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leveloped tempt whichslanders, primitive med
with its stupendous mountains, lay before him ; Celebes, with its verdant grass-lands and wide forests; and Java, whose hillslopes present the extraordinary appearance of a succession of crops ; in one field just sprouting from the earth; in the next giving the best evidence of vigor ; in a third, waving in green masses ; in a fourth, just tinged with yellow, and so on, until the rich golden crop stretches its flowing surface along the warmer slopes. Thus the various processes of agriculture are continually being carried on, from the sowing of the seed to the reaping and gathering up of the corn into sheaves. Struck by this spectacle, the traveller inquired, visited the scenes he was enraptured with, observed the wild and primitive modes of life prevailing among the Indian islanders, and finally determined on making an attempt which has been glorious in its already greatly-developed success, and even in failure could not have been regarded without admiration,
Further accounts reached England. It was made known that Mr. Brooke, in the face of numerous obstacles, had permanently established himself at Sarawak; that the inexhaustible resources of Borneo, and its companion islands, were no longer matter of doubt; that the soil was fruitful, that the natural productions were various and of great value, and that, in short, nothing was wanting, save the spirit of enterprise, to ensure the creation of an extensive commercial system in the Oriental Archipelago. Gradually, the dense clouds of ignorance began to melt beneath the light cast on them from the West, and by slow but sure degrees the veil has been lifted, revealing to the gaze of Europe a succession of islands, more magnificent and fertile than those that stud the seas in any other quarter of the globe. The numerous works which have appeared upon the subject have performed their share, though much of the knowledge which has been so widely diffused, may be said to have flowed through the broad and deep channel of popular and periodical literature.
The present series of views, copiously illustrated with letterpress, is well calculated to familiarise the mind with the various phases under which nature developes herself in the Indian Archipelago. The first drawing represents Kini Balu, a lofty mountain on the north-west coast of Borneo. Its stupendous heights have never yet been ascended, and the mystery which consequently hangs around its many-peaked head, has given rise to numerous traditional tales, which, related in the earliest periods, have been handed down through successive generations, moulded and modified according to the impress of the time. It is said, that unknown races of men dwell within the circumference of that great ring of clouds which constantly
hangs round the head of Kini Balu, and among the numerous pinnacles of the mountain is situated a valley so abundant, that the inhabitants need no other source from whence to draw subsistence for themselves, and the tribes scattered along the upper slopes. To such accounts, however, little importance is to be attached. Although they do not bear on the face of them the impress even of improbability, for we must remember that the same tradition which tells this story, embodies the history of the colonization of the surrounding provinces by the Chinese, many ages since. Made up of the marvellous and ridiculous, this relation has been handed down for centuries, and is believed at the present day, with as much faith as ever. Of the lands which extend southward, from behind Kini Balu, more credible accounts are afforded. A prodigious lake is described as stretching to an immense distance in the interior. Its expanse is so broad, that, standing on one side, you cannot see the opposite shores. Numerou: islands, for the most part the retreat only of aquatic birds, dot thu surface of the water, while the borders of the lake, verdant an, beautiful, are covered with villages and hamlets, and adornet with groves and gardens, not excelled in loveliness by the riches scenes ever described by the traveller in continental India Beyond the huge mountain, ridges, not barren and naked, but fertile as the plains whence they ascend, and enormous forests, add a boldness to the landscape. Throughout almost the whole Archipelago, the same rich features meet the eye. Stupendous ranges of hills cross and re-cross the level regions, some towering abruptly to an immense height, and thrusting their numerous peaks above the clouds, and others rising by gentle degrees, and covered to their utmost summit with vegetation, as abundant and rich as is to be found in the softest and most fertile valleys. Broad plains, dotted with villages and towns, cultivated with elaborate care, and watered by magnificent rivers, alternate with interminable sweeps of jungle, so dense and rank, that the navigator, while observing at a distance the shores of the various islands, has often been betrayed into the belief that he was gazing on extensive meadow-lands, while in reality, the deceptive appearance was occasioned by the manner in which the jungles grow; the plants rising in so close companionship, that they form, for many miles, a sea, as it were, of foliage of every species and kind, impervious to the rays of the hottest sun.
The various descriptions and views with which we are here presented of Sarawak and its vicinity, afford a correct idea of The numerous fine displays of nature there spread out before the view. The limits of drawing, however, can seldom realise all the features of an eastern landscape, where the richness and variety of the colours which alternately prevail form conspicuous and important elements in the scenery. Gorgeous views, and rare combinations of the grand and the lovely, the stupendous and the gently picturesque, are not all that we are to look for in Sarawak. Its fertile soil is adapted to the growth of rice, sago, camphor, the cocoa palm, the mangusteen, the date palm, the aloes tree, with the nutmeg, the clove, and the cinnamon, with an infinite variety of other productions, which might easily form the materials of a great and lucrative commerce in the eastern seas. Minerals of different kinds — gold, copper, and antimony abound, while diamondmines are to be sought for between the spurs of nearly all the mountains, and on the banks of many rivers and streams. At Santah, where Mr. Brooke has a plantation of nutmegs, an establishment has been formed for the purpose of working a very productive mine. When the resources of the province are amply developed, we may hope to see manufactories spring into existence, and behold the progress of our industry, now restricted within the limits of necessity.
The races which inhabit the valuable territory of Sarawak are of various names and character. The Orang Idan are somewhat more inclined to peaceful pursuits than their bolder neighbours, though crafty and superstitious to the last degree. The Malays are not over honest, but enterprising, and industrious in whatever calling they betake themselves to, whether piracy or trade. To them succeed the Chinese, the very scum and dregs of the Celestial Empire, thieves and vagabonds, almost without exception, yet laborious and persevering. Mr. Brooke finds it more difficult to manage these men, than any other class over whom his sway extends. They work well and earn sufficient livelihoods, yet cheat at every opportunity. The plan succeeded before our countryman became rajah; but his keen-sighted and determined policy immediately showed them under whose rule they were ; and finding knavery not so practicable now as of yore, the number of old settlers is diminishing, though an influx of new emigrants is continually taking place. The Cochin-Chinese form another division of the population of Sarawak. Of the others, we can only here pause to mention the indigenous Dyak, rnde and simple mannered, ignorant, wild in his habits, and accustomed to savage and bloody practices; possessed, notwithstanding, of a willing and amiable disposition, often perverted, it is true, by the barbarity amid which he was born and nurtured, yet offering fair promise of success to the missionary of the Christian faith, and the emissaries of civilisation.
The artist now transports us to Labuan, where the ceremony
of hoisting the British flag took lace on the 24th of December, 1846. Regarding the future success of our new settlement little doubt can be entertained. The wealth and resources of the surrounding islands are well known, though there are not wanting those who consider the trifling expense we have been at, in laying the foundation of future power in the Archipelago, to have been entirely thrown away. The island of Labuan,' says Mr. St. John, probably destined to rival Singapore in importance, is about twenty-five miles in circumference, and occupies a commanding position at the mouth of the Borneo river. It rises in places to the height of seventy feet above the level of the sea, and is almost entirely covered with a dense forest Of the different species of trees it possesses, little is known, except that some of them attain to a great magnitude, and that on several points of the shore, the species of laurel which produces camphor is found. The island is traversed by numerous streams, of wbich some are of considerable dimensions, though two only appear to flow at all seasons of the year. The rest are torrents, which become dry in the depths of the hot season. Water, how. ever, is found everywhere, by digging, in great: abundance and of excellent quality. In several places the streams are found running over beds of coal, and in a ravine, or small valley, towards the north, there exists a fine waterfall. On this part of the coast the woods stretch down to the very edge of the sea, whose waves roll inward, and break against the shore beneath their outstretched boughs. The rattans, from which the natives make cordage for their boats, are very numerous and valuable. The sea in the vicinity of the island abounds with fish of a superior quality, and between two and three hundred men, who subsist entirely by fishing, constituted, before our arrival, its only population. Their numbers are increasing rapidly, and when the coal mines begin to be worked, the island will swarm with inhabitants.
In addition to the impulse which the establishment of a British settlement in the immediate track of commerce, must give to the trade of the Indian Archipelago, the check which that settlement, properly organised, and efficiently defended, must give to the piratical system of the eastern seas, should also be taken into consideration. For many years the formidable pirate fleets which annually range along every shore, and thread every group of islands, have committed incalculable ravages, desolating the coast towns, carrying away the inhabitants, intercepting the trading craft, and plundering every vessel not fortunate enough to escape, either murdering the crews, or conducting them into slavery. There is no estimating the prodigious extent to which this system has been carried. Every island in the Archipelago has annually sent forth its pirates. The Sulu group is under the dominion of a freebooting sovereign, who encourages his subjects in the perpetration of every species of atrocity. The great Bay of Illanun, on the northern coast of Magindanao, is the abode of a race of men wholly given to piracy. Their system is not that of petty searobbers, who plunder each man for his own benefit; on the coutrary, they have laws and preserve them rigorously, sharing their spoil by rule. Gilolo, Luconia, Celebes, and all the other less known islands, send forth their buccaneers; while in Borneo, every river, gulf, bay, creek, inlet, and promontory, afforded, until lately, a retreat for pirates, whose depredations were carried on to an extraordinary extent. The more powerful chiefs, besides preying upon the surrounding tribes, and exacting unjust tribute in slaves and money from those over whom they possessed no right, save that of superior strength, equipped and despatched to sea large fleets to swell the number of the pirate vessels which constantly scour the Archipelago, crossing and recrossing the great highways of commerce, plundering the defenceless traders, and carrying the crews to bondage.
Nor only to native vessels were these depredations confined. A gentleman, resident on an island in the Sulu group, men. tions, in a list he furnishes of the prizes brought in within the six months, several Spanish and Dutch square-rigged ships, with innumerable smaller craft under European command; and one or two triumphs over the British flag are also enumerated. The number of native boats stated as having been seized would, at first sight, appear incredible, did we not know the formidable extent to which the buccaneering system has been carried. Every year brought new additions to its strength, and had it not been for the timely check given within the last year or two, by the appearance of the British flag in these seas, there is no imagining how far the power of the pirate kings of the Indian Archipelago would have extended. Severe, however, as was the punishment inflicted on the freebooters of Borneo, by Keppel, Cochrane, and Mundy, little permanent good could have been hoped for, had not the decisive and spirited policy of the British government led to our taking possession of Labuan, and hoisting the English flag in the very centre, as it were, of the great pirate nest. Formerly, it was the practice of the buccaneers to congregate in considerable force at this island, which lying, as it does, in the direct track of the trading fleets, in which the peaceful communities constantly stake their whole wealth, afforded them good opportunity for putting out to sea, just at the moment when the unarmed vessels were gliding slowly along the waves which roll on the north western shores of