« AnteriorContinuar »
grim interest to all the rest. The vic-mated at seventy-eight or eighty. But tims whose death is one of the great fea- this is only a small part of the annual tures of the festival look on with placid- bloodshed. “I can hardly rate the ity, or even downright enjoyment. Cap- slaughter,” Captain Burton says, “at less tain Burton saw forty of these wretches, than five hundred in average years of the dressed in the attire of state criminals, Annual Customs, and at less than one “seated on cage stools, and bound to thousand during the year of the Grand posts, which passed between their legs, Customs." the ankles, the shins under the knees, and The object of these sacrifices has hiththe wrists, being lashed outside with erto been scarcely at all understood. connected ties.” They remarked the They are offered up solely on religious presence of white men, chattered to- grounds, and sprang originally from filial gether, and kept time to the music. Vis- piety. One of the most prominent artiitors were formerly compelled to witness cles of Dahoman faith is a belief in Deadthe executions. Commander Forbes ac- land. In what precise condition the tually saw victims hurled down from the ghosts of the departed are supposed to platform about twelve feet above the exist is uncertain, but they are always ground, decapitated by the headsman, regarded as continuations of their earthly mutilated by the clubs of the mob. Com selves, with the same habits and sentimodore Wilmot, if he did not witness ments. Dead-land is not a scene of rethe bloodshed, which from his report is ward and punishment, these being conuncertain, at least saw the victims car- ceptions which the Dahoman mind is ried away, and they were executed within wholly incompetent either to originate earshot. Captain Burton, who is proba- or to grasp when expounded. The fubly a man of more resolution than either ture life has probably been invented to of his predecessors, in obedience to the extinguish or mitigate the horror of aninstructions of the Foreign Office by imal death, and those who partake of it which he was commissioned, represented retain all their previous interest in what to the king very positively that, if there is going on among their descendants. was any attempt to perpetrate the exe- The meaning, then, of the Grand Cuscutions in his neighborhood, he would at toms, when the rites of a deceased mononce return to Whydah. In consequence arch are celebrated by his successor, is of this, no blood was shed during the simply that a king should not be permitday-time, but in the Evil Night the re- ted to enter the lower world without a port of a musket and the bang of the kingly retinue. “He must enter Deaddeath-drum informed the visitor from land with royal state, accompanied by a time to time that a life was taken. The ghostly court of leopard wives, head following day Captain Burton intended wives, birthday wives, Afa wives, euto stay away from the palace, but a royal nuchs, singers and drummers, bards and messenger, sent expressly by the king, soldiers." Here, as has been said, the came to inform him that nobody had victims “ may amount to a maximum of been put to death during the previous five hundred.” But, besides this awful night who was not either a criminal or a slaughter, whatever the king does must captive. The spectacle on approaching be reported faithfully to the curious anthe palace was “not pleasant.” Four cestor. If a white man visits the king, corpses were sitting in pairs on stools on or if he changes his residence, the news the top of the two-story scaffold. Near is instantly conveyed to the paternal were two more victims, one above the ghost down in Dead-land by a messenother; then a gallows, thirty feet high, ger slain for the express purpose, and with a wreteh hanging down by his heels; this brings the number put to death in and, close to the path," a patibulum for average years up to the level of those two dangling side by side. Further on slain on the extraordinary occasion of lay a dozen heads in batches of six each, the king's decease. The late monarch, and so on until a total of twenty-three Gezo, reduced the bloodshed, but Gelele had been reached. As there are two is committed to "the reactionary party,” Evil Nights, and as the Amazons within on whose support he depends. The the palace kill as many as the men with priests or fetisheers are all-powerful in out, the number of the slain may be esti-Dahomey, and they are resolute oppo
nents of any attempt to interfere with homans slaying seventy-eight or eighty national religious customs. Captain Bur- victims, because “Dr. Lankester calcuton accounts for the stories of two thou- lates six deaths per mensem as the loss sand being killed in one day, and the caused by crinoline in London.” And canoe being paddled about in tanks of “ we can hardly find fault with putting gore, by attributing them to the inven- criminals to death when, in the year of tion of the slave-traders, who very natu- grace 1864, we hung four murderers upon rally wished to frighten Englishmen the same gibbet before one hundred from remonstrating with the king. The thousand gaping souls at Liverpool,” latter part of the fiction no doubt is an etc. Captain Burton is so bold, enterexaggeration of the fact that the blood prising, and judicious an explorer, and is collected in pits, but, as they are only so entertaining a narrator, that we cantwo feet deep and four feet square, there not reasonably complain if he is but a is not much chance of floating canoes in sorry philosopher. them.
A very curious Dahoman institution is the double character of the king. He
London Quarterly. is king of the city and king of the bushGelele and Addo-kpon. The late monarch
LIFE IN JAVA.* was both Gezo and Ga-kpwe. It is not quite clear from Captain Burton's ac
The information furnished by these count what is the secret of this duplicate two volumes will probably be new to sovereignty; he presumes that "it was
most of their readers. Java, though one invented to enable the king to trade." of the loveliest and most fertile islands The king celebrates his So-Sin Customs
of the Eastern hemisphere, and aboundin the second capacity as well as in the ing in features of interest for the politifirst, and “criminals and victims are set
cian and the naturalist, has never been apart” at them. It is to be regretted
a favorite resort of travellers. Sculpturthat Captain Burton did not go more
ed ruins which tell of a civilization vastfully and clearly into the origin of this ly antecedent to that of Europe, scenery remarkable duality of the royal person, less charming than that of Italy, native
as grand as that of Switzerland, and not which is, ethnologically, perhaps the most interesting feature of his book.
industry as versatile and prolific as that The author is not at all sanguine about of the Chinese, customs as curious as the success of modern missionary enter those of out-of-the-way lands scarcely prise in Dahomey. Admitting that the accessible to the white man-have failed missionaries have scarcely as yet had a
hitherto to attract to Java the attention fair trial, he maintains that all who of those restless thousands, who, weaknow how deeply-rooted is fetishism in ried of the monotony of home, are ever the negro brain will despair of the nine- panting for new sensations, and venturteenth succeeding better than the six. ing upon untried fields of travel. We teenth century.” For one of the most
dare almost predict that this will no
Mr. D’Almeida has formidable evils against which they will longer be the case. have to contend the missionaries have to written such a story of his three months' thank themselves. The spectacle of holiday as will induce many to follow Catholics and Protestants working one
in his wake. And if they do not meet against the other is not likely to assist
with stirring incidents and hairbreadth the conversion of the Dahoman“ man and escapes, they will at least find plenty to brother.” But the “missioner" is one
amuse and instruct. of the many subjects on which Captain nitude of the islands of the Indian Archi
The island of Java is the third in
mag: Burton's views are distorted by powerful prejudices, which are expressed with pelago. Its length from east to west a violence that drives even those who is one hundred and sixty-six miles, and may be disposed to think that there is its breadth varies from fifty-six to one some foundation for them over to the hundred and thirty-six. It has an area other side. Throughout his book he is
Life in Jara : with Sketches of the Javanese, very fond of sneering at the civilized By WILLIAM BARRINGTON D'ALMEIDA. Two vol world. We need not talk about the Da- / umes. London : Hurst & Blackett. 1864.
of upwards of fifty thousand miles, with was quite terrific. The smoke, forcing its a coast-line of fourteen hundred. The way through large apertures in the sides, population, acoording to the last census, of an impatient steam-engine; and sulphure
made a hoarse, grumbling sound, like that which was taken in 1853, is about ten
ous odors impregnated the air, almost chokmillions and a quarter. With the ex. ing us. The crater, wherr we looked ception of the officers of the Dutch gore down into its dreadful abyss, seemed a perernment, and a fair proportion of mer- fect pandemonium; and one could well fancy, chants from all parts of the world, with a on beholding a spectacle so grand and appallconsiderable number of Chinese settlers, ing, what must have been the conjectures sugthe country is inhabited by the Sundas gested to the minds of ignorant, superstiand the Javanese, the former occupying that they should regard the sounds issuing
What more probable than but a narrow slip of territory on the from its profound depths as the shrieks, yells, coast. Within the limited area of the and groans of a multitude of discontented country, it is possible to gather a great spirits, calling in misery to be delivered from deal of information in a short time; and the prison-house in which they were suffering Mr. D’Almeida seems to have spent his unutterable torments ?" three months in Java very industrious The crater of the Bromok, which is ly; though, while acknowledging his shaped like a basin, and has a diameter claim to having published “ a faithful ac- of three hundred and fifty feet, with a count of this valuable possession of the depth of two hundred, is full of masses crown of Holland,” we cannot but wish of a mud-like substance, which crumbles that his sketch had been somewhat fuller into dust when touched. One of the and less discursive. His account of the extinct craters of this chain of mounnatural features of the country, its in- tains is said to be the largest in the dustrial progress, its religion, and of world, being nearly five miles in diamsome branches of its administration, eter. From the nature of its soil, as might have been more perfect and dis- well as from its extent, it is called the tinct. On the other hand, he has fur- Sand Sea. So vast is its extent, that nished a very vivid picture of native heaps of stones are placed at certain manners and traditions, and made a val- distances to mark the proper track, and uable contribution to the literature of prevent travellers from losing themselves travel. He is not a book-maker, but a in the dreary waste. The volcanic erupconscientious narrator of facts and inci- tions are frequent, and sometimes on an dents of personal experience and obser- almost incredible scale. A lake called vation.
the Tologo Warno, which is said to have The geological formation of Java is been no less than eight hundred feet volcanic. A chain of mountains, whose deep, and beautifully clear, is now diminsummits rise from four thousand to ished in depth to seventy-five feet, and twelve thousand feet above the level of its waters have been rendered thick and the sea, runs down the centre of the muddy in consequence of the quantity island. More than forty of these are of stones and rubbish thrown into it volcanic, and at least twenty are active. during the eruption of a volcano which The most important of these is the Bro. is now extinct. mok, which in form is “something like The natives have some strange theo. a cone, from the summit of which about ries and traditions concerning volcanoes. a third part, or even more, has been ir- They believe that the noise which the. regularly broken off.” From its side mountain makes is the voice of some irregular masses of mud and sand, departed gnome, giving utterance to his “coated with a cake of baked clay like desire for human flesh. In their holy red lava," project. “Imbedded in these book it is predicted that in consequence mounds are large blocks of lime and of its volcanic nature, the island of Java iron stone, also huge black stones veined will be the first place in the world to like marble, and shining like granite." take tire at the last day. To this belief, These, which are scattered on all sides, however, a saving clause of great imwere probably ejected at the last erup- portance is added. The Javanese are tion of the Bromok, which took place a not to be burnt, but transferred to some few years ago. “The noise of the crater,” safe place until the catastrophe is over. says Mr. D'Almeida,
They will then return to the island as its
masters the Dutch, Chinese, and all of human beings now made a tremendous others who have disputed their posses- rush for the volcano, the first who succeeded sion of it, having been disposed of in in gaining the ridge believing himself favored the fire. Stranger than any of their by fortune, and certain of future good luck.
The various families and individtraditions is the ceremony of blessing uals then handed their offerings to the priests, or worshipping the Bromok, which is who again mumbled a few words over them, held regularly once a year, accompa- after which their owners hurled them down nied by great festal rejoicings. The pil- the crater, repeating, as they did so, some grims who flock to this festival are gen- prayer or wish.” erally Brahmins of a not very strict Not satisfied with offerings of cocoatype. Mr. D'Almeida gives a graphic nuts and produce, the people proceeded picture of one of these occasions. At to throw live fowls into the crater. Some a short distance from the principal hut of these, however, though more deficient were twenty mats placed on the Sand Sea, than the votaries who sought to victim
in devotion, were less deficient in sense, on each of which knelt a young priest, having ize them ; and so they wisely took wing, before him a box of myrrh, aloes, frankincense, and other spices which are sold for and flew to some ridge on which they offerings. At right angles with this row of were safe. Stones found near the Bro. mats was another row, with the same num-mok at the previous festival were offered ber of priests, all kneeling in the Arab fash- for sale, and eagerly bought, as remedies ion, their bodies partly resting on the calves against every possible disease. of their legs.
The sacerdotal dress consisted of a white gown, over sarongs of
Earthquakes are not uncommon in batek, which were tied to the waist by broad Java, but they are generally slight. The red belts. Over the shoulders hung two native theory regarding them is that the bands of yellow silk bound with scarlet
, with earth, which is in the form of a tray, tassels and coins hanging from the ends. rests on the horns of a great bull. An· Round the head was a large turban, ornament- noyed by its weight, the bull makes oced with gaudy silk scarves. Before each casional attempts to displace it, and in priest were small packets of plantain leaves, so doing gives it a terrible shake. IIot other preparations; wooden censers, from springs, impregnated with carbon, are which arose clouds of aromatic perfumes; the centre of a lake called Chondero di
found in some parts of the island. In and a basket of plaited rattan, containing water, near which was a goupillon, made of Moeko, “three or four jets like founplantain leaves, with flowers fixed at the top. tains ”rise some four or five feet, and Crowds stood within about six paces of the scatter their hot spray around. The priests, waiting for the consecration of their margin of the lake consists of " soft, hot various offerings, which were placed on stands mud, sulphureons deposits, and small made of bamboo. The offerings generally blocks of limestone,” which have been consisted of cocoa-nuts, plantains, pineapples,
The Tologo mangoes, and other fruits; baskets of chickens ejected from the water. recently fledged; pots, prios, and baskets of Leri lake, the waters of which are of a rice; trays piled up with a variety of cakes milky color, seems to be at boiling point, exhaling incongruous smells; strips of calico “the steam rising thick and bubbling, and silk; coins of silver, gold, and copper; as though over a large fire.” In the besides numerous other objects. After some same district there is a small cavern minutes spent in prayer, the people going which at certain seasons emits a noxious through all the external forms prescribed by their creed, which often constitute the whole gas. The vapor happened to be escapextent of their knowledge of it, each priest ing at the time of Mr. D’Almeida's
visit. dipped his goupillon into the basket of water,
A fowl was thrown into the cavwbich he took into his left hand, and, mutter- ern. The moment it regained its feet, ing some words, sprinkled the offerings as "it attempted to rush up the mountain they were brought to him. All the holy men side, as though some evil genie were at then bowed down, and repeated a loud pray- its heels. But before many seconds had er, which was echoed by the young ponditas elapsed, the whole neck and head seemed and some of the bystanders. The oldest of the priests next rose up, followed by all the suddenly convulsed, and flapping its others, repeating words which sounded like wings in agony, it rolled over and ex* Ayo! Ayo! Bromok!' probably meaning, pired." The natives repair to this
spot 'Forward, forward, to the Bromok!' This when they are afflicted with melancholy. was the signal anxiously expected. The mass “If their low spirits arise from the frus
tration of any desired object, they sleep and a very singular variety of the cuckoo. near the lake a whole night; and if they Fish are plentiful; there is a good suplive to see the light of the following day, ply of oysters; but fresh-water fish are they feel assured of gaining the object generally inferior. It is to be regretted of their wish. If, on the contrary, the that Mr. D'Almeida furnishes but little poor credulous individual breathes his information respecting the natural hislast before the morning breaks, his death tory of the island. A story or two is attributed, not to the gas, but to the about alligators and tigers, with here and vengeance of a pungooroo, or evil spirit.” there an account of a wild - boar hunt, Another lake, called Warno, which is scarcely satisfy the scientific reader. about three hundred yards long, presents The early history of Java is lost in a diversity of colors truly extraordinary. utter obscurity. No records are relia“ One portion was bright yellow, anoth. ble until 1478, when the Hindu religion er a beautiful emerald green, another was overthrown, and the Mohammedan light blue, then rose, orange, and milky enthroned in its place. The Dutch, to white; the various hues gradually pass- whom the island now belongs, made ing into each other." This phenomenon their appearance first of all in 1595. In cannot be attributed to atmospheric in- 1610 they had become powerful enough fluence, inasmuch as the lake is always to build a fort, near the site on which the same during the wet or dry mon- the town of Batavia now stands. For a Boons.
long time they were engaged in incesThe lakes and rivers of Java, though sant war with the natives, who were numerous, are generally of insignificant compelled to succumb to a higher civilisize. In very few cases are the rivers zation. Province after province was navigable, but they are largely used for ceded to the victors; and at the present purposes of irrigation. The temperature time the native princes own scarcely of the island is singularly equable, rang- one fourteenth of the island, and even ing near the sea-level from seventy to they are tributary and dependent. The ninety degrees. In the higher levels it Dutch confine themselves mainly to the is more varions. There is no snow at suburbs of the town of Batavia, which any season. Even the loftiest mountain is a place of no mean pretensions. In summits are clothed, in the coldest the business quarter there are many weather, with but a thin sheet of hoar- stately warehouses, of red brick, liberfrost. In some districts there is a slight ally decorated with florid ornaments, miasma, arising more perhaps from the and of immense size. In the European want of proper sanitary precautions quarter there are “fine spacious-looking than from any unhealthiness of the soil; shops, occupied by European tailors, but, generally speaking, the climate is chemists, milliners, etc., and also exceedingly healthy, and favorable to gant mansions situated in the midst of the growth of the produce of temperate carefully - tented gardens, large governlatitudes. The flora and fauna are par- ment buildings, and a fine club - house, ticularly rich and diversified. On the which goes by the name of the Harlower lands are found palms, bananas, movie." An extensive green, a mile amaranthacea, aroids, euphorbiaceæ, and square, “faced with fine large houses, papilionaceous legumens. Higher up are and traversed by roads lined with rows oaks and laurels, forests of gigantic figs of trees on each side," and a race-course, and bamboos, ferns and orchids of almost which owes its existence to the enterevery variety, and nepenthes. There prise of the English residents, give a are more than a hundred species of European aspect to this quarter of the mammals, including tigers, leopards, town. Another quarter is occupied bats, monkeys, several families of deer, by Chinese colonists, who are to be and a white rhinoceros. Of birds there found here in swarms, as, indeed, in alare nearly one hundred and eighty spe- most every other place in which money cies. Snipes, storks, and herons are may be made. It must be up-hill work found in large quantities on the marshy for them in Java, for they are heavily lands; there are eight species of eagles, taxed by the Dutch. When they enter and seven of owls. Besides these, there as settlers, when they assume the rank are partridges, quails, pigeons, pelicans, l of citizens, and when they leave, they