KATHAY: A CRUISE IN THE CHINA SEAS.
BY W. HASTINGS MACAULAY.
"Coelum, non animum, mutant, Qui trans mare currunt."
NEW-YORK: G. P. PUTNAM & CO., 10 PARK PLACE. M.DCCC.LII.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by G. P. PUTNAM & COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New-York.
JOHN F. TROW, PRINTER, 49 Ann-Street.
Dedication TO MRS. JANE G. SPROSTON, BALTIMORE.
ESTEEMED AND RESPECTED MADAM:
I have presumed to address this work to you, more to prove the truth of its motto, than from any hope that it may be intrinsically worthy of your acceptance.
Connected with a noble profession by ties at once sad and dear, I have considered that a narration of events seen in its service—however unworthily set down, might not be uninteresting to you; and feeling assured that your prayers and kind wishes have followed us through "changing skies," as we have sped across "distant seas,"—upon our safe return, I am truly happy in being able to imitate the custom of mariners of more sunny climes, and to place this offering of affection upon the altar of Gratitude.
Set Sail—Sea-sickness—Get a good offing—Sail ho!—Islets of St. Paul—Shipwreck there—Sufferings—Crossing the Line—Fernando Noronha—Fire—Remarkable peak—Arrival at Rio—Disappointment—Beauties of the harbor—Ashore at last—Village of San Domingo—Flying trip to city—Yellow fever—All hands up anchor—Sugarloaf Mountain—Off for the Cape 9
Telling Tales out of School—Double the Cape—The Flying Dutchman—Albatross and Cape pigeons—Catching the albatross—The man who ate the albatross—Superstition of sailors—Man overboard—Lying to—Accident—Death— The sailor's grave 20
Island of St. Paul—Steering for Java Head—Land ho!— Christmas Island—Straits of Sunda—A Beautiful Scene— Sentimental Simile—Come to anchor—Anger Point—Village of Anger—On shore in Java—Perfume of the East—Banyan tree—The governor and Dutch hotel keeper—Welcome at an inn—Attack on Anger Fort—Dutch officers' prowess, and French!—The Javanese—Chinaman—Mosque—Mahomet— Bazaar—Watering place 26
China Sea—Anchor off Macao—Canton River—Whampoa—Trip to Canton—The San-pan—Pagodas—Lob Creek—Salt junks— Description of a Junk—Mandarin, or search boats—Pirates— Crowded state of River at Canton—Land at Factory Stairs— Visit Vice-Consul—New China Street—A Cow-House—Wonders of Canton—Factory gardens—Water parties—Buddhist temples, and holy pigs—Dock-yard at Whampoa—American missionary at Newtown—Bethel, and its pastor—Fourth of July—Back to Macao—The Typa—The Barrier 33
Passage ashore—A-ti—The Praya—Forts—Governor's Road— Description of Macao—Murder of Amaral—Manoeuvring of Seu and his triumph—A new Governor—His death—Council of Government—View from Guia Fort—Marques's garden—Camoen's grotto—Epitaph and doggerel written there—A beautiful spot—Stealing fire from the gods—Fate of Prometheus 44
Up the Canton River again—Bay of Canton—Bocca Tigris— Forts at the Bogue—Their construction—Conduct of Chinese when attacked—The Feast of Lanterns—The Rebellion—Paddy fields and mosquitoes—Back to Typa—Pleasant times—Blowing up of a frigate! 54
Visit Hong-Kong—A beautiful morning—Harbor of Hong-Kong —Settlement of Victoria—Line-of-battle ship Hastings— Forecastle logic—An arrival from the Northern Seas—Her B. M. S. Herald—Salutes—Description of Victoria—Club House—Health of Hong-Kong—Death vacancies—Feasting and fetes—Ball—Pic-Nic—Departure from Hong-Kong 63
China—Limited opportunities—The Chinese nation compared with others—Its antiquity—Magnitude of territory and practicability of laws—Supposed origin of the Chinese —Fables of their early writers—Explanation of their exaggerations—Foundation of the Empire—Chinese traditions compared with sacred history—Similarity of events—Wise men of the East—Introduction of Buddhism—Arts and sciences— The magnetic Needle—Discovery of Gunpowder—Origin of the name—China—Che-Hwang-te, King of Tsin—Parallel between him and Napoleon—Religion—Confucius—The Taouists— Buddhism—A Buddhist's idea of Heaven 70
Christmas and the New Year in Macao—Removal of remains of Da Cunha—The dead give place to the quick—Chinese manner of fishing—A new principle in hydraulics—Inspection of Macao Militia—An ancient cemetery—Arrival of the new Governor, Cardoza—Underway for Manilla—Fetch up at Hong-Kong—Another start—Island of Luconia—Bay of Manilla—Earthquake—Discovery and settlement of the Philippines—Description of Manilla—The Calzada—A puppet-show 81
Drive to the Balsa—Meaning of the word—A mob of women —Nora Creena—Magic, slipper—Description of the drive —Ferryman of the females—Decline the office—The suburbs —A la Balsa—Manilla, intra murales—The Mole by Moonlight —Friend in a fit—Circo Olympico—Scenes in the Circle 90
An early drive—Visit to Churches—The Cathedral— Description—Reflections—Church of the Binondo Quarter —The dead child—Baptism—Life's entrances and exit— Ceremony of taking the veil—Poor Maraquita—An episode —Don Caesar de Bazan—Interior of the convent—Interview with the Lady Superior—Interchange of compliments— Spanish courtesy—An admission 99
Fabrico del Tobago—Manufacture of the cheroot— Description of the process—Female operatives—Gigantic effects—Midshipman attacked—A delightful Evening—Boat ahoy—Disappointed in trip to Lagunade Bay—Funcion Familia—Madame Theodore—The Calcada again—Margarita —Teatro Binondo—Teatro Tagalo de Tondo—Espana—Anecdote of an Englishman—Farewell to Manilla—Out to Sea 105
Anchor in harbor of Hong-Kong—Hastings and Herald both off—Advantage of newspapers—A first-rate notice—The Press of Victoria—The Friend of China—Its pugnacity— Advertising sheets—Description of Island—Rain— Character of Chinese inhabitants 114
Hong-Kong—Object of its settlement—Its service as an opium depot—Views of the opium trade—Its history— Considered the cause and object of the war—Treaty of Nankin—Opium trade fixed on China 121
Trip to Macao—Disappointed in getting ashore—Mail arrived—Get no letters—Expression of sentiments—Causes and effects—Overland mail—Idea of a route—Happy Valley —Chase of Pirates—A Poisson d'Avril—Into the Typa again—Arrival of consort—Late dates—Catholic fete— Depart for Shanghae—The Yang-tse-Kiang—Improvement in the appearance of the country—Better race of men—Banks of the Woo-sung 127
Shanghae—Immense number of junks—Foreign residences— Novelty of Chimneys—Revolting appearance of beggars— Undertakers—Price of coffins—Decline trading— Description of city—Stagnant pools—Tea gardens—Sweet site—The Taoutae—Advantages of Shanghae—Departure— Ship ashore!—Sensation 135
Amoy—Its trade—Cause of decay—Infanticide—Manner of destroying female infants—China woman's confession— Environs—British and American cemeteries—The fatal rock—Koo-lung-Seu—Chinese gunnery—Chinese Customs— Marriage—Death—Manner of mourning—Pagoda of Nan-tae-Woo-Shan 142
Formosa—Description of the island—Its productions—Coal mines—Metals—The Dutch possessions—Their expulsion— Proper policy of civilized powers 148
Leave Amoy—Arrive in Macao Roads—Live ashore—Well guarded—Night calls—Ventriloquist at Typa Fort— Ordered on board—Up to Whampoa—Clipper Ships—Over to Hong-Kong—Coronation day—Independence day— Hurried on board—The mail—Ty-foongs 154
Ty-foong passed—Pleasant season—Theatrical exhibition —The Macaense—Philharmonic Society—Italian Opera— Awaiting orders for home—Thoughts of home and friends —Idea suggested by the setting sun—Poetry—Maladie de Pays—Its effects upon the Swiss—A remedy—My own experience, and manner of Cure 161
Haul up all standing—Boat races—Interest in the sport— Excitement general—Arrangements—Jockeyism—Regatta— Preparations—The start—The race—The result—Launch and first cutter—Race described con-amore—Suggestion of an old salt—Satan and sailors 166
Effects of the race—Suppers and their effects—The stuff that dreams are made of—A scrape in the Typa—Again at Whampoa 172
Anson's Bay—Hong-Kong again—P. & O. Company's hulk takes fire—Escape of captain's wife—Toong-Koo Bay—Piracy— Fire at Macao—Wolf again at Whampoa—Amateur theatricals at Canton—Melancholy musings 177
Commodore arrives at last—Preparations for a start—Delay —Washington's Birthday—The clipper Challenge—Prisoners from her—Homeward bound!—Reflections on leaving—Case of small-pox—Second visit to Anger 184
No mosquitoes at Anger—The land of the East—A sketch— Advantages of Anger—Dolce-far-niente—Island of Java— Batavia—Bantam—Comparison between Anger and Singapore 189
Pass through Sunda Strait—H. B. M. S. Rattler—Catch the trades—A learned opinion on diaries—Extracts from diary —Isle of France—Its romance—Bourbon—Mauritius—Cape of Good Hope—Description—Trouble in getting in—Table Bay and Mountain 194
Land at Cape Town—Hotels and widows—Drive to Constantia —Description of drive—Price of wine—Manumission of slaves—Seasons at the Cape—The town through a microscope, &c. &c. 200
Settlement of Cape Town—Its productions—The Kaffir war— Latest dispatches—Cause of the rebellion—Description of the Kaffir by the traveller—Opinion of him by the resident —Authority of prominent men—Observatory, &c. 208
A death on board—Our freight—Extracts from diary—St. Helena and Napoleon—The trades—Poetical idea of a starry telegraph—Good sailing 217
Classic ground—Hispaniola—Romance of the western waters —Extracts from diary—On a wind—Newsboats wanted—The Bermudas—Target practice 222
The Gulf Stream—Darby's theory—Its ingenuity—The coasts of America—John Cabot, the Venetian—"Terra primum visa"—Completion of cruise—Conclusion 226
Set Sail—Sea-sickness—Get a good offing—Sail ho!—Islets of St. Paul—Shipwreck there—Sufferings—Crossing the Line—Fernando Noronha—Fire—Remarkable peak—Arrival at Rio—Disappointment—Beauties of the harbor—Ashore at last—Village of San Domingo—Flying trip to city—Yellow fever—All hands up anchor—Sugarloaf Mountain—Off for the Cape.
Immediately after noon, upon the 29th day of January, 1850, we east off from the wharf at the Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and with the pilot on board, proceeded to sea. But little time was allowed to send our adieus, for he soon left us, bearing with him some hasty scrawls, to the illegibility of one of which a very good friend of the writer can testify. Our commander was very anxious to commence his cruise, and having been delayed nearly one month for officers, put off upon it as soon as the last gentleman had reported.
That bugbear to all landsmen,—sea-sickness,—gave me but little annoyance, although some of the crew appeared to suffer greatly from its effects.
Having a favorable wind we soon made a good offing, a very desirable thing at that season of the year, and indeed one which no sailor objects to on any coast, when outward bound; a fresh, favoring breeze and plenty of sea room being his most fervent prayer.
Our first destination was Rio, and towards it we bent our course. A few days out, and the novelty of our situation having worn off, pleasing remembrances of persons, localities, and particular events which had occurred during our sojourn in Boston, became less frequent, and pretty allusions to "again standing upon the deck," poetical petitions to the dark blue Ocean, praying it, in the language of Byron, to "roll on," gradually gave way to growlings, when old Neptune, as if in answer, drove his chariot over its surface, and working its waters into a yeasty foam, disturbed, at the same time, both our equilibrium and equanimity.
But little occurred to destroy the usual monotony of a sea voyage. At long intervals "sail ho!" would be called out by the lookout on the foretopsail yard, and after a time our eyes would be greeted from the deck with the sight of another white-winged wanderer like ourself, steering for his distant port. Then would come conjecture as to whither he might be bound, and sailor-like reflections upon his rig, qualities of sailing, and the judgment of the skipper in the selection of his course.
Our reckoning, and the change of temperature both of air and water, soon announced that we were approaching that equatorial divider of our globe, called "the Line," and in about one degree of latitude above it (1 deg. 16' N.) we made the islets of Saint Paul, a barren pile of rocks of about one mile and a half in length, and of inconsiderable breadth, standing solitarily and desolately here in mid ocean. Made their longitude by the mean of three chronometers; observation 29 deg. 19' 57'' west; about one degree different from the longitude in which they were laid down in our chart; an error which should be corrected.
It was here that a few years ago a Dutch East Indiaman was wrecked, and of nearly two hundred souls but three or four were saved, and these were taken off after remaining upon the rocks some twelve days, without nourishment and exposed to all the horrors of starvation. Worse yet than that, deprived of shelter from a vertical sun, without water to restore the fluids which his fierce rays extracted from their parching bodies. An immense number of birds were flying over and around these jagged peaks, and who knows how greatly these may have added to the torture of the shipwrecked crew, when failing nature denied the power to protect themselves.
"Ah who can tell The looks men cast on famished men; The thoughts that came up there."
In the morning watch of the twenty-sixth of February, we "crossed the line" in longitude 29 deg. 56' 50'' west, with such light breezes, that at meridian we had logged but 30' south. We escaped the usual visit of old Neptune upon entering the threshold of his dominions,—and as it was early morning, suppose the "Old Salt" was calmly reposing in the arms of Amphitrite. Seriously, I consider this custom of performing practical jokes in the character of Neptune, as "one more honored in the breach than the observance," and that no officer should endanger the discipline of his ship by allowing such unmannerly pranks as we read of having been performed, and where the initiated have paid the penalty with broken bones, sometimes with life.
At 5. 45. A. M. of the same day, the island of Fernando Noronha was made from the mast head, and as it gradually loomed to the vision, from the deck, its remarkable peak began to assume various shapes, mostly resolving themselves into the semblance of a high tower. It is on the north side of the island, and is called "the Pyramid;" is said to elevate its rocky proportions from the midst of a beautiful grove to the height of about one thousand feet above the level of the sea. Near its summit there is a station, from which a lookout can have supervision over the entire island, and the sea for many leagues on every point surrounding it.
The island of Fernando Noronha we found in latitude 3 deg. 51' 04'' south, and longitude 32 deg. 27' 15'' west. It was at one time much resorted to by whalers for provisions and water, although the scarcity of the latter at certain seasons, does not render it at all times desirable for this purpose. It is about seven miles long, and from two to three in breadth.
Noronha was at one time used by the Brazilian government as a place of transportation for criminals, principally those exiled for treason, and offenders against the state, and is said to contain some beautiful scenery; also to produce magnificent fruit. But we were not to linger there, and soon its peak, becoming more and more indistinct, sinking slowly, lost its proportions beneath the horizon.
The first day of what would have been called spring in our own beautiful land, was ushered in by an alarm of fire. The officers and the different messes were nearly all at breakfast when the signal for such an accident was given, and were not slow in obeying its summons; in less than a minute every one was at his station, when the smoke was discovered issuing from the galley funnel forward, into which a lazy cook, whose duty it was to have it properly cleaned every morning, had inserted some straw for the purpose of performing his duty more expeditiously and effectually; and indeed he had nearly succeeded in getting rid of it altogether, had it not been for the promptness of a forecastle man, who seizing a bucket of water, opportunely standing near him on the topgallant forecastle, dashed it down the funnel, preventing the flames from communicating with the foresail, and thus probably saved the ship.
Of all the numerous accidents to which a man-of-war is so peculiarly liable, that of destruction by fire is most likely to occur, and requires the strictest discipline to guard against; for this are established certain hours for smoking, and a stated period at night for the extinguishing of all lights; so that after ten o'clock the peopled ship speeds on her way, over the dark bosom of the heaving billows, with only the light in the binnacle to show her course upon the illuminated card, and the well-secured lamp in the cabin, by which her commander, anxious and unsleeping, traces her track along the corrected chart.
Upon the tenth day of March, Sunday, at seven bells in the last dog watch, we came to anchor in the harbor of Rio de Janeiro, off the town known generally by the name of the river, but originally called San Sebastian. After forty days at sea, the exact time made by the first voyageur, Noah, we were as anxious as he might be supposed to have been, to escape from his menagerie; for take it as you will, you will find Emerson's "Experience" to agree with yours in this respect, however you may differ from him in others, when he states in his essay with that title (which essay, par parenthesis, I was compelled to swallow in hospital for want of better mental aliment), that, "Every ship is a romantic object, except the one you sail in,—embark, and the romance quits your vessel, and hangs on every other sail in the horizon."
After, as I have said, this period of probation, in a vessel crowded almost to the extent of Noah's, and whose crew bore some resemblance to his, if one might judge from the growls on board—the prospect of a trip to the shore, fresh provender and iced drinks was delicious, especially as the Hotel of Pharoux had been so repeatedly extolled during the passage as a horn of plenty, abounding in delicacies, and our mouths had been so often made to water upon many a "banyan day," by the luscious descriptions of those who had on former occasions the happiness to have indulged therein. But alas! for human hopes and expectations;
"L'homme propose, et Dieu dispose!"
For early on the next morning, after getting out the boats, and making other preparations for a visit to Rio, an order came from our commodore on that station, forbidding us to land, or to hold communication with the shore, on account of the prevalence of the yellow fever, then epidemic there. So here we lay, only a few cables' length from the Ilha da Cobras, with all the tropical plants and fruit almost within reach, and tantalizing us with their perfume,—the domes, palaces and public buildings of a gay capital (unvisited by many), rising picturesquely before us, and yet forbidden. We thought of Tantalus, and his fate, of Prometheus and the rock—of—of Adam and his expulsion, and must own that in our first feelings of disappointment, we made but a partial excuse for our primal progenitor, and great great grandmother, as we repeated those expressive lines of the poet, so early engraved upon our memory—
"In Adam's fall We sinned all."
But trying as was our situation, we were in a measure compensated for our disappointment by the beauty of this unrivalled harbor; and to describe it fully, I must be allowed to revert to the period when the coast of Brazil was first made, with its bold outlines developing new beauties as we approached. Indications of land had been noticed early in the morning of the day of our arrival, and shortly the numerous mountain peaks for which this coast is celebrated, filled the horizon before us like a line of dark clouds. As the distance was diminished, peak after peak stood out in bold relief against the blue sky, and we were soon enabled to make out the False Sugarloaf, Corcovado, Lord Hood's Nose, and The Tops—so called by sailors, from their resemblance to those parts of a ship. The light breeze, under which we carried studding-sails, and all the canvas that would draw, gradually wafted us towards the mouth of the river, yet so gently did we glide along that not one feature of the scene was lost; but it was not until we had passed the islands that screen its front, that its full magnificence was developed, and then, as by the drawing aside of a curtain, the harbor of Rio de Janeiro was displayed,—a magnificent basin surrounded by innumerable hills, which were dotted with beautiful villas.
Under a spanking breeze, which suddenly sprung up, we dashed on nearly to the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, and then stood over boldly to the fort Santa Cruz, from which we were hailed, and as the short twilight had given way to deeper shadows, were signalized by blue lights, continued by an opposite fortification, until they were noticed at the station on Signal Hill behind the city. Onward we sped, through a fleet of vessels, our craft threading her way, "like a thing of life," obeying the master's steady commands, creating no little sensation, as she darted amongst them, inclining to the right or left, or pressing boldly, straight ahead, to the repeated orders of "starboard," "port," or "steady there, so," and causing the different craft to run up their signal lights quite hastily. "Stand by," "let go the anchor," and there she lay as if taking rest after a long journey.
On viewing the scene from the deck by the early light of the next morning's dawn, I could compare it with nothing but the painting displayed in a theatre, and the quiet that reigned in that still hour, added greatly to the effect. The background of mountains piercing the clouds; the foreground being formed by the town itself with its houses of various hues, and picturesque styles of architecture, ascending the mountain's side, and villas, and country seats aiding the perspective, whilst the island of Cobras served as a side scene.
Around us stretched for leagues this splendid harbor, upon whose broad bosom lay vessels of every nation (and which appeared capable of bearing the fleets of the world), fringed by hills whose verdure seemed undying, over which were spread the beautiful trees of a tropical clime.
An opportunity at last occurred of setting foot upon terra firma once more, which was as gladly embraced—permission having been granted to visit the shore opposite to Rio, where is the village of San Domingo and the Praya Grande; with several officers we were pulled in the second cutter to intercept one of those graceful lateen rigged boats, called "felloas," which are seen in such numbers flitting in every direction over these beautiful waters. As soon as we were landed at the village, there ensued an amusing scene in paying for our passage. The sum of two "dumps" (about four cents in the currency of the United States), each, being demanded, we placed our quotas as nearly as we could make them, in the hands of one of the party, who acted as spokesman, who tendered the commandante of the felloa one of our silver coins, much greater in value than the aggregate sum of our passage money,—which was indignantly refused by the tawny Brazilian, who was immediately assailed by each member of the party who had any pretensions to language other than his own; from which babel we were but too happy to escape, learning, however, when we were overtaken by the linguists, that they had fairly talked "the old fellow" down, and compelled him to take more money than (even allowing for difference of currency) he had demanded.
To a person who has never visited tropical countries, a landing upon this part of the Empire of Brazil, must be productive of much pleasure. At times, it is true, the heat is oppressive, but then the delightful sea-breeze setting in at regular hours, amply compensates for the inconvenience of the "terrales," the term applied to the wind which blows off the land.
We wished much to have enjoyed the society of the opposite city, but the fell destroyer held his revels there, and we could only manage a stolen visit to it by night in one of the swift felloas from Praya Grande, having to make a hasty flight on board ship early the next morning—gaining but little information by our trip, excepting the assurance that those who had promised so fairly for Mons. Pharoux were indeed true prophets.
The call of "all hands up anchor," awakened us on the morning of the 18th of March, and before all hands were on deck, we were being towed out of the harbor by one of the small steamers, to undertake the longest part of our cruise. The view was then as fine as could be imagined; we were near the outlet, but Corcovado, Sugarloaf, The Forts, and town were all in sight, and we had but to turn our eyes from one magnificent sight, to have them greeted by another. I was much struck by the appearance of Sugarloaf Mountain as we passed; it is of great height, and the reader will readily understand the peculiarity which gives its name. At the time a cloud encircled its brow, within a short distance of the summit, yet leaving its peak plainly visible, as if a wreath had been cast over it, and had rested in that position. But soon Rio, and its beauties had faded in the distance, and we were steering our lonely course for the Cape.
Telling Tales out of School—Double the Cape—The Flying Dutchman—Albatross and Cape Pigeons—Catching the Albatross —The Man who Ate the Albatross—Superstition of Sailors—Man Overboard—Lying to—Accident—Death—The Sailor's Grave.
It is very difficult to find incidents on board of a man-of-war which you can feel justified in setting before the public; for be it known, in regard to the "secrets of this prison-house," that "such unwonted blazon may not be." Now, on board a merchantman, a person might, if afflicted with Cacoethes Scribendi, detail the peculiarities of the skipper, and any little accident which may have befallen him; such as the admixture of briny fluid, which Father Neptune may have chosen to infuse into his glass of sherry, by sending an envoy, in the shape of a wave, across the poop, who dropped his credentials as he passed over the unclosed skylight: the numerous evils which befell the mate: the jokes of Jones: the puns of Smith, or the sallies of Sandy. But here we are forbidden to walk shodden over sacred ground and details of the cruise must be confined to generalities; otherwise the travels of the celebrated Gulliver would be eclipsed, Baron Munchausen lose his claim to veracity, and the shade of the venerable Miller slink back to its original punishment.
A strong northerly wind drove us along the coast of Brazil a little farther south than was our intention to have steered; but upon its changing, we mended our course, and soon doubled the Cape of Good Hope, without any incident worthy of notice,—not even seeing the Flying Dutchman; and if I except the white-winged albatross which followed in our wake, and the graceful Cape pigeon that strove to emulate our speed, I may say that, to all appearance, we were alone upon the ocean,—the moving centre of one vast dial of water enlarging its circumference as we advanced. But here I must be allowed to notice the occurrence of one of those coincidences which serve to keep alive those smouldering fires of superstition, which Education and Experience have done so much to quench. It had been the practice to fish (?) for the friendly and companionable albatross with a line towed astern, to which a hook was attached, baited with a piece of pork. Now many had been the protests made against these proceedings by some of our most stanch and fearless men. They prophesied in substance, if not in words, that
"It was not, nor could it come to good."
Yet these prophecies were disregarded, and notwithstanding their solemn murmuring and ominous shakings of the head, the sport was continued; and many a wondering albatross was bitten, when he took a bite at the treacherous pork; until one day, after numbers had been taken, one of the messes determined to have a sea-pie, of which the body of one of these birds should be the component part. If force could have been used to prevent the consummation of this deed, that mess had not dined that day: but as the crew on board of a man-of-war have no other recourse but to report their grievances to the first lieutenant, and that not being deemed advisable in such a case, these men were allowed to eat the albatross. Now I do not pretend to identify the captor of the bird, nor was I able to point out the person who ate the greater portion of him when transformed into a pie; but it so happened that the next morning, about seven bells, the ship was alarmed by the cry of "A man overboard!" This is an appalling sound at any time; but when the ship is making ten knots, with a heavy sea on, the chances for a fellow-creature's fate, make the moment one of dreadful anxiety, and especially to the commander, one of fearful responsibility; as to save one life, that of ten or more must be risked. Ready for the occasion, ours never hesitated. The ship was put about at once, and as her headway was reduced, a boat prepared for lowering, volunteers to the rescue called away, and the boat at once so crowded as to make it necessary to order men out of her before she could be let down. She had barely touched the water, when the men gave way; but now came the difficulty, which way to steer? Our velocity had been so great as to leave the poor fellow miles astern; and as every one had been engaged at his station in wearing ship, the bearings of the place where he was struggling for dear life had become confused. Twenty voices shouted out "Pull there!" "Pull here!" and as many hands pointed to as many different directions. Our commander, who had carefully scanned the surrounding waters, and had shown the greatest solicitude for the fate of the poor fellow, combined with that steady coolness so necessary in such moments, ordering silence, made a signal for the boat to pull towards a spot where a number of albatross were hovering. The midshipman in the boat at last comprehending the signal, pulled as directed; and then, after hoisting in what appeared to be the life-buoy, which had been let go on the first alarm, headed for the ship. To lessen the distance, in such a heavy swell, the ship also approached the boat; and as she bent her head gracefully towards that which she had so long sustained at her side, I could hardly divest my mind of the idea that she was possessed of instinct, and sought with maternal eagerness her tiny child, which had strayed upon the ocean. As the boat approached, from the forecastle the man's form could be distinguished;—he was saved! Soon he was handed over the side, given over to the surgeon to resuscitate, and the next day was about, and attending to his duty. And now for the connection of the albatross with this accident. One of his messmates declared most solemnly that he had seen an albatross sweeping over the topgallant forecastle whenever this man—who had feasted upon one of his kind—had appeared upon it; and that at the very moment of his disappearance, (he fell from the head,) this same identical bird had made a swoop, and carried him overboard! Then, the men in the boat also affirmed, that when they reached the drowning man, two albatross were holding him up by the hair, whilst others, circling round his head, pecked wickedly at his face; thus retaliating upon one who had devoured their species, by picking his bones in return. But if the truth must be told, however disposed the birds may have been, they were the means used by Divine Providence to prolong the sailor's life; for they not only sustained him, as they would have done any other desirable object, by pecking at it, but also directed us where to send the boat to his assistance. So the man who ate, escaped the more prolonged punishment of him who
——"shot the albatross."
To show how these matters are managed on board a man-of-war, I give the report of the affair: "At 7h. 30m., J. D. (O. S.) fell overboard; hove to; lowered a boat; wore ship, and picked him up. At 8, wore, and stood upon our course." If a man had slipped upon the pavement, and you had assisted him to rise by extending your hand, the fact could hardly have been explained in fewer words. But it is this indifference to danger, and the casualties of his calling, that makes up the efficiency of the sailor.
On the twenty-third day of April we were obliged to lay to in lat. 38 deg. 26' south, and longitude 45 deg. 34' 47'' east, by chronometer, and on parts of the first, third, and fourth days of May had to undergo the same operation. This was by no means pleasant, as, owing to the weight of our battery, we rolled very much; and as we could not close the ports entirely, for fear of carrying them away, had a constant flow of water across the deck, sometimes very difficult to bear up against.
On the tenth of May, at about 5 P. M., all hands were called to reef topsails, and a forecastle man, who was hurrying aloft to assist his companions on the foreyard, fell from only a few rattlings above the sheerpole upon the deck, and injured himself so severely as to cause his death early the next morning. Poor fellow!
"Nor wife, nor children, more shall he behold, Nor friends, nor sacred home."
His remains were committed to the deep, at meridian of the same day; and many a manly fellow among his messmates and the crew added a briny drop to the wave
——which bore him away, And wept in compassion for him.
The ship, as if loth to leave the spot, lingered there; for it fell calm, and by the next meridian we had logged but seven miles.
Island of St. Paul—Steering for Java Head—Land ho!—Christmas Island—Straits of Sunda—A Beautiful Scene—Sentimental Simile—Come to Anchor—Anger Point—Village of Anger—On Shore in Java—Perfume of the East—Banyan Tree—The Governor and Dutch Hotel Keeper—Welcome at an Inn—Attack on Anger Fort— Dutch Officers' prowess, and French!—The Javanese—Chinaman— Mosque—Mahomet—Bazaar—Watering Place.
To make the island of Saint Paul in the Indian Ocean, became now our principal object, but baffling and adverse winds delayed us. At last during a stormy night the longitude of this island was obtained, and we steered as well as we were able for Java Head and the Straits of Sunda. Upon the twenty-fifth day of May at ten minutes past four, P. M., the welcome cry of "Land ho!" was heard at the mast head, which was found to be Christmas Island, and which we also passed in the night too late to make any observations.
We were, however, more certain now of the correctness of our position, and when, at daylight on the 27th, Trower's and Clapp's islands were made, felt sure of soon seeing Java Head, and in a short time this long looked for landmark greeted our eyes. Here we entered the Straits formed by the approximation of the islands of Java and Sumatra, and called the Straits of Sunda.
The night of our entrance was one of some anxiety, and between this feeling and the excitement of making land after a long and boisterous passage, caused a pretty general watch to be kept by idlers and all.
It was in the morning watch—Prince's Island had been safely passed, and the principal dangers of the passage overcome, when seated upon the foreyard a scene of beauty opened upon my eyes, which it may be long before they are greeted with again. We were heading up the Straits, and from my position the highlands of both islands were in sight. The morning air was soft and balmy, and came laden with sweet odors, as if Aurora had lingered to inhale them upon the "Spice island."
We were being wafted along almost imperceptibly, with but so slight an undulation as scarcely to be felt. To the eastward rose a high peak on Sumatra, around which the sky was rosy with the day god's first beams. The gentle waters around us were still in shadow, with sufficient light, however, upon their surface to enable the eye to take in their expanse, and to distinguish objects upon them. In the distance, and approaching, was a brig looking like a tiny toy, with British colors at her gaff, beating out of the Straits. As the sun, climbing still higher the side of the obstructing mountain, diffused his gladdening light over this magnificent scene, the idea struck me, and call it sentimental if you will, that it was like the first blush suffusing the face of a fair young bride, ere the full glad assurance of her happiness comes in all its power to convert it into a bright, beaming smile. So did these rosy rays overspread the face of nature, and enliven every feature.
On the twenty-ninth of May, came to anchor at Anger Point off the village of Anger (pronounced Anjier), a Dutch settlement. Of course the desire to get on shore was general after being over seventy days on ship-board, and my feet were among the first of those which touched the soil of Java.
What struck me first as we approached the shore, was that remarkable perfume which every one notices as peculiar to the East.
A magnificent banyan tree, which literally spreads itself over the landing, next became an object of attraction; of its exact spread or height I was not informed, but the natives muster in numbers under its branches, and the Dutch Governor uses it to display the signal of his authority—the flag of his nation.
The governor of this district, whose pardon I must crave for allowing his name just now to slip from my memory, has, here at Anger, a very fine house and extensive grounds kept in admirable order, and appeared to enjoy himself in this out-of-the-way place, but as he possessed a young, pretty, and interesting companion, in the shape of a little wife, had a perfect right to do so, especially being
"Monarch of all he surveyed."
Whilst his next door neighbor, Mr. Van-Sy Something or other, having a house nearly as comfortable, used it as a hotel, if hotel that can be called, in which you have permission to wait upon yourself, and are charged extravagantly for the privilege, whilst its proprietor pays his devoirs (devours?) to his bottle of Schnapps, from which his lips are seldom removed, excepting to receive his pipe, and to sputter out some delectable Dutch. Thought of Wm. Shenstone's "Warmest Welcome at an Inn," and wished the poet had been compelled to "put up" with this same Dutchman as a species of "poetical justice," for placing the purchased pleasures of a public house before the sacred and free gifts of home.
There is a fort here in good repair and kept in excellent order, and I was informed that a short time previous to our arrival it had been attacked by the natives, who were repulsed with great slaughter. The attack was fierce and vigorous, but as the Malays were not possessed of fire-arms, and made the assault with only their naked creeses, they were easily repulsed. Was told of the tremendous execution done by one gun in throwing grape amongst them, but I felt a little inclined to doubt its efficiency upon examining its bore.
The attacking Malays were not those of the immediate vicinity, whose prowess, from their appearance, I should be inclined to doubt, but came from the mountains, an unconquered people, who continually make war upon the invaders of their soil. I was greatly amused by the recital of his part in the affair, by a non-commissioned officer, who informed me that he was born a Belgian, and gave his story in broken French, broken in words as well as grammar, for he had been imbibing something stronger than water. It appeared that his valiant self and two others equally brave—one a Frenchman, the other a Prussian—had been selected to serve as a picket, or avante garde, as he termed it, some distance from the fort, at a place called the "Barrier." When at midnight they heard the approach of the enemy. "Je mette mon fusil a mon bras," he said; "et a le Francais je di, Prenez—garde! A le Prusse"—hesitating—"Prenez garde! aussi, et nous faissons un grande detour,—et—et, nous eschappons. Et voila, monsieur," he continued, pointing to the stripes upon his arm, "Je suis sous officier donc. Je suis caporal de la garde,—le meme comme Napoleon,—le petit Caporal." With a hearty laugh we bade "le petit Caporal" bon nuit, and returned to our hotel, asking ourselves what need there could be for the Philosopher's Stone, whilst there existed such a talisman as Conceit?
The Javanese are called Malays, whilst the inhabitants of the neighboring island of Sumatra also claim the same appellation. From their rules for government, their religion, and other distinctive marks, I would consider them connected with the Arabian race.
Polygamy is permitted amongst them, and they are allowed to possess wives according to their means. Ouseman, our compradore, and a rajah, told me he had three, all living peaceably together at his house. Think of that, ye of the Caucasian race, who, with more means, find it difficult to get along with one, and in a colder climate too!
Came upon a Chinaman here, a real Fa-qui, tail, costume and all, and for aught I know may have seen the individual before, for he informed me that he had been to the United States—"America" he called them—and had sojourned in Boston, and this too with as strict regard to the memory of Lindley Murray, and in as good English as we have heard from many a denizen of that second Athens. He also proved that he had profited by his residence abroad, for he cheated us entirely to our satisfaction, and with such a grace as almost to make us fear he was robbing himself, and only exchanged his articles for our coin, out of respect for our country. These Chinese are truly said to be an imitative people.
They have a place of worship here, called a Mosque, where I was told the Prophet was worshipped. Hearing, one night, a great noise within its sacred precincts, I ventured in,—not without many mutterings of dissatisfaction from the Malays assembled at its threshold,—and looked upon a large room dimly lighted, without any visible presence of the Prophet, although a large chair was raised in the centre of it for him to rest upon, and a parcel of half-clad wretches were grovelling around its feet, with cries piteous enough to have brought him down even from the lap of the most beautiful of his dark-eyed houris, had he one-half of that humanity for which his worshippers gave him credit. I was told that these were sick persons, and their friends, praying for relief:—a very commendable thing in a place where there were none but commissioned surgeons, provided Mahomet has as much skill in medicine now, as he possessed over these gentlemen in his methods of amputation when he practised here below.
Visited the market-place, called Bazaar. Found all kinds of tropical fruits in great abundance: cocoanuts, bananas, plantains, mangusteens, &c. &c., and what proved its general use, at every stall, large quantities of the betel-nut were exposed for sale. This nut is used for its exhilarating properties, and is chewed as is tobacco; but whether its juice is swallowed, I cannot say. It blackens the teeth, and must prove very efficacious in destroying the enamel. Indeed, from the practice they have of filing their teeth across, and the use of this acid, it is a wonder that any thing should remain but blackened stumps.
Watered ship here, from a reservoir, supplied by an aqueduct from the mountains, a distance of some leagues. The water is good, and the supply appears sufficient, although I cannot commend the construction of the channel through which it is brought. It is of stone, and stuccoed, raised about two feet from the level of the road, and open at the top. During a short walk along this road, I saw numbers of Malay women using its waters for the purpose of ablution; and I could not count the number of the various reptiles of this prolific clime, who, lured by their deceitful flow, had met a watery death.
To show the economy of its construction, I may state, that it is brought across a small stream, through bamboo troughs, so loosely attached that sufficient water is wasted in its passage to turn a small mill in Yankee land.
The first day of June weighed anchor, and stood up the Straits; and a busy time, too, we had in getting through. It was "Let go the anchor!" "Furl sails!" "All hands up anchor!" "Make sail!" for several days. At last, this channel and the Straits of Gaspar being passed, we entered safely the China Sea.
China Sea—Anchor off Macao—Canton River—Whampoa—Trip to Canton—The San-pan—Pagodas—Lob Creek—Salt Junks—Description of a Junk—Mandarin, or Search Boats—Pirates—Crowded state of River at Canton—Land at Factory Stairs—Visit Vice-Consul—New China Street—A Cow-House—Wonders of Canton—Factory Gardens— Water Parties—Buddhist Temples, and Holy Pigs—Dock-yard at Whampoa—American Missionary at Newtown—Bethel, and its Pastor —Fourth of July—Back to Macao—The Typa—The Barrier.
The southwest monsoon wafted us quietly and quickly over the China Sea, and upon the nineteenth of June we came to anchor off Macao, in the outer roads. Not finding the flag-ship there, as was expected, after taking in some provisions from the naval depot, weighed anchor, and proceeded up the Canton River to Whampoa, where we moored ship in the "American Reach" to undergo necessary repairs. Whilst these were going on, I procured a "fast boat," and went up to Canton, about nine miles above that part of the "Reach" in which we lay.
These boats—the "San-pan," or boat of this country—are used expressly for the conveyance of passengers and their effects, and are kept scrupulously clean for that purpose. They pull from three to six oars, according to their size. The oarsmen are all seated forwards, whilst a woman, generally with a child fastened to her back, both propels and steers with a long oar from the stern, which she manages with great dexterity, appearing to work harder, and with better effect, than her lazy lord, (who has generally the bow oar,) at the same time keeping a bright lookout ahead, and giving warning in her guttural chant of any obstruction.
Passed two Pagodas, each of nine stories, and made a romantic cut-off, via Lob Creek. Soon we came upon a large number of junks at anchor, with huge manilla cables,—one of which our interpreter pointed out as "Salt Junk." We had seen enough of that during our passage out, but this kind of junk interested us; for a more clumsy piece of naval architecture could hardly have been invented to annoy the eye of a sailor. With her perpendicular masts of one stick, no bowsprit, only an opening where it should be, to receive an anchor, made of part of a crooked tree; poop sticking up like a game fowl's tail, and immense red and white eyes painted on each bow:—for the Chinese sailor says: "No have eyes, how can see? no can see, how can walkee?"—make such a picture of a thing to float in, and wherewith to transport worldly effects, that the question naturally arises, What would be the probable per centage a Chinese underwriter would demand as premium to insure in such a bottom? Indeed, I must do the memory of the patriarch Noah the justice to believe, that his craft was put together with a better adaptation to the principles of flotation than this, or it would never have lived through that gale of forty days and forty nights, logged in the Good Book.
Soon, however, we came across some better-looking specimens, which we were told were the "Mandarin," or "Search Boats," belonging to the Chinese Customs. Their models appeared better adapted to "make walkee," and, in addition to sails, they had double banks of oars.
At what I took to be the Navy Yard, saw some English hulls, which had been built upon, and which, in spite of all this eccentric people could do to change their appearance, still looked ship-shaped. There were also some sharp-looking junks being built, which I was told were to be fitted out against the pirates; but, if what I afterwards learned be true, they were more likely to become piratical craft themselves; for it was reported that the person to whose charge they were to have been consigned had been extensively engaged in that business himself, until he was interfered with by the English, who broke up his fleet; and that now he had humbugged the Chinese government into giving him another. At least, so ran the rumor.
As we approached the Factories, it seemed almost impossible to make our way through the immense number of boats and other craft which appeared to play hide-and-seek amongst the larger junks moored in every direction in the stream; but, thanks to the skill of our female pilot, we avoided all collision, and brought up safely at the Factory stairs. It was excessively hot; and as we walked across the Factory Gardens to the Consulate, the effects of the sun upon the clean glossy walks was painful to the eyes.
After paying our respects to the Vice-Consul, took a short turn up New China Street to make a few necessary purchases, and then threaded our way back to Acow's Hotel,—facetiously termed by one of the party who had the remembrances of dainty spreads at the "Astor" and "Irving House" in his mind, "a cow house!"
Here we had "tiffin,"—Anglice, lunch,—and then disposed ourselves as well as we could for comfort and cool air, neither of which did we obtain; nor what our parched throats so loudly called for,—cool water. Acow had no ice; so our only recourse was to procure bottles of "aerated water,"—we called it "Pop," in our ignorance, and to send them where truth is said to reside,—the bottom of a well.
As the sun declined, walked out to view the wonders of Canton; and although it was Sunday, found the streets thronged with coolies carrying heavy burdens of merchandise, slung on bamboos resting on their shoulders, plying backwards and forwards on their different errands, in a jog trot, with a loud grunt;—the grunt as much to relieve them, as to give warning to those in their way. Passed through different streets in the neighborhood of the Factories, all composed of shops, from which long-tailed Chinamen rushed out, chinchinning, and soliciting our custom. These streets have a great similarity, and a description of one would answer for all. With the exception of some that are devoted to the sale of particular articles, as the Street of Tailors, and Curiosity Street, they differ only in the appearance of the article exposed for sale. They are quite narrow and used only by pedestrians. The only quadruped I recollect seeing in them was a diminutive jackass, standing before a shop in "Old China Street." How he came there, or for what purpose, I could not determine. It may have been out of compliment to the "Foreign Devils," that his long ears were exhibited; but if his position was illusive, in one relation it failed; for, despite these appendages, the beast did not enter the shop.
The gardens I found the most attractive. They are in front of the different factories, and over them floats the flag of the nation, opposite its respective consulate. They cover several acres, and are well laid out, planted with every variety of tree and shrub, and are kept in admirable order. Formerly, I understood, there had been a partition wall between the English and American portions, but this had lately been removed, as I hope may be all causes of division between the two governments.
Towards evening these gardens are frequented by nearly all of the European population, who stroll about to enjoy the breezes from the water after the heat of the day.
A number of Parsees are daily to be seen, with their long, white, and scrupulously clean linen surtouts, turbans, or else bugshaped caps, wide trousers, just appearing beneath their white coats (an improvement on the Bloomer costume, I thought), and shoes pointed at the toes with pieces of some kind of metal, turned up, after the fashion of what the boys call "high dutch" in skates, at home.
Witnessed the worship of one of this strange sect, and his devotions to his fire god in his setting, appeared as sincere, at least, as those of many, who consider themselves more favored in being able to look "through nature, up to nature's God."
A Fanqui, or foreigner, finds himself much circumscribed in his peregrinations about Canton. With the few narrow streets above mentioned, and the open space in front of the factories, he must fain be content; but upon the water his way is more open, and the European and American residents avail themselves of the broad river to launch and sail their most beautiful boats, as also to use the hong boats, san-pans, fast, and flower-boats, fitted up in every style of luxury. In these, after the business of the day is over, and the heat of the sun abated, parties pass their evenings, in smoking segars and conversation.
Across the river are some Buddhist temples, in which shaven priests are almost continually engaged in "chin chinnings," and where are kept some holy pigs in a state of continual surfeit. The very last animal I should think of holding sacred.
There are some gardens in the suburbs of Canton, said to be worthy of a visit, but these I had no opportunity to see.
After exhausting my patience and finances at "Acow's," I returned to the ship to explore the environs of Whampoa. Our anchorage was at the head of the Reach, opposite a ship yard in "Newtown," where a large ship, the Prince de Joinville, was then in dock undergoing repairs. This yard was at that time in the possession of a Mr. Cowper, a yankee, if I am not misinformed, but had been originally established by a Chinaman. Every thing necessary for repairing a vessel appeared to be on hand, and Mr. C. was then engaged in coppering the one on his dock.
Whampoa Reach is the anchorage for merchantmen, and is the most convenient place to Canton for that purpose. A large number of vessels were here receiving and awaiting cargoes, and the daily arrivals and departures of ships give it a cheerful aspect.
The old town of Whampoa is strictly Chinese, and separated from contact with the "outside barbarian," as much as is Canton, by its walls. It is true, you may be allowed to pass its gates, but run a risk of being hustled and pelted out of their vicinity.
Newtown is composed of traders, who are gradually leaving the "old town," which is some distance below, and is called Bamboo town. Both of these places are accessible, and have the interminable lane of shops, all the "same same," as in Canton.
Called upon Mr. Bonny, an American Missionary, who was then a resident at Newtown, but who hoped soon to settle in Whampoa, and was making arrangements for a house within its walls. He appeared devoted to his vocation, with strong hopes of success. Found him (it was night) engaged with several Chinese, the principal men of the village, to whom he was exhibiting a magic lantern, with which they seemed greatly pleased. It was a very superior instrument, and an excellent method of conveying to unpractised minds, many things, which otherwise must have remained mysteries to them. The motion of the earth, for instance, illustrated by a ship rising above the horizon—the sidereal system, and the eclipses of the moon. He describes the population of this vicinity as being very dense, and ignorant. Their belief resembles the ancient mythology, for they have their Jupiter Tonans, or "thunder god," and other deities similar to those worshipped by the more classical heathen of Rome and Greece. He has succeeded in partially disabusing the minds of some, but finds it requires great efforts to eradicate ideas so strongly implanted. May he have success in his disinterested labors! I should have earlier mentioned that Mr. Bonny speaks the Chinese language, and appears to convey his ideas with much fluency.
There is a bethel, or floating "seaman's chapel," anchored in the "Reach," which was presided over by the Rev. George Loomis, whom I had the pleasure to hear deliver an excellent discourse from the text: "And by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." In the course of his remarks he made a beautiful and touching allusion to the deaths of those two great men, Sir Robert Peel and General Taylor, the news of which had just reached us by mail.
Was pleased to see a numerous and attentive audience of shipmasters and seamen, and from the frank and pleasing address of Mr. L. cannot doubt but that he will have great success with this class of men.
The bethel was in itself a very neat affair. The place devoted to public worship being about fifty feet by thirty, prepared with admirable adaptation for that purpose, and well ventilated. It contained, besides apartments for the pastor, a fine reading room, where a number of foreign papers were regularly filed, and a good library kept. Its roof was flat, and above this was another covering of matting which formed a fine sheltered promenade. Indeed, a building could hardly have been planned ashore, comprising more commodious, convenient, or comfortable quarters, and I am indebted to its cool retreat for the remembrance of many an hour passed pleasantly.
The Anniversary of our National Independence came round whilst we lay in Whampoa. It was recognized with due honor. The ship dressed with flags, and a national salute fired at meridian. A dinner was given to the officers by the American shipmasters and residents of the "Reach," which passed off very pleasantly. The usual quantity of champagne and patriotism expended. Toasts proposed and drank, and the fact generally conceded that the United States were the greatest states on the face of the globe, and the "United Staters" the greatest people.
Our repairs completed we unmoored, and commenced to back and fill down the river until we had cleared the shipping, and then taking advantage of the tide, got into the bay and headed for Macao. Found the flagship at anchor in the outer roads, and after saluting and communicating with the Commodore, went into the Typa, and moored there.
The Typa is an anchorage inside the harbor, and is so called from an island which protects it from the sea. It has from four to four and a half fathoms water, and of course cannot be entered by very large vessels. Although in former times the largest sized East-Indiamen have gone in. They are now forced, if stopping at Macao, to anchor outside, abreast the town, and some four or five miles off.
Hong-Shan river, or the Broadway, commences here, and is a kind of a cut-off, navigated by junks from Canton to Macao.
The city of Macao, called first by the Portuguese, Port da Macao, from the name of a Chinese idol found there, is called Gaou, or Ou-moon by the Chinese, and occupies the southernmost point of the island of Heang-Shan.
After the discovery of the passage to the East Indies around the Cape of Good Hope, by De Gama, who landed on the Malabar Coast in 1498, the Portuguese continued to navigate these seas, and were allowed by the Chinese a shelter on this point. In the year 1550, having obtained a foothold, by degrees they built themselves stone houses and forts, and commenced the foundation of a city.
About this time, they had established a profitable commerce with Japan, China, and the Eastern Islands, and this settlement became the centre of an extensive trade, which increased until Macao grew into a place of considerable importance.
The Chinese government, however, in granting this favor to the Portuguese fenced it around with their usual caution, and placed many restrictions upon them. The point upon which Macao stands, is almost separated from the Island, the connection being an Isthmus of about three hundred feet; across which, about three miles from the Praya, a wall is built through which is a gateway, guarded by Chinese soldiers, and beyond which the Portuguese were not allowed to pass; and their municipal government was restricted to the barrier. It was placed there in 1573.
When we were there the guard had been removed, and a part of the wall thrown down; the Governor Amaral having broken through more barriers than this, previous to his murder—of which, anon.
Passage Ashore—A-ti—The Praya—Forts—Governor's Road— Description of Macao—Murder of Amaral—Manoeuvring of Seu and his Triumph—A new Governor—His Death—Council of Government—View from Guia Fort—Marques' Garden—Camoen's Grotto—Epitaph and Doggerel written there—A Beautiful Spot—Stealing Fire from the Gods—Fate of Prometheus.
Leaving the Typa in a fast boat, we were soon opposite the town, when we were obliged to re-embark on board one of a fleet of Tanka boats, which put out from the shore as soon as our buttons were discovered. Tanka means eggboat; they resemble an eggshell divided longitudinally, and are peculiar to Macao, the shoalness of the water preventing a landing in larger vessels. Were captured by A-ti, a laughing Chinese nymph, with a splendid set of the whitest teeth, and landed safely on the Praya, after purchasing our ransom with a Spanish coin, in value twenty-five cents.
The Praya is a fine promenade, extending in a semi-circle along the entire front of the city. On each of its points is a fortification, and at its right extremity the Plaza. On the part which winds past the Plaza, are placed stone seats, which are of a nature to retain much of the caloric dispensed by the sun during the hot days in summer.
This walk is well paved, with a stanch sea wall to protect it from the waves, which come in with considerable force, especially in the Typhoon season. It commands a view of the neighboring islands, the Typa and outer roads.
Back of the town, and overlooking it, is a hill, on which is placed an extensive work, called Fort Monte, which not only commands the town but the approaches from its rear.
From beyond the Campo gate, a fine, smooth, and well graded carriage way extends to the "Barrier;" and to the right of the "Gate," on an eminence, stands a well placed fort having guns bearing upon the Barrier.
There appear, indeed, to be forts wherever one can be stuck, and the wonder in regard to some of them is, how they ever got the guns into them, so inaccessible do they seem.
On the Governor's road, about three fourths of a mile from the town, is a fine garden, belonging to a French Abbe. It is arranged with much taste: in its centre was a small mosque-like temple, whilst at each corner of the enclosure were towers of the same style. The road is the favorite promenade and drive, and upon it, at the season when we were there, were to be seen some very fine equipages, principally belonging to persons from Hong-Kong and Canton.
Macao, like other Portuguese towns, has many churches and its quantum of priests. The cathedral is the best looking building, although not so large as some of the others. It had lately been repaired, and both internally and externally presented a gay and gaudy appearance, in strong contrast with the decayed condition of the houses surrounding it.
There is the ruin of the church of "Mater Dei," which had been destroyed by fire, the entire front of which still stands, covered with carving, a majestic monument of the pride and power of Rome.
The other churches, although their interiors are kept in some repair for the purpose of worship, have crumbling and mouldering walls, proving that "Tempus, edax rerum" has not spared them, and in the absence of rejuvenating art, still uses his remorseless tooth upon the softening stone.
Indeed, what strikes the stranger most sadly and forcibly as he saunters through the streets, is the universal evidence of decay. It is melancholy to see buildings, which must once have been magnificent, slowly sinking into rain. The mind cannot help picturing these buildings, brilliant with beauty, and resounding with festivity, when Macao was the depot for the trade with China, with a fleet of all nations filling its harbor, and its storehouses teeming with the rich merchandise of the East.
But British perseverance, and Yankee enterprise, have asserted the supremacy of the Anglo-Saxon race, and the vessels, which formerly made this their port after their voyage around the Cape, now discharge and receive their cargoes at Whampoa and Hong-Kong, whilst only occasionally the masts of a man of war, or of some straggling merchantman, are to be seen in the harbor of Macao.
The murder of Amaral in 1849, is said to have produced a prejudicial effect upon the interests of Macao, but I cannot see how that could have influenced it in this manner, as the difficulty had not extended to open war, and a Chinaman would have been willing to trade if he found it profitable, even should such have been the case; and had the Portuguese artillery been echoing amongst the rocky hills of Ou-moon, you would have found him seeking the almighty dollar
"Even at the cannon's mouth."
The particulars of the Governor's murder, as I could obtain them, are these: Ioao Maria Ferreira do Amaral, Governor of the provinces of Macao, Timor, and Solor, was assassinated near the "Barrier," on the 22d day of August, 1849. It appeared by the confession of Chang-asin, alias Chou-asin, that an acquaintance of his, named Shing-Chi-liang, on account of the Governor having made roads without the Campo gates, by which the graves of his ancestors were destroyed, was so enraged thereat, that he determined to murder him in order to satisfy his revenge. For the purpose of assisting in this design he hired two Chinese, Ko-Ahong and Li-Apau, and charged Chou-asin, together with two other Chinamen, Chou-ayan and Chen-afat, to act as guards to prevent people from approaching. To this they all agreed, and hearing that the Governor would go out on that day for recreation, proceeded to waylay him.
Towards evening, when it was twilight, Shing-Chi-liang seeing Amaral, the Governor, approach on horseback, went up to him under the pretence that he had a petition to hand him, saying that he had a complaint to prefer, and whilst Amaral was stretching out his hand to receive the paper, Shing-Chi-liang drew a sharp knife he had concealed in the handle of his umbrella, and commenced stabbing him in the arm and shoulder, until he fell from his horse, when Shing-Chi-liang immediately cut off his head and hand, and they all ran, each his own way. Chou-ayan and Chen-afat were killed in an engagement with the English, having, with himself, fled to Hiang-Kang, a seaport, from whence they went over to the pirates, and he was afterwards seized by the Chinese government and taken to Canton, where, after making this confession, he prayed for mercy.
A long and not very amicable correspondence was held by a Portuguese Council of Government, formed at Macao upon Amaral's death, and Seu, Governor-General at Canton, in which the Council demanded the head and hand of their murdered Governor, and Seu required in return three Chinese soldiers, (arrested by the Portuguese authorities at the Barrier gate after the murder, and detained in prison at Macao, as accessory to the deed,) as an exchange for the remains of the Governor. The Council denounced this demand as infamous, denied the soldiers, and put the question to Seu, if he intended to keep possession of these mutilated remains of a brave man, cowardly slain, because he is conscious of having acquired them by means which, in his judgment, give him a right to traffic with them, regardless of constituting himself by this act a participator in the crime which gave them into his possession; also adding, that, protesting against his conduct, they would hold him responsible for the assassination of the Most Excellent Governor Amaral, and for the retention of his hand and head, which they would make known to the world by means of a manifesto.
Seu answered, that the murderer of Amaral, Shing-Chi-liang, had been apprehended, tried, sentenced, and executed.
That in consequence of his confession, the place where the head and hand had been buried was discovered, and that a deputed officer had been sent to deliver them up, but the council still detaining the three soldiers apprehended at the Barrier, the officer did not dare to take upon himself the responsibility, and concludes his dispatch, with true Chinese sententiousness, in these words: "Here is the cause of the delay and of this confusion. All things should be managed with reflection, and in a proper way. Obstinacy cannot bring affairs to a conclusion," &c., &c.
Upon the 29th of the November succeeding, the Council published their manifesto, in which Seu and the Chinese authorities are accused of connivance in the murder of Amaral. This, Seu, who is evidently not to be written down, answers by accounting for the disposal of the murderer of the Governor, and his accomplices, and sends the confession of Chou-asin. Matters remained in this position until the 24th of December of the same year, when the Macao Council sent the three Chinese prisoners to Seu, and assuming that these men, on duty at the time at the Barrier, were at least cognizant of the murder of Amaral, demand their trial, informing Seu at the same time, that in placing them in his hands, they hold him responsible for them. When Seu had obtained these men, after some delay, he sends the head and hand, which were delivered to a commission appointed by the Council to receive them, on board a Lorcha, off the Praya Grande. They were conveyed to the cathedral, and after funeral service had been performed, placed in consecrated ground with solemn ceremony. Thus His Excellency Governor-General Sen gained his point. What became of the three Chinamen I did not learn, but suppose they were allowed to escape.
A new governor was commissioned and sent out in the Portuguese corvette Don Joas Primero. Pedro Alexandrino da Cunha, captain in the royal navy, reached Macao on the second of May, 1850, and immediately assumed the reins of government.
It was now supposed that something more efficacious than writing would be resorted to; but he died very suddenly on the sixth of July following, within about one month before the anniversary of the assassination of his predecessor. A singular coincidence.
Some have been bold enough to assert that his sudden demise was to be attributed to the effects of poison administered by Chinese servants, bribed by their government, but I think that the report of his death from cholera is correct.
After the death of Da Cunha, the administration of government devolved again upon the "Council," of which D. Jeronimo Joze de Matta, Bishop of the Province, was the head, assisted by a Chief Justice, Mayor, Judge, Procurator, and Fiscal.
This was not very popular, as what government can be, to a declining people, who will not exert themselves, but complain to Hercules, without putting their own shoulders to the wheel.
The walks in the neighborhood of Macao are pleasant, and the views very fine; among the best are those from Penha hill on the southern point of the peninsula, and Guia fort on its northern side. From the latter position the entire possessions of this Portuguese province can be comprised at a glance, and Macao lies beneath you a miniature city, with pigmies moving along the Praya and its principal streets. This fort, from its commanding position, is used as a telegraphic station, and news of any unusual event is communicated to the town by signals.
From its elevated ramparts the eye takes in the course of the Hong-shan, or "Broadway;" Casa Branca; Ilha Verda; Camoen's grotto; the Barrier and Barrier forts; the harbors, both inner and outer; the Lapa hills, and numerous islands, as far as it can reach.
Camoen's grotto is situated on an eminence within the grounds of a Portuguese gentleman, Senhor L. Marques, which, without the attraction which would draw one to the poet's place of meditation, are themselves well worthy of a visit.
I went there in company with some Peruvian gentlemen, and was at first doubtful of the propriety of trespassing upon private property, but my scruples being overcome by my curiosity, and the assurance of one of the Peruvians that his acquaintance with the Senhor Marques would be a sufficient passport, we proceeded.
Upon passing his mansion, and sending up our cards, learned from a Coolie of the absence of its master, and entered unhesitatingly upon his grounds. Descending a few steps we came to a splendid aviary placed in the centre of the avenue. It was about fifteen feet in diameter and twenty in height, and contained quite a variety of beautiful birds.
The grounds are very extensive, covering entirely one of the hills upon which Macao is built, and are well laid out in broad smooth avenues fringed with rare trees and shrubs, but
"Each walk was green as is the mantled pool For want of human travel."
After walking some distance, had to ascend a path, which leading along a dividing wall, brought us over the roofs of the Chinese houses in the town below, and reminded us of the position of "Le diable boiteux" of Le Sage, although I doubted if we could have gained as much information as that personage did, had we possessed his powers. From this part of the garden is a fine view of the inner harbor and the Praya Manduco. Still ascending, upon the highest point found Camoen's grotto. It had originally been an arched rock, but part of the arch giving way, has been walled into a square enclosure, in which a pedestal of corresponding proportions has been placed which sustains a bust of the great Portuguese poet. Upon tablets set in the four sides of the pedestal are inscribed appropriate verses from his poem—the Lusiad; whilst in another place upon a stone set in the rock, is an epitaph in the French language, but the most appropriate sentiment was expressed in this couplet pencilled on the side of the grotto:
"Sad poet! 'twas thy fate, alas, to be Not less the child of fame than misery."
Another poet degenerated into doggerel, and desecrated the spot by the following impromptu, which, as he had the delicacy not to scribble on Camoen's Cave, I transcribe for his benefit.
"Oh, clear Camoens! what a time you had Bounding 'the Cape' to write the Lusiad: But you got fame, and I should have some too, For didn't I come round the Cape as well as you? So, if you now in glowing numbers shine, Did I not right (?) when twice I've crossed the Line? But keep your laurels, poet, any how Your song is sad—'twas written at Macao."
The spot was well chosen for meditation, and imagination carried me back to the time when the exiled child of genius was seated here, and "gave to airy nothing a local habitation and a name."
Returning, as we passed a house occupied by a Chinaman who had supervision of the grounds, one of the party lighted his cheroot from a joss stick burning before the Chinaman's joss, and was reminded of a certain Prometheus, who in olden times was said to have filched fire from the heathen deities, but for a nobler purpose, and having been convicted of this flaming larceny, had for his punishment "the Vulture and the Rock," which fate I deprecated for my friend; although should he remain long in this climate, I could not answer for the state of his liver.
Poor fellow! little did I then think so soon to hear of his death. A few months after he was murdered in a revolt of Coolies on board a ship in which he was returning to Peru.
Up the Canton River again—Bay of Canton—Bocca Tigris—Forts at the Bogue—Their Construction—Conduct of Chinese when Attacked—The Feast of Lanterns—the Rebellion—Paddy Fields and Mosquitoes—Back to Typa—Pleasant Times—Blowing up of a Frigate!
A rebellion had broken out in the province adjoining that of Kwang-tung; and as the insurgents had made rapid advances towards the capital, our consul there thought our presence in the neighborhood might prove beneficial to American interests. It was again, "All hands up anchor," to proceed up the Canton River, and away we steered, past the towering island of Lin-tin, towards the Bocca Tigris.
Macao may be said to be situated in the Bay of Canton; for these are all islands until you pass through the "Bogue."
Bocca Tigris was the name given to the eastern channel of the entrance to the Pearl, or Canton River,—a near translation of the Chinese name Hoo-tow-mun (Tiger's Head Passage). The pilots call it Foo-mun.
There is a fort on Anunghoy Point, and two others on the western channel on the North Wang-tong island; also the office of Hoppo, Collector of Customs, where pilots are forced to show their "chops."
There are also quite a number of Chinese forts in the neighborhood of the "Bogue;" but they did not appear to be manned, although quite a number of old rusty guns were sticking through their embrasures.
Some of these forts are very extensive; that is, their walls enclose a considerable area; but they are badly constructed as places of defence, having a greater part of their interior exposed, which cannot be helped, as their walls mostly run up the sides of steep hills, in which no excavations have been made. They present, however, quite a picturesque appearance, and add greatly to the effect of this otherwise uninteresting part of the river.
Many amusing tales are told of the conduct of their defenders when the British vessels attacked them; and how, when a shell was thrown into them, the Chinamen scattered in every direction, through their ports, and every other available means of exit, exclaiming, "Ei-yah, how can make shoot two time?"
Went up again to Canton, to the Consulate, and learned there that the rebels had not advanced much farther, having stopped to plunder, whilst Seu, the Governor-General, was preparing a large force to oppose them. Found great preparations making for a festival, which my duties did not allow me to see, but which those who witnessed it described as truly magnificent. They called it the Feast of Lanterns. From what I saw have no doubt but that it must have been so at night, when the immense number of chandeliers, candelabra, lanterns, and other arrangements for making an illumination, were lighted.
There were also images as large as life stuck over the gates of different streets, and upon platforms crossing them, with paintings of movable figures strung across them, Sing-Song houses, &c. &c. If you add to this an immense multitude of fantastically-dressed Chinamen, each carrying a lighted lantern richly ornamented, the coup d'oeil will be better imagined than I can describe.
The celebration was kept up three nights, and the crowd assembled was immense; so great, indeed, that those who were enabled to gratify their curiosity did so with much wear and tear of clothing, and considerable loss of buttons.
In the meanwhile the valiant Seu had started to chastise the insolent disturbers of the peace of the "Central Flowery Land;" and being determined to expedite his work, took with him a high and learned judge, to condemn the vagabonds, and doubtless executioners to dispose of them.
We remained in Whampoa Reach, awaiting the issue, amidst the delightful odors of decaying paddy fields, and lulled to rest by the harmonious music of myriads of mosquitoes.
During this grand convulsion of the Chinese empire, it was delightful to notice the regularity with which our Chinese compradore, Ayooke, supplied the ship with provisions, and how little he appeared to know or care about the matter. I thought him then a great philosopher, but changed my opinion when I learned that these affairs are of common occurrence in the Chinese empire, especially at the commencement of a new reign, and that the authorities know as well how to manage them, as police officers to put down a row in Ann Street, Boston; and even better, for they have a golden remedy, which long experience has taught them how to apply.
After remaining one month at Whampoa, and a large proportion of the crew getting on the sick-list, we were at length allowed to leave for our old anchorage in the Typa, where we learned that the puissant Sen, his generals, and his judges, had quenched the revolt, and the misguided wretches, whom he had in pity spared, were sorrowfully retracing their steps. But one thing I noticed in his extended and flowery report, that quite a number of his officers were degraded, and heavy fines imposed upon them for alleged misconduct; thus proving in China, as throughout the world, that the larger fish consume the smaller fry, and increase greatly in consequence.
Found the change of position very agreeable, the fine bracing air from the sea acting like a charm upon the invalids, and driving away those wandering minstrels, the mosquitoes. Besides, there was the daily trip on shore in the "fast boat," available to those whose duties would allow it. The pleasant walk along the "Praya," or on the Governor's Road, and the generally delightful sail off to the ship at nine o'clock, on some of those beautiful moonlight evenings, when with but a gentle breeze to waft us smoothly over the placid waters, we could recline in our commodious boat, and puffing the mild cheroot (a privilege not the less valued because it was later than the regulations permitted smoking on board), we looked upon those gentle beams, and thought kindly of those friends beneath our feet, upon whom they might fall to-morrow, "wind and weather permitting," and a sweet face would glisten upon us from the undulating wave, and "Boat a-hoy!" from the watchful quartermaster would bring us back to reality and the ship; overboard would go our magical cheroot, over the side our imaginative self, and having duly reported the important fact of our return on board, down we would dive through the steerage hatch, to conjure up again in dreams the dear face we saw in the moonlighted wave.
Our anchorage in the Typa was the same we had occupied on our first visit, and was very eligible, being protected by Typa island from the sea. Upon the point of this island nearest to us stood a fort, named after the island; and a little more than a cable's length from our moorings lay the Portuguese frigate Donna Maria Segunda, of thirty-eight guns, commanded by Captain Francisco d'Assis e Silva.
Affairs had been pursuing their usual routine, when upon the evening of the twenty-eighth of October a boat boarded us from the frigate, under charge of an officer, who brought an invitation from Captain D'Assis to join with him on the twenty-ninth in the celebration of the birthday of the King Consort of Portugal, upon which occasion it was his intention to dress his ship, and fire a national salute at meridian. Of course, an assent was given; and accordingly at eight o'clock the next morning, every thing having been previously prepared, we broke stops with the frigate, and thus bedecked, both vessels made a gallant show.
We had dressed perpendicularly, whilst she had her flags fore and aft, running up to her flying jib-boom from the water, and down to the gaff on her mizzen. The frigate had been newly painted, and looked upon this occasion exceedingly well, her neat appearance being the subject of general remark.
We lay thus, side by side, until meridian, when she fired a well-timed salute, in which we joined; and every thing remained quiet, until about twenty minutes past two, when a report was heard resembling the discharge of a whole broadside of double-shotted guns, and a shock communicated as though we had received their contents.
The water was forced through the air-ports, splashed over the spar-deck, and dashed down the hatches. The first and general impression was, that the frigate had fired into us. On rushing upon deck, nothing could be distinguished, for we were completely enveloped in a dense cloud of flame and smoke. For a minute or two nothing could be determined. At length an old quartermaster sung out, "The frigate has blown up!" I ascended the poop, and looking towards her moorings, saw all that remained of the "Donna Maria Segunda,"—a part of her stern-frame, just above water, and burning. Where once had pointed her tall spars, so proudly decked with the flags of all nations, no trace remained. She was the most complete wreck that could be imagined. The water was covered for acres with her fragments, and her masts and spars were shivered to splinters.
Our boats were instantly alongside the wreck, and took from it, and picked out of the water, ten persons in all, of whom two were Chinamen. Amongst these was the young officer who had boarded us the previous evening, with the invitation to join in the celebration,—a fine-looking man. He had been drawn from under the capstan, which had been blown aft, was horribly mutilated, and had doubtless nearly all his bones broken, besides sustaining internal injuries. He died like a hero upon our quarter-deck, without a groan.
The crew of the Donna Maria was said to have been composed of two hundred and forty souls; but there were some sick in the hospital at Macao, and a few absent on leave and duty. They had, however, some Chinese on board, not mustered as the crew, carpenters, and other artisans, and some prisoners from a French bark, the "Chili." I consider the number killed by this catastrophe may be fairly set down as two hundred!
The commandant, d'Assis, perished with his vessel. His body was found two days after, dragging astern, he having been blown through the stern port, and caught in a sail. His remains were carried to Macao, and buried with military honors, our officers assisting at the ceremony. His son, a young Aspirante, or Midshipman, was ashore at the time. A lieutenant was in charge of the "Typa Fort," and the surgeon in Macao, at their hospital. The other officers were principally on board the frigate.
Our commander, with others, had received an invitation to dine on board, but the time had been fortunately postponed.
At the precise moment of the explosion on board the "Donna Maria," we were probably as near as it would have been possible to have been in our relative moorings, lying broadside on, but a little astern of her; our starboard battery could have been brought to bear a point forward of the beam; and this very proximity was doubtless the cause of our escaping serious injury. Two of her heavy guns passed entirely over us, clearing our royal masts, and falling into the water about twenty feet on our port beam. Our main deck awning was spotted, as if a shower of blood had passed over it. Some shot, pieces of lead, fragments of spars, and the brains and entrails of the sufferers were lodged in the tops, and other parts of our ship. The gig was stove, but her keeper escaped without injury; another boat-keeper was not so fortunate, an iron bolt striking him on the knee, and maiming him for life.
A gun carriage was thrown past us into the fort, breaking through the roof, and falling directly in the place where an officer had been seated writing, but a few moments before.