THE MALAY ARCHIPELAGO
VOLUME II. (of II.)
by Alfred R. Wallace
CHAPTER XXI. THE MOLUCCAS—TERNATE.
ON the morning of the 8th of January, 1858, I arrived at Ternate, the fourth of a row of fine conical volcanic islands which shirt the west coast of the large and almost unknown island of Gilolo. The largest and most perfectly conical mountain is Tidore, which is over four thousand Feet high—Ternate being very nearly the same height, but with a more rounded and irregular summit. The town of Ternate is concealed from view till we enter between the two islands, when it is discovered stretching along the shore at the very base of the mountain. Its situation is fine, and there are grand views on every side. Close opposite is the rugged promontory and beautiful volcanic cone of Tidore; to the east is the long mountainous coast of Gilolo, terminated towards the north by a group of three lofty volcanic peaks, while immediately behind the town rises the huge mountain, sloping easily at first and covered with thick groves of fruit trees, but soon becoming steeper, and furrowed with deep gullies. Almost to the summit, whence issue perpetually faint wreaths of smoke, it is clothed with vegetation, and looks calm and beautiful, although beneath are hidden fires which occasionally burst forth in lava-streams, but more frequently make their existence known by the earthquakes which have many times devastated the town.
I brought letters of introduction to Mr. Duivenboden, a native of Ternate, of an ancient Dutch family, but who was educated in England, and speaks our language perfectly. He was a very rich man, owned half the town, possessed many ships, and above a hundred slaves. He was moreover, well educated, and fond of literature and science—a phenomenon in these regions. He was generally known as the king of Ternate, from his large property and great influence with the native Rajahs and their subjects. Through his assistance I obtained a house; rather ruinous, but well adapted to my purpose, being close to the town, yet with a free outlet to the country and the mountain. A few needful repairs were soon made, some bamboo furniture and other necessaries obtained, and after a visit to the Resident and Police Magistrate I found myself an inhabitant of the earthquake-tortured island of Ternate, and able to look about me and lay down the plan of my campaign for the ensuing year. I retained this house for three years, as I found it very convenient to have a place to return to after my voyages to the various islands of the Moluccas and New Guinea, where I could pack my collections, recruit my health, and make preparations for future journeys. To avoid repetitions, I will in this chapter combine what notes I have about Ternate.
A description of my house (the plan of which is here shown) will enable the reader to understand a very common mode of building in these islands. There is of course only one floor. The walls are of stone up to three feet high; on this are strong squared posts supporting the roof, everywhere except in the verandah filled in with the leaf-stems of the sago-palm, fitted neatly in wooden owing. The floor is of stucco, and the ceilings are like the walls. The house is forty feet square, consists of four rooms, a hall, and two verandahs, and is surrounded by a wilderness of fruit trees. A deep well supplied me with pure cold water, a great luxury in this climate. Five minutes' walk down the road brought me to the market and the beach, while in the opposite direction there were no more European houses between me and the mountain. In this house I spent many happy days. Returning to it after a three or four months' absence in some uncivilized region, I enjoyed the unwonted luxuries of milk and fresh bread, and regular supplies of fish and eggs, meat and vegetables, which were often sorely needed to restore my health and energy. I had ample space and convenience or unpacking, sorting, and arranging my treasures, and I had delightful walks in the suburbs of the town, or up the lower slopes of the mountain, when I desired a little exercise, or had time for collecting.
The lower part of the mountain, behind the town of Ternate, is almost entirely covered with a forest of fruit trees, and during the season hundreds of men and women, boys and girls, go up every day to bring down the ripe fruit. Durians and Mangoes, two of the very finest tropical fruits, are in greater abundance at Ternate than I have ever seen them, and some of the latter are of a quality not inferior to any in the world. Lansats and Mangustans are also abundant, but these do not ripen till a little later. Above the fruit trees there is a belt of clearings and cultivated grounds, which creep up the mountain to a height of between two and three thousand feet, above which is virgin forest, reaching nearly to the summit, which on the side next the town is covered with a high reedy grass. On the further side it is more elevated, of a bare and desolate aspect, with a slight depression marking the position of the crater. From this part descends a black scoriaceous tract; very rugged, and covered with a scanty vegetation of scattered bushes as far down as the sea. This is the lava of the great eruption near a century ago, and is called by the natives "batu-angas"(burnt rock).
Just below my house is the fort, built by the Portuguese, below which is an open space to the peach, and beyond this the native town extends for about a mile to the north-east. About the centre of it is the palace of the Sultan, now a large untidy, half-ruinous building of stone. This chief is pensioned by the Dutch Government, but retains the sovereignty over the native population of the island, and of the northern part of Gilolo. The sultans of Ternate and Tidore were once celebrated through the East for their power and regal magnificence. When Drake visited Ternate in 1579, the Portuguese had been driven out of the island, although they still had a settlement at Tidore. He gives a glowing account of the Sultan: "The King had a very rich canopy with embossings of gold borne over him, and was guarded with twelve lances. From the waist to the ground was all cloth of gold, and that very rich; in the attire of his head were finely wreathed in, diverse rings of plaited gold, of an inch or more in breadth, which made a fair and princely show, somewhat resembling a crown in form; about his neck he had a chain of perfect gold, the links very great and one fold double; on his left hand was a diamond, an emerald, a ruby, and a turky; on his right hand in one ring a big and perfect turky, and in another ring many diamonds of a smaller size."
All this glitter of barbaric gold was the produce of the spice trade, of which the Sultans kept the monopoly, and by which they became wealthy. Ternate, with the small islands in a line south of it, as far as Batchian, constitute the ancient Moluccas, the native country of the clove, as well as the only part in which it was cultivated. Nutmegs and mace were procured from the natives of New Guinea and the adjacent islands, where they grew wild; and the profits on spice cargoes were so enormous, that the European traders were glad to give gold and jewels, and the finest manufactures of Europe or of India, in exchange. When the Dutch established their influence in these seas, and relieved the native princes from their Portuguese oppressors, they saw that the easiest way to repay themselves would be to get this spice trade into their own hands. For this purpose they adopted the wise principle of concentrating the culture of these valuable products in those spots only of which they could have complete control. To do this effectually it was necessary to abolish the culture and trade in all other places, which they succeeded in doing by treaty with the native rulers. These agreed to have all the spice trees in their possessions destroyed. They gave up large though fluctuating revenues, but they gained in return a fixed subsidy, freedom from the constant attacks and harsh oppressions of the Portuguese, and a continuance of their regal power and exclusive authority over their own subjects, which is maintained in all the islands except Ternate to this day.
It is no doubt supposed by most Englishmen, who have been accustomed to look upon this act of the Dutch with vague horror, as something utterly unprincipled and barbarous, that the native population suffered grievously by this destruction of such valuable property. But it is certain that this was not the case. The Sultans kept this lucrative trade entirely in their own hands as a rigid monopoly, and they would take care not to give, their subjects more than would amount to their usual wages, while: they would surely exact as large a quantity of spice as they could possibly obtain. Drake and other early voyagers always seem to have purchased their spice-cargoes from the Sultans and Rajahs, and not from the cultivators. Now the absorption of so much labour in the cultivation of this one product must necessarily have raised the price of food and other necessaries; and when it was abolished, more rice would be grown, more sago made, more fish caught, and more tortoise-shell, rattan, gum-dammer, and other valuable products of the seas and the forests would be obtained. I believe, therefore, that this abolition of the spice trade in the Moluccas was actually beneficial to the inhabitants, and that it was an act both wise in itself and morally and politically justifiable.
In the selection of the places in which to carry on the cultivation, the Dutch were not altogether fortunate or wise. Banda was chosen for nutmegs, and was eminently successful, since it continues to this day to produce a large supply of this spice, and to yield a considerable revenue. Amboyna was fixed upon for establishing the clove cultivation; but the soil and climate, although apparently very similar to that of its native islands, is not favourable, and for some years the Government have actually been paying to the cultivators a higher rate than they could purchase cloves elsewhere, owing to a great fall in the price since the rate of payment was fixed for a term of years by the Dutch Government, and which rate is still most honourably paid.
In walking about the suburbs of Ternate, we find everywhere the ruins of massive stone and brick buildings, gateways and arches, showing at once the superior wealth of the ancient town and the destructive effects of earthquakes. It was during my second stay in the town, after my return from New Guinea, that I first felt an earthquake. It was a very slight one, scarcely more than has been felt in this country, but occurring in a place that lad been many times destroyed by them it was rather more exciting. I had just awoke at gun-fire (5 A.M.), when suddenly the thatch began to rustle and shake as if an army of cats were galloping over it, and immediately afterwards my bed shook too, so that for an instant I imagined myself back in New Guinea, in my fragile house, which shook when an old cock went to roost on the ridge; but remembering that I was now on a solid earthen floor, I said to myself, "Why, it's an earthquake," and lay still in the pleasing expectation of another shock; but none came, and this was the only earthquake I ever felt in Ternate.
The last great one was in February 1840, when almost every house in the place was destroyed. It began about midnight on the Chinese New Year's festival, at which time every one stays up nearly all night feasting at the Chinamen's houses and seeing the processions. This prevented any lives being lost, as every one ran out of doors at the first shock, which was not very severe. The second, a few minutes afterwards, threw down a great many houses, and others, which continued all night and part of the next day, completed the devastation. The line of disturbance was very narrow, so that the native town a mile to the east scarcely suffered at all. The wave passed from north to south, through the islands of Tidore and Makian, and terminated in Batchian, where it was not felt till four the following afternoon, thus taking no less than sixteen hours to travel a hundred miles, or about six miles an hour. It is singular that on this occasion there was no rushing up of the tide, or other commotion of the sea, as is usually the case during great earthquakes.
The people of Ternate are of three well-marked races the Ternate Malays, the Orang Sirani, and the Dutch. The first are an intrusive Malay race somewhat allied to the Macassar people, who settled in the country at a very early epoch, drove out the indigenes, who were no doubt the same as those of the adjacent mainland of Gilolo, and established a monarchy. They perhaps obtained many of their wives from the natives, which will account for the extraordinary language they speak—in some respects closely allied to that of the natives of Gilolo, while it contains much that points to a Malayan origin. To most of these people the Malay language is quite unintelligible, although such as are engaged in trade are obliged to acquire it. "Orang Sirani," or Nazarenes, is the name given by the Malays to the Christian descendants of the Portuguese, who resemble those of Amboyna, and, like them, speak only Malay. There are also a number of Chinese merchants, many of them natives of the place, a few Arabs, and a number of half-breeds between all these races and native women. Besides these there are some Papuan slaves, and a few natives of other islands settled here, making up a motley and very puzzling population, till inquiry and observation have shown the distinct origin of its component parts.
Soon after my first arrival in Ternate I went to the island of Gilolo, accompanied by two sons of Mr. Duivenboden, and by a young Chinaman, a brother of my landlord, who lent us the boat and crew. These latter were all slaves, mostly Papuans, and at starting I saw something of the relation of master and slave in this part of the world. The crew had been ordered to be ready at three in the morning, instead of which none appeared till five, we having all been kept waiting in the dark and cold for two hours. When at length they came they were scolded by their master, but only in a bantering manner, and laughed and joked with him in reply. Then, just as we were starting, one of the strongest men refused to go at all, and his master had to beg and persuade him to go, and only succeeded by assuring him that I would give him something; so with this promise, and knowing that there would be plenty to eat and drink and little to do, the black gentleman was induced to favour us with his company and assistance. In three hours' rowing and sailing we reached our destination, Sedingole, where there is a house belonging to the Sultan of Tidore, who sometimes goes there hunting. It was a dirty ruinous shed, with no furniture but a few bamboo bedsteads. On taking a walk into the country, I saw at once that it was no place for me. For many miles extends a plain covered with coarse high grass, thickly dotted here and there with trees, the forest country only commencing at the hills a good way in the interior. Such a place would produce few birds and no insects, and we therefore arranged to stay only two days, and then go on to Dodinga, at the narrow central isthmus of Gilolo, whence my friends would return to Ternate. We amused ourselves shooting parrots, lories, and pigeons, and trying to shoot deer, of which we saw plenty, but could not get one; and our crew went out fishing with a net, so we did not want for provisions. When the time came for us to continue our journey, a fresh difficulty presented itself, for our gentlemen slaves refused in a body to go with us; saying very determinedly that they would return to Ternate. So their masters were obliged to submit, and I was left behind to get to Dodinga as I could. Luckily I succeeded in hiring a small boat, which took me there the same night, with my two men and my baggage.
Two or three years after this, and about the same length of time before I left the East, the Dutch emancipated all their slaves, paying their owners a small compensation. No ill results followed. Owing to the amicable relations which had always existed between them and their masters, due no doubt in part to the Government having long accorded them legal rights and protection against cruelty and ill-usage, many continued in the same service, and after a little temporary difficulty in some cases, almost all returned to work either for their old or for new, masters. The Government took the very proper step of placing every emancipated slave under the surveillance of the police-magistrate. They were obliged to show that they were working for a living, and had some honestly-acquired means of existence. All who could not do so were placed upon public works at low wages, and thus were kept from the temptation to peculation or other crimes, which the excitement of newly-acquired freedom, and disinclination to labour, might have led them into.
CHAPTER XXII. GILOLO.
(MARCH AND SEPTEMBER 1858.)
I MADE but few and comparatively short visits to this large and little known island, but obtained a considerable knowledge of its natural history by sending first my boy Ali, and then my assistant, Charles Allen, who stayed two or three months each in the northern peninsula, and brought me back large collections of birds and insects. In this chapter I propose to give a sketch of the parts which I myself visited. My first stay was at Dodinga, situated at the head of a deep-bay exactly opposite Ternate, and a short distance up a little stream which penetrates a few miles inland. The village is a small one, and is completely shut in by low hills.
As soon as I arrived, I applied to the head man of the village for a house to live in, but all were occupied, and there was much difficulty in finding one. In the meantime I unloaded my baggage on the beach and made some tea, and afterwards discovered a small but which the owner was willing to vacate if I would pay him five guilders for a month's rent. As this was something less than the fee-simple value of the dwelling, I agreed to give it him for the privilege of immediate occupation, only stipulating that he was to make the roof water-tight. This he agreed to do, and came every day to tally and look at me; and when I each time insisted upon his immediately mending the roof according to contract, all the answer I could get was, "Ea nanti," (Yes, wait a little.) However, when I threatened to deduct a quarter guilder from the rent for every day it was not done, and a guilder extra if any of my things were wetted, he condescended to work for half an hour, which did all that was absolutely necessary.
On the top of a bank, of about a hundred feet ascent from the water, stands the very small but substantial fort erected by the Portuguese. Its battlements and turrets have long since been overthrown by earthquakes, by which its massive structure has also been rent; but it cannot well be thrown down, being a solid mass of stonework, forming a platform about ten feet high, and perhaps forty feet square. It is approached by narrow steps under an archway, and is now surmounted by a row of thatched hovels, in which live the small garrison, consisting of, a Dutch corporal and four Javanese soldiers, the sole representatives of the Netherlands Government in the island. The village is occupied entirely by Ternate men. The true indigenes of Gilolo, "Alfuros" as they are here called, live on the eastern coast, or in the interior of the northern peninsula. The distance across the isthmus at this place is only two miles, and there, is a good path, along which rice and sago are brought from the eastern villages. The whole isthmus is very rugged, though not high, being a succession of little abrupt hills anal valleys, with angular masses of limestone rock everywhere projecting, and often almost blocking up the pathway. Most of it is virgin forest, very luxuriant and picturesque, and at this time having abundance of large scarlet Ixoras in flower, which made it exceptionally gay. I got some very nice insects here, though, owing to illness most of the time, my collection was a small one, and my boy Ali shot me a pair of one of the most beautiful birds of the East, Pitta gigas, a lame ground-thrush, whose plumage of velvety black above is relieved by a breast of pure white, shoulders of azure blue, and belly of vivid crimson. It has very long and strong legs, and hops about with such activity in the dense tangled forest, bristling with rocks, as to make it very difficult to shoot.
In September 1858, after my return from New Guinea, I went to stay some time at the village of Djilolo, situated in a bay on the northern peninsula. Here I obtained a house through the kindness of the Resident of Ternate, who sent orders to prepare one for me. The first walk into the unexplored forests of a new locality is a moment of intense interest to the naturalist, as it is almost sure to furnish him with something curious or hitherto unknown. The first thing I saw here was a flock of small parroquets, of which I shot a pair, and was pleased to find a most beautiful little long-tailed bird, ornamented with green, red, and blue colours, and quite new to me. It was a variety of the Charmosyna placentis, one of the smallest and most elegant of the brush-tongued lories. My hunters soon shot me several other fine birds, and I myself found a specimen of the rare and beautiful day-flying moth, Cocytia d'Urvillei.
The village of Djilolo was formerly the chief residence of the Sultans of Ternate, till about eighty years ago, when at the request of the Dutch they removed to their present abode. The place was then no doubt much more populous, as is indicated by the wide extent of cleared land in the neighbourhood, now covered with coarse high grass, very disagreeable to walk through, and utterly barren to the naturalist. A few days' exploring showed me that only some small patches of forest remained for miles wound, and the result was a scarcity of insects and a very limited variety of birds, which obliged me to change my locality. There was another village called Sahoe, to which there was a road of about twelve miles overland, and this had been recommended to me as a good place for birds, and as possessing a large population both of Mahomotans and Alfuros, which latter race I much wished to see. I set off one morning to examine this place myself, expecting to pass through some extent of forest on my way. In this however I was much disappointed, as the whole road lies through grass and scrubby thickets, and it was only after reaching the village of Sahoe that some high forest land was perceived stretching towards the mountains to the north of it. About half-way we dad to pass a deep river on a bamboo raft, which almost sunk beneath us. This stream was said to rise a long way off to the northward.
Although Sahoe did not at all appear what I expected, I determined to give it a trial, and a few days afterwards obtained a boat to carry my things by sea while I walked overland. A large house on the beach belonging to the Sultan was given me. It stood alone, and was quite open on every side, so that little privacy could be had, but as I only intended to stay a short time I made it do. Avery, few days dispelled all hopes I might have entertained of making good collections in this place. Nothing was to be found in every direction but interminable tracts of reedy grass, eight or ten feet high, traversed by narrow baths, often almost impassable. Here and there were clumps of fruit trees, patches of low wood, and abundance of plantations and rice grounds, all of which are, in tropical regions, a very desert for the entomologist. The virgin forest that I was in search of, existed only on the summits and on the steep rocky sides of the mountains a long way off, and in inaccessible situations. In the suburbs of the village I found a fair number of bees and wasps, and some small but interesting beetles. Two or three new birds were obtained by my hunters, and by incessant inquiries and promises I succeeded in getting the natives to bring me some land shells, among which was a very fine and handsome one, Helix pyrostoma. I was, however, completely wasting my time here compared with what I might be doing in a good locality, and after a week returned to Ternate, quite disappointed with my first attempts at collecting in Gilolo.
In the country round about Sahoe, and in the interior, there is a large population of indigenes, numbers of whom came daily into the village, bringing their produce for sale, while others were engaged as labourers by the Chinese and Ternate traders. A careful examination convinced me that these people are radically distinct from all the Malay races. Their stature and their features, as well as their disposition and habits, are almost the same as those of the Papuans; their hair is semi-Papuan-neither straight, smooth, and glossy, like all true Malays', nor so frizzly and woolly as the perfect Papuan type, but always crisp, waved, and rough, such as often occurs among the true Papuans, but never among the Malays. Their colour alone is often exactly that of the Malay, or even lighter. Of course there has been intermixture, and there occur occasionally individuals which it is difficult to classify; but in most cases the large, somewhat aquiline nose, with elongated apex, the tall stature, the waved hair, the bearded face, and hairy body, as well as the less reserved manner and louder voice, unmistakeably proclaim the Papuan type. Here then I had discovered the exact boundary lice between the Malay and Papuan races, and at a spot where no other writer had expected it. I was very much pleased at this determination, as it gave me a clue to one of the most difficult problems in Ethnology, and enabled me in many other places to separate the two races, and to unravel their intermixtures.
On my return from Waigiou in 1860, I stayed some days on the southern extremity of Gilolo; but, beyond seeing something more of its structure and general character, obtained very little additional information. It is only in the northern peninsula that there are any indigenes, the whole of the rest of the island, with Batchian and the other islands westward, being exclusively inhabited by Malay tribes, allied to those of Ternate and Tidore. This would seem to indicate that the Alfuros were a comparatively recent immigration, and that they lead come from the north or east, perhaps from some of the islands of the Pacific. It is otherwise difficult to understand how so many fertile districts should possess no true indigenes.
Gilolo, or Halmaheira as it is called by the Malays and Dutch, seems to have been recently modified by upheaval and subsidence. In 1673, a mountain is said to stave been upheaved at Gamokonora on the northern peninsula. All the parts that I have seen have either been volcanic or coralline, and along the coast there are fringing coral reefs very dangerous to navigation. At the same time, the character of its natural history proves it to be a rather ancient land, since it possesses a number of animals peculiar to itself or common to the small islands around it, but almost always distinct from those of New Guinea on the east, of Ceram on the south, and of Celebes and the Sula islands on the west.
The island of Morty, close to the north-eastern extremity of Gilolo, was visited by my assistant Charles Allen, as well as by Dr. Bernstein; and the collections obtained there present some curious differences from those of the main island. About fifty-six species of land-birds are known to inhabit this island, and of these, a kingfisher (Tanysiptera Boris), a honey-sucker (Tropidorhynchus fuscicapillus), and a large crow-like starling (Lycocorax morotensis), are quite distinct from allied species found in Gilolo. The island is coralline and sandy, and we must therefore believe it to have been separated from Gilolo at a somewhat remote epoch; while we learn from its natural history that an arm of the sea twenty-five miles wide serves to limit the range even of birds of considerable powers of flight.
CHAPTER XXIII. TERNATE TO THE KAIOA ISLANDS AND BATCHIAN.
ON returning to Ternate from Sahoe, I at once began making preparations for a journey to Batchian, an island which I had been constantly recommended to visit since I had arrived in this part of the Moluccas. After all was ready I found that I should have to hire a boat, as no opportunity of obtaining a passage presented itself. I accordingly went into the native town, and could only find two boats for hire, one much larger than I required, and the other far smaller than I wished. I chose the smaller one, chiefly because it would not cost me one-third as much as the larger one, and also because in a coasting voyage a small vessel can be more easily managed, and more readily got into a place of safety during violent gales, than a large one. I took with me my Bornean lad Ali, who was now very useful to me; Lahagi, a native of Ternate, a very good steady man, and a fair shooter, who had been with me to New Guinea; Lahi, a native of Gilolo, who could speak Malay, as woodcutter and general assistant; and Garo, a boy who was to act as cook. As the boat was so small that we had hardly room to stow ourselves away when all my stores were on board, I only took one other man named Latchi, as pilot. He was a Papuan slave, a tall, strong black fellow, but very civil and careful. The boat I had hired from a Chinaman named Lau Keng Tong, for five guilders a month.
We started on the morning of October 9th, but had not got a hundred yards from land, when a strong head wind sprung up, against which we could not row, so we crept along shore to below the town, and waited till the turn of the tide should enable us to cross over to the coast of Tidore. About three in the afternoon we got off, and found that our boat sailed well, and would keep pretty close to the wind. We got on a good way before the wind fell and we had to take to our oars again. We landed on a nice sandy beach to cook our suppers, just as the sun set behind the rugged volcanic hills, to the south of the great cone of Tidore, and soon after beheld the planet Venus shining in the twilight with the brilliancy of a new moon, and casting a very distinct shadow. We left again a little before seven, and as we got out from the shadow of the mountain I observed a bright light over one part of the edge, and soon after, what seemed a fire of remarkable whiteness on the very summit of the hill. I called the attention of my men to it, and they too thought it merely a fire; but a few minutes afterwards, as we got farther off shore, the light rose clear up above the ridge of the hill, and some faint clouds clearing away from it, discovered the magnificent comet which was at the same time, astonishing all Europe. The nucleus presented to the naked eye a distinct disc of brilliant white light, from which the tail rose at an angle of about 30 deg. or 35 deg. with the horizon, curving slightly downwards, and terminating in a broad brush of faint light, the curvature of which diminished till it was nearly straight at the end. The portion of the tail next the comet appeared three or four tunes as bright as the most luminous portion of the milky way, and what struck me as a singular feature was that its upper margin, from the nucleus to very near the extremity, was clearly and almost sharply defined, while the lower side gradually shaded off into obscurity. Directly it rose above the ridge of the hill, I said to my men, "See, it's not a fire, it's a bintang ber-ekor" ("tailed-star," the Malay idiom for a comet). "So it is," said they; and all declared that they had often heard tell of such, but had never seen one till now. I had no telescope with me, nor any instrument at hand, but I estimated the length of the tail at about 20 deg., and the width, towards the extremity, about 4 deg. or 5 deg..
The whole of the next day we were obliged to stop near the village of Tidore, owing to a strong wind right in our teeth. The country was all cultivated, and I in vain searched for any insects worth capturing. One of my men went out to shoot, but returned home without a single bird. At sunset, the wind having dropped, we quitted Tidore, and reached the next island, March, where we stayed till morning. The comet was again visible, but not nearly so brilliant, being partly obscured by clouds; and dimmed by the light of the new moon. We then rowed across to the island of Motir, which is so surrounded with coral-reefs that it is dangerous to approach. These are perfectly flat, and are only covered at high water, ending in craggy vertical walls of coral in very deep water. When there is a little wind, it is dangerous to come near these rocks; but luckily it was quite smooth, so we moored to their edge, while the men crawled over the reef to the land, to make; a fire and cook our dinner-the boat having no accommodation for more than heating water for my morning and evening coffee. We then rowed along the edge of the reef to the end of the island, and were glad to get a nice westerly breeze, which carried us over the strait to the island of Makian, where we arrived about 8 P.M, The sky was quite clear, and though the moon shone brightly, the comet appeared with quite as much splendour as when we first saw it.
The coasts of these small islands are very different according to their geological formation. The volcanoes, active or extinct, have steep black beaches of volcanic sand, or are fringed with rugged masses of lava and basalt. Coral is generally absent, occurring only in small patches in quiet bays, and rarely or never forming reefs. Ternate, Tidore, and Makian belong to this class. Islands of volcanic origin, not themselves volcanoes, but which have been probably recently upraised, are generally more or less completely surrounded by fringing reefs of coral, and have beaches of shining white coral sand. Their coasts present volcanic conglomerates, basalt, and in some places a foundation of stratified rocks, with patches of upraised coral. Mareh and Motir are of this character, the outline of the latter giving it the appearance of having been a true volcano, and it is said by Forrest to have thrown out stones in 1778. The next day (Oct. 12th), we coasted along the island of Makian, which consists of a single grand volcano. It was now quiescent, but about two centuries ago (in 1646) there was a terrible eruption, which blew up the whole top of the mountain, leaving the truncated jagged summit and vast gloomy crater valley which at this time distinguished it. It was said to have been as lofty as Tidore before this catastrophe. [Soon after I' left the Archipelago, on the 29th of December, 1862, another eruption of this mountain suddenly took place, which caused great devastation in the island. All the villages and crops were destroyed, and numbers of the inhabitants killed. The sand and ashes fell so thick that the crops were partially destroyed fifty miles off, at Ternate, where it was so dark the following day that lamps had to be lighted at noon. For the position of this and the adjacent islands, see the map in Chapter XXXVII.]
I stayed some time at a place where I saw a new clearing on a very steep part of the mountain, and obtained a few interesting insects. In the evening we went on to the extreme southern point, to be ready to pass across the fifteen-mile strait to the island of Kaioa. At five the next morning we started, but the wind, which had hitherto been westerly, now got to the south and southwest, and we had to row almost all the way with a burning sun overhead. As we approached land a fine breeze sprang up, and we went along at a great pace; yet after an hour we were no nearer, and found we were in a violent current carrying us out to sea. At length we overcame it, and got on shore just as the sun set, having been exactly thirteen hours coming fifteen miles. We landed on a beach of hard coralline rock, with rugged cliffs of the same, resembling those of the Ke Islands (Chap. XXIX.) It was accompanied by a brilliancy and luxuriance of the vegetation, very like what I had observed at those islands, which so much pleased me that I resolved to stay a few days at the chief village, and see if their animal productions were correspondingly interesting. While searching for a secure anchorage for the night we again saw the comet, still apparently as brilliant as at first, but the tail had now risen to a higher angle.
October 14th.—All this day we coasted along the Kaioa Islands, which have much the appearance and outline of Ke on a small scale, with the addition of flat swampy tracts along shore, and outlying coral reefs. Contrary winds and currents had prevented our taking the proper course to the west of them, and we had to go by a circuitous route round the southern extremity of one island, often having to go far out to sea on account of coral reefs. On trying to pass a channel through one of these reefs we were grounded, and all had to get out into the water, which in this shallow strait had been so heated by the sun as to be disagreeably warm, and drag our vessel a considerable distance among weeds and sponges, corals and prickly corallines. It was late at night when we reached the little village harbour, and we were all pretty well knocked up by hard work, and having had nothing but very brackish water to drink all day-the best we could find at our last stopping-place. There was a house close to the shore, built for the use of the Resident of Ternate when he made his official visits, but now occupied by several native travelling merchants, among whom I found a place to sleep.
The next morning early I went to the village to find the "Kapala," or head man. I informed him that I wanted to stay a few days in the house at the landing, and begged him to have it made ready for me. He was very civil, and came down at once to get it cleared, when we found that the traders had already left, on hearing that I required it. There were no doors to it, so I obtained the loan of a couple of hurdles to keep out dogs and other animals. The land here was evidently sinking rapidly, as shown by the number of trees standing in salt water dead and dying. After breakfast I started for a walk to the forest-covered hill above the village, with a couple of boys as guides. It was exceedingly hot and dry, no rain having fallen for two months. When we reached an elevation of about two hundred feet, the coralline rock which fringes the shore was succeeded by a hard crystalline rock, a kind of metamorphic sandstone. This would indicate flat there had been a recent elevation of more than two hundred feet, which had still more recently clanged into a movement of subsidence. The hill was very rugged, but among dry sticks and fallen trees I found some good insects, mostly of forms and species I was already acquainted with from Ternate and Gilolo. Finding no good paths I returned, and explored the lower ground eastward of the village, passing through a long range of plantain and tobacco grounds, encumbered with felled and burnt logs, on which I found quantities of beetles of the family Buprestidae of six different species, one of which was new to me. I then reached a path in the swampy forest where I hoped to find some butterflies, but was disappointed. Being now pretty well exhausted by the intense heat, I thought it wise to return and reserve further exploration for the next day.
When I sat down in the afternoon to arrange my insects, the louse was surrounded by men, women, and children, lost in amazement at my unaccountable proceedings; and when, after pinning out the specimens, I proceeded to write the name of the place on small circular tickets, and attach one to each, even the old Kapala, the Mahometan priest, and some Malay traders could not repress signs of astonishment. If they had known a little more about the ways and opinions of white men, they would probably have looked upon me as a fool or a madman, but in their ignorance they accepted my operations as worthy of all respect, although utterly beyond their comprehension.
The next day (October 16th) I went beyond the swamp, and found a place where a new clearing was being made in the virgin forest. It was a long and hot walk, and the search among the fallen trunks and branches was very fatiguing, but I was rewarded by obtaining about seventy distinct species of beetles, of which at least a dozen were new to me, and many others rare and interesting. I have never in my life seen beetles so abundant as they were on this spot. Some dozen species of good-sized golden Buprestidae, green rose-chafers (Lomaptera), and long-horned weevils (Anthribidae), were so abundant that they rose up in swarms as I walked along, filling the air with a loud buzzing hum. Along with these, several fine Longicorns were almost equally common, forming such au assemblage as for once to realize that idea of tropical luxuriance which one obtains by looking over the drawers of a well-filled cabinet. On the under sides of the trunks clung numbers of smaller or more sluggish Longicorns, while on the branches at the edge of the clearing others could be detected sitting with outstretched antenna ready to take flight at the least alarm. It was a glorious spot, and one which will always live in my memory as exhibiting the insect-life of the tropics in unexampled luxuriance. For the three following days I continued to visit this locality, adding each time many new species to my collection-the following notes of which may be interesting to entomologists. October 15th, 33 species of beetles; 16th, 70 species; 17th, 47 species; 18th, 40 species; 19th, 56 species—in all about a hundred species, of which forty were new to me. There were forty-four species of Longicorns among them, and on the last day I took twenty-eight species of Longicorns, of which five were new to me.
My boys were less fortunate in shooting. The only birds at all common were the great red parrot (Eclectus grandis), found in most of the Moluccas, a crow, and a Megapodius, or mound-maker. A few of the pretty racquet-tailed kingfishers were also obtained, but in very poor plumage. They proved, however, to be of a different species from those found in the other islands, and come nearest to the bird originally described by Linnaeus under the name of Alcedo dea, and which came from Ternate. This would indicate that the small chain of islands parallel to Gilolo have a few peculiar species in common, a fact which certainly occurs in insects.
The people of Kaioa interested me much. They are evidently a mixed race, having Malay and Papuan affinities, and are allied to the peoples of Ternate and of Gilolo. They possess a peculiar language, somewhat resembling those of the surrounding islands, but quite distinct. They are now Mahometans, and are subject to Ternate, The only fruits seen here were papaws and pine-apples, the rocky soil and dry climate being unfavourable. Rice, maize, and plantains flourish well, except that they suffer from occasional dry seasons like the present one. There is a little cotton grown, from which the women weave sarongs (Malay petticoats). There is only one well of good water on the islands, situated close to the landing-place, to which all the inhabitants come for drinking water. The men are good boat-builders, and they make a regular trade of it and seem to be very well off.
After five days at Kaioa we continued our journey, and soon got among the narrow straits and islands which lead down to the town of Batchian. In the evening we stayed at a settlement of Galela men. These are natives of a district in the extreme north of Gilolo, and are great wanderers over this part of the Archipelago. They build large and roomy praus with outriggers, and settle on any coast or island they take a fancy for. They hunt deer and wild pig, drying the meat; they catch turtle and tripang; they cut down the forest and plant rice or maize, and are altogether remarkably energetic and industrious. They are very line people, of light complexion, tall, and with Papuan features, coming nearer to the drawings and descriptions of the true Polynesians of Tahiti and Owyhee than any I have seen.
During this voyage I had several times had an opportunity of seeing my men get fire by friction. A sharp-edged piece of bamboo is rubbed across the convex surface of another piece, on which a small notch is first cut. The rubbing is slow at first and gradually quicker, till it becomes very rapid, and the fine powder rubbed off ignites and falls through the hole which the rubbing has cut in the bamboo. This is done with great quickness and certainty. The Ternate, people use bamboo in another way. They strike its flinty surface with a bit of broken china, and produce a spark, which they catch in some kind of tinder.
On the evening of October 21st we reached our destination, having been twelve days on the voyage. It had been tine weather all the time, and, although very hot, I had enjoyed myself exceedingly, and had besides obtained some experience in boat work among islands and coral reefs, which enabled me afterwards to undertake much longer voyages of the same kind. The village or town of Batchian is situated at the head of a wide and deep bay, where a low isthmus connects the northern and southern mountainous parts of the island. To the south is a fine range of mountains, and I had noticed at several of our landing-places that the geological formation of the island was very different from those around it. Whenever rock was visible it was either sandstone in thin layers, dipping south, or a pebbly conglomerate. Sometimes there was a little coralline limestone, but no volcanic rocks. The forest had a dense luxuriance and loftiness seldom found on the dry and porous lavas and raised coral reefs of Ternate and Gilolo; and hoping for a corresponding richness in the birds and insects, it was with much satisfaction and with considerable expectation that I began my explorations in the hitherto unknown island of Batchian.
CHAPTER XXIV. BATCHIAN.
(OCTOBER 1858 To APRIL 1859.)
I LANDED opposite the house kept for the use of the Resident of Ternate, and was met by a respectable middle-aged Malay, who told me he was Secretary to the Sultan, and would receive the official letter with which I had been provided. On giving it him, he at once informed me I might have the use of the official residence which was empty. I soon got my things on shore, but on looking about me found that the house would never do to stay long in. There was no water except at a considerable distance, and one of my men would be almost entirely occupied getting water and firewood, and I should myself have to walk all through the village every day to the forest, and live almost in public, a thing I much dislike. The rooms were all boarded, and had ceilings, which are a great nuisance, as there are no means of hanging anything up except by driving nails, and not half the conveniences of a native bamboo and thatch cottage. I accordingly inquired for a house outside of the village on the road to the coal mines, and was informed by the Secretary that there was a small one belonging to the Sultan, and that he would go with me early next morning to see it.
We had to pass one large river, by a rude but substantial bridge, and to wade through another fine pebbly stream of clear water, just beyond which the little but was situated. It was very small, not raised on posts, but with the earth for a floor, and was built almost entirely of the leaf-stems of the sago-palm, called here "gaba-gaba." Across the river behind rose a forest-clad bank, and a good road close in front of the horse led through cultivated grounds to the forest about half a mile on, and thence to the coal mines tour miles further. These advantages at once decided me, and I told the Secretary I would be very glad to occupy the house. I therefore sent my two men immediately to buy "ataps" (palm-leaf thatch) to repair the roof, and the next day, with the assistance of eight of the Sultan's men, got all my stores and furniture carried up and pretty comfortably arranged. A rough bamboo bedstead was soon constructed, and a table made of boards which I had brought with me, fixed under the window. Two bamboo chairs, an easy cane chair, and hanging shelves suspended with insulating oil cups, so as to be safe from ants, completed my furnishing arrangements.
In the afternoon succeeding my arrival, the Secretary accompanied me to visit the Sultan. We were kept waiting a few minutes in an outer gate-house, and then ushered to the door of a rude, half-fortified whitewashed house. A small table and three chairs were placed in a large outer corridor, and an old dirty-faced man with grey hair and a grimy beard, dressed in a speckled blue cotton jacket and loose red trousers, came forward, shook hands, and asked me to be coated. After a quarter of an hour's conversation on my pursuits, in which his Majesty seemed to take great interest, tea and cakes-of rather better quality than usual on such occasions-were brought in. I thanked him for the house, and offered to show him my collections, which he promised to come and look at. He then asked me to teach him to take views-to make maps-to get him a small gun from England, and a milch-goat from Bengal; all of which requests I evaded as skilfully as I was able, and we parted very good friends. He seemed a sensible old man, and lamented the small population of the island, which he assured me was rich in many valuable minerals, including gold; but there were not people enough to look after them and work them. I described to him the great rush of population on the discovery of the Australian gold mines, and the huge nuggets found there, with which he was much interested, and exclaimed, "Oh? if we had but people like that, my country would be quite as rich."
The morning after I had got into my new house, I sent my boys out to shoot, and went myself to explore the road to the coal mines. In less than half a mile it entered the virgin forest, at a place where some magnificent trees formed a kind of natural avenue. The first part was flat and swampy, but it soon rose a little, and ran alongside the fine stream which passed behind my house, and which here rushed and gurgled over a rocky or pebbly bed, sometimes leaving wide sandbanks on its margins, and at other places flowing between high banks crowned with a varied and magnificent forest vegetation. After about two miles, the valley narrowed, and the road was carried along the steep hill-side which rose abruptly from the water's edge. In some places the rock had been cut away, but its surface was already covered with elegant ferns and creepers. Gigantic tree-ferns were abundant, and the whole forest had an air of luxuriance and rich variety which it never attains in the dry volcanic soil to which I had been lately accustomed. A little further the road passed to the other side of the valley by a bridge across the stream at a place where a great mass of rock in the middle offered an excellent support for it, and two miles more of most picturesque and interesting road brought me to the mining establishment.
This is situated in a large open space, at a spot where two tributaries fall into the main stream. Several forest-paths and new clearings offered fine collecting grounds, and I captured some new and interesting insects; but as it was getting late I had to reserve a more thorough exploration for future occasions. Coal had been discovered here some years before, and the road was made in order to bring down a sufficient quantity for a fair trial on the Dutch steamers. The quality, however, was not thought sufficiently good, and the mines were abandoned. Quite recently, works had been commenced in another spot, in Hopes of finding a better vein. There ware about eighty men employed, chiefly convicts; but this was far too small a number for mining operations in such a country, where the mere keeping a few miles of road in repair requires the constant work of several men. If coal of sufficiently good quality should be found, a tramroad would be made, and would be very easily worked, owing to the regular descent of the valley.
Just as I got home I overtook Ali returning from shooting with some birch hanging from his belt. He seemed much pleased, and said, "Look here, sir, what a curious bird," holding out what at first completely puzzled me. I saw a bird with a mass of splendid green feathers on its breast, elongated into two glittering tufts; but, what I could not understand was a pair of long white feathers, which stuck straight out from each shoulder. Ali assured me that the bird stuck them out this way itself, when fluttering its wings, and that they had remained so without his touching them. I now saw that I had got a great prize, no less than a completely new form of the Bird of Paradise, differing most remarkably from every other known bird. The general plumage is very sober, being a pure ashy olive, with a purplish tinge on the back; the crown of the head is beautifully glossed with pale metallic violet, and the feathers of the front extend as much over the beak as inmost of the family. The neck and breast are scaled with fine metallic green, and the feathers on the lower part are elongated on each side, so as to form a two-pointed gorget, which can be folded beneath the wings, or partially erected and spread out in the same way as the side plumes of most of the birds of paradise. The four long white plumes which give the bird its altogether unique character, spring from little tubercles close to the upper edge of the shoulder or bend of the wing; they are narrow, gentle curved, and equally webbed on both sides, of a pure creamy white colour. They are about six inches long, equalling the wing, and can be raised at right angles to it, or laid along the body at the pleasure of the bird. The bill is horn colour, the legs yellow, and the iris pale olive. This striking novelty has been named by Mr. G. R. Gray of the British Museum, Semioptera Wallacei, or "Wallace's Standard wing."
A few days later I obtained an exceedingly beautiful new butterfly, allied to the fine blue Papilio Ulysses, but differing from it in the colour being of a more intense tint, and in having a row of blue stripes around the margin of the lower wings. This good beginning was, however, rather deceptive, and I soon found that insects, and especially butterflies, were somewhat scarce, and birds in tar less variety than I had anticipated. Several of the fine Moluccan species were however obtained. The handsome red lory with green wings and a yellow spot in the back (Lorius garrulus), was not uncommon. When the Jambu, or rose apple (Eugenic sp.), was in flower in the village, flocks of the little lorikeet (Charmosyna placentis), already met with in Gilolo, came to feed upon the nectar, and I obtained as many specimens as I desired. Another beautiful bird of the parrot tribe was the Geoffroyus cyanicollis, a green parrot with a red bill and head, which colour shaded on the crown into azure blue, and thence into verditer blue and the green of the back. Two large and handsome fruit pigeons, with metallic green, ashy, and rufous plumage, were not uncommon; and I was rewarded by finding a splendid deep blue roller (Eurystomus azureus); a lovely golden-capped sunbird (Nectarinea auriceps), and a fine racquet-tailed kingfisher (Tanysiptera isis), all of which were entirely new to ornithologists. Of insects I obtained a considerable number of interesting beetles, including many fine longicorns, among which was the largest and handsomest species of the genus Glenea yet discovered. Among butterflies the beautiful little Danis sebae was abundant, making the forests gay with its delicate wings of white and the richest metallic blue; while showy Papilios, and pretty Pieridae, and dark, rich Euphaeas, many of them new, furnished a constant source of interest and pleasing occupation.
The island of Batchian possesses no really indigenous inhabitants, the interior being altogether uninhabited; and there are only a few small villages on various parts of the coast; yet I found here four distinct races, which would wofully mislead an ethnological traveller unable to obtain information as to their origin, first there are the Batchian Malays, probably the earliest colonists, differing very little from those of Ternate. Their language, however, seems to have more of the Papuan element, with a mixture of pure Malay, showing that the settlement is one of stragglers of various races, although now sufficiently homogeneous. Then there are the "Orang Sirani," as at Ternate and Amboyna. Many of these have the Portuguese physiognomy strikingly preserved, but combined with a skin generally darker than the Malays. Some national customs are retained, and the Malay, which is their only language, contains a large number of Portuguese words and idioms. The third race consists of the Galela men from the north of Gilolo, a singular people, whom I have already described; and the fourth is a colony from Tomore, in the eastern peninsula of Celebes. These people were brought here at their own request a few years ago, to avoid extermination by another tribe. They have a very light complexion, open Tartar physiognomy, low stature, and a language of the Bugis type. They are an industrious agricultural people, and supply the town with vegetables. They make a good deal of bark cloth, similar to the tapa of the Polynesians, by cutting down the proper trees and taping off large cylinders of bark, which is beaten with mallets till it separates from the wood. It is then soaked, and so continuously and regularly beaten out that it becomes as thin and as tough as parchment. In this foam it is much used for wrappers for clothes; and they also make jackets of it, sewn neatly together and stained with the juice of another kind of bark, which gives it a dark red colour and renders it nearly waterproof.
Here are four very distinct kinds of people who may all be seen any day in and about the town of Batchian. Now if we suppose a traveller ignorant of Malay, picking up a word or two here and there of the "Batchian language," and noting down the "physical and moral peculiarities, manners, and customs of the Batchian people"—(for there are travellers who do all this in four-and-twenty hours)—what an accurate and instructive chapter we should have' what transitions would be pointed out, what theories of the origin of races would be developed while the next traveller might flatly contradict every statement and arrive at exactly opposite conclusions.
Soon after I arrived here the Dutch Government introduced a new copper coinage of cents instead of doits (the 100th instead of the 120th part of a guilder), and all the old coins were ordered to be sent to Ternate to be changed. I sent a bag containing 6,000 doits, and duly received the new money by return of the boat. Then Ali went to bring it, however, the captain required a written order; so I waited to send again the next day, and it was lucky I did so, for that night my house was entered, all my boxes carried out and ransacked, and the various articles left on the road about twenty yards off, where we found them at five in the morning, when, on getting up and finding the house empty, we rushed out to discover tracks of the thieves. Not being able to find the copper money which they thought I had just received, they decamped, taking nothing but a few yards of cotton cloth and a black coat and trousers, which latter were picked up a few days afterwards hidden in the grass. There was no doubt whatever who were the thieves. Convicts are employed to guard the Government stores when the boat arrives from Ternate. Two of them watch all night, and often take the opportunity to roam about and commit robberies.
The next day I received my money, and secured it well in a strong box fastened under my bed. I took out five or six hundred cents for daily expenses, and put them in a small japanned box, which always stood upon my table. In the afternoon I went for a short walk, and on my return this box and my keys, which I had carelessly left on the table, were gone. Two of my boys were in the house, but had heard nothing. I immediately gave information of the two robberies to the Director at the mines and to the Commandant at the fort, and got for answer, that if I caught the thief in the act I might shoot him. By inquiry in the village, we afterwards found that one of the convicts who was on duty at the Government rice-store in the village had quitted his guard, was seen to pass over the bridge towards my house, was seen again within two hundred yards of my house, and on returning over the bridge into the village carried something under his arm, carefully covered with his sarong. My box was stolen between the hours he was seen going and returning, and it was so small as to be easily carried in the way described. This seemed pretty clear circumstantial evidence. I accused the man and brought the witnesses to the Commandant. The man was examined, and confessed having gone to the river close to my house to bathe; but said he had gone no farther, having climbed up a cocoa-nut tree and brought home two nuts, which he had covered over, because he was ashamed to be seen carrying them! This explanation was thought satisfactory, and he was acquitted. I lost my cash and my box, a seal I much valued, with other small articles, and all my keys-the severest loss by far. Luckily my large cash-box was left locked, but so were others which I required to open immediately. There was, however, a very clever blacksmith employed to do ironwork for the mines, and he picked my locks for me when I required them, and in a few days made me new keys, which I used all the time I was abroad.
Towards the end of November the wet season set in, and we had daily and almost incessant rains, with only about one or two hours' sunshine in the morning. The flat parts of the forest became flooded, the roads filled with mud, and insects and birds were scarcer than ever. On December Lath, in the afternoon, we had a sharp earthquake shock, which made the house and furniture shale and rattle for five minutes, and the trees and shrubs wave as if a gust of wind had passed over them. About the middle of December I removed to the village, in order more easily to explore the district to the west of it, and to be near the sea when I wished to return to Ternate. I obtained the use of a good-sized house in the Campong Sirani (or Christian village), and at Christmas and the New Year had to endure the incessant gun-firing, drum-beating, and fiddling of the inhabitants.
These people are very fond of music and dancing, and it would astonish a European to visit one of their assemblies. We enter a gloomy palm-leaf hut, in which two or three very dim lamps barely render darkness visible. The floor is of black sandy earth, the roof hid in a smoky impenetrable blackness; two or three benches stand against the walls, and the orchestra consists of a fiddle, a fife, a drum, and a triangle. There is plenty of company, consisting of young men and women, all very neatly dressed in white and black—a true Portuguese habit. Quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, and mazurkas are danced with great vigour and much skill. The refreshments are muddy coffee and a few sweetmeats. Dancing is kept up for hours, and all is conducted with much decorum and propriety. A party of this kind meets about once a week, the principal inhabitants taking it by turns, and all who please come in without much ceremony.
It is astonishing how little these people have altered in three hundred years, although in that time they have changed their language and lost all knowledge of their own nationality. They are still in manners and appearance almost pure Portuguese, very similar to those with whom I had become acquainted on the banks of the Amazon. They live very poorly as regards their house and furniture, but preserve a semi-European dress, and have almost all full suits of black for Sundays. They are nominally Protestants, but Sunday evening is their grand day for music and dancing. The men are often good hunters; and two or three times a week, deer or wild pigs are brought to the village, which, with fish and fowls, enables them to live well. They are almost the only people in the Archipelago who eat the great fruit-eating bats called by us "flying foxes." These ugly creatures are considered a great delicacy, and are much sought after. At about the beginning of the year they come in large flocks to eat fruit, and congregate during the day on some small islands in the bay, hanging by thousands on the trees, especially on dead ones. They can then be easily caught or knocked down with sticks, and are brought home by basketsfull. They require to be carefully prepared, as the skin and fur has a rank end powerful foxy odour; but they are generally cooked with abundance of spices and condiments, and are really very good eating, something like hare. The Orang Sirani are good cooks, having a much greater variety of savoury dishes than the Malays. Here, they live chiefly on sago as bread, with a little rice occasionally, and abundance of vegetables and fruit.
It is a curious fact that everywhere in the Past where the Portuguese have mixed with the native races they leave become darker in colour than either of the parent stocks. This is the case almost always with these "Orang Sirani" in the Moluccas, and with the Portuguese of Malacca. The reverse is the case in South America, where the mixture of the Portuguese or Brazilian with the Indian produces the "Mameluco," who is not unfrequently lighter than either parent, and always lighter than the Indian. The women at Batchian, although generally fairer than the men, are coarse in features, and very far inferior in beauty to the mixed Dutch-Malay girls, or even to many pure Malays.
The part of the village in which I resided was a grove of cocoa-nut trees, and at night, when the dead leaves were sometimes collected together and burnt, the effect was most magnificent—the tall stems, the fine crowns of foliage, and the immense fruit-clusters, being brilliantly illuminated against a dark sky, and appearing like a fairy palace supported on a hundred columns, and groined over with leafy arches. The cocoa-nut tree, when well grown, is certainly the prince of palms both for beauty and utility.
During my very first walk into the forest at Batchian, I had seen sitting on a leaf out of reach, an immense butterfly of a dark colour marked with white and yellow spots. I could not capture it as it flew away high up into the forest, but I at once saw that it was a female of a new species of Ornithoptera or "bird-winged butterfly," the pride of the Eastern tropics. I was very anxious to get it and to find the male, which in this genus is always of extreme beauty. During the two succeeding months I only saw it once again, and shortly afterwards I saw the male flying high in the air at the mining village. I had begun to despair of ever getting a specimen, as it seemed so rare and wild; till one day, about the beginning of January, I found a beautiful shrub with large white leafy bracts and yellow flowers, a species of Mussaenda, and saw one of these noble insects hovering over it, but it was too quick for me, and flew away. The next clay I went again to the same shrub and succeeded in catching a female, and the day after a fine male. I found it to be as I had expected, a perfectly new and most magnificent species, and one of the most gorgeously coloured butterflies in the world. Fine specimens of the male are more than seven inches across the wings, which are velvety black and fiery orange, the latter colour replacing the green of the allied species. The beauty and brilliancy of this insect are indescribable, and none but a naturalist can understand the intense excitement I experienced when I at length captured it. On taking it out of my net and opening the glorious wings, my heart began to beat violently, the blood rushed to my head, and I felt much more like fainting than I have done when in apprehension of immediate death. I had a headache the rest of the day, so great was the excitement produced by what will appear to most people a very inadequate cause.
I had decided to return to Ternate in a week or two more, but this grand capture determined me to stay on till I obtained a good series of the new butterfly, which I have since named Ornithoptera croesus. The Mussaenda bush was an admirable place, which I could visit every day on my way to the forest; and as it was situated in a dense thicket of shrubs and creepers, I set my man Lahi to clear a space all round it, so that I could easily get at any insect that might visit it. Afterwards, finding that it was often necessary to wait some time there, I had a little seat put up under a tree by the side of it, where I came every day to eat my lunch, and thus had half an hour's watching about noon, besides a chance as I passed it in the morning. In this way I obtained on an average one specimen a day for a long time, but more than half of these were females, and more than half the remainder worn or broken specimens, so that I should not have obtained many perfect males had I not found another station for them.
As soon as I had seen them come to flowers, I sent my man Lahi with a net on purpose to search for them, as they had also been seen at some flowering trees on the beach, and I promised him half a day's wages extra for every good specimen he could catch. After a day or two he brought me two very fair specimens, and told me he had caught them in the bed of a large rocky stream that descends from the mountains to the sea abort a mile below the village. They flew down this river, settling occasionally on stones and rocks in the water, and he was obliged to wade up it or jump from rock to rock to get at them. I went with him one day, but found that the stream was far too rapid and the stones too slippery for me to do anything, so I left it entirely to him, and all the rest of the time we stayed in Batchian he used to be out all day, generally bringing me one, and on good days two or three specimens. I was thus able to bring away with me more than a hundred of both sexes, including perhaps twenty very fine males, though not more than five or six that were absolutely perfect.
My daily walk now led me, first about half a mile along the sandy beach, then through a sago swamp over a causeway of very shaky poles to the village of the Tomore people. Beyond this was the forest with patches of new clearing, shady paths, and a considerable quantity of felled timber. I found this a very fair collecting ground, especially for beetles. The fallen trunks in the clearings abounded with golden Buprestidae and curious Brenthidae, and longicorns, while in the forest I found abundance of the smaller Curculionidae, many longicorns, and some fine green Carabidae.
Butterflies were not abundant, but I obtained a few more of the fine blue Papilio, and a number of beautiful little Lycaenidae, as well as a single specimen of the very rare Papilio Wallacei, of which I had taken the hitherto unique specimen in the Aru Islands.
The most interesting birds I obtained here, were the beautiful blue kingfisher, Todiramphus diops; the fine green and purple doves, Ptilonopus superbus and P. iogaster, and several new birds of small size. My shooters still brought me in specimens of the Semioptera Wallacei, and I was greatly excited by the positive statements of several of the native hunters that another species of this bird existed, much handsomer and more remarkable. They declared that the plumage was glossy black, with metallic green breast as in my species, but that the white shoulder plumes were twice as long, and hung down far below the body of the bird. They declared that when hunting pigs or deer far in the forest they occasionally saw this bird, but that it was rare. I immediately offered twelve guilders (a pound) for a specimen; but all in vain, and I am to this day uncertain whether such a bird exists. Since I left, the German naturalist, Dr. Bernstein, stayed many months in the island with a large staff of hunters collecting for the Leyden Museum; and as he was not more successful than myself, we must consider either that the bird is very rare, or is altogether a myth.
Batchian is remarkable as being the most eastern point on the globe inhabited by any of the Quadrumana. A large black baboon-monkey (Cynopithecus nigrescens) is abundant in some parts of the forest. This animal has bare red callosities, and a rudimentary tail about an inch long—a mere fleshy tubercle, which may be very easily overlooked. It is the same species that is found all over the forests of Celebes, and as none of the other Mammalia of that island extend into Batchian I am inclined to suppose that this species has been accidentally introduced by the roaming Malays, who often carry about with them tame monkeys and other animals. This is rendered more probable by the fact that the animal is not found in Gilolo, which is only separated from Batchian by a very narrow strait. The introduction may have been very recent, as in a fertile and unoccupied island such an animal would multiply rapidly. The only other mammals obtained were an Eastern opossum, which Dr. Gray has described as Cuscus ornatus; the little flying opossum, Belideus ariel; a Civet cat, Viverra zebetha; and nice species of bats, most of the smaller ones being caught in the dusk with my butterfly net as they flew about before the house.
After much delay, owing to bad weather and the illness of one of my men, I determined to visit Kasserota (formerly the chief village), situated up a small stream, on an island close to the north coast of Batchian; where I was told that many rare birds were found. After my boat was loaded and everything ready, three days of heavy squalls prevented our starting, and it was not till the 21st of March that we got away. Early next morning we entered the little river, and in about an hour we reached the Sultan's house, which I had obtained permission to use. It was situated on the bank of the river, and surrounded by a forest of fruit trees, among which were some of the very loftiest and most graceful cocoa-nut palms I have ever seen. It rained nearly all that day, and I could do little but unload and unpack. Towards the afternoon it cleared up, and I attempted to explore in various directions, but found to my disgust that the only path was a perfect mud swamp, along which it was almost impossible to walk, and the surrounding forest so damp and dark as to promise little in the way of insects. I found too on inquiry that the people here made no clearings, living entirely on sago, fruit, fish, and game; and the path only led to a steep rocky mountain equally impracticable and unproductive. The next day I sent my men to this hill, hoping it might produce some good birds; but they returned with only two common species, and I myself had been able to get nothing; every little track I had attempted to follow leading to a dense sago swamp. I saw that I should waste time by staying here, and determined to leave the following day.
This is one of those spots so hard for the European naturalist to conceive, where with all the riches of a tropical vegetation, and partly perhaps from the very luxuriance of that vegetation, insects are as scarce as in the most barren parts of Europe, and hardly more conspicuous. In temperate climates there is a tolerable uniformity in the distribution of insects over those parts of a country in which there is a similarity in the vegetation, any deficiency being easily accounted for by the absence of wood or uniformity of surface. The traveller hastily passing through such a country can at once pick out a collecting ground which will afford him a fair notion of its entomology. Here the case is different. There are certain requisites of a good collecting ground which can only be ascertained to exist by some days' search in the vicinity of each village. In some places there is no virgin forest, as at Djilolo and Sahoe; in others there are no open pathways or clearings, as here. At Batchian there are only two tolerable collecting places,—the road to the coal mines, and the new clearings made by the Tomore people, the latter being by far the most productive. I believe the fact to be that insects are pretty uniformly distributed over these countries (where the forests have not been cleared away), and are so scarce in any one spot that searching for them is almost useless. If the forest is all cleared away, almost all the insects disappear with it; but when small clearings and paths are made, the fallen trees in various stages of drying and decay, the rotting leaves, the loosening bark and the fungoid growths upon it, together with the flowers that appear in much greater abundance where the light is admitted, are so many attractions to the insects for miles around, and cause a wonderful accumulation of species and individuals. When the entomologist can discover such a spot, he does more in a mouth than he could possibly do by a year's search in the depths of the undisturbed forest.
The next morning we left early, and reached the mouth of the little river in about au hour. It flows through a perfectly flat alluvial plain, but there are hills which approach it near the mouth. Towards the lower part, in a swamp where the salt-water must enter at high tides, were a number of elegant tree-ferns from eight to fifteen feet high. These are generally considered to be mountain plants, and rarely to occur on the equator at an elevation of less than one or two thousand feet. In Borneo, in the Aru Islands, and on the banks of the Amazon, I have observed them at the level of the sea, and think it probable that the altitude supposed to be requisite for them may have been deduced from facts observed in countries where the plains and lowlands are largely cultivated, and most of the indigenous vegetation destroyed. Such is the case in most parts of Java, India, Jamaica, and Brazil, where the vegetation of the tropics has been most fully explored.
Coming out to sea we turned northwards, and in about two hours' sail reached a few huts, called Langundi, where some Galela men had established themselves as collectors of gum-dammar, with which they made torches for the supply of the Ternate market. About a hundred yards back rises a rather steep hill, and a short walk having shown me that there was a tolerable path up it, I determined to stay here for a few days. Opposite us, and all along this coast of Batchian, stretches a row of fine islands completely uninhabited. Whenever I asked the reason why no one goes to live in them, the answer always was, "For fear of the Magindano pirates." Every year these scourges of the Archipelago wander in one direction or another, making their rendezvous on some uninhabited island, and carrying devastation to all the small settlements around; robbing, destroying, killing, or taking captive all they nee with. Their long well-manned praus escape from the pursuit of any sailing vessel by pulling away right in the wind's eye, and the warning smoke of a steamer generally enables them to hide in some shallow bay, or narrow river, or forest-covered inlet, till the danger is passed. The only effectual way to put a stop to their depredations would be to attack them in their strongholds and villages, and compel them to give up piracy, and submit to strict surveillance. Sir James Brooke did this with the pirates of the north-west coast of Borneo, and deserves the thanks of the whole population of the Archipelago for having rid them of half their enemies.
All along the beach here, and in the adjacent strip of sandy lowland, is a remarkable display of Pandanaceae or Screw-pines. Some are like huge branching candelabra, forty or fifty feet high, and bearing at the end of each branch a tuft of immense sword-shaped leaves, six or eight inches wide, and as many feet long. Others have a single unbranched stem, six or seven feet high, the upper part clothed with the spirally arranged leaves, and bearing a single terminal fruit ac large as a swan's egg. Others of intermediate size have irregular clusters of rough red fruits, and all have more or less spiny-edged leaves and ringed stems. The young plants of the larger species have smooth glossy thick leaves, sometimes ten feet long and eight inches wide, which are used all over the Moluccas and New Guinea, to make "cocoyas" or sleeping mats, which are often very prettily ornamented with coloured patterns. Higher up on the bill is a forest of immense trees, among which those producing the resin called dammar (Dammara sp.) are abundant. The inhabitants of several small villages in Batchian are entirely engaged in searching for this product, and making it into torches by pounding it and filling it into tubes of palm leaves about a yard long, which are the only lights used by many of the natives. Sometimes the dammar accumulates in large masses of ten or twenty pounds weight, either attached to the trunk, or found buried in the ground at the foot of the trees. The most extraordinary trees of the forest are, however, a kind of fig, the aerial roots of which form a pyramid near a hundred feet high, terminating just where the tree branches out above, so that there is no real trunk. This pyramid or cone is formed of roots of every size, mostly descending in straight lines, but more or less obliquely-and so crossing each other, and connected by cross branches, which grow from one to another; as to form a dense and complicated network, to which nothing but a photograph could do justice (see illustration at Vol. I. page 130). The Kanary is also abundant in this forest, the nut of which has a very agreeable flavour, and produces an excellent oil. The fleshy outer covering of the nut is the favourite food of the great green pigeons of these islands (Carpophaga, perspicillata), and their hoarse copings and heavy flutterings among the branches can be almost continually heard.
After ten days at Langundi, finding it impossible to get the bird I was particularly in search of (the Nicobar pigeon, or a new species allied to it), and finding no new birds, and very few insects, I left early on the morning of April 1st, and in the evening entered a river on the main island of Batchian (Langundi, like Kasserota, being on a distinct island), where some Malays and Galela men have a small village, and have made extensive rice-fields and plantain grounds. Here we found a good house near the river bank, where the water was fresh and clear, and the owner, a respectable Batchian Malay, offered me sleeping room and the use of the verandah if I liked to stay. Seeing forest all round within a short distance, I accepted his offer, and the next morning before breakfast walked out to explore, and on the skirts of the forest captured a few interesting insects.
Afterwards, I found a path which led for a mile or more through a very fine forest, richer in palms than any I had seen in the Moluccas. One of these especially attracted my attention from its elegance. The stein was not thicker than my wrist, yet it was very lofty, and bore clusters of bright red fruit. It was apparently a species of Areca. Another of immense height closely resembled in appearance the Euterpes of South America. Here also grew the fan-leafed palm, whose small, nearly entire leaves are used to make the dammar torches, and to form the water-buckets in universal use. During this walk I saw near a dozen species of palms, as well as two or three Pandani different from those of Langundi. There were also some very fine climbing ferns and true wild Plantains (Musa), bearing an edible fruit not so large as one's thumb, and consisting of a mass of seeds just covered with pulp and skin. The people assured me they had tried the experiment of sowing and cultivating this species, but could not improve it. They probably did not grow it in sufficient quantity, and did not persevere sufficiently long.