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The Malay Archipelago Volume 1 by by Alfred Russell Wallace

Part 6 out of 6

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The Celebes Roller (Coracias temmincki) is an interesting example
of one species of a genus being cut off from the rest. There are
species of Coracias in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but none in the
Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, or Borneo. The present species
seems therefore quite out of place; and what is still more
curious is the fact that it is not at all like any of the
Asiatic species, but seems more to resemble those of Africa.

In the next family, the Bee-eaters, is another equally isolated
bird, Meropogon forsteni, which combines the characters of
African and Indian Bee-eaters, and whose only near ally,
Meropogon breweri, was discovered by M. Du Chaillu in West

The two Celebes Hornbills have no close allies in those which
abound in the surrounding countries. The only Thrush, Geocichla
erythronota, is most nearly allied to a species peculiar to
Timor. Two of the Flycatchers are closely allied to Indian
species, which are not found in the Malay islands. Two genera
somewhat allied to the Magpies (Streptocitta and Charitornis),
but whose affinities are so doubtful that Professor Schlegel
places them among the Starlings, are entirely confined to
Celebes. They are beautiful long-tailed birds, with black and
white plumage, and with the feathers of the head somewhat rigid
and scale-like.

Doubtfully allied to the Starlings are two other very isolated
and beautiful birds. One, Enodes erythrophrys, has ashy and
yellow plumage, but is ornamented with broad stripes of orange-
red above the eyes. The other, Basilornis celebensis, is a blue-
black bird with a white patch on each side of the breast, and the
head ornamented with a beautiful compressed scaly crest of
feathers, resembling in form that of the well-known Cock-of-the-
rock of South America. The only ally to this bird is found in
Ceram, and has the feathers of the crest elongated upwards into
quite a different form.

A still more curious bird is the Scissirostrum pagei, which
although it is at present classed in the Starling family, differs
from all other species in the form of the bill and nostrils, and
seems most nearly allied in its general structure to the Ox-
peckers (Buphaga) of tropical Africa, next to which the
celebrated ornithologist Prince Bonaparte finally placed it. It
is almost entirely of a slatey colour, with yellow bill and feet,
but the feathers of the rump and upper tail-coverts each
terminate in a rigid, glossy pencil or tuft of a vivid crimson.
These pretty little birds take the place of the metallic-green
starlings of the genus Calornis, which are found in most other
islands of the Archipelago, but which are absent from Celebes.
They go in flocks, feeding upon grain and fruits, often
frequenting dead trees, in holes of which they build their nests;
and they cling to the trunks as easily as woodpeckers or

Out of eighteen Pigeons found in Celebes, eleven are peculiar to
it. Two of them, Ptilonopus gularis and Turacaena menadensis,
have their nearest allies in Timor. Two others, Carpophaga
forsteni and Phlaegenas tristigmata, most resemble Philippine
island species; and Carpophaga radiata belongs to a New Guinea
group. Lastly, in the Gallinaceous tribe, the curious helmeted
Maleo (Megacephalon rubripes) is quite isolated, having its
nearest (but still distant) allies in the Brush-turkeys of
Australia and New Guinea.

Judging, therefore, by the opinions of the eminent naturalists
who have described and classified its birds, we find that many of
the species have no near allies whatsoever in the countries which
surround Celebes, but are either quite isolated, or indicate
relations with such distant regions as New Guinea, Australia,
India, or Africa. Other cases of similar remote affinities
between the productions of distant countries no doubt exist, but
in no spot upon the globe that I am yet acquainted with, do so
many of them occur together, or do they form so decided a feature
in the natural history of the country.

The Mammalia of Celebes are very few in number, consisting of
fourteen terrestrial species and seven bats. Of the former no
less than eleven are peculiar, including two which there is
reason to believe may have been recently carried into other
islands by man. Three species which have a tolerably wide range
in the Archipelago, are: (1) The curious Lemur, Tarsius spectrum,
which is found in all the islands as far westward as Malacca; (2)
the common Malay Civet, Viverra tangalunga, which has a still
wider range; and (3) a Deer, which seems to be the same as the
Rusa hippelaphus of Java, and was probably introduced by man at
an early period.

The more characteristic species are as follow:

Cynopithecus nigrescens, a curious baboon-like monkey if not a
true baboon, which abounds all over Celebes, and is found nowhere
else but in the one small island of Batchian, into which it has
probably been introduced accidentally. An allied species is found
in the Philippines, but in no other island of the Archipelago is
there anything resembling them. These creatures are about the
size of a spaniel, of a jet-black colour, and have the projecting
dog-like muzzle and overhanging brows of the baboons. They have
large red callosities and a short fleshy tail, scarcely an inch
long and hardly visible. They go in large bands, living chiefly
in the trees, but often descending on the ground and robbing
gardens and orchards.

Anoa depressicornis, the Sapi-utan, or wild cow of the Malays, is
an animal which has been the cause of much controversy, as to
whether it should be classed as ox, buffalo, or antelope. It is
smaller than any other wild cattle, and in many respects seems to
approach some of the ox-like antelopes of Africa. It is found
only in the mountains, and is said never to inhabit places where
there are deer. It is somewhat smaller than a small Highland cow,
and has long straight horns, which are ringed at the base and
slope backwards over the neck.

The wild pig seems to be of a species peculiar to the island; but
a much more curious animal of this family is the Babirusa or Pig-
deer; so named by the Malays from its long and slender legs, and
curved tusks resembling horns. This extraordinary creature
resembles a pig in general appearance, but it does not dig with
its snout, as it feeds on fallen fruits. The tusks of the lower
jaw are very long and sharp, but the upper ones instead of
growing downwards in the usual way are completely reversed,
growing upwards out of bony sockets through the skin on each side
of the snout, curving backwards to near the eyes, and in old
animals often reaching eight or ten inches in length. It is
difficult to understand what can be the use of these
extraordinary horn-like teeth. Some of the old writers supposed
that they served as hooks, by which the creature could rest its
head on a branch. But the way in which they usually diverge just
over and in front of the eye has suggested the more probable
idea, that they serve to guard these organs from thorns and
spines, while hunting for fallen fruits among the tangled
thickets of rattans and other spiny plants. Even this, however,
is not satisfactory, for the female, who must seek her food in
the same way, does not possess them. I should be inclined to
believe rather, that these tusks were once useful, and were then
worn down as fast as they grew; but that changed conditions of
life have rendered them unnecessary, and they now develop into a
monstrous form, just as the incisors of the Beaver or Rabbit will
go on growing, if the opposite teeth do not wear them away. In
old animals they reach an enormous size, and are generally broken
off as if by fighting.

Here again we have a resemblance to the Wart-hogs of Africa,
whose upper canines grow outwards and curve up so as to form a
transition from the usual mode of growth to that of the Babirusa.
In other respects there seems no affinity between these animals,
and the Babirusa stands completely isolated, having no
resemblance to the pigs of any other part of the world. It is
found all over Celebes and in the Sula islands, and also in
Bourn, the only spot beyond the Celebes group to which it
extends; and which island also shows some affinity to the Sula
islands in its birds, indicating perhaps, a closer connection
between them at some former period than now exists.

The other terrestrial mammals of Celebes are five species of
squirrels, which are all distinct from those of Java and Borneo,
and mark the furthest eastward range of the genus in the tropics;
and two of Eastern opossums (Cuscus), which are different from
those of the Moluccas, and mark the furthest westward extension
of this genus and of the Marsupial order. Thus we see that the
Mammalia of Celebes are no less individual and remarkable than
the birds, since three of the largest and most interesting
species have no near allies in surrounding countries, but seem
vaguely to indicate a relation to the African continent.

Many groups of insects appear to be especially subject to local
influences, their forms and colours changing with each change of
conditions, or even with a change of locality where the
conditions seem almost identical. We should therefore anticipate
that the individuality manifested in the higher animals would be
still more prominent in these creatures with less stable
organisms. On the other hand, however, we have to consider that
the dispersion and migration of insects is much more easily
effected than that of mammals or even of birds. They are much
more likely to be carried away by violent winds; their eggs may
be carried on leaves either by storms of wind or by floating
trees, and their larvae and pupae, often buried in trunks of
trees or enclosed in waterproof cocoons, may be floated for days
or weeks uninjured over the ocean. These facilities of
distribution tend to assimilate the productions of adjacent lands
in two ways: first, by direct mutual interchange of species; and
secondly, by repeated immigrations of fresh individuals of a
species common to other islands, which by intercrossing, tend to
obliterate the changes of form and colour, which differences of
conditions might otherwise produce. Bearing these facts in mind,
we shall find that the individuality of the insects of Celebes is
even greater than we have any reason to expect.

For the purpose of insuring accuracy in comparisons with other
islands, I shall confine myself to those groups which are best
known, or which I have myself carefully studied. Beginning with
the Papilionidae or Swallow-tailed butterflies, Celebes possesses
24 species, of which the large number of 18 are not found in any
other island. If we compare this with Borneo, which out of 29
species has only two not found elsewhere, the difference is as
striking as anything can be. In the family of the Pieridae, or
white butterflies, the difference is not quite so great, owing
perhaps to the more wandering habits of the group; but it is
still very remarkable. Out of 30 species inhabiting Celebes, 19
are peculiar, while Java (from which more species are known than
from Sumatra or Borneo), out of 37 species, has only 13 peculiar.
The Danaidae are large, but weak-flying butterflies, which
frequent forests and gardens, and are plainly but often very
richly coloured. Of these my own collection contains 16 species
from Celebes and 15 from Borneo; but whereas no less than 14 are
confined to the former island, only two are peculiar to the
latter. The Nymphalidae are a very extensive group, of generally
strong-winged and very bright-coloured butterflies, very abundant
in the tropics, and represented in our own country by our
Fritillaries, our Vanessas, and our Purple-emperor. Some months
ago I drew up a list of the Eastern species of this group,
including all the new ones discovered by myself, and arrived at
the following comparative results:--

Species of Species peculiar to Percentage
Nymphalidae. each island. of peculiar Species.

Java . . . . . 70 . . . . . . 23 . . . . . . . . . . 33
Borneo . . . . 52 . . . . . . 15 . . . . . . . . . . 29
Celebes . . . 48 . . . . . . 35 . . . . . . . . . . 73

The Coleoptera are so extensive that few of the groups have yet
been carefully worked out. I will therefore refer to one only,
which I have myself recently studied--the Cetoniadae or Rose-
chafers--a group of beetles which, owing to their extreme
beauty, have been much sought after. From Java 37 species of
these insects are known, and from Celebes only 30; yet only 13,
or 35 percent, are peculiar to the former island, and 19, or 63
percent, to the latter.

The result of these comparisons is, that although Celebes is a
single, large island with only a few smaller ones closely grouped
around it, we must really consider it as forming one of the great
divisions of the Archipelago, equal in rank and importance to the
whole of the Moluccan or Philippine groups, to the Papuan
islands, or to the Indo-Malay islands (Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and
the Malay peninsula). Taking those families of insects and birds
which are best known, the following table shows the comparison of
Celebes with the other groups of islands:--

Percent of peculiar Percent of peculiar
Species. Species.
Indo-Malay region . . . . 56 . . . . . . . . . . 54
Philippine group . . . . 66 . . . . . . . . . . 73
Celebes . . . . . . . . . 69 . . . . . . . . . . 60
Moluccan group . . . . . 52 . . . . . . . . . . 62
Timor group . . . . . . . 42 . . . . . . . . . . 47
Papuan group . . . . . . 64 . . . . . . . . . . 74

These large and well-known families well represent the general
character of the zoology of Celebes; and they show that this
island is really one of the most isolated portions of the
Archipelago, although situated in its very centre.

But the insects of Celebes present us with other phenomena more
curious and more difficult to explain than their striking
individuality. The butterflies of that island are in many cases
characterised by a peculiarity of outline, which distinguishes
them at a glance from those of any other part of the world. It is
most strongly manifested in the Papilios and the Pieridae, and
consists in the forewings being either strongly curved or
abruptly bent near the base, or in the extremity being elongated
and often somewhat hooked. Out of the 14 species of Papilio in
Celebes, 13 exhibit this peculiarity in a greater or less degree,
when compared with the most nearly allied species of the
surrounding islands. Ten species of Pieridae have the same
character, and in four or five of the Nymphalidae it is also very
distinctly marked. In almost every case, the species found in
Celebes are much larger than thane of the islands westward, and
at least equal to those of the Moluccas, or even larger. The
difference of form is, however, the most remarkable feature, as it
is altogether a new thing for a whole set of species in one
country to differ in exactly the same way from the corresponding
sets in all the surrounding countries; and it is so well marked,
that without looking at the details of colouring, most Celebes
Papilios and many Pieridae, can be at once distinguished from
those of other islands by their form alone.

The outside figure of each pair here given, shows the exact size
and form of the fore-wing in a butterfly of Celebes, while the
inner one represents the most closely allied species from one of
the adjacent islands. Figure 1 shows the strongly curved margin
of the Celebes species, Papilio gigon, compared with the much
straighter margin of Papilio demolion from Singapore and Java.
Figure 2 shows the abrupt bend over the base of the wing in
Papilio miletus of Celebes, compared with the slight curvature in
the common Papilio sarpedon, which has almost exactly the same
form from India to New Guinea and Australia. Figure 3 shows the
elongated wing of Tachyris zarinda, a native of Celebes, compared
with the much shorter wing of Tachyris nero, a very closely
allied species found in all the western islands. The difference
of form is in each case sufficiently obvious, but when the
insects themselves are compared, it is much more striking than in
these partial outlines.

From the analogy of birds, we should suppose that the pointed
wing gave increased rapidity of flight, since it is a character
of terns, swallows, falcons, and of the swift-flying pigeons. A
short and rounded wing, on the other hand, always accompanies a
more feeble or more laborious flight, and one much less under
command. We might suppose, therefore, that the butterflies which
possess this peculiar form were better able to escape pursuit.
But there seems no unusual abundance of insectivorous birds to
render this necessary; and as we cannot believe that such a
curious peculiarity is without meaning, it seems probable that it
is the result of a former condition of things, when the island
possessed a much richer fauna, the relics of which we see in the
isolated birds and Mammalia now inhabiting it; and when the
abundance of insectivorous creatures rendered some unusual means
of escape a necessity for the large-winged and showy butterflies.
It is some confirmation of this view, that neither the very small
nor the very obscurely coloured groups of butterflies have
elongated wings, nor is any modification perceptible in those
strong-winged groups which already possess great strength and
rapidity of flight. These were already sufficiently protected
from their enemies, and did not require increased power of
escaping from them. It is not at all clear what effect the
peculiar curvature of the wings has in modifying flight.

Another curious feature in the zoology of Celebes is also worthy
of attention. I allude to the absence of several groups which are
found on both sides of it, in the Indo-Malay islands as well as
in the Moluccas; and which thus seem to be unable, from some
unknown cause, to obtain a footing in the intervening island. In
Birds we have the two families of Podargidae and Laniadae, which
range over the whole Archipelago and into Australia, and which
yet have no representative in Celebes. The genera Ceyx among
Kingfishers, Criniger among Thrushes, Rhipidura among
Flycatchers, Calornis among Starlings, and Erythrura among
Finches, are all found in the Moluccas as well as in Borneo and
Java--but not a single species belonging to any one of them is
found in Celebes. Among insects, the large genus of Rose-chafers,
Lomaptera, is found in every country and island between India and
New Guinea, except Celebes. This unexpected absence of many
groups, from one limited district in the very centre of their
area of distribution, is a phenomenon not altogether unique, but,
I believe, nowhere so well marked as in this case; and it
certainly adds considerably to the strange character of this
remarkable island.

The anomalies and eccentricities in the natural history of
Celebes which I have endeavoured to sketch in this chapter, all
point to an origin in a remote antiquity. The history of extinct
animals teaches us that their distribution in time and in space
are strikingly similar. The rule is, that just as the productions
of adjacent areas usually resemble each other closely, so do the
productions of successive periods in the same area; and as the
productions of remote areas generally differ widely, so do the
productions of the same area at remote epochs. We are therefore
led irresistibly to the conclusion, that change of species, still
more of generic and of family form, is a matter of time. But time
may have led to a change of species in one country, while in
another the forms have been more permanent, or the change may
have gone on at an equal rate but in a different manner in both.
In either case, the amount of individuality in the productions of
a district will be to some extent a measure of the time that a
district has been isolated from those that surround it. Judged by
this standard, Celebes must be one of the oldest parts of the
Archipelago. It probably dates from a period not only anterior to
that when Borneo, Java, and Sumatra were separated from the
continent, but from that still more remote epoch when the land
that now constitutes these islands had not risen above the ocean.

Such an antiquity is necessary, to account for the number of
animal forms it possesses, which show no relation to those of
India or Australia, but rather with those of Africa; and we are
led to speculate on the possibility of there having once existed
a continent in the Indian Ocean which might serve as a bridge to
connect these distant countries. Now it is a curious fact, that
the existence of such a land has been already thought necessary,
to account for the distribution of the curious Quadrumana forming
the family of the Lemurs. These have their metropolis in
Madagascar, but are found also in Africa, in Ceylon, in the
peninsula of India, and in the Malay Archipelago as far as
Celebes, which is its furthest eastern limit. Dr. Sclater has
proposed for the hypothetical continent connecting these distant
points, and whose former existence is indicated by the Mascarene
islands and the Maldive coral group, the name of Lemuria. Whether
or not we believe in its existence in the exact form here
indicated, the student of geographical distribution must see in
the extraordinary and isolated productions of Celebes, proof of
the former existence of some continent from whence the ancestors
of these creatures, and of many other intermediate forms, could
have been derived.

In this short sketch of the most striking peculiarities of the
Natural History of Celebes, I have been obliged to enter much
into details that I fear will have been uninteresting to the
general reader, but unless I had done so, my exposition would have
lost much of its force and value. It is by these details alone
that I have been able to prove the unusual features that Celebes
presents to us. Situated in the very midst of an Archipelago, and
closely hemmed in on every side by islands teeming with varied
forms of life, its productions have yet a surprising amount of
individuality. While it is poor in the actual number of its
species, it is yet wonderfully rich in peculiar forms, many of
which are singular or beautiful, and are in some cases absolutely
unique upon the globe. We behold here the curious phenomenon of
groups of insects changing their outline in a similar manner when
compared with those of surrounding islands, suggesting some
common cause which never seems to have acted elsewhere in exactly
the same way. Celebes, therefore, presents us with a most
striking example of the interest that attaches to the study of
the geographical distribution of animals. We can see that their
present distribution upon the globe is the result of all the more
recent changes the earth's surface has undergone; and, by a
careful study of the phenomena, we are sometimes able to deduce
approximately what those past changes must have been in order to
produce the distribution we find to exist. In the comparatively
simple case of the Timor group, we were able to deduce these
changes with some approach to certainty. In the much more
complicated case of Celebes, we can only indicate their general
nature, since we now see the result, not of any single or recent
change only, but of a whole series of the later revolutions which
have resulted in the present distribution of land in the Eastern



(DECEMBER 1857, MAY 1859, APRIL 1861.)

THE Dutch mail steamer in which I travelled from Macassar to
Banda and Amboyna was a roomy and comfortable vessel, although it
would only go six miles an hour in the finest weather. As there
were but three passengers besides myself, we had abundance of
room, and I was able to enjoy a voyage more than I had ever done
before. The arrangements are somewhat different from those on
board English or Indian steamers. There are no cabin servants, as
every cabin passenger invariably brings his own, and the ship's
stewards attend only to the saloon and the eating department. At
six A.M. a cup of tea or coffee is provided for those who like
it. At seven to eight there is a light breakfast of tea, eggs,
sardines, etc. At ten, Madeira, Gin and bitters are brought on
deck as a whet for the substantial eleven o'clock breakfast,
which differs from a dinner only in the absence of soup. Cups of
tea and coffee are brought around at three P.M.; bitters, etc.
again at five, a good dinner with beer and claret at half-past
six, concluded by tea and coffee at eight. Between whiles, beer
and sodawater are supplied when called for, so there is no lack
of little gastronomical excitements to while away the tedium of a
sea voyage.

Our first stopping place was Coupang, at the west end of the
large island of Timor. We then coasted along that island for
several hundred miles, having always a view of hilly ranges
covered with scanty vegetation, rising ridge behind ridge to the
height of six or seven thousand feet. Turning off towards Banda
we passed Pulo-Cambing, Wetter, and Roma, all of which are
desolate and barren volcanic islands, almost as uninviting as
Aden, and offering a strange contrast to the usual verdure and
luxuriance of the Archipelago. In two days more we reached the
volcanic group of Banda, covered with an unusually dense and
brilliant green vegetation, indicating that we had passed beyond
the range of the hot dry winds from the plains of Central
Australia. Banda is a lovely little spot, its three islands
enclosing a secure harbour from whence no outlet is visible, and
with water so transparent, that living corals and even the
minutest objects are plainly seen on the volcanic sand at a depth
of seven or eight fathoms. The ever smoking volcano rears its
bare cone on one side, while the two larger islands are clothed
with vegetation to the summit of the hills.

Going on shore, I walked up a pretty path which leads to the
highest point of the island on which the town is situated, where
there is a telegraph station and a magnificent view. Below lies
the little town, with its neat red-tiled white houses and the
thatched cottages of the natives, bounded on one side by the old
Portuguese fort. Beyond, about half a mile distant, lies the
larger island in the shape of a horseshoe, formed of a range of
abrupt hills covered with fine forest and nutmeg gardens; while
close opposite the town is the volcano, forming a nearly perfect
cone, the lower part only covered with a light green bushy
vegetation. On its north side the outline is more uneven, and
there is a slight hollow or chasm about one-fifth of the way
down, from which constantly issue two columns of smoke, as well
as a good deal from the rugged surface around and from some spots
nearer the summit. A white efflorescence, probably sulphur, is
thickly spread over the upper part of the mountain, marked by the
narrow black vertical lines of water gullies. The smoke unites as
it rises, and forms a dense cloud, which in calm, damp weather
spreads out into a wide canopy hiding the top of the mountain. At
night and early morning, it often rises up straight and leaves the
whole outline clear.

It is only when actually gazing on an active volcano that one can
fully realize its awfulness and grandeur. Whence comes that
inexhaustible fire whose dense and sulphurous smoke forever
issues from this bare and desolate peak? Whence the mighty forces
that produced that peak, and still from time to time exhibit
themselves in the earthquakes that always occur in the vicinity
of volcanic vents? The knowledge from childhood of the fact that
volcanoes and earthquakes exist, has taken away somewhat of the
strange and exceptional character that really belongs to them.
The inhabitant of most parts of northern Europe sees in the
earth the emblem of stability and repose. His whole life-
experience, and that of all his age and generation, teaches him
that the earth is solid and firm, that its massive rocks may
contain water in abundance, but never fire; and these essential
characteristics of the earth are manifest in every mountain his
country contains. A volcano is a fact opposed to all this mass of
experience, a fact of so awful a character that, if it were the
rule instead of the exception, it would make the earth
uninhabitable a fact so strange and unaccountable that we may be
sure it would not be believed on any human testimony, if
presented to us now for the first time, as a natural phenomenon
happening in a distant country.

The summit of the small island is composed of a highly
crystalline basalt; lower down I found a hard, stratified slatey
sandstone, while on the beach are huge blocks of lava, and
scattered masses of white coralline limestone. The larger island
has coral rock to a height of three or four hundred feet, while
above is lava and basalt. It seems probable, therefore, that this
little group of four islands is the fragment of a larger district
which was perhaps once connected with Ceram, but which was
separated and broken up by the same forces which formed the
volcanic cone. When I visited the larger island on another
occasion, I saw a considerable tract covered with large forest
trees--dead, but still standing. This was a record of the last
great earthquake only two years ago, when the sea broke in over
this part of the island and so flooded it as to destroy the
vegetation on all the lowlands. Almost every year there is an
earthquake here, and at intervals of a few years, very severe
ones which throw down houses and carry ships out of the harbour
bodily into the streets.

Notwithstanding the losses incurred by these terrific
visitations, and the small size and isolated position of these
little islands, they have been and still are of considerable
value to the Dutch Government, as the chief nutmeg-garden in the
world. Almost the whole surface is planted with nutmegs, grown
under the shade of lofty Kanary trees (Kanarium commune). The
light volcanic soil, the shade, and the excessive moisture of
these islands, where it rains more or less every month in the
year, seem exactly to suit the nutmeg-tree, which requires no
manure and scarcely any attention. All the year round flowers and
ripe fruit are to be found, and none of those diseases occur
which under a forced and unnatural system of cultivation have
ruined the nutmeg planters of Singapore and Penang.

Few cultivated plants are more beautiful than nutmeg-trees. They
are handsomely shaped and glossy-leaved, growing to the height of
twenty or thirty feet, and bearing small yellowish flowers. The
fruit is the size and colour of a peach, but rather oval. It is
of a tough fleshy consistence, but when ripe splits open, and
shows the dark-brown nut within, covered with the crimson mace,
and is then a most beautiful object. Within the thin, hard shell
of the nut is the seed, which is the nutmeg of commerce. The nuts
are eaten by the large pigeons of Banda, which digest the mace,
but cast up the nut with its seed uninjured.

The nutmeg trade has hitherto been a strict monopoly of the Dutch
Government; but since leaving the country I believe that this
monopoly has been partially or wholly discontinued, a proceeding
which appears exceedingly injudicious and quite unnecessary.
There are cases in which monopolies are perfectly justifiable,
and I believe this to be one of them. A small country like
Holland cannot afford to keep distant and expensive colonies at
a loss; and having possession of a very small island where a
valuable product, not a necessity of life, can be obtained at
little cost, it is almost the duty of the state to monopolise
it. No injury is done thereby to anyone, but a great benefit is
conferred upon the whole population of Holland and its
dependencies, since the produce of the state monopolies saves
them from the weight of a heavy taxation. Had the Government not
kept the nutmeg trade of Banda in its own hands, it is probable
that the whole of the islands would long ago have become the
property of one or more large capitalists. The monopoly would
have been almost the same, since no known spot on the globe can
produce nutmegs so cheaply as Banda, but the profits of the
monopoly world have gone to a few individuals instead of to the

As an illustration of how a state monopoly may become a state duty,
let us suppose that no gold existed in Australia, but that it had
been found in immense quantities by one of our ships in some small
and barren island. In this case it would plainly become the duty of
the state to keep and work the mines for the public benefit, since
by doing so, the gain would be fairly divided among the whole population
by decrease of taxation; whereas by leaving it open to free trade
while merely keeping the government of the island; we should certainly
produce enormous evils during the first struggle for the precious
metal, and should ultimately subside into the monopoly of some wealthy
individual or great company, whose enormous revenue would not
equally benefit the community. The nutmegs of Banda and the tin
of Banca are to some extent parallel cases to this supposititious
one, and I believe the Dutch Government will act most unwisely if
they give up their monopoly.

Even the destruction of the nutmeg and clove trees in many
islands, in order to restrict their cultivation to one or two
where the monopoly could be easily guarded, usually made the
theme of so much virtuous indignation against the Dutch, may be
defended on similar principles, and is certainly not nearly so
bad as many monopolies we ourselves have until very recently
maintained. Nutmegs and cloves arc not necessaries of life; they
are not even used as spices by the natives of the Moluccas, and
no one was materially or permanently injured by the destruction
of the trees, since there are a hundred other products that can
be grown in the same islands, equally valuable and far more
beneficial in a social point of view. It is a case exactly
parallel to our prohibition of the growth of tobacco in England,
for fiscal purposes, and is, morally and economically, neither
better nor worse. The salt monopoly which we so long maintained
in India was in much worse. As long as we keep up a system of
excise and customs on articles of daily use, which requires an
elaborate array of officers and coastguards to carry into effect,
and which creates a number of purely legal crimes, it is the
height of absurdity for us to affect indignation at the conduct
of the Dutch, who carried out a much more justifiable, less
hurtful, and more profitable system in their Eastern possessions.

I challenge objectors to point out any physical or moral evils
that have actually resulted from the action of the Dutch
Government in this matter; whereas such evils are the admitted
results of every one of our monopolies and restrictions. The
conditions of the two experiments are totally different. The true
"political economy" of a higher race, when governing a lower race,
has never yet been worked out. The application of our "political
economy" to such cases invariably results in the extinction or
degradation of the lower race; whence, we may consider it probable
that one of the necessary conditions of its truth is the
approximate mental and social unity of the society in which it is
applied. I shall again refer to this subject in my chapter on
Ternate, one of the most celebrated of the old spice-islands.

The natives of Banda are very much mixed, and it is probable that
at least three-fourths of the population are mongrels, in various
degrees of Malay, Papuan, Arab, Portuguese, and Dutch. The first
two form the bases of the larger portion, and the dark skins,
pronounced features, and more or less frizzly hair of the Papuans
preponderates. There seems little doubt that the aborigines of
Banda were Papuans, and a portion of them still exists in the Ke
islands, where they emigrated when the Portuguese first took
possession of their native island. It is such people as these
that are often looked upon as transitional forms between two very
distinct races, like the Malays and Papuans, whereas they are
only examples of intermixture.

The animal productions of Banda, though very few, are
interesting. The islands have perhaps no truly indigenous
Mammalia but bats. The deer of the Moluccas and the pig have
probably been introduced. A species of Cuscus or Eastern opossum
is also found at Banda, and this may be truly indigenous in the
sense of not having been introduced by man. Of birds, during my
three visits of one or two days each, I collected eight kinds,
and the Dutch collectors have added a few others. The most
remarkable is a fine and very handsome fruit-pigeon, Carpophaga
concinna, which feeds upon the nutmegs, or rather on the mace,
and whose loud booming note is to be continually heard. This bird
is found in the Ke and Matabello islands as well as Banda, but
not in Ceram or any of the larger islands, which are inhabited by
allied but very distinct species. A beautiful small fruit-dove,
Ptilonopus diadematus, is also peculiar to Banda.




TWENTY hours from Banda brought us to Amboyna, the capital of the
Moluccas, and one of the oldest European settlements in the East.
The island consists of two peninsulas, so nearly divided by
inlets of the sea, as to leave only a sandy isthmus about a mile
wide near their eastern extremity. The western inlet is several
miles long and forms a fine harbour on the southern side of
which is situated the town of Amboyna. I had a letter of
introduction to Dr. Mohnike, the chief medical officer of the
Moluccas, a German and a naturalist. I found that he could write
and read English, but could not speak it, being like myself a bad
linguist; so we had to use French as a medium of communication.
He kindly offered me a room during my stay in Amboyna, and
introduced me to his junior, Dr. Doleschall, a Hungarian and also
an entomolog´st. He was an intelligent and most amiable young man
but I was shocked to find that he was dying of consumption,
though still able to perform the duties of his office. In the
evening my host took me to the residence of the Governor, Mr.
Goldmann, who received me in a most kind and cordial manner, and
offered me every assistance. The town of Amboyna consists of a
few business streets, and a number of roads set out at right
angles to each other, bordered by hedges of flowering shrubs, and
enclosing country houses and huts embossed in palms and fruit
trees. Hills and mountains form the background in almost every
direction, and there are few places more enjoyable for a morning
or evening stroll than these sandy roads and shady lanes in the
suburbs of the ancient city of Amboyna.

There are no active volcanoes in the island, nor is it now
subject to frequent earthquakes, although very severe ones have
occurred and may be expected again. Mr. William Funnell, in his
voyage with Dampier to the South Seas in 1705, says: "Whilst we
were here, (at Amboyna) we had a great earthquake, which
continued two days, in which time it did a great deal of
mischief, for the ground burst open in many places, and swallowed
up several houses and whole families. Several of the people were
dug out again, but most of them dead, and many had their legs or
arms broken by the fall of the houses. The castle walls were rent
asunder in several places, and we thought that it and all the
houses would have fallen down. The ground where we were swelled
like a wave in the sea, but near us we had no hurt done." There
are also numerous records of eruptions of a volcano on the west
side of the island. In 1674 an eruption destroyed a village. In
1694 there was another eruption. In I797 much vapour and heat was
emitted. Other eruptions occurred in 1816 and 1820, and in 1824 a
new crater is said to have been formed. Yet so capricious is the
action of these subterranean fires, that since the last-named
epoch all eruptive symptoms have so completely ceased, that I was
assured by many of the most intelligent European inhabitants of
Amboyna, that they had never heard of any such thing as a volcano
on the island.

During the few days that elapsed before I could make arrangements
to visit the interior, I enjoyed myself much in the society of
the two doctors, both amiable and well-educated men, and both
enthusiastic entomologists, though obliged to increase their
collections almost entirely by means of native collectors.
Dr. Doleschall studied chiefly the flies and spiders, but also
collected butterflies and moths, and in his boxes I saw grand
specimens of the emerald Ornithoptera priamus and the azure
Papilio Ulysses, with many more of the superb butterflies of this
rich island. Dr. Mohnike confined himself chiefly to the beetles,
and had formed a magnificent collection during many years
residence in Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Japan, and Amboyna. The
Japanese collection was especially interesting, containing both
the fine Carabi of northern countries, and the gorgeous
Buprestidae and Longicorns of the tropics. The doctor made the
voyage to Jeddo by land from Nagasaki, and is well acquainted
with the character, manners, and customs of the people of Japan,
and with the geology, physical features, and natural history of
the country. He showed me collections of cheap woodcuts printed
in colours, which are sold at less than a farthing each, and
comprise an endless variety of sketches of Japanese scenery and
manners. Though rude, they are very characteristic, and often
exhibit touches of great humour. He also possesses a large
collection of coloured sketches of the plants of Japan, made by a
Japanese lady, which are the most masterly things I have ever
seen. Every stem, twig, and leaf is produced by single touches of
the brush, the character and perspective of very complicated
plants being admirably given, and the articulations of stem and
leaves shown in a most scientific manner.

Having made arrangements to stay for three weeks at a small hut
on a newly cleared plantation in the interior of the northern
half of the island, I with some difficulty obtained a boat and
men to take me across the water--for the Amboynese are dreadfully
lazy. Passing up the harbour, in appearance like a fine river,
the clearness of the water afforded me one of the most
astonishing and beautiful sights I have ever beheld. The bottom
was absolutely hidden by a continuous series of corals, sponges,
actinic, and other marine productions of magnificent dimensions,
varied forms, and brilliant colours. The depth varied from about
twenty to fifty feet, and the bottom was very uneven, rocks and
chasms and little hills and valleys, offering a variety of
stations for the growth of these animal forests. In and out among
them, moved numbers of blue and red and yellow fishes, spotted
and banded and striped in the most striking manner, while great
orange or rosy transparent medusa floated along near the surface.
It was a sight to gaze at for hours, and no description can do
justice to its surpassing beauty and interest. For once, the
reality exceeded the most glowing accounts I had ever read of the
wonders of a coral sea. There is perhaps no spot in the world
richer in marine productions, corals, shells and fishes, than the
harbour of Amboyna.

From the north side of the harbour, a good broad path passes
through swamp clearing and forest, over hill and valley, to the
farther side of the island; the coralline rock constantly
protruding through the deep red earth which fills all the
hollows, and is more or less spread over the plains and hill-
sides. The forest vegetation is here of the most luxuriant
character; ferns and palms abound, and the climbing rattans were
more abundant than I had ever seen them, forming tangled festoons
over almost every large forest tree. The cottage I was to occupy
was situated in a large clearing of about a hundred acres, part
of which was already planted with young cacao-trees and plantains
to shade them, while the rest was covered with dead and half-
burned forest trees; and on one side there was a tract where the
trees had been recently felled and were not yet burned. The path
by which I had arrived continued along one side of this clearing,
and then again entering the virgin forest passed over hill and
dale to the northern aide of the island.

My abode was merely a little thatched hut, consisting of an open
verandah in front and a small dark sleeping room behind. It was
raised about five feet from the ground, and was reached by rude
steps to the centre of the verandah. The walls and floor were of
bamboo, and it contained a table, two bamboo chairs, and a couch.
Here I soon made myself comfortable, and set to work hunting for
insects among the more recently felled timber, which swarmed with
fine Curculionidae, Longicorns, and Buprestidae, most of them
remarkable for their elegant forms or brilliant colours, and
almost all entirely new to me. Only the entomologist can
appreciate the delight with which I hunted about for hours in the
hot sunshine, among the branches and twigs and bark of the fallen
trees, every few minutes securing insects which were at that time
almost all rare or new to European collections.

In the shady forest paths were many fine butterflies, most
conspicuous among which was the shining blue Papilio Ulysses, one
of the princes of the tribe, though at that time so rare in
Europe, I found it absolutely common in Amboyna, though not easy
to obtain in fine condition, a large number of the specimens
being found when captured to have the wings torn or broken. It
flies with a rather weak undulating motion, and from its large
size, its tailed wings and brilliant colour, is one of the most
tropical-looking insects the naturalist can gaze upon.

There is a remarkable contrast between the beetles of Amboyna and
those of Macassar, the latter generally small and obscure, the
former large and brilliant. On the whole, the insects here most
resemble those of the Aru islands, but they are almost always of
distinct species, and when they are most nearly allied to each
other, the species of Amboyna are of larger size and more
brilliant colours, so that one might be led to conclude that in
passing east and west into a less favourable soil and climate,
they had degenerated into less striking forms.

Of an evening I generally sat reading in the verandah, ready to
capture any insects that were attracted to the light. One night
about nine o'clock, I heard a curious noise and rustling
overhead, as if some heavy animal were crawling slowly over the
thatch. The noise soon ceased, and I thought no more about it and
went to bed soon afterwards. The next afternoon just before
dinner, being rather tired with my day's work, I was lying on the
couch with a book in my hand, when gazing upwards I saw a large
mass of something overhead which I had not noticed before.
Looking more carefully I could see yellow and black marks, and
thought it must be a tortoise-shell put up there out of the way
between the ridge-pole and the roof Continuing to gaze, it
suddenly resolved itself into a large snake, compactly coiled up
in a kind of knot; and I could detect his head and his bright
eyes in the very centre of the folds. The noise of the evening
before was now explained. A python had climbed up one of the
posts of the house, and had made his way under the thatch within
a yard of my head, and taken up a comfortable position in the
roof--and I had slept soundly all night directly under him.

I called to my two boys who were skinning birds below and said,
"Here's a big snake in the roof;" but as soon as I had shown it
to them they rushed out of the house and begged me to come out
directly. Finding they were too much afraid to do anything, we
called some of the labourers in the plantation, and soon had half
a dozen men in consultation outside. One of these, a native of
Bouru, where there are a great many snakes, said he would get him
out, and proceeded to work in a businesslike manner. He made a
strong noose of rattan, and with a long pole in the other hand
poked at the snake, who then began slowly to uncoil itself. He
then managed to slip the noose over its head, and getting it well
on to the body, dragged the animal down. There was a great
scuffle as the snake coiled round the chairs and posts to resist
his enemy, but at length the man caught hold of its tail, rushed
out of the house (running so quick that the creature seemed quite
confounded), and tried to strike its head against a tree. He
missed however, and let go, and the snake got under a dead trunk
close by. It was again poked out, and again the Bourn man caught
hold of its tail, and running away quickly dashed its head with a
swing against a tree, and it was then easily killed with a
hatchet. It was about twelve feet long and very thick, capable of
doing much mischief and of swallowing a dog or a child.

I did not get a great many birds here. The most remarkable were
the fine crimson lory, Eos rubra--a brush-tongued parroquet of a
vivid crimson colour, which was very abundant. Large flocks of
them came about the plantation, and formed a magnificent object
when they settled down upon some flowering tree, on the nectar of
which lories feed. I also obtained one or two specimens of the
fine racquet-tailed kingfisher of Amboyna, Tanysiptera nais, one
of the most singular and beautiful of that beautiful family.
These birds differ from all other kingfishers (which have usually
short tails) by having the two middle tail-feathers immensely
lengthened and very narrowly webbed, but terminated by a spoon-
shaped enlargement, as in the motmots and some of the humming-
birds. They belong to that division of the family termed king-
hunters, living chiefly on insects and small land-molluscs, which
they dart down upon and pick up from the ground, just as a
kingfisher picks a fish out of the water. They are confined to a
very limited area, comprising the Moluccas, New Guinea and
Northern Australia. About ten species of these birds are now
known, all much resembling each other, but yet sufficiently
distinguishable in every locality. The Amboynese species, of
which a very accurate representation is here given, is one of the
largest and handsomest. It is full seventeen inches long to the
tips of the tail-feathers; the bill is coral red, the under-
surface pure white, the back and wings deep purple, while the
shoulders, head and nape, and some spots on the upper part of the
back and wings, are pure azure blue; the tail is white, with the
feathers narrowly blue-edged, but the narrow part of the long
feathers is rich blue. This was an entirely new species, and has
been well named after an ocean goddess, by Mr. R. G. Gray.

On Christmas eve I returned to Amboyna, where I stayed about ten
days with my kind friend Dr. Mohnike. Considering that I had been
away only twenty days, and that on five or six of those I was
prevented doing any thing by wet weather and slight attacks of
fever, I had made a very nice collection of insects, comprising a
much larger proportion of large and brilliant species than I had
ever before obtained in so short a time. Of the beautiful
metallic Buprestidae I had about a dozen handsome species, yet in
the doctor's collection I observed four or five more very fine
ones, so that Amboyna is unusually rich in this elegant group.

During my stay here I had a good opportunity of seeing how
Europeans live in the Dutch colonies, and where they have adopted
customs far more in accordance with the climate than we have done
in our tropical possessions. Almost all business is transacted in
the morning between the hours of seven and twelve, the afternoon
being given up to repose, and the evening to visiting. When in
the house during the heat of the day, and even at dinner, they
use a loose cotton dress, only putting on a suit of thin
European-made clothes for out of doors and evening wear. They
often walk about after sunset bareheaded, reserving the black hat
for visits of ceremony. Life is thus made far more agreeable, and
the fatigue and discomfort incident to the climate greatly
diminished. Christmas day is not made much of, but on New Year's
day official and complimentary visits are paid, and about sunset
we went to the Governor's, where a large party of ladies and
gentlemen were assembled. Tea and coffee were handed around, as is
almost universal during a visit, as well as cigars, for on no
occasion is smoking prohibited in Dutch colonies, cigars being
generally lighted before the cloth is withdrawn at dinner, even
though half the company are ladies. I here saw for the first time
the rare black lory from New Guinea, Chalcopsitta atra. The
plumage is rather glossy, and slightly tinged with yellowish and
purple, the bill and feet being entirely black.

The native Amboynese who reside in the city are a strange half-
civilized, half-savage lazy people, who seem to be a mixture of at
least three races--Portuguese, Malay, and Papuan or Ceramese,
with an occasional cross of Chinese or Dutch. The Portuguese
element decidedly predominates in the old Christian population,
as indicated by features, habits, and the retention of many
Portuguese words in the Malay, which is now their language. They
have a peculiar style of dress which they wear among themselves,
a close-fitting white shirt with black trousers, and a black
frock or upper shirt. The women seem to prefer a dress entirely
black. On festivals and state occasions they adopt the swallow-
tail coat, chimneypot hat, and their accompaniments, displaying
all the absurdity of our European fashionable dress. Though now
Protestants, they preserve at feasts and weddings the processions
and music of the Catholic Church, curiously mixed up with the
gongs and dances of the aborigines of the country. Their language
has still much more Portuguese than Dutch in it, although they
have been in close communication with the latter nation for more
than two hundred and fifty years; even many names of birds, trees
and other natural objects, as well as many domestic terms, being
plainly Portuguese. [The following are a few of the Portuguese
words in common use by the Malay-speaking natives of Amboyna and
the other Molucca islands: Pombo (pigeon); milo (maize); testa
(forehead); horas (hours); alfinete (pin); cadeira (chair); lenco
(handkerchief); fresco (cool); trigo (flour); sono (sloop);
familia (family); histori (talk); vosse (you); mesmo (even);
cunhado (brother-in-law); senhor (sir); nyora for signora
(madam). None of them, however, have the least notion that these
words belong to a European language.] This people seems to have
had a marvellous power of colonization, and a capacity for
impressing their national characteristics on every country they
conquered, or in which they effected a merely temporary
settlement. In a suburb of Amboyna there is a village of
aboriginal Malays who are Mahometans, and who speak a peculiar
language allied to those of Ceram, as well as Malay. They are
chiefly fishermen, and are said to be both more industrious and
more honest than the native Christians.

I went on Sunday, by invitation, to see a collection of shells
and fish made by a gentleman of Amboyna. The fishes are perhaps
unrivalled for variety and beauty by those of any one spot on the
earth. The celebrated Dutch ichthyologist, Dr. Blecker, has given
a catalogue of seven hundred and eighty species found at Amboyna,
a number almost equal to those of all the seas and rivers of
Europe. A large proportion of them are of the most brilliant
colours, being marked with bands and spots of the purest yellows,
reds, and blues; while their forms present all that strange and
endless variety so characteristic of the inhabitants of the
ocean. The shells are also very numerous, and comprise a number
of the finest species in the world. The Mactras and Ostreas in
particular struck me by the variety and beauty of their colours.
Shells have long been an object of traffic in Amboyna; many of
the natives get their living by collecting and cleaning them, and
almost every visitor takes away a small collection. The result is
that many of the commoner-sorts have lost all value in the eyes
of the amateur, numbers of the handsome but very common cones,
cowries, and olives sold in the streets of London for a penny
each, being natives of the distant isle of Amboyna, where they
cannot be bought so cheaply. The fishes in the collection were
all well preserved in clear spirit in hundreds of glass jars, and
the shells were arranged in large shallow pith boxes lined with
paper, every specimen being fastened down with thread. I roughly
estimated that there were nearly a thousand different kinds of
shells, and perhaps ten thousand specimens, while the collection
of Amboyna fishes was nearly perfect.

On the 4th of January I left Amboyna for Ternate; but two years
later, in October 1859, I again visited it after my residence in
Menado, and stayed a month in the town in a small house which I
hired for the sake of assorting and packing up a large and varied
collection which I had brought with me from North Celebes,
Ternate, and Gilolo. I was obliged to do this because the mail
steamer would have come the following month by way of Amboyna to
Ternate, and I should have been delayed two months before I could
have reached the former place. I then paid my first visit to
Ceram, and on returning to prepare for my second more complete
exploration of that island, I stayed (much against my will) two
months at Paso, on the isthmus which connects the two portions of
the island of Amboyna. This village is situated on the eastern
side of the isthmus, on sandy ground, with a very pleasant view
over the sea to the island of Haruka. On the Amboyna side of the
isthmus there is a small river which has been continued by a
shallow canal to within thirty yards of high-water mark on the
other side. Across this small space, which is sandy and but
slightly elevated, all small boats and praus can be easily
dragged, and all the smaller traffic from Ceram and the islands
of Sapar˙a and Har˙ka, passes through Paso. The canal is not
continued quite through, merely because every spring-tide would
throw up just such a sand-bank as now exists.

I had been informed that the fine butterfly Ornithoptera priamus
was plentiful here, as well as the racquet-tailed kingfisher and
the ring-necked lory. I found, however, that I had missed the
time for the former: and birds of all kinds were very scarce,
although I obtained a few good ones, including one or two of the
above-mentioned rarities. I was much pleased to get here the fine
long-armed chafer, Euchirus longimanus. This extraordinary insect
is rarely or never captured except when it comes to drink the sap
of the sugar palms, where it is found by the natives when they go
early in the morning to take away the bamboos which have been
filled during the night. For some time one or two were brought me
every day, generally alive. They are sluggish insects, and pull
themselves lazily along by means of their immense forelegs. A
figure of this and other Moluccan beetles is given in the 27th
chapter of this work.

I was kept at Paso by an inflammatory eruption, brought on by the
constant attacks of small acari-like harvest-bugs, for which the
forests of Ceram are famous, and also by the want of nourishing
food while in that island. At one time I was covered with severe
boils. I had them on my eye, cheek, armpits, elbows, back,
thighs, knees, and ankles, so that I was unable to sit or walk,
and had great difficulty in finding a side to lie upon without
pain. These continued for some weeks, fresh ones coming out as
fast as others got well; but good living and sea baths ultimately
cured them.

About the end of January Charles Allen, who had been my assistant
in Malacca and Borneo, again joined me on agreement for three
years; and as soon as I got tolerably well, we had plenty to do
laying in stores and making arrangements for our ensuing
campaign. Our greatest difficulty was in obtaining men, but at
last we succeeded in getting two each. An Amboyna Christian named
Theodorus Watakena, who had been some time with me and had learned
to skin birds very well, agreed to go with Allen, as well as a
very quiet and industrious lad named Cornelius, whom I had
brought from Menado. I had two Amboynese, named Petrus Rehatta,
and Mesach Matahena; the latter of whom had two brothers, named
respectively Shadrach and Abednego, in accordance with the usual
custom among these people of giving only Scripture names to their

During the time I resided in this place, I enjoyed a luxury I have
never met with either before or since--the true bread-fruit. A
good deal of it has been planted about here and in the
surrounding villages, and almost everyday we had opportunities
of purchasing some, as all the boats going to Amboyna were
unloaded just opposite my door to be dragged across the isthmus.
Though it grows in several other parts of the Archipelago, it is
nowhere abundant, and the season for it only lasts a short time.
It is baked entire in the hot embers, and the inside scooped out
with a spoon. I compared it to Yorkshire pudding; Charles Allen
said it was like mashed potatoes and milk. It is generally about
the size of a melon, a little fibrous towards the centre, but
everywhere else quite smooth and puddingy, something in
consistence between yeast-dumplings and batter-pudding. We
sometimes made curry or stew of it, or fried it in slices; but it
is no way so good as simply baked. It may be eaten sweet or
savory. With meat and gravy it is a vegetable superior to any I
know, either in temperate or tropical countries. With sugar,
milk, butter, or treacle, it is a delicious pudding, having a
very slight and delicate but characteristic flavour, which, like
that of good bread and potatoes, one never gets tired of. The
reason why it is comparatively scarce is that it is a fruit of
which the seeds are entirely aborted by cultivation, and the tree
can therefore only be propagated by cuttings. The seed-bearing
variety is common all over the tropics, and though the seeds are
very good eating, resembling chestnuts, the fruit is quite
worthless as a vegetable. Now that steam and Ward's cases render
the transport of young plants so easy, it is much to be wished
that the best varieties of this unequalled vegetable should be
introduced into our West India islands, and largely propagated
there. As the fruit will keep some time after being gathered, we
might then be able to obtain this tropical luxury in Covent
Garden Market.

Although the few months I at various times spent in Amboyna were
not altogether very profitable to me in the way of collections,
it will always remain as a bright spot in the review of my
Eastern travels, since it was there that I first made the
acquaintance of those glorious birds and insects which render
the Moluccas classic ground in the eyes of the naturalist, and
characterise its fauna as one of the most remarkable and
beautiful upon the globe. On the 20th of February I finally
quitted Amboyna for Ceram and Waigiou, leaving Charles Allen to
go by a Government boat to Wahai on the north coast of Ceram, and
thence to the unexplored island of Mysol.

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