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the kingdom of Johor on the Malay Peninsula. In these voyages they purchased for gold and copper money the costly wood of aloes, then supposed to have been brought down from unknown mountains in the interior of Asia by the several large streams which empty themselves into the China Seas and the Gulf of Siam, and innumerable skins of wild goats, upon which they conferred extraordinary value by their rare ingenuity. The hair on these skins, when first obtained, was white, but with the smoke of rice straw, the impression of which they knew how to render permanent, they variegated the skins with numerous singular and grotesque figures, which caused them to be greatly coveted, not only by the rich of their own country, but by the Spanish grandecs of the Philippines, who preferred them before the most celebrated furs.
The trade of the Chinese was of much greater importance ; they took in exchange for the produce of their Empire almost every article, raw or manufactured, found in the Archipelago ; and where the skill of the natives failed they stepped in and took upon themselves the task of preparing their own cargoes.
Thus when the tin mines at Banca were discovered it was the Chinese who worked them; and at the present day, wherever mining goes on, the process is invariably in the hands of this enterprising people. Settling in various parts, also, they betook themselves to agriculture, and raised spices and other things for their own market, till the despotism of the native governments robbed them of their profits and drove them ultimately from the field. An immense lumber trade was until recently carried on between the northern division of Pulo Kalamantan, including the Sultan of Borneo's territories and Hainan, Quang-tung, Fokien, and other maritime provinces of China. This has now been almost completely paralysed by piracy. The Chinese, who are not a fighting people, dread the fierce buccaneers, who, issuing in immense numbers from their strongholds, seize upon whatever ships or prahus they can overpower, and if they omit to murder the crews, invariably dispose of them as slaves. Though fond of gain, therefore, they are, of course, fonder of life and liberty, and check their commercial impulse till such time as some power shall appear equal to the task of dealing with the ferocious marauders who scatter death and servitude throughout the whole extent of the Archipelago.
To restore safety to those seas may be regarded as the principal object of our naval station on Pulo Labuan, because until the
merchants, (hinese, Bugis or l'apuas, are delivered from fear, they will not put forth il tithe of their trading energies, but creep timidly in small numbers from port to port only when constrained so to do lov imperious necessity. The apprehension of violence on the high seas has in various islands given currency to extremely curious maxims of political economy. Bali, an island lying so close t.) Java that it was long thought to form a part of it, his always been remarkable for the growth of excellent rice, which, if properly cleaned, would probably equal the best bronglit from Carolina. It was consequently in much request among the neighbouring islanders ; but, owing to the prevalence of piracy, the Balinese Sultan, thinking it would always be uncertain whether or not he could, in case of necessity, venture abroad in search of a supply for his people, absolutely prohibiteıl its exportation. To store away the surplus, which was generally consiilerable, he crected granaries on the tops of high mountains, where, at once inaccessible to marauders and superfluous moisture, it remained secure and in good condition for years. Latterly, the motives which impelled to this policy have been weakeneil, and Bali now exports rico in great quantities both to China and elsewhere, and our own whalers and merchantmen are frequently indebted to it for the better part of their provisions. Its coffee an:l Palmyra sugar also are celebrated, and the island is said to contain rich mines of gold, though the Sultan, with a policy which will admit of being differently characterised, has prevented their being worked.
By the last intelligence received from the East, we learn that the Dutch, who have long cast an eye of covetousness on the island, are at present engaged in effecting its reduction. A large force was fitted out against it from Java, and the Rajah of Lombok, with a short-sightedness truly surprising, is said to have in. stigated the invasion. IIe does not apparently perceive that his own subjugation will almost inevitably follow that of his neighbours; but in revenge, perhaps, for some petty affront, facilitates a movement which must eventually precipitate him from his throne. Few parts of the Archipelago are invested with more obscurity than the interior of Lombok, though two English merchants have for many years resided on the island in close friendship with the prince, and possessing every means of instructing themselves respecting the manners and customs of its inhabitants, its soil, climate, and productions. A friend of ours, who visited the
island two or three years ago, found the inhabitants of the capital exceedingly wealthy and hospitable. IIe arrived on the eve of a grand festival, which he was invited to witness. Three thousand men of rank and property, or noblemen, as they were termed by the English merchants, came down from the mountains and the interior to join in the festivities and display their loyalty to the prince. The populace assembled in vast multitudes, and the spectacle presented to the eye called to mind the most gorgeous scenes described in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. The Sultan or Rajah went in procession through his capital, surrounded with the most superb insignia of power, and accompanied and followed by a long train of princes, chiefs, and nobles, mounted on richly caparisoned steeds, and bearing spears and banners, with shafts of burnished gold. Their own dresses, as well as the harness of their horses, glittered with plates of the same metal and with jewels, while their waving plumes and bright coloured robes augmented the grandeur of their appearance. Being an early rising people, they sat down to dinner at nine o'clock in the morning, and continueil cating and drinking, without intermission, till two in the afternoon. During the whole of this long interval they swallowed arrack like water ; but though considerably more than half-seas-over, they managed to preserve both their temper and their dignity, and no exhibition unworthy of gentleinen took place. Their women are handsome and well-formed, and they indulge in a plurality of wives, a custom which our countrymen settled on the island approve
and conform to, one of them having in his harem several ladies belonging to the Sultan's family.
The formation of Lombok is peculiar. In the central parts of the island are numerous mountains, some of them exceedingly lofty: their slopes, on almost all sides, descend precipitously to the plains, which, well watered, fertile, and highly cultivated (generally with rice), stretch away in soft green levels to the sea. An extremely peculiar branch of husbandry prevails in Lombok ; we mean the rearing of myriads of ducks, which men follow to pasture as shepherds do their flocks, each having in his hand a long rod with a strip of red cloth at the top. This he uses as a whip to direct the motions of his quacking obstreporous subjects, which are driven out early in the morning to the small lakes, ponds, and rivers, and home again at night, when they are housed in sheds erected for the purpose. Lombok is thus
enabled to export vast numbers of ducks and ducks' eggs, which find their way to all the surrounding divisions of the Archipelago.
There is scarcely, however, an island in this prodigious group, which, if our limits permitted us to go into details, would not supply materials for an exceedingly curious picture. With some small sections of Pulo Kalamantan Mr. Brooke's journal has recently familiarised the public ; omit we, therefore, to dwell on those points, on the lead hunting, on the common tenements, on the simplicity displayed inland, on the recklessness and rapacity evinced at sea. We are not in search of excitement, or the picturesque ; but desire to lift, if possible, a corner of the veil which conceals from Europe the infinitely varied resources of the Indian islands. Whether or not it will ever be thought desirable that we should carry on ship building to any great extent in these parts of the world is more than we can foresee ; but should that ever come to be the case, we may certainly command a supply altogether inexhaustible of the most magnificent timber. With the teak forests of Java most persons are already acquainted, but it is not so generally known that Sumbawa likewise furnishes excellent teak, and that many other islands and small groups further east abound with species of timber as yet nameless, which, for size and durability, may possibly come in the end to be preferred to that valuable wood. In many places the trees are twenty feet in cir.. cumference, and rise to a height of cighty feet before they begin to send forth branches.
Another source of wealth will be found in the rich spices which flourish in a thousand places beyond the circle of Dutch monopoly, and might consequently be obtained in any quantity, if we would but give encouragement to the natives to cultivate them. At present they grow wild, in which state the nutmeg especially has comparatively little flavour. The tree is found in Sawarak, in the Sultan of Bornco's territories, and probably throughout Kalamantan, where Mr. Brooke believes it might be brought to perfection. There are those, however, who think differently, as, according to them, both the nutmeg and clove trees will flourish properly only on islands of a certain geological formation, which they believe to be peculiar to the Moluccas. Our own opinion is different. It matters comparatively little, however, whether this be the case or not; as, when commerce comes to thread habitually the innumerable channels of the Archipelago, and quicken the now slumbering energies of its inhabitants, the Dutch monopoly will have to contend with
obstacles and obstructions altogether insurmountable. Smuggling will completely break down its regulations, and cause it to be abandoned by rendering it worthless.
It is not our wish to speak harshly of any neighbouring Government, but we think the crimes of which Holland has been guilty, in order to uphold her monopoly of spices, would, if faithfully described, send a thrill of horror through the whole frame of European society. Of some islands, the whole population has been literally exterminated, while in other places the natives have been reduced to so hopeless a state of slavery, that it
questioned whether, by a braver race, death itself would not be esteemed preferable ; and yet the monopoly is of little value, but is clung to rather as an hereditary and pleasing delusion than as a profitable reality. To keep it up, morcover, our phlegmatic and persevering neighbours have relinquished far more prolific and unquestionable sources of wealth. But this part of the question is theirs, though it may, we think, be doubted whether their excesses in the Moluccas do not call for the animadversion of the civilised world.
But publicity is a great check to crime, whether in individuals or communities. It is probable, therefore, that the Dutch in the Moluccas will be awed into humanity by our presence, as present we must frequently be from the moment that our establishment in Labuan shall be in operation, and our steamers shall begin to run from Singapore to Sidney through Torres Straits.
Our neighbours and their subjects must behold us constantly, if not within the magic circle of the Spice Islands, at least close on its circumference; and, as facts will then speedily ooze out, be carried home, and actively bruited throughout Europe, it is quite impossible that the rigours of their iron system should remain unrelaxed. We know, by the short experience gained at Balambangan, what an establishment in those seas may effect, if properly managed ; and the example of Singapore is infinitely more striking and conclusive. For many years hundreds of Bugis prahus have come from the most distant parts of the Archipelago to our emporium on the Malay Peninsula, bringing along with them all the valuable commodities of the islands; their camphor, their gold, their antimony, their frankincense, their pearls, and their diamonds, and taking in exchange our hardware, woollens, cottons, and silks. These, in spite of storms and piracy, they have regularly distributed through the Archipelago, for the most part avoiding the