsula
of Corea. The circumstance that the Ginseng is still a monopoly of the
Chinese Government, only a few privileged individuals being annually
permitted to purchase a certain quantity for its weight in pure gold, has
much more to do with its efficacy as a panacea than the benefits conferred
by its curative powers. The roots are about the size and thickness of a
man's little finger, and break short off when bent. When cleaned they are
transparent, and of a dark amber colour.

Of the Ginseng there are three qualities sold in the Chinese drug-stores.
One leang or ounce of the best (the largest and finest) costs 50 dollars,
of the medium quality five dollars, and of the most inferior quality one
dollar. The Ginseng root is also found in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and
Canada, and is thence exported to China, but the Chinese prefer that of
their native forests, even though these are very much dearer, and there is
hardly any difference to remark between them. As the plant is only found
in the wild state, and obstinately resists all attempts to cultivate it,
its collection among the forests of North America is attended with great
hardship and expense, and whereas in former years the profit realized on
this article of commerce by English and American merchantmen amounted to
from 500 to 600 per cent., it is now reduced to a very moderate

A more general subject of interest is presented by the shops where is sold
the porcelain-ware, the manufacture of which dates from a very remote
period of Chinese history, and was already a flourishing trade at the
commencement of our historic epoch. Indeed we may reasonably assume,
notwithstanding the beautiful specimens of the art which from time to time
are brought to light, that this special branch of industry is at present
in a state of decline, while of many kinds of porcelain manufacture no
examples can now be shown, as the secret of their manipulation has
perished. What usually interests Europeans in these shops is what is known
as "crackle" porcelain,[138] the upper surface of which everywhere
presents broken lines, so that the entire vessel appears as though it
consisted of numbers of small pieces cemented to each other, the whole
having very much the appearance of Mosaic. But this description also is no
longer manufactured of the first quality in the present day. Antique
porcelain is of extraordinary value, but specimens of modern manufacture,
such as small figures, mannikins, &c., are very cheap, and are much the
same as those imported to Europe.

One marked partiality of the Chinese is their fondness for suspending
grasshoppers in small elegant baskets of bamboo strips, or twisted wire,
in which, whatever the season or the weather, these little captives keep
up a constant pleasant chirping. This custom is of great antiquity, and
while one even now finds among the populace of the present day some of
these chirpers thus carefully tended, there once was a time when the
grasshopper was the object of universal adoration, and enjoyed all the
honours of Fashion. They were indebted for this singular good fortune,
according to the abbé Grosier,[139] to a poor scholar under the Thang
dynasty, in the 7th century of our era, who to relieve his poverty fell
upon the singular expedient of trading in these insects. He went into the
country, selected the most beautiful insects he could find, constructed
elegant little cages for them, and returning to the city offered them for
sale in the most frequented streets of Tschang-gan. The idea was novel,
and the wealthy upper classes speedily found a charm in having the music
of the fields thus transplanted into their houses. The Empress, the
Queens, the ladies of the Palace, in a word, every one was eager to
possess these songsters of the meadow. There was actually an enactment
passed for the supply of the Imperial Palace with the requisite number of
these insects. The fashion rose to a perfect mania--the little Zirperu was
encountered at every corner--it was taken out whenever a call was
paid--the whole city resounded with its shrill cry. The fine arts, and
every branch of industry, felt its impulse. There was no textile fabric,
no embroidery, no design, no vessel, on which it did not conspicuously
figure. It was represented in metal and in jewellery, and no handsome lady
thought her toilette complete, unless she sported a grasshopper among her
hair. This mania has died out in China, but the buzz of the insect still
continues to furnish matter of amusement for the populace and children of
all classes, and they are still caught in large quantities, and exposed
for sale in the streets. Singular to say, all ancient and modern writers,
if we are to judge by their delineations, describe these insects as
_cicadæ_, whereas it was shown and proved by the researches of one of the
zoologists of the Expedition, that the insect is no _cicada_, but a
species of grasshopper (_Decticus_), which, so far as appears, has never
hitherto been described. Very probably the circumstance that the noise
made by each of these insects is very similar, gave circulation to this
error of upwards of a thousand years' standing, whence people would
without further examination take it for granted that the insect confined
in the cage belonged to that species whose place in natural history, and
whose special musical qualifications, mankind had so long been familiar
with. One of these grasshoppers was kept for months in such a cage on
board our ship, and chirped away lustily, fair weather or foul, even when
confined in a close cupboard. On the other hand, some _cicadæ_, with
which similar experiments were made, lived only two or three days in
captivity. None sang, unless when teased, or when a number more were
introduced into the vessel, thereby incommoding them, and none took
nourishment. It was obvious that the _cicadæ_ possessed none of those
characteristics which would enable them to be kept in captivity as pets,
whereas, on the other hand, the grasshoppers and crickets were especially
adapted for that purpose.

We were anxious to visit a variety of other interesting places, ere
quitting the sultry, gloomy Chinese city on our return to the more genial
European quarter. But evening was already setting in, and after sunset the
gates of the city are closed, and neither Chinese nor European can after
that hour obtain access to the city. Whoever is belated must find shelter
for the night in the house of some hospitable friend, until with the first
break of morning the gates are re-opened, communication is restored with
the foreign quarter, and the previous day's scene of bustle is renewed.

The next object which excited our interest was a Chinese school. Ascending
a wooden staircase, we enter a room, quite empty but for a table and
stools, in which a haggard woe-begone Chinese, with long tail and rod in
hand, is walking to and fro, while at a table some dozen of boys of from
eight to twelve are engaged in reading. Their loud accents may be heard
down in the street outside. The cost of the schools for the people is
chiefly defrayed by voluntary subscriptions, foundations, &c. &c. The
children of the middle classes pay for nine months' instruction, three
Spanish dollars. Many teachers have more than a hundred scholars, and thus
earn about 1000 dollars per annum. These, it is true, are exceptions, but
teaching as a profession seems on the whole to be fully better remunerated
in China than in European countries. There it is in much higher
estimation, and receives better recompense. The wealthy Chinese usually
engage private tutors for their children, who, as among ourselves, usually
form part of the family. Elementary education is almost universal
throughout China. There are but few Chinese who are not at least able to
read and write. One very gratifying instance of the prevailing religious
toleration, well worthy of example in the Christian states of Europe, is
the presence of Protestant and Catholic places of worship in the midst of
Buddhist temples, and other edifices dedicated to heathen worship. The
American Episcopal church, erected in 1850, at the expense of a wealthy
merchant and ship-owner of Boston named Appleton, at a cost of 6000
dollars, already numbers eighty converts. It is an extremely simple yet
neat-looking place of worship, quite in the style of the chapels in the
Western portion of the American Union, and has in connection with it a
school numbering about forty native scholars. Every Sunday morning at ten,
a sermon is preached, which is attended by most of the foreign community.
Far grander and more imposing in plan and fittings is the Catholic
cathedral of Tong-Kadú, confessedly the finest place of Christian worship
throughout China. The construction of this building was commenced by
voluntary subscription in 1846, and completed in 1852, the total cost
amounting to 230,000 _leangs_, or about £65,000. Within there is a large
organ, constructed by one of the lay brothers of bamboo pipes, whose
saddening yet inspiring notes, heard in the festivals of the Church,
invite the Christian community far and wide to devotion and instruction.
At present this cathedral is under the charge of a bishop of the Order of
the Jesuits.

Our road from the Chinese city to the European quarter led us past an
establishment which bore interesting testimony to the industrial activity
of the Chinese. It is an oil factory worked exclusively by natives, and
giving employment to about 400 workmen, besides 80 draught oxen. The oil
is extracted from indigenous beans, and is so copious, that 1400 _catties_
(1750 lbs.) of oil are procured daily, which is worth 74 _cash_ per
_catty_ (about 3-3/4_d._ per lb.), and is used both for cooking and for
light. The residuary oil-cake, after expression of the oily matter, is
used as manure.[140] A workman may earn at this description of labour from
100 to 200 _cash_ a day (4_d._ to 8_d._).

As we left the manufactory, and were bending our stops towards the little
Eastern gate, our gaze was suddenly attracted by a spacious and elegant
mansion, evidently the property of a well-to-do Chinese. This, as we were
informed by our companion, proved to be the residence of the Wuong family,
which ranks among the five oldest and most distinguished families in
Shanghai. There is to be seen in the neighbourhood a small stone memorial
shaped like a mausoleum, which, with the Emperor's permission, was erected
by the inhabitants of the district in which she lived, to commemorate the
benevolence and philanthropic exertions of the mother of Wuong. The custom
of honouring ladies distinguished by their virtues and benevolence, by the
erection of temples, cenotaphs, &c., is by no means unusual in China, and
is in marvellous contrast to the almost slavish treatment which the female
sex usually meets with. Nevertheless, in the city and environs of Shanghai
alone there are ninety such triumphal arches and memorials to as many
exemplary and philanthropic ladies. The majority of these were married,
and some had attained a very great age, one having died at 104 years, and
another at 115 years of age![141]

In the house of Wuong, who stands in high repute among the Europeans as a
merchant and ship-owner, we were received with the most gratifying
hospitality. As soon as we entered the house, an attendant immediately
presented tea in small cups, which, in conformity with the usages of the
country, had to be swallowed in all its native bitterness without
admixture of sugar or milk. Immediately after an old nurse made her
appearance, and struck up with our excellent conductor, Mr. Syles, who
seemed to be everywhere welcomed by the Chinese, and was well acquainted
with the family, a long conversation upon the most diverse subjects. At
length the master of the house himself made his appearance, a dignified,
stately man, arrayed in a light elegant grey silk frock, but in deportment
and externals not differing in the very least from his Chinese attendants,
and himself conducted us round the house. He seemed to feel pleasure in
the opportunity of baring to the view of a stranger the very penetralia
of his beautiful abode. We wandered through numerous apartments simply
yet elegantly furnished, with various antechambers and corridors, among
which were interspersed little plots laid out with dwarf plantations,
artistically-designed grottoes, and "rookeries." In one of the rooms was a
"punkah," an article of furniture rarely met with in a Chinese household.
On reaching the library or study, our host bade us be seated, while he
again ordered tea to be served. This small but pretty apartment was
covered all round with inscriptions in Chinese (chiefly maxims from
Confucius), which, written on rolls of white paper, were suspended on the
walls. While sipping our tea, and engrossed in conversation, an attendant
appeared with somewhat thick cloths, steeped in hot water, with which to
wipe our faces and hands. The evaporation of the moisture lowers the
temperature of the skin, and has so refreshing an effect, that one cannot
but feel surprised that this custom is not more extensively patronized in
hot countries, or put in practice by ourselves during our hot sultry

With respect to ourselves, what appeared most to interest our Chinese host
in his silken attire was our apparel. He felt over and over again the
black alpaca coat, which was worn by one of the members of our Expedition,
and remarked, "these Western races are truly marvellous people; they wear
far more clothes than we do, yet they perspire less." And thereupon Wuong
mopped his face twice with the towel, which in the mean time the attendant
had again dipped in the hot water, and thoroughly wrung out. As we were
taking our departure, our courteous host accompanied us to the threshold.

In the portico were a number of wooden tables lacquered with red varnish,
on which were inscribed in large golden letters of the Chinese character
the titles of honour of the family of Wuong, which on festive occasions
were drawn in front of the head of the family as he sat on his sofa.

After this ramble through the Chinese town, we returned to the "Strangers'
Quarter," where we came upon a widely different mode of life. Here
everything is arranged upon the European model, and the attention is only
diverted by those minor accessories, in which the climatic conditions have
necessitated some variation. The houses are universally lofty, roomy, and
agreeable, usually surrounded by a garden, and many of them present an
almost palace-like aspect. More even than to the merchants in Broadway is
the designation of "merchant princes" applicable to the foreign merchants
of China and the East Indies, for it is among them beyond any other class
on the globe, that there prevails a luxury almost princely in its
magnificence. In such a place as Shanghai, which can present to the
educated foreigner such a meagre equivalent for his numerous intellectual
privations, each man endeavours in the readiest possible way to render his
material existence as comfortable and agreeable as he possibly can. This
leading principle one sees illustrated and carried out in practice in the
splendid designs of their residences, and the exquisite refinement and
comfort of their internal arrangements, as well as in the scrupulous
attention paid to the cellar and the "cuisine."

On the ground-floors are the counting-house and stores, on the first floor
the drawing-room, the dining-room, and the sleeping-apartments. All these
various chambers are decorated with as much attention to comfort as good
taste, and almost every single article bears on it the solid,
unmistakeable impress of its English origin. Even into the most minute
details all the genuine comfort of an English drawing-room is introduced,
increased even, if that be possible, by the adoption of a few customs
peculiar to the peoples of Asia, such as mats of fragrant materials placed
before the doors and windows, Punkahs, which, kept in motion by Chinese
servants, keep up a constant current of fresh air, while through the
verandah, or the open glass casement, where the family sit swinging to and
fro in an American rocking-chair, a delicious cool breeze blows in the
mornings and evenings. A well-appointed numerous household is constantly
hovering around, eagerly intent to anticipate the slightest wish of their
employers. Probably in no part of the world are there more intelligent or
punctual servants than the Chinese. They get through the utmost variety of
work with consummate tact, method, and facility. Everything is done
rapidly and noiselessly, and one is served with the utmost regularity,
without being pestered with too much attention.

The members of the _Novara_ Expedition experienced in Shanghai the most
hearty hospitality. Even the presence of the various embassies, and the
momentous nature of the operations of which the Gulf of Petcheli was the
scene, proved no barrier to a most flattering reception being accorded to
this the first maritime Expedition of a German power. Foreigners of the
most widely divergent races and standing,--consuls, missionaries,
merchants, naturalists, journalists,--each in his own way vied with the
rest in ministering to our comfort, and in aiding us in the prosecution of
our objects.

One of the most distinguished of the physicians and missionaries of the
London Missionary Society, Dr. B. Hobson, who since 1838 has resided at
Canton in the honourable capacity of a "medical missionary,"[142] and who,
a few months before our arrival, had, in consequence of the outbreak of
hostilities, removed to Shanghai, was so kind as to furnish us, out of his
own rich treasures of Chinese lore, with much valuable information, and
acquainted us with the various objects aimed at by the praiseworthy
activity of the London Board of Missions. This body by no means confines
its operations to the diffusion of tracts and works relating to
Christianity published in the Chinese language, but combines
simultaneously with that sphere of action the excellent idea of
ministering to the physical necessities of the poor and sick Chinese, and
of helping them in their need. While able, eloquent Dr. Muirhead presides
over the missionary schools, and the not less zealous Mr. Wylie
superintends the printing of the books, our highly-educated friend Dr.
Hobson takes charge of the hospital, the cost of which is defrayed partly
by the Missionary Society, partly by the European community.

The building itself is rather small and unpretending, and can at most
accommodate only thirty patients. But it was erected chiefly for those
cases which in England it is customary to classify in the general category
of "accidents," injuries, that is, sustained unexpectedly, or in a riot,
&c. &c. Every day between twelve and one o'clock a consultation is held,
and treatment provided gratuitously. Hither flock hundreds of invalids, to
avail themselves of this benevolent arrangement, and while Dr. Hobson is
busy giving orders and dispensing drugs in his small apartment, a native
convert in the waiting-room is preaching the Living Word to those who come
for advice.

We passed an entire hour in the dispensary, not merely for the purpose of
witnessing the various descriptions of cases, mostly of a surgical nature,
but also to catch many an instructive remark from the lips of Dr. Hobson.
Thus he remarked, as the result of a medical practice of more than sixteen
years, that the Chinese are uncommonly soon affected by the use of mercury
and quinine. A very small dose of either of these drugs very speedily
shows a marked effect. Oddly enough, quinine, as a tonic and febrifuge, is
unknown in the Chinese pharmacop[oe]ia, and is almost exclusively
prescribed for the cure of the opium-smoking form of mania.

In China, a physician is treated with great distinction, and is usually
designated as szí-yaý (the honourable teacher). Of late years cholera
(tschan-kan-tschúi, literally "the contracting of the tendons") and
small-pox had committed fearful ravages among the populace, and the
appalling havoc committed by the latter-named disease gave occasion for
the publication by the English missionaries of a short treatise translated
into Chinese, on the importance of vaccination. Among children especially
the mortality caused by this fell scourge was very great, and the
instances of _leucoma_ and loss of sight resulting from the disease appear
to have been very numerous.

Dr. Hobson, who in 1851 had published a volume of Physiology in the Canton
dialect, has also completed a handbook of Practical Surgery, with 400
woodcuts, and, like the preceding, had had it printed by native workmen.
Even the drawings were drawn on the wood and cut by native artists after
English originals. Many of the scientific phrases contained in these works
must have required to be entirely reconstructed, or else expressed by a
circumlocution. Dr. Hobson intended to follow up these two splendid
undertakings with a fresh work upon Pharmacology, as also a treatise upon
the diseases of women and children, both, like their predecessors, to be
in the Canton dialect, as that most universally used.

The Chinese, however, possess themselves a pretty comprehensive medical
literature, whence we may infer that from the earliest times they paid
special attention to the science of medicine. According to a Chinese
tradition, the Emperor Schi-nung, 3200 years before our era, collected a
"Materia Medica," and 570 years later, the Emperor Hwang-té is said to
have written a work with the title "Sonwán" (open questions in medicine).
The celebrated work, "the Doctrine of the Pulse," by Wang-shu-fo, was
written in the reign of Tsche-Hwang-té (the book-burner), about 510 B.C. A
second edition of this work was published in the reign of Kang-he, in the
year 1693 of our era. About A.D. 229 the Chinese physician Tschang-kae-pin
wrote the first Chinese work which, in addition to the theory of medicine,
also contained prescriptions. The great "_Materia Medica_" of China was
compiled by Li-tschi-kan, and was published by his son during the reign of
Wan-Leih, about A.D. 1600. The most important medical work in Chinese is
the E-tsang-kin-ksen, or "the Golden Mirror of Medical Authors," collated
by Imperial authority from the best works of earlier native authors,
especially from the "Nan-king," and the writings of Dr. Tschang-kae-pin.
This was published in 1743 (the seventh year of the reign of Keen-lung),
and consists of thirty-two volumes 8vo, with upwards of 400 woodcuts.[143]

The information furnished us by Dr. Hobson with reference to the terrible
forms of leprosy in China are of so much interest, general as well as
special, that we believe we shall not transcend the scope of this work, if
we give in these pages the valuable data upon the subject in all their

The Chinese consider leprosy as the most appalling of diseases, since,
while resisting all means of cure itself, it attacks others, and they
accordingly avoid in the greatest terror all those who are smitten with
it. Like the people whom Moses brought out, the Chinese regard leprosy as
a direct consequence of impiety, an expiation for sin committed. For this
reason those afflicted with leprosy are rarely regarded with pity. No hand
of sympathy is stretched forth to give aid, no heart feels itself impelled
to alleviate their hopeless condition, and thus the most wretched of all
are in the eyes of the masses simply objects of disgust and of horror.
Leprosy is called Lae in Chinese. In the Imperial dictionary of Kang-he
Lae, is described as a very evil kind of disease, which breaks out upon
the skin in the form of blotches and pustules. Gutzlaff and others
acquainted with Chinese make use however of the words Ma-fung to express
leprosy, which is also used by native writers to indicate the disease.

The Chinese physicians consider leprosy as a subtle, penetrating,
poisonous effluvium which has infected the blood. They profess to
recognize 36 different kinds of leprosy, among which they enumerate every
form and variety of Lichen, Scabies, Psoriasis, and Syphilis. Common as
the disease is in Southern China, it is unknown in the North; its area of
manifestation seems to be confined within the tropics. It is, however,
related of many Chinese in good circumstances, that when attacked by
leprosy they have removed to Pekin, where after a two years' residence
they have lost all trace of the infection, which, however, broke out anew
immediately on their return to the South.

Leprosy does not seem by its physical effects to shorten life. There are
in China numbers of aged people attacked with this disease, and in the
Lazar-house at Canton there is still living an old leper upwards of
eighty, who has long found an asylum in that hospital as an incurable.
Suicide is not uncommon among those thus sorely smitten, when they usually
poison themselves with an over-dose of opium, hang themselves, or drown
themselves, for death, they say, makes them once more clean. Although the
Chinese believe in the hereditary transmission of leprosy, they
nevertheless think that the disease becomes of a milder type in the third
generation, and entirely disappears in the fourth. Marriages never take
place with the offspring of leprous parents or grand-parents, but on the
other hand the lepers and their children intermarry among themselves. A
leper however of the fourth generation would only ally himself with a girl
of the same degree of exemption. The children of such a union would be
considered sound and free from leprosy, and would no longer be excluded in
any way from social rights.

But the Chinese believe leprosy not alone hereditary, but also infectious
through the very slightest contact. Hence the father abandons his own
child; the children flee from their parents: they will not eat and drink
with them, will not sit in their company, will not use the chairs which
have been sat upon by the leper, until at least the surrounding atmosphere
has been fumigated with a torch. Even the law declares leprosy to be a
contagious disease. A wealthy leper durst not venture to leave his own
room, where he is excluded from all communication with the outer world,
without exposing himself to the danger of being arrested by the police,
and mulcted in a heavy fine, or else sent to what is called the Leper
village near Canton, an abode of human woe and misery, which even the
leprous regard with horror.[144]

As the Chinese physicians regard leprosy as a taint of the blood, and in
their treatment adopt Hahnemann's principle of _similia similibus
curantur_, they prescribe by way of remedies the most repulsive and
disgusting substances which they can select from their _Materia Medica_,
such as the saliva of the toad, beetles, snakes, worms, scorpions,
centipedes, &c. &c.

Dr. Hobson considers leprosy, when once fully developed, to be incurable.
Such remedies as arsenic, salts, acids, in short alteratives, occasionally
prove efficacious at an early stage of the malady, as also Iodine baths,
and mercurial friction. External remedies however are usually found to be
unavailing in reaching the root of the disorder, its seat lying deeper
than an ordinary affection of the skin.

Of late years the seeds of the Tschaul or Tscharul Mugra (one of the order
of _Flacourtiaceæ_), have been administered for leprosy by several English
physicians in India, and certainly, in some instances, with such results
that the most sanguine hopes were entertained of its efficacy in all cases
of leprosy. Dr. Hobson informed us that Dr. Mouatt, of the Medical
College, Calcutta, who was the first to discover the remarkable properties
of this plant, sent him, when he was at Canton, a considerable quantity of
these seeds for the purpose of experimenting with them.[145] They were
ground into a coarse powder, and in that state administered twice a day
at considerable intervals in doses of about 60 grains, the external sores
being at the same time rubbed with the oil pressed out of the seeds. The
cure must be persevered in without interruption for six months, and must
be from time to time aided by saline purgatives. The first symptom of
improvement shows itself in an abatement of the prominence and redness of
the eruption, and the appearance of white scales all round it. This remedy
has long been known to the Chinese, but those who are acquainted with the
active curative principle contained in the seeds of the Tscharul Mugra,
keep the secret to themselves in their own interest.[146] Dr. Hobson
assured us that he had cured two cases of leprosy taken early, and in a
very mild form, by the administration of these seeds, and had seen several
greatly improved by their use; but this experienced physician is, like
others, distrustful of the efficacy of the seeds of Tscharul Mugra in
cases of fully developed leprosy, which, according to his view, is
pre-eminently a taint of the blood,--a poison which can never again be
eradicated from the system. In cases of scrofula, these seeds have been
found serviceable.

Like their brethren of the London Missionary Association, the various
missions of the United States of North America display the most
praiseworthy zeal and activity of co-operation upon every question.

That eminent philanthropist, Dr. Bridgman, who had, for more than a
quarter of a century, been an active and highly esteemed missionary, was
in 1858 at the head of the American Episcopal Mission, and was one of the
oldest, as also among the most highly respected, denizens of the little
foreign settlement. This meritorious citizen died at Shanghai, on the 29th
of November, 1861, after having spent upwards of thirty years in China in
the promotion of the Christian faith and the advancement of knowledge,
deeply lamented by foreigners, as well as by the Chinese, who always found
him their true and confident friend. This gentleman had the kindness to
assemble under his simple but kindly roof the various members of his
mission, who are no less useful in increasing our acquaintance with the
Chinese language and literature than in diffusing the blessings of the
gospel, thus furnishing the members of the _Novara_ Expedition with an
opportunity of personal intercourse with these gentlemen. We here became
acquainted with Mr. Wells Williams, so highly esteemed and so widely known
for his profound historical and philological works[147] respecting China,
as also with Messrs. Syle, Aichison, Macy, Jones, and Blodgett,
missionaries distinguished for their extensive acquirements in Chinese;
and in the course of this agreeable and interesting intercourse were so
fortunate as to obtain information respecting a variety of topics, many of
them suggested by Dr. Pfitzmaier, and recommended by him to our
investigation. On most of these topics accurate intelligence was in the
course of our voyage transmitted to the Imperial Academy of Sciences; of
the remainder elaborate and comprehensive particulars are reserved for the
scientific publications of the Expedition.

We may, however, more closely investigate here one topic of universal
interest, namely, the latest researches respecting the very remarkable,
little known, half-savage tribe, known as the Miáu-Tze.

These extraordinary human beings are usually encountered in the provinces
of Kwei-chan, Yun-nán, Szechuen, Húnán, Kwang-si, and the western part of
Kwang-tung. The wild tribes of the island of Formosa belong, on the
contrary, to an entirely different race. In the Imperial Dictionary of
Kang-hi, the sign [Chinese character(s)], _miáu_ (a compound of the words
"flower" and "meadow"), signifies "germinating seeds," "blades of grass
springing from the seed-vessels." The sign [Chinese character(s)], _tsz_,
on the other hand, is that usually employed to express son, or descendant.
In accordance with this explanation, the Chinese also seem to consider the
Miáu-tze as children of the soil, as aborigines, or indigenous inhabitants
of the country. In their descriptions of this singular people they divide
them into "Sang" and "Schuh." _Sang_, ordinarily used when speaking of
fruit, signifies "green, unripe,"--_schuh_ again means "ripe," or, when
speaking of food, the former signifies "raw," the latter "thoroughly
cooked." By these means they discriminate them into the savage independent
"green" Miáu-tze, and the subjugated more civilized "ripe" Miáu-tze. The
subjection and civilization of these latter are however as yet very
problematical. As in days long gone by, so up to the present hour, the
Miáu-tze are restless and troublesome neighbours to the Chinese. Dr.
Bridgman has lately translated into English the sketches made by a Chinese
scholar upon the Miáu-tze, during his travels in the province of
Kwei-chan, by which he has added greatly to our stock of information
respecting those "children of the soil;" the work consists of two volumes
in 8vo, containing about 82 sketches or delineations. Each of these fills
one page, the handwriting being condensed or expanded according to the
amount of the contents, while that opposite contains an illustration
elucidatory of the text. This very rare work divides the Miáu-tze into 82
tribes according to their customs, more or less savage, very few of whom
possess any trace of a written language, recording the most important
events simply by certain marks on a stick, or by what are called
"tallies," and subsisting upon wild fruit, fish, and the flesh of wild
animals. They usually go about barefooted, are very scantily clad, lead a
life full of privation and hardship, and in all their troubles have
recourse to the invocation of the evil spirits. Only very few of their
race follow agriculture, or any branch of industry, or worship Buddha in
their festivals.[148] Some of these however seem to be more or less
crossed with Chinese blood, as, for example, the Tsche-Tsai-Miáu, in the
district of Kutschan, whither the rebel Má-sán-pái formerly fled with 600
of his followers, when his attempt, under his feudal leader, Mu-san-Kwei,
to overthrow the reigning dynasty, failed of success. Many of these
fugitives formed connections with the native women, and their descendants
are now known by the name of the six hundred savage Miáu families.

Adjoining Dr. Bridgman's residence, is a school maintained at the expense
of the mission, in which twenty-four Chinese girls are during five years
instructed in reading and writing their mother tongue, in arithmetic, and
in the rudiments of Christianity, after which they are provided with a
small portion and married to Chinese Christians of good character.
Selected under the idea that very favourable results may be anticipated,
if the various subjects in which the scholars are instructed are imparted
to them in their native language, English is entirely omitted. Interesting
and extraordinary, however, as it is to hear American ladies imparting
instruction in the Chinese language, this method of teaching has many
drawbacks, and the mission itself and society in general would derive far
more advantage, if these poor females should be instructed in English,
thus widening the horizon of their knowledge.

In the boys' school, also supported by the mission, another method of
teaching is in use. The children learn an epistle first in Chinese,
afterwards in English, when they are called upon to translate the Chinese
into English. Thus we heard one lad rehearse the Book of Ruth, first in
Chinese, and then in English. He was then examined in English upon the
meaning of certain passages, when he replied with great accuracy in the
same language. Education in these schools is mainly intrusted to ladies.
Two of these, Miss Jones and Miss Conover, displayed remarkable
attainments in Chinese, besides their really marvellous store of
information. None of the teachers are married, while none of the wives of
the missionaries interfere with the school, but employ themselves in
superintending the education of their own children. We found forty Chinese
boys receiving their education at the expense of the mission, whose
parents have to sign a written engagement that they will not withdraw
their children from the institution for a period of ten years, in fact,
till the completion of their education. This precaution is absolutely
necessary, owing to the fickle nature of the Chinese, else it would be a
by no means rare occurrence for the parents to insist on the child
returning home, possibly just at the critical moment when the beneficent
influence of Christian culture is beginning to spring up in the soul. On
the whole, this mission has splendid results to show. We saw one scholar,
who at present forms one of the staff of teachers, and speaks and writes
English absolutely better than his native language. Another young Chinese,
sent out at the expense of the mission, spent eight years at Yale College
in Massachusetts, and at present earns his maintenance by translating
English documents into Chinese and _vice versâ_, for the mercantile houses
of the place.

Dr. Bridgman is at once founder and president of the first scientific
association in Shanghai, the "North China Branch of the Royal Asiatic
Society," including among its members almost all the foreigners resident
in Shanghai, who assemble regularly every winter for intellectual and
literary recreation, and publish from time to time in a periodical of
their own, details of the efforts, adventures, and experiences of their
colleagues in promoting the objects of the association.

An extraordinary meeting was held in honour of the _Novara_ voyagers, at
which about forty persons were present. The President, Dr. Bridgman,
welcomed our commander and his subordinates with a few cordial remarks,
which was responded to by Commodore Wüllerstorff, after which the writer
of these lines had the honour to deliver in English a brief address,
touching on the chief aims of the Expedition and its scientific objects,
stating that its chief purpose was less the promotion of purely scientific
knowledge, than by ample, long-continued practice to provide material of
suitable quality for our youthful budding navy, to unfurl the standard of
Austria in localities where it had never before been seen, to effect
treaties of commerce with foreign nations, to knit the various capitals
which we should visit in our cruise by the tie of science, to open
correspondence with their various institutes, and to make collections,
chiefly of those objects of natural history, the acquisition of which,
owing to their great value or the difficulty of transport, is almost
impossible to the single traveller. The hearty reception which had been
accorded the Expedition in Shanghai rendered it doubly incumbent on us to
explain the various purposes we had in view, and the original points of
inquiry to which we were restricted by the track definitely assigned to
us, as also to account for the shortness of our stay in each port, and the
fact that our prescribed route led us sometimes to visit places either
politically or nautically well known.

After the close of this short lecture, several of those present rose to
speak, amongst others the United States Plenipotentiary, Mr. Reed, who
expressed his sincere pleasure at having been privileged during his stay
in China to meet with the commander of an Austrian frigate engaged with
his gallant companions in so grand a mission.

Mr. Reed spoke in high terms of the scientific exertions being made by
Germany, and recalled in animated terms the splendid services of A. von
Humboldt, whom the news of the death of Washington (14th Dec. 1799) found
already occupied in scientific research in the primeval forests of South
America, and who still (August, 1858) continued to display such marvellous
intellectual activity.

Besides Mr. Reed, we also made the personal acquaintance of the French
Plenipotentiary, Baron Gros; the ambassadors of England and Russia were
already gone, the former to Japan, the latter to the Amur. We were
introduced to Baron Gros at the house of M. de Montigny, the French
Consul, who during a residence of many years in China has occupied himself
not alone with upholding the prestige and influence of "_la grande
nation_," but has also rendered conspicuous services to science and
agriculture. To him is due the credit of having in 1847 dispatched to
Europe the first seeds of what is called the Chinese sugar-cane (_Sorghum
saccharatum_), and of having introduced to agriculturists that remarkable
species of grass, with which, in consequence of its many useful qualities,
hundreds of thousands of acres have since that period been planted in
various parts of the globe. M. de Montigny distinguished the members of
our Expedition in every way, and presented them with numerous specimens of
seeds from Northern China.[149]

The visit paid to Baron Gros by two of the naturalists left by no means an
agreeable impression. The French ambassador is a tall, commanding,
powerfully-built man, about fifty years of age, with a full, round,
beardless face covered with freckles, and hair of a light colour. He
seemed pleased to speak of himself and his connections, and repeatedly
proclaimed himself an admirer of German men of science, who was in
correspondence with M. von Humboldt. "You know," quoth the Baron,
apparently desirous of explaining his meaning, "he that wrote the Kosmos."
The two members of our Expedition coloured up; to pronounce the name of
Humboldt to German men of science, and deem it necessary to state his
literary claims, was sufficiently embarrassing. One of them endeavoured to
turn the conversation to the gulf of Petchi-li, whence Baron Gros had just
returned after the ratification of the treaty of peace. He showed them a
hasty sketch of a portion of the great wall of China, to which he had paid
a visit when in the gulf of Petchi-li, and had made the sketch on the
spot. The natives with whom he came in contact during his stay in the
North he described as destitute and poor to an extraordinary degree, but
anything but hostile to foreigners. They asked for with eagerness and
seized with avidity the entrails of animals which the sailors were about
to throw away; on empty bottles being thrown overboard, they swam a
considerable distance to rescue them. With respect to the political events
in the Pei-ho and Tien-Tsin, his Excellency, whether out of diplomatic
reserve or for other reasons we do not know, preserved profound

A variety of circumstances, however, may have contributed to make the
Baron less susceptible to every other thing than his everlasting "I."
Baron Gros had in fact been subjected to the very great inconvenience of
the Propellor _Audacieuse_, which had been brought from France, having
suddenly become unseaworthy, so that he had to abandon her. She was making
from 100 to 140 tons of water per diem, and there was nothing for it but
to have the vessel taken with all speed to the docks at Whampoa for
repairs, while the envoy had to return to Europe by another opportunity.
Moreover, the Baron had been attacked by a disorder of common occurrence
in hot countries, namely, a furuncle, which is exceedingly painful, and
obstinately resists every remedy. Whoever is of a constitution liable to
such attacks is never free from them till he gains a colder climate. In
the case of the unfortunate Baron, these went on continually increasing,
and on one of his compatriots being asked in society what was the cause of
the absence of the French ambassador, replied with an arch look, "_le
pauvre baron a quatre-vingt cloux_." In fact, the annoyance caused by this
malady is redoubled by the little sympathy accorded to those afflicted
with it, who are only rallied or laughed at.

Another personage who, at the period of our stay in Shanghai, attained a
rather unenviable notoriety by his strange conduct, and did but little to
raise the reputation of France in these latitudes, was the Marquis de
Chassiron. By his marriage with one of the Princesses Murat (since dead),
he was allied to the Emperor of the French, whom he occasionally spoke of
in an off-hand way as "mon neveu, l'Empereur." Meagre, wizen,
spindle-shanked, and ringletted, in coloured check pantaloons, blue
frock, open-work cravat of Gros de Naples, and dancing-master's pumps,
resembling much more a second-rate Paris dandy than a diplomatist, it
seemed as though he must have been dispatched to this out-of-the-way part
of the world for quite other than a diplomatic object, although he took
great pains to spread the report that he had been appointed the successor
of Baron Gros in the Embassy.

One day the Commodore and some members of the Expedition received an
invitation from the kind and hospitable English Consul, Mr. Brook
Robertson, to be present at a reception at the Consulate of the Táu-Tái,
or highest Chinese official of the city.[151]

We the more readily congratulated ourselves on this invitation, as, owing
to the sudden departure of the Táu-Tái, we missed the opportunity of
paying him a visit in his own palace in the city. Punctually at the
appointed hour, 2 P.M., a formal procession was seen approaching the
buildings of the English Consulate. In front were carried numerous titles
and insignia, then the Táu-Tái in a large and handsome sedan-chair, and
finally a noisy "following," in the shape of a rabble of servants. Mr.
Robertson received the Táu-Tái at the threshold of his house, and greeted
him with the customary Tschin-Tschin, moving the hands closely folded a
few times over the breast.

All present kept the head covered, making in like manner a few
Tschin-tschins, and then accompanied the visitor to the reception-room, in
which were five stools, the seat of honour being on the left. As soon as
the Táu-Tái was seated, the rest took their seats, and a proposition was
made in consequence of the truly tropical heat, contrary to Chinese
notions of courtesy, to divest one's self of one's head-gear. The
Mandarin, at all events, seemed as little loth to lay aside his
funnel-shaped straw-cap, with its blue button and peacock's feather, as
the Europeans present to doff their uniform caps.

The presentation of the commander and the author of this narrative by Mr.
Meadows, who acted as interpreter, gave the Táu-Tái an opportunity of
inquiring of the English Consul whether our frigate had been at the gulf
of Petcheli. Mr. Robertson replied that the _Novara_ was the first
war-ship of a German power which had ever visited the Yang-tse-Kiang and
Wusung rivers, and that the frigate was bound on a voyage of scientific
discovery. This led to a running fire of questions and answers, during the
course of which two attendants were engaged alternately in filling a small
pipe with tobacco, which they handed to the Táu-Tái. The latter drew a few
puffs, permitted the smoke to escape through his nostrils, after which
his pipe was again replenished with a small supply of tobacco.

We next had an example of the custom, already mentioned, of wiping the
face with a hot damp towel, one of the attendants dipping a rather thick
piece of linen cloth in a tub of hot water, which was then wrung out, when
the cloth was presented to the Mandarin, who, without in any way
interrupting the conversation, from time to time wiped the perspiration
from his brow.

The Táu-Tái had a well-made, handsome figure, pleasing, rather
intelligent, features, a round, smooth, delicate face, without any trace
of beard, eyes as usual drawn up at the outer corner, small elegant hands,
and beautifully tapered fingers, with very long nails. His dress was very
simple; he wore, for the sake of coolness, a shirt made of thin bamboo
shoots, with a long, yellowish, loose surcoat, white drawers, and, instead
of the usual Chinese shoe with its high cork soles, or white thick
gaiters, he wore light shoes of European make. His head was covered with a
cone-shaped straw-hat of very fine texture, with a red tassel and blue
knot in the midst, and a dark green peacock's feather, extending
horizontally backwards.

Business over, a table was covered, and the Táu-Tái invited to partake.
According to the Chinese custom, only confectionery, preserves, and fruit
were handed round. The liquids consisted of sherry, liqueurs, Chinese wine
or Samschoo (made from rice and imbibed from cups in lieu of glasses), and
green and almond tea. The Mandarin drank to all present, and seemed to
take more to sherry and Maraschino than to his own native drinks. The slim
liqueur bottle, with its neat gilt label and the thick cork stopper,
seemed especially to attract his attention.

After a few commonplace observations, the Táu-Tái once more turned the
conversation upon Austria, and remarked he had never before heard of that
power. Mr. Meadows endeavoured to prompt the memory of the Chinese
official, produced Muirhead's universal geography translated into Chinese,
turned up therein the section relating to Austria, and handed the book to
the Táu-Tái, who had the entire passage read to him by one of his
attendants, that he might "get up" the country from which the strangers
had come who were seated on his left and right hands.

The inquisitiveness of every Chinese now displayed itself in a series of
inquiries as to the principal products and articles of export of the
Empire, and he expressed a hope he should ere long see more of the
"Austrian Mandarins" in Shanghai. The _Novara_ travellers on their side
with a patriotic pride, readily pardonable under the circumstances,
endeavoured through the medium of the Government interpreter to leave the
best possible impression of their native country upon the mind of the
Táu-Tái, by giving a glowing description of the Austrian Empire, its
natural advantages, and its people. Of numbers the worthy man seemed to
have no definite idea, for the remark that the Empire contained (1st
August, 1858) very nearly 40,000,000 inhabitants seemed greatly to
astonish him, although this is probably barely one-tenth of the population
of the Chinese Empire.[152]

Just as the Táu-Tái was preparing to set out on his return, a tremendous
tumult was suddenly heard in the street. It seemed like a popular
insurrection, and servants were forthwith sent out to ascertain the cause
of this unexpected shindy, who came back presently with the intelligence
that an English sailor had struck a coolie of the suite a blow on the face
with his fist, so violent that he was seriously injured, and was bleeding
profusely. The Táu-Tái made his appearance on the portico. As soon as the
injured man saw his master approaching, he flung himself before him
imploring aid, and exhibiting his face streaming with blood, and the wound
gaping open. The Táu-Tái ordered the man to rise, and delivered him to the
Chinese police. Occasionally when a Chinese receives a wound in a quarrel
of this nature he will abstain from wiping off the blood-stains from his
face for weeks together, finding, it should seem, some satisfaction in
being able to exhibit them. This done, the procession resumed its march.
In front strode a man who from time to time administered a sounding thwack
to the gong, after which he rushed through the streets bawling like a
Stentor, that the people might crowd on one side and leave the Táu-Tái
space to pass unobstructed. The rear was brought up with police,
catch-poles with long bamboo poles, and the executioner with his axe--the
never-failing attendant on such occasions,--who accompanies it, however,
only as a sort of allegorical personage, to impress upon the yelling
crowds around the consequences of disobedience, and of rebellion against
constituted authority.

The only important excursion we made from Shanghai was to the Jesuit
Mission of Sikkawéi, twelve miles distant. Our excellent host, Mr. James
Hogg, of the well-known firm of Lindsay and Co.,[153] and Consul for the
Hanse towns, to whose great kindness we are deeply indebted, was so kind
as to order his pretty little yacht _Flirt_ to be got ready for our
accommodation, and we set off, accompanied by the heroic Mr. Gray, of the
American house of Russell and Co., who lost one foot while fighting
against the Tai-ping rebels before the very gates of Shanghai. As the
Europeans are in the habit of using these pleasure-boats as residences
during their visit to the interior, so as not to be dependent upon the
somewhat uncertain hospitality of the Chinese, they are provided with
every accessory to comfort, being fitted with a neat cabin, a small
library, boudoir, berth-cabin, &c. They usually carry an immense spread of
canvas, and during calms are propelled like the native boats with one big
oar from the stern, which serves at the same time as a rudder. The sail up
the Wusung, in which upwards of a hundred sail of merchantmen, and above a
thousand junks, were lying at anchor, was very interesting. Many of the
junks lying off the Catholic cathedral of Tonka-dú displayed a flag with a
white cross on a black ground, in token of the religious faith of the
crew. Here also we saw for the first time some Siamese ships, built in
Siam, for the most part on European models. Of these we counted eleven. By
way of ensign, they had an elephant rather nicely drawn, sometimes on a
red, sometimes on a blue field, according to the fancy or the taste of the
owner. These vessels have Siamese crews and English captains, and are
armed with ten or twelve cannon, so that his Siamese Majesty can at a
moment's notice use his little fleet of merchantmen for warlike purposes.

The channel, 200 or 300 fathoms wide, which unites the Wusung with the
internal network of small rivers, is called the Wuang-Po, a designation
which some authorities assume to be the name of its constructor, while
others maintain that it is derived from _wong_, yellow, and applies to the
colour of the water, just as Whampoa, near Canton, signifies the yellow
anchorage. Nothing has so much contributed to that immense activity of
commerce, which we marvel at among the Chinese, as their vast canal
system, the introduction of which was pursued with such energy in the 7th
century.[154] The innumerable artificial canals, with which the whole
north of China is intersected, and which by their admirably planned system
of arrangement unite all the lakes and navigable rivers of the Empire with
each other, make it possible to voyage through every province of the
Empire without having once to leave the boat. They atone for the great
want of good roads, and even make the absence of railroads less
perceptible in a country where the value of labour is so unprecedentedly

As soon as we leave Shanghai behind, with its immense commercial fleet,
the scenery beyond becomes tame. The banks on either side are low, and far
as the eye can reach not a single hill is to be seen, not even a rising
slope--nothing but a flat alluvial soil, every inch of which seems
diligently tilled, or otherwise made useful.

After we had sailed several miles in the _Flirt_ we came to a branch of
the great canal, where we shifted into a smaller but not less elegant
boat, the property of Mr. Gray, which drew less water, and in which we
were to reach the Jesuit mission. At this season, however, owing to the
lowness of the water, navigation was only continued with great difficulty,
and notwithstanding the astonishing dexterity with which our worthy Lau-tú
(the old chief) conned our craft through the sharp bends of the river, we
were at last compelled to halt, and perform the rest of the distance,
about two miles, on foot.

We now found ourselves strolling through fields planted with rice and
cotton, through cabbage and vegetable gardens, occasionally even over
graves, which rose in mounds here and there along our path. Sometimes in
the distance we could descry small villages and solitary farm-houses.

In Sikkawéi we found about twenty Jesuits, French and Italians, all of
genuine Chinese appearance, with heads half-shaved, long queues stretching
to the ground, loose yellow clothes, and velvet shoes with thick cork
soles. This had a striking, almost theatrical effect. We were ushered into
the reception-room, and there offered refreshment. The conversation soon
became brisk, which added to the singularity of the scene, as the seeming
Chinese, sitting in a circle round the table, and smoking perfumed tobacco
out of small long-stemmed pipes, began, in fluent French or liquid
Italian, to discuss Paris, Naples, Vienna, or politics and art.

This Mission is supported by the Propaganda of Rome, as also by voluntary
contributions. About 80 pupils, chiefly children of poor parents, are
instructed in the Chinese language and literature, in reading, writing,
arithmetic, and drawing, and in the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith; on
the other hand, little anxiety is manifested for their instruction in
French or English, or in providing them with any practical mechanical
instruction. In this mode of education the main object seems to be to
enable the students more readily to reach the highest offices in the state
by imparting to them a thorough grounding in Chinese literature, and by
these means to ensure for them religious influence and protection.
Accordingly, strenuous efforts are made to increase the number of
scholars, and in order to facilitate this aim, as in the case of the
Indians of Central and Southern America, their observance of various
heathen rites is connived at, as, for example, the worship of their
ancestors, the ceremonies at the death of a relation, &c. &c.

One branch of art, in which some of the scholars have, owing to their
having naturally a turn for it, attained considerable proficiency, is
wood-engraving. In the church attached to the Mission are shown a number
of altar-ornaments, chiefly figures very beautifully carved in wood, the
work of a Jesuit of Spanish extraction, whose talent and enthusiasm seem
to have laid the foundation of this school of image-carvers. In what is
called the model-room are numbers of figures and busts designed by the
practised hand of the brother alluded to. Here too are some heads of the
Saviour, very beautifully executed in clay by the Chinese scholars, as
also Madonnas, busts of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and the Emperor
Napoleon III. These are doubly extraordinary, when we remember the slight
instruction and very scanty assistance bestowed on them while in course of
execution; their actual value however is small, for at present, as none of
the Jesuits in the Mission have any very decided taste for the art,
instruction in it has almost entirely ceased.

The achievements of the present members of the Society of Jesus, in China,
suffer greatly, measured by the standard of what was accomplished by their
renowned brethren in previous centuries; one looks in vain for the high
attainments, the self-sacrificing zeal, the practical talents of other
times, and Sikkawéi, with its present spiritual occupants, cannot leave a
very pleasing impression on any unprejudiced Catholic. There is an utter
lack of all those qualities which once formed the renown and the title to
admiration of the Jesuits in China. One looks for, but fails to find, a
library corresponding to the dignity of the Mission, or mathematical or
medical instruments, or a chemical laboratory: in lieu of these there seem
to prevail a deficiency of Christian toleration for these unmistakeable
adjuncts of true education and enlightenment. At all events, we judged as
much from a remark made by the brother who accompanied us round the
building, who spoke some words in Chinese to the gaping crowd of
long-tailed scholars, who kept pressing upon us, and then turning to us,
observed in French,--"I have informed our pupils that our present guests
are Roman Catholics, and therefore _true_ Christians, because we
occasionally have English visitors at the Mission, and they are heretics."
Apparently the intolerant padre was reckoning without his host, for there
were several Protestants among the party!

Throughout the province of Kaing-su there are at present 80,000 Chinese
Catholics, that is to say, who profess Catholicism, though having but a
very superficial idea of its spirit and its reality.

In returning to our boat we availed ourselves of the mode of conveyance in
most common use in China, the sedan-chair, or couch. The ordinary
sedan-chair differs little in exterior form and interior arrangement from
those still occasionally used in some of the out-of-the-way, old-fashioned
towns, both of Germany and England. Owing to the extreme cheapness of
labour, the least well-to-do classes of Chinese are able to avail
themselves of these convenient conveyances, the use of which is doubly
agreeable in such a hot climate. Indeed, long journeys are very frequently
made by this mode of transport. As a rule, the sedan-bearers get over from
twenty to twenty-five miles per diem, charging for that distance one
dollar, in addition to their food, consisting of tea, rice, vegetables,
and cakes. Baggage and merchandise of all sorts are conveyed by coolies,
each carrying with ease 110 _catties_, equal to 146 lbs. With such a
burthen he will trudge over lofty mountain passes, and without much effort
will cover thirteen miles a day. If special dispatch is required, the
burthen must be reduced one-half, when the coolie, keeping at the trot,
will get over double the distance in one day; what is gained in speed
being lost in power.

On our return to Shanghai, we visited the celebrated six-storied Pagoda,
Long-Sáh, which is traditionally said to have been erected about A.D. 250,
during the period of the Three Empires. Of all the Pagodas hitherto known,
not even excepting the well-known specimen at Canton, it is the best
preserved, and forms one massive, wide quadrangular tower, about 150 feet
high, arranged in six stories, one of which has running around it a richly
carved balcony. The pyramidal roof has turned-up angles, to which are
suspended bells, which when agitated by the wind give forth their music.
From the highest story, to which access is obtained by a stone staircase,
there is a rather agreeable, pretty extensive view over the country, and
its cultivated surface, stretching away till, at 200 miles from Shanghai,
to the north and north-west, rises a range of mountains, of which of
course not a glimpse is to be seen hence, the prospect in this direction
having no defined limit. This panoramic view gives an excellent idea of
the characteristics of a Chinese landscape, the various methods of
cultivation, the situation of the valleys, and, above all, the ceaseless
tide of traffic, as evidenced by the almost innumerable artificial
water-channels which intersect the country in every direction. Quite close
to the Pagoda is a Buddha temple, the well-known Lûng-hwó, erected A.D.
230. Of the seventy Buddhist and Taouist temples of the province this is
the largest and most beautiful. The rear of the edifice is adorned with
countless figures, sometimes of colossal dimensions, in wood, plaster, and
porcelain, richly carved and gilt. There is also a female statue among
these Chinese saints, the attitude strongly suggestive of a Madonna.

This temple is plainly in connection with the Pagoda, and the various
small chambers behind it seem to have been destined for the accommodation
of priests and devout pilgrims. According to an old Chinese tradition this
temple owes its erection to the following circumstance:--a queen from the
south, who had anchored her boat one night in the Whampoa Channel near
Wusung, suddenly beheld a light shoot up amid the tall grass, and rise
towards heaven, in consequence of which she gave orders for a temple to be
built on the site.

One of the most interesting episodes of our stay at Shanghai consisted in
a genuine Chinese banquet, given by a wealthy native merchant, named
Ta-ki, a warm friend of all foreigners, in honour of the Austrian
Expedition. The huge invitation cards, written, according to the usual
practice of the country, in Chinese characters upon blood-red paper, and
folded in envelopes of the same brilliant hue, were sent round to the
residences of the guests some days beforehand.

At 8 P.M. the feast began. Ta-ki's house, like those of all the wealthy
Chinese, is surrounded by a massive wall, six or seven feet in height, and
painted white. After passing through a narrow gateway, the visitor finds
himself at once in the usual apartments. These were adorned for the
occasion with large coloured lanterns, which despite their numbers shed a
mild and most agreeable light.[155] Along the walls, which were richly
gilt, hung quantities of sententious native maxims, written with Indian
ink, sometimes in Chinese characters, sometimes in Tartar, on white or
yellow rolls of paper. The greatest attention appeared to have been paid
to the preparation of the reception-room, whose form was a rather narrow
oblong, in which at the far end was erected a platform, where a strolling
company acted Chinese theatricals. The musicians sat on the stage. The
company belonged to one of those innumerable wandering troops which are
engaged for a day or two now by the community, now by wealthy Mandarins,
to give some theatrical representations, which it seems must in China
form the accompaniment of every important event, whether joyous or

At those performances which are given in public, the multitude is admitted
gratis, and of this privilege they avail themselves to the utmost. Each
man selects the best seat for himself, on the street, in a tree, or on a
roof. Mandarins, however, and rich private individuals have their own
little stage scenes in the interior of their usually spacious mansions, in
which from time to time they have theatrical representations for the
amusement of a small circle of friends. Some Mandarins even go the length
of having their own players, who receive regular annual pay, and form part
of the household.

Notwithstanding the very extensive collections of Chinese plays, with
several of which the learned classes of Europe have been made acquainted
by the valuable labours of Julien, Bazin, Remusat, and others, there are
but a very few of true literary value. The plot of most of them is
exceedingly simple, the actors themselves specify the characters they are
to play; between each scene there is usually a lack of connection, and
frequently the most telling scenes and situations are marred by the most
arrant trash, or the coarsest jests. Only a very small number of these
rise above the level of the buffoonery of former ages, and judging by the
accounts given by travellers, who have been present at such entertainments
in even the large cities, including Pekin itself, the dramatic art would
as yet seem to be in its infancy in China.[156] The company which was
assembled in the hospitable mansion of Ta-ki, to do honour to the members
of the _Novara_ Expedition, was not calculated to impress them favourably
with the scope of the Chinese drama. The piece appointed consisted of
events in the ancient history of China, for which Chinese dramatic poets
have a special predilection, owing to the abundance of material from which
to choose, although the multitude seem to have but little sympathy with
it. Even our host, who spoke the Canton-English, as it is called, could
give us but little explanation or enlightenment as to the plot, and
contented himself with repeatedly remarking that the piece related to
"old, old times!"

Notwithstanding the universal custom, according to which women are not
permitted to enter a theatre, so that even the female characters have to
be played by men dressed to represent the part, the majority of the
present troupe were girls of from 14 to 20 years of age, who, stained red
or white, and elegantly arrayed, appeared mostly in Mandarin dresses on
the stage. The most outrageously absurd of the scenes were those most in
favour with the numerous domestics who, besides the invited guests, formed
the audience. Thus, there was a roar of laughter when a nurse entered with
a child in her arms, which had the face of an old soldier, with grey
beard, whiskers, and moustachios. They sang a long, rather melancholious
ditty, and then retired, without there appearing to be the slightest
connection between this and the following scene. We noted the evident
predilection of the Chinese actors for a high-pitched falsetto tone of
voice when speaking, which, by the way, must render their assumption of
female parts much more easy, and on the present occasion they probably
were desirous of giving us a specimen of their skill in this
accomplishment. The music on such occasions is, if possible, even more
discordant and monotonous than the delivery, and is not confined to merely
accompanying the couplets, but continues to play during the intervals till
the ear is utterly wearied.

At the close of each act a large board covered with a red cloth was
brought on the stage and placed beneath the feet of the actors; on this
the steward of the house placed a present for the troupe about four
dollars' worth of copper _cash_, which was forthwith carried away. This
was apparently the only intimation to most of the spectators that a piece
was ended, and a fresh one about to begin.

After these theatrical representations had lasted about an hour and a half
a long pause ensued. One longed to escape outside into the fresh air, to
get rid of the wearying sensation of the performances, and the stifling
heat which prevailed in the room. The guests were at liberty to walk
without obstruction through the various apartments of the extensive
residence, and accordingly stumbled upon rooms which are usually, as it
were, hermetically sealed to a foreigner, viz. the apartments of the
women. Ta-ki carried his hospitality even this length, and presented us to
his wives, as also to his grey-haired mother, seventy years old, for whom
he showed the utmost love and respect. Ta-ki's wives, four or five in
number, had "assisted" at the theatrical performances, each seated on
elevated seats expressly prepared for them, and behaved with the greatest
courtesy and ease of manner. They seemed not to have the slightest thought
of showing off, or of tittering or joking with the strangers. All were
attired in silk, and most tastefully decorated with jewels; all had the
usual painfully distorted small feet, which greatly interfered with their
powers of locomotion. They did not attend at the banquet, but had their
food served in the private apartments.

For supper the quondam theatre was converted into a banqueting-hall. But
there was no long wide table set out as in Europe, only small
four-cornered tables covered with red cloth, at each of which three
Europeans and one Chinese took their seats; the duty of the latter being
to do the honours to his companions in the name of the host, who took his
seat beside the Commodore, and to minister to their comfort.

As it was the object to give us the most accurate idea possible of a
genuine Chinese repast, everything was eliminated which could in any way
interfere with the design, and we had accordingly to begin with dessert
and conclude with the soup, as also to convey the various descriptions of
food to our mouths with thin strips of ivory ("chop-sticks"), instead of
knives and forks.

The peculiarity of Chinese usages, so directly opposed to those of Europe,
became likewise strikingly apparent in the course of the meal. And as in
China the mark of courtesy is to keep the head covered instead of removing
the hat, so the place of honour is on the left hand; the ancestors are
ennobled instead of the descendants (which is at once more sensible and
more economical); the characters in writing run from right to left instead
of the reverse; the mourning colour is white instead of black; the natives
carefully extirpate every sign of a beard, instead of cherishing it as a
symbol of mature, dignified manhood; thus also meals begin with the food
with which we terminate ours, confectionery and fruit. When we were all
seated, each table was forthwith covered with a profusion of the most
varied dishes on beautiful plates of stained porcelain, and while we were
still engaged in attempting to discover the mysterious ingredients of
these, the Chinese who was doing the honours at our table was exerting
himself to select and lay before us the most dainty morsels of each dish.
In performing this part of his functions he thought only to act with more
care and attention, in drawing each of the twain chop-sticks between his
own lips and withdrawing them before he fished up a fresh piece and laid
it on our plate! The dexterity with which all Chinese use these
chop-sticks, which are usually made of ivory, ebony, or bamboo, borders
on the marvellous. In their hands, held between their fingers, they become
like a pair of pincers, with which they can pick up the smallest objects,
and can eat rice-grains, beans, or peas as easily as they can separate the
flakes of a fish from its skin, or remove the shell of a hard-boiled egg.

As to the ingredients of the dishes presented, we must frankly avow that
by far the greater number were utterly unknown to us, for the Chinese
cuisine, oddly enough, sets great store on making the materials
unrecognizable, and altering their natural flavour by various recipes and
culinary mysteries. According to the inquiries which we made of our
carver, our host seemed so anxious to fulfil to the letter his promise to
give us a real Chinese repast, that he had resolved on not sparing us a
single one of the rarer dainties of Chinese epicures. Thus we not only had
swallows' nests, lapwings' eggs, and steamed frogs, but also roasted
silk-worms, shark-fins, stag and buffalo tendons, biche-de-mar, bamboo
roots, sea-weed, half-fledged chickens, and various other natural
delicacies. The table was supplied at least three times with fresh
delicacies, and we believe we do not exaggerate when we estimate the
number of different dishes at not less than half a hundred. Meat of all
sorts was at a discount, and was served up in small morsels ready
carved;[157] on the other hand, rice and vegetables were presented in
every imaginable form. During the meal one young girl, who had played a
part in the dramas, was incessantly occupied with filling for each guest a
very small cup with a warm beverage distilled from millet, thus carrying
out the code of Chinese civility, that the cup should never be suffered to
be empty, and therefore, that however little has once been drunk it must
forthwith be replenished. Of the juice of the grape the Chinese make no
use, although there are many districts in the country which are eminently
adapted to the growth of the vine. All the native drinks consist of
nothing but poor-flavoured, highly-perfumed drinks, chiefly distilled from
millet and rice, and known by the general name of Samshoo, although this
name is solely applicable to that obtained from rice, which somewhat
resembles arrack. After the meal is over there are no spirits presented,
but only tea, usually the common green tea, or else a tea prepared from
almonds. The Chinese are, on the whole, a very temperate people, and even
their passion for smoking opium is rather a vice among the masses of the
coast provinces and the large towns, than of the interior of the kingdom.
During the banquet, as well as after it, there were further theatrical
exhibitions, but the guests, who had been sufficiently wearied with the
first of these, preferred to retire quietly to their own residences, and,
seated in a rocking-chair on the delicious verandah, to recall all the
peculiarities of the entertainment at which they had been present.

The rites of hospitality to strangers were not, however, limited in
fulfilment to Ta-ki, since the various consuls settled at Shanghai, as
well as several of the English, American, and German merchants, invited
the members of the Expedition to dinner-parties given in their honour,
each vying with the rest in refined courtesy. An especially pleasant
memory attaches to one indication of this feeling, the spontaneous
offering of a number of Germans to our commander and his associates. We
were sitting in the house of Mr. James Hogg, the Hanseatic Consul, when
from the garden there suddenly arose a serenade of men's voices, singing
German melodies. Surprised and deeply affected, the entire company rose
from table and strolled into the garden, but the serenaders were concealed
behind a group of trees, and as they withdrew, singing, the last cadence
of a thrilling patriotic song was heard melting in the distance!

The Germans already constitute a by no means inconsiderable portion of the
foreign community of China, and it is painful to observe what slender
encouragement and support their energy and industry have as yet met with
from the various governments of Germany. The number of Bremen ships which
visited the harbour of Shanghai has of late years equalled that of the
United States, and would be very greatly increased if the German
mercantile community and the home-shippers to the Chinese market could
depend upon protection such as the English and French can rely upon. The
German States, such, for instance, as the Hanseatic Towns, Prussia,
Oldenburg, have indeed unsalaried Consuls here, but the shrewd, material
Chinese people require something more than an empty intercession--they
require to be convinced by an unmistakeable physical ability to back these
representatives. Many a crying injustice, which the helpless German
merchants and ship captains have to put up with without hope of redress in
the various ports of China, would not and dare not occur if but a single
German ship-of-war were stationed in Chinese waters. What the effect is,
under similar circumstances, of even one single small boat was well
illustrated by Mr. Alcock, formerly the English Consul at Shanghai,[158]
who with a small English brig blocked the mouth of the Yang-tse-kiang, and
did not suffer one single "junk" of the many hundreds stationed in the
river to put to sea under threat of firing into them until the Chinese
Government had paid attention to his demands, and surrendered for trial by
an English tribunal the murderers of an English missionary. The bare
menace of closing the river sufficed to secure the Consul in his rights,
and he speedily saw his various demands complied with. Only a month or two
later a Bremen captain sustained such severe losses through the wilful act
of the Chinese Government that he had to sell his ship, the energetic
protest of his Consul to the native authorities meeting no other
attention than an insulting chuckle over the powerlessness of the German

In consequence of the Treaty of Pekin securing to Europeans the
unobstructed navigation of all canals and rivers throughout the Celestial
Empire, the trade with China is becoming so rapidly developed, that some
remedy of this sort is imperatively needed,--if German commerce and
industry would avoid receiving a serious check, if she would not be
supplanted by other and more fortunate nations, in the endeavour to avail
herself of the great alteration for the better in the facilities for trade
in China.

The activity and energy of the English in opening up new outlets for their
native manufactures were here astonishingly visible. Hardly are the
ratifications of peace exchanged, opening the most important rivers and
harbours of the Empire to free commerce with the subjects of England, ere
the country has been surveyed and explored in every direction. A number of
English merchants ascended the Yang-tse-kiang as far as Hang-kow[159]
(mouth of trade), a city containing several millions of inhabitants,
which, in consequence of its extraordinarily advantageous site, has
already been described by Huc as the chief emporium of the 18 Provinces,
and whence all the foreign trade radiates into the interior. Others
undertook a land journey from Canton to Hang-kow; a third company ascended
the Pei-ho and visited Tien-Tsin, while yet a fourth were contemplating
the formidable undertaking of boating it up the Yang-tse-kiang from
Shanghai to Hang-kow, whence they thought of penetrating viâ Thibet into
British India.[160] Already information has been obtained from a variety
of these excursions, which were undertaken specially in the interests of
commerce, such as justify the most glowing expectations as to the trade
with the Yang-tse-kiang and the Pei-ho.[161] Hang-kow promises to be a
most important depôt for the exportation of tea, while Tien-Tsin promises
to be not less important as an entrepôt for the importation of
manufactures of every description. By the opening of these two additional
harbours, Shanghai and Canton will fall off in their ratio of increase
hitherto, but general commerce will on the whole receive a new impulse.

To the merchant and shipper, the latest intelligence from China as to the
enormous development of commerce and trade at numerous spots of the
Central Empire, hitherto undisturbed by European civilization, must be
positively astounding. It is a rich mine of the most valuable material,
which the _China Overland Trade Report_ and the _North China Herald_
presents to its readers, rendered doubly valuable through the influence
of that Freedom of Speech, which makes every mercantile nation participate
in the very latest information as to these experiments and their results.
For, so far as concerns our present direct intercourse with China, a time
must come, when more accurate notions will penetrate into even Austrian
commercial circles as to the wants of a population, and the natural wealth
of an empire, which embraces a superficial area of 3,000,000 square miles,
with a population of 400,000,000 souls, and whose entire foreign commerce
already amounts to £36,000,000, apart from the impulse which recent events
must lend it.

Notwithstanding the immense variety of natural products of the Chinese
Empire, the chief articles of export hitherto have been tea and silk, and
we shall therefore confine our attention to a few important particulars as
to those two articles.

The introduction of silk cultivation into China, one of the most ancient
industrial pursuits of the Empire, is due, if we are to believe a native
legend, to the consort of the Emperor Hwang-té, who reigned B.C. 2640. The
first mention of the mulberry tree and of silk occurs in the
Schoo-kiu,[162] "the Book of exalted solid learning--the Book of Books,"
as it were, a collection of the most ancient historical annals of the
Chinese Empire, which was compiled B.C. 484, by Confucius, from the
memoranda of former writers of history, as well as from the information
furnished by ancient monuments. Even empresses in those halcyon times did
not deem it beneath their dignity to collect mulberry-leaves and feed the
silk-worms, while various treatises were composed by imperial pens,
respecting the cultivation of that most useful plant. The interest taken
in silk-rearing by these the highest personages in the Empire, has
remained unbroken to our own day, and quite recently a Chinese governor
enriched the already copious literature upon this subject with a
comprehensive work, written with the laudable object of stimulating the
inhabitants of the silk-producing districts to a more extensive and
improved system of silk cultivating.

The two best species of mulberry, those which are best adapted for the
consumption of the worm, are: "Loo" (_Morus alba_), with long leaves,
little fruit, and firm roots, which flourishes chiefly in North China, and
"King" (_Morus nigra_), with narrow leaves, more abundant fruit, and
altogether a hardier plant, which grows chiefly in the South.

According to old Chinese notions, there are eight different species of
silk-worm, which spin their cocoons at various periods[163] of the year
between April and November.

The chief silk districts lie in the northern part of the province of
Tsche-Kiang, and the principal silk marts are the following cities:
Hoo-chow-foo, Hang-chow-foo, Keahing-fu, Nantsin, and Shoo-hing, which lie
in a sort of semi-circle about 150 miles from Shanghai.

The silk is not grown in China by wealthy landed proprietors, and "thrown"
in huge establishments, but by millions of husbandmen, each of whom calls
but a small patch of land his own, and plants it with mulberry trees,
thus, like the bee, contributing his own share towards increasing the
universal stock. During the season specially devoted to the silk-worm, old
and young, lofty and lowly, throughout the silk districts, are busily and
earnestly engaged night and day in tending the worms and winding off the
silk. When the crop is being gathered in, the chief merchants send their
agents to all parts of the chief silk districts, in order to collect and
buy up these small quantities (varying greatly in value, as may be readily
imagined), and depositing them in regularly assigned warehouses, where
they can be sorted according to quality. This done, the silk is packed in
bales of 80 _catties_, or about 106 lbs. weight, and conveyed to Shanghai
for sale, where it is once more subjected in each mercantile house to the
examination of the special "silk Inspectors," or "Testers," after passing
through whose hands, it is sorted according to quality for shipment to

Three distinct qualities of raw silk are known in commerce, viz. Tsatli
[Chinese character(s)], Taysam [Chinese character(s)] (the big worm), and
Yuen-whá, or Yuen-fa [Chinese character(s)] (the flower of the garden).
These three leading descriptions are again subdivided into a great number
of sorts, which are usually known by the name of the trader, or his "hong"

The annual production of silk in China is estimated to amount to from
200,000 to 250,000 bales, or from 20,000,000 to 25,000,000 pounds' weight.
This, however, is a very superficial estimate; that silk cultivation,
however, must be enormously developed in China is obvious, not alone from
the immense home consumption of the article, but also from the
circumstance that, notwithstanding the immense increase in exports during
the last ten years, the price of silk has not merely remained stationary,
but is on an average absolutely less than at a period when barely
one-fourth of the quantity now exported found its way to England and
France. The price of silk is usually reckoned in Taels,[164] on the
estimate of a bale averaging 100 lbs. English. Between Shanghai and London
the bale loses on the average three per cent. in weight. There is also
usually an allowance made of 15 per cent. for cost of transport and
incidental charges from Shanghai to any English port.

On the average only one-fourth of the entire quantity of silk produced in
China, or about 6,000,000 lbs., is exported annually, of which by far the
largest quantity, perhaps as much as nine-tenths, goes to England and
France. In 1843-44, the total export from all China was only 5100 bales.
In 1859, the export of raw silk from Shanghai alone was 75,652 bales!

Besides the raw silk there are annually exported from China a large
quantity of silk-stuffs manufactured in China, crape shawls, &c. &c., to
the value of from £400,000 to £500,000, the majority of which find a
market in the United States.

The social condition of the Chinese silk-spinner is not less deplorable
and poverty-stricken than that of the workmen of Europe, who are similarly
engaged in the preparation of this costly article of luxury. As in Lyons,
in Spitalfields, or among the Silesian Mountains, the Chinese silk-weaver
lives and dies in the most abject misery, and the delicate and beautiful
fabrics of his loom are produced in a wretched hut of such mean
dimensions, that he is sometimes compelled to dig a hole in the soil in
order to find room for the treadle. However, the Chinese weaver appears in
so far better off than the same handicraftsman in Europe, that he has less
to dread from the severity of the climate, and can purchase more food,
even though his remuneration be smaller, than the weaver can possibly do
in Europe, owing to the much higher price of even the commonest
necessities of life.

The recent revolution in Chinese foreign relations will exercise a
permanent influence on the silk culture of China, and, considering the
exceedingly low rate of wages in that country, the time cannot be far
distant, when one may purchase Chinese silk in Europe more cheaply than
home-grown silk, when manufacturers will find it more profitable to
purchase this most important raw material in China, than in Italy or the
South of France. Acute business men in Hong-kong and Shanghai assured us
that it only needed an impulse from without to increase the silk
manufacture of China tenfold, and supply the annual demand for silk of the
entire globe, which, if we are to believe encyclopedias and such like
authorities, amounts to from 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 lbs. What makes
Chinese silk especially suitable for the European market is its possessing
in great perfection the two chief qualities of substance and colour,
while, on the other hand, it is inferior to that of Europe in the fineness
and glossy feel of its fibre. In Europe the silk is wound off from a
limited number of cocoons, whereas in China it is left to the discretion
of the workman to spin it from few or many cocoons as he pleases. Hence
results that inequality and unevenness in the texture of the thread, a
defect which cannot possibly be remedied by after-manipulation, and which
accordingly completely prevents its employment in the manufacture of the
more costly fabrics. This drawback, which is the main reason why Chinese
silk does not rule the European market, will however admit of being
remedied without any difficulty, so soon as the silk districts become more
easily accessible, by the introduction of European labour and machinery,
when this valuable and costly product will gain materially both in
fineness and suitability.

Only a few years since German and Austrian merchants attached but a small
value to Chinese silk as suited to our market, and it seemed to them a
positive absurdity, when any one spoke, as we ourselves repeatedly have
done from a profound conviction of its truth, of the future influence
exercised over the silk markets of the world by the influence of this
Chinese raw material. Now-a-days we hear that there is scarcely one single
silk factory which can hold its ground, unless, in addition to French and
Italian silk, it imports Chinese silk, while the demand for that material
increases from year to year, and has very probably not yet attained the
one-hundredth part of the development of which it is susceptible.

Tea (_Châ_[165]) ranks next to silk among the articles which have raised
the trade with China to such an importance. The cultivation of the tea
plant is of far later date than that of the mulberry tree, and its leaves,
although used by the Chinese as a curative from the third century of our
era, only came into general use, as providing a universal drink, towards
the end of the sixth century.[166] Statesmen and poets sounded the
praises of the new beverage, and while the one employed this excellent and
beneficial gift of nature to fill the treasury by the imposition of a tax,
the others chanted the praise of the plant in their hymns and songs, and
thus, probably without intending it, contributed to increase the revenue
of the Government.

"Tea," writes one of the older Chinese authors, "soothes the spirit,
softens the heart, dispels languor, restores from fatigue, stimulates the
intellect, and arouses from indolence; it makes the body lighter and more
brisk, and quickens the faculty of observation."

The tea plant first attracted the attention of Chinese naturalists in
Wu-yi, or, as the English term it, the Bohea[167] district, which enjoys
to this day a great reputation for the exquisite quality which grows on
its hills.

At present the cultivation of the tea plant extends northward as far as
Tang-tschao, in the province of Shantung, southward as far as Canton and
Kuang-si, and westward as far as the province of Yun-nán. As, moreover,
the tea plant likewise abounds in Japan, the Corea, and the Loo-Choo
Islands, as also in Chusan, Tonquin, and Cochin China, we may assume that
it flourishes over about 28° of latitude and 30° of longitude, within
which it can be cultivated without being affected by severe alternations
of temperature. That part of North China, however, which lies between 27°
and 33° N., seems on the whole to furnish the finest sorts,[168] where the
mean annual temperature ranges between 61°.7 and 68°, and in which fine
weather with a rise of temperature follows upon a heavy rainfall; the
latter being as necessary for the speedy and luxuriant growth of the
leaves, as the former is for eliciting their fragrance and other valuable

To form an idea of the enormous amount of tea which is annually cultivated
in China, it suffices to remark that, after deducting the immense quantity
consumed, there are more than 70,000,000 lbs. exported annually.

It is not our intention to give a disquisition upon the cultivation and
preparation of the tea, the drying (_poey_), roasting (_tschóo_),
perfuming and colouring of the leaves, in short, the long tedious process
to which this valuable article of commerce is subjected from its
collection on the fertile green slopes of the bush-covered hills of Bohea,
till its arrival at the port of shipment in a form suited for exportation.
We prefer here to confine our attention to a consideration of those
experiments which have recently been made in China with respect to tea

There are of the tea plant an almost endless variety of qualities, but
only two species, viz. _Thea viridis_ (green tea), and _Thea Bohea_,[169]
and even these two have such few points of difference, that quite lately
they were described by Fortune as one and the same species. Thus, too, it
has been asserted in our own day that the green and black varieties of tea
sold in Europe do not, as is universally supposed, belong to two different
species of tea, but that the difference of colour, shape of leaf, flavour,
&c., is exclusively due to varieties in the mode of preparing them for the
market, and that the manufacturer is able to make from the leaves every
description, black or green, which is required in commerce. Thus in the
celebrated tea district of Ning-tschan, where in former days black tea was
exclusively grown, there is now procured green tea from the same species
of plant, apparently because its cultivation pays better, while the
quality remains in its olden repute.

The black tea, which constitutes four-fifths of the entire export to
England, is grown of a particularly fine quality in the district of
Kien-ning-foo in the province of Fo-kien, and is known to commerce by a
variety of names, chiefly derived from the localities in which it is
grown, or those of their proprietors. On the other hand, the green sort
selected for exportation is chiefly met with on the slopes of the chain
of hills between Che-kiang and Ngan-hwui. Besides those descriptions
actually prepared on the spot where they grow, there are also an immense
variety of teas manufactured in Canton from all sorts of black and green
tea. The tea-growers of Canton are reputed to colour their green teas
artificially, by sprinkling them with a mixture of Prussian blue and
pulverized chalk, after which they subject them to a rolling motion for a
considerable time in heated copper pans.[170]

One most important element in tea cultivation is the method adopted to
impart a certain bloom, an artificial fragrance, which it does not possess
in the natural state. This process of "scenting," as it is called, which
is practised exclusively for the foreign market, is termed by the Chinese
_Hwa-hiang_. The flowers which are used for imparting this fragrance, and
the growth of which, like the invisible fields of odoriferous herbs near
Cannes, in the South of France, forms a most important branch of
cultivation near Canton, are chiefly _Jasminum sambac_, _Jasminum
paniculatum_, _Aglaia odorata_, _Olea fragrans_, _Sardenia florida_,
orange-blossom, and roses. The method of "scenting" consists simply in
placing a definite quantity of the flower-blossoms, varying according to
the strength or feebleness of the odour, in juxtaposition with about 100
lbs. of dried tea-leaves, where they are suffered to remain from 24 to 48
hours. Thus 40 lbs. of orange-blossom, 50 lbs. of Jasmin, 100 lbs. of
_Aglaia odorata_, are reckoned the equivalent respectively of 100 lbs. of
tea-leaves. The extraordinary costliness of these fragrant blossoms[171]
has caused a very general suspicion to prevail, that the leaves thus
"scented" are afterwards adulterated with large quantities of the common
teas. And as it is an ascertained fact that 60 lbs. of such tea can impart
a similar fragrance to 100 lbs. additional by merely mixing the two
together, without any apparent diminution of fragrance, it seems more than
probable that similar admixtures, very possibly in a still more profitable
proportion, are being silently carried on every day in the warehouses of
the tea districts.

Since the suppression of the East India Company's monopoly, and the
opening of the Five Ports, tea has somewhat fallen in price, but has in
consequence gained in far greater ratio in respect of quantity shipped.
The value of a picul of tea is at present about 18 or 20 taels (£5 12_s._
6_d._ to £6 5_s._), so that the pound costs 1_s._ 1_d._ to 1_s._ 2_d._
Notwithstanding the unexampled cheapness of hand labour (60 to 70 cash, or
2-1/2_d._ to 3_d._, per diem), it is not possible to procure _good tea_
below this limit, although the various descriptions vary extraordinarily
in price according to their quality and the districts they come from. The
lower classes in the tea districts purchase for themselves the raw
unprepared leaves just as they are plucked, for about 1_d._ per pound,
and as it takes about 4 lbs. of the fresh leaves to make 1 lb. of dry
leaves, it may be calculated that the tea, as drunk by this class, must
cost from 4_d._ to 5_d._ per lb. Moreover, it is customary to add some of
the less costly descriptions, more especially in districts at some little
distance where the tea plant is cultivated.

The first historical document referring to the introduction into England
of tea as a beverage, is an Act of Parliament in the year 1660 (the year
of the Restoration). At that period China tea cost sixty shillings the
pound, which of course limited its use to a very narrow circle. At present
there are 30,000,000 lbs. imported into England[172] annually, or more
than one half of the entire export from the Central Empire, the consumer
in London paying about 3_s._ per pound on the average.

Of late years attempts have been made to cultivate the tea plant at the
foot of the Himalayas, in Java, and in the United States. In Hindústan,
whither only a few years ago that well-known and enlightened gentleman,
Mr. Robert Fortune, dispatched 24,000 plants, selected from among the
finest tea districts, the experiment has already proved successful, and
even remunerative. The cost of growing is about 10-1/2_d._ per lb. for
one description, which fetches 2_s._ per lb. in the London market. That
grown in Java has hitherto been viewed with disfavour in Europe, but in a
few years more it must make its way. The result of the experiments in the
United States we have yet to learn. Mr. Fortune, who was intrusted by the
Patent Office at Washington with superintending the introduction of the
tea cultivation into the Southern States, and who in virtue of many years'
scientific researches in China may be regarded as an authority upon this
subject, is of opinion that the possibility of cultivating tea in the
United States does not admit of a doubt, since the plant not only
successfully resists frosts, but even, in a measure, benefits by them, it
being a well-known fact that it flourishes better in the northern than the
southern climates of China. It is questionable, however, whether its
cultivation can prove remunerative in a country where labour is still so
exceptionally high. Will the tea plant repay the immense cost of
cultivation, and compete successfully with the product of China? The next
few years will settle this question, if it be not choked by this unholy
fratricidal war, which is raging within the freest and most glorious
confederacy of modern times.

We enjoyed the good "fortune" while at Shanghai of becoming personally
acquainted with Mr. Fortune, and of gathering these valuable particulars
from the very lips of that distinguished naturalist and traveller. While
reserving for consideration elsewhere the subject of various little known,
but most important, articles of export from the vast Empire of China, we
cannot refrain from indulging in a few remarks upon some useful products
of that country, which seem to us of more than merely commercial
importance. Among these we shall notice first one of the most valuable
rewards bestowed by Nature on human industry, the so-called Chinese
sugar-cane (_Sorghum_, or _Holcus saccharatus_), which deserves the
earnest attention of all European proprietors of land, as it grows in its
native country quite in the northern districts, in fact in latitudes where
the ordinary cane (_Saccharum officinale_) no longer flourishes; because
frost and cold are much more conducive to its growth than the opposite
extreme, so that it would seem to be specially adapted for cultivation in
Southern Europe.

The first attempt to cultivate this cane in Europe was made, if we are
rightly informed, at the Hyères islands by Count David de Beauregard, from
seeds which M. de Montigny had sent home to the Geographical Society of
Paris, while other attempts were made at the same time in various parts of
France by the _Société d' Acclimatisation_. The results surpassed the most
sanguine expectations. From the stem there was obtained a juice from which
sugar and alcohol, syrup and brandy, can be easily made. The abundant
leaves, five or six feet long, furnished a considerable quantity of cattle
with most nutritive food; the seeds were used as food for poultry, and
were even substituted with advantage for barley in the provender supplied
to horses, so that the experiment at once repaid its cost, while in
addition to the foregoing, the flour obtained from the seeds was found to
furnish a highly nutritive, wholesome article of diet for man. Dr. Adrian
Sicard, to whom the agricultural world is indebted for a very exhaustive
analysis of the Chinese sugar-cane, has established, by conclusive
researches, that its leaves are also specially adapted for the manufacture
of paper, as well as for various colours or dye stuffs. As to the
remunerative value of the _Sorgho_, it is more than 230 per cent. more
productive than beet-root, which in France produces on the average 2160
kilogrammes per hectare, while the _Sorgho_ makes a return of 5000

The mode of cultivating this useful plant differs in no respect, as we
repeatedly had occasion to observe, from that of maize or Indian corn. The
season for sowing varies with the temperature of the country, between the
months April and July. The seed when sown in the beginning of April will
be ripe about the middle of August, or in 135 days, while that sown in
mid-July will not be ripe before the end of November, or about 140 days.
In France the experiment has been made of bathing the seeds in tepid water
for periods varying from 24 to 48 hours before sowing, which resulted in a
much more speedy bringing forward of the plant. In like manner experiments
were made of sowing the seeds with and without their husk, the result of
which was that the former took 15 days, and the latter only 10 days to
sprout. It is recommended to plant the seeds in furrows sufficiently
separated from each other according to the conditions of soil and
irrigation, so far as is possible.

The period of germination of the _Sorgho_ is rather long, but once that
period is passed, the most favourable results are sure to follow, even
should the most unusual alternations of temperature ensue, provided the
thermometer does not descend below 27°.5 Fahr. The _Sorgho_ requires about
five months to attain its full ripeness, when it is usually of a
pale-yellow colour, streaked with red. It is occasionally subject to
different maladies, some of which attack the root, others the pith. In
like manner the larvæ of certain noxious insects have been remarked on
occasional specimens. But the origin of all these drawbacks has been as
yet far too little inquired into, and they are of too rare occurrence to
permit of any definite information respecting them being as yet available.

On the whole, the cultivation of the _Sorgho_ may be regarded as eminently
successful in the South of France, as well as in Pennsylvania, U. S.
(which has a much severer climate than Venetia, Dalmatia, or the lower
course of the Danube). Very probably we may also succeed in naturalizing
the _Sorgho_ in suitable parts of Austria, and introducing there the
cultivation on a commensurate scale[173] of a plant, which bids fair not
merely to prove far more profitable in cultivation than any other member
of the vegetable kingdom in any part of the earth, but at the same time
seems destined at no distant period to be the means of supplying the
civilized world with one of its most vitally necessary articles of food,
by means of free white labour, without the assistance of slavery![174]

Another plant, which it seems likely might be advantageously introduced
into the southern districts of Europe, is the _Mo-chok_, one of the most
graceful kinds of bamboo found in the forests of China, which grows in
greatest luxuriance on the limestone slopes of the province of
Tschi-Kiang, in a climate ranging between 90°.5 in summer, and 20°.3
(Fahr.) in winter. The erect, smooth, elegant stem shoots up to a height
of from 60 to 80 feet. The lower part of the tree is usually free from
branches, which usually begin to spring from the trunk about 20 feet from
the ground, and are very delicately leaved. These and two other species,
the _Long-sin-chok_ and the _Hu-chok_, are used in the manufacture of
sieves, baskets, furniture, &c., while the tender shoots form a most
nutritious and delicately flavoured vegetable. The stem of the plant is
moreover available for the manufacture of paper.[175]

Writing paper is manufactured from it as well as packing paper, and one
very coarse quality is mingled with the mortar by the Chinese masons. Mr.
Fortune has introduced the Mo-chok into China, where, especially in the
north-west provinces, it promises to come on well upon the slopes of the

Of the other plants which grow in China, which are not indeed suited for
transplanting to a colder climate, yet merit attention on account of
their produce, we shall briefly notice the varnish tree, the tallow tree,
and the wax shrub.

The varnish tree (_Vernix vernicia_), a sort of sumach, which grows in
greatest luxuriance in the provinces of Kiang-si, Chi-kiang, and Szechuen,
furnishes that varnish which, partly in a semi-fluid, partly in a dry
state, comes to market in whitish cakes, and is worth, according to
quality and demand, from 40 to 100 dollars per picul of 133 lbs. In the
preparation of this lacquer, the reputation of which has extended over the
globe, 6-2/3 lbs. varnish, 13-1/2 lbs. water, 41-2/3 lbs. nut-oil, 16-2/3
lbs. of pigs' gall, and 33-1/3 lbs. of vinegar, are mixed together till
the whole assumes the consistence and appearance of a shining black paste.
The fact that many Chinese lacquered wares, especially those prepared in
Foo-chow, vie with the renowned manufactures of Japan in beauty and
lustre, leaves room to suspect that the Chinese workmen have received some
instruction from their Japanese fellow-craftsmen.

Vegetable tallow (_Schulah_, or _Schu-káu_, tree fat) is obtained from the
_Stillingia sebifera_, the so-called tallow tree, and, judging by the
experiments made with it, promises under an extended system of cultivation
to become a tolerably profitable article of export. The tallow tree
flourishes throughout the southern provinces, but is chiefly found in the
island of Chusan and the coasts adjacent. The tallowy substance procured
from the seeds, which externally resemble nuts, is sold in cakes of from
90 to 130 lbs. at from 7 to 12 dollars.

Vegetable or tree wax (_peh-lah_) is a waxy substance, which the _coccus
pela_ or _flata limitata_ deposits, apparently as a protection to its
eggs, on a sort of ash tree, on whose twigs and boughs it is deposited
like snow-flakes. It is gathered after the first frost, and purified by
melting it in a cloth held over hot water. Apparently the process is
varied by dipping what has been collected in a silken sack into hot water.
It melts at 81° Fahr., and in consequence of its unusual stiffness is much
used for admixture with bees-wax and other descriptions of fats used in
the manufacture of tapers. The candles hitherto made in England of this
substance have commanded a large sale, and only the circumstance that as
yet but a small quantity has found its way into commerce, prevents its
being much more extensively cultivated. The price of _Peh-lah_ is rather
high, as it fetches about £11 10_s._ per 133 lbs.

Passing from the various natural products furnished for export by China to
a consideration of those articles[176] of European industry, for which the
Chinese market supplies an ample demand, we find that their number is
considerable, while they represent a value of upwards of £5,000,000. In
these pages, however, we propose to notice only that article which is the
most profitable, and undoubtedly forms the chief staple of import in all
the harbours opened to foreign commerce, viz. opium. Opium (_á-pièn_), the
solidified sap of _Papaver somniferum_, was, as every one knows, up to
quite a recent period, a monopoly of the Anglo-Indian Government, by whom
it was cultivated under the superintendence of agents in the various
provinces of Hindostan, and sold to the trade by public auction in large
quantities at a time in the markets of Calcutta and Bombay. It seems to
fulfil among the Chinese the function of the various spirituous liquors of
Europe; at least every attempt to introduce among the Chinese a taste for
ale, whisky, sherry, port, champagne, and claret, has hitherto entirely
failed. Indeed there is probably no country of the globe where, in
proportion to population, there is so little spirituous liquor introduced
as into China, what is imported being almost exclusively for the
consumption of foreigners. The Chinese is emphatically a born
"tea-totaller," or friend of abstemiousness, for the native drinks,
substitutes for wine, which are obtained chiefly from rice and millet, are
only used on special occasions, and then only in small quantities. During
our entire stay in Chinese waters, we never saw one single Chinese drunk,
and heard in every quarter that any such cases are rare and quite
exceptional. On the other hand, the consumption of opium is continually
increasing, and the quantity of solidified poppy-juice annually imported
amounts to from 75,000 to 80,000 chests, which at current rates represent
a value of from £7,500,000 to £10,000,000. There are four descriptions of
opium that come to the Chinese market, viz. Benares (_Ku-ni_), Patna
(_Kung-ni_), Malwa (_Peh-pi_), and Turkish (_Kiu-ni_ or golden dung). Of
these the Patna and Benares are reckoned of finer quality, and
consequently are more sought after, than that imported from Malwa, but
both descriptions are preferred by the Chinese to the Turkish, and even to
that produced at home.[177]

The custom of opium-smoking is of comparatively modern introduction among
the Chinese. It was about the commencement of the 18th century,[178] that
the practice of mingling opium with tobacco as an antidote against
toothache, headache, and pains in the body first began to prevail. Chinese
sailors and merchantmen, returning from the islands of the Bornese
Archipelago, had learned from the natives to inhale it as an anæsthetic,
which, depriving them of all activity, brought the most delightful visions
before their eyes. It is unquestionably the prohibition of wine to the
believers in the Koran which first directed their attention to this
narcotic substance, which the Western Asiatics swallow in pills, the
Hindoos chew, and the Chinese smoke. In 1750, there were imported into
China from Turkey, Persia, and Bengal, chiefly by Portuguese merchants,
some 200 to 250 chests according to official return (of 140 lbs. each),
ostensibly for medical use. Nothing could be more welcome to the entire
Empire than a means of passing the intervals of relaxation from the hurry
of business, in a state of absolute exemption from all anxiety, rocked in
the most delightful slumbers! In 1773 the East India Company sent a small
portion of opium to China by way of speculation. Seven years later they
founded an Opium Dépôt in Larke's Bay. In 1781 the Company sent 2800
chests (of 140 lbs. each) at one single shipment to Canton, where it was
purchased by a "Hong," or Association,[179] for trading purposes. The
Company found itself compelled, however, to re-export a quantity, as at
that period there was not in China a sufficient demand for such a supply.
The first regular shipments began in 1798, when 4170 chests were sent to
the account of the Association in China, and then sold at Rs. 415 (about
£41 10_s._) per chest.[180] Since that period the import and consumption
have been steadily increasing at a geometric ratio, and a table now before
us, drawn up with great labour and industry by Dr. Medhurst, informs us
that between 1798 and 1855 there were imported altogether 1,197,041 chests
of opium from Bengal, which, after deducting all expenses of cultivation
and shipment, represented a net gain to the East India Company of

Relying on the splendid profits secured to the East India Company, and its
colleagues settled in China, by the opium traffic, no one troubled himself
in the slightest with the many protests of the Chinese Government, any
more than the anathemas launched at opium dealers and opium-smokers by
English missionaries and philanthropists. The dealers, growing richer day
by day, contented themselves with laconic replies to the more virulent of
their antagonists, to the effect that they were but supplying a want
originating in a national custom, and that it was as futile to attempt to
prevent the Chinese from smoking as to restrain Europeans from the use of
spirituous liquors. Both when abused are productive of much evil, and even
then opium was productive of far less destructive ravages on the human
organism, and was never followed by such appalling catastrophes as those
resulting from alcohol. The dark side of the opium traffic has since been
so fully exposed, that but little more remains to be said, and although
even the most sanguine persons have ceased to hope that the trade can
ever be entirely suppressed, yet it is at least consolatory to know that,
according to the best calculations, the number of opium smokers throughout
China, in a population that is to say of 420,000,000, is not above
4,000,000 to 5,000,000, and that an ordinary smoker does not on an average
consume more than one mace or about one drachm[182] of opium, worth about
90 cash, or 3-1/2_d._ The provisions of the new tariff, by which opium may
be imported unrestrictedly on payment of a fixed duty of 30 taels (about
£10) per chest when water-borne, and 20 taels (about £6 10_s._) when
imported by land, must materially effect the opium trade as hitherto
carried on, and may very possibly alter the views at present entertained
by the Chinese Government with reference to this important article of
commerce, in proportion as its treasury begins to be replenished by such a
high rate of duty.

Although for European readers the chief interest of China is to be found
in its relations with foreign countries, we yet cannot take leave of it
without a few remarks on the momentous political movement which has been
on foot since 1849 in several provinces of China, and claims, in
consequence of its peculiar religious nature, universal interest.

Hung-sin-Tsuen, the originator and head of this rebellion, was born in
1813, in a village near Canton, and while yet in his early youth was, in
consequence of his precocity, removed from tending his father's flocks to
be a scholar in the village, where he pursued his studies with such zeal,
that a year later he took several degrees as a teacher. On one of his
visits to Canton, he made the acquaintance of a Protestant missionary,
with whom he long corresponded, and from whom he received a variety of
tracts translated into Chinese, and books, by way of presents. In the
course of a serious illness with which he was assailed about this period,
he had numerous visions, and is said in his delirium to have insisted on
being hailed Emperor of China. Gradually Hung and his friend and zealous
adherent Fung-Yun-San became, through erroneous or wilful
misinterpretation of the works of various missionary societies, the
founders of a new creed, a sort of free, semi-Christian sect, which, as it
could not long subsist without coming into collision with the reigning
Government, very speedily assumed a political character. It is an
indubitable fact that at first the religious movement was supported by the
Protestant missionaries, and the views of its founders forwarded by every
means in their power, with the object of using it to prepare the soil for
the promulgation of Christianity. When about entering his forty-first
year, Hung formed an alliance with American missionaries stationed at
Canton, studied their books, after which he returned to the province of
Kuang-si, where he published writings descriptive of the alleged
manifestations of the Deity, gave himself forth as a poet,[183] and at
the same time issued proclamations under the designation of the "Heavenly
King." The severity with which the regular Government treated the
insurgents, and all who consorted with them, only served to augment their
ranks, to which the mysticism of their doctrine contributed in no small
degree; for the credulous masses have in all lands the same love of the
marvellous and unintelligible. Such a result only increased the courage,
the energy, the arrogance of Hung. He no longer was content to announce
himself as "the mouth through which God the Father, and Jesus the Elder
Brother, declared their will;" he now proclaimed boldly the intention of
himself and his followers to overthrow the unworthy Mantchoo dynasty, and
raise to the throne a new native dynasty, that of the Tai-ping, or
universal peace. Although stigmatized by the official _Pekin Gazette_ as
"local banditti," they were nevertheless strong enough in March, 1852, to
storm even such a populous city as Nankin, where they set up a
provisional government, and have since fortified it as their
head-quarters. At the time the Tai-ping rebellion first broke out, Yeh,
the then Governor of Canton, thought he would readily be able to suppress
it by the summary process of chopping off the heads of all who were
supposed to be in correspondence with them, and thus had as many as 800
executed daily.[184] It was no longer quite safe for a native to show
himself in the streets of Canton, unless provided with a paper of
identification. For this purpose, four-cornered pieces of a sort of white
cotton fabric were worn, on which was printed a sign in red. These cotton
strips served as countersigns for those friendly to the reigning dynasty,
and were worn concealed from view, but so as to admit of being at once
shown in case of need. Dr. Pfitzmaier, who has examined this sign, is of
opinion that it is simply a union of the three signs [Chinese
character(s)] which, so far as the two last are concerned, seem to have
been compressed together and abbreviated, so that only the initiated could
understand its significance. The learned sinologue is of opinion that this
hieroglyphic, signifying "to offer hand and heart," or "to offer the
original (own) heart," has nevertheless no meaning apart from the centre
figure, which, however, is unusually distorted, so that the whole may
also mean [Chinese character(s)] Kia-hoei, "to yield grace and
benevolence," or may be applicable to him who wears it, "one who enjoys
the all-embracing Imperial clemency."

The religious direction of the Tai-ping movement, coupled with its
apparent Christian tendencies, its results, and, above all, the last
hostile proclamation of the Pekin Government against foreigners, roused
the sympathies of both Europeans and Americans in favour of the
insurgents; and in the English papers of Hong-kong and Shanghai, the
policy was vigorously and repeatedly advocated of turning the insurrection
to their own advantage; while in a religious point of view it was
recommended to avail themselves of the favour shown to the Scriptures by
the Christian sect of the Tai-ping, which was also so amicably disposed to
foreigners, who at all events were more likely to prove a bulwark and
support to English Protestantism than the deceitful, promise-breaking,
idol-worshipping Mantchoos. Letters and communications, which from time to
time were published on the visit of Protestant missionaries in the
insurgent camp, were apt to propound the most favourable ideas about the
insurgents and their strivings after religious truth, and to attach to
their victories and successes the most glorious hopes with respect to the
spreading of Christianity in China. Fortunately the English Government did
not suffer its policy to be affected thereby, but continued to observe the
strictest neutrality. Only in those cases where, owing to the advance of
the rebels, the interests of British subjects or of universal commerce
seemed to be endangered, communications were held with the "Heavenly King"
or his ministers, or to protest against the injury and limitation of trade
with the earnestness and depth of impression which Armstrong guns are apt
to impart to diplomatic dispatches. Thus the insurgents were prohibited
from approaching within 10 Li of the city of Hang-kow, by this measure
protecting not alone their own property, but the entire city from pillage
and destruction. During the last war the interests of the insurgents were
kept entirely in the background, and during the stay of the _Novara_ at
Shanghai, which had likewise been repeatedly threatened by the insurgents,
we could gain but little enlightenment as to the nature and direction of
the movement.

However, since the Treaty of Pekin has thrown open the navigation of the
most important rivers, and thus facilitated communication with the
interior, there has been a better opportunity than hitherto for
intercourse with the Tai-ping, as also for obtaining a clearer insight
into its present condition, as well as the object and inevitable
consequences of their tenets. People are beginning to consider it more
calmly, and even the missionaries seem gradually abandoning the
expectations they had formed, of finding in it a means of helping the
cause of Christianity, albeit a former missionary, Rev. J. C. Roberts, who
in 1847 had spent several months with Hung, is at the present moment a
sort of minister of foreign affairs in the insurgents' camp at Nankin. The
latest information respecting the Tai-ping enters so fully into the
character of the whole movement, and so clearly develops its tendency,
that no apology is needed for laying before the readers of every class a
brief sketch of the more important and significant dogmas.

The Tai-ping translations of the Old and New Testament, though in the
whole tolerably correct, yet are in certain parts so imperfect that they
implanted the most erroneous ideas in the head of the "Celestial King." He
conceived his own visions and revelations as far more important, and of
far higher authority, than those of Holy Writ. His mission, as he himself
states it, is to be followed by a new revelation, accompanied by numerous
miracles, and a third book will be given to the world, which is to
supersede the Old and New Testaments, and be called the "_True_
Testament." According to Hung, both God and Christ have appeared in the
human form. Christ is not equal to the Father, that is solely God; he is
also brought into connection with other redeemers, and has a wife and
children in heaven.

The Celestial King and his son form with God and Christ a Quaternity in
Unity. The corporeal presence of the Celestial King is that of the
Godhead, and in the distempered imagination of the Tai-ping the government
now existing in Nankin is assuredly that of heaven itself!

The Tai-ping suffer no one to preach against their creed, because that
would be to diminish the authority of their chief, and damp the ardour of
their hopes. In their various proclamations it is expressly declared that
Hung-sin-Tsuen is the brother of the Saviour, the Son of God, without any
other distinction than such as must exist between an elder and a younger
brother. They maintain that there is a celestial mother as well as Father,
a heavenly sister as well as a heavenly Brother, and that the recently
defunct King of the West, Fung-yun-san, one of Hung's oldest adherents, is
now married to the heavenly sister. They hold to the opinion that not one
of such of their revelations as clash with the Old and New Testaments, can
be decided by such ancient books of religion. Their revelations being the
newest, are on that account the most entitled to belief.

In a letter of greeting addressed by Hung to Roberts[185] the missionary,
on the occasion of the arrival of the latter at Nankin, in October, 1860,
Hung narrates his heavenly journey in 1837, the repeated miraculous
interference of the Father and the Son in his favour, as also the
revelations made to the Eastern King. He professes to have seen the Father
and Christ, the heavenly mother and the heavenly sister. He is himself
"the Way, the Truth, and the Life," just as Christ is. He warns Roberts
repeatedly, that implicit belief in this is of the highest importance, as
otherwise he can neither be useful in this world nor blest in the next.
After such an exposition, Christian missionaries will scarcely be suffered
in the insurgent's camp if they dare to preach against such errors, not to
say blasphemies.

There are but few religious ceremonies. The Tai-ping, indeed, call one
day of the week the day of prayer, and it happens more through oversight
than intention to be fixed upon the Saturday, but so far as external
sanctity goes there seems to be no special attention paid to it. They buy,
and sell, and delve just as on other days. On the previous night about ten
o'clock two or three cannon-shot are fired to announce the approach of the
hour of prayer, and that the day of worship is at hand. Every family is
engaged for an hour in devotion and praise. All strangers who have been in
communication with the Tai-ping in Nankin state that, even in the capital
where he has been resident for seven years past, that dignitary does not
observe the Sabbath in any way, either by preaching, prayer, or expounding
of the Scripture; there are no exhortations or pious admonitions; they
have neither church nor temple; their sole divine service consists in each
one reciting in his own house English hymns, and repeating a few prayers,
while divers offerings are made, such as tea, rice, and the flesh of slain
animals. They offer their prayers kneeling, after which they close the
proceedings by singing a hymn standing. An English missionary, who arrived
at Nankin with the conviction that the insurgents were genuine sincere
Christians, made, after a short stay, the following severe but just remark
concerning them: "I found to my regret no trace of Christianity, but a
system of the grossest idolatry substituted for it, and arrogating its
name. Their notion of God is so distorted, that it is, if possible, still
more erroneous than that entertained of the Supreme Being by other
idol-worshipping Chinese. Their conception of the Redeemer, to whom they
pay equal honours, is crude, and thoroughly material. Their prayers, far
from giving the impression of a true reverence of God, have much more the
appearance of an idolatrous mockery of sacred things!"

An English merchant, who accompanied Sir Hope Grant on his reconnoitring
excursion up the Yang-tse-Kiang, and spent a week in what used to be
called Nankin, now the celestial capital of the Tai-ping, gives the
following characteristic sketch of them: "The insurgents take no interest
in and do not encourage trade, except in muskets and ammunition. To our
representations how unwise it was to lay waste towns and villages, and
shut out commerce, they promised, after peace was concluded, to erect
schools and other similar institutions, and professed their willingness to
promote trade, but 'for the present,' they went on, 'we must, before
anything else, make the hills and the rivers subject to our power.' On the
whole I found the condition of the rebels far better than I had expected.
They are comfortably clothed and well fed. The population of Nankin
consists exclusively of officials. No one not connected with the
administration of the army is admitted within the gates of the city. The
majority of the inhabitants, who number about 20,000, are prisoners and
slaves from every part of the empire. Although employed in most arduous
work, they get no pay, but are simply clothed and fed. I remarked an
extraordinary number of beautiful young women in elegant silken stuffs
from Sutschan. There were also prisoners of war from Sutschan and other
places, who, however, were by no means inclined to lead a very Christian
and moral life in the celestial capital. The city of Nankin, as well as
its suburb, the beautiful ancient cemetery of the Ning dynasty, and the
far-famed porcelain Pagoda, are all utterly destroyed; instead of the
broad well-paved streets of former times the stranger has now to pick his
steps through heaps of bricks and rubbish. The palaces of the kings of the
Tai-ping dynasty are glaringly conspicuous among all these ruins. They
must have been entirely rebuilt, for the old Yamuns and temples, like the
whole of the Táu-Tái City, have been demolished utterly.

"The rebel chief inhabits a large palace. His household consists of 300
female attendants. He also, in virtue of his rank, has 68 wives supported
for him. No one but the kings (of whom there are 11 or 12, but only two
are resident in Nankin) is permitted to approach his sacred person.
Probably Hung is little more than a mere puppet in the hands of his
ministers. It is he who mainly keeps the rebellion on foot. Discipline is
far better maintained among the long-haired insurgents than the imperial
troops, and many of the younger soldiers have pleasing manners.

"The kings or Wangs, on the other hand, seem exceedingly lazy and
vicious, and when they make their appearance, with a theatrical attempt at
assuming a dignified deportment, clad in the yellow costume of a
mountebank, and with a tinsel crown upon their heads, they present a most
ludicrous aspect. Not one of these so-called kings understands the
Mandarin dialect, so widely diffused among the educated classes;--not one,
except Hung himself and Kan-wang, has a better education than one of his
coolies.[186] They have linguists at their elbow, who do their reading and
writing for them.

"The arms of the Tai-ping are very wretched, and the bare fact that they
are able to make head against the Imperial troops, speak volumes for the
utter helplessness and incapacity of the Imperial Government. I have not
the slightest expectation that any advantage will accrue to civilization
or Christianity from the religio-political movement of the Tai-ping. No
Chinese will have anything to do with them. Their whole activity consists
in burning, murdering, and devastating. They are universally detested by
the people; even those inhabitants of the city who do not belong to the
'Brotherhood' detest them. For eight years their head-quarters have been
at Nankin, which they destroyed, nor have they as yet made the slightest
attempt to rebuild it. Trade and industry are forbidden. Their taxes are
three times higher than those of the regular Government. They take no
measures to staunch the wounds which they have inflicted on the people,
nor do they occupy it as though they had any permanent interest in the
land. They take no pains to tap those slow but sure springs of revenue, or
to increase the resources of the state. They lay themselves out to
maintain themselves by plunder. Nothing in their organization gives hope
for any amelioration of the present or consolidation of power in the
future; there is nothing in the entire history of the Tai-ping to enlist
sympathy or compel confidence in a movement which, under the mask of
religious reform, conceals the most hateful self-interest and terrorism,
and under the pretext of spreading peace amongst men, brandishes the
scourge of destruction and desolation among the provinces through which it
has passed."[187]

On the 11th of August the _Novara_ quitted her anchorage off Shanghai, and
with the steam-tug _Meteor_[188] fastened to her side availed herself of a
spring-tide to make her way into the Yang-tse-Kiang. Off Wusung we awaited
the arrival of the post, after receiving which we were on 14th August
towed as far as Gutzlaff's Island. Here we had once more to lay to, owing
to calms and currents, till at last on the 15th August a fresh breeze
sprang up from the S.E., and enabled us to make an offing.

The temperature had materially altered during the last few days. After a
cycle of oppressive heat the weather had suddenly changed to severe
squalls, with a marked fall in the barometric column. The thermometer,
which while we were lying off Shanghai marked from 86° to 93°.2 Fahr., now
indicated in the morning only 68° Fahr., and during the day never rose
above 77° Fahr. The number of fever cases, which had reached the number of
seventy, began gradually to fall off. Several cases of dysentery forthwith
began to show symptoms of amendment.

Considering the latitude we were in, and the season of the year, the
barometer stood unusually high (30°.100), and although this might be
attributable to the constant prevalence of easterly winds, we nevertheless
knew we were approaching the period when the monsoon changes, and little
reliance was to be placed on the steadiness of that from the S.E.
Accordingly on the 17th the wind shifted round to N.E. by E., while our
course was due S.E. This however rendered it necessary to tack, if we
wished to pass to the northward of the Loo-Choo group, whereas we could
run free and with a fair wind through the southern channel. The sun set
behind a bank of dense clouds on the horizon. The western sky was tinged a
deep red, and the stars shone out with uncommon brilliancy, but with a
sort of trembling ray. The barometer fell slowly but steadily; the sea
began to heave perceptibly. Our course was now changed to S.E. by S.

The following morning the breeze freshened, and drew somewhat further aft;
the sky was covered with clouds massed together, those to the N.E. of a
very dark, almost black, colour. Wind and sea were now rising, the sky
became more and more obscure, the barometer kept falling--there was every
indication of the approach of heavy weather.

The 18th August, the birthday of our Emperor, was duly celebrated far on
the open ocean, in the middle of the China Sea. All was prepared for
Divine worship, which was to be celebrated at 10 A.M. on the gun-deck, in
presence of the staff and the entire crew. The Commodore had invited
several gentlemen of the staff to dinner. On land no one thinks of
consulting the elements, when such a festival is to be observed, nor do
the guests waste many thoughts on wind, rain, and heavy seas, as they
assemble in their comfortable chambers. At sea, on the other hand, the
conditions are altered. Wind and weather are the masters here, whose
behests the sea-farer must attend to. This was our case on this 18th of

First, Divine service had to be dispensed with, because the sea became too
heavy, rendering it necessary to close the port-holes in the gun-deck,
where, as already mentioned, the service was to be performed. As the hour
for the festival drew nigh, the elements gave unmistakeable evidence of
their determined hostility; there was no room any longer to doubt that we
were about to do battle with a regular Typhoon.[189] This species of
storm, which is very customary at the change of the monsoons in August,
September, and October, when the N.E. trade suddenly veers round and
becomes the S.W. monsoon, is, like the tornado of the West Indies, the
Pampero of the eastern coast of South America, and the hurricane of the
Mauritius, a whirlwind of the most colossal proportions and most
tremendous fury, by which the atmosphere is swept in a circle at an
astonishing velocity around a central point more or less calm, which does
not, however, remain stationary, but is continually progressing, and hence
they are usually termed _cyclones_, or circular storms, to distinguish
them from those other storms in which the wind moves in a straight line.
It has been reserved for scientific investigation to explain the
extraordinary regularity of the laws in obedience to which the masses of
air, in the case of such storms occurring in the Southern hemisphere, move
in the direction of the hands of a clock, whereas in the Northern
hemisphere they are rotated in an opposite direction. In like manner, the
direction of the centre round which the _cyclone_ is raging has been
definitely ascertained, so that, provided with these data, it is not
merely possible for the navigator to hold aloof from the dangerous
central point of these circular storms, where the best and stoutest ship
that ever floated must almost to a certainty be swallowed up, but even to
avail himself of the wind to reach the edge of the _cyclone_ (the breadth
of whose path is from 300 to 1000 miles), and thus make a rapid and
prosperous passage. By mid-day the wind had increased to such an extent
that we had to take in most of our sails, and reef the rest. The sea now
rose, and many of its waves came thundering upon our decks. The vessel was
tossed to and fro with such violence that everything which had not been
made fast, or was attached to the vessel, began to lurch from side to
side. Nevertheless, the invited guests sat down to table, made the seats
and the table fast, and, such at least whom the violent rocking did not
make sea-sick, partook of a pleasant and joyous meal. But even these
precautions did not prevent numerous unpleasant accidents. One tremendous
lurch of the ship, which took us unawares, suddenly set adrift a number of
our mess, who rolled over and over each other upon that unstable floor,
amid a hideous chaos of tumblers, bottles, plates, and crockery. Chairs
and _fauteuils_ had their legs broken, everything breakable went into
irretrievable smash, the convives escaping serious injury only by a
marvel. Once more they took their seats at table, where only the bare
cloth gave promise of security, and endeavoured to anchor themselves more
firmly. When, at the conclusion of the meal, our Commodore gave the usual
toast, and his guests emptied their glasses to the health of the reigning
monarch, the band attempted to strike up the National Anthem, and a hearty
cheer resounded above the groaning of the ship, the howling of the wind,
and the sullen roar of the ever-increasing waves, as they lashed against
the ship's sides.

The sun went down behind clouds, as we went careering along under
close-reefed main sail and storm stay-sail over a confused sea, running
mountains high, and with huge heavy grey masses of cloud and mist close
overhead; the barometer was still falling, and as night closed in the wind
sung mournfully, yet with almost deafening noise, through the masts and
rigging. The wind now shifted and sprung up from N.E. by N., which being
an additional sign that the centre of the _cyclone_ was receding, we felt
assured that we were on the right side to keep clear of it. By midnight
the wind came still further round, till it stood steadily at N.E., when it
acquired fresh strength, and blew a most violent hurricane. The centre of
the _cyclone_ had once more altered its course, and begun to move in our

Our position at noon (27° 25' N. and 125° 23' E.) was the most
unfavourable possible. We had a N.E. wind, and were in the N.E. section of
the typhoon, whose centre, as is customary in these storms, was moving in
a N.W. or W. direction, and therefore threatened the more readily to
overtake us, that our course lay S.E. through the wide channel, which
leads from the Chinese Sea into the open ocean between the Loo-Choo
Islands and the Meiaco-sima group. There was now no other egress possible
than by steering W. by S. to get away from the advancing centre of the
whirlwind, on which course we would have to steer for the N. extremity of
the Island of Formosa.

The night of 18th and 19th of August was, in the fullest sense of the
word, a night of storms. Towards midnight we once more set double-reefed
foresail in order to lie our course of west by south. Had we calculated
aright the course of the centre of the _cyclone_, the wind as we advanced
should have drawn ahead, as we were now keeping it on our larboard beam.

Daybreak of the 19th found us beneath a gloomy, angry-looking, cloudy grey
canopy on every side, the clouds hanging quite low, till they seemed to
brood upon the surface of the sea, now lashed into fury by the violence of
the storm. The look-out could scarcely see a cable's length clear of the
ship. Deluges of rain, lashes of spray, driven on board by the tremendous
violence of the wind, enveloped us in a strange, half-mysterious
obscurity. Towards the N.E. a compact bank of bluish grey clouds indicated
the centre of the _cyclone_. The motion of the ship was so violent that
one of her quarter-boats got filled with water, which at every lurch was
washed upon the frigate's quarter-deck like a small cascade. Sometimes
they became so full that they threatened to wrench the davits from their
fastenings. The gun-deck was afloat with spray lashed on board with each
pitch of the ship, while the foam flew high up upon the mast. The waves
crossed each other in every direction, huge conical masses rising suddenly
to a height of 25 or 30 feet, as far as one might guess, and then as
suddenly subsiding. It was the genuine pyramidal sea of the true
_cyclone_, of which vessels caught in these furious circular storms are
even more apprehensive than the fury and strength of the hurricane.

The wind, which now began to draw to the westward, indicated that thus far
we had shaped a proper course, and that the course of the _cyclone_ lay
towards the N.W. Under these circumstances it was deemed most prudent to
make the Marianne Islands, and to avail ourselves even of the hurricane in
order to perform a rapid voyage. We accordingly now laid our course to
steer S.E. by S., through the centre of the channel south of the Loo-Choo
Islands. Considering the width, 120 nautical miles, of this channel, there
was reason to hope that, despite the errors in reckoning which were to be
expected amid so many man[oe]uvres, and considering the impossibility of
getting astronomical observations, and the influence of the sort of
currents which those hurricanes usually set in motion for a short period,
we might make our way through it in safety.

The wind remained steadily in the N.W., and at first was on our port
quarter. Towards noon, however, it came round to N.W. by W., so that we
were now running dead before it. We now set double-reefed foresail so as
to make quicker progress. Towards 6 P.M. the hurricane woke up to its full
strength; squall followed squall, the universal covering of cloud in
which the heavens seemed wrapped looked as though it reached to the very
waters, and the air was quite filled with spray, till when standing at the
ship's stern it was barely possible to distinguish the forecastle. The
storm, sweeping along above the seething water, had a singular piercing,
almost metallic, note, quite unlike the singing and whistling made among
the sails and cordage. Staggering along under close-reefed fore and main
sail, and double-reefed top-sail, the frigate pressed on through the thick
night, going 14 miles an hour, through the strait between Loo-Choo and
Meiaco-sima, out of the China Sea into the Pacific Ocean, whither she was
being hurried along with such impetuous, irresistible violence by the
wind, that not even the most experienced seaman could make head against
it, but had, when passing from one part of the ship to the other, to warp
himself along by means of a rope made fast fore and aft.[190] At 4 P.M.
the barometer stood at its lowest (29°.302, the temperature at the same
period being 66°.02 Fahr.), where it remained without sensible alteration
for several hours. At last, towards 9 P.M., it began slowly to rise, the
surest indication, and therefore most welcome one, that we were increasing
our distance from the central point of the storm. About 11 P.M. the
clouds suddenly lifted on S.S.E., the horizon began to widen; there was no
longer a doubt that the worst was over.

At dawn on the 20th the masts and cordage showed a thick incrustation of
salt, thus giving unmistakable evidence of the great height to which the
spray had been driven. The wind was now W.S.W., and the barometer had
risen to 29°.5, so that we had now merely an ordinary gale to deal with,
and might look upon the _cyclone_ as expended. Science had indicated the
method of evading the centre of the circular storm, and even of making the
very hurricane subservient to our ends in driving us along our destined

At 8 A.M. the sun began to be visible by fits and starts, long enough,
however, to permit us to make an occasional observation. According to this
we were only one mile out of our position by dead-reckoning. During the 24
hours, inclusive of the period during which we lay to, we had run 218
miles in a general direction of S.E. by E. During the afternoon the sky
cleared. The sea was still high, but the atmosphere gradually became
clearer and more transparent, till by sundown even the large banks of
clouds on the N.E. which continued to mark the centre of the _cyclone_ had
entirely disappeared. The _Novara_ during this tremendous storm had proved
herself a thorough sea-boat, nor was there any particular damage
noticeable on the occasion of the careful inspection to which her sails,
masts, and rigging were subjected, immediately that the weather became
more favourable. Her masts and sails, which in such a warfare of the
elements she might so readily have had carried away, were all found to be
uninjured, and only a few plates of her copper sheeting had been loosened
by the fury of the waves, while those still clinging to the ship had been
rolled up like so much paper, by the tremendous pitching of the good ship.
The quarter gallery too, which when the frigate was running before the
wind was exposed to considerable danger, had sustained but little damage.
Such unfortunately was not the case with a small menagerie of rare birds
and monkeys, which had been placed in cages carefully covered with linen
in this, ordinarily the most sheltered, part of the vessel. The covering
had been torn away by the hurricane, and the wind had so tossed the poor
things about, that all their feathers were knocked off, and they presented
a most pitiable appearance. The quadrupeds too, whose cries and lowings
during the storm had already testified to their misery, were found to have
suffered severely. Two oxen and several sheep died on the 19th. All the
surviving animals lost flesh terribly during 48 hours, while those that
had been the wildest and most untameable were now quite tame and docile.

An analysis of the phenomena observed during the continuation of the
_cyclone_, shows that on the 18th it formed its vortex, being then about
opposite the rather lofty and tolerable-sized island of Dkinawasmia of the
Loo-Choo group, which must have occasioned an alteration in the direction
of the wind. Owing in part to the influence of the N.E. trade, which
enters the northern part of the China Sea, and at this season is gradually
veering round till it completely displaces the S.W. monsoon, as also
during the S.W. monsoon itself, which blows from Formosa on the south,
there appears to exist to the northward of the latter-named island,
favoured probably by its natural configuration and physical features, a
well-defined space within which the barometer is always depressed, and in
which the atmosphere in immediate contact with these N.E. and S.W. winds
is compelled to assume a sort of whirling motion, like that of the hands
of a clock, thus forming the germ as it were of a _cyclone_.

So long as the S.W. wind was blowing strongly, the centre of the _cyclone_
moved in an easterly direction, or in other words, in the direction of
least resistance. But arrested in its advance by the various island
groups, as also by the gradually increasing pressure of the S.E. and E.
winds, the _cyclone_ must, in consequence of the obstacles opposed to its
path, have swung round with a sort of whirl, which once more impressed
upon it a N.W. direction to the coasts of China, there to expend itself,
apparently in consequence of the ever-increasing pressure of the
surrounding atmosphere. During forty-eight hours, namely from 6 P.M. of
the 18th to the same hour on the 20th, we were within the range of the
typhoon itself, and on the 19th were at the nearest point to its vortex;
nevertheless, judging by our lowest barometrical reading, we must have
been at least 100 miles distant from the centre. It was the first typhoon
that visited Chinese waters in 1858, and had been predicted weeks before
in the "North China Herald," while the Thousand Years Almanac of the
Chinese calendar assigned its date for the 10th of August.

Our course was now shaped for the Marianne Archipelago. For several days
after the typhoon, the weather remained unsettled, and the swell was both
heavy and broken, when on 26th August we came in sight of the island of
Guam or Guaham, the most southerly of the Marianne group. In twelve days
we had run 1860 miles, with the aid of the typhoon it is true, but there
was the fact, the distance had been accomplished, and as to the How? Jack
gives himself little concern, so long as he reaches his goal swiftly and
in safety.

On the morning of the 27th we stood into the Bay of Umáta, although it was
very doubtful whether we should find a secure anchorage here, considering
the S.W. wind that was blowing full into the roadstead, which is quite
un-sheltered in that point of the compass. In fact, as we came nearer the
land, we speedily became aware of the impracticability of anchoring here
even in the best weather; while, on the other hand, it did not seem very
advisable, owing to the difficulty of getting in, to make for the
excellent harbour of San Louis de Apra, it being by no means easy, during
the prevalence of the S.W. monsoons, for a large ship to beat out, so that
they are occasionally detained there for several weeks. The order was
accordingly given to luff up, so as to make tacks against the freshening
west wind, out of this bay, studded as it is with numerous coral reefs.
This proved to be a work of much time and trouble, ere we succeeded,
after many hours of anxious care, in weathering the reef.

The island of Guam, with its lofty green mountain-ridges, numberless
valleys, and thickly-wooded glades, had a cheerful and friendly aspect,
but seems but little cultivated. At Umáta, where we perceived a few
houses, the Spanish flag was waving from a small fort adjoining the
settlement, which had been hoisted on the approach of the frigate.

On 30th August, in 149° 53' E., we reached the eastern limit of the S.W.
monsoon, and--although not more than four days' sail from the object of
our next visit, the island of Puynipet, had we met with favourable winds
to waft us a little further--it was 15th September ere we came in sight of
that lovely island, for, stormy and boisterous as the beginning of this
section of our cruise had proved, not less annoying were the fickle calms,
which kept us lying for weeks motionless, our sails idly flapping with the
roll of the ship. It is a wretched depressing state of inactivity and
discomfort, of which only those can form an idea who have been caught in a
calm on the open ocean, on board of a sailing ship,--

     "Wenn Welle ruht und jedes Luftgeflüster; Wenn Meer und
        Himmel schweigend sich umschlingen, Und fromm, fast wie zwei
      betende Geschwister."

Which may be freely translated as follows:

              "When ocean smooths his wrinkled face,
              And sea and sky in pray'rful silence bend,
                As when, in mutual fond embrace,
              Two loving sisters' vows on high ascend!"

The original is by Nicolas Lenau.


[126] Compare Gutzlaff's "History of the Chinese Empire," published by K.
Neumann; Stuttgart and Tübingen, 1847.

[127] The copper cash is the sole currency in use, and consists of a
mixture of copper, iron, and tin. Its value, reckoned by the string of
100, is variable, and is calculated according to the proportional traffic
in foreign merchandise. On the average, from 1250-1300 cash are about
equal to $1.00 American, or 4_s._ 2_d._ English.

[128] In Shanghai the medium of exchange in common use is not as at
Hong-kong reckoned in dollars, but in taels, an imaginary currency of the
value of about $1.33, so that 100 taels = $133-1/3, or about £27 15_s._
Most accounts are rendered in taels, whence they are reduced into Mexican
dollars, the only foreign silver that is current. When European merchants
first came in contact with the children of the Flowery Land, the latter
used to pay a sort of premium for American dollars, while for those
bearing the effigies of Charles III. (known as the Karolus dollar), quite
a special price was paid. Gradually, however, the value sank till, as
already mentioned, 75 taels=$100. What has so often been reported of a
special Shanghai dollar coinage is quite erroneous. There are neither gold
nor silver coins struck in China, but solely of copper, and in some
provinces of iron. The term Shanghai dollar is equivalent to tael, which,
as already remarked, is, like the guinea in England, unknown to commerce.
1 tael=5_s._ 7_d._ English, but in trade it is taken as 6_s._ It
occasionally rises as high as 6_s._ 6_d._, when the proportion between the
dollar and the tael is as 100 to 72.

[129] An English translation of one of these reports will be found in the
1845 number of Morrison's admirably edited, but now rather rarely met
with, monthly periodical, "The Chinese Repository."

[130] We occasionally saw the Queen of Heaven (Kwan-Yin) represented with
a child in her arms, and have in our possession a piece of carved work
representing such a group, which we purchased in a shop at Shanghai. This
elegant figure seems to be a favourite deity with the Chinese, as it
frequently adorns their little domestic altars, and is especially
reverenced by the women who are desirous of the honours of maternity. The
striking similarity between this exhibition and that of the Holy Virgin,
as we see her represented in Catholic Churches, with the infant Jesus in
her arms, must involuntarily suggest the idea that there has been an
infusion of Catholicism intermingled here with the rites of Buddha. If the
resemblance between the two is not accidental, it may readily be assumed
that the same thing has occurred here as in the case of certain Christian
legends, which the traveller encounters among various races, on whom the
beams of Christian civilization have never been shed.

[131] The price of each meal is as follows:--

  1 bowl of rice,                                   12 cash (1/2 _d._)
  1    "    vegetables,                              "  "   (1/2 _d._)
  1 cup of tea,                                      6  "   (1/4 _d._)
  Breakfast, consisting usually of rice,
      vegetables, and tea,                          30  "   (1-1/4 _d._)
  Bed, fire, and attendance,                        20  "   (7/8 _d._)

[132] This sacrificial paper, coloured and written upon, is usually called
"Joss" or "Sycee"-paper in Canton-English, because the prayers addressed
to the Divinity are usually for riches and silver ingots (_Sycee_), which
the suppliants hope to obtain by entreaty.

[133] Properly spelt _Kong-fu-tséu_, from which the Europeans have
constructed the Latinized name Confucius. _Kong-fu-tséu_ (sometimes also
written _Kong-tse_) was born 550 B.C. in the city of Kio-siu-bien, in the
modern province of Shantung.

[134] Lao-tse (Lao-tseu), born B.C. 504, in the village of Knio-schin, in
the kingdom of Thsu, held the post of keeper of the archives of the palace
under the Tscheu dynasty. In his Book of Philosophy (Tao-te-king) the
following remarkable words occur: "The rule of antiquity has been, not to
shed light on the people, but to keep them in ignorance. A people that
comprehends is difficult to govern. On this subject men say, Whoso governs
a kingdom in knowledge, the same is the destroyer of that kingdom; whoso
governs a kingdom assigning no reason, the same maintains that kingdom. In
the family, in the school, children are brought up among idols. When they
enter school in the morning they are taught to do honour to the image of
Kong-tse. This custom must be forthwith dispensed with." (Compare J. R.
Kaeuffer's History of Eastern Asia, for "Friends of the History of
Mankind," Leipzig, Brockhaus, 1859, vol. ii. p. 64, and K. F. Neumann's
Eastern Asiatic History, Leipzig, W. Engilmann, 1861, p. 129.)

[135] Copper coins, struck by a ruler with whose reign any memorable
occurrences are associated, command a high price as health-giving amulets.
Some of these, those, for instance, of the Ming and Sing dynasties, have
very special healing virtues attributed to them. The currency of
Tsching-tá (1506-1522) are unfailing preservatives against the perils of
pregnancy, and the illnesses consequent thereon. Others are held in great
honour as prophylactics. The mode of application consists in the invalid
dragging them by a cord over various parts of his body in a certain
prescribed order.

[136] The Chinese attribute the most marvellous healing powers to water,
and accordingly apply it in a variety of forms, in numbers of maladies of
the most dissimilar character. Water, cold, tepid, warm, and hot, as also
snow and iced-water, figure among the list of medicaments, as do also
rain-water, well and river-water, brackish water, dew, water from any eddy
or whirlpool, or a stream, boiling water, and steam.

[137] The Chinese women are for this reason anxious to keep their children
at the breast for two or three years and even longer, partly by way of
speculating upon their having a constant breast of milk, and in this
singular manner make up for any deficiency of cow's milk, between the
market demand and the actual supply. A Chinese who possesses five or six
concubines in addition to his legitimate spouse, may thus boast of a
regular dairy farm. As sailors on arriving in port are usually excessively
fond of milk, which they drink in large quantities, we were not a little
amazed on learning from a physician at Hong-kong the source whence in all
probability had been derived the milk that was so plentifully supplied!

[138] In German _Bruch-porzellan_, in French _porcelaine-craquelée_.

[139] _Description générale de la Chine._

[140] Not alone this oil-cake, but ground horns and bones, hair from the
beard, and nail-parings, rust, ashes, and even human excrement are used as
manure. And it is a singular fact that the price of the latter varies
according to the race of men by whom it has been evacuated. The
succulently nourished flesh-eating English and Americans are in this
respect in far greater demand than the more sparely-fed cross-breeds;
while the Chinese, subsisting almost exclusively upon fish and vegetables,
are in respect to the value of their _fæces_ as manure, behind every other
race inhabiting the country. The price of this manure varies with the
quality from one dollar to three dollars the _picul_. This custom of
collecting and disposing of human excrement for manure is much more
extensively observed in the interior of the Empire than in the provinces
along the coast. "If," writes M. Huc, the well-known missionary,--"if we
were not aware to what perfection the denizens of the Celestial Empire
have carried the art of manuring, one would be at a loss how to reconcile
the fondness of John Chinaman for making money with the conveniences free
of all charge which the proprietors of the soil everywhere erect for the
comfort of travellers. There is not a city nor a village in which this is
not universally the case. In the most crowded streets, or the most
out-of-the-way abandoned spot, one frequently marvels to find these
"cabinets" in cane-work, earth, or even masonry. One is almost tempted to
believe he is in a country where the care to provide plenty of public
latrines is pushed to the extreme. Utilization, however, furnishes a
sufficient explanation of all these edifices."

[141] In every part of this extensive empire, travellers encounter these
national tributes to the memory of distinguished women, and Dr. Medhurst,
as also Fortune and other authorities upon China, relate numerous
instances of these remarkable memorials. One of these, an archway of
stone, is spoken of by Medhurst as of singular beauty. It is half a mile
from the city of Kwang-Tib, and was erected by the community of that
region, with the approval of the Emperor, in honour of a lady of that
city, of singular piety and benevolence. Over the portico are inscribed
the words "Kin-sin-tsaé-tschung" (a golden and perfect heart precisely in
the middle).

[142] In the hospital, in what is called the western suburb of Canton,
which was under the charge of Dr. Hobson from 1848 to 1858, the annual
number of patients of both sexes under treatment averaged upwards of
20,000. During the most unhealthy season (May and June) the number
imploring assistance frequently amounted to from 3000 to 3400. In the
dispensary there were, moreover, from 200 to 250 patients, who received
medical advice three times a week, and were supplied with medicaments

[143] We saw this huge work in the private library of the chief of the
medical staff at Hong-kong, Dr. W. A. Harland, who had conceived the idea
of publishing a more important work upon Chinese drugs, when death struck
down this distinguished and most industrious gentleman while in the active
discharge of his duties.

[144] In the Leper village near Canton, which is under the superintendence
of a Chinese physician, there are about 100 lepers of both sexes, each of
whom receives about 20 cash (not quite one penny) daily for his support.
The superintendents stated to Dr. Hobson, who repeatedly visited the
village, as the result of their many years' experience and observations,
that leprosy is not in every case transmitted from parents to children;
that several wives of leprous persons have no trace whatever of the
disease, but that these women in all probability belong to those of the
third and fourth generation, who wholly escape. The Chinese overseers and
attendants, however, can have had as little opportunity for remarking upon
the breaking out of leprosy among the children of those whose parents were
entirely exempt from it as they had of informing themselves with accuracy
as to the various forms and rapid diffusion of the disease in the case of
the one, or its mild type and gradual disappearance in the other.
Perspiration or suppuration in the diseased parts are never remarked in
these patients.

[145] At the Refuge for the Destitute (_Monegu choultry_) at Madras, where
Dr. Mudge was at the same time instituting experiments lasting over two
years, exhibiting these same remedies in every form and shape of
elephantiasis, to which cases a special ward had been set apart, rarely
entertaining fewer than 100 patients, that gentleman found it to be
perfectly inoperative, and he accordingly entirely ceased prescribing it.
In lieu of the Tscharul Mugra, the Hindoos in cases of leprosy make use of
what are known as the "Asiatic pills," consisting of arsenic, pepper, and
the root of the _Asclepia gigantea_.

[146] In an old Chinese medical work occurs the following remarks upon the
plant: "Tae-fung-tzi. Taste, acrid and burning: imported from the South
(this obviously alludes to the Straits of Malacca). Acts as an alterative
on the blood, and is accordingly useful in cases of leprosy, when the
blood is corrupted. The oil pressed from the seeds is also used as a
remedy in ulcers, eruptions, and psoriasis, and for killing worms. This
drug must be exhibited in the form of pills."

[147] Geography, Statistics, and Natural History of the Chinese
Empire--New York, 1847; Tonic Dictionary of the Chinese language--Canton,
1856; Chinese Commercial Guide. Fourth edition--Canton, 1856.

[148] In the figures of the Chinese original, which represents the
Lo-háu-miáu or Buddhist aboriginal, Buddha is represented in a cavity of a
rock. Two burning lamps are standing beside him, one on each side, and in
front are two worshippers in devotional attitudes, while at a short
distance one perceives a woman with a little child, who is approaching the
divinity. The men wear fox-tails as ornaments to the head, and their long
locks hang loose and dishevelled, far below the shoulders. Every year on
the third day of the third moon, our Chinese traveller goes on to state,
old and young, man, woman, and child, bring offerings of fruit to Buddha,
and for that and the three next succeeding days, they sing and dance, and
at the same time make offerings of all manner of _cooked_ food. From their
custom of wearing a fox-tail on their heads, which was also common among
the ancestors of the present Mantchoos, and that these wild tribes
reverence the image of Buddha, Dr. Bridgman is disposed to class them
amongst foreign nations.

[149] Among these there were, besides a small quantity of Sorghum, several
species of vegetables, which are suited for cultivation in temperate
climates, such, for example, as Poussén, Pa-tsé, Pon-ta-tsé, with which
since our return experiments have been instituted in various parts of the
Austrian Empire. M. de Montigny has also since our return sent, quite
lately, a large quantity of Chinese seeds by way of souvenir, and despite
illness, is so much interested in forwarding the objects of the Imperial
Expedition, that he was a short time ago decorated with an Austrian order.

[150] We are however in a position to furnish an extract from the
note-book of an English sailor, left in charge of the yacht of an English
merchant at Shanghai, who accompanied the expedition of Lord Elgin to the
Pei-ho as coxswain. Notwithstanding the occasional _naïve_ expressions
made use of, it is a valuable narrative, such as may call up many strange
reflections in the mind of the reader:--

"1858. May 30th.--The river Pei-ho is about 150 yards wide at its mouth,
and at dead low water varies from 1-1/2 to 4-1/2 fathoms in depth. On the
bar, which is two miles wide, the difference between the ebb and the flood
is from 9 to 10 feet. Easterly winds cause the highest tides. In the
interior, near Tien-Tsin, the river is from 3 to 6 fathoms deep, and from
50 to 100 fathoms wide. Countless villages stud the banks. The houses are
built of clay or straw. The boys run about naked to an age of eight years.
It is a very wretched population. The coolies plunge into the water after
the empty bottles which are swimming about. They seem exceedingly willing
to be serviceable to foreigners. At Tien-Tsin, ten and a half hours from
the mouth of the river, the thermometer marks 89° Fahr. in the shade. Lord
Elgin is living in a private house on shore. The interpreters live in a
passenger-junk. Provisions are on the whole cheaper than at Shanghai. An
immense number of natives keep crowding open-mouthed round the
"barbarians" and their ship during the entire day, hundreds following us
at every step. Almost all the shops are shut, through dread of the

"4th June.--Thermometer 95°. The people very willing to supply the
strangers with water, tea, &c. The natives are on the average from five to
five feet three and well-proportioned. Some of them are "tremendously"
fat, with huge heads. Among the entire lot I could not see one single
woman. The streets are narrow, filthy, and uneven. Saw several hand-carts,
which were used to convey water from the river to the village. On each
barrow there could be from six to eight buckets of water. There were also
plenty of mules and donkeys, but very few horses."

"June 18.--This day the Russian minister concluded his treaty. A Russian
courier starts to-morrow for St. Petersburg with dispatches."

"June 26th.--At 6 P.M. to-day the treaty with England was signed. Went in
procession to the town. All the shipping dressed with flags, and manned
yards. The festivities went off in the Yamun. Lord Elgin sat at the middle
table, with a Mandarin on each side of him. I hear their names were
Wa-schu-nau and Kwei-liang. The first-named is a strong, corpulent man of
about 45; the latter is much older, and seemed very much dejected; he has
however just recovered from sickness, which may account for it. After the
ceremonies of signing and sealing had been gone through, they all partook
of refreshments provided by the Mandarin. Lord Elgin proposed a toast to
the health of the Emperor of China, and to the future friendship of the
two nations, which was responded to by the Mandarins. Shortly after the
assembly broke up, and we all marched home to the excellent music of the
flag-ship's band and the bugles of the marines. The whole affair lasted
about three hours and a half. It was full moon, and a splendid night.

"June 27th.--This afternoon the treaty with the French was signed.
Returned to their ships by torch-light, port-fires, &c. &c. Ki-ying, the
Mandarin who assisted in bringing about the treaty, was sentenced to be
decapitated, as he was blamed for opening the door to the barbarians, but
he has since been pardoned."

"July 3rd.--News came from Pekin that Ki-ying has committed suicide by
cutting his throat."

"July 4th.--Thermometer 96° on board, despite awnings and sprinkling the
roof of the wheel-house with water!"

"July 6th.--Left Tien-Tsin. After a long, tedious, and tiresome passage of
15 days we reached Shanghai once more on 21st July, all well.

"Price of provisions at Tien-Tsin, as contracted for on 28th May, for the
supply of the English fleet:--

  Oxen (average weight 4 piculs, or 533 lbs.), the carcase      $10
  Sheep,                                         "                2
  Hens,                                        per dozen          1
  Geese and ducks,                               "                2
  Eggs,                                        per thousand       3
  Vegetables,                               picul=133-1/2 lbs.  1.50
  Rice,                                          "                5
  Sugar,                                         "                6
  Yams,                                        per dozen          1
  Pears,                                       per hundred        1
  Apples,                                        "              1.50
  Ice,                                         per lb.           16

"All articles to be delivered of the best quality. The prices are reckoned
in American dollars. Every morning a boat was sent off to the
_Coromandel_, on board which the purchases took place."

[151] The Táu-Tái, whose authority extends over the three prefectures of
Soo-Chow, Sung-Kiang, and Tai-tsing in the north-east of the province of
Kiang-ti, is under the governor of Soo-chow, and has resided at Shanghai
ever since that port was thrown open to trade. His salary by law is only
4000 _taels_ (£1445), but the various perquisites and emolument attached
to it make his actual income about 365,000 _taels_ or £105,000 per annum;
out of which he has, however, to defray all expenses of subordinates, &c.;
so that the net annual income of this post is estimated at from 25,000 to
30,000 _taels_ (£7000 to £8700). Besides the Táu-Tái there is only the
Tschi-hien, a sort of magistrate who lives in Shanghai, and trades with
the foreigners.

[152] As another example of an interview with the highest class of Chinese
officials, we must briefly describe one enjoyed by some of our Expedition
with a Mandarin named Li-hoi-wan. He received them in a chamber of his
house, in which were a few small tables and chairs, while at the other end
was an elevated cushioned seat on which sate Li-hoi-wan, a large stout
man. He wore a Mandarin hat, with a blue button, and a greyish blue coat
reaching to the ground. He saluted the foreigners by folding his palms
across his breast, invited them to be seated on the daïs beside him, and
ordered cigars and tea to be brought. Afterwards sweetmeats of every
description, confectionery, and fruit were served, as also Chinese wines,
the latter, to judge by their flavour and their fragrance, seeming as
though they must have hailed from a perfumery store rather than a wine
cellar. Two days after the Chinese, with delicate courtesy, returned the
visit at their quarters in the residence of M. Probst, the Consul for
Oldenburg. Punctually at the appointed hour three far-resounding taps of
the gong were heard, a foot-soldier of police presented a flaming red
"_carte de viste_," bearing the name and titles of Li-hoi-wan, who
forthwith was received by the travellers at the threshold, in compliance
with Chinese customs. He was attired in heavy silk clothes, his fan in an
elegantly worked sheath, a gold lever watch in his girdle, and was in
excellent spirits. The hospitable host had, according to the custom of the
country, prepared a chow-chow, or collation, at which, however, instead of
Samschoo, champagne was the prevailing beverage. A few days later the
Mandarin visited his newly acquired friends on board the frigate, and
begged their acceptance of a variety of presents, such as silks, nuts,
tea, dried fruits, and Chinese maxims and proverbs, written on long rolls
of paper, that, as he naïvely expressed it, we might think of him "as a

[153] Mr. Hogg has since left that firm, and with his brother, Mr. Edward
J. Hogg, has established the firm of Hogg Brothers, in Shanghai.

[154] Under the Emperor Yang-ti of the Tsin dynasty, which filled the
throne during the 6th century, more than 1600 miles of canals were partly
constructed, partly rebuilt and repaired, the immense works being
distributed among the soldiery and the inhabitants of the cities and
villages. Each family was bound to furnish one man, between the ages of 15
and 20, whom the Government only found in provisions. The soldiers, on
whom devolved the heaviest portion of the work, received higher pay. Some
of these canals, which were the making of the commerce of the interior,
and thus were of the utmost service to the welfare of the Empire, were
forty feet wide, and were planted on either bank with elms and willows.

[155] These lanterns, often beautifully carved and otherwise adorned, are
among the most characteristic furniture of a Chinese room. Into their
manufacture enter not alone glass, horn, silk, paper, &c., but also the
glutinous matter derived from a species of sea-tangle (_Gigartina
tenax_--called by the Malays _Agar-Agar_), with which the paper employed
in covering the sides of the lantern is fastened on. In the silk and paper
manufactures too this omnipresent Agar-Agar paste plays so important a
part, that above 500 piculs at $2 a picul, are annually imported from the
Indian Archipelago.

[156] Vide Huc's Chinese Empire, Vol. I.

[157] The Chinese find it not less inexplicable that we use such
murderous-looking instruments to divide and convey our food to our mouths,
with which they think we must every moment be in danger of wounding our
lips or putting our eyes out, than that we should remove the bones from
the flesh, or crack the shells of nuts and almonds, both which operations
seem to them excessively absurd. In fact, it is no mere bon-mot which
represents a Chinese gazing in astonishment at Europeans playing
billiards, or nine-pins, waltzing, or "polking," and remarking, with an
ill-concealed assumption of superiority, that wealthy people ought to
leave such fatiguing things to be done by their servants!!

[158] Since the well-known minister and envoy to Japan.

[159] Since sacked by the Tai-ping rebels.

[160] Abandoned after a large part of the course of the Yang-tse had been
explored. Lieutenant-Colonel Sarel published lately a most interesting and
valuable pamphlet on this expedition, of which he was the leader, under
the title, "Notes on the River Yang-tse-kiang from Hankow to Ping-Shan.
Hong-kong, Printed at Noronka's office."

[161] Report of the deputation, appointed by the British Chamber of
Commerce in Shanghai, on the commercial capabilities of ports and places
on the Yang-tse-kiang visited by the expedition under Vice-Admiral Sir
James Hope, K.C.B., in February and March, 1861. Supplement to the China
Overland Trade Report of 28th Feb. and 27th May, 1861, and Supplement to
the Overland China Mail, No. 237 of 12th June, 1861.

[162] According to Dr. W. H. Medhurst's translation of this rare work, for
a copy of which, rescued from the last great conflagration at Canton, we
are indebted to the kindness of Mr. Wylie, the portion especially
referring to this runs as follows: "The mulberry ground having been
supplied with silk-worms, the people descended from the hills and dwelt in
the plains," (p. 91,) and further on, "their tribute baskets were filled
with black silks and checkered sarsenets" (p. 96). See Ancient China,
[Chinese character(s)] The Shookin, or the Historical Classic. Being the
most ancient authentic Records of the Annals of the Chinese Empire.
Illustrated by later commentators. Translated by Dr. W. H. Medhurst, Sen.
Shanghai, 1846.

[163] Thus Yuen-tschin in the third month (April of our calendar), Chay
and Yuen in the fourth month (May), Gae-tschin in the fifth month (June),
Sai in the sixth month (July), Han-tschin in the seventh month (August),
Szé-tschan in the ninth month (October), and Haù in the tenth month

[164] The value of a tael, as already stated, varies from 6_s._ to 6_s._
6_d._ It is estimated that a bale of silk, until it is shipped at Shanghai
for England, has cost from £80 to £100 sterling.

[165] The word _Châ_ is, however, used by the Chinese to designate not the
tea plant alone, but every description of _Camelia_.

[166] Arabian travellers who visited China in the 9th century, A.D. 850,
speak thus early of tea, as of a beverage in universal use. According to
Kämpfer tea was introduced from China into Japan about A.D. 519, by a
native prince named Dæme, who, during his residence in China, had learned
its invaluable properties. The Japanese, however, do not drink their tea
as an infusion, but grind the leaves into powder, pour hot water upon
them, and stir them with a bamboo-stick till they are thoroughly mingled
together, when they swallow the decoction and the powder together, as is
done with coffee in some parts of Asia.

[167] The term "Bohea" is in fact only a corruption of the Chinese Wu-yi,
which again is derived from Wu-i-kien, a well-known Chinese divinity.

[168] In Java, where the tea plant has been cultivated for a series of
years, the mountain region from 4000 to 5000 feet above the sea, and with
an average temperature of from 58°.1 to 73°.7, Fahr., has been found best
adapted for the growth of the plant.

[169] The first scientific arrangement of the tea plant according to dried
specimens was made in 1753 by Linnæus, who in his _Species Plantarum_
included among these one species, which he called _Thea Sinensis_. But by
the time the second edition of his renowned work made its appearance in
1762, Linnæus found himself compelled to make two species of it, and to
assign them the names by which they are known to the present day. The
first living tea plant was brought to Europe in October, 1763, by a ship
captain named Ekeberg, and planted in the Botanic Garden of Upsala.

[170] According to Fortune ("A Residence among the Chinese." London, 1857.
Murray), the various sorts of tea have added to them from two to four
spoonfuls of a mixture in which the plant _ma-ki-holy_ largely enters, as
also indigo and pulverized _gypsum_, in order to increase the green tinge
of the leaves.

[171] A picul, 133-1/3 lbs., of these leaves costs on the average 15 to 18
dollars, though it occasionally ranges as high as 30 dollars.

[172] In the year 1859, the exports into England were 30,988,598 lbs.
(viz. 22,292,702 lbs. black, and 8,695,896 lbs. green), out of a total
export of 55,328,731 lbs. Within the same period 19,952,147 lbs. went to
the United States, 1,879,584 lbs. to Australia; to Hong-kong, and other
ports along the coast of China, 1,261,347 lbs.; to Montreal, 510,600 lbs.,
and to the entire continent of Europe 736,455 lbs.

[173] Some experiments on a small scale were made with the _Sorgho_ at
Aquileia near Görz, by M. Karl Ritter, a well-known merchant and sugar
refiner, of Trieste. We were shown samples of refined sugar, extracted
from the _Sorgho_, which promised the best results. A large quantity of
seeds which were sent a year ago to one of the members of the _Novara_
Expedition by M. de Montigny, had been made use of to institute a series
of experiments in cultivation, in those parts of the Empire, the climatic
conditions of which promised to be most favourable for the growth of the

[174] During our stay at Shanghai we also made inquiries as to an alleged
new species of potato, concerning which there have been current for years
such contradictory accounts in the European and American journals, that
the foreign community of Shanghai was beset with inquiries from all parts
of the world, begging for more accurate information as to this newly
discovered tuber, which promised to supply a much-needed substitute for
the apparently effete, worn-out, disease-smitten potato of Peru. No one,
however, could furnish us with the slightest information on the subject,
and ultimately it became apparent that the rumours hitherto current were
founded on an erroneous impression. It would seem, according to the
opinion of Mr. Fortune, that the rumour first arose from mistaking for a
new sort of potato, the _Calladium esculentum_, which is quite commonly
exposed for sale in the streets of Shanghai, and the small tubers of
which, both in flavour and external appearance, resemble those of the
potato, when, without taking the slightest further trouble to inquire into
the matter, the pretended new discovery, fraught with such important
results for the poorer classes, was duly trumpeted to the entire world. In
no part of China hitherto accessible was there at the time of our visit
any other description of potato in use than the common Peruvian. Officers
of the English and American navies, who at the time of the first Peace of
Tien-Tsin were eating potatoes in the Gulf of Petcheli, assured us that
they were precisely identical with those that have so long been
acclimatized in Europe. Of edible tubers there are at Shanghai, besides
potatoes, the yam (_Dioscorea_ sp.) and the Yucca (_Jatropha_ sp.).

[175] The following is the process as we observed it: the bamboo strips
are first soaked for a considerable period in water, after which they are
peeled, and again saturated with lime-water, until they are perfectly
flexible. After this, they are converted, according to the method in use
at that special locality, either by water power or hand labour, into a
fluid of a pap-like viscosity, after which it is boiled till it has
attained the requisite fineness and consistency for conversion into paper.

[176] These consist chiefly of cotton and woollen goods of every
description, steel cutlery, iron-ware, glass, clocks, watches, musical
clocks, tin-ware, &c.

[177] The quantity of home-grown opium, chiefly produced in the province
of Yun-nán, cannot be accurately ascertained, as the returns are not made
at certain points; but the quantity must fall far short of the amount
imported from India.

[178] According to MacCulloch's Commercial Dictionary, opium had been
introduced into China and India by the commencement of the 16th century by
Mahometan merchants, and it sounds like an apology when the learned and
patriotic author, in treating of the part taken by England in the
much-to-be-lamented traffic in this noxious drug, adds by way of
palliation--"A century and a half before the English had _anything_
whatever to do with its _cultivation_."--(Latest edition, p. 939.)

[179] Only a certain number (originally twelve) of wealthy Chinese
merchants, "Hong," were permitted by law to trade with foreigners at
Canton. They had not only to account to Government for all duties and
taxes, but were likewise responsible for the good behaviour of the

[180] It is a coincidence worthy of notice, that simultaneously with the
rise of the opium trade with China, the importation of slaves into America
began to increase, and that European commerce in these two infamous
traffics seemed to be ever increasing and gaining ground in Eastern Asia
and in America! At the end of last century the number of slaves in the
Southern States of the Union was little greater than that of opium-smokers
in China: at present the number of the former is about 4,000,000, and the
latter may be put at about the same figure; the latter, slaves of their
own intemperate passions,--the former, of the covetousness and cold
calculating selfishness of their masters. The opium question and the slave
question--these two seem destined to be solved simultaneously!

[181] A very similar result is arrived at by MacCulloch, who calculates
that the Company cleared 7_s._ 6_d._ per lb. on opium, which they bought
by their agents from the Bengal ryots at 3_s._ 6_d._ per pound, and
retailed at 11_s._ per pound.

[182] There are indeed smokers who smoke their two, four, five, and even
eight drachms per diem, but these are solitary instances, while the very
costliness of the article forbids the use of the narcotic to the great
mass of the population, except in the very smallest quantities.

[183] One poem of the Chinese Imperial Pretender, which is not included in
Dr. Medhurst's collection of the writings published by the insurgent press
at Nankin, and for a copy of which we have to thank Mr. Meadows,
Government interpreter at Shanghai, has lately been translated by our
learned countryman, Dr. Pfitzmaier. The splendidly got up binding of this
little book is of a golden yellow on the title page, and red on the
reverse; the river Yang-tse-kiang appears to pay homage to the Tai-ping,
whose residence it surrounds. The title printed on the exterior of the
wrapper runs as follows: "Imperial announcements in theses upon the words
of the Heavenly Father, the Most High Ruler." The title within is: "Ten
poems upon Supreme Felicity," although these so-called poems are simply
strophes, never exceeding four verses of seven feet. The writing bears
date the number _Kuei-hao_ (50), corresponding to A.D. 1853, the third
year of the reign of the Heavenly King, Tai-ping. The whole production is,
if that be possible, yet more bombastic, unintelligible, and stupid than
Chinese poems usually are to Western readers.

[184] Between February and September, 1855, there were executed in Canton
70,000 persons all told. Many of the rebel leaders were, in conformity
with the _penal laws_, hewed in numerous pieces while yet living; a
certain Kausin in 108! See K. F. Neumann's History of Eastern Asia, from
the first Chinese war to the Treaty of Pekin, 1840-1860. Leipzig,
Engelmann, 1861.

[185] We extract from the _London and China Telegraph_ of 31st March,
1862, the following severe but just criticism on this gentleman, whose
letter, which we also quote, shows him to be a person of but limited
education:--"Even the Rev. J. Roberts, who, as our readers are aware, has
lived with the rebels at Nankin, and has to his discredit defended their
conduct in the strongest possible manner, has at length discovered that
they are nothing better than robbers and murderers. This change of opinion
in a man who on all occasions so confidently urged the claims of the
Tai-pings, arose from a very simple cause:--he at length suffered,
personally, from their barbarity. A servant to whom he was attached was
killed before his eyes; and considering his life in danger, he fled to
Shanghai, and wrote the following letter, dated 22nd January, 1862,
reprobating the conduct of his former friends:--'From having been the
religious teacher of Hung Sow-chuen in 1847, and hoping that
good--religious, commercial, and political--would result to the nation
from his elevation, I have hitherto been a friend to his revolutionary
movement, sustaining it by word and deed, as far as a missionary
consistently could, without vitiating his higher character as an
ambassador of Christ. But after living among them fifteen months, and
closely observing their proceedings--political, commercial, and
religious--I have turned over entirely a new leaf, and am now as much
opposed to them, for good reasons, I think, as I was ever in favour of
them. Not that I have aught personally against Hung Sow-chuen, he has been
exceedingly kind to me. But I believe him to be a crazy man, entirely
unfit to rule, without any organized government, nor is he, with his
coolie-kings, capable of organizing a government of equal benefit to the
people of even the old Imperial Government. He is violent in his temper,
and lets his wrath fall heavily upon his people, making a man or woman 'an
offender for a word,' and ordering such instantly to be murdered without
'judge or jury.' He is opposed to commerce, having had more than a dozen
of his own people murdered since I have been here, for no other crime than
trading in the city, and has promptly repelled every foreign effort to
establish lawful commerce here among them, whether inside of the city or
out. His religious toleration and multiplicity of chapels turn out to be a
farce, of no avail in the spread of Christianity, worse than useless. It
only amounts to a machinery for the promotion and spread of his own
political religion, making himself equal with Jesus Christ, who, with God
the Father, himself, and his own son constitute one Lord over all! Nor is
any missionary, who will not believe in his divine appointment to this
high equality, and promulgate his political religion accordingly, safe
among these rebels, in life, servants, or property. He told me soon after
I arrived that if I did not believe in him, I would perish, like the Jews
did for not believing in the Saviour. But little did I then think that I
should ever come so near it, by the sword of one of his own miscreants, in
his own capital, as I did the other day. Kan-Wang, moved by his elder
brother (literally a coolie at Hong-kong) and the devil, without the fear
of God before his eyes, did, on Monday the 13th inst., come into the house
in which I was living, then and there most wilfully, maliciously, and with
malice aforethought, murder one of my servants with a large sword in his
own hand in my presence, without a moment's warning or any just cause. And
after having slain my poor harmless, helpless boy, he jumped on his head
most fiend-like and stamped it with his foot; notwithstanding I besought
him most entreatingly from the commencement of his murderous attack to
spare my poor boy's life. And not only so, but he insulted me myself in
every possible way he could think of, to provoke me to do or say something
which would give him an apology, as I then thought and I think yet, to
kill me, as well as my dear boy, whom I loved like a son. He stormed at
me, seized the bench on which I sat with the violence of a madman, threw
the dregs of a cup of tea in my face, seized hold of me personally, and
shook me violently, struck me on my right cheek with his open hand; then,
according to the instruction of my King for whom I am ambassador, I turned
the other, and he struck me quite a sounder blow on my left cheek with his
right hand, making my ear ring again; and then perceiving that he could
not provoke me to offend him in word or deed, he seemed to get the more
outrageous, and stormed at me like a dog, to be gone out of his presence.
'If they will do these things in a green tree, what will they do in the
dry?'--to a favourite of Teen Wang's, who can trust himself among them,
either as a missionary or a merchant? I then despaired of missionary
success among them, or any good coming out of the movement--religious,
commercial, or political--and determined to leave them, which I did on
Monday, Jan. 20th, 1862.' Mr. Roberts adds that Kan-Wang had refused to
give up his clothes, books, and journals, and that he had been left in a
state of destitution. Most persons will agree that he fully deserves any
amount of suffering that may be inflicted on him. Mr. Roberts has done his
utmost to delude Europeans as to the true character of the Tai-pings; he
has kept back some facts, has falsified others, and has acted throughout
in a manner utterly inconsistent with his assumed character of a Christian
missionary. On such conduct no comment can be too severe."

[186] Nankin accordingly is usually called now-a-days the "City of the

[187] Very similar are the reports made by the English who, in Dec. 1858,
accompanied Lord Elgin on his voyage of discovery up the Kiang, and
remained a considerable period among the Tai-ping. "The tenets of their
religion," says Mr. Laurence Oliphant (vide Earl of Elgin's Mission to
China and Japan, vol. ii. p. 463), "consist of a singular jumbling of
Jewish ordinances, Christian theology, and Chinese philosophy. Like the
Jews in the Old Testament they wage wars of extermination, they live like
the worst professing Christians, and they believe like--Chinese."

[188] The charges forwarded by the owners of the little _Meteor_ for
towing, and which are calculated according to the draught of water of the
ship towed, was as follows:--

  |Itinerary or  |15 feet   |15 to     |17 to     |18 to     |19 ft. &   |
  |vice versâ.   |and under.|17 feet.  |18 feet.  |19 feet.  |all beyond.|
  |              |          |          |          |          |           |
  |From Shanghai |300 taels,|350 taels,|450 taels,|450 taels,|500 taels, |
  |to Gutzlaff's |or        |or        |or        |or        |or         |
  |Island.       |£90.      |£105.     |£135.     |£135.     |£150.      |
  |              |          |          |          |          |           |
  |Shanghai to   |150 taels,|175 taels,|200 taels,|225 taels,|250 taels, |
  |Wusung.       |or        |or        |or        |or        |or         |
  |              |£45.      |£52 10_s._|£60.      |£62 10_s._|£75.       |
  |              |          |          |          |          |           |
  |From Wusung   |225 taels,|250 taels,|275 taels,|300 taels,|350 taels, |
  |to Gutzlaff's |or        |or        |or        |or        |or         |
  |Island.       |£62 10_s._|£75.      |£82 10_s._|£90.      |£105.      |

[189] Typhoon, or _Teí-fun_, a strong wind. While some authors derive this
word from the Arabic _Tufan_, a violent wind, others see in it the giant
_Typhos_ of Greek mythology, who was begotten by Tartarus of Earth, and
from whom proceeded all that was disastrous and destructive. Whoever has
experienced a typhoon will most readily acquiesce in the latter

[190] During this storm, we made the not uninteresting observation in a
physiological point of view, that when the gale was at its worst, even the
least hard-a-weather of us seemed quite free from sea-sickness, apparently
the result of extreme excitement. For similar reasons, men who have been
bitten by a snake, and who have had raw spirits administered as an
antidote, seem able to take four or five times the quantity which they can
on ordinary occasions.

        [Illustration: Distant View of the Island of Puynipet.]


                       The Island of Puynipet.

                        18th September, 1858.

    Native boats in sight.--A pilot comes on board.--Communications
    of a white settler.--Another pilot.--Fruitless attempts to tack
    for the island.--Roankiddi Harbour.--Extreme difficulty in
    effecting a landing with the boats.--Settlement of Réi.--Dr.
    Cook.--Stroll through the forest.--Excursions up the Roankiddi
    River.--American missionaries.--Visit from the king of the
    Roankiddi tribe.--Kawa as a beverage.--Interior of the royal
    abode.--The Queen.--Mode of living, habits and customs of the
    natives.--Their religion and mode of worship.--Their festivals
    and dances.--Ancient monumental records and their probable
    origin.--Importance of these in both a historical and geological
    point of view.--Return on board.--Suspicious conduct of the
    white settler.--An asylum for contented delinquents.--Under
    weigh for Australia.--Belt of calms.--Simpson Island.--"It must
    be a ghost!"--Bradley Reef.--A Comet.--The Salmon Islands.--
    Rencontre with the natives of Malaýta.--In sight of Sikayana.

While yet, on 16th September, 1858, five or six knots distant from the
island of Puynipet,[191] first discovered in 1828 by the Russian Admiral
Lütke, and just as we found ourselves off what is called "Middle Harbour,"
we remarked a boat of European construction making for the frigate. Two
hours later it came alongside, with four natives and a white man, the
latter of whom came on deck and offered his services to the Commodore as
pilot. He proved to be a Yankee named Alexander Tellet, who had lived 20
years on the island as smith and carpenter, to which he added the
functions of pilot for the harbour in which he lived. Presently we were
surrounded by a considerable number of natives in elegant canoes streaked
with red, and formed of hollowed-out trunks of trees with outriggers,
which have very peculiar scaffold-like supports, so that there is a kind
of platform formed in the centre of the canoe, whereon the master usually
seats himself, but which serves on occasion for festive meetings, and even
for a small dance! The sails, made of mats, are triangular, the most acute
angle being confined between two long bamboos, while a third serves as a
mast, the whole capable of being shifted to either end of the boat by one
of the crew, according to the direction of the wind. While some were doing
what they could in their small boats to keep within the speed of the
frigate, though we were going pretty fast, just as parasites make fast to
the shark, others followed us a little distance, like dolphins, those
faithful companions of ships, as far as the nearest harbour. With the
exception of a short apron of cocoa-palm leaves, the natives were quite
naked, and seemed pretty well made. On their heads they wore a sort of
projecting pent-hat, also of palm-leaves, obviously intended to shield
the eyes from the vertical rays of the sun, and in form most resembling
those lamp shades which old men or youths with weak eyesight are with us
in the habit of using to ward off the full glare of artificial light.
Among the natives who favoured us with their escort, there were two who
from their personal grace, their light colour of skin, and thoroughly
European cast of features, especially attracted our attention. They were
the sons of an Englishman named Hadley, who had been for many years
resident on Mudock island, E. of Puynipet, where he supported himself by
fishing and pilotage, and had married a native woman. Shortly before our
arrival, Hadley had started with several hundred pounds of tortoise-shell
for Hong-kong, whence he intended to sail for England. He had intrusted
his two sons to the care of a European settler, who succeeded him as pilot
on Mudock island. According to all appearance, however, Hadley had little
intention of returning to this island, notwithstanding the family tie that
should have bound him to it.

As we were coasting along the west side of the island about 1 to 17 miles
from the reefs, Tellet was overwhelmed with questions on every hand and on
every possible subject, and among other subjects of information we
presently found that the chief intercourse of foreign ships was carried on
with Roankiddi or Lee Harbour, some 15 or 20 miles distant, and Metetemai
or Foul-weather Harbour, which lies six or seven miles E. of Roankiddi.
During the N.E. trade (November to April), from 50 to 60 American whalers
put in to Puynipet to take in wood and water, and fresh provisions,
chiefly yams, taro, sweet potato, poultry, and pigs. Many ships, moreover,
bound from Sydney for China prefer at that season the voyage through the
Pacific to passing round the south of Australia, and thence through the
Straits of Sunda, or the yet more dangerous passage through Torres
Straits, and usually make a tolerably fast run. Thus the Swedish corvette
_Eugénie_, on her voyage round the globe, performed in November, 1852, the
astonishing feat of making the passage from Sydney to Hong-kong, 5000
miles, in the unprecedentedly short space of 37 days!

The number of aborigines on this island, which is about 60 miles in
circumference, was estimated by Tellet at about 2000. Formerly it was as
many as 5000,[192] but the small-pox had since then committed fearful
ravages among the population. The circumstances under which this frightful
scourge was first introduced into Puynipet, throw considerable light upon
the history of the spread of that disease, as well as much useful
information upon the question of vaccination.

In 1854, the English barque _Delta_ arrived at Roankiddi Harbour, with
one of her crew ill with small-pox. The white settlers then on the island,
who were well acquainted with the virulence of the disease, implored the
native chief to forbid the captain's remaining, and insist on his putting
to sea forthwith. The latter, however, seemed determined to leave the
patient on the island. When he learned the hostile feeling of the
population to himself and the crew, and found that they would neither take
his sick man off his hands, nor supply himself and ship's company with
provisions, he availed himself of the silence and obscurity of night to
deposit the sick man on the shore with all his property, and at daybreak
made off under full sail. Next morning the natives found the unfortunate
wretch stretched suffering and utterly helpless on the strand, while the
barque was no longer in sight. Hostility to the captain was now converted
into sympathy with, and active compassion for, the sick man; a couch was
prepared in an adjacent hut, and as much attention lavished on him as was
possible under the circumstances; but his effects, consisting chiefly of
linen and upper clothing, were speedily appropriated by the thievish
natives. A few weeks later the small-pox broke out with frightful
violence, and raged five months with undiminished severity all over the
island. Almost every one of the natives was attacked, and of 5000
inhabitants 3000 succumbed to the virulence of the epidemic. The sailor,
however, with whom first originated this terrible fatality, completely
recovered. His clothing, scattered through every part of the island, had
no doubt essentially contributed to the speedy diffusion of the malady. Of
the thirty white settlers, who had all been inoculated, only one was
attacked, and he soon got well again. In August, 1854, the destroyer
disappeared almost as suddenly as he came, and has since then spared
Puynipet a second visit, but wherever one goes the traces of the disease
are visible in the faces and on the bodies of the natives.

While picking up this information, we were getting nearer and nearer to
Roankiddi Harbour on the S.W. of the island, and Tellet now stated he
could not undertake to conduct us further, as there resided a pilot in the
harbour whom he was not unwilling to give a job to. Another boat was now
approaching the frigate, which had on board the regular pilot of Roankiddi
Harbour, a Virginia Negro, named Johnson. Our man Tellet now took his
leave, and set out in his boat on his return to Middle Harbour. Many a
longing glance did we cast at the spot, where for the first time we were
to be privileged to examine the wonders of the coral beds of the South
Sea. For Puynipet is one of the finest examples known of a lofty island of
the great ocean regularly hemmed in by wall-like reefs, by far the
majority of the other islands being mere low "atolls." Unfortunately the
breeze was unsteady and very light; the sky looked so gloomy and
threatening that we had to haul off again from the island, and steer to
the S.E., so as not to approach the reef too closely during the night. In
the morning we once more neared the island, under the influence of a
gentle west wind, having run 15 miles out during the night. Gradually the
small wooded or rocky islets hove in sight again, which, stretching
northward from the great central mass, 2860 feet in height, surround the
lofty island like a ring, inside of the wall-reef, which encompasses it at
a distance of from one to two miles. We tacked about during the whole day
with light variable winds from the west, and by evening had got
sufficiently near our anchorage, that every one expected by a last tack to
fetch it ere night set in, when the breeze suddenly shifted, died away,
and once more compelled us to withdraw to a safe distance from the island,
and pass the night under easy sail. At length, on 18th September, a fresh
leading wind from the westward promised to carry us in without further

Right in front of us, and with not a cloud to interrupt the view, lay this
extinct volcano of an island, densely covered with the most luxuriant
verdure. Only at its N.E. corner there sprang suddenly into the air a
naked, castellated rock, about 1000 feet high or so, cut off horizontally
above, and with perpendicular sides, which we were informed was a small
island (Dochokoits), separated by a narrow channel from the main island.
Gradually, on either side of the isle, several rocky points became
visible, which steadily increased in dimension, and began to stretch
towards each other, till they looked like a row of pearls densely
sprinkled in the air above the horizon; after which a number of thin,
small, white clouds suddenly rose and disappeared above the dark blue
surface of the sea, flickering here and there like flames. This was our
first glimpse of the island-reef and the surf-beaten coral, seen under the
influence of a mirage, when, as is very frequently the case in tropical
climates, the temperature of the surface of the water, and consequently of
the immediately adjacent strata of atmosphere, is higher than those next
above. Having got within about a couple of miles, the dark points resolved
themselves into verdant cocoa-groves, patches of which adorn the outermost
reef, while the small clouds now proved to be the tumultuous lash of a
tremendous blinding surf, on the reef which separated the rise and fall of
the ocean outside from the smooth placid surface of the broad channel,
which inside the ring-shaped coral reef forms those singular natural
canals, on which the natives in their frail canoes can sail right round
the island, sheltered from the violence of the waves, and which, at those
places where there is sufficient depth, and a breach in the line of reef
admits of ingress from without, affords for even large-sized ships a
secure harbour, according to observation in 6° 47' N., 158° 13' 3'' E.

We now endeavoured to enter between Nahlap Island on the west, covered
with cocoa-palms and bread-fruit, and Sandy Island on the east, surrounded
with a belt of raging foam, its coral masses clothed with low scanty
brushwood. But almost immediately "Halt" was once more the order. In order
to get into the harbour proper, which lay between two majestic banks of
coral rising from the level of the sea like an elegantly hewn dock, we
had to pass through a very narrow channel in the reef, barely 50 fathoms
wide, which indeed was pretty plainly indicated by the colour of the
smooth water, besides being well marked out by regular buoys, but winds in
a direction first westerly and then northwards, and accordingly was
inaccessible to us with a west wind blowing. There was no alternative but
to let the anchor go among the naked coral rocks forming the sub-marine
plateau over which we now lay. But anxiety for the safety of the ship did
not admit of her being suffered to remain in circumstances so dangerous.
While therefore the frigate once more made sail, a survey of the island
and harbour was ordered by a boat expedition.

About 9 A.M. the Commodore, accompanied by some of the scientific staff,
set off for land in a slim, flat-floored, Venetian gondola, admirably
adapted for such purposes. When we had passed the twin Nahlap Islands and
Sandy Island, we found ourselves in a channel about 100 fathoms in length
by not quite 80 in width, which led directly into the interior of this
huge basin constructed exclusively by insects, and surrounded by a triple
wall of coral, an unfathomable, mirror-like pool, in which a ship lies
calm and motionless as though in a dock. A buoy at the S.W. angle of the
channel indicates some sunken rocks. On the further side of the coral reef
one perceives the low-lying group of the Ants' Islands, thickly covered
with trees. Although our Venetian boat drew hardly any water, we
nevertheless found great difficulty in advancing in proportion as we
approached the shore. The fact too that it was ebb-tide served to increase
the obstacles that beset our progress. Every moment the gondola touched
upon sand-bank or rock. The utmost caution had therefore to be exercised,
as we steered for some huts which were visible under the cocoa-palms quite
close to the shore. Following the deeper more navigable channels, we
reached the mouth of a river running from N.E., the low swampy soil on
either side being covered with dense mangrove bushes, but all our efforts
to push through the thickets so as to reach the huts proved unavailing,
while the whole soil seemed to be beset with the stumps of the mangrove,
like so many sharp stakes. After pushing a short distance up this mangrove
channel, from which on either side smaller channels diverged, we retraced
our steps, as there was no appearance of the scene changing, nor any
appearance of human habitation, and endeavoured to reach the land near the
huts already mentioned, by some of the deeper channels. Just then a white
settler came to our assistance, who, standing on the shore, indicated to
us by manual signs the clue out of this labyrinth of coral, and enabled us
by a less shallow channel to reach one of the few points at which a
landing is practicable. For at almost every point of the shore the
mangroves, by the tenacity of their roots, prevent, or at any rate impede,
the approach of boats, the natives themselves being confined to the use of
those few spots where rivers or other natural channels afford means of
access. Close to the shore appeared three wooden huts thatched with
bamboo and palm-leaves. This was a small colony of whites, whom a singular
freak of destiny seemed to have cast away upon these islands, where they
earned their subsistence as wood-cutters, smiths, fishermen, &c. They call
their settlement Réi. The first hut we entered was inhabited by a
Scotchman, who called himself "Dr. Cook," and practised as a physician. He
had lived 26 years on the island. His dwelling consisted of three large
apartments, which up to a certain height were shut off from each other by
thin wooden walls, so that the air could circulate freely overhead
throughout the entire length of the hut. Everything was neat and orderly:
in the first room, which apparently was used as a surgery, stood a number
of medicine bottles duly labelled, and crucibles, which at the very first
glance revealed the avocation of the possessor. Cook, who seemed far past
the half century, with pale, faded, expressionless features, and a long
silver-grey beard, clothed in a coarse woollen jacket, and with the huge,
broad-brimmed, worn-out straw-hat pulled low upon his wrinkled forehead,
had quite caught the listless, motionless deportment of the natives.
Nothing roused him, nothing surprised him; it took considerable time to
elicit from him any reply to our questions. The other white settlers in
the adjoining islands were not much more communicative; all showed in
their conduct a certain embarrassment, which left little doubt that theirs
had not been an altogether blameless life in former days. Most of them
were surrounded by a number of native wives, who had covered their bodies
with a powder of an intense yellow, prepared from the _Curcuma longa_,
and wore merely a piece of calico round the loins, while splendid yellow
blossoms set off the raven blackness of their long hair.

We now followed up a narrow footpath, which led to a gently-sloping
eminence behind the huts, and soon found ourselves surrounded by
bread-fruit trees and banana, while from time to time a black basaltic
rock cropped out from among the red, marl-like soil, and beautiful small
lizards with sapphire-blue tails that shone with a metallic lustre, shot
about with the velocity of an arrow among the stones. The prevailing
formation, as in almost all the volcanic islands of the Pacific, is an
amorphous basalt-lava, full of olivin and porphyry. On gaining the summit
of the hill, we found there a solitary, wretched-looking hut. A dog, a few
hens, and a phlegmatic native worn away to a shadow, whom the sudden
appearance of a number of European strangers hardly seemed to rouse from
his apathy, were the only living creatures visible. On our requesting to
be furnished with a light, a wrinkled old hag crept out of the hut, and
handed us a piece of lighted wood. The dusky old woman was presented with
a cigar, which she forthwith lit, and proceeded to smoke with
unmistakeable satisfaction. To our request for fresh cocoa-nuts with which
to quench our thirst, the man, without moving from his place, shouted a
few words in the direction of the forest, which was speedily replied to,
when some young girls came forth giggling and romping, who brought us what
we had asked for, fresh plucked from the slender cocoa-stem, as well as a
sugar-cane, and some ginger (_Zingiber officinalis_); all these
refreshments were handed us amid much hilarity by a lot of daughters of
Eve, young, not the least shy, but by no means attractive, whom a present
of two small mirrors in return sent away in a state of enthusiastic
delight. On our return to Dr. Cook's hut on the shore, several natives had
approached who bartered mussels and fresh fruit for tobacco, which they
preferred to everything, besides a number of young females, who were
retailing, from small bags hung round their persons, the different animals
they had collected the same morning at ebb-tide among the coral reefs.

One of the white settlers offered his services as guide, to pilot us up
the Roankiddi river as far as a village of the natives about two miles
inland, where the chief of the nation dwelt, and several American
missionaries had formed a settlement. Before reaching the main stream,
which is about 100 feet wide and is densely wooded on either side, we had
to pass various small branches and canals, which appeared to be
artificially constructed, and wind about in a succession of extraordinary
meanderings beneath an elastic covering of conical mangrove roots. For
about a mile inwards there was nothing but dreary, swampy, unlovely
mangrove forest, after which the vegetation on either shore began to
assume an unusually variegated but thoroughly tropical appearance. Palms,
bread-fruit trees, pandanus trees, papayas, caladias, Barringtonias, were
the chief representatives of this abounding forest flora. The animals on
this island seem to be less numerous and less varied; there are no large
ones at all. Of doves, as also of sand-pipers and parrots, we saw some
very beautiful species, of which the fowling-pieces of our sportsmen
furnished numerous specimens for our zoological collection. All along the
bank of the river and around the hills lay scattered at will, under the
shade of the most beautiful and abundant vegetation, the dwellings of the
natives. Near where the pretty Roankiddi falls into the sea, rises on the
left bank the handsome mission house built of wood, which serves the
missionaries for school, church, and residence in one. Close by is a stone
building, which serves as a larder. Unfortunately, the sole missionary,
Mr. Sturges of Pennsylvania, was absent on a tour of inspection, and only
his assistant (a native of the Sandwich Islands, who had received his
education in the States) was at home with his family. A third missionary,
also a native of the Sandwich Islands, lives at what is called
Foul-weather Harbour, where he also occupies his time with meteorological

The mission, which has been in the island since 1851, is supported at
considerable expense. A schooner, the property of the American Missionary
Society, keeps up regular communication with the neighbouring islands and
the Sandwich Islands, and supplies the missionaries with provisions and
other necessaries. These industrious, energetic men have quite recently
made experiments in planting several sorts of vegetables, as also tobacco
and sugar-cane, nearer their houses, in the hope, if successful, of
inciting the natives to similar exertions. The great resources at the
disposal of the Protestant missionaries, and the circumstance that they
attend to the temporal as well as the eternal weal of their dusky
neophytes, exhausting their medical skill in illness, educating their
children, ministering to their wants both by advice and co-operation, must
be regarded as the main causes of the rapid spread of Protestantism
throughout the races of the Pacific Ocean. We have seen missions, of which
the schools, places of worship, and dwelling-houses, constructed of iron,
were imported from the United States ready made, while the expenses of
maintenance were defrayed by an annual grant of 20,000 dollars. What a
gratifying contrast to the wretched appliances with which Catholic oversea
missions are compelled to eke out a precarious existence!

We landed at a spot where the Roankiddi promised to be navigable for
vessels of a better class than the hollowed-out canoes of the natives, and
for the remainder of the distance to the chief's residence we followed a
footpath through the forest. Close to the landing-place is a large,
hall-like building, which is used as an assembly-room by the natives on
the occasion of their festivities. Around the interior of this are ranged
couches stuffed with straw for families of rank, not unlike berths round a
ship's cabin. The centre of the hall is set apart for slaves and servants,
who during these rude réunions are busily employed preparing food and
drink for strangers. As often as a meeting is deemed necessary,
invitations are sent off to the various chiefs requesting their
co-operation. On very important occasions these are intoned through a
conk. As soon as all are assembled the king lays the subject-matter of the
debate before them, when every one present is at liberty to express his
opinion. Frequently these discussions become very animated, especially
when the orators happen to have partaken too freely of Kawa, when only the
interference of the less excited chiefs can prevent the disputants from
coming to blows. When we saw it, there were in the hall of justice, as it
might be termed, a number of huge, lengthy, but elegant canoes, painted
red, which gave it rather the appearance of a shed than a festive hall.

The footpath to the chief's residence led through a most beautiful
tropical landscape. The estate of the Nannekin (as the natives designate a
king in their own language) was laid out quite in the European fashion,
and the entrance was indicated by a wooden gateway. The house itself, a
lengthy oblong of wood and cane-work, with a roof of palm-leaves, and
built upon a sort of platform of two or three courses of stone, and
furnished in every part with numerous large apertures serving as windows,
presented from without a very comfortable, even imposing appearance; but
the interior was bare, ill-equipped, and sadly out of order. A row of
wooden columns, irregularly cut, and partially covered with gay-coloured
stuffs, running parallel with the thin exterior walls, formed a narrow
passage, a closer view of which was, however, shut off by cotton hangings
stretching across. The clothes and other property of the family hung here
at random, suspended from pegs and lines all round the wide hall, and in
the middle a hole had been excavated, which apparently was intended for a
fire-place. Among the articles of furniture we specially noticed a large
iron chest, with iron clampings, and a very singular-looking loom, on
which a fabric was being woven in variegated colours. The chief was not at
home, and had to be summoned, his timely absence affording an excellent
opportunity for examining the environs of the palace a little more
closely. In immediate proximity were a number of bread-fruit trees
(_Dong-dong_), the fruit of which forms the staple diet of the natives,
and has long been prepared by them in quite a unique manner.

The bread-fruit, so soon as it is ripe, is stripped of its husk, and cut
into small pieces. These the natives place in pits dug for the purpose
about three feet deep, in which they are placed in layers carefully
wrapped in banana leaves so as to prevent moisture reaching them. Thus
prepared, the pits are filled up to within a few inches of the surface,
covered with leaves, and weighted with heavy stones so distributed as to
diffuse an equal pressure throughout. Thus each pit is both air and water
tight. After a short time fermentation sets in, till the whole is
converted into a substance resembling cheese. The original idea of thus
storing the bread-fruit is said, according to tradition, to have been
suggested to the natives by a violent hurricane having at a remote period
levelled all the bread-fruit trees on the island, thus causing a great
famine. The fruit thus treated continues fit for consumption for years,
and, despite its sour taste and nauseous odour when exhumed, it is
regarded by the natives as a most palatable and nutritive dish, when well
kneaded, placed between two banana leaves, and baked between two hot
stones. Besides the bread-fruit, the principal articles of food in use
among the natives are cocoa-nuts, sugar-cane, yams, pigeons, turtle, fish,
and trepang, the sort of sea-cucumber of which we have already given a
description, and which the natives eat in the raw state.

They also eat taro (_Caladium esculentum_), a beautiful bulbous-rooted
plant of the _Aroidea_ tribe, with its broad elegant leaves, which,
together with wild ginger and turmeric (which is used sometimes for food,
sometimes for anointing the person, or dyeing their dresses) and the plant
they call Kawa (_Piper Methysticum_), grow in great profusion on the
property of the Nannekin.

As in all the South Sea Islands, the juice of the Kawa is used in Puynipet
for distilling an intoxicating beverage, which indeed plays a conspicuous
part in all their solemnities. But the mode of preparing it is somewhat
better calculated to tempt the palate, since it is not, as elsewhere,
first chewed by the women, but rubbed between two large stones, wetted,
and then drawn off in cocoa-nut shells. The leading chief is entitled to
the first shells of the prepared Kawa, or, if he is not present, the chief
priest, who mutters a few prayers over it ere drinking it.

The liquid, as thus procured from this species of pepper, is of a
brownish-yellow colour, somewhat like that of coffee into which milk has
been poured. The taste is sweet and agreeable, producing a glow in the
stomach, and induces a sort of intoxication, widely different however from
the form that alcoholic inebriations assume with us. Men in the habit of
drinking Kawa neither stagger about, nor speak thick and loud, when under
its influence. A sort of shiver affects the whole frame, and their gait
becomes listless and slow, but they never lose consciousness. In its last
stage, the person affected feels an extraordinary weakness in all his
joints; headache and an irresistible inclination to go to sleep supervene,
and a state of most complete repose becomes an absolute necessity.

The custom of Kawa drinking is diffused over the whole of the islands of
the Pacific. It even appears to have become a necessary of life among the
natives of Polynesia, just as betel-chewing and palm-wine are to the
Malays and Hindoos, opium-smoking and samchoo to the Chinese, chicha to
the Mexican races, and coca to the South American Indians.

In former times, on certain of the islands, the chiefs had regular
watchers, whose duty it was to guard their monarchs from being disturbed
when thus reposing. A dog which dared to bark, a cock that was venturesome
enough to crow, were forthwith put to death. The too liberal or
long-continued indulgence in Kawa seems to generate a peculiar cuticular
disease. Inveterate Kawa drinkers seem haggard or melancholy, their eyes
are sunk, their teeth of a bright yellow, their skin dry and chopped, and
the whole body is covered with boils; but those in whom such sores heal up
again, point with pride to the cicatrices that mark where they occurred.
The more of these scars a Kawa drinker can show, the higher is his
character. Besides producing unconsciousness, Kawa also induces
exceedingly erotic dreams.

According to the information which the white settlers gave us respecting
the method of cultivation of the soil of Puynipet and its climate, it
seems that sugar-cane, coffee, cotton, rice, tobacco, &c., would be
certain to succeed. Sugar-cane is found even now in the wild state; and to
a certain extent it forms an article of food of the natives, who suck the

The chief of Roankiddi is a handsome young man of lofty stature, strong
frame, of dark brown almost bronze skin, and agreeable, winning
expression. With the exception of the usual apron of palm-leaves, and a
bright red belt, he was naked, and wore a green circlet on his fine,
lustrous black hair, and a piece of sugar-cane in his right hand. His arms
and legs were very neatly tattooed. He seemed quite to understand the use
of a red Turkish fez with blue tassel, which we presented to him, and took
from his head its own exceedingly picturesque covering. Having been
apprized of the friendly nature of our visit, he begged us to enter his
house, which was not so easy a process as it seems, since the only access
was by one of the windows, about three feet from the ground. The Nannekin,
however, set us the example, and we followed. He first invited us to sit
upon European chairs, and ordered his pretty young wife to fetch us
cocoa-nut milk. It was the first time we had ever tasted this drink of the
natural man in the goblet of civilization! How differently did this
invaluable drink taste, when quaffed from the fresh green shell, than in
the artificial vessel of human manufacture! The natives of Puynipet did
not, like those of Nicobar, show their dexterity in opening the young
cocoa-nut by means of a slash. Here the husk is peeled off, and an opening
bored with much trouble till the fluid contents gush out--a process so
tedious, and manifesting so little ingenuity, that one would rather expect
it to be adopted by a European, who for the first time in his life was
opening a cocoa-nut, than from a child of the tropics. After the queen had
presented with her dainty little hands the cocoa-nut drink to the foreign
guests, she squatted herself smiling and laughing on the earth beside the
monarch, occasionally hiding herself with much natural grace behind her
youthful husband, when she could not restrain a burst of mirth at the
interest with which we seemed to regard many of the objects in her simple
household. Nothing surprised her more than that we should attach such
value to some baskets, plaited work, boxes, &c., as to be willing to
exchange articles of European make for them. Like all the other females
we saw, the young queen wore nothing but a piece of yellow linen (_likú_),
about five feet long, round her loins, which reached to her knees, and was
attached by one extremity to the haunch. Her splendid black hair was
adorned with a chaplet of yellow flowers, and her body, smeared with
cocoa-nut oil, was plentifully besprinkled with turmeric (called by the
natives _Kitschi-néang_). Her legs and forearms were beautifully tattooed.

The gown, or rather apron, worn by the men is made of the fresh leaves of
the cocoa-palm, which, bleached and cut into narrow strips, are fastened
at the upper end with a string, and then adorned with numerous flaps of
red cloth. This gown stretches from the hips to about the knees, and is
about two feet long. To be in the fashion at Puynipet, a dandy must wear
at least six of these round his body! The ladies of the island stain white
calico with turmeric, yellow being apparently the favourite colour of the
country. A bright-coloured light handkerchief usually covers the upper
part of the body, and they adorn their long beautiful black tresses with
the delicate flowers of the cocoa-palm. On high days the ladies wear red
clothes hemmed with white calico. Such of the natives, however, as are
converted to Christianity, appear in clothes made after the European
fashion, although many a part of dress would still have to be remedied,
ere a native of Puynipet or his better half would be presentable in a

Men and women alike are tattooed from the loins to the ancles, and from
the elbows to the wrist. This curious practice is performed on both sexes
at from ten to twelve years of age by old women, with whom it is a regular
profession. The blue colouring matter used is obtained from the abundant
nut-like fruit of the _Aleurites triloba_, which they heat on the fire,
and then peel off the hard crust which forms upon it. The operation is
performed with the sharp point of a species of pine, or with a pointed
instrument[193] made from fish-bone, which is placed upon the skin, when
it is driven in with a slight blow, till the whole design comes out upon
the body. Besides the turmeric already mentioned, we saw but one colouring
stuff, dyeing red, which seemed to be obtained from _Bixa Orellana_, and
is used by the natives to paint their canoes with.

Many of the natives are subject to a very disgusting scaly eruption of the
skin (_Ichthyosis_), but do not seem to feel any discomfort from it. Some
travellers ascribe this to the immoderate use as an article of diet of raw
uncooked fish. It is singular that this malady is found on all the islands
near the equator, and was also found by Captain Cheyne among the Pellew
Islanders. That shrewd observer once had on board for four months a native
of Puynipet as servant, whose whole body was covered with this eruption,
but who speedily lost every trace of it as soon as his chief diet was salt
meat and vegetables. Beside this cuticular malady, the natives are
greatly afflicted with scurvy and intermittent fever. Most of their
infants too suffer from Yaws[194] (_Framboesia_), a disgusting eruption,
called by the natives "_Keutsch_," which, however, disappears when the
child has attained about its third or fourth year. The marks left by this
malady when cicatrized might easily be mistaken for those of inoculation.

The Nannekin, although the king of his tribe, nevertheless seemed on the
whole to exercise but little influence over his subjects. Thus, for
example, we were eye-witnesses of how he vainly attempted to induce two
native boys to carry our bananas as far as our place of disembarkation. On
the other hand, in all that concerned trading with foreigners he seemed to
be thoroughly alive to his own interest. One native who was driving a
bargain with us for something, was informed forthwith of the value which
the Nannekin assigned to it.

Money is as yet but little used at Puynipet as a medium of exchange, only
the whites resident there and the chiefs take a few English and United
States coins; and many a native would generally not part for a silver
dollar from an object which he will readily give for a piece of chewing
tobacco or a common knife. The most useful articles for barter are pieces
of bright-coloured calico, red shirts, hatchets, knives, axes, straight
swords, muskets, ammunition, biscuit, old clothes, and tobacco.[195]

Of the latter article American Cavendish or negro-head in longish pieces
is the most in repute. The Puynipetanese have no special fondness for
cigars, nor do they use pipes, but only chew passionately tobacco. As they
are unacquainted with the use of the Betel, their teeth are universally
beautiful, and of a brilliant white.

There are on the island five tribes, wholly independent of each
other,--the Roankiddi, the Metelemia, the Nót, the Tchokoits, and the
Awnak, none, however, numbering much above 1500 souls, the most numerous
and important being the Roankiddi.

Each king, we are told, has a minister whose power almost rivals his own.
Next in rank to the minister are the nobles, who bear the following
strange-sounding titles: Talk, Washy, Nane-by, Noatch, Shoe-Shabut, and
Groen-wani; after these come such as are not of noble birth, but have
earned them through illustrious deeds, and have been rewarded with
estates. On the death of the king he is succeeded by whichever of his
nobles has the title of Talk, the others rising one grade. The monarch
has the right of freely disposing of his property. As a rule he leaves it
to his sons, but if he have none he usually bequeaths it to the next
sovereign. Between the monarch and his courtiers some quaint patriarchal
customs prevail. Thus the first ripe bread-fruit is brought to the king.
Whenever a chief uses a new turtle or fish net, the prey during a certain
number of days is sent to the king. Another mark of the respect paid to
the king, as also by all ranks to their superiors, is to be found in the
custom for a native who meets another of higher rank in a canoe,--he
cowers down in his own boat till the other has passed by, the two canoes
approaching on the side opposite the outrigger, so that the person of
superior condition may, if he see fit, satisfy himself of the identity of
the other.

The Awnaks and Tchokoits had, at the period of our visit, been at war with
each other for six months, and it is significant of the ferocity and
courage of both parties, that not a single combatant had thus far been
wounded on either side! Their weapons are chiefly spears of hard wood, six
feet long, the barb, instead of iron, being made of fish-bones, thorns, or
ground mussel-shells, which they throw with great dexterity; also
hatchets, long knives, and old muskets, obtained from the whale-fishers in
return for yams and tortoise-shell. At present there are about 1500
muskets in all on the island, and each native possesses at least one, some
of the chiefs having as many as three, besides ample ammunition. Singular
to say, these formidable auxiliaries are rarely called into play in any
of their wars, the fatal effect of fire-arms having contributed not a
little to the promotion of harmony and peace between the various tribes!
Their warriors are selected from among the most powerful men of the tribe,
and as a rule they behave with much consideration to the women and
children, whom they almost always spare. When either party sues for peace,
a neutral party is sent to the monarch of the opposite tribe with a few
Kawa roots. If these are accepted, the struggle is considered over, and a
succession of friendly visits are thereupon exchanged between the chiefs
of the two tribes, which are usually followed up by festivities and much
consumption of Kawa.

As to the narratives of most earlier travellers that the island is
inhabited by two entirely distinct races, the one yellow the other black,
we could neither see nor hear of anything which would confirm such a
statement. It seemed more probable that the diversity of skin and hair
among the various tribes was exclusively caused by a variety of crosses,
which are still frequent, and in former times must have been still more
prevalent. The present population consists of whites, negroes, and
yellow-coloured aborigines, who, as speaking a dialect allied to that of
Polynesia, seem to belong to the Malay-Polynesian _stirps_. The present
white settlers are English and North Americans; formerly they were chiefly
Spanish and Portuguese who traded with the natives. Negro slaves and free
blacks have also occasionally visited the island, or been left there for
good and all. These considerations alone suffice to explain certain
appearances among the natives, such as brown or yellow skins, with crisp
woolly hair, and very full lips, without any more marked characteristics
of the Ethiopian race. We noticed one native with woolly hair of a reddish
hue, but otherwise of strongly-marked Malay features, and on inquiring
into his ancestry, were informed in reply that his father was a Portuguese
(negro understood), and his mother a native.

The daughter of Doctor Cook, the Scotchman already mentioned, of whose
union with a native woman of the island there was issue a handsome
well-shaped _mestiza_ of a light yellow colour, strongly recalling the
stately, elegant quadroons of New Orleans and St. Domingo, had
intermarried with a full-blooded negro of the district of Columbia, U. S.,
from which resulted a new and entirely dissimilar admixture. Their
children had the face of the mother, with the woolly head of the father.

At all events it may be laid down with some degree of certainty, that the
aboriginal races, especially those inhabiting the Caroline Archipelago,
are not of the Pelagian Mongols, nor are they an offshoot of the Mongolian
race of the Asiatic continent, as Lesson maintained; also that Puynipet
has not been peopled by the Papuan negroes; that the woolly crisp hair of
so many of its inhabitants is mainly explained by the intimacy between the
black crews of the whalers (it being well known that a large proportion of
the crews of the American whalers are negroes), some 50 or 60 of which
visit the island every year, and often remain for several weeks taking in
provisions and other stores.

Puynipet has been for some years past the chief rendezvous of the whalers
in the Caroline Archipelago, because it is of all the islands the most
accessible, has the best and safest harbours, and because fuel and water
are procurable thence in unlimited quantities.

The complexion of the natives is of a clear copper hue, and the average
height of the males is 5 feet 8 in.; the women are much smaller than the
men, with delicate features and flexible forms. The sons of the chiefs are
usually well formed, and lighter in colour than the majority of the
population, the consequence of their being less exposed to the weather,
and in any part of the world would pass for elegant men. The nose is
arched, the mouth wide with full lips and dazzling teeth. The flap of the
ear is bored in both sexes, but is rarely much enlarged by artificial
means. Both men and women have beautiful black hair, which they take great
care of.

The men have neither beard nor mustachios. They eradicate the hair so soon
as it makes its appearance on the cheeks by means of mussel-shells, or two
little pieces of tortoise-shell sharpened. The women are usually pretty,
but as the girls marry very young they soon lose the freshness of youth.
Their complexion is much fairer than that of the men. The cause of this is
to be found in their wearing a sort of upper robe of calico; a large
piece of stuff with a hole in the centre through which to put the head,
which thus protects their bodies somewhat from the direct rays of the sun.

The natives are said to be very temperate and methodical in their habits
of life. They rise at daybreak, bathe in the river, take a little
vegetable food, anoint their bodies with cocoa-nut oil, after which they
sprinkle themselves plentifully with powdered turmeric. This done, they
address themselves to some simple avocation, which they prosecute till
noon, when they once more withdraw to their huts, bathe, and partake of
another equally frugal repast. The rest of the day is spent in amusements
and mutual visiting. Towards sunset they take a third meal, and as they
have neither torches nor artificial light of any sort, they usually retire
early to rest, unless fishing or dancing by moonlight.

Much respect and consideration is paid to the weaker sex throughout the
island, they not being put to any work which does not come within their
regular sphere of duty. All outdoor work is done by the men, who build the
huts and canoes, plant yams and Kawa, fish, transport the food from the
plantation to the house, and even cook it.

The women are chiefly occupied within-doors, in fishing, or cleaning the
vegetables, most of their time being taken up with preparing head-dresses,
weaving girdles, sewing together palm or pandanus leaves for clothes,
plaiting elegant baskets, and looking after the house and children.

Never at any time patterns of virtue and chastity, the importation of
European trinkets and luxuries of all sorts has greatly increased the
spread of immorality among the native women, who are actuated by an
insatiate, irresistible craving to possess articles of European

When a native wishes to marry, he makes a present to the father of the
girl he wishes to marry; if not returned, it is understood his addresses
are accepted. Thereupon invitations are issued to a merry-making, with
feast, and dance, and revel, after which the bridegroom conducts his bride
to his dwelling. When she dies the widower marries her sister, the brother
in like manner being required to marry his widowed sister-in-law in the
case of the death of the husband, even though he may happen to be already
married. Under certain circumstances a man is at liberty to divorce his
wife and take another; a woman, on the other hand, enjoys no such
privilege, unless she happen to be of higher rank. The chiefs usually have
several wives, polygamy, as among the Mormons, being only limited by the
means of providing subsistence. The women are of an unusually gossiping,
talkative turn, they are quite incapable of keeping their own secrets, and
many a delinquency is generally known at the very moment of its

The funeral ceremonies seem to have undergone some modification since the
natives began to have intercourse with Europeans. In former times the dead
were enveloped in straw mats, and kept for a considerable time in the
huts: through the influence of the missionaries, apparently, they have
adopted the European custom of interring their dead in certain special
places. On the death of a chief or any exalted person, the female
relatives of the deceased assemble to mourn for a specific period, and
betray their sorrow by loud sobs and lamentations by day and dances by
night. The connections of the deceased cut off their hair as a mark of
their sorrow. All the goods and clothes of the defunct are carried away by
whoever is nearest or first possesses himself of them, and this custom is
so universal that objects thus obtained are thenceforth considered as
lawful property.

The natives usually pray to the spirits of their departed chiefs, whom
they implore to grant them success in fishing, rich harvests in
bread-fruit and yams, the arrival of numerous foreign ships with beautiful
articles for barter, and a variety of similar matters. The priests of
their idols profess to be able to read the future, and the natives place
the most implicit confidence in these predictions. They believe that the
priest is inspired with the spirit of a deceased chief, and that every
word they utter when in this excited state is dictated by the departed.
When any of these prophecies fail, as is often enough the case, the
cunning priest pretends that another more powerful spirit has interfered,
and forcibly prevented the accomplishment of what they had foretold.

The religion of this primitive people is very simple. They have neither
idols nor temple, and although they believe in a future state after death,
they seem to have no religious customs or festivals of any sort. Their
notion of a future state is under such circumstances exceedingly

Their abode after death they believe to be surrounded by a colossal wall
amid a fathomless abyss, in fact a sort of fortress. The only portal into
this Elysian abode is guarded by an old woman, whose duty it is to hurl
back into the yawning deep the shadows of the departed, who are compelled
to spring upwards from the abyss. Such of the shadows as succeed in
eluding the evil spirit and effecting an entrance are for ever happy; on
the other hand, those whom the malicious female demon succeeds in
precipitating into the abyss sink into the region of endless woe and

The native festivals, as a rule, take precedence of every other business,
no matter how pressing. Every year the king visits the various villages
and settlements of those of his tribe, at which period the chief
festivities take place, the chiefs vieing with each other in entertaining
him. Enormous quantities of yam and bread-fruit are on such occasions
cooked two days previous, and Kawa is drunk to excess.

Their dances are far from unbecoming, and are quite free from those
lascivious gestures which are so often seen at the festivals of the other
inhabitants of the South Sea. The dancers are usually unmarried lads and
girls, who stand opposite each other in long rows. While keeping time with
their feet to the music, they accompany the dance with graceful motions of
the arms and upper part of the body. Occasionally they throw their arms
out, snap their fingers, and then clap the hands together. Every movement
is performed with extraordinary precision, and at the same moment by all
the dancers. Their sole musical instrument is a small flute made of
bamboo-cane, the notes of which they draw forth by inserting one end in
the nostril and blowing gently, while their hands are busy fingering the
holes in the usual way.

Their drum is a piece of hollowed-out wood with the skin of a shark
stretched over it, of the shape of a sand-glass. This is struck with the
fingers of the right hand, the instrument being hung on the left side. The
sound somewhat resembles the Tom-tom of the Hindoos. The drummer sits
cross-legged on the ground, and accompanies the beat of the drum with
apposite words.

As to the monumental ruins of the interior of Puynipet which have never
yet been visited and described by scientific travellers, we were informed
that they consisted of nothing more than a large number of colossal
rough-hewn blocks of basalt in the heart of the forest, near Metelenia
harbour. The simplicity of the native, in the absence of all means of
accounting for them naturally, sees in these the grand forms of the
spirits of departed chiefs. Experienced travellers, on the other hand, are
of opinion that in this primeval forest, where now only rocky débris lie
scattered about, there once stood strong fortifications, such as indeed no
savage people could have erected, and that the character of the ruins
evidences a high state of civilization in those who erected them. Some of
the blocks are 8 or 10 feet long, hexagonal, and must evidently have been
brought from some other country, since, with the exception of these, there
are no other stones of a similar description found in any part of the
island. Streets are laid out at various points, and the whole settlement
seems to have consisted of a range of strongly fortified dwellings.[196]

These columns and blocks, however, possess a special interest not merely
in the history of civilization, but of geology, as a part is at present
under water, and can only be reached in canoes, a difficulty which cannot
have been in existence at the period of their erection. What once were
streets are now passages for canoes, and were the walls, built of massive
basalt blocks, to be pulled up, the water would obtain access to the
inclosed space. This has induced later geologists to refer this phenomenon
to a sinking of the entire group, so that Puynipet is perhaps the only
spot on the earth where Darwin's ingenious theory of the construction of
perpendicular reefs and atolls being the result of a sinking of the soil
on which the coral-animal had begun to erect his edifice, receives
confirmation from the existence of the remains of man's handiwork within
the historic period.

As even the "oldest inhabitants" could give us not the slightest
information as to these ruins, and their origin and history are plunged
in the utmost obscurity, it seems not improbable that these stone masses
were once the fortified retreat of pirates, and were built by Spanish
corsairs 200 or 300 years back. This hypothesis receives confirmation in
the fact that in 1838 or 1840, a small brass cannon was found on a hill in
the interior, which was brought home as a curiosity by H.M.S. _Larne_.
Occasionally, too, at various parts of the island clearings are found,
some of which are several acres in extent. In one of these, still in
existence near the harbour of Roankiddi, the traveller is shown an
artificial mound of about 20 feet wide, 8 feet high, and a quarter of a
mile long, which has obviously been thrown up as a defence, or else has
been the place of interment for such as have fallen in a severe contest.

This conjecture adopted, it follows that the present population is of
quite recent introduction, and the rumour of a black race inhabiting the
interior must necessarily be treated as a myth.

While we were asking questions and getting up information, evening was
beginning to draw on, and we could not remain longer on the island, as it
was necessary to return on ship-board before nightfall, the frigate having
meanwhile been kept cruising under easy sail, about three or four miles
off the island. Another reason for our immediate departure was to be found
in our narrow flat-bottomed craft, which in any sort of sea-way would have
some difficulty in escaping swamping. Had the wind during our return
voyage freshened ever so little, we should have found ourselves in a
serious dilemma. Numbers of herons, white, black, and mottled, were
fishing in the shallow water along the edge of the reefs, the sea-raven
flew in vast flights among the lagoons, while high overhead the graceful
frigate-bird swept along, every now and then darting rapidly down to
secure his booty.

One of the whites whom we employed as our guide in the island, accompanied
us on board, and asked as his reward some tobacco and clothes, with which
he departed much satisfied. In him, too, we observed a marked and quite
peculiar shyness, especially when on board the frigate. He seemed as
though he dreaded some avenging hand. His glance was timid, his gait and
motions betrayed a sense of insecurity, and he might have readily been
mistaken for some repentant sinner, who in consequence of some evil deed
had fled from civilized society and sought out this distant asylum, where
he had scarcely to fear any other persecution than that of his own
conscience! Hardly any spot, indeed, can be named more suitable for thus
expiating crime than this remote island, where the white man, face to face
with nature in a new and unwonted aspect, and at the mercy of a savage
people, often deprived for months of the consolations and support of
civilization, finds in his solitude ample opportunity to reflect upon the
enormity of his guilt, and to mourn over his own evil fortune.

As the west wind, which still blew, effectually prevented the frigate
from entering the harbour of Roankiddi, and there was no reason to hope
for any speedy change, our original intention of spending several days
there was abandoned, and the same evening we resumed our course for

As our brief stay of barely five hours on the island of Puynipet
necessarily led to our observations and remarks being of the most
superficial nature, whereas the island has of late years begun to acquire
an unusual importance both in a maritime and a commercial sense, we must
content ourselves with referring the reader for a more detailed account to
Captain Cheyne's admirable and comprehensive account of the island.

"The Ant Islands (called also Fraser's Islands) lie in a S.W. direction
from the harbour of Roankiddi, from which they are about 12 nautical miles

"They consist of a group of low coral islets covered with cocoa-palms and
bread-fruit trees, and surrounded by a coral reef, which makes a lagoon in
the centre. Between the two longer islands at the east end of the group
there is a channel. The entire group from N.W. to S.E. measures seven
miles in width, is only inhabited from May to September, during the period
when the cuttle-fish are caught, and is the property of the chief of the
Roankiddi tribe. However the islands are frequented at all seasons by the
natives of Puynipet, who procure here cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit. The most
north-easterly point lies in 6° 42' N., 158° 3' E.

"Next the Ant Island is Pakeen, the sole adjoining island. It lies about
22 miles W. of Tschokoits, its central point lying in 7° 10' N. and 157°
43' E. It consists of five small coral islets, completely inclosed in a
reef, which forms an inaccessible lagoon in the interior.

"The entire group is about five miles in length from west to east, and
from north to south three miles in width. The islands are very low, but
produce an enormous quantity of cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit, while the
lagoon abounds with excellent fish. The westernmost island is inhabited by
about thirty persons in all, mainly of the family and attendants of the
Chief of Puynipet, who claims proprietorship of the whole group. This
scanty population is chiefly engaged in the construction of mats and
canoe-sails made of the leaves of the _pandanus_. In fine weather the
denizens of Pakeen are fond of running over to Puynipet to exchange their
own products for tobacco and other foreign articles.

"What are marked on the charts as Bottomless Group and St. Augustine's
Islands have no existence. Pakeen and Ant's Islands are the same groups
adjoining each other to the westward of Puynipet."

Our progress now began to be very slow, and the equatorial zones with
their vexatious calms, and variable light breezes alternating with violent
squalls, became a sore trial for our patience. An unusual and most
oppressive heat, from which we vainly sought shelter; tropical rains,
which often fell in unbroken torrents for hours at a time, and obscured
the daylight with clouds almost as suddenly at times as though there were
an eclipse; a long heavy swell, which knocked the good ship about with an
unceasing and most disagreeable motion, without nevertheless our being
able to advance one single mile in the twenty-four hours; the depressing
monotonous flapping and filling of the sails, which, with the rolling and
pitching of the ship, now bellied out and then fell idly back against the
masts and yards, straining the rigging and cordage, and keeping a constant
indescribable but most irritating noise--such is a faint sketch of the
miseries of voyagers caught by an equatorial calm in a sailing vessel! How
one longs for a good hearty storm, if only to drive us out of this truly
dismal plight! How in the monotony of such an existence does a quite
insignificant circumstance at once assume the proportions of an important
event! The most trifling incident on board, the most imperceptible object
which becomes visible in either atmosphere or water, attracts universal
attention, and gives rise to discussions by the hour. One day some one
perceived a dark object floating in the distance; when the frigate got
near this proved to be the trunk of a tree, almost 100 feet long, and
though at best we could only have used it as firewood, a boat was
forthwith manned and dispatched to tow it alongside. A few black
Albatrosses suffered themselves to be hauled contentedly along upon the
floating trunk, somewhat astonishing us by their being found so near the
equator. Only by dint of considerable exertion was the huge unwieldy
piece of wood brought on board, when the zoologists got a famous lesson in
conchology, from the shell-fish that had fastened on it, and the sailors
chuckled with delight at finding some occupation in cutting up the
vegetable colossus into sizeable pieces.

At 6.30 P.M. on the 29th Sept., we crossed the equator for the sixth time
in 161° 57' E., and in the Southern hemisphere found we still had to
contend with calms and contrary winds.

             "To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
              Crept in this petty pace from day to day,"

without our making any perceptible progress. When we had reached 4° 15'
S., and 160° 24' E., a circumstance occurred to break the uniformity of
our existence, as according to the charts we were using of the
Hydrographic Institute of England for the year 1856,[197] we must have
been quite close to some coral reefs, known as Simpson's Island. But
although by our observations, after due allowance made for currents, we
were, about 4 P.M. of the 5th October, off the N.W. extremity of the
islands, there was no land of any sort visible on either side even from
the royals, and we accordingly had to conjecture that Captain Simpson,
after whom these islands were named, must have sighted one of the Le Maire
or Tasman group, which lie 40 miles further to the west and 10 miles
further to the north, and had, owing to false reckoning, imagined to have
discovered a new cluster; for on the following day at 6 P.M., when by our
course, which was south-easterly, the island ought to have lain W.N.W. ten
miles distant, not a vestige of land could be descried from the deck, nor
even from the mast-head, so that we felt positive the Simpson group were
neither at the spot laid in the general chart of the English Admiralty,
nor within ten miles of it in either an easterly or westerly

A few days after this interlude, an incident of a very peculiar character
took place, which excited universal attention, and more especially greatly
exercised the souls of the superstitious. The occasion was nothing less
than a dread whisper that there was a ghost on board. From time to time,
in fact, dull rumbling sounds were said to be audible, which some
professed to hear above them, others below, some in the fore part of the
ship, others aft. It was a noise like the roll of thunder, or of
cannon-balls that had got loose. The shot-racks were carefully examined,
but everything there appeared to be in its usual order. The sound was
repeated the following days, when there was hanging over us a sky as black
and murky, accompanied by heavy pelts of rain, as though all the clouds
of heaven were lavishing their contents upon us. All on board indulged in
every possible hypothesis that could explain these sounds, and exhausted
themselves in conjectures. Some maintained that one of the volcanoes of
the Solomon group, in the vicinity of which we were at the time, was in a
state of activity, and was the cause of these sub-marine thunders; but the
sailors, sailor-like, insisted it was ghosts playing pranks, and the
attendants refused any longer to remain in the cock-pit, alleging it was
haunted! However, when a second examination was made of the shot-racks, it
was found that no fewer than eighty thirty-pound iron shots had broken
through the wooden bulk-head of the ordnance room, whence they had made
their way into the bread-depôt, as it was called, and on its metal floor
had produced the resonance peculiar to the impact of metal against metal.
The mystery was at once solved in the most natural manner, and the
"each-particular-hair-on-end" ghost stories which during the last few days
had been flying from mouth to mouth, forthwith dropped. Thus might many a
"marvel" prove to be the result of some very ordinary cause, if people
would but take the trouble to examine its natural causes, instead of
ascribing everything which they cannot understand or explain to some
supernatural influence.

At noon of the 7th October, in 6° 37' S., 161° 8' E., we were, according
to chart, 12 miles distant from Bradley's Reef. But although both seamen
and midshipmen were stationed at the mast-heads, in order the more
readily to make it out with the advantage of such an elevation, there was
not the slightest trace perceptible of rocks or shoals, and we sailed
without obstruction over the very spot at which, according to the English
charts, Bradley's Reef rises from the waves. This reef was discovered by
Captain Hunter in May, 1791, two days after he had passed Stewart's Island
(Sikayana), and is doubly dangerous in a climate where the sea rarely runs
so high as to make it easily observed by the surf breaking over it.
According to our observations, collated with those of Captain Cheyne,
Bradley's Reef must lie in about 160° 48' E.[199]

The same day about 7 P.M., when we were about 120 miles distant from the
N.W. part of the Solomon group, there suddenly and altogether unexpectedly
blazed forth in the western sky an immense and most brilliant comet, with
a yellow, rather bright nucleus, and an enormous tail, sweeping over some
15° or 20°. It was about 8° or 10° above the horizon when we observed it.

This rare phenomenon, during the fourteen days it continued visible,
presented a most excellent opportunity for astronomical observations. Upon
the sailors, usually so superstitious, this splendid celestial visitor
made a much less profound impression than we had anticipated. But few were
apprehensive that the end of the world was at hand, while the majority
seemed quietly to indulge the pleasing anticipation that the wine of the
present year would be good and plentiful.

At last, on the 8th of October, we sighted the Solomon Islands. Some reefs
which were said to lie a little to the north, adjoining Ontong-Java, we
looked for in vain in the positions assigned them on the charts. On the
other hand we could see the lofty, forest-covered Carteret Island directly
before us. Gower Island lay nearly due west, about four miles distant.
This flat low island, which also is not quite accurately laid down on the
English chart, appears to be about eight miles long, the highest point of
its ridge not exceeding 180 feet above the sea. Its S.E. and N.W. points,
upon which beats a furious surf, extend a full half mile into the sea. We
could nowhere perceive any huts of natives. Nevertheless it is highly
probable, if the island is inhabited at all, that the population would
have settled on the W. side, which is more sheltered against wind and

From the hills on Carteret Island smoke was issuing at different points,
but the natives did not put off in their boats, although on the afternoon
of 8th October the frigate was becalmed off the land. When it was found
that in consequence of the violence of the S.E. winds, which alternated
with calms and N.E. squalls accompanied by rain, it would be impossible
for us to pass through "Indispensable Straits," fringed as they are with
coral reefs, it was resolved to range along the N.E. side of the entire
chain of islands, so as to fetch the open passage between San Christoval
(the most south-easterly of the Solomon Islands) and the Nitendi group. We
thus had to beat with much difficulty against a S.E. wind and a strong
current, so that we barely made 15 miles a day.

On the 13th October, towards evening, we found ourselves about opposite
the large mountainous island of Malaýta. This island presents fine
richly-wooded mountain scenery, but without any traces of volcanic
contours. The natives do not appear to dwell near the shore, but among the
hills we could observe cleared spots and huts. Curiously enough the
highest peak of the island, 3900 feet high, is named Kolowrat, a renowned
Austrian name, although it could hardly have been an Austrian navigator
who gave it to this mountain. Many others of these islands, however, have
German names, though the majority indicate their discovery by the French
navigators, Bougainville, Senville, and Dumont d'Urville, to whom the
sea-faring world are indebted for their first acquaintance with this
interesting group. During the afternoon a heavy blow came on from the
S.S.E., upon which we put about and steered E. by S., but had hardly made
the alteration, ere it came on to blow from N.N.E., with such fearful
violence that the cross-jack-yard, which was already sprung, broke in two,
and the sheet of the main try-sail gave way. It was the heaviest squall we
encountered during the voyage. Fortunately the cross-jack-yard had as a
precaution been firmly lashed, so that the two ends continued to hang in
the air. Consequently what might have been a serious calamity was avoided,
and the result of the accident was confined to the difficult task of
disengaging the unwieldy shattered yard. Towards evening a heavy rain
fell, and the wind went down. In the course of the profoundly calm night
which followed, the current swept us so close in shore, that by morning we
were not more than two or three miles distant. A few small boats with
natives were about, which endeavoured to approach us, but only one of
their number succeeded. These boats were not ordinary canoes, but
regularly decked and deep-waisted boats, with high stem and stern, not
unlike the boats in use at the Island of Madeira.

The one which came alongside was manned by five brownish-black men,
perfectly naked, with thick crisp hair resembling a wig, which seemed to
be stained red with ochre. By way of special adornment, some wore in their
side hair a yellowish-red tuft, something like a tassel, and apparently
made of strips of stained bast. One wore a wild boar's tooth in the tip of
the ear, two others had small cylinders neatly carved out of mussel-shells
passed through the nostrils, as well as rings of the same material around
the upper arm and below the knee. When the boat had got within about a
pistol shot from us, one of the natives rose, and in clear strong tones
shouted to us some unintelligible words, while at the same time he pointed
towards the land with very eager, energetic gestures. He seemed desirous
of inviting us to come on shore and visit the islands. At the close of
his address there arose those peculiar reverberating shouts, such as one
would have expected rather to hear among the Styrian Alps than from a
Papuan of the Solomon Islands! Upon this the rest of his companions rose
likewise, and waving in their long arms a piece of tortoise-shell, they
kept shrieking Matté-Matté! for an indefinite period. Not one of them knew
a single word of English, nor could we make ourselves intelligible even
with a vocabulary of the dialects used in the adjoining islands. Although
distant in a direct line N.W. only 60 miles from Stewart's Island and its
inhabitants, they spoke an entirely different idiom, and were likewise
distinguished widely from any of the latter in colour, make, and
physiognomy. Notwithstanding a repeated and pressing invitation to come on
board, they could not be induced to mount the frigate's side, even by the
most tempting promises, nor even by presents of linen-stuffs, tobacco,
articles of clothing, &c. They seemed to have had but little intercourse
with vessels. At length, on our repeated signs, they slowly and shyly came
so near that we could throw a rope on board. The most courageous of their
number planted his foot on the side rope, but made no attempt to proceed
one step further. But we were by this means at all events able to examine
these singular beings more closely. They all had oval faces, and broad,
flat, long noses. Two were full-grown men, of tall powerful frame, while
the rest seemed not above from fourteen to sixteen years old. None of
them were tattooed, but the practice of anointing the body and the want of
cleanliness left many coloured marks upon the skin. One of the lads had a
sort of scaly eruption all over his skin. Beyond the pieces of
tortoise-shell already mentioned, and the ornaments they wore upon their
bodies, they had absolutely nothing in their boats, not even fruit or
other natural products. They rowed a considerable distance after empty
bottles which were pitched into the sea, and one of them seemed to attach
such importance to the possession of these, that he plunged into the water
to swim after them, and thus secure them the more readily.

Unfortunately our intercourse with these islanders of the Solomon group
was confined to the little episode above related, and as a favourable
breeze once more sprang up, we soon lost sight of these simple savages and
their island. On this occasion the members of the Expedition were
unanimously of opinion (which is not always the case in matters of
personal impressions), that the inhabitants of Malaýta were the wildest,
most uncivilized race of men we had as yet encountered in our voyaging to
and fro round the globe.

During the night numerous watch-fires were visible on the peaks of the
island. Were they lit for the protection of the slumbering inhabitants
against the cold and damp of the night, or were they alarm signals for the
entire population of the island, warning them against dangers that menaced
them? If any apprehensions were entertained by the natives of Malaýta
that we had visited their shores with hostile intent, they must have been
of short duration, for the same wind which prevented our making Port Adam,
wafted us the following morning--it was the 16th October, 1858--in sight
of Sikayana.


[191] Occasionally called Bonabe, Bonibet, Funopet (by the French,
Ascension). It lies in 6° 58' N., and 158° 20' E., and, with the two low
atolls adjacent of Andema and Paphenemo (called by the English Ant's
Island and Pakeen respectively) were named by their discoverer, Admiral
Lütke, the Senjawin group, after the name of his ship.

[192] Captain Andrew Cheyne, of the English mercantile service, to whom
the sea-faring world is indebted for a very complete and excellent account
of the islands of the West Pacific, and who last visited Puynipet in 1846,
reckoned the population of the island at that period at from 7000 to 8000.
See a description of islands in the Western Pacific Ocean, North and South
of the Equator, with sailing Directions, &c. p. 94. London, J. D. Potter.
1852.--Sailing Directions from New South Wales to China and Japan.
Compiled from the most Authentic Sources. By Andrew Cheyne, first Class
Master, Mercantile Navy. p. 136. London, J. D. Potter. 1855.

[193] The natives of the Engano Islands, to the west of Sumatra, use
precisely similar instruments for the same purpose.

[194] Yaws is a very common disease among the lower class of the western
and eastern _coast_-population of England. It is unknown almost in
Ireland, where the poorer classes rarely eat fish.

[195] Captain Cheyne adds to the foregoing lists the following articles;
fish-hooks, butcher's-knives, chisels, hand-saws, bill-hooks, planes,
augers, piles, iron-pots, razors, needles, twine, drills, gay
parti-coloured cotton cloths, cotton hose, woollen cloths, trinkets, glass
beads, straw-hats, chests with lock, key, and handles, spirits. The
equivalents as laid down by Captain Cheyne are as follows:--

  12 hens               =  24 sticks of negro-head tobacco, or 4 ells
  100 yams              =  10    "           "         "       of calico.
  100 bread-fruit       =  10    "           "         "
  100 cocoa-nuts        =  10    "           "         "
  1 cluster of bananas  =   2    "           "         "

[196] Similar ruins are described by Captain Cheyne as having been also
found in the forests of Nálan (Strong Island) in the Caroline Archipelago,
5° 21' 30'' N., 163° 0' 42'' E.

[197] From 1st October, 1856, upon which were marked all the improvements
known up to 1857.

[198] Compare Captain Cheyne's sailing directions, p. 68: "Captain Simpson
of Sydney reported to me in 1845, that a group of low coral islands,
covered with cocoa-nut trees and inhabited, had been seen in 4° 52' S.,
and 160° 12' E. This may probably be the same group seen by Captain
Wellings in 1824, which is laid down in Mr. Arrowsmith's chart in latitude
4° 29' S., 159° 28' E." It is matter of surprise in any case that
considering the uncertainty which prevails as to the precise locality of
the reef, its position on the English Admiralty Charts should not at least
be marked _doubtful_.

[199] A. Cheyne--Sailing Directions from New South Wales to China and
Japan. London, 1855, page 68.

         [Illustration: Barrier Reef and Atoll of Sikayana.]


                    The Coral Island of Sikayana.

                         17th October, 1858.

    Natives on board.--Good prospects of fresh provisions.--An
    interment on board.--A night scene.--Visit to the Island Group.--
    Fáole.--Voyage trip to Sikayana.--Narrative of an English
    sailor.--Cruelty of merchantmen in the South Sea Islands.--
    Tradition as to the origin of the inhabitants of Sikayana.--A
    king.--Barter.--Religion of the natives.--Trepang.--Method of
    preparing this sea-slug for the Chinese market.--Dictionary of
    the native language.--Under sail.--Ile de Contrariété.--Stormy
    weather.--Spring a leak.--Bampton Reef.--Smoky Cape.--Arrival in
    Port Jackson, the harbour of Sydney.

The short distance at which we found ourselves from Sikayana, called
Stewart's Island by the English, as also the prospect of procuring there
fresh provisions for the crew, among whom after 66 days' confinement on
board ship, some symptoms of scurvy began to appear, determined our
Commodore on spending a day there, and effecting a landing. Towards
afternoon, when we were about four or five miles distant from the western
island, two splendid large canoes approached the ship, in which were
fifteen men stark naked, except for a piece of linen round their loins.
They were all tall, robust, powerful men, five and a half to six feet
high, some with long, others broad faces, all having long noses, of a
light brown colour, and the greater number with glossy black hair. With
the exception of one who had whiskers, they were beardless; almost all
being tattooed from the elbow to the shoulder. They spoke broken English,
and even had English names. We never saw among the savage races such
finely built, well-proportioned, healthy-looking men, as these inhabitants
of the coral reef of Sikayana. Their free, unaccustomed, familiar
deportment was something surprising. But our astonishment reached its
height when one of these apparently savage children of nature, happening
to find on a table on the gun-deck a draught-board lying open, immediately
challenged one of the by-standers to a game, which it seems he understood
so well that he beat his antagonist two games out of three. We afterwards
heard that the natives at Sikayana have learned draughts, as also an
English game at cards known as "odd fourth," of which they seemed
passionately fond, from some English sailors, who several years before had
spent five months on these islands, preparing Trepang, or _biche-de-mar_,
for the Chinese market, those sea-slugs having formerly been found here in
large quantities.

To our question whether they had fresh provisions for sale, and of what
description, they replied that they possess on the island plenty of Taro,
cocoa-nuts, bananas, pigs, and poultry, which they would willingly
exchange for fish-hooks, tobacco, calico, gunpowder, ammunition, biscuit,
playing-cards, and ornaments for their wives. For money they did not show
the slightest desire, and of the value of gold they seemed to be utterly
ignorant. They showed the utmost eagerness for playing-cards and trinkets.

We now also learned that there was on the island one white settler, an
English sailor. This man attempted to come off to the frigate in a small
canoe, but owing to night setting in, he could not reach her. As these
hearty people were taking their leave, we promised to pay them a visit
early next morning, with which they seemed highly delighted.

There still remained the same evening one mournful duty for those on board
the _Novara_. During the afternoon one of our sailors had died after
protracted sufferings consequent on dysentery, and we had now, for
sanitary reasons, to commit his remains to the deep the very evening of
his death. It was already dark when the officers and crew were mustered on
deck, to pay the last honours to the departed. The captain gave the
customary orders, the ship's bell tolled, the narrow plank, on which lay
the body of the deceased sewn up in his hammock, was brought to the
gangway, where an iron weight was attached to the body by the feet, and
last of all the plank being tilted up, the heavy body plunged into the
waves with a hollow splash, and the watery tomb closed over him.

We looked down into the abyss and beheld myriads of stars reflected in
all their lustre in the smooth mirror of the ocean; the deep, blue,
unfathomable ocean appearing like a second firmament beneath our feet!
Nothing in the gay scene around seemed out of harmony with the mournful
act which the community of Christians on board the _Novara_ had been
celebrating. Everything about us--the brightly glistening stars, the
whispering ripple of the waves, the balmy atmosphere, all left an
impression of a higher state of felicity and tranquil happiness, and
seemed to remind us that everything in the universe, even the poor remains
we had just committed to the waves, obeyed but one eternal, immutable law!

On the morning of 17th October, three boats put off from the _Novara_ with
some of the officers and all the naturalists of the Expedition, bound for
Sikayana, between three and four miles distant, while the frigate cruised
about in the vicinity.

Stewart's Atoll (8° 22' S., 162° 58' E.) is a semi-lunar coral reef of
about sixteen miles in circumference, with a deep lagoon in its centre,
and five small wooded islands on the reef itself, which are visible from
the deck of a ship about twelve miles away, and were first discovered by
Captain Hunter, in May, 1791. These islands are named Sikayana, Fáole,
Mandúiloto, Baréna, and Maduáwe, and are so overgrown with cocoa-nut
palms, that they appear capable of supporting a population of about 1000
souls (with the wants and requirements of men in the tropics).

The two largest islands, Sikayana and Fáole, lie exactly at the sharp
horns of the lune-shaped atoll. Here we again had an opportunity of
observing the configuration of which all known atolls furnish examples,
viz. that the islands found adjoining these reefs are almost invariably at
the projecting extremities, where the surf rages on either side, and where
consequently the conditions are most favourable for the heaping up of
detached fragments of coral. The area of habitable dry land is to the
extent of the reef in the proportion of 1 : 21. As may readily be assumed
from the physical conditions of the islands, there is no drinkable water
to be found upon them; the liquid contents of the cocoa-nut when fresh is
almost the only beverage of the inhabitants, and hence the first thing the
natives asked for when they came on board was for some "drinking-water,"
since, except of course during the wet season, when they catch the
rain-water, this is a rarity with them--we might almost say an article of

Sikayana, the Big Island of the English, the most easterly and largest of
the islands, is about 1 1/6th statute mile in length, and lies in 8° 22'
24'' S., and 163° 1' E. The reef which surrounds the island sinks at
certain points sheer downwards, so that a ship may in perfect safety
approach within a cable's length. We had to sail for a considerable time
along this line of reef, on which the sea beat with a thundering surf, ere
we came to one of those spots on the N.W. side where it is practicable in
a boat to pass the atoll reef into the tranquil lagoon, which it encloses.
At all times, even in the calmest weather, a tremendous surf roars against
the reef, and even this point is inaccessible when there is a fresh breeze
blowing. Here we found some of the canoes of the natives awaiting our
approach, who now, as though they had been on the look-out for our
arrival, came off to us, some in their boats, others swimming, to inform
us that, it being ebb-tide, the entry into the lagoon was not very easy,
but that at high-water one could pass right over the reef, in even larger
boats than ours. It was accordingly arranged that two of the boats should
anchor outside the reef, and only one should be hauled inside the lagoon
with a rope for our further use. But even this could not be managed until
by removing all baggage and transhipping almost her entire crew, she had
been made sufficiently light.

The passage between the coral reefs and the lagoon is at high-water about
three feet deep, but at lowest ebb it is barely a foot in depth, and three
to four feet wide, and then the reef juts up at most points to such
extent, that a skilled equilibrist may (although not to the advantage of
his soles) easily reach the interior of the lagoon without wetting his
shoes. As soon, however, as this narrow entrance, which is about 300 feet
long, has been passed, the navigation becomes easier. The appearance of
the reef was very peculiar. Corals of every description, _Astrææ_,
_Mæandrinæ_, _Madriporæ_, form a sort of series of clusters of
stone-bushes, among which beautifully mottled fish swim about, while
starfish of an exquisite indigo blue, and mussels of the most
extraordinary forms, people the ground.

The atoll presents some very remarkable geological features. At its N.W.
side, close to the reef and as it were growing to it, stand two singular
vase-shaped rocks, from 8 to 10 feet in height. While their base is
bathed by the sea, their upper portions, which are about 20 feet in
diameter, present the spectacle of luxuriant grass, brushwood, and one or
two fruit-bearing cocoa-nut palms, so that the two crags looked like two
gigantic flower-pots attached to the reef. They seem to be all that
remains of an island which Ocean had first thrown up, and was now busy
wearing away.

Another geological peculiarity is the occurrence of heaps of pumice-stone.
These are found about the size of walnuts over the entire interior of the
island of Fáole at those places which the swell of the waves cannot reach
even in the stormiest weather, where they occur in such immense quantities
(though there are no traces of them on the sand or shingle of the actual
beach) that we may take for granted that the convulsion which brought them
here must have occurred in times long gone by, the more so as this
superposed pumice-stone exercises a marked and obvious influence upon the
vegetation of the island. So far as its soil consists of heaps of
fragments of coral and mussel-shells, the cocoa-nut palm reigns almost
alone, whereas as soon as the pumice-stone region is reached, there begins
an exceedingly luxuriant growth of lofty forest trees with huge trunks and
umbrageous foliage, and an astonishingly abundant _flora_ of species
apparently peculiar to these Atoll islands. The English naturalist Jukes,
who accompanied Captain Blackwood on his survey of Torres Straits, found
beds of pumice along the entire east and north coasts of Australia, over
an extent of 2000 miles, and under numerous special conditions, but most
frequently on flat grounds elevated about ten feet above high-water mark
and more or less distant from the beach--never upon the beach itself. The
occurrence of pumice in such vast quantities is of no slight interest in a
geological point of view. It must have been some tremendous natural
convulsions, an earthquake wave of enormous lateral dimensions, which
threw up this pumice-stone, and deposited it throughout this entire region
at the same height above high-water mark. Since this phenomenon occurred,
the general level of the coasts and islands on which this deposit of
pumice is found, can scarcely have undergone any considerable alteration,
if one is not inclined to assume for the entire region a perfectly equal
elevation or depression.

The whole party of Excursionists had wandered along the reef to a spot at
which we could embark once more, so as to row over to the next island,
Fáole, which, however, the natives do not much frequent, except
occasionally to collect cocoa-nuts and pandanus fruits. But as one main
object had to be accomplished, namely, the supply of the ship with fresh
provisions, which were not found here, some of the party went off to the
principal settlement on the island of Sikayana, to barter some goods they
had brought, against as much private supplies for themselves as could be
conveniently conveyed to the boats and so taken on board.

While the natives were paddling along in their elegant canoes, escorting
us as far as Sikayana, we offered a seat in our boat to the only white man
on the island, the English sailor already mentioned. This man was named
John Davis, about forty years of age, a native of Greenwich, and was,
according to his own story, left behind against his will by Captain Ross,
a "sandal-wooder," who had visited this group in 1858. He stated he had
just before been with Captain Ross at the Tonga Islands, where the captain
sent two sailors on shore to fell sandal-wood. These men, however, got
into a quarrel with the natives, who would not permit them to rob them of
their property, in the course of which they lost their lives. The captain
immediately proceeded to the islands himself with some of his crew well
armed, attacked the unfortunate natives, shot five, and then sailed off.
Davis had become obnoxious to the captain, because in consequence of
over-work he had fallen ill with intermittent fever, and could not work,
upon which his remorseless superior cast about how to get rid of the now
useless seaman, and resolved to put him ashore by force on the next island
which came in sight. What a fearful doom! To be abandoned, sick and
helpless, on a lone island far from the highways of the world, where ships
but seldom touched, and amid savages with whose tongue he was
unacquainted! If even one were disposed to doubt the possibility of such
inhuman cruelty, it would find mournful confirmation in many similar
instances. To this charge the "sandal-wooders" are especially amenable,
who visit the islands of the South Sea to collect the costly sandal-wood,
and in the prosecution of their enterprise seem to go upon the exclusive
principle that the coloured man has no property over the natural wealth
of these islands, and has no right to resist the wishes of the white man!

Commander Erskine of H.M.S. _Savannah_, mentions a case in which an
English merchantman, engaged in the sandal-wood traffic, entered into an
engagement to employ his whole crew in assisting one native tribe to
overpower its neighbour, in return for which timely assistance certain
places were pointed out where the coveted sandal-wood was found in great
abundance. A battle took place, and a number of prisoners were carried on
board the ship, of whom, during the passage to the sandal-wood-producing
islands, several were in the presence of the European crew coolly
slaughtered and eaten by their cannibal foes of the Fee-jee Islands!!

Davis, whom the natives for distinction's sake called simply "the white
man," could not expatiate enough on the cordiality and kind treatment he
received from the poor inhabitants of Sikayana during his stay. Since
April no ship had called at the island, or even been visible from it. He
begged the favour of a passage to Sydney, which was readily accorded him
on condition he would first repay all his obligations to the natives, and
that on their side there should be no objections made to his leaving. On
our arrival in Sydney we learned that Captain Ross, who had put Davis
ashore at Sikayana, had been tried for another still greater atrocity; he
had inflicted Lynch-law, by hanging some of the natives of New Caledonia
at his yard-arm. Ross was somewhat later acquitted by the judges at
Sydney, but public opinion reversed the verdict.

After a row of an hour and a half we at last reached the island of
Sikayana, having previously met three canoes, one of which was manned by
twelve rowers, who now entered on a sort of regatta contest with us. These
canoes, not more than a foot and a half wide, glide with uncommon velocity
through the water, but despite their outriggers, they are not adapted for
carrying much provisions. We found it quite easy to land at the place, and
drew up our boat upon the sandy beach.

The world of these islanders, the entire area of dry habitable land upon
this coral reef, is about one-eighth of an English square mile; no stream,
no mountain, no eminence adorns the island, the highest part of which is
just sufficiently elevated to enable the winds and waves to heap up sand
and débris; around it on every side is the boundless ocean, and its
mineral wealth is reduced to one single mineral, carbonated chalk,
deposited in the brine by thousands of millions of coral-animals. Hither
too the ocean in some extraordinary cases wafts pumice and other stones
lighter than water, which somewhat improve the soil, or occasionally
stones are transported, entangled in the roots of floating trees, with
which the denizens of this little place can grind the mussel-shells, of
which they make all their tools, as well as knives and hatchets.

The immense vegetable kingdom has but 20 or 30 representatives here, whose
seeds have been transported hither by the sea from richer and more
congenial soils, and thrown up by it upon the strand. Animals are still
more scarce. A few sea-swallows and insects form the whole Fauna of the
group. The sea furnishes the only supply of animal food, in the shape of
fish, crabs, and shell-fish. One may well ask, what degree of moral or
spiritual development can be attained by a race of men whose sphere of
action is confined to a solitary coral reef! Yet the mode of existence of
the inhabitants of Stewart's Islands is by no means of the most primitive
or simple nature; through the occasional visits of ships they have
obtained much, by which they have sensibly improved their condition. They
now possess swine, poultry, and various tubers, which seem greatly to
thrive on the island, and which they can now exchange for other articles
of prime necessity.

Sikayana is the only member of the group which is permanently inhabited,
and that by a sincerely hospitable, most friendly race. Their origin is
variously accounted for.

Among the natives themselves there is a dim tradition that Captain Cook
transported hither the first settlers. Another version is, that the first
inhabitants came from South Island, 130 miles W. of Stewart's Islands, and
that they were brought hither by whalers, which latter, when they no
longer needed the services of these poor people, sought how most easily to
get rid of them. At the same time several English and American sailors,
who at various times have been left in these islands in consequence of
sickness, want of further employment, love of adventure, or quarrels with
their captains, must have largely contributed to the present quite
peculiar mixture. The practice of leaving upon any suitable island such
natives of the South Sea groups as may take service with English or
American whalers, is very common, and sufficiently explains the mode of
first settling many of these islands of Oceania.

When Captain Cheyne, who has greatly contributed to our more intimate
knowledge of the islands of the West Pacific, visited Sikayana in
September, 1847, the population amounted to 48 men, 73 women, and 50
children, who inhabited a small village lying on the lagoon at the eastern
end of the island. Although eleven years had elapsed ere we visited this
simple community, their numbers did not appear materially to have

Considering the powerful, healthy appearance of the natives, it should
seem that we must ascribe this stagnation in amount of population less to
the influence of climate, than to the ravages of the various diseases
which are from time to time introduced by foreign ships. Thus we saw one
woman whose whole body was deeply marked with small-pox, and presented a
living example that the fell scourge of all uncivilized races is no longer
unknown in Sikayana.

At the landing-place we were received by the king of the island, a very
aged man with grey hair and silver beard. He sat on the grass close to the
shore under the shade of cocoa-nut palms, driving away with his hand the
flies which were stinging his naked body. After a brief welcome he
invited us to be seated beside him on Nature's own soft green carpet.

The natives whom we met here were all tall handsome men, with good
features, decidedly of a European cast. The hair was black, very crisp,
but not the slightest appearance of being woolly. Many had shaved it till
there only remained a long tail; most of them had their arms and legs
tattooed, but wore no ear or nose ornaments like the Solomon Islanders.
Round the loins they wore a sort of girdle, four or five inches wide, of
strips of plants plaited by the women. In addition to this, most of them
wore some piece of European clothing; drawers, old caps, but most commonly
a sort of jacket without sleeves made of calico, which only covered the
back and chest. Like the natives of the Nicobars, they showed great
curiosity to learn our names, and kept repeating them over and over,
apparently to impress them upon their memory. They had beyond a doubt
taken their own names from sailors and ship captains, with whom they had
once been in communication.

Close to the shore, among some scattered palm-trees, stood a few wretched
huts, compared with which the bee-hive huts of the Nicobar Islanders
appear like palaces. They consisted of a roofing woven of cocoa-nut
palm-leaves, planted upon the naked soil which serves as a floor, and
closed in front and rear with mats of similar texture. The interior was no
less poverty-stricken than the exterior. We could see no articles of
furniture beyond a few baskets and battered boxes, in which the islanders
stow away their small property.

A crowd of eager expectants had gathered round the crates of merchandise
which our sailors had brought on shore, and the barter began.

The natives had swine, poultry, a few eggs, papayas, Taro, cocoa-nuts, and
bananas to offer, while we had an assortment of knives, hatchets, saws,
flints, fish-hooks, calico, linen, blue cloth, ribbons, linen-thread,
needles, coarse tobacco, biscuit, red coral, glass beads, empty bottles,
&c. &c.

This commerce was something higher than a mere barter--it had also a
psychological interest of its own. Useful goods and tools found a much
less demand than baubles and objects of personal adornment; and for a
string of glass beads only fit to hang round the neck of a wife, or to put
as a bracelet upon the arm of some little dusky daughter, provisions
enough were given away to have supported an entire family for days.

Red and green seemed the colours most in demand, and the small beads were
in far more request than the larger and heavier descriptions, even if
these latter were more costly and neat. It seemed the women were not
permitted to show themselves at market, which must have been a sore enough
disappointment for many; but the men earnestly requested before closing
with an offer to be permitted to carry off the coveted prizes, leaving
their own articles of barter in pledge, apparently with the gallant
attention of first of all obtaining the advice and consent of their
better halves. Hence it frequently happened that the article first
selected was exchanged for some other widely different, or the whole
bargain given up.

The women whom we afterwards saw in their huts were all tall and
powerfully built, but very unattractive, the majority appearing
prematurely old. The sole covering was a piece of gay-coloured calico
tolerably wide, which they wore around their loins. Their lower limbs and
faces were tattooed, the latter however with only a few cross-bars.

The two hampers of assorted articles, which was our stock in trade, were
ere long nearly emptied, and as the sailors would have found it hard work
to bring off the provisions we had purchased in our small boat, it was
agreed to break up our improvised exchange, and return to Fáole with our
valuable cargo of fresh provisions.[200]

While the barter was going on, the author of this narrative occupied
himself with making some anthropometrical measurements, and at the same
time noting down a few cursory remarks respecting these interesting

The chief food of these islanders consists of fish, cocoa-nuts, taro, and
the fruit of the pandanus (_dawa_); only at rare intervals do they taste
pork or poultry. The rearing of pigs and poultry is chiefly carried on for
the purpose of trading with foreign vessels, so as to obtain in return the
products of a higher civilization. Their fish-nets are prepared from the
rind of their trees. A few looms which they also possess have been given
them by whale-fishers. The cincture round the loins, which is their sole
article of apparel, is also prepared from the inner bark of the tree.

When the king dies, the oldest member of the community is elected his
successor. At their festivals they sing in a sort of monotonous drone, and
blow at the same time through mussel-shells.

When mourning for the dead, they stain their faces red with the seeds of
the _Bixa orellana_, and wear a piece of white calico, shaped something
like a capuchin's hood, which reaches down till it covers the shoulder.
One native, who was wearing one of these head coverings, could not be
induced to traffic, nor even to approach the place where our improvised
market was being held, because, as he made us understand, one of his near
relatives had lately died. Altogether the inhabitants of Sikayana struck
us as a primitive, very moral, and honourable race, and it made us almost
melancholy to think that these excellent people should be without the
blessings of Christianity. To our great amazement, however, we learned
that the natives themselves strenuously opposed the settlement in their
midst of any missionaries of any Christian denomination,--"Because," said
they, "all their Kai-kai (i. e. their food) would belong to the
missionaries." This naïve reply reminds us of a similar remark on the part
of the Quiche Indians, which we once overheard in the highlands of
Guatemala, in whose language a missionary or priest is known as
Ki-sol-re-le-ak-úch, which being interpreted means "devourer of all hens!"
And just as among the Mormons every care is taken to keep certain
professions out of their community, as, for instance, the physician, in
order to prevent illness, or the lawyer, with the intent to keep away
law-suits, thus in their simplicity the natives of Sikayana have fallen
into the error of viewing the missionary, that moral physician, as only of
importance or of necessity in those places where there are really
spiritual and moral evils to cure!

The liquors of Europe are as yet but little known to the inhabitants of
Sikayana. In none of the huts could we discern any sort of spirituous
fluids, nor was any offered to us. Even during the trading, amid the
demands for every sort of article, no desire was expressed for them, not a
question even was asked respecting them, whereas hitherto all the wild or
semi-savage races with which we came in contact at once clamoured for
"Brandy," and not seldom presented themselves in a riotous condition.
That there is as yet no demand for spirits at Sikayana shows how little
intercourse they can as yet have had with civilization. In former years
this group was occasionally visited by American and English merchantmen,
owing to the abundance of Trepang. Since the year 1845, however, when one
American captain collected 250 Chinese piculs[201] (about 15 tons), and
ten years later when Captain Cheyne in the course of nine months gathered
265 piculs (about 16-3/4 tons), the business is no longer profitable and
at present years sometimes slip by without a ship lying to off Sikayana.

As these worm-like animals,[202] which in the dried state command, like
the Salangan swallows' nests, a high price as a costly delicacy in China
and Japan, form an important article of commerce and employ a considerable
number of ships annually, we shall indulge in a few remarks on the very
laborious operations of preparing the Trepang.

Of the large number of varieties of Trepang which are found among the
coral reefs of the Pacific, there are only ten suited to the Chinese
market, which are accurately distinguished by their special names. As they
fetch a price according to quality of from 6 to 35 dollars per picul, it
is a matter of great importance to obtain the very highest qualities.

The four species most in demand are known in China by the following
names,--_Bangkolungan_, _Kiskisan_, _Talipan_, and _Munang_, each of which
has a distinctive appearance, and is found at various depths on the coral

_Bangkolungan_, when captured, is from 11 to 15 inches in length, of an
oval form, brown on the back, white on the belly, incrusted with chalk,
and with a row of papillæ or warts along the side. This species is hard,
stiff, and possesses hardly any means of progression beyond expanding and
contracting at will. They are found on the inner edge of the coral reef in
coral-sandy ground, under water of from 2 to 10 fathoms, and are difficult
to get at without diving. Kiskisan is from 6 to 12 inches long, oval, very
black, smooth on the back, dark grey belly, and with a row of papillæ
along its side. This description is found in shallow water near the
highest portion of the reef, and on a bottom of coral and sand. _Talipan_
varies in length from 9 inches to 2 feet, and is the most peculiar-looking
of all the Trepang species. This sort is found in all parts of the reef,
but chiefly in water of from 2 to 3 fathoms. It is of a dark red colour,
and less bulky than either of the sorts already described. The back is
covered with large red spots, which readily distinguish it from all other
species. It is more flexible than the black sort, and more difficult to
prepare. _Munang_ is oval, small, quite black, and rarely measures above
eight inches in length. It has neither warts nor other excrescences, and
is found in shallow water on the coral flats, and frequently also among
the sea-tangle along the shore. It is this sort which the Americans
usually catch at the Fee-jee Islands. In the Chinese markets, a picul of
_Munang_ is worth 15 to 25 dollars. Besides these four principal species,
there are a variety of less valuable descriptions, such as Zapatos-China,
Lowlowan, Balati-blanco, Matan, Hangenan, and Zapatos-Grande.

In order to prepare these four sorts of Trepang for commerce, they are
first soaked in a large iron kettle for from 5 to 10 minutes in boiling
water, and when thoroughly heated through, are taken out. The portion of
the animal which is cut off, when well boiled, should be of an amber
colour tinged with blue, and feel somewhat like Indian rubber.

A certain degree of dexterity and practice are requisite for boiling
Trepang to the proper point and afterwards drying it. While it becomes
puffed out through too sudden an application of heat, and porous like
sponge, too low a temperature or too short a time destroys it on the ot