« AnteriorContinuar »
EFFECTS OF THE RAIN.
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 rock by the side of a forest stream I found abundance of Carabidæ, 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 every thing 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 hugh 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 color 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 color, which lie coiled up on leaves and shrubs, and can scarcely be seen till 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 till 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 staid 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 pene
trated 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.
Ir was after my residence at Timor-coupang that I visited the north-eastern extremity of Celebes, touching on my way at Banda, Amboyna, and Ternate. 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. Nevs, a native of Menado, but who was educated at Calcutta, and to whom Dutch, English and Malay were equally mothertongues. 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 forest for many miles round 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 toward 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 6000 or 7000 feet high, forming grand and picturesque back-grounds 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 cheek-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 coast, 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 head-hunters, 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 lake, were the abode of their deities, and cer
NATIVES OF MINAHASA.
tain trees and birds were supposed to have especial 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 at from fifteen hundred 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 laborers 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 per cent. 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 GovernHis 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