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The Malay Archipelago by by Alfred Russell Wallace

Part 2 out of 6

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me with boats and men to carry me on my journey. The first boat
took me in two days to Amahay, on the opposite side of the bay to
Awaiya. The chief here, wonderful to relate, did not make any
excuses for delay, but immediately ordered out the boat which was
to carry me on, put my baggage on hoard, set up mast and sails
after dark, and had the men ready that nigh; so that we were
actually on our way at five the next morning,--a display of
energy and activity I scarcely ever saw before in a native chief
on such an occasion. We touched at Cepa, and stayed for the night
at Tamilan, the first two Mahometan villages on the south coast
of Ceram. The next day, about noon, we reached Hoya, which was as
Far as my present boat and crew were going to take me. The
anchorage is about a mile east of the village, which is faced by
coral reefs, and we had to wait for the evening tide to move up
and unload the boat into the strange rotten wooden pavilion kept
for visitors.

There was no boat here large enough to take my baggage; and
although two would have done very well, the Rajah insisted upon
sending four. The reason of this I found was, that there were
four small villages under his rule, and by sending a boat from
each he would avoid the difficult task of choosing two and
letting off the others. I was told that at the next village of
Teluti there were plenty of Alfuros, and that I could get
abundance of Tories and other birds. The Rajah declared that
black and yellow Tories and black cockatoos were found there; but
I am inclined to think he knew very well he was telling me lies,
and that it was only a scheme to satisfy me with his plan of
taking me to that village, instead of a day's journey further on,
as I desired. Here, as at most of the villages, I was asked for
spirits, the people being mere nominal Mahometans, who confine
their religion almost entirely to a disgust at pork, and a few
other forbidden articles of food. The next morning, after much
trouble, we got our cargoes loaded, and had a delightful row
across the deep bay of Teluti, with a view of the grand central
mountain-range of Ceram. Our four boats were rowed by sixty men,
with flags flying and tom-toms beating, as well as very vigorous
shouting and singing to keep up their spirits. The sea way
smooth, the morning bright, and the whole scene very
exhilarating. On landing, the Orang-kaya and several of the chief
men, in gorgeous silk jackets, were waiting to receive us, and
conducted me to a house prepared for my reception, where I
determined to stay a few days, and see if the country round
produced anything new.

My first inquiries were about the lories, but I could get very
little satisfactory information. The only kinds known were the
ring-necked lory and the common red and green lorikeet, both
common at Amboyna. Black Tories and cockatoos were quite unknown.
The Alfuros resided in the mountains five or six days' journey
away, and there were only one or two live birds to be found in
the village, and these were worthless. My hunters could get
nothing but a few common birds; and notwithstanding fine
mountains, luxuriant forests, and a locality a hundred miles
eastward, I could find no new insects, and extremely few even of
the common species of Amboyna and West Ceram. It was evidently no
use stopping at such a place, and I was determined to move on as
soon as possible.

The village of Teluti is populous, but straggling and very dirty.
Sago trees here cover the mountain side, instead of growing as
usual in low swamps; but a closer examination shows that they
grow in swampy patches, which have formed among the loose rocks
that cover the ground, and which are kept constantly full of
moisture by the rains, and by the abundance of rills which
trickle down among them. This sago forms almost the whole
subsistence of the inhabitants, who appear to cultivate nothing
but a few small patches of maize and sweet potatoes. Hence, as
before explained, the scarcity of insects. The Orang-kaya has
fine clothes, handsome lamps, and other expensive European goods,
yet lives every day on sago and fish as miserably as the rest.

After three days in this barren place I left on the morning of
March 6th, in two boats of the same size as those which had
brought me to Teluti. With some difficulty I had obtained
permission to take these boats on to Tobo, where I intended to
stay a while, and therefore got on pretty quickly, changing men
at the village of Laiemu, and arriving in a heavy rain at
Ahtiago. As there was a good deal of surf here, and likely to be
more if the wind blew hard during the night, our boats were
pulled up on the beach; and after supping at the Orang-kaya's
house, and writing down a vocabulary of the language of the
Alfuros, who live in the mountains inland, I returned to sleep in
the boat. Next morning we proceeded, changing men at Warenama,
and again at Hatometen, at both of which places there was much
surf and no harbour, so that the men had to go on shore and come
on board by swimming. Arriving in the evening of March 7th at
Batuassa, the first village belonging to the Rajah of Tobo, and
under the government of Banda, the surf was very heavy, owing to
a strong westward swell. We therefore rounded the rocky point on
which the village was situated, but found it very little better
on the other side. We were obliged, however, to go on shore here;
and waiting till the people on the beach had made preparations,
by placing a row of logs from the water's edge on which to pull
up our boats, we rowed as quickly as we could straight on to
them, after watching till the heaviest surfs had passed. The
moment we touched ground our men all jumped out, and, assisted by
those on shore, attempted to haul up the boat high and dry, but
not having sufficient hands, the surf repeatedly broke into the
stern. The steepness of the beach, however, prevented any damage
being done, and the other boat having both crews to haul at it,
was got up without difficulty.

The next morning, the water being low, the breakers were at some
distance from shore, and we had to watch for a smooth moment
after bringing the boats to the water's edge, and so got safely
out to sea. At the two next villages, Tobo and Ossong, we also
took in fresh men, who came swimming through the surf; and at the
latter place the Rajah came on board and accompanied me to
Kissalaut, where he has a house which he lent me during my stay.
Here again was a heavy surf, and it was with great difficulty we
got the boats safely hauled up. At Amboyna I had been promised at
this season a calm sea and the wind off shore, but in this case,
as in every other, I had been unable to obtain any reliable
information as to the winds and seasons of places distant two or
three days' journey. It appears, however, that owing to the
general direction of the island of Ceram (E.S.E. and W.N.W.),
there is a heavy surf and scarcely any shelter on the south coast
during the west monsoon, when alone a journey to the eastward can
be safely made; while during the east monsoon, when I proposed to
return along the north coast to Wahai, I should probably find
that equally exposed and dangerous. But although the general
direction of the west monsoon in the Banda sea causes a heavy
swell, with bad surf on the coast, yet we had little advantage of
the wind; for, owing I suppose to the numerous bays and
headlands, we had contrary south-east or even due east winds all
the way, and had to make almost the whole distance from Amboyna
by force of rowing. We had therefore all the disadvantages, and
none of the advantages, of this west monsoon, which I was told
would insure me a quick and pleasant journey.

I was delayed at Kissa-laut just four weeks, although after the
first three days I saw that it would be quite useless for me to
stay, and begged the Rajah to give me a prau and men to carry me
on to Goram. But instead of getting one close at hand, he
insisted on sending several miles off; and when after many delays
it at length arrived, it was altogether unsuitable and too small
to carry my baggage. Another was then ordered to be brought
immediately, and was promised in three days, but doable that time
elapsed and none appeared, and we were obliged at length to get
one at the adjoining village, where it might have been so much
more easily obtained at first. Then came caulking and covering
over, and quarrels between the owner and the Rajah's men, which
occupied more than another ten days, during all which time I was
getting absolutely nothing, finding this part of Ceram a perfect
desert in zoology. although a most beautiful country, and with a
very luxuriant vegetation. It was a complete puzzle, which to
this day I have not been able to understand; the only thing I
obtained worth notice during my month's stay here being a few
good land shells.

At length, on April 4th, we succeeded in getting away in our
little boat of about four tons burthen, in which my numerous
boxes were with difficulty packed so as to leave sleeping and
cooling room. The craft could not boast an ounce of iron or a
foot of rope in any part of its construction, nor a morsel of
pitch or paint in its decoration. The planks were fastened
together in the usual ingenious way with pegs and rattans. The
mast was a bamboo triangle, requiring no shrouds, and carrying a
long mat sail; two rudders were hung on the quarters by rattans,
the anchor was of wood, and a long and thick rattan; served as a
cable. Our crew consisted of four men, whose pole accommodation
was about three feet by four in the bows and stern, with the
sloping thatch roof to stretch themselves upon for a change. We
had nearly a hundred miles to go, fully exposed to the swell of
the Banda sea, which is sometimes very considerable; but we
luckily had it calm and smooth, so that we made the voyage in
comparative comfort.

On the second day we passed the eastern extremity of Ceram,
formed of a group of hummocky limestone hills; and, sailing by
the islands of Kwammer and Keffing, both thickly inhabited, came
in sight of the little town of Kilwaru, which appears to rise out
of the sea like a rustic Venice. This place has really a most
extraordinary appearance, as not a particle of land or vegetation
can be seen, but a long way out at sea a large village seems to
float upon the water. There is of course a small island of
several acres in extent; but the houses are built so closely all
round it upon piles in the water, that it is completely hidden.
It is a place of great traffic, being the emporium for much of
the produce of these Eastern seas, and is the residence of many
Bugis and Ceramese traders, and appears to have been chosen on
account of its being close to the only deep channel between the
extensive shoals of Ceram-laut and those bordering the east end
of Ceram. We now had contrary east winds, and were obliged to
pole over the shallow coral reefs of Ceram-laut for nearly thirty
miles. The only danger of our voyage was just at its termination,
for as we were rowing towards Manowolko, the largest of the Goram
group, we were carried out so rapidly by a strong westerly
current, that I was almost certain at one time we should pass
clear of the island; in which case our situation would have been
both disagreeable and dangerous, as, with the east wind which had
just set in, we might have been unable to return for many days,
and we had not a day's water on board. At the critical moment I
served out some strong spirits to my men, which put fresh vigour
into their arms, and carried us out of the influence of the
current before it was too late.


On arriving at Manowolko, we found the Rajah was at the opposite
island of Goram; but he was immediately sent for, and in the
meantime a large shed was given for our accommodation. At night
the Rajah came, and the next day I had a visit from him, and
found, as I expected, that I had already made his acquaintance
three years before at Aru. He was very friendly, and we had a
long talk; but when I begged for a boat and men to take me on to
Ke, he made a host of difficulties. There were no praus, as all
had gone to Ke or Aim; and even if one were found, there were no
men, as it was the season when all were away trading. But he
promised to see about it, and I was obliged to wait. For the next
two or three days there was more talking and more difficulties
were raised, and I had time to make an examination of the island
and the people.

Manowolko is about fifteen miles long, and is a mere; upraised
coral-reef. Two or three hundred yards inland rise cliffs of
coral rock, in many parts perpendicular, and one or two hundred
feet high; and this, I was informed, is characteristic of the
whole island, in which there is no other kind of rock, and no
stream of water. A few cracks and chasms furnish paths to the top
of these cliffs, where there is an open undulating country, in
which the chief vegetable grounds of the inhabitants are

The people here--at least the chief men--were of a much purer
Malay race than the Mahometans of the mainland of Ceram, which is
perhaps due to there having been no indigenes on these small
islands when the first settlers arrived. In Ceram, the Alfuros of
Papuan race are the predominant type, the Malay physiognomy being
seldom well marked; whereas here the reverse is the case, and a
slight infusion of Papuan on a mixture of Malay and Bugis has
produced a very good-looking set of people. The lower class of
the population consist almost entirely of the indigenes of the
adjacent island. They are a fine race, with strongly-marked
Papuan features, frizzly hair, and brown complexions. The Goram
language is spoken also at the east end of Ceram, and in the
adjacent islands. It has a general resemblance to the languages
of Ceram, but possesses a peculiar element which I have not met
with in other languages of the Archipelago.

After great delay, considering the importance of every day at
this time of year, a miserable boat and five men were found, and
with some difficulty I stowed away in it such baggage as it was
absolutely necessary for me to take, leaving scarcely sitting or
sleeping room. The sailing qualities of the boat were highly
vaunted, and I was assured that at this season a small one was
much more likely to succeed in making the journey. We first
coasted along the island, reaching its eastern extremity the
following morning (April 11th), and found a strong W. S.W. wind
blowing, which just allowed us to lay across to the Matabello
Islands, a distance little short of twenty miles. I did not much
like the look of the heavy sky and rather rough sea, and my men
were very unwilling to make the attempt; but as we could scarcely
hope for a better chance, I insisted upon trying. The pitching
and jerking of our little boat, soon reduced me to a state of
miserable helplessness, and I lay down, resigned to whatever
might happen. After three or four hours, I was told we were
nearly over; but when I got up, two hours later, just as the sun
was setting, I found we were still a good distance from the
point, owing to a strong current which had been for some time
against us. Night closed in, and the wind drew more ahead, so we
had to take in sail. Then came a calm, and we rowed and sailed as
occasion offered; and it was four in the morning when we reached
the village of Kisslwoi, not having made more than three miles in
the last twelve hours.


At daylight I found we were; in a beautiful little harbour,
formed by a coral reef about two hundred yards from shore, and
perfectly secure in every wind. Having eaten nothing since the
previous morning, we cooked our breakfast comfortably on shore,
and left about noon, coasting along the two islands of this
group, which lie in the same line, and are separated by a narrow
channel. Both seem entirely formed of raised coral rock; but them
has been a subsequent subsidence, as shaven by the barrier reef
which extends all along them at varying distances from the shore,
This reef is sometimes only marked by a. line of breakers when
there is a little swell on the sea; in other places there is a
ridge of dead coral above the water, which is here and there high
enough to support a few low bushes. This was the first example I
had met with of a true barrier reef due to subsidence, as has
been so clearly shown by Mr. Darwin. In a sheltered archipelago
they will seldom be distinguishable, from the absence of those
huge rolling waves and breakers which in the wide ocean throw up
a barrier of broken coral far above the usual high-water mark,
while here they rarely rise to the surface.

On reaching the end of the southern island, called Uta, we were
kept waiting two days for a wind that would enable us to pass
over to the next island, Teor, and I began to despair of ever
reaching Ke, and determined on returning. We left with a south
wind, which suddenly changed to north-east, and induced me to
turn again southward in the hopes that this was the commencement
of a few days' favourable weather. We sailed on very well in the
direction of Teor for about an hour, after which the wind shifted
to WSW., and we were driven much out of our course, and at
nightfall found ourselves in the open sea, and full ten miles to
leeward of our destination. My men were now all very much
frightened, for if we went on we might be a. week at sea in our
little open boat, laden almost to the water's edge; or we might
drift on to the coast of New Guinea, in which case we should most
likely all be murdered. I could not deny these probabilities, and
although I showed them that we could not get back to our
starting-point with the wind as it was, they insisted upon
returning. We accordingly put about, and found that we could lay
no nearer to Uta than to Teor; however, by great good luck, about
ten o'clock we hit upon a little coral island, and lay under its
lee till morning, when a favourable change of wind brought us
back to Uta, and by evening (April 18th w e reached our first
anchorage in Matabello, where I resolved to stay a few days, and
then return to Goram. It way with much regret that I gave up my
trip to Ke and the intervening islands, which I had looked
forward to as likely to make up for my disappointment in Ceram,
since my short visit on my voyage to Aru had produced me so many
rare and beautiful insects.

The natives of Matabello are almost entirely occupied in making
cocoanut oil, which they sell to the Bugis and Goram traders, who
carry it to Banda and Amboyna. The rugged coral rock seems very
favourable to the growth of the cocoa-nut palm, which abounds
over the whole island to the very highest points, and produces
fruit all the year round. Along with it are great numbers of the
areca or betel-nut palm, the nuts of which are sliced, dried, and
ground into a paste, which is much used by the betel-chewing
Malays and Papuans. A11 the little children here even such as can
just run alone, carried between their lips a mass of the nasty-
looking red paste, which is even more disgusting than to see them
at the same age smoking cigars, which is very common even before
they are weaned. Cocoa-nuts, sweet potatoes, an occasional sago
cake, and the refuse nut after the oil has been extracted by
boiling, form the chief sustenance of these people; and the
effect of this poor and unwholesome diet is seen in the frequency
of eruptions and scurfy skin diseases, and the numerous sores
that disfigure the faces of the children.

The villages are situated on high and rugged coral peaks, only
accessible by steep narrow paths, with ladders and bridges over
yawning chasms. They are filthy with rotten husks and oil refuse,
and the huts are dark, greasy, and dirty in the extreme. The
people are wretched ugly dirty savages, clothed in unchanged
rags, and living in the most miserable manner, and as every drop
of fresh water has to be brought up from the beach, washing is
never thought of; yet they are actually wealthy, and have the
means of purchasing all the necessaries and luxuries of life.
Fowls are abundant, and eggs were given me whenever I visited the
villages, but these are never eaten, being looked upon as pets or
as merchandise. Almost all of the women wear massive gold
earrings, and in every village there are dozens of small bronze
cannon lying about on the ground, although they have cost on the
average perhaps £10 a piece. The chief men of each village came
to visit me, clothed in robes of silk and flowered satin, though
their houses and their daily fare are no better than those of the
ether inhabitants. What a contrast between these people and such
savages as the best tribes of bill. Dyaks in Borneo, or the
Indians of the Uaupes in South America, living on the banks of
clear streams, clean in their persons and their houses, with
abundance of wholesome food, and exhibiting its effect in healthy
shins and beauty of form and feature! There is in fact almost as
much difference: between the various races of savage as of
civilized peoples, and we may safely affirm that the better
specimens of the former are much superior to the lower examples
of the latter class.

One of the few luxuries of Matabello is the palm wine; which is
the fermented sap from the flower stains of the cocoa-net. It is
really a very mice drink, more like cyder than beer, though quite
as intoxicating as the latter. Young cocoa-nuts are also very
abundant, so that anywhere in the island it is only necessary to
go a few yards to find a delicious beverage by climbing up a tree
for it. It is the water of the young fruit that is drunk, before
the pulp has hardened; it is then more abundant, clear, and
refreshing, and the thin coating of gelatinous pulp is thought a
treat luxury. The water of full-brown cocoa-nuts is always thrown
away as undrinkable, although it is delicious in comparison with
that of the old dry nuts which alone we obtain in this country.
The cocoa-nut pulp I did not like at first; but fruits are so
scarce, except at particular seasons, that one soon learns to
appreciate anything of a fruity nature.

Many persons in Europe are under the impression that fruits of
delicious flavour abound in the tropical forests, and they will
no doubt be surprised to learn that the truly wild fruits of this
brand and luxuriant archipelago, the vegetation of which will vie
with that of any part of the world, are in almost every island
inferior in abundance and duality to those of Britain. Wild
strawberries and raspberries are found in some places, but they
arc such poor tasteless things as to be hardly worth eating, and
there is nothing to compare with our blackberries and
whortleberries. The kanary-nut may be considered equal to a
hazel-nut, but I have met with nothing else superior to our
crabs, oar haws, beech-nuts, wild plums, and acorns; fruits
which would be highly esteemed by the natives of these islands,
and would form an important part of their sustenance. All the
fine tropical fruits are as much cultivated productions as our
apples, peaches, and plums, and their wild prototypes, when
found, are generally either tasteless or uneatable.

The people of Matabello, like those of most of the Mahometan
villages of East Ceram and Goram, amused me much by their strange
ideas concerning the Russian war. They believe that the Russians
were not only most thoroughly beaten by the Turks, but were
absolutely conquered, and all converted to Islamism! And they can
hardly be convinced that such is not the case, and that had it
not been for the assistance of France and England, the poor
Sultan world have fared ill. Another of their motions is, that
the Turks are the largest and strongest people in the world--in
fact a race of giants; that they eat enormous quantities of meat,
and are a most ferocious and irresistible nation. Whence such
strangely incorrect opinions could have arisen it is difficult to
understand, unless they are derived from Arab priests, or hadjis
returned from Mecca, who may have heard of the ancient prowess of
the Turkish armies when they made all Europe tremble, and suppose
that their character and warlike capacity must be the same at the
present time.


A steady south-east wind having set in, we returned to Manowolko
on the 25th of April, and the day after crossed over to Ondor,
the chief village of Goram.

Around this island extends, with few interruptions, an encircling
coral reef about a quarter of a mile from the shore, visible as a
stripe of pale green water, but only at very lowest ebb-tides
showing any rock above the surface. There are several deep
entrances through this reef, and inside it there is hood
anchorage in all weathers. The land rises gradually to a moderate
height, and numerous small streams descend on all sides. The mere
existence of these streams would prove that the island was not
entirely coralline, as in that case all the water would sink
through the porous rock as it does at Manowolko and Matabello;
but we have more positive proof in the pebbles and stones of
their beds, which exhibit a variety of stratified crystalline
rocks. About a hundred yards from the beach rises a wall of coral
rock, ten or twenty feet high, above which is an undulating
surface of rugged coral, which slopes downward towards the
interior, and then after a slight ascent is bounded by a second
wall of coral. Similar walls occur higher up, and coral is found
on the highest part of the island.

This peculiar structure teaches us that before the coral was
formed land existed in this spot; that this land sunk gradually
beneath the waters, but with intervals of rest, during which
encircling reef's were formed around it at different elevations;
that it then rose to above its present elevation, and is now
again sinking. We infer this, because encircling reefs are a
proof of subsidence; and if the island were again elevated about
a hundred feet, what is now the reef and the shallow sea within
it would form a wall of coral rock, and an undulating coralline
plain, exactly similar to those that still exist at various
altitudes up to the summit of the island. We learn also that
these changes have taken place at a comparatively recent epoch,
for the surface of the coral has scarcely suffered from the
action of the weather, and hundreds of sea-shells, exactly
resembling those still found upon the beach, and many of them
retaining their gloss and even their colour, are scattered over
the surface of the island to near its summit.

Whether the Goram group formed originally part of New Guinea or
of Ceram it is scarcely possible to determine, and its
productions will throw little light upon the question, if, as I
suppose, the islands have been entirely submerged within the
epoch of existing species of animals, as in that case it must owe
its present fauna and flora to recent immigration from
surrounding lands; and with this view its poverty in species very
well agrees. It possesses much in common with East Ceram, but at
the same time has a good deal of resemblance to the Ke Islands
and Banda. The fine pigeon, Carpophaga concinna, inhabits Ke,
Banda, 11-Iatabello, and Goram, and is replaced by a distinct
species, C. neglecta, in Ceram. The insects of these four islands
have also a common facies--facts which seem to indicate that some
more extensive land has recently disappeared from the area they
now occupy, and has supplied them with a few of its peculiar

The Goram people (among whom I stayed a month) are a race of
traders. Every year they visit the Tenimber, Ke, and Aru Islands,
the whole north-west coast of New Guinea from Oetanata to
Salwatty, and the island of Waigiou and Mysol. They also extend
their voyages to Tidore and Ternate, as well as to Banda and
Amboyna, Their praus are all made by that wonderful race of
boatbuilders, the Ke. islanders, who annually turn out some
hundreds of boats, large and small, which can hardly be surpassed
for beauty of form and goodness of workmanship, They trade
chiefly in tripang, the medicinal mussoi bark, wild nutmegs, and
tortoiseshell, which they sell to the Bugis traders at Ceram-laut
or Aru, few of them caring to take their products to any other
market. In other respects they are a lazy race, living very
poorly, and much given to opium smoking. The only native
manufactures are sail-matting, coarse cotton cloth, and pandanus-
leaf boxes, prettily stained and ornamented with shell-work.

In the island of Goram, only eight or ten miles long, there are
about a dozen Rajahs, scarcely better off than the rest of the
inhabitants, and exercising a mere nominal sway, except when any
order is received from the Dutch Government, when, being backed
by a higher power, they show a little more strict authority. My
friend the Rajah of Ammer (commonly called Rajah of Goram) told
me that a few years ago, before the Dutch had interfered in the
affairs of the island, the trade was not carried on so peaceably
as at present, rival praus often fighting when on the way to the
same locality, or trafficking in the same village. Now such a
thing is never thought of-one of the good effects of the
superintendence of a civilized government. Disputes between
villages are still, however, sometimes settled by fighting, and I
one day saw about fifty men, carrying long guns and heavy
cartridge-belts, march through the village. They had come from
the other side of the island on some question of trespass or
boundary, and were prepared for war if peaceable negotiations
should fail.

While at Manowolko I had purchased for 100 florins £9.) a small
prau, which was brought over the next day, as I was informed it
was more easy to have the necessary alterations made in Goram,
where several Ke workmen were settled.

As soon as we began getting my prau ready I was obliged to give
up collecting, as I found that unless I was constantly on the
spot myself very little work would be clone. As I proposed making
some long voyages in this boat, I determined to fit it up
conveniently, and was obliged to do all the inside work myself,
assisted by my two Amboynese boys. I had plenty of visitors,
surprised to see a white man at work, and much astonished at the
novel arrangements I was making in one of their native vessels.
Luckily I had a few tools of my own, including a small saw and
some chisels, and these were now severely tried, cutting and
fitting heavy iron-wood planks for the flooring and the posts
that support the triangular mast. Being of the best London make,
they stood the work well, and without them it would have been
impossible for me to have finished my boat with half the
neatness, or in double the time. I had a Ke workman to put in new
ribs, for which I bought nails of a Bugis trader, at 8d. a pound.
My gimlets were, however, too small; and having no augers we were
obliged to bore all the holes with hot irons, a most tedious and
unsatisfactory operation.

Five men had engaged to work at the prau till finished, and then
go with me to Mysol, Waigiou, and Ternate. Their ideas of work
were, however, very different from mine, and I had immense
difficulty with them; seldom more than two or three coming
together, and a hundred excuses being given for working only half
a day when they did come. Yet they were constantly begging
advances of money, saying they had nothing to eat. When I gave it
them they were sure to stay away the next day, and when I refused
any further advances some of them declined working any more. As
the boat approached completion my difficulties with the men
increased. The uncle of one had commenced a war, or sort of
faction fight, and wanted his assistance; another's wife was ill,
and would not let him come; a third had fever and ague, and pains
in his head and back; and a fourth had an inexorable creditor who
would not let him go out of his sight. They had all received a
month's wages in advance; and though the amount was not large, it
was necessary to make them pay it back, or I should get ago men
at a11. I therefore sent the village constable after two, and
kept them in custody a day, when they returned about three-
fourths of what they owed me. The sick man also paid, and the
steersman found a substitute who was willing to take his debt,
and receive only the balance of his wages.

About this time we had a striking proof of the dangers of New
Guinea trading. Six men arrived at the village in a small boat
almost starved, having escaped out of two praus, the remainder of
whose crews (fourteen in number) had been murdered by the natives
of New Guinea. The praus had left this village a few months
before, and among the murdered men were the Rajah's son, and the
relation or slaves of many of the inhabitants. The cry of
lamentation that arose when the news arrived was most
distressing. A score of women, who had lost husbands, brothers,
sons, or more distant relatives, set up at once the most dismal
shrieks and groans and wailings, which continued at intervals
till late at night; and as the chief houses in the village were
crowded together round that which I occupied, our situation was
anything but agreeable.

It seems that the village where the attack took place (nearly
opposite the small island of Lakahia) is known to be dangerous,
and the vessels had only gone there a few days before to buy some
tripang. The crew were living on shore, the praus being in a
small river close by, and they were attacked and murdered in the
day-time while bargaining with the Papuans. The six men who
survived were on board the praus, and escaped by at once setting
into the small boat and rowing out to sea.

This south-west part of New Guinea, known to the native traders
as "Papua Kowiyee" and "Papua Onen," is inhabited by the most
treacherous and bloodthirsty tribes. It is in these districts
that the commanders and portions of the crews of many of the
early discovery ships were murdered, and scarcely a year now
passes but some lives are lost. The Goram and Ceram traders are
themselves generally inoffensive; they are well acquainted with
the character of these natives, and are not likely to provoke an
attack by any insults or open attempt at robbery or imposition.
They are accustomed to visit the same places every year, and the
natives can have no fear of them, as may be alleged in excuse for
their attacks on Europeans. In other extensive districts
inhabited by the same Papuan races, such as Mysol, Salwatty,
Waigiou, and some parts of the adjacent coast, the people have
taken the first step in civilization, owing probably to the
settlement of traders of mixed breed among them, and for many
years no such attacks have taken place. On the south-west coast,
and in the large island of Jobie, however, the natives are in a
very barbarous condition, and tale every opportunity of robbery
and murder,--a habit which is confirmed by the impunity they
experience, owing to the vast extent of wild mountain and forest
country forbidding all pursuit or attempt at punishment. In the
very same village, four years before, more than fifty Goram men
were murdered; and as these savages obtain an immense booty in
the praus and all their appurtenances, it is to be feared that
such attacks will continue to be made at intervals as long as
traders visit the same spots and attempt no retaliation.
Punishment could only be inflicted on these people by very
arbitrary measures, such as by obtaining possession of some of
the chiefs by stratagem, and rendering them responsible for the
capture of the murderers at the peril of their own heads. But
anything of this kind would be done contrary to the system
adopted by the Dutch Government in its dealings with natives.


When my boat was at length launched and loaded, I got my men
together, and actually set sail the next day (May 27th), much to
the astonishment of the Goram people, to whom such punctuality
was a novelty. I had a crew of three men and a boy, besides my
two Amboyna lads; which was sufficient for sailing, though rather
too few if obliged to row much. The next day was very wet, with
squalls, calms, and contrary winds, and with some difficulty we
reached Kilwaru, the metropolis of the Bugis traders in the far
East. As I wanted to make some purchases, I stayed here two days,
and sent two of my boxes of specimens by a Macassar prau to be
forwarded to Ternate, thus relieving myself of a considerable
incumbrance. I bought knives, basins, and handkerchiefs for
barter, which with the choppers, cloth, and beads I had brought
with me, made a pretty good assortment. I also bought two tower
muskets to satisfy my crew, who insisted on the necessity of
being armed against attacks of pirates; and with spices and a few
articles of food for the voyage nearly my last doit was expended.

The little island of Kilwaru is a mere sandbank, just large
enough to contain a small village, and situated between the
islands of Ceram-laut, and Kissa--straits about a third of a mile
wide separating it from each of them. It is surrounded by coral
reefs, and offers good anchorage in both monsoons. Though not
more than fifty yards across, and not elevated more than three or
four feet above the highest tides, it has wells of excellent
drinking water--a singular phenomenon, which would seem to imply
deep-seated subterranean channels connecting it with other
islands. These advantages, with its situation in the centre of
the Papuan trading district, lead to its being so much frequented
by the Bugis traders. Here the Goram men bring the produce of
their little voyages, which they exchange for cloth, sago cakes,
and opium; and the inhabitants of all the surrounding islands
visit it with the game object. It is the rendezvous of the praus
trading to various parts of New Guinea, which here assort and dry
their cargoes, and refit for the voyage home. Tripang and mussoi
bark are the most bulky articles of produce brought here, with
wild nutmegs, tortoiseshell, pearls, and birds of Paradise; in
smaller quantities. The villagers of the mainland of Ceram bring
their sago, which is thus distributed to the islands farther
east, while rice from Bali and Macassar can also be purchased at
a moderate price. The Goram men come here for their supplies of
opium, both for their own consumption and for barter in Mysol and
Waigiou, where they have introduced it, and where the chiefs and
wealthy men are passionately fond of it. Schooners from Bali come
to buy Papuan slaves, while the sea-wandering Bugis arrive from
distant Singapore in their lumbering praus, bringing thence the
produce of the Chinamen's workshops and Kling's bazaar, as well
as of the looms of Lancashire and Massachusetts.

One of the Bugis traders who had arrived a few days before from
Mysol, brought me news of my assistant Charles Allen, with whom
he was well acquainted, and who, he assured me; was making large
collections of birds and insects, although he had not obtained
any birds of Paradise; Silinta, where he was staying, not being a
good place for them. This was on the whole satisfactory, and I
was anxious to reach him as soon as possible.

Leaving Kilwaru early in the morning of June 1st, with a strong
east wind we doubled the point of Ceram about noon, the heavy sea
causing my prau to roll abort a good deal, to the damage of our
crockery. As bad weather seemed coming on, we got inside the
reefs and anchored opposite the village of Warns-warns to wait
for a change.

The night was very squally, and though in a good harbour we
rolled and jerked uneasily; but in the morning I had greater
cause for uneasiness in the discovery that our entire Goram crew
had decamped, taking with them all they possessed and a little
more, and leaving us without any small boat in which to land. I
immediately told my Amboyna men to load and fire the muskets as a
signal of distress, which was soon answered by the village chief
sending off a boat, which took me on shore. I requested that
messengers should be immediately sent to the neighbouring
villages in quest of the fugitives, which was promptly done. My
prau was brought into a small creek, where it could securely rest
in the mud at low water, and part of a house was given me in
which T could stay for a while. I now found my progress again
suddenly checked, just when I thought I had overcome my chief
difficulties. As I had treated my men with the greatest kindness,
and had given them almost everything they had asked for, I can
impute their running away only to their being totally
unaccustomed to the restraint of a European master, and to some
undefined dread of my ultimate intentions regarding them. The
oldest man was an opium smoker, and a reputed thief, but I had
been obliged to take him at the last moment as a substitute for
another. I feel sure it was he who induced the others to run
away, and as they knew the country well, and had several hours'
start of us, there was little chance of catching them.

We were here in the great sago district of East Ceram which
supplies most of the surrounding islands with their daily bread,
and during our week's delay I had an opportunity of seeing the
whole process of making it, and obtaining some interesting
statistics. The sago tree is a palm, thicker and larger than the
cocoa-nut tree, although rarely so tall, and having immense
pinnate spiny leaves, which completely cover the trunk till it is
many years old. It has a creeping root-stem like the Nipa palm,
and when about ten or fifteen years of age sends up an immense
terminal spike of flowers, after which the tree dies. It grows in
swamps, or in swampy hollows on the rocky slopes of hills, where
it seems to thrive equally well as when exposed to the influx of
salt or brackish water. The midribs of the immense leaves form
one of the most useful articles in these lands, supplying the
place of bamboo, to which for many purposes they are superior.
They are twelve or fifteen feet long, and, when very fine, as
thick in the lower part as a man's leg. They are very light,
consisting entirely of a firm pith covered with a hard thin rind
or bark. Entire houses are built of these; they form admirable
roofing-poles for thatch; split and well-supported, they do for
flooring; and when chosen of equal size, and pegged together side
by side to fill up the panels of framed wooden horses, they have
a very neat appearance, and make better walls and partitions than
boards, as they do not shrink, require no paint or varnish, and
are not a quarter the expense. When carefully split and shaved
smooth they are formed into light boards with pegs of the bark
itself, and are the foundation of the leaf-covered boxes of
Goram. All the insect-boxes I used in the Moluccas were thus made
at Amboyna, and when covered with stout paper inside and out, are
strong, light, and secure the insect-pins remarkably well. The
leaflet of the sago folded and tied side by side on the smaller
midribs form the "atap "or thatch in universal use, while the
product of the trunk is the staple food of some= hundred
thousands of men.

When sago is to be made, a full-grown tree is selected just
before it is going to flower. It is cut down close to the ground,
the leaves and leafstalks cleared away, and a broad strip of the
bark taken off the upper side of the trunk. This exposes the
pithy matter, which is of a rusty colour near the bottom of the
tree, but higher up pure white, about as hard as a dry apple, but
with woody fibre running through it about a quarter of an inch
apart. This pith is cut or broken down into a coarse powder by
means of a tool constructed for the purpose--a club of hard and
heavy wood, having a piece of sharp quartz rock firmly imbedded
into its blunt end, and projecting about half an inch. By
successive blows of this, narrow strips of the pith are cut away,
and fall down into the cylinder formed by the bark. Proceeding
steadily on, the whole trunk is cleared out, leaving a skin not
more than half an inch in thickness. This material is carried
away (in baskets made of the sheathing bases of the leaves) to
the nearest water, where a washing-machine is put up, which is
composed almost entirely of the saga tree itself. The large
sheathing bases of the leaves form the troughs, and the fibrous
covering from the leaf-stalks of the young cocoa-nut the
strainer. Water is poured on the mass of pith, which is kneaded
and pressed against the strainer till the starch is all dissolved
and has passed through, when the fibrous refuse is thrown away,
and a fresh basketful put in its place. The water charged with
sago starch passes on to a trough, with a depression in the
centre, where the sediment is deposited, the surplus water
trickling off by a shallow outlet. When the trough is nearly
full, the mass of starch, which has a slight reddish tinge, is
made into cylinders of about thirty pounds' weight, and neatly
covered with sago leaves, and in this state is sold as raw sago.

Boiled with water this forms a thick glutinous mass, with a
rather astringent taste, and is eaten with salt, limes, and
chilies. Sago-bread is made in large quantities, by baking it
into cakes in a small clay oven containing six or eight slits
side by side, each about three-quarters of an inch wide, and six
or eight inches square. The raw sago is broken up, dried in the
sun, powdered, and finely sifted. The oven is heated over a clear
fire of embers, and is lightly filled with the sago-powder. The
openings are then covered with a flat piece of sago bark, and in
about five minutes the cakes are turned out sufficiently baked.
The hot cakes are very nice with butter, and when made with the
addition of a little sugar and grated cocoa-nut are quite a
delicacy. They are soft, and something like corn-flour cakes, but
leave a slight characteristic flavour which is lost in the
refined sago we use in this country. When not wanted for
immediate use, they are dried for several days in the sun, and
tied up in bundles of twenty. They will then keep for years; they
are very hard, and very rough and dry, but the people are used to
them from infancy, and little children may be seen gnawing at
them as contentedly as ours with their bread-and-butter. If
dipped in water and then toasted, they become almost as good as
when fresh baked; and thus treated they were my daily substitute
for bread with my coffee. Soaked and boiled they make a very good
pudding or vegetable, and served well to economize our rice,
which is sometimes difficult to get so far east.

It is truly an extraordinary sight to witness a whole tree-trunk,
perhaps twenty feet long and four or five in circumference,
converted into food with so little labour and preparation. A
good-sized tree will produce thirty tomans or bundles of thirty
pounds each, and each toman will make sixty cakes of three to the
pound. Two of these cakes are as much as a man can eat at one
meal, and five are considered a full day's allowance; so that,
reckoning a tree to produce 1,800 cakes, weighing 600 pounds, it
will supply a man with food for a whole year. The labour to
produce this is very moderate. Two men will finish a tree in five
days, and two women will bake the whole into cakes in five days
more; but the raw sago will keep very well, and can be baked as
wanted, so that we may estimate that in ten days a man may
produce food for the whole year. This is on the supposition that
he possesses sago trees of his own, for they are now all private
property. If he does not, he has to pay about seven and sixpence
for one; and as labour here is five pence a day, the total cost
of a year's food for one man is about twelve shillings. The
effect of this cheapness of food is decidedly prejudicial, for
the inhabitants of the sago countries are never so well off as
those where rice is cultivated. Many of the people here have
neither vegetables nor fruit, but live almost entirely on sago
and a little fish. Having few occupations at home, they wander
about on petty trading or fishing expeditions to the neighbouring
islands; and as far as the comforts of life are concerned, are
much inferior to the wild hill-Dyaks of Borneo, or to many of the
more barbarous tribes of the Archipelago.

The country round Warus-warus is low and swampy, and owing to the
absence of cultivation there were scarcely any paths leading into
the forest. I was therefore unable to collect much during my
enforced stay, and found no rare birds or insects to improve my
opinion of Ceram as a collecting ground. Finding it quite
impossible to get men here to accompany me on the whole voyage, I
was obliged to be content with a crew to take me as far as Wahai,
on the middle of the north coast of Ceram, and the chief Dutch
station in the island. The journey took us five days, owing to
calms and light winds, and no incident of any interest occurred
on it, nor did I obtain at our stopping places a single addition
to my collections worth naming. At Wahai, which I reached on the
15th of June, I was hospitably received by the Commandant and my
old friend Herr Rosenberg, who was now on an official visit here.
He lent me some money to pay my men, and I was lucky enough to
obtain three others willing to make the voyage with me to
Ternate, and one more who was to return from Mysol. One of my
Amboyna lads, however, left me, so that I was still rather short
of hands.

I found here a letter from Charles Allen, who was at Silinta in
Mysol, anxiously expecting me, as he was out of rice and other
necessaries, and was short of insect-pins. He was also ill, and
if I did not soon come would return to Wahai.

As my voyage from this place to Waigiou was among islands
inhabited by the Papuan race, and was an eventful and disastrous
one, I will narrate its chief incidents in a separate chapter in
that division of my work devoted to the Papuan Islands. I now
have to pass over a year spent in Waigiou and Timor, in order to
describe my visit to the island of Bouru, which concluded my
explorations of the Moluccas.




I HAD long wished to visit the large island of Bouru, which lies
due west of Ceram, and of which scarcely anything appeared to be
known to naturalists, except that it contained a babirusa very
like that of Celebes. I therefore made arrangements for staying
there two months after leaving Timor Delli in 1861. This I could
conveniently do by means of the Dutch mail-steamers, which make a
monthly round of the Moluccas.

We arrived at the harbour of Cajeli on the 4th of May; a gun was
fired, the Commandant of the fort came alongside in a native boat
to receive the post-packet, and took me and my baggage on shore,
the steamer going off again without coming to an anchor. We went
to the horse of the Opzeiner, or overseer, a native of Amboyna--
Bouru being too poor a place to deserve even an Assistant
Resident; yet the appearance of the village was very far superior
to that of Delli, which possesses "His Excellency the Governor,"
and the little fort, in perfect order, surrounded by neat brass-
plots and straight walks, although manned by only a dozen
Javanese soldiers with an Adjutant for commander, was a very
Sebastopol in comparison with the miserable mud enclosure at
Delli, with its numerous staff of Lieutenants, Captain, and
Major. Yet this, as well as most of the forts in the Moluccas,
was originally built by the Portuguese themselves. Oh! Lusitania,
how art thou fallen!

While the Opzeiner was reading his letters, I took a walk round
the village with a guide in search of a horse. The whole place
was dreadfully damp and muddy, being built in a swamp with not a
spot of ground raised a foot above it, and surrounded by swamps
on every side. The houses were mostly well built, of wooden
framework filled in with gaba-gaba (leaf-stems of the sago-palm),
but as they had no whitewash, and the floors were of bare black
earth like the roads, and generally on the same level, they were
extremely damp and gloomy. At length I found one with the floor
raised about a foot, and succeeded in making a bargain with the
owner to turn out immediately, so that by night I had installed
myself comfortably. The chairs and tables were left for me; and
as the whole of the remaining furniture in the house consisted of
a little crockery and a few clothes-boxes, it was not much
trouble for the owners to move into the house of some relatives,
and thus obtain a few silver rupees very easily. Every foot of
ground between the homes throughout the village is crammed with
fruit trees, so that the sun and air have no chance of
penetrating. This must be very cool and pleasant in the dry
season, but makes it damp and unhealthy at other times of the
year. Unfortunately I had come two months too soon, for the rains
were not yet over, and mud and water were the prominent features
of the country.

About a mile behind and to the east of the village the hills
commence, but they are very barren, being covered with scanty
coarse grass and scattered trees of the Melaleuca cajuputi, from
the leaves of which the celebrated cajeput oil is made. Such
districts are absolutely destitute of interest for the zoologist.
A few miles further on rose higher mountains, apparently well
covered with forest, but they were entirely uninhabited and
trackless, and practically inaccessible to a traveller with
limited time and means. It became evident, therefore, that I must
leave Cajeli for some better collecting ground, and finding a man
who was going a few miles eastward to a village on the coast
where he said there were hills and forest, I sent my boy Ali with
him to explore and report on the capabilities of the district. At
the same time I arranged to go myself on a little excursion up a
river which flows into the bay about five miles north of the
town, to a village of the Alfuros, or indigenes, where I thought
I might perhaps find a good collecting ground.

The Rajah of Cajeli, a good-tempered old man, offered to
accompany me, as the village was under his government; and we
started one morning early, in a long narrow boat with eight
rowers. In about two hours we entered the river, and commenced
our inland journey against a very powerful current. The stream
was about a hundred yards wide, and was generally bordered with
high grass, and occasionally bushes and palm-trees. The country
round was flat and more or less swampy, with scattered trees and
shrubs. At every bend we crossed the river to avoid the strength
of the current, and arrived at our landing-place about four
o'clock in a torrent of rain. Here we waited for an hour,
crouching under a leaky mat till the Alfuros arrived who had been
sent for from the village to carry my baggage, when we set off
along a path of whose extreme muddiness I had been warned before

I turned up my trousers as high as possible, grasped a stoat
stick to prevent awkward falls, and then boldly plunged into the
first mud-hole, which was immediately succeeded by another and
another. The marl or mud and water was knee-deep with little
intervals of firmer ground between, making progression
exceedingly difficult. The path was bordered with high rigid
grass, brewing in dense clumps separated by water, so that
nothing was to be gained by leaving the beaten track, and we were
obliged to go floundering on, never knowing where our feet would
rest, as the mud was now a few inches, now two feet deep, and the
bottom very uneven, so that the foot slid down to the lowest
part, and made it difficult to keep one's balance. One step would
be upon a concealed stick or log, almost dislocating the ankle,
while the next would plunge into soft mud above the knee. It
rained all the way, and the long grass, six feet high, met over
the path; so that we could not see a step of the way ahead, and
received a double drenching. Before we got to the village it was
dark, and we had to cross over a small but deep and swollen
stream by a narrow log of wood, which was more than a foot under
water. There was a slender shaking stick for a handrail, and it
was nervous work feeling in the dark in the rushing water for a
safe place on which to place the advanced foot. After au hour of
this most disagreeable and fatiguing walk we reached the village,
followed by the men with our guns, ammunition, boxes, and bedding
all more or less soaked. We consoled ourselves with some hot tea
and cold fowl, and went early to bed.

The next morning was clear and fine, and I set out soon after
sunrise to explore the neighbourhood. The village had evidently
been newly formed, and consisted of a single straight street of
very miserable huts totally deficient in every comfort, and as
bare and cheerless inside as out. It was situated on a little
elevated patch of coarse gravelly soil, covered with the usual
high rigid grass, which came up close to the backs of the houses.
At a short distance in several directions were patches of forest,
but all on low and swampy ground. I made one attempt along the
only path I could find, but soon came upon a deep mud-hole, and
found that I must walk barefoot if at all; so I returned and
deferred further exploration till after breakfast. I then went on
into the jungle and found patches of sago-palms and a low forest
vegetation, but the paths were everywhere full of mud-holes, and
intersected by muddy streams and tracts of swamp, so that walking
was not pleasurable, and too much attention to one's steps was
not favourable to insect catching, which requires above
everything freedom of motion. I shot a few birds, and caught a
few butterflies, but all were the same as I had already obtained
about Cajeli.

On my return to the village I was told that the same kind of
ground extended for many miles in every direction, and I at once
decided that Wayapo was not a suitable place to stay at. The next
morning early we waded back again through the mud and long wet
grass to our boat, and by mid-day reached Cajeli, where I waited
Ali's return to decide on my future movements. He came the
following day, and gave a very bad account of Pelah, where he had
been. There was a little brush and trees along the beach, and
hills inland covered with high grass and cajuputi trees--my dread
and abhorrence. On inquiring who could give me trustworthy
information, I was referred to the Lieutenant of the Burghers,
who had travelled all round the island, and was a very
intelligent fellow. I asked him to tell me if he knew of any part
of Bouru where there was no "kusu-kusu," as the coarse grass of
the country is called. He assured me that a good deal of the
south coast was forest land, while along the north was almost
entirely swamp and grassy hills. After minute inquiries, I found
that the forest country commenced at a place called Waypoti, only
a few miles beyond Pelah, but that, as the coast beyond that
place was exposed to the east monsoon and dangerous for praus, it
was necessary to walk. I immediately went to the Opzeiner, and he
called the Rajah. We had a consultation, and arranged for a boat
to take me the next evening but one, to Pelah, whence I was to
proceed on foot, the Orang-kaya going the day before to call the
Alfuros to carry my baggage.

The journey was made as arranged, and on May 19th we arrived at
Waypoti, having walked about ten miles along the beach, and
through stony forest bordering the sea, with occasional plunges
of a mile or two into the interior. We found no village, but
scattered houses and plantations, with hilly country pretty well
covered with forest, and looking rather promising. A low hut with
a very rotten roof, showing the sky through in several places,
was the only one I could obtain. Luckily it did not rain that
night, and the next day we pulled down some of the walls to
repair the roof, which was of immediate importance, especially
over our beds and table.

About half a mile from the house was a fine mountain stream,
running swiftly over a bed of rocks and pebbles, and beyond this
was a hill covered with fine forest. By carefully picking my way
I could wade across this river without getting much above my
knees, although I would sometimes slip off a rock and go into a
hole up to my waist, and about twice a week I went across it in
order to explore the forest. Unfortunately there were no paths
here of any extent, and it did not prove very productive either
in insects or birds. To add to my difficulties I had stupidly
left my only pair of strong hoots on board the steamer, and my
others were by this time all dropping to pieces, so that I was
obliged to walk about barefooted, and in constant fear of hurting
my feet, and causing a wound which might lay me up for weeks, as
had happened in Borneo, Are, and Dorey. Although there were
numerous plantations of maize and plantains, there were no new
clearings; and as without these it is almost impossible to find
many of the best kinds of insects, I determined to make one
myself, and with much difficulty engaged two men to clear a patch
of forest, from which I hoped to obtain many fine beetles before
I left.

During the whole of my stay, however, insects never became
plentiful. My clearing produced me a few fine, longicorns and
Buprestidae, different from any I had before seen, together with
several of the Amboyna species, but by no means so numerous or,
so beautiful as I had found in that small island. For example, I
collected only 210 different kinds of beetles during my two
months' stay at Bourn, while in three weeks at Amboyna, in 1857,
I found more than 300 species: One of the finest insects found at
Bouru was a large Cerambyx, of a deep shining chestnut colour,
and with very long antennae. It varied greatly in size, the
largest specimens being three inches long, while the smallest
were only an inch, the antenna varying from one and a half to
five inches.

One day my boy Ali came home with a story of a big snake. He was
walking through some high grass, and stepped on something which
he took for a small fallen tree, but it felt cold and yielding to
his feet, and far to the right and left there was a waving and
rustling of the herbage. He jumped back in affright and prepared
to shoot, but could not get a good vies of the creature, and it
passed away, he said, like a tree being dragged along through the
grass. As he lead several times already shot large snakes, which
he declared were all as nothing compared with this, I am inclined
to believe it must really have been a monster. Such creatures are
rather plentiful here, for a man living close by showed me on his
thigh the marks where he bad been seized by one close to his
house. It was big enough to take the man's thigh in its mouth,
and he would probably have been killed and devoured by it had not
his cries brought out his neighbours, who destroyed it with their
choppers. As far as I could make out it was about twenty feet
long, but Ali's was probably much larger.

It sometimes amuses me to observe how, a few days after I have
taken possession of it, a native hut seems quite a comfortable
home. My house at Waypoti was a bare shed, with a large bamboo
platform at one side. At one end of this platform, which was
elevated about three feet, I fixed up my mosquito curtain, and
partly enclosed it with a large Scotch plaid, making a
comfortable little sleeping apartment. I put up a rude table on
legs buried in the earthen floor, and had my comfortable rattan-
chair for a seat. A line across one corner carried my daily-
washed cotton clothing, and on a bamboo shelf was arranged my
small stock of crockery and hardware: Boxes were ranged against
the thatch walls, and hanging shelves, to preserve my collections
from ants while drying, were suspended both without and within
the house. On my table lay books, penknives, scissors, pliers,
and pins, with insect and bird labels, all of which were unsolved
mysteries to the native mind.

Most of the people here had never seen a pin, and the better
informed took a pride in teaching their more ignorant companions
the peculiarities and uses of that strange European production--a
needle with a head, but no eye! Even paper, which we throw away
hourly as rubbish, was to them a curiosity; and I often saw them
picking up little scraps which had been swept out of the house,
and carefully putting them away in their betel-pouch. Then when I
took my morning coffee and evening tea, how many were the strange
things displayed to them! Teapot, teacups, teaspoons, were all
more or less curious in their eyes; tea, sugar, biscuit, and
butter, were articles of human consumption seen by many of them
for the first time. One asks if that whitish powder is "gula
passir" (sand-sugar), so called to distinguish it from the coarse
lump palm-sugar or molasses of native manufacture; and the
biscuit is considered a sort of European sago-cake, which the
inhabitants of those remote regions are obliged to use in the
absence of the genuine article. My pursuit, were of course
utterly beyond their comprehension. They continually asked me
what white people did with the birds and insects I tools so much
care to preserve. If I only kept what was beautiful, they might
perhaps comprehend it; but to see ants and files and small ugly
insects put away so carefully was a great puzzle to them, and
they were convinced that there must be some medical or magical
use for them which I kept a profound secret. These people were in
fact as completely unacquainted with civilized life as the
Indians of the Rocky Mountains, or the savages of Central Africa-
-yet a steamship, that highest triumph of human ingenuity, with
its little floating epitome of European civilization, touches
monthly at Cajeli, twenty miles off; while at Amboyna, only sixty
miles distant, a European population and government have been
established for more than three hundred years.

Having seen a good many of the natives of Bouru from different
villages, and from distant parts of the island, I feel convinced
that they consist of two distinct races now partially
amalgamated. The larger portion are Malays of the Celebes type,
often exactly similar to the Tomóre people of East Celebes, whom
I found settled in Batchian; while others altogether resemble the
Alfuros of Ceram.

The influx of two races can easily be accounted for. The Sula
Islands, which are closely connected with East Celebes, approach
to within forty miles of the north coast of Bouru, while the
island of Manipa offers an easy point of departure for the people
of Ceram. I was confirmed in this view by finding that the
languages of Bouru possessed distinct resemblances to that of
Sula, as well as to those of Ceram.

Soon after we had arrived at Waypoti, Ali had seen a beautiful
little bird of the genus Pitta, which I was very anxious to
obtain, as in almost every island the species are different, and
none were yet known from Bourn. He and my other hunter continued
to see it two or three times a week, and to hear its peculiar
note much oftener, but could never get a specimen, owing to its
always frequenting the most dense thorny thickets, where only
hasty glimpses of it could be obtained, and at so short a
distance that it would be difficult to avoid blowing the bird to
pieces. Ali was very much annoyed that he could not get a
specimen of this bird, in going after which he had already
severely, wounded his feet with thorns; and when we had only two
days more to stay, he went of his own accord one evening to sleep
at a little but in the forest some miles off, in order to have a
last try for it at daybreak, when many birds come out to feed,
and are very intent on their morning meal. The next evening he
brought me home two specimens, one with the head blown completely
off, and otherwise too much injured to preserve, the other in
very good order, and which I at once saw to be a new species,
very like the Pitta celebensis, but ornamented with a square
patch of bright red on the nape of the neck.

The next day after securing this prize we returned to Cajeli, and
packing up my collections left Bouru by the steamer. During our
two days' stay at Ternate, I took on board what baggage I had
left there, and bade adieu to all my friends. We then crossed
over to Menado, on our way to Macassar and Java, and I finally
quitted the Moluccas, among whose luxuriant and beautiful islands
I had wandered for more than three years.

My collections in Bouru, though not extensive, were of
considerable interest; for out of sixty-six species of birds
which I collected there, no less than seventeen were new, or had
not been previously found in any island of the Moluccas. Among
these were two kingfishers, Tanysiptera acis and Ceyx Cajeli; a
beautiful sunbird, Nectarines proserpina; a handsome little black
and white flycatcher, Monarcha loricata, whose swelling throat
was beautifully scaled with metallic blue; and several of less
interest. I also obtained a skull of the babirusa, one specimen
of which was killed by native hunters during my residence at



THE Moluccas consist of three large islands, Gilolo, Ceram, and
Bouru, the two former being each about two hundred miles long;
and a great number of smaller isles and islets, the most
important of which are Batchian, Morty, Obi, Ke, Timor-Laut, and
Amboyna; and among the smaller ones, Ternate, Tidore, Kaióa, and
Banda. They occupy a space of ten degrees of latitude by eight of
longitude, and they are connected by groups of small islets to
New Guinea on the east, the Philippines on the north, Celebes on
the west, and Timor on the south. It will be as well to bear in
mind these main features of extent and geographical position,
while we survey their animal productions and discuss their
relations to the countries which surround them on every side in
almost equal proximity.

We will first consider the Mammalia or warm-blooded quadrupeds,
which present us with some singular anomalies. The land mammals
are exceedingly few in number, only ten being yet known from the
entire group. The bats or aerial mammals, on the other hand, are
numerous--not less than twenty-five species being already known.
But even this exceeding poverty of terrestrial mammals does not
at all represent the real poverty of the Moluccas in this class
of animals; for, as we shall soon see, there is good reason to
believe that several of the species have been introduced by man,
either purposely or by accident.

The only quadrumanous animal in the group is the curious baboon-
monkey, Cynopithecus nigrescens, already described as being one
of the characteristic animals of Celebes. This is found only in
the island of Batchian; and it seems so much out of place there
as it is difficult to imagine how it could have reached the
island by any natural means of dispersal, and yet not have passed
by the same means over the narrow strait to Gilolo--that it seems
more likely to have originated from some individuals which had
escaped from confinement, these and similar animals being often
kept as pets by the Malays, and carried about in their praus.

Of all the carnivorous animals of the Archipelago the only one
found in the Moluccas is the Viverra tangalunga, which inhabits
both Batchian and Bouru, and probably come of the other islands.
I am inclined to think that this also may have been introduced
accidentally, for it is often made captive by the Malays, who
procure civet from it, and it is an animal very restless and
untameable, and therefore likely to escape. This view is rendered
still more probable by what Antonio de Morga tells us was the
custom in the Philippines in 1602. He says that "the natives of
Mindanao carry about civet-cats in cages, and sell them in the
islands; and they take the civet from them, and let them go
again." The same species is common in the Philippines and in all
the large islands of the Indo-Malay region.

The only Moluccan ruminant is a deer, which was once supposed to
be a distinct species, but is now generally considered to be a
slight variety of the Rusa hippelaphus of Java. Deer are often
tamed and petted, and their flesh is so much esteemed by all
Malays, that it is very natural they should endeavour to
introduce them into the remote islands in which they settled, and
whose luxuriant forests seem so well adapted for their

The strange babirusa of Celebes is also found in Bouru; but in no
other Moluccan island, and it is somewhat difficult to imagine
how it got there. It is true that there is some approximation
between the birds of the Sula Islands (where the babirusa is also
found) and those of Bouru, which seems to indicate that these
islands have recently been closer together, or that some
intervening land has disappeared. At this time the babirusa may
have entered Bouru, since it probably swims as well as its allies
the pigs. These are spread all over the Archipelago, even to
several of the smaller islands, and in many cases the species are
peculiar. It is evident, therefore, that they have some natural
means of dispersal. There is a popular idea that pigs cannot
swim, but Sir Charles Lyell has shown that this is a mistake. In
his "Principles of Geology" (10th Edit. vol. ii p. 355) he adduces
evidence to show that pigs have swum many miles at sea, and are
able to swim with great ease and swiftness. I have myself seen a
wild pig swimming across the arm of the sea that separates
Singapore from the Peninsula of Malacca, and we thus have
explained the curious fact, that of all the large mammals of the
Indian region, pigs alone extend beyond the Moluccas and as far
as New Guinea, although it is somewhat curious that they have not
found their way to Australia.

The little shrew, Sorex myosurus, which is common in Sumatra,
Borneo, and Java, is also found in the larger islands of the
Moluccas, to which it may have been accidentally conveyed in
native praus.

This completes the list of the placental mammals which are so
characteristic of the Indian region; and we see that, with the
single exception of the pig, all may very probably have been
introduced by man, since all except the pig are of species
identical with those now abounding in the great Malay islands, or
in Celebes.

The four remaining mammals are Marsupials, an order of the class
Mammalia, which is very characteristic of the Australian fauna;
and these are probably true natives of the Moluccas, since they
are either of peculiar species, or if found elsewhere are natives
only of New Guinea or North Australia. The first is the small
flying opossum, Belideus ariel, a beautiful little animal,
exactly line a small flying squirrel in appearance, but belonging
to the marsupial order. The other three are species of the
curious genus Cuscus, which is peculiar to the Austro-Malayan
region. These are opossum-like animals, with a long prehensile
tail, of which the terminal half is generally bare. They have
small heads, large eyes, and a dense covering of woolly fur,
which is often pure white with irregular black spots or blotches,
or sometimes ashy brown with or without white spots. They live in
trees, feeding upon the leaves, of which they devour large
quantities, they move about slowly, and are difficult to kill,
owing to the thickness of their fur, and their tenacity of life.
A heavy charge of shot will often lodge in the slain and do them
no harm, and even breaking the spine or piercing the brain will
not kill them for some hours. The natives everywhere eat their
flesh, and as their motions are so slow, easily catch them by
climbing; so that it is wonderful they have not been
exterminated. It may be, however, that their dense woolly fur
protects them from birds of prey, and the islands they live in
are too thinly inhabited for man to be able to exterminate them.
The figure represents Cuscus ornatus, a new species discovered by
me in Batchian, and which also inhabits Ternate. It is peculiar
to the Moluccas, while the two other species which inhabit Ceram
are found also in New Guinea and Waigiou.

In place of the excessive poverty of mammals which characterises
the Moluccas, we have a very rich display of the feathered
tribes. The number of species of birds at present known from the
various islands of the Molluccan group is 265, but of these only
70 belong to the usually abundant tribes of the waders and
swimmers, indicating that these are very imperfectly known. As
they are also pre-eminently wanderers, and are thus little fitted
for illustrating the geographical distribution of life in a
limited area, we will here leave them out of consideration and
confine our attention only to the 195 land birds.

When we consider that all Europe, with its varied climate and
vegetation, with every mile of its surface explored, and with the
immense extent of temperate Asia and Africa, which serve as
storehouses, from which it is continually recruited, only
supports 25l species of land birds as residents or regular
immigrants, we must look upon the numbers already procured in the
small and comparatively unknown islands of the Moluccas as
indicating a fauna of fully average richness in this department.
But when we come to examine the family groups which go to make up
this number, we find the most curious deficiencies in some,
balanced by equally striking redundancy in other. Thus if we
compare the birds of the Moluccas with those of India, as given
in Mr. Jerdon's work, we find that the three groups of the
parrots, kingfishers, and pigeons, form nearly _one-third_ of the
whole land-birds in the former, while they amount to only _one-
twentieth_ in the latter country. On the other hand, such wide-
spread groups as the thrushes, warblers, and finches, which in
India form nearly _one-third_ of all the land-birds, dwindle down
in the Moluccas to _one-fourteenth._

The reason of these peculiarities appears to be, that the
Moluccan fauna has been almost entirely derived from that of New
Guinea, in which country the same deficiency and the same
luxuriance is to be observed. Out of the seventy-eight genera in
which the Moluccan land-birds may be classed, no less than
seventy are characteristic of Yew Guinea, while only six belong
specially to the Indo-Malay islands. But this close resemblance
to New Guinea genera does not extend to the species, for no less
than 140 out of the 195 land-birds are peculiar to the Moluccan
islands, while 32 are found also in New Guinea, and 15 in the
Indo-Malay islands. These facts teach us, that though the birds
of this group have evidently been derived mainly from New Guinea,
yet the immigration has not been a recent one, since there has
been time for the greater portion of the species to have become
changed. We find, also, that many very characteristic New Guinea
forms lave not entered the Moluccas at all, while others found in
Ceram and Gilolo do not extend so far west as Bouru. Considering,
further, the absence of most of the New Guinea mammals from the
Moluccas, we are led to the conclusion that these islands are not
fragments which have been separated from New Guinea, but form a
distinct insular region, which has been upheaved independently at
a rather remote epoch, and during all the mutations it has
undergone has been constantly receiving immigrants from that
great and productive island. The considerable length of time the
Moluccas have remained isolated is further indicated by the
occurrence of two peculiar genera of birds, Semioptera and
Lycocorax, which are found nowhere else.

We are able to divide this small archipelago into two well marked
groups--that of Ceram, including also Bouru. Amboyna, Banda, and
Ke; and that of Gilolo, including Morty, Batchian, Obi, Ternate,
and other small islands. These divisions have each a considerable
number of peculiar species, no less than fifty-five being found
in the Ceram group only; and besides this, most of the separate
islands have some species peculiar to themselves. Thus Morty
island has a peculiar kingfisher, honeysucker, and starling;
Ternate has a ground-thrush (Pitta) and a flycatcher; Banda has a
pigeon, a shrike, and a Pitta; Ke has two flycatchers, a
Zosterops, a shrike, a king-crow and a cuckoo; and the remote
Timor-Laut, which should probably come into the Moluccan group,
has a cockatoo and lory as its only known birds, and both are of
peculiar species.

The Moluccas are especially rich in the parrot tribe, no less
than twenty-two species, belonging to ten genera, inhabiting
them. Among these is the large red-crested cockatoo, so commonly
seen alive in Europe, two handsome red parrots of the genus
Eclectus, and five of the beautiful crimson lories, which are
almost exclusively confined to these islands and the New Guinea
group. The pigeons are hardly less abundant or beautiful, twenty-
one species being known, including twelve of the beautiful green
fruit pigeons, the smaller kinds of which are ornamented with the
most brilliant patches of colour on the head and the under-
surface. Next to these come the kingfishers, including sixteen
species, almost all of which are beautiful, end many are among
the most brilliantly-coloured birds that exist.

One of the most curious groups of birds, the Megapodii, or mound-
makers, is very abundant in the Moluccas. They are gallinaceous
birds, about the size of a small fowl, and generally of a dark
ashy or sooty colour, and they have remarkably large and strong
feet and long claws. They are allied to the "Maleo" of Celebes,
of which an account has already been given, but they differ in
habits, most of these birds frequenting the scrubby jungles along
the sea-shore, where the soil is sandy, and there is a
considerable quantity of debris, consisting of sticks, shells,
seaweed, leaves, &c. Of this rubbish the Megapodius forms immense
mounds, often six or eight feet high and twenty or thirty feet in
diameter, which they are enabled to do with comparative ease, by
means of their large feet, with which they can grasp and throw
backwards a quantity of material. In the centre of this mound, at
a depth of two or three feet, the eggs are deposited, and are
hatched by the gentle heat produced by the fermentation of the
vegetable matter of the mound. When I first saw these mounds in
the island of Lombock, I could hardly believe that they were made
by such small birds, but I afterwards met with them frequently,
and have once or twice come upon the birds engaged in making
them. They run a few steps backwards, grasping a quantity of
loose material in one foot, and throw it a long way behind them.
When once properly buried the eggs seem to be no more cared for,
the young birds working their way up through the heap of rubbish,
and running off at once into the forest. They come out of the egg
covered with thick downy feathers, and have no tail, although the
wings are full developed.

I was so fortunate as to discover a new species (Megapodius
wallacei), which inhibits Gilolo, Ternate, and Bouru. It is the
handsomest bird of the genus, being richly banded with reddish
brown on the back and wings; and it differs from the other
species in its habits. It frequents the forests of the interior,
and comes down to the sea-beach to deposit its eggs, but instead
of making a mound, or scratching a hole to receive them, it
burrows into the sand to the depth of about three feet obliquely
downwards, and deposits its eggs at the bottom. It then loosely
covers up the mouth of the hole, and is said by the natives to
obliterate and disguise its own footmarks leading to and from the
hole, by making many other tracks and scratches in the
neighbourhood. It lays its eggs only at night, and at Bouru a
bird was caught early one morning as it was coming out of its
hole, in which several eggs were found. All these birds seem to
be semi-nocturnal, for their loud wailing cries may be constantly
heard late into the night and long before daybreak in the
morning. The eggs are all of a rusty red colour, and very large
for the size of the bird, being generally three or three and a
quarter inches long, by two or two and a quarter wide. They are
very good eating, and are much sought after by the natives.

Another large and extraordinary bird is the Cassowary, which
inhabits the island of Ceram only. It is a stout and strong bird,
standing five or six feet high, and covered with long coarse
black hair-like feathers. The head is ornamented with a large
horny calque or helmet, and the bare skin of the neck is
conspicuous with bright blue and red colours. The wings are quite
absent, and are replaced by a group of horny black spines like
blunt porcupine quills.

These birds wander about the vast mountainous forests that cover
the island of Ceram, feeding chiefly on fallen fruits, and on
insects or crustacea. The female lays from three to five large
and beautifully shagreened green eggs upon a bed of leaves, the
male and female sitting upon them alternately for about a month.
This bird is the helmeted cassowary (Casuarius galeatus) of
naturalists, and was for a long time the only species known.
Others have since been discovered in New Guinea, New Britain, and
North Australia.

It was in the Moluccas that I first discovered undoubted cases of
"mimicry" among birds, and these are so curious that I must
briefly describe them. It will be as well, however, first to
explain what is meant by mimicry in natural history. At page 205
of the first volume of this work, I have described a butterfly
which, when at rest, so closely resembles a dead leaf, that it
thereby escape the attacks of its enemies. This is termed a
"protective resemblance." If however the butterfly, being itself
savoury morsel to birds, had closely resembled another butterfly
which was disagreeable to birds, and therefore never eaten by
them, it would be as well protected as if it resembled a leaf;
and this is what has been happily termed "mimicry" by Mr. Bates,
who first discovered the object of these curious external
imitations of one insect by another belonging to a distinct genus
or family, and sometimes even to a distinct order. The clear-
winged moth which resemble wasps and hornets are the best
examples of "mimicry" in our own country.

For a long time all the known cases of exact resemblance of one
creature to quite a different one were confined to insects, and
it was therefore with great pleasure that I discovered in the
island of Bouru two birds which I constantly mistook for each
other, and which yet belonged to two distinct and somewhat
distant families. One of these is a honeysucker named
Tropidorhynchus bouruensis, and the other a kind of oriole, which
has been called Mimeta bouruensis. The oriole resembles the
honeysucker in the following particulars: the upper and under
surfaces of the two birds are exactly of the same tints of dark
and light brown; the Tropidorhynchus has a large bare black patch
round the eyes; this is copied in the Mimeta by a patch of black
feathers. The top of the head of the Tropidorhynchus has a scaly
appearance from the narrow scale-formed feathers, which are
imitated by the broader feathers of the Mimeta having a dusky
line down each. The Tropidorhynchus has a pale ruff formed of
curious recurved feathers on the nape (which has given the whole
genus the name of Friar birds); this is represented in the Mimeta
by a pale band in the same position. Lastly, the bill of the
Tropidorhynchus is raised into a protuberant keel at the base,
and the Mimeta has the same character, although it is not a
common one in the genus. The result is, that on a superficial
examination the birds are identical, although they leave
important structural differences, and cannot be placed near each
other in any natural arrangement.

In the adjacent island of Ceram we find very distinct species of
both these genera, and, strange to say, these resemble each other
quite as closely as do those of Bouru The Tropidorhynchus
subcornutus is of an earthy brown colour, washed with ochreish
yellow, with bare orbits, dusky: cheeks, and the usual recurved
nape-ruff: The Mimeta forsteni which accompanies it, is
absolutely identical in the tints of every part of the body, and
the details are copied just as minutely as in the former species.

We have two kinds of evidence to tell us which bird in this case
is the model, and which the copy. The honeysuckers are coloured
in a manner which is very general in the whole family to which
they belong, while the orioles seem to have departed from the gay
yellow tints so common among their allies. We should therefore
conclude that it is the latter who mimic the former. If so,
however, they must derive some advantage from the imitation, and
as they are certainly weak birds, with small feet and claws, they
may require it. Now the Tropidorhynchi are very strong and active
birds, having powerful grasping claws, and long, curved, sharp
beaks. They assemble together in groups and small flocks, and
they haw a very loud bawling note which can be heard at a great
distance, and serves to collect a number together in time of
danger. They are very plentiful and very pugnacious, frequently
driving away crows and even hawks, which perch on a tree where a
few of them are assembled. It is very probable, therefore, that
the smaller birds of prey have learnt to respect these birds and
leave them alone, and it may thus be a great advantage for the
weaker and less courageous Mimetas to be mistaken for them. This
being case, the laws of Variation and Survival of the Fittest,
will suffice to explain how the resemblance has been brought
about, without supposing any voluntary action on the part of the
birds themselves; and those who have read Mr. Darwin's "Origin of
Species" will have no difficulty in comprehending the whole

The insects of the Moluccas are pre-eminently beautiful, even
when compared with the varied and beautiful productions of other
parts of the Archipelago. The grand bird-winged butterflies
(Ornithoptera) here reach their maximum of size and beauty, and
many of the Papilios, Pieridae Danaidae, and Nymphalidae are
equally preeminent. There is, perhaps, no island in the world so
small as Amboyna where so many grand insects are to be found.
Here are three of the very finest Ornithopterae--priamus, helena,
and remiss; three of the handsomest and largest Papilios--
ulysses, deiphobus, and gambrisius; one of the handsomest
Pieridae, Iphias leucippe; the largest of the Danaidae, Hestia
idea; and two unusually large and handsome Nymphalidae--Diadema
pandarus, and Charaxes euryalus. Among its beetles are the
extraordinary Euchirus longimanus, whose enormous legs spread
over a space of eight inches, and an unusual number of large and
handsome Longicorns, Anthribidae, and Buprestidae.

The beetles figured on the plate as characteristic of the
Moluccas are: 1. A small specimen of the Euchirus longimanus, or
Long-armed Chafer, which has been already mentioned in the
account of my residence at Amboyna (Chapter XX.). The female has
the fore legs of moderate length. 2. A fine weevil, (an
undescribed species of Eupholus,) of rich blue and emerald green
colours, banded with black. It is a native of Ceram and Goram,
and is found on foliage. 3. A female of Xenocerus semiluctuosus,
one of the Anthribidae of delicate silky white and black colours.
It is abundant on fallen trunks and stumps in Ceram and Amboyna.
4. An undescribed species of Xenocerus; a male, with very long
and curious antenna, and elegant black and white markings. It is
found on fallen trunks in Batchian. 5. An undescribed species of
Arachnobas, a curious genus of weevils peculiar to the Moluccas
and New Guinea, and remarkable for their long legs, and their
habit of often sitting on leaves, and turning rapidly round the
edge to the under-surface when disturbed. It was found in Gilolo.
All these insects are represented of the natural size.

Like the birds, the insects of the Moluccas show a decided
affinity with those of New Guinea rather than with the
productions of the great western islands of the Archipelago, but
the difference in form and structure between the productions of
the east and west is not nearly so marked here as in birds. This
is probably due to the more immediate dependence of insects on
climate and vegetation, and the greater facilities for their
distribution in the varied stages of egg, pupa, and perfect
insect. This has led to a general uniformity in the insect-life
of the whole Archipelago, in accordance with the general
uniformity of its climate and vegetation; while on the other hand
the great susceptibility of the insect organization to the action
of external conditions has led to infinite detailed modifications
of form and colour, which have in many cases given a considerable
diversity to the productions of adjacent islands.

Owing to the great preponderance among the birds, of parrots,
pigeons, kingfishers, and sunbirds, almost all of gay or delicate
colours, and many adorned with the most gorgeous plumage, and to
the numbers of very large and showy butterflies which are almost
everywhere to be met with, the forests of the Moluccas offer to
the naturalist a very striking example of the luxuriance and
beauty of animal life in the tropics. Yet the almost entire
absence of Mammalia, and of such wide-spread groups of birds as
woodpeckers, thrushes, jays, tits, and pheasants, must convince
him that he is in a part of the world which has, in reality but
little in common with the great Asiatic continent, although an
unbroken chain of islands seems to link them to it.



(DECEMBER, 1856.)

IT was the beginning of December, and the rainy season at
Macassar had just set in. For nearly three months had beheld the
sun rise daily above the palm-groves, mount to the zenith, and
descend like a globe of fire into the ocean, unobscured for a
single moment of his course. Now dark leaden clouds had gathered
over the whole heavens, and seemed to have rendered him
permanently invisible. The strong east winds, warm and dry and
dust-laden, which had hitherto blown as certainly as the sun had
risen, were now replaced by variable gusty breezes and heavy
rains, often continuous for three days and nights together; and
the parched and fissured rice stubbles which during the dry
weather had extended in every direction for miles around the
town, were already so flooded as to be only passable by boats, or
by means of a labyrinth of paths on the top of the narrow banks
which divided the separate properties.

Five months of this kind of weather might be expected in Southern
Celebes, and I therefore determined to seek some more favourable
climate for collecting in during that period, and to return in
the next dry season to complete my exploration of the district.
Fortunately for me I was in one of the treat emporiums of the
native trade of the archipelago. Rattans from Borneo, sandal-wood
and bees'-was from Flores and Timor, tripang from the Gulf of
Carpentaria, cajputi-oil from Bouru, wild nutmegs and mussoi-bark
from New Guinea, are all to be found in the stores of the Chinese
and Bugis merchants of Macassar, along with the rice and coffee
which are the chief products of the surrounding country. More
important than all these however is the trade to Aru, a group of
islands situated on the south-west coast of New Guinea, and of
which almost the whole produce comes to Macassar in native
vessels. These islands are quite out of the track of all European
trade, and are inhabited only by black mop-headed savages, who
yet contribute to the luxurious tastes of the most civilized
races. Pearls, mother-of-pearl, and tortoiseshell find their way
to Europe, while edible birds' nests and "tripang" or sea-slug
are obtained by shiploads for the gastronomic enjoyment of the

The trade to these islands has existed from very early times, and
it is from them that Birds of Paradise, of the two kinds known to
Linnaeus were first brought The native vessels can only make the
voyage once a year, owing to the monsoons. They leave Macassar in
December or January at the beginning of the west monsoon, and
return in July or August with the full strength of the east
monsoon. Even by the Macassar people themselves, the voyage to
the Aru Islands is looked upon as a rather wild and romantic
expedition, fall of novel sights and strange adventures. He who
has made it is looked up to as an authority, and it remains with
many the unachieved ambition of their lives. I myself had hoped
rather than expected ever to reach this "Ultima Thule" of the
East: and when I found that I really could do so now, had I but
courage to trust myself for a thousand miles' voyage in a Bugis
prau, and for six or seven months among lawless traders and
ferocious savages, I felt somewhat as I did when, a schoolboy, I
was for the first time allowed to travel outside the stage-coach,
to visit that scene of all that is strange and new and wonderful
to young imaginations-London!

By the help of some kind friends I was introduced to the owner of
one of the large praus which was to sail in a few days. He was a
Javanese half-caste, intelligent, mild, and gentlemanly in his
manners, and had a young and pretty Dutch wife, whom he was going
to leave behind during his absence. When we talked about passage
money he would fix no sum, but insisted on leaving it entirely to
me to pay on my return exactly what I liked. "And then," said he,
"whether you give me one dollar or a hundred, I shall he
satisfied, and shall ask no more."

The remainder of my stay was fully occupied in laying in stores,
engaging servants, and making every other preparation for an
absence of seven months from even the outskirts of civilization.
On the morning of December 13th, when we went on board at
daybreak, it was raining hard. We set sail and it came on to
blow. Our boat was lost astern, our sails damaged, and the
evening found us hack again in Macassar harbour. We remained
there four days longer, owing to its raining all the time, thus
rendering it impossible to dry and repair the huge mat sails. All
these dreary days I remained on board, and during the rare
intervals when it didn't rain, made myself acquainted with our
outlandish craft, some of the peculiarities of which I will now
endeavour to describe.

It was a vessel of about seventy tons burthen, and shaped
something like a Chinese junk. The deck sloped considerably
downward to the bows, which are thus the lowest part of the ship.
There were two large rudders, but instead of being planed astern
they were hung on the quarters from strong cross beams, which
projected out two or three feet on each side, and to which extent
the deck overhung the sides of the vessel amidships. The rudders
were not hinged but hung with slings of rattan, the friction of
which keeps them in any position in which they are placed, and
thus perhaps facilitates steering. The tillers were not on deck,
but entered the vessel through two square openings into a lower
or half deck about three feet high, in which sit the two
steersmen. In the after part of the vessel was a low poop, about
three and a half feet high, which forms the captain's cabin, its
furniture consisting of boxes, mats, and pillows. In front of the
poop and mainmast was a little thatched house on deck, about four
feet high to the ridge; and one compartment of this, forming a
cabin six and a half feet long by five and a half wide, I had all
to myself, and it was the snuggest and most comfortable little
place I ever enjoyed at sea. It was entered by a low sliding door
of thatch on one side, and had a very small window on the other.
The floor was of split bamboo, pleasantly elastic, raised six
inches above the deck, so as to be quite dry. It was covered with
fine cane mats, for the manufacture of which Macassar is
celebrated; against the further wall were arranged my guncase,
insect-boxes, clothes, and books; my mattress occupied the
middle, and next the door were my canteen, lamp, and little store
of luxuries for the voyage; while guns, revolver, and hunting
knife hung conveniently from the roof. During these four
miserable days I was quite jolly in this little snuggery more so
than I should have been if confined the same time to the gilded
and uncomfortable saloon of a first-class steamer. Then, how
comparatively sweet was everything on board--no paint, no tar, no
new rope, (vilest of smells to the qualmish!) no grease, or oil,
or varnish; but instead of these, bamboo and rattan, and coir
rope and palm thatch; pure vegetable fibres, which smell
pleasantly if they smell at all, and recall quiet scenes in the
green and shady forest.

Our ship had two masts, if masts they can be called c which were
great moveable triangles. If in an ordinary ship you replace the
shrouds and backstay by strong timbers, and take away the mast
altogether, you have the arrangement adopted on board a prau.
Above my cabin, and resting on cross-beams attached to the masts,
was a wilderness of yards and spars, mostly formed of bamboo. The
mainyard, an immense affair nearly a hundred feet long, was
formed of many pieces of wood and bamboo bound together with
rattans in an ingenious manner. The sail carried by this was of
an oblong shape, and was hung out of the centre, so that when the
short end was hauled down on deck the long end mounted high in
the air, making up for the lowness of the mast itself. The
foresail was of the same shape, but smaller. Both these were of
matting, and, with two jibs and a fore and aft sail astern of
cotton canvas, completed our rig.

The crew consisted of about thirty men, natives of Macassar and
the adjacent coasts and islands. They were mostly young, and
were short, broad-faced, good-humoured looking fellows. Their
dress consisted generally of a pair of trousers only, when at
work, and a handkerchief twisted round the head, to which in the
evening they would add a thin cotton jacket. Four of the elder
men were "jurumudis," or steersmen, who had to squat (two at a
time) in the little steerage before described, changing every six
hours. Then there was an old man, the "juragan," or captain, but
who was really what we should call the first mate; he occupied
the other half of the little house on deck. There were about ten
respectable men, Chinese or Bugis, whom our owner used to call
"his own people." He treated them very well, shared his meals
with them, and spoke to them always with perfect politeness; yet
they were most of them a kind of slave debtors, bound over by the
police magistrate to work for him at mere nominal wages for a
term of years till their debts were liquidated. This is a Dutch
institution in this part of the world, and seems to work well. It
is a great boon to traders, who can do nothing in these thinly-
populated regions without trusting goods to agents and petty
dealers, who frequently squander them away in gambling and
debauchery. The lower classes are almost all in a chronic state
of debt. The merchant trusts them again and again, till the
amount is something serious, when he brings them to court and has
their services allotted to him for its liquidation. The debtors
seem to think this no disgrace, but rather enjoy their freedom
from responsibility, and the dignity of their position under a
wealthy and well-known merchant. They trade a little on their own
account, and both parties seem to get on very well together. The
plan seems a more sensible one than that which we adopt, of
effectually preventing a man from earning anything towards paying
his debts by shutting him up in a jail.

My own servants were three in number. Ali, the Malay boy whom I
had picked up in Borneo, was my head man. He had already been
with me a year, could turn his hand to anything, and was quite
attentive and trustworthy. He was a good shot, and fond of
shooting, and I had taught him to skin birds very well. The
second, named Baderoon, was a Macassar lad; also a pretty good
boy, but a desperate gambler. Under pretence of buying a house
for his mother, and clothes, for himself, he had received four
months' wages about a week before we sailed, and in a day or two
gambled away every dollar of it. He had come on board with no
clothes, no betel, or tobacco, or salt fish, all which necessary
articles I was obliged to send Ali to buy for him. These two lads
were about sixteen, I should suppose; the third was younger, a
sharp little rascal named Baso, who had been with me a month or
two, and had learnt to cook tolerably. He was to fulfil the
important office of cook and housekeeper, for I could not get any
regular servants to go to such a terribly remote country; one
might as well ask a chef de cuisine to go to Patagonia.

On the fifth day that I had spent on board (Dec. 15th) the rain
ceased, and final preparations were made for starting. Sails were
dried and furled, boats were constantly coming and going, and
stores for the voyage, fruit, vegetables, fish, and palm sugar,
were taken on board. In the afternoon two women arrived with a
large party of friends and relations, and at parting there was a
general noserubbing (the Malay kiss), and some tears shed. These
were promising symptoms for our getting off the next day; and
accordingly, at three in the morning, the owner came on board,
the anchor was immediately weighed, and by four we set sail. Just
as we were fairly off and clear of the other praus, the old
juragan repeated some prayers, all around responding with "Allah
il Allah," and a few strokes on a gong as an accompaniment,
concluding with all wishing each other "Salaamat jalan," a safe
and happy journey. We had a light breeze, a calm sea, and a fine
morning, a prosperous commencement of our voyage of about a
thousand miles to the far-famed Aru Islands.

The wind continued light and variable all day, with a calm in the
evening before the land breeze sprang up, were then passing the
island of "Tanakaki "(foot of the land), at the extreme south of
this part of Celebes. There are some dangerous rocks here, and as
I was standing by the bulwarks, I happened to spit over the side;
one of the men begged I would not do so just now, but spit on
deck, as they were much afraid of this place. Not quite
comprehending, I made him repeat his request, when, seeing he was
in earnest, I said, "Very well, I suppose there are 'hantus'
(spirits) here." "Yes," said he, "and they don't like anything to
be thrown overboard; many a prau has been lost by doing it." Upon
which I promised to be very careful. At sunset the good
Mahometans on board all repeated a few words of prayer with a
general chorus, reminding me of the pleasing and impressive "Ave.
Maria" of Catholic countries.

Dec. 20th.-At sunrise we were opposite the Bontyne mountain, said
to be one of the highest in Celebes. In the afternoon we passed
the Salayer Straits and had a little squall, which obliged us to
lower our huge mast, sails, and heavy yards. The rest of the
evening we had a fine west wind, which carried us on at near five
knots an hour, as much as our lumbering old tub can possibly go.

Dec. 21st.-A heavy swell from the south-west rolling us about
most uncomfortably. A steady wind was blowing however, and we got
on very well.

Dec. 22d.-The swell had gone down. We passed Boutong, a large
island, high, woody, and populous, the native place of some of
our crew. A small prau returning from Bali to the, island of
Goram overtook us. The nakoda (captain) was known to our owner.
They had been two years away, but were full of people, with
several black Papuans on board. At 6 P.M. we passed Wangiwangi,
low but not flat, inhabited and subject to Boutong. We had now
fairly entered the Molucca Sea. After dark it was a beautiful
sight to look down on our rudders, from which rushed eddying
streams of phosphoric light gemmed with whirling sparks of fire.
It resembled (more nearly than anything else to which I can
compare it) one of the large irregular nebulous star-clusters
seen through a good telescope, with the additional attraction of
ever-changing form and dancing motion.

Dec. 23d.-Fine red sunrise; the island we left last evening
barely visible behind us. The Goram prau about a mile south of
us. They have no compass, yet they have kept a very true course
during the night. Our owner tells me they do it by the swell of
the sea, the direction of which they notice at sunset, and sail
by it during the night. In these seas they are never (in fine
weather) more than two days without seeing land. Of course
adverse winds or currents sometimes carry them away, but they
soon fall in with some island, and there are always some old
sailors on board who know it, and thence take a new course. Last
night a shark about five feet long was caught, and this morning
it was cut up and cooked. In the afternoon they got another, and
I had a little fried, and found it firm and dry, but very
palatable. In the evening the sun set in a heavy bank of clouds,
which, as darkness came on, assumed a fearfully black appearance.
According to custom, when strong wind or rain is expected, our
large sails -were furled, and with their yards let down on deck,
and a small square foresail alone kept up. The great mat sails
are most awkward things to manage in rough weather. The yards
which support them are seventy feet long, and of course very
heavy, and the only way to furl them being to roll up the sail on
the boom, it is a very dangerous thing to have them standing when
overtaken by a squall. Our crew; though numerous enough for a
vessel of 700 instead of one of 70 tons, have it very much their
own way, and there seems to be seldom more than a dozen at work
at a time. When anything important is to be done, however, all
start up willingly enough, but then all think themselves at
liberty to give their opinion, and half a dozen voices are heard
giving orders, and there is such a shrieking and confusion that
it seems wonderful anything gets done at all.

Considering we have fifty men of several tribes and tongues
onboard, wild, half-savage looking fellows, and few of them
feeling any of the restraints of morality or education, we get on
wonderfully well. There is no fighting or quarrelling, as there
would certainly be among the same number of Europeans with as
little restraint upon their actions, and there is scarcely any of
that noise and excitement which might be expected. In fine
weather the greater part of them are quietly enjoying themselves-
-some are sleeping under the shadow of the sails; others, in
little groups of three or four, are talking or chewing betel; one
is making a new handle to his chopping-knife, another is
stitching away at a new pair of trousers or a shirt, and all are
as quiet and well-conducted as on board the best-ordered English
merchantman. Two or three take it by turns to watch in the bows
and see after the braces and halyards of the great sails; the two
steersmen are below in the steerage; our captain, or the juragan,
gives the course, guided partly by the compass and partly by the
direction of the wind, and a watch of two or three on the poop
look after the trimming of the sails and call out the hours by
the water-clock. This is a very ingenious contrivance, which
measures time well in both rough weather and fine. It is simply a
bucket half filled with water, in which floats the half of a
well-scraped cocoa-nut shell. In the bottom of this shell is a
very small hole, so that when placed to float in the bucket a
fine thread of water squirts up into it. This gradually fills the
shell, and the size of the hole is so adjusted to the capacity of
the vessel that, exactly at the end of an hour, plump it goes to
the bottom. The watch then cries out the number of hours from
sunrise and sets the shell afloat again empty. This is a very
good measurer of time. I tested it with my watch and found that
it hardly varied a minute from one hour to another, nor did the
motion of the vessel have any effect upon it, as the water in the
bucket of course kept level. It has a great advantage for a rude
people in being easily understood, in being rather bulky and easy
to see, and in the final submergence being accompanied with a
little bubbling and commotion of the water, which calls the
attention to it. It is also quickly replaced if lost while in

Our captain and owner I find to be a quiet, good-tempered man,
who seems to get on very well with all about him. When at sea he
drinks no wine or spirits, but indulges only in coffee and cakes,
morning and afternoon, in company with his supercargo and
assistants. He is a man of some little education, can read and
write well both Dutch and Malay, uses a compass, and has a chart.
He has been a trader to Aru for many years, and is well known to
both Europeans and natives in this part of the world.

Dec. 24th.-Fine, and little wind. No land in sight for the first
time since we left Macassar. At noon calm, with heavy showers, in
which our crew wash their clothes, anti in the afternoon the prau
is covered with shirts, trousers, and sarongs of various gay
colours. I made a discovery to-day which at first rather alarmed
me. The two ports, or openings, through which the tillers enter
from the lateral rudders are not more than three or four feet
above the surface of the water, which thus has a free entrance
into the vessel. I of course had imagined that this open space
from one side to the other was separated from the hold by a
water-tight bulkhead, so that a sea entering might wash out at
the further side, and do no more harm than give the steersmen a
drenching. To my surprise end dismay, however, I find that it is
completely open to the hold, so that half-a-dozen seas rolling in
on a stormy night would nearly, or quite, swamp us. Think of a
vessel going to sea for a month with two holes, each a yard
square, into the hold, at three feet above the water-line,-holes,
too, which cannot possibly be closed! But our captain says all
praus are so; and though he acknowledges the danger, "he does not
know how to alter it--the people are used to it; he does not
understand praus so well as they do, and if such a great
alteration were made, he should be sure to have difficulty in
getting a crew!" This proves at all events that praus must be
good sea-boats, for the captain has been continually making
voyages in them for the last ten years, and says he has never
known water enough enter to do any harm.

Dec.25th.-Christmas-day dawned upon us with gusts of wind,
driving rain, thunder and lightning, added to which a short
confused sea made our queer vessel pitch and roll very
uncomfortably. About nine o'clock, however, it cleared up, and we
then saw ahead of us the fine island of Bouru, perhaps forty or
fifty miles distant, its mountains wreathed with clouds, while
its lower lands were still invisible. The afternoon was fine, and
the wind got round again to the west; but although this is really
the west monsoon, there is no regularity or steadiness about it,
calms and breezes from every point of the compass continually
occurring. The captain, though nominally a Protestant, seemed to

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