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remarkable for their sobriety, and make no use of opium, the villages were swarming with children.'
The natural consequence of indolent and debauched habits is the employment of slaves in the cultivation of the land, and other works of drudgery; and these they procure either by purchase or by stealth, or taking them in bondage as payment of a debt. The Malays are the greatest gamblers perhaps on earth, and when a man has lost more than he can pay, he sells himself to the winner. The greatest number of slaves are females and children of both sexes, who have been sold by their unnatural parents to procure the means of subsistence, or to enable them to indulge in gambling or in opium-smoking. Horrible as it may appear to the delicate sensibilities of Mr. Fowell Buxton, and other members of the Anti-Slavery Society, 'it cannot be denied, however,' says Mr. Anderson, that the existence of slavery (he means the slave trade) in this quarter, in former years, was of immense advantage in procuring a female population for Pinang;' and he assures us that from Assahan alone, 300 slaves, principally females, were exported to Malacca and Pinang, in the course of a year. Here they got comfortably settled as the wives of opulent Chinese merchants, who, from thus rearing families, became attached to the soil; and as the female population of Pinang is still far from being on a par with the male, our author thinks that the abolition of slavery, (he again means the trade,) in this quarter at least, has been a vast sacrifice to philanthropy and humanity.' In fact, this branch of the slave-trade had little but the name and the form; the condition of the human being sold was invariably amended; the women became respectable wives; the men, who were in the least industrious, purchased their emancipation, and many of them became wealthy. But in spite of laws and the vigilance of those who are to look to their execution; the ingenious Chinese still contrive to introduce slaves and make them happy, both at Malacca and Pinang and Singapore; and it is to be hoped, that no concession to the feelings of a false humanity, uttered at a distance of ten thousand miles, will be made to interfere with this, or prevent a further importation of females, so long as the great disproportion of the sexes in these flourishing settlements shall continue to exist.
Indolent as the Malays of the interior generally are, they are by no means averse from engaging in speculations of trade; and few countries are supplied with a greater abundance and variety of valuable products of foreign consumption than Sumatra.
'Scarcely any part of the habitable globe (says Mr. Anderson) surpasses the east coast of Sumatra in the variety and value of its natural productions. The following may be enumerated as the principal articles
of export commerce: gold, camphor, ivory, wax, pepper, black and white; benjamin, cinnamon, gambir, rattans, sulphur, tobacco, lignum, aloes, dye-woods, ebony, a vast variety of ship-timber, the Iju rope for cables, fish-roes, sharks' skins, canes, mats, pulse of various sorts, rice, dragon's blood, silk cloths, and horses. Besides these, are many articles of minor value, principally for the consumption of the inhabitants.'—p. 204.
It was one great object of our author's mission, to create a desire among the people for British and Indian manufactures; and in this, to a certain extent, he seems to have succeeded, finding them desirous of exchanging their valuable productions for our chintzes, muslins, cambrics and Irish linen, scarlet broad-cloth, and a great variety of other manufactured goods. The grand staple of Sumatran produce, however, is pepper, of which very large quantities are received at Pinang and Malacca. Its quality is excellent, and has long been appreciated as it deserves in the markets of Europe and America.
As to the Malays themselves, Mr. Anderson was highly pleased with the kind reception and hospitality he every where met with from them; they revived,' he says, in my mind, the pleasing remembrance of that old Scotch hospitality to which I was accustomed in my boyish days, among my native hills. It more resembled those dreams of my youth, than any thing I have since met with in the world.' If they would not disfigure their mouths with chewing betel, and the women had not that odious custom of making large holes in their ears, and drawing them down to the shoulders, which however is by no means universal, our traveller thinks many of them might be called handsome. The people, in general, appeared to him a happy, contented, inoffensive race, every countenance smiling, and every house open to the reception of strangers.
The Malays are not an illiterate people; all their children are taught to read and recite from the Koran. In one place Mr. Anderson heard a person reciting with a loud voice to a circle of about 200 people, from a book containing the history of the exploits of Alexander the Great, to impress the sultan's warriors with heroic notions, and excite their courage and emulation. They have numerous works on history, biography, law, and religion: poetry and romances are much relished, and they are passionately fond of music.
Near each of the villages on the banks of rivers is a bathingplace, surrounded with strong stockades, as a protection against alligators: here the women and children are plunging and sporting in the water all the day long; and as they indulge themselves in throwing off every part of their dress, it was usual to send a person in advance, to give notice of our traveller's approach, to pre
vent the women and children from being alarmed: where this was not done, the man at the helm of the boat, on approaching the bathing-houses, called out, with a Stentorian voice, boah,' which was a signal for the females to move off.
There is a race of people, however, in the interior, near the foot of the mountains, inhabiting towns and villages situated round a large lake, to whose character, very different certainly from that of the Malays, Mr. Anderson has not done justice. We allude to that singular race of people, the Battas, whose features, language, and customs, cannot be considered as of Tartar or Malay origin; but point evidently to a Hindu extraction. In the memoranda given to our author as principal heads of inquiry, is included The practice of cannibalism, if prevalent in any district, and to what extent, and where?' and it must be confessed he lost no occasion of inquiring into this revolting practice. Seeing among the soldiers of the sultan of Delli a man of a particularly ferocious appearance, he took occasion to converse with him, and was informed by him, he says, of his own accord, that he had eaten human flesh seven times, as also what parts of the body had the most delicate flavour. Two or three other Battas, in the same service, told him they had done the same, and that the hope of feasting on human carcasses was their chief inducement for engaging with the sultan, of whose force, consisting of about 400 men, one third, at least, were Battas-quite sufficient, we should suppose, to eat up the other two thirds in the course of a month or two. At another place the Sultan Ahmet had about 200 of these Battas in constant employ, in his pepper gardens, where hundreds of naked children were running about. At Soonghal the principal inhabitants were Battas, employed in the cultivation of the pepper vine; and the bones, skulls of buffaloes and some large monkeys, found in their houses, had so great a resemblance to human bones, as to raise a suspicion in our traveller's mind that he had got into the country of the cannibals. At Batabara he fell in with another stout ferocious-looking fellow,' whom he ventured, however, to question concerning cannibalism. He said that young men were soft, and their flesh watery. The most agreeable and delicate eating was that of a man whose hair had begun to turn grey.' This may account for the paucity of old men and women that were met with, and also for the safety of the swarms of naked children which ran about among the multitudes of Battas employed by the Malays. Some, it seems, can relish no other food but human flesh.
'The rajah of Tanah Jawa, one of the most powerful and independent Batta chiefs, if he does not eat human flesh every day, is afflicted with a pain in his stomach, and will eat nothing else. He orders one of his slaves (when no enemies can be procured, nor criminals, for execution)
to go out to a distance, and kill a man now and then, which serves him for some time, the meat being cut into slices, put into joints of bamboo, and deposited in the earth for several days, which softens it. The parts usually preferred, however, by epicures, are the feet, hands, ears, navel, lips, tongue, and eyes. This monster, in the shape of a man, is not content with even this fare, but takes other and more brutal methods for gratifying his depraved appetite. A Batta, when he goes to war, is always provided with salt and lime-juice, which he carries in a small mat bag on his left side. He who is the first to lay his hands upon an enemy, at a general assault of a fort, obtains particular distinction by seizing a certain part of the body with his teeth. The head is immediately cut off. If the victim is warm, the blood is greedily drank by these savages, holding the head by the hair above their mouths.'—p. 224. We cannot help thinking that the Malays, who are a shrewd people, and the Batta chiefs, who are by no means wanting in intelligence, on discovering Mr. Anderson's anxiety about meneaters, indulged him with the above, and many other similar stories contained in his narrative, by way of quizzing and laughing at his credulity. They seemed quite surprized, he says, that he should entertain a doubt of this laudable practice. They even offered to give him a practical proof of it:
'I might,' says he, have seen the disgusting ceremony of eating human flesh, had I chosen to accompany the Rajah to the fort which he was about to attack; but thinking it not improbable that some poor wretch might be sacrificed to show me the ceremony, I declined witnessing it.' The gentleman did wisely no doubt in declining the offer in question, as his entertainers might, peradventure, have taken a fancy to himself. They brought him the head, however, of a victim which they said they had just devoured, and this is his main proof. A Batta, who had seen the human heads which no long time ago were stuck upon Temple Bar, would have just as good proof for saying that the people of London were cannibals. After all, then, it is quite clear that he knows nothing about the matter except from hearsay. Every account which he gives of their villages, of the decent conduct of the men, the modesty and bashfulness of the women, the cleanliness of their houses, makes us revolt from the belief that such a practice exists. He observed a freedom in the manners of these people different from what he had met with elsewhere in the East. The young men and women were playing, and pinching each other, and showing other symptoms of the softer passion, like the country lads and lasses at a wake at home.' He farther states that this district of the Battas abounds in the finest ponies he ever saw, as fat as possible; cows in noble herds; and pigs, goats, dogs, and poultry innumerable surrounded, as the Battas are, by well cultivated fields, and all these unequivocal marks of plenty,' he may well
exclaim, strange, that a people having such abundance of cattle and vegetable productions should be tempted to devour each other!'*
Now, what is the real state of the case with regard to these singular people—a people not only industrious at home, but accustomed to carry their industry into districts inhabited by a different race of men, who are, compared with the Malays, in a state of affluence, who have a written language, and a regular code of laws? Why the fact is, that they do eat human flesh; but they eat it legally-are cannibals by law. Mr. Marsden has been sufficiently explicit on this subject, his account has since been confirmed by Sir Stamford Raffles, and it is this:-That they do not eat human flesh as the means of satisfying the cravings of nature, nor do they seek after it as a gluttonous delicacy; that they eat it as a species of ceremony; as a mode of showing their detestation of certain crimes, by an ignominious punishment; and occasionally, but very rarely, as a savage display of revenge and insult to their unfortunate enemies; that the objects of this barbarous repast are prisoners taken in war, mostly those wounded, and offenders condemned for certain capital crimes, especially for adultery. In these last cases the unhappy victim, after a trial in the public market-place, is delivered into the hands of the injured party, by whom he is tied to a stake; lances are thrown at him by the offended husband, his relations and friends; and when mortally wounded, they run up to him, cut pieces from the body with their knives, dip them in salt, lemonjuice and red pepper, (which are sent by the Rajah, who must confirm the sentence,) slightly broil them over a fire prepared for the purpose, and swallow the morsels with a degree of savage enthusiasm.
'All that can be said,' observes Mr. Marsden, 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.'
In truth, had we not the recent instance so near home, of the * We have frequently had occasion to combat the absurd nonsense of travellers, talking about cannibals, and their delighting in human flesh; but the following fact, so stated by a Mr. Somebody, at one of those ghostly meetings where such things are got up for the edification of the lady-subscribers, outdoes every thing that Mr. Anderson has set down, even that grizzled beards do not sprout from gristly flesh. 'A party of missionaries, with their attendants, were attacked by a whole army of cannibals, who, after putting the whole of them to death, made a feast of their bodies, every one of which they devoured, except one, and in this one the wellknown cannibal chief, Chingoo, cut a large circular hole in the centre, through which he put his own head, and thus carrying the dead body on his shoulders, marched triumphantly at the head of his devouring army.' This happened in New Zealand; but as they were all killed—and eaten, except him who was converted into an anthropophagistic necklace—we must ask who brought the story to London ?