« PrécédentContinuer »
viation from that colour is regarded as a striking singularity. This race is found throughout the whole extent of the Archipelago, but aboundɛ chiefly in Sumatra, Java, and indeed whereever civilization has made some progress. Their notions of beauty are nearly the same as among ourselves. "The man that is considered handsome, and the woman that is pointed out as beautiful by an European, are the same that are allowed to be so by their own countrymen."
tions highly favourable for observation and inquiry, he employed himself in collecting the materials, which he has embodied in the volumes on our table, and which he has entitled the History of the Indian Archipelago. It is not, however, a chronological arrangement of events, or a series of disquisitions on the politics of these islands, that constitute the sole, or, indeed, the chief subjects, which that title includes. On the contrary, the "character of the Indian islanders," the arts and sciences they practise or cultivate, together with their language and religion, are treated of under distinct heads, as well as what is more properly termed their history and political institutions. On all of these, and some other topics, a great deal of valuable information is adduced, and in a sufficiently attractive form; except that we think the matter, in many instances, might have been advantageously condensed; and that the author would have done well to have avoided many of the speculations in which he has thought proper to indulge.
"The East Insular negro" (the other race) is a distinct variety of the human species, and evidently a very inferior one. Their puny statures, and feeble frames, cannot be ascribed to the poverty of their food, or the hardships of their condition, for the lank-haired races, living under cir cumstances equally precarious, have vigorous constitutions. Some islands they enjoy almost exclusively to themselves, yet they have in no instance risen above the most abject barbarism. Whenever they are encountered by the fairer races, they are hunted down like the wild animals of the forest, and driven to the mountains or fastnesses incapable of resistance." Vol. I. pp. 25, 26.
The Indian Archipelago contains three islands of the first rank in point of size, namely, Borneo, New Guinea, and Sumatra ;* of the second rank, Java, and the Malayan Peninsula; of the third rank, Celebes, Luzon, and Mindanao; and of a size still inferior upwards of sixteen. But the relative importance of these islands does not depend on their territorial magnitude, but on their situation, and productions. "The whole Archipelago is situated within the tro'pics." The grouping of the islands gives rise to numerous intricate straits and passages, which would be of dangerous navigation, were it not for the pacific nature of the seas, and the uniformity of the winds and currents. These islands are inhabited by two distinct races of the human species a brown complexioned race, and an aboriginal negro race. The first in person are short, squat, and robust. The hair of their heads is long, lank, harsh, and invariably black: the face round, the mouth wide, the cheek bones high, the nose, though never prominent, is never flat, and the eyes are so uniformly black, that any de
New Holland is excluded, being regarded as a Continent.
The Indian islanders are defective
in personal cleanliness, though they are fond of bathing. In point of diet they are temperate, and even abstemious. Rice, spiceries, and a small portion of animal food, frequently fish, constitute their ordinary fare. Drunkenness is very uncommon among them, though at their feasts they occasionally drink to inebriety. They are industrious, or indolent, in proportion to their civilization or barbarity; possess a high degree of fortitude, and are generally superior to the fear of death. They are slow of comprehension, but have cars of remarkable delicacy for musical sounds. They have no capacity for intrigue, and have a sacred regard for truth. In their external deportment they are grave and courteous. Though tenacious of their rights, they are neither litigious, avaricious, nor rapacious. Hospitality is universal among them. These virtues, however, are contaminated by their belief in dreams, omens, sorcery, charms, philtres, and relics. Revenge is one of the most common of their vices: a blow will not for a moment be tolerated: the kris is at hand ready to avenge the insult. "The exercise of the right of private revenge, and the law which acknowledges it, de
and the handle.
mand life for life, but both accept a pecuniary commutation; so that every man's life has its price, and that too not a very high one."
The husband invariably pays a price for his wife among all the tribes. Women are not immured, but associate with the men on terms of equality; and in the island of Celebes women are eligible, and are sometimes raised to the sovereign authority. In Java the women are secluded among the better classes, but not very rigidly. Polygamy and concubinage are tolerated, but looked upon as a vicious luxury of the great. No man will give his daughter for a second or third wife to a person of his own rank. Parental authority is exercised to the latest periods of life, and filial duty willingly returned. Fraternal affection, particularly between children of the same mother, is warm and active. The Javanese have a strong attachment to the place of their birth, and nothing will induce them to quit the tombs of their fathers. Yet the author tells us they have not a word in any of their languages to express friendship.
The houses in some of the islands are raised on posts, and are constructed chiefly of bamboo, rattan, palmetto leaf, and wild grass. Houses are generally grouped into villages, and a town is merely an aggregation of villages, distinguished by the size of the public mosque, and the palace of the Prince. The inhabitants sit, and eat on the ground; their food is served on trays of wood or brass; and their beds are benches of bamboo, furnished with a mat and pillow. In cooking they use shallow pans, or pots imported from China. There is not a bridge in the whole island of Java, no sluice of durable materials, no artificial canals or wells, and no tanks or other public works of irrigation. The art of turning an arch is not understood at present, though it is discovered in the ruins of every ancient temple. Their manufactures of the loom are of a coarse texture, which they dye blue or red. The raw materials of their silk stuffs are brought from China. They work well in metals, and the filagree of the Sumatrans is highly curious. The kris is fabricated into a great variety of shapes, and a great deal of ornament is occasionally lavished both on the blade
Betel boxes are also curiously carved. Their shipping consists of vessels, from small canoes hollowed out of the trunk of a tree, to those of 50 tons burden, but as they increase in size, they become unsafe. The materials of ship-building are abundant.
Most of the savage tribes of the Archipelago go in a state of perfect nakedness, with the exception of a slight covering suggested by modesty. Children of both sexes go entirely naked till the age of six or seven years. The habit of those who are clothed is a sort of medium between the tight dress of the Europeans, and the flowing robe of the continental Asiatics. It is nearly the same in both sexes. The Surung, or envelope, used in the manner of a Scots Highlander's plaid, is universal: below this many wear drawers, or pantaloons, and both are fastened by a zone, generally of silk. The second general piece of dress is the coat made in various forms, but which, in the greatest proportion of cases, may be described as a frock with sleeves. The legs and feet are bare, and a slight species of turban is wrapped round the head. Flowers, ornaments of gold, and of diamonds, are worn on festive occasions. The kris, or dagger, the betel box, and the umbrella, are constant appendages of the dress. With the view of improv ing the beauty of their persons, it is customary to file and blacken their teeth, an operation which is performed about the age of puberty. A coloured cosmetic to improve the complexion is also in use among the civilized tribes. On festive occasions, many portions of the dress are laid aside, and we may truly say of the Javanese, that when in full dress they are almost naked." From the age of puberty to death, every man is armed to protect himself, so that these islanders are strictly an armed population. Besides the kris, the weapons of war used by them are the club, the bow and arrow, the tube for discharging arrows (which are sometimes poisoned with vegetable juice) and fire-arms.
We must content ourselves with referring our readers to what is said by Mr Crawfurd on the Arithmeticthe Calendar-the Navigation and Geography-the Medicine and the Music of these islanders, that we may leave ourselves room to be some
what particular on the subject of their
"Not an accessible spot is to be seen in the season that is not covered with a rich harvest; and if we take into account-the brilliant tints of an equatorial sky, the vicinity of mountains of ten thousand feet high, the more elevated portions of which are covered with forests of perpetual verdure,-valleys thickly strewed with groves of fruit trees, hiding the cottages of the peasantry, together with the peculiar richness of the rice crop itself, which far excels that of all the other Cereal gramina, we may imagine that rural industry can. not well be contemplated, in any portion of the globe, to greater advantage."
Vol. I. pp. 352, 353.
Two descriptions of rice are cultivated throughout the islands, the plants of the one of which require immersion in water, the other not. The latter kind is sown in the middle of the dry season by dibbling or broadcast; that which requires submersion is sown when the season permits. When the land is watered by artificial means, it is sown at the pleasure of the cultivator, so that, 66 in one little field, or rather compartment, the husbandman is ploughing or harrowing; in a second he is sowing; in a fourth the grain is beginning to flower; in a fifth it is yellow; and in a sixth, the women, children, and old men, are busy reaping." The rapid growth of the grain has enabled the Javanese husbandman, in a few happy situations, to urge the culture to the amount of six crops in two years and a half.
The stubble is burned, after the ground has been a short time pastured with cattle. In some places rice is grown during the wet season; and, in the dry half of the year, some species of pulse, farinaceous root, or annual cotton, is cultivated. But the richer lands are scourged by the everlasting succession of a double harvest of rice.
After rice, maize, which seems an indigenous plant, is most extensively cultivated, and, as an article of food, has in the islands the same relation to rice that oats and barley have to wheat in Europe. It is a sure crop, as it grows well in every clime of the Archipelago; it is also very productive, four or five hundred fold not being an unfrequent return. Millet, and other small grains, are not raised in great quantities; but pulses form an important article of husbandry in the western islands of the Archipelago: they are cultivated chiefly as green crops after rice. The pulse whence soy is manufactured is raised to a considerable extent, and requires skill in the culture. Nutritive roots, such as the yam, sweet potatoe, Java potatoe, arrow-root, and the common potatoe, are also extensively cultivated. The varieties of the yam are numerous, and it sometimes grows to the weight of forty or fifty pounds. The sweet potatoe follows rice as a green crop, and grows to a large size. The manioc of South America has been introduced, and may be seen
growing wild in the hedges. The largest of the palm tribe. The fruit
Among the plants raised as articles of native luxury is the Areca palm. It has a graceful stem about thirty or forty feet high, begins to bear fruit when six years old, and to leave off bearing and to die about the age of twenty-five. The fruit in the green state is eaten, and the ripe nut is a great object of commerce. The Sagwire or Gomuti palm, which yields a saccharine liquor much used by the natives as a beverage, is also extensively cultivated. It is one of the
The common cotton of Java is cultivated as a green crop after rice, the submersion the plant undergoes during the rains causing it then to perish; in upland soils it becomes a perennial plant, continuing to bear for several years. "The Indian islands produce a great number of plants yielding a filacious bark which affords materials for cordage." The rattan, a prickly bush sending forth long shoots, is of very extensive utility. The bamboo and many of the palms furnish materials for many of the native arts and manufactures. The forests abound in excellent timber trees, among which is the teak tree, and many others well fitted for economical and ornamental uses. Indigo and other colouring drugs are abundant, among which are the Brazil wood. The Anchar, a large tree, and the Chetik, a creeping shrub, afford a subtle and deleterious poison.
Our author next proceeds to the consideration of the culture of those plants which are raised chiefly for the value set upon their produce by foreigners. Among these the sugarcane holds a conspicuous place. Of this there are several varieties; but they are all cultivated in the same manner. Sugar-cane is never planted in the finest soils, and for the manufacture of sugar, slips of the cane are planted in the months of July and August, and cut in those of May and June.
"The process of manufacture is as follows: The rice is first boiled, and after cooling a quantity of yest is added to it, and it is pressed into baskets, in which condition it is placed over a tub, or tubs, for eight days, during which time a liquor flows abundantly from the mixture. the end of that time, the liquor so distilled is taken out, and mixed with the molasses and palm-wine, which had been previously combined. The mixture remains in a small vessel for one day only, when it is removed into large fermenting vats, in which it remains for seven. When, at the
termination of this period, the process of fermentation is over, the liquor is finally removed into the stills, and, according to the number of distillations it undergoes, becomes arrack of the first, second, or third quality in commerce.'
Vol. I. pp. 478, 479.
A valuable and almost an exclusive product of the Indian islands is Black Pepper, (Piper nigrum,) which
grows on a hardy vine-like plant, with dark-green, heart-shaped, and pointed leaves. It climbs to the height of twenty-five feet, and the fruit appears in clusters on the short brittle branches like bunches of currants. The fruit is first green, then red, and finally black; and two crops are generally obtained in the course of the year. This plant is supposed to have been introduced into the Archipelago from Malabar, where it grows wild. It is, however, congenial to the soil of the islands. It is sometimes trained to dead poles, as in the culture of hops; and sometimes it is supported by the Areca and even the Cocoanut palm. The vine is occasionally propagated by laying the young shoots. It usually yields fruit in the third year, is in full bearing in the fifth, and continues stationary for eight or nine years. In reaping the pepper, the reaper nips off the clusters when the first berries of each appear red, though the rest be still green. White pepper, as is now well known, is black pepper blanched. The culture of coffee in Java is somewhat peculiar. It thrives best in vallies near high mountains, under the shade of trees. For this end the Dădap is planted by cuttings at the same time with the coffee plants. Coffee is now planted in hedges, where it is found to produce large crops of berries, in no measure inferior to the more elaborate produce of the regular gardens. Weeding and hoeing are the principal cares of the cultivator; no pruning is practised, the plants being permitted to shoot in wild luxuriance. The plants afford a small crop in the third year, and a full one in the fourth; and according as they occupy a low or an elevated situation, they continue to bear from ten to twenty years. The culture of Cocoa has been introduced of late years into Java and the Philippines, but has not hitherto been carried to any great extent.
The Clove (Caryophulus aromaticus) claims the first place among the finer spiceries. The tree on which it grows resembles the laurel, and sometimes the beech, and is in height about the same as that of the cherry tree. In the beginning of the wet season it throws out a profusion of branches, at the extremities of which the young cloves make their appear ance, and in four months the fruit is