Habersham, A[lexander] W. The North Pacific surveying and exploring expedition; or, My last cruise. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1857. Pp. 159-179.
[P. 159] We hear a distressing rumour and are greatly dispirited -- We are requested by the merchants of Shanghae to attack a piratical squadron, and evince a praiseworthy readiness for action -- The Old John astonishes the Chinese of the Wan-chew River, after which she visits Formosa and liberates two Chinese convicts.
While we were working our toilsome way up the Woo-sung River, a painful rumour spread itself around our decks and weighed us down with a shapeless and horrid fear. It was said that the Porpoise was lost; but how the news came, or who had spoken positively of it, no one could tell. A startled feeling of doubt, and surprise, and distressing uncertainty, pervaded every heart.
While in this gloomy state of mind, we were one day greatly relieved by the arrival of the Cooper, whom, it will be remembered, we had left in the Yellow Sea, exposed to the fury of a heavy gale and the dangers of a probable lee shore. We had been so disheartened by the report of the loss of the Porpoise, that our fears for the safety of our little consort had been morbidly increased, and we were now proportionately inspirited by her appearance. She anchored near us to see if she could be of any assistance, (we were aground,) but, finding us obliged to wait the rising of the tide, got under way again and stood on up the river. A few days later we reached the city ourselves, when we received a visit from the consul, who confirmed our worst fears in regard to the Porpoise.
[P. 160] There seemed to be no doubt as to the truth of the rumour. Still, we found it difficult to give up our confidence in her as a sea-boat, or in her officers as skillful and able men. We remained in a painful state of suspense for months.
We now found in necessary to put the Hancock into dock before we could ascertain what affected the propeller, and by the time she got out again the month of December was passed and we found ourselves commencing the year of 1855. We were no sooner ready for sea than a report reached Shanghae that an English opium-clipper was blockaded by pirates in the Wan-chew River; and, as it was only slightly out of our route to the island of Formosa, the captain readily complied with the wish of the merchants that we should touch there on our way and rescue her from their clutches. We consequently hurried our departure, and, after fighting many imaginary battles to get our hands in for "deeds of blood and valour," we arrived at the spot and found that the pirates had retired and that the schooner had gone to sea some days since. We now reworked our way through the numerous sand-banks that guard the mouth of that rarely-visited river, and shaped a course for Keilung, a harbour in the northern end of the unknown island of Formosa. But, before I leave Wan-chew, let me say a word in regard to the "sensation" which the "Old John" created among the crowds of astonished Chinese who lined the banks of that river to see a vessel sailing head to wind and current without any apparent motive-power.
Persons who are in the daily habit of seeing a balloon [p. 161] ascend, of wondering over the strange secrets of electricity, or of witnessing the silent progress of a propeller-steamer, will have to reflect a moment before they can appreciate the feeling of alarmed curiosity which fills the semi-civilized or savage breast when for the first time it beholds such apparent miracles. In the present case, we had our sails furled, were steaming with anthracite coal, which made no smoke, and were running through a strong current and against a light breeze. There was nothing in the world to give ignorant minds the slightest clue as to how we got ahead: they were as much confounded as we would have been to have seen an ox-cart going up-hill by itself. As we thus ascended the winding river, the villages which teemed along its banks poured forth their excited inhabitants to witness the strange spectacle, -- men, women, and children, hurrying to the water's edge, watching our mysterious progress, and then returning slowly to their homes as if they had seen enough to think about for the next week. After we had anchored, they approached us warily in their boats, refusing to come alongside, and keeping their eyes on our every movement. They were evidently in doubt as to our terrestrial origin, or rather as to that of the Old John. Finally, we landed at a village abreast of our anchorage, and they began to get more reconciled, closing around us in great numbers and pointing to the ship in continued wonder. They were evidently seeking information, which we could only impart by signs.
While entering this river, we picked up a fishing-boat and compelled one of its owners to pilot us in; and it was he who had anchored us off this village, declaring [p. 162] that we could not get any higher up on account of sunken rocks, the captain having been anxious to anchor near the principal town. We could see from this village quite a large walled town which was between us and the larger city, and Hartman and Williams that evening climbed its wall and promenaded its streets, to the infinite terror of the female and juvenile portions of the population. They described it as being very thinly inhabited, -- evidently an old city that was being gradually deserted. The latitude of this river is about 28û N., and its longitude 120û 38' E. It will never probably be any thing more than a haunt for pirates.
We had a fine run to Keilung, where we fell in with the Cooper, -- she having sailed direct for that port, -- and where we found quite a snug anchorage for one or two sail. We also found ducks, vegetables, and oranges quite plentiful, the latter being as fine as any I ever ate. We had also been told of the existence of coal a few miles in the interior; but, upon applying to the authorities, (such as they were,) they gave us, as usual, the most evasive answers. The captain was, however, determined to get some specimens; so he and one or two of the mess, with his Chinese steward as interpreter, started back into the country to discover the deposit. They were soon encountered by two men, who offered to guide them to the spot, provided they might be allowed to go to Hong Kong in the ship; and, as it seemed a simple case of buying and selling, the captain consented. They told him that there was a law forbidding any one to show the way to the coal-mine, upon pain of death; but, upon our arrival at Hong-Kong, we learned that Keilung was a penal [p. 163] settlement of the Chinese, and that those two fellows were convicts who thus escaped their punishment.
I will say nothing more about Formosa for the present. We left its shores about as wise as we were upon our arrival, and it was not until our second visit that we picked up what little information now exists upon the files of the Expedition in regard to it. Upon leaving Keilung for Hong-Kong we kept along the east coast of the island, in the vain search for a reported harbour. There was nothing to be seen but an iron-bound coast with range after range of lofty mountains lifting themselves above the heavy surf that broke along the entire beach. One day we thought we had discovered it: we saw ahead the smoke of distant villages rising back of a bight in the coast which looked very much like a harbour; but, upon approaching it, we found ourselves mistaken. We, however, lowered a boat and attempted to land, but the surf was breaking so furiously that it would have been madness to have entered it. Besides, the beach was crowded by naked and excited savages, whom it was generally reported were cannibals, and into whose company we should consequently have preferred being thrown with reliable arms in our hands. The two convicts, whom the captain had taken in the boat to interpret in case of his being able to land, became so frightened at the savage appearance of those reported man-eaters, that they went on their knees to him, protesting, through the steward, that the islanders had eaten many of their countrymen, and that if he went any nearer they would do the same by him and the boat's crew. Finding it impossible to pass the surf, the boat returned on board, and we squared away for Hong-Kong, [p. 164] where we arrived on the 13th of February, 1855, and found the Vincennes alone at her moorings. We looked with straining eyes and sinking hearts for the well-known hull and spars of the devoted brig. They were nowhere to be seen. We sighed and closed our glasses with a shudder. The Porpoise was lost.
We found that the Vincennes herself had passed through an unusually severe cruise during our separation; and as the unfortunate Porpoise had kept company with her up to a certain time, since when she has not been heard of, I make the following extract from a letter lately received from Lieutenant John M. Brooke, of the Vincennes, in regard to the manner in which they separated, &c.; and I am sorry to say to the friends of those who were lost in her, that this extract contains all we know of her melancholy end: --
"The facts relating to the Vincennes and the Porpoise, and the fate of the latter, are simply these: --
"The two vessels in company were struggling with the northeast monsoons in the China Sea. Occasionally the veering wind and changing barometer indicated the passage of a cyclone: the increasing fury of the wind and these indications governed the courses of the vessels. At length they found themselves between Formosa and the main, and, during the of the 20th of September, they held on near mid-channel; but in the morning the Vincennes, then to leeward, bore up for the Bashee passage. It was presumed that the Porpoise would follow. While the Vincennes was thus running before the wind, towing hawsers astern to break the sea should she cross the banks, the Porpoise was enveloped in a driving mist [p. 165] and lost to sight. This separation was regarded as of little moment, for the brig was well manned, and her officers, individually and collectively, were men of the first ability and courage: -- you knew them all.
"It is generally understood by seamen that sound vessels are safer alone than in company; for the whole attention of the commander may be devoted to the care of his vessel without those modifications of plan required when acting in concert. In those seas the obscurity of the night rendered it difficult to distinguish light, and the sound of cannon would be lost in the roaring of the winds and waves. Therefore, neither surprise nor special anxiety was experienced on that occasion.
"The Vincennes, having passed the Bashee passage, entered the Pacific, and, until her arrival at the Bonin Islands, experienced fine weather. The arrival of the Porpoise -- a dull sailer -- was daily expected. Meanwhile there came on, at night, one of those characteristic storms of the Bonins, -- a hurricane or cyclone. It came unheralded, except by the slightly-increased sound of the surf on the outer rocks; and it was not until the fitful gusts that, by their peculiar tone, are recognised by those who have heard it, swept from the hills over the ship, that we were aware of its proximity. Nearly shut in by mountains, the Vincennes, with lower yards and topmasts struck and four anchors down, trembled from the vibration of the masts and rigging. There was no shrill whistling of the wind, but a deep and hollow roar; the crests of the waves were caught up, and whitened the air with drift. The falling barometer and the veering wind presented all the indications of a cyclone sweeping toward the north. It [p. 166] was remarked by the ablest seamen of the Vincennes that she, good sea-boat as she was, would scarcely have survived the hurricane at sea.
"In the confined China Sea -- near the Pescadores, the wind blowing toward the coast of China -- it would be singular indeed if no vestige of a ship wrecked or lost there should be found. It is not probable that the Porpoise was lost until she reached the vicinity of the Bonins.
"She bore the character of a good sea-boat, but was short and deep in the waist, therefore liable to broach to, or to be brought by the lee, -- the fill and founder."
And this is all! This gloomy account, similar to that which was laid before us on our arrival at Hong-Kong, contains in its hopeless lines all that is known of the fate of the time-worn old brig and her crew of near a hundred souls. The subsequent search which was undertaken by the Hancock, and in which we persisted at the imminent risk of our ship and our lives, resulted in nothing save disappointment, danger, and loss of time. That dense and driving mist which enveloped her in its shroud-like embrace may have veiled from the curious eyes of her receding consort an unequal conflict, waged between man's godlike brain on the one side and the power of the elements and some untoward accident on the other; or she may have followed the stormy path of her more fortunate consort, and perished within a day's sail of the Bonin Islands. Certain it is that no ordinary combination of circumstances would have sufficed to bring about her uncertain fate. That brig, and the man who controlled her slightest movement with the experienced [p. 167] will of his well-balanced brain, had now rested after the labours of their perilous cruise, had not some insurmountable danger crossed their path, against which all human precautions were of no avail. Peace -- eternal peace -- be to the glorious manes of those who share her unknown grave, and to those mourning friends whose dearest hopes, whose fond longing for an earthly reunion, are blighted by the withering evidence of time's onward roll! There is no more room for hope.
We were now once more in Hong-Kong, -- the Vincennes, ourselves, and the Cooper. Further changes soon began to be talked of as to the officering of the different vessels, -- the result of the wasting hand of disease, which was by this time thinning our ranks. We had buried Lieutenant Hunter in the vast burial-ground of Fou-chow-fou, and now Acting-master R.R. Carter, of the Vincennes, was lying dangerously ill at the house of a friend on shore. He was partially restored to health after a protracted illness, and finally succeeded in reaching his Virginia home; but he never again did any duty in the Expedition, nor will he, I fear, ever regain his former strength. After the loss of the Porpoise, the detachment of this accomplished officer was the greatest misfortune that the Expedition experienced.
This vacancy on board the flag-ship caused Lieutenant Russell to be ordered to fill it; and Lieutenant McCullom, having grown tired of keeping guard off Canton, in the Kennedy, was induced to join the Hancock in his place. He was my senior officer, and as such unwillingly relieved me of the combined duties of first lieutenant, boatswain, and gunner of a shaky old steamer [p. 168] at which people looked and wondered that she was still afloat.
We had all been so roughly handled during our late cruise that considerable time was now required for repairs; and while these were going on a third set of astronomical observations were obtained by Lieutenant Brooke, the astronomer of the expedition. They were culminations of the moon, and the mean of the three sets was satisfactory in the extreme. Finally, the spring set in, and found us again ready for sea; and, in order to run over as much space as possible, each vessel was assigned a separate track.
The Vincennes was to proceed, viâ the Bonin Islands, to Loo-choo, the Cooper to take in some islands to the northward and eastward of Formosa on her way to the same port, and the Hancock to search for the Porpoise in the Formosa Channel, to survey the southwest and east coast of that island, and then join the other two vessels at their port of destination. From thence we were to proceed by different routes to the port of Hakodadi, island of Jesso, -- the Cooper going through the Japan Sea, and the Vincennes and Hancock through a long chain of islands, touching at Simoda, island of Nipon, and finally joining Cooper at Hakodadi. From thence the Vincennes was to pass along the east coast of Kamtschatka and Asia, though Behring's Straits, and into the Arctic; the Cooper was to examine the Kurile, the Fox, and the Aleutian Islands; and the Hancock to survey the entire circumference of the Okotsk Sea, the great centre of the American whalers. It was understood that the middle of October was to [p. 169] find us again united in the harbour of San Francisco, California.
It was another stormy season as we again put to sea from Hong-Kong, and we had a most uncomfortable time working up against strong northerly gales. As already observed, we were bound to the Pescadore Islands, and thence around the south cape of Formosa. We were hunting for the missing brig, or for a stranded plank or floating cask that should tell us of her fate. We had little or no data to assist us in this search. A black spot pricked upon the chart of the China Sea by Commander Rogers was our only guide. "It was there we left her," said he: "go and seek our brother-officers, and may Heaven prosper your search!" We arrived at the harbour of Makung on the 26th of March, and remained there two days. Makung is the largest settlement of the Pescadores, and is inhabited by Chinese. We communicated with them through our Chinese servants, could hear nothing of the Porpoise, and left for the coast of Formosa. Upon sighting the latter, we were overtaken by a heavy gale, against which we tried to steam, but, finding ourselves near foundering, put up the helm and ran down along the land toward a village this side of the south cape. As we closed in with the land the wind seemed to head us off, and we were glad to reach our destination without being blown to sea.
And now, before I turn to my journal for a few pages in regard to our experience while coasting around this island, let me enlighten the reader as much as possible [p. 170] in regard to it from other sources. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says, --
"The Dutch at an early period established a settlement on this island.
"In 1625, the viceroy of the Philippine Islands sent an expedition against Formosa, with a view of expelling the Dutch. It was unsuccessful. . . . About the middle of the seventeenth century, it afforded a retreat to twenty or thirty thousand Chinese from the fury of the Tartar conquest. . . . In 1653, a conspiracy of the Chinese against the Dutch was discovered and suppressed; and, soon after this, Coxinga, the governor of the maritime Chinese province of Tehichinag, applied for permission to retire to the island, which was refused by the Dutch governor; on which he fitted out an expedition, consisting of six hundred vessels, and made himself master of the town of Formosa and the adjacent country. The Dutch were then allowed to embark and leave the island. . . . Coxinga afterward engaged in a war with the Chinese and Dutch, in which he was defeated and slain. But they were unable to take possession of the island, which was bravely defended by the posterity of Coxinga; and it was not till the year 1683 that the island was voluntarily surrendered by the reigning prince to the Emperor of China. . . . In 1805, through the weakness of the Chinese government, the Ladrone pirates had acquired possession of a great part of the southwest coast."
The Encyclopaedia Americana says, --
"The island is about two hundred and forty miles in length from north to south, and sixty from east to west [p. 171] in its broadest part, but greatly contracted at each extremity. That part of the island which the Chinese possess presents extensive and fertile plains, watered by a great number of rivulets that fall from the eastern mountains. Its air is pure and wholesome, and the earth produces in abundance corn, rice, and most other kinds of grain. Most of the India fruits are found here, -- such as oranges, bananas, pineapples, guavas, cocoanuts, -- and part of those of Europe, particularly peaches, apricots, figs, grapes, chestnuts, pomegranates, watermelons, &c. Tobacco, sugar, pepper, camphor, and cinnamon, are also common. The capital of Formosa is Taiouan, -- a name which the Chinese give to the whole island."
In addition to the foregoing extracts from standard authority, we have a most marvellous account of this island from the pen of Mauritius Augustus, Count de Benyowsky, a Polish refugee from Siberian exile, who visited its east coast in 1790 in a small armed vessel containing about one hundred men. The account by this nobleman is interesting in the extreme, but unfortunately he is guilty of one gross and palpable falsehood, which necessarily throws a shade of distrust on his entire narrative. He speaks "of anchoring in several fine harbours on the east coast;" whereas we of the Hancock searched in vain for any such place of refuge along that entire shore. On the north and west coasts they are quite plentiful.
After anchoring in one of these "fine harbours," the count goes on to give us an idea of the people who received him: they were Indians, savages, and very fierce, -- so much so that they soon attempted the murder of a party that had visited their village. He now killed a [p. 172] great many of them, got up his anchor, and went to an adjoining harbour, where he was most graciously received for having slain so many of their enemies of the place they had just left. Here he fell in with a prince, who persuaded him into an alliance against another prince, and thus they fought for some time. Finally, he drags himself from the island, much to the distress of the prince his ally, who loads him down with gold and silver. It is impossible to read the count's narrative and say what he did see. He was evidently a blood-relative of the Munchausen family.
And now, having shown what others say in regard to Formosa, let us return to the "old John," whom we left at anchor under shelter of its west coast, at the close of a stormy day. Here is what my journal says in regard to our arrival, and to what we saw and did upon the following days: --
"We could see nothing that night save an extensive stretch of white sand-beach backed by a sloping green, in the rear of which we imagined we saw a village slumbering under the deepening shadows of a high range of mountains. But this village existed, many said, only in the vivid imaginations of a few, and it was not until darkness had become sufficiently dark to reflect its many lights that the fact was generally admitted. The next morning, however, we had a most refreshing view spread out before us, -- green slopes and waving fields of grain, broken here and there by extensive tracts of table-land, over which we could see the cattle roving in their lazy search for the more tender mouthfuls of the abundant grass.
[P. 173] "It is a beautiful sight for any one to look upon -- these landscapes composed of sloping lawns, waving fields, grazing cattle, a village here and there, and the mountain-sides glistening with the sunlit spray of rushing waterfalls. But when to all this is added the fact of one being just from the sea, and gazing upon lands seldom beheld by the eye of civilization, it becomes a scene well calculated to drive the blood through the veins with increased velocity. One feels like rushing wildly through those waving fields, and throwing his salt-impregnated frame into the mountain-stream, or rolling childlike upon the green grass, and feeling himself away from the sea at last.
"This was all very beautiful, very desirable, but unfortunately just then quite unattainable. For the gale still raged through, over, and around it all, most effectually preventing our 'rushing into the mountain-stream or rolling upon the green grass.' So we amused ourselves by overhauling our guns, which had been pronounced perfectly ready for service the night before, adding more ammunition to our already large supply, resharpening our bowie-knives, which had always been like razors, and in the various other useless though ingenious occupations of restless minds. 'Old bust-proof' looked more serviceable that day than I ever saw him before.
"During the night the gale fortunately abated, and the next morning bust-proof and his master, several others of the mess, and myself, ventured into our best-pulling boat and struck out boldly for the beach. It was a hard and wet pull; but something over three-quarters of an hour sufficed to cross the stormy half-mile that separated [p. 174] us, and, as the keel grated with welcome harshness on the sand, we felt ourselves once more on shore. What if the boat was half full of water, and we like half-drowned rats? [W]e were still on shore.
"We landed upon this strange and crowded beach without fear, simply from the fact that, while yet some distance off, we had readily recognised the natives as Chinese, and, although they were all armed with either the matchlock or bow and arrow, we knew too much of their race to anticipate violence. This crowd, which received us in a most noisy manner, was composed of men, women, and children, -- the males of almost every age being armed. We had taken the precaution to bring one of our Chinese mess-boys with us; but, their language being neither the Mandarin, Canton, or Shanghae dialect, he at first found great difficulty in making himself understood. After a while, however, by the aid of the few words common to each and a fearful amount of violent pantomime on our part, we succeeded in exchanging ideas with tolerable freedom.
"From all that we could learn from them in this way, it seems that they exist in a state of perpetual warfare with their savage neighbours of the east coast. The island being very narrow there, the latter find no difficulty in crossing the mountain-ridge which, like a huge backbone, divides the two territories, capturing cattle, making prisoners, burning isolated habitations, and then retreating into their mountain-fastnesses, where they are never followed by their unwarlike victims. Thus we always found the latter armed with sword, matchlock, or bow and arrow, and confining themselves strictly to their [p. 175] fields and pasture-grounds. Whenever we evinced a disposition to ascend the bushy sides of the neighbouring hills, they became greatly alarmed, caught hold of our clothes, threw themselves in our paths, and made signs to us that our throats would be certainly cut and we roasted for supper by bad men who were very strong and fierce and who wore large rings in their ears. We did not know what to make of all this at first; but Hartman, who had wandered off by himself in search of snipe, rejoined us shortly before dark, and opened our eyes.
"Having unconsciously wandered over the low land and ascended a neighbouring elevation, he had seated himself upon a fragment of rock, and was admiring the view which opened before him, when his ear suddenly caught a sound as of some animal making its way cautiously through the bushes. He turned quickly, and saw a party of three, whom he had no difficulty in recognising as 'bad men who wore large rings in their ears.'
"Here was a fix for our innocent sportsman: he must either retire with an imaginary tail between his legs, or face boldly the unlooked-for danger. Fortunately, he was a man of nerve, and was moreover armed with a shot-gun, bowie-knife, and revolver. Choosing, therefore, the latter alternative, he arose with a great air of non-she-lan-cy, (as I once heard the word pronounced by an American who had been to Paris,) and advanced to the nearest, a tall, fine-looking fellow, who rested upon his bow and fixed his gaze curiously upon him. Hartman says that he whistled with considerable success portions of a popular air as he thus went, as it were, into the lion's mouth, but never before felt such a longing to be safely on [p. 176] the distant decks of the much-abused 'old John.' He soon joined this princely-looking savage, and as the others drew near he made a careful but hurried survey of their personal appearance, exchanged a Mexican dollar for the bow and arrow of one of them, evidently against the will of the surprised owner, and then leisurely retraced his way until an intervening clump of trees enabled him with safety to call upon his legs to do their duty. It is needless to remark that the vocal music and the air of 'non-she-lan-cy' expired in each other's arms at this point. He ran for a mile or more before evincing the slightest curiosity to know if he was followed."
He described them as being of large stature, fine forms, copper-coloured, high cheek-bones, heavy jaws, coarse black hair reaching to the shoulders, and boasting no clothing save the maro, and a light cotton cloth over the shoulders, -- very much like our North American Indians, he thought. No wonder that such a miserable race as the Chinese should hold them in dread: in fact, the only wonder is that they have the courage to remain on the same island. I suppose that our innocent sportsman is the first member of civilization who has had a close view of these reputed cannibals since Benyowsky, the Polish count, cruised along their shelterless shores in 1790, since which time they have been more out of the world even than the Japanese. These singularly-captured bow and arrows are now in the collection of the Expedition.
The setting sun looked upon us as we returned on board, and before he had again shone on those sloping greens we were well on our way around the south point [p. 177] of the island, in search of a landing among the savages in their own country. This, I regret to say, we never found, the whole east coast being one continued line of foaming breakers, that carried death upon their rolling crests to everything like a boat. Where were the fine harbours of the Count de Benyowsky? The roaring of the surf was our only answer. More than once, however, impelled by our excessive curiosity to learn more of these unknown people, did we attempt to land; and more exciting attempts at shore-going I never participated in. Upon one of these occasions we entered upon the dangerous trial with two of our best boats; but, upon nearly losing the inner one, with all who were in her, we wisely returned on board. We got more than one near view of the savages, however, heard their voices, and answered their signs; but all this only increased our desire to know more of them, for now we saw that they were veritable red men; and what were red men doing on the island of Formosa?
As we pulled back to the ship after our narrow escape, we could not but think it providential that they of the inner boat had failed in landing through the surf; for, even had they succeeded in gaining the beach with whole bones, their arms would still have been rendered unserviceable by salt water, and, had the crowd proved unfriendly, we in the outer boat would certainly have kicked prudence overboard and pulled in to share their fate; and the probability is that we should all have "had our throats cut, and our bodies roasted for supper, by 'bad men who wore large rings in their ears.'"
From what I could see over the distance which separated [p. 178] our boat from the crowded beach, I found the previous description of our "innocent sportsman" substantiated by my own eyes and those of others. We saw an excited crowd of fine-looking men and women, copper-coloured, and possessed of the slightest possible amount of clothing, -- the former boasting only a cloth tied around the head, while the latter had but a thin loose garment that seemed to gather around the throat and extended no farther than the knee. Some of the men were armed with bow and arrow, others with very serviceable-looking matchlocks; the women held various articles in their hands, probably for barter, and, as we pulled away after our narrow escape, they evinced their sorrow and desire to trade by loud cries and the most violent gestures. Our Chinese boy had almost fainted from fright as the inner boat backed into the surf in the attempt to land: he could only tremble and cry out, "Dey eat man! dey eat man!" His friends on the other side had evidently impressed him with that unpleasant national characteristic, and hence his fright when apparently about to be rolled helplessly to their feet by a boiling surf.
The same day upon which we made this our last attempt to land among them, we steamed along up their coast, keeping as close as was prudent, -- in fact closer, -- and examining with our glasses as far back as we could see. In this way we saw small but apparently comfortable stone houses, neatly-kept grounds, -- what looked like fruitful gardens and green fields, -- all being cultivated by "Chinese prisoners who had not yet been eaten," we were told on the other side; or rather we were told that their [p. 179] friends, when captured, were made to work until needed for culinary purposes.
We were surprised at this air of comfort among half-naked savages, and could not but wonder how they could have built such nice-looking houses, until we finally concluded that their prisoners had been made to turn their hands to masonry as well as gardening. Thus ended our second and last visit to Formosa, and all that we learned in regard to it may be condensed into a few words, viz.: --
We found it two hundred and five miles long by about sixty average width. It runs N. by E. and S. by W., has a range of mountains running along its entire east coast, and is peopled by two different races of men, -- Chinese and red men. The former possess the north and west side of the island, the latter the east and south, and they exist in a state of constant hostility. The country in the possession of the former is undulating or low, that of the latter rugged and mountainous. There are harbours on the north and west side, and none on the east. All else is conjecture. So much for Formosa and its mysterious red men. We continued our survey, and arrived at the port of Nappa, island of Great Loo-choo, on the 9th of April. Neither the Vincennes or the Cooper had yet arrived.