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The Malay Archipelago Volume 1 by by Alfred Russell Wallace

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The land of the orang-utan, and the bird or paradise.

A narrative of travel, with sketches of man and nature.



I dedicate this book,
Not only as a token of personal esteem and friendship
But also
To express my deep admiration
His genius and his works.


My readers will naturally ask why I have delayed writing this
book for six years after my return; and I feel bound to give them
full satisfaction on this point.

When I reached England in the spring of 1862, I found myself
surrounded by a room full of packing cases containing the
collections that I had, from time to time, sent home for my
private use. These comprised nearly three thousand birdskins of
about one thousand species, at least twenty thousand beetles and
butterflies of about seven thousand species, and some quadrupeds
and land shells besides. A large proportion of these I had not
seen for years, and in my then weakened state of health, the
unpacking, sorting, and arranging of such a mass of specimens
occupied a long time.

I very soon decided that until I had done something towards
naming and describing the most important groups in my collection,
and had worked out some of the more interesting problems of
variation and geographical distribution (of which I had had
glimpses while collecting them), I would not attempt to publish
my travels. Indeed, I could have printed my notes and journals at
once, leaving all reference to questions of natural history for a
future work; but, I felt that this would be as unsatisfactory to
myself as it would be disappointing to my friends, and
uninstructive to the public.

Since my return, up to this date, I have published eighteen
papers in the "Transactions" or "Proceedings of the Linnean
Zoological and Entomological Societies", describing or
cataloguing portions of my collections, along with twelve others
in various scientific periodicals on more general subjects
connected with them.

Nearly two thousand of my Coleoptera, and many hundreds of my
butterflies, have been already described by various eminent
naturalists, British and foreign; but a much larger number
remains undescribed. Among those to whom science is most indebted
for this laborious work, I must name Mr. F. P. Pascoe, late
President of the Entomological Society of London, who had almost
completed the classification and description of my large
collection of Longicorn beetles (now in his possession),
comprising more than a thousand species, of which at least nine
hundred were previously undescribed and new to European cabinets.

The remaining orders of insects, comprising probably more than
two thousand species, are in the collection of Mr. William Wilson
Saunders, who has caused the larger portion of them to be
described by good entomologists. The Hymenoptera alone amounted
to more than nine hundred species, among which were two hundred
and eighty different kinds of ants, of which two hundred were

The six years' delay in publishing my travels thus enables me to
give what I hope may be an interesting and instructive sketch of
the main results yet arrived at by the study of my collections;
and as the countries I have to describe are not much visited or
written about, and their social and physical conditions are not
liable to rapid change, I believe and hope that my readers will
gain much more than they will lose by not having read my book six
years ago, and by this time perhaps forgotten all about it.

I must now say a few words on the plan of my work.

My journeys to the various islands were regulated by the seasons
and the means of conveyance. I visited some islands two or three
times at distant intervals, and in some cases had to make the
same voyage four times over. A chronological arrangement would
have puzzled my readers. They would never have known where they
were, and my frequent references to the groups of islands,
classed in accordance with the peculiarities of their animal
productions and of their human inhabitants, would have been
hardly intelligible. I have adopted, therefore, a geographical,
zoological, and ethnological arrangement, passing from island to
island in what seems the most natural succession, while I
transgress the order in which I myself visited them, as little as

I divide the Archipelago into five groups of islands, as follows:

I. THE INDO-MALAY ISLANDS: comprising the Malay Peninsula and
Singapore, Borneo, Java, and Sumatra.

II. THE TIMOR GROUP: comprising the islands of Timor, Flores,
Sumbawa, and Lombock, with several smaller ones.

III. CELEBES: comprising also the Sula Islands and Bouton.

IV. THE MOLUCCAN GROUP: comprising Bouru, Ceram, Batchian,
Gilolo, and Morty; with the smaller islands of Ternate, Tidore,
Makian, Kaiķa, Amboyna, Banda, Goram, and Matabello.

V. THE PAPUAN GROUP: comprising the great island of New Guinea,
with the Aru Islands, Mysol, Salwatty, Waigiou, and several
others. The Ke Islands are described with this group on account
of their ethnology, though zoologically and geographically they
belong to the Moluccas.

The chapters relating to the separate islands of each of these
groups are followed by one on the Natural History of that group;
and the work may thus be divided into five parts, each treating
one of the natural divisions of the Archipelago.

The first chapter is an introductory one, on the Physical
Geography of the whole region; and the last is a general sketch
of the paces of man in the Archipelago and the surrounding
countries. With this explanation, and a reference to the maps
which illustrate the work, I trust that my readers will always
know where they are, and in what direction they are going.

I am well aware that my book is far too small for the extent of
the subjects it touches upon. It is a mere sketch; but so far as
it goes, I have endeavoured to make it an accurate one. Almost
the whole of the narrative and descriptive portions were written
on the spot, and have had little more than verbal alterations.
The chapters on Natural History, as well as many passages in
other parts of the work, have been written in the hope of
exciting an interest in the various questions connected with the
origin of species and their geographical distribution. In some
cases I have been able to explain my views in detail; while in
others, owing to the greater complexity of the subject, I have
thought it better to confine myself to a statement of the more
interesting facts of the problem, whose solution is to be found
in the principles developed by Mr. Darwin in his various works.
The numerous illustrations will, it is believed, add much to the
interest and value of the book. They have been made from my own
sketches, from photographs, or from specimens--and such, only
subjects that would really illustrate the narrative or the
descriptions, have been chosen.

I have to thank Messrs. Walter and Henry Woodbury, whose
acquaintance I had the pleasure of making in Java, for a number
of photographs of scenery and of natives, which have been of the
greatest assistance to me. Mr. William Wilson Saunders has kindly
allowed me to figure the curious horned flies; and to Mr. Pascoe
I am indebted for a loan of two of the very rare Longicorns which
appear in the plate of Bornean beetles. All the other specimens
figured are in my own collection.

As the main object of all my journeys was to obtain specimens of
natural history, both for my private collection and to supply
duplicates to museums and amateurs, I will give a general
statement of the number of specimens I collected, and which
reached home in good condition. I must premise that I generally
employed one or two, and sometimes three Malay servants to assist
me; and for nearly half the time had the services of an English
lad, Charles Allen. I was just eight years away from England, but
as I travelled about fourteen thousand miles within the
Archipelago, and made sixty or seventy separate journeys, each
involving some preparation and loss of time, I do not think that
more than six years were really occupied in collecting.

I find that my Eastern collections amounted to:

310 specimens of Mammalia.
100 specimens of Reptiles.
8,050 specimens of Birds.
7,500 specimens of Shells.
13,100 specimens of Lepidoptera.
83,200 specimens of Coleoptera.
13,400 specimens of other Insects.

125,660 specimens of natural history in all.

It now only remains for me to thank all those friends to whom I
am indebted for assistance or information. My thanks are more
especially due to the Council of the Royal Geographical Society,
through whose valuable recommendations I obtained important aid
from our own Government and from that of Holland; and to Mr.
William Wilson Saunders, whose kind and liberal encouragement in
the early portion of my journey was of great service to me. I am
also greatly indebted to Mr. Samuel Stevens (who acted as my
agent), both for the care he took of my collections, and for the
untiring assiduity with which he kept me supplied, both with
useful information and with whatever necessaries I required.

I trust that these, and all other friends who have been in any
way interested in my travels and collections, may derive from the
perusal of my book, some faint reflexion of the pleasures I
myself enjoyed amid the scenes and objects it describes.




From a look at a globe or a map of the Eastern hemisphere, we
shall perceive between Asia and Australia a number of large and
small islands forming a connected group distinct from those great
masses of land, and having little connection with either of them.
Situated upon the Equator, and bathed by the tepid water of the
great tropical oceans, this region enjoys a climate more
uniformly hot and moist than almost any other part of the globe,
and teems with natural productions which are elsewhere unknown.
The richest of fruits and the most precious of spices are
Indigenous here. It produces the giant flowers of the Rafflesia,
the great green-winged Ornithoptera (princes among the butterfly
tribes), the man-like Orangutan, and the gorgeous Birds of
Paradise. It is inhabited by a peculiar and interesting race of
mankind--the Malay, found nowhere beyond the limits of this
insular tract, which has hence been named the Malay Archipelago.

To the ordinary Englishman this is perhaps the least known part
of the globe. Our possessions in it are few and scanty; scarcely
any of our travellers go to explore it; and in many collections
of maps it is almost ignored, being divided between Asia and the
Pacific Islands. It thus happens that few persons realize that,
as a whole, it is comparable with the primary divisions of the
globe, and that some of its separate islands are larger than
France or the Austrian Empire. The traveller, however, soon
acquires different ideas. He sails for days or even weeks along
the shores of one of these great islands, often so great that its
inhabitants believe it to be a vast continent. He finds that
voyages among these islands are commonly reckoned by weeks and
months, and that their several inhabitants are often as little
known to each other as are the native races of the northern to
those of the southern continent of America. He soon comes to look
upon this region as one apart from the rest of the world, with
its own races of men and its own aspects of nature; with its own
ideas, feelings, customs, and modes of speech, and with a
climate, vegetation, and animated life altogether peculiar to

From many points of view these islands form one compact
geographical whole, and as such they have always been treated by
travellers and men of science; but, a more careful and detailed
study of them under various aspects reveals the unexpected fact
that they are divisible into two portions nearly equal in extent
which differ widely in their natural products, and really form
two parts of the primary divisions of the earth. I have been able
to prove this in considerable detail by my observations on the
natural history of the various parts of the Archipelago; and, as
in the description of my travels and residence in the several
islands I shall have to refer continually to this view, and
adduce facts in support of it, I have thought it advisable to
commence with a general sketch of the main features of the
Malayan region as will render the facts hereafter brought forward
more interesting, and their bearing upon the general question
more easily understood. I proceed, therefore, to sketch the
limits and extent of the Archipelago, and to point out the more
striking features of its geology, physical geography, vegetation,
and animal life.

Definition and Boundaries.--For reasons which depend mainly on
the distribution of animal life, I consider the Malay Archipelago
to include the Malay Peninsula as far as Tenasserim and the
Nicobar Islands on the west, the Philippines on the north, and
the Solomon Islands, beyond New Guinea, on the east. All the
great islands included within these limits are connected together
by innumerable smaller ones, so that no one of them seems to be
distinctly separated from the rest. With but few exceptions all
enjoy an uniform and very similar climate, and are covered with a
luxuriant forest vegetation. Whether we study their form and
distribution on maps, or actually travel from island to island,
our first impression will be that they form a connected whole,
all the parts of which are intimately related to each other.

Extent of the Archipelago and Islands.--The Malay Archipelago
extends for more than 4,000 miles in length from east to west,
and is about 1,300 in breadth from north to south. It would
stretch over an expanse equal to that of all Europe from the
extreme west far into Central Asia, or would cover the widest
parts of South America, and extend far beyond the land into the
Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It includes three islands larger
than Great Britain; and in one of them, Borneo, the whole of the
British Isles might be set down, and would be surrounded by a sea
of forests. New Guinea, though less compact in shape, is probably
larger than Borneo. Sumatra is about equal in extent to Great
Britain; Java, Luzon, and Celebes are each about the size of
Ireland. Eighteen more islands are, on the average, as large as
Jamaica; more than a hundred are as large as the Isle of Wight;
while the isles and islets of smaller size are innumerable.

The absolute extent of land in the Archipelago is not greater
than that contained by Western Europe from Hungary to Spain; but,
owing to the manner in which the land is broken up and divided,
the variety of its productions is rather in proportion to the
immense surface over which the islands are spread, than to the
quantity of land which they contain.

Geological Contrasts.--One of the chief volcanic belts upon the
globe passes through the Archipelago, and produces a striking
contrast in the scenery of the volcanic and non-volcanic islands.
A curving line, marked out by scores of active, and hundreds of
extinct, volcanoes may be traced through the whole length of
Sumatra and Java, and thence by the islands of Bali, Lombock,
Sumbawa, Flores, the Serwatty Islands, Banda, Amboyna, Batchian,
Makian, Tidore, Ternate, and Gilolo, to Morty Island. Here there
is a slight but well-marked break, or shift, of about 200 miles
to the westward, where the volcanic belt begins again in North
Celebes, and passes by Sian and Sanguir to the Philippine Islands
along the eastern side of which it continues, in a curving line,
to their northern extremity. From the extreme eastern bend of
this belt at Banda, we pass onwards for 1,000 miles over a non-
volcanic district to the volcanoes observed by Dampier, in 1699,
on the north-eastern coast of New Guinea, and can there trace
another volcanic belt through New Britain, New Ireland, and the
Solomon Islands, to the eastern limits of the Archipelago.

In the whole region occupied by this vast line of volcanoes, and
for a considerable breadth on each side of it, earthquakes are of
continual recurrence, slight shocks being felt at intervals of
every few weeks or months, while more severe ones, shaking down
whole villages, and doing more or less injury to life and
property, are sure to happen, in one part or another of this
district, almost every year. On many of the islands the years of
the great earthquakes form the chronological epochs of the native
inhabitants, by the aid of which the ages of their children are
remembered, and the dates of many important events are

I can only briefly allude to the many fearful eruptions that have
taken place in this region. In the amount of injury to life and
property, and in the magnitude of their effects, they have not
been surpassed by any upon record. Forty villages were destroyed
by the eruption of Papandayang in Java, in 1772, when the whole
mountain was blown up by repeated explosions, and a large lake
left in its place. By the great eruption of Tomboro in Sumbawa,
in 1815, 12,000 people were destroyed, and the ashes darkened the
air and fell thickly upon the earth and sea for 300 miles around.
Even quite recently, since I left the country, a mountain which
had been quiescent for more than 200 years suddenly burst into
activity. The island of Makian, one of the Moluccas, was rent
open in 1646 by a violent eruption which left a huge chasm on one
side, extending into the heart of the mountain. It was, when I
last visited it in 1860, clothed with vegetation to the summit,
and contained twelve populous Malay villages. On the 29th of
December, 1862, after 215 years of perfect inaction, it again
suddenly burst forth, blowing up and completely altering the
appearance of the mountain, destroying the greater part of the
inhabitants, and sending forth such volumes of ashes as to darken
the air at Ternate, forty miles off, and to almost entirely
destroy the growing crops on that and the surrounding islands.

The island of Java contains more volcanoes, active and extinct,
than any other known district of equal extent. They are about
forty-five in number, and many of them exhibit most beautiful
examples of the volcanic cone on a large scale, single or double,
with entire or truncated summits, and averaging 10,000 feet high.

It is now well ascertained that almost all volcanoes have been
slowly built up by the accumulation of matter--mud, ashes, and
lava--ejected by themselves. The openings or craters, however,
frequently shift their position, so that a country may be covered
with a more or less irregular series of hills in chains and
masses, only here and there rising into lofty cones, and yet the
whole may be produced by true volcanic action. In this manner the
greater part of Java has been formed. There has been some
elevation, especially on the south coast, where extensive cliffs
of coral limestone are found; and there may be a substratum of
older stratified rocks; but still essentially Java is volcanic,
and that noble and fertile island--the very garden of the East,
and perhaps upon the whole the richest, the best cultivated, and
the best governed tropical island in the world--owes its very
existence to the same intense volcanic activity which still
occasionally devastates its surface.

The great island of Sumatra exhibits, in proportion to its
extent, a much smaller number of volcanoes, and a considerable
portion of it has probably a non-volcanic origin.

To the eastward, the long string of islands from Java, passing by
the north of Timor and away to Panda, are probably all due to
volcanic action. Timor itself consists of ancient stratified
rocks, but is said to have one volcano near its centre.

Going northward, Amboyna, a part of Bouru, and the west end of
Ceram, the north part of Gilolo, and all the small islands around
it, the northern extremity of Celebes, and the islands of Sian
and Sang-air, are wholly volcanic. The Philippine Archipelago
contains many active and extinct volcanoes, and has probably been
reduced to its present fragmentary condition by subsidences
attending on volcanic action.

All along this great line of volcanoes are to be found more or
less palpable signs of upheaval and depression of land. The range
of islands south of Sumatra, a part of the south coast of Java
and of the islands east of it, the west and east end of Timor,
portions of all the Moluccas, the Ke and Aru Islands, Waigiou,
and the whole south and east of Gilolo, consist in a great
measure of upraised coral-rock, exactly corresponding to that now
forming in the adjacent seas. In many places I have observed the
unaltered surfaces of the elevated reefs, with great masses of
coral standing up in their natural position, and hundreds of
shells so fresh-looking that it was hard to believe that they had
been more than a few years out of the water; and, in fact, it is
very probable that such changes have occurred within a few

The united lengths of these volcanic belts is about ninety
degrees, or one-fourth of the entire circumference of the globe.
Their width is about fifty miles; but, for a space of two hundred
miles on each side of them, evidences of subterranean action are
to be found in recently elevated coral-rock, or in barrier coral-
reefs, indicating recent submergence. In the very centre or focus
of the great curve of volcanoes is placed the large island of
Borneo, in which no sign of recent volcanic action has yet been
observed, and where earthquakes, so characteristic of the
surrounding regions, are entirely unknown. The equally large
island of New Guinea occupies another quiescent area, on which no
sign of volcanic action has yet been discovered. With the
exception of the eastern end of its northern peninsula, the large
and curiously-shaped island of Celebes is also entirely free from
volcanoes; and there is some reason to believe that the volcanic
portion has once formed a separate island. The Malay Peninsula is
also non-volcanic.

The first and most obvious division of the Archipelago would
therefore be into quiescent and volcanic regions, and it might,
perhaps, be expected that such a division would correspond to
some differences in the character of the vegetation and the forms
of life. This is the case, however, to a very limited extent; and
we shall presently see that, although this development of
subterranean fires is on so vast a scale--has piled up chains of
mountains ten or twelve thousand feet high--has broken up
continents and raised up islands from the ocean--yet it has all
the character of a recent action which has not yet succeeded in
obliterating the traces of a more ancient distribution of land
and water.

Contrasts of Vegetation.--Placed immediately upon the Equator and
surrounded by extensive oceans, it is not surprising that the
various islands of the Archipelago should be almost always
clothed with a forest vegetation from the level of the sea to the
summits of the loftiest mountains. This is the general rule.
Sumatra, New Guinea, Borneo, the Philippines and the Moluccas,
and the uncultivated parts of Java and Celebes, are all forest
countries, except a few small and unimportant tracts, due
perhaps, in some cases, to ancient cultivation or accidental
fires. To this, however, there is one important exception in the
island of Timor and all the smaller islands around it, in which
there is absolutely no forest such as exists in the other
islands, and this character extends in a lesser degree to Flores,
Sumbawa, Lombock, and Bali.

In Timor the most common trees are Eucalypti of several species,
also characteristic of Australia, with sandalwood, acacia, and
other sorts in less abundance. These are scattered over the
country more or less thickly, but, never so as to deserve the
name of a forest. Coarse and scanty grasses grow beneath them on
the more barren hills, and a luxuriant herbage in the moister
localities. In the islands between Timor and Java there is often
a more thickly wooded country abounding in thorny and prickly
trees. These seldom reach any great height, and during the force
of the dry season they almost completely lose their leaves,
allowing the ground beneath them to be parched up, and
contrasting strongly with the damp, gloomy, ever-verdant forests
of the other islands. This peculiar character, which extends in a
less degree to the southern peninsula of Celebes and the east end
of Java, is most probably owing to the proximity of Australia.
The south-east monsoon, which lasts for about two-thirds of the
year (from March to November), blowing over the northern parts of
that country, produces a degree of heat and dryness which
assimilates the vegetation and physical aspect of the adjacent
islands to its own. A little further eastward in Timor and the Ke
Islands, a moister climate prevails; the southeast winds blowing
from the Pacific through Torres Straits and over the damp forests
of New Guinea, and as a consequence, every rocky islet is clothed
with verdure to its very summit. Further west again, as the same
dry winds blow over a wider and wider extent of ocean, they have
time to absorb fresh moisture, and we accordingly find the island
of Java possessing a less and less arid climate, until in the
extreme west near Batavia, rain occurs more or less all the year
round, and the mountains are everywhere clothed with forests of
unexampled luxuriance.

Contrasts in Depth of Sea.--It was first pointed out by Mr.
George Windsor Earl, in a paper read before the Royal
Geographical Society in 1845, and subsequently in a pamphlet "On
the Physical Geography of South-Eastern Asia and Australia",
dated 1855, that a shallow sea connected the great islands of
Sumatra, Java, and Borneo with the Asiatic continent, with which
their natural productions generally agreed; while a similar
shallow sea connected New Guinea and some of the adjacent islands
to Australia, all being characterised by the presence of

We have here a clue to the most radical contrast in the
Archipelago, and by following it out in detail I have arrived at
the conclusion that we can draw a line among the islands, which
shall so divide them that one-half shall truly belong to Asia,
while the other shall no less certainly be allied to Australia. I
term these respectively the Indo-Malayan and the Austro-Malayan
divisions of the Archipelago.

On referring to pages 12, 13, and 36 of Mr. Earl's pamphlet, it
will be seen that he maintains the former connection of Asia and
Australia as an important part of his view; whereas, I dwell
mainly on their long continued separation. Notwithstanding this
and other important differences between us, to him undoubtedly
belongs the merit of first indicating the division of the
Archipelago into an Australian and an Asiatic region, which it
has been my good fortune to establish by more detailed

Contrasts in Natural Productions.--To understand the importance
of this class of facts, and its bearing upon the former
distribution of land and sea, it is necessary to consider the
results arrived at by geologists and naturalists in other parts
of the world.

It is now generally admitted that the present distribution of
living things on the surface of the earth is mainly the result of
the last series of changes that it has undergone. Geology teaches
us that the surface of the land, and the distribution of land and
water, is everywhere slowly changing. It further teaches us that
the forms of life which inhabit that surface have, during every
period of which we possess any record, been also slowly changing.

It is not now necessary to say anything about how either of those
changes took place; as to that, opinions may differ; but as to
the fact that the changes themselves have occurred, from the
earliest geological ages down to the present day, and are still
going on, there is no difference of opinion. Every successive
stratum of sedimentary rock, sand, or gravel, is a proof that
changes of level have taken place; and the different species of
animals and plants, whose remains are found in these deposits,
prove that corresponding changes did occur in the organic world.

Taking, therefore, these two series of changes for granted, most
of the present peculiarities and anomalies in the distribution of
species may be directly traced to them. In our own islands, with
a very few trifling exceptions, every quadruped, bird, reptile,
insect, and plant, is found also on the adjacent continent. In
the small islands of Sardinia and Corsica, there are some
quadrupeds and insects, and many plants, quite peculiar. In
Ceylon, more closely connected to India than Britain is to
Europe, many animals and plants are different from those found in
India, and peculiar to the island. In the Galapagos Islands,
almost every indigenous living thing is peculiar to them, though
closely resembling other kinds found in the nearest parts of the
American continent.

Most naturalists now admit that these facts can only be explained
by the greater or less lapse of time since the islands were
upraised from beneath the ocean, or were separated from the
nearest land; and this will be generally (though not always)
indicated by the depth of the intervening sea. The enormous
thickness of many marine deposits through wide areas shows that
subsidence has often continued (with intermitting periods of
repose) during epochs of immense duration. The depth of sea
produced by such subsidence will therefore generally be a measure
of time; and in like manner, the change which organic forms have
undergone is a measure of time. When we make proper allowance for
the continued introduction of new animals and plants from
surrounding countries by those natural means of dispersal which
have been so well explained by Sir Charles Lyell and Mr. Darwin,
it is remarkable how closely these two measures correspond.
Britain is separated from the continent by a very shallow sea,
and only in a very few cases have our animals or plants begun to
show a difference from the corresponding continental species.
Corsica and Sardinia, divided from Italy by a much deeper sea,
present a much greater difference in their organic forms. Cuba,
separated from Yucatan by a wider and deeper strait, differs more
markedly, so that most of its productions are of distinct and
peculiar species; while Madagascar, divided from Africa by a deep
channel three hundred miles wide, possesses so many peculiar
features as to indicate separation at a very remote antiquity, or
even to render it doubtful whether the two countries have ever
been absolutely united.

Returning now to the Malay Archipelago, we find that all the wide
expanse of sea which divides Java, Sumatra, and Borneo from each
other, and from Malacca and Siam, is so shallow that ships can
anchor in any part of it, since it rarely exceeds forty fathoms
in depth; and if we go as far as the line of a hundred fathoms,
we shall include the Philippine Islands and Bali, east of Java.
If, therefore, these islands have been separated from each other
and the continent by subsidence of the intervening tracts of
land, we should conclude that the separation has been
comparatively recent, since the depth to which the land has
subsided is so small. It is also to be remarked that the great
chain of active volcanoes in Sumatra and Java furnishes us with a
sufficient cause for such subsidence, since the enormous masses
of matter they have thrown out would take away the foundations of
the surrounding district; and this may be the true explanation of
the often-noticed fact that volcanoes and volcanic chains are
always near the sea. The subsidence they produce around them
will, in time, make a sea, if one does not already exist.

But, it is when we examine the zoology of these countries that we
find what we most require--evidence of a very striking character
that these great islands must have once formed a part of the
continent, and could only have been separated at a very recent
geological epoch. The elephant and tapir of Sumatra and Borneo,
the rhinoceros of Sumatra and the allied species of Java, the
wild cattle of Borneo and the kind long supposed to be peculiar
to Java, are now all known to inhabit some part or other of
Southern Asia. None of these large animals could possibly have
passed over the arms of the sea which now separate these
countries, and their presence plainly indicates that a land
communication must have existed since the origin of the species.
Among the smaller mammals, a considerable portion are common to
each island and the continent; but the vast physical changes that
must have occurred during the breaking up and subsidence of such
extensive regions have led to the extinction of some in one or
more of the islands, and in some cases there seems also to have
been time for a change of species to have taken place. Birds and
insects illustrate the same view, for every family and almost
every genus of these groups found in any of the islands occurs
also on the Asiatic continent, and in a great number of cases the
species are exactly identical. Birds offer us one of the best
means of determining the law of distribution; for though at first
sight it would appear that the watery boundaries which keep out
the land quadrupeds could be easily passed over by birds, yet
practically it is not so; for if we leave out the aquatic tribes
which are preeminently wanderers, it is found that the others
(and especially the Passeres, or true perching-birds, which form
the vast majority) are generally as strictly limited by straits
and arms of the sea as are quadrupeds themselves. As an instance,
among the islands of which I am now speaking, it is a remarkable
fact that Java possesses numerous birds which never pass over to
Sumatra, though they are separated by a strait only fifteen miles
wide, and with islands in mid-channel. Java, in fact, possesses
more birds and insects peculiar to itself than either Sumatra or
Borneo, and this would indicate that it was earliest separated
from the continent; next in organic individuality is Borneo,
while Sumatra is so nearly identical in all its animal forms with
the peninsula of Malacca, that we may safely conclude it to have
been the most recently dismembered island.

The general result therefore, at which we arrive, is that the
great islands of Java, Sumatra, and Borneo resemble in their
natural productions the adjacent parts of the continent, almost
as much as such widely-separated districts could be expected to
do even if they still formed a part of Asia; and this close
resemblance, joined with the fact of the wide extent of sea which
separates them being so uniformly and remarkably shallow, and
lastly, the existence of the extensive range of volcanoes in
Sumatra and Java, which have poured out vast quantities of
subterranean matter and have built up extensive plateaux and
lofty mountain ranges, thus furnishing a vera causa for a
parallel line of subsidence--all lead irresistibly to the
conclusion that at a very recent geological epoch, the continent
of Asia extended far beyond its present limits in a south-
easterly direction, including the islands of Java, Sumatra, and
Borneo, and probably reaching as far as the present 100-fathom
line of soundings.

The Philippine Islands agree in many respects with Asia and the
other islands, but present some anomalies, which seem to indicate
that they were separated at an earlier period, and have since
been subject to many revolutions in their physical geography.

Turning our attention now to the remaining portion of the
Archipelago, we shall find that all the islands from Celebes and
Lombock eastward exhibit almost as close a resemblance to
Australia and New Guinea as the Western Islands do to Asia. It is
well known that the natural productions of Australia differ from
those of Asia more than those of any of the four ancient quarters
of the world differ from each other. Australia, in fact, stands
alone: it possesses no apes or monkeys, no cats or tigers,
wolves, bears, or hyenas; no deer or antelopes, sheep or oxen; no
elephant, horse, squirrel, or rabbit; none, in short, of those
familiar types of quadruped which are met with in every other
part of the world. Instead of these, it has Marsupials only:
kangaroos and opossums; wombats and the duckbilled Platypus. In
birds it is almost as peculiar. It has no woodpeckers and no
pheasants--families which exist in every other part of the
world; but instead of them it has the mound-making brush-turkeys,
the honeysuckers, the cockatoos, and the brush-tongued lories,
which are found nowhere else upon the globe. All these striking
peculiarities are found also in those islands which form the
Austro-Malayan division of the Archipelago.

The great contrast between the two divisions of the Archipelago
is nowhere so abruptly exhibited as on passing from the island of
Bali to that of Lombock, where the two regions are in closest
proximity. In Bali we have barbets, fruit-thrushes, and
woodpeckers; on passing over to Lombock these are seen no more,
but we have abundance of cockatoos, honeysuckers, and brush-
turkeys, which are equally unknown in Bali, or any island further
west. [I was informed, however, that there were a few cockatoos
at one spot on the west of Bali, showing that the intermingling
of the productions of these islands is now going on.] The strait
is here fifteen miles wide, so that we may pass in two hours from
one great division of the earth to another, differing as
essentially in their animal life as Europe does from America. If
we travel from Java or Borneo to Celebes or the Moluccas, the
difference is still more striking. In the first, the forests
abound in monkeys of many kinds, wild cats, deer, civets, and
otters, and numerous varieties of squirrels are constantly met
with. In the latter none of these occur; but the prehensile-
tailed Cuscus is almost the only terrestrial mammal seen, except
wild pigs, which are found in all the islands, and deer (which
have probably been recently introduced) in Celebes and the
Moluccas. The birds which are most abundant in the Western
Islands are woodpeckers, barbets, trogons, fruit-thrushes, and
leaf-thrushes; they are seen daily, and form the great
ornithological features of the country. In the Eastern Islands
these are absolutely unknown, honeysuckers and small lories being
the most common birds, so that the naturalist feels himself in a
new world, and can hardly realize that he has passed from the one
region to the other in a few days, without ever being out of
sight of land.

The inference that we must draw from these facts is, undoubtedly,
that the whole of the islands eastwards beyond Java and Borneo do
essentially form a part of a former Australian or Pacific
continent, although some of them may never have been actually
joined to it. This continent must have been broken up not only
before the Western Islands were separated from Asia, but probably
before the extreme southeastern portion of Asia was raised above
the waters of the ocean; for a great part of the land of Borneo
and Java is known to be geologically of quite recent formation,
while the very great difference of species, and in many cases of
genera also, between the productions of the Eastern Malay Islands
and Australia, as well as the great depth of the sea now
separating them, all point to a comparatively long period of

It is interesting to observe among the islands themselves how a
shallow sea always intimates a recent land connexion. The Aru
Islands, Mysol, and Waigiou, as well as Jobie, agree with New
Guinea in their species of mammalia and birds much more closely
than they do with the Moluccas, and we find that they are all
united to New Guinea by a shallow sea. In fact, the 100-fathom
line round New Guinea marks out accurately the range of the true
Paradise birds.

It is further to be noted--and this is a very interesting point
in connection with theories of the dependence of special forms of
life on external conditions--that this division of the
Archipelago into two regions characterised by a striking
diversity in their natural productions does not in any way
correspond to the main physical or climatal divisions of the
surface. The great volcanic chain runs through both parts, and
appears to produce no effect in assimilating their productions.
Borneo closely resembles New Guinea not only in its vast size and
its freedom from volcanoes, but in its variety of geological
structure, its uniformity of climate, and the general aspect of
the forest vegetation that clothes its surface. The Moluccas are
the counterpart of the Philippines in their volcanic structure,
their extreme fertility, their luxuriant forests, and their
frequent earthquakes; and Bali with the east end of Java has a
climate almost as dry and a soil almost as arid as that of Timor.
Yet between these corresponding groups of islands, constructed as
it were after the same pattern, subjected to the same climate,
and bathed by the same oceans, there exists the greatest possible
contrast when we compare their animal productions. Nowhere does
the ancient doctrine--that differences or similarities in the
various forms of life that inhabit different countries are due to
corresponding physical differences or similarities in the
countries themselves--meet with so direct and palpable a
contradiction. Borneo and New Guinea, as alike physically as two
distinct countries can be, are zoologically wide as the poles
asunder; while Australia, with its dry winds, its open plains,
its stony deserts, and its temperate climate, yet produces birds
and quadrupeds which are closely related to those inhabiting the
hot damp luxuriant forests, which everywhere clothe the plains
and mountains of New Guinea.

In order to illustrate more clearly the means by which I suppose
this great contrast has been brought about, let us consider what
would occur if two strongly contrasted divisions of the earth
were, by natural means, brought into proximity. No two parts of
the world differ so radically in their productions as Asia and
Australia, but the difference between Africa and South America is
also very great, and these two regions will well serve to
illustrate the question we are considering. On the one side we
have baboons, lions, elephants, buffaloes, and giraffes; on the
other spider-monkeys, pumas, tapirs, anteaters, and sloths; while
among birds, the hornbills, turacos, orioles, and honeysuckers of
Africa contrast strongly with the toucans, macaws, chatterers,
and hummingbirds of America.

Now let us endeavour to imagine (what it is very probable may
occur in future ages) that a slow upheaval of the bed of the
Atlantic should take place, while at the same time earthquake-
shocks and volcanic action on the land should cause increased
volumes of sediment to be poured down by the rivers, so that the
two continents should gradually spread out by the addition of
newly-formed lands, and thus reduce the Atlantic which now
separates them, to an arm of the sea a few hundred miles wide. At
the same time we may suppose islands to be upheaved in mid-
channel; and, as the subterranean forces varied in intensity, and
shifted their points of greatest action, these islands would
sometimes become connected with the land on one side or other of
the strait, and at other times again be separated from it.
Several islands would at one time be joined together, at another
would be broken up again, until at last, after many long ages of
such intermittent action, we might have an irregular archipelago
of islands filling up the ocean channel of the Atlantic, in whose
appearance and arrangement we could discover nothing to tell us
which had been connected with Africa and which with America. The
animals and plants inhabiting these islands would, however,
certainly reveal this portion of their former history. On those
islands which had ever formed a part of the South American
continent, we should be sure to find such common birds as
chatterers and toucans and hummingbirds, and some of the peculiar
American quadrupeds; while on those which had been separated from
Africa, hornbills, orioles, and honeysuckers would as certainly
be found. Some portion of the upraised land might at different
times have had a temporary connection with both continents, and
would then contain a certain amount of mixture in its living
inhabitants. Such seems to have been the case with the islands of
Celebes and the Philippines. Other islands, again, though in such
close proximity as Bali and Lombock, might each exhibit an almost
unmixed sample of the productions of the continents of which they
had directly or indirectly once formed a part.

In the Malay Archipelago we have, I believe, a case exactly
parallel to that which I have here supposed. We have indications
of a vast continent, with a peculiar fauna and flora having been
gradually and irregularly broken up; the island of Celebes
probably marking its furthest westward extension, beyond which
was a wide ocean. At the same time Asia appears to have been
extending its limits in a southeast direction, first in an
unbroken mass, then separated into islands as we now see it, and
almost coming into actual contact with the scattered fragments of
the great southern land.

From this outline of the subject, it will be evident how
important an adjunct Natural History is to Geology; not only in
interpreting the fragments of extinct animals found in the
earth's crust, but in determining past changes in the surface
which have left no geological record. It is certainly a wonderful
and unexpected fact that an accurate knowledge of the
distribution of birds and insects should enable us to map out
lands and continents which disappeared beneath the ocean long
before the earliest traditions of the human race. Wherever the
geologist can explore the earth's surface, he can read much of
its past history, and can determine approximately its latest
movements above and below the sea-level; but wherever oceans and
seas now extend, he can do nothing but speculate on the very
limited data afforded by the depth of the waters. Here the
naturalist steps in, and enables him to fill up this great gap in
the past history of the earth.

One of the chief objects of my travels was to obtain evidence of
this nature; and my search after such evidence has been rewarded
by great success, so that I have been able to trace out with some
probability the past changes which one of the most interesting
parts of the earth has undergone. It may be thought that the
facts and generalizations here given would have been more
appropriately placed at the end rather than at the beginning of a
narrative of the travels which supplied the facts. In some cases
this might be so, but I have found it impossible to give such an
account as I desire of the natural history of the numerous
islands and groups of islands in the Archipelago, without
constant reference to these generalizations which add so much to
their interest. Having given this general sketch of the subject,
I shall be able to show how the same principles can be applied to
the individual islands of a group, as to the whole Archipelago;
and thereby make my account of the many new and curious animals
which inhabit them both, more interesting and more instructive
than if treated as mere isolated facts.

Contrasts of Races.--Before I had arrived at the conviction that
the eastern and western halves of the Archipelago belonged to
distinct primary regions of the earth, I had been led to group
the natives of the Archipelago under two radically distinct
races. In this I differed from most ethnologists who had before
written on the subject; for it had been the almost universal
custom to follow William von Humboldt and Pritchard, in classing
all the Oceanic races as modifications of one type. Observation
soon showed me, however, that Malays and Papuans differed
radically in every physical, mental, and moral character; and
more detailed research, continued for eight years, satisfied me
that under these two forms, as types, the whole of the peoples of
the Malay Archipelago and Polynesia could be classified. On
drawing the line which separates these races, it is found to come
near to that which divides the zoological regions, but somewhat
eastward of it; a circumstance which appears to me very
significant of the same causes having influenced the distribution
of mankind that have determined the range of other animal forms.

The reason why exactly the same line does not limit both is
sufficiently intelligible. Man has means of traversing the sea
which animals do not possess; and a superior race has power to
press out or assimilate an inferior one. The maritime enterprise
and higher civilization of the Malay races have enabled them to
overrun a portion of the adjacent region, in which they have
entirely supplanted the indigenous inhabitants if it ever
possessed any; and to spread much of their language, their
domestic animals, and their customs far over the Pacific, into
islands where they have but slightly, or not at all, modified the
physical or moral characteristics of the people.

I believe, therefore, that all the peoples of the various islands
can be grouped either with the Malays or the Papuans; and that
these two have no traceable affinity to each other. I believe,
further, that all the races east of the line I have drawn have
more affinity for each other than they have for any of the races
west of that line; that, in fact, the Asiatic races include the
Malays, and all have a continental origin, while the Pacific
races, including all to the east of the former (except perhaps
some in the Northern Pacific), are derived, not from any existing
continent, but from lands which now exist or have recently
existed in the Pacific Ocean. These preliminary observations will
enable the reader better to apprehend the importance I attach to
the details of physical form or moral character, which I shall
give in describing the inhabitants of many of the islands.



FROM 1854 TO 1862.)

FEW places are more interesting to a traveller from Europe than
the town and island of Singapore, furnishing, as it does,
examples of a variety of Eastern races, and of many different
religions and modes of life. The government, the garrison, and
the chief merchants are English; but the great mass of the
population is Chinese, including some of the wealthiest
merchants, the agriculturists of the interior, and most of the
mechanics and labourers. The native Malays are usually fishermen
and boatmen, and they form the main body of the police. The
Portuguese of Malacca supply a large number of the clerks and
smaller merchants. The Klings of Western India are a numerous
body of Mahometans, and, with many Arabs, are petty merchants and
shopkeepers. The grooms and washermen are all Bengalees, and
there is a small but highly respectable class of Parsee
merchants. Besides these, there are numbers of Javanese sailors
and domestic servants, as well as traders from Celebes, Bali, and
many other islands of the Archipelago. The harbour is crowded
with men-of-war and trading vessels of many European nations, and
hundreds of Malay praus and Chinese junks, from vessels of
several hundred tons burthen down to little fishing boats and
passenger sampans; and the town comprises handsome public
buildings and churches, Mahometan mosques, Hindu temples, Chinese
joss-houses, good European houses, massive warehouses, queer old
Kling and China bazaars, and long suburbs of Chinese and Malay

By far the most conspicuous of the various kinds of people in
Singapore, and those which most attract the stranger's attention,
are the Chinese, whose numbers and incessant activity give the
place very much the appearance of a town in China. The Chinese
merchant is generally a fat round-faced man with an important and
business-like look. He wears the same style of clothing (loose
white smock, and blue or black trousers) as the meanest coolie,
but of finer materials, and is always clean and neat; and his
long tail tipped with red silk hangs down to his heels. He has a
handsome warehouse or shop in town and a good house in the
country. He keeps a fine horse and gig, and every evening may be
seen taking a drive bareheaded to enjoy the cool breeze. He is
rich--he owns several retail shops and trading schooners, he
lends money at high interest and on good security, he makes hard
bargains, and gets fatter and richer every year.

In the Chinese bazaar are hundreds of small shops in which a
miscellaneous collection of hardware and dry goods are to be
found, and where many things are sold wonderfully cheap. You may
buy gimlets at a penny each, white cotton thread at four balls
for a halfpenny, and penknives, corkscrews, gunpowder, writing-
paper, and many other articles as cheap or cheaper than you can
purchase them in England. The shopkeeper is very good-natured; he
will show you everything he has, and does not seem to mind if you
buy nothing. He bates a little, but not so much as the Klings,
who almost always ask twice what they are willing to take. If you
buy a few things from him, he will speak to you afterwards every
time you pass his shop, asking you to walk in and sit down, or
take a cup of tea; and you wonder how he can get a living where
so many sell the same trifling articles.

The tailors sit at a table, not on one; and both they and the
shoemakers work well and cheaply. The barbers have plenty to do,
shaving heads and cleaning ears; for which latter operation they
have a great array of little tweezers, picks, and brushes. In the
outskirts of the town are scores of carpenters and blacksmiths.
The former seem chiefly to make coffins and highly painted and
decorated clothes-boxes. The latter are mostly gun-makers, and
bore the barrels of guns by hand out of solid bars of iron. At
this tedious operation they may be seen every day, and they
manage to finish off a gun with a flintlock very handsomely. All
about the streets are sellers of water, vegetables, fruit, soup,
and agar-agar (a jelly made of seaweed), who have many cries as
unintelligible as those of London. Others carry a portable
cooking-apparatus on a pole balanced by a table at the other end,
and serve up a meal of shellfish, rice, and vegetables for two or
three halfpence--while coolies and boatmen waiting to be hired
are everywhere to be met with.

In the interior of the island the Chinese cut down forest trees
in the jungle, and saw them up into planks; they cultivate
vegetables, which they bring to market; and they grow pepper and
gambir, which form important articles of export. The French
Jesuits have established missions among these inland Chinese,
which seem very successful. I lived for several weeks at a time
with the missionary at Bukit-tima, about the centre of the
island, where a pretty church has been built and there are about
300 converts. While there, I met a missionary who had just
arrived from Tonquin, where he had been living for many years.
The Jesuits still do their work thoroughly as of old. In Cochin
China, Tonquin, and China, where all Christian teachers are
obliged to live in secret, and are liable to persecution,
expulsion, and sometimes death, every province--even those
farthest in the interior--has a permanent Jesuit mission
establishment constantly kept up by fresh aspirants, who are
taught the languages of the countries they are going to at Penang
or Singapore. In China there are said to be near a million
converts; in Tonquin and Cochin China, more than half a million.
One secret of the success of these missions is the rigid economy
practised in the expenditure of the funds. A missionary is
allowed about Ŗ30. a year, on which he lives in whatever country
he may be. This renders it possible to support a large number of
missionaries with very limited means; and the natives, seeing
their teachers living in poverty and with none of the luxuries of
life, are convinced that they are sincere in what they teach, and
have really given up home and friends and ease and safety, for
the good of others. No wonder they make converts, for it must be
a great blessing to the poor people among whom they labour to
have a man among them to whom they can go in any trouble or
distress, who will comfort and advise them, who visits them in
sickness, who relieves them in want, and who they see living from
day-to-day in danger of persecution and death--entirely for
their sakes.

My friend at Bukit-tima was truly a father to his flock. He
preached to them in Chinese every Sunday, and had evenings for
discussion and conversation on religion during the week. He had a
school to teach their children. His house was open to them day
and night. If a man came to him and said, "I have no rice for my
family to eat today," he would give him half of what he had in
the house, however little that might be. If another said, "I have
no money to pay my debt," he would give him half the contents of
his purse, were it his last dollar. So, when he was himself in
want, he would send to some of the wealthiest among his flock,
and say, "I have no rice in the house," or "I have given away my
money, and am in want of such and such articles." The result was
that his flock trusted and loved him, for they felt sure that he
was their true friend, and had no ulterior designs in living
among them.

The island of Singapore consists of a multitude of small hills,
three or four hundred feet high, the summits of many of which are
still covered with virgin forest. The mission-house at Bukit-tima
was surrounded by several of these wood-topped hills, which were
much frequented by woodcutters and sawyers, and offered me an
excellent collecting ground for insects. Here and there, too,
were tiger pits, carefully covered over with sticks and leaves,
and so well concealed, that in several cases I had a narrow
escape from falling into them. They are shaped like an iron
furnace, wider at the bottom than the top, and are perhaps
fifteen or twenty feet deep so that it would be almost impossible
for a person unassisted to get out of one. Formerly a sharp stake
was stuck erect in the bottom; but after an unfortunate traveller
had been killed by falling on one, its use was forbidden. There
are always a few tigers roaming about Singapore, and they kill on
an average a Chinaman every day, principally those who work in
the gambir plantations, which are always made in newly-cleared
jungle. We heard a tiger roar once or twice in the evening, and
it was rather nervous work hunting for insects among the fallen
trunks and old sawpits when one of these savage animals might be
lurking close by, awaiting an opportunity to spring upon us.

Several hours in the middle of every fine day were spent in these
patches of forest, which were delightfully cool and shady by
contrast with the bare open country we had to walk over to reach
them. The vegetation was most luxuriant, comprising enormous
forest trees, as well as a variety of ferns, caladiums, and other
undergrowth, and abundance of climbing rattan palms. Insects were
exceedingly abundant and very interesting, and every day
furnished scores of new and curious forms.

In about two months I obtained no less than 700 species of
beetles, a large proportion of which were quite new, and among
them were 130 distinct kinds of the elegant Longicorns
(Cerambycidae), so much esteemed by collectors. Almost all these
were collected in one patch of jungle, not more than a square
mile in extent, and in all my subsequent travels in the East I
rarely if ever met with so productive a spot. This exceeding
productiveness was due in part no doubt to some favourable
conditions in the soil, climate, and vegetation, and to the
season being very bright and sunny, with sufficient showers to
keep everything fresh. But it was also in a great measure
dependent, I feel sure, on the labours of the Chinese wood-
cutters. They had been at work here for several years, and during
all that time had furnished a continual supply of dry and dead
and decaying leaves and bark, together with abundance of wood and
sawdust, for the nourishment of insects and their larvae. This
had led to the assemblage of a great variety of species in a
limited space, and I was the first naturalist who had come to
reap the harvest they had prepared. In the same place, and during
my walks in other directions, I obtained a fair collection of
butterflies and of other orders of insects, so that on the whole
I was quite satisfied with these--my first attempts to gain a
knowledge of the Natural History of the Malay Archipelago.




BIRDS and most other kinds of animals being scarce at Singapore,
I left it in July for Malacca, where I spent more than two months
in the interior, and made an excursion to Mount Ophir. The old
and picturesque town of Malacca is crowded along the banks of the
small river, and consists of narrow streets of shops and dwelling
houses, occupied by the descendants of the Portuguese, and by
Chinamen. In the suburbs are the houses of the English officials
and of a few Portuguese merchants, embedded in groves of palms
and fruit-trees, whose varied and beautiful foliage furnishes a
pleasing relief to the eye, as well as most grateful shade.

The old fort, the large Government House, and the ruins of a
cathedral attest the former wealth and importance of this place,
which was once as much the centre of Eastern trade as Singapore
is now. The following description of it by Linschott, who wrote
two hundred and seventy years ago, strikingly exhibits the change
it has undergone:

"Malacca is inhabited by the Portuguese and by natives of the
country, called Malays. The Portuguese have here a fortress, as
at Mozambique, and there is no fortress in all the Indies, after
those of Mozambique and Ormuz, where the captains perform their
duty better than in this one. This place is the market of all
India, of China, of the Moluccas, and of other islands around
about--from all which places, as well as from Banda, Java,
Sumatra, Siam, Pegu, Bengal, Coromandel, and India--arrive ships
which come and go incessantly, charged with an infinity of
merchandises. There would be in this place a much greater number
of Portuguese if it were not for the inconvenience, and
unhealthiness of the air, which is hurtful not only to strangers,
but also to natives of the country. Thence it is that all who
live in the country pay tribute of their health, suffering from a
certain disease, which makes them lose either their skin or their
hair. And those who escape consider it a miracle, which occasions
many to leave the country, while the ardent desire of gain
induces others to risk their health, and endeavour to endure such
an atmosphere. The origin of this town, as the natives say, was
very small, only having at the beginning, by reason of the
unhealthiness of the air, but six or seven fishermen who
inhabited it. But the number was increased by the meeting of
fishermen from Siam, Pegu, and Bengal, who came and built a city,
and established a peculiar language, drawn from the most elegant
nodes of speaking of other nations, so that in fact the, language
of the Malays is at present the most refined, exact, and
celebrated of all the East. The name of Malacca was given to this
town, which, by the convenience of its situation, in a short time
grew to such wealth, that it does not yield to the most powerful
towns and regions around about. The natives, both men and women,
are very courteous and are reckoned the most skillful in the
world in compliments, and study much to compose and repeat verses
and love-songs. Their language is in vogue through the Indies, as
the French is here.

At present, a vessel over a hundred tons hardly ever enters its
port, and the trade is entirely confined to a few petty products
of the forests, and to the fruit, which the trees, planted by the
old Portuguese, now produce for the enjoyment of the inhabitants
of Singapore. Although rather subject to fevers, it is not at
present considered very unhealthy.

The population of Malacca consists of several races. The
ubiquitous Chinese are perhaps the most numerous, keeping up
their manners, customs, and language; the indigenous Malays are
next in point of numbers, and their language is the Lingua-franca
of the place. Next come the descendants of the Portuguese--a
mixed, degraded, and degenerate race, but who still keep up the
use of their mother tongue, though ruefully mutilated in grammar;
and then there are the English rulers, and the descendants of the
Dutch, who all speak English. The Portuguese spoken at Malacca is
a useful philological phenomenon. The verbs have mostly lost
their inflections, and one form does for all moods, tenses,
numbers, and persons. Eu vai, serves for "I go," "I went," or, "I
will go." Adjectives, too, have been deprived of their feminine
and plural terminations, so that the language is reduced to a
marvellous simplicity, and, with the admixture of a few Malay
words, becomes rather puzzling to one who has heard only the pure

In costume these several peoples are as varied as in their
speech. The English preserve the tight-fitting coat, waistcoat,
and trousers, and the abominable hat and cravat; the Portuguese
patronise a light jacket, or, more frequently, shirt and trousers
only; the Malays wear their national jacket and sarong (a kind of
kilt), with loose drawers; while the Chinese never depart in the
least from their national dress, which, indeed, it is impossible
to improve for a tropical climate, whether as regards comfort or
appearance. The loosely-hanging trousers, and neat white half-
shirt half jacket, are exactly what a dress should be in this low

I engaged two Portuguese to accompany me into the interior; one
as a cook, the other to shoot and skin birds, which is quite a
trade in Malacca. I first stayed a fortnight at a village called
Gading, where I was accommodated in the house of some Chinese
converts, to whom I was recommended by the Jesuit missionaries.
The house was a mere shed, but it was kept clean, and I made
myself sufficiently comfortable. My hosts were forming a pepper
and gambir plantation, and in the immediate neighbourhood were
extensive tin-washings, employing over a thousand Chinese. The
tin is obtained in the form of black grains from beds of
quartzose sand, and is melted into ingots in rude clay furnaces.
The soil seemed poor, and the forest was very dense with
undergrowth, and not at all productive of insects; but, on the
other hand, birds were abundant, and I was at once introduced to
the rich ornithological treasures of the Malayan region.

The very first time I fired my gun I brought down one of the most
curious and beautiful of the Malacca birds, the blue-billed gaper
(Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchus), called by the Malays the
"Rainbird." It is about the size of a starling, black and rich
claret colour with white shoulder stripes, and a very large and
broad bill of the most pure cobalt blue above and orange below,
while the iris is emerald green. As the skins dry the bill turns
dull black, but even then the bird is handsome. When fresh
killed, the contrast of the vivid blue with the rich colours of
the plumage is remarkably striking and beautiful. The lovely
Eastern trogons, with their rich-brown backs, beautifully
pencilled wings, and crimson breasts, were also soon obtained, as
well as the large green barbets (Megalaema versicolor)--fruit-
eating birds, something like small toucans, with a short,
straight bristly bill, and whose head and neck are variegated
with patches of the most vivid blue and crimson. A day or two
after, my hunter brought me a specimen of the green gaper
(Calyptomena viridis), which is like a small cock-of-the-rock,
but entirely of the most vivid green, delicately marked on the
wings with black bars. Handsome woodpeckers and gay kingfishers,
green and brown cuckoos with velvety red faces and green beaks,
red-breasted doves and metallic honeysuckers, were brought in day
after day, and kept me in a continual state of pleasurable
excitement. After a fortnight one of my servants was seized with
fever, and on returning to Malacca, the same disease, attacked
the other as well as myself. By a liberal use of quinine, I soon
recovered, and obtaining other men, went to stay at the
Government bungalow of Ayer-panas, accompanied by a young
gentleman, a native of the place, who had a taste for natural

At Ayer-panas we had a comfortable house to stay in, and plenty
of room to dry and preserve our specimens; but, owing to there
being no industrious Chinese to cut down timber, insects were
comparatively scarce, with the exception of butterflies, of which
I formed a very fine collection. The manner in which I obtained
one fine insect was curious, and indicates bow fragmentary and
imperfect a traveller's collection must necessarily be. I was one
afternoon walking along a favourite road through the forest, with
my gun, when I saw a butterfly on the ground. It was large,
handsome, and quite new to me, and I got close to it before it
flew away. I then observed that it had been settling on the dung
of some carnivorous animal. Thinking it might return to the same
spot, I next day after breakfast took my net, and as I approached
the place was delighted to see the same butterfly sitting on the
same piece of dung, and succeeded in capturing it. It was an
entirely new species of great beauty, and has been named by Mr.
Hewitson--Nymphalis calydona. I never saw another specimen of it,
and it was only after twelve years had elapsed that a second
individual reached this country from the northwestern part of

Having determined to visit Mount Ophir, which is situated in the
middle of the peninsula about fifty miles east of Malacca, we
engaged six Malays to accompany us and carry our baggage. As we
meant to stay at least a week at the mountain, we took with us a
good supply of rice, a little biscuit, butter and coffee, some
dried fish and a little brandy, with blankets, a change of
clothes, insect and bird boxes, nets, guns and ammunition. The
distance from Ayer-panas was supposed to be about thirty miles.

Our first day's march lay through patches of forest, clearings,
and Malay villages, and was pleasant enough. At night we slept at
the house of a Malay chief, who lent us a verandah, and gave us a
fowl and some eggs. The next day the country got wilder and more
dilly. We passed through extensive forests, along paths often up
to our knees in mud, and were much annoyed by the leeches for
which this district is famous. These little creatures infest the
leaves and herbage by the side of the paths, and when a passenger
comes along they stretch themselves out at full length, and if
they touch any part of his dress or body, quit their leaf and
adhere to it. They then creep on to his feet, legs, or other part
of his body and suck their fill, the first puncture being rarely
felt during the excitement of walking. On bathing in the evening
we generally found half a dozen or a dozen on each of us, most
frequently on our legs, but sometimes on our bodies, and I had
one who sucked his fill from the side of my neck, but who luckily
missed the jugular vein. There are many species of these forest
leeches. All are small, but some are beautifully marked with
stripes of bright yellow. They probably attach themselves to deer
or other animals which frequent the forest paths, and have thus
acquired the singular habit of stretching themselves out at the
sound of a footstep or of rustling foliage. Early in the
afternoon we reached the foot of the mountain, and encamped by
the side of a fine stream, whose rocky banks were overgrown with
ferns. Our oldest Malay had been accustomed to shoot birds in
this neighbourhood for the Malacca dealers, and had been to the
top of the mountain, and while we amused ourselves shooting and
insect hunting, he went with two others to clear the path for our
ascent the next day.

Early next morning we started after breakfast, carrying blankets
and provisions, as we intended to sleep upon the mountain. After
passing a little tangled jungle and swampy thickets through which
our men had cleared a path, we emerged into a fine lofty forest
pretty clear of undergrowth, and in which we could walk freely.
We ascended steadily up a moderate slope for several miles,
having a deep ravine on our left. We then had a level plateau or
shoulder to cross, after which the ascent was steeper and the
forest denser until we came out upon the "Padang-batu," or stone
field, a place of which we had heard much, but could never get
anyone to describe intelligibly. We found it to be a steep slope
of even rock, extending along the mountain side farther than we
could see. Parts of it were quite bare, but where it was cracked
and fissured there grew a most luxuriant vegetation, among which
the pitcher plants were the most remarkable. These wonderful
plants never seem to succeed well in our hot-houses, and are
there seen to little advantage. Here they grew up into half
climbing shrubs, their curious pitchers of various sizes and
forms hanging abundantly from their leaves, and continually
exciting our admiration by their size and beauty. A few
coniferae of the genus Dacrydium here first appeared, and in the
thickets just above the rocky surface we walked through groves of
those splendid ferns Dipteris Horsfieldii and Matonia pectinata,
which bear large spreading palmate fronds on slender stems six or
eight feet high. The Matonia is the tallest and most elegant, and
is known only from this mountain, and neither of them is yet
introduced into our hot-houses.

It was very striking to come out from the dark, cool, and shady
forest in which we had been ascending since we started, on to
this hot, open rocky slope where we seemed to have entered at one
step from a lowland to an alpine vegetation. The height, as
measured by a sympiesometer, was about 2,800 feet. We had been
told we should find water at Padang-batuas we were exceedingly thirsty;
but we looked about for it in vain. At last we turned to
the pitcher-plants, but the water contained in the pitchers
(about half a pint in each) was full of insects, and otherwise
uninviting. On tasting it, however, we found it very palatable
though rather warm, and we all quenched our thirst from these
natural jugs. Farther on we came to forest again, but of a more
dwarf and stunted character than below; and alternately passing
along ridges and descending into valleys, we reached a peak
separated from the true summit of the mountain by a considerable
chasm. Here our porters gave in, and declared they could carry
their loads no further; and certainly the ascent to the highest
peak was very precipitous. But on the spot where we were there
was no water, whereas it was well known that there was a spring
close to the summit, so we determined to go on without them, and
carry with us only what was absolutely necessary. We accordingly
took a blanket each, and divided our food and other articles
among us, and went on with only the old Malay and his son.

After descending into the saddle between the two peaks we found
the ascent very laborious, the slope being so steep, as often to
necessitate hand-climbing. Besides a bushy vegetation the ground
was covered knee-deep with mosses on a foundation of decaying
leaves and rugged rock, and it was a hard hour's climb to the
small ledge just below the summit, where an overhanging rock
forms a convenient shelter, and a little basin collects the
trickling water. Here we put down our loads, and in a few minutes
more stood on the summit of Mount Ophir, 4,000 feet above the
sea. The top is a small rocky platform covered with rhododendrons
and other shrubs. The afternoon was clear, and the view fine in
its way--ranges of hill and valley everywhere covered with
interminable forest, with glistening rivers winding among them.

In a distant view a forest country is very monotonous, and no
mountain I have ever ascended in the tropics presents a panorama
equal to that from Snowdon, while the views in Switzerland are
immeasurably superior. When boiling our coffee I took
observations with a good boiling-point thermometer, as well as
with the sympiesometer, and we then enjoyed our evening meal and
the noble prospect that lay before us. The night was calm and
very mild, and having made a bed of twigs and branches over which
we laid our blankets, we passed a very comfortable night. Our
porters had followed us after a rest, bringing only their rice to
cook, and luckily we did not require the baggage they left behind
them. In the morning I caught a few butterflies and beetles, and
my friend got a few land-shells; and we then descended, bringing
with us some specimens of the ferns and pitcher-plants of Padang-

The place where we had first encamped at the foot of the mountain
being very gloomy, we chose another in a kind of swamp near a
stream overgrown with Zingiberaceous plants, in which a clearing
was easily made. Here our men built two little huts without
sides that would just shelter us from the rain; we lived in
them for a week, shooting and insect-hunting, and roaming about
the forests at the foot of the mountain. This was the country of
the great Argus pheasant, and we continually heard its cry. On
asking the old Malay to try and shoot one for me, he told me that
although he had been for twenty years shooting birds in these
forests he had never yet shot one, and had never even seen one
except after it had been caught. The bird is so exceedingly shy
and wary, and runs along the ground in the densest parts of the
forest so quickly, that it is impossible to get near it; and its
sober colours and rich eye-like spots, which are so ornamental
when seen in a museum, must harmonize well with the dead leaves
among which it dwells, and render it very inconspicuous. All the
specimens sold in Malacca are caught in snares, and my informant,
though he had shot none, had snared plenty.

The tiger and rhinoceros are still found here, and a few years
ago elephants abounded, but they have lately all disappeared. We
found some heaps of dung, which seemed to be that of elephants,
and some tracks of the rhinoceros, but saw none of the animals.
However, we kept a fire up all night in case any of these
creatures should visit us, and two of our men declared that they
did one day see a rhinoceros. When our rice was finished, and our
boxes full of specimens, we returned to Ayer-Panas, and a few
days afterwards went on to Malacca, and thence to Singapore.
Mount Ophir has quite a reputation for fever, and all our friends
were astonished at our recklessness in staying so long at its
foot; but none of us suffered in the least, and I shall ever
look back with pleasure to my trip as being my first
introduction to mountain scenery in the Eastern tropics.

The meagreness and brevity of the sketch I have here given of my
visit to Singapore and the Malay Peninsula is due to my having
trusted chiefly to some private letters and a notebook, which
were lost; and to a paper on Malacca and Mount Ophir which was
sent to the Royal Geographical Society, but which was neither
read nor printed owing to press of matter at the end of a
session, and the MSS. of which cannot now be found. I the less
regret this, however, as so many works have been written on these
parts; and I always intended to pass lightly over my travels in
the western and better known portions of the Archipelago, in
order to devote more space to the remoter districts, about which
hardly anything has been written in the English language.



I ARRIVED at Sarawak on November 1st, 1854, and left it on
January 25th, 1856. In the interval I resided at many different
localities, and saw a good deal of the Dyak tribes as well as of
the Bornean Malays. I was hospitably entertained by Sir James
Brooke, and lived in his house whenever I was at the town of
Sarawak in the intervals of my journeys. But so many books have
been written about this part of Borneo since I was there, that I
shall avoid going into details of what I saw and heard and
thought of Sarawak and its ruler, confining myself chiefly to my
experiences as a naturalist in search of shells, insects, birds
and the Orangutan, and to an account of a journey through a part
of the interior seldom visited by Europeans.

The first four months of my visit were spent in various parts of
the Sarawak River, from Santubong at its mouth up to the
picturesque limestone mountains and Chinese gold-fields of Bow
and Bede. This part of the country has been so frequently
described that I shall pass it over, especially as, owing to its
being the height of the wet season, my collections were
comparatively poor and insignificant.

In March 1865 I determined to go to the coalworks which were
being opened near the Simunjon River, a small branch of the
Sadong, a river east of Sarawak and between it and the Batang-
Lupar. The Simunjon enters the Sadong River about twenty miles
up. It is very narrow and very winding, and much overshadowed by
the lofty forest, which sometimes almost meets over it. The whole
country between it and the sea is a perfectly level forest-
covered swamp, out of which rise a few isolated hills, at the
foot of one of which the works are situated. From the landing-
place to the hill a Dyak road had been formed, which consisted
solely of tree-trunks laid end to end. Along these the barefooted
natives walk and carry heavy burdens with the greatest ease, but
to a booted European it is very slippery work, and when one's
attention is constantly attracted by the various objects of
interest around, a few tumbles into the bog are almost
inevitable. During my first walk along this road I saw few
insects or birds, but noticed some very handsome orchids in
flower, of the genus Coelogyne, a group which I afterwards found
to be very abundant, and characteristic of the district. On the
slope of the hill near its foot a patch of forest had been
cleared away, and several rule houses erected, in which were
residing Mr. Coulson the engineer, and a number of Chinese
workmen. I was at first kindly accommodated in Mr. Coulson's
house, but finding the spot very suitable for me and offering
great facilities for collecting, I had a small house of two rooms
and a verandah built for myself. Here I remained nearly nine
months, and made an immense collection of insects, to which class
of animals I devoted my chief attention, owing to the
circumstances being especially favourable.

In the tropics a large proportion of the insects of all orders,
and especially of the large and favourite group of beetles, are
more or less dependent on vegetation, and particularly on timber,
bark, and leaves in various stages of decay. In the untouched
virgin forest, the insects which frequent such situations are
scattered over an immense extent of country, at spots where trees
have fallen through decay and old age, or have succumbed to the
fury of the tempest; and twenty square miles of country may not
contain so many fallen and decayed trees as are to be found in
any small clearing. The quantity and the variety of beetles and
of many other insects that can be collected at a given time in
any tropical locality, will depend, first upon the immediate
vicinity of a great extent of virgin forest, and secondly upon
the quantity of trees that for some months past have been, and
which are still being cut down, and left to dry and decay upon
the ground.

Now, during my whole twelve years' collecting in the western and
eastern tropics, I never enjoyed such advantages in this respect
as at the Simunjon coalworks. For several months from twenty to
fifty Chinamen and Dyaks were employed almost exclusively in
clearing a large space in the forest, and in making a wide
opening for a railroad to the Sadong River, two miles distant.
Besides this, sawpits were established at various points in the
jungle, and large trees were felled to be cut up into beams and
planks. For hundreds of miles in every direction a magnificent
forest extended over plain and mountain, rock and morass, and I
arrived at the spot just as the rains began to diminish and the
daily sunshine to increase; a time which I have always found the
most favourable season for collecting. The number of openings,
sunny places, and pathways were also an attraction to wasps and
butterflies; and by paying a cent each for all insects that were
brought me, I obtained from the Dyaks and the Chinamen many fine
locusts and Phasmidae, as well as numbers of handsome beetles.

When I arrived at the mines, on the 14th of March, I had
collected in the four preceding months, 320 different kinds of
beetles. In less than a fortnight I had doubled this number, an
average of about 24 new species every day. On one day I collected
76 different kinds, of which 34 were new to me. By the end of
April I had more than a thousand species, and they then went on
increasing at a slower rate, so that I obtained altogether in
Borneo about two thousand distinct kinds, of which all but about
a hundred were collected at this place, and on scarcely more than
a square mile of ground. The most numerous and most interesting
groups of beetles were the Longicorns and Rhynchophora, both pre-
eminently wood-feeders. The former, characterised by their
graceful forms and long antenna, were especially numerous,
amounting to nearly three hundred species, nine-tenths of which
were entirely new, and many of them remarkable for their large
size, strange forms, and beautiful colouring. The latter
correspond to our weevils and allied groups, and in the tropics
are exceedingly numerous and varied, often swarming upon dead
timber, so that I sometimes obtained fifty or sixty different
kinds in a day. My Bornean collections of this group exceeded
five hundred species.

My collection of butterflies was not large; but I obtained some
rare and very handsome insects, the most remarkable being the
Ornithoptera Brookeana, one of the most elegant species known.
This beautiful creature has very long and pointed wings, almost
resembling a sphinx moth in shape. It is deep velvety black, with
a curved band of spots of a brilliant metallic-green colour
extending across the wings from tip to tip, each spot being
shaped exactly like a small triangular feather, and having very
much the effect of a row of the wing coverts of the Mexican
trogon, laid upon black velvet. The only other marks are a broad
neck-collar of vivid crimson, and a few delicate white touches on
the outer margins of the hind wings. This species, which was then
quite new and which I named after Sir James Brooke, was very
rare. It was seen occasionally flying swiftly in the clearings,
and now and then settling for an instant at puddles and muddy
places, so that I only succeeded in capturing two or three
specimens. In some other parts of the country I was assured it
was abundant, and a good many specimens have been sent to
England; but as yet all have been males, and we are quite unable
to conjecture what the female may be like, owing to the extreme
isolation of the species, and its want of close affinity to any
other known insect.

One of the most curious and interesting reptiles which I met with
in Borneo was a large tree-frog, which was brought me by one of
the Chinese workmen. He assured me that he had seen it come down
in a slanting direction from a high tree, as if it flew. On
examining it, I found the toes very long and fully webbed to
their very extremity, so that when expanded they offered a
surface much larger than the body. The forelegs were also
bordered by a membrane, and the body was capable of considerable
inflation. The back and limbs were of a very deep shining green
colour, the undersurface and the inner toes yellow, while the
webs were black, rayed with yellow. The body was about four
inches long, while the webs of each hind foot, when fully
expanded, covered a surface of four square inches, and the webs
of all the feet together about twelve square inches. As the
extremities of the toes have dilated discs for adhesion, showing
the creature to be a true tree frog, it is difficult to imagine
that this immense membrane of the toes can be for the purpose of
swimming only, and the account of the Chinaman, that it flew down
from the tree, becomes more credible. This is, I believe, the
first instance known of a "flying frog," and it is very
interesting to Darwinians as showing that the variability of the
toes which have been already modified for purposes of swimming
and adhesive climbing, have been taken advantage of to enable an
allied species to pass through the air like the flying lizard. It
would appear to be a new species of the genus Rhacophorus, which
consists of several frogs of a much smaller size than this, and
having the webs of the toes less developed.

During my stay in Borneo I had no hunter to shoot for me
regularly, and, being myself fully occupied with insects, I did
not succeed in obtaining a very good collection of the birds or
Mammalia, many of which, however, are well known, being identical
with species found in Malacca. Among the Mammalia were five
squirrels,and two tigercats--the Gymnurus Rafesii, which looks
like a cross between a pig and a polecat, and the Cynogale
Bennetti--a rare, otter-like animal, with very broad muzzle
clothed with long bristles.

One of my chief objects in coming to stay at Simunjon was to see
the Orangutan (or great man-like ape of Borneo) in his native
haunts, to study his habits, and obtain good specimens of the
different varieties and species of both sexes, and of the adult
and young animals. In all these objects I succeeded beyond my
expectations, and will now give some account of my experience in
hunting the Orangutan, or "Mias," as it is called by the natives;
and as this name is short, and easily pronounced, I shall
generally use it in preference to Simia satyrus, or Orangutan.

Just a week after my arrival at the mines, I first saw a Mias. I
was out collecting insects, not more than a quarter of a mile
from the house, when I heard a rustling in a tree near, and,
looking up, saw a large red-haired animal moving slowly along,
hanging from the branches by its arms. It passed on from tree to
tree until it was lost in the jungle, which was so swampy that I
could not follow it. This mode of progression was, however, very
unusual, and is more characteristic of the Hylobates than of the
Orang. I suppose there was some individual peculiarity in this
animal, or the nature of the trees just in this place rendered it
the most easy mode of progression.

About a fortnight afterwards I heard that one was feeding in a
tree in the swamp just below the house, and, taking my gun, was
fortunate enough to find it in the same place. As soon as I
approached, it tried to conceal itself among the foliage; but, I
got a shot at it, and the second barrel caused it to fall down
almost dead, the two balls having entered the body. This was a
male, about half-grown, being scarcely three feet high. On April
26th, I was out shooting with two Dyaks, when we found another
about the same size. It fell at the first shot, but did not seem
much hurt, and immediately climbed up the nearest tree, when I
fired, and it again fell, with a broken arm and a wound in the
body. The two Dyaks now ran up to it, and each seized hold of a
hand, telling me to cut a pole, and they would secure it. But
although one arm was broken and it was only a half-grown animal,
it was too strong for these young savages, drawing them up
towards its mouth notwithstanding all their efforts, so that they
were again obliged to leave go, or they would have been seriously
bitten. It now began climbing up the tree again; and, to avoid
trouble, I shot it through the heart.

On May 2nd, I again found one on a very high tree, when I had
only a small 80-bore gun with me. However, I fired at it, and on
seeing me it began howling in a strange voice like a cough, and
seemed in a great rage, breaking off branches with its hands and
throwing them down, and then soon made off over the tree-tops. I
did not care to follow it, as it was swampy, and in parts
dangerous, and I might easily have lost myself in the eagerness
of pursuit.

On the 12th of May I found another, which behaved in a very
similar manner, howling and hooting with rage, and throwing down
branches. I shot at it five times, and it remained dead on the
top of the tree, supported in a fork in such a manner that it
would evidently not fall. I therefore returned home, and luckily
found some Dyaks, who came back with me, and climbed up the tree
for the animal. This was the first full-grown specimen I had
obtained; but it was a female, and not nearly so large or
remarkable as the full-grown males. It was, however, 3 ft. 6 in.
high, and its arms stretched out to a width of 6 ft. 6 in. I
preserved the skin of this specimen in a cask of arrack,
andprepared a perfect skeleton, which was afterwards purchased
for the Derby Museum.

Only four days afterwards some Dyaks saw another Mias near the
same place, and came to tell me. We found it to be a rather large
one, very high up on a tall tree. At the second shot it fell
rolling over, but almost immediately got up again and began to
climb. At a third shot it fell dead. This was also a full-grown
female, and while preparing to carry it home, we found a young
one face downwards in the bog. This little creature was only
about a foot long, and had evidently been hanging to its mother
when she first fell. Luckily it did not appear to have been
wounded, and after we had cleaned the mud out of its mouth it
began to cry out, and seemed quite strong and active. While
carrying it home it got its hands in my beard, and grasped so
tightly that I had great difficulty in getting free, for the
fingers are habitually bent inwards at the last joint so as to
form complete hooks. At this time it had not a single tooth, but
a few days afterwards it cut its two lower front teeth.
Unfortunately, I had no milk to give it, as neither Malays-
Chinese nor Dyaks ever use the article, and I in vain inquired
for any female animal that could suckle my little infant. I was
therefore obliged to give it rice-water from a bottle with a
quill in the cork, which after a few trials it learned to suck
very well. This was very meagre diet, and the little creature did
not thrive well on it, although I added sugar and cocoa-nut milk
occasionally, to make it more nourishing. WhenI put my finger in
its mouth it sucked with great vigour, drawing in its cheeks with
all its might in the vain effort to extract some milk, and only
after persevering a long time would it give up in disgust, and
set up a scream very like that of a baby in similar

When handled or nursed, it was very quiet and contented, but when
laid down by itself would invariably cry; and for the first few
nights was very restless and noisy. I fitted up a little box for
a cradle, with a soft mat for it to lie upon, which was changed
and washed everyday; and I soon found it necessary to wash the
little Mias as well. After I had done so a few times, it came to
like the operation, and as soon as it was dirty would begin
crying and not leave off until I took it out and carried it to
the spout, when it immediately became quiet, although it would
wince a little at the first rush of the cold water and make
ridiculously wry faces while the stream was running over its
head. It enjoyed the wiping and rubbing dry amazingly, and when I
brushed its hair seemed to be perfectly happy, lying quite still
with its arms and legs stretched out while I thoroughly brushed
the long hair of its back and arms. For the first few days it
clung desperately with all four hands to whatever it could lay
hold of, and I had to be careful to keep my beard out of its way,
as its fingers clutched hold of hair more tenaciously than
anything else, and it was impossible to free myself without
assistance. When restless, it would struggle about with its hands
up in the air trying to find something to take hold of, and, when
it had got a bit of stick or rag in two or three of its hands,
seemed quite happy. For want of something else, it would often
seize its own feet, and after a time it would constantly cross
its arms and grasp with each hand the long hair that grew just
below the opposite shoulder. The great tenacity of its grasp soon
diminished, and I was obliged to invent some means to give it
exercise and strengthen its limbs. For this purpose I made a
short ladder of three or four rounds, on which I put it to hang
for a quarter of an hour at a time. At first it seemed much
pleased, but it could not get all four hands in a comfortable
position, and, after changing about several times, would leave
hold of one hand after the other, and drop onto the floor.
Sometimes when hanging only by two hands, it would loose one, and
cross it to the opposite shoulder, grasping its own hair; and, as
this seemed much more agreeable than the stick, it would then
loose the other and tumble down, when it would cross both and lie
on its back quite contentedly, never seeming to be hurt by its
numerous tumbles. Finding it so fond of hair, I endeavoured to
make an artificial mother, by wrapping up a piece of buffalo-skin
into a bundle, and suspending it about a foot from the floor. At
first this seemed to suit it admirably, as it could sprawl its
legs about and always find some hair, which it grasped with the
greatest tenacity. I was now in hopes that I had made the little
orphan quite happy; and so it seemed for some time, until it
began to remember its lost parent, and try to suck. It would pull
itself up close to the skin, and try about everywhere for a
likely place; but, as it only succeeded in getting mouthfuls of
hair and wool, it would be greatly disgusted, and scream
violently, and, after two or three attempts, let go altogether.
One day it got some wool into its throat, and I thought it would
have choked, but after much gasping it recovered, and I was
obliged to take the imitation mother to pieces again, and give up
this last attempt to exercise the little creature.

After the first week I found I could feed it better with a spoon,
and give it a little more varied and more solid food. Well-soaked
biscuit mixed with a little egg and sugar, and sometimes sweet
potatoes, were readily eaten; and it was a never-failing
amusement to observe the curious changes of countenance by which
it would express its approval or dislike of what was given to it.
The poor little thing would lick its lips, draw in its cheeks,
and turn up its eyes with an expression of the most supreme
satisfaction when it had a mouthful particularly to its taste. On
the other hand, when its food was not sufficiently sweet or
palatable, it would turn the mouthful about with its tongue for a
moment as if trying to extract what flavour there was, and then
push it all out between its lips. If the same food was continued,
it would set up a scream and kick about violently, exactly like a
baby in a passion.

After I had had the little Mias about three weeks, I fortunately
obtained a young hare-lip monkey (Macacus cynomolgus), which,
though small, was very active, and could feed itself. I placed it
in the same box with the Mias, and they immediately became
excellent friends, neither exhibiting the least fear of the
other. The little monkey would sit upon the other's stomach, or
even on its face, without the least regard to its feelings. While
I was feeding the Mias, the monkey would sit by, picking up all
that was spilt, and occasionally putting out its hands to
intercept the spoon; and as soon as I had finished would pick off
what was left sticking to the Mias' lips, and then pull open its
mouth and see if any still remained inside; afterwards lying down
on the poor creature's stomach as on a comfortable cushion. The
little helpless Mias would submit to all these insults with the
most exemplary patience, only too glad to have something warm
near it, which it could clasp affectionately in its arms. It
sometimes, however, had its revenge; for when the monkey wanted
to go away, the Mias would hold on as long as it could by the
loose skin of its back or head, or by its tail, and it was only
after many vigorous jumps that the monkey could make his escape.

It was curious to observe the different actions of these two
animals, which could not have differed much in age. The Mias,
like a very young baby, lying on its back quite helpless, rolling
lazily from side to side, stretching out all four hands into the
air, wishing to grasp something, but hardly able to guide its
fingers to any definite object; and when dissatisfied, opening
wide its almost toothless mouth, and expressing its wants by a
most infantine scream. The little monkey, on the other hand, in
constant motion, running and jumping about wherever it pleased,
examining everything around it, seizing hold of the smallest
object with the greatest precision, balancing itself on the edge
of the box or running up a post, and helping itself to anything
eatable that came in its way. There could hardly be a greater
contrast, and the baby Mias looked more baby-like by the

When I had had it about a month, it began to exhibit some signs
of learning to run alone. When laid upon the floor it would push
itself along by its legs, or roll itself over, and thus make an
unwieldy progression. When lying in the box it would lift itself
up to the edge into almost an erect position, and once or twice
succeeded in tumbling out. When left dirty, or hungry, or
otherwise neglected, it would scream violently until attended to,
varied by a kind of coughing or pumping noise very similar to
that which is made by the adult animal. If no one was in the
house, or its cries were not attended to, it would be quiet after
a little while, but the moment it heard a footstep would begin
again harder than ever.

After five weeks it cut its two upper front teeth, but in all
this time it had not grown the least bit, remaining both in size
and weight the same as when I first procured it. This was no
doubt owing to the want of milk or other equally nourishing food.
Rice-water, rice, and biscuits were but a poor substitute, and
the expressed milk of the cocoa-nut which I sometimes gave it did
not quite agree with its stomach. To this I imputed an attack of
diarrhoea from which the poor little creature suffered greatly,
but a small dose of castor-oil operated well, and cured it. A
week or two afterwards it was again taken ill, and this time more
seriously. The symptoms were exactly those of intermittent fever,
accompanied by watery swellings on the feet and head. It lost all
appetite for its food, and, after lingering for a week a most
pitiable object, died, after being in my possession nearly three
months. I much regretted the loss of my little pet, which I had
at one time looked forward to bringing up to years of maturity,
and taking home to England. For several months it had afforded me
daily amusement by its curious ways and the inimitably ludicrous
expression of its little countenance. Its weight was three pounds
nine ounces, its height fourteen inches, and the spread of its
arms twenty-three inches. I preserved its skin and skeleton, and
in doing so found that when it fell from the tree it must have
broken an arm and a leg, which had, however, united so rapidly
that I had only noticed the hard swellings on the limbs where the
irregular junction of the bones had taken place.

Exactly a week after I had caught this interesting little animal,
I succeeded in shooting a full-grown male Orangutan. I had just
come home from an entomologising excursion when Charles [Charles
Allen, an English lad of sixteen, accompanied me as an assistant]
rushed in out of breath with running and excitement, and
exclaimed, interrupted by gasps, "Get the gun, sir,--be quick,--
such a large Mias!" "Where is it?" I asked, taking hold of my gun
as I spoke, which happened luckily to have one barrel loaded with
ball. "Close by, sir--on the path to the mines--he can't get
away." Two Dyaks chanced to be in the house at the time, so I
called them to accompany me, and started off, telling Charley to
bring all the ammunition after me as soon as possible. The path
from our clearing to the mines led along the side of the hill a
little way up its slope, and parallel with it at the foot a wide
opening had been made for a road, in which several Chinamen were
working, so that the animal could not escape into the swampy
forest below without descending to cross the road or ascending to
get round the clearings. We walked cautiously along, not making
the least noise, and listening attentively for any sound which
might betray the presence of the Mias, stopping at intervals to
gaze upwards. Charley soon joined us at the place where he had
seen the creature, and having taken the ammunition and put a
bullet in the other barrel, we dispersed a little, feeling sure
that it must be somewhere near, as it had probably descended the
hill, and would not be likely to return again.

After a short time I heard a very slight rustling sound overhead,
but on gazing up could see nothing. I moved about in every
direction to get a full view into every part of the tree under
which I had been standing, when I again heard the same noise but
louder, and saw the leaves shaking as if caused by the motion of
some heavy animal which moved off to an adjoining tree. I
immediately shouted for all of them to come up and try and get a
view, so as to allow me to have a shot. This was not an easy
matter, as the Mias had a knack of selecting places with dense
foliage beneath. Very soon, however, one of the Dyaks called me
and pointed upwards, and on looking I saw a great red hairy body
and a huge black face gazing down from a great height, as if
wanting to know what was making such a disturbance below. I
instantly fired, and he made off at once, so that I could not
then tell whether I had hit him.

He now moved very rapidly and very noiselessly for so large an
animal, so I told the Dyaks to follow and keep him in sight while
I loaded. The jungle was here full of large angular fragments of
rock from the mountain above, and thick with hanging and twisted
creepers. Running, climbing, and creeping among these, we came up
with the creature on the top of a high tree near the road, where
the Chinamen had discovered him, and were shouting their
astonishment with open mouths: "Ya Ya, Tuan; Orangutan, Tuan."
Seeing that he could not pass here without descending, he turned
up again towards the hill, and I got two shots, and following
quickly, had two more by the time he had again reached the path,
but he was always more or less concealed by foliage, and
protected by the large branch on which he was walking. Once while
loading I had a splendid view of him, moving along a large limb
of a tree in a semi-erect posture, and showing it to be an animal
of the largest size. At the path he got on to one of the loftiest
trees in the forest, and we could see one leg hanging down
useless, having been broken by a ball. He now fixed himself in a
fork, where he was hidden by thick foliage, and seemed
disinclined to move. I was afraid he would remain and die in this
position, and as it was nearly evening. I could not have got the
tree cut down that day. I therefore fired again, and he then
moved off, and going up the hill was obliged to get on to some
lower trees, on the branches of one of which he fixed himself in
such a position that he could not fall, and lay all in a heap as
if dead, or dying.

I now wanted the Dyaks to go up and cut off the branch he was
resting on, but they were afraid, saying he was not dead, and
would come and attack them. We then shook the adjoining tree,
pulled the hanging creepers, and did all we could to disturb him,
but without effect, so I thought it best to send for two Chinamen
with axes to cut down the tree. While the messenger was gone,
however, one of the Dyaks took courage and climbed towards him,
but the Mias did not wait for him to get near, moving off to
another tree, where he got on to a dense mass of branches and
creepers which almost completely hid him from our view. The tree
was luckily a small one, so when the axes came we soon had it cut
through; but it was so held up by jungle ropes and climbers to
adjoining trees that it only fell into a sloping position. The
Mias did not move, and I began to fear that after all we should
not get him, as it was near evening, and half a dozen more trees
would have to be cut down before the one he was on would fall. As
a last resource we all began pulling at the creepers, which shook
the tree very much, and, after a few minutes, when we had almost
given up all hope, down he came with a crash and a thud like the
fall of a giant. And he was a giant, his head and body being
fully as large as a man's. He was of the kind called by the Dyaks
"Mias Chappan," or "Mias Pappan," which has the skin of the face
broadened out to a ridge or fold at each side. His outstretched
arms measured seven feet three inches across, and his height,
measuring fairly from the top of the head to the heel was four
feet two inches. The body just below the arms was three feet two
inches round, and was quite as long as a man's, the legs being
exceedingly short in proportion. On examination we found he had
been dreadfully wounded. Both legs were broken, one hip-joint and
the root of the spine completely shattered, and two bullets were
found flattened in his neck and jaws. Yet he was still alive when
he fell. The two Chinamen carried him home tied to a pole, and I
was occupied with Charley the whole of the next day preparing the
skin and boiling the bones to make a perfect skeleton, which are
now preserved in the Museum at Derby.

About ten days after this, on June 4th, some Dyaks came to tell
us that the day before a Mias had nearly killed one of their
companions. A few miles down the river there is a Dyak house, and
the inhabitants saw a large Orang feeding on the young shoots of
a palm by the riverside. On being alarmed he retreated towards
the jungle which was close by, and a number of the men, armed
with spears and choppers, ran out to intercept him. The man who
was in front tried to run his spear through the animal's body,
but the Mias seized it in his hands, and in an instant got hold
of the man's arm, which he seized in his mouth, making his teeth
meet in the flesh above the elbow, which he tore and lacerated in
a dreadful manner. Had not the others been close behind, the man
would have keen more seriously injured, if not killed, as he was
quite powerless; but they soon destroyed the creature with their
spears and choppers. The man remained ill for a long time, and
never fully recovered the use of his arm.

They told me the dead Mias was still lying where it had been
killed, so I offered them a reward to bring it up to our landing-
place immediately, which they promised to do. They did not come,
however, until the next day, and then decomposition had
commenced, and great patches of the hair came off, so that it was
useless to skin it. This I regretted much, as it was a very fine
full-grown male. I cut off the head and took it home to clean,
while I got my men to make a closed fence about five feet high
around the rest of the body, which would soon be devoured by

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