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and Lombock, might each exhibit an almost unmixed sample of the productions of the continents of which they had directly or indirectly once formed a part.
In the Malay Archipelago we have, I believe, a case exactly parallel to that which I have here supposed. We have indications of a vast continent, with a peculiar fauna and flora, having been gradually and irregularly broken up; the island of Celebes probably marking its furthest westward extension, beyond which was a wide ocean. At the same time Asia appears to have been extending its limits in a south-east direction, first in an unbroken mass, then separated into islands as we now see it, and almost coming into actual contact with the scattered fragments of the great southern land.
From this outline of the subject, it will be evident how important an adjunct Natural History is to Geology; not only in interpreting the fragments of extinct animals found in the earth's crust, but in determining past changes in the surface which have left no geological record. It is certainly a wonderful and unexpected fact, that an accurate knowledge of the distribution of birds and insects should enable us to map out lands and continents which disappeared beneath the ocean long before the earliest traditions of the human race. Wherever the geologist can explore the earth's surface, he can read much of its past history, and can determine approximately its latest movements above and below the sea-level; but wherever oceans and seas now extend, he can do nothing but speculate on the very limited data afforded by the depth of the waters. Here the naturalist steps in, and enables him to fill up this great gap in the past history of the earth.
One of the chief objects of my travels was to obtain evidence of this nature; and my search after such evidence has been rewarded by great success, so that I have been enabled to trace out with some probability the past changes which one of the most interesting parts of the earth has undergone. It may be thought that the facts and generalizations here given would have been more appropriately placed at the end rather than at the beginning of a narrative of the travels which supplied the facts. In some cases this might be so, but I have found it impossible to give such an account as I desire of the natural history of the numerous islands and groups of
islands in the Archipelago, without constant reference to these generalizations which add so much to their interest. Having given this general sketch of the subject, I shall be able to show how the same principles can be applied to the individual islands of a group as to the whole Archipelago, and make my account of the many new and curious animals which inhabit them both more interesting and more instructive than if treated as mere isolated facts.
Contrasts of Races.—Before I had arrived at the conviction that the eastern and western halves of the Archipelago belonged to distinct primary regions of the earth, I had been led to group the natives of the Archipelago under two radically distinct races. In this I differed from most ethnologists who had before written on the subject, for it had been the almost universal custom to follow William von Humboldt and Pritchard in classing all the oceanic races as modifications of one type. Observation soon showed me, however, that Malays and Papuans differed radically in every physical, mental, and moral character; and more detailed research, continued for eight years, satisfied me that under these two forms, as types, the whole of the peoples of the Malay Archipelago and Polynesia could be classified. On drawing the line which separates these races, it is found to come near to that which divides the zoological regions, but somewhat eastward of it; a circumstance which appears to me very significant of the same causes having influenced the distribution of mankind that have determined the range of other animal forms.
The reason why exactly the same line does not limit both is sufficiently intelligible. Man has means of traversing the sea which animals do not possess, and a superior race has power to press out or assimilate an inferior one. The maritime enterprise and higher civilization of the Malay races have enabled them to overrun a portion of the adjacent region, in which they have entirely supplanted the indigenous inhabitants, if it ever possessed any, and to spread much of their language, their domestic animals, and their customs far over the Pacific into islands where they have but slightly, or not at all, modified the physical or moral characteristics of the people.
I believe, therefore, that all the peoples of the various isl
lands can be grouped either with the Malays or the Paupans, and that these two have no traceable affinity to each other. I believe, further, that all the races east of the line I have drawn have more affinity for each other than they have for any of the races west of that line; that, in fact, the Asiatic races include the Malays, and all have a continental origin, while the Pacific races, including all to the east of the former (except perhaps some in the Northern Pacific), are derived, not from any existing continent, but from lands which now exist or have recently existed in the Pacific Ocean. These preliminary observations will enable the reader better to apprehend the importance I attach to the details of physical form or moral character which I shall give in describing the inhabitants of many of the islands.
A SKETCH OF THE TOWN AND ISLAND AS SEEN DURING SEVERAL VISITS FROM 1854 TO 1862.
Few places are more interesting to a traveller from Europe than the town and island of Singapore, furnishing, as it does, examples of a variety of Eastern races, and of many different religions and modes of life. The government, the garrison, and the chief merchants are English, but the great mass of the population is Chinese, including some of the wealthiest merchants, the agriculturists of the interior, and most of the mechanics and laborers. The native Malays are usually fishermen and boatmen, and they form the main body of the police. The Portuguese of Malacca supply a large number of the clerks and smaller merchants. The Klings of Western India are a numerous body of Mohammedans, and, with many Arabs, are petty merchants and shop-keepers. The grooms and washer-men are all Bengalese, and there is a small but highly respectable class of Parsee merchants. Besides these, there are numbers of Javanese sailors and domestic servants, as well as traders from Celebes, Bali, and many other islands of the Archipelago. The harbor is crowded with men-of-war and trading-vessels of many European nations, and hundreds of Malay praus and Chinese junks, from vessels of several hundred tons burden down to little fishing-boats and passenger sampans; and the town comprises handsome public buildings and churches, Mohammedan mosques, Hindoo temples, Chinese joss-houses, good European houses, massive warehouses, queer old Kling and China bazars, and long suburbs of Chinese and Malay cottages.
By far the most conspicuous of the various kinds of people in Singapore, and those which most attract the stranger's attention, are the Chinese, whose numbers and incessant activity give the place very much the appearance of a town in China.
THE CHINA BAZAR.
The Chinese merchant is generally a fat, round-faced man, with an important and business-like look. He wears the same style of clothing (loose, white smock, and blue or black trowsers) as the meanest coolie, but of finer materials, and is always clean and neat; and his long tail, tipped with red silk, hangs down to his heels. He has a handsome warehouse or shop in town, and a good house in the country. He keeps a fine horse and gig, and every evening may be seen taking a drive bareheaded to enjoy the cool breeze. He is rich, he owns several retail shops and trading-schooners, he lends money at high interest and on good security, he makes hard bargains, and gets fatter and richer every year.
In the Chinese bazar are hundreds of small shops in which a miscellaneous collection of hardware and dry-goods are to be found, and where many things are sold wonderfully cheap. You may buy gimlets at a penny each, white cotton thread at four balls for a half-penny, and penknives, corkscrews, gunpowder, writing-paper, and many other articles as cheap or cheaper than you can purchase them in England. The shopkeeper is very good-natured; he will show you every thing he has, and does not seem to mind if you buy nothing. He bates a little, but not so much as the Klings, who almost always ask twice what they are willing to take. If you buy a few things of him, he will speak to you afterward every time you pass his shop, asking you to walk in and sit down, or take a cup of tea, and you wonder how he can get a living where so many sell the same trifling articles. The tailors sit at a table, not on one; and both they and the shoe-makers work well and cheaply. The barbers have plenty to do, shaving heads and cleaning ears; for which latter operation they have a great array of little tweezers, picks, and brushes. In the outskirts of the town are scores of carpenters and blacksmiths. The former seem chiefly to make coffins and highly-painted and decorated clothes-boxes. The latter are mostly gun-makers, and bore the barrels of guns by hand out of solid bars of iron. At this tedious operation they may be seen every day, and they manage to finish off a gun with a flint lock very handsomely. All about the streets are sellers of water, vegetables, fruit, soup, and agar-agar (a jelly made of sea-weed), who have many cries as unintelligible as those of London.