If you think you arrived a bit late for the ferry to Nias (which leave at 8:30 pm), do not let the driver of the tourist bus tell you it already left. It usually leaves 1-2 hours late! We came from Bukittinggi and arrived at 9pm, and even though we insisted to be taken to the ferry the driver kept saying it already left. About a half hour later, while looking for a hotel, we were told the ferry hadn't left and we hurried to the port but just missed it! Hotel Pesar Baru (Jl. Imam Bonjol) is the best place to stay if you get stuck in Sibolga. For 10,000 more rupiah than the other grotty dumps you get a really nice, clean room with TV and a very nice manager that will help you get transport out of Sibolga (if you decide to skip Nias after all) There is no more Jumbo Jet speed ferry to Nias Island from Sibolga. It went bankrupt about 6 months ago. So make sure you make the night ferry, or be prepared to stay a whole extra day in Sibolga. If you are stuck in Sibolga and have nothing to do, contact Fuday Munthe at Helen's Tourist Information Service, 33 Jl. Diponegoro, (0062) 631-25452. He can take you to other sights around the area (there's supposedly quite a few things to do including a nice little island nearby) and arranges tours to Nias as well. And he may be able to get you out of Sibolga as well. Sibolga is a city and a port on the west coast of North Sumatra province, in Indonesia. It is located on the western side of North Sumatra, facing the Indian Ocean and is a transit harbour to Nias island. It was hard hit during the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake.Poncan Ketek Island (Small Poncan Island) in Sibolga Bay was once the location of a fort. British, Dutch, French and American traders passed through here. It is thought Stamford Raffles passed through before he moved to Bengkulu in south Sumatra. From Bengkulu Raffles, after relinquishing the Port to the Dutch, established the trade port that became Singapore.Ferries from here service the outlying islands to the west, Simeulue and Nias, as well as the rest of Indonesia. Sibolga has attractions of its own in terms of its historical background, beaches and coral gardens in a sea dotted with islands. Sibolga is a step off point for trade and passenger boats to Nias Island.Sumatra had early contact with Indian civilization, and by the 7th cent. A.D. the powerful Hindu-Sumatran kingdom of Sri Vijaya (with its capital in or near Palembang) flourished under the house of Sailendra. The kingdom extended its control over a large part of Indonesia and also over the Malay Peninsula. By the 14th cent., Sumatran supremacy had waned, and the island fell under the Javanese kingdom of Majapahit. The Arabs, who may have arrived as early as the 10th cent., established the sultanate of Achin (now Aceh), which reached its height in the 17th cent. and controlled most of the island. The first European to visit Sumatra was Marco Polo, who was there briefly c.1292. Following the Portuguese, who came in 1509, the Dutch arrived in 1596 and gradually gained control of all the native states including Achin. The British had brief control over parts of the island in the late 18th and early 19th cent. The Achinese (Acehnese) launched a rebellion in 1873 and were not subdued by the Dutch until 1904. In World War II, Japanese troops landed (Feb., 1942) in Sumatra and occupied it throughout the war. After Indonesian independence was granted (1949), all of Sumatra was included in the new republic. Since then there has been much indigenous agitation and repeated demands for local autonomy. The Acehnese have waged occasional guerrilla warfare against the government, and in 1958 a full-scale rebellion was launched by dissident army officers. It spread to other islands before being quelled by the government. Sentiment for autonomy or independence remains strong among the Acehnese. Guerrilla attacks and demonstrations in Aceh increased in 1999 and 2000 after the end of Indonesian authority in East Timor. Indonesian legislation in 2001 granted Aceh limited local autonomy, including the right to implement Islamic law, but sentiment in favor of independence remained strong and fighting escalated. A peace pact with the rebels (Dec., 2002) only paused the conflict for a few months. In Dec., 2004, an earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated the coastal Aceh and North Sumatra. Most of Indonesia's 130,000 deaths from the event occurred on Sumatra. In Aug., 2005, a new peace accord with signed with Aceh's rebels; it led to rebel disarmament and, in 2006, the beginning of the establishment of local self-government. Aceh and North Sumatra suffered disastrous flooding from heavy rains in Dec., 2006; more than 400,000 were displaced.The island of Sumatra, which, in point of situation and extent, holds a conspicuous rank on the terraqueous globe, and is surpassed by few in the bountiful indulgences of nature, has in all ages been unaccountably neglected by writers insomuch that it is at this day less known, as to the interior parts more especially, than the remotest island of modern discovery; although it has been constantly resorted to by Europeans for some centuries, and the English have had a regular establishment there for the last hundred years. It is true that the commercial importance of Sumatra has much declined. It is no longer the Emporium of Eastern riches whither the traders of the West resorted with their cargoes to exchange them for the precious merchandise of the Indian Archipelago: nor does it boast now the political consequence it acquired when the rapid progress of the Portuguese successes there first received a check. That enterprising people, who caused so many kingdoms to shrink from the terror of their arms, met with nothing but disgrace in their attempts against Achin, whose monarchs made them tremble in their turn. Yet still the importance of this island in the eye of the natural historian has continued undiminished, and has equally at all periods laid claim to an attention that does not appear, at any, to have been paid to it. The Portuguese being better warriors than philosophers, and more eager to conquer nations than to explore their manners or antiquities, it is not surprising that they should have been unable to furnish the world with any particular and just description of a country which they must have regarded with an evil eye. The Dutch were the next people from whom we had a right to expect information. They had an early intercourse with the island, and have at different times formed settlements in almost every part of it; yet they are almost silent with respect to its history.* But to what cause are we to ascribe the remissness of our own countrymen, whose opportunities have been equal to those of their predecessors or contemporaries? It seems difficult to account for it; but the fact is that, excepting a short sketch of the manners prevailing in a particular district of the island, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the year 1778, not one page of information respecting the inhabitants of Sumatra has been communicated to the public by any Englishman who has resided there. (*Footnote. At the period when this remark was written, I was not aware that an account of the Dutch settlements and commerce in Sumatra by M. Adolph Eschels-kroon had in the preceding year been published at Hamburgh, in the German language; nor had the transactions of a literary society established at Batavia, whose first volume appeared there in 1779, yet reached this country. The work, indeed, of Valentyn, containing a general history of the European possessions in the East Indies, should have exempted a nation to which oriental learning is largely indebted from what I now consider as an unmerited reflection.) To form a general and tolerably accurate account of this country and its inhabitants is a work attended with great and peculiar difficulties. The necessary information is not to be procured from the people themselves, whose knowledge and inquiries are to the last degree confined, scarcely extending beyond the bounds of the district where they first drew breath; and but very rarely have the almost impervious woods of Sumatra been penetrated to any considerable distance from the sea coast by Europeans, whose observations have been then imperfect, trusted perhaps to memory only, or, if committed to paper, lost to the world by their deaths. Other difficulties arise from the extraordinary diversity of national distinctions, which, under a great variety of independent governments, divide this island in many directions; and yet not from their number merely, nor from the dissimilarity in their languages or manners, does the embarrassment entirely proceed: the local divisions are perplexed and uncertain; the extent of jurisdiction of the various princes is inaccurately defined; settlers from different countries and at different periods have introduced an irregular though powerful influence that supersedes in some places the authority of the established governments, and imposes a real dominion on the natives where a nominal one is not assumed. This, in a course of years, is productive of innovations that destroy the originality and genuineness of their customs and manners, obliterate ancient distinctions, and render confused the path of an investigator. These objections, which seem to have hitherto proved unsurmountable with such as might have been inclined to attempt the history of Sumatra, would also have deterred me from an undertaking apparently so arduous, had I not reflected that those circumstances in which consisted the principal difficulty were in fact the least interesting to the public, and of the least utility in themselves. It is of but small importance to determine with precision whether a few villages on this or that particular river belong to one petty chief or to another; whether such a nation is divided into a greater or lesser number of tribes; or which of two neighbouring powers originally did homage to the other for its title. History is only to be prized as it tends to improve our knowledge of mankind, to which such investigations contribute in a very small degree. I have therefore attempted rather to give a comprehensive than a circumstantial description of the divisions of the country into its various governments; aiming at a more particular detail in what respects the customs, opinions, arts, and industry of the original inhabitants in their most genuine state. The interests of the European powers who have established themselves on the island; the history of their settlements, and of the revolutions of their commerce I have not considered as forming a part of my plan; but these subjects, as connected with the accounts of the native inhabitants and the history of their governments, are occasionally introduced. I was principally encouraged to this undertaking by the promises of assistance I received from some ingenious and very highly esteemed friends who resided with me in Sumatra. It has also been urged to me here in England that, as the subject is altogether new, it is a duty incumbent on me to lay the information I am in possession of, however defective, before the public, who will not object to its being circumscribed whilst its authenticity remains unimpeachable. This last quality is that which I can with the most confidence take upon me to vouch for. The greatest portion of what I have described has fallen within the scope of my own immediate observation; the remainder is either matter of common notoriety to every person residing in the island, or received upon the concurring authority of gentlemen whose situation in the East India Company's service, long acquaintance with the natives, extensive knowledge of their language, ideas, and manners, and respectability of character, render them worthy of the most implicit faith that can be given to human testimony. I have been the more scrupulously exact in this particular because my view was not, ultimately, to write an entertaining book to which the marvellous might be thought not a little to contribute, but sincerely and conscientiously to add the small portion in my power to the general knowledge of the age; to throw some glimmering light on the path of the naturalist; and more especially to furnish those philosophers whose labours have been directed to the investigation of the history of Man with facts to serve as data in their reasonings, which are too often rendered nugatory, and not seldom ridiculous, by assuming as truths the misconceptions or wilful impositions of travellers. The study of their own species is doubtless the most interesting and important that can claim the attention of mankind; and this science, like all others, it is impossible to improve by abstract speculation merely. A regular series of authenticated facts is what alone can enable us to rise towards a perfect knowledge in it. To have added one new and firm step in this arduous ascent is a merit of which I should be proud to boast. Of this third edition it is necessary to observe that, the former two having made their appearance so early as the years 1783 and 1784, it would long since have been prepared for the public eye had not the duties of an official situation occupied for many years the whole of my attention. During that period, however, I received from my friends abroad various useful, and, to me at least, interesting communications which have enabled me to correct some inaccuracies, to supply deficiencies, and to augment the general mass of information on the subject of an island still but imperfectly explored. To incorporate these new materials requiring that many liberties should be taken with the original contexture of the work, I became the less scrupulous of making further alterations wherever I thought they could be introduced with advantage. The branch of natural history in particular I trust will be found to have received much improvement, and I feel happy to have had it in my power to illustrate several of the more interesting productions of the vegetable and animal kingdoms by engravings executed from time to time as the drawings were procured, and which are intended to accompany the volume in a separate atlas. THE HISTORY OF SUMATRA. CHAPTER 1. SITUATION. NAME. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY, ITS MOUNTAINS, LAKES, AND RIVERS. AIR AND METEORS. MONSOONS, AND LAND AND SEA-BREEZES. MINERALS AND FOSSILS. VOLCANOES. EARTHQUAKES. SURFS AND TIDES. If antiquity holds up to us some models, in different arts and sciences, which have been found inimitable, the moderns, on the other hand, have carried their inventions and improvements, in a variety of instances, to an extent and a degree of perfection of which the former could entertain no ideas. Among those discoveries in which we have stepped so far beyond our masters there is none more striking, or more eminently useful, than the means which the ingenuity of some, and the experience of others, have taught mankind, of determining with certainty and precision the relative situation of the various countries of the earth. What was formerly the subject of mere conjecture, or at best of vague and arbitrary computation, is now the clear result of settled rule, founded upon principles demonstratively just. It only remains for the liberality of princes and states, and the persevering industry of navigators and travellers, to effect the application of these means to their proper end, by continuing to ascertain the unknown and uncertain positions of all the parts of the world, which the barriers of nature will allow the skill and industry of man to approach. SITUATION OF THE ISLAND. Sumatra, the subject of the present work, is an extensive island in the East Indies, the most western of those which may be termed the Malayan Archipelago, and constituting its boundary on that side. LATITUDE. The equator divides it obliquely, its general direction being north-west and south-east, into almost equal parts; the one extremity lying in five degrees thirty-three minutes north, and the other in five degrees fifty-six minutes south latitude. In respect to relative position its northern point stretches into the Bay of Bengal; its south-west coast is exposed to the great Indian Ocean; towards the south it is separated by the Straits of Sunda from the island of Java; on the east by the commencement of the Eastern and China Seas from Borneo and other islands; and on the north-east by the Straits of Malacca from the peninsula of Malayo, to which, according to a tradition noticed by the Portuguese historians, it is supposed to have been anciently united. LONGITUDE. The only point of the island whose longitude has been settled by actual observation is Fort Marlborough, near Bencoolen, the principal English settlement, standing in three degrees forty-six minutes of south latitude. From eclipses of Jupiter's satellites observed in June 1769, preparatory to an observation of the transit of the planet Venus over the sun's disc, Mr. Robert Nairne calculated its longitude to be 101 degrees 42 minutes 45 seconds; which was afterwards corrected by the Astronomer Royal to 102 degrees east of Greenwich. The situation of Achin Head is pretty accurately fixed by computation at 95 degrees 34 minutes; and longitudes of places in the Straits of Sunda are well ascertained by the short runs from Batavia, which city has the advantage of an observatory. MAP. By the general use of chronometers in latter times the means have been afforded of determining the positions of many prominent points both on the eastern and western coasts, by which the map of the island has been considerably improved: but particular surveys, such as those of the bays and islets from Batang-kapas to Padang, made with great ability by Captain (now Lieutenant-Colonel) John Macdonald; of the coast from Priaman to the islands off Achin by Captain George Robertson; and of Siak River by Mr. Francis Lynch, are much wanted; and the interior of the country is still very imperfectly known. From sketches of the routes of Mr. Charles Campbell and of Lieutenant Hastings Dare I have been enabled to delineate the principal features of the Sarampei, Sungei Tenang and Korinchi countries, inland of Ipu, Moco-moco, and Indrapura; and advantage has been taken of all other information that could be procured. For the general materials from which the map is constructed I am chiefly indebted to the kindness of my friend, the late Mr. Alexander Dalrymple, whose indefatigable labours during a long life have contributed more than those of any other person to the improvement of Indian Hydrography. It may be proper to observe that the map of Sumatra to be found in the fifth volume of Valentyn's great work is so extremely incorrect, even in regard to those parts immediately subject to the Dutch government, as to be quite useless. UNKNOWN TO THE ANCIENTS. TAPROBANE. Notwithstanding the obvious situation of this island in the direct track from the ports of India to the Spice Islands and to China, it seems to have been unknown to the Greek and Roman geographers, whose information or conjectures carried them no farther than Selan-dib or Ceylon, which has claims to be considered as their Taprobane; although during the middle ages that celebrated name was almost uniformly applied to Sumatra. The single circumstance indeed of the latter being intersected by the equator (as Taprobane was said to be) is sufficient to justify the doubts of those who were disinclined to apply it to the former; and whether in fact the obscure and contradictory descriptions given by Strabo, Pomponius Mela, Pliny, and Ptolemy, belonged to any actual place, however imperfectly known; or whether, observing that a number of rare and valuable commodities were brought from an island or islands in the supposed extremity of the East, they might have been led to give place in their charts to one of vast extent, which should stand as the representative of the whole, is a question not to be hastily decided. OPHIR. The idea of Sumatra being the country of Ophir, whither Solomon sent his fleets for cargoes of gold and ivory, rather than to the coast of Sofala, or other part of Africa, is too vague, and the subject wrapped in a veil of too remote antiquity, to allow of satisfactory discussion; and I shall only observe that no inference can be drawn from the name of Ophir found in maps as belonging to a mountain in this island and to another in the peninsula; these having been applied to them by European navigators, and the word being unknown to the natives. Until the discovery of the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope the identity of this island as described or alluded to by writers is often equivocal, or to be inferred only from corresponding circumstances. ARABIAN TRAVELLERS. The first of the two Arabian travellers of the ninth century, the account of whose voyages to India and China was translated by Renaudot from a manuscript written about the year 1173, speaks of a large island called Ramni, in the track between Sarandib and Sin (or China), that from the similarity of productions has been generally supposed to mean Sumatra; and this probability is strengthened by a circumstance I believe not hitherto noticed by commentators. It is said to divide the Sea of Herkend, or Indian Ocean, from the Sea of Shelahet) Salahet in Edrisi), and Salat being the Malayan term both for a strait in general, and for the well-known passage within the island of Singapura in particular, this may be fairly presumed to refer to the Straits of Malacca. EDRISI. Edrisi, improperly called the Nubian geographer, who dedicated his work to Roger, King of Sicily, in the middle of the twelfth century, describes the same island, in the first climate, by the name of Al-Rami; but the particulars so nearly correspond with those given by the Arabian traveller as to show that the one account was borrowed from the other. He very erroneously however makes the distance between Sarandib and that island to be no more than three days' sail instead of fifteen. The island of Soborma, which he places in the same climate, is evidently Borneo, and the two passages leading to it are the Straits of Malacca and of Sunda. What is mentioned of Sumandar, in the second climate, has no relation whatever to Sumatra, although from the name we are led to expect it. MARCO POLO. Marco Polo, the celebrated Venetian traveller of the thirteenth century, is the first European who speaks of this island, but under the appellation of Java minor, which he gave to it by a sort of analogy, having forgotten, or not having learned from the natives, its appropriate name. His relation, though for a long time undervalued, and by many considered as a romantic tale, and liable as it is to the charge of errors and omissions, with some improbabilities, possesses, notwithstanding, strong internal evidence of genuineness and good faith. Containing few dates, the exact period of his visit to Sumatra cannot be ascertained, but as he returned to Venice in 1295, and possibly five years might have elapsed in his subsequent tedious voyages and journeys by Ceylon, the Karnatick, Malabar, Guzerat, Persia, the shores of the Caspian and Euxine, to Genoa (in a prison at which place he is said to have dictated his narrative), we may venture to refer it to the year 1290. Taking his departure, with a considerable equipment, from a southern port of China, which he (or his transcriber) named Zaitum, they proceeded to Ziamba (Tsiampa or Champa, adjoining to the southern part of Cochin-China) which he had previously visited in 1280, being then in the service of the emperor Kublai Khan. From thence, he says, to the island of Java major is a course of fifteen hundred miles, but it is evident that he speaks of it only from the information of others, and not as an eyewitness; nor is it probable that the expedition should have deviated so far from its proper route. He states truly that it is a mart for spices and much frequented by traders from the southern provinces of China. He then mentions in succession the small uninhabited islands of Sondur and Condur (perhaps Pulo Condore); the province of Boeach otherwise Lochac (apparently Camboja, near to which Condore is situated); the island of Petan (either Patani or Pahang in the peninsula) the passage to which, from Boeach, is across a gulf (that of Siam); and the kingdom called Malaiur in the Italian, and Maletur in the Latin version, which we can scarcely doubt to be the Malayan kingdom of Singa-Pura, at the extremity of the peninsula, or Malacca, then beginning to flourish. It is not however asserted that he touched at all these places, nor does he seem to speak from personal knowledge until his arrival at Java minor (as he calls it) or Sumatra. This island, lying in a south-eastern direction from Petan (if he does not rather mean from Malaiur, the place last mentioned) he expressly says he visited, and describes it as being in circumference two thousand miles (not very wide of the truth in a matter so vague), extending to the southward so far as to render the Polar Star invisible, and divided into eight kingdoms, two of which he did not see, and the six others he enumerates as follows: Ferlech, which I apprehend to be Parlak, at the eastern extremity of the northern coast, where they were likely to have first made the land. Here he says the people in general were idolaters; but the Saracen merchants who frequented the place had converted to the faith of Mahomet the inhabitants of the towns, whilst those of the mountains lived like beasts, and were in the practice of eating human flesh. Basma or Basman: this nearly approaches in sound to Pasaman on the western coast, but I should be more inclined to refer it to Pase (by the Portuguese written Pacem) on the northern. The manners of the people here, as in the other kingdoms, are represented as savage; and such they might well appear to one who had long resided in China. Wild elephants are mentioned, and the rhinoceros is well described. Samara: this I suppose to be Samar-langa, likewise on the northern coast, and noted for its bay. Here, he says, the expedition, consisting of two thousand persons, was constrained to remain five months, waiting the change of the monsoon; and, being apprehensive of injury from the barbarous natives, they secured themselves, by means of a deep ditch, on the land side, with its extremities embracing the port, and strengthened by bulwarks of timber. With provisions they were supplied in abundance, particularly the finest fish. There is no wheat, and the people live on rice. They are without vines, but extract an excellent liquor from trees of the palm kind by cutting off a branch and applying to it a vessel which is filled in the course of a day and night. A description is then given of the Indian or coconut. Dragoian, a name bearing some though not much resemblance to Indragiri on the eastern coast; but I doubt his having proceeded so far to the southward as that river. The customs of the natives are painted as still more atrocious in this district. When any of them are afflicted with disorders pronounced by their magicians to be incurable their relations cause them to be suffocated, and then dress and eat their flesh; justifying the practice by this argument, that if it were suffered to corrupt and breed worms, these must presently perish, and by their deaths subject the soul of the deceased to great torments. They also kill and devour such strangers caught amongst them as cannot pay a ransom. Lambri might be presumed a corruption of Jambi, but the circumstances related do not justify the analogy. It is said to produce camphor, which is not found to the southward of the equinoctial line; and also verzino, or red-wood (though I suspect benzuin to be the word intended), together with a plant which he names birci, supposed to be the bakam of the Arabs, or sappan wood of the eastern islands, the seeds of which he carried with him to Venice. In the mountainous parts were men with tails a palm long; also the rhinoceros, and other wild animals. Lastly, Fanfur or Fansur, which corresponds better to Campar than to the island of Panchur, which some have supposed it. Here the finest camphor was produced, equal in value to its weight in gold. The inhabitants live on rice and draw liquor from certain trees in the manner before described. There are likewise trees that yield a species of meal. They are of a large size, have a thin bark, under which is a hard wood about three inches in thickness, and within this the pith, from which, by means of steeping and straining it, the meal (or sago) is procured, of which he had often eaten with satisfaction. Each of these kingdoms is said to have had its peculiar language. Departing from Lambri, and steering northward from Java minor one hundred and fifty miles, they reached a small island named Necuram or Norcueran (probably Nancowry, one of the Nicobars), and afterwards an island named Angaman (Andaman), from whence, steering to the southward of west a thousand miles, they arrived at that of Zeilan or Seilam, one of the most considerable in the world. The editions consulted are chiefly the Italian of Ramusio, 1583, Latin of Muller, 1671, and French of Bergeron, 1735, varying much from each other in the orthography of proper names. ODORICUS. Odoricus, a friar, who commenced his travels in 1318 and died at Padua in 1331, had visited many parts of the East. From the southern part of the coast of Coromandel he proceeded by a navigation of twenty days to a country named Lamori (perhaps a corruption of the Arabian Al-rami), to the southward of which is another kingdom named Sumoltra, and not far from thence a large island named Java. His account, which was delivered orally to the person by whom it was written down, is extremely meagre and unsatisfactory. MANDEVILLE. Mandeville, who travelled in the fourteenth century, seems to have adopted the account of Odoricus when he says, "Beside the isle of Lemery is another that is clept Sumobor; and fast beside a great isle clept Java." NICOLO DI CONTI. Nicolo di Conti, of Venice, returned from his oriental travels in 1449 and communicated to the secretary of Pope Eugenius IV a much more consistent and satisfactory account of what he had seen than any of his predecessors. After giving a description of the cinnamon and other productions of Zeilam he says he sailed to a great island named Sumatra, called by the ancients Taprobana, where he was detained one year. His account of the pepper-plant, of the durian fruit, and of the extraordinary customs, now well ascertained, of the Batech or Batta people, prove him to have been an intelligent observer. ITINERARIUM PORTUGALLENSIUM. A small work entitled Itinerarium Portugallensium, printed at Milan in 1508, after speaking of the island of Sayla, says that to the eastward of this there is another called Samotra, which we name Taprobane, distant from the city of Calechut about three months' voyage. The information appears to have been obtained from an Indian of Cranganore, on the coast of Malabar, who visited Lisbon in 1501. LUDOVICO BARTHEMA. Ludovico Barthema (Vartoma) of Bologna, began his travels in 1503, and in 1505, after visiting Malacca, which he describes as being the resort of a greater quantity of shipping than any other port in the world, passed over to Pedir in Sumatra, which he concludes to be Taprobane. The productions of the island, he says, were chiefly exported to Catai or China. From Sumatra he proceeded to Banda and the Moluccas, from thence returned by Java and Malacca to the west of India, and arrived at Lisbon in 1508. ODOARDUS BARBOSA. Odoardus Barbosa, of Lisbon, who concluded the journal of his voyage in 1516, speaks with much precision of Sumatra. He enumerates many places, both upon the coast and inland, by the names they now bear, among which he considers Pedir as the principal, distinguishes between the Mahometan inhabitants of the coast and the Pagans of the inland country; and mentions the extensive trade carried on by the former with Cambaia in the west of India. ANTONIO PIGAFETTA. In the account given by Antonio Pigafetta, the companion of Ferdinand Magellan, of the famous circumnavigatory voyage performed by the Spaniards in the years 1519 to 1522, it is stated that, from their apprehension of falling in with Portuguese ships, they pursued their westerly route from the island of Timor, by the Laut Kidol, or southern ocean, leaving on their right hand the island of Zamatra (written in another part of the journal, Somatra) or Taprobana of the ancients. Mention is also made of a native of that island being on board, who served them usefully as an interpreter in many of the places they visited; and we are here furnished with the earliest specimen of the Malayan language. PORTUGUESE EXPEDITIONS. Previously however to this Spanish navigation of the Indian seas, by the way of South America, the expeditions of the Portuguese round the Cape of Good Hope had rendered the island well known, both in regard to its local circumstances and the manners of its inhabitants. EMANUEL KING OF PORTUGAL. In a letter from Emanuel King of Portugal to Pope Leo the Tenth, dated in 1513, he speaks of the discovery of Zamatra by his subjects; and the writings of Juan de Barros, Castaneda, Osorius, and Maffaeus, detail the operations of Diogo Lopez de Sequeira at Pedir and Pase in 1509, and those of the great Alfonso de Alboquerque at the same places, in 1511, immediately before his attack upon Malacca. Debarros also enumerates the names of twenty of the principal places of the island with considerable precision, and observes that the peninsula or chersonesus had the epithet of aurea given to it on account of the abundance of gold carried thither from Monancabo and Barros, countries in the island of C(cedilla)amatra. Having thus noticed what has been written by persons who actually visited this part of India at an early period, or published from their oral communication by contemporaries, it will not be thought necessary to multiply authorities by quoting the works of subsequent commentators and geographers, who must have formed their judgments from the same original materials. NAME OF SUMATRA. With respect to the name of Sumatra, we perceive that it was unknown both to the Arabian travellers and to Marco Polo, who indeed was not likely to acquire it from the savage natives with whom he had intercourse. The appellation of Java minor which he gives to the island seems to have been quite arbitrary, and not grounded upon any authority, European or Oriental, unless we can suppose that he had determined it to be the I'azadith nesos of Ptolemy; but from the other parts of his relation it does not appear that he was acquainted with the work of that great geographer, nor could he have used it with any practical advantage. At all events it could not have led him to the distinction of a greater and a lesser Java; and we may rather conclude that, having visited (or heard of) the great island properly so called, and not being able to learn the real name of another, which from its situation and size might well be regarded as a sister island, he applied the same to both, with the relative epithets of major and minor. That Ptolemy's Jaba-dib or dio was intended, however vaguely, for the island of Java, cannot be doubted. It must have been known to the Arabian merchants, and he was indefatigable in his inquiries; but at the same time that they communicated the name they might be ill qualified to describe its geographical position. In the rude narrative of Odoricus we perceive the first approach to the modern name in the word Sumoltra. Those who immediately followed him write it with a slight, and often inconsistent, variation in the orthography, Sumotra, Samotra, Zamatra, and Sumatra. But none of these travellers inform us from whom they learned it; whether from the natives or from persons who had been in the habits of frequenting it from the continent of India; which latter I think the more probable. Reland, an able oriental scholar, who directed his attention to the languages of the islands, says it obtains its appellation from a certain high land called Samadra, which he supposes to signify in the language of the country a large ant; but in fact there is not any spot so named; and although there is some resemblance between semut, the word for an ant, and the name in question, the etymology is quite fanciful. Others have imagined that they find an easy derivation in the word samatra, to be met with in some Spanish or Portuguese dictionaries, as signifying a sudden storm of wind and rain, and from whence our seamen may have borrowed the expression; but it is evident that the order of derivation is here reversed, and that the phrase is taken from the name of the land in the neighbourhood of which such squalls prevail. In a Persian work of the year 1611 the name of Shamatrah occurs as one of those places where the Portuguese had established themselves; and in some very modern Malayan correspondence I find the word Samantara employed (along with another more usual, which will be hereafter mentioned) to designate this island. PROBABLY DERIVED FROM THE SANSKRIT. These, it is true, are not entirely free from the suspicion of having found their way to the Persians and Malays through the medium of European intercourse; but to a person who is conversant with the languages of the continent of India it must be obvious that the name, however written, bears a strong resemblance to words in the Sanskrit language: nor should this appear extraordinary when we consider (what is now fully admitted) that a large proportion of the Malayan is derived from that source, and that the names of many places in this and the neighbouring countries (such as Indrapura and Indragiri in Sumatra, Singapura at the extremity of the peninsula, and Sukapura and the mountain of Maha-meru in Java) are indisputably of Hindu origin. It is not my intention however to assign a precise etymology; but in order to show the general analogy to known Sanskrit terms it may be allowed to instance Samuder, the ancient name of the capital of the Carnatik, afterwards called Bider; Samudra-duta, which occurs in the Hetopadesa, as signifying the ambassador of the sea; the compound formed of su, good, and matra, measure; and more especially the word samantara, which implying a boundary, intermediate, or what lies between, might be thought to apply to the peculiar situation of an island intermediate between two oceans and two straits. NOT ENTIRELY UNKNOWN TO THE NATIVES. When on a former occasion it was asserted (and with too much confidence) that the name of Sumatra is unknown to the natives, who are ignorant of its being an island, and have no general name for it, the expression ought to have been confined to those natives with whom I had an opportunity of conversing, in the southern part of the west coast, where much genuineness of manners prevails, with little of the spirit of commercial enterprise or communication with other countries. But even in situations more favourable for acquiring knowledge I believe it will be found that the inhabitants of very large islands, and especially if surrounded by smaller ones, are accustomed to consider their own as terra firma, and to look to no other geographical distinction than that of the district or nation to which they belong. Accordingly we find that the more general names have commonly been given by foreigners, and, as the Arabians chose to call this island Al-rami or Lameri, so the Hindus appear to have named it Sumatra or Samantara. MALAYAN NAMES FOR THE ISLAND. Since that period however, having become much better acquainted with Malayan literature, and perused the writings of various parts of the peninsula and islands where the language is spoken and cultivated, I am enabled to say that Sumatra is well known amongst the eastern people and the better-informed of the natives themselves by the two names of Indalas and Pulo percha (or in the southern dialect Pritcho). INDALAS. Of the meaning or analogies of the former, which seems to have been applied to it chiefly by the neighbouring people of Java, I have not any conjecture, and only observe its resemblance (doubtless accidental) to the Arabian denomination of Spain or Andalusia. In one passage I find the Straits of Malacca termed the sea of Indalas, over which, we are gravely told, a bridge was thrown by Alexander the Great. PERCHA. The latter and more common name is from a Malayan word signifying fragments or tatters, and the application is whimsically explained by the condition of the sails of the vessel in which the island was circumnavigated for the first time; but it may with more plausibility be supposed to allude to the broken or intersected land for which the eastern coast is so remarkable. It will indeed be seen in the map that in the vicinity of what are called Rupat's Straits there is a particular place of this description named Pulo Percha, or the Broken Islands. As to the appellation of Pulo Ber-api, or Volcano Island, which has also occurred, it is too indefinite for a proper name in a region of the globe where the phenomenon is by no means rare or peculiar, and should rather be considered as a descriptive epithet. MAGNITUDE. In respect to magnitude, it ranks amongst the largest islands in the world; but its breadth throughout is determined with so little accuracy that any attempt to calculate its superficies must be liable to very considerable error. Like Great Britain it is broadest at the southern extremity, narrowing gradually to the north; and to this island it is perhaps in size more nearly allied than in shape. MOUNTAINS. A chain of mountains runs through its whole extent, the ranges being in many parts double and treble, but situated in general much nearer to the western than the opposite coast, being on the former seldom so much as twenty miles from the sea, whilst on the eastern side the extent of level country, in the broader part of the island, through which run the great rivers of Siak, Indragiri, Jambi, and Palembang, cannot be less than a hundred and fifty. The height of these mountains, though very great, is not sufficient to occasion their being covered with snow during any part of the year, as those in South America between the tropics are found to be. Mount Ophir,* or Gunong Pasaman, situated immediately under the equinoctial line, is supposed to be the highest visible from the sea, its summit being elevated thirteen thousand eight hundred and forty-two feet above that level; which is no more than two-thirds of the altitude the French astronomers have ascribed to the loftiest of the Andes, but somewhat exceeds that of the Peak of Tenerife. (*Footnote. The following is the result of observations made by Mr. Robert Nairne of the height of Mount Ophir: Height of the peak above the level of the sea, in feet: 13,842. English miles: 2.6216. Nautical miles: 2.26325. Inland, nearly: 26 nautical miles. Distance from Massang Point: 32 nautical miles. Distance at sea before the peak is sunk under the horizon: 125 nautical miles. Latitude of the peak: 0 degrees 6 minutes north. A volcano mountain, south of Ophir, is short of that in height by: 1377 feet. Inland, nearly 29 nautical miles. In order to form a comparison I subjoin the height, as computed by mathematicians, of other mountains in different parts of the world: Chimborazo, the highest of the Andes, 3220 toises or 20,633 English feet. Of this about 2400 feet from the summit are covered with eternal snow. Carazon, ascended by the French astronomers: 15,800 English feet. Peak of Tenerife. Feuille: 2270 toises or 13,265 feet. Mount Blanc, Savoy. Sr. G. Shuckburgh: 15,662. Mount Etna, Sr. G. Shuckburgh: 10,954. Between these ridges of mountains are extensive plains, considerably elevated above the surface of the maritime lands, where the air is cool; and from this advantage they are esteemed the most eligible portion of the country, are consequently the best inhabited and the most cleared from woods, which elsewhere in general throughout Sumatra cover both hills and valleys with an eternal shade. Here too are found many large and beautiful lakes that extend at intervals through the heart of the country, and facilitate much the communication between the different parts, but their dimensions, situation, or direction, are very little known, though the natives make frequent mention of them in the accounts of their journeys. Those principally spoken of are: one of great extent but unascertained situation in the Batta country; one in the Korinchi country, lately visited by Mr. C. Campbel; and another in the Lampong country, extending towards Pasummah, navigated by boats of a large class with sails, and requires a day and night to effect the passage across it; which may be the case in the rainy season, as that part of the island through which the Tulang Bawang River flows is subject to extensive inundations, causing it to communicate with the river of the Palembang. In a journey made many years since by a son of the sultan of the latter place, to visit the English resident at Croee, he is said to have proceeded by the way of that lake. It is much to be regretted that the situation of so important a feature in the geography of the island should be at this day the subject of uncertain conjecture. WATERFALLS. Waterfalls and cascades are not uncommon, as may be supposed in a country of so uneven a surface as that of the western coast. A remarkable one descends from the north side of Mount Pugong. The island of Mansalar, lying off and affording shelter to the bay of Tappanuli, presents to the view a fall of very striking appearance, the reservoir of which the natives assert (in their fondness for the marvellous) to be a huge shell of the species called kima (Chama gigas) found in great quantities in that bay, as well as at New Guinea and other parts of the east.* At the bottom of this fall ships occasionally take in their water without being under the necessity of landing their casks; but such attempts are liable to extreme hazard. A ship from England (the Elgin) attracted by the appearance from sea of a small but beautiful cascade descending perpendicularly from the steep cliff, that, like an immense rampart, lines the seashore near Manna, sent a boat in order to procure fresh water; but she was lost in the surf, and the crew drowned. (*Footnote. The largest I have seen was brought from Tappanuli by Mr. James Moore of Arno's Vale in the north of Ireland. It is 3 feet 3 1/2 inches in its longest diameter, and 2 feet 1 1/4 inches across. One of the methods of taking them in deep water is by thrusting a long bamboo between the valves as they lie open, when, by the immediate closure which follows, they are made fast. The substance of the shell is perfectly white, several inches thick, is worked by the natives into arm-rings, and in the hands of our artists is found to take a polish equal to the finest statuary marble.) RIVERS. No country in the world is better supplied with water than the western coast of the island. Springs are found wherever they are sought for, and the rivers are innumerable; but they are in general too small and rapid for the purpose of navigation. The vicinity of the mountains to that side of the island occasions this profusion of rivulets, and at the same time the imperfections that attend them, by not allowing them space to accumulate to any considerable size. On the eastern coast the distance of the range of hills not only affords a larger scope for the course of the rivers before they disembogue, presents a greater surface for the receptacle of rain and vapours, and enables them to unite a greater number of subsidiary streams, but also renders the flux more steady and uniform by the extent of level space than where the torrent rolls more immediately from the mountains. But it is not to be understood that on the western side there are no large rivers. Kataun, Indrapura, Tabuyong, and Sinkel have a claim to that title, although inferior in size to Palembang, Jambi, Indragiri, and Siak. The latter derive also a material advantage from the shelter given to them by the peninsula of Malacca, and Borneo, Banca, and the other islands of the Archipelago, which, breaking the force of the sea, prevent the surf from forming those bars that choke the entrance of the south-western rivers, and render them impracticable to boats of any considerable draught of water. These labour too under this additional inconvenience that scarcely any except the largest run out to sea in a direct course. The continual action of the surf, more powerful than the ordinary force of the stream, throws up at their mouths a bank of sand, which in many instances has the effect of diverting their course to a direction parallel with the shore, between the cliffs and the beach, until the accumulated waters at length force their way wherever there is found the weakest resistance. In the southerly monsoon, when the surfs are usually highest, and the streams, from the dryness of the weather, least rapid, this parallel course is of the greatest extent; and Moco-moco River takes a course, at times, of two or three miles in this manner, before it mixes with the sea; but as the rivers swell with the rain they gradually remove obstructions and recover their natural channel. AIR. The heat of the air is by no means so intense as might be expected in a country occupying the middle of the torrid zone. It is more temperate than in many regions without the tropics, the thermometer, at the most sultry hour, which is about two in the afternoon, generally fluctuating between 82 and 85 degrees. I do not recollect to have ever seen it higher than 86 in the shade, at Fort Marlborough; although at Natal, in latitude 34 minutes north, it is not unfrequently at 87 and 88 degrees. At sunrise it is usually as low as 70; the sensation of cold however is much greater than this would seem to indicate, as it occasions shivering and a chattering of the teeth; doubtless from the greater relaxation of the body and openness of the pores in that climate; for the same temperature in England would be esteemed a considerable degree of warmth. These observations on the state of the air apply only to the districts near the sea-coast, where, from their comparatively low situation, and the greater compression of the atmosphere, the sun's rays operate more powerfully. Inland, as the country ascends, the degree of heat decreases rapidly, insomuch that beyond the first range of hills the inhabitants find it expedient to light fires in the morning, and continue them till the day is advanced, for the purpose of warming themselves; a practice unknown in the other parts of the island; and in the journal of Lieutenant Dare's expedition it appears that during one night's halt on the summit of a mountain, in the rainy season, he lost several of his party from the severity of the weather, whilst the thermometer was not lower than 40 degrees. To the cold also they attribute the backwardness in growth of the coconut-tree, which is sometimes twenty or thirty years in coming to perfection, and often fails to produce fruit. Situations are uniformly colder in proportion to their height above the level of the sea, unless where local circumstances, such as the neighbourhood of sandy plains, contribute to produce a contrary effect; but in Sumatra the coolness of the air is promoted by the quality of the soil, which is clayey, and the constant and strong verdure that prevails, which, by absorbing the sun's rays, prevents the effect of their reflection. The circumstance of the island being so narrow contributes also to its general temperateness, as wind directly or recently from the sea is seldom possessed of any violent degree of heat, usually acquired in passing over large tracts of land in the tropical climates. Frost, snow, and hail I believe to be unknown to the inhabitants. The hill-people in the country of Lampong speak indeed of a peculiar kind of rain that falls there, which some have supposed to be what we call sleet; but the fact is not sufficiently established. The atmosphere is in common more cloudy than in Europe, which is sensibly perceived from the infrequency of clear starlight nights. This may proceed from the greater rarefaction of the air occasioning the clouds to descend lower and become more opaque, or merely from the stronger heat exhaling from the land and sea a thicker and more plentiful vapour. The fog, called kabut by the natives, which is observed to rise every morning among the distant hills, is dense to a surprising degree; the extremities of it, even when near at hand, being perfectly defined; and it seldom is observed to disperse till about three hours after sunrise. WATERSPOUT. That extraordinary phenomenon, the waterspout, so well known to and described by navigators, frequently makes its appearance in these parts, and occasionally on shore. I had seen many at sea; but the largest and most distinct (from its proximity) that I had an opportunity of observing, presented itself to me whilst on horseback. I was so near to it that I could perceive what appeared to be an inward gyration, distinct from the volume surrounding it or body of the tube; but am aware that this might have been a deception of sight, and that it was the exterior part which actually revolved--as quiescent bodies seem to persons in quick motion, to recede in a contrary direction. Like other waterspouts it was sometimes perpendicular and sometimes curved, like the pipe of a still-head, its course tending in a direction from Bencoolen Bay across the peninsula on which the English settlement stands; but before it reached the sea on the other side it diminished by degrees, as if from want of the supplies that should be furnished by its proper element, and collected itself into the cloud from which it depended, without any consequent fall of water or destructive effect. The whole operation we may presume to be of the nature of a whirlwind, and the violent ebullition in that part of the sea to which the lower extremity of the tube points to be a corresponding effect to the agitation of the leaves or sand on shore, which in some instances are raised to a vast height; but in the formation of the waterspout the rotatory motion of the wind acts not only upon the surface of the land or sea, but also upon the overhanging cloud, and seems to draw it downwards. THUNDER AND LIGHTNING. Thunder and lightning are there so very frequent as scarcely to attract the attention of persons long resident in the country. During the north-west monsoon the explosions are extremely violent; the forked lightning shoots in all directions, and the whole sky seems on fire, whilst the ground is agitated in a degree little inferior to the motion of a slight earthquake. In the south-east monsoon the lightning is more constant, but the coruscations are less fierce or bright, and the thunder is scarcely audible. It would seem that the consequences of these awful meteors are not so fatal there as in Europe, few instances occurring of lives being lost or buildings destroyed by the explosions, although electrical conductors have never been employed. Perhaps the paucity of inhabitants in proportion to the extent of country and the unsubstantial materials of the houses may contribute to this observation. I have seen some trees, however, that have been shattered in Sumatra by the action of lightning.* (*Footnote. Since the above was written accounts have been received that a magazine at Fort Marlborough, containing four hundred barrels of powder, was fired by lightning and blown up on the 18th of March 1782.) MONSOONS. The causes which produce a successive variety of seasons in the parts of the earth without the tropics, having no relation or respect to the region of the torrid zone, a different order takes place there, and the year is distinguished into two divisions, usually called the rainy and dry monsoons or seasons, from the weather peculiar to each. In the several parts of India these monsoons are governed by various particular laws in regard to the time of their commencement, period of duration, circumstances attending their change, and direction of the prevailing wind according to the nature and situation of the lands and coasts where their influence is felt. The farther peninsula of India, where the kingdom of Siam lies, experiences at the same time the effects of opposite seasons; the western side, in the Bay of Bengal, being exposed for half the year to continual rains, whilst on the eastern side the finest weather is enjoyed; and so on the different coasts of Indostan the monsoons exert their influence alternately; the one remaining serene and undisturbed whilst the other is agitated by storms. Along the coast of Coromandel the change, or breaking up of the monsoon as it is called, is frequently attended with the most violent gales of wind. On the west coast of Sumatra, southward of the equinoctial, the south-east monsoon or dry season begins about May and slackens in September: the north-west monsoon begins about November, and the hard rains cease about March. The monsoons for the most part commence and leave off gradually there; the months of April and May, October and November generally affording weather and winds variable and uncertain. CAUSE OF THE MONSOONS. The causes of these periodical winds have been investigated by several able naturalists, whose systems, however, do not entirely correspond either in the principles laid down or in their application to the effects known to be produced in different parts of the globe. I shall summarily mention what appear to be the most evident, or probable at least, among the general laws, or inferences, which have been deduced from the examination of this subject. If the sea were perfectly uninterrupted and free from the irregular influence of lands, a perpetual easterly wind would prevail in all that space comprehended between the twenty-eighth or thirteenth degrees of north and south latitude. This is primarily occasioned by the diurnal revolution of the earth upon its axis from west to east; but whether through the operation of the sun, proceeding westward, upon the atmospheric fluid, or the rapidity of revolution of the solid body, which leaves behind it that fluid with which it is surrounded, and thereby causes it virtually to recede in a contrary direction; or whether these principles cooperate, or unequally oppose each other, as has been ingeniously contended, I shall not take upon me to decide. It is sufficient to say that such an effect appears to be the first general law of the tropical winds. Whatever may be the degree of the sun's influence upon the atmosphere in his transient diurnal course, it cannot be doubted but that, in regard to his station in the path of the ecliptic, his power is considerable. Towards that region of the air which is rarefied by the more immediate presence of the heat, the colder and denser parts will naturally flow. Consequently from about, and a few degrees beyond, the tropics, on either side, the air tends towards the equator; and, combining with the general eastern current before mentioned, produces (or would, if the surface were uniform) a north-east wind in the northern division, and a south-east in the southern; varying in the extent of its course as the sun happens to be more or less remote at the time. These are denominated the trade-winds, and are the subject of the second general observation. It is evident that, with respect to the middle space between the tropics, those parts which at one season of the year lie to the northward of the sun, are, during another, to the southward of him; and of course that an alteration of the effects last described must take place, according to the relative situation of the luminary; or in other words, that the principle which causes at one time a north-east wind to prevail at any particular spot in those latitudes must, when the circumstances are changed, occasion a south-east wind. Such may be esteemed the outline of the periodical winds, which undoubtedly depend upon the alternate course of the sun northwards and southwards; and this I state as the third general law. But although this may be conformable with experience in extensive oceans, yet, in the vicinity of continents and great islands, deviations are remarked that almost seem to overturn the principle. Along the western coast of Africa and in some parts of the Indian seas, the periodical winds, or monsoons as they are termed in the latter, blow from the west-north-west and south-west, according to the situation, extent, and nature of the nearest lands; the effect of which upon the incumbent atmosphere, when heated by the sun at those seasons in which he is vertical, is prodigious, and possibly superior to that of any other cause which contributes to the production or direction of wind. To trace the operation of this irregular principle through the several winds prevalent in India, and their periodical failures and changes, would prove an intricate but, I conceive, by no means an impossible task.* It is foreign however to my present purpose, and I shall only observe that the north-east monsoon is changed, on the western coast of Sumatra, to north-west or west-north-west by the influence of the land. During the south-east monsoon the wind is found to blow there, between that point and south. Whilst the sun continues near the equator the winds are variable, nor is their direction fixed till he has advanced several degrees towards the tropic: and this is the cause of the monsoons usually setting in, as I have observed, about May and November, instead of the equinoctial months. (*Footnote. It has been attempted, and with much ingenious reasoning, by Mr. Semeyns in the third volume of the Haerlem Transactions which have but lately fallen into my hands.) LAND AND SEA BREEZES. Thus much is sufficient with regard to the periodical winds. I shall proceed to give an account of those distinguished by the appellation of land and sea breezes, which require from me a minuter investigation, both because, as being more local, they more especially belong to my subject, and that their nature has hitherto been less particularly treated of by naturalists. In this island, as well as all other countries between the tropics of any considerable extent, the wind uniformly blows from the sea to the land for a certain number of hours in the four and twenty, and then changes and blows for about as many from the land to the sea; excepting only when the monsoon rages with remarkable violence, and even at such time the wind rarely fails to incline a few points, in compliance with the efforts of the subordinate clause, which has not power, under these circumstances, to produce an entire change. On the west coast of Sumatra the sea-breeze usually sets in, after an hour or two of calm, about ten in the forenoon, and continues till near six in the evening. About seven the land-breeze comes off, and prevails through the night till towards eight in the morning, when it gradually dies away. CAUSE OF THE LAND AND SEA-BREEZES. These depend upon the same general principle that causes and regulates all other wind. Heat acting upon air rarefies it, by which it becomes specifically lighter, and mounts upward. The denser parts of the atmosphere which surround that so rarefied, rush into the vacuity from their superior weight; endeavouring, as the laws of gravity require, to restore the equilibrium. Thus in the round buildings where the manufactory of glass is carried on, the heat of the furnace in the centre being intense, a violent current of air may be perceived to force its way in, through doors or crevices, on opposite sides of the house. As the general winds are caused by the DIRECT influence of the sun's rays upon the atmosphere, that particular deviation of the current distinguished by the name of land and sea breezes is caused by the influence of his REFLECTED rays, returned from the earth or sea on which they strike. The surface of the earth is more suddenly heated by the rays of the sun than that of the sea, from its greater density and state of rest; consequently it reflects those rays sooner and with more power: but, owing also to its density, the heat is more superficial than that imbibed by the sea, which becomes more intimately warmed by its transparency and by its motion, continually presenting a fresh surface to the sun. I shall now endeavour to apply these principles. By the time the rising sun has ascended to the height of thirty or forty degrees above the horizon the earth has acquired, and reflected on the body of air situated over it, a degree of heat sufficient to rarefy it and destroy its equilibrium; in consequence of which the body of air above the sea, not being equally, or scarcely at all, rarefied, rushes towards the land and the same causes operating so long as the sun continues above the horizon, a constant sea-breeze, or current of air from sea to land, prevails during that time. From about an hour before sunset the surface of the earth begins to lose the heat it has acquired from the more perpendicular rays. That influence of course ceases, and a calm succeeds. The warmth imparted to the sea, not so violent as that of the land but more deeply imbibed, and consequently more permanent, now acts in turn, and by the rarefaction it causes draws towards its region the land air, grown cooler, more dense, and heavier, which continues thus to flow back till the earth, by a renovation of its heat in the morning, once more obtains the ascendancy. Such is the general rule, conformable with experience, and founded, as it seems to me, in the laws of motion and the nature of things. The following observations will serve to corroborate what I have advanced, and to throw additional light on the subject for the information and guidance of any future investigator. The periodical winds which are supposed to blow during six months from the north-west and as many from the south-east rarely observe this regularity, except in the very heart of the monsoon; inclining, almost at all times, several points to seaward, and not unfrequently blowing from the south-west or in a line perpendicular to the coast. This must be attributed to the influence of that principle which causes the land and sea winds proving on these occasions more powerful than the principle of the periodical winds; which two seem here to act at right angles with each other; and as the influence of either is prevalent the winds draw towards a course perpendicular to or parallel with the line of the coast. Excepting when a squall or other sudden alteration of weather, to which these climates are particularly liable, produces an irregularity, the tendency of the land-wind at night has almost ever a correspondence with the sea-wind of the preceding or following day; not blowing in a direction immediately opposite to it (which would be the case if the former were, as some writers have supposed, merely the effect of the accumulation and redundance of the latter, without any positive cause) but forming an equal and contiguous angle, of which the coast is the common side. Thus, if the coast be conceived to run north and south, the same influence, or combination of influences, which produces a sea-wind at north-west produces a land-wind at north-east; or adapting the case to Sumatra, which lies north-west and south-east, a sea-wind at south is preceded or followed by a land-wind at east. This remark must not be taken in too strict a sense, but only as the result of general observation. If the land-wind, in the course of the night, should draw round from east to north it would be looked upon as an infallible prognostic of a west or north-west wind the next day. On this principle it is that the natives foretell the direction of the wind by the noise of the surf at night, which if heard from the northward is esteemed the forerunner of a northerly wind, and vice versa. The quarter from which the noise is heard depends upon the course of the land-wind, which brings the sound with it, and drowns it to leeward--the land-wind has a correspondence with the next day's sea-wind--and thus the divination is accounted for. The effect of the sea-wind is not perceived to the distance of more than three or four leagues from the shore in common, and for the most part it is fainter in proportion to the distance. When it first sets in it does not commence at the remoter extremity of its limits but very near the shore, and gradually extends itself farther to sea, as the day advances; probably taking the longer or shorter course as the day is more or less hot. I have frequently observed the sails of ships at the distance of four, six, or eight miles, quite becalmed, whilst a fresh sea-breeze was at the time blowing upon the shore. In an hour afterwards they have felt its effect.* (*Footnote. This observation as well as many others I have made on the subject I find corroborated in the Treatise before quoted from the Haerlem Transactions which I had not seen when the present work was first published.) Passing along the beach about six o'clock in the evening when the sea-breeze is making its final efforts, I have perceived it to blow with a considerable degree of warmth, owing to the heat the sea had by that time acquired, which would soon begin to divert the current of air towards it when it had first overcome the vis inertiae that preserves motion in a body after the impelling power has ceased to operate. I have likewise been sensible of a degree of warmth on passing, within two hours after sunset, to leeward of a lake of fresh water; which proves the assertion of water imbibing a more permanent heat than earth. In the daytime the breeze would be rendered cool in crossing the same lake. Approaching an island situated at a distance from any other land, I was struck with the appearance of the clouds about nine in the morning which then formed a perfect circle round it, the middle being a clear azure, and resembled what the painters call a glory. This I account for from the reflected rays of the sun rarefying the atmosphere immediately over the island, and equally in all parts, which caused a conflux of the neighbouring air, and with in the circumjacent clouds. These last, tending uniformly to the centre, compressed each other at a certain distance from it, and, like the stones in an arch of masonry, prevented each other's nearer approach. That island, however, does not experience the vicissitude of land and sea breezes, being too small, and too lofty, and situated in a latitude where the trade or perpetual winds prevail in their utmost force. In sandy countries, the effect of the sun's rays penetrating deeply, a more permanent heat is produced, the consequence of which should be the longer continuance of the sea-breeze in the evening; and agreeably to this supposition I have been informed that on the coast of Coromandel it seldom dies away before ten at night. I shall only add on this subject that the land-wind on Sumatra is cold, chilly, and damp; an exposure to it is therefore dangerous to the health, and sleeping in it almost certain death. SOIL. The soil of the western side of Sumatra may be spoken of generally as a stiff, reddish clay, covered with a stratum or layer of black mould, of no considerable depth. From this there springs a strong and perpetual verdure of rank grass, brushwood, or timber-trees, according as the country has remained a longer or shorter time undisturbed by the consequences of population, which, being in most places extremely thin, it follows that a great proportion of the island, and especially to the southward, is an impervious forest. UNEVENNESS OF SURFACE. Along the western coast of the island the low country, or space of land which extends from the seashore to the foot of the mountains, is intersected and rendered uneven to a surprising degree by swamps whose irregular and winding course may in some places be traced in a continual chain for many miles till they discharge themselves either into the sea, some neighbouring lake, or the fens that are so commonly found near the banks of the larger rivers and receive their overflowings in the rainy monsoons. The spots of land which these swamps encompass become so many islands and peninsulas, sometimes flat at top, and often mere ridges; having in some places a gentle declivity, and in others descending almost perpendicularly to the depth of a hundred feet. In few parts of the country of Bencoolen, or of the northern districts adjacent to it, could a tolerably level space of four hundred yards square be marked out. I have often, from an elevated situation, where a wider range was subjected to the eye, surveyed with admiration the uncommon face which nature assumes, and made inquiries and attended to conjectures on the causes of these inequalities. Some choose to attribute them to the successive concussions of earthquakes through a course of centuries. But they do not seem to be the effect of such a cause. There are no abrupt fissures; the hollows and swellings are for the most part smooth and regularly sloping so as to exhibit not unfrequently the appearance of an amphitheatre, and they are clothed with verdure from the summit to the edge of the swamp. From this latter circumstance it is also evident that they are not, as others suppose, occasioned by the falls of heavy rains that deluge the country for one half of the year; which is likewise to be inferred from many of them having no apparent outlet and commencing where no torrent could be conceived to operate. The most summary way of accounting for this extraordinary unevenness of surface were to conclude that, in the original construction of our globe, Sumatra was thus formed by the same hand which spread out the sandy plains of Arabia, and raised up the alps and Andes beyond the region of the clouds. But this is a mode of solution which, if generally adopted, would become an insuperable bar to all progress in natural knowledge by damping curiosity and restraining research. Nature, we know from sufficient experience, is not only turned from her original course by the industry of man, but also sometimes checks and crosses her own career. What has happened in some instances it is not unfair to suppose may happen in others; nor is it presumption to trace the intermediate causes of events which are themselves derived from one first, universal, and eternal principle. CAUSES OF THIS INEQUALITY. To me it would seem that the springs of water with which these parts of the island abound in an uncommon degree operate directly, though obscurely, to the producing this irregularity of the surface of the earth. They derive their number and an extraordinary portion of activity from the loftiness of the ranges of mountains that occupy the interior country, and intercept and collect the floating vapours. Precipitated into rain at such a hight, the water acquires in its descent through the fissures or pores of these mountains a considerable force which exerts itself in every direction, lateral and perpendicular, to procure a vent. The existence of these copious springs is proved in the facility with which wells are everywhere sunk; requiring no choice of ground but as it may respect the convenience of the proprietor; all situations, whether high or low, being prodigal of this valuable element. Where the approaches of the sea have rendered the cliffs abrupt, innumerable rills, or rather a continued moisture, is seen to ooze through and trickle down the steep. Where on the contrary the sea has retired and thrown up banks of sand in its retreat I have remarked the streams of water, at a certain level and commonly between the boundaries of the tide, effecting their passage through the loose and feeble barrier opposed to them. In short, every part of the low country is pregnant with springs that labour for the birth; and these continual struggles, this violent activity of subterraneous waters, must gradually undermine the plains above. The earth is imperceptibly excavated, the surface settles in, and hence the inequalities we speak of. The operation is slow but unremitting, and, I conceive, fully capable of the effect. MINERAL PRODUCTIONS. The earth of Sumatra is rich in minerals and other fossil productions. GOLD. No country has been more famous in all ages for gold, and, though the sources from whence it is drawn may be supposed in some measure exhausted by the avarice and industry of ages, yet at this day the quantity procured is very considerable, and doubtless might be much increased were the simple labour of the gatherer assisted by a knowledge of the arts of mineralogy. COPPER, IRON, TIN, SULPHUR. There are also mines of copper, iron, and tin. Sulphur is gathered in large quantities about the numerous volcanoes. SALTPETRE. Saltpetre the natives procure by a process of their own from the earth which is found impregnated with it; chiefly in extensive caves that have been, from the beginning of time, the haunt of a certain species of birds, of whose dung the soil is formed. COAL. Coal, mostly washed down by the floods, is collected in several parts, particularly at Kataun, Ayer-rammi, and Bencoolen. It is light and not esteemed very good; but I am informed that this is the case with all coal found near the surface of the earth, and, as the veins are observed to run in an inclined direction until the pits have some depth, the fossil must be of an indifferent quality. The little island of Pisang, near the foot of Mount Pugong, was supposed to be chiefly a bed of rock crystal, but upon examination of specimens taken from thence they proved to be calcareous spar. HOT SPRINGS. Mineral and hot springs have been discovered in many districts. In taste the waters mostly resemble those of Harrowgate, being nauseous to the palate. EARTH OIL. The oleum terrae, or earth oil, used chiefly as a preservative against the destructive ravages of the white-ants, is collected at Ipu and elsewhere.* (*Footnote. The fountain of Naphtha or liquid balsam found at Pedir, so much celebrated by the Portuguese writers, is doubtless this oleum terrae, or meniak tanah, as it is called by the Malays.) SOFT ROCK. There is scarcely any species of hard rock to be met with in the low parts of the island near the seashore. Besides the ledges of coral, which are covered by the tide, that which generally prevails is the napal, as it is called by the inhabitants, forming the basis of the red cliffs, and not infrequently the beds of the rivers. Though this napal has the appearance of rock it possesses in fact so little solidity that it is difficult to pronounce whether it be a soft stone or only an indurated clay. The surface of it becomes smooth and glossy by a slight attrition, and to the touch resembles soap, which is its most striking characteristic; but it is not soluble in water and makes no effervescence with acids. Its colour is either grey, brown, or red, according to the nature of the earth that prevails in its composition. The red napal has by much the smallest proportion of sand, and seems to possess all the qualities of the steatite or soap-earth found in Cornwall and other countries. The specimens of stone which I brought from the hills in the neighbourhood of Bencoolen were pronounced by some mineralogists, to whom I showed them at the time, to be granite; but upon more particular examination they appear to be a species of trap, consisting principally of feldspar and hornblende, of a greyish colour and nearly similar to the mountain stone of North Wales. PETRIFACTION. Where the encroachments of the sea have undermined the land the cliffs are left abrupt and naked, in some places to a very considerable height. In these many curious fossils are discovered, such as petrified wood, and seashells of various sorts. Hypotheses on this subject have been so ably supported and so powerfully attacked that I shall not presume to intrude myself in the lists. I shall only observe that, being so near the sea, many would hesitate to allow such discoveries to be of any weight in proving a violent alteration to have taken place in the surface of the terraqueous globe; whilst, on the other hand, it is unaccountable how, in the common course of natural events, such extraneous matter should come to be lodged in strata at the height perhaps of fifty feet above the level of the water, and as many below the surface of the land. COLOURED EARTHS. Here are likewise found various species of earths which might be applied to valuable purposes, as painters' colours, and otherwise. The most common are the yellow and red, probably ochres, and the white, which answers the description of the milenum of the ancients. VOLCANOES. There are a number of volcano mountains in this, as in almost all the other islands of the eastern Archipelago. They are called in the Malay language gunong-api, or more correctly, gunong ber-api. Lava has been seen to flow from a considerable one near Priamang; but I have never heard of its causing any other damage than the burning of woods. This however may be owing to the thinness of population, which does not render it necessary for the inhabitants to settle in a situation that exposes them to danger of this kind. The only volcano I had an opportunity of observing opened in the side of a mountain, about twenty miles inland of Bencoolen, one-fourth way from its top, as nearly as I can judge. It scarcely ever failed to emit smoke; but the column was only visible for two or three hours in the morning, seldom rising and preserving its form, above the upper edge of the hill, which is not of a conical shape but extending with a gradual slope. EARTHQUAKES. The high trees with which the country thereabout is covered, prevent the crater from being discernible at a distance; and this proves that the spot is not considerably raised or otherwise affected by the earthquakes which are very frequently felt there. Sometimes it has emitted smoke upon these occasions, and in other instances not. Yet during a smart earthquake which happened a few years before my arrival it was remarked to send forth flame, which it is rarely known to do.* The apprehension of the European inhabitants however is rather more excited when it continues any length of time without a tendency to an eruption, as they conceive it to be the vent by which the inflammable matter escapes that would otherwise produce these commotions of the earth. Comparatively with the descriptions I have read of earthquakes in South America, Calabria, and other countries, those which happen in Sumatra are generally very slight; and the usual manner of building renders them but little formidable to the natives. (*Footnote. Some gentlemen who deny the fact of its having at any time emitted flame, conjecture that what exhibits the appearance of smoke is more probably vapour arising from a considerable hot spring. The natives speak of it as a volcano.) REMARKABLE EFFECTS OF AN EARTHQUAKE. The most severe that I have known was chiefly experienced in the district of Manna in the year 1770. A village was destroyed by the houses falling down and taking fire, and several lives were lost.* The ground was in one place rent a quarter of a mile, the width of two fathoms, and depth of four or five. A bituminous matter is described to have swelled over the sides of the cavity, and the earth for a long time after the shocks was observed to contract and dilate alternately. Many parts of the hills far inland could be distinguished to have given way, and a consequence of this was that during three weeks Manna River was so much impregnated with particles of clay that the natives could not bathe in it. At this time was formed near to the mouth of Padang Guchi, a neighbouring river south of the former, a large plain, seven miles long and half a mile broad; where there had been before only a narrow beach. The quantity of earth brought down on this occasion was so considerable that the hill upon which the English resident's house stands appears, from indubitable marks, less elevated by fifteen feet than it was before the event. (*Footnote. I am informed that in 1763 an entire village was swallowed up by an earthquake in Pulo Nias, one of the islands which lie off the western coast of Sumatra. In July or August of the same year a severe one was felt in Bengal.) Earthquakes have been remarked by some to happen usually upon sudden changes of weather, and particularly after violent heats; but I do not vouch this upon my own experience, which has been pretty ample. They are preceded by a low rumbling noise like distant thunder. The domestic cattle and fowls are sensible of the preternatural motion, and seem much alarmed; the latter making the cry they are wont to do on the approach of birds of prey. Houses situated on a low sandy soil are least affected, and those which stand on distinct hills suffer most from the shocks because the further removed from the centre of motion the greater the agitation; and the loose contexture of the one foundation, making less resistance than the solidity of the other, subjects the building to less violence. Ships at anchor in the road, though several miles distant from the shore, are strongly sensible of the concussion. NEW LAND FORMED. Besides the new land formed by the convulsions above described, the sea by a gradual recess in some parts produces the same effect. Many instances of this kind, of no considerable extent however have been observed within the memory of persons now living. But it would seem to me that that large tract of land called Pulo Point, forming the bay of the name, near to Silebar, with much of the adjacent country has thus been left by the withdrawing or thrown up by the motion of the sea. Perhaps the point may have been at first an island (from whence its appellation of Pulo) and the parts more inland gradually united to it.* Various circumstances tend to corroborate such an opinion, and to evince the probability that this was not an original portion of the main but new, half-formed land. All the swamps and marshy grounds that lie within the beach, and near the extremity there are little else, are known, in consequence of repeated surveys, to be lower than the level of high-water; the bank of sand alone preventing an inundation. The country is not only quite free from hills or inequalities of any kind, but has scarcely a visible slope. Silebar River, which empties itself into Pulo Bay, is totally unlike those in other parts of the island. The motion of its stream is hardly perceptible; it is never affected by floods; its course is marked out, not by banks covered with ancient and venerable woods but by rows of mangroves and other aquatics springing from the ooze, and perfectly regular. Some miles from the mouth it opens into a beautiful and extensive lake, diversified with small islands, flat, and verdant with rushes only. The point of Pulo is covered with the arau tree (casuarina) or bastard-pine, as some have called it, which never grows but in the seasand and rises fast. (*Footnote. Since I formed this conjecture I have been told that such a tradition of no very ancient date prevails amongst the inhabitants.) ENCROACHMENT OF THE SEA. None such are found toward Sungei-Lamo and the rest of the shore northward of Marlborough Point, where, on the contrary, you perceive the effects of continual depredations by the ocean. The old forest trees are there yearly undermined and, falling, obstruct the traveller; whilst about Pulo the arau-trees are continually springing up faster than they can be cut down or otherwise destroyed. Nature will not readily be forced from her course. The last time I visited that part there was a beautiful rising grove of these trees, establishing a possession in their proper soil. The country, as well immediately here about as to a considerable distance inland, is an entire bed of sand without any mixture of clay or mould, which I know to have been in vain sought for many miles up the neighbouring rivers. To the northward of Padang there is a plain which has evidently been, in former times, a bay. Traces of a shelving beach are there distinguishable at the distance of one hundred and fifty yards from the present boundary of the sea. But upon what hypothesis can it be accounted for that the sea should commit depredations on the northern coast, of which there are the most evident tokens as high up at least as Ipu, and probably to Indrapura, where the shelter of the neighbouring islands may put a stop to them, and that it should restore the land to the southward in the manner I have described? I am aware that according to the general motion of the tides from east to west this coast ought to receive a continual accession proportioned to the loss which others, exposed to the direction of this motion, must and do sustain; and it is likely that it does gain upon the whole. But the nature of my work obliges me to be more attentive to effects than causes, and to record facts though they should clash with systems the most just in theory, and most respectable in point of authority. ISLANDS NEAR THE WEST COAST. The chain of islands which lie parallel with the west coast of Sumatra may probably have once formed a part of the main and been separated from it, either by some violent effort of nature, or the gradual attrition of the sea. I should scarcely introduce the mention of this apparently vague surmise but that a circumstance presents itself on the coast which affords some stronger colour of proof than can be usually obtained in such instances. In many places, and particularly about Pally, we observe detached pieces of land standing singly, as islands, at the distance of one or two hundred yards from the shore, which were headlands of points running out into the sea within the remembrance of the inhabitants. The tops continue covered with trees or shrubs; but the sides are bare, abrupt, and perpendicular. The progress of insulation here is obvious and incontrovertible, and why may not larger islands, at a greater distance, have been formed in the revolution of ages by the same accidents? The probability is heightened by the direction of the islands Nias, Batu, Mantawei, Pagi, Mego, etc., the similarity of the rock, soil, and productions, and the regularity of soundings between them and the main, whilst without them the depth is unfathomable. CORAL ROCKS. Where the shore is flat or shelving the coast of Sumatra, as of all other tropical islands, is defended from the attacks of the sea by a reef or ledge of coral rock on which the surfs exert their violence without further effect than that of keeping its surface even, and reducing to powder those beautiful excrescences and ramifications which have been so much the object of the naturalist's curiosity, and which some ingenious men who have analysed them contend to be the work of insects. The coral powder is in particular places accumulated on the shore in great quantities, and appears, when not closely inspected, like a fine white sand. SURF. The surf (a word not to be found, I believe, in our dictionaries) is used in India, and by navigators in general, to express a peculiar swell and breaking of the sea upon the shore; the phenomena of which not having been hitherto much adverted to by writers I shall be the more circumstantial in my description of them. The surf forms sometimes but a single range along the shore. At other times there is a succession of two, three, four, or more, behind each other, extending perhaps half a mile out to sea. The number of ranges is generally in proportion to the height and violence of the surf. The surf begins to assume its form at some distance from the place where it breaks, gradually accumulating as it moves forward till it gains a height, in common, of fifteen to twenty feet,* when it overhangs at top and falls like a cascade, nearly perpendicular, involving itself as it descends. The noise made by the fall is prodigious, and during the stillness of the night may be heard many miles up the country. (*Footnote. It may be presumed that in this estimation of its height I was considerably deceived.) Though in the rising and formation of the surf the water seems to have a quick progressive motion towards the land, yet a light body on the surface is not carried forward, but, on the contrary, if the tide is ebbing, will recede from the shore; from which it would follow that the motion is only propagated in the water, like sound in air, and not the mass of water protruded. A similar species of motion is observed on shaking at one end a long cord held moderately slack, which is expressed by the word undulation. I have sometimes remarked however that a body which sinks deep and takes hold of the water appears to move towards shore with the course of the surf, as is perceptible in a boat landing which seems to shoot swiftly forward on the top of the swell; though probably it is only after having reached the summit, and may owe its velocity to its own weight in the descent. Countries where the surfs prevail require boats of a peculiar construction, and the art of managing them demands the experience of a man's life. All European boats are more or less unfit, and seldom fail to occasion the sacrifice of the people on board them, in the imprudent attempts that are sometimes made to land with them on the open coast. The natives of Coromandel are remarkably expert in the management of their craft; but it is to be observed that the intervals between the breaking of the surfs are usually on that coast much longer than on the coast of Sumatra. The force of the surf is extremely great. I have known it to overset a country vessel in such a manner that the top of the mast has stuck in the sand, and the lower end made its appearance through her bottom. Pieces of cloth have been taken up from a wreck, twisted and rent by its involved motion. In some places the surfs are usually greater at high, and in others at low, water; but I believe they are uniformly more violent during the spring-tides. CONSIDERATIONS RESPECTING THE CAUSE OF THE SURF. I shall proceed to inquire into the efficient cause of the surfs. The winds have doubtless a strong relation to them. If the air was in all places of equal density, and not liable to any motion, I suppose the water would also remain perfectly at rest and its surface even; abstracting from the general course of the tides and the partial irregularities occasioned by the influx of rivers. The current of the air impels the water and causes a swell, which is the regular rising and subsiding of the waves. This rise and fall is similar to the vibrations of a pendulum and subject to like laws. When a wave is at its height it descends by the force of gravity, and the momentum acquired in descending impels the neighbouring particles, which in their turn rise and impel others, and thus form a succession of waves. This is the case in the open sea; but when the swell approaches the shore and the depth of water is not in proportion to the size of the swell the subsiding wave, instead of pressing on a body of water, which might rise in equal quantity, presses on the ground, whose reaction causes it to rush on in that manner which we call a surf. Some think that the peculiar form of it may be plainly accounted for from the shallowness and shelving of the beach. When a swell draws near to such a beach the lower parts of the water, meeting first with obstruction from the bottom, stand still, whilst the higher parts respectively move onward, by which a rolling and involved motion is produced that is augmented by the return of the preceding swell. I object that this solution is founded on the supposition of an actual progressive motion of the body of water in forming a surf; and, that certainly not being the fact, it seems deficient. The only real progression of the water is occasioned by the perpendicular fall, after the breaking of the surf, when from its weight it foams on to a greater or less distance in proportion to the height from which it fell and the slope of the shore. That the surfs are not, like common waves, the immediate effect of the wind, is evident from this, that the highest and most violent often happen when there is the least wind and vice versa. And sometimes the surfs will continue with an equal degree of violence during a variety of weather. On the west coast of Sumatra the highest are experienced during the south-east monsoon, which is never attended with such gales of wind as the north-west. The motion of the surf is not observed to follow the course of the wind, but often the contrary; and when it blows hard from the land the spray of the sea may be seen to fly in a direction opposite to the body of it, though the wind has been for many hours in the same point. Are the surfs the effect of gales of wind at sea, which do not happen to extend to the shore but cause a violent agitation throughout a considerable tract of the waters, which motion, communicating with less distant parts, and meeting at length with resistance from the shore, occasions the sea to swell and break in the manner described? To this I object that there seems no regular correspondence between their magnitude and the apparent agitation of the water without them: that gales of wind, except at particular periods, are very unfrequent in the Indian seas, where the navigation is well known to be remarkably safe, whilst the surfs are almost continual; and that gales are not found to produce this effect in other extensive oceans. The west coast of Ireland borders a sea nearly as extensive and much more wild than the coast of Sumatra, and yet there, though when it blows hard the swell on the shore is high and dangerous, is there nothing that resembles the surfs of India. PROBABLE CAUSE OF THE SURF. These, so general in the tropical latitudes, are, upon the most probable hypothesis I have been able to form, after long observation and much thought and inquiry, the consequence of the trade or perpetual winds which prevail at a distance from shore between the parallels of thirty degrees north and south, whose uniform and invariable action causes a long and constant swell, that exists even in the calmest weather, about the line, towards which its direction tends from either side. This swell or libration of the sea is so prodigiously long, and the sensible effect of its height, of course, so much diminished, that it is not often attended to; the gradual slope engrossing almost the whole horizon when the eye is not very much elevated above its surface: but persons who have sailed in those parts may recollect that, even when the sea is apparently the most still and level, a boat or other object at a distance from the ship will be hidden from the sight of one looking towards it from the lower deck for the space of minutes together. This swell, when a squall happens or the wind freshens up, will for a time have other subsidiary waves on the extent of its surface, breaking often in a direction contrary to it, and which will again subside as a calm returns without having produced on it any perceptible effect. Sumatra, though not continually exposed to the south-east trade-wind, is not so distant but that its influence may be presumed to extend to it, and accordingly at Pulo Pisang, near the southern extremity of the island, a constant southerly sea is observed even after a hard north-west wind. This incessant and powerful swell rolling in from an ocean, open even to the pole, seems an agent adequate to the prodigious effects produced on the coast; whilst its very size contributes to its being overlooked. It reconciles almost all the difficulties which the phenomena seem to present, and in particular it accounts for the decrease of the surf during the north-west monsoon, the local wind then counteracting the operation of the general one; and it is corroborated by an observation I have made that the surfs on the Sumatran coast ever begin to break at their southern extreme, the motion of the swell not being perpendicular to the direction of the shore. This manner of explaining their origin seems to carry much reason with it; but there occurs to me one objection which I cannot get over, and which a regard to truth obliges me to state. The trade-winds are remarkably steady and uniform, and the swell generated by them is the same. The surfs are much the reverse, seldom persevering for two days in the same degree of violence; often mountains high in the morning and nearly subsided by night. How comes a uniform cause to produce effects so unsteady, unless by the intervention of secondary causes, whose nature and operation we are unacquainted with? It is clear to me that the surfs as above described are peculiar to those climates which lie within the remoter limits of the trade-winds, though in higher latitudes large swells and irregular breakings of the sea are to be met with after boisterous weather. Possibly the following causes may be judged to conspire, with that I have already specified, towards occasioning this distinction. The former region being exposed to the immediate influence of the two great luminaries, the water, from their direct impulse, is liable to more violent agitation than nearer the poles where their power is felt only by indirect communication. The equatorial parts of the earth performing their diurnal revolution with greater velocity than the rest, a larger circle being described in the same time, the waters thereabout, from the stronger centrifugal force, may be supposed to feel less restraint from the sluggish principle of matter; to have less gravity; and therefore to be more obedient to external impulses of every kind, whether from the winds or any other cause. TIDES. The spring-tides on the west coast of Sumatra are estimated to rise in general no more than four feet, owing to its open, unconfined situation, which prevents any accumulation of the tide, as is the case in narrow seas. It is always high-water there when the moon is in the horizon, and consequently at six o'clock nearly, on the days of conjunction and opposition throughout the year, in parts not far remote from the equator.* This, according to Newton's theory, is about three hours later than the uninterrupted course of nature, owing to the obvious impediment the waters meet with in revolving from the eastward. (*Footnote. Owing to this uniformity it becomes an easy matter for the natives to ascertain the height of the tide at any hour that the moon is visible. Whilst she appears to ascend the water falls and vice versa; the lowest of the ebb happening when she is in her meridian. The vulgar rule for calculating the tides is rendered also to Europeans more simple and practical from the same cause. There only needs to add together the epact, number of the month, and day of the month; the sum of which, if under thirty, gives the moon's age--the excess, if over. Allow forty-eight minutes for each day or, which is the same, take four-fifths of the age, and it will give you the number of hours after six o'clock at which high-water happens. A readiness at this calculation is particularly useful in a country where the sea-beach is the general road for travelling.) CHAPTER 2. DISTINCTION OF INHABITANTS. REJANGS CHOSEN FOR GENERAL DESCRIPTION. PERSONS AND COMPLEXION. CLOTHING AND ORNAMENTS. GENERAL ACCOUNT OF THE INHABITANTS. Having exhibited a general view of the island as it is in the hands of nature, I shall now proceed to a description of the people who inhabit and cultivate it, and shall endeavour to distinguish the several species or classes of them in such a manner as may best tend to perspicuity, and to furnish clear ideas of the matter. VARIOUS MODES OF DIVISION. The most obvious division, and which has been usually made by the writers of voyages, is that of Mahometan inhabitants of the sea-coast, and Pagans of the inland country. This division, though not without its degree of propriety, is vague and imperfect; not only because each description of people differ considerably among themselves, but that the inland inhabitants are, in some places, Mahometans, and those of the coast, in others, what they term Pagans. It is not unusual with persons who have not resided in this part of the East to call the inhabitants of the islands indiscriminately by the name of Malays. This is a more considerable error, and productive of greater confusion than the former. By attempting to reduce things to heads too general we defeat the very end we propose to ourselves in defining them at all: we create obscurity where we wish to throw light. On the other hand, to attempt enumerating and distinguishing the variety, almost endless, of petty sovereignties and nations into which this island is divided, many of which differ nothing in person or manners from their neighbours, would be a task both insurmountable and useless. I shall aim at steering a middle course, and accordingly shall treat of the inhabitants of Sumatra under the following summary distinctions, taking occasion as it may offer to mention the principal subdivisions. And first it is proper to distinguish the empire of Menangkabau and the Malays; in the next place the Achinese; then the Battas; the Rejangs; and next to them the people of Lampong.* (*Footnote. In the course of my inquiries amongst the natives concerning the aborigines of the island I have been informed of two different species of people dispersed in the woods and avoiding all communication with the other inhabitants. These they call Orang Kubu and Orang Gugu. The former are said to be pretty numerous, especially in that part of the country which lies between Palembang and Jambi. Some have at times been caught and kept as slaves in Labun; and a man of that place is now married to a tolerably handsome Kubu girl who was carried off by a party that discovered their huts. They have a language quite peculiar to themselves, and they eat promiscuously whatever the woods afford, as deer, elephant, rhinoceros, wild hog, snakes, or monkeys. The Gugu are much scarcer than these, differing in little but the use of speech from the Orang Utan of Borneo; their bodies being covered with long hair. There have not been above two or three instances of their being met with by the people of Labun (from whom my information is derived) and one of these was entrapped many years ago in much the same manner as the carpenter in Pilpay's Fables caught the monkey. He had children by a Labun woman which also were more hairy than the common race; but the third generation are not to be distinguished from others. The reader will bestow what measure of faith he thinks due to this relation, the veracity of which I do not pretend to vouch for. It has probably some foundation in truth but is exaggerated in the circumstances.) Menangkabau being the principal sovereignty of the island, which formerly comprehended the whole, and still receives a shadow of homage from the most powerful of the other kingdoms which have sprung up from its ruins, would seem to claim a right to precedence in description, but I have a sufficient reason for deferring it to a subsequent part of the work; which is that the people of this empire, by their conversion to Mahometanism and consequent change of manners, have lost in a greater degree than some neighbouring tribes the genuine Sumatran character, which is the immediate object of my investigation. MALAYS. They are distinguished from the other inhabitants of this island by the appellation of Orang Malayo, or Malays, which however they have in common with those of the coast of the Peninsula and of many other islands; and the name is applied to every Mussulman speaking the Malayan as his proper language, and either belonging to, or claiming descent from, the ancient kingdom of Menangkabau; wherever the place of his residence may be. Beyond Bencoolen to the southward there are none to be met with excepting such as have been drawn thither by, and are in the pay of, Europeans. On the eastern side of the island they are settled at the entrance of almost all the navigable rivers, where they more conveniently indulge their habitual bent for trade and piracy. It must be observed indeed that in common speech the term Malay, like that of Moor in the continent of India, is almost synonymous with Mahometan; and when the natives of other parts learn to read the Arabic character, submit to circumcision, and practise the ceremonies of religion, they are often said men-jadi Malayo, to become Malays, instead of the more correct expression sudah masuk Islam, have embraced the faith. The distinction will appear more strongly from this circumstance, that whilst the sultan of Anak Sungei (Moco-moco), ambitious of imitating the sultan of Menangkabau, styles himself and his immediate subjects Malays, his neighbour, the Pangeran of Sungei Lamo, chief of the Rejangs, a very civilised Mahometan, and whose ancestors for some generations were of the same faith, seemed offended, in a conversation I had with him, at my supposing him (as he is usually considered) a Malay, and replied with some emotion, "Malayo tidah, sir; orang ulu betul sayo." "No Malay sir; I am a genuine, aboriginal countryman." The two languages he wrote and talked (I know not if he be still living) with equal facility; but the Rejang he esteemed his mother tongue. Attempts to ascertain from what quarter Sumatra was peopled must rest upon mere conjecture. The adjacent peninsula (called by Europeans or other foreigners the Malayan Peninsula) presents the most obvious source of population; and it has accordingly been presumed that emigrants from thence supplied it and the other islands of the eastern Archipelago with inhabitants. By this opinion, adopted without examination, I was likewise misled and, on a former occasion, spoke of the probability of a colony from the peninsula having settled upon the western coast of the island; but I have since learned from the histories and traditions of the natives of both countries that the reverse is the fact, and that the founders of the celebrated kingdoms of Johor, Singapura, and Malacca were adventurers from Sumatra. Even at this day the inhabitants of the interior parts of the peninsula are a race entirely distinct from those of the two coasts. Thus much it was necessary, in order to avoid ambiguity, to say in the first instance concerning the Malays, of whom a more particular account will be given in a subsequent part of the work. As the most dissimilar among the other classes into which I have divided the inhabitants must of course have very many points of mutual resemblance, and many of their habits, customs, and ceremonies, in common, it becomes expedient, in order to avoid a troublesome and useless repetition, to single out one class from among them whose manners shall undergo a particular and full investigation, and serve as a standard for the whole; the deviation from which, in other classes, shall afterwards be pointed out, and the most singular and striking usages peculiar to each superadded. NATION OF THE REJANGS ADOPTED AS A STANDARD OF DESCRIPTION. Various circumstances induce me on this occasion to give the preference to the Rejangs, though a nation of but small account in the political scale of the island. They are placed in what may be esteemed a central situation, not geographically, but with respect to the encroachments of foreign manners and opinions introduced by the Malays from the north, and Javans from the south; which gives them a claim to originality superior to that of most others. They are a people whose form of government and whose laws extend with very little variation over a considerable part of the island, and principally that portion where the connexions of the English lie. There are traditions of their having formerly sent forth colonies to the southward; and in the country of Passummah the site of their villages is still pointed out; which would prove that they have formerly been of more consideration than they can boast at present. They have a proper language and a perfect written character. These advantages point out the Rejang people as an eligible standard of description; and a motive equally strong that induces me to adopt them as such is that my situation and connexions in the island led me to a more intimate and minute acquaintance with their laws and manners than with those of any other class. I must premise however that the Malay customs having made their way in a greater or less degree to every part of Sumatra, it will be totally impossible to discriminate with entire accuracy those which are original from those which are borrowed; and of course what I shall say of the Rejangs will apply for the most part not only to the Sumatrans in general but may sometimes be in strictness proper to the Malays alone, and by them taught to the higher rank of country people. SITUATION OF THE REJANG COUNTRY. The country of the Rejangs is divided to the north-west from the kingdom of Anak Sungei (of which Moco-moco is the capital) by the small river of Uri, near that of Kattaun; which last, with the district of Labun on its banks, bounds it on the north or inland side. The country of Musi, where Palembang River takes its rise, forms its limit to the eastward. Bencoolen River, precisely speaking, confines it on the south-east; though the inhabitants of the district called Lemba, extending from thence to Silebar, are entirely the same people in manners and language. The principal rivers besides those already mentioned are Laye, Pally, and Sungeilamo; on all of which the English have factories, the resident or chief being stationed at Laye. PERSONS OF THE INHABITANTS. The persons of the inhabitants of the island, though differing considerably in districts remote from each other, may in general be comprehended in the following description; excepting the Achinese, whose commixture with the Moors of the west of India has distinguished them from the other Sumatrans. GENERAL DESCRIPTION. They are rather below the middle stature; their bulk is in proportion; their limbs are for the most part slight, but well shaped, and particularly small at the wrists and ankles. Upon the whole they are gracefully formed, and I scarcely recollect to have ever seen one deformed person among the natives.* (*Footnote. Ghirardini, an Italian painter, who touched at Sumatra on his way to China in 1698 observes of the Malays: Son di persona ben formata Quanto mai finger san pittori industri. He speaks in high terms of the country as being beautifully picturesque.) The women however have the preposterous custom of flattening the noses, and compressing the heads of children newly born, whilst the skull is yet cartilaginous, which increases their natural tendency to that shape. I could never trace the origin of the practice, or learn any other reason for moulding the features to this uncouth appearance, but that it was an improvement of beauty in their estimation. Captain Cook takes notice of a similar operation at the island of Ulietea. They likewise pull out the ears of infants to make them stand at an angle from the head. Their eyes are uniformly dark and clear, and among some, especially the southern women, bear a strong resemblance to those of the Chinese, in the peculiarity of formation so generally observed of that people. Their hair is strong and of a shining black; the improvement of both which qualities it probably owes in great measure to the early and constant use of coconut oil, with which they keep it moist. The men frequently cut their hair short, not appearing to take any pride in it; the women encourage theirs to a considerable length, and I have known many instances of its reaching the ground. The men are beardless and have chins so remarkably smooth that, were it not for the priests displaying a little tuft, we should be apt to conclude that nature had refused them this token of manhood. It is the same in respect to other parts of the body with both sexes; and this particular attention to their persons they esteem a point of delicacy, and the contrary an unpardonable neglect. The boys as they approach to the age of puberty rub their chins, upper lips, and those parts of the body that are subject to superfluous hair with chunam (quicklime) especially of shells, which destroys the roots of the incipient beard. The few pilae that afterwards appear are plucked out from time to time with tweezers, which they always carry about them for that purpose. Were it not for the numerous and very respectable authorities from which we are assured that the natives of America are naturally beardless, I should think that the common opinion on that subject had been rashly adopted, and that their appearing thus at a mature age was only the consequence of an early practice, similar to that observed among the Sumatrans. Even now I must confess that it would remove some small degree of doubt from my mind could it be ascertained that no such custom prevails.* (*Footnote. It is allowed by travellers that the Patagonians have tufts of hair on the upper lip and chin. Captain Carver says that among the tribes he visited the people made a regular practice of eradicating their beards with pincers. At Brussels is preserved, along with a variety of ancient and curious suits of armour, that of Montezuma, king of Mexico, of which the visor, or mask for the face, has remarkably large whiskers; an ornament which those Americans could not have imitated unless nature had presented them with the model. See a paper in the Philosophical Transactions for 1786, which puts this matter beyond a doubt. In a French dictionary of the Huron language, published in 1632, I observe a term corresponding to "arracher la barbe.") Their complexion is properly yellow, wanting the red tinge that constitutes a tawny or copper colour. They are in general lighter than the Mestees, or halfbreed, of the rest of India; those of the superior class who are not exposed to the rays of the sun, and particularly their women of rank, approaching to a great degree of fairness. Did beauty consist in this one quality some of them would surpass our brunettes in Europe. The major part of the females are ugly, and many of them even to disgust, yet there are those among them whose appearance is strikingly beautiful; whatever composition of person, features, and complexion that sentiment may be the result of. COLOUR NOT ASCRIBABLE TO CLIMATE. The fairness of the Sumatrans comparatively with other Indians, situated as they are under a perpendicular sun where no season of the year affords an alternative of cold, is I think an irrefragable proof that the difference of colour in the various inhabitants of the earth is not the immediate effect of climate. The children of Europeans born in this island are as fair as those born in the country of their parents. I have observed the same of the second generation, where a mixture with the people of the country has been avoided. On the other hand the offspring and all the descendants of the Guinea and other African slaves imported there continue in the last instance as perfectly black as in the original stock. I do not mean to enter into the merits of the question which naturally connects with these observations; but shall only remark that the sallow and adust countenances so commonly acquired by Europeans who have long resided in hot climates are more ascribable to the effect of bilious distempers, which almost all are subject to in a greater or less degree, than of their exposure to the influence of the weather, which few but seafaring people are liable to, and of which the impression is seldom permanent. From this circumstance I have been led to conjecture that the general disparity of complexions in different nations might POSSIBLY be owing to the more or less copious secretion or redundance of that juice, rendering the skin more or less dark according to the qualities of the bile prevailing in the constitutions of each. But I fear such a hypothesis would not stand the test of experiment, as it might be expected to follow that, upon dissection, the contents of a negro's gall-bladder, or at least the extravasated bile, should uniformly be found black. Persons skilled in anatomy will determine whether it is possible that the qualities of any animal secretion can so far affect the frame as to render their consequences liable to be transmitted to posterity in their full force.* (*Footnote. In an Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure in the Human Species published at Philadelphia in 1787 the permanent effect of the bilious secretion in determining the colour is strongly insisted upon.) The small size of the inhabitants, and especially of the women, may be in some measure owing to the early communication between the sexes; though, as the inclinations which lead to this intercourse are prompted here by nature sooner than in cold climates, it is not unfair to suppose that, being proportioned to the period of maturity, this is also sooner attained, and consequently that the earlier cessation of growth of these people is agreeable to the laws of their constitution, and not occasioned by a premature and irregular appetite. Persons of superior rank encourage the growth of their hand-nails, particularly those of the fore and little fingers, to an extraordinary length; frequently tingeing them red with the expressed juice of a shrub which they call inei, the henna of the Arabians; as they do the nails of their feet also, to which, being always uncovered, they pay as much attention as to their hands. The hands of the natives, and even of the halfbreed, are always cold to the touch; which I cannot account for otherwise than by a supposition that, from the less degree of elasticity in the solids occasioned by the heat of the climate, the internal action of the body by which the fluids are put in motion is less vigorous, the circulation is proportionably languid, and of course the diminished effect is most perceptible in the extremities, and a coldness there is the natural consequence. HILL PEOPLE SUBJECT TO WENS. The natives of the hills through the whole extent of the island are subject to those monstrous wens from the throat which have been observed of the Vallaisans and the inhabitants of other mountainous districts in Europe. It has been usual to attribute this affection to the badness, thawed state, mineral quality, or other peculiarity of the waters; many skilful men having applied themselves to the investigation of the subject. My experience enables me to pronounce without hesitation that the disorder, for such it is though it appears here to mark a distinct race of people (orang-gunong), is immediately connected with the hilliness of the country, and of course, if the circumstances of the water they use contribute thereto, it must be only so far as the nature of the water is affected by the inequality or height of the land. But in Sumatra neither snow nor other congelation is ever produced, which militates against the most plausible conjecture that has been adopted concerning the Alpine goitres. From every research that I have been enabled to make I think I have reason to conclude that the complaint is owing, among the Sumatrans, to the fogginess of the air in the valleys between the high mountains, where, and not on the summits, the natives of these parts reside. I before remarked that, between the ranges of hills, the kabut or dense mist was visible for several hours every morning; rising in a thick, opaque, and well-defined body with the sun, and seldom quite dispersed till afternoon. This phenomenon, as well as that of the wens, being peculiar to the regions of the hills, affords a presumption that they may be connected; exclusive of the natural probability that a cold vapour, gross to a uncommon degree, and continually enveloping the habitations, should affect with tumors the throats of the inhabitants. I cannot pretend to say how far this solution may apply to the case of the goitres, but I recollect it to have been mentioned that the only method of curing the people is by removing them from the valleys to the clear and pure air on the tops of the hills; which seems to indicate a similar source of the distemper to what I have pointed out. The Sumatrans do not appear to attempt any remedy for it, the wens being consistent with the highest health in other respects. DIFFERENCE IN PERSON BETWEEN MALAYS AND OTHER SUMATRANS. The personal difference between the Malays of the coast and the country inhabitants is not so strongly marked but that it requires some experience to distinguish them. The latter however possess an evident superiority in point of size and strength, and are fairer complexioned, which they probably owe to their situation, where the atmosphere is colder; and it is generally observed that people living near the seashore, and especially when accustomed to navigation, are darker than their inland neighbours. Some attribute the disparity in constitutional vigour to the more frequent use of opium among the Malays, which is supposed to debilitate the frame; but I have noted that the Limun and Batang Asei gold traders, who are a colony of that race settled in the heart of the island, and who cannot exist a day without opium, are remarkably hale and stout; which I have known to be observed with a degree of envy by the opium-smokers of our settlements. The inhabitants of Passummah also are described as being more robust in their persons than the planters of the low country. CLOTHING. The original clothing of the Sumatrans is the same with that found by navigators among the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands, and now generally called by the name of Otaheitean cloth. It is still used among the Rejangs for their working dress, and I have one in my possession procured from these people consisting of a jacket, short drawers, and a cap for the head. This is the inner bark of a certain species of tree, beaten out to the degree of fineness required, approaching the more to perfection as it resembles the softer kind of leather, some being nearly equal to the most delicate kid-skin; in which character it somewhat differs from the South Sea cloth, as that bears a resemblance rather to paper, or to the manufacture of the loom. The country people now conform in a great measure to the dress of the Malays, which I shall therefore describe in this place, observing that much more simplicity still prevails among the former, who look upon the others as coxcombs who lay out all their substance on their backs, whilst in their turns they are regarded by the Malays with contempt as unpolished rustics. MAN'S DRESS. A man's dress consists of the following parts. A close waistcoat, without sleeves, but having a neck like a shirt, buttoned close up to the top, with buttons, often of gold filigree. This is peculiar to the Malays. Over this they wear the baju, which resembles a morning gown, open at the neck, but generally fastened close at the wrists and halfway up the arm, with nine buttons to each sleeve. The sleeves, however, are often wide and loose, and others again, though nearly tight, reach not far beyond the elbow, especially of those worn by the younger females, which, as well as those of the young men, are open in front no farther down than the bosom, and reach no lower than the waist, whereas the others hang loose to the knees, and sometimes to the ankles. They are made usually of blue or white cotton cloth; for the better sort, of chintz; and for great men, of flowered silks. The kain-sarong is not unlike a Scots highlander's plaid in appearance, being a piece of party-coloured cloth about six or eight feet long and three or four wide, sewed together at the ends; forming, as some writers have described it, a wide sack without a bottom. This is sometimes gathered up and slung over the shoulder like a sash, or else folded and tucked about the waist and hips; and in full dress it is bound on by the belt of the kris (dagger), which is of crimson silk and wraps several times round the body, with a loop at the end in which the sheath of the kris hangs. They wear short drawers reaching halfway down the thigh, generally of red or yellow taffeta. There is no covering to their legs or feet. Round their heads they fasten, in a particular manner, a fine, coloured handkerchief, so as to resemble a small turban; the country people usually twisting a piece of white or blue cloth for this purpose. The crown of their head remains uncovered except on journeys, when they wear a tudong or umbrella-hat, which completely screens them from the weather. WOMAN'S DRESS. The women have a kind of bodice, or short waistcoat rather, that defends the breasts and reaches to the hips. The kain-sarong, before described, comes up as high as the armpits, and extends to the feet, being kept on simply by folding and tucking it over at the breast, except when the tali-pending, or zone, is worn about the waist, which forms an additional and necessary security. This is usually of embroidered cloth, and sometimes a plate of gold or silver, about two inches broad, fastening in the front with a large clasp of filigree or chased work, with some kind of precious stone, or imitation of such, in the centre. The baju, or upper gown, differs little from that of the men, buttoning in the same manner at the wrists. A piece of fine, thin, cotton cloth, or slight silk, about five feet long, and worked or fringed at each end, called a salendang, is thrown across the back of the neck, and hangs down before; serving also the purpose of a veil to the women of rank when they walk abroad. The handkerchief is carried either folded small in the hand, or in a long fold over the shoulder. There are two modes of dressing the hair, one termed kundei and the other sanggol. The first resembles much the fashion in which we see the Chinese women represented in paintings, and which I conclude they borrowed from thence, where the hair is wound circularly over the centre of the head, and fastened with a silver bodkin or pin. In the other mode, which is more general, they give the hair a single twist as it hangs behind, and then doubling it up they pass it crosswise under a few hairs separated from the rest on the back of the head for that purpose. A comb, often of tortoise-shell and sometimes filigreed, helps to prevent it from falling down. The hair of the front and of all parts of the head is of the same length, and when loose hangs together behind, with most of the women, in very great quantity. It is kept moist with oil newly expressed from the coconut; but those persons who can afford it make use also of an empyreumatic oil extracted from gum benzoin, as a grateful perfume. They wear no covering except ornaments of flowers, which on particular occasions are the work of much labour and ingenuity. The head-dresses of the dancing girls by profession, who are usually Javans, are very artificially wrought, and as high as any modern English lady's cap, yielding only to the feathered plumes of the year 1777. It is impossible to describe in words these intricate and fanciful matters so as to convey a just idea of them. The flowers worn in undress are for the most part strung in wreaths, and have a very neat and pretty effect, without any degree of gaudiness, being usually white or pale yellow, small, and frequently only half-blown. Those generally chosen for these occasions are the bunga-tanjong and bunga-mellur: the bunga-chumpaka is used to give the hair a fragrance, but is concealed from the sight. They sometimes combine a variety of flowers in such a manner as to appear like one, and fix them on a single stalk; but these, being more formal, are less elegant than the wreaths. DISTINGUISHING ORNAMENTS OF VIRGINS. Among the country people, particularly in the southern countries, the virgins (anak gaddis, or goddesses, as it is usually pronounced) are distinguished by a fillet which goes across the front of the hair and fastens behind. This is commonly a thin plate of silver, about half an inch broad: those of the first rank have it of gold, and those of the lowest class have their fillet of the leaf of the nipah tree. Beside this peculiar ornament their state is denoted by their having rings or bracelets of silver or gold on their wrists. Strings of coins round the neck are universally worn by children, and the females, before they are of an age to be clothed, have what may not be inaptly termed a modesty-piece, being a plate of silver in the shape of a heart (called chaping) hung before, by a chain of the same metal, passing round the waist. The young women in the country villages manufacture themselves the cloth that forms the body-dress, or kain-sarong, which for common occasions is their only covering, and reaches from the breast no lower than the knees. The dresses of the women of the Malay bazaars on the contrary extend as low as the feet; but here, as in other instances, the more scrupulous attention to appearances does not accompany the superior degree of real modesty. This cloth, for the wear both of men and women, is imported from the island of Celebes, or, as it is here termed, the Bugis country. MODE OF FILING TEETH. Both sexes have the extraordinary custom of filing and otherwise disfiguring their teeth, which are naturally very white and beautiful from the simplicity of their food. For files they make use of small whetstones of different degrees of fineness, and the patients lie on their back during the operation. Many, particularly the women of the Lampong country, have their teeth rubbed down quite even with the gums; others have them formed in points; and some file off no more than the outer coat and extremities, in order that they may the better receive and retain the jetty blackness with which they almost universally adorn them. The black used on these occasions is the empyreumatic oil of the coconut-shell. When this is not applied the filing does not, by destroying what we term the enamel, diminish the whiteness of the teeth; but the use of betel renders them black if pains be not taken to prevent it. The great men sometimes set theirs in gold, by casing, with a plate of that metal, the under row; and this ornament, contrasted with the black dye, has by lamp or candlelight a very splendid effect. It is sometimes indented to the shape of the teeth, but more usually quite plain. They do not remove it either to eat or sleep. At the age of about eight or nine they bore the ears and file the teeth of the female children; which are ceremonies that must necessarily precede their marriage. The former they call betende, and the latter bedabong; and these operations are regarded in the family as the occasion of a festival. They do not here, as in some of the adjacent islands (of Nias in particular), increase the aperture of the ear to a monstrous size, so as in many instances to be large enough to admit the hand, the lower parts being stretched till they touch the shoulders. Their earrings are mostly of gold filigree, and fastened not with a clasp, but in the manner of a rivet or nut screwed to the inner part. CHAPTER 3. VILLAGES. BUILDINGS. DOMESTIC UTENSILS. FOOD. I shall now attempt a description of the villages and buildings of the Sumatrans, and proceed to their domestic habits of economy, and those simple arts on which the procuring of their food and other necessaries depends. These are not among the least interesting objects of philosophical speculation. In proportion as the arts in use with any people are connected with the primary demands of nature, they carry the greater likelihood of originality, because those demands must have been administered to from a period coeval with the existence of the people themselves. Or if complete originality be regarded as a visionary idea, engendered from ignorance and the obscurity of remote events, such arts must be allowed to have the fairest claim to antiquity at least. Arts of accommodation, and more especially of luxury, are commonly the effect of imitation, and suggested by the improvements of other nations which have made greater advances towards civilisation. These afford less striking and characteristic features in delineating the picture of mankind, and, though they may add to the beauty, diminish from the genuineness of the piece. We must not look for unequivocal generic marks, where the breed, in order to mend it, has been crossed by a foreign mixture. All the arts of primary necessity are comprehended within two distinctions: those which protect us from the inclemency of the weather and other outward accidents; and those which are employed in securing the means of subsistence. Both are immediately essential to the continuance of life, and man is involuntarily and immediately prompted to exercise them by the urgent calls of nature, even in the merest possible state of savage and uncultivated existence. In climates like that of Sumatra this impulse extends not far. The human machine is kept going with small effort in so favourable a medium. The spring of importunate necessity there soon loses its force, and consequently the wheels of invention that depend upon it fail to perform more than a few simple revolutions. In regions less mild this original motive to industry and ingenuity carries men to greater lengths in the application of arts to the occasions of life; and these of course in an equal space of time attain to greater perfection than among the inhabitants of the tropical latitudes, who find their immediate wants supplied with facility, and prefer the negative pleasure of inaction to the enjoyment of any conveniences that are to be purchased with exertion and labour. This consideration may perhaps tend to reconcile the high antiquity universally allowed to Asiatic nations, with the limited progress of arts and sciences among them; in which they are manifestly surpassed by people who compared with them are but of very recent date. The Sumatrans however in the construction of their habitations have stepped many degrees beyond those rude contrivances which writers describe the inhabitants of some other Indian countries to have been contented with adopting in order to screen themselves from the immediate influence of surrounding elements. Their houses are not only permanent but convenient, and are built in the vicinity of each other that they may enjoy the advantages of mutual assistance and protection resulting from a state of society.* (*Footnote. In several of the small islands near Sumatra (including the Nicobars), whose inhabitants in general are in a very low state of civilisation, the houses are built circularly. Vid Asiatic Researches volume 4 page 129 plate.) VILLAGES. The dusuns or villages (for the small number of inhabitants assembled in each does not entitle them to the appellations of towns) are always situated on the banks of a river or lake for the convenience of bathing and of transporting goods. An eminence difficult of ascent is usually made choice of for security. The access to them is by footways, narrow and winding, of which there are seldom more than two; one to the country and the other to the water; the latter in most places so steep as to render it necessary to cut steps in the cliff or rock. The dusuns, being surrounded with abundance of fruit-trees, some of considerable height, as the durian, coco, and betel-nut, and the neighbouring country for a little space about being in some degree cleared of wood for the rice and pepper plantations, these villages strike the eye at a distance as clumps merely, exhibiting no appearance of a town or any place of habitation. The rows of houses form commonly a quadrangle, with passages or lanes at intervals between the buildings, where in the more considerable villages live the lower class of inhabitants, and where also their padi-houses or granaries are erected. In the middle of the square stands the balei or town hall, a room about fifty to a hundred feet long and twenty or thirty wide, without division, and open at the sides, excepting when on particular occasions it is hung with mats or chintz; but sheltered in a lateral direction by the deep overhanging roof.

Sultan Hutagalung

Menurut penulis Sejarah Sibolga, Tengku Luckman Sinar SH—dengan mengutip hasil catatan riset seorang pembesar Belanda, EB Kielstra - disebutkan bahwa sekitar tahun 1700 seorang dari Negeri Silindung bernama Tuanku Dorong Hutagalung mendirikan Kerajaan Negeri Sibogah, yang berpusat di dekat Aek Doras. Dalam catatan EB Kielstra ditulis tentang Raja Sibolga: "Disamping Sungai Batang Tapanuli, masuk wilayah Raja Tapian Nauli berasal dari Toba, terdapat Sungai Batang Sibolga, di mana berdiamlah Raja Sibolga."

Penetapan tahun 1700 itu diperkuat analisis tingkat keturunan yakni bahwa Marga Hutagalung yang telah berdiam di Sibolga sudah mencapai sembilan keturunan. Kalau jarak kelahiran antara seorang ayah dengan anak pertama adalah 33 tahun -angka ini adalah rata-rata usia nikah menurut kebiasaan orang Batak—lalu dikalikan jumlah turunan yang sudah sembilan itu, itu berarti sama dengan 297 tahun. Maka kalau titik tolak perhitungan adalah tahun 1998, yaitu waktu diselenggarakannya Seminar Sehari Penetapan Hari Jadi Sibolga pada 12 Oktober 1998, itu berarti ditemukan angka 1701 tahun.

Tentang nama atau sebutan Sibolga, dicerita-kan bahwa pada awal-nya Ompu Datu Hurinjom yang membuka perkampungan Simaninggir, mempu-nyai postur tubuh tinggi besar, di samping memiliki tenaga dalam yang kuat. Adalah tabu bagi orang Batak menyebut nama seseorang secara langsung apalagi orang tersebut lebih tua dan dihormati, maka untuk menyebut nama kampung yang dibuka Ompu Datu Hurinjom dipakai sebutan "Sibalgai", yang artinya kampung atau huta untuk orang yang tinggi besar.

Asal kata Sibolga dengan pengertian tersebut lebih dapat diterima daripada untuk istilah "Bolga-Bolga", yaitu nama sejenis ikan yang hidup di pantai berawa-rawa; atau istilah "Balga Nai" yang berarti besar untuk menunjukkan ke arah luasnya lautan. Orang Batak biasanya menggunakan kata "bidang" untuk menggambarkan sesuatu yang luas, bukan kata balga yang berarti besar.

Tapi apa pun kisah awal kelahiran nama dan Kerajaan Sibolga, kota di Teluk Tapian Nauli ini telah menjalankan peran sejarah yang sangat berarti. Di masa lalu Sibolga berjaya sebagai pelabuhan dan gudang niaga untuk barang-barang hasil pertanian dan perkebunan seperti karet, cengkeh, kemenyan dan rotan. Inggris bahkan pernah menjadikan Sibolga sebagai pelabuhan gudang niaga lada terbesar di Teluk Tapian Nauli.

Lebih dari itu, berdasarkan Besluit Gubernur Jenderal Hindia Belanda pada 7 Desember 1842 tempat kedudukan Residen Tapanuli dipindahkan dari Air Bangis ke Sibolga, dan sejak itulah Sibolga resmi menjadi Ibukota Keresidenan. Meski statusnya sebagai Ibukota Keresidenan sempat dipindahkan ke Padang Sidempuan antara tahun 1885 - 1906, namun predikat itu akhirnya kembali lagi ke Sibolga berdasarkan Staadblad yang dikeluarkan pada 1906 itu.

Dalam perjalanannya, pada 1850, di masa Mohd Syarif menjadi Datuk Poncan, bersama-sama dengan Residen Kompeni Belanda bernama Conprus, mereka pindah dari Pulau Poncan ke Pasar Sibolga. Pada tahun ini pula rawa-rawa besar itu ditimbun untuk menyusunnya menjadi sebuah negeri pula.

Sibolga jolong basusuk
Banda digali urang rantau
Jangan manyasa munak barisuk
Kami sapeto dagang sansai

Maksudnya yakni bahwa pada mulanya Kota Sibolga ini dibangun dengan menggali parit-parit dan bendar-bendar untuk mengeringkan rawa-rawa besar itu, dengan menggerakkan para narapidana (rantai) serta ditambah dengan tenaga-tenaga rodi, ditim-bunlah sebagian rawa-rawa itu dan berdirilah negeri baru Pasar Sibolga.

Di masa Sibolga dibangun menjadi kota, istana raja yang berada di tepi Sungai Ack Doras dan pemukiman di sekelilingnya dipindahkan ke kampung baru, Sibolga Ilir. Di atas komplek tersebut dibangun pendopo Residen dan perkantoran Pemerintah Belanda. Walaupun pada tahun 1871 Belanda menghapuskan sistem pemerintahan raja-raja dan diganti dengan Kepala Kuria, namun Anak Negeri menganggapnya tetap sebagai Raja dan sebagai pemangku adat.

Sementara Datuk Poncan di Sibolga diberi jabatan sebagai Datuk Pasar dan tugasnya memungut pajak anak negeri yang tinggal di Kota Sibolga terhadap warga Cina perantauan, Di dalam melaksanakan tugasnya, Datuk Pasar dibantu oleh Panghulu Batak, Pangulu Malayu, Pangulu Pasisir, Pangulu Nias, Pangulu Mandailing dan Pangulu Derek.

Pada 1916 Datuk Stelsel dihapuskan serta diganti dengan Demang Stelsel, mengepalai satu-satu distrik menurut pembagian yang diadakan, dalam mana Pasar Sibolga masuk Distrik Sibolga, sebagaimana beberapa resort kekuriaan. Untuk memudahkan kontrol berdasarkan Besluit Gubernur Jenderal Hindia Belanda, Keresidenan Tapanuli dibagi menjadi tujuh Afdeling yaitu Afdeling Singkil, Sibolga, Nias, Barus, Natal, Angkola dan Mandailing. Sedangkan Afdeling Sibolga terdiri dari beberapa distrik yakni Distrik Sibolga, Distrik Kolang, Tapian Nauli, Sarudik, Badari, dan Distri Sai Ni Huta.

Pada masa Pemerintahan Militer Jepang, Kota Sibolga dipimpin oleh seorang Sityotyo (baca: Sicoco) di samping jabatannya selaku Bunshutyo (baca: Bunsyoco), tapi dalam kenyataanya adalah Gunyo yang memegang pimpinan kota sebagai kelanjutan dari Kepala Distrik yang masih dijabat oleh bekas demang, ZA Sutan Kumala Pontas.

Pada masa pendudukan Jepang, Mohammad Sahib gelar Sutan Manukkar ditunjuk sebagai Kepala Kuria dengan bawahan Mela, Bonan Dolok, Sibolga Julu, Sibolga Ilir, Huta Tonga-tonga, Huta Barangan dan Sarudi. Beliau inilah yang menjadi Kepala Kuria yang terakhir di Sibolga karena setelah zaman kemerdekaan, sekitar tahun 1945 istilah Kepala Kuria praktis sudah tidak ada lagi.

Mengenai Sejarah Kuno Sibolga

Tidak dapat diketahui secara pasti sejak kapan bumi Teluk Tapian Nauli mulai dihuni orang. Namun berdasarkan sejumlah catatan sejarah, diperkirakan sejak tahun 1500 sudah terjadi hubungan dagang antara para penghuni Teluk Tapian Nauli dengan dunia luar yang paling jauh yakni negeri orang-orang Gujarat dan pendatang dari negeri asing lain seperti Mesir, Siam, Tiongkok. Para golongan terkemuka Tapian Nauli juga sudah dikenal di Mesopotamia, paling tidak melalui sejarah lisan yang dibawa saudagar Arab.

Tercatat pula bahwa pada tahun 1500 itu pelaut Portugis sudah hilir mudik di lautan dalam rangka mencari dan mengumpulkan rempah-rempah untuk dibawa ke Eropa. Uang Portugis yang beredar di kalangan masyarakat yang berdiam di Teluk Tapian Nauli saat itu merupakan salah satu bukti. Ketika itu keberadaan Teluk Tapian Nauli sangat penting. Selain sebagai pangkalan pengambilan garam, dusun ini terkenal juga sebagai pangkalan persinggahan perahu-perahu mancanegara guna mengambil air untuk keperluan pelayaran jauh.

Peranan Teluk Tapian Nauli sebagai pangkalan persinggahan dan pelabuhan dagang semakin dikukuhkan ketika Belanda dan Inggris memasuki wilayah itu di kemudian hari. Kapal Belanda di bawah pimpinan Gerard De Roij datang kepantai Barat Sumatera—Teluk Tapian Nauli—pada 1601. Sedangkan Inggris memasuki wilayah ini pada 1755.

Kehadiran dan gerak langkah Belanda dan Inggris di Teluk Tapian Nauli bisa dilihat dari beberapa kronologi peristiwa berikut ini:

1604 : Perjanjian antara Aceh dengan Belanda, yaitu antara Sultan Iskandar dengan Oliver.

1632 : Kapal Belanda mulai berhadapan dengan Inggris di Pantai Barat Sumatera dalam rangka kepentingan dagang.

1667 : Belanda mendirikan benteng (loji) di Padang.

1668 : Belanda mulai dengan politik adu domba, menghasut Tiku dan Pariaman lepas dari Aceh. Barus pro Pagaruyung diusir dari berbagai tempat.

1669 : Setelah berkuasa di Sumatera Barat, Belanda mulai mengincar pesisir Tapanuli dan mendirikan loji di Barus.

1670 : Karena keserakahan Belanda (VOC) dengan praktek dagangnya yang monopolistis, pemberontakan di Barus terhadap Belanda tidak dapat dielakkan dan terus meningkat. Raja Barus dibantu oleh adiknya Lela Wangsa berhasil mengusir Belanda dan menghancurkan loji Belanda.

1678 : Belanda dapat membalas, namun pada ketika itu perang sengit antara Raja Barus dengan Belanda terus berkobar. Raja Barus melakukan taktik gerilya. Putera raja di Hulu berhasil membuhuh dokter Belanda dan seorang serdadu Belanda. Namun Belanda berhasil menangkap Raja I^ela Wangsa dan membuangnya ke Afrika Selatan.

1733 : Belanda semakin merajalela dengan berhasilnya menangkap Raja Barus. Seterusnya bukan hanya Barus saja yang diserang, tapi Belanda juga menyerang Sorkam. Kolang dan Sibolga.

1734 : Oleh karena Belanda telah melakukan penyerangan terhadap Raja-Raja yang ada di Teluk Tapian Nauli, maka Raja-Raja yang ada di Teluk Tapian Nauli mengkonsolidasikan diri, maka lahun ini terjadilah peperangan secara besar-besaran terhadap Belanda. Serangan datang dari Sibolga, Kolang, Sorkam dan Barus dipelopori anak Yang Dipertuan Agung Pagaruyung.

1735 : Belanda terkejut dan kewalahan menghadapi peperangan ini. Belanda melakukan penelitian, dan ternyata diketahui bahwa semangat patriotisme yang dikobarkan dari Raja Sibolga itulah sumber kekuatan. Belanda ingin melampiaskan rasa penasarannya kepada Raja Sibolga, namun tidak berhasil, Antara 1755-1815 pesisir Pantai Barat Sumatera Utara, Teluk Tapian Nauli, berada di bawah pengaruh Inggris. Pada 1755 Inggris memasuki Tapian Nauli dan membuat benteng di Bukit Pulau Poncan Ketek (Kecil). Mereka mulai menguasai loji-loji Belanda dan markas Aceh yang berada di pesisir Barat Tapanuli.

1758 : Pasukan Inggris mulai mengusir loji-loji Belanda dan juga markas Aceh dari pesisir barat Tapanuli. Silih berganti usir-mengusir antara Inggris dengan Belanda.

1761 : Perancis meninggalkan Poncan. Kemudian Inggris datang bekerjasama dengan penduduk Tapian Nauli dan Sibolga.

1770 : Karena suasana perdagangan mulai tenang, maka Inggris mendatangkan budak dari Afrika dan India untuk mengerjakan urusan dagang dan perkebunan Inggris. Kuria Tapian Nauli dan Raja Sibolga merasa keberatan atas tindak tanduk Inggris ini.

1771 : Stains East Indian Company Inggris di Tapanuli dinaikkan menjadi "Residency Tappanooly".

1775 : Karena dagang Inggris mulai menurun karena tidak mendapat simpati dari Kuria Tapian Nauli dan Raja Sibolga, maka Belanda mengambil kesempatan mengadakan perjanjian dagang dengan Kuria Tapian Nauli dan Raja Sibolga.

1780 : Puncak perselisihan antara Belanda dengan Inggris adalah persoalan monopoli garam. Kesempatan ini dipergunakan oleh Aceh untuk menyerang Inggris di Teluk Tapian Nauli. Aceh untuk sementara dapat menduduki Teluk Tapian Nauli, akan tetapi Inggris meminta bantuan dari Natal dan Inggris kembali menduduki Tapian Nauli (Poncan Ketek).

1786 : Aceh kembali menyerang Inggris di Tapian Nauli. Serangan ini tidak berhasil karena Inggris meminta bantuan ke Natal.

1801 : Jhon Prince ditetapkan menjadi Residen Tapanuli berkedudukan di Poncan Ketek. Sejak saat itu Poncan Ketek mulai ramai didatangi oleh orang Cina, India, dan lain-lain.

1815 : Residen Jhon Prince mengadakan kontrak perjanjian dengan Raja-Raja sekitar Teluk Tapian Nauli, termasuk Raja Sibolga. Perjanjian ini disebut "Perjanjian Poncan" atau "Perjanjian Batigo Badusanak".

1825 : Inggris menyerahkan Poncan kepada Belanda, sebagai realisasi Traktat London 17-3-1824.

1850 : Belanda mulai menata pemukiman di Sibolga dengan menimbun rawa-rawa dan membuat parit-parit.

1851 : Pengukuhan Adat Pusaka di Teluk Tapian Nauli dan sekitarnya oleh Residen Tapanuli Conprus.

2 komentar:

An Email From said...

Besar di Sibolga, baru kali ini, setelah baca posting ini, aku tau sejarah lahirnya dan berdirinya kotaku itu.. Wow.. bener-bener membuka wawasan nih.. thank you ya...

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