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derived from the Sumatra stock, and look for some affinity In their language and manners; but, ro our no small surprise, we find a race of men whose language is totally different and whose customs and habits of life indicate a very distinct origin, and bear a striking resemblance to those of the late discovered islands in the Great Pacific Ocean. It was a confused idea of this circumstance which first excited my curiosity, anil induced a desire to make a more minute enquiry into the history of these people than had hitherto been effected; for, notwithstanding the vicinity of these islands to an English Settlement, we, as yet, had bat a very imperfect knowledge of the Inhabitants. An attempt had been made, between forty and fifty years past, to make a Settlement among them, and to introduce the cultivation of pepper, but this design was frustrated by the improper conduct of the person to whom the management of the business was intrusted. The imperfect account which was given of the people by the person appointed to go to the IslamJs on behalf of the India Company, and another, not more satisfactory, by Captain Forrest, are insetted InMr Dalrymple's India Directory and, as far ns I knew, these accounts constituted the whole of our knowledge of these islands". Mr Crisp does not say that he extended his exploration beyond the vicinity of his place of anchorage, and the information which he conveys, although tolerably comprehensive, is on many points very superficial, and has the appearance of being the result of enquiry much more than of personal observation and actual intercourse with the natives in their own kampongs and houses. Indeed, from the remark that—" Mr Best, a military gentleman of the establishment, with whose company I was favored on this trip went up to one of their villages",—it may be inferred that Mr Crisp did not consider that his own civil profession justified tits exposure of his person on any expedition so hazardous, and that his researches were mainly prosecuted beneath the awning of his vessel, with the aid of his three interpreters, and amongst the natives who visited him on board, as they did daily in their canoes, bringing fruit, fowls, and other provisions. His account, so far as it goes, is painstaking and faithful, and there are few things in which it has not been confirmed by the results of the recent and more enterprising voyages of Mr Van Rosenberg. He also collected a vocabulary of about eighty words, embracing the numerals and the names of the more familiar objects and qualities, but essentially defective from omitting pronouns and particles and giving only two examples of assertives. He furnishes no information as to the structure of the language, nor any materials for oscei tabling it save the little that may be derived from an analysis of the vocabulary. His paper is illustrated by figures of a man and a woman, and of the instruments use i in tatooing. But as he tells us that he was no draughtsman, and could only answer for the exactness with which he copied the tatooing, under a belief that a comparison of it with that of other tribes might assist in tracing the origin of the Mantaweans, these figures do not pretend to convey a correct impression of tlie prevailing physical type.
5. The account which Marsden gives of these islands in his well known work, is founded on information drawn from the preceding sources (1 to 4). Most of it is taken from Mr Crisp, with a slight condensallon of the language.
7. Mr Vein's promised account of the Mantaweaus proceeds no farther than a useful Introduction, in which he notices the preceding writers as well as the slight allusion by Raffles, Horner aud Tcmminck to these islands-criticises the errors and confusion In the names that have liecn npplied to them hi books and map?, and communicates some information respecting M-r Christie and his manuscript notices of the islands. Mr Christie appears to have tisited them from the West Coast of Sumatra for trading purposes during many years. In 1824 be furnished an account of them, principally relating to the southern islands, to Sir Stamford Baffles. In 1825 General de Stuers, the Netherlands Resident on the West Coast, farmed to Mr Christie the privilege of exporting tiftiber from the Poggi islands under the Dutch flag. He established himself there without any European companion, lived on good terms with the natives, and was more successful than the English East India Company's servants had been in "exploitering" them and their land, for soon after settling he despatched two cargoes of timber to Bourbon. The Mantawe chiefs carried their admiration and eagerness to imitate him so far, as to adopt the fashion of wearing cpectacles because he happened to use them, and the present of a pair became his reward to those who showed the greatest zeal in his service. A copy of his manuscript of 1824 was received by Mr Veth from General de Stuers, and a few incidental facts from it are found in his introduction to the intended paper in which it was to Lave been incorporated.
8. Mr II. Vou Rosenberg, assistant sub-officer and draughtsman in the Netherland Indian service on the West Const of Sumatra, visited the Muntawe Archipelago in 1847, remaining three months, during which he visited the greater part of those islands which are inhabited, pulling lrom creek to creek and forming engagements with the natives. In 1840 lie repeated the same voyage and put in writing the results of his six months explorations. This appears to have led to the despatch of a government steam vessel with a Commissioner, who, accompanied by Mr Voir Rosenberg and fimished with his paper, proceeded to the Straits of Si-Kakap, and, after a stay of twelve days, returned toDencoolen. The objects of the engagements taken by Mr Von Rosenberg and of the Commissioner's visit are not stated by Mr Vogler in his preface to the published accounts of the voyage of the former, hut it may be surmised that one of them was to secure the recognition of the Netherland's supremacy over the islands.
Mr Rosenberg's account of tlic Archipelago and its inhabitants is much more full and minute than that of Mr Crisp, as well as more spirited and graphic. His description of manners, customs, occupations and arts has considerable: breadth, and some peculiarities not only in habits but in language which distinguish certain of the tribes from others, have been notieed by him for the first time. He has cleared away the doubts expressed by Mr Crisp respecting their ever being at war amongst themselves, and thrown an entirely new light on their internal relations, by revealing the fact that the inhabitants of Pora and Poggy are in a state of permanent hostility with those of Si-bcrut, which divides them into distinct nations or confederations, and forms a standing barrier to all mutual intercourse.
The chief deficiency of the memoir is in its observations on the distinctive physical and mental characters and on the language of the islanders. The shape of the cranium is not described. Only a few incidental traits of character are noticed. Mr Rosenberg has not told us anything respecting the structure of the language, or investigated the data which it may preserve or the archaic history of the people, nor has he, with one exception, communicated any examples of native coinposition, in Hie shape of song, tale or proverb—in all of which the unwritten Asonesian tongues are generally rich. He has, howcYer, compiled a well selected vocabulary of nearly 300 words of all classes, including pronouns. With reference to the elhnographic deficiencies of the memoir, and especially to those relating to physical traits, it should be mentioned that he brought away with him a large collection of drawings, illustrative ot the Mantaweans and their arts. Amongst these were figures of seven men and women of different islands, of tatooed hands, of weapons, implements and ornaments of various kinds, canoes, of a Pora village and of women fishing. It is much to be regretted that these have not been published by the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences, along with Mr Rosenberg's sketch map of the Archipelago. In an ethnographic view—and the memoir is almost purely ethnographic—accurate drawings of the kind, particularly those of heads, have a higher scientific value than any verbal description can possess, and there is no other means by which a comparison with the physical types and with tlic arts of other peoples can be so readily and satisfactorily made for ethnological purposes. Mr Hosenberg does not inform us in what language his intercourse with the Mantaweans was carried on, but it may be presumed it was Malay, and that the interpretation was of a similar kind to that which Mr Crisp availed of. Although his greater enterprise and activity, guided by a more adequate conception of the requirements of science, and directed for a longer period to the investigation, have enabled him to offer one of the best accounts that have been given of any of the lesser Indonesian tribes, we should not conclude that it leaves no room for further enquiry, or places in the hands of ethnographers all the materials required to fix the position of the Mantaweans with perfect accuracy. Like other descriptions, however excellent, written after a brief sojourn by a ttranger amongst a people entirely new to him. it doubtless fails to embrace many traits necessary to a thorough acquaintance with them, gained, as it only can be, by familiar association for some years. The first step to an intimate knowledge of a tribe is the mastery of their language, because in it they have depicted their own mental character, and the grade of their civilisation in all its aspects, with infinitely greater fidelity aud completeness than any describer not possessed of it, can attain. Without it, indeed, even tlie means of obtaining information in reply to questions mnst be very defective, for, at the best, interpretation is but an unsatisfactory substitute for direct conversation, and when a European, himself perhaps not a very ripe Malay scholar, is obliged to communicate with a native tribe, through a Malay, who in his turn, has only a partial use of its language, the chances are that the knowledge acquired will be more or less tainted with shortcomings and even with occasional errors. When information so gathered comes to be generalised into an ethnic description, by a writer who wants the grand criterion and corrective which the language of the tribe supplies, new mistakes are likely to be made. These arc necessarily propagated, and even liable to be increased, when writers who have no personal acquaintance whatever with the tribe, use the materials thus furnished, in their ethnic researches and compilations. The most judicious course and that which is most just to the original authorities, is the one followed by Dr Prichard, who used their very language whenever the necessity of condensation and of re-arrangement of the facts al owed him to do so, indicating the sources of statements when wholly or partially incorporating the words of his authorities in his own text.
The Land of the Chagalelegat.—The Chagalelegat are the sole occupants of the Mantawe islauds,which comprise three of thejseven hilly masses rising, at irregular intervals, on the outer margin of the broad bank of soundings which lies along the mountainous west coast of Sumatra, and marks the true limits, on the side of the In* dian Ocean, of the Sumatran belt of elevation. The direction of this subordinate insular band is nearly parallel to the general range of the Sumatran zone, and it is continued in the Nicobar and Andaman groups far up the Bay of Bengal, and to a poiut which connects it with the partially volcanic elevations of Arrakan and its islets. The Mantawe islands lie in a N. W.—S. E. belt about 250 English miles long and 35 miles broad, extending from about 1° to 3" 40' S. Lat. and 98° 30' to 100° 40" E. Long. The sea included between them and Sumatra is about 80 miles broad at the southern extremity, and 85 miles at the northern. The Sumatran side extends from the mouth of the Massang on the north to that of the Bantal on the south, and embraces the western seaboard of the central and proper Malayan division of the island—the basins of the Siak, lndragiri and Jambi, with the narrow hilly belt between their heads and the sea—the Batta' division lying to the north, and that of the Bejang, Serawi and Palembang to the south.
The nearest group of the band on the north is that of the Batu islands, distant about 25 miles. The only island that rises to the southward is the solitary one of Telanjang or Engano, which is about 175 miles from Mago and Sanding Besar. On the west the islands face the open ocean.
The Mantawe group is a rectilinear one, consisting of three principal masses of land, all elongated in the common direction of the chain, the central one being separated from the northern by a strait about 25 miles broad, dotted with islets, and from the southern by an open strait of about 15 miles in breadth. They are closer to each other than their northern extremity is to the nearest of the other masses,— while all the remaining large islands stand nTuch more apart. Their rectilinear direction appears to be connected with that of the opposite Sumatran ranges which give nearly the same direction to the coast, as far south as Engano, when it is deflected to the eastward. While Engano, although at so considerable a distance, stands on the same line with the Manlawe islands, the northern portion of the chain—thatof Niha,9i Main &c, lies on a more eastern line. The two elongated Batu islands curve from the one line to the oilier, and this deflection is coincident with a change in the direction of the Sumatran coast, which advances to meet the outlying elevation of Pulo Pircgi in the promontory of Tanjong Tuan, and then bends somewhat to the north.
The southern mass is broken by the narrow and curved strait of Si-Kakap into two islands both called Si-Galagan, [Pake of the Malays, whence Poggy or Poggi, North and South of Europeans, who also call them the Nassau islands]. At a rough estimate it is about 44 miles long with an average breadth of 7 miles, the southern island being narrower and more elongated than the northern. The area may be about 300 square miles. Si-Galagan is surrounded by numerous small islets, and at a distance beyond its southern extremity nearly equal to that which divides it from the middle mass, lie the larger islets called by the Malays Pulo Sanding Kichil, P. Sanding Besar* and P. Mego, (Biri-laga of the Chagalelegat)f. The sea between the smaller Sanding and the southern point of Si-Galagan is called Addington's channel by Europeans. The middle island of the band,
* "The name of Pule Sanding or Sandiang, belongs to two small islands situated near the south-eastern extremity of the Nassau or Pagi Islands, in which group they are sometimes included. Of these the southernmost is distinguished in the Dutch charts by the term of Laeg or low, and the other by that ot Bergen or hilly. They are both uninhabited, and the only productions worth notice is the long nut" meg, which grows wild on them, and some good timber, particularly of the kind known by the name of marbau ( metrosideros amboinensis). An idea was entertained of making a settlement on one of them, and in 1769 an officer with a few men were stationed there for some months, during which period the rains were incessant. The scheme was alterwards abandoned as unlikely to answer any useful p urpose".—lb.
t "The next island to the north-west of Engano, but at a considerable distance, is called by the Malays Pulo Mego (cloud island), and by Europeans Triste, or Isle de Itecif. It is small and uninhabited, and, like many others in these seas, is nearly surrounded by a coral reef, with a lagune in the centre. Cocoanut trees grow in vast numbers in the sand near the sea-shore, whose fruit serves for food to rats and squerrels, the only quadrupeds found there. On the borders of the lagune is a little vegetable mould, just above the level of high water, where grow some species of timber trees." Marsden, 468,