Spellings are sometimes erratic. A few obvious misprints have been corrected, but in general the original spelling has been retained. Accents in the French phrases are inconsistent, and have not been standardised.
BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE.
No. CCCLXXXV. NOVEMBER, 1847. Vol. LXII.
THE NAVIGATION OF THE ANTIPODES. 515
AMERICAN COPYRIGHT. 534
EVENINGS AT SEA.—NO. II. 547 HENRY MEYNELL.
WAS RUBENS A COLOURIST? 564
THE AMERICAN LIBRARY. 574
UNITS: TENS: HUNDREDS: THOUSANDS. 593
RESEARCH AND ADVENTURE IN AUSTRALIA. 602
MAGUS MUIR. 614
A NOVEMBER MORNING'S REVERIE. 618
VALEDICTORY VISITS AT ROME. THE VILLA BORGHESE. 622 THE VILLA ALBANI. 626
HIGHLAND DESTITUTION. 630
* * * * *
THE NAVIGATION OF THE ANTIPODES.
One of the most striking, and perhaps the most intellectual advances of the age, is in the progress of geographical discovery. It is honourable to England, that this new impulse to a knowledge of the globe began with her spirit of enterprise, and it is still more honourable to her that that spirit was originally prompted by benevolence. Cook, with whose voyages this era may be regarded as originating, was almost a missionary of the benevolence of England, and of George III.; and the example of both the great discoverer and the good king has been so powerfully impressed on all the subsequent attempts of English adventurers, that there has been scarcely a voyage to new regions which has not been expressly devised to carry with it some benefit to their people.
When the spirit of discovery was thus once awakened, a succession of intelligent and daring men were stimulated to the pursuit; and the memorable James Bruce, who had begun life as a lawyer, grown weary of the profession, and turned traveller through the South of Europe at a period when the man who ventured across the Pyrenees was a hero; gallantly fixed his eyes on Africa, as a region of wonders, of which Europe had no other knowledge than as a land of lions, of men more savage than the lions, and of treasures of ivory and gold teeming and unexhausted since the days of Solomon. The hope of solving the old classic problem, the source of the Nile, pointed his steps to Abyssinia, and after a six years' preparation in his consulate of Algiers, he set forward on his dangerous journey, and arrived at the source of the Bahr-el-Azrek, (the Blue River,) one of the branches of the great river. Unluckily he had been misdirected, for the true Nile is the Bahr-el-Abiad, (the White River.)
His volumes, published in 1790, excited equal curiosity and censure; but the censure died away, the curiosity survived, and a succession of travellers, chiefly sustained by the African Association, penetrated by various routes into Africa.
The discovery of the course of the Niger was now the great object. And Mungo Park, a bold and intelligent discoverer, gave a strong excitement to the public feeling by his "Travels," published towards the close of the century. His adventures were told in a strain of good sense and simplicity which fully gratified the public taste. And on his unfortunate death, which happened in a second exploration of the Niger in 1805, another expedition was fitted out under Captain Tuckey, an experienced seaman, to ascertain the presumed identity of the Congo with the Niger. But the sea-coast of Africa is deadly to Europeans, and this effort failed through general disease.
The next experiment was made by land—from Tripoli across the Great Desert—under Denham, Clapperton, and Oudney. This effort was partially baffled by sickness, but still more by the arts of the native chiefs, who are singularly jealous of strangers. In a second attempt Clapperton, the only survivor of the former, died.
The problem of the course of the Niger was reserved for Richard Lander, who in 1830, sailed down the Niger from Baossa, and reached the Atlantic by the river Nun, one of its branches.
Other travellers, more highly accomplished, but less fortunate, had in the meantime explored the countries to the east and north of the Mediterranean. Of these, Burckhardt, a German, was among the most distinguished. After preparing himself for the most complete adoption of Mahometan life by a sojourn of two years at Aleppo, and even risking the pilgrimage to Mecca, he was on the point of travelling to Fezzan, when he died of a country fever. His works throw much light on the habits and literature of Syria and Palestine. The narratives of Hamilton, Leigh, Belzoni, and of Salt the consul in Egypt, largely increased the public interest in countries, universally known to have been the birth-places of religion, science, and literature; and Lane and Wilkinson have admirably availed themselves of those discoveries, and added important information of their own.
The old connexion of trade with China naturally suggested a wish for more direct intercourse with that mysterious region, and in 1792, an embassy conducted by Lord Macartney was sent to Pekin. The narrative of the embassy, by Sir George Staunton, contributed largely to our knowledge of the interior. But the late Chinese war, and the freedom of our commerce, will probably open up all the secrets of this most jealous of empires.
The geographical discoveries of this embassy were of more value than its diplomatic services. The coast of Corea was found to be bordered by a vast and fertile Archipelago. The sea is actually studded with islands; and the narratives of Macleod, and Captain Basil Hall, the latter one of the liveliest narrators of his time, gave the impression, that they contained scenes of singular beauty.
On the cessation of the war in 1815, the British Admiralty directed their leisure to the promotion of science; and the exploration of the northern coasts of America was commenced in a series of expeditions under the command of Parry, Ross, Back, Franklin, and other enterprising officers. Their narratives gave us new islands and bays, but the great problem of the north-west passage continues unsolved.
It has been alleged, that such expeditions are useless. But it must be remembered, that true philosophy disdains no advance of knowledge as useless; that, however difficult, or even to our present means impassable, the route may be, no man can decide on the means of posterity; that we may yet find facilities as powerful for passing the ice and the ocean, as the railroad for traversing the land; and that the evident design of Providence in placing difficulties before man is, to sharpen his faculties for their mastery. We have already explored the whole northern coast, to within about two hundred miles from Behring's Straits, and an expedition is at present on foot which will probably complete the outline of the American continent towards the Pole.
Within the last quarter of a century, discovery has turned to the islands of the Pacific, perhaps the most favoured region of the globe. Our great continental colony of Australia, its growing population, and its still more rapidly growing enterprise—its probable influence on our Indian empire, and its still more probable supremacy over the islands which cover the central Pacific, from the tenth to the forty-fifth degrees of south latitude; have for the last thirty years strongly directed the observation of government to the south. And a succession of exploring voyages, from the days of Vancouver to the present time, have been employed in ascertaining the character of superb shores, and the capabilities of vast countries, which will perhaps, in another century, exhibit the most vivid prosperity, cultivation, and activity, of any dominion beyond the borders of Europe.
Australia has an importance in the eyes of England, superior perhaps to all her other colonies. The climate is obviously more fitted for the English frame than that of Canada or the West Indies. The English settler alone is master of the mighty continent of New Holland; for the natives are few, savage, and rapidly diminishing. The Englishman may range over a territory of two thousand miles long, by seventeen hundred broad, without meeting the subject of any other sovereign, or hearing any other language than his own. The air is temperate, though so near the equator, and the soil, though often unfertile, is admirably adapted to the rearing of sheep and cattle. The adjoining islands offer the finest opportunities for the commercial enterprise of the Englishman; and its directness of navigation to India or China, across an ocean that scarcely knows a storm, give it the promise of being the great eastern depot of the world. Van Diemen's Land, about the size, with more than the fertility of Ireland, is said to resemble Switzerland in picturesque beauty; and New Zealand, a territory of fifteen hundred miles in length, and of every diversity of surface, is already receiving the laws and the population of England.
The distance is the chief drawback. Sydney is, by ordinary ship's course, sixteen thousand miles from London, and the voyage, under the most prosperous circumstances, has hitherto occupied about four months. But better hopes are at hand.
On the 20th of last May, a charter was obtained by a company for establishing a steam communication with Sydney, which proposes to make the whole course within about two months. The route is as follows,—making twelve thousand seven hundred and thirty miles in sixty-four days:—
From England to Singapore, by Egypt, eight thousand three hundred and ninety miles. From Singapore to Fort Essington, by Batavia, two thousand miles. From Port Essington to Sydney, two thousand three hundred and forty miles; the rate being one hundred and ninety-nine miles a-day. The first portion occupying forty-two days,—the second, ten,—and the third, twelve.
The subject was, for a considerable time, before government, and various plans of communication had been suggested.—A route by the Isthmus of Darien, and a route by the Cape with a branch to the Mauritius. The route by Egypt and India has at length been chosen, and the most sanguine hopes are entertained of its success. The steam establishment will have the farther advantage of shortening the distance by one-half between Calcutta and Sydney; and reducing it to thirty days, or perhaps less.
Bright prospects, too, are opening for India herself. The great railway is decided on, the engineers are about to embark, and the harvests of cotton and the thousand other tropical productions with which that most magnificent of all countries is covered, will be poured into the bosom of Australia and the world.
It is scarcely possible to look upon the results of establishing railroads in India, without something of the enthusiasm which belongs more to poetry than to statistics. But, "in the Golden Peninsula," there spreads before the Englishman a space of nearly a million and a quarter of square miles, inhabited by about one hundred and thirty-four millions of souls, with a sea-coast of immense extent, washed by two oceans, and bordering on vast countries of hitherto unexplored opulence. The resources of Birmah, Siam, and the Eastern Archipelago, have been scarcely touched by the hand of man. Savage governments, savage nations, and savage indolence, have left those countries almost in a state of nature; yet it is within the tropics that the true productiveness of the earth is alone to be looked for. Our long winters, our mountains, and the comparative sterility of Europe, prohibit that richness of produce which only waits the hand of man in the South, and it is only when the industry of the European shall be suffered to throw its strength into the Asiatic soil, that man will ever be able to discover the true extent of the bounties provided for him by creation.
The three great divisions, or rather three zones of India—the country comprehending the great northern chain of mountains, the belt of plains, from the foot of the mountains to the head of the peninsulas, a breadth of twelve hundred miles; and the peninsula itself, a territory extending from thirty-five degrees north latitude to the equator—give every temperature and every product of the world. The mighty rivers intersecting this region, the Indus, the Ganges, and their tributaries, will soon be occupied by the steamboat; and the railway, running through immense plains on which the harvests of thousands of years have been suffered to perish, will soon develope the powers of the people and the fertility of the soil, by opening to India the market of all nations.
It is to India, that the chief enterprise of British commerce and civilisation should be directed by an intelligent legislature. The country will naturally become a vast British province, and this, not by violence or injustice, but by the course of things, and the interests of India itself. The native princes, reared in vice and indolence, will be speedily found unfit to meet the requisitions of a people growing in instruction. The race will perish, and their power will be made over to England. The Indian, hitherto the slave of a capricious tyranny, will then become the object of a judicious protection,—his property secure, his person safe, his rights guarded, and with equal law, in place of the grasping avarice of a crafty minister, or the hot fury of a drunken tyrant. The Indian subject of England will then form a contrast to the wretched serf of a Rajah, that will be a more powerful pledge of obedience than fifty conquests.
Even now, it can be no longer said, in the words of the eloquent appeal of Burke, that if we left India, we should have no more monuments of our sojourn to show, than if we had been lions and tigers. We shall have to show the steamboat, the railroad, and the true origin and foundation of both,—public honour, public intelligence, and a sense of the rights of subjects and the duties of sovereigns.
The increasing passage of the southern commerce through Torres Strait, had attracted the notice of the British government to the peculiar perils of the navigation. The Strait is one of difficult passage from the state of the currents, reefs, &c., and the difficulty was enhanced by the imperfect nature of the charts. Along the east coast of Australia, and as far to the north as New Guinea, an immense ridge of coral rock extends; and through the gaps in this barrier reef, vessels must find their way to the Torres Strait. The two government vessels, the Fly and the Bramble, were sent out to make a survey of the barrier reef. The especial objects of the expedition being—the survey of the eastern edge of the great chain of reefs—the examination of all the channels through the barrier reef, with details of those which afford a safe passage—and the erection of beacons on their outer islands as guides to the navigation.
The commanders of the vessels were directed to give marked attention to all circumstances connected with the health of the crews, the climate, temperature, products, and science; and especially the phenomena of magnetism. A geologist and a zoologist were added to the expedition, the whole under the command of Captain Francis Blackwood. In order to make the subsequent details more intelligible, we give a brief abstract of the voyage. The Fly, with her tender the Bramble schooner, sailed from Falmouth, April 11, 1842, and made the usual course to the Cape, touching at Teneriffe on the way, where a party ascended the Peak, and determined its height to be twelve thousand and eighty feet above the sea. Reaching Van Diemen's Land in August, and Australia soon after, they sailed from Port Stephens December 19, to commence their survey. After an examination of the Capricorn Group, they commenced the survey of the northern part of the great barrier-reef, up to the Murray Islands.
In the next year, they erected a beacon on Raines Islet to mark the entrance of a good passage through the reef. The rest of the year was spent in surveying Torres Straits. They remained thus occupied till the beginning of 1845, when they sailed for Europe, and anchored at Spithead in June 1845, after an absence of three years.
The result of those investigations was, a large accession to our previous knowledge of the sea to the eastward of Australia, now become important from our settlements; and a survey of five hundred miles of the great chain of coral reefs which act as the breakwater against the ocean.
We have heard much of coral islands, certainly the most curious means of increasing the habitable part of the world; in fact, a new insect manufacture of islands. They are of all sizes. We give the description of a small one of this order in the Capricorn Group, an assemblage of islands and reefs on the north-east coast of Australia, so called from the parallel of the Tropic of Capricorn passing through them.
"The beach was composed of coarse fragments of worn corals and shells bleached by the weather. At the back of it, a ridge of the same materials four or five feet high, and as many yards across, completely encircled the Island, which was not a quarter of a mile in diameter. Inside this regular ridge was a small sandy plain. The encircling ridge was occupied by a belt of small trees, while on the plain grew only a short scrubby vegetation, a foot or two in height. Some vegetable soil was found, a few inches in thickness, the result of the decomposition of vegetable matter and birds' dung. On the weather side of the island was a coral reef of two miles in diameter, enclosing a shallow lagoon. In this lagoon were both sharks and turtles swimming about. The island was stocked with sea-fowl, and the trees were loaded with their nests."
It was a sort of bird-paradise, into which the foot of man, the destroyer, had probably never entered before.
There is considerable beauty in a small coral reef, when seen from a ship's mast-head, at a short distance, in clear weather. A small island with a white sand-beach and a tuft of trees, is surrounded by a symmetrically oval space of shallow water, of a bright grass-green colour, enclosed by a ring of glittering surf as white as snow; immediately outside of which is the rich dark blue of deep water. All the sea is perfectly clear from any mixture of sand or mud. It is this perfect clearness of the water which renders navigation among coral reefs at all practicable; as a shoal with even five fathoms water on it, can be discerned at a mile distance from a ship's mast-head, in consequence of its greenish hue contrasting with the blue of deep water. In seven fathoms water, the bottom can still be discerned on looking over the side of a boat, especially if it have patches of light-coloured sand; but in ten fathoms the depth of colour can scarcely be distinguished from the dark azure of the unfathomable ocean. This bed of reefs stretches along the coast of Australia, and across Torres Strait, nearly to the coast of New Guinea, a distance of one thousand miles!
One of the charms of Natural History is, that it gives a perpetual interest to Nature,—that things, to the common eye of no attraction, have the power of giving singular gratification; and that, in fact, the intelligent naturalist is indulged with a sense of beauty, and an accession of knowledge in almost every production of nature. We cannot avoid quoting the example in the writer's own words. The subject was a block of coral, accidentally brought up by a fish-hook from the bottom of one of the anchorages. Nothing could have been less promising, and any one but a naturalist would have pronounced it to be nothing but a piece of rock, and have flung it into the sea again. But what a source of interest does it become in the hands of the man of science.
"It was a mere worn dead fragment, but its surface was covered with brown, crimson, and yellow Nulliporae, many small Actinae, and soft branching Corallines, Flustra, and Eschara, and delicate Reteporae, looking like beautiful lace-work carved in ivory. There were several small sponges and Alcyonia, seaweeds of two or three species, two species of Comatula, and one of Aphiura, of the most vivid colours and markings, and many small, flat, round corals, something like Nummulites in external appearance.
"On breaking into the block, boring shells of several species pierced it in all directions, many still containing their inhabitants; while two or three Nereis lay twisted in and out among its hollows and recesses, in which, likewise, were three small species of crabs."
If it should be supposed that the receptacle or nidus of all those curious and varied things was a huge mass of rock, we are informed that,—
"The block was not above a foot in diameter, and was a perfect museum in itself, while its outside glared with colour, from the many brightly and variously coloured animals and plants. It was by no means a solitary instance; every block which could be procured from the bottom, in from ten to twenty fathoms, was like it."
The reflection on this exuberance of nature is striking and true.—"What an inconceivable amount of animal life must be here scattered over the bottom of the sea! to say nothing of that moving through its waters; and this through spaces of hundreds of miles: every corner and crevice, every point occupied by living beings, which, as they become more minute, increase in tenfold abundance."
And let it be remembered, too, that those creatures have not merely life, but enjoyment; that they are not created for any conceivable use of man, but for purposes and pleasures exclusively suited to their own state of existence; that they exist in millions of millions, and that the smallest living thing among those millions, not merely exceeds in its formation, its capacities, and its senses, all that the powers of man can imitate, but actually offers problems of science, in its simple organisation, which have baffled the subtlest human sagacity since the creation, and will probably baffle it while man treads the globe.
In the navigation along the coast, the officers had frequent meetings with the natives, who seemed to have known but little of the English settlements, for their conduct was exactly that of the savage. They evidently looked with as much surprise on the ships, the boats, and the men, as the inhabitants of Polynesia looked upon the first navigators to their shores. They were all astonishment, much craft, and a little hostility on safe occasions.
But some parts of the coast still invite the settler, and the communication of this knowledge from a pen so unprejudiced as that of the voyager, may yet be a service in directing the course of colonisation. We are told that the tract of coast between Broad Sound and Whitsunday Passage, between the parallels of twenty-two degrees fifteen seconds, and twenty degrees twenty seconds, exhibits peculiar advantages. Superior fertility, better water, and a higher rise of tide, are its visible merits. A solid range of hills, of a pretty uniform height, cuts off from the interior a lower undulating strip of land from five to ten miles broad, the whole seeming to be of a high average fertility for Australia. The grass fine, close, and abundant; the timber large-sized and various. The coast is indented with many small bays and inlets. The great rise and fall of tide is, of course, admirably adapted for the construction of docks for the building and repair of ships.
Nor are those advantages limited to the soil. The coast is protected, as well as enriched and diversified, by numerous small islands, lofty, rocky, and picturesque, covered with grass and pines.
The most vexatious part of the narrative relates to the natives; whether they have been molested by the half-savage whalers, or are treacherous by habit, it was found necessary to be constantly on the watch against their spears. The parties who were sent on shore merely to take astronomical observations, were assailed, and were sometimes forced to retaliate. Instead of the generally thin and meagre population of Australia, some of those tribes were numerous, and of striking figure, especially in the neighbourhood of Buckingham Bay. These were friendly and familiar at first, often coming to the ships; and so much confidence was at last placed in them, that the boats' crews neglected to take their arms with them when they went for water, or to haul the seine; but this was soon found to be perilous confidence.
"On the very last night of our stay, after catching a good haul of fish, and distributing some of them to the natives, the boats were suddenly assailed by a shower of spears and stones from the bushes. The boatswain was knocked down by a large stone and much hurt. Luckily, one of the men had a fowling-piece, and after firing it without producing any effect, a ball was found in the boat, with which one of the black fellows was hit, and the attack immediately ceased.
"The man who was struck, after giving a start and a scream, showed the marks on his breast and arms to his companions; and then going to the water, and washing off the blood, seemed to think no more of it, but walked about with perfect unconcern."
Their spears exhibited a degree of ingenuity, which deserts them in every instance of supplying the better wants of life. Into a piece of bamboo, six feet three inches long, is inserted a piece of heavy wood, two feet seven inches long, the junction being very neatly and firmly secured with grass and gum. This piece of wood tapers to a point, on which is fastened an old nail, very sharp, and bent up, so as to serve for a barb; behind which, again, are two other barbs, made of the spines from the tail of the stingray. All these are so secured by fine grass and gum, that while quite firm against any ordinary resistance in entering the body, a much less force would tear them off, in endeavouring to withdraw the spear.
The beauty of some of the coral reefs occasionally excited great admiration.
"I had hitherto," observes the writer, "been rather disappointed by the coral reefs, so far as beauty was concerned; and though very wonderful, I had not seen in them much to admire. One day, however, on the lee side of one of the outer reefs, I had reason to change my opinion.
"In a small bight of the inner edge of the reef was a sheltered nook, where every coral was in full life and luxuriance. Smooth round masses Moeandrina and Astroea were contrasted with delicate leaf-like and cup-shaped expansions of Explanaria, and with an infinite variety of Madreporiae and Seriatoporae, some with more finger-shaped projections, others with large branching stems, and others again exhibiting an elegant assemblage of interlacing twigs, of the most delicate and exquisite workmanship. Their colours were unrivalled—vivid greens, contrasting with more sober browns and yellows, mingled with rich shades of purple, from pale pink to deep blue. Bright red, yellow, and peach-coloured Nulliporae clothed those masses that were dead, mingled with beautiful pearly flakes of Eschara and Retepora.
"Among the branches of the corals, like birds among trees, floated many beautiful fish, radiant with metallic greens and crimsons, or fancifully banded with black and yellow stripes. Patches of clear white sand were seen here and there for the floor, with dark hollows and recesses, beneath overhanging masses and ledges. All those, seen through the clear crystal water, the ripple of which gave motion and quick play of light and shadow to the whole, formed a scene of the rarest beauty, and left nothing to be desired by the eye, either in elegance of form or brilliancy and harmony of colouring."
This description we recommend to the rising generation of poets. It may furnish them with a renewal of those conceptions of the dwellings of sea nymphs and syrens, which have, grown rather faded, from hereditary copying, but which would be much refreshed by a voyage to the Great Barrier Reef, or its best substitute, a glance at Mr Jukes's clever volumes.
We now pass generally over the prominent features of this part of the expedition. As it had been among the directions given by the Admiralty, to mark the principal passage through the great reef by a beacon, they fixed on Raine's Island, where they disturbed a colony of another kind. The whole surface of the island, (a small one, of one thousand yards long by five hundred wide, and in no part more than twenty feet above high-water mark,) was covered with birds, young and old; there were frigate birds, gannets, boobies, noddies, and black and white terns; the only land birds being land-rails. The description is very peculiar and picturesque. The frigate birds, (who may have acted as a sort of aristocracy,) had a part completely to themselves; their nests were a platform of a foot high, on each of which was one young bird, (the heir to the estate.) But there were young of all growths, some able to fly, some just hatched, and covered with a yellowish down. Those which could not fly assumed a fierce aspect at the approach of strangers, and snapped their beaks. The boobies and gannets each also formed separate flocks, but few of them had either eggs or young ones. All the rest of the island was covered with the eggs and young ones of the terns and noddies. The terns' eggs lay scattered about the ground, without any nest; the young terns also seemed each unalterably attached to the spot where it had been hatched, and immediately returned to it on being driven off.
As night closed in, it was curious to see the long lines and flocks of birds streaming from all quarters of the horizon towards the island. The noise was incessant and most tiresome. On walking rapidly into the centre of the island, countless myriads of birds rose shrieking on every side, so that the clangour was absolutely deafening, "like the roar of some great cataract." The voyagers could see no traces of natives, nor of any other visitors to the island.
Among the wonders of creation is the existence of those myriads of creatures, wholly beyond the uses of man, living where man had probably never trod since the Deluge, enjoying life to the full capabilities of their organisation, sustained by an unfailing provision, and preserved in health, animation, and animal happiness, generation after generation, through thousands of years. Such is the work of divine power; but can it be doubted that it is also the work of divine benevolence; that the Great Disposer of all takes delight in giving enjoyment to all the works of his hand; that He rejoices in multiplying the means of enjoyment, its susceptibilities and its occasions, to the utmost measure consistent with the happiness of the whole; and that—even in those vast classes of inferior being which can have no faculty of acknowledging their benefactor, from whom He can obtain no tribute of affection, no proof of obedience, and no return of gratitude—His exhaustless desire, of communicating happiness acts throughout all?
This view certainly cannot be got rid of by saying, that all classes of nature are essential to each other. What was the importance of a flock of sea fowl in the heart of the Pacific to the human race for the last four thousand years? or what may it ever be? Yet they pursue their instincts, exert their powers, sweep on the winds, range over the ocean, and return on the wing night by night to their island, nestle in their accustomed spots, and flutter over their young, without a shock or a change, without a cessation of their pleasures or a diminution of their powers through ages! What must be the vigilance which watches over their perpetual possession of existence and enjoyment; or what conclusion can be more just, natural, or consolatory than that, "if not a sparrow falls to the ground without the knowledge and supervision of Providence," a not less vigilant care, and a not less profuse and exalted beneficence will be the providential principle of the government of man, and the world of man!
The examination of Torres Strait was a chief object of the expedition; and we therefore give a sketch of a passage which is constantly rising in importance.
All the islands which stretch across the Strait have a common character; all are steep and rocky, and some six hundred feet in height. They are, in fact, the prolongation of the great mountain chain of the eastern coast of Australia. The especial importance of Torres Strait is, that it must continue to be almost the only safe route to the Indian Ocean from the South Pacific—the S.E. trade-wind blowing directly for the Strait nearly the whole year within the tropics, and during the summer being the prevailing wind over a large part of the extra-tropical sea. The attempt to pass to the north of New Guinea would encounter a longer route, with dangers probably much greater, in a sea still comparatively unexamined.
But it is admitted that the navigation of the Torres Strait and the Coral Sea, however exactly surveyed, must always be hazardous. Hazy weather, errors of reckoning, errors in the chronometer, &c., must always produce a considerable average of casualties in the Strait. Yet, from the nature of the reef, when these casualties do occur, the vessel will generally be fixed on the rocks long enough for the crew to escape in their boats. There, however, a new hazard begins. The only places of refuge for these boats at present are Port Essington, six hundred miles beyond Cape York; or Coupang, in Timor, five or six hundred miles further to the westward.
Mr Jukes strongly recommends the formation of a post at Cape York, as not merely enabling the shipwrecked crews to arrive at an immediate place of safety, but as affording assistance to the vessel, and securing her cargo. From Cape York there would be easy opportunities of a passage to Singapore. In case of war, the advantages of having a military station at this point would be of the highest value; as, otherwise, an enemy's corvette might command the Strait. It would also make a valuable depot for stores necessary for the relief of vessels. In case of the further extension of steam navigation between India and New South Wales, of which there can now be no doubt, Cape York would make an excellent coal depot. In short, unless the narrator's imagination runs away with him, it would answer any necessary purpose of navigation, and ought to attract the consideration of government without loss of time.
Allowing for all the ardour of fancy, there can be no question that the period is coming rapidly when the mind of Europe will be strongly directed to the natural wealth of the vast chain of islands reaching from New Caledonia to New Guinea. China, the Moluccas, and the great islands of the South, will hereafter supply a commerce unequalled in the East, or perhaps in the world. Of this Torres Strait must inevitably be the channel; a new city will be necessary to concentrate that commerce, and Cape York offers the foundation for a new Singapore.
If a philosopher were to inquire, in what portion of the globe man might enjoy the largest portion of physical happiness; or if a politician were to search for a new seat of empire, combining the capacity of sustaining the largest population and the most direct action on the great adjoining continent; or if the merchant were to examine the Asiatic hemisphere, with a mere view to the richness and variety of products—each would probably decide for the Indian Archipelago; that immense region of immense islands lying between Sumatra and New Guinea, east and west, and the Philippines and Timor, north and south.
They are at least a wholly new region; for though peopled for hundreds, or perhaps thousands of years, and visited in the old times of European commerce with more frequency than even in our active day, their actual condition remains nearly unknown: their fertility is comparatively neglected; their spontaneous products are left to waste; their singular beauty is disregarded, and their mineral wealth is unwrought. Their people are content with savage existence, and the bounty of Heaven is thrown away in the loveliest portion of the globe. Piracy at sea, war on land, tyranny, vice, and ignorance, are the habits and characteristics of a zone which could sustain a population as numerous as that of Europe, and supply the wants and even the luxuries of half the world. Celebes, New Guinea, Timor, Java, Borneo, that most magnificent of all islands, if it should not rather be called a continent: the vast group of the Philippines, only await the industry and intelligence of Europe. They will yet be brilliant kingdoms and mighty empires.
Why such noble realms should have been long given over to barbarism is among the most curious questions of the philosopher, and of the Christian. May they not have been kept back from European possession and utility on the providential principle, which we discover so often in the general order of the divine government; namely, to be reserved as a reward and a stimulant to the growing progress of mankind? They may have been suffered to remain in a state of savage life as a penalty for the profligacy of their people, or they may have been condemned to their mysterious obscurity until the impress of British power on India and China should have been deeply made, and England should be led, by the possession of India and the opening of the Chinese coasts, to follow the new course of wealth prepared for her in the commerce of the Indian Ocean.
Whatever may be the truth of those suggestions, nothing can be more evident, than that British discovery and British interests are now involuntarily taking that direction. The settlement on Borneo by the enterprise and intelligence of Mr Brookes has given our commerce, a sudden and most unexpected footing in this queen of the Indian Ocean. The English colonisation of Australia will inevitably sustain that intercourse. The flourishing settlement of Singapore, and the growing population of the west coast of America, from Oregon down to California, all converge toward the same result, the increased commerce and civilisation of the Indian islands.
It is also to be remembered, that those are all events of the last ten years. But when Mexico shall have given up the Californias, which there seems every probability of her being compelled to do, or to see them overrun by the active emigration from the United States, the impulse will be still more rapid, powerful, and extensive. We look upon the whole series of these coasts as all indication of some striking advance prepared for the general family of man.
In October 1844 the Fly left Port Essington, on her way to Java to refit. On the way they passed a succession of islands, known by scarcely more than name to the English navigator. They all seem to be volcanic, though their volcanoes may sleep; and rapid as the glance of the voyagers was, they all, even in the wildness of precipitous shores and mountain peaks, exhibited beauty.
They steered up the channel which passes between the shores of Java and Madura, an island which seems to have been cut out of Java. The Madura shore showed a continuous belt of the richest tropical vegetation. The Java shore, though flat and swampy in this part, showed a back ground of mountains, some of them from ten thousand to twelve thousand feet high. They were now in Dutch territory; and, passing by some Dutch steamers and vessels of war, cast anchor near the town of Sourabaya. Here the captain and some of the officers landed, found a large new fort or citadel in the act of fortifying; walked through the town, which contained many good European houses, mingled with hovels of the natives and Chinese; dined at a good table-d'hote, got into a caleche, and drove round the town, which seemed very extensive, and its suburbs still more so. Here, except for the visages of the natives and the lamps of the Chinese, they might have imagined themselves in Europe again. They drove up one road and down another for several miles, under avenues of trees, interrupted here and there by the country-houses of Europeans. Many of those seemed spacious; and all were thrown open, and lighted with many lamps. In front of the houses were parties of ladies and gentlemen, sitting in verandas and porticoes, taking tea or wine, smoking or playing cards, and chatting. They met one or two carriages of ladies in full dress, driving about without bonnets to enjoy the cool of the evening.
Then came a scene of another kind. They re-entered the town by the Chinese quarter. There they found grotesque-looking houses, lit up with large paper lanterns of gaudy colours, with Chinese inscriptions or monsters on them, and long rows of Chinese characters up and down the door-posts or over the windows. Crowds of people swarmed along the streets, and strange cries, in a Babel of languages, resounded in their ears, and every variety of Eastern figure flitted about them, from the half-naked Couli to the well-clothed Chinese in a loose white jacket like a dressing-gown, the Arab merchant in his flowing robes, and the Javanese gentleman in smart jacket and trousers, sash petticoat, curious pent-house-like hat, and strange-handled creese or dagger stuck in his girdle. The view of the country in the morning was, however, much less captivating; it was flat and marshy, and intersected by large ditches. The roads are on dykes four or five feet above the level of the fields, and lined with rosewood trees, an Eastern Holland.
The Dutch have introduced a club, which they call Concordia, with billiard-tables, magazines, a reading-room, and a department for eating and drinking. Of this the voyagers were invited to be ordinary members. There was a book club among the English residents, where they enjoyed the sight of several new publications and periodicals. All this was a pleasant interchange for cruising among coral reefs, and being tossed about or starved in Torres Strait; and they seem to have enjoyed it completely. Besides the Dutch civilities, they had a general invitation from an English merchant, Mr Frazer, to his house a few miles in the country.
In those climates fresh air and cool rooms are the chief points. Mr Frazer's house was on the Indian model. It had but one story and one principal room, in the centre of the house, opening both before and behind, by two large doorways, into spacious porticoes, as large as the room itself, and supported by pillars. Each of the wings was occupied by three good bed-rooms. It stood in an enclosure of about an acre, with lawn, stables, and servants' offices. The floors were tiles, covered with cane matting in the principal room. As soon as it grows dusk, the central saloon is lighted up with many lamps, the doors and windows still remaining open; and every now and then a carriage drives up, some acquaintance drops in for an hour or two, joins the dinner-table, if he has not dined, or smokes a cigar if he has, and drives away again. This seems an easy life: and the colonist who can thus lounge through the world certainly has not much reason to exclaim against fortune. Yet this is the general life of all foreign settlements. Among the guests a Mr Frazer's they met a remarkable character, a Mr M'Cleland, a Scotsman. His history was adventurous; he was the individual mentioned in Washington Irving's Astoria, who, on the return of the party overland, left them, and pushed on ahead by himself across the Rocky Mountains. From America he went to China, and then fixed in Java, where, by energy and intelligence, he has made an ample fortune. He is now possessor of a large foundery in the island. The population of the town was about sixty thousand. The Javanese are described generally as an excellent race of people, patient, good-tempered, and very handy. The man who is to-day a carpenter, will turn blacksmith the next, and the peasant will become a sailor. They seem also to be as candid, as they are ingenious. One of the officers at table said that a servant who had been for several years his coachman, asked one day for permission to leave his service and go as a sailor. On his being asked in turn whether he had any complaint to make, the answer was, that he was only "tired of seeing the Colonel's face every day."
The Javanese gentleman is fond of dress, and his dress argues considerable opulence among his class. He usually wears a smart green velvet or cloth jacket with gold buttons, a shirt with gold studs, loose trousers, and sometimes boots, and a petticoat and sash, in the latter of which is always a large creese or dagger, ornamented with gold and diamonds. The women of the higher class live retired, those of the lower are seen every where.
Life seems singularly busy in Sourabaya. The Chinese gentleman is driving about all day in his pony chaise; the Chinese of the lower order is running about with his wicker-cases as a pedlar, or else selling fruit or cooked provisions, with a stove to keep them warm; or sitting, in the primitive style, under a tamarind tree, with silver and copper coinage before him to cash notes. And the river is as busy as the shore; there are always groups of people bathing; men and women are washing clothes; boats of all sizes, and for all purposes, laden with produce, or crowded with people, are constantly passing along. Then there are the troops, who, under the Dutch uniform, exhibit all castes and colours, from the European to the Negro—a force amounting to about two thousand infantry, besides artillery and cavalry; and all this goes on amid a perpetual clamour of voices, cries of every trade, tongues of every barbarism, and that wild haste and restless eagerness in every movement which belongs to seaport life in every portion of the globe.
The present discussions with the Dutch government on the subject of labour make it of importance to know something on the subject of their colonies in the East. It is a curious circumstance in the history of a people priding themselves on the liberty of commerce and their openness of dealing with mankind, that they seem to have always hidden their Indian policy under the most jealous reserve. They adopted this reserve from the first hour of their Indian navigation. But then Holland was a republic, and a republic is always tyrannical in proportion to its clamour for liberty, always oppressive in proportion to its promise of equal rights, and always rapacious in proportion to its professed respect for the principle of letting every man keep his own.
But though the cap is now exchanged for a crown, and the stadtholder is a monarch, the policy seems to flourish on the old footing of their close-handed fathers.
The Eastern dominions of Holland are under the authority of a governor-general and a council, composed of four members, and a vice-president; the governor-general being president. This sounds well at least for the liberty of discussion. But the sound is all. The power of the council consists simply in giving its opinion, to which the governor may refuse to listen. The governor receives his orders directly from the colonial minister at home, and the colonial minister, though apparently responsible to the sentiment of the Chambers, yet echoes those of the King.
But there is another authority which is supposed to rule the government itself. This invisible prime mover is a joint commercial company, the Maatschappy, established in 1824, with a charter giving it a strict monopoly of all commerce to the Indies for twenty-five years, which has been recently renewed for ten years more. The late King was a large shareholder, the present King is presumed to inherit his father's shares; most of the members of the Chambers are shareholders; and the Maatschappy, besides the supply of the islands with all necessaries, acts as agent for the Crown, receives the produce gathered by the authorities of Java, carries it home, sells it, and accounts for the proceeds to the Dutch government. But the company have a still heavier hold on the government, a debt for L3,340,000 sterling; and for this they have in mortgage the whole produce received in the East, the company deducting their own interest and commission before they pay the proceeds.
But we have the gratification of being told that even the Maatschappy does not carry every thing in triumph, and that there is a proposal to release one-third of the sugar produced by parties having contracts with them, on condition of the other two-thirds being delivered of a superior quality; and it is added that this relaxation has taken place simply from the distresses of the colonies, and in the hope of introducing specie, there being nothing in use at present but a debased copper coin. This measure would add to the trifling free produce of Java about 18,500 tons.
The Dutch possessions in the East are very large, and under due management would be of incalculable value. They comprise part of the island of Sumatra; the islands of Banca and Billiton; the islands of Bintang and Linga; the Macassar government, including parts of Celebes and Sumhana; the Molucca islands; the south-west half of Timor; some late conquests in Bali; and large portions of the southern part of Borneo, which have been recently formed into two residencies. For these statistics we are indebted to the narrative of Mr Jukes.
Java was first made known to us, with any degree of historical or physical accuracy, by the late Sir Stamford Raffles, the amiable and intelligent British Resident during its possession by our government between 1811 and 1816. But it was known to Europe for three centuries before. The Portuguese, once the great naval power, and most active discoverers in Europe,—so much do the habits and faculties of nations change,—had made to themselves a monopoly of eastern possession, after the passage round the Cape by De Gama, and fixed upon Java for their first settlement in the Indian Ocean. Almost a century passed, before their supremacy was disturbed. But then a new and dangerous rival appeared. The Dutch, already an enterprising and warlike nation, sweeping every sea with their commercial or military ambition,—so much have times been changed with them, too,—also fixed on Java, and formed a vigorous and thriving settlement at Bantam. In the beginning of the seventeenth century, the English, making a first and feeble attempt at eastern commerce, to the south of India, formed a factory at Bantam. But the Dutch, indignant at even the shadow of rivalry, broke down alike the decaying influence of the Portuguese and the rising influence of the English, planned a new and stately Eastern Capital, which, in the spirit of the Hollander, they planted in the most swampy part of the island; and, surrounded with ditches, in the closest resemblance to Holland, led a pestilential existence in the fatness of fens passable only through canals. Batavia was built, the proverbial place of filth and opulence. The Dutch gradually became masters of this fine island; divided it into seventeen provinces, and occupying the commercial coast, left the southern to the divided and helpless authority of the two native princes, the Sultan and the Susuhunan.
The French revolutionary war naturally involved the Dutch in the general conquest of the Netherlands. The rash republicanism of the factions which had expelled the stadtholder, was speedily punished by the plunderings and corruptions of their new allies, and the insolent and atrocious annexation of Holland to the French empire was followed by the additional calamity of a war with England, which stripped her of all her colonies. An English expedition sailed for Java, stormed its defences, and took possession of Batavia and the Dutch possessions on the island in 1811. An English government was established, Sir Stamford Raffles was placed at its head, and Java with its infinite natural resources and incomparable position, promised to become one of the most important of the Indian colonies of England.
But at the peace of Paris, in 1815, the British policy, which was directed to the conciliation of the Dutch, and the erection of Holland into a barrier against France, induced the restoration of Java. This act of liberality met with strong remonstrance; and a memorial from the British Resident placed in the fullest point of view the probable value and actual advantages of retaining Java. But the policy was already determined on. It is said that, on the Resident's return to England, he found his original memoir in some of the depositories of strangled remonstrances, with its seals unbroken. The reason however, may have been, that the restoration was un fait accompli.
But the sacrifice was useless. The sudden whim for Radicalism at home, and revolution abroad, which seized British statesmen in the first frenzy of the Reform Bill, instead of punishing the revolt of the Belgians, suffered the dismemberment of the kingdom of the Netherlands; a measure of the most shortsighted policy, which has now placed Belgium in the most serious hazard of being absorbed by its all-swallowing neighbour France, on the first convulsion of the continent. But, as England has no inclination to disturb her neighbours, and is never guilty of that last atrocity of nations, breach of treaties; the great colony is still left in Dutch hands, and will be left, until some new folly compels its resumption.
Java is a noble island; singularly shaped, for its length is about four times its average breadth; six hundred miles by about one hundred and fifty. Its whole extent is fifty thousand square miles, or nearly the size of England. But its fertility of all kinds is incalculably superior. From its diversity of climate, it is obviously capable of raising European as well as tropical productions. Its climate, too, is healthful, notwithstanding the illfame of Batavia. Even there, the inhabitants have at length learned to prefer fields to swamps, and fresh air to the vapour of ditches; for the greater portion have either gone into the interior, or live in suburbs extending to considerable distances. In fact, the original fen-loving Hollander has passed away, and another generation has sprung up, which prefers health and long life even to dollars and dyspepsia. Yet, what is Java, to the islands almost within her view? To Sumatra, with her one hundred and sixty thousand square miles, and Borneo, with her two hundred and eighty-six thousand—almost a continent; and those vast territories not wild and barren plains, like the huge spaces of Australia, nor frozen for one half of the year, like our settlements in America, but overflowing with the richest vegetable products of the earth, covered with herds of the buffalo and other cattle, and sheeted with forests up to the summits of their ranges of mountains. What their mineral wealth may be, remains for European investigation; but gold has been found in their rivers, and from the various heights of their hills, we may fairly suppose them, in some instances at least, metalliferous.
Yet Java—of the same extent with England, produce almost spontaneous, without any endemic disease, and with the dissensions of the natives kept down by the Dutch authority—is calculated to have but nine millions of people, about less than half of the souls of England. So little does population depend upon plenty, climate, or even upon peace. The Dutch government appears to be honest, and the reverse of severe; its offices are well conducted, its salaries seem to be substantial and sufficient, and its general rule of the island appears to be directed to suppressing violence among the native tribes.
But the sudden impulse which now urges European enterprise to the extremities of the earth; which sends expeditions to invade the territories of the seal and the whale at the South Pole, and plants cities within the gales of the arctic snows, must at length turn to the golden islands of the Indian Ocean. There, new powers will be awakened, new vigour will take place of old stagnation, and those matchless portions of the globe will give their treasures to the full use of man.
As it was determined to refit the ship in Java, time was given for the curiosity of Mr Jukes and the officers to employ itself in examining the interior. After various difficulties, connected with official forms in passing through the different Dutch provinces,—in which, however, it is only justice to the governors to acknowledge, that in general they conducted themselves with much civility,—the party, consisting of four, at length set out. They found post-houses at every half dozen miles apart, with a good carriage-road; they passed by a succession of villages, through a flat country covered with rice and sugar-cane, interspersed with large belts of wood. But those were villages concealed by groves of fruit trees. On their way, they stopped to see a sugar manufactory—a Belgian partnership. The house was large and handsome, and the establishment complete. This is a new manufacture in Java. They were now running along the northern coast of the island, and after a drive of forty miles in six hours, they arrived at Passarouan, which they unexpectedly found to be a large town with several wide streets, Chinese houses in court yards, and European residences, having lawns and carriage drives. The native Javanese resided in separate quarters, each of which is surrounded by a fence of bamboo paling, or a wall. We should conceive these people to lead a primitive and pleasant life, for in those quarters the bamboo houses seemed to be scattered indiscriminately under the shade of bananas, cocoa nuts, and other fruit trees.
The Dutch residents or governors, appear also to be very much at their ease. The salary of the resident of Passarouan, though nominally but L1,500 a-year, amounts to L3,400 sterling besides, as it is the custom that each resident has a per centage on the coffee, sugar, tobacco, rice, &c., raised in his district. An income of this order, when we consider the cheapness of all the necessaries of life in the island, must be regarded as a very liberal provision.
They saw, as they passed through the rice fields, a curious but simple contrivance for preserving the growing crops from the flocks of sparrows. In the centre of the fields small sheds were erected on posts, from which strings with feathers radiated in every direction. A boy, or girl, was stationed in the shed to keep the strings in motion, in order to frighten away the birds.
On the road they passed a large market, crowded with people. They found rows of stalls or long sheds, in some of which European articles, such as cutlery and drapery, were offered for sale; in others were drugs, fruit, confectionery, or salt fish. The traffickers, too, seemed to be enjoying themselves, as some of the stalls had benches before them, on which sat people drinking coffee, and eating rice, hot sweet potatoes, fruit, and sweet-meats. Their next stage was a town named Probolingo, and they were again surprised at the extent of a place perfectly new to them. Broad roads with avenues of lofty trees intersected each other at right angles, bounded by the fences of the native Kampangs, or Javanese quarters, which looked like large orchards. There were also at intervals European houses of good size and appearance, each in its own grounds, with a carriage-drive under the trees. They found, also, the still rarer evidence of a comfortable condition of general intercourse,—a good hotel; of which the master, however, spoke "but little English." Our curiosity is left in doubt, whether his accomplishments were Dutch or Javanese.
There were some English settlers in this neighbourhood; and some of the party drove out to visit the sugar establishment of Mr Etty—brother of the well-known artist—about three miles from the town. He was in England, but his sons came down in the evening to the hotel to offer their civilities. They had been out pig-shooting, and had enjoyed their sport, such as it is, for they had killed thirteen pigs. The party were invited to similar shooting for the next day.
On the next day they went; but an old carriage and a clumsy charioteer delayed them, and they arrived some three hours after their appointment. But etiquette does not seem to have been the order of the day, for the inviters had gone out to enjoy their pig-shooting by themselves. The invited were left to amuse themselves as they might until seven or eight o'clock, when the inviters returned, and the whole party sat down to dinner. At dinner, their talk was of tigers.
Whether Mr Jukes gives this incident in wrath, or simple recollection, we know not; but we surmise, that he and his friends would have been just as well pleased if the owners of the sugar establishment had not brought them out so far for nothing.
Next day they proceeded on their excursion, and found native civility on the alert every where. Some orders to this effect appeared to have been sent to the Dutch authorities. At the first post-house where they stopped, a man stepped forward with a tray of cups of tea, glasses of cocoa and water, and rice-cakes; and a large party were awaiting them with ponies. Each of them also found a man on horseback ready to attend him, and carry his gun and game-bag. A petty chief rode before them, and another with a small party brought up the rear, so that they formed quite a cavalcade. But the natives with their gaily-coloured dresses, blue and red coloured saddles, silver trappings to their horses, and ornamented creeses in their girdles, "quite cut out the Englishmen in appearance, with their dingy shooting-jackets and soiled trousers."
And here we may fairly ask the question, why those gentlemen should have appeared in "dingy shooting-jackets and soiled trousers?" This is not a question of dandyism. They were to appear before the authorities of another country, before the gentlemen of another nation. They were also to be presented to native gentlemen and rajahs, who have as quick an eye for the outward man as any people in the world. And while those showy costumes—even in so trifling a matter as the attendance on a shooting-party—exhibited the taste of the people in those matters, why should the Englishman exhibit his own, in dingy shooting-jackets and soiled trousers? In fact, in matters of this kind, a man in foreign countries, and especially in the military and naval service of his country, should recollect the effect of this beggarliness on the mind of strangers. The party must have been the objects of ridicule and contempt to the very peasants around them.
As they rose towards the hills, the country appeared to be in general richer and more picturesque. From the summit of the first ridge the country before them was gently undulating, interspersed with patches of wood, that looked like a wide-spread park, till at some miles distance it rose up the slopes of a volcanic mountain—the Lamongan. On the sides of this huge volcano, the woods became thicker and more continuous, till they reached the bare piles of ashes and cinders forming the upper cone.
The road then lay through coffee plantations. These were very pleasant-looking places. The coffee shrubs were planted in rows, with tall trees between each row to shelter the coffee from the sun. The alleys between the trees were carpeted by rich green turf, forming pleasant glades. The plantations were generally neatly fenced and often extensive; as much as twenty or thirty acres in one plot. Every now and then they passed on the roadside a noble tree, with wide-spread, drooping branches, a species of banyan tree, under which was often seen a bullock-waggon with its team.
All this was oriental and picturesque; but the scenery sometimes reminded them of spots in Devonshire, so green and fresh was all the vegetation, and so pleasant were the deep narrow lanes and sparkling brooks. Their halting-place for the day was a large and lofty bamboo-house on a raised terrace of brick, having a broad veranda all round, a large central saloon, and two or three good and well-furnished bed-rooms on each side. This veranda had the advantage also of a noble landscape. At the back, it looked down a steep bank to a beautiful circular lake about a quarter of a mile across, bordered by a thick belt of wood, and right over it at a few miles' distance, the stately cone of the Lamongan, upwards of four thousand feet high, with a wreath of white smoke curling from its summit.
To this feast of natural beauty was added the more substantial one of the table. In the veranda they found a table spread with a snow-white cloth, and all the conveniencies of plate, glass, and cutlery. A troop of willing servitors was in attendance, who covered the table with a smoking-hot breakfast, piles of rice curries, pillaus, and fruits, with tea and coffee. All this seemed to be done by enchantment; there was no host, no master of the house to trouble them with ceremony; the house and all that belonged to it seemed to be theirs as long as they chose to stay. Whose was the furniture, or who provided the entertainment, they knew not. In those comfortable quarters, they determined to halt for the next day, and try to get a little shooting.
The naturalist, however, on this evening, employed himself more rationally than his companions. While they went out shooting, he took his hammer and went to the ravine, to learn something about the masses of lava and basalt which lay every where. The whole ground gave evidences of the existence of an ancient volcano. The circular lake seemed to have been a crater; its depth was said to be three hundred and ninety feet. But the noble proportions of the landscape still attracted the eye, and within the horizon shot up the pile of the Semmi,—the loftiest, most perfect, and most majestic-looking cone that they ever saw in Java, its height being twelve thousand two hundred and ninety-two feet—a greater elevation than that of the Peak of Teneriffe. Every thing was lovely in form and colour, and glittered in the hot sunshine, while a fine fresh breeze from the south tempered the heat, and gave it the feeling of a summer day at home.
Still, though all this seemed a land of magic, to those who probably had never thought of Java but as a place of pestilence, of burning soil, and scorching sunshine, it was not all fairy land. After dinner, at dusk, as Mr Jukes was strolling round the house smoking a cigar, a man with a long spear came up to him, and began to turn him back with an earnest speech, of which the only word he understood was machan; but it was an important one, and the point of the whole oration, for it is the Javanese for tiger.
Having recourse to one of the party as interpreter, he found that the spearman was begging of him not to walk in the dark, as tigers were abundant there; which, he emphatically assured them, eat men, and that they had even sometimes come into the house. In the veranda they found a guard of four spearmen, keeping watch for the same purpose. The Englishman thought that they were jesting, until he saw that none of the people themselves went a few yards beyond the house without a torch. One man going to bathe in the lake just below, another accompanied him with a torch. They also saw four men coming up the road with two large torches, who, they said, were returning from their work from the village hard by. They still thought their fears a little exaggerated; but on that very night a man was killed by a tiger at a village about two miles off, as he was going to his work before daylight with two others. His body was recovered the next day.
In the morning, the party went out to shoot any thing that came in their way. Their success, however, was limited to a pig, and a brace of jungle fowl. Some of the party saw tracks of tigers, but they attack nobody during the day; the night being their time for retaliation. Another division of their party coming home by a straight course across the country, and just before it got dark, found themselves on the borders of a district which had been mentioned to them as the most noted haunt of tigers in the whole country. Cocking their guns, however, they pushed through the grass, that rose often three feet above their heads, for about half a mile, not without a feeling of half hope, half fear, of the rush of a tiger through the jungle. From this nervous predicament, however, they escaped. Half an hour later they might have told a different story, or perhaps would have been left without the power of telling one. Their shot-pouches would have made but an indifferent defence against the charge of a supperless tiger; and the philosopher might have finished his earthly career in the retaliatory jaws of the lord of the jungle.
We recommend Java to all country gentlemen tired of time; they will have plenty of shooting of every kind there—the lion alone excepted; bears are in abundance and great ferocity; wild boars in droves: with the wild buffalo, the most dangerous of all animals to meet with, and far more dreaded by the natives than the tiger himself. The tiger is to be found every day throughout the year, and every where from twilight to sunrise. For the more recherches in shooting, there is the rhinoceros, the most capital of all sport, as it is called; for in nine instances out of ten he kills his man. Unless the sportsman hits him in the eye, double barrels are unavailing; his hide would turn off every thing but a cannon ball. If the shot is not imbedded in his brain, he dashes after the sportsman at once; escape then can only be by miracle, for unwieldy as he looks, he runs like a race-horse, rips up the fugitive with his horn, and finishes by trampling him into a mass of mortality that leaves not a feature distinguishable. Thus, field-sports are not altogether confined to gentlemen.
But for glories of this order, the amateur must travel to some distance; he must penetrate the deep and trackless forests of the southern Sultan, or ascend to the volcanic regions of the interior.
We now hasten to the close of these interesting volumes. The whole party seem to have been treated with remarkable civility, and to have been shown all kinds of strange things. Among the other curiosities, they were taken to visit the Sultan of Madura, a hospitable old man, who treated them like fellow sultans, paraded his guards for them, gave them a feast which seemed to be all but interminable, played the native fiddle for them, led his own royal orchestra with some skill, played vingt-et-un with them, and finished by a species of ombres Chinoises, or shadowy drama, which lasted through the whole night. As the Englishmen began to droop, he exercised all the English which he possessed, to offer them "a glass of grog," which he evidently considered to be essential to English enjoyment; and after his visitors had retired to rest, he continued to sit out the play—which lasted the mortal measure of ten hours; a feat exceeding the endurance, though probably not the ennui, of a regular amateur of the Italian Opera. The populace, too, exhibited the same dramatic ardour, for they continued gazing, laughing, and shouting, with all the perseverance of their old sovereign.
The revenues of this chief are enormous, though they amount only to L8,000 sterling; but then we are to recollect that the wages of a Javanese workman are but five duits, or five-sixths of an English penny; and that for this he can "live very well." Man gets plantains and fruits for almost nothing. His clothing is made of a simple wrapper, and a day or two's cutting of bamboo gives him a very sufficient house. Let this be compared with the Irish peasant, shivering through three months of winter, and six months of wet, paying five pounds an acre for his swampy potatoes, and out of his holding paying tithe, tax, county rates, and all the other encumbrances of what the political economists call "a highly civilised state of society." We say "vive le systeme feodal, vive la sauvagerie Javannaise."
One half of the Sultan's revenue arises from a singular source—the sale of birds' nests, which are found in the rocks, and which the Chinese purchase as a restorative. The Chinese, a remarkably gross and voluptuous people, are the greatest quacks on earth, and are continually attempting to reinstate by medicine, what they have ruined by excess. But soup is pleasant physic, and they boil these birds' nests into soup, in full reliance on the miracle.
The Englishmen tasted some of this soup, among the luxuries of the Sultan's table, and highly approved of it; but its merits depended on many capital ingredients, the birds' nests merely acting as a sort of connective, an isinglass to the whole. It is probable that their whole virtue is in the fashion.
In looking at the future, through all the mists which beset the vision of man, it seems scarcely possible to doubt that these regions are intended for a vast and vigorous change. It may not be a European change. Society may not be cast into the furnace, as it has been by those struggles, wars, and revolutions, which were essential to the working of the iron temperament of Europe. But Providence, if we may so speak without irreverence, evidently delights in the variety, multitude, and novelty of its highest expedients. If no two great portions of the physical world are like in form, climate, product, and even in the colouring of their skies, why are we to insist on uniformity in government, in human feeling, or in those national impulses which shape society? The throne, the constitution, and the laws of England, noble advances as they are to the perfection of the social system, may be unfit for the man sitting under his palm tree within the tropics, the navigator in the summer seas of the Indian Ocean, or even for the rude vigour and roving enterprise of Australia. But we have no fears of the failure of that glorious and beneficent Cycle, by which happiness seems revolving, by whatever slow degree, through every race of mankind. There is but one thing which is indispensable among all, and that one thing is, the only nation on earth qualified to give Christianity; and we, with no presumptuous glance, but with no hesitating belief, regard the almost boundless colonial empire of England as conferred upon our island for the express purpose of spreading pure religion through the various regions of the globe. With all our sense of the caution necessary in struggling against the rude prejudices of the barbarian, and with no inferior sense of the caution necessary in the admixture of human conceptions, with the will of Him who "walketh in clouds;" with all our regret for the extravagance of enthusiasm, and all our conviction of the evil which is daily done to truth by the rashness of conjecture, we yet believe that a time is approaching, when the elements of society will be, at least, partially dissolved, for the sake of their replacement in higher purity and power; when the general frame of dominion throughout the world, will be, at least, dislocated, that it may be renewed in higher activity and beauty; and when a world in which a new obedience, a new integrity, a new beneficence to man, and a new homage to heaven, will be the characteristics, shall be formed to vindicate the justice of Providence, and complete the happiness of man.
Then we shall see the original powers of those neglected nations brightened, enlarged, and elevated into forms and uses, of which they themselves have been unconscious since their birth. Then shall we see governments on principles adapted to the nature of the dweller in the Asiatic plains, of the hunter of the everlasting Himmalaya, and the navigator of the waveless Pacific; calling out the native faculties of those vast divisions of mankind, raising, the natural products of inexhaustible soils, whose fertility is now buried in their bosom, and sharing with the nations of the earth the countless mineral treasures which have been locked up in their hills since the Creation; the whole being poured out, to meet the new demands, increase the new engagements, and stimulate the new animation of the increasing millions of mankind.
The observations made by Mr Jukes on the mental effect of the southern climates of Asia, are striking, but they are the same which have been made for thousands of years. The European is not made for those climates. Carrying with him, in his first adventure, his original energy of mind and frame, he is astonished to see the land tenanted by human beings who are content with mere existence. The bold climber of the hills,—the daring mariner,—the intelligent and delighted inquirer into all the wonders of earth and ocean, sees himself surrounded by men lying on sofas, living only to eat, and careless of the whole brilliant profusion which tissues the ground, or fills the forest, or variegates the shore.
But the second generation inevitably feels the influence, and the son of the sinewy and susceptible European becomes the languid, self-satisfied, and voluptuous Oriental.
In fact, the two races are totally different. The Asiatic has some noble qualities. The Creator has not altogether effaced his own image in any region of human habitancy. He has fancy, keenness of conception, desperate but unwilling bravery, scientific faculties, and a quiet delight in the richness of his own lovely islands and pyramidal mountains.
But, to the European alone is allotted the master quality of energy; and by that gift he drives the world before him. This resistless quality he perhaps owes chiefly to his sullen skies and rugged soils. Even in the East, the man of the desert, the son of the storm and the snow, has always been the conqueror of India. The Osmanli sultans were forced to raise the boldest of their battalions among the Christians of the north of Greece. And we shall yet see the Australian sweeping before him the indolence of the Birman and the Javanese. This he will owe to the sterility of his fields and the half European blasts of his more salubrious and stringent atmosphere. The maxim of Montesquieu, that "poverty always conquers wealth," solves but half the problem. The true solution is, that the poverty of the soil compels the exertion of a vigour, which severity of climate alone can generate among a people. For three hundred years the population of Jutland and Denmark almost annually swept the southern shores of Europe itself. The Norman was invincible on land. Even the great barbarian invasions which broke down the Roman empire, were the work of nerves hardened in the forest and in the desert. The same causes have made the storm-beaten Englishman lord of India. But India will never be a British colony. It will never be, like America, a land of Englishmen. The second generation will be Indians, while Australia will be the southern England. This is evidently the law of a Will above man.
We must congratulate Mr Jukes on the value of his publication. Scientific without being abstruse, and picturesque without being extravagant, he has made his volumes a striking and graceful addition to our knowledge of countries, highly interesting in themselves, and, assuming hourly importance in the eyes of the people of England.
 Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H. M. S. Fly; in Torres Strait, New Guinea, and other Islands of the Eastern Archipelago. By J.B.JUKES, Naturalist to the Expedition. 2 Vols. Boone, London.
New York, August, 1847.
My Dear Godfrey,—I am sorry to begin my letter with an apology, but I feel that one is due for the very unsatisfactory manner in which, on a former occasion, I answered your grave inquiries about the pirates who thrive on the plunder of Maga. The jocular vein which I incontinently struck and perseveringly followed up, led me very wide of your mark, and I was obliged to leave you quite unsatisfied on another point, about which, for one who is not an author, you seem to be singularly excited. To waive my astonishment at the Benthamism of the phrase, pray what is "International Copyright" to Godfrey, that he should weep for such a Hecuba? I should have been as little surprised, had you asked me to inquire the opinion of the Indians as to the best regimen for infants. A veritable author, suffering by wholesale American rapine, would have commanded my sympathies, and I should have replied instinctively, in that tone of consideration which is always due to dignified misfortune; but when you, with your rod and gun, soberly popped me a query in which I could not see that either widgeon or gudgeon were particularly concerned, I confess I feared you were quizzing me, and was fairly off my guard. Forgive me that I was so slow to appreciate the true state of the case. It has only very lately occurred to me that both you and I are somewhat changed since we placed the summum bonum in Waltonian idleness, and that you have very possibly renounced fly-fishing, and settled down into a literary incubation, likely to bless the world with a brood of booklings. With this consideration, I now again address you, intending to preserve that propriety of thought and speech, which on the subject of literary property, I feel due to the future Great Unknown of Southern Britain. You observe that I take it for granted, you will affect the anonymous; and I would venture to add my counsel to your choice of a course so judicious. You have no idea how great an inconvenience you would suffer, should Godfrey Hall be turned prematurely into another Abbotsford—an event which is certain, should you allow the secret of your new character to transpire. Your comparative nearness to the metropolis would greatly facilitate the irruption of bores; especially as there would probably be a branch railway chartered forthwith, for the express purpose of setting down company at the nearest possible point of access to your venerable gateway. Besides, even you have too much regard to the land of Kit North, to entertain any desire to see its most attractive shrine of pilgrimage too suddenly eclipsed; and why should you court such an exposure of popular fickleness, when about to become yourself "the comet of a season," and to go through that brilliant perihelion, in which, reversing the feat of Horace with his lofty head, you will sweep away all other stars with a swinge of your luminous caudality? Yes, Godfrey—spare your own feelings, and treat us to another Great Unknown! I am sure such will be your determination, and so I will simply subjoin the hope that nothing will interfere with the speedy completion of your maiden effort—"NAPPER TANDY; or, 'TIS FIFTY YEARS SINCE." Don't startle at my naming your hero, and suggesting your plot; for though I will venture to say that I have hit the nail on the head, I assure you it is only a happy surmise. You must know that nothing could be so interesting as a recurrence to the exciting epoch of Ninety-eight; and why should not the sister kingdom have its romance, as well as the land of the Scots? I have always thought that Stuart rising very much overrated—a mere scratch to what happened in Ireland. Kilmarnock was a poor-spirited fellow compared with Emmet; and though there were many better men than Balmerino among the United Irishmen, it would be hard to find a worse one than Lord Lovat. I suspect, therefore, that besides your design, I have actually discovered your title page; though it is barely possible that the melancholy fate of Wolfe Tone, with the indistinct tone of ferocity that is perceptible in his name, may have suggested the compellation of that unfortunate gentleman, as more significant of the wolfish atrocities with which your tale will necessarily abound. Whatever be the name, make haste with the book, and do not wait ten years in order to have another "Sixty Years Since." You must see that congruity requires the semi-centenary, and that Sir Walter was a full decennium behind-hand. The demise of O'Connell at this interesting juncture, must be regarded as a coincidence every way satisfactory, whether we consider the fulness of his fame, the conclusion of an era, or the interests of your forthcoming work. It has prepared public sympathy, and tuned the strings upon which you call successfully play for the next quarter of an age; and I hazard little in arguing that your literary nativity will be accomplished under the ascendant of the most favourable planet.
Regarding you, then, as what you will speedily become—a successful adventurer, with a whole navy of American corsairs in chase of your literary cargo—the question takes this shape:—How does the American law of copyright affect you as a British author, and what can be done to save "Napper Tandy"? To answer you properly, let me first expound the law itself, which, for your special benefit, I have taken pains to examine.
You are doubtless aware that the constitution of this republic is one which answers the great test proposed by Tom Paine, who imagined it to be of the essence of a free constitution that it should be capable of being put into the pocket! That splendid capability was never more fully realised by the laws of a sixpenny club, than by the great charter of American liberties. It is a thing written on paper, and may be thrust into the breeches, or hung up on the wall, as best suits the notions of its worshipper, and his manner of exhibiting respect. Now the law of copyright is not here, as you suppose, a mere matter of statute; nor is the doctrine that an author has no perpetual property in what his intellect creates, a simple decision of courts. It is a part of the constitution, which empowers the national Congress "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." An American writer has remarked, that its equivalent would have been the concession of a power to promote the fisheries, by allowing to fishermen a limited number of the cod-fish and herrings which they take on a Newfoundland fog-bank. Here then, you will say, is a fundamental obstruction to literary justice in America! But your hasty conclusion will show that you have thought but little on written constitutions. I agree with the Count de Maistre, that such instruments are of all things the most slippery. What is easier than for Congress to evade its restriction, and make the limited time exactly the years of Methusaleh! Such a limit would be about as good as "to one's heirs for ever." But there is yet another facility in written constitutions: "a breath unmakes them, as a breath has made." In America, a constitution is as easily overhauled, new-ribbed, and launched again, as ever a sloop-of-war was dry-docked and new-coppered. Here, for instance, is the great "Empire State" of New York, with a constitution hardly a year old! The stripling who has just attained his majority, has actually survived the whole life of its predecessor; and he who lives half as long again, will see the new one superannuated and going the way of all written constitutions. The late constitution of this State was in many respects a noble one; but its successor plays the mischief with every thing; and I have heard an old freeholder complain that he hardly knows whether he has a house, a wife, or a head on his shoulders; so radically has the revolution affected whatever is social and civil. This will show you that there is, after all, no necessary perpetuity in the present condition of things; and so I come to the statute, which is the only just cause of complaint.
The English origin of the law is very apparent. It retains some features of the old statute of Queen Anne, with others of 54 Geo. III., which has lately been made so familiar in parliamentary reports. It secures authors in their property for a term of twenty-eight years, and provides for renewing this security for half that period, upon a renewal of entry. One copy of every work thus protected, must be deposited with the Clerk of the United States' Court for the District where it is entered; and by a late enactment, the author must contribute another copy to the library of "the Smithsonian Institute,"—that unmeaning benevolence of an unfortunate scion of the Northumberland family, which is already beginning to be regarded as a folly, and which one would think might have been made to subserve the interests of authors, rather than furnish another occasion for the exercise of legislative ingenuity, in adding to their many annoyances. The other important features of the Act are the penalty for piracy, and the restriction of protection to citizens and residents; in other words, the punishment of piracy in certain cases, and its license in others. Thus the same Act is dainty of rights, if the craft swim in rivers and bays, but hands over to the black flag whatever is found on the highway of nations. Persons pirating a copyright work are liable to a forfeiture of every copy in their keeping, whether of their own manufacture or otherwise; and besides this, to a fine of one dollar a sheet upon the same, of which one moiety goes to the author, and the residue to the government. Why should it be culpable to steal from a resident, and laudable to do the same thing with a stranger? If a foreign mechanic exports his goods, they are as safe in New York, as the wealth of John Jacob Astor; but no kind of mercy is shown to the product of a foreigner's brain—than which one would think nothing but his soul should be more sacred among all Christian men. On the contrary—not content with leaving him unprotected, there is in the tariff an express provision for the encouragement of plunder. No one pretends that the revenue of the United States requires the tax of ten per cent. ad valorem, upon all importations of "books printed, magazines, pamphlets, and illustrated newspapers, bound or unbound;" yet, such are the terms of the tariff of 1846, and it was designed expressly to prevent importations, and encourage the piratical, manufacture of such things at home. I say so, because it is notorious, and has been exposed by American writers themselves.
Now, let us see how "Napper Tandy" is likely to fare under regulations like these! Can it be possible, you will say, that the Model Republic cherishes designs so predatory; and is there no other explanation of a law which seems so outrageous? There are laws, I am aware, which are by no means what they seem, and British law is the last to dispense with a concession so important. I have, therefore, put this American statute into every light that seemed likely to show it to better advantage, and I confess there is one view of the subject, which, as being myself a resident, it gives me pleasure to suggest. Is it not conceivable, after all, that the original purpose of the statute was merely to extend, to exactly such worthies as the author of "Napper Tandy," a polite invitation to a literary sojourn in America? You know how many British authors, with no such inducements, have preferred Italy to their native land; and why should not this country, at least in the partial eyes of its own legislators, be worthy of a share of their company? The suggestion is equally complimentary to the law-givers, and to those whose society is thus held at a premium. It is true, that, excepting Will Cobbett, few English writers of eminence have taken the hospitable hint; but who could have foreseen this result, when so many of the literary race are perpetually sighing for lodges in the wilderness, and dwellings in the desert! Monsieur Dumas might indeed be reluctant to accept the flattering overtures of a country which is known to cherish such antipathies to his great ancestor Ham, and all that interesting family; and is quite, excusable for preferring the persecutions of French courts of justice, to the patronage which American law would more fully accord to his books than to his person; but why should not you, my dear Godfrey, become as original in your manner of life, as I am sure you will be in the productions of your genius? Why should you not court a "boundless contiguity of shade," and issue your immortal works from the depths of a Pennsylvanian forest, as gracefully as Lord Byron sent forth his from the more vulgarised retirement of Tuscany? Residing here, you could hold the sons of rapine at bay, enjoying at once your American harvests, and the golden remittances of your publishers in England. But the crowning consideration is this, that should you undertake the protection of your darling Maga, an arrangement with Mr Blackwood, and the publication of "Napper Tandy" in his incomparable pages, would seal the fate of the counterfeit, and forcibly recall to the mind of Reprint & Co. the sigh of Othello over his lost occupation. You stare—but it follows, by demonstration—
"For the intent and purpose of the law, Hath full relation to the penalty."
You enter "Napper Tandy" in the "Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York." The next number of Blackwood comes out with your first chapter, which Reprint unguardedly produces in his fac simile. Don't you see, my dear fellow, that if you ever hooked a gudgeon, you have as certainly caught the republisher? You seize ten thousand copies in his warehouse, just as they are about to be distributed over the land. On each copy, he must pay, in addition to his forfeiture, one dollar a sheet; that is to say, ten thousand dollars for your first chapter; of which, after the government has gone snacks, one thousand guineas are your guarantee for the interest which the Republic takes in her invited guests; and (to the dismay of piracy,)