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OF THE TIMOR GROUP.
subjected to volcanic action. The land has been raised and sunk again; the straits have been narrowed or widened; many of the islands may have been joined and dissevered again; violent floods have again and again devastated the mountains and plains, carrying out to sea hundreds of foresttrees, as has often happened during volcanic eruptions in Java; and it does not seem improbable that once in a thousand, or ten thousand years, there should have occurred such a favorable combination of circumstances as would lead to the migration of two or three land animals from one island to another. This is all that we need ask to account for the very scanty and fragmentary group of Mammalia which now inhabit the large island of Timor. The deer may very probably have been introduced by man, for the Malays often keep tame fawns; and it may not require a thousand, or even five hundred years, to establish new characters in an animal removed to a country so different in climate and vegetation as is Timor from the Moluccas. I have not mentioned horses, which are often thought to be wild in Timor, because there are no grounds whatever for such a belief. The Timor ponies have every one an owner, and are quite as much domesticated animals as the cattle on a South American hacienda.
I have dwelt at some length on the origin of the Timorese fauna, because it appears to me a most interesting and instructive problem. It is very seldom that we can trace the animals of a district so clearly as we can in this case to two definite sources; and still more rarely that they furnish such decisive evidence of the time, and the manner, and the proportions of their introduction. We have here a group of oceanic islands in miniature-islands which have never formed part of the adjacent lands, although so closely approaching them; and their productions have the characteristics of true oceanic islands slightly modified. These characteristics are, the absence of all Mammalia except bats, and the occurrence of peculiar species of birds, insects, and land shells, which, though found nowhere else, are plainly related to those of the nearest land. Thus, we have an entire absence of Australian mammals, and the presence of only a few stragglers from the west, which can be accounted for in the manner already indicated.
Bats are tolerably abundant. Birds have many peculiar spécies, with a decided relationship to those of the two nearest masses of land. The insects have similar relations with the birds. As an example, four species of the Papilionidæ are peculiar to Timor, three others are also found in Java, and one in Australia. Of the four peculiar species two are decided modifications of Javanese forms, while the others seem allied to those of the Moluccas and Celebes. The very few land shells known are all, curiously enough, allied to or identical with Moluccan or Celebes forms. The Pieridae (white and yellow butterflies), which wander more, and from frequenting open grounds are more liable to be blown out to sea, seem about equally related to those of Java, Australia, and the Moluccas.
It has been objected to Mr. Darwin's theory-of oceanic islands having never been connected with the main-landthat this would imply that their animal population was a matter of chance; it has been termed the "flotsam and jetsam theory," and it has been maintained that nature does not work by the "chapter of accidents." But in the case which I have here described, we have the most positive evidence that such has been the mode of peopling the islands. Their productions are of that miscellaneous character which we should expect from such an origin; and to suppose that they have been portions of Australia or of Java will introduce perfectly gratuitous difficulties, and render it quite impossible to explain those curious relations which the best-known group of animals (the birds) have been shown to exhibit. On the other hand, the depth of the surrounding seas, the form of the submerged banks, and the volcanic character of most of the islands, all point to an independent origin.
Before concluding, I must make one remark to avoid misapprehension. When I say that Timor has never formed part of Australia, I refer only to recent geological epochs. In Secondary, or even Eocene or Miocene, times, Timor and Australia may have been connected; but if so, all record of such a union has been lost by subsequent submergence; and in accounting for the present land-inhabitants of any country we have only to consider those changes which have occurred since its last elevation above the waters. Since such last elevation, I feel confident that Timor has not formed part of Australia.
ARRIVAL AT 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 bare 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 shop-keeper, who could both speak English, and who promised to assist me in finding a place to stay at suitable for my pursuits. In the mean time I went to a kind of club-house, 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 whitewashed, 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 sea-side, devoted to business, and principally occupied by the Dutch and Chinese merchants' offices and warehouses, and the native shops or baThis extends northward 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 trowsers about twelve inches long, covering only from the hip to half-way down the thigh, and the universal Malay sarong, of gay checked colors, worn round 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 inclosed 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
TOWN OF MACASSAR.
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 out-houses, and several cottages near were 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 farther into the country. The rice-fields for some miles round 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 trowsers 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