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ignorant planters are often in the habit of cutting them down, but fortunately they are too numerous for their efforts. The limits for the
geographical distribution of the nutmeg are much wider than those of the cloves. This tree is found even beyond the limits of the Archipelago, having been discovered in New Holland, in the Southern Peninsula of India, and in Cochin China. The produce of all these countries is however utterly tasteless, and without flavour; and for all useful purposes the geographical limits of the country of the nutmeg are nearly as limited as that of the clove, and in fact they are almost the same.'vol. i. p. 505.
On this we have to remark, that the officinal nutmeg is not a variety effected by culture, but essentially and specifically distinct from those found beyond the limits of the Archipelago ; the total want of precision and the vagueness of expression which pervade these and similar observations, can only be accounted for from the author's deficiency in botanical knowledge. This excuse, however, can hardly be admitted for the mistake which occurs in the following critical morceau, while speculating on the etymology of the native name of the clove:— With regard to the second name, which is by some tribes called Buah, and by others Bunga, words which mean the one fruit, and the other flower, we may observe that the term floreer is by a natural mistake applied to it by the more distant races, but fruit more correctly by the natives of the country.' When an author plays the critic in this style, he ought to be very sure of his facts, if he would avoid ridicule; every one must know that the clove of commerce is in fact the flower before its complete expansion, and that the fruit is a different thing altogether, and entirely unknown as an article of commerce.
With respect to the assertion stated to have been made by the planters of Bencoolen, that they cannot grow nutmegs under 2s. 6d.
lb. know not at what period this information was obtained by the author ; at present we are assured, from undoubted authority, that, so far from this being the case, they have actually in some instances been raised as low as 7d. per and that the Bencoolen spices can always be brought into the market at so low a price as to afford a fair competition with those of the Moluccas.
If any argument were wanting to prove the effect which the cultivation of spices at Bencoolen, and elsewhere, has had on the Dutch monopoly, we have only to advert to the prices which these articles have borne at different periods antecedent and subsequent to their introduction at Bencoolen. In 1803, 4, 5, the price of nutmegs is stated to have been 10s. 51d,; the selling price at Bencoolen is now 3s. 7d. and the plantations are rapidly
extending. Hitherto but little of the produce of Sumatra has reached the European market, owing to the great demand for it in those of India and China; we understand, however, that the late liberal and enlightened measures of government in equalizing the duties, have already attracted the trade to this quarter; and that the public will soon be able to judge for themselves, whether nutmegs and cloves produced in a British colony, under a system of free cultivation and trade, are not equal to those grown in the Moluccas under a system of slavery, oppression, and extermination, which has tended to degrade, depopulate, and destroy the fairest countries in the creation. We really conceive that, instead of reprobating with Mr. Crawfurd the attempt at cultivating the spices out of the Moluccas, we ought to afford every possible encouragement to the cultivation of them in our own settlements, as the fairest and most honourable means which we possess of destroying that monopoly which has been so universally condemned; and that the practical effect of the Bencoolen spices in the market will be much more conducive to this end than all the arguments that may be wasted in endeavouring to persuade the Dutch of the impolicy and disadvantage of their system.
The volume which we have just been noticing, and which, together with that on Malayan Miscellanies, we hail with peculiar pleasure, as the first fruits of the Sumatran press, commences with a general and interesting view of the state of society, and of the past and present circumstances of the settlement of Bencoolen, which will perhaps be perused with more interest by the majority of readers than the strictly agricultural details which follow. A brief extract of the minutes of the Society, explaining the objects of the institution, exhibits the following important results of the improved system of administration which has recently been introduced.
1st. That the value of landed property at Bencoolen has encreased during the last three years, and particularly within the last year, upwards of fifty per cent.
2d. That the actual produce of nutmegs already exceeds, by about 4,000 lbs. the average consumption of the British isles; and,
* 3d. That the grain cultivation of the country during the last year is not less than four times that of any preceding year.'
With such proofs before us, that the Sumatran Society has not devoted itself exclusively to speculative pursuits, we were induced to peruse its proceedings with more attention than it would perhaps have otherwise claimed from us, considering the locality of the subject; and we recommend it to our readers as exhibiting
an authentic picture of a very peculiar state of society, and traits of native character, differing in no small degree from those depicted by Mr. Crawfurd as belonging to the whole Archipelago. It opens with a sensible and well-written address, by Sir T. s. Raffles, who probably will in no great length of time bring the districts of Sumatra contiguous to our settlement, into the same state of prosperity as the island of Java enjoyed under his most judicious and active sway.
The Reports are highly interesting, and the Appendix contains statistical details and tables of population, &c. of the town and adjacent districts; an interesting report on the cultivation of spices; and an official document on the general salubrity of the settlement, in which we are happy to find that the long prevailing error in regard to the unhealthiness of the place is corrected; and that it is abundantly proved, through the whole of the volume before us, that Bencoolen stands as high in point of salubrity as any part of the eastern islands.
The principles on which the native administration of the country is now conducted are detailed in the Government Regulation, which forms part of the Appendix, with another on the subject of debtors and slaves, from which we have the satisfaction to observe that, by a judicious modification of the native usages, the suppression of slavery has been substantially effected,---without violence to the prejudices and feelings of the people, or injury to private property.
Upon the whole, the information contained in this volume, enables us to conclude that a greater extension of European capital and enterprize is alone wanting to render Bencoolen a valuable and important possession; and we are not aware that the same objections apply to colonization in the Malay islands, as are urged against it on the peninsula of India; nor do we believe that the East India Company, under existing circumstances, would oppose it: on the contrary, we find a right of property in the land recognized in the present colonists; and that, in order to improve the agriculture of the country, the Company themselves at one period actually sent out, at their own cost, no less than sixty Europeans as settlers. Sumatra offers greater advantages for colonization than any of the West India Islands. The land near Bencoolen has been for the most part cleared of forest, and may be obtained on most moderate terms; labourers can be procured without having recourse to slavery, and the soil is well adapted for every species of tropical cultivation. Besides the spices, sugar, coffee, pepper, &c. may be extensively cultivated; and the vicinity of the Indian and China markets, in addition to those of
Europe, gives the Sumatran cultivation an essential advantage over the West Indian planters,-to say nothing of the difference of climate, the absence of the yellow fever, and the total exemption from hurricanes.
Our limits do not admit of our entering upon the miscellaneous subjects in the other volume. It contains, besides botanical and zoological descriptions,* particular accounts of Bali, Timor, Borneo, and the Sulo islauds, with other papers of minor importance. The object of the volume appears to be preservation of occasional notices on subjects connected with the Eastern Islands, which are too desultory and unconnected for separate publication. We highly approve of the plan, and are inclined to think the general adoption of a similar one in our colonies would be attended with beneficial results. We shall look with some interest for the succeeding volumes, in which we shall hope to find accounts of some of the recent journeys and discoveries which are understood to have been made in the interior of Sumatra and the adjacent islands.
ART. VI. Irish Melodies, by Thomas Moore, Esq. with an Appen
dix containing the original Advertisements, and the Prefatory
Letter on Music. Sm. Svo. London. 1822. WE
E have much pleasure in finding these poems, at length, in a
form by which they come legitimately under our cognizance; a pleasure in which the author would appear not to partake; for we have the usual prefatory affectation, of strong objections to the publication, and extreme reluctance, overcome, in the ordinary mode, by the creeping out of incorrect and spurious copies. We deviated from our cominon practice, by giving our opinion of the poetry of the first four numbers before it was disjoined from the music. Our business is now, therefore, with the four which followed. The songs are, for the most part, equally beautiful with those which
Among others, we have pretty full accounts of the Sumatran camphor, the Sago tree, the Varnish tree, two new and very singular species of Nepenthes, and a minute description of an extraordinary gigantic flower, the discovery of which was communicated by Sir S. Raffles to Sir Joseph Banks in 1818. It is found to be parasitic on the lower stems and roots of the Cissns angustifolia of Roxburgh, and is, when fully expanded, in point of size the wonder of the vegetable kingdom; the breadth across, from the tip of one petal' to the tip of the other, being little short of three feet! the cup is estimated to be capable of containing twelve pints, and the weight of the whole is from twelve to fifteen pounds. In the last Number of the Liunean Transactions there are several drawings and a particular deseription of it; the plant is there appropriately named • Rafflesia.'
preceded them; but we should have been glad to have some variety of sentiment; and, as we take for granted Mr. Moore will write songs till the day of his death, we beg leave to suggest to him, that the love of one's country, of the wine of other countries, and of the women of all countries, are not the only subjects upon which songs may be written.
As to the elegance of the greater part of the poetry of this volume, there can be but one opinion. All we intend, therefore, is to offer a few remarks on what we consider the best and the worst of the poems before us. The beauty which this author has peculiarly to himself, is the mixture of tenderness with mirth. His melancholy is not often despairing, and his gaiety seldom escapes him without a tone of more prevailing sadness. It is not the force of sentiment which strikes us, for that is often wanting; but the pervading warmth and freshness of feeling, and buoyancy of
spirit, which are ever present in the lightest, and in the most mournful of his moods. We have said that energy of sentiment is often wanting ; perhaps however there is as much of it as was to be expected in a volume of songs; and it is to be observed that where Mr. Moore aims most at strength, there is still the same exquisite delicacy, and distinctness of language, for which he is elsewhere remarkable. This is the more pleasing, as we have often to regret the attempts in this way which are made by many, whose powers extend merely to the writing a pretty song, and whose verse therefore, like a · swollen stream, loses in clearness what it gains in loudness.
The love-songs have all the fervour of sincerity, not the depth of constancy, of feeling. There are a very few of them too like the productions of days when song-writers were worse poets, and, for the most part, in worse plight than they are now; -too like the
many effusions which were wont to be addressed to the Phillis or Chloe of a starved imagination, when the poet sang of love he never felt, for the sake of bread which he too often failed to find; but even in these there is always some stray charm which makes up for all. The rest have the air of being written in a fit of admiration, true however transient; and for a real living object; but none of them have the deep spirit which promises permanence in the passions of which they are the impress: we read them, certain of the warmth of feeling which has prompted them, but with no assurance of any two of them having been inspired by the same object; or that such might not be inspired by any given number of young ladies, who were lucky enough to come in Mr. Moore's way, and strong enough in their charms to seduce him to a sentimental condition.
Mr. Moore's wit is nothing more than easy and playful. We doubt if his temperament be favourable to the more forcible species.