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country. An island as large as a principality of the usual size, with every natural charm and advantage, and the most fertile soil, lies here in the same torpor as the kingdom to which it belongs.
Umata has an excellent harbour, and would be a fine situation for an improving town. The shore is now, however, merely occupied by a wretched village, and the foundations of a couple of forts, which it had, probably, once been in contemplation to furnish with cannon. The little town is almost entirely hidden by orange-trees, laden with their golden fruit; the houses can only be likened to large bird-cages, composed of bamboo-sticks, freely admitting the fresh air, and standing on a floor, raised from one ell to one ell and a half from the ground, the space
beneath forming a sanctuary for swine and poultry. The whole erection is covered with a roof of plaited cocoa-uut, or other leaves, and the interior of the huts is anything but remarkable for the luxury of fittings or furniture. The exalted ideas we had formed of the natives, from Arago's description of them, became lowered even to the freezing-point. With very far from pleasing exteriors, which sufficiently betrayed their mental inferiority, with countenances expressive only of dulness and stupidity, they possessed neither the Spanish vivacity, and, as it were, natural elasticity, nor the frankness we had found amongst the other islanders. A rosary of beads, and here and there in the huts a picture of the Virgin Mary, gave evin dence that they were faithful Roman Catholics. The church was devoid of all ornament, and the priest also, but there were the usual amount of chanting, processions, genuflexions, signs of the cross, and holy water ; though the children who, singing, carried the cross about the village, did not seem to feel any reverence for their avocation ; in short, religion is here an empty form
The island contains one eity Agagua ; as none of us went to see it, I can tell you nothing about it, but must refer you to Kotzebue's Voyages. It is the residence of the governor, who is sent hither from Spain for a term of five
without any salary, or recompense, except what he can obtain for himself by appropriating to his own use the possessions of the natives, or by selling to his subordinates all sorts of goods at prices fixed by himself, the exclusive monopolist of the sale of all articles of commerce.
The natural appearance of the island was as luxuriant, if not quite so rich in beauty, as that of the other volcanic islands we had seen, and it certainly rivalled them in the impenetrable thickness of its vegetation. When with incredible trouble you had worked, or rather forced your way through these green masses of leaves, branches, and stems, among which it was necessary literally to creep frequently on hands and knees at the risk of being hanged by a portion of your own torn clothes, or by the nooses of the endless parasite plants, and arrived at the elevation where trees no longer grow, you were met with difficulties of another kind. At a distance these hills looked green, smooth, and inviting ; but when more nearly approached, and a pleasant walk up the ascent anticipated, you found nothing but masses of a thick rush-like grass, about two ells bigla, under which you had to crawl along as if in a dark subterranean passage, face, hands, and legs suffering by scratches from the sharp knife-like edges of the leaves, or stings as if from the finest nettles.
Fatigued, bleeding, and what was still worse, without having gathered much to enrich my collections, I at length achieved crossing the ridge of mountain, but only to find myself plunged into a similar thicket upon the other side, without seeing anything of the hut which had formed the
anchor of my hopes. This second valley had also to be got through, and another ridge scaled, before the inhabited hut which had been mentioned as our resting-place was discovered ; but it was so small that it could hardly accommodate its owners and lawful inhabitants, much less four wayfarers seeking for shelter. It was constructed merely of dry leaves and some stakes driven into the ground in the form of a triangle. Here, however, we had to quarter ourselves as best we could, and be contented with having the upper half of our bodies protected by a roof from the rain, which was falling in torrents, and which, in conjunction with the furious wind, quite stiffened that part of our persons which was exposed outside. And yet I shall always remember with pleasure that night, passed in a wretched hut on the summit of the hill above Guaham. The
a poor inmates, with the kindest anxiety, administered to our wants, hurried down to the valley beneath to gather firewood that I might boil some water for a cup of tea, and their gratitude for the little presents I had to make them--of looking-glasses, necklaces, and such trifles--was unbounded. I shared the contents of my wallet with them, and they exerted themselves to the utmost to serve us, and were most anxious to give up their hut to us and sleep outside themselves--a proceeding we had much difficulty in preventing. At the moment that the sun sank beneath the sea-bounded horizon, they all knelt before a simple cross which was erected on the outside of the but, and united in chanting a hymn, which, though deficient in musical knowledge, gave evidence of the sincerity of the belief which made them so peaceful and happy. And when, at a later hour in the evening, another inhabitant of the hut, an athletic young man, had climbed up the bill, the young Josepha threw her arms round his neck, and welcomed him with such cordial affection, that I could not help feeling the conviction that happiness may be found everywhere upon this earth-among the rich and among the pooramong the refined and the uncultivated-in the north and in the southin all places and positions, in short, where truth and contentment dwell,
On the following day I descended the steep mountain and waded through the valley, which was then almost a marsh, from the effects of the heavy rain the previous night, and returned to the frigate. In the evening, we bade farewell-probably for ever-to these ocean isles, which are generally looked upon as part of Australia. Our voyage thence to China was in all respects a pleasant one, and it is probable that we shall remain long enough to keep our Christmas here. How different will not our Christmas be from yours at home! But I must not indulge in such contemplations; the coming year will no doubt restore me to your social circle.
On the morning of the 7th December we reached the entrance to the Canton river, after having long sailed amidst crowds of fishing junks, which, with their sails of plaited mats, and other Chinese peculiarities, formed the prelude to all the strange things we were now to behold. Their number reminded me of the hosts of large boats and small vessels which are to be met with on the coasts of the North Sea-but very dissimilar in their shapes. I will not, however, enter here into a description of their curious forms, as we subsequently saw more remarkable specimens of Chinese ship-building, After having passed the first naked, high, and ugly rocks, we found ourselves soon at the Ladrones, a collection of craggy islands, quite destitute of trees, and forming a sort of reef-barrier, like the Skiærgaard at Götheberg, in all its stiff, heavy uniformity. These islands are the resort, or stronghold, of the notorious pirates whom the Chinese government has never been able to put down, and who, to this day, carry on their system of plunder, and cause much uneasiness and insecurity, as none who are not well armed can dare to offer them any resistance. They do not only swarm on the coasts and out in the Chinese seas, provided with large, strong, swift, well-manned vessels, commanded most frequently by Portuguese, but even audaciously penetrate far up the rivers, without being at all held in check by the numerous but feeble fortresses, and seldom yielding even to a considerably superior force.
The farther we proceeded up the narrow seas the greater became the crowd of boats, crammed with Chinese in their large hats, evincing the redundance of the population, to which indeed every inch of land and foot of water bore witness. After having pursued our course for some miles we found ourselves alongside of Hong-Kong, that English town where we spent our Christmas, and of which I shall by-and-by say more. We despatched a boat to the shore for our letters and to obtain other matters, and while the frigate was lying to, it became surrounded by innumerable small boats, from
which the Chinese clambered up to our deck, offering for sale all manner of things—articles of luxury and articles of food_all very inviting, and also moderate in price. On both sides the poor English language was murdered, and inquisitive glances were exchanged, while in the selecting, cheapening, and haggling that went on, it was difficult to say who played the most interesting part, our Swedish seamen or the Chinese hucksters ; but it was altogether quite a comedy that was enacted on the deck of the frigate. On the return of our boat from shore, we made sail for WHAMPOA. During the first part of our voyage thither we were favoured with the most charming weather, and had an opportunity, therefore, of bestowing our observation on the showy Chinese junks which glided by us. Painted in the most glaring colours, with a large eye delineated on either side near the head of the vessel-for, say the Chinese, “ without eyes one can neither see nor go "—with the stern raised far above the water, with small balconies at the side, and with an unspeakable uproar from the throats and the gongs of the crew, who were never silent, whether at work or at rest, these clumsy barks sped past us, looking like vestiges of bygone ages.
We hastened to gratify our curicsity by making a little excursion on shore; the ground, which, from a distance, looked fresh and green, was, on a nearer inspection—at least in a botanical point of view—extremely poor and uninteresting. Behind a narrow belt of thick reeds, the land stretched out like an earthen mound, and on the other side of that, extending as far as the distant blue hills, were morasses, sometimes dried up, sometimes filled with water, in which a low stubble remained from the mowed-down rice, and where ducks and other feathered creatures were splashing about. In various directions across this half land, half lake, were small footpaths that at short distances from each other were closed by locked gates. Thanks to an obliging Chinese, we were permitted to pass the first of these gates; and although we were told that two Englishmen, the previous day, had been robbed and murdered by the natives, who had very hostile feelings towards all Europeans, we could not bring ourselves to apprehend that we were destined to so unpleasant a fate, but roamed boldly on from one hut to the other.
We were invariably received with much civility; they offered us their
pipes and small bamboo reeds, in one end of which a little tobacco had been inserted; also tea, without sugar or cream, in
small houses were filled with numerous strange-looking articles of furniture, all very small, and almost all made of bamboo, which to the Chinese is as useful as the walrus to the Esquimaux, the reindeer to the Laplander, and the cocoa-nut to the South Sea Islander. On the outside of each house was a stone wall of not large dimensions, in the form of a kitchen
a chimney, within each of which was to be seen the image of some god, and before each idol stood a trough, filled with sand, wherein were small smoking sticks, sending forth a pleasant perfume. Several of the houses were to a certain extent fortified, having long guns and small cannon close to them, with gunpowder on the touch-hole, and surrounded by long spears with iron points—a proof that the inhabitants were on their guard against the robbers, who committed such ravages hereabouts.
Everything that we saw here was extraordinary in the highest degree. Our principal impression was, that, however poor these huts might seem to be, they all contained much wealth in the effects that minister to the comfort of life, and that it was impossible to doubt the superiority of the Chinese in this respect. We have been accustomed to look
their utensils with the same feeling of contempt with which we look back upon those of our forefathers, while we laud our advanced civilisation, which has released us from the use of all these inconvenient instruments which now belong to antiquity. But to comprehend the peculiarities of the Chinese, we must seek another scale than the one which is common among us. Their light, loose dress, the same for women as for men, does not impede the free action of the limbs ; their large bamboo hats serve both as parasols and umbrellas, and their thick-soled shoes custom makes it easy for them to walk in. All the Chinese with whom we came in contact were very sociable; there was a degree of childishness and gentleness about them that was somewhat interesting, and they were very cleanly in their persons. They seemed to look at us and our clothing with as much curiosity as we did at them and theirs. I have often heard of the thievishness and duplicity of their disposition, and that for the slightest gain they will stoop to any meanness. Is cheating a native Chinese vice? Or is it not more probable that it has been imported from Europe by the bad representatives which that continent sends to China ? All travellers who have penetrated at all inland agree in describing the natives as an hospitable, peaceable, and open-hearted people.
Our last day's voyage up to Whampoa was between low shores, on which every
here and there closely-built towns were to be seen. The frigate was constantly surrounded by innumerable junks and mandarin boats of all kinds, and whenever it stopped there was the greatest confusion among
them. We remained till the 23rd of December at Whampoa, that the ship might be thoroughly smartened up, and in the interval one or more of our boats went up daily to Canton, which lay at the distance of about twelve miles from it.
The Chinese are a thrifty, thoughtful nation; they do not leave a single inch of their land unemployed ; the lower tracts are devoted to rice grounds and meadow land, the higher and barren rocks to places of sepulture. We saw no towns occupying wide, extensive spaces, but only narrow strips of land along the shore. Whampoa is divided into two
Oct.-VOL. CXI. NO. CCCCXLII.
parts, the older and the newer; both consist principally of one single narrow, winding street, almost covered in by the projecting roofs of the low houses. On my first landing I was astonished at the crowd of people that moved about in so little room, at the mass of goods that lay heaped up in the shops, at the marvellous arrangement of everything, at the many small idol-houses, at the dwelling-houses, dresses—in short, at all on which my eye rested; but after having seen the same on a greater scale at Canton, I shall not give any further description of Whampoa. The burial-places up on the hills show the same difference between the last homes of the rich and the poor as exist among our own. The poor have not the means of procuring stone tombs ; merely a recess in the ground, formed in the shape of a half circle, points out the spot where the sons of poverty repose. The rich, on the contrary, have walls of freestone, about an ell in height, raised above their graves, with a smooth stone in the centre, on which is engraved, along with some device, the rank, age, and other particulars respecting the inmate of the tomb. The burying-places of the mandarins are distinguished by being of a height about equal to that of a common sized flagstaff
. The Chinese show great respect to their dead. Not to leave a son behind who can sorrow over their grave is considered a sad misfortune; and the mourning ceremonies, which are numerous, are not observed merely at the funeral of the deceased, but for a certain time after it. A story is told of a rich man in Canton, that three years elapsed before, in all the Chinese dominions, a place could be found holy enough to bury him in, and in the interim large sums were paid to the priests to keep the body in one of the gods’ houses, in which it had been deposited for the time being, and where prayers for the departed soul were continually read over it.
A DAY IN YORK. I visited York on a bright day in the August of the present year, when the repose of that usually quiet old city was broken by a great meeting - an agricultural, horticultural, and archæological invasion. Fat beeves and mysterious clod-compelling engines gathered wondering rustics in the streets and aristocratic patrons in the show-ground; graceful forms in gay attire moved within the ancient shadows of York; and gay, cheerful groups were scattered on the soft turf of those charming gardens which were once the secluded pleasance of the black-robed monks, but now surround the Museum of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society; while in the Museum itself a multitude of curious objects, from Saurian fossils to Shakspearian relics, had been gathered in honour of the occasion.
My journey to the old city was made through a country marked by many historical associations, and, like York itself, by the successive footsteps of the Britons and the Romans, the Saxons and the Danes. I left the smoky town of Newcastle as the sun's level rays fell upon its massive Norman keep and well-known spire, and saw the distant wood-environed towers of Durham stand out grandly against a sky irradiated by rich hues
and next, the plain tall spire of Darlington marked the southern limit of St. Cuthbert's ancient halidom; and then the cultivated plains and woods, church towers, and distant hills of Yorkshire were seen in a