THE CELEBES GROUP
(MACASSAR, SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER, 1856)
I LEFT Lombock on the 30th of August, and reached Macassar in three days. It was with great satisfaction that I stepped on a shore which I had been vainly trying to reach since February, and where I expected to meet with so much that was new and interesting.
The coast of this part of Celebes is low and flat, lined with trees and villages so as to conceal the interior, except at occasional openings which show a wide extent of care and marshy rice-fields. A few hills of no great height were visible in the background; but owing to the perpetual haze over the land at this time of the year, I could nowhere discern the high central range of the peninsula, or the celebrated peak of Bontyne at its southern extremity. In the roadstead of Macassar there was a fine 42-gun frigate, the guardship of the place, as well as a small war steamer and three or four little cutters used for cruising after the pirates which infest these seas. There were also a few square-rigged trading-vessels, and twenty or thirty native praus of various sizes. I brought letters of introduction to a Dutch gentleman, Mr. Mesman, and also to a Danish shopkeeper, who could both speak English and who promised to assist me in finding a place to stay, suitable for my pursuits. In the meantime, I went to a kind of clubhouse, in default of any hotel in the place.
Macassar was the first Dutch town I had visited, and I found it prettier and cleaner than any I had yet seen in the East. The Dutch have some admirable local regulations. All European houses must be kept well white-washed, and every person must, at four in the afternoon, water the road in front of his house. The streets are kept clear of refuse, and covered drains carry away all impurities into large open sewers, into which the tide is admitted at high-water and allowed to flow out when it has ebbed, carrying all the sewage with it into the sea. The town consists chiefly of one long narrow street along the seaside, devoted to business, and principally occupied by the Dutch and Chinese merchants' offices and warehouses, and the native shops or bazaars. This extends northwards for more than a mile, gradually merging into native houses often of a most miserable description, but made to have a neat appearance by being all built up exactly to the straight line of the street, and being generally backed by fruit trees. This street is usually thronged with a native population of Bugis and Macassar men, who wear cotton trousers about twelve inches long, covering only from the hip to half-way down the thigh, and the universal Malay sarong, of gay checked colours, worn around the waist or across the shoulders in a variety of ways. Parallel to this street run two short ones which form the old Dutch town, and are enclosed by gates. These consist of private houses, and at their southern end is the fort, the church, and a road at right angles to the beach, containing the houses of the Governor and of the principal officials. Beyond the fort, again along the beach, is another long street of native huts and many country-houses of the tradesmen and merchants. All around extend the flat rice-fields, now bare and dry and forbidding, covered with dusty stubble and weeds. A few months back these were a mass of verdure, and their barren appearance at this season offered a striking contrast to the perpetual crops on the same kind of country in Lombock and Bali, where the seasons are exactly similar, but where an elaborate system of irrigation produces the effect of a perpetual spring.
The day after my arrival I paid a visit of ceremony to the Governor, accompanied by my friend the Danish merchant, who spoke excellent English. His Excellency was very polite, and offered me every facility for travelling about the country and prosecuting my researches in natural history. We conversed in French, which all Dutch officials speak very well.
Finding it very inconvenient and expensive to stay in the town, I removed at the end of a week to a little bamboo house, kindly offered me by Mr. Mesman. It was situated about two miles away, on a small coffee plantation and farm, and about a mile beyond Mr. M.'s own country-house. It consisted of two rooms raised about seven feet above the ground, the lower part being partly open (and serving excellently to skin birds in) and partly used as a granary for rice. There was a kitchen and other outhouses, and several cottages nearby, occupied by men in Mr. M.'s employ.
After being settled a few days in my new house, I found that no collections could be made without going much further into the country. The rice-fields for some miles around resembled English stubbles late in autumn, and were almost as unproductive of bird or insect life. There were several native villages scattered about, so embosomed in fruit trees that at a distance they looked like clumps or patches of forest. These were my only collecting places; but they produced a very limited number of species, and were soon exhausted. Before I could move to any more promising district it was necessary to obtain permission from the Rajah of Goa, whose territories approach to within two miles of the town of Macassar. I therefore presented myself at the Governor's office and requested a letter to the Rajah, to claim his protection, and permission to travel in his territories whenever I might wish to do so. This was immediately granted, and a special messenger was sent with me to carry the letter.
My friend Mr. Mesman kindly lent me a horse, and accompanied me on my visit to the Rajah, with whom he was great friends. We found his Majesty seated out of doors, watching the erection of a new house. He was naked from the waist up, wearing only the usual short trousers and sarong. Two chairs were brought out for us, but all the chiefs and other natives were seated on the ground. The messenger, squatting down at the Rajah's feet, produced the letter, which was sewn up in a covering of yellow silk. It was handed to one of the chief officers, who ripped it open and returned it to the Rajah, who read it, and then showed it to Mr. M., who both speaks and reads the Macassar language fluently, and who explained fully what I required. Permission was immediately granted me to go where I liked in the territories of Goa, but the Rajah desired, that should I wish to stay any time at a place I would first give him notice, in order that he might send someone to see that no injury was done me. Some wine was then brought us, and afterwards some detestable coffee and wretched sweetmeats, for it is a fact that I have never tasted good coffee where people grow it themselves.
Although this was the height of the dry season, and there was a fine wind all day, it was by no means a healthy time of year. My boy Ali had hardly been a day on shore when he was attacked by fever, which put me to great inconvenience, as at the house where I was staying, nothing could be obtained but at mealtime. After having cured Ali, and with much difficulty got another servant to cook for me, I was no sooner settled at my country abode than the latter was attacked with the same disease; and, having a wife in the town, left me. Hardly was he gone than I fell ill myself with strong intermittent fever every other day. In about a week I got over it, by a liberal use of quinine, when scarcely was I on my legs than Ali again became worse than ever. Ali's fever attacked him daily, but early in the morning he was pretty well, and then managed to cook enough for me for the day. In a week I cured him, and also succeeded in getting another boy who could cook and shoot, and had no objection to go into the interior. His name was Baderoon, and as he was unmarried and had been used to a roving life, having been several voyages to North Australia to catch trepang or "beche de mer", I was in hopes of being able to keep him. I also got hold of a little impudent rascal of twelve or fourteen, who could speak some Malay, to carry my gun or insect- net and make himself generally useful. Ali had by this time become a pretty good bird-skinner, so that I was fairly supplied with servants.
I made many excursions into the country, in search of a good station for collecting birds and insects. Some of the villages a few miles inland are scattered about in woody ground which has once been virgin forest, but of which the constituent trees have been for the most part replaced by fruit trees, and particularly by the large palm, Arenga saccharifera, from which wine and sugar are made, and which also produces a coarse black fibre used for cordage. That necessary of life, the bamboo, has also been abundantly planted. In such places I found a good many birds, among which were the fine cream-coloured pigeon, Carpophaga luctuosa, and the rare blue-headed roller, Coracias temmincki, which has a most discordant voice, and generally goes in pairs, flying from tree to tree, and exhibiting while at rest that all- in-a-heap appearance and jerking motion of the head and tail which are so characteristic of the great Fissirostral group to which it belongs. From this habit alone, the kingfishers, bee- eaters, rollers, trogons, and South American puff-birds, might be grouped together by a person who had observed them in a state of nature, but who had never had an opportunity of examining their form and structure in detail. Thousands of crows, rather smaller than our rook, keep up a constant cawing in these plantations; the curious wood-swallows (Artami), which closely resemble swallows in their habits and flight but differ much in form and structure, twitter from the tree-tops; while a lyre-tailed drongo-shrike, with brilliant black plumage and milk-white eyes, continually deceives the naturalist by the variety of its unmelodious notes.
In the more shady parts butterflies were tolerably abundant; the most common being species of Euplaea and Danais, which frequent gardens and shrubberies, and owing to their weak flight are easily captured. A beautiful pale blue and black butterfly, which flutters along near the ground among the thickets, and settles occasionally upon flowers, was one of the most striking; and scarcely less so, was one with a rich orange band on a blackish ground--these both belong to the Pieridae, the group that contains our common white butterflies, although differing so much from them in appearance. Both were quite new to European naturalists. [footnote: The former has been named Eronia tritaea; the latter Tachyris ithome.] Now and then I extended my walks some miles further, to the only patch of true forest I could find, accompanied by my two boys with guns and insect-net. We used to start early, taking our breakfast with us, and eating it wherever we could find shade and water. At such times my Macassar boys would put a minute fragment of rice and meat or fish on a leaf, and lay it on a stone or stump as an offering to the deity of the spot; for though nominal Mahometans the Macassar people retain many pagan superstitions, and are but lax in their religious observances. Pork, it is true, they hold in abhorrence, but will not refuse wine when offered them, and consume immense quantities of "sagueir," or palm-wine, which is about as intoxicating as ordinary beer or cider. When well made it is a very refreshing drink, and we often took a draught at some of the little sheds dignified by the name of bazaars, which are scattered about the country wherever there is any traffic.
One day Mr. Mesman told me of a larger piece of forest where he sometimes went to shoot deer, but he assured me it was much further off, and that there were no birds. However, I resolved to explore it, and the next morning at five o'clock we started, carrying our breakfast and some other provisions with us, and intending to stay the night at a house on the borders of the wood. To my surprise two hours' hard walking brought us to this house, where we obtained permission to pass the night. We then walked on, Ali and Baderoon with a gun each, Paso carrying our provisions and my insect-box, while I took only my net and collecting-bottle and determined to devote myself wholly to the insects. Scarcely had I entered the forest when I found some beautiful little green and gold speckled weevils allied to the genus Pachyrhynchus, a group which is almost confined to the Philippine Islands, and is quite unknown in Borneo, Java, or Malacca. The road was shady and apparently much trodden by horses and cattle, and I quickly obtained some butterflies I had not before met with. Soon a couple of reports were heard, and coming up to my boys I found they had shot two specimens of one of the finest of known cuckoos, Phoenicophaus callirhynchus. This bird derives its name from its large bill being coloured of a brilliant yellow, red, and black, in about equal proportions. The tail is exceedingly long, and of a fine metallic purple, while the plumage of the body is light coffee brown. It is one of the characteristic birds of the island of Celebes, to which it is confined.
After sauntering along for a couple of hours we reached a small river, so deep that horses could only cross it by swimming, so we had to turn back; but as we were getting hungry, and the water of the almost stagnant river was too muddy to drink, we went towards a house a few hundred yards off. In the plantation we saw a small raised hut, which we thought would do well for us to breakfast in, so I entered, and found inside a young woman with an infant. She handed me a jug of water, but looked very much frightened. However, I sat down on the doorstep, and asked for the provisions. In handing them up, Baderoon saw the infant, and started back as if he had seen a serpent. It then immediately struck me that this was a hut in which, as among the Dyaks of Borneo and many other savage tribes, the women are secluded for some time after the birth of their child, and that we did very wrong to enter it; so we walked off and asked permission to eat our breakfast in the family mansion close at hand, which was of course granted. While I ate, three men, two women, and four children watched every motion, and never took eyes off me until I had finished.
On our way back in the heat of the day, I had the good fortune to capture three specimens of a fine Ornithoptera, the largest, the most perfect, and the most beautiful of butterflies. I trembled with excitement as I took the first out of my net and found it to be in perfect condition. The ground colour of this superb insect was a rich shining bronzy black, the lower wings delicately grained with white, and bordered by a row of large spots of the most brilliant satiny yellow. The body was marked with shaded spots of white, yellow, and fiery orange, while the head and thorax were intense black. On the under-side the lower wings were satiny white, with the marginal spots half black and half yellow. I gazed upon my prize with extreme interest, as I at first thought it was quite a new species. It proved however to be a variety of Ornithoptera remus, one of the rarest and most remarkable species of this highly esteemed group. I also obtained several other new and pretty butterflies. When we arrived at our lodging-house, being particularly anxious about my insect treasures, I suspended the box from a bamboo on which I could detect no sign of ants, and then began skinning some of my birds. During my work I often glanced at my precious box to see that no intruders had arrived, until after a longer spell of work than usual I looked again, and saw to my horror that a column of small red ants were descending the string and entering the box. They were already busy at work at the bodies of my treasures, and another half-hour would have seen my whole day's collection destroyed. As it was, I had to take every insect out, clean them thoroughly as well as the box, and then seek a place of safety for them. As the only effectual one, I begged a plate and a basin from my host, filled the former with water, and standing the latter in it placed my box on the top, and then felt secure for the night; a few inches of clean water or oil being the only barrier these terrible pests are not able to pass.
On returning home to Mamajam (as my house was called) I had a slight return of intermittent fever, which kept me some days indoors. As soon as I was well, I again went to Goa, accompanied by Mr. Mesman, to beg the Rajah's assistance in getting a small house built for me near the forest. We found him at a cock-fight in a shed near his palace, which however, he immediately left to receive us, and walked with us up an inclined plane of boards which serves for stairs to his house. This was large, well-built, and lofty, with bamboo floor and glass windows. The greater part of it seemed to be one large hall divided by the supporting posts. Near a window sat the Queen, squatting on a rough wooden arm-chair, chewing the everlasting sirih and betel-nut, while a brass spittoon by her side and a sirih-box in front were ready to administer to her wants. The Rajah seated himself opposite to her in a similar chair, and a similar spittoon and sirih-box were held by a little boy squatting at his side. Two other chairs were brought for us. Several young women, some the Rajah's daughters, others slaves, were standing about; a few were working at frames making sarongs, but most of them were idle.
And here I might (if I followed the example of most travellers) launch out into a glowing description of the charms of these damsels, the elegant costumes they wore, and the gold and silver ornaments with which they were adorned. The jacket or body of purple gauze would figure well in such a description, allowing the heaving bosom to be seen beneath it, while "sparkling eyes," and "jetty tresses," and "tiny feet" might be thrown in profusely. But, alas! regard for truth will not permit me to expatiate too admiringly on such topics, determined as I am to give as far as I can a true picture of the people and places I visit. The princesses were, it is true, sufficiently good- looking, yet neither their persons nor their garments had that appearance of freshness and cleanliness without which no other charms can be contemplated with pleasure. Everything had a dingy and faded appearance, very disagreeable and unroyal to a European eye. The only thing that excited some degree of admiration was the quiet and dignified manner of the Rajah and the great respect always paid to him. None can stand erect in his presence, and when he sits on a chair, all present (Europeans of course excepted) squat upon the ground. The highest seat is literally, with these people, the place of honour and the sign of rank. So unbending are the rules in this respect, that when an English carriage which the Rajah of Lombock bad sent for arrived, it was found impossible to use it because the driver's seat was the highest, and it had to be kept as a show in its coach house. On being told the object of my visit, the Rajah at once said that he would order a house to be emptied for me, which would be much better than building one, as that would take a good deal of time. Bad coffee and sweetmeats were given us as before.
Two days afterwards, I called on the Rajah to ask him to send a guide with me to show me the house I was to occupy. He immediately ordered a man to be sent for, gave him instructions, and in a few minutes we were on our way. My conductor could speak no Malay, so we walked on in silence for an hour, when we turned into a pretty good house and I was asked to sit down. The head man of the district lived here, and in about half an hour we started again, and another hour's walk brought us to the village where I was to be lodged. We went to the residence of the village chief, who conversed with my conductor for some time.
Getting tired, I asked to be shown the house that was prepared for me, but the only reply I could get was, "Wait a little," and the parties went on talking as before. So I told them I could not wait, as I wanted to see the house and then to go shooting in the forest. This seemed to puzzle them, and at length, in answer to questions, very poorly explained by one or two bystanders who knew a little Malay, it came out that no house was ready, and no one seemed to have the least idea where to get one. As I did not want to trouble the Rajah any more, I thought it best to try to frighten them a little; so I told them that if they did not immediately find me a house as the Rajah had ordered, I should go back and complain to him, but that if a house was found me I would pay for the use of it. This had the desired effect, and one of the head men of the village asked me to go with him and look for a house. He showed me one or two of the most miserable and ruinous description, which I at once rejected, saying, "I must have a good one, and near to the forest." The next he showed me suited very well, so I told him to see that it was emptied the next day, for that the day after I should come and occupy it.
On the day mentioned, as I was not quite ready to go, I sent my two Macassar boys with brooms to sweep out the house thoroughly. They returned in the evening and told me that when they got there the house was inhabited, and not a single article removed. However, on hearing they had come to clean and take possession, the occupants made a move, but with a good deal of grumbling, which made me feel rather uneasy as to how the people generally might take my intrusion into their village. The next morning we took our baggage on three packhorses, and, after a few break- downs, arrived about noon at our destination.
After getting all my things set straight, and having made a hasty meal, I determined if possible to make friends with the people. I therefore sent for the owner of the house and as many of his acquaintances as liked to come, to have a "bitchara," or talk. When they were all seated, I gave them a little tobacco all around, and having my boy Baderoon for interpreter, tried to explain to them why I came there; that I was very sorry to turn them out of the house, but that the Rajah had ordered it rather than build a new one, which was what I had asked for, and then placed five silver rupees in the owner's hand as one month's rent. I then assured them that my being there would be a benefit to them, as I should buy their eggs and fowls and fruit; and if their children would bring me shells and insects, of which I showed them specimens, they also might earn a good many coppers. After all this had been fully explained to them, with a long talk and discussion between every sentence, I could see that I had made a favourable impression; and that very afternoon, as if to test my promise to buy even miserable little snail-shells, a dozen children came one after another, bringing me a few specimens each of a small Helix, for which they duly received "coppers," and went away amazed but rejoicing.
A few days' exploration made me well acquainted with the surrounding country. I was a long way from the road in the forest which I had first visited, and for some distance around my house were old clearings and cottages. I found a few good butterflies, but beetles were very scarce, and even rotten timber and newly- felled trees (generally so productive) here produced scarcely anything. This convinced me that there was not a sufficient extent of forest in the neighbourhood to make the place worth staying at long, but it was too late now to think of going further, as in about a month the wet season would begin; so I resolved to stay here and get what was to be had. Unfortunately, after a few days I became ill with a low fever which produced excessive lassitude and disinclination to all exertion. In vain I endeavoured to shake it off; all I could do was to stroll quietly each day for an hour about the gardens near, and to the well, where some good insects were occasionally to be found; and the rest of the day to wait quietly at home, and receive what beetles and shells my little corps of collectors brought me daily. I imputed my illness chiefly to the water, which was procured from shallow wells, around which there was almost always a stagnant puddle in which the buffaloes wallowed. Close to my house was an enclosed mudhole where three buffaloes were shut up every night, and the effluvia from which freely entered through the open bamboo floor. My Malay boy Ali was affected with the same illness, and as he was my chief bird-skinner I got on but slowly with my collections.
The occupations and mode of life of the villagers differed but little from those of all other Malay races. The time of the women was almost wholly occupied in pounding and cleaning rice for daily use, in bringing home firewood and water, and in cleaning, dyeing, spinning, and weaving the native cotton into sarongs. The weaving is done in the simplest kind of frame stretched on the floor; and is a very slow and tedious process. To form the checked pattern in common use, each patch of coloured threads has to be pulled up separately by hand and the shuttle passed between them; so that about an inch a day is the usual progress in stuff a yard and a half wide. The men cultivate a little sirih (the pungent pepper leaf used for chewing with betel-nut) and a few vegetables; and once a year rudely plough a small patch of ground with their buffaloes and plant rice, which then requires little attention until harvest time. Now and then they have to see to the repairs of their houses, and make mats, baskets, or other domestic utensils, but a large part of their time is passed in idleness.
Not a single person in the village could speak more than a few words of Malay, and hardly any of the people appeared to have seen a European before. One most disagreeable result of this was that I excited terror alike in man and beast. Wherever I went, dogs barked, children screamed, women ran away, and men stared as though I were some strange and terrible cannibal or monster. Even the pack-horses on the roads and paths would start aside when I appeared and rush into the jungle; and as to those horrid, ugly brutes, the buffaloes, they could never be approached by me; not for fear of my own but of others' safety. They would first stick out their necks and stare at me, and then on a nearer view break loose from their halters or tethers, and rush away helter-skelter as if a demon were after them, without any regard for what might be in their way. Whenever I met buffaloes carrying packs along a pathway, or being driven home to the village, I had to turn aside into the jungle and hide myself until they had passed, to avoid a catastrophe which would increase the dislike with which I was already regarded. Everyday about noon the buffaloes were brought into the villa, and were tethered in the shade around the houses; and then I had to creep about like a thief by backways, for no one could tell what mischief they might do to children and houses were I to walk among them. If I came suddenly upon a well where women were drawing water or children bathing, a sudden flight was the certain result; which things occurring day after day, were very unpleasant to a person who does not like to be disliked, and who had never been accustomed to be treated as an ogre.
About the middle of November, finding my health no better, and insects, birds, and shells all very scarce, I determined to return to Mamajam, and pack up my collections before the heavy rains commenced. The wind bad already begun to blow from the west, and many signs indicated that the rainy season might set in earlier than usual; and then everything becomes very damp, and it is almost impossible to dry collections properly. My kind friend Mr. Mesman again lent me his pack-horses, and with the assistance of a few men to carry my birds and insects, which I did not like to trust on horses' backs, we got everything home safe. Few can imagine the luxury it was to stretch myself on a sofa, and to take my supper comfortably at table seated in my easy bamboo chair, after having for five weeks taken all my meals uncomfortably on the floor. Such things are trifles in health, but when the body is weakened by disease the habits of a lifetime cannot be so easily set aside.
My house, like all bamboo structures in this country, was a leaning one, the strong westerly winds of the wet season having set all its posts out of the perpendicular to such a degree as to make me think it might someday possibly go over altogether. It is a remarkable thing that the natives of Celebes have not discovered the use of diagonal struts in strengthening buildings. I doubt if there is a native house in the country two years old and at all exposed to the wind, which stands upright; and no wonder, as they merely consist of posts and joists all placed upright or horizontal, and fastened rudely together with rattans. They may be seen in every stage of the process of tumbling down, from the first slight inclination, to such a dangerous slope that it becomes a notice to quit to the occupiers.
The mechanical geniuses of the country have only discovered two ways of remedying the evil. One is, after it has commenced, to tie the house to a post in the ground on the windward side by a rattan or bamboo cable. The other is a preventive, but how they ever found it out and did not discover the true way is a mystery. This plan is, to build the house in the usual way, but instead of having all the principal supports of straight posts, to have two or three of them chosen as crooked as possible. I had often noticed these crooked posts in houses, but imputed it to the scarcity of good, straight timber, until one day I met some men carrying home a post shaped something like a dog's hind leg, and inquired of my native boy what they were going to do with such a piece of wood. "To make a post for a house," said he. "But why don't they get a straight one, there are plenty here?" said I. "Oh," replied he, "they prefer some like that in a house, because then it won't fall," evidently imputing the effect to some occult property of crooked timber. A little consideration and a diagram. will, however, show, that the effect imputed to the crooked post may be really produced by it. A true square changes its figure readily into a rhomboid or oblique figure, but when one or two of the uprights are bent or sloping, and placed so as to oppose each other, the effect of a strut is produced, though in a rude and clumsy manner.
Just before I had left Mamajam the people had sown a considerable quantity of maize, which appears above ground in two or three days, and in favourable seasons ripens in less than two months. Owing to a week's premature rains the ground was all flooded when I returned, and the plants just coming into ear were yellow and dead. Not a grain would be obtained by the whole village, but luckily it is only a luxury, not a necessity of life. The rain was the signal for ploughing to begin, in order to sow rice on all the flat lands between us and the town. The plough used is a rude wooden instrument with a very short single handle, a tolerably well-shaped coulter, and the point formed of a piece of hard palm-wood fastened in with wedges. One or two buffaloes draw it at a very slow pace. The seed is sown broadcast, and a rude wooden harrow is used to smooth the surface.
By the beginning of December the regular wet season had set in. Westerly winds and driving rains sometimes continued for days together; the fields for miles around were under water, and the ducks and buffaloes enjoyed themselves amazingly. All along the road to Macassar, ploughing was daily going on in the mud and water, through which the wooden plough easily makes its way, the ploughman holding the plough-handle with one hand while a long bamboo in the other serves to guide the buffaloes. These animals require an immense deal of driving to get them on at all; a continual shower of exclamations is kept up at them, and "Oh! ah! Gee! ugh!" are to be heard in various keys and in an uninterrupted succession all day long. At night we were favoured with a different kind of concert. The dry ground around my house had become a marsh tenanted by frogs, who kept up a most incredible noise from dusk to dawn. They were somewhat musical too, having a deep vibrating note which at times closely resembles the tuning of two or three bass-viols in an orchestra. In Malacca and Borneo I had heard no such sounds as these, which indicates that the frogs, like most of the animals of Celebes, are of species peculiar to it.
NATIVE WOODEN PLOUGH
My kind friend and landlord, Mr. Mesman, was a good specimen of the Macassar-born Dutchman. He was about thirty-five years of age, had a large family, and lived in a spacious house near the town, situated in the midst of a grove of fruit trees, and surrounded by a perfect labyrinth of offices, stables, and native cottages occupied by his numerous servants, slaves, or dependants. He usually rose before the sun, and after a cup of coffee looked after his servants, horses, and dogs, until seven, when a substantial breakfast of rice and meat was ready in a cool verandah. Putting on a clean white linen suit, he then (trove to town in his buggy, where he had an office, with two or three Chinese clerks who looked after his affairs. His business was that of a coffee and opium merchant. He had a coffee estate at Bontyne, and a small prau which traded to the Eastern islands near New Guinea, for mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell. About one he would return home, have coffee and cake or fried plantain, first changing his dress for a coloured cotton shirt and trousers and bare feet, and then take a siesta with a book. About four, after a cup of tea, he would walk round his premises, and generally stroll down to Mamajam to pay me a visit, and look after his farm.|
This consisted of a coffee plantation and an orchard of fruit trees, a dozen horses and a score of cattle, with a small village of Timorese slaves and Macassar servants. One family looked after the cattle and supplied the house with milk, bringing me also a large glassful every morning, one of my greatest luxuries. Others had charge of the horses, which were brought in every afternoon and fed with cut grass. Others had to cut grass for their master's horses at Macassar--not a very easy task in the dry season, when all the country looks like baked mud; or in the rainy season, when miles in every direction are flooded. How they managed it was a mystery to me, but they know grass must be had, and they get it. One lame woman had charge of a flock of ducks. Twice a day she took them out to feed in the marshy places, let them waddle and gobble for an hour or two, and then drove them back and shut them up in a small dark shed to digest their meal, whence they gave forth occasionally a melancholy quack. Every night a watch was set, principally for the sake of the horses-- the people of Goa, only two miles off, being notorious thieves, and horses offering the easiest and most valuable spoil. This enabled me to sleep in security, although many people in Macassar thought I was running a great risk, living alone in such a solitary place and with such bad neighbours.
My house was surrounded by a kind of straggling hedge of roses, jessamines, and other flowers, and every morning one of the women gathered a basketful of the blossoms for Mr. Mesman's family. I generally took a couple for my own breakfast table, and the supply never failed during my stay, and I suppose never does. Almost every Sunday Mr. M. made a shooting excursion with his eldest son, a lad of fifteen, and I generally accompanied him; for though the Dutch are Protestants, they do not observe Sunday in the rigid manner practised in England and English colonies. The Governor of the place has his public reception every Sunday evening, when card-playing is the regular amusement.
On December 13th I went on board a prau bound for the Aru Islands, a journey which will be described in the latter part of this work.
On my return, after a seven months' absence, I visited another district to the north of Macassar, which will form the subject of the next chapter.
(MACASSAR. JULY TO NOVEMBER, 1857)
I REACHED Macassar again on the 11th of July, and established myself in my old quarters at Mamajam, to sort, arrange, clean, and pack up my Aru collections. This occupied me a month; and having shipped them off for Singapore, had my guns repaired, and received a new one from England, together with a stock of pins, arsenic, and other collecting requisites. I began to feel eager for work again, and had to consider where I should spend my time until the end of the year; I had left Macassar seven months before, a flooded marsh being ploughed up for the rice-sowing. The rains had continued for five months, yet now all the rice was cut, and dry and dusty stubble covered the country just as when I had first arrived there.
After much inquiry I determined to visit the district of Maros, about thirty miles north of Macassar, where Mr. Jacob Mesman, a brother of my friend, resided, who had kindly offered to find me house-room and give me assistance should I feel inclined to visit him. I accordingly obtained a pass from the Resident, and having hired a boat set off one evening for Maros. My boy Ali was so ill with fever that I was obliged to leave him in the hospital, under the care of my friend the German doctor, and I had to make shift with two new servants utterly ignorant of everything. We coasted along during the night, and at daybreak entered the Maros river, and by three in the afternoon reached the village. I immediately visited the Assistant Resident, and applied for ten men to carry my baggage, and a horse for myself. These were promised to be ready that night, so that I could start as soon as I liked in the morning. After having taken a cup of tea I took my leave, and slept in the boat. Some of the men came at night as promised, but others did not arrive until the next morning. It took some time to divide my baggage fairly among them, as they all wanted to shirk the heavy boxes, and would seize hold of some light article and march off with it, until made to come back and wait until the whole had been fairly apportioned. At length about eight o'clock all was arranged, and we started for our walk to Mr. M.'s farm.
The country was at first a uniform plain of burned-up rice- grounds, but at a few miles' distance precipitous hills appeared, backed by the lofty central range of the peninsula. Towards these our path lay, and after having gone six or eight miles the hills began to advance into the plain right and left of us, and the ground became pierced here and there with blocks and pillars of limestone rock, while a few abrupt conical hills and peaks rose like islands. Passing over an elevated tract forming the shoulder of one of the hills, a picturesque scene lay before us. We looked down into a little valley almost entirely surrounded by mountains, rising abruptly in huge precipices, and forming a succession of knolls and peaks aid domes of the most varied and fantastic shapes. In the very centre of the valley was a large bamboo house, while scattered around were a dozen cottages of the same material.
I was kindly received by Mr. Jacob Mesman in an airy saloon detached from the house, and entirely built of bamboo and thatched with grass. After breakfast he took me to his foreman's house, about a hundred yards off, half of which was given up to me until I should decide where to have a cottage built for my own use. I soon found that this spot was too much exposed to the wind and dust, which rendered it very difficult to work with papers or insects. It was also dreadfully hot in the afternoon, and after a few days I got a sharp attack of fever, which determined me to move. I accordingly fixed on a place about a mile off, at the foot of a forest-covered hill, where in a few days Mr. M. built for me a nice little house, consisting of a good-sized enclosed verandah or open room, and a small inner sleeping-room, with a little cookhouse outside. As soon as it was finished I moved into it, and found the change most agreeable.
The forest which surrounded me was open and free from underwood, consisting of large trees, widely scattered with a great quantity of palm-trees (Arenga saccharifera), from which palm wine and sugar are made. There were also great numbers of a wild Jack- fruit tree (Artocarpus), which bore abundance of large reticulated fruit, serving as an excellent vegetable. The ground was as thickly covered with dry leaves as it is in an English wood in November; the little rocky streams were all dry, and scarcely a drop of water or even a damp place was anywhere to be seen. About fifty yards below my house, at the foot of the hill, was a deep hole in a watercourse where good water was to be had, and where I went daily to bathe by having buckets of water taken out and pouring it over my body.
SUGAR PALM (Arenga saccharifera)
My host Mr. M. enjoyed a thoroughly country life, depending almost entirely on his gun and dogs to supply his table. Wild pigs of large size were very plentiful and he generally got one or two a week, besides deer occasionally, and abundance of jungle-fowl, hornbills, and great fruit pigeons. His buffaloes supplied plenty of milk from which he made his own butter; he grew his own rice and coffee, and had ducks, fowls, and their eggs, in profusion. His palm-trees supplied him all the year round with "sagueir," which takes the place of beer; and the sugar made from them is an excellent sweetmeat. All the fine tropical vegetables and fruits were abundant in their season, and his cigars were made from tobacco of his own raising. He kindly sent me a bamboo of buffalo-milk every morning; it was as thick as cream, and required diluting with water to keep it fluid during the day. It mixes very well with tea and coffee, although it has a slight peculiar flavour, which after a time is not disagreeable. I also got as much sweet "sagueir "as I liked to drink, and Mr. M. always sent me a piece of each pig he killed, which with fowls, eggs, and the birds we shot ourselves, and buffalo beef about once a fortnight, kept my larder sufficiently well supplied.|
Every bit of flatland was cleared and used as rice-fields, and on the lower slopes of many of the hills tobacco and vegetables were grown. Most of the slopes are covered with huge blocks of rock, very fatiguing to scramble over, while a number of the hills are so precipitous as to be quite inaccessible. These circumstances, combined with the excessive drought, were very unfavourable for lily pursuits. Birds were scarce, and I got but few new to me. Insects were tolerably plentiful, but unequal. Beetles, usually so numerous and interesting, were exceedingly scarce, some of the families being quite absent and others only represented by very minute species. The Flies and Bees, on the other hand, were abundant, and of these I daily obtained new and interesting species. The rare and beautiful Butterflies of Celebes were the chief object of my search, and I found many species altogether new to me, but they were generally so active and shy as to render their capture a matter of great difficulty. Almost the only good place for them was in the dry beds of the streams in the forest, where, at damp places, muddy pools, or even on the dry rocks, all sorts of insects could be found. In these rocky forests dwell some of the finest butterflies in the world. Three species of Ornithoptera, measuring seven or eight inches across the wings, and beautifully marked with spots or masses of satiny yellow on a black ground, wheel through the thickets with a strong sailing flight. About the damp places are swarms of the beautiful blue-banded Papilios, miletus and telephus, the superb golden green P. macedon, and the rare little swallow-tail Papilio rhesus, of all of which, though very active, I succeeded in capturing fine series of specimens.
I have rarely enjoyed myself more than during my residence here. As I sat taking my coffee at six in the morning, rare birds would often be seen on some tree close by, when I would hastily sally out in my slippers, and perhaps secure a prize I had been seeking after for weeks. The great hornbills of Celebes (Buceros cassidix) would often come with loud-flapping wings, and perch upon a lofty tree just in front of me; and the black baboon- monkeys, Cynopithecus nigrescens, often stared down in astonishment at such an intrusion into their domains while at night herds of wild pigs roamed about the house, devouring refuse, and obliging us to put away everything eatable or breakable from our little cooking-house. A few minutes' search on the fallen trees around my house at sunrise and sunset, would often produce me more beetles than I would meet with in a day's collecting, and odd moments could be made valuable which when living in villages or at a distance from the forest are inevitably wasted. Where the sugar-palms were dripping with sap, flies congregated in immense numbers, and it was by spending half an hour at these when I had the time to spare, that I obtained the finest and most remarkable collection of this group of insects that I have ever made.
Then what delightful hours I passed wandering up and down the dry river-courses, full of water-holes and rocks and fallen trees, and overshadowed by magnificent vegetation. I soon got to know every hole and rock and stump, and came up to each with cautious step and bated breath to see what treasures it would produce. At one place I would find a little crowd of the rare butterfly Tachyris zarinda, which would rise up at my approach, and display their vivid orange and cinnabar-red wings, while among them would flutter a few of the fine blue-banded Papilios. Where leafy branches hung over the gully, I might expect to find a grand Ornithoptera at rest and an easy prey. At certain rotten trunks I was sure to get the curious little tiger beetle, Therates flavilabris. In the denser thickets I would capture the small metal-blue butterflies (Amblypodia) sitting on the leaves, as well as some rare and beautiful leaf-beetles of the families Hispidae and Chrysomelidae.
I found that the rotten jack-fruits were very attractive to many beetles, and used to split them partly open and lay them about in the forest near my house to rot. A morning's search at these often produced me a score of species--Staphylinidae, Nitidulidae, Onthophagi, and minute Carabidae, being the most abundant. Now and then the "sagueir" makers brought me a fine rosechafer (Sternoplus schaumii) which they found licking up the sweet sap. Almost the only new birds I met with for some time were a handsome ground thrush (Pitta celebensis), and a beautiful violet-crowned dove (Ptilonopus celebensis), both very similar to birds I had recently obtained at Aru, but of distinct species.
About the latter part of September a heavy shower of rain fell, admonishing us that we might soon expect wet weather, much to the advantage of the baked-up country. I therefore determined to pay a visit to the falls of the Maros river, situated at the point where it issues from the mountains--a spot often visited by travellers and considered very beautiful. Mr. M. lent me a horse, and I obtained a guide from a neighbouring village; and taking one of my men with me, we started at six in the morning, and after a ride of two hours over the flat rice-fields skirting the mountains which rose in grand precipices on our left, we readied the river about half-way between Maros and the falls, and thence had a good bridle-road to our destination, which we reached. in another hour. The hills had closed in around us as we advanced; and when we reached a ruinous shed which had been erected for the accommodation of visitors, we found ourselves in a flat-bottomed valley about a quarter of a mile wide, bounded by precipitous and often overhanging limestone rocks. So far the ground had been cultivated, but it now became covered with bushes and large scattered trees.
As soon as my scanty baggage had arrived and was duly deposited in the shed, I started off alone for the fall, which was about a quarter of a mile further on. The river is here about twenty yards wide, and issues from a chasm between two vertical walls of limestone, over a rounded mass of basaltic rock about forty feet high, forming two curves separated by a slight ledge. The water spreads beautifully over this surface in a thin sheet of foam, which curls and eddies in a succession of concentric cones until it falls into a fine deep pool below. Close to the very edge of the fall a narrow and very rugged path leads to the river above, and thence continues close under the precipice along the water's edge, or sometimes in the water, for a few hundred yards, after which the rocks recede a little, and leave a wooded bank on one side, along which the path is continued, until in about half a mile, a second and smaller fall is reached. Here the river seems to issue from a cavern, the rocks having fallen from above so as to block up the channel and bar further progress. The fall itself can only be reached by a path which ascends behind a huge slice of rock which has partly fallen away from the mountain, leaving a space two or three feet wide, but disclosing a dark chasm descending into the bowels of the mountain, and which, having visited several such, I had no great curiosity to explore.
Crossing the stream a little below the upper fall, the path ascends a steep slope for about five hundred feet, and passing through a gap enters a narrow valley, shut in by walls of rock absolutely perpendicular and of great height. Half a mile further this valley turns abruptly to the right, and becomes a mere rift in the mountain. This extends another half mile, the walls gradually approaching until they are only two feet apart, and the bottom rising steeply to a pass which leads probably into another valley, but which I had no time to explore. Returning to where this rift had begun the main path turns up to the left in a sort of gully, and reaches a summit over which a fine natural arch of rock passes at a height of about fifty feet. Thence was a steep descent through thick jungle with glimpses of precipices and distant rocky mountains, probably leading into the main river valley again. This was a most tempting region to explore, but there were several reasons why I could go no further. I had no guide, and no permission to enter the Bugis territories, and as the rains might at any time set in, I might be prevented from returning by the flooding of the river. I therefore devoted myself during the short time of my visit to obtaining what knowledge I could of the natural productions of the place.
The narrow chasms produced several fine insects quite new to me, and one new bird, the curious Phlaegenas tristigmata, a large ground pigeon with yellow breast and crown, and purple neck. This rugged path is the highway from Maros to the Bugis country beyond the mountains. During the rainy season it is quite impassable, the river filling its bed and rushing between perpendicular cliffs many hundred feet high. Even at the time of my visit it was most precipitous and fatiguing, yet women and children came over it daily, and men carrying heavy loads of palm sugar (of very little value). It was along the path between the lower and the upper falls, and about the margin of the upper pool, that I found most insects. The large semi-transparent butterfly, Idea tondana, flew lazily along by dozens, and it was here that I at length obtained an insect which I had hoped but hardly expected to meet with--the magnificent Papilio androcles, one of the largest and rarest known swallow-tailed butterflies. During my four days' stay at the falls, I was so fortunate as to obtain six good specimens. As this beautiful creature flies, the long white tails flicker like streamers, and when settled on the beach it carries them raised upwards, as if to preserve them from injury. It is scarce even here, as I did not see more than a dozen specimens in all, and had to follow many of them up and down the river's bank repeatedly before I succeeded in their capture. When the sun shone hottest, about noon, the moist beach of the pool below the upper fall presented a beautiful sight, being dotted with groups of gay butterflies--orange, yellow, white, blue, and green-- which on being disturbed rose into the air by hundreds, forming clouds of variegated colours.
Such gores, chasms, and precipices here abound,as I have nowhere seen in the Archipelago. A sloping surface is scarcely anywhere to be found, huge walls and rugged masses of rock terminating all the mountains and enclosing the valleys. In many parts there are vertical or even overhanging precipices five or six hundred feet high, yet completely clothed with a tapestry of vegetation. Ferns, Pandanaceae, shrubs, creepers, and even forest trees, are mingled in an evergreen network, through the interstices of which appears the white limestone rock or the dark holes and chasms with which it abounds. These precipices are enabled to sustain such an amount of vegetation by their peculiar structure. Their surfaces are very irregular, broken into holes and fissures, with ledges overhanging the mouths of gloomy caverns; but from each projecting part have descended stalactites, often forming a wild gothic tracery over the caves and receding hollows, and affording an admirable support to the roots of the shrubs, trees, and creepers, which luxuriate in the warm pure atmosphere and the gentle moisture which constantly exudes from the rocks. In places where the precipice offers smooth surfaces of solid rock, it remains quite bare, or only stained with lichens, and dotted with clumps of ferns that grow on the small ledges and in the minutest crevices.
The reader who is familiar with tropical nature only through the medium of books and botanical gardens will picture to himself in such a spot many other natural beauties. He will think that I have unaccountably forgotten to mention the brilliant flowers, which, in gorgeous masses of crimson, gold or azure, must spangle these verdant precipices, hang over the cascade, and adorn the margin of the mountain stream. But what is the reality? In vain did I gaze over these vast walls of verdure, among the pendant creepers and bushy shrubs, all around the cascade on the river's bank, or in the deep caverns and gloomy fissures--not one single spot of bright colour could be seen, not one single tree or bush or creeper bore a flower sufficiently conspicuous to form an object in the landscape. In every direction the eye rested on green foliage and mottled rock. There was infinite variety in the colour and aspect of the foliage; there was grandeur in the rocky masses and in the exuberant luxuriance of the vegetation; but there was no brilliancy of colour, none of those bright flowers and gorgeous masses of blossom so generally considered to be everywhere present in the tropics. I have here given an accurate sketch of a luxuriant tropical scene as noted down on the spot, and its general characteristics as regards colour have been so often repeated, both in South America and over many thousand miles in the Eastern tropics, that I am driven to conclude that it represents the general aspect of nature at the equatorial (that is, the most tropical) parts of the tropical regions.
How is it then, that the descriptions of travellers generally give a very different idea? and where, it may be asked, are the glorious flowers that we know do exist in the tropics? These questions can be easily answered. The fine tropical flowering- plants cultivated in our hothouses have been culled from the most varied regions, and therefore give a most erroneous idea of their abundance in any one region. Many of them are very rare, others extremely local, while a considerable number inhabit the more arid regions of Africa and India, in which tropical vegetation does not exhibit itself in its usual luxuriance. Fine and varied foliage, rather than gay flowers, is more characteristic of those parts where tropical vegetation attains its highest development, and in such districts each kind of flower seldom lasts in perfection more than a few weeks, or sometimes a few days. In every locality a lengthened residence will show an abundance of magnificent and gaily-blossomed plants, but they have to be sought for, and are rarely at any one time or place so abundant as to form a perceptible feature in the landscape. But it has been the custom of travellers to describe and group together all the fine plants they have met with during a long journey, and thus produce the effect of a gay and flower- painted landscape. They have rarely studied and described individual scenes where vegetation was most luxuriant and beautiful, and fairly stated what effect was produced in them by flowers. I have done so frequently, and the result of these examinations has convinced me that the bright colours of flowers have a much greater influence on the general aspect of nature in temperate than in tropical climates. During twelve years spent amid the grandest tropical vegetation, I have seen nothing comparable to the effect produced on our landscapes by gorse, broom, heather, wild hyacinths, hawthorn, purple orchises, and buttercups.
The geological structure of this part of Celebes is interesting. The limestone mountains, though of great extent, seem to be entirely superficial, resting on a basis of basalt which in some places forms low rounded hills between the more precipitous mountains. In the rocky beds of the streams basalt is almost always found, and it is a step in this rock which forms the cascade already described. From it the limestone precipices rise abruptly; and in ascending the little stairway along the side of the fall, you step two or three times from tpe of rock on to the other--the limestone dry and rough, being worn by the water and rains into sharp ridges and honeycombed holes--the basalt moist, even, and worn smooth and slippery by the passage of bare- footed pedestrians. The solubility of the limestone by rain-water is well seen in the little blocks and peaks which rise thickly through the soil of the alluvial plains as you approach the mountains. They are all skittle-shaped, larger in the middle than at the base, the greatest diameter occurring at the height to which the country is flooded in the wet season, and thence decreasing regularly to the ground. Many of them overhang considerably, and some of the slenderer pillars appear to stand upon a point. When the rock is less solid it becomes curiously honeycombed by the rains of successive winters, and I noticed some masses reduced to a complete network of stone through which light could be seen in every direction.
From these mountains to the sea extends a perfectly flat alluvial plain, with no indication that water would accumulate at a great depth beneath it, yet the authorities at Macassar have spent much money in boring a well a thousand feet deep in hope of getting a supply of water like that obtained by the Artesian wells in the London and Paris basins. It is not to be wondered at that the attempt was unsuccessful.
Returning to my forest hut, I continued my daily search after birds and insects. The weather, however, became dreadfully hot and dry, every drop of water disappearing from the pools and rock- holes, and with it the insects which frequented them. Only one group remained unaffected by the intense drought; the Diptera, or two-winged flies, continued as plentifully as ever, and on these I was almost compelled to concentrate my attention for a week or two, by which means I increased my collection of that Order to about two hundred species. I also continued to obtain a few new birds, among which were two or three kinds of small hawks and falcons, a beautiful brush-tongued paroquet, Trichoglossus ornatus, and a rare black and white crow, Corvus advena.
At length, about the middle of October, after several gloomy days, down came a deluge of rain which continued to fall almost every afternoon, showing that the early part of the wet season had commenced. I hoped now to get a good harvest of insects, and in some respects I was not disappointed. Beetles became much more numerous, and under a thick bed of leaves that had accumulated on some rocks by the side of a forest stream, I found an abundance of Carbidae, a family generally scarce in the tropics. The butterflies, however, disappeared. Two of my servants were attacked with fever, dysentery, and swelled feet, just at the time that the third had left me, and for some days they both lay groaning in the house. When they got a little better I was attacked myself, and as my stores were nearly finished and everything was getting very damp, I was obliged to prepare for my return to Macassar, especially as the strong westerly winds would render the passage in a small open boat disagreeable, if not dangerous.
Since the rains began, numbers of huge millipedes, as thick as one's finger and eight or ten inches long, crawled about everywhere--in the paths, on trees, about the house--and one morning when I got up I even found one in my bed! They were generally of a dull lead colour or of a deep brick red, and were very nasty-looking things to be coming everywhere in one's way, although quite harmless. Snakes too began to show themselves. I killed two of a very abundant species--big-headed, and of a bright green colour, which lie coiled up on leaves and shrubs and can scarcely be seen until one is close upon them. Brown snakes got into my net while beating among dead leaves for insects, and made me rather cautious about inserting my hand until I knew what kind of game I had captured. The fields and meadows which had been parched and sterile, now became suddenly covered with fine long grass; the river-bed where I had so many times walked over burning rocks, was now a deep and rapid stream; and numbers of herbaceous plants and shrubs were everywhere springing up and bursting into flower. I found plenty of new insects, and if I had had a good, roomy, water-and-wind-proof house, I should perhaps have stayed during the wet season, as I feel sure many things can then be obtained which are to be found at no other time. With my summer hut, however, this was impossible. During the heavy rains a fine drizzly mist penetrated into every part of it, and I began to have the greatest difficulty in keeping my specimens dry.
Early in November I returned to Macassar, and having packed up my collections, started in the Dutch mail steamer for Amboyna and Ternate. Leaving this part of my journey for the present, I will in the next chapter conclude my account of Celebes, by describing the extreme northern part of the island which I visited two years later.
(MENADO. JUNE TO SEPTEMBER, 1859)
IT was after my residence at Timor-Coupang that I visited the northeastern extremity of Celebes, touching Banda, Amboyna, and Ternate on my way. I reached Menado on the 10th of June, 1859, and was very kindly received by Mr. Tower, an Englishman, but a very old resident in Menado, where he carries on a general business. He introduced me to Mr. L. Duivenboden (whose father had been my friend at Ternate), who had much taste for natural history; and to Mr. Neys, a native of Menado, but who was educated at Calcutta, and to whom Dutch, English, and Malay were equally mother-tongues. All these gentlemen showed me the greatest kindness, accompanied me in my earliest walks about the country, and assisted me by every means in their power. I spent a week in the town very pleasantly, making explorations and inquiries after a good collecting station, which I had much difficulty in finding, owing to the wide cultivation of coffee and cacao, which has led to the clearing away of the forests for many miles around the town, and over extensive districts far into the interior.
The little town of Menado is one of the prettiest in the East. It has the appearance of a large garden containing rows of rustic villas with broad paths between, forming streets generally at right angles with each other. Good roads branch off in several directions towards the interior, with a succession of pretty cottages, neat gardens, and thriving plantations, interspersed with wildernesses of fruit trees. To the west and south the country is mountainous, with groups of fine volcanic peaks 6,000 or 7,000 feet high, forming grand and picturesque backgrounds to the landscape.
The inhabitants of Minahasa (as this part of Celebes is called) differ much from those of all the rest of the island, and in fact from any other people in the Archipelago. They are of a light- brown or yellow tint, often approaching the fairness of a European; of a rather short stature, stout and well-made; of an open and pleasing countenance, more or less disfigured as age increases by projecting check-bones; and with the usual long, straight, jet-black hair of the Malayan races. In some of the inland villages where they may be supposed to be of the purest race, both men and women are remarkably handsome; while nearer the coasts where the purity of their blood has been destroyed by the intermixture of other races, they approach to the ordinary types of the wild inhabitants of the surrounding countries.
In mental and moral characteristics they are also highly peculiar. They are remarkably quiet and gentle in disposition, submissive to the authority of those they consider their superiors, and easily induced to learn and adopt the habits of civilized people. They are clever mechanics, and seem capable of acquiring a considerable amount of intellectual education.
Up to a very recent period these people were thorough savages, and there are persons now living in Menado who remember a state of things identical with that described by the writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The inhabitants of the several villages were distinct tribes, each under its own chief, speaking languages unintelligible to each other, and almost always at war. They built their houses elevated upon lofty posts to defend themselves from the attacks of their enemies. They were headhunters like the Dyaks of Borneo, and were said to be sometimes cannibals. When a chief died, his tomb was adorned with two fresh human heads; and if those of enemies could not be obtained, slaves were killed for the occasion. Human skulls were the great ornaments of the chiefs' houses. Strips of bark were their only dress. The country was a pathless wilderness, with small cultivated patches of rice and vegetables, or clumps of fruit-trees, diversifying the otherwise unbroken forest. Their religion was that naturally engendered in the undeveloped human mind by the contemplation of grand natural phenomena and the luxuriance of tropical nature. The burning mountain, the torrent and the lake, were the abode of their deities; and certain trees and birds were supposed to have special influence over men's actions and destiny. They held wild and exciting festivals to propitiate these deities or demons, and believed that men could be changed by them into animals--either during life or after death.
Here we have a picture of true savage life; of small isolated communities at war with all around them, subject to the wants and miseries of such a condition, drawing a precarious existence from the luxuriant soil, and living on, from generation to generation, with no desire for physical amelioration, and no prospect of moral advancement.
Such was their condition down to the year 1822, when the coffee- plant was first introduced, and experiments were made as to its cultivation. It was found to succeed admirably from fifteen hundred feet, up to four thousand feet above the sea. The chiefs of villages were induced to undertake its cultivation. Seed and native instructors were sent from Java; food was supplied to the labourers engaged in clearing and planting; a fixed price was established at which all coffee brought to the government collectors was to be paid for, and the village chiefs who now received the titles of "Majors" were to receive five percent of the produce. After a time, roads were made from the port of Menado up to the plateau, and smaller paths were cleared from village to village; missionaries settled in the more populous districts and opened schools; and Chinese traders penetrated to the interior and supplied clothing and other luxuries in exchange for the money which the sale of the coffee had produced.
At the same time, the country was divided into districts, and the system of "Controlleurs," which had worked so well in Java, was introduced. The "Controlleur "was a European, or a native of European blood, who was the general superintendent of the cultivation of the district, the adviser of the chiefs, the protector of the people, and the means of communication between both and the European Government. His duties obliged him to visit every village in succession once a month, and to send in a report on their condition to the Resident. As disputes between adjacent villages were now settled by appeal to a superior authority, the old and inconvenient semi-fortified houses were disused, and under the direction of the "Controlleurs" most of the houses were rebuilt on a neat and uniform plan. It was this interesting district which I was now about to visit.
Having decided on my route, I started at 8 A.M. on the 22cd of June. Mr. Tower drove me the first three miles in his chaise, and Mr. Neys accompanied me on horseback three miles further to the village of Lotta. Here we met the Controlleur of the district of Tondano, who was returning home from one of his monthly tours, and who had agreed to act as my guide and companion on the journey. From Lotta we had an almost continual ascent for six miles, which brought us on to the plateau of Tondano at an elevation of about 2,400 feet. We passed through three villages whose neatness and beauty quite astonished me. The main road, along which all the coffee is brought down from the interior in carts drawn by buffaloes, is always turned aside at the entrance of a village, so as to pass behind it, and thus allow the village street itself to be kept neat and clean. This is bordered by neat hedges often formed entirely of rose-trees, which are perpetually in blossom. There is a broad central path and a border of fine turf, which is kept well swept and neatly cut. The houses are all of wood, raised about six feet on substantial posts neatly painted blue, while the walls are whitewashed. They all have a verandah enclosed with a neat balustrade, and are generally surrounded by orange-trees and flowering shrubs. The surrounding scenery is verdant and picturesque. Coffee plantations of extreme luxuriance, noble palms and tree ferns, wooded hills and volcanic peaks, everywhere meet the eye. I had heard much of the beauty of this country, but the reality far surpassed my expectations.
About one o'clock we reached Tomohón, the chief place of a district, having a native chief now called the "Major," at whose house we were to dine. Here was a fresh surprise for me. The house was large, airy and very substantially built of hard native timber, squared and put together in a most workmanlike manner. It was furnished in European style, with handsome chandelier lamps, and the chairs and tables all well made by native workmen. As soon as we entered, madeira and bitters were offered us. Then two handsome boys neatly dressed in white, and with smoothly brushed jet-black hair, handed us each a basin of water and a clean napkin on a salver. The dinner was excellent. Fowls cooked in various ways; wild pig roasted, stewed and fried; a fricassee of bats, potatoes, rice and other vegetables; all served on good china, with finger glasses and fine napkins, and abundance of good claret and beer, seemed to me rather curious at the table of a native chief on the mountains of Celebes. Our host was dressed in a suit of black with patent-leather shoes, and really looked comfortable and almost gentlemanly in them. He sat at the head of the table and did the honours well, though he did not talk much. Our conversation was entirely in Malay, as that is the official language here, and in fact the mother-tongue and only language of the Controlleur, who is a native-born half-breed. The Major's father who was chief before him, wore, I was informed, a strip of bark as his sole costume, and lived in a rude but raised home on lofty poles, and abundantly decorated with human heads. Of course we were expected, and our dinner was prepared in the best style, but I was assured that the chiefs all take a pride in adopting European customs, and in being able to receive their visitors in a handsome manner.
After dinner and coffee, the Controlleur went on to Tondano, and I strolled about the village waiting for my baggage, which was coming in a bullock-cart, and did not arrive until after midnight. Supper was very similar to dinner, and on retiring I found an elegant little room with a comfortable bed, gauze curtains with blue and red hangings, and every convenience. Next morning at sunrise the thermometer in the verandah stood at 69°, which I was told is about the usual lowest temperature at this place, 2,500 feet above the sea. I had a good breakfast of coffee, eggs, and fresh bread and butter, which I took in the spacious verandah amid the odour of roses, jessamine, and other sweet-scented flowers, which filled the garden in front; and about eight o'clock left Tomohón with a dozen men carrying my baggage.
Our road lay over a mountain ridge about 4,000 feet above the sea, and then descended about 500 feet to the little village of Rurúkan, the highest in the district of Minahasa, and probably in all Celebes. Here I had determined to stay for some time to see whether this elevation would produce any change in the zoology. The village had only been formed about ten years, and was quite as neat as those I had passed through, and much more picturesque. It is placed on a small level spot, from which there is an abrupt wooded descent down to the beautiful lake of Tondano, with volcanic mountains beyond. On one side is a ravine, and beyond it a fine mountainous and wooded country.
Near the village are the coffee plantations. The trees are planted in rows, and are kept topped to about seven feet high. This causes the lateral branches to grow very strong, so that some of the trees become perfect hemispheres, loaded with fruit from top to bottom, and producing from ten to twenty pounds each of cleaned coffee annually. These plantations were all formed by the Government, and are cultivated by the villagers under the direction of their chief. Certain days are appointed for weeding or gathering, and the whole working population are summoned by the sound of a gong. An account is kept of the number of hours' work done by each family, and at the year's end, the produce of the sale is divided among them proportionately. The coffee is taken to Government stores established at central places over the whole country, and is paid for at a low fixed price. Out of this a certain percentage goes to the chiefs and majors, and the remainder is divided among the inhabitants. This system works very well, and I believe is at present far better for the people than free-trade would be. There are also large rice-fields, and in this little village of seventy houses, I was informed that a hundred pounds' worth of rice was sold annually.|
I had a small house at the very end of the village, almost hanging over the precipitous slope down to the stream, and with a splendid view from the verandah. The thermometer in the morning often stood at 62° and never rose so high as 80°, so that with the thin clothing used in the tropical plains we were always cool and sometimes positively cold, while the spout of water where I went daily for my bath had quite an icy feel. Although I enjoyed myself very much among these fine mountains and forests, I was somewhat disappointed as to my collections. There was hardly any perceptible difference between the animal life in this temperate region and in the torrid plains below, and what difference did exist was in most respects disadvantageous to me. There seemed to be nothing absolutely peculiar to this elevation. Birds and quadrupeds were less plentiful, but of the same species. In insects there seemed to be more difference. The curious beetles of the family Cleridae, which are found chiefly on bark and rotten wood, were finer than I have seen them elsewhere. The beautiful Longicorns were scarcer than usual, and the few butterflies were all of tropical species. One of these, Papilio blumei, of which I obtained a few specimens only, is among the most magnificent I have ever seen. It is a green and gold swallow-tail, with azure-blue and spoon-shaped tails, and was often seen flying about the village when the sun shone, but in a very shattered condition. The great amount of wet and cloudy weather was a great drawback all the time I was at Rurukan.
Even in the vegetation there is very little to indicate elevation. The trees are more covered with lichens and mosses, and the ferns and tree-ferns are finer and more luxuriant than I had been accustomed to seeing on the low grounds, both probably attributable to the almost perpetual moisture that here prevails. Abundance of a tasteless raspberry, with blue and yellow composite, have somewhat of a temperate aspect; and minute ferns and Orchideae, with dwarf Begonias on the rocks, make some approach to a sub-alpine vegetation. The forest, however, is most luxuriant. Noble palms, Pandani, and tree-ferns are abundant in it, while the forest trees are completely festooned with Orchideae, Bromeliae, Araceae, Lycopodiums, and mosses. The ordinary stemless ferns abound; some with gigantic fronds ten or twelve feet long, others barely an inch high; some with entire and massive leaves, others elegantly waving their finely-cut foliage, and adding endless variety and interest to the forest paths. The cocoa-nut palm still produces fruit abundantly, but is said to be deficient in oil. Oranges thrive better than below, producing abundance of delicious fruit; but the shaddock or pumplemous (Citrus decumana) requires the full force of a tropical sun, for it will not thrive even at Tondano a thousand feet lower. On the hilly slopes rice is cultivated largely, and ripens well, although the temperature rarely or never rises to 80°, so that one would think it might be grown even in England in fine summers, especially if the young plants were raised under glass.
The mountains have an unusual quantity of earth and vegetable mould spread over them. Even on the steepest slopes there is everywhere a covering of clays and sands, and generally a good thickness of vegetable soil. It is this which perhaps contributes to the uniform luxuriance of the forest, and delays the appearance of that sub-alpine vegetation which depends almost as much on the abundance of rocky and exposed surfaces as on difference of climate. At a much lower elevation on Mount Ophir in Malacca, Dacrydiums and Rhododendrons with abundance of Nepenthes, ferns, and terrestrial orchids suddenly took the place of the lofty forest; but this was plainly due to the occurrence of an extensive slope of bare, granitic rock at an elevation of less than 3,000 feet. The quantity of vegetable soil, and also of loose sands and clays, resting on steep slopes, hill-tops and the sides of ravines, is a curious and important phenomenon. It may be due in part to constant, slight earthquake shocks facilitating the disintegration of rock; but, would also seem to indicate that the country has been long exposed to gentle atmospheric action, and that its elevation has been exceedingly slow and continuous.
During my stay at Rurukan, my curiosity was satisfied by experiencing a pretty sharp earthquake-shock. On the evening of June 29th, at a quarter after eight, as I was sitting reading, the house began shaking with a very gentle, but rapidly increasing motion. I sat still enjoying the novel sensation for some seconds; but in less than half a minute it became strong enough to shake me in my chair, and to make the house visibly rock about, and creak and crack as if it would fall to pieces. Then began a cry throughout the village of "Tana goyang! tana goyang! "(Earthquake! earthquake!) Everybody rushed out of their houses--women screamed and children cried--and I thought it prudent to go out too. On getting up, I found my head giddy and my steps unsteady, and could hardly walk without falling. The shock continued about a minute, during which time I felt as if I had been turned round and round, and was almost seasick. Going into the house again, I found a lamp and a bottle of arrack upset. The tumbler which formed the lamp had been thrown out of the saucer in which it had stood. The shock appeared to be nearly vertical, rapid, vibratory, and jerking. It was sufficient, I have no doubt, to have thrown down brick, chimneys, walls, and church towers; but as the houses here are all low, and strongly framed of timber, it is impossible for them to be much injured, except by a shock that would utterly destroy a European city. The people told me it was ten years since they had had a stronger shock than this, at which time many houses were thrown down and some people killed.
At intervals of ten minutes to half an hour, slight shocks and tremors were felt, sometimes strong enough to send us all out again. There was a strange mixture of the terrible and the ludicrous in our situation. We might at any moment have a much stronger shock, which would bring down the house over us, or-- what I feared more--cause a landslip, and send us down into the deep ravine on the very edge of which the village is built; yet I could not help laughing each time we ran out at a slight shock, and then in a few moments ran in again. The sublime and the ridiculous were here literally but a step apart. On the one hand, the most terrible and destructive of natural phenomena was in action around us--the rocks, the mountains, the solid earth were trembling and convulsed, and we were utterly impotent to guard against the danger that might at any moment overwhelm us. On the other hand was the spectacle of a number of men, women, and children running in and out of their houses, on what each time proved a very unnecessary alarm, as each shock ceased just as it became strong enough to frighten us. It seemed really very much like "playing at earthquakes," and made many of the people join me in a hearty laugh, even while reminding each other that it really might be no laughing matter.
At length the evening got very cold, and I became very sleepy, and determined to turn in; leaving orders to my boys, who slept nearer the door, to wake me in case the house was in danger of falling. But I miscalculated my apathy, for I could not sleep much. The shocks continued at intervals of half an hour or an hour all night, just strong enough to wake me thoroughly each time and keep me on the alert, ready to jump up in case of danger. I was therefore very glad when morning came. Most of the inhabitants had not been to bed at all, and some had stayed out of doors all night. For the next two days and nights shocks still continued at short intervals, and several times a day for a week, showing that there was some very extensive disturbance beneath our portion of the earth's crust. How vast the forces at work really are can only be properly appreciated when, after feeling their effects, we look abroad over the wide expanse of hill and valley, plain and mountain, and thus realize in a slight degree the immense mass of matter heaved and shaken. The sensation produced by an earthquake is never to be forgotten. We feel ourselves in the grasp of a power to which the wildest fury of the winds and waves are as nothing; yet the effect is more a thrill of awe than the terror which the more boisterous war of the elements produces. There is a mystery and an uncertainty as to the amount of danger we incur, which gives greater play to the imagination, and to the influences of hope and fear. These remarks apply only to a moderate earthquake. A severe one is the most destructive and the most horrible catastrophe to which human beings can be exposed.
A few days after the earthquake I took a walk to Tondano, a large village of about 7,000 inhabitants, situated at the lower end of the lake of the same name. I dined with the Controlleur, Mr. Bensneider, who had been my guide to Tomohon. He had a fine large house, in which he often received visitors; and his garden was the best for flowers which I had seen in the tropics, although there was no great variety. It was he who introduced the rose hedges which give such a charming appearance to the villages; and to him is chiefly due the general neatness and good order that everywhere prevail. I consulted him about a fresh locality, as I found Rurúkan too much in the clouds, dreadfully damp and gloomy, and with a general stagnation of bird and insect life. He recommended me a village some distance beyond the lake, near which was a large forest, where he thought I should find plenty of birds. As he was going himself in a few days, I decided to accompany him.
After dinner I asked him for a guide to the celebrated waterfall on the outlet stream of the lake. It is situated about a mile and half below the village, where a slight rising ground closes in the basin, and evidently once formed, the shore of the lake. Here the river enters a gorge, very narrow and tortuous, along which it rushes furiously for a short distance and then plunges into a great chasm, forming the head of a large valley. Just above the fall the channel is not more than ten feet wide, and here a few planks are thrown across, whence, half hid by luxuriant vegetation, the mad waters may be seen rushing beneath, and a few feet farther plunge into the abyss. Both sight and sound are grand and impressive. It was here that, four years before my visit, the Governor-General of the Netherland Indies committed suicide, by leaping into the torrent. This at least is the general opinion, as he suffered from a painful disease which was supposed to have made him weary of his life. His body was found next day in the stream below.
Unfortunately, no good view of the fall could now be obtained, owing to the quantity of wood and high grass that lined the margins of the precipices. There are two falls, the lower being the most lofty; and it is possible, by long circuit, to descend into the valley and see them from below. Were the best points of view searched for and rendered accessible, these falls would probably be found to be the finest in the Archipelago. The chasm seems to be of great depth, probably 500 or 600 feet. Unfortunately, I had no time to explore this valley, as I was anxious to devote every fine day to increasing my hitherto scanty collections.
Just opposite my abode in Rurukan was the schoolhouse. The schoolmaster was a native, educated by the Missionary at Tomohón. School was held every morning for about three hours, and twice a week in the evening there was catechising and preaching. There was also a service on Sunday morning. The children were all taught in Malay, and I often heard them repeating the multiplication-table, up to twenty times twenty, very glibly. They always wound up with singing, and it was very pleasing to hear many of our old psalm-tunes in these remote mountains, sung with Malay words. Singing is one of the real blessings which Missionaries introduce among savage nations, whose native chants are almost always monotonous and melancholy.
On catechising evenings the schoolmaster was a great man, preaching and teaching for three hours at a stretch much in the style of an English ranter. This was pretty cold work for his auditors, however warming to himself; and I am inclined to think that these native teachers, having acquired facility of speaking and an endless supply of religious platitudes to talk about, ride their hobby rather hard, without much consideration for their flock. The Missionaries, however, have much to be proud of in this country. They have assisted the Government in changing a savage into a civilized community in a wonderfully short space of time. Forty years ago the country was a wilderness, the people naked savages, garnishing their rude houses with human heads. Now it is a garden, worthy of its sweet native name of "Minahasa." Good roads and paths traverse it in every direction; some of the finest coffee plantations in the world surround the villages, interspersed with extensive rice-fields more than sufficient for the support of the population.
The people are now the most industrious, peaceable, and civilized in the whole Archipelago. They are the best clothed, the best housed, the best fed, and the best educated; and they have made some progress towards a higher social state. I believe there is no example elsewhere of such striking results being produced in so short a time--results which are entirely due to the system of government now adopted by the Dutch in their Eastern possessions. The system is one which may be called a "paternal despotism." Now we Englishmen do not like despotism--we hate the name and the thing, and we would rather see people ignorant, lazy, and vicious, than use any but moral force to make them wise, industrious, and good. And we are right when we are dealing with men of our own race, and of similar ideas and equal capacities with ourselves. Example and precept, the force of public opinion, and the slow, but sure spread of education, will do every thing in time, without engendering any of those bitter feelings, or producing any of that servility, hypocrisy, and dependence, which are the sure results of despotic government. But what should we think of a man who should advocate these principles of perfect freedom in a family or a school? We should say that he was applying a good, general principle to a case in which the conditions rendered it inapplicable--the case in which the governed are in an admitted state of mental inferiority to those who govern them, and are unable to decide what is best for their permanent welfare. Children must be subjected to some degree of authority, and guidance; and if properly managed they will cheerfully submit to it, because they know their own inferiority, and believe their elders are acting solely for their good. They learn many things the use of which they cannot comprehend, and which they would never learn without some moral and social, if not physical, pressure. Habits of order, of industry, of cleanliness, of respect and obedience, are inculcated by similar means. Children would never grow up into well-behaved and well-educated men, if the same absolute freedom of action that is allowed to men were allowed to them. Ruder the best aspect of education, children are subjected to a mild despotism for the good of themselves and of society; and their confidence in the wisdom and goodness of those who ordain and apply this despotism, neutralizes the bad passions and degrading feelings, which under less favourable conditions are its general results.
Now, there is not merely an analogy--there is in many respects an identity of relation between master and pupil or parent and child on the one hand, and an uncivilized race and its civilized rulers on the other. We know (or think we know) that the education and industry, and the common usages of civilized man, are superior to those of savage life; and, as he becomes acquainted with them, the savage himself admits this. He admires the superior acquirements of the civilized man, and it is with pride that he will adopt such usages as do not interfere too much with his sloth, his passions, or his prejudices. But as the willful child or the idle schoolboy, who was never taught obedience, and never made to do anything which of his own free will he was not inclined to do, would in most cases obtain neither education nor manners; so it is much more unlikely that the savage, with all the confirmed habits of manhood and the traditional prejudices of race, should ever do more than copy a few of the least beneficial customs of civilization, without some stronger stimulus than precept, very imperfectly backed by example.
If we are satisfied that we are right in assuming the government over a savage race, and occupying their country, and if we further consider it our duty to do what we can to improve our rude subjects and raise them up towards our own level, we must not be too much afraid of the cry of "despotism" and "slavery," but must use the authority we possess to induce them to do work which they may not altogether like, but which we know to be an indispensable step in their moral and physical advancement. The Dutch have shown much good policy in the means by which they have done this. They have in most cases upheld and strengthened the authority of the native chiefs, to whom the people have been accustomed to render a voluntary obedience; and by acting on the intelligence and self-interest of these chiefs, have brought about changes in the manners and customs of the people, which would have excited ill-feeling and perhaps revolt, had they been directly enforced by foreigners.
In carrying out such a system, much depends upon the character of the people; and the system which succeeds admirably in one place could only be very partially worked out in another. In Minahasa the natural docility and intelligence of the race have made their progress rapid; and how important this is, is well illustrated by the fact, that in the immediate vicinity of the town of Menado are a tribe called Banteks, of a much less tractable disposition, who have hitherto resisted all efforts of the Dutch Government to induce them to adopt any systematic cultivation. These remain in a ruder condition, but engage themselves willingly as occasional porters and labourers, for which their greater strength and activity well adapt them.
No doubt the system here sketched seems open to serious objection. It is to a certain extent despotic, and interferes with free trade, free labour, and free communication. A native cannot leave his village without a pass, and cannot engage himself to any merchant or captain without a Government permit. The coffee has all to be sold to Government, at less than half the price that the local merchant would give for it, and he consequently cries out loudly against "monopoly" and "oppression." He forgets, how ever, that the coffee plantations were established by the Government at great outlay of capital and skill; that it gives free education to the people, and that the monopoly is in lieu of taxation. He forgets that the product he wants to purchase and make a profit by, is the creation of the Government, without whom the people would still be savages. He knows very well that free trade would, as its first result, lead to the importation of whole cargoes of arrack, which would be carried over the country and exchanged for coffee. That drunkenness and poverty would spread over the land; that the public coffee plantations would not be kept up; that the quality and quantity of the coffee would soon deteriorate; that traders and merchants would get rich, but that the people would relapse into poverty and barbarism. That such is invariably is the result of free trade with any savage tribes who possess a valuable product, native or cultivated, is well known to those who have visited such people; but we might even anticipate from general principles that evil results would happen.
If there is one thing rather than another to which the grand law of continuity or development will apply, it is to human progress. There are certain stages through which society must pass in its onward march from barbarism to civilization. Now one of these stages has always been some form or other of despotism, such as feudalism or servitude, or a despotic paternal government; and we have every reason to believe that it is not possible for humanity to leap over this transition epoch, and pass at once from pure savagery to free civilization. The Dutch system attempts to supply this missing link, and to bring the people on by gradual steps to that higher civilization, which we (the English) try to force upon them at once. Our system has always failed. We demoralize and we extirpate, but we never really civilize. Whether the Dutch system can permanently succeed is but doubtful, since it may not be possible to compress the work of ten centuries into one; but at all events it takes nature as a guide, and is therefore, more deserving of success, and more likely to succeed, than ours. [footnote: Dr. Guillemard, who visited Minahasa twenty-five years later, found the country in much the same condition as I describe - drunkenness and crime were almost unknown, and the people were contented and happy. (See The Cruise of the "Marchesa,", Vol.II, p.181.)]
There is one point connected with this question which I think the Missionaries might take up with great physical and moral results. In this beautiful and healthy country, and with abundance of food and necessaries, the population does not increase as it ought to do. I can only impute this to one cause. Infant mortality, produced by neglect while the mothers are working in the plantations, and by general ignorance of the conditions of health in infants. Women all work, as they have always been accustomed to do. It is no hardship to them, but I believe is often a pleasure and relaxation. They either take their infants with them, in which case they leave them in some shady spot on the ground, going at intervals to give them nourishment, or they leave them at home in the care of other children too young to work. Under neither of these circumstances can infants be properly attended to, and great mortality is the result, keeping the increase of population far below the rate which the general prosperity of the country and the universality of marriage would lead us to expect. This is a matter in which the Government is directly interested, since it is by the increase of the population alone that there can be any large and permanent increase in the production of coffee. The Missionaries should take up the question because, by inducing married women to confine themselves to domestic duties, they will decidedly promote a higher civilization, and directly increase the health and happiness of the whole community. The people are so docile and so willing to adopt the manners and customs of Europeans, that the change might be easily effected by merely showing them that it was a question of morality and civilization, and an essential step in their progress towards an equality with their white rulers.
After a fortnight's stay at Rurúkan, I left that pretty and interesting village in search of a locality and climate more productive of birds and insects. I passed the evening with the Controlleur of Tondano, and the next morning at nine, left in a small boat for the head of the lake, a distance of about ten miles. The lower end of the lake is bordered by swamps and marshes of considerable extent, but a little further on, the hills come down to the water's edge and give it very much the appearance of a greet river, the width being about two miles. At the upper end is the village of Kakas, where I dined with the head man in a good house like those I have already described; and then went on to Langówan, four miles distant over a level plain. This was the place where I had been recommended to stay, and I accordingly unpacked my baggage and made myself comfortable in the large house devoted to visitors. I obtained a man to shoot for me, and another to accompany me the next day to the forest, where I was in hopes of finding a good collecting ground.
In the morning after breakfast I started off, but found I had four miles to walk over a wearisome straight road through coffee plantations before I could get to the forest, and as soon as I did so ,it came on to rain heavily and did not cease until night. This distance to walk everyday was too far for any profitable work, especially when the weather was so uncertain. I therefore decided at once that I must go further on, until I found someplace close to or in a forest country. In the afternoon my friend Mr. Bensneider arrived, together with the Controlleur of the next district, called Belang, from whom I learned that six miles further on there was a village called Panghu, which had been recently formed and had a good deal of forest close to it; and he promised me the use of a small house if I liked to go there.
The next morning I went to see the hot-springs and mud volcanoes, for which this place is celebrated. A picturesque path among plantations and ravines brought us to a beautiful circular basin about forty feet in diameter, bordered by a calcareous ledge, so uniform and truly curved, that it looked like a work of art. It was filled with clear water very near the boiling point, and emitted clouds of steam with a strong sulphureous odour. It overflows at one point and forms a little stream of hot water, which at a hundred yards' distance is still too hot to hold the hand in. A little further on, in a piece of rough wood, were two other springs not so regular in outline, but appearing to be much hotter, as they were in a continual state of active ebullition. At intervals of a few minutes, a great escape of steam or gas took place, throwing up a column of water three or four feet high.
We then went to the mud-springs, which are about a mile off, and are still more curious. On a sloping tract of ground in a slight hollow is a small lake of liquid mud, with patches of blue, red, or white, and in many places boiling and bubbling most furiously. All around on the indurated clay are small wells and craters full of boiling mud. These seem to be forming continually, a small hole appearing first, which emits jets of steam and boiling mud, which upon hardening, forms a little cone with a crater in the middle. The ground for some distance is very unsafe, as it is evidently liquid at a small depth, and bends with pressure like thin ice. At one of the smaller, marginal jets which I managed to approach, I held my hand to see if it was really as hot as it looked, when a little drop of mud that spurted on to my finger scalded like boiling water.
A short distance off, there was a flat bare surface of rock as smooth and hot as an oven floor, which was evidently an old mud-pool, dried up and hardened. For hundreds of yards around where there were banks of reddish and white clay used for whitewash, it was still so hot close to the surface that the hand could hardly bear to be held in cracks a few inches deep, and from which arose a strong sulphureous vapour. I was informed that some years back a French gentleman who visited these springs ventured too near the liquid mud, when the crust gave way and he was engulfed in the horrible caldron.
This evidence of intense heat so near the surface over a large tract of country was very impressive, and I could hardly divest myself of the notion that some terrible catastrophe might at any moment devastate the country. Yet it is probable that all these apertures are really safety-valves, and that the inequalities of the resistance of various parts of the earth's crust will always prevent such an accumulation of force as would be required to upheave and overwhelm any extensive area. About seven miles west of this is a volcano which was in eruption about thirty years before my visit, presenting a magnificent appearance and covering the surrounding country with showers of ashes. The plains around the lake formed by the intermingling and decomposition of volcanic products are of amazing fertility, and with a little management in the rotation of crops might be kept in continual cultivation. Rice is now grown on them for three or four years in succession, when they are left fallow for the same period, after which rice or maize can be again grown. Good rice produces thirty-fold, and coffee trees continue bearing abundantly for ten or fifteen years, without any manure and with scarcely any cultivation.
I was delayed a day by incessant rain, and then proceeded to Panghu, which I reached just before the daily rain began at 11 A.M. After leaving the summit level of the lake basin, the road is carried along the slope of a fine forest ravine. The descent is a long one, so that I estimated the village to be not more than 1,500 feet above the sea, yet I found the morning temperature often 69°, the same as at Tondano at least 600 or 700 feet higher. I was pleased with the appearance of the place, which had a good deal of forest and wild country around it; and found prepared for me a little house consisting only of a verandah and a back room. This was only intended for visitors to rest in, or to pass a night, but it suited me very well. I was so unfortunate, however, as to lose both my hunters just at this time. One had been left at Tondano with fever and diarrhoea, and the other was attacked at Langówan with inflammation of the chest, and as his case looked rather bad I had him sent back to Menado. The people here were all so busy with their rice-harvest, which was important for them to finish owing to the early rains, that I could get no one to shoot for me.
During the three weeks that I stayed at Panghu it rained nearly everyday, either in the afternoon only, or all day long; but there were generally a few hours' sunshine in the morning, and I took advantage of these to explore the roads and paths, the rocks and ravines, in search of insects. These were not very abundant, yet I saw enough to convince me that the locality was a good one, had I been there at the beginning instead of at the end of the dry season. The natives brought me daily a few insects obtained at the Sagueir palms, including some fine Cetonias and stag- beetles. Two little boys were very expert with the blowpipe, and brought me a good many small birds, which they shot with pellets of clay. Among these was a pretty little flower-pecker of a new species (Prionochilus aureolimbatus), and several of the loveliest honeysuckers I had yet seen. My general collection of birds was, however, almost at a standstill; for though I at length obtained a man to shoot for me, he was not good for much, and seldom brought me more than one bird a day. The best thing he shot was the large and rare fruit-pigeon peculiar to Northern Celebes (Carpophaga forsteni), which I had long been seeking.
I was myself very successful in one beautiful group of insects, the tiger-beetles, which seem more abundant and varied here than anywhere else in the Archipelago. I first met with them on a cutting in the road, where a hard clayey bank was partially overgrown with mosses and small ferns. Here, I found running about, a small olive-green species which never took flight; and more rarely, a fine purplish black wingless insect, which was always found motionless in crevices, and was therefore, probably nocturnal. It appeared to me to form a new genus. About the roads in the forest, I found the large and handsome Cicindela heros, which I had before obtained sparingly at Macassar; but it was in the mountain torrent of the ravine itself that I got my finest things. 0n dead trunks overhanging the water and on the banks and foliage, I obtained three very pretty species of Cicindela, quite distinct in size, form, and colour, but having an almost identical pattern of pale spots. I also found a single specimen of a most curious species with very long antennae. But my finest discovery here was the Cicindela gloriosa, which I found on mossy stones just rising above the water. After obtaining my first specimen of this elegant insect, I used to walk up the stream, watching carefully every moss-covered rock and stone. It was rather shy, and would often lead me on a long chase from stone to stone, becoming invisible every time it settled on the damp moss, owing to its rich velvety green colour. On some days I could only catch a few glimpses of it; on others I got a single specimen; and on a few occasions two, but never without a more or less active pursuit. This and several other species I never saw but in this one ravine.
Among the people here I saw specimens of several types, which, with the peculiarities of the languages, gives me some notion of their probable origin. A striking illustration of the low state of civilization of these people, until quite recently, is to be found in the great diversity of their languages. Villages three or four miles apart have separate dialects, and each group of three or four such villages has a distinct language quite unintelligible to all the rest; so that, until the recent introduction of Malay by the Missionaries, there must have been a bar to all free communication. These languages offer many peculiarities. They contain a Celebes-Malay element and a Papuan element, along with some radical peculiarities found also in the languages of the Siau and Sanguir islands further north, and therefore, probably derived from the Philippine Islands. Physical characteristics correspond. There are some of the less civilized tribes which have semi-Papuan features and hair, while in some villages the true Celebes or Bugis physiognomy prevails. The plateau of Tondano is chiefly inhabited by people nearly as white as the Chinese, and with very pleasing semi-European features. The people of Siau and Sanguir much resemble these, and I believe them to be perhaps immigrants from some of the islands of North Polynesia. The Papuan type will represent the remnant of the aborigines, while those of the Bugis character show the extension northward of the superior Malay races.
As I was wasting valuable time at Panghu, owing to the bad weather and the illness of my hunters, I returned to Menado after a stay of three weeks. Here I had a little touch of fever, and what with drying and packing all of my collections and getting fresh servants, it was a fortnight before I was again ready to start. I now went eastward over an undulating country skirting the great volcano of Klabat, to a village called Lempias, situated close to the extensive forest that covers the lower slopes of that mountain. My baggage was carried from village to village by relays of men; and as each change involved some delay, I did not reach my destination (a distance of eighteen miles) until sunset. I was wet through, and had to wait for an hour in an uncomfortable state until the first installment of my baggage arrived, which luckily contained my clothes, while the rest did not come in until midnight.
This being the district inhabited by that singular annual the Babirusa (Hog-deer), I inquired about skulls and soon obtained several in tolerable condition, as well as a fine one of the rare and curious "Sapiutan" (Anoa depressicornis. Of this animal I had seen two living specimens at Menado, and was surprised at their great resemblance to small cattle, or still more to the Eland of South Africa. Their Malay name signifies "forest ox," and they differ from very small highbred oxen principally by the low- hanging dewlap, and straight, pointed horns which slope back over the neck. I did not find the forest here so rich in insects as I had expected, and my hunters got me very few birds, but what they did obtain were very interesting. Among these were the rare forest Kingfisher (Cittura cyanotis), a small new species of Megapodius, and one specimen of the large and interesting Maleo (Megacephalon rubripes), to obtain which was one of my chief reasons for visiting this district. Getting no more, however, after ten days' search, I removed to Licoupang, at the extremity of the peninsula, a place celebrated for these birds, as well as for the Babirusa and Sapiutan. I found here Mr. Goldmann, the eldest son of the Governor of the Moluccas, who was superintending the establishment of some Government salt-works. This was a better locality, and I obtained some fine butterflies and very good birds, among which was one more specimen of the rare ground dove (Phlegaenas tristigmata), which I had first obtained near the Maros waterfall in South Celebes.
Hearing what I was particularly in search of, Mr. Goldmann kindly offered to make a hunting-party to the place where the "Maleos" are most abundant, a remote and uninhabited sea-beach about twenty miles distant. The climate here was quite different from that on the mountains; not a drop of rain having fallen for four months; so I made arrangements to stay on the beach a week, in order to secure a good number of specimens. We went partly by boat and partly through the forest, accompanied by the Major or head-man of Licoupang, with a dozen natives and about twenty dogs. On the way they caught a young Sapi-utan and five wild pigs. Of the former I preserved the head. This animal is entirely confined to the remote mountain forests of Celebes and one or two adjacent islands which form part of the same group. In the adults the head is black, with a white mark over each eye, one on each cheek and another on the throat. The horns are very smooth and sharp when young, but become thicker and ridged at the bottom with age. Most naturalists consider this curious animal to be a small ox, but from the character of the horns, the fine coat of hair and the descending dewlap, it seemed closely to approach the antelopes.
Arrived at our destination, we built a but and prepared for a stay of some days--I to shoot and skin "Maleos", and Mr. Goldmann and the Major to hunt wild pigs, Babirusa, and Sapi-utan. The place is situated in the large bay between the islands of Limbe and Banca, and consists of steep beach more than a mile in length, of deep loose and coarse black volcanic sand (or rather gravel), very fatiguing to walk over. It is bounded at each extremity by a small river with hilly ground beyond, while the forest behind the beach itself is tolerably level and its growth stunted. We probably have here an ancient lava stream from the Klabat volcano, which has flowed down a valley into the sea, and the decomposition of which has formed the loose black sand. In confirmation of this view, it may be mentioned that the beaches beyond the small rivers in both directions are of white sand.
It is in this loose, hot, black sand that those singular birds, the "Maleos" deposit their eggs. In the months of August and September, when there is little or no rain, they come down in pairs from the interior to this or to one or two other favourite spots, and scratch holes three or four feet deep, just above high-water mark, where the female deposits a single large egg, which she covers over with about a foot of sand--and then returns to the forest. At the end of ten or twelve days she comes again to the same spot to lay another egg, and each female bird is supposed to lay six or eight eggs during the season. The male assists the female in making the hole, coming down and returning with her. The appearance of the bird when walking on the beach is very handsome. The glossy black and rosy white of the plumage, the helmeted head and elevated tail, like that of the common fowl, give a striking character, which their stately and somewhat sedate walk renders still more remarkable. There is hardly any difference between the sexes, except that the casque or bonnet at the back of the head and the tubercles at the nostrils are a little larger, and the beautiful rosy salmon colour a little deeper in the male bird; but the difference is so slight that it is not always possible to tell a male from a female without dissection. They run quickly, but when shot at or suddenly disturbed, take wing with a heavy noisy flight to some neighbouring tree, where they settle on a low branch; and, they probably roost at night in a similar situation. Many birds lay in the same hole, for a dozen eggs are often found together; and these are so large that it is not possible for the body of the bird to contain more than one fully-developed egg at the same time. In all the female birds which I shot, none of the eggs besides the one large one exceeded the size of peas, and there were only eight or nine of these, which is probably the extreme number a bird can lay in one season.
Every year the natives come for fifty miles round to obtain these eggs, which are esteemed as a great delicacy, and when quite fresh, are indeed delicious. They are richer than hens' eggs and of a finer favour, and each one completely fills an ordinary teacup, and forms with bread or rice a very good meal. The colour of the shell is a pale brick red, or very rarely pure white. They are elongate and very slightly smaller at one end, from four to four and a half inches long by two and a quarter or two and a half wide.
After the eggs are deposited in the sand, they are no further cared for by the mother. The young birds, upon breaking the shell, work their way up through the sand and run off at once to the forest; and I was assured by Mr. Duivenboden of Ternate, that they can fly the very day they are hatched. He had taken some eggs on board his schooner which hatched during the night, and in the morning the little birds flew readily across the cabin. Considering the great distances the birds come to deposit the eggs in a proper situation (often ten or fifteen miles) it seems extraordinary that they should take no further care of them. It is, however, quite certain that they neither do nor can watch them. The eggs being deposited by a number of hens in succession in the same hole, would render it impossible for each to distinguish its own; and the food necessary for such large birds (consisting entirely of fallen fruits) can only be obtained by roaming over an extensive district, so that if the numbers of birds which come down to this single beach in the breeding season, amounting to many hundreds, were obliged to remain in the vicinity, many would perish of hunger.
In the structure of the feet of this bird, we may detect a cause for its departing from the habits of its nearest allies, the Megapodii and Talegalli, which heap up earth, leaves, stones, and sticks into a huge mound, in which they bury their eggs. The feet of the Maleo are not nearly so large or strong in proportion as in these birds, while its claws are short and straight instead of being long and much curved. The toes are, however, strongly webbed at the base, forming a broad powerful foot, which, with the rather long leg, is well adapted to scratch away the loose sand (which flies up in a perfect shower when the birds are at work), but which could not without much labour accumulate the heaps of miscellaneous rubbish, which the large grasping feet of the Megapodius bring together with ease.
We may also, I think, see in the peculiar organization of the entire family of the Megapodidae or Brush Turkeys, a reason why they depart so widely from the usual habits of the Class of birds. Each egg being so large as entirely to fill up the abdominal cavity and with difficulty pass the walls of the pelvis, a considerable interval is required before the successive eggs can be matured (the natives say about thirteen days). Each bird lays six or eight eggs or even more each season, so that between the first and last there may be an interval of two or three months. Now, if these eggs were hatched in the ordinary way, either the parents must keep sitting continually for this long period, or if they only began to sit after the last egg was deposited, the first would be exposed to injury by the climate, or to destruction by the large lizards, snakes, or other animals which abound in the district; because such large birds must roam about a good deal in search of food. Here then we seem to have a case in which the habits of a bird may be directly traced to its exceptional organization; for it will hardly be maintained that this abnormal structure and peculiar food were given to the Megapodidae in order that they might not exhibit that parental affection, or possess those domestic instincts so general in the Class of birds, and which so much excite our admiration.
It has generally been the custom of writers on Natural History to take the habits and instincts of animals as fixed points, and to consider their structure and organization, as specially adapted, to be in accordance with these. This assumption is however an arbitrary one, and has the bad effect of stifling inquiry into the nature and causes of "instincts and habits," treating them as directly due to a "first cause," and therefore, incomprehensible to us. I believe that a careful consideration of the structure of a species, and of the peculiar physical and organic conditions by which it is surrounded, or has been surrounded in past ages, will often, as in this case, throw much light on the origin of its habits and instincts. These again, combined with changes in external conditions, react upon structure, and by means of "variation" and "natural selection", both are kept in harmony.
My friends remained three days, and got plenty of wild pigs and two Anoas, but the latter were much injured by the dogs, and I could only preserve the heads. A grand hunt which we attempted on the third day failed, owing to bad management in driving in the game, and we waited for five hours perched on platforms in trees without getting a shot, although we had been assured that pigs, Babirusas, and Anóas would rush past us in dozens. I myself, with two men, stayed three days longer to get more specimens of the Maleos, and succeeded in preserving twenty-six very fine ones-- the flesh and eggs of which supplied us with abundance of good food.
The Major sent a boat, as he had promised, to take home my baggage, while I walked through the forest with my two boys and a guide, about fourteen miles. For the first half of the distance there was no path, and we had often to cut our way through tangled rattans or thickets of bamboo. In some of our turnings to find the most practicable route, I expressed my fear that we were losing our way, as the sun being vertical, I could see no possible clue to the right direction. My conductors, however, laughed at the idea, which they seemed to consider quite ludicrous; and sure enough, about half way, we suddenly encountered a little hut where people from Licoupang came to hunt and smoke wild pigs. My guide told me he had never before traversed the forest between these two points; and this is what is considered by some travellers as one of the savage "instincts," whereas it is merely the result of wide general knowledge. The man knew the topography of the whole district; the slope of the land, the direction of the streams, the belts of bamboo or rattan, and many other indications of locality and direction; and he was thus enabled to hit straight upon the hut, in the vicinity of which he had often hunted. In a forest of which he knew nothing, he would be quite as much at a loss as a European. Thus it is, I am convinced, with all the wonderful accounts of Indians finding their way through trackless forests to definite points; they may never have passed straight between the two particular points before, but they are well acquainted with the vicinity of both, and have such a general knowledge of the whole country, its water system, its soil and its vegetation, that as they approach the point they are to reach, many easily-recognised indications enable them to hit upon it with certainty.
The chief feature of this forest was the abundance of rattan palms hanging from the trees, and turning and twisting about on the ground, often in inextricable confusion. One wonders at first how they can get into such queer shapes; but it is evidently caused by the decay and fall of the trees up which they have first climbed, after which they grow along the ground until they meet with another trunk up which to ascend. A tangled mass of twisted living rattan, is therefore, a sign that at some former period a large tree has fallen there, though there may be not the slightest vestige of it left. The rattan seems to have unlimited powers of growth, and a single plant may moult up several trees in succession, and thus reach the enormous length they are said sometimes to attain. They much improve the appearance of a forest as seen from the coast; for they vary the otherwise monotonous tree-tops with feathery crowns of leaves rising clear above them, and each terminated by an erect leafy spike like a lightning- conductor.
The other most interesting object in the forest was a beautiful palm, whose perfectly smooth and cylindrical stem rises erect to more than a hundred feet high, with a thickness of only eight or ten inches; while the fan-shaped leaves which compose its crown, are almost complete circles of six or eight feet diameter, borne aloft on long and slender petioles, and beautifully toothed round the edge by the extremities of the leaflets, which are separated only for a few inches from the circumference. It is probably the Livistona rotundifolia of botanists, and is the most complete and beautiful fan-leaf I have ever seen, serving admirably for folding into water-buckets and impromptu baskets, as well as for thatching and other purposes.
A few days afterwards I returned to Menado on horse-back, sending my baggage around by sea; and had just time to pack up all my collections to go by the next mail steamer to Amboyna. I will now devote a few pages to an account of the chief peculiarities of the Zoology of Celebes, and its relation to that of the surrounding countries.
NATURAL HISTORY OF CELEBES
THE position of Celebes is the most central in the Archipelago. Immediately to the north are the Philippine islands; on the west is Borneo; on the east are the Molucca islands; and on the south is the Timor group--and it is on all sides so connected with these islands by its own satellites, by small islets, and by coral reefs, that neither by inspection on the map nor by actual observation around its coast, is it possible to determine accurately which should be grouped with it, and which with the surrounding districts. Such being the case, we should naturally expect to find that the productions of this central island in some degree represented the richness and variety of the whole Archipelago, while we should not expect much individuality in a country, so situated, that it would seem as if it were pre- eminently fitted to receive stragglers and immigrants from all around.
As so often happens in nature, however, the fact turns out to be just the reverse of what we should have expected; and an examination of its animal productions shows Celebes to be at once the poorest in the number of its species, and the most isolated in the character of its productions, of all the great islands in the Archipelago. With its attendant islets it spreads over an extent of sea hardly inferior in length and breadth to that occupied by Borneo, while its actual land area is nearly double that of Java; yet its Mammalia and terrestrial birds number scarcely more than half the species found in the last- named island. Its position is such that it could receive immigrants from every side more readily than Java, yet in proportion to the species which inhabit it, far fewer seem derived from other islands, while far more are altogether peculiar to it; and a considerable number of its animal forms are so remarkable, as to find no close allies in any other part of the world. I now propose to examine the best known groups of Celebesian animals in some detail, to study their relations to those of other islands, and to call attention to the many points of interest which they suggest.
We know far more of the birds of Celebes than we do of any other group of animals. No less than 191 species have been discovered, and though no doubt, many more wading and swimming birds have to be added; yet the list of land birds, 144 in number, and which for our present purpose are much the most important, must be very nearly complete. I myself assiduously collected birds in Celebes for nearly ten months, and my assistant, Mr. Allen, spent two months in the Sula islands. The Dutch naturalist Forsten spent two years in Northern Celebes (twenty years before my visit), and collections of birds had also been sent to Holland from Macassar. The French ship of discovery, L'Astrolabe, also touched at Menado and procured collections. Since my return home, the Dutch naturalists Rosenberg and Bernstein have made extensive collections both in North Celebes and in the Sula islands; yet all their researches combined have only added eight species of land birds to those forming part of my own collection--a fact which renders it almost certain that there are very few more to discover. [footnote: Dr. B. Meyer and other naturalists have since explored the island and its surrounding islets, and have raised the total number of its birds to nearly 400, of which 288 are land birds.]
Besides Salayer and Boutong on the south, with Peling and Bungay on the east, the three islands of the Sula (or Zula) Archipelago also belong zoologically to Celebes, although their position is such that it would seem more natural to group them with the Moluccas. About 48 land birds are now known from the Sula group, and if we reject from these, five species which have a wide range over the Archipelago, the remainder are much more characteristic of Celebes than of the Moluccas. Thirty-one species are identical with those of the former island, and four are representatives of Celebes forms, while only eleven are Moluccan species, and two more representatives.
But although the Sula islands belong to Celebes, they are so close to Bouru and the southern islands of the Gilolo group, that several purely Moluccan forms have migrated there, which are quite unknown to the island of Celebes itself; the whole thirteen Moluccan species being in this category, thus adding to the productions of Celebes a foreign element which does not really belong to it. In studying the peculiarities of the Celebesian fauna, it will therefore be well to consider only the productions of the main island.
The number of land birds in the island of Celebes is 128, and from these we may, as before, strike out a small number of species which roam over the whole Archipelago (often from India to the Pacific), and which therefore only serve to disguise the peculiarities of individual islands. These are 20 in number, and leave 108 species which we may consider as more especially characteristic of the island. On accurately comparing these with the birds of all the surrounding countries, we find that only nine extend into the islands westward, and nineteen into the islands eastward, while no less than 80 are entirely confined to the Celebesian fauna--a degree of individuality which, considering the situation of the island, is hardly to be equalled in any other part of the world. If we still more closely examine these 80 species, we shall be struck by the many peculiarities of structure they present, and by the curious affinities with distant parts of the world which many of them seem to indicate. These points are of so much interest and importance that it will be necessary to pass in review all those species which are peculiar to the island, and to call attention to whatever is most worthy of remark.
Six species of the Hawk tribe are peculiar to Celebes; three of these are very distinct from allied birds which range over all India to Java and Borneo, and which thus seem to be suddenly changed on entering Celebes. Another (Accipiter trinotatus) is a beautiful hawk, with elegant rows of large round white spots on the tail, rendering it very conspicuous and quite different from any other known bird of the family. Three owls are also peculiar; and one, a barn owl (Strix rosenbergii), is very much larger and stronger than its ally Strix javanica, which ranges from India through all the islands as far as Lombock.
Of the ten Parrots found in Celebes, eight are peculiar. Among them are two species of the singular raquet-tailed parrots forming the genus Prioniturus, and which are characterised by possessing two long spoon-shaped feathers in the tail. Two allied species are found in the adjacent island of Mindanao, one of the Philippines, and this form of tail is found in no other parrots in the whole world. A small species of Lorikeet (Trichoglossus flavoviridis) seems to have its nearest ally in Australia.
The three Woodpeckers which inhabit the island are all peculiar, and are allied to species found in Java and Borneo, although very different from them all.
Among the three peculiar Cuckoos, two are very remarkable. Phoenicophaus callirhynchus is the largest and handsomest species of its genus, and is distinguished by the three colours of its beak, bright yellow, red, and black. Eudynamis melanorynchus differs from all its allies in having a jet-black bill, whereas the other species of the genus always have it green, yellow, or reddish.
The Celebes Roller (Coracias temmincki) is an interesting example of one species of a genus being cut off from the rest. There are species of Coracias in Europe, Asia, and Africa, but none in the Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, or Borneo. The present species seems therefore quite out of place; and what is still more curious is the fact that it is not at all like any of the Asiatic species, but seems more to resemble those of Africa.
In the next family, the Bee-eaters, is another equally isolated bird, Meropogon forsteni, which combines the characters of African and Indian Bee-eaters, and whose only near ally, Meropogon breweri, was discovered by M. Du Chaillu in West Africa!
The two Celebes Hornbills have no close allies in those which abound in the surrounding countries. The only Thrush, Geocichla erythronota, is most nearly allied to a species peculiar to Timor. Two of the Flycatchers are closely allied to Indian species, which are not found in the Malay islands. Two genera somewhat allied to the Magpies (Streptocitta and Charitornis), but whose affinities are so doubtful that Professor Schlegel places them among the Starlings, are entirely confined to Celebes. They are beautiful long-tailed birds, with black and white plumage, and with the feathers of the head somewhat rigid and scale-like.
Doubtfully allied to the Starlings are two other very isolated and beautiful birds. One, Enodes erythrophrys, has ashy and yellow plumage, but is ornamented with broad stripes of orange- red above the eyes. The other, Basilornis celebensis, is a blue- black bird with a white patch on each side of the breast, and the head ornamented with a beautiful compressed scaly crest of feathers, resembling in form that of the well-known Cock-of-the- rock of South America. The only ally to this bird is found in Ceram, and has the feathers of the crest elongated upwards into quite a different form.
A still more curious bird is the Scissirostrum pagei, which although it is at present classed in the Starling family, differs from all other species in the form of the bill and nostrils, and seems most nearly allied in its general structure to the Ox- peckers (Buphaga) of tropical Africa, next to which the celebrated ornithologist Prince Bonaparte finally placed it. It is almost entirely of a slatey colour, with yellow bill and feet, but the feathers of the rump and upper tail-coverts each terminate in a rigid, glossy pencil or tuft of a vivid crimson. These pretty little birds take the place of the metallic-green starlings of the genus Calornis, which are found in most other islands of the Archipelago, but which are absent from Celebes. [footnote: Calornis neglecta, first found in the Sula Islands, has now been discovered in Celebes by Dr. Meyer.] They go in flocks, feeding upon grain and fruits, often frequenting dead trees, in holes of which they build their nests; and they cling to the trunks as easily as woodpeckers or creepers.
Out of eighteen Pigeons found in Celebes, eleven are peculiar to it. Two of them, Ptilonopus gularis and Turacaena menadensis, have their nearest allies in Timor. Two others, Carpophaga forsteni and Phlaegenas tristigmata, most resemble Philippine island species; and Carpophaga radiata belongs to a New Guinea group. Lastly, in the Gallinaceous tribe, the curious helmeted Maleo (Megacephalon rubripes) is quite isolated, having its nearest (but still distant) allies in the Brush-turkeys of Australia and New Guinea.
Judging, therefore, by the opinions of the eminent naturalists who have described and classified its birds, we find that many of the species have no near allies whatsoever in the countries which surround Celebes, but are either quite isolated, or indicate relations with such distant regions as New Guinea, Australia, India, or Africa. Other cases of similar remote affinities between the productions of distant countries no doubt exist, but in no spot upon the globe that I am yet acquainted with, do so many of them occur together, or do they form so decided a feature in the natural history of the country.
The Mammalia of Celebes are very few in number, consisting of fourteen terrestrial species and seven bats. Of the former no less than eleven are peculiar, including two which there is reason to believe may have been recently carried into other islands by man. Three species which have a tolerably wide range in the Archipelago, are: (1) The curious Lemur, Tarsius spectrum, which is found in all the islands as far westward as Malacca; (2) the common Malay Civet, Viverra tangalunga, which has a still wider range; and (3) a Deer, which seems to be the same as the Rusa hippelaphus of Java, and was probably introduced by man at an early period.
The more characteristic species are as follow:
Cynopithecus nigrescens, a curious baboon-like monkey if not a true baboon, which abounds all over Celebes, and is found nowhere else but in the one small island of Batchian, into which it has probably been introduced accidentally. An allied species is found in the Philippines, but in no other island of the Archipelago is there anything resembling them. These creatures are about the size of a spaniel, of a jet-black colour, and have the projecting dog-like muzzle and overhanging brows of the baboons. They have large red callosities and a short fleshy tail, scarcely an inch long and hardly visible. They go in large bands, living chiefly in the trees, but often descending on the ground and robbing gardens and orchards.
Anoa depressicornis, the Sapi-utan, or wild cow of the Malays, is an animal which has been the cause of much controversy, as to whether it should be classed as ox, buffalo, or antelope. It is smaller than any other wild cattle, and in many respects seems to approach some of the ox-like antelopes of Africa. It is found only in the mountains, and is said never to inhabit places where there are deer. It is somewhat smaller than a small Highland cow, and has long straight horns, which are ringed at the base and slope backwards over the neck.
The wild pig seems to be of a species peculiar to the island; but a much more curious animal of this family is the Babirusa or Pig- deer; so named by the Malays from its long and slender legs, and curved tusks resembling horns. This extraordinary creature resembles a pig in general appearance, but it does not dig with its snout, as it feeds on fallen fruits. The tusks of the lower jaw are very long and sharp, but the upper ones instead of growing downwards in the usual way are completely reversed, growing upwards out of bony sockets through the skin on each side of the snout, curving backwards to near the eyes, and in old animals often reaching eight or ten inches in length. It is difficult to understand what can be the use of these extraordinary horn-like teeth. Some of the old writers supposed that they served as hooks, by which the creature could rest its head on a branch. But the way in which they usually diverge just over and in front of the eye has suggested the more probable idea, that they serve to guard these organs from thorns and spines, while hunting for fallen fruits among the tangled thickets of rattans and other spiny plants. Even this, however, is not satisfactory, for the female, who must seek her food in the same way, does not possess them. I should be inclined to believe rather, that these tusks were once useful, and were then worn down as fast as they grew; but that changed conditions of life have rendered them unnecessary, and they now develop into a monstrous form, just as the incisors of the Beaver or Rabbit will go on growing, if the opposite teeth do not wear them away. In old animals they reach an enormous size, and are generally broken off as if by fighting.
SKULL OF BABIRUSA
Here again we have a resemblance to the Wart-hogs of Africa, whose upper canines grow outwards and curve up so as to form a transition from the usual mode of growth to that of the Babirusa. In other respects there seems no affinity between these animals, and the Babirusa stands completely isolated, having no resemblance to the pigs of any other part of the world. It is found all over Celebes and in the Sula islands, and also in Bourn, the only spot beyond the Celebes group to which it extends; and which island also shows some affinity to the Sula islands in its birds, indicating perhaps, a closer connection between them at some former period than now exists.|
The other terrestrial mammals of Celebes are five species of squirrels, which are all distinct from those of Java and Borneo, and mark the furthest eastward range of the genus in the tropics; and two of Eastern opossums (Cuscus), which are different from those of the Moluccas, and mark the furthest westward extension of this genus and of the Marsupial order. Thus we see that the Mammalia of Celebes are no less individual and remarkable than the birds, since three of the largest and most interesting species have no near allies in surrounding countries, but seem vaguely to indicate a relation to the African continent.
Many groups of insects appear to be especially subject to local influences, their forms and colours changing with each change of conditions, or even with a change of locality where the conditions seem almost identical. We should therefore anticipate that the individuality manifested in the higher animals would be still more prominent in these creatures with less stable organisms. On the other hand, however, we have to consider that the dispersion and migration of insects is much more easily effected than that of mammals or even of birds. They are much more likely to be carried away by violent winds; their eggs may be carried on leaves either by storms of wind or by floating trees, and their larvae and pupae, often buried in trunks of trees or enclosed in waterproof cocoons, may be floated for days or weeks uninjured over the ocean. These facilities of distribution tend to assimilate the productions of adjacent lands in two ways: first, by direct mutual interchange of species; and secondly, by repeated immigrations of fresh individuals of a species common to other islands, which by intercrossing, tend to obliterate the changes of form and colour, which differences of conditions might otherwise produce. Bearing these facts in mind, we shall find that the individuality of the insects of Celebes is even greater than we have any reason to expect.
For the purpose of insuring accuracy in comparisons with other islands, I shall confine myself to those groups which are best known, or which I have myself carefully studied. Beginning with the Papilionidae or Swallow-tailed butterflies, Celebes possesses 24 species, of which the large number of 18 are not found in any other island. If we compare this with Borneo, which out of 29 species has only two not found elsewhere, the difference is as striking as anything can be. In the family of the Pieridae, or white butterflies, the difference is not quite so great, owing perhaps to the more wandering habits of the group; but it is still very remarkable. Out of 30 species inhabiting Celebes, 19 are peculiar, while Java (from which more species are known than from Sumatra or Borneo), out of 37 species, has only 13 peculiar. The Danaidae are large, but weak-flying butterflies, which frequent forests and gardens, and are plainly but often very richly coloured. Of these my own collection contains 16 species from Celebes and 15 from Borneo; but whereas no less than 14 are confined to the former island, only two are peculiar to the latter. The Nymphalidae are a very extensive group, of generally strong-winged and very bright-coloured butterflies, very abundant in the tropics, and represented in our own country by our Fritillaries, our Vanessas, and our Purple-emperor. Some months ago I drew up a list of the Eastern species of this group, including all the new ones discovered by myself, and arrived at the following comparative results:--
The Coleoptera are so extensive that few of the groups have yet been carefully worked out. I will therefore refer to one only, which I have myself recently studied--the Cetoniadae or Rose- chafers--a group of beetles which, owing to their extreme beauty, have been much sought after. From Java 37 species of these insects are known, and from Celebes only 30; yet only 13, or 35 percent, are peculiar to the former island, and 19, or 63 percent, to the latter.
||Species of Nymphalidae.
||Species peculiar to each island.
||Percentage of peculiar Species.
The result of these comparisons is, that although Celebes is a single, large island with only a few smaller ones closely grouped around it, we must really consider it as forming one of the great divisions of the Archipelago, equal in rank and importance to the whole of the Moluccan or Philippine groups, to the Papuan islands, or to the Indo-Malay islands (Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and the Malay peninsula). Taking those families of insects and birds which are best known, the following table shows the comparison of Celebes with the other groups of islands:--
||PAPILIONIDAE AND PERIDAE.|
Per cent of peculiar Species.
|HAWKS, PARROTS, AND PIGEONS.|
Per cent of peculiar Species.
These large and well-known families well represent the general character of the zoology of Celebes; and they show that this island is really one of the most isolated portions of the Archipelago, although situated in its very centre.
But the insects of Celebes present us with other phenomena more curious and more difficult to explain than their striking individuality. The butterflies of that island are in many cases characterised by a peculiarity of outline, which distinguishes them at a glance from those of any other part of the world. It is most strongly manifested in the Papilios and the Pieridae, and consists in the forewings being either strongly curved or abruptly bent near the base, or in the extremity being elongated and often somewhat hooked. Out of the 14 species of Papilio in Celebes, 13 exhibit this peculiarity in a greater or less degree, when compared with the most nearly allied species of the surrounding islands. Ten species of Pieridae have the same character, and in four or five of the Nymphalidae it is also very distinctly marked. In almost every case, the species found in Celebes are much larger than thane of the islands westward, and at least equal to those of the Moluccas, or even larger. The difference of form is, however, the most remarkable feature, as it is altogether a new thing for a whole set of species in one country to differ in exactly the same way from the corresponding sets in all the surrounding countries; and it is so well marked, that without looking at the details of colouring, most Celebes Papilios and many Pieridae, can be at once distinguished from those of other islands by their form alone.
The outside figure of each pair here given, shows the exact size and form of the fore-wing in a butterfly of Celebes, while the inner one represents the most closely allied species from one of the adjacent islands. Figure 1 shows the strongly curved margin of the Celebes species, Papilio gigon, compared with the much straighter margin of Papilio demolion from Singapore and Java. Figure 2 shows the abrupt bend over the base of the wing in Papilio miletus of Celebes, compared with the slight curvature in the common Papilio sarpedon, which has almost exactly the same form from India to New Guinea and Australia. Figure 3 shows the elongated wing of Tachyris zarinda, a native of Celebes, compared with the much shorter wing of Tachyris nero, a very closely allied species found in all the western islands. The difference of form is in each case sufficiently obvious, but when the insects themselves are compared, it is much more striking than in these partial outlines.
From the analogy of birds, we should suppose that the pointed wing gave increased rapidity of flight, since it is a character of terns, swallows, falcons, and of the swift-flying pigeons. A short and rounded wing, on the other hand, always accompanies a more feeble or more laborious flight, and one much less under command. We might suppose, therefore, that the butterflies which possess this peculiar form were better able to escape pursuit. But there seems no unusual abundance of insectivorous birds to render this necessary; and as we cannot believe that such a curious peculiarity is without meaning, it seems probable that it is the result of a former condition of things, when the island possessed a much richer fauna, the relics of which we see in the isolated birds and Mammalia now inhabiting it; and when the abundance of insectivorous creatures rendered some unusual means of escape a necessity for the large-winged and showy butterflies. It is some confirmation of this view, that neither the very small nor the very obscurely coloured groups of butterflies have elongated wings, nor is any modification perceptible in those strong-winged groups which already possess great strength and rapidity of flight. These were already sufficiently protected from their enemies, and did not require increased power of escaping from them. It is not at all clear what effect the peculiar curvature of the wings has in modifying flight.
|(butterfly wing - types)
Another curious feature in the zoology of Celebes is also worthy of attention. I allude to the absence of several groups which are found on both sides of it, in the Indo-Malay islands as well as in the Moluccas; and which thus seem to be unable, from some unknown cause, to obtain a footing in the intervening island. In Birds we have the two families of Podargidae and Laniadae, which range over the whole Archipelago and into Australia, and which yet have no representative in Celebes. The genera Ceyx among Kingfishers, Criniger among Thrushes, Rhipidura among Flycatchers, Calornis among Starlings, and Erythrura among Finches, are all found in the Moluccas as well as in Borneo and Java--but not a single species belonging to any one of them is found in Celebes. Among insects, the large genus of Rose-chafers, Lomaptera, is found in every country and island between India and New Guinea, except Celebes. This unexpected absence of many groups, from one limited district in the very centre of their area of distribution, is a phenomenon not altogether unique, but, I believe, nowhere so well marked as in this case; and it certainly adds considerably to the strange character of this remarkable island.
The anomalies and eccentricities in the natural history of Celebes which I have endeavoured to sketch in this chapter, all point to an origin in a remote antiquity. The history of extinct animals teaches us that their distribution in time and in space are strikingly similar. The rule is, that just as the productions of adjacent areas usually resemble each other closely, so do the productions of successive periods in the same area; and as the productions of remote areas generally differ widely, so do the productions of the same area at remote epochs. We are therefore led irresistibly to the conclusion, that change of species, still more of generic and of family form, is a matter of time. But time may have led to a change of species in one country, while in another the forms have been more permanent, or the change may have gone on at an equal rate but in a different manner in both. In either case, the amount of individuality in the productions of a district will be to some extent a measure of the time that a district has been isolated from those that surround it. Judged by this standard, Celebes must be one of the oldest parts of the Archipelago. It probably dates from a period not only anterior to that when Borneo, Java, and Sumatra were separated from the continent, but from that still more remote epoch when the land that now constitutes these islands had not risen above the ocean.
Such an antiquity is necessary, to account for the number of animal forms it possesses, which show no relation to those of India or Australia, but rather with those of Africa; and we are led to speculate on the possibility of there having once existed a continent in the Indian Ocean which might serve as a bridge to connect these distant countries. Now it is a curious fact, that the existence of such a land has been already thought necessary, to account for the distribution of the curious Quadrumana forming the family of the Lemurs. These have their metropolis in Madagascar, but are found also in Africa, in Ceylon, in the peninsula of India, and in the Malay Archipelago as far as Celebes, which is its furthest eastern limit. Dr. Sclater has proposed for the hypothetical continent connecting these distant points, and whose former existence is indicated by the Mascarene islands and the Maldive coral group, the name of Lemuria. Whether or not we believe in its existence in the exact form here indicated, the student of geographical distribution must see in the extraordinary and isolated productions of Celebes, proof of the former existence of some continent from whence the ancestors of these creatures, and of many other intermediate forms, could have been derived. [footnote: I have since come to the conclusion that no such connecting land as Lemuria is required to explain these facts. (See my Island Life, pages 395 and 427.)]
In this short sketch of the most striking peculiarities of the Natural History of Celebes, I have been obliged to enter much into details that I fear will have been uninteresting to the general reader, but unless I had done so, my exposition would have lost much of its force and value. It is by these details alone that I have been able to prove the unusual features that Celebes presents to us. Situated in the very midst of an Archipelago, and closely hemmed in on every side by islands teeming with varied forms of life, its productions have yet a surprising amount of individuality. While it is poor in the actual number of its species, it is yet wonderfully rich in peculiar forms, many of which are singular or beautiful, and are in some cases absolutely unique upon the globe. We behold here the curious phenomenon of groups of insects changing their outline in a similar manner when compared with those of surrounding islands, suggesting some common cause which never seems to have acted elsewhere in exactly the same way. Celebes, therefore, presents us with a most striking example of the interest that attaches to the study of the geographical distribution of animals. We can see that their present distribution upon the globe is the result of all the more recent changes the earth's surface has undergone; and, by a careful study of the phenomena, we are sometimes able to deduce approximately what those past changes must have been in order to produce the distribution we find to exist. In the comparatively simple case of the Timor group, we were able to deduce these changes with some approach to certainty. In the much more complicated case of Celebes, we can only indicate their general nature, since we now see the result, not of any single or recent change only, but of a whole series of the later revolutions which have resulted in the present distribution of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.