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to pepper which the natives gave us, it would well become our
character as a Christian nation, were we now at length, to of.
fer thern the New Testament.** · The greatest portion of what he has described, Mr. Marsden informs us, came within the scope of his own immediate observation; the remainder being either matter of common notoriety, or received upon the concurring authority of persons in all respects worthy of the most implicit faith that can be given to human testimony. The novelty of the subject, and the known qualifications of the author, who had, we believe, been Secretary to the Council at Fort Marlborough, obtained for the two first editious of this history, or rather description of Sumàtra, which made their appearance so long since as the years 1783 and 1784, a favourable reception. The authenticity and accuracy of Mr. Marsden's details have but in few instarices been questioned ; and his performance has, by general consent," been classed among the most valuable productions of the kind. It becomes therefore quite unnecessary for us to enter into a detailed account of a well-known work, upon the merits of which the public have already decided. This third edition, the author says, 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 his attention. The many valua'ble cominunications, however, which were received from his friends abroad during that period, have enabled him, considerably to improve the work.
Some have supposed that Sumatra has a better right than Sofala, or other parts of Africa, to be regarded as the country of Ophir, whither Solomon sent his fleets for cargoes of gold and ivory. No inference on this subject, Mr. M. observes, 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. Its pretensions, likewise, to be considered as the l'aprobune of the Greek and Roman geographers, notwithstanding it bure that name during the middle ages, must yield to the stronger claims of Ceylon. But we cannot fully concur in Mr, Marsden's opinion, that Sumatra was unknown to those writers. Though he notices a tradition, according to which this island is supposed to have been anciently united to the continent, as well as an observation made by a Portuguese historian, who says that the peninsula of MaJacca had the epithet of golden given to it on account of the abundance of gold carried thither from Sumatra, we do not re. 'collect that the author any where adverts to the conjecture of
Maffæus, who thiüks that Sumatra, and not Malacca, was itself - the Chersonesus aurea of the antients; which is so much the more probable, as this island abounds with gold, whereas there js none in the country about Malacca. The name of Sumatra, -the etymology of which has not been clearly ascertained, Mr.M. thinks is of Sanscrit origin, and may possibly be derived from the word samuntara, which, implying a boundary, intermediate, or what is between, seems not inapplicable to the pecuJiar situation of an island intermediate between two oceans and two straits'. ',.. .
In shape, and still more in size, Sumatra is said to resemble Great Britain. A chain of lofty mountains runs through its whole extent, the ranges being in many parts double and treble : and betweeu these ridges are extensive plains, with many large and beautiful lakes. The work begins with a general description of these, with the other natural phænomena of the .country, its climate, soil, mineral productions, &c. Under the same head wemeet with various observations on the Monsoons, Land and Sea Breezes, and Surfs; the causes of which are investigated with the skill and judgement of an accurate inquirer and able naturalist. The author's hypothesis concerning the latter we give in his own words.
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 des. "cends. The noise made by the fall is prodigious, and, during the stillness of the night, may be heard many miles up the country.-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 deast wind, and oice oersá. Neither is the motion of the surf observed to follow the course of the wind, but often the contrary. The prodigious surfs, 80 general in the tropical latitudes, are, upon the most probable hy. pothesis 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 libra. tion of the sea is prodigiously long, and the sensible effect of its height, of course, so much diminished, that it is not often attended to; the gradual slope engrossipg 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 mi. nutes together, This swell, when a squall happens, or the wind freshens up, will, for a time, have other subsidiary wares on the extent of its sur.. face, breaking often in a direction contrary to it, and which will again subside as a calm returns, without having produced on it any perceptible ef. fect. 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, towards the southern extremity of the island, à 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 ; while its very size contributes to its being overlooked." It recon.
ciles almost all the difficulties which the phenoniena seem to present. Yet - there occurs to me one objection which I cannot get over, and which a re.
gard 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 revcrse, seldom persevering for two days in the same degree of violence; often mountains high in the morning, and nearly subsided by night. How comes an uniform cause to produce effects so unsteady, un. less by the intervention of secondary causes, whose nature and operation we are unacquainted with ?". pp. 36-38.
The population of the island is made up of the Malays, (who occupy most part of the sea-coast, and are Mahometans, and the Pagan aboriginal natives of the interior. The latter, to whom the author's attention is principally directed, are treated, of under four summary divisions ;---the Achinese, the Battas, the Rejangs, and the people of Lampong. Among other para ticulars relative to their persons, clothing, ornaments of dress, &c. we are informed that
both sexes have the extraordinary custom of filing and otherwise,dis. figuring 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 extre. mities, in order that they may the better receive and retain the jetty black-ness, with which they almost universally adorn them. The black used ôn these occasions is the empyreumatic oil of the cocoa-put-shell. When this is not applied, the bling does not, by destroying what we term the en, amel; 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 die, has, by lamp or candle digbt, a very splendid effect. They do not remove it either to eat or sleep. p. 52.',. ' : The natives of the hills are subject to those monstrousi wens. -80 common among the inhabitants of mountainous (districts.
This complaint, the author thinks, is owing, rio Sumatra, to the excessive fogginess of the air in the vallies between the high pountains, where the natives of these parts reside.
. After describing their habitations and domestic economy, the author presents us with a view of the state of agriculture among the Sumatrans. This leads to an account of the vegetable próductions of the island; of which the inost abundant and most important are Rice and Pepper, the former being the grand material of food in Sumatra as well as ihe other tropical regions, and the latter consulting the chief article of commerce. Of the methods used in the culture of these valuable commodities a very interesting detail is given. . Having noticed the arts and manufactures which the inhabitants are skilled in, and given a general account of the different languages spoken in Sumatra, with iheir alphabets, the author proceeds to estimate the rank which these islanders occupy in the scale of civil society. ... Though far distant from that point to which the polished states of
Europe have aspired, they yet look down, with an interval almost as great, on the savage tribes of Africa and America. Perhaps if we distinguish mapkind summarily into live classes, we might assign a third place to the more civilized Sumatrans, and a fourth to the remainder.' 'p. 204.
A particular account is then given of the government, laws, manners and customs of the people; the author discovering here, and throughout the work, an intimate acquaintance with every branch of his subject. With respect to the religion of 'the Sumatrans, Mr. Marsden informs us that the Rejangs-whom
the other tribes, in most respects, resemble-worship neither God, Devil, nor Idol; and have no name for the Deity in their “ language! - Achin is the only kingdom of Sumatrå the transactions of which have been at all made the subject of general history. A relation is here given of its wars with the Portuguese, and of its history subsequent to that period. Widely ditierent is the condition of both nations at this tiine from what it was when the one filled the world with the fame of its exploits, and the princes of the other received embassies from all the great potentates of the West.'
It is among the Batta people that the horrible practice of cating human flesh prevails, and among them alone.
They do not cat human flesh as the means of satisfying the cravings of nature, for there can be no want of sustenance to the inhabitants of such a country and climate, who reject no animal food of any kind; nor is it sought after as a gluttonous delicacy. The Battas eat it as a species of ceremony; as a mode of shewing their detestation of certain crimes by an ignominious punishment; and as a savage display of revenge and insult to their unfortunate enemies. The objects of this barbarous repast are prisoners taken in war, especially if badly wounded, the bodies of the slain, and offenders mondemned for certain capital crimes, especially for adulterys The unhappy victim is delivered into the hands of the injured party (if it be a private wrong, or in the case of a prisoner, to the warriors) by whom he is tied to a stake; Jances are thrown at him from a certain distance by this person, his relations, and friends; and when mortally wounded, they run up to him, as if in a transport of passion, cut pieces from the body" with their knives, dip them in the dish of salt, lemon-juice, and red pep-1 per, slightly broil them over a fire prepared for the purpose, and swallow the morsels with a degree of savage enthusiasm. Sometimes (I presume, according to the degree of their animosity and resentment) the whole is devoured by the by standers; and instances have been known where, with barbarity still aggravated, they tear the flesh from the carcase with their teeth. To such a depth of depravity may man be plunged, when neither religion nor philosophy enlighten his steps! All that can be said in extenuation of the horror of this diabolical ceremony, is, that no view appears to be entertained of torturing the sufferers, of increasing or lengthening out the pangs of death ; the whole fury is directed against the corpse, warm, . indeed, with the remains of life, but past the sensation of pain. The skulls of the victims are hung up as trophies in the open buildings in front ** of their houses, and are occasionally ransomed by their surviving relations for a sum of money.' pp. 391–2.
Our author is silent respecting the still more unnatural prac. tice, which, according to Dr. Leyden's account before alluded to, is common among these people, of banquetting upon the , remains of their relatives and friends.
Mr. M. has laboured, and not without success, to render, his work a complete storehouse of information relative to that portion of the globe of which it treats. Nor is his diligence in collecting his materials more worthy of notice than his judgement in arranging and displaying them to the best advantage: while the clearness of his statements and good-sense of his re- , marks relieve considerably the dryness of detail incident to a work of this nature-A set of engravings of plants and aniinals accompanies this history, fornring a detached volume.
Mr. Marsden's dictionary of the Malay language, which is mentioned, p. 200, as being ready for the press, has lately been published.
Art. XII. The Epistolary Correspondence of Sir Richard Steele ; including
his familiar Letters to his Wife and Daughters; to which are prefixed, Fragments of three Plays, two of them undoubtedly Steele's, the third
supposed to be Addison's. Faithfully printed from the originals; and ^ illustrated with literary and historical Anecdotes, by John Nichols,
F. S. A. E. & P. In two volumes. 8vo. pp. 700. Nichols. THESE volumes are an excellent illustration of the extent ; to which the rage for collecting the scraps of great writers is capable of proceeding. The Mahometan is not more religious in his search after remnants of paper, than Mr. 1