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their course to their respective homes. We arrived at Hwuy Taou before noon, and immediately embarked for the ships, which we reached at three P. M. We learned from Mr. Nrcsorou that after our departure, and while the boat was still aground, a number of Mandarinscame down, and carried of!‘ almost every thing that was on board, but the whole was returned after the boat was floated down below the bridge. As we had no explanation of the matter, we concluded that this proceeding might have been intended for the protection of the property from plunder by the people of the town. We found that one of the seed contractors had despatched a quantity of Bohea seeds, arrived during our absence, with a letter stating expectation of being able to send a further supply and to procure cultivators, who would join the ship in the 11th or 12th month. On the same evening [embarked on the Fairy, and reached Lintin on Monday the 17th November, with my tea seeds, just one week after our landing at Hwuy Taou to explore the Hwuy tea hills. I have been more minute in my details of this little expedition, than may at first sight appear needful, with the view of showing the precise degree and kind of danger and difliculty attending such attempts. Our expectation was, at leaving the ship, that we should reach the head of the bay by nine or 10 o'clock A. M. and attain a considerable distance from Hwuy Taou the same day, and thus have a chance of passing without attracting the notice of any of the Wanfoo or Government officers. Had we waited to ask their permission it would of course have been refused, and we should have been directed in the most authoritative manner to return to the ship. \Ve were not a little alarmed when aground in the morning, lest the old gentleman who measured our boat should have deemed it his duty to intercept our progress; but we took care to go on with preparations for our march, as if nothing of the kind was apprehended. It is this sort of conduct alone that will succeed in China. Any sign of hesitation is fatal. Had we shown any marks of alarm, every one would have kept aloof for fear of being implicated in the danger which we seemed to dread; on the other hand, a confident bearing, and the testimony borne by the manner in which we were armed, that we would not passively allow ourselves to be plundered by authority, inspired the like confidence in all those with whom we had to do; for the rest of the narrative shows that from the people left to themselves we experienced nothing but marks of the utmost kindness and good nature, except indeed, where money was to be got :-there the Chinese, like the people of other countries, were ready enough to take advantage of the ignorance of strangers, though with such afluent command of the language as Mr. Gurznsrr possessed he was able to P
save us from much fleecing in that way. I need scarcely add, that no‘ good can result from an attempt to penetrate into the interior of China. by a party of foreigners, unless some one of them has at least a moderate facility in expressing himself in conversation with the people.
IV.-—Observations on an Article in Loudon’s Magazine of Natural History, on the subject of the Albatross. By Lieut. THOMAS HUTTON, 37th Regt. N. I.
tural History, a contributor observes : “ COLEIHDGE somewhere in his wild and magical ‘Rime of the Antient Mariner,’ says of the Albatross, whom he introduces as a bird of Omen.”
" At length did cross an Albatross,
As if it had been a Christian soul,
“ It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
The ice did split with a thunder-fit,
“ And a good south-wind sprung up behind,
And every day for food or play,
Came to the mariners’ hollo.”
" Had this Albatross been a sea-gull, the above might have been fact, as well as fancy.”
To which another writer adds, at page 37 2 of the 34th Number.
“ And not less so, it may be remarked, if it be presumed, that COLERIDE ac. tually speaks of the Albatross itself. This bird is one of the Laridae, or gull tribe ; and as our correspondent Mr. MAIN has in person remarked to us, ‘ every voyager round the Cape of Good Hope may have observed it to follow and fly round the passing vessel from day to day.’ He added, ‘ this large bird seems to subsist on any animal matter which floats on the water. In their following of ships they are easily caught by a strong hook baited with a hit of pork or beef.Their body appears emaciated, being mall in proportion to the size of their plumage ; as the wings, when extended, measure 9 or 10 feet from tip to tip. They appear to be very stupid birds, perhaps from being broken-hearted, from the paucity of food they meet with 800 miles from the nearest land.’
“ Dr. Anuorr, as quoted by Mr. Rnmvra, remarks, ‘ How powerful must be the wing muscles of birds which sustain themselves in the sky for many hours I The great Albatross, with wings extended 14 feet or more, is seen in the stormy solitudes of the southern ocean, accompanying ships for whole days, without ever resting on the waves.’ "
“Mr. Mam, whom apprehension of exceeding the truth always leads to speak within bounds, gives above the spread of the wings at 9 or 10 feet ; Dr. ABNOT1‘;
as appears by Mr. RENNIE’S quotation, at ‘ 14 feet or more ;' while the specimen in the Zoological Society’s Museum in Bruton Street, and we have seen this spes cimen, is set down in the Society’s catalogue, where a picture of it is given at the following dimensions :—‘ Length from tip of bill to extremity of tail 3 feet 4 inches, expansion of wings, 9 feet.’ The mean of these three statements of the spread of the wings of the Albatross is 10 feet 10 inches ‘*: and although true, without doubt, is the proverb ‘ medio tutissimus ibis,’ we care less about the precise dimensions, than to show that the expansion is on all hands admitted to be great. This great expansion of wings, and that wonderful provision in the physiology of birds, by which they are enabled to charge and fill every bone in their body with rarified air, to promote and secure as by a series of balloons their buoyancy ; and together with the comparative smallness, and therefore lightness of the body, of the Albatross, in part prepare us to give credence to a supposition entertained by some, that this bird sleeps while on the wing, and the great distance from any land at which it is frequently seen towards the close of day farther favours the supposition.
“This power of sleeping in the air has been alluded to by THOMAS Moons in his beautiful Eastern poem of Lalla Rookh, when describing a rocky mountain beetling awfully o'er the sea of Oman, he says: '
‘ While on its peak, that braved the sky,
That oft the sleeping Albatross,
Struck the wild ruins with her wing,
“ The Albatross is doubtless spoken of in the following facts, told us by a sai. lor friend, now dead and gone: ‘A very large bird, sometimes alights on the yards of vessels passing the coast of the Cape of Good Hope, and no sooner is it upon the yards, than it is asleep, and while sleeping, is very easily captured. When upon the deck, it cannot soar into the air, on account of the length of its wings. It makes a loud and disagreeable noise when molested. It is called ‘ the Booby’ by the crew.
“ The term Booby is, we have since been told, commonly applied by sailors to any long-winged bird, of a whitish colour ; although in the above case of the Albatross, the term would seem to express its incautious or booby-like habit of going to sleep within reach of molestation ; a habit which those who scout the
idea of the bird's sleeping in the air will impute to the desperateness of its necessity.”
* I am informed by a gentleman at this station, who came out on the “ William Fairlie,” that an Albatross was shot on the 23rd March, in lat. 26' 57’ south, long. 29‘ 9' west, which was wholly white, with the exception of a few feathers clouded with pale-brown on the wings. It measured 12 feet from tip to tip of the wings. On the 8th April, five more were shot in lat. 37' 18' south, long. 14° 26' east. The flesh was good, and not at all fishy to the taste. It was dry and insipid.
As there are several points in this paper on which the writer seems to be misinformed, and which are rather far-fetched, I have ventured to draw a few strictures on it, and to add an extract from a Journal which I kept during a voyage from England to Calcutta.
First then, speaking of Albatrosses, the writer says, “ They appear to be stupid birds, perhaps from being broken-hearted from the paucity Qffood, &-c. &-c."
The body of the Albatross, when cleared from the plumage, is certainly very small, and appears out of proportion to the great size of the bird in length and breadth ; but, at the same time, though small in size, the two birds which I dissected were extremely plump and fleshy, bearing no signs of a paucity of food, of which there is an abundance, for who that has rounded the Cape has not seen the shoals of flying fish which ever and anon rise from the water as the ship disturbs them in her course. Fish, Mollusca, and Medusaa form the food of the Albatross.
Why then should he break his heart at the thoughts of starvation! 1
Again, “ The great Albatross, with wings extended &-c. is said to accompany ships for whole days without ever resting on the waves.”
Here I would remark, that his not having been seen to settle, is no proof that he did not do so, during these whole days, to say nothing of the intervening nights—inasmuch as, it is very unlikely that he was watched for whole days incessantly by any person, and those who have been to sea, and have paid attention to these birds, must acknowledge that they do not merely “ fly round the ship,” but extend their flight far away over the boundless deep, and are lost to sight, ever and anon returning to the ship in their restless search for food.
Besides, the Albatross does not feed on the wing, but as far as my experience carries me, invariably settles on the water before taking his prey ;-—therefore it follows that for “ whole days" he does not feed. No wonder his heart is broken, and his body emaciated. But surely the writer could never suppose that the almighty and merciful Creator, who has so fully provided for the wants of all his creatures, would neglect to supply the wandering Albatross, and doom it to pine away in misery and a state of half-starvation!
Next comes a supposition, that the bird sleeps on the wing, and that the great distance from land at which it is seen at close of day is thought to favour the supposition ; in support of which, a pretty quotation from Moon: is brought in, to prove, that “ castles built in air,” are as likely to ‘break the rest of the wandering Albatross, as of man, his lord and master !
Now the Albatross being a seabird, and furnished with webbed
‘feet-what hinders it from sleeping on the waves like other water‘fowls 2’
Is not motion the effect of will? And does not sleep seal up our eyes in forgetfulnessi How then can the Albatross continue its flight, when the will to move its pinions, and direct its course, is lost in sleep P The quotation proves the absurdity of the supposition by
-showing that the bird is “ running his head against a wall !” What
the wandering Albatross may do near land I cannot say, but at sea I never saw one rise so high even as the yards of the ship, although the Sooty Albatross (Diomedeafuliginosa) very frequently did.
With regard to the bird or birds which sailors call a " Booby*,” I can say little, as I never had the good fortune to see one captured; but certainly frorti its flight and appearance at a distance, I should pronounce it to be a gull or petrel, but decidedly not an Albatross ; here, however, I speak at random, and shall be happy to receive correction if necessary, Be it what it may, I cannot understand what “ desperate necessity" there is for the bird’s sleeping on board of ship, when it has a fine smooth sea to rest on, and a pair of good broad webbed feet, and a thick impenetrable plumage, made for the very purpose of enabling it to rest on the waters ; we know that all water
~fowl resort to the land occasionally, and the Booby, being some
hundreds of miles at sea, may choose to rest on the only solid footing it can find, in order to break the dull monotony of a daily seat on salt-water !
But joking apart, may I not ask, on what did the Booby rest, before ships had made the passage round the Cape ? unless they could sleep on the water, their necessities must have been much more disperate than in the present day !
To the trivial names applied by sailors and casual observers, to these birds, I attach no value whatever, as I have seen the folly of trusting to such names; for instance, one of the Albatrosses which I caught on my last voyage to India, was termed by the officers of the ship, “ a Mollymawk,” and they laughed at the idea of its being an Albatross, merely because in size and plumage it did not agree with the bird which they were accustomed to term an Albatross. Nevertheless, it is a true Albatross! Another bird, the Sooty Albatross, was named " a Peeroo !”
’* On 2nd May, “ a Booby” was caught asleep on the rigging of the “ William Fairlie.” It had the plumage wholly brown, and not white, as stated in London. On being seized, it disgorged “ five flying fish,” all of good size. Does not this prove that there is no scarcity offood I