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case care was vain,—the poison was inhaled, and frightful convulsions and death ensued. Such were the accounts given by the inhabitants of the island to the various travellers who made inquiries, and the very detailed character of the stories, and the pains taken to obtain information, always resulting in the same account, gave to these statements, however exaggerated and marvellous, an appearance of truth.

There is no doubt but that the very anxious curiosity of the Europeans induced the natives to impose upon their credulity by embellishing their narration. The naturalists of Europe however, unwilling to give credence to the numerous and extraordinary fables which were promulgated on the subject, endeavoured by every means in their power, not only to ascertain correctly the nature of this poison, but to learn with certainty the tree from which it was procured. The strict secresy preserved by the inhabitants of the island of Java and elsewhere, for a long time made every research fruitless. The idle tales, indeed, which had been received were refuted, but no real information was elicited. At length the endeavours of Sir Stamford Raffles were crowned with success; and an account of the tree was given by Dr. Horsfield, in his Memoirs of that indefatigable naturalist, and most amiable and excellent man.

In the year 1834, however, Mr. Spanhogue, who had resided many years in Java, during which time he devoted himself to the study of the natural history of that island, was afterwards appointed Dutch President de compagnie on the island of Timor, where he also discovered the real Upas tree. Several specimens of the poison were brought to him from Sunda and other neighbouring islands. The accounts of both these gentlemen will be blended in the following description, as will also the Memoir of Monsieur Leschenault, published in the 10th volume of the “ Annales du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle.” This gentleman was the first to whom we are indebted for an authentic account of its history and real properties.

The Ipo (Upas tree), or Antiaris toxicaria, grows to a considerable height, sometimes reaching a hundred feet. The trunk of a tree of this size measures about eighteen feet in circumference near the base. It is tolerably straight, with a smoothish white bark and white wood. The leaves are oval; they fall off before the blossoms appear, and do not shoot again till the fruit is ripe. This is something like a plum, of an oval form, velvety, and of a purple colour.

It is somewhat singular to remark that the natural order to which this tree belongs, includes not only the Antiaris toxicaria, the most virulent of all known poisons, but also embraces in its ranks the Fig, the Bread-fruit tree, the Mulberry, and the famous Cow tree, or the Palo de Vaca of South America: a curions instance of the harmless, the wholesome, and the most deleterious united in one order.

The Upas, or Ipo, (a word which, in the native language, signifies vegetable poison,) has been invariably found in fertile spots, surrounded by a profusion of vegetables, which seemed to be entirely uninjured by its proximity. Neither is its neighbourhood hurtful to animals, as Monsieur Leschenault saw lizards and insects upon its trunk, and birds perch upon its branches. of the juice, which flows from an incision of the bark of this tree, is in some instances dangerous in its effects; this property is common to many of the Shumachs and Euphorbias, and the American Manchineel, and especially so to some persons whose skin or constitution is particularly

The vapour

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apt to absorb these emanations, while others are not affected by them.

This was well exemplified by Monsieur Leschenault. This gentleman desired a Javanese to bring him down some flowering branches from the tree. To enable him to climb, the man obliged to make notches in the trunk: he had hardly got up as high as twenty-five feet from the ground, when he became ill, and was compelled to descend. He continued sick for several days, suffering from vertigo, nausea, and vomiting ; while another Javanese, who was desired to do the same thing, climbed to the very top, brought down what was wanted, and suffered no inconveni

Monsieur Leschenault himself caused one of the trees, which was four feet in circumference, to be felled; he walked among its broken branches, and had his face and hands sprinkled with the gum which dropped upon him, without being in any way affected by it. It is true that he took the precaution of washing himself immediately. Dr. Horsfield also mentions that, in clearing grounds near the tree, the inhabitants do not like to approach it, as they dread the cutaneous eruption which it is known to produce when newly cut down. But at all times excepting when the trunk is extensively wounded, or when it is felled-by which a large portion of the juice is disengaged, the effluvium of which, mixing with the atmosphere, affects the persons exposed to it with the symptoms just mentioned—the tree may be approached and ascended like the other trees of the forest. He states, however, that the common people of the island make a species of very coarse cloth from the inner bark, which they wear when working in the fields; but persons clad in this dress, on being exposed to the rain, are affected with an intolerable itching, which renders their flimsy covering almost insupportable. The governor, also, had caps or bonnets prepared from the same bark, stiffened in the usual manner with rice water, and handsomely painted for the purpose of decorating his attendants, but they all refused to wear them, stating that if they did so, the caps would cause the hair to fall off. The manner in which the poison is prepared is as follows:-Either to check the curiosity of strangers, or to magnify the interest which always attaches to those who have undertaken a perilous enterprise, the men who prepare it affect great mys

ence.

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