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The Malay Archipelago Volume 1 by by Alfred Russell Wallace

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maggots, small lizards, and ants, leaving me the skeleton. There
was a great gash in his face, which had cut deep into the bone,
but the skull was a very fine one, and the teeth were remarkably
large and perfect.

On June 18th I had another great success, and obtained a fine
adult male. A Chinaman told me be had seen him feeding by the
side of the path to the river, and I found him at the same place
as the first individual I had shot. He was feeding on an oval
green fruit having a fine red arillus, like the mace which
surrounds the nutmeg, and which alone he seemed to eat, biting
off the thick outer rind and dropping it in a continual shower. I
had found the same fruit in the stomach of some others which I
had killed. Two shots caused this animal to loose his hold, but
he hung for a considerable time by one hand, and then fell flat
on his face and was half buried in the swamp. For several minutes
he lay groaning and panting, while we stood close around,
expecting every breath to be his last. Suddenly, however, by a
violent effort he raised himself up, causing us all to step back
a yard or two, when, standing nearly erect, he caught hold of a
small tree, and began to ascend it. Another shot through the back
caused him to fall down dead. A flattened bullet was found in his
tongue, having entered the lower part of the abdomen and
completely traversed the body, fracturing the first cervical
vertebra. Yet it was after this fearful wound that he had risen,
and begun climbing with considerable facility. This also was a
full-grown male of almost exactly the same dimensions as the
other two I had measured.

On June 21st I shot another adult female, which was eating fruit
in a low tree, and was the only one which I ever killed by a
single ball.

On June 24th I was called by a Chinaman to shoot a Mias, which,
he said, was on a tree close by his house, at the coal-mines.
Arriving at the place, we had some difficulty in finding the
animal, as he had gone off into the jungle, which was very rocky
and difficult to traverse. At last we found him up a very high
tree, and could see that he was a male of the largest size. As
soon as I had fired, he moved higher up the tree, and while he
was doing so I fired again; and we then saw that one arm was
broken. He had now reached the very highest part of an immense
tree, and immediately began breaking off boughs all around, and
laying them across and across to make a nest. It was very
interesting to see how well he had chosen his place, and how
rapidly he stretched out his unwounded arm in every direction,
breaking off good-sized boughs with the greatest ease, and laying
them back across each other, so that in a few minutes he had
formed a compact mass of foliage, which entirely concealed him
from our sight. He was evidently going to pass the night here,
and would probably get away early the next morning, if not
wounded too severely. I therefore fired again several times, in
hopes of making him leave his nest; but, though I felt sure I had
hit him, as at each shot he moved a little, he would not go away.
At length he raised himself up, so that half his body was
visible, and then gradually sank down, his head alone remaining
on the edge of the nest. I now felt sure he was dead, and tried
to persuade the Chinaman and his companion to cut down the tree;
but it was a very large one, and they had been at work all day,
and nothing would induce them to attempt it. The next morning, at
daybreak, I came to the place, and found that the Mias was
evidently dead, as his head was visible in exactly the same
position as before. I now offered four Chinamen a day's wages
each to cut the tree down at once, as a few hours of sunshine
would cause decomposition on the surface of the skin; but, after
looking at it and trying it, they determined that it was very big
and very hard, and would not attempt it. Had I doubled my offer,
they would probably have accepted it, as it would not have been
more than two or three hours' work; and had I been on a short
visit only, I would have done so; but as I was a resident, and
intended remaining several months longer, it would not have
answered to begin paying too exorbitantly, or I should have got
nothing done in the future at a lower rate.

For some weeks after, a cloud of flies could be seen all day,
hovering over the body of the dead Mias; but in about a month all
was quiet, and the body was evidently drying up under the
influence of a vertical sun alternating with tropical rains. Two
or three months later two Malays, on the offer of a dollar,
climbed the tree and let down the dried remains. The skin was
almost entirely enclosing the skeleton, and inside were millions
of the pupa-cases of flies and other insects, with thousands of
two or three species of small necrophagous beetles. The skull had
been much shattered by balls, but the skeleton was perfect,
except one small wristbone, which had probably dropped out and
been carried away by a lizard.

Three days after I had shot this one and lost it, Charles found
three small Orangs feeding together. We had a long chase after
them, and had a good opportunity of seeing how they make their
way from tree to tree by always choosing those limbs whose
branches are intermingled with those of some other tree, and then
grasping several of the small twigs together before they venture
to swing themselves across. Yet they do this so quickly and
certainly, that they make way among the trees at the rate of full
five or six miles an hour, as we had continually to run to keep
up with them. One of these we shot and killed, but it remained
high up in the fork of a tree; and, as young animals are of
comparatively little interest, I did not have the tree cut down
to get it.

At this time I had the misfortune to slip among some fallen
trees, and hurt my ankle; and, not being careful enough at first,
it became a severe inflamed ulcer, which would not heal, and kept
me a prisoner in the house the whole of July and part of August.
When I could get out again, I determined to take a trip up a
branch of the Simunjon River to Semabang, where there was said to
be a large Dyak house, a mountain with abundance of fruit, and
plenty of Orangs and fine birds. As the river was very narrow,
and I was obliged to go in a very small boat with little luggage,
I only took with me a Chinese boy as a servant. I carried a cask
of medicated arrack to put Mias skins in, and stores and
ammunition for a fortnight. After a few miles, the stream became
very narrow and winding, and the whole country on each side was
flooded. On the banks were an abundance of monkeys--the common
Macacus cynomolgus, a black Semnopithecus, and the extraordinary
long-nosed monkey (Nasalis larvatus), which is as large as a
three-year old child, has a very long tail, and a fleshy nose
longer than that of the biggest-nosed man. The further we went on
the narrower and more winding the stream became; fallen trees
sometimes blocked up our passage, and sometimes tangled branches
and creepers met completely across it, and had to be cut away
before we could get on. It took us two days to reach Semabang,
and we hardly saw a bit of dry land all the way. In the latter
part of the journey I could touch the bushes on each side for
miles; and we were often delayed by the screw-pines (Pandanus),
which grow abundantly in the water, falling across the stream. In
other places dense rafts of floating grass completely filled up
the channel, making our journey a constant succession of

Near the landing-place we found a fine house, 250 feet long,
raised high above the ground on posts, with a wide verandah and
still wider platform of bamboo in front of it. Almost all the
people, however, were away on some excursion after edible birds'-
nests or bees'-wax, and there only remained in the house two or
three old men and women with a lot of children. The mountain or
hill was close by, covered with a complete forest of fruit-trees,
among which the Durian and Mangusteen were very abundant; but the
fruit was not yet quite ripe, except a little here and there. I
spent a week at this place, going out everyday in various
directions about the mountain, accompanied by a Malay, who had
stayed with me while the other boatmen returned. For three days
we found no Orangs, but shot a deer and several monkeys. On the
fourth day, however, we found a Mias feeding on a very lofty
Durian tree, and succeeded in killing it, after eight shots.
Unfortunately it remained in the tree, hanging by its hands, and
we were obliged to leave it and return home, as it was several
miles off. As I felt pretty sure it would fall during the night,
I returned to the place early the next morning, and found it on
the ground beneath the tree. To my astonishment and pleasure, it
appeared to be a different kind from any I had yet seen; for
although a full-grown male, by its fully developed teeth and very
large canines, it had no sign of the lateral protuberance on the
face, and was about one-tenth smaller in all its dimensions than
the other adult males. The upper incisors, however, appeared to
be broader than in the larger species, a character distinguishing
the Simia morio of Professor Owen, which he had described from
the cranium of a female specimen. As it was too far to carry the
animal home, I set to work and skinned the body on the spot,
leaving the head, hands, and feet attached, to be finished at
home. This specimen is now in the British Museum.

At the end of a week, finding no more Orangs, I returned home;
and, taking in a few fresh stores, and this time accompanied by
Charles, went up another branch of the river, very similar in
character, to a place called Menyille, where there were several
small Dyak houses and one large one. Here the landing place was a
bridge of rickety poles, over a considerable distance of water;
and I thought it safer to leave my cask of arrack securely placed
in the fork of a tree. To prevent the natives from drinking it, I
let several of them see me put in a number of snakes and lizards;
but I rather think this did not prevent them from tasting it. We
were accommodated here in the verandah of the large house, in
which were several great baskets of dried human heads, the
trophies of past generations of head-hunters. Here also there was
a little mountain covered with fruit-trees, and there were some
magnificent Durian trees close by the house, the fruit of which
was ripe; and as the Dyaks looked upon me as a benefactor in
killing the Mias, which destroys a great deal of their fruit,
they let us eat as much as we liked; we revelled in this emperor
of fruits in its greatest perfection.

The very day after my arrival in this place, I was so fortunate
as to shoot another adult male of the small Orang, the Mias-
kassir of the Dyaks. It fell when dead, but caught in a fork of
the tree and remained fixed. As I was very anxious to get it, I
tried to persuade two young Dyaks who were with me to cut down
the tree, which was tall, perfectly straight and smooth-barked,
and without a branch for fifty or sixty feet. To my surprise,
they said they would prefer climbing up it, but it would be a
good deal of trouble, and, after a little talking together, they
said they would try. They first went to a clump of bamboo that
stood near, and cut down one of the largest stems. From this they
chopped off a short piece, and splitting it, made a couple of
stout pegs, about a foot long and sharp at one end. Then cutting
a thick piece of wood for a mallet, they drove one of the pegs
into the tree and hung their weight upon it. It held, and this
seemed to satisfy them, for they immediately began making a
quantity of pegs of the same kind, while I looked on with great
interest, wondering how they could possibly ascend such a lofty
tree by merely driving pegs in it, the failure of any one of
which at a good height would certainly cause their death. When
about two dozen pegs were made, one of them began cutting some
very long and slender bamboo from another clump, and also
prepared some cord from the hark of a small tree. They now drove
in a peg very firmly at about three feet from the ground, and
bringing one of the long bamboos, stood it upright close to the
tree, and bound it firmly to the two first pegs, by means of the
bark cord and small notches near the head of each peg. One of the
Dyaks now stood on the first peg and drove in a third, about
level with his face, to which he tied the bamboo in the same way,
and then mounted another step, standing on one foot, and holding
by the bamboo at the peg immediately above him, while he drove in
the next one. In this manner he ascended about twenty feet; when
the upright bamboo was becoming thin, another was handed up by
his companion, and this was joined by tying both bamboos to three
or four of the pegs. When this was also nearly ended, a third was
added, and shortly after, the lowest branches of the tree were
reached, along which the young Dyak scrambled, and soon sent the
Mias tumbling down headlong. I was exceedingly struck by the
ingenuity of this mode of climbing, and the admirable manner in
which the peculiar properties of the bamboo were made available.
The ladder itself was perfectly safe, since if any one peg were
loose or faulty, and gave way, the strain would be thrown on
several others above and below it. I now understood the use of
the line of bamboo pegs sticking in trees, which I had often
seen, and wondered for what purpose they could have been put
there. This animal was almost identical in size and appearance
with the one I had obtained at Semabang, and was the only other
male specimen of the Simia morio which I obtained. It is now in
the Derby Museum.

I afterwards shot two adult females and two young ones of
different ages, all of which I preserved. One of the females,
with several young ones, was feeding on a Durian tree with unripe
fruit; and as soon as she saw us she began breaking off branches
and the great spiny fruits with every appearance of rage, causing
such a shower of missiles as effectually kept us from approaching
too near the tree. This habit of throwing down branches when
irritated has been doubted, but I have, as here narrated,
observed it myself on at least three separate occasions. It was
however always the female Arias who behaved in this way, and it
may be that the male, trusting more to his great strength and his
powerful canine teeth, is not afraid of any other animal, and
does not want to drive them away, while the parental instinct of
the female leads her to adopt this mode of defending herself and
her young ones.

In preparing the skins and skeletons of these animals, I was much
troubled by the Dyak dogs, which, being always kept in a state of
semi-starvation, are ravenous for animal food. I had a great iron
pan, in which I boiled the bones to make skeletons, and at night
I covered this over with boards, and put heavy stones upon it;
but the dogs managed to remove these and carried away the greater
part of one of my specimens. On another occasion they gnawed away
a good deal of the upper leather of my strong boots, and even ate
a piece of my mosquito-curtain, where some lamp-oil had been
spilt over it some weeks before.

On our return down the stream, we had the fortune to fall in with
a very old male Mias, feeding on some low trees growing in the
water. The country was flooded for a long distance, but so full
of trees and stumps that the laden boat could not be got in among
them, and if it could have been we should only have frightened
the Mias away. I therefore got into the water, which was nearly
up to my waist, and waded on until I was near enough for a shot.
The difficulty then was to load my gun again, for I was so deep
in the water that I could not hold the gun sloping enough to pour
the powder in. I therefore had to search for a shallow place, and
after several shots under these trying circumstances, I was
delighted to see the monstrous animal roll over into the water. I
now towed him after me to the stream, but the Malays objected to
having the animal put into the boat, and he was so heavy that I
could not do it without their help. I looked about for a place to
skin him, but not a bit of dry ground was to be seen, until at
last I found a clump of two or three old trees and stumps,
between which a few feet of soil had collected just above the
water, which was just large enough for us to drag the animal upon
it. I first measured him, and found him to be by far the largest
I had yet seen, for, though the standing height was the same as
the others (4 feet 2 inches), the outstretched arms were 7 feet 9
inches, which was six inches more than the previous one, and the
immense broad face was 13 1/2 inches wide, whereas the widest I
had hitherto seen was only 11 1/2 inches. The girth of the body
was 3 feet 7 1/2 inches. I am inclined to believe, therefore,
that the length and strength of the arms, and the width of the
face continues increasing to a very great age, while the standing
height, from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head,
rarely if ever exceeds 4 feet 2 inches.

As this was the last Mias I shot, and the last time I saw an
adult living animal, I will give a sketch of its general habits,
and any other facts connected with it. The Orangutan is known to
inhabit Sumatra and Borneo, and there is every reason to believe
that it is confined to these two great islands, in the former of
which, however, it seems to be much more rare. In Borneo it has a
wide range, inhabiting many districts on the southwest,
southeast, northeast, and northwest coasts, but appears to be
chiefly confined to the low and swampy forests. It seems, at
first sight, very inexplicable that the Mias should be quite
unknown in the Sarawak valley, while it is abundant in Sambas, on
the west, and Sadong, on the east. But when we know the habits
and mode of life of the animal, we see a sufficient reason for
this apparent anomaly in the physical features of the Sarawak
district. In the Sadong, where I observed it, the Mias is only
found when the country is low level and swampy, and at the same
time covered with a lofty virgin forest. From these swamps rise
many isolated mountains, on some of which the Dyaks have settled
and covered with plantations of fruit trees. These are a great
attraction to the Mias, which comes to feed on the unripe fruits,
but always retires to the swamp at night. Where the country
becomes slightly elevated, and the soil dry, the Mias is no
longer to be found. For example, in all the lower part of the
Sadong valley it abounds, but as soon as we ascend above the
limits of the tides, where the country, though still flat, is
high enough to be dry, it disappears. Now the Sarawak valley has
this peculiarity--the lower portion though swampy, is not
covered with a continuous lofty forest, but is principally
occupied by the Nipa palm; and near the town of Sarawak where the
country becomes dry, it is greatly undulated in many parts, and
covered with small patches of virgin forest, and much second-
growth jungle on the ground, which has once been cultivated by
the Malays or Dyaks.

Now it seems probable to me that a wide extent of unbroken and
equally lofty virgin forest is necessary to the comfortable
existence of these animals. Such forests form their open country,
where they can roam in every direction with as much facility as
the Indian on the prairie, or the Arab on the desert, passing
from tree-top to tree-top without ever being obliged to descend
upon the earth. The elevated and the drier districts are more
frequented by man, more cut up by clearings and low second-growth
jungle--not adapted to its peculiar mode of progression, and
where it would therefore be more exposed to danger, and more
frequently obliged to descend upon the earth. There is probably
also a greater variety of fruit in the Mias district, the small
mountains which rise like islands out of it serving as gardens or
plantations of a sort, where the trees of the uplands are to be
found in the very midst of the swampy plains.

It is a singular and very interesting sight to watch a Mias
making his way leisurely through the forest. He walks
deliberately along some of the larger branches in the semi-erect
attitude which the great length of his arms and the shortness of
his legs cause him naturally to assume; and the disproportion
between these limbs is increased by his walking on his knuckles,
not on the palm of the hand, as we should do. He seems always to
choose those branches which intermingle with an adjoining tree,
on approaching which he stretches out his long arms, and seizing
the opposing boughs, grasps them together with both hands, seems
to try their strength, and then deliberately swings himself
across to the next branch, on which he walks along as before. He
never jumps or springs, or even appears to hurry himself, and yet
manages to get along almost as quickly as a person can run
through the forest beneath. The long and powerful arms are of the
greatest use to the animal, enabling it to climb easily up the
loftiest trees, to seize fruits and young leaves from slender
boughs which will not bear its weight, and to gather leaves and
branches with which to form its nest. I have already described
how it forms a nest when wounded, but it uses a similar one to
sleep on almost every night. This is placed low down, however, on
a small tree not more than from twenty to fifty feet from the
ground, probably because it is warmer and less exposed to wind
than higher up. Each Mias is said to make a fresh one for himself
every night; but I should think that is hardly probable, or their
remains would be much more abundant; for though I saw several
about the coal-mines, there must have been many Orangs about
every day, and in a year their deserted nests would become very
numerous. The Dyaks say that, when it is very wet, the Mias
covers himself over with leaves of pandanus, or large ferns,
which has perhaps led to the story of his making a hut in the

The Orang does not leave his bed until the sun has well risen and
has dried up the dew upon the leaves. He feeds all through the
middle of the day, but seldom returns to the same tree two days
running. They do not seem much alarmed at man, as they often
stared down upon me for several minutes, and then only moved away
slowly to an adjacent tree. After seeing one, I have often had to
go half a mile or more to fetch my gun, and in nearly every case
have found it on the same tree, or within a hundred yards, when I
returned. I never saw two full-grown animals together, but both
males and females are sometimes accompanied by half-grown young
ones, while, at other times, three or four young ones were seen
in company. Their food consists almost exclusively of fruit, with
occasionally leaves, buds, and young shoots. They seem to prefer
unripe fruits, some of which were very sour, others intensely
bitter, particularly the large red, fleshy arillus of one which
seemed an especial favourite. In other cases they eat only the
small seed of a large fruit, and they almost always waste and
destroy more than they eat, so that there is a continual rain of
rejected portions below the tree they are feeding on. The Durian
is an especial favourite, and quantities of this delicious fruit
are destroyed wherever it grows surrounded by forest, but they
will not cross clearings to get at them. It seems wonderful how
the animal can tear open this fruit, the outer covering of which
is so thick and tough, and closely covered with strong conical
spines. It probably bites off a few of these first, and then,
making a small hole, tears open the fruit with its powerful

The Mias rarely descends to the ground, except when pressed by
hunger, it seeks succulent shoots by the riverside; or, in very
dry weather, has to search after water, of which it generally
finds sufficient in the hollows of leaves. Only once I saw two
half-grown Orangs on the ground in a dry hollow at the foot of
the Simunjon hill. They were playing together, standing erect,
and grasping each other by the arms. It may be safely stated,
however, that the Orang never walks erect, unless when using its
hands to support itself by branches overhead or when attacked.
Representations of its walking with a stick are entirely

The Dyaks all declare that the Mias is never attacked by any
animal in the forest, with two rare exceptions; and the accounts
I received of these are so curious that I give them nearly in the
words of my informants, old Dyak chiefs, who had lived all their
lives in the places where the animal is most abundant. The first
of whom I inquired said: "No animal is strong enough to hurt the
Mias, and the only creature he ever fights with is the crocodile.
When there is no fruit in the jungle, he goes to seek food on the
banks of the river where there are plenty of young shoots that he
likes, and fruits that grow close to the water. Then the
crocodile sometimes tries to seize him, but the Mias gets upon
him, and beats him with his hands and feet, and tears him and
kills him." He added that he had once seen such a fight, and that
he believes that the Mias is always the victor.

My next informant was the Orang Kaya, or chief of the Balow
Dyaks, on the Simunjon River. He said: "The Mias has no enemies;
no animals dare attack it but the crocodile and the python. He
always kills the crocodile by main strength, standing upon it,
pulling open its jaws, and ripping up its throat. If a python
attacks a Mias, he seizes it with his hands, and then bites it,
and soon kills it. The Mias is very strong; there is no animal in
the jungle so strong as he."

It is very remarkable that an animal so large, so peculiar, and
of such a high type of form as the Orangutan, should be confined
to so limited a district--to two islands, and those almost the
last inhabited by the higher Mammalia; for, east of Borneo and
Java, the Quadrumania, Ruminants, Carnivora, and many other
groups of Mammalla diminish rapidly, and soon entirely disappear.
When we consider, further, that almost all other animals have in
earlier ages been represented by allied yet distinct forms--
that, in the latter part of the tertiary period, Europe was
inhabited by bears, deer, wolves, and cats; Australia by
kangaroos and other marsupials; South America by gigantic sloths
and ant-eaters; all different from any now existing, though
intimately allied to them--we have every reason to believe that
the Orangutan, the Chimpanzee, and the Gorilla have also had
their forerunners. With what interest must every naturalist look
forward to the time when the caves and tertiary deposits of the
tropics may be thoroughly examined, and the past history and
earliest appearance of the great man-like apes be made known at

I will now say a few words as to the supposed existence of a
Bornean Orang as large as the Gorilla. I have myself examined the
bodies of seventeen freshly-killed Orangs, all of which were
carefully measured; and of seven of them, I preserved the
skeleton. I also obtained two skeletons killed by other persons.
Of this extensive series, sixteen were fully adult, nine being
males, and seven females. The adult males of the large Orangs
only varied from 4 feet 1 inch to 4 feet 2 inches in height,
measured fairly to the heel, so as to give the height of the
animal if it stood perfectly erect; the extent of the
outstretched arms, from 7 feet 2 inches to 7 feet 8 inches; and
the width of the face, from 10 inches to 13 1/2 inches. The
dimensions given by other naturalists closely agree with mine.
The largest Orang measured by Temminck was 4 feet high. Of
twenty-five specimens collected by Schlegel and Muller, the
largest old male was 4 feet 1 inch; and the largest skeleton in
the Calcutta Museum was, according to Mr. Blyth, 4 feet 1 1/2
inch. My specimens were all from the northwest coast of Borneo;
those of the Dutch from the west and south coasts; and no
specimen has yet reached Europe exceeding these dimensions,
although the total number of skins and skeletons must amount to
over a hundred.

Strange to say, however, several persons declare that they have
measured Orangs of a much larger size. Temminck, in his Monograph
of the Orang, says that he has just received news of the capture
of a specimen 5 feet 3 inches high. Unfortunately, it never seems
to have a reached Holland, for nothing has since been heard of
any such animal. Mr. St. John, in his "Life in the Forests of the
Far East," vol. ii. p. 237, tells us of an Orang shot by a friend
of his, which was 5 feet 2 inches from the heel to the top of the
head, the arm 17 inches in girth, and the wrist 12 inches! The
head alone was brought to Sarawak, and Mr. St. John tells us that
he assisted to measure this, and that it was 15 inches broad by
14 long. Unfortunately, even this skull appears not to have been
preserved, for no specimen corresponding to these dimensions has
yet reached England.

In a letter from Sir James Brooke, dated October 1857 in which he
acknowledges the receipt of my Papers on the Orang, published in
the "Annals and Magazine of Natural History," he sends me the
measurements of a specimen killed by his nephew, which I will
give exactly as I received it: "September 3rd, 1867, killed
female Orangutan. Height, from head to heel, 4 feet 6 inches.
Stretch from fingers to fingers across body, 6 feet 1 inch.
Breadth of face, including callosities, 11 inches." Now, in these
dimensions, there is palpably one error; for in every Orang yet
measured by any naturalist, an expanse of arms of 6 feet 1 inch
corresponds to a height of about 3 feet 6 inches, while the
largest specimens of 4 feet to 4 feet 2 inches high, always have
the extended arms as much as 7 feet 3 inches to 7 feet 8 inches.
It is, in fact, one of the characters of the genus to have the
arms so long that an animal standing nearly erect can rest its
fingers on the ground. A height of 4 feet 6 inches would
therefore require a stretch of arms of at least 8 feet! If it
were only 6 feet to that height, as given in the dimensions
quoted, the animal would not be an Orang at all, but a new genus
of apes, differing materially in habits and mode of progression.
But Mr. Johnson, who shot this animal, and who knows Orangs well,
evidently considered it to be one; and we have therefore to judge
whether it is more probable that he made a mistake of two feet in
the stretch of the arms, or of one foot in the height. The latter
error is certainly the easiest to make, and it will bring his
animal into agreement, as to proportions and size, with all those
which exist in Europe. How easy it is to be deceived as to the
height of these animals is well shown in the case of the Sumatran
Orang, the skin of which was described by Dr. Clarke Abel. The
captain and crew who killed this animal declared that when alive
he exceeded the tallest man, and looked so gigantic that they
thought he was 7 feet high; but that, when he was killed and lay
upon the ground, they found he was only about 6 feet. Now it will
hardly be credited that the skin of this identical animal exists
in the Calcutta Museum, and Mr. Blyth, the late curator, states
"that it is by no means one of the largest size"; which means
that it is about 4 feet high!

Having these undoubted examples of error in the dimensions of
Orangs, it is not too much to conclude that Mr. St. John's friend
made a similar error of measurement, or rather, perhaps, of
memory; for we are not told that the dimensions were noted down
at the time they were made. The only figures given by Mr. St.
John on his own authority are that "the head was 15 inches broad
by 14 inches long." As my largest male was 13 1/2 broad across
the face, measured as soon as the animal was killed, I can quite
understand that when the head arrived at Sarawak from the Batang
Lupar, after two or three days' voyage, it was so swollen by
decomposition as to measure an inch more than when it was fresh.
On the whole, therefore, I think it will be allowed, that up to
this time we have not the least reliable evidence of the
existence of Orangs in Borneo more than 4 feet 2 inches high.




As the wet season was approaching, I determined to return to
Sarawak, sending all my collections with Charles Allen around by
sea, while I myself proposed to go up to the sources of the
Sadong River and descend by the Sarawak valley. As the route was
somewhat difficult, I took the smallest quantity of baggage, and
only one servant, a Malay lad named Bujon, who knew the language
of the Sadong Dyaks, with whom he had traded. We left the mines
on the 27th of November, and the next day reached the Malay
village of Gúdong, where I stayed a short time to buy fruit and
eggs, and called upon the Datu Bandar, or Malay governor of the
place. He lived in a large, arid well-built house, very dirty
outside and in, and was very inquisitive about my business, and
particularly about the coal-mines. These puzzle the natives
exceedingly, as they cannot understand the extensive and costly
preparations for working coal, and cannot believe it is to be
used only as fuel when wood is so abundant and so easily
obtained. It was evident that Europeans seldom came here, for
numbers of women skeltered away as I walked through the village
and one girl about ten or twelve years old, who had just brought
a bamboo full of water from the river, threw it down with a cry
of horror and alarm the moment she caught sight of me, turned
around and jumped into the stream. She swam beautifully, and kept
looking back as if expecting I would follow her, screaming
violently all the time; while a number of men and boys were
laughing at her ignorant terror.

At Jahi, the next village, the stream became so swift in
consequence of a flood, that my heavy boat could make no way, and
I was obliged to send it back and go on in a very small open one.
So far the river had been very monotonous, the banks being
cultivated as rice-fields, and little thatched huts alone
breaking the unpicturesque line of muddy bank crowned with tall
grasses, and backed by the top of the forest behind the
cultivated ground. A few hours beyond Jahi we passed the limits
of cultivation, and had the beautiful virgin forest coming down
to the water's edge, with its palms and creepers, its noble
trees, its ferns, and epiphytes. The banks of the river were,
however, still generally flooded, and we had some difficulty in
finding a dry spot to sleep on. Early in the morning we reached
Empugnan, a small Malay village, situated at the foot of an
isolated mountain which had been visible from the mouth of the
Simunjon River. Beyond here the tides are not felt, and we now
entered upon a district of elevated forest, with a finer
vegetation. Large trees stretch out their arms across the stream,
and the steep, earthy banks are clothed with ferns and
zingiberaceous plants.

Early in the afternoon we arrived at Tabókan, the first village
of the Hill Dyaks. On an open space near the river, about twenty
boys were playing at a game something like what we call
"prisoner's base;" their ornaments of beads and brass wire and
their gay-coloured kerchiefs and waist-cloths showing to much
advantage, and forming a very pleasing sight. On being called by
Bujon, they immediately left their game to carry my things up to
the "headhouse,"--a circular building attached to most Dyak
villages, and serving as a lodging for strangers, the place for
trade, the sleeping-room of the unmarried youths, and the general
council-chamber. It is elevated on lofty posts, has a large
fireplace in the middle and windows in the roof all round, and
forms a very pleasant and comfortable abode. In the evening it
was crowded with young men and boys, who came to look at me. They
were mostly fine young fellows, and I could not help admiring the
simplicity and elegance of their costume. Their only dress is
the long "chawat," or waist-cloth, which hangs down before and
behind. It is generally of blue cotton, ending in three broad
bands of red, blue, and white. Those who can afford it wear a
handkerchief on the head, which is either red, with a narrow
border of gold lace, or of three colours, like the "chawat." The
large flat moon-shaped brass earrings, the heavy necklace of
white or black beads, rows of brass rings on the arms and legs,
and armlets of white shell, all serve to relieve and set off the
pure reddish brown skin and jet-black hair. Add to this the
little pouch containing materials for betel-chewing, and a long
slender knife, both invariably worn at the side, and you have the
everyday dress of the young Dyak gentleman.

The "Orang Kaya," or rich man, as the chief of the tribe is
called, now came in with several of the older men; and the
"bitchara" or talk commenced, about getting a boat and men to
take me on the next morning. As I could not understand a word of
their language, which is very different from Malay, I took no
part in the proceedings, but was represented by my boy Bujon, who
translated to me most of what was said. A Chinese trader was in
the house, and he, too, wanted men the next day; but on his
hinting this to the Orang Kaya, he was sternly told that a white
man's business was now being discussed, and he must wait another
day before his could be thought about.

After the "bitchara "was over and the old chiefs gone, I asked
the young men to play or dance, or amuse themselves in their
accustomed way; and after some little hesitation they agreed to
do so. They first had a trial of strength, two boys sitting
opposite each other, foot being placed against foot, and a stout
stick grasped by both their hands. Each then tried to throw
himself back, so as to raise his adversary up from the ground,
either by main strength or by a sudden effort. Then one of the
men would try his strength against two or three of the boys; and
afterwards they each grasped their own ankle with a hand, and
while one stood as firm as he could, the other swung himself
around on one leg, so as to strike the other's free leg, and try
to overthrow him. When these games had been played all around with
varying success, we had a novel kind of concert. Some placed a
leg across the knee, and struck the fingers sharply on the ankle,
others beat their arms against their sides like a cock when he
is going to crow, this making a great variety of clapping sounds,
while another with his hand under his armpit produced a deep
trumpet note; and, as they all kept time very well, the effect
was by no means unpleasing. This seemed quite a favourite
amusement with them, and they kept it up with much spirit.

The next morning we started in a boat about thirty feet long, and
only twenty-eight inches wide. The stream here suddenly changes
its character. Hitherto, though swift, it had been deep and
smooth, and confined by steep banks. Now it rushed and rippled
over a pebbly, sandy, or rocky bed, occasionally forming
miniature cascades and rapids, and throwing up on one side or the
other broad banks of finely coloured pebbles. No paddling could
make way here, but the Dyaks with bamboo poles propelled us along
with great dexterity and swiftness, never losing their balance in
such a narrow and unsteady vessel, though standing up and
exerting all their force. It was a brilliant day, and the
cheerful exertions of the men, the rushing of the sparkling
waters, with the bright and varied foliage, which from either
bank stretched over our heads, produced an exhilarating sensation
which recalled my canoe voyages on the grander waters of South

Early in the afternoon we reached the village of Borotói, and,
though it would have been easy to reach the next one before
night, I was obliged to stay, as my men wanted to return and
others could not possibly go on with me without the preliminary
talking. Besides, a white man was too great a rarity to be
allowed to escape them, and their wives would never have forgiven
them if, when they returned from the fields, they found that such
a curiosity had not been kept for them to see. On entering the
house to which I was invited, a crowd of sixty or seventy men,
women, and children gathered around me, and I sat for half an hour
like some strange animal submitted for the first time to the gaze
of an inquiring public. Brass rings were here in the greatest
profusion, many of the women having their arms completely covered
with them, as well as their legs from the ankle to the knee.
Round the waist they wear a dozen or more coils of fine rattan
stained red, to which the petticoat is attached. Below this are
generally a number of coils of brass wire, a girdle of small
silver coins, and sometimes a broad belt of brass ring armour. On
their heads they wear a conical hat without a crown, formed of
variously coloured beads, kept in shape by rings of rattan, and
forming a fantastic but not unpicturesque headdress.

Walking out to a small hill near the village, cultivated as a
rice-field, I had a fine view of the country, which was becoming
quite hilly, and towards the south, mountainous. I took bearings
and sketches of all that was visible, an operation which caused
much astonishment to the Dyaks who accompanied me, and produced
a request to exhibit the compass when I returned. I was then
surrounded by a larger crowd than before, and when I took my
evening meal in the midst of a circle of about a hundred
spectators anxiously observing every movement and criticising
every mouthful, my thoughts involuntarily recurred to the lion
at feeding time. Like those noble animals, I too was used to it,
and it did not affect my appetite. The children here were more
shy than at Tabokan, and I could not persuade them to play. I
therefore turned showman myself, and exhibited the shadow of a
dog's head eating, which pleased them so much that all the
village in succession came out to see it. The "rabbit on the
wall" does not do in Borneo, as there is no animal it resembles.
The boys had tops shaped something like whipping-tops, but spun
with a string.

The next morning we proceeded as before, but the river had become
so rapid and shallow and the boats were all so small, that though
I had nothing with me but a change of clothes, a gun, and a few
cooking utensils, two were required to take me on. The rock
which appeared here and there on the riverbank was an indurated
clay-slate, sometimes crystalline, and thrown up almost
vertically. Right and left of us rose isolated limestone
mountains, their white precipices glistening in the sun and
contrasting beautifully with the luxuriant vegetation that
elsewhere clothed them. The river bed was a mass of pebbles,
mostly pure white quartz, but with abundance of jasper and agate,
presenting a beautifully variegated appearance. It was only ten
in the morning when we arrived at Budu, and, though there were
plenty of people about, I could not induce them to allow me to go
on to the next village. The Orang Kaya said that if I insisted on
having men, of course he would get them, but when I took him at
his word and said I must have them, there came a fresh remonstrance;
and the idea of my going on that day seemed so painful that I was
obliged to submit. I therefore walked out over the rice-fields, which
are here very extensive, covering a number of the little hills and
valleys into which the whole country seems broken up, and obtained a
fine view of hills and mountains in every direction.

In the evening the Orang Kaya came in full dress (a spangled
velvet jacket, but no trowsers), and invited me over to his
house, where he gave me a seat of honour under a canopy of white
calico and coloured handkerchiefs. The great verandah was
crowded with people, and large plates of rice with cooked and
fresh eggs were placed on the ground as presents for me. A very
old man then dressed himself in bright-coloured cloths and many
ornaments, and sitting at the door, murmured a long prayer or
invocation, sprinkling rice from a basin he held in his hand,
while several large gongs were loudly beaten and a salute of
muskets fired off. A large jar of rice wine, very sour but with
an agreeable flavour, was then handed around, and I asked to see
some of their dances. These were, like most savage performances,
very dull and ungraceful affairs; the men dressing themselves
absurdly like women, and the girls making themselves as stiff and
ridiculous as possible. All the time six or eight large Chinese
gongs were being beaten by the vigorous arms of as many young
men, producing such a deafening discord that I was glad to escape
to the round house, where I slept very comfortably with half a
dozen smoke-dried human skulls suspended over my head,

The river was now so shallow that boats could hardly get along. I
therefore preferred walking to the next village, expecting to see
something of the country, but was much disappointed, as the path
lay almost entirely through dense bamboo thickets. The Dyaks get
two crops off the ground in succession; one of rice, and the
other of sugarcane, maize, and vegetables. The ground then lies
fallow eight or ten years, and becomes covered with bamboos and
shrubs, which often completely arch over the path and shut out
everything from the view. Three hours' walking brought us to the
village of Senankan, where I was again obliged to remain the
whole day, which I agreed to do on the promise of the Orang Kaya
that his men should next day take me through two other villages
across to Senna, at the head of the Sarawak River. I amused
myself as I best could till evening, by walking about the high
ground near, to get views of the country and bearings of the
chief mountains. There was then another public audience, with
gifts of rice and eggs, and drinking of rice wine. These Dyaks
cultivate a great extent of ground, and supply a good deal of
rice to Sarawak. They are rich in gongs, brass trays, wire,
silver coins, and other articles in which a Dyak's wealth
consists; and their women and children are all highly ornamented
with bead necklaces, shells, and brass wire.

In the morning I waited some time, but the men that were to
accompany me did not make their appearance. On sending to the
Orang Kaya I found that both he and another head-man had gone out
for the day, and on inquiring the reason was told that they could
not persuade any of their men to go with me because the journey
was long and fatiguing one. As I was determined to get on, I told
the few men that remained that the chiefs had behaved very badly,
and that I should acquaint the Rajah with their conduct, and I
wanted to start immediately. Every man present made some excuse,
but others were sent for, and by hint of threats and promises,
and the exertion of all Bujon's eloquence, we succeeded in
getting off after two hours' delay.

For the first few miles our path lay over a country cleared for
rice-fields, consisting entirely of small but deep and sharply-
cut ridges and valleys without a yard of level ground. After
crossing the Kayan river, a main branch of the Sadong, we got on
to the lower slopes of the Seboran Mountain, and the path lay
along a sharp and moderately steep ridge, affording an excellent
view of the country. Its features were exactly those of the
Himalayas in miniature, as they are described by Dr. Hooker and
other travellers, and looked like a natural model of some parts
of those vast mountains on a scale of about a tenth--thousands of
feet being here represented by hundreds. I now discovered the
source of the beautiful pebbles which had so pleased me in the
riverbed. The slatey rocks had ceased, and these mountains seemed
to consist of a sandstone conglomerate, which was in some places
a mere mass of pebbles cemented together. I might have known that
such small streams could not produce such vast quantities of
well-rounded pebbles of the very hardest materials. They had
evidently been formed in past ages, by the action of some
continental stream or seabeach, before the great island of Borneo
had risen from the ocean. The existence of such a system of hills
and valleys reproducing in miniature all the features of a great
mountain region, has an important bearing on the modern theory
that the form of the ground is mainly due to atmospheric rather
than to subterranean action. When we have a number of branching
valleys and ravines running in many different directions within a
square mile, it seems hardly possible to impute their formation,
or even their origination, to rents and fissures produced by
earthquakes. On the other hand, the nature of the rock, so easily
decomposed and removed by water, and the known action of the
abundant tropical rains, are in this case, at least, quite
sufficient causes for the production of such valleys. But the
resemblance between their forms and outlines, their mode of
divergence, and the slopes and ridges that divide them, and those
of the grand mountain scenery of the Himalayas, is so remarkable,
that we are forcibly led to the conclusion that the forces at
work in the two cases have been the same, differing only in the
time they have been in action, and the nature of the material
they have had to work upon.

About noon we reached the village of Menyerry, beautifully
situated on a spur of the mountain about 600 feet above the
valley, and affording a delightful view of the mountains of this
part of Borneo. I here got a sight of Penrissen Mountain, at the
head of the Sarawak River, and one of the highest in the
district, rising to about 6,000 feet above the sea. To the south
the Rowan, and further off the Untowan Mountains in the Dutch
territory appeared equally lofty. Descending from Menyerry we
again crossed the Kayan, which bends round the spur, and ascended
to the pass which divides the Sadong and Sarawak valleys, and
which is about 2,000 feet high. The descent from this point was
very fine. A stream, deep in a rocky gorge, rushed on each side
of us, to one of which we gradually descended, passing over many
lateral gullys and along the faces of some precipices by means
of native bamboo bridges. Some of these were several hundred feet
long and fifty or sixty high, a single smooth bamboo four inches
diameter forming the only pathway, while a slender handrail of
the same material was often so shaky that it could only be used as
a guide rather than a support.

Late in the afternoon we reached Sodos, situated on a spur
between two streams, but so surrounded by fruit trees that little
could be seen of the country. The house was spacious, clean and
comfortable, and the people very obliging. Many of the women and
children had never seen a white man before, and were very
sceptical as to my being the same colour all over, as my face.
They begged me to show them my arms and body, and they were so
kind and good-tempered that I felt bound to give them some
satisfaction, so I turned up my trousers and let them see the
colour of my leg, which they examined with great interest.

In the morning early we continued our descent along a fine
valley, with mountains rising 2,000 or 3,000 feet in every
direction. The little river rapidly increased in size until we
reached Serma, when it had become a fine pebbly stream navigable
for small canoes. Here again the upheaved slatey rock appeared,
with the same dip and direction as in the Sadong River. On
inquiring for a boat to take me down the stream, I was told that
the Senna Dyaks, although living on the river-banks, never made
or used boats. They were mountaineers who had only come down into
the valley about twenty years before, and had not yet got into
new habits. They are of the same tribe as the people of Menyerry
and Sodos. They make good paths and bridges, and cultivate much
mountain land, and thus give a more pleasing and civilized aspect
to the country than where the people move about only in boats,
and confine their cultivation to the banks of the streams.

After some trouble I hired a boat from a Malay trader, and found
three Dyaks who had been several times with Malays to Sarawak,
and thought they could manage it very well. They turned out very
awkward, constantly running aground, striking against rocks, and
losing their balance so as almost to upset themselves and the
boat--offering a striking contrast to the skill of the Sea Dyaks.
At length we came to a really dangerous rapid where boats were
often swamped, and my men were afraid to pass it. Some Malays
with a boatload of rice here overtook us, and after safely
passing down kindly sent back one of their men to assist me. As
it was, my Dyaks lost their balance in the critical part of the
passage, and had they been alone would certainly have upset the
boat. The river now became exceedingly picturesque, the ground on
each side being partially cleared for ricefields, affording a
good view of the country. Numerous little granaries were built
high up in trees overhanging the river, and having a bamboo
bridge sloping up to them from the bank; and here and there
bamboo suspension bridge crossed the stream, where overhanging
trees favoured their construction.

I slept that night in the village of the Sebungow Dyaks, and the
next day reached Sarawak, passing through a most beautiful
country where limestone mountains with their fantastic forms and
white precipices slot up on every side, draped and festooned with
a luxuriant vegetation. The banks of the Sarawak River are
everywhere covered with fruit trees, which supply the Dyaks with
a great deal of their food. The Mangosteen, Lansat, Rambutan,
Jack, Jambou, and Blimbing, are all abundant; but most abundant
and most esteemed is the Durian, a fruit about which very little
is known in England, but which both by natives and Europeans in
the Malay Archipelago is reckoned superior to all others. The old
traveller Linschott, writing in 1599, says: "It is of such an
excellent taste that it surpasses in flavour all the other fruits
of the world, according to those who have tasted it." And Doctor
Paludanus adds: "This fruit is of a hot and humid nature. To
those not used to it, it seems at first to smell like rotten
onions, but immediately when they have tasted it, they prefer it
to all other food. The natives give it honourable titles, exalt it,
and make verses on it." When brought into a house the smell is often
so offensive that some persons can never bear to taste it. This
was my own case when I first tried it in Malacca, but in Borneo I
found a ripe fruit on the ground, and, eating it out of doors, I
at once became a confirmed Durian eater.

The Durian grows on a large and lofty forest tree, somewhat
resembling an elm in its general character, but with a more
smooth and scaly bark. The fruit is round or slightly oval, about
the size of a large cocoanut, of a green colour, and covered all
over with short stout spines the bases of which touch each other,
and are consequently somewhat hexagonal, while the points are
very strong and sharp. It is so completely armed, that if the
stalk is broken off it is a difficult matter to lift one from the
ground. The outer rind is so thick and tough, that from whatever
height it may fall it is never broken. From the base to the apex
five very faint lines may be traced, over which the spines arch a
little; these are the sutures of the carpels, and show where the
fruit may be divided with a heavy knife and a strong hand. The
five cells are satiny white within, and are each filled with an
oval mass of cream-coloured pulp, imbedded in which are two or
three seeds about the size of chestnuts. This pulp is the eatable
part, and its consistency and flavour are indescribable. A rich
butter-like custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best
general idea of it, but intermingled with it come wafts of
flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, brown
sherry, and other incongruities. Then there is a rich glutinous
smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which
adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid, nor sweet, nor juicy;
yet one feels the want of more of these qualities, for it is
perfect as it is. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and
the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In
fact to eat Durians is a new sensation, worth a voyage to the
East to experience.

When the fruit is ripe it falls of itself, and the only way to
eat Durians in perfection is to get them as they fall; and the
smell is then less overpowering. When unripe, it makes a very
good vegetable if cooked, and it is also eaten by the Dyaks raw.
In a good fruit season large quantities are preserved salted, in
jars and bamboos, and kept the year round, when it acquires a
most disgusting odour to Europeans, but the Dyaks appreciate
it highly as a relish with their rice. There are in the forest
two varieties of wild Durians with much smaller fruits, one of
them orange-coloured inside; and these are probably the origin of
the large and fine Durians, which are never found wild. It would
not, perhaps, be correct to say that the Durian is the best of
all fruits, because it cannot supply the place of the subacid
juicy kinds, such as the orange, grape, mango, and mangosteen,
whose refreshing and cooling qualities are so wholesome and
grateful; but as producing a food of the most exquisite flavour,
it is unsurpassed. If I had to fix on two only, as representing
the perfection of the two classes, I should certainly choose the
Durian and the Orange as the king and queen of fruits.

The Durian is, however, sometimes dangerous. When the fruit
begins to ripen it falls daily and almost hourly, and accidents
not unfrequently happen to persons walking or working under the
trees. When a Durian strikes a man in its fall, it produces a
dreadful wound, the strong spines tearing open the flesh, while
the blow itself is very heavy; but from this very circumstance
death rarely ensues, the copious effusion of blood preventing the
inflammation which might otherwise take place. A Dyak chief
informed me that he had been struck down by a Durian falling on
his head, which he thought would certainly have caused his death,
yet he recovered in a very short time.

Poets and moralists, judging from our English trees and fruits,
have thought that small fruits always grew on lofty trees, so
that their fall should be harmless to man, while the large ones
trailed on the ground. Two of the largest and heaviest fruits
known, however, the Brazil-nut fruit (Bertholletia) and Durian,
grow on lofty forest trees, from which they fall as soon as they
are ripe, and often wound or kill the native inhabitants. From
this we may learn two things: first, not to draw general
conclusions from a very partial view of nature; and secondly,
that trees and fruits, no less than the varied productions of the
animal kingdom, do not appear to be organized with exclusive
reference to the use and convenience of man.

During my many journeys in Borneo, and especially during my
various residences among the Dyaks, I first came to appreciate
the admirable qualities of the Bamboo. In those parts of South
America which I had previously visited, these gigantic grasses
were comparatively scarce; and where found but little used, their
place being taken as to one class of uses by the great variety of
Palms, and as to another by calabashes and gourds. Almost all
tropical countries produce Bamboos, and wherever they are found
in abundance the natives apply them to a variety of uses. Their
strength, lightness, smoothness, straightness, roundness and
hollowness, the facility and regularity with which they can be
split, their many different sizes, the varying length of their
joints, the ease with which they can be cut and with which holes
can be made through them, their hardness outside, their freedom
from any pronounced taste or smell, their great abundance, and
the rapidity of their growth and increase, are all qualities
which render them useful for a hundred different purposes, to
serve which other materials would require much more labour and
preparation. The Bamboo is one of the most wonderful and most
beautiful productions of the tropics, and one of nature's most
valuable gifts to uncivilized man.

The Dyak houses are all raised on posts, and are often two or
three hundred feet long and forty or fifty wide. The floor is
always formed of strips split from large Bamboos, so that each
may be nearly flat and about three inches wide, and these are
firmly tied down with rattan to the joists beneath. When well
made, this is a delightful floor to walk upon barefooted, the
rounded surfaces of the bamboo being very smooth and agreeable to
the feet, while at the same time affording a firm hold. But, what
is more important, they form with a mat over them an excellent
bed, the elasticity of the Bamboo and its rounded surface being
far superior to a more rigid and a flatter floor. Here we at once
find a use for Bamboo which cannot be supplied so well by another
material without a vast amount of labour--palms and other
substitutes requiring much cutting and smoothing, and not being
equally good when finished. When, however, a flat, close floor is
required, excellent boards are made by splitting open large
Bamboos on one side only, and flattening them out so as to form
slabs eighteen inches wide and six feet long, with which some
Dyaks floor their houses. These with constant rubbing of the feet
and the smoke of years become dark and polished, like walnut or
old oak, so that their real material can hardly be recognised.
What labour is here saved to a savage whose only tools are an axe
and a knife, and who, if he wants boards, must hew them out of
the solid trunk of a tree, and must give days and weeks of labour
to obtain a surface as smooth and beautiful as the Bamboo thus
treated affords him. Again, if a temporary house is wanted,
either by the native in his plantation or by the traveller in the
forest, nothing is so convenient as the Bamboo, with which a
house can be constructed with a quarter of the labour and time
than if other materials are used.

As I have already mentioned, the Hill Dyaks in the interior of
Sarawak make paths for long distances from village to village and
to their cultivated grounds, in the course of which they have to
cross many gullies and ravines, and even rivers; or sometimes, to
avoid a long circuit, to carry the path along the face of a
precipice. In all these cases the bridges they construct are of
Bamboo, and so admirably adapted is the material for this
purpose, that it seems doubtful whether they ever would have
attempted such works if they had not possessed it. The Dyak
bridge is simple but well designed. It consists merely of stout
Bamboos crossing each other at the road-way like the letter X,
and rising a few feet above it. At the crossing they are firmly
bound together, and to a large Bamboo which lays upon them and
forms the only pathway, with a slender and often very shaky one
to serve as a handrail. When a river is to be crossed, an
overhanging tree is chosen from which the bridge is partly
suspended and partly supported by diagonal struts from the banks,
so as to avoid placing posts in the stream itself, which would be
liable to be carried away by floods. In carrying a path along the
face of a precipice, trees and roots are made use of for
suspension; struts arise from suitable notches or crevices in the
rocks, and if these are not sufficient, immense Bamboos fifty or
sixty feet long are fixed on the banks or on the branch of a tree
below. These bridges are traversed daily by men and women
carrying heavy loads, so that any insecurity is soon discovered,
and, as the materials are close at hand, immediately repaired.
When a path goes over very steep ground, and becomes slippery in
very wet or very dry weather, the Bamboo is used in another way.
Pieces are cut about a yard long, and opposite notches being made
at each end, holes are formed through which pegs are driven, and
firm and convenient steps are thus formed with the greatest ease
and celerity. It is true that much of this will decay in one or
two seasons, but it can be so quickly replaced as to make it more
economical than using a harder and more durable wood.

One of the most striking uses to which Bamboo is applied by the
Dyaks, is to assist them in climbing lofty trees by driving in
pegs in the way I have already described at page 85. This method
is constantly used in order to obtain wax, which is one of the
most valuable products of the country. The honey-bee of Borneo
very generally hangs its combs under the branches of the Tappan,
a tree which towers above all others in the forest, and whose
smooth cylindrical trunk often rises a hundred feet without a
branch. The Dyaks climb these lofty trees at night, building up
their Bamboo ladder as they go, and bringing down gigantic
honeycombs. These furnish them with a delicious feast of honey
and young bees, besides the wax, which they sell to traders, and
with the proceeds buy the much-coveted brass wire, earrings, and
bold-edged handkerchiefs with which they love to decorate
themselves. In ascending Durian and other fruit trees which
branch at from thirty to fifty feet from the ground, I have seen
them use the Bamboo pegs only, without the upright Bamboo which
renders them so much more secure.

The outer rind of the Bamboo, split and shaved thin, is the
strongest material for baskets; hen-coops, bird-cages, and
conical fish-traps are very quickly made from a single joint, by
splitting off the skin in narrow strips left attached to one end,
while rings of the same material or of rattan are twisted in at
regular distances. Water is brought to the houses by little
aqueducts formed of large Bamboos split in half and supported on
crossed sticks of various heights so as to give it a regular
fall. Thin long-jointed Bamboos form the Dyaks' only water-
vessels, and a dozen of them stand in the corner of every house.
They are clean, light, and easily carried, and are in many ways
superior to earthen vessels for the same purpose. They also make
excellent cooking utensils; vegetables and rice can be boiled in
them to perfection, and they are often used when travelling.
Salted fruit or fish, sugar, vinegar, and honey are preserved in
them instead of in jars or bottles. In a small Bamboo case,
prettily carved and ornamented, the Dyak carries his sirih and
lime for betel chewing, and his little long-bladed knife has a
Bamboo sheath. His favourite pipe is a huge hubble-bubble, which
he will construct in a few minutes by inserting a small piece of
Bamboo for a bowl obliquely into a large cylinder about six
inches from the bottom containing water, through which the smoke
passes to a long slender Bamboo tube. There are many other small
matters for which Bamboo is daily used, but enough has now been
mentioned to show its value. In other parts of the Archipelago I
have myself seen it applied to many new uses, and it is probable
that my limited means of observation did not make me acquainted
with one-half the ways in which it is serviceable to the Dyaks of

While upon the subject of plants I may here mention a few of the
more striking vegetable productions of Borneo. The wonderful
Pitcher-plants, forming the genus Nepenthes of botanists, here
reach their greatest development. Every mountain-top abounds with
them, running along the ground, or climbing over shrubs and
stunted trees; their elegant pitchers hanging in every direction.
Some of these are long and slender, resembling in form the
beautiful Philippine lace-sponge (Euplectella), which has now
become so common; others are broad and short. Their colours are
green, variously tinted and mottled with red or purple. The
finest yet known were obtained on the summit of Kini-balou, in
North-west Borneo. One of the broad sort, Nepenthes rajah, will
hold two quarts of water in its pitcher. Another, Nepenthes
Edwardsiania, has a narrow pitcher twenty inches long; while the
plant itself grows to a length of twenty feet.

Ferns are abundant, but are not so varied as on the volcanic
mountains of Java; and Tree-ferns are neither so plentiful nor so
large as on that island. They grow, however, quite down to the
level of the sea, and are generally slender and graceful plants
from eight to fifteen feet high. Without devoting much time to
the search I collected fifty species of Ferns in Borneo, and I
have no doubt a good botanist would have obtained twice the
number. The interesting group of Orchids is very abundant, but,
as is generally the case, nine-tenths of the species have small
and inconspicuous flowers. Among the exceptions are the fine
Coelogynes, whose large clusters of yellow flowers ornament the
gloomiest forests, and that most extraordinary plant, Vanda
Lowii, which last is particularly abundant near some hot springs
at the foot of the Penin-jauh Mountain. It grows on the lower
branches of trees, and its us strange pendant flower-spires often
hang down so as almost to reach the ground. These are generally
six or eight feet long, bearing large and handsome flowers three
inches across, and varying in colour from orange to red, with
deep purple-red spots. I measured one spike, which reached the
extraordinary length of nine feet eight inches, and bore thirty-
six flowers, spirally arranged upon a slender thread-like stalk.
Specimens grown in our English hot-houses have produced flower-
spires of equal length, and with a much larger number of

Flowers were scarce, as is usual in equatorial forests, and it
was only at rare intervals that I met with anything striking. A
few fine climbers were sometimes seen, especially a handsome
crimson and yellow Aeschynanthus, and a fine leguminous plant
with clusters of large Cassia-like flowers of a rich purple
colour. Once I found a number of small Anonaceous trees of the
genus Polyalthea, producing a most striking effect in the gloomy
forest shades. They were about thirty feet high, and their
slender trunks were covered with large star-like crimson flowers,
which clustered over them like garlands, and resembled some
artificial decoration more than a natural product.

The forests abound with gigantic trees with cylindrical,
buttressed, or furrowed stems, while occasionally the traveller
comes upon a wonderful fig-tree, whose trunk is itself a forest
of stems and aerial roots. Still more rarely are found trees
which appear to have begun growing in mid-air, and from the same
point send out wide-spreading branches above and a complicated
pyramid of roots descending for seventy or eighty feet to the
ground below, and so spreading on every side, that one can stand
in the very centre with the trunk of the tree immediately
overhead. Trees of this character are found all over the
Archipelago, and the accompanying illustration (taken from one
which I often visited in the Aru Islands) will convey some idea
of their general character. I believe that they originate as
parasites, from seeds carried by birds and dropped in the fork of
some lofty tree. Hence descend aerial roots, clasping and
ultimately destroying the supporting tree, which is in time
entirely replaced by the humble plant which was at first
dependent upon it. Thus we have an actual struggle for life in
the vegetable kingdom, not less fatal to the vanquished than the
struggles among animals which we can so much more easily observe
and understand. The advantage of quicker access to light and
warmth and air, which is gained in one way by climbing plants, is
here obtained by a forest tree, which has the means of starting
in life at an elevation which others can only attain after many
years of growth, and then only when the fall of some other tree
has made room for then. Thus it is that in the warm and moist and
equable climate of the tropics, each available station is seized
upon and becomes the means of developing new forms of life
especially adapted to occupy it.

On reaching Sarawak early in December, I found there would not be
an opportunity of returning to Singapore until the latter end of
January. I therefore accepted Sir James Brooke's invitation to
spend a week with him and Mr. St. John at his cottage on Peninjauh.
This is a very steep pyramidal mountain of crystalline
basaltic rock, about a thousand feet high, and covered with
luxuriant forest. There are three Dyak villages upon it, and on a
little platform near the summit is the rude wooden lodge where
the English Rajah was accustomed to go for relaxation and cool
fresh air. It is only twenty miles up the river, but the road up
the mountain is a succession of ladders on the face of
precipices, bamboo bridges over gullies and chasms, and slippery
paths over rocks and tree-trunks and huge boulders as big as
houses. A cool spring under an overhanging rock just below the
cottage furnished us with refreshing baths and delicious drinking
water, and the Dyaks brought us daily heaped-up baskets of
Mangosteens and Lansats, two of the most delicious of the subacid
tropical fruits. We returned to Sarawak for Christmas (the second
I had spent with Sir James Brooke), when all the Europeans both
in the town and from the out-stations enjoyed the hospitality of
the Rajah, who possessed in a pre-eminent degree the art of
making every one around him comfortable and happy.

A few days afterwards I returned to the mountain with Charles and
a Malay boy named Ali and stayed there three weeks for the
purpose of making a collection of land-shells, butterflies and
moths, ferns and orchids. On the hill itself ferns were tolerably
plentiful, and I made a collection of about forty species. But
what occupied me most was the great abundance of moths which on
certain occasions I was able to capture. As during the whole of
my eight years' wanderings in the East I never found another spot
where these insects were at all plentiful, it will be interesting
to state the exact conditions under which I here obtained them.

On one side of the cottage there was a verandah, looking down
the whole side of the mountain and to its summit on the right,
all densely clothed with forest. The boarded sides of the cottage
were whitewashed, and the roof of the verandah was low, and also
boarded and whitewashed. As soon as it got dark I placed my lamp
on a table against the wall, and with pins, insect-forceps, net,
and collecting-boxes by my side, sat down with a book. Sometimes
during the whole evening only one solitary moth would visit me,
while on other nights they would pour in, in a continual stream,
keeping me hard at work catching and pinning till past midnight.
They came literally by the thousands. These good nights were very
few. During the four weeks that I spent altogether on the hill I
only had four really good nights, and these were always rainy,
and the best of them soaking wet. But wet nights were not always
good, for a rainy moonlight night produced next to nothing. All
the chief tribes of moths were represented, and the beauty and
variety of the species was very great. On good nights I was able
to capture from a hundred to two hundred and fifty moths, and these
comprised on each occasion from half to two-thirds that number of
distinct species. Some of them would settle on the wall, some on
the table, while many would fly up to the roof and give me a chase
all over the verandah before I could secure them. In order to show
the curious connection between the state of weather and the degree
in which moths were attracted to light, I add a list of my captures
each night of my stay on the hill.

Date (1855) No. of Moths Remarks

Dec. 13th 1 Fine; starlight.
14th 75 Drizzly and fog.
15th 41 Showery; cloudy.
16th 158 (120 species.) Steady rain.
17th 82 Wet; rather moonlight.
18th 9 Fine; moonlight.
19th 2 Fine; clear moonlight.
31st 200 (130 species.) Dark and windy;
heavy rain.

Date (1856)
Jan. 1st 185 Very wet.
2d 68 Cloudy and showers.
3d 50 Cloudy.
4th 12 Fine.
5th 10 Fine.
6th 8 Very fine.
7th 8 Very fine.
8th 10 Fine.
9th 36 Showery.
10th 30 Showery.
11th 260 Heavy rain all night, and dark.
12th 56 Showery.
13th 44 Showery; some moonlight.
14th 4 Fine; moonlight.
15th 24 Rain; moonlight.
16th 6 Showers; moonlight.
17th 6 Showers; moonlight.
18th 1 Showers; moonlight.
Total 1,386

It thus appears that on twenty-six nights I collected 1,386
moths, but that more than 800 of them were collected on four very
wet and dark nights. My success here led me to hope that, by
similar arrangements, I might on every island be able to obtain an
abundance of these insects; but, strange to say, during the six
succeeding years, I was never once able to make any collections at
all approaching those at Sarawak. The reason for this I can pretty
well understand to be owing to the absence of some one or other
essential condition that were here all combined. Sometimes the
dry season was the hindrance; more frequently residence in a town
or village not close to virgin forest, and surrounded by other
houses whose lights were a counter-attraction; still more
frequently residence in a dark palm-thatched house, with a lofty
roof, in whose recesses every moth was lost the instant it
entered. This last was the greatest drawback, and the real reason
why I never again was able to make a collection of moths; for I
never afterwards lived in a solitary jungle-house with a low
boarded and whitewashed verandah, so constructed as to prevent
insects at once escaping into the upper part of the house, quite
out of reach.

After my long experience, my numerous failures, and my one success,
I feel sure that if any party of naturalists ever make a yacht-voyage
to explore the Malayan Archipelago, or any other tropical region,
making entomology one of their chief pursuits, it would well repay
them to carry a small framed verandah, or a verandah-shaped tent
of white canvas, to set up in every favourable situation, as a means
of making a collection of nocturnal Lepidoptera, and also of obtaining
rare specimens of Coleoptera and other insects. I make the suggestion
here, because no one would suspect the enormous difference in results
that such an apparatus would produce; and because I consider it one
of the curiosities of a collector's experience, to have found out
that some such apparatus is required.

When I returned to Singapore I took with me the Malay lad named
Ali, who subsequently accompanied me all over the Archipelago.
Charles Allen preferred staying at the Mission-house, and
afterwards obtained employment in Sarawak and in Singapore, until
he again joined me four years later at Amboyna in the Moluccas.



THE manners and customs of the aborigines of Borneo have been
described in great detail, and with much fuller information than I
possess, in the writings of Sir James Brooke, Messrs. Low, St. John,
Johnson Brooke, and many others. I do not propose to go over the
ground again, but shall confine myself to a sketch, from personal
observation, of the general character of the Dyaks, and of such
physical, moral, and social characteristics as have been less
frequently noticed.

The Dyak is closely allied to the Malay, and more remotely to the
Siamese, Chinese, and other Mongol races. All these are characterised
by a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown skin of various shades, by jet-
black straight hair, by the scanty or deficient beard, by the rather
small and broad nose, and high cheekbones; but none of the Malayan
races have the oblique eyes which are characteristic of the more
typical Mongols. The average stature of the Dyaks is rather more than
that of the Malays, while it is considerably under that of most
Europeans. Their forms are well proportioned, their feet and hands
small, and they rarely or never attain the bulk of body so often seen
in Malays and Chinese.

I am inclined to rank the Dyaks above the Malays in mental capacity,
while in moral character they are undoubtedly superior to them. They
are simple and honest, and become the prey of the Malay and Chinese
trailers, who cheat and plunder them continually. They are more
lively, more talkative, less secretive, and less suspicious than the
Malay, and are therefore pleasanter companions. The Malay boys have
little inclination for active sports and games, which form quite a
feature in the life of the Dyak youths, who, besides outdoor games of
skill and strength, possess a variety of indoor amusements. One wet
day, in a Dyak house, when a number of boys and young men were about
me, I thought to amuse them with something new, and showed them how
to make "cat's cradle" with a piece of string. Greatly to my
surprise, they knew all about it, and more than I did; for, after
Charles and I had gone through all the changes we could make, one of
the boys took it off my hand, and made several new figures which
quite puzzled me. They then showed me a number of other tricks with
pieces of string, which seemed a favourite amusement with them.

Even these apparently trifling matters may assist us to form a truer
estimate of the Dyaks' character and social condition. We learn
thereby, that these people have passed beyond that first stage of
savage life in which the struggle for existence absorbs all of the
faculties, and in which every thought and idea is connected with war
or hunting, or the provision for their immediate necessities. These
amusements indicate a capability of civilization, an aptitude to
enjoy other than mere sensual pleasures, which night be taken
advantage of to elevate their whole intellectual and social life.

The moral character of the Dyaks is undoubtedly high--a statement
which will seem strange to those who have heard of them only as
head-hunters and pirates. The Hill Dyaks of whom I am speaking,
however, have never been pirates, since they never go near the sea;
and head-hunting is a custom originating in the petty wars of village
with village, and tribe with tribe, which no more implies a bad moral
character than did the custom of the slave-trade a hundred years ago
imply want of general morality in all who participated in it. Against
this one stain on their character (which in the case of the Sarawak
Dyaks no longer exists) we have to set many good points. They are
truthful and honest to a remarkable degree. From this cause it is
very often impossible to get from them any definite information, or
even an opinion. They say, "If I were to tell yon what I don't know,
I might tell a lie;" and whenever they voluntarily relate any matter
of fact, you may be sure they are speaking the truth. In a Dyak
village the fruit trees have each their owner, and it has often
happened to me, on asking an inhabitant to gather me some fruit, to
be answered, "I can't do that, for the owner of the tree is not
here;" never seeming to contemplate the possibility of acting
otherwise. Neither will they take the smallest thing belonging to an
European. When living at Simunjon, they continually came to my house,
and would pick up scraps of torn newspaper or crooked pins that I had
thrown away, and ask as a great favour whether they might have them.
Crimes of violence (other than head-hunting) are almost unknown; for
in twelve years, under Sir James Brooke's rule, there had been only
one case of murder in a Dyak tribe, and that one was committed by a
stranger who had been adopted into the tribe. In several other
matters of morality they rank above most uncivilized, and even above
many civilized nations. They are temperate in food and drink, and the
gross sensuality of the Chinese and Malays is unknown among them.
They have the usual fault of all people in a half-savage state--
apathy and dilatoriness, but, however annoying this may be to
Europeans who come in contact with them, it cannot be considered a
very grave offence, or be held to outweigh their many excellent

During my residence among the Hill Dyaks, I was much struck by the
apparent absence of those causes which are generally supposed to
check the increase of population, although there were plain
indications of stationary or but slowly increasing numbers. The
conditions most favourable to a rapid increase of population are: an
abundance of food, a healthy climate, and early marriages. Here these
conditions all exist. The people produce far more food than they
consume, and exchange the surplus for gongs and brass cannon, ancient
jars, and gold and silver ornaments, which constitute their wealth.
On the whole, they appear very free from disease, marriages take
place early (but not too early), and old bachelors and old maids are
alike unknown. Why, then, we must inquire, has not a greater
population been produced? Why are the Dyak villages so small and so
widely scattered, while nine-tenths of the country is still covered
with forest?

Of all the checks to population among savage nations mentioned by
Malthus--starvation, disease, war, infanticide, immorality, and
infertility of the women--the last is that which he seems to think
least important, and of doubtful efficacy; and yet it is the only one
that seems to me capable of accounting for the state of the
population among the Sarawak Dyaks. The population of Great Britain
increases so as to double itself in about fifty years. To do this it
is evident that each married couple must average three children who
live to be married at the age of about twenty-five. Add to these
those who die in infancy, those who never marry, or those who marry
late in life and have no offspring, the number of children born to
each marriage must average four or five, and we know that families
of seven or eight are very common, and of ten and twelve by no means
rare. But from inquiries at almost every Dyak tribe I visited, I
ascertained that the women rarely had more than three or four
children, and an old chief assured me that he had never known a woman
to have more than seven.

In a village consisting of a hundred and fifty families, only one
consisted of six children living, and only six of five children,
the majority of families appearing to be two, three, or four.
Comparing this with the known proportions in European countries,
it is evident that the number of children to each marriage can hardly
average more than three or four; and as even in civilized countries
half the population die before the age of twenty-five, we should have
only two left to replace their parents; and so long as this state of
things continued, the population must remain stationary. Of course
this is a mere illustration; but the facts I have stated seem to
indicate that something of the kind really takes place; and if so,
there is no difficulty in understanding the smallness and almost
stationary population of the Dyak tribes.

We have next to inquire what is the cause of the small number of
births and of living children in a family. Climate and race may have
something to do with this, but a more real and efficient cause seems
to me to be the hard labour of the women, and the heavy weights they
constantly carry. A Dyak woman generally spends the whole day in the
field, and carries home every night a heavy load of vegetables and
firewood, often for several miles, over rough and hilly paths; and
not unfrequently has to climb up a rocky mountain by ladders, and
over slippery steppingstones, to an elevation of a thousand feet.
Besides this, she has an hour's work every evening to pound the rice
with a heavy wooden stamper, which violently strains every part of
the body. She begins this kind of labour when nine or ten years old,
and it never ceases but with the extreme decrepitude of age. Surely
we need not wonder at the limited number of her progeny, but rather
be surprised at the successful efforts of nature to prevent the
extermination of the race.

One of the surest and most beneficial effects of advancing
civilization, will be the amelioration of the condition of these
women. The precept and example of higher races will make the Dyak
ashamed of his comparatively idle life, while his weaker partner
labours like a beast of burthen. As his wants become increased and
his tastes refined, the women will have more household duties to
attend to, and will then cease to labour in the field--a change which
has already to a great extent taken place in the allied Malay,
Javanese, and Bugis tribes. Population will then certainly increase
more rapidly, improved systems of agriculture and some division of
labour will become necessary in order to provide the means of
existence, and a more complicated social state will take the place of
the simple conditions of society which now occur among them. But,
with the sharper struggle for existence that will then arise, will
the happiness of the people as a whole be increased or diminished?
Will not evil passions be aroused by the spirit of competition, and
crimes and vices, now unknown or dormant, be called into active
existence? These are problems that time alone can solve; but it is to
be hoped that education and a high-class European example may obviate
much of the evil that too often arises in analogous cases, and that we
may at length be able to point to one instance of an uncivilized
people who have not become demoralized, and finally exterminated, by
contact with European civilization.

A few words in conclusion, about the government of Sarawak. Sir James
Brooke found the Dyaks oppressed and ground down by the most cruel
tyranny. They were cheated by the Malay traders and robbed by the
Malay chiefs. Their wives and children were often captured and sold
into slavery, and hostile tribes purchased permission from their
cruel rulers to plunder, enslave, and murder them. Anything like
justice or redress for these injuries was utterly unattainable. From
the time Sir James obtained possession of the country, all this was
stopped. Equal justice was awarded to Malay, Chinaman, and Dyak. The
remorseless pirates from the rivers farther east were punished, and
finally shut up within their own territories, and the Dyak, for the
first time, could sleep in peace. His wife and children were now
safe from slavery; his house was no longer burned over his head; his
crops and his fruits were now his own to sell or consume as he
pleased. And the unknown stranger who had done all this for them, and
asked for nothing in return, what could he be? How was it possible
for them to realize his motives? Was it not natural that they should
refuse to believe he was a man? For of pure benevolence combined with
great power, they had had no experience among men. They naturally
concluded that he was a superior being, come down upon earth to
confer blessings on the afflicted. In many villages where he had not
been seen, I was asked strange questions about him. Was he not as old
as the mountains? Could he not bring the dead to life? And they
firmly believe that he can give them good harvests, and make their
fruit-trees bear an abundant crop.

In forming a proper estimate of Sir James Brooke's government it must
ever be remembered that he held Sarawak solely by the goodwill of the
native inhabitant. He had to deal with two races, one of whom, the
Mahometan Malays, looked upon the other race, the Dyaks, as savages
and slaves, only fit to be robbed and plundered. He has effectually
protected the Dyaks, and has invariably treated them as, in his
sight, equal to the Malays; and yet he has secured the affection and
goodwill of both. Notwithstanding the religious prejudice, of
Mahometans, he has induced them to modify many of their worst laws
and customs, and to assimilate their criminal code to that of the
civilized world. That his government still continues, after twenty-
seven years--notwithstanding his frequent absences from ill-health,
notwithstanding conspiracies of Malay chiefs, and insurrections of
Chinese gold-diggers, all of which have been overcome by the support
of the native population, and notwithstanding financial, political,
and domestic troubles is due, I believe, solely to the many admirable
qualities which Sir James Brooke possessed, and especially to his
having convinced the native population, by every action of his life,
that he ruled them, not for his own advantage, but for their good.

Since these lines were written, his noble spirit has passed away.
But though, by those who knew him not, he may be sneered at as an
enthusiastic adventurer, abused as a hard-hearted despot, the universal
testimony of everyone who came in contact with him in his adopted
country, whether European, Malay, or Dyak, will be, that Rajah Brooke
was a great, a wise, and a good ruler; a true and faithful friend--
a man to be admired for his talents, respected for his honesty and
courage, and loved for his genuine hospitality, his kindness of
disposition, and his tenderness of heart.



I SPENT three months and a half in Java, from July 18th to
October 31st, 1861, and shall briefly describe my own movements,
and my observations of the people and the natural history of the
country. To all those who wish to understand how the Dutch now
govern Java, and how it is that they are enabled to derive a
large annual revenue from it, while the population increases, and
the inhabitants are contented, I recommend the study of Mr.
Money's excellent and interesting work, "How to Manage a Colony."
The main facts and conclusions of that work I most heartily
concur in, and I believe that the Dutch system is the very best
that can be adopted, when a European nation conquers or otherwise
acquires possession of a country inhabited by an industrious but
semi-barbarous people. In my account of Northern Celebes, I shall
show how successfully the same system has been applied to a
people in a very different state of civilization from the
Javanese; and in the meanwhile will state in the fewest words
possible what that system is.

The mode of government now adopted in Java is to retain the whole
series of native rulers, from the village chief up to princes,
who, under the name of Regents, are the heads of districts about
the size of a small English county. With each Regent is placed a
Dutch Resident, or Assistant Resident, who is considered to be
his "elder brother," and whose "orders" take the form of
"recommendations," which are, however, implicitly obeyed. Along
with each Assistant Resident is a Controller, a kind of inspector
of all the lower native rulers, who periodically visits every
village in the district, examines the proceedings of the native
courts, hears complaints against the head-men or other native
chiefs, and superintends the Government plantations. This brings
us to the "culture system," which is the source of all the wealth
the Dutch derive from Java, and is the subject of much abuse in
this country because it is the reverse of "free trade." To
understand its uses and beneficial effects, it is necessary first
to sketch the common results of free European trade with
uncivilized peoples.

Natives of tropical climates have few wants, and, when these are
supplied, are disinclined to work for superfluities without some
strong incitement. With such a people the introduction of any new
or systematic cultivation is almost impossible, except by the
despotic orders of chiefs whom they have been accustomed to obey,
as children obey their parents. The free competition of European
traders, however introduces two powerful inducements to exertion.
Spirits or opium is a temptation too strong for most savages to
resist, and to obtain these he will sell whatever he has, and
will work to get more. Another temptation he cannot resist, is
goods on credit. The trader offers him bay cloths, knives, gongs,
guns, and gunpowder, to be paid for by some crop perhaps not yet
planted, or some product yet in the forest. He has not sufficient
forethought to take only a moderate quantity, and not enough
energy to work early and late in order to get out of debt; and
the consequence is that he accumulates debt upon debt, and often
remains for years, or for life, a debtor and almost a slave. This
is a state of things which occurs very largely in every part of
the world in which men of a superior race freely trade with men
of a lower race. It extends trade no doubt for a time, but it
demoralizes the native, checks true civilization--and does not
lead to any permanent increase in the wealth of the country; so
that the European government of such a country must be carried on
at a loss.

The system introduced by the Dutch was to induce the people,
through their chiefs, to give a portion of their till, to the
cultivation of coffee, sugar, and other valuable products. A
fixed rate of wages--low indeed, but, about equal to that of all
places where European competition has not artificially raised it-
-was paid to the labourers engaged in clearing the ground and
forming the plantations under Government superintendence. The
produce is sold to the Government at a low, fixed price. Out of
the net profit a percentage goes to the chiefs, and the remainder
is divided among the workmen. This surplus in good years is
something considerable. On the whole, the people are well fed and
decently clothed, and have acquired habits of steady industry and
the art of scientific cultivation, which must be of service to
them in the future. It must be remembered, that the Government
expended capital for years before any return was obtained; and if
they now derive a large revenue, it is in a way which is far less
burthensome, and far more beneficial to the people, than any tax
that could be levied.

But although the system may be a good one, and as well adapted to
the development of arts and industry in a half civilized people
as it is to the material advantage of the governing country, it
is not pretended that in practice it is perfectly carried out.
The oppressive and servile relations between chiefs and people,
which have continued for perhaps a thousand years, cannot be at
once abolished; and some evil must result from those relations,
until the spread of education and the gradual infusion of
European blood causes it naturally and insensibly to disappear.
It is said that the Residents, desirous of showing a large
increase in the products of their districts, have sometimes
pressed the people to such continued labour on the plantations
that their rice crops have been materially diminished, and famine
has been the result. If this has happened, it is certainly not a
common thing, and is to be set down to the abuse of the system,
by the want of judgment, or want of humanity in the Resident.

A tale has lately been written in Holland, and translated into
English, entitled "Max Havelaar; or, the "Coffee Auctions of the
Dutch Trading Company," and with our usual one-sidedness in all
relating to the Dutch Colonial System, this work has been
excessively praised, both for its own merits, and for its
supposed crushing exposure of the iniquities of the Dutch
government of Java. Greatly to my surprise, I found it a very
tedious and long-winded story, full of rambling digressions; and
whose only point is to show that the Dutch Residents and
Assistant Residents wink at the extortions of the native princes;
and that in some districts the natives have to do work without
payment, and have their goods taken away from them without
compensation. Every statement of this kind is thickly
interspersed with italics and capital letters; but as the names
are all fictitious, and neither dates, figures, nor details are
ever given, it is impossible to verify or answer them. Even if
not exaggerated, the facts stated are not nearly so bad as those
of the oppression by free-trade indigo-planters, and torturing by
native tax-gatherers under British rule in India, with which the
readers of English newspapers were familiar a few years ago. Such
oppression, however, is not fairly to be imputed in either case
to the particular form of government, but is rather due to the
infirmity of human nature, and to the impossibility of at once
destroying all trace of ages of despotism on the one side, and of
slavish obedience to their chiefs on the other.

It must be remembered, that the complete establishment of the
Dutch power in Java is much more recent than that of our rule in
India, and that there have been several changes of government,
and in the mode of raising revenue. The inhabitants have been so
recently under the rule of their native princes, that it is not
easy at once to destroy the excessive reverence they feel for
their old masters, or to diminish the oppressive exactions which
the latter have always been accustomed to make. There is,
however, one grand test of the prosperity, and even of the
happiness, of a community, which we can apply here--the rate of
increase of the population.

It is universally admitted that when a country increases rapidly
in population, the people cannot be very greatly oppressed or
very badly governed. The present system of raising a revenue by
the cultivation of coffee and sugar, sold to Government at a
fixed price, began in 1832. Just before this, in 1826, the
population by census was 5,500,000, while at the beginning of the
century it was estimated at 3,500,000. In 1850, when the
cultivation system had been in operation eighteen years, the
population by census was over 9,500,000, or an increase of 73 per
cent in twenty-four years. At the last census, in 1865, it
amounted to 14,168,416, an increase of very nearly 50 per cent in
fifteen years--a rate which would double the population in about
twenty-six years. As Java (with Madura) contains about 38,500
geographical square miles, this will give an average of 368
persons to the square mile, just double that of the populous and
fertile Bengal Presidency as given in Thornton's Gazetteer of
India, and fully one-third more than that of Great Britain and
Ireland at the last Census. If, as I believe, this vast
population is on the whole contented and happy, the Dutch
Government should consider well before abruptly changing a system
which has led to such great results.

Taking it as a whole, and surveying it front every point of view,
Java is probably the very finest and most interesting tropical
island in the world. It is not first in size, but it is more than
600 miles long, and from 60 to 120 miles wide, and in area is
nearly equal to England; and it is undoubtedly the most fertile,
the most productive, and the most populous island within the
tropics. Its whole surface is magnificently varied with mountain
and forest scenery. It possesses thirty-eight volcanic mountains,
several of which rise to ten or twelve thousand feet high. Some
of these are in constant activity, and one or other of them
displays almost every phenomenon produced by the action of
subterranean fires, except regular lava streams, which never
occur in Java. The abundant moisture and tropical heat of the
climate causes these mountains to be clothed with luxuriant
vegetation, often to their very summits, while forests and
plantations cover their lower slopes. The animal productions,
especially the birds and insects, are beautiful and varied, and
present many peculiar forms found nowhere else upon the globe.

The soil throughout the island is exceedingly fertile, and all
the productions of the tropics, together with many of the
temperate zones, can be easily cultivated. Java too possesses a
civilization, a history and antiquities of its own, of great
interest. The Brahminical religion flourished in it from an epoch
of unknown antiquity until about the year 1478, when that of
Mahomet superseded it. The former religion was accompanied by a
civilization which has not been equalled by the conquerors; for,
scattered through the country, especially in the eastern part of
it, are found buried in lofty forests, temples, tombs, and
statues of great beauty and grandeur; and the remains of
extensive cities, where the tiger, the rhinoceros, and the wild
bull now roam undisturbed. A modern civilization of another type
is now spreading over the land. Good roads run through the
country from end to end; European and native rulers work
harmoniously together; and life and property are as well secured
as in the best governed states of Europe. I believe, therefore,
that Java may fairly claim to be the finest tropical island in
the world, and equally interesting to the tourist seeking after
new and beautiful scenes; to the naturalist who desires to
examine the variety and beauty of tropical nature; or to the
moralist and the politician who want to solve the problem of how
man may be best governed under new and varied conditions.

The Dutch mail steamer brought me from Ternate to Sourabaya, the
chief town and port in the eastern part of Java, and after a
fortnight spent in packing up and sending off my last
collections, I started on a short journey into the interior.
Travelling in Java is very luxurious but very expensive, the only
way being to hire or borrow a carriage, and then pay half a crown
a mile for post-horses, which are changed at regular posts every
six miles, and will carry you at the rate of ten miles an hour
from one end of the island to the other. Bullock carts or coolies
are required to carry all extra baggage. As this kind of
travelling world not suit my means, I determined on making only a
short journey to the district at the foot of Mount Arjuna, where
I was told there were extensive forests, and where I hoped to be
able to make some good collections. The country for many miles
behind Sourabaya is perfectly flat and everywhere cultivated;
being a delta or alluvial plain, watered by many branching
streams. Immediately around the town the evident signs of wealth
and of an industrious population were very pleasing; but as we
went on, the constant succession of open fields skirted by rows
of bamboos, with here and there the white buildings and a tall
chimney of a sugar-mill, became monotonous. The roads run in
straight lines for several miles at a stretch, and are bordered
by rows of dusty tamarind-trees. At each mile there are little
guardhouses, where a policeman is stationed; and there is a
wooden gong, which by means of concerted signals may be made to
convey information over the country with great rapidity. About
every six or seven miles is the post-house, where the horses are
changed as quickly as were those of the mail in the old coaching
days in England.

I stopped at Modjokerto, a small town about forty miles south of
Sourabaya, and the nearest point on the high road to the district
I wished to visit. I had a letter of introduction to Mr. Ball, an
Englishman, long resident in Java and married to a Dutch lady;
and he kindly invited me to stay with him until I could fix on a
place to suit me. A Dutch Assistant Resident as well as a Regent
or native Javanese prince lived here. The town was neat, and had
a nice open grassy space like a village green, on which stood a
magnificent fig-tree (allied to the Banyan of India, but more
lofty), under whose shade a kind of market is continually held,
and where the inhabitants meet together to lounge and chat. The
day after my arrival, Mr. Ball drove me over to the village of
Modjo-agong, where he was building a house and premises for the
tobacco trade, which is carried on here by a system of native
cultivation and advance purchase, somewhat similar to the indigo
trade in British India. On our way we stayed to look at a
fragment of the ruins of the ancient city of Modjo-pahit,
consisting of two lofty brick masses, apparently the sides of a
gateway. The extreme perfection and beauty of the brickwork
astonished me. The bricks are exceedingly fine and hard, with
sharp angles and true surfaces. They are laid with great
exactness, without visible mortar or cement, yet somehow fastened
together so that the joints are hardly perceptible, and sometimes
the two surfaces coalesce in a most incomprehensible manner.

Such admirable brickwork I have never seen before or since. There
was no sculpture here, but an abundance of bold projections and
finely-worked mouldings. Traces of buildings exist for many miles
in every direction, and almost every road and pathway shows a
foundation of brickwork beneath it--the paved roads of the old
city. In the house of the Waidono or district chief at Modjo-
agong, I saw a beautiful figure carved in high relief out of a
block of lava, and which had been found buried in the ground near
the village. On my expressing a wish to obtain some such
specimen, Mr. B. asked the chief for it, and much to my surprise
he immediately gave it me. It represented the Hindu goddess
Durga, called in Java, Lora Jonggrang (the exalted virgin). She
has eight arms, and stands on the back of a kneeling bull. Her
lower right hand holds the tail of the bull, while the
corresponding left hand grasps the hair of a captive, Dewth
Mahikusor, the personification of vice, who has attempted to slay
her bull. He has a cord round his waist, and crouches at her feet
in an attitude of supplication. The other hands of the goddess
hold, on her right side, a double hook or small anchor, a broad
straight sword, and a noose of thick cord; on her left, a girdle
or armlet of large beads or shells, an unstrung bow, and a
standard or war flag. This deity was a special favourite among
the old Javanese, and her image is often found in the ruined
temples which abound in the eastern part of the island.

The specimen I had obtained was a small one, about two feet high,
weighing perhaps a hundredweight; and the next day we had it
conveyed to Modjo-Kerto to await my return to Sourabaya. Having
decided to stay some time at Wonosalem, on the lower slopes of
the Arjuna Mountain, where I was informed I should find forest
and plenty of game, I had first to obtain a recommendation from
the Assistant Resident to the Regent, and then an order from the
Regent to the Waidono; and when after a week's delay I arrived
with my baggage and men at Modjo-agong, I found them all in the
midst of a five days' feast, to celebrate the circumcision of the
Waidono's younger brother and cousin, and had a small room in an
on outhouse given me to stay in. The courtyard and the great open
reception-shed were full of natives coming and going and making
preparations for a feast which was to take place at midnight, to
which I was invited, but preferred going to bed. A native band,
or Gamelang, was playing almost all the evening, and I had a good
opportunity of seeing the instruments and musicians. The former
are chiefly gongs of various sizes, arranged in sets of from
eight to twelve, on low wooden frames. Each set is played by one
performer with one or two drumsticks. There are also some very
large gongs, played singly or in pairs, and taking the place of
our drums and kettledrums. Other instruments are formed by broad
metallic bars, supported on strings stretched across frames; and
others again of strips of bamboo similarly placed and producing
the highest notes. Besides these there were a flute and a curious
two-stringed violin, requiring in all twenty-four performers.
There was a conductor, who led off and regulated the time, and
each performer took his part, coming in occasionally with a few
bars so as to form a harmonious combination. The pieces played
were long and complicated, and some of the players were mere
boys, who took their parts with great precision. The general
effect was very pleasing, but, owing to the similarity of most of
the instruments, more like a gigantic musical box than one of our
bands; and in order to enjoy it thoroughly it is necessary to
watch the large number of performers who are engaged in it. The
next morning, while I was waiting for the men and horses who were
to take me and my baggage to my destination, the two lads, who
were about fourteen years old, were brought out, clothed in a
sarong from the waist downwards, and having the whole body
covered with yellow powder, and profusely decked with white
blossom in wreaths, necklaces, and armlets, looking at first
sight very like savage brides. They were conducted by two priests
to a bench placed in front of the house in the open air, and the
ceremony of circumcision was then performed before the assembled

The road to Wonosalem led through a magnificent forest in the
depths of which we passed a fine ruin of what appeared to have
been a royal tomb or mausoleum. It is formed entirely of stone,
and elaborately carved. Near the base is a course of boldly
projecting blocks, sculptured in high relief, with a series of
scenes which are probably incidents in the life of the defunct.
These are all beautifully executed, some of the figures of
animals in particular, being easily recognisable and very
accurate. The general design, as far as the ruined state of the
upper part will permit of its being seen, is very good, effect
being given by an immense number and variety of projecting or
retreating courses of squared stones in place of mouldings. The
size of this structure is about thirty feet square by twenty
high, and as the traveller comes suddenly upon it on a small
elevation by the roadside, overshadowed by gigantic trees,
overrun with plants and creepers, and closely backed by the
gloomy forest, he is struck by the solemnity and picturesque
beauty of the scene, and is led to ponder on the strange law of
progress, which looks so like retrogression, and which in so many
distant parts of the world has exterminated or driven out a
highly artistic and constructive race, to make room for one
which, as far as we can judge, is very far its inferior.

Few Englishmen are aware of the number and beauty of the
architectural remains in Java. They have never been popularly
illustrated or described, and it will therefore take most persons
by surprise to learn that they far surpass those of Central
America, perhaps even those of India. To give some idea of these
ruins, and perchance to excite wealthy amateurs to explore them
thoroughly and obtain by photography an accurate record of their
beautiful sculptures before it is too late, I will enumerate the
most important, as briefly described in Sir Stamford Raffles'
"History of Java."

BRAMBANAM.--Near the centre of Java, between the native capitals
of Djoko-kerta and Surakerta, is the village of Brambanam, near
which are abundance of ruins, the most important being the
temples of Loro-Jongran and Chandi Sewa. At Loro-Jongran there
were twenty separate buildings, six large and fourteen small
temples. They are now a mass of ruins, but the largest temples
are supposed to have been ninety feet high. They were all
constructed of solid stone, everywhere decorated with carvings
and bas-reliefs, and adorned with numbers of statues, many of
which still remain entire. At Chandi Sewa, or the "Thousand
Temples," are many fine colossal figures. Captain Baker, who
surveyed these ruins, said he had never in his life seen "such
stupendous and finished specimens of human labour, and of the
science and taste of ages long since forgot, crowded together in
so small a compass as in this spot." They cover a space of nearly
six hundred feet square, and consist of an outer row of eighty-
four small temples, a second row of seventy-six, a third of
sixty-four, a fourth of forty-four, and the fifth forming an
inner parallelogram of twenty-eight, in all two hundred and
ninety-six small temples; disposed in five regular
parallelograms. In the centre is a large cruciform temple
surrounded by lofty flights of steps richly ornamented with
sculpture, and containing many apartments. The tropical
vegetation has ruined most of the smaller temples, but some
remain tolerably perfect, from which the effect of the whole may
be imagined.

About half a mile off is another temple, called Chandi Kali
Bening, seventy-two feet square and sixty feet high, in very fine
preservation, and covered with sculptures of Hindu mythology
surpassing any that exist in India, other ruins of palaces,
halls, and temples, with abundance of sculptured deities, are
found in the same neighbourhood.

BOROBODO.--About eighty miles westward, in the province of Kedu,
is the great temple of Borobodo. It is built upon a small hill,
and consists of a central dome and seven ranges of terraced walls
covering the slope of the hill and forming open galleries each
below the other, and communicating by steps and gateways. The

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