Michael Beazeley, M. Inst. C.E.
[P. 1] Recent proceedings at Formosa have prominently directed attention to that island, and invested it with an interest beyond what it has hitherto commanded. With the political part of those proceedings we, as geographers, are happily not concerned; but their probable results to geographical science concern us very nearly, and there can be little doubt that the occupation of the principal ports by one of the great European Powers will sooner or later lead to a more or less systematic exploration of the island. And as even from calamities some good may be extracted if only one knows how to set about it, so this occupation may ultimately produce the beneficial result of increasing our knowledge of the geography, geology, and natural products of, and general acquaintance with, a most inviting and hitherto but little known and almost unexplored region.¹
That such a large and important island as Formosa should have remained to the present day so little known is very remarkable; for lying, as it does, like a breakwater off the mainland, right in the traffic between the north and south of China, visited and traded with by the Spanish² and Portuguese in the sixteenth century, actually ceded to and held by the Dutch for some years in the seventeenth, and opened by the Treaty of Tientsin to foreign commerce in 1860, it should by this time [p. 2] have been thoroughly explored; whereas we know almost nothing of the interior, the range of mountains, and the east coast.
It is curious that although the mountain range of the northern part of Formosa is distinctly visible from the mainland and islands of the China coast, about 25° N., the Chinese do not seem to have been acquainted with the island until comparatively modern times. Dr. S. Wells Williams in his valuable 'Middle Kingdom' states that "The Chinese had no knowledge of Formosa until A.D. 1403," that is in the early part of the Ming dynasty, and although in the previous or Yuen dynasty there are said to be allusions in the official records to eastern barbarians,³ which seem to point to the savage inhabitants, the occupants of the Dragon Throne knew so little of, or cared so little for this valuable place, that they ceded the island to the Dutch in 1624 in exchange for the small group of the Pescadores (Ponghou) which the Batavian Government had seized and occupied. The Dutch, who had found the Japanese established at Anping, ousted these latter from the island and fortified themselves in Fort Zelandia, but were finally driven out of Formosa in 1662 by the celebrated piratical chieftain Ching Ching-kung (generally known to us as Coxinga), whose grandson eventually received the pardon and favour of the Chinese Government by making his submission, and handing over the island to their rule.
The island is separated from the mainland by the Formosa Strait, which at its southern end between Breaker Point and the South-west Cape is 245 miles wide, narrowing at the northern end to 62 1/2 miles between Turnabout lighthouse and Pak-sa Point. The nearest point of the mainland is Van-gan at the southern entrance to the Haitan Straits where the distance across is 74 miles to Tong-siau. It extends in longitude from 120° 7 1/2' to 122° 1/4' E., and in latitude from 21° 54 3/4' to 25° 18 1/2' N., and measures from the north point to the South Cape 245 miles. Its greatest width is 76 miles. At the south for the last 30 miles the width suddenly decreases to 13-8 miles, giving the island the appearance on the map of a cleaver with a short handle. The area has been carefully computed from the latest Admiralty chart to be 14,982 square miles.
Formosa is characterised by possessing one of the loftiest mountain range in the world. This range extends down the centre of the island like a backbone for the greater part of its length. The uniformity of the elevation of this range is very remarkable, and, although individual peaks are marked on the chart of 11,300, 12,800, and 12,850 feet (and the highest point has not yet been satisfactorily ascertained), there is extremely little inequality in the general outline. I have watched the range day by day for months from the Pescadores, and have always been struck with the extremely level appearance of the crest of the range.
[P. 3] These mountains are so lofty that they are, during the daytime, always shrouded in mist and clouds, and they are only seen for a very short period just before sunrise and after sunset. At such times the mists have rolled away, and the range then presents a magnificent appearance. It is a very rare thing, even from the plains, for the range to be visible during daylight, and even at sunrise and sunset the whole of the crest is not always in view. These mountains are wooded up to the very top, for, with the aid of a good telescope, I could always, of a clear morning, see the sun rise behind the trees.
Formosa is also characterized by the absence of good harbours. There are only three which at present are made use of by foreign shipping, viz. Tamsui and Kelung at the north end, and Takow at the south-west, and none of these are suitable for vessels of large size. Tamsui is a bar-harbour at the mouth of a river, with only 1 1/2 fathoms on the bar at low water. The springs rise seven to ten feet, and inside, opposite the custom house, there is anchorage in 2 1/2 fathoms, but the holding is extremely difficult during freshets. Kelung is very small, and much exposed during the north-east monsoon. The springs rise three feet, and there is anchorage of five fathoms. Takow has a shifting bar with two fathoms on it. The entrance is dangerous, being only one-third of a cable wide between the rocks. There is a shallow lagoon inside six miles long by about three-quarters of a mile wide, but the anchorage is confined to the outer end, and is very small. There is only one tide a day, and the springs rise from two to three feet. Owing to the size of the lagoon, and the very narrow entrance, the ebb and flow rush through the latter like a sluice, rendering the entering and leaving the harbour a matter of difficulty and some danger. There is a fourth place at which foreign vessels unload and take in cargo, 24 miles north of Takow. This is Anping, the port of the capital of the island, Taiwanfu. But Anping is merely an open roadstead with no shelter in the south-west monsoon; during the four or five months of which no vessels visit the place. The springs rise three feet, and there is almost always a heavy surf on the bar through which passengers are obliged to land, seated in washing-tubs placed on rafts of bamboos. These tek-pai, or catamarans as they are called, are managed very skilfully [sic] by the boatmen, and accidents seldom occur. There is a small harbour on the east coast, 50 miles south of Kelung, called Sao (Su-ao) Bay, where the springs rise six feet, and where there is good anchorage, and fairly good shelter during the north-east monsoon; but it has not yet been opened to foreign trade.
It is true that the east coast of the island has not yet been explored or surveyed, but from what we do know of it there seems very little prospect of any good port being found there, and it is quite certain that Formosa does not possess any harbour capable of receiving or sheltering vessels of large size.
[P. 4] It is also a remarkable fact that, bad as the present harbours of Formosa are, and inefficient as they prove for commercial purposes, they are not likely to improve, as there can be little doubt that the whole island is rising at rather a rapid rate. During the Dutch occupation in the seventeenth century the capital Taiwanfu was a port, and Fort Zelandia on an island far out to sea. The extensive harbour and bay which then separated the two is now a level plain of many miles in extent, and goods are landed with considerable difficulty, and passengers with great discomfort, at Anping, under the ruins of the old fort. The coast-line, too, of this part has, since the original Admiralty survey was made, extended considerably to the westward, and it is found that the banks off Anping and the Vuloy shoal are rapidly extending. Takow Harbour has long been shoaling, and is now nearly useless as a port.
At the South Cape evidences of the elevation of the shores are very striking in the raised coral beach which fringes the coast; whilst in the north of the island Mr. Cuthbert Collingwood, M.A., in his 'Rambles of a Naturalist,' pp. 90, 91, thus remarks on the shoaling of the port of Kelung: --
"I have little doubt that the harbour of Kelung is slowly rising, though I have not sufficient data to show the rate of elevation. The evidences of this elevation are to be found on both sides of the harbour. Blocks of worn and washed coral strew the beach on the north side, and lie about confusedly at high-water mark in the neighbourhood of Ruin Rock. Similar washed coral blocks lie on the beach between tide-marks on the south side, viz. on Palm Island. The sandstone platform between Palm Island and the mainland, which presents every appearance of having been excavated by the sea slowly forcing a passage through, is now very little below high-water mark; and above the sea-level the sandstone rock bears plain indications of having been washed and worn by the waves where vegetation is now growing. Beyond the present limits of the harbour, the level plain at the back of the town shows that the sea once extended further among the hills; and the inner third of the present harbour is so shallow as to be a mere mud-flat at low water."
In the neighbouring group of the Pescadores, however, there are two fine harbours, those of Ponghou and Makung; and it would be absolutely necessary for any foreign Power that wished to settle and hold Formosa to get entire possession of these islands for the sake of the harbours. It is true that the Dutch, who once held the Pescadores, exchanged them for Formosa, but it must be remembered that when they did so the harbour of Taiwanfu (which has now entirely disappeared) was a fine one, quite sufficient for maritime purposes, and that their ships then went up right to the walls of the city.
The Pescadores Islands are not open to foreign trade, and Amoy is at present practically the port of Formosa. The produce is sent in small [p. 5] vessels to Amoy, from whence it is either transferred to Hong Kong for shipment abroad, or sent direct. The distances from the following places to Amoy are as follows, viz. Kelung, 228 miles; Tamsui, 197 miles; Anping, 147 miles; Takow, 168 miles.
There are no active volcanoes in Formosa, but signs of volcanic action are met with both in the north and south of the island. Near Tamsui there is a boiling spring giving off large quantities of steam, water, and sulphur; and not far from the South Cape there is a spot where inflammable gas is given off, and the ground calcined, as at Pietra Mala in Italy. Earthquakes, too, are common throughout the whole island. I have experienced a pretty smart shock at Anping, sufficient to upset things in the room, whilst at the South Cape they are very frequent, and at times severe.
The object of the journey, of which the following is a narrative, was to visit the South Cape, select a site for the lighthouse to be built there, and obtain the necessary piece of land from the savages for the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs. The party consisted of Mr. H. O. Brown, the Commissioner of Customs at Takow; Mr. Hastings, Assistant Examiner of Customs; a young Mandarin, secretary to the Tao-tai of Formosa, who had been sent from Taiwanfu to accompany the expedition, and myself. We also took my boy and Mr. Hastings' cook, twenty-two chair coolies for the six chairs, my two chair coolies carrying the instruments, two of the Commissioner's gig-men with eight coolies for the baggage and provisions, and a soldier attending on the Mandarin: in all a party of forty-one. We had at first intended going round to the South Cape by sea in one of the Customs' cruisers, but it was thought risky to do so, as the typhoon season had set in, and there was absolutely no place of shelter to run for in the neighbourhood in case of a blow coming on, so we were compelled therefore to go the whole way overland.
We left Takow early in the morning of June 18th in six native covered chairs, and skirted the lagoon forming the harbour on the sea side. The narrow sandbank separating the lagoon from the sea, and which is six miles long, is composed of black basaltic sand, very fertile, and in places well cultivated. For the first two miles the pathway was so narrow and winding that we kept to the edge of the bank and pushed our way through the mangrove bushes, the bearers being frequently up to their knees in water. In the cultivated parts we passed several excellent fields of indigo, whilst in others the spit was so covered with a dense jungle of screw-pines, mangroves, bamboos, cycads, &c., that it would have been impossible to force our way through. It commenced to rain as we started, and the long roll of the thunder, combined with the dull roar of the surf on the beach outside, sounded very grandly. Several heavy showers occurred whilst we were traversing the lagoon; and every time one came on, the chairs were unceremoniously banged [p.6] down on the nearest piece of dry land, and a halt called by the coolies. The jungle through which we passed was so thick that I could only distinguish the Mandarin's soldier, who was just ahead of my chair, by the round white spot on the back of his blue tunic, which shone like a star amongst the brilliant green bushes. Although a soldier, he was armed with nothing more formidable than an umbrella, and his professional assistance would have proved of but little use to us in case of a row.
At last, to our great relief, we struck to the right across the sand spit, and emerged on the beach, exchanging the steaming and stifling atmosphere of the mangrove swamp, with the thermometer at 95°, for the cool and refreshing sea-breeze. The traveling, however, was extremely trying and fatiguing for the bearers, as the beach they had to traverse was entirely composed of flat, rounded, black basalt shingle, heated by a vertical sun, and they walked the whole way at the water-line, so as to avoid the intense heat of the stones and keep their feet cool. The sea-side of the elevated sand spit was very barren, and not even the screw-pine, which will thrive almost anywhere with heat and sea air, would grow there. In order to rest the men, we halted for a short time under some fine banyan trees, at a small fishing hamlet, Siau-tika, where we noticed some very good-looking women, all with children. Four bamboo catamarans were out fishing just beyond the surf. The people looked contented and happy; and there was a quiet, domestic air about the little place which was extremely pleasing. We then pushed on to Twa-na-pu, a much larger place, and halted at noon in the middle of the place for tiffin. The chairs were placed in the shade of some overhanging bamboos and banyans, and a dense crowd soon collected round them to see us eat. Children appeared to swarm here, and we noticed the same thing at all the villages through which we passed. Most of them were naked, and they all looked healthy and strong. Then on again through a richly cultivated plain of sugar-cane and indigo to Oh-chin (black tree), where we halted in the village for twenty minutes. This seemed to be a flourishing place, and the people all looked well-to-do. There was a good bazaar and fish market, and the whole place was clean and nice. Here we got some excellent mangoes, which were most refreshing in the intense heat. The mangoes grown in Formosa are the only ones I have met with in the far East that closely resemble the Bombay mango in appearance and flavour, and one is tempted to think there must be some connection between the fine fruit met with on the west coast of the island and the early Portuguese who traded there, as it is to this people that we owe the delicious mango found at Bombay.
After resting the bearers we started again, and traversed a barren sandy plain, which must be a water-course during heavy rains; forded five or six broad steams, the water coming up to the knees of the [p. 7] bearers, and passed a hamlet on the right, surrounded by richly cultivated fields of sugar-cane and indigo, and fine groves of plantains, bamboos, and fruit-trees. A little further on we came to the main river, and crossed in the ferry-boat to Tan-kang (East river), where we arrived about 5 p.m., and put up for the night at the house of a merchant. The ground floor was occupied (as usual) by the family, and the upper floor used as a go-down; so the latter was roughly put in order for us. The cook produced us a very good dinner of local things, viz. broiled fish, sweet potatoes, and prawn curry, which we helped out with a tin of soup. We were unable to sling our hammocks, and therefore lay down on some bedsteads and stretchers which were got ready for us. The heat in this room was stifling, but we had to endure it as it was raining, all except Mr. Hastings, who braved the wet, and moved his bed to a terrace outside.
Tan-kang is a flourishing place of from six to seven thousand inhabitants. It is situated on the left bank of a good sized and deep river, very near its mouth, where there is the usual bar. The houses are principally of wattle or bamboo, and thatched, a few only being built of brick and tiled. It has a large junk trade, and I counted twenty-eight of these vessels lying at the bank, either taking in or discharging cargo. I noticed several good sized shops of crockery and ironware, and some of piece-goods. There were also several stores completely filed with pineapples. These are grown at the back of the place towards the foot of the hills, where they are worth six cash each (about one farthing). At Tan-kang they sell for one-and-a-half cents (three farthings apiece), and are exported in vast quantities to Amoy, Hong Kong, and other places. The Formosa pine, which is very sweet and juicy, has the singular peculiarity of not possessing any crown of leaves; but whether this absence of crown is natural, or artificially brought about during the growth of the plant, I have never been able to ascertain. The want of crown certainly detracts from the appearance of the fruit.
June 19th. - We were to have started at midnight, so as to make as long a stage as possible, but the coolies positively refused to move so early, saying that they were tired. My two men said they were done up, and so they had to hire coolies to carry their loads, and the Commissioner's two gig-men were footsore and very unhappy. At last, after a deal of wrangling, growling, and fighting amongst the bearers, we got away by the light of a beautiful moon a little after half-past four. We crossed a mud-flat at the back of the town which seemed quite alive with some kind of white creatures moving about. On our return journey these proved to be a very large species of hermit crabs, encased in a great variety of shells. We were ferried across two rivers near their mouths, and then passed along a very good road bordered by hedges of screw-pines, and running by the side of a long lagoon. This road was [p. 8] traversed by carts drawn by buffaloes. These carts had each two huge solid wheels, five feet diameter, keyed on to the axle, which revolved in rough bearings underneath the bottom of the vehicle. We also met some soldiers, one of them mounted on a very fine artillery mule. Quantities of the yellow hibiscus, and a large phlox, both in full bloom, were met with, the former growing here to a large sized bushy tree.
At 9.30 we left the road, which was trending too far inland, and struck down to the beach opposite Lambay Island (Lieu-Kieu). This island produces very fine custard apples, and some beautiful tropical marine shells are found there. It is surrounded by very deep water, and between it and the mouth of the Tan-kang river there is a remarkable depression in the bed of the sea, where the soundings are as much as 185 fathoms, with 139 fathoms quite near to the mouth of the river.
We then traversed for six miles a heavy shingle beach, very tiring to the bearers, and arrived at Pang-liau. There we put up at a nice clean airy yamen for tiffin. Across the street, and directly facing the entrance to the yamen, there was painted a huge representation of some animal. The body very much resembled in shape that of a gigantic flea, and we all puzzled ourselves to make out what creature it could be meant for. I imagined it must be a buffalo, but on inquiry it turned out to be intended for a lion. After a rest of nearly three hours we started once more, and again struck the beach, where the shingle was so heavy and fatiquing to the bearers that they required frequent halts. We were now very close to the hills, and the plain between them and the sea was rapidly narrowing as we advanced. After a couple of hours' journey we passed three entrenched camps with flags flying, for we had now entered savage territory, and got to a place where the Chinese were actively engaged in fighting the natives. Further on there was a good broad road cut through the jungle, and leading up one of the hills. Half-way up there was an entrenched camp, and another on the summit. There was also another large camp on a hill further on. As we approached Cha-tong-ka, the headquarters of General Wang and his army, we halted to let the mandarin go ahead to announce our arrival, and on the return of his soldier to say all was ready, we moved in at 5 p.m. and put up at the yamen of the Wei-yuen or district magistrate. This was a mandarin named Choh, who was known to Mr. Brown, as he had accompanied the former expedition in the "Ling Fêng." He therefore came out and welcomed us to his place with great cordiality. He was a small active man, with a most intelligent face, retroussé nose, and bright restless eyes; a man of spirit and go, and most unflagging energy. To his many accomplishments he added that of photography, and he showed us some portraits he had taken of himself. His yamen was only a temporary building, and little more than a hut, with a small stockaded square in front surrounded by huts. Here we were in the bustle and [p. 9] activity of a camp, the place being full of soldiers. Choh's own camp immediately adjoined his yamen, and at a little distance was a large entrenched camp or fort, where resided General Wang. The Chinese had been fighting the savages in the district for the last six months, since the evacuation of the country by the Japanese, and with such success that several of the tribes had just submitted, and the very day we arrived 100 savages had come in during the forenoon to have their heads shaved. The authorities were fortunate in bringing matters to a close so soon, for cholera and typhus were making sad havoc with the troops, nearly 1000 of whom had died since they had been there. The day before one of the generals died, and had the Chinese been compelled to continue fighting throughout the rains they would probably have lost nearly all their men. Before reaching Cha-tong-ka we had to get out of the chairs and walk over a spur of the hills, which at that place ran right down to the sea, and we noticed that all the jungle had been cut down to keep the road open and prevent shelter for the savages.
Having expressed a wish to bathe, Mr. Brown and I were provided with ponies and a guard of eight soldiers, and we proceeded to the hills, where, at the mouth of a valley, the sides of which were thickly wooded, we had a delightful bathe in a pool of the stream. The bed of the stream was composed almost entirely of pebbles and pieces of dark-coloured shale. Monkeys were plentiful in the trees, and I noticed numbers of fine butterflies, but could not manage to secure any. Having dressed, and not wishing to soil our clean white clothes on the dirty saddles, we walked back to the camp, leaving the soldiers to ride the ponies. They must have belonged to the infantry, for in a very short time two of them were unhorsed in the most ludicrous manner. After our return to camp we had dinner in the open air at a table lighted by lanterns. Our mandarin, Choh, and another native official dined at the same table with us. Choh had recently had a present of some Bass's ale, which was much appreciated. Our brandy also pleased them, but they thought it too strong. A tent was pitched for us inside the stockade, and what with trestles and bamboo frames and our blankets and rugs, we made very comfortable beds. Poor Hastings was attacked with fever, and was very wretched all day, the effect of his previous night's reckless conduct at Tan-kang in sleeping out in the rain and dew. The incessant drumming of the sentries in the camp on their pieces of bamboo kept me awake for a long time, but even this lost its effect at last, and we all dropped off into sound repose.
June 20th. - The camp was astir betimes, and seven thousand Chinese soldiers being called to active work created such a row, that further sleep was impossible. We saw some savage women here, who were either reclaimed or captured; handsome creatures, with their front hair neatly parted and brushed in our style, and their long back hair plaited with strips of red cloth and wound like a coronet round the head.
[P. 10] When we started the mandarin Choh headed the party on his pony. The hills at this part come down quite close to the water, and we had not proceeded half an hour before we had to get out and walk up over a lofty spur. Here one of the first things we saw was a mound by the side of the pathway where one of the men murdered by the savages was buried. A little way further on, half-way down the precipice, and caught in the rocks and bushes, were the remains of a horse and his unfortunate rider, killed by the same cruel creatures. We had another stretch of shingle beach, over which we had to walk to save the bearers, and where we halted to give passage to a file of northern soldiers proceeding to Cha-tong-ka to pay the last honours to the departed general. We passed a long line of stone huts belonding to a fishing village of the savages. The formation at this part was sandstone, and the basaltic sand of the beach had given place to a heavy gritty shingle. At one place an abrupt spur of the mountains ran right down into the sea, and we had a difficult scramble to get over it. After this we quitted the beach, and striking to the left, traversed a small elevated plain on which there was a newly constructed entrenched camp and an older fortification of stone, now abandoned. It was past eight by the time we arrived at Hong Kong, where we put up at the house of the headman of the village. Hong Kong is a very different place from its well-known namesake, being a mere collection of grass huts. The women were mostly reclaimed savages, and several that we saw were very handsome. It was near this place that five months previous the savages had made a sudden descent from the hills and massacred between two and three hundred of the Chinese troops at an encampment in the jungle.
We rested for a couple of hours, and then proceeded along an exceedingly interesting road, and one that struck me as the prettiest part of the whole journey. The pathway lay through a thick jungle composed nearly entirely of Vitex negundo, which here grows to a height of 8 or 10 feet. It was in full bloom, and the pretty spikes of lavender-coloured flowers had a very pleasing effect. The formation is a grey sandstone, conglomerate and shale, quantities of the latter occurring in the beds of all the streams. We halted several times to allow Choh to ride ahead to prepare for our arrival at Chai-chêng, and the bearers took advantage of such times to drink and bathe in the beautiful mountain streams which we constantly passed. After emerging from the jungle we entered on a coralline formation, and cycads and screw-pines at once made their appearance in profusion. The line of these was quite sharp and well-defined at the point where the sandstone ended and the coral commenced. The cycads here bear clusters of orange-coloured berries, and attain a height of 12 or 14 feet. Their habit of growth and general appearance are so much those of palms, that they are frequently mistaken for them. The white mangrove also reappeared. Choh, who had been riding on very lazily, and dozing on his pony, here pulled up, and we [p. 11] found him standing in a small clump of cycads and screw-pines, unable to go on any further through fatigue. His guard of four soldiers was with him. Two of these were armed with matchlocks, one with a pike, and the fourth with a trident. My boy having, unfortunately for himself, the evening before, established a reputation for horsemanship by riding successfully the ponies that had unhorsed the soldiers at Cha-tong-ka, was therefore summarily turned out of his chair, mounted on the pony, and provided with the mandarin's broad-brimmed straw hat to keep off the sun. Choh was installed in the vacant chair, and despatched ahead to Chai-chêng to prepare for our arrival, whilst we stopped and had something to eat. We passed the remains of some very curious savage huts, the walls being partly composed of stones and partly with cycas stems. Further on, as we approached the town, we passed through some good rice fields, where the harvest had already begun. We also met savages for the first time, armed with bows and arrows and long knives. Traversing a rough path through a scrubby jungle, and passing a curious conical hill of coralline crag which harboured some monkeys, we struck down suddenly to the shore, and for some distance went due west along the sand. It was past four when we arrived at Chai-chêng, where we put up at Choh's house for the night. Chai-chêng, which is erroneously called on the charts Liang-kiau (that being only the name of the bay), is a walled town with gates, and is a place of considerable importance. It was, at the time of our visit, the furthest outpost that the Chinese had in this part of Formosa, and it was here that the Japanese landed, and where they remained in possession, during their expedition in 1874, until they evacuated the island in December of that year. The name Chai-chêng means wooden walls, and we learnt that the original station was only defended by a stockade of cycas stems. The town was surrounded by good rice fields, and in the immediate vicinity there were two large entrenched camps, each capable of containing 500 men. The town was crowded by officers. These were northern men, and their scrowling [sic] faces by no means pleased me. They muttered Fan-kwei (foreign devils) as we passed, or as they stood round the door staring at us. Mr. Brown, however, assured me that, disagreeable as this term might sound, it is merely an expression of opinion, and not purposely intended as an insult.
Choh, in the most friendly and hospitable manner, gave us up his own bedroom. The heat and closeness of this room, however, were unendurable, and there was a sickening and unbearable stench about it, which, on examination, we found to proceed from an open drain that ran directly under the boarding of the floor; so, thanking him for his kindness, we asked that a tent should be pitched in the yard at the back. The difficulty, however, was to select a site, for the yard was abominably dirty. It was littered with all kinds of filth and garbage, the family pigs roamed at large over it, and altogether it was a very unpleasant [p. 12] place. We at last, after a good deal of hesitation, pitched on the upper corner adjoining the wall of the town. This was well swept, and was then strewn over with straw, which was set fire to, in order to destroy the vermin which swarmed somewhat alarmingly in the soil. The place was then watered and again swept, and the tent was then pitched. Mr. Brown and I went down to the river and had a bathe, and had some difficulty in finding our way back to the town through the rice swamps, as we had jumped over the wall and gone a back road to avoid being mobbed.
After dinner the two mandarins came into the tent and had a chat over a glass of sherry and a cup of tea, and it was arranged to make an early start, so as to get over the 24 li to Sheomalee in good time to allow us to meet a settler who was friendly with the savage chief, and through whom matters could be arranged.
As the remainder of the journey after Chai-chêng would be over a much rougher road than anything we had yet experienced, and amongst the hills and wild country, we determined on reducing the weight of our baggage and stores as much as possible, and only taking such clothes and provisions as would be absolutely necessary for five days.
June 21st. - We were up at five, but it was nearly eight before we could get the tired bearers and coolies to consent to a start. Striking across the rice fields, we traversed a plain poorly cultivated. Rain, of which there had been some during the night, now came down, and made the walking very heavy for the bearers. We passed two villages, where we stopped for a few minutes, and where the women were all reclaimed savages but the men Chinese, and before arriving at Ho-tung the bearers lost their way, and had to retrace their steps. Ho-tung was an outpost of straw huts, surrounded by a stockade, intended as the site of the capital of a new district. We put up at the hut of the headman of the village, who had lived so long away from civilisation that he scarcely looked like a Chinaman. The people were very civil and attentive, and numbers of children crowded round the door to look at us. Mr. Brown amused them by drawing sketches of ships and various animals, and I greatly delighted them by letting them hear my watch tick against their ears. The elders we regaled with sherry and gin-and-water, both of which they pronounced to be "good." The place is situated in a plain amongst the hills, and the land looked to me very fine and capable of producing anything. I noticed the castor-oil plant growing wild, and the water in the well inside the stockade was near the surface.
After a rest of three hours we resumed our way and struck nearly due east among the mountains along a very good road adapted for buffalo carts, made by the Japanese during their campaign against the savages in the south. We were now in the middle of the peninsula forming the southern extremity of Formosa, and on arriving at the top [p. 13] of a hill we got our first sight of the Pacific, and stopped some time to enjoy the very beautiful view. A valley bounded by lofty hills lay before us, and through the gaps between the hills we could see the mighty ocean that I had only hitherto read of or heard described. Very high mountains lay to our left, part of the vast backbone that runs down the island, and on our right the hills of the South Cape, and a very singular and sharp-pointed peak, which I christened in honour of the head of our party, Brown's Peak.
After a most beautiful run through a fine tropical jungle, reminding one forcibly of the palm-house at Kew, and passing a place, above mentioned, where inflammable gas is given off, which was said to have been lately steaming, we reached Sheomalee at 3.30 p.m. Choh had gone ahead, and had procured us quarters at the house of the headman of the village, and we found tea awaiting us. Small-pox was raging here, and several of the children were suffering from it. One poor little thing was brought in and shown to us, in a sad state, nearly blind and with a swelling in the neck, and looking very near death's door. We were supposed by the villagers to be doctors, and they were much disappointed when told by Choh that we were only of the official class. Sheomalee was the furthest outpost of the Chinese settlers, and we found it partly inhabited by Chinese and partly by savages. Several of the latter came in armed with their bows and arrows and long knives or swords. They are much darker and more muscular than the former, and go about quite naked, with the exception of a scanty blue cloth round the waist.
The man who was on friendly terms with the savage chief having been sent for, soon made his appearance, and came and sat down in the tent. He was by no means prepossessing, looked a dreadful brute, and more of a savage than anything else. Choh asked him to see the chief and arrange for an interview, so that we might pass through his country and treat for the land. He listened in silence, and with a contemptuous and impertinent indifference, chewing betel all the time at an alarming rate. After the mandarin had concluded, he simply said that he would not go: that the savages were so afraid of the small-pox, they would neither come to us nor allow us to pass through their country: that the chief would now be away up at the hills, and that he refused what was asked, declined assisting us in the matter, and that he should go: whereupon, without further ceremony, he got up and left us. We had everything taken out of the chairs and stowed away for safety, Mr. Hastings having been informed by his cook that the people here were not well disposed, and that possibly we might be attacked and murdered during the night. I lay awake watching the figures stealing about in the moonlight, and got up about midnight to examine the gate of the stockade, which I found closed and secured.
June 22nd. - At 6.40 we started and followed the course of the river, which was at this time a small stream, until we crossed a much larger [p. 14] river coming down from the north-east. We passed a savage village called Pakolut, the inhabitants coming out to look at us. The men and women here were all naked, with the exception of a cloth round the waist. Tokat, the son of the chief of Pakolut, accompanied us, and crossing the river, we struck to the south into the savage country. Choh, who had ridden up the bank on to a piece of sloping grass-land, now came back and informed us that the savages, who were assembled with their chief in a neighbouring clump, would not allow us to pass through. We had procured at Sheomalee, before starting, two guides who spoke the savage language, and we now sent one of them forward to the clump to ask the chief Tauk-e-Tok to come out and speak to us. He was by no means ready in coming forward, and detained us a long time. He was not a very good-looking man, but I particularly admired the easy grace and dignity with which he walked down the steep bank and stepped in among us. He had only a blue cloth round his waist, and an embroidered bag slung over his shoulder, and a sprig of some green shrub stuck in his back hair. He came armed with his bow and arrows and long knife. His younger brother, who came out with him, remained up on top of a steep part of the bank a little way off till nearly the end of the interview, and then swung himself down the nearly perpendicular face by some grass and shrubs with the activity of a monkey.
A long palaver ensued, and Tauk-e-Tok stated his objection to our passing through his country to be the fear of our bringing small-pox. Betel was then produced, of which the savages are exceedingly fond, and which they all chew to a disgusting extent. At one time Tauk-e-Tok seemed inclined to allow a few of us to pass through, provided the greater number remained behind, or went round by the sea-shore; but after several goes of betel his courage seemed to desert him, and he decided that we must all pass round by the latter route, and said he would meet us at the South Cape, or Wo-lan-pi, as it is called, and not Nan-sha, as designated on the charts, that name not being known at all in Formosa.
As nothing further was to be obtained we produced some sam-shu we had brought for the chief, and turned our chairs towards the sea, very much disappointed that the other route had been denied us. After forcing our way with difficulty through a jungle of guava trees and screw-pine, we reached the mouth of the river, and were carried along the sand on the shores of the Pacific. We then entered another jungle of screw-pine, through which we failed to force the chairs, and at eleven we had to abandon them to be carried back to Sheomalee. Taking all the coolies, except two to each chair, and desiring the bearers to meet us with them on our return, we set off to walk due south. We noticed some large timber on the left bank of the river, where the hills appear to be very well wooded. The walk along the beach was very tiring, and it was excessively hot, so at noon we called a halt for rest and food at a good stream of water. We three Europeans entered a cave used by the [p. 15] savages, in which we found leaves of the cycas strewn on the floor, and where we had good shelter from the sun. We resumed our march as soon as possible, and at 3.30 found Choh had halted at a couple of grass huts near the shore, where he proposed we should stay for the night, as the guides stated that no water was to be procured beyond this. As this seemed a very short day's work, I determined to see whether I could not reach the cape by the high land, and so ascended the cliffs with Choh, Tokat, the old guide, a coolie carrying my gun, and my boy to act as interpreter; leaving Mr. Brown with the young guide and the rest of the party to go further round the shore in search of water. Passed over a fine grass down, and after traversing this a considerable distance saw the woods of the South Cape about a mile off. There seemed a great hesitation on the part of the guide to take us any further, and as it was getting rather late for the attempt, I determined on descending the cliff to join the rest of the party. We had great difficulty in forcing our way through a dense jungle of cycads and screw-pine growing on the edge of the cliff, but at last succeeded and reached the shore. On meeting them we decided to return to the huts for the night.
It was on the beach below that the savages who accompanied Mr. Brown's party told him they had murdered the crew of the Rover which went ashore there, including poor Mrs. Hunt, the captain's wife, and they said they would not have killed her only they did not know she was a woman.
June 23rd. - At 2 a.m. twenty-six armed savages suddenly entered the tent. Mr. Hastings sat up and asked them what they wanted. They said they wished to see the old guide, and then left. The young mandarin was now altogether done up, and said he could go no further, but must return to Sheomalee. I parted from him with regret, as I liked the man, and greatly feared his being attacked and murdered on the road, but we had to think of ourselves, and at 6.30 a.m. we started to reach the South Cape. Before leaving, the guides particularly requested us all to keep together and not to straggle. After ascending the cliff the old guide struck away north, saying that he would take us a better road by which we could reach the west coast, and so get along more easily. We passed through a beautiful park-like wood, with quantities of guava trees loaded with yet unripe fruit, and some fine timber. As we still kept on north, instead of west or south, we halted and remonstrated with the guide, who simply said it was all right, but which statement did not remove the uneasy feeling we had, that we were being deceived and misled. We then passed over some sandhills, and afterwards through another belt of wood, and then suddenly descended on to a fine open piece of grass-land, when we immediately turned to the left, and traversed the edge of the jungle due west. The old guide and Choh walked ahead, and this time I stuck close to them to watch their movements better. We descended through the wood on the [p. 16] edge of the slope and found ourselves on the shore of the west coast at the head of Kwa-liang Bay, between the two capes. To my utter surprise I found the guide and Choh, instead of turning sharp to the left, south, along the shore to Wo-lan-pi, setting off at full speed along the sand in the direction of the South-west Cape. I shouted to them to stop, and walked south and sat down on a rock to await the arrival of Mr. Brown and the rest of the party. As no satisfactory answer could be obtained from the guide why he was going to the South-west Cape, we insisted on his putting us at once on the right path for Wo-lan-pi. Finding the passage round the sand barred by rocks, we retraced our steps up the hill through the jungle to the grass-land. Here the guides hesitated about taking us any further, but upon being threatened by the mandarin, and forced into compliance, they at last unwillingly struck along a pathway leading due south through the jungle. This wood was even more beautiful than the one we had traversed on the east side of the peninsula. Very beautiful palms of two or three kinds, yellow Nepaul pepper, caladiums, the large-leaved Indian banyan, rattans, and guava bushes were in abundance. A beautiful orchid (Phalœnopsis Sanderiana) grew on the trees, and we disturbed numbers of monkeys as we passed along.
I was at the head of the line, following close at the heels of the old guide, so as to keep a watch on his movements as I feared he was about to bolt, when, finding we had outstripped the others, I called a halt to allow them to come up. I was sitting down when I heard a row behind, and saw the coolies come running forward with their loads, and imagined the mandarin had been thrashing them for laziness as he sometimes did. Mr. Hastings came forward and said the people of the country were all behind in force, and would not let us go any further. Walking back, I found Mr. Brown and Choh facing a body of savages who were advancing in a semicircle through the wood. I counted twenty-five fine athletic fellows, better looking men by far than any I had yet seen. A great many of them were armed with matchlocks, and they held their lighted portfires ready in their hands. The rest were armed with bows and arrows, and all had the disheartening long knives at their waists. I have never seen firearms kept in such beautiful order as these matchlocks. The barrels and locks were as bright as silver, and the stocks were of a wood as white and hard as holly. There were three chiefs who squatted down close to us, and motioned to their men to close in all round. They told us that they would not allow us to go any further, and that we must return at once. The mandarin Choh talked to them very energetically, and told them the work had to be done, and should be done; that he was there by the order of heaven and his master, and that he intended to proceed. That it mattered not if they killed him, for he was determined to do his duty. I don't know if all this was translated to them by the old guide, but they conversed together for [p. 17] some time in an undertone. At last the eldest chief jumped up and waved his hand so suddenly that I thought we were going to be set upon. It meant, however, that we might go on.
The savages now divided into two bodies, one marching in front of us, and the other behind, whilst a few skirmishers ran through the wood on each side. After a most beautiful walk through the wood we suddenly struck to the left up a steep ascent, and emerged on the grass down where I had been the previous day. Here the savages surrounded us again, and told us we must go back, as they would not allow us to proceed to Wo-lan-pi. Again there was a halt, and we sat on the edge of the ravine discussing our going to Wo-lan-pi. The savages being desirous of knowing what sort of building we intended putting up at the South Cape, I made them a sketch of the lighthouse. One of them came up and touched Mr. Brown's revolver and asked to see it. So trusting that a display of its powers would produce a salutary effect, he fired all the chambers at a neighbouring bank, and made good practice, and they evidently thought us folks that were not to be trifled with. It being now late, and the heat most intense, and the coolies quite exhausted with fatigue, fright, and thirst, we determined on descending the cliff to the huts for the night, so as to resume the attempt to penetrate to the South Cape in the morning.
Mr. Brown and I lay down in the hut to get some rest. As I lay awake looking out of the door of the hut I saw a second body of savages filing along the top of the cliff from the south, and evidently a party that had been sent to intercept us should we have attempted to force our way round by the east side of the peninsula.
A panic now seized upon the coolies, and they declared their intention of returning at once to Sheomalee. The young guide said things were becoming dangerous; and that, if we did not leave at once, he was afraid he should not any longer be able to prevent them from attacking us.
As things, therefore, began to look rather serious we debated amongst ourselves whether it would not be best to return at once, send for Tauk-e-Tok, come to a clear understanding with him about affording us guidance and protection to the South Cape; and tell him, if he did not do this, we should go back and at once return with a body of soldiers to force our way there in spite of him. But eventually we decided on not retiring without accomplishing our purpose.
Choh, therefore, talked to the servants and guides in the most serious way, and threatened them all with dreadful punishment if they moved from where we were encamped, and at last he frightened or shamed them into remaining, and the closing shades of evening probably added force to his words, as they would have been afraid to return along the lonely beach in the dark. It began to rain, and the evening closed in very gloomily. This was fortunate, as the fear of getting wet probably deterred several of the men from running away.
[P. 18] June 24th. - It rained all through the night. At 7.15 a.m. the rain having stopped, we started to find our way to Wo-lan-pi; after ascending the cliff we struck across the grass down in a south-west direction, and passed to the other side through a fine jungle to the west coast; then traversed a coral beach containing fine specimens of sponge and shells with large pieces of red coral, and then struck up to the left through the jungle, and emerged on a fine open piece of grass-land sloping down gradually to the extremity of the South Cape.
The spot was as beautiful a one as can well be imagined. The turf was fine and close, and more like a well-kept lawn than an utterly wild and waste place. On each side of the gently sloping grass-lands there was a dense line of wood, and at the foot, and separating it from the low-lying point of the South Cape, was a belt of jungle through which the lofty Cycadeœ towered like palm-trees.&sup4; Ebony grew here to a large size, and the forest contained many different kinds of fine hardwood trees. Monkeys also abounded, and we could hear partridges calling in the scrub. The guides kept pressing us to hurry up and get away, and so after having measured off what land was required and taken the necessary angles, we started on our return. We learnt afterwards that we had been watched very closely all the time by the savages who were concealed in the wood, and who were doubtless signalling [sic] to the guides for us to be off.
The walk back along the white coral beach was very trying, owing to the heat and glare, and the relief of getting the sea breeze from the Pacific when we reached the top of the grass down was very great.
Whilst we were resting Tauk-e-Tok made his appearance with eight of his savages. He made some lame excuse when asked why he had broken his faith with us. We started at 2 p.m. to return to Pakolut. Tauk-e-Tok accompanied us, and we had by no means a disagreeable walk along the Pacific shore, the rain of the previous night having hardened the sands. We put up at Pakolut for the night, and received a very cordial welcome from Tokat and his friendly savages. We were pleased to notice that the arms of Tauk-e-Tok's men were rusty, showing that they must have had an uncomfortable night of it in the bushes.
On our return Mr. Brown discussed the price of the land with Tauk-e-Tok and his chiefs, and after at first demanding 300 dollars, they accepted 100, and agreed for this sum to give us a large piece of the southern end of the peninsula. A council of some twenty chiefs and headmen was held in the square of the village, with Tauk-e-Tok at their head, to discuss the terms. They agreed to sell us the land, and to afford us protection and assistance in the work. The harmony of the proceedings was somewhat marred by the arrival of the chiefs of a hostile tribe, who, having heard that money was to be paid to the Koalut tribe, had come to demand compensation from Tauk-e-Tok for some cattle stolen [p. 19] from them by his men a few months ago, and retaliation was threatened. As this did not concern us, however, we had our dinner outside the hut we were to occupy, by the light of tallow candles. The heat was beyond all description. We had our beds spread on the floor of the hut, viz. some boards with matting over them, and were kept awake some time by dogs and savages coming and going, and by the incessant talk of Choh, who was doing his utmost to convince the chiefs of the advantage of Chinese rule and customs.
June 25th. - Choh drafted the agreement with the savages for the land, and my boy wrote out three fair copies of it. Then Tauk-e-Tok and five of the principal chiefs signed it by dipping the tips of their fore-fingers in the ink and making a dab at the foot of the document. The hundred dollars were then paid to Tauk-e-Tok and another chief, and Mr. Brown distributed amongst the men and women some beads and red cloth he had brought for the purpose. All being satisfactorily settled, we left Pakolut in our chairs at 8.30 a.m. on our return journey. As we passed out of the village I noticed Tauk-e-Tok's men posted in a semicircle outside amongst the bushes: every man with his matchlock in his hand, and double portfires burning. We had scarcely arrived at Sheomalee when we heard shots fired in the direction of Pakolut, and the guides said the fight about the cattle had commenced. We did not arrive at Chai-chêng until 4 p.m., as the road was heavy with the rain, and the men very tired. They did not expect to see us back, as a report had reached them that we had been attacked and murdered by the savages, and some of the scowling officers looked as if they were rather disappointed at the rumour not turning out to be true.
We started from Chai-chêng at 7 a.m. on the 26th of June, and after frequent halts arrived at Cha-tong-ka at 4 p.m. Here we parted on the 27th with Choh. I left him with regret, as his cheery manner and unflagging energy and activity made him not only a useful, but also a most agreeable travelling companion. Leaving Cha-tong-ka at 5 a.m., we passed a long line of soldiers going south, taking down treasure, and leaving Tan-kang, where we spent the night, at 5.30 next morning, arrived at Takow at 2.30 p.m., having been away altogether eleven days.
Things have changed during the nine years that have elapsed since the journey above described was undertaken. Chinese rule has extended over the south of Formosa: a large walled town has risen at Ho-tung, where we found merely grass huts and a stockade: a fine first-order light-house has been built on the cape that we only reached with so much difficulty, and by its friendly beams at night guides the mariner round a place he formerly dreaded so much. There is now little danger of a shipwrecked crew being murdered, and the blessings of Chinese civilisation have supplanted the sway of the savage, who, however picturesque and interesting a being he may be, is at best but a cruel and treacherous creature.
[Pp. 20-23 are comments by the president of the society, Colborne Baber, and Collingwood.]
[P. 20] In introducing Mr. Beazeley,[sic]
The PRESIDENT said the subject of the paper about to be read was an overland journey in the Island of Formosa, from Takow to the South Cape. Mr. Beazeley had undertaken this journey as part of his duties whilst in the Department of Works in the Chinese service, and engaged in putting up lighthouses. For a considerable time he superintended the erection of a lighthouse on one of the Pescadores Islands. The coast of Formosa used to be notorious for the number of its wrecks, and also at one time for the fate, at the hands of the savage natives, which befell the unfortunate persons who were wrecked there. It was for the purpose of erecting a lighthouse at the South Cape that Mr. Beazeley's journey was made. This would be the third paper on the subject of Formosa that had been read before the Society. The first was in 1861, by Mr. Consul Swinhoe. That paper referred almost exclusively to the north of the island; but the second, in 1871, by Mr. Thomson, gave an account of an interesting journey made into the interior towards the great mountain range. Mr. Thomson was a skilled photographer, and the beautiful photographs exhibited on the table that evening were the work of his hands. The name "Formosa" was not the Chinese name of the island, but was given to it by the discoverers to express their sense of its beauty; and he believed a more beautiful country did not exist on the face of the globe. He had had, as usual, the privilege of reading the paper, and he would avail himself of the kindness with which Mr. Beazeley had supplied him with certain facts connected with the island, which would be of interest, but which would not be referred to in the paper. Formosa, as was well known, was at this moment of public and special interest, inasmuch as it appeared to be the intention of the French Government to take possession of it, and hold it as a pledge for the payment of the indemnity which they claimed from the Chinese Government. It had been stated that their object in doing so would be to compensate themselves out of the customs and produce of the coal-mines in the north of the island at Kelung; but if that was the source of indemnity for the very large claim made by the French Government, the repayment would be very slow. In round numbers the total imports in foreign vessels, in 1883, amounted to 758,000l., and the total exports to 1,178,000l., making the total foreign trade 1,936,000l. Of this sum about one-third consisted of Oolung tea, which was valued at 640,000l. Next in importance was sugar, 473,000l.; whilst the total export of coal amounted only to 32,000 tons, valued at 17,000l. Of minor articles turmeric, to the value of 14,000l., and camphor, 11,000l., were the principal. The island was of difficult access for want of good ports, and it had been established by geologists that it was in process of rising from the sea, which would make the access to the ports more and more difficult. Mr. Beazeley would tell them that there were many places at which it could be seen that the sea had receded and the land had been raised. It would perhaps be interesting to bear in mind that Formosa was about half the size of Ireland. The journey described in the paper was made some years ago, but Mr. Beazeley was there last year to see the completion of his work, so that he perhaps had the most recent information available.
Mr. E. COLBORNE BABER said Mr. Beazeley had compared the shape of the island to a cleaver with a short handle, but he would prefer to compare it to a fish, the nose of which was pointed towards Japan, the tail being the South Cape, to which Mr. Beazeley had directed his footsteps. The backbone of this marine monster was a ridge of mountains running down the middle of the island, the most prominent vertebræ of which were Mount Sylvia in the north and Mount Morrison a little south of the middle of the island. They rose to some 12,000 feet above the sea; and although Mr. Beazeley had informed them that they [p. 21] were clothed in forests to the top, a statement which there was no reasonable possibility of doubting, yet he (Mr. Baber) had seen snow on the northern parts of the mountains late in June. Lord Aberdare would no doubt have noticed that this likening of Formosa to a fish was only a confirmation, long sought but at last attained, of the statement of a famous Latin poet --
"Desinit in piscem Formosa superne."
If he likened it to a whale, although he must confess it was not very like a whale, he was asked to account for the blow-holes of the creature. Those blow-holes actually did exist in the north in the shape of sulphur pits and caverns, from which a great stream of sulphurous vapour was continually spouting in many parts. Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Tamsui resided within an easy morning's walk of an inactive volcano. The summit was a crater 400 yards in diameter, and ten miles off was a spot which was very much favoured for picnics by the European inhabitants. There was there a river of hot water, and not many yards off a cold waterfall. The river was 15 yards broad and five or six feet deep, while the cold waterfall was 50 or 60 feet in height. The surrounding tract was of course burnt ground, where no vegetation could exist; but a quarter of a mile away the flora was luxuriant, and the best pine-apples in Formosa, which were the best in the world, were cultivated on the very margin of Avernus. The western side of the island, which consisted for the most part of plains, was inhabited by Chinese; the mountains and the eastern side were the home of tribes who were generally designated, rather discourteously, as savages. They were doubtless of Malay origin. Between these two races there was war to the knife. But there were a third people, known to the Chinese as Pepohuans or foreigners of the plain, who were on speaking terms with both parties; it seemed certain that they were the inhabitants of the plains during the occupation of the island by the Dutch in the 17th century. These aborigines had in their possession manuscripts, which had been seen by Europeans, but of which no satisfactory account had ever been published. Mr. Beazeley was no doubt well acquainted with this, and would share his regret that no steps had been taken to obtain copies of them. His object in mentioning this was to stimulate the discovery and collection of those documents, which might prove invaluable to the progress of the knowledge of ethnology and linguistics. He wished to ask why some one did not write a monograph on Formosa, for materials for such abounded. There was a great deal of old Dutch information, and more might be sought in the Dutch archives. During the twenty years that an English community had resided in the island several papers had been read on the subject before the Society. A gentleman of distinguished position in our colonial service had lived among the savages, and was reported to speak at least two of their languages, and yet the general English public knew as little about the island as they did in the days of that ingenious impostor Mr. George Psalmanazar. He did not propose to trouble the Society with an account of his own journey among the savages on the lower slopes of Mount Sylvia, but he would conclude with an anecdote by way of illustrating the manners and customs of these so-called savages. A party of English officers from a man-of-war landed on the island, and meeting a company of natives armed with matchlocks, challenged them to a trial of skill in shooting. Affixing a mark to a tree about 100 yards distant, the officers made what they considered pretty fair practice, without, however, astonishing the natives, who, when it came to their turn to fire, disappeared into the jungle like one man, and crawled on their bellies through the undergrowth to about three yards from the target, which, of course, from that distance, they all hit exactly in the centre. When the Englishmen protested that such a method of conducting the competition was hardly fair, the natives replied, "We do not understand what [p. 22] you mean by fair, but anyhow that is the way we shoot Chinamen." He had intended to describe the European nationalities which had occupied Formosa. One of those was of course the Dutch; the Spanish had occupied a part, as he believed the Portuguese had also done. The name of the nation which had last occupied a port he was not permitted to name, because he might be trenching upon politics.
Dr. COLLINGWOOD said he had listened with great interest to the paper that had been read, describing the adventurous journey that Mr. Beazeley had taken to the south of the island. He had himself, to a certain extent, been among the people in the north of the island. There could be no doubt that the island was rising, and from the appearance of a reef (Pratas) that he visited, the bottom of the sea appeared also to be rising. There were but four harbours in Formosa - Takow, Tamsui, Kelung, and Su-ao. He had entered each of them in Her Majesty's ship Serpent, Captain Bullock. Takow harbour was exceedingly narrow; Tamsui had an awkward bar. Kelung had a very large and spacious harbour, consisting of a hollow made by the sea in the sandstone rocks, the stratification of which was shown on the sides of the harbour. Dr. Collingwood had visited the sulphur springs near Tamsui, and described them in Proc. Geol. Soc. June 1867. He had also inspected the coal-mines (so called) at Kelung, which however were, under Chinese management, of no great importance. The seam at its outcrop was 2 1/2 feet thick. No shafts had been sunk, but all the workings were level. Eighty tons per diem were produced by 300 men. It is a poor coal, of a tertiary kind, very dirty, and was supplied to the vessel at about 15s. per ton. Su-ao Bay was the only harbour on the east coast, and not many persons had had an opportunity of visiting that interesting spot. When he was at Tamsui, the Vice-consul, Mr. Gregory, was very anxious that some inquiry should be made as to the facilities for entering the harbour at Su-ao, and Captain Bullock thought he was justified in visiting it in order to make a survey. They went and spent two or three days there, in a village occupied by the tame aborigines, or Kibalan, as they called themselves. They were entirely different from the Chinese, of finer physique, with long hair, and altogether a handsome people. Their language also was totally different from that of the Chinese, who however lived on friendly terms with them. His party were anxious to find some real savages, and wanted to go up from the bay into the interior. They started in a body armed with guns, swords, and pistols, taking some of the people as guides. These latter were most anxious not to go, fearing that they would be murdered. They went for a considerable distance into the jungle, but had to return without seeing the savages. He collected a number of words of their language, which were included in a paper that Mr. Crawford read for him before the Ethnological Society. The people were very quiet and friendly. The President had omitted to mention a third paper on Formosa which had been read before the Society, viz. one containing an account of a little journey which he (Dr. Collingwood) made by river from Tamsui to Kelung. Mr. Beazeley had mentioned that there was an immense population in the south, and he (Dr. Collingwood) had noticed the same thing in the north. Between Tamsui and Kelung his party found it absolutely impossible to fire into the bush, because whenever they looked in any direction they could see faces, mostly of women and children. The whole coast between Tamsui and Takow was very low, but the view occasionally obtained of the mountains was very fine. The first time he ever saw them was when he was entering the harbour of Takow, and he was exceedingly struck with the magnificent sight.
The PRESIDENT, in bringing the discussion to a close, expressed his disappointment at the absence of two gentlemen whom he had hoped would be present, Mr. Thomson, who was in London, but was unfortunately suffering from indisposition, and Mr. Pickering, the gentleman referred to by Mr. Baber, who had lived in [p. 23] Formosa and had acquired some of the languages of the tribes. He had been obliged to return to Singapore, where he performed the duties of Protector of Chinese coolies. The population of Formosa appeared to consist partly of Chinese, who were the invaders and conquerors of the island, partly of Malays, who were to be found in most of the islands in that region, partly of aboriginal tribes, whatever race they might belong to, and partly by races formed by the mixture of all these. Mr. Baber had referred to the existence of written documents among the aboriginal tribes, and it appeared that Mr. Beazeley had heard of them. It would be well worthy of the intelligence of the European residents in the island if they would address themselves to the task of obtaining possession of some of these writings. There was a branch of the Royal Asiatic Society at Shanghai, and he would ask them to try and acquire specific information on this subject. A good deal had lately been heard about Formosa, and without trenching upon politics, he thought much more would be heard about it hereafter. One of the advantages of a state of war was that attention was more carefully directed to places the names of which had been long familiar, but conveyed no distinct ideas to the mind. He expected that in two or three years almost as much would be known about Formosa as was now beginning to be known about the Soudan. Mr. Beazeley seemed to have been brought into communication not always of a pleasant description with the races inhabiting the island, some of whom were formidable enough, and very different from those that Dr. Collingwood met with in the north. No information was as yet possessed as to the particular family in the nations of the world to which the original inhabitants of Formosa belonged, and he would invite travellers in the East to give the Society the benefit of any knowledge on the subject which they might be able to acquire.
¹ Mr. Cuthbert Collingwood, M.A., in his 'Rambles of a Naturalist,' says, "The resources of the country are undeveloped, and it yet remains for some enterprising nation to do justice to Formosa." - p. 37.
² The very remarkable red brick fort at Tamsui, and used as an office by H.M. Consulate, is supposed to have been built by the Spaniards in the 16th century.
³ In the last edition of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' art. FORMOSA, vol. ix. p. 417, Tung-fan is wrongly translated southern barbarians instead of eastern.
&sup4; I measured one last year at the South Cape which was 25 feet high.