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- The Malay Archipelago - 2/54 -

and immediately afterwards my bed shook too, so that for an instant I imagined myself back in New Guinea, in my fragile house, which shook when an old cock went to roost on the ridge; but remembering that I was now on a solid earthen floor, I said to myself, "Why, it's an earthquake," and lay still in the pleasing expectation of another shock; but none came, and this was the only earthquake I ever felt in Ternate.

The last great one was in February 1840, when almost every house in the place was destroyed. It began about midnight on the Chinese New Year's festival, at which time every one stays up nearly all night feasting at the Chinamen's houses and seeing the processions. This prevented any lives being lost, as every one ran out of doors at the first shock, which was not very severe. The second, a few minutes afterwards, threw down a great many houses, and others, which continued all night and part of the next day, completed the devastation. The line of disturbance was very narrow, so that the native town a mile to the east scarcely suffered at all. The wave passed from north to south, through the islands of Tidore and Makian, and terminated in Batchian, where it was not felt till four the following afternoon, thus taking no less than sixteen hours to travel a hundred miles, or about six miles an hour. It is singular that on this occasion there was no rushing up of the tide, or other commotion of the sea, as is usually the case during great earthquakes.

The people of Ternate are of three well-marked races the Ternate Malays, the Orang Sirani, and the Dutch. The first are an intrusive Malay race somewhat allied to the Macassar people, who settled in the country at a very early epoch, drove out the indigenes, who were no doubt the same as those of the adjacent mainland of Gilolo, and established a monarchy. They perhaps obtained many of their wives from the natives, which will account for the extraordinary language they speak--in some respects closely allied to that of the natives of Gilolo, while it contains much that points to a Malayan origin. To most of these people the Malay language is quite unintelligible, although such as are engaged in trade are obliged to acquire it. "Orang Sirani," or Nazarenes, is the name given by the Malays to the Christian descendants of the Portuguese, who resemble those of Amboyna, and, like them, speak only Malay. There are also a number of Chinese merchants, many of them natives of the place, a few Arabs, and a number of half-breeds between all these races and native women. Besides these there are some Papuan slaves, and a few natives of other islands settled here, making up a motley and very puzzling population, till inquiry and observation have shown the distinct origin of its component parts.

Soon after my first arrival in Ternate I went to the island of Gilolo, accompanied by two sons of Mr. Duivenboden, and by a young Chinaman, a brother of my landlord, who lent us the boat and crew. These latter were all slaves, mostly Papuans, and at starting I saw something of the relation of master and slave in this part of the world. The crew had been ordered to be ready at three in the morning, instead of which none appeared till five, we having all been kept waiting in the dark and cold for two hours. When at length they came they were scolded by their master, but only in a bantering manner, and laughed and joked with him in reply. Then, just as we were starting, one of the strongest men refused to go at all, and his master had to beg and persuade him to go, and only succeeded by assuring him that I would give him something; so with this promise, and knowing that there would be plenty to eat and drink and little to do, the black gentleman was induced to favour us with his company and assistance. In three hours' rowing and sailing we reached our destination, Sedingole, where there is a house belonging to the Sultan of Tidore, who sometimes goes there hunting. It was a dirty ruinous shed, with no furniture but a few bamboo bedsteads. On taking a walk into the country, I saw at once that it was no place for me. For many miles extends a plain covered with coarse high grass, thickly dotted here and there with trees, the forest country only commencing at the hills a good way in the interior. Such a place would produce few birds and no insects, and we therefore arranged to stay only two days, and then go on to Dodinga, at the narrow central isthmus of Gilolo, whence my friends would return to Ternate. We amused ourselves shooting parrots, lories, and pigeons, and trying to shoot deer, of which we saw plenty, but could not get one; and our crew went out fishing with a net, so we did not want for provisions. When the time came for us to continue our journey, a fresh difficulty presented itself, for our gentlemen slaves refused in a body to go with us; saying very determinedly that they would return to Ternate. So their masters were obliged to submit, and I was left behind to get to Dodinga as I could. Luckily I succeeded in hiring a small boat, which took me there the same night, with my two men and my baggage.

Two or three years after this, and about the same length of time before I left the East, the Dutch emancipated all their slaves, paying their owners a small compensation. No ill results followed. Owing to the amicable relations which had always existed between them and their masters, due no doubt in part to the Government having long accorded them legal rights and protection against cruelty and ill-usage, many continued in the same service, and after a little temporary difficulty in some cases, almost all returned to work either for their old or for new, masters. The Government took the very proper step of placing every emancipated slave under the surveillance of the police- magistrate. They were obliged to show that they were working for a living, and had some honestly-acquired means of existence. All who could not do so were placed upon public works at low wages, and thus were kept from the temptation to peculation or other crimes, which the excitement of newly-acquired freedom, and disinclination to labour, might have led them into.




I MADE but few and comparatively short visits to this large and little known island, but obtained a considerable knowledge of its natural history by sending first my boy Ali, and then my assistant, Charles Allen, who stayed two or three months each in the northern peninsula, and brought me back large collections of birds and insects. In this chapter I propose to give a sketch of the parts which I myself visited. My first stay was at Dodinga, situated at the head of a deep-bay exactly opposite Ternate, and a short distance up a little stream which penetrates a few miles inland. The village is a small one, and is completely shut in by low hills.

As soon as I arrived, I applied to the head man of the village for a house to live in, but all were occupied, and there was much difficulty in finding one. In the meantime I unloaded my baggage on the beach and made some tea, and afterwards discovered a small but which the owner was willing to vacate if I would pay him five guilders for a month's rent. As this was something less than the fee-simple value of the dwelling, I agreed to give it him for the privilege of immediate occupation, only stipulating that he was to make the roof water-tight. This he agreed to do, and came every day to tally and look at me; and when I each time insisted upon his immediately mending the roof according to contract, all the answer I could get was, "Ea nanti," (Yes, wait a little.) However, when I threatened to deduct a quarter guilder from the rent for every day it was not done, and a guilder extra if any of my things were wetted, he condescended to work for half an hour, which did all that was absolutely necessary.

On the top of a bank, of about a hundred feet ascent from the water, stands the very small but substantial fort erected by the Portuguese. Its battlements and turrets have long since been overthrown by earthquakes, by which its massive structure has also been rent; but it cannot well be thrown down, being a solid mass of stonework, forming a platform about ten feet high, and perhaps forty feet square. It is approached by narrow steps under an archway, and is now surmounted by a row of thatched hovels, in which live the small garrison, consisting of, a Dutch corporal and four Javanese soldiers, the sole representatives of the Netherlands Government in the island. The village is occupied entirely by Ternate men. The true indigenes of Gilolo, "Alfuros" as they are here called, live on the eastern coast, or in the interior of the northern peninsula. The distance across the isthmus at this place is only two miles, and there, is a good path, along which rice and sago are brought from the eastern villages. The whole isthmus is very rugged, though not high, being a succession of little abrupt hills anal valleys, with angular masses of limestone rock everywhere projecting, and often almost blocking up the pathway. Most of it is virgin forest, very luxuriant and picturesque, and at this time having abundance of large scarlet Ixoras in flower, which made it exceptionally gay. I got some very nice insects here, though, owing to illness most of the time, my collection was a small one, and my boy Ali shot me a pair of one of the most beautiful birds of the East, Pitta gigas, a lame ground-thrush, whose plumage of velvety black above is relieved by a breast of pure white, shoulders of azure blue, and belly of vivid crimson. It has very long and strong legs, and hops about with such activity in the dense tangled forest, bristling with rocks, as to make it very difficult to shoot.

In September 1858, after my return from New Guinea, I went to stay some time at the village of Djilolo, situated in a bay on the northern peninsula. Here I obtained a house through the kindness of the Resident of Ternate, who sent orders to prepare one for me. The first walk into the unexplored forests of a new locality is a moment of intense interest to the naturalist, as it is almost sure to furnish him with something curious or hitherto unknown. The first thing I saw here was a flock of small parroquets, of which I shot a pair, and was pleased to find a most beautiful little long-tailed bird, ornamented with green, red, and blue colours, and quite new to me. It was a variety of the Charmosyna placentis, one of the smallest and most elegant of the brush-tongued lories. My hunters soon shot me several other fine birds, and I myself found a specimen of the rare and beautiful day-flying moth, Cocytia d'Urvillei.

The village of Djilolo was formerly the chief residence of the Sultans of Ternate, till about eighty years ago, when at the request of the Dutch they removed to their present abode. The place was then no doubt much more populous, as is indicated by the wide extent of cleared land in the neighbourhood, now covered with coarse high grass, very disagreeable to walk through, and utterly barren to the naturalist. A few days' exploring showed me that only some small patches of forest remained for miles wound, and the result was a scarcity of insects and a very limited variety of birds, which obliged me to change my locality. There was another village called Sahoe, to which there was a road of about twelve miles overland, and this had been recommended to me

The Malay Archipelago - 2/54

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