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practically, the thing needed is the presence of our flag in their seas, as a terror to pirates, and a tranquillising assurance to the orderly and industrious. Wherever there is a social system presided over by rulers of English birth, or of English training; wherever there is a fair institution of an English habit of mind and manners, there should be means of appeal to English protection or countenance. If there is always such a resource plentifully provided where we have established ourselves at our own pleasure and by our own power, why not when we are present by invitation, and by the free choice of the inhabitants ? If there is protection for us by sea and land when we impose the institutions, and order the industry, and control the affairs of the people we would civilise, why not when the institutions and the industry and the interests of native society grow up from indigenous roots ? This is the point which seems never to have been explained ; and all that can be conjectured from the confused and vacillating resistance made by successive administrations to the demand of the friends of those Eastern races is that Government dreads being involved in rash schemes of colonisation or annexation, rendering England responsible for the destinies of obscure races, which spread over a great part of the Eastern Archipelago, and expose us to collision with any ambitious or mercenary Power which may be jealous of our entrance upon that scene.
There should have been no confusion of ideas, or vacillation of purpose about this matter for a long time past, because there has been no choice about our appearance on the scene. glance at the map makes this very clear. A quarter of a century ago, the eminent hydrographer of a foreign government put his finger on Singapore, then recently risen from being a sordid fishing hamlet, frightful to all observers from the roaring of tigers, and the scorching of fevers, and said that the holders and improvers of Singapore would prove to be the possessors of the key of the whole wealth of the East. We now see that much of the value of Singapore will, sooner or later, lie in its being the avenue to Borneo, and the groups of islands amidst which it holds its place as a very centre of wealth. Borneo has fine harbours, fit to be not only the refuge of our ships in the storms of the tropical seas, but the rendezvous of our naval and merchant service, when either assumes the proportions indicated by the growth of our colonial empire. Borneo is the proper station for telegraphic communication, when we shall have carried our wires from London into the Southern seas. Borneo contains coal along its whole western coast, by which we may keep our steam fleets going very cheaply, at that vast
distance from home. Mr. St. John's volume will satisfy all readers of the abundance of natural wealth by which the prosperity of the inhabitants may be ensured, and great privileges obtained for our own colonies. In short, here lies a great island, between our own India, Australia, and New Zealand, and our Chinese settlements, and, we may add, British Columbia, which will some day be reached by this route by traders. This great island teems with the raw materials of commerce : it offers us harbours and coal, and every convenience of a central station : its native polity is sinking into ruin; the Dutch rule is injurious and abhorred, as far as it extends; and it threatens to extend wherever it is not guarded against. The inhabitants of one region are a rising, prosperous, happy and grateful people under English influence and training. The same training and influence are desired wherever they have been heard of; and if we do not grant them, some other Power will step into our place, and snatch the opportunity we are throwing away. This seems a strong and plain case. It only remains to consider what it is that constitutes an acceptance of the opportunity. It is simply granting so much countenance as consists in floating our flag permanently in those seas, for the purpose of enabling private enterprise to pursue its course, without fear of insult or impediment.
No part of Mr. St. John's work is more impressive than those passages of his second volume which describe the decline of Borneo Proper, under the rule of the Sultans of Brunei. From his long residence in the district, our author is the best living authority on that point; and nothing can be clearer than his exposition of the facts and the causes. Amidst all the disadvantages of Sarāwak and of Labuan they were advancing, while Brunei, whose Sultan is regarded almost as a god from sea to sea, was declining, in spite of its ancient prestige.
“The trade of our colony is small,' Mr. St. John says, “though it is increasing; while that of Brunei is rapidly decreasing, and recent arrangements will tend to accelerate its fall.' • Full of faults as the Bornean rajahs doubtless are, oppressors of their subjects, and totally unfitted to rule, yet they are, in my opinion, the most agreeable natives I have ever met. As a companion, few Europeans could be more interesting than was the shabandar, the Makota of Keppel's book, and “ The Serpent," as he was popularly called. I never wearied of his society, and always enjoyed the little pic-nics to which he invited me. His death, which I have related in my "Limbang Journal," was tragic, though he deserved his fate. They all display, in the most exciting discussions, a propriety of behaviour and gentleness of manner that wins those who
have dealings with them. Procrastination is their greatest fault, and sometimes trying to the temper.
“The Sultan and nobles deplore the decay of their country, but cannot, or rather will not, understand that it is their own unreflecting rapacity which destroys the springs of industry.
* There are no fixed impositions, but the aborigines suffer from the exactions of all, until, they have told me that, in despair, they are planting yearly less and less, and trusting to the jungle for a subsistence.' (Vol. ii. pp. 266, 267.)
We hear a good deal of the disappointment about our colony of Labuan, when Borneo is spoken of at all; but the settlement has done some good, and has opened the way for more. About a thousand of the hillmen from Borneo Proper have settled there, and are felling the timber of the finest forest imaginable. The clearing and timber trade are proceeding apace. The coal will make the wealth of a station which is 350 miles from Singapore, 400 from Sarāwak, and 600 from Manilla, whence it is 600 more to Hong-Kong. Already the character of slavery in Borneo is totally changed, through our presence in Labuan; and piracy must decline from the hour when the news spreads that England, planting her foot on Labuan, wills that piracy should stop. As for the material of commerce, there is variety and abundance enough to occupy British speculation and capital till the capacities of the country are fully developed. We have seen how busy the Chinese are about gold: and they find silver and copper in the Dutch territory. Theore of antimony abounds in the Sarāwak territory, and yields the substance of the state revenue. There is, as we have said, plenty of coal. In the north-east of Borneo elephants abound, and there is a considerable ivory trade. The forests yield a variety of fine timber; and from the jungle the traders bring gutta percha, india-rubber, camphor, wax, and the best rattans in the world. Wherever the Chinese have left their traces in the open country, the crops are large; the sugar canes are of enormous girth; the rice stalks are taller than men; the pepper vines form a splendid growth; and, as for the orchards, Mr. St. John tells us. The groves of 'fruit trees are immense; and no idea can be formed of them, unless we imagine our pear and apple trees of the size of the most gigantic elms. They are generally planted on the gentle slopes of low hills; and the cool and well-shaded paths among them are dry and pleasant to tread.' (Vol. ii. p. 269.). These orchards are in the neighbourhood of Brunei. In places far distant from each other we hear of cotton crops, past or present. There was a large growth of cotton in the northern districts till the pirates—the scourge of all industry — extinguished the pro
duction. Elsewhere there are beginnings made from the seed sent by our Cotton Supply Association ; and there is no reason why any quantity, of the best kinds, should not be obtained wherever there are Chinese enough to grow it. There is alreally a large trade in sago, and in edible birds' nests. The sandy shores of the bright islets round the coast swarm with turtle; and sea-slugs, many kinds of fish, and pearls are yielded up by the waters. The country is full of life; the woods abound in game, - wild swine, deer, wild cattle, bears, and a fair proportion of the fowls of the air; the rivers swarm with fish ; the trees and the rocks are infested with wild bees. In short, any body may live there; and any merchant may there find a commerce worthy of his capital and his care, if only he can hope to see piracy put down, as it might easily be by the constant and well-recognised presence of the British flag in those seas. The people already demand large supplies of ' gray shirtings' and chintzes; and of brass wire, and any sort of common metal in any form. The old barbaric commodities of red cloth and beads are in request; but arms and implements, dress and utensils that can in any way be accommodated to their modes of life, will be eagerly bought as civilisation advances. The pride and indolence of the Dayaks, who take life easily, are seen to give way sensibly before the facilities for obtaining conveniences and adornments. In short, the people of Borneo, of all tribes and diversities, are very like the people everywhere else. The saddest part of the whole story of Borneo, in which many things have gone wrong, is the ruin wrought to industry, peace, and progress by the liability to the attacks of pirates. Nothing could be done at Sarāwak till the people were protected from the piracy to which they were before liable; and the way to raise other parts of the country to the condition of Sarāwak is to put down piracy with the strong hand, at the same time giving profitable commerce with the open band.
Mr. St. John's pictures of Life in the Forests of the Far • East' are bewitching to readers acquainted with many latitudes, because their truthful touches revive impressions very vividly. Judging by what we see, the book is also very welcome to readers whose travels are all by the fireside. This may arise, not only from the beauty of the author's descriptions, but from the freshness of his disclosures of the actual life of the people. We can hardly expect ever to see again an intensity of curiosity to equal that with which we all, old and young, seized upon the revelations of African life, when Mungo Park and his successors opened that wild scene to us: but next in degree, we could easily imagine, might be the interest of reading of explorations
of limestone mountains, within which caves beyond caves are lined with the hollow balls of gelatine, — the edible birds' nests, of which so much soup is made in many countries; the interest of climbing the mighty peaks and table-lands which stand dressed in such lovely hues in Mr. St. John's frontispieces; the interest of following him in his courageous voyagings up dangerous rivers, among unknown tribes, in search of mountains sacred to demons, and approachable only through defences of omens which no faint-hearted stranger could break through the interest, finally, of entering the long village houses, raised on piles, where dozens of families live under one roof, and where everybody's ways, from the great chief's to the spoiled child's, may be observed. But, besides all these disclosures, Mr. St. John gives us innumerable narratives illustrative of the life of the people, political, social, and domestic; and these are so strange, so new, so wild, and yet so easily conceivable, that we are not surprised that the book is eagerly read, notwithstanding its faults of construction.
Those faults are very great, the work being in fact a mass of raw material which the reader must shape for himself, if he desires more from it than the amusement of the moment. Thus the work is as provoking as a book of its order can be which has the prime quality of evident and perfect truthfulness. There can be no more doubt of the simple honesty of the writer in copying his notes than of his courage among a head-hunting banditti
, or his zeal in climbing Kina Balu, or his essentially good manners, as a representative Englishman, among the wild pagans, and no less wild Mohammedans, of the Malay tribes : but the artlessness of the book is carried much too far. It is confused to the last degree, as a whole, and in almost every paragraph. This makes it difficult to exhibit by specimens; as it is scarcely possible to present any point otherwise than by picking sentences from various parts, and putting them together, as the author should have done with their meaning. The portion least affected by this fault is the exposition of superstitions and manners by narratives and anecdotes. The travels and the accounts of the various tribes of inhabitants are hopelessly confused; and not one reader in a hundred will probably bring away any clear notion of the distinctive histories of the Bornean tribes, or of the order and bearings of Mr. St. John's travels among them. Yet will some passages leave as vivid an impression as the whole might have done. As this:
'I do enjoy the exploration of new countries: I especially enjoy an evening such as this. It is a fine starlight night. We have pitched our tents on a broad pebbly flat, and the men have collected