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According to an official Report delivered to the Spanish Minister of Finance in 1855, instead of producing a clear revenue to Spain of 9,500,000 dollars, the Philippines might easily be made to yield 48,000,000 dollars. There are immense tracts of fertile soil; minerals and marble in abundance, and forests with trees adapted for every possible use. Nearly four hundred specimens of different woods from the Philippines were displayed in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Gums, roots, and dyes of infinite variety are found ; and the docility and intelligence of the natives make them incomparably superior as labourers-to any Asiatic or African race hitherto subjected to European authority. By the Report of the British Consul for Manilla laid before Parliament in 1855, it appears that the British trade with the Philippines exceeded in value that of Great Britain with several of the States of Europe, with Mexico, Columbia, and Guatimala combined, and almost reached the second class in our trade with Asia-the total value of the exports and imports exceeding 3,000,0001.
The islands of the archipelago have from time immemorial been a favourite resort of the Chinese. The gold-fields of Australia and California have of late proved more attractive until the recent outbreak of popular jealousy in our great dependency. The immigration of Chinese has received repeated checks in several of the islands, but especially in the Philippines and in Borneo; they have again and again settled down in swarms, bringing with them their indefatigable industry, their mechanical inge nuity, and their attachment to agriculture. Their shrewdness and perseverance ought to render them a valuable acquisition to any underpeopled colony ; but in competing successfully with Europeans for the prizes of life they have generally drawn upon themselves the hatred of the dominant class. Their morals have been objected to; but it is to their commercial success that they owe the persecution to which they have been exposed. Keen but cautious traders, they seldom failed, by watching the markets, to forestall competition and obtain nearly a monopoly of trade. All the vigilance of the Dutch squadrons in the China Seas was ineffectual to prevent the continual arrival of these hardy labourers; and with little property at first beyond their rugs and rice-kettles, they were often able to return in a few years to their native land to enjoy an independence, and to display, with no little self-importance, the fortunes they had acquired. They have been insulted, plundered, and massacred by thousands in the does not seem to have embarrassed the Governor, however it may have puzzled the skippers. It may be unnecessary to add, that not one bird was ever brought to the Philippines; which is scarcely to be wondered at, since all were to be delivered gratis.
archipelago; but nothing has been able to arrest the irresistible stream of immigration. In Borneo they have been subjected by the Dutch to the most galling oppression. Their settlements have been isolated, their intercourse with the sea has been cut off, and attempts have been made to starve them. By a most preposterous and contradictory policy, they are not only prohibited from entering the country, but from leaving it.* In spite of all the restraints which governments can impose, these people will continue, by an ordination of Divine Providence which it would be in vain to oppose, to escape from the evils of a redundant population. They are the only people who can adequately develope the riches of the Eastern Archipelago, and they will ultimately occupy in large numbers these underpeopled regions of the earth.
It would be impracticable here to enter upon so wide a field as the ethnology of the Eastern Archipelago. The aboriginal races are various, and their study is replete with interest. There is, however, one race in the Philippines which presents such remarkable peculiarities that we venture briefly to describe it, as it has been represented to us, although it is likely enough that the description would require modification on further acquaintance. In the mountainous regions of Mindanao, we are told, there exist human beings in so low a state of barbarism that they seem to bear a near resemblance to the Bushmen of Southern Africa. They are well formed, nearly black, with woolly hair, rarely exceed four feet six inches in height, live chiefly on roots and fruit, and occasionally on game; they wear no clothes and build no houses, but sleep among the branches of trees. They are without any form of government or religion; their voices resemble the cries of animals, and their language the chattering of apes or the chirping of birds ; their weapons are a bamboo lance, and bows and poisoned arrows. The discovery and concoction of poisons seem to exclusively employ the little intellect which these savages possess. The least prick from one of their arrows is mortal and produces an inextinguishable thirst, and the man or animal dies the moment he has gratified it. These Negritoes ascend trees like monkeys, seizing the trunk with both hands and applying the soles of the feet, and their flight is as swift as that of the deer.f Although these people seem scarcely human, they are not incapable of being civilised. One of the race, a boy who had been offered for sale as any wild animal might have been, was after
* An exorbitant fee for a licence to go away is demanded, which puts it beyond the power of the majority.
+ The principal features of this description are given by M. de la Gironière, in Earl's Native Races of the Indian Arehipelago.'.
wards seen waiting at the table of the Governor of Tamboanga, and appeared sprightly and intelligent, watching every sign and mandate of his master. The people are said to bear some resemblance to the wild tribes of Madagascar.
There is a small group of islands which, although not strictly within the defined limits of the Eastern Archipelago, are so intimately connected with it in commerce that they deserve a brief notice. The Arru Islands are a closely-packed group, distant about sixty miles from the south-west coast of New Guinea, extending over a space of 100 miles in length, and from 40 to 50 in breadth. : These islands have become the emporium of the south-east corner of the archipelago, and form a connecting link between the rich islands of the Indian Seas and the Australian continent to which they are ethnologically related. They are probably destined to attain considerable importance when the northern shores of Australia are settled and civilised an event which may now be considered as not very distant, since the recent important discoveries. Indeed the future intercourse of Australia with the islands of the Eastern Archipelago will doubtless be very great, and a highly profitable commerce cannot fail to spring up between them. The rich produce of New Guinea, of Ceram, and the islands to the north and north-east of Timor, is now collected in the Arru Islands, and vessels belonging to British and Chinese merchants annually resort to them to obtain the commodities which they require in exchange for the manufactures of Europe and continental India. The Arruans possess many characteristics in common with the people of New Guinea ; but one of their most singular peculiarities consists in the value which they attach to elephants’ tusks, brass gongs, and huge porcelain dishes. An odd custom, and one that is probably unique in the world, consists in the destruction of à man's goods on his death, instead of a distribution of them among his surviving relations. All the chattels which he has collected during his life, including tusks, gongs, and precious china dishes, are broken in pieces and thrown away; and in the villages may be seen heaps of these fragments of property which custom or some singular superstition has deterred the living from appropriating
On the banks of a small stream, in an island about one-third larger than the Isle of Wight, at the extremity of the Malay peninsula, and until 1819 the resort only of a few native trading prahus, now stands the rich and flourishing town of SINGAPORE. By no act of his life did Sir Stamford Raffles evince greater prescience and sagacity than by recommending the establishment of this settlement and its erection into a free port. "Take my
word ex ports
word for it,' he once prophetically said, 'this is by far the most important station in the East, and, as far as naval supremacy and commercial intercourse are concerned, of much higher value than a whole continent.' The correctness of his judgment was speedily proved. In two years the imports and exports rose to the sum of 2,000,0001. In 1824, five years after its foundation, the population had risen from 150 to 11,000. Singapore exhibits a remarkable proof how the sagacity of individuals often anticipates and outruns the slow action of governments. For three years Singapore was not recognised by Great Britain. The island was ultimately ceded for a pecuniary consideration by its native prince. The importance of this settlement to British trade follows from its position. Equidistant from Calcutta and Canton, voyages can be made to each with equal facility. It lies only a short distance from the Equator; but the temperature of the island is 9.90 lower than that of many other places in the same latitude; it possesses an ample roadstead and harbour; vessels having crossed the Pacific from the north coast of America meet others from the eastern side of the same continent, which have sailed round the Cape of Good Hope; and flags of all nations are intermingled with the streamers of Chinese junks and native prahus. An ordinary price-current often contains as many as forty different articles, the produce of the archipelago.
Batavia is the exclusive emporium of the Dutch trade ; but Singapore is the port chosen by the independent traders of the archipelago. It appears by the Singapore Free Press' that there were in the roadstead and harbour, at the same time, in January last, sixty-three ships, of burthens varying from 2600 to 150 tons. The prosperity of this small settlement has been of so rapid a growth that it resembles that of some American Western city. Much of the trade even of the Dutch dependencies is carried on here in preference to the highly-taxed ports of Java. The port is open to all, and there is no impost what
Attracted by these advantages, native traders flock from the continental ports of the East to Singapore, to exchange the manufactures of India and China for the valuable productions of the archipelago. The resident population is composed of fifteen different nationalities, of which the Chinese is the most numerous. In addition to the immense commerce with China, India, and the archipelago, Singapore has extensive transactions with North and South America, Arabia, the Cape of Good Hope, Mauritius, Australia, and Continental Europe. A few figures derived from the latest returns will show the extraordinary commercial progress of this small settlement. In 1852 the value of the British
exports to Singapore was 637,9811.; in 1860 it had risen to 1,671,0921. The imports from Singapore amounted in value, in 1854, to 794,1051., and in 1860 to 1,054,0421. The most satisfactory feature in the returns is the marked increase in the demand for cotton goods, as it proves that the demand for British manufactures is rapidly increasing throughout the archipelago. In 1852 the exports of cotton goods to Singapore were of the value of 452,9271. ; in 1860 they had risen to 1,079,0981.
The great archipelago, of which we have taken a necessarily imperfect survey, exhibits society in every phase of barbarism and civilisation, from the primitive tribes inhabiting the forests of Borneo to the polished splendour of Europe. The opulence and trading activity of Amsterdam and London are represented in Batavia and Singapore, and the commercial and religious exclusiveness of Spain in the Philippines. The future of the magnificent islands of the archipelago must be a subject of some anxiety to the power which has acquired the chief dominion over them. The native states are clearly incompetent to discharge the ordinary duties of government, and they will probably be gradually absorbed into European settlements to which they are contiguous. But can so small a state as Holland, with a very
limited population from which her army can be recruited, permanently retain territories of such enormous extent and peopled by races bound to her by no ties of gratitude or interest? That Holland cannot rely upon mercenaries for the support of her colonial empire has been shown by the revolt of her Swiss troops. One of two results must follow the failure of Holland to retain the allegiance of her Eastern possessions : either these regions will be abandoned to native barbarism, or some great European power must step in to restore order, protect commerce, and carry on the work of civilisation. The Eastern Archipelago lies between Australia, India, and China ; therefore any considerable naval power that should establish itself in so central a position might intercept our communications, threaten our Asiatic possessions, and cripple our trade. We earnestly hope that the Government of the Netherlands may never be involved in a struggle such as that from which we have recently emerged. We covet no territory in the archipelago ; but should a reverse befall Holland in her colonial empire, there is but one nation that can safely occupy the position she will have lost. The moral power of England is already great. The character which she acquired during her short possession of Java has left a deep impression upon the native mind, and is understood and appreciated in every island where her name is pronounced. Her flag is not merely a symbol of freedom, but a pledge of commercial