Articles concerning Formosa (Taiwan) in the Illustrated London News, 1843-1890
The island of Formosa [1843: 181-182; 18 March 1843]
"that 237 persons belonging to the Nerbudda, and 46 belonging to the Ann, have either been put to death by the officers of the Chinese Government in Formosa, or have perished through ill-treatment and starvation."
It seems that, immediately on their reaching the shore the crew of the Ann were seized,
They were almost starved; and those who did not die under this treatment were, for the most part, beheaded, in or about August last, by "the Chinese authorities of the island, who allege that they perpetrated this cold-blooded act in obedience to the Imperial commands" -- commands which Sir H. Pottinger asserts to have been drawn from the Emperor by the gross misrepresentations of those very authorities, and of whom, considering that the sufferers were unarmed, unresisting, inoffensive, and distressed seamen, and camp-followers, it is difficult to speak in terms of too great an indignation and abhorrence. Sir Henry has already threatened the Chinese with a renewal of hostilities, and demanded that the Formosan authorities, with whom this massacre originated, "shall be degraded and punished; their property confiscated, and its amount paid over to the families of the innocent men who have been put to death." The laws of humanity loudly call for their vindication, which, it is hoped, may not renew our quarrel with China. The proclamation states:
The majority of the sufferers were natives of India.
Meanwhile, let us glance at the scene of this horrible event of massacre and starvation, rendered, if possible, more atrocious by its occurrence in a land of plenty; since Formosa is described as the granary of the eastern coast of China, supplying the celebrated port of Amoy, whence most of the Formosan colonists emigrated, with capital supplied by its merchants; and, in proportion as the island has flourished, so has Amoy increased in wealth and importance. Indeed, the western part of the island may rank with the best of the Chinese provinces: its surface is finely diversified, and watered by numerous rivulets descending from the higher parts of the island. Settlements were formed here, first by the Portuguese, and then by the Dutch; but both are now expelled. The epithet, Formosa (Lat. fair), is applicable only to the western part. The eastern side is rugged and mountainous, and occupied by races almost savage, who live by hunting, sleep on leaves, have scarcely any clothes or furniture, and tattoo their skin like the rudest of the South Sea islanders. Formosa is called by the natives, Tai-ouan. It is about 260 miles in length, and about 70 in breadth.
Manners and customs of the Chinese in Formosa [1859:294-296; September 24, 1859]
Formosa, or Hermosa, is the European name of an island in the Chinese Seas, known in China as Taiwan; and, according to the Dutchman Valentyn, it is called by the aborigines Pekan, or Paekand. It is 240 miles long and 60 broad, being separated from the Chinese province of Fo-Kien by a channel eighty miles broad. A chain of mountains divides it into two parts, the east and west; and in the latter division the Dutch had an establishment. In 1682 the island submitted to the Emperor of China. It contains extensive and fertile plains, many producing abundance of corn, rice, and all the Indian fruits. The natives live on rice and the game which they kill with bows and arrows. Its capital is Tai Oceang. This island our Special Artist and Correspondent in China recently visited, and he has forwarded to us the following descriptive details, in connection with some Sketches, given in this Number, of the manners and customs of the people:--
Here, in this secluded spot of earth -- less known than Japan was -- mails are as yet things of the future; and, if my pencil has too long lain dormant for you, the reason is now explained. This is a beautiful place, on the south-west coast of Formosa. One great advantage is (at least, to me it seems so), it scarcely ever rains; and, though tropically hot, the midday breezes do not fail to fan us from ten o'clock till sunset, making it one of the most delightful climates conceivable. There is no cold weather here to speak of. From where I am writing I can see a chain of mountains, and am told they average between 8000 and 10,000 feet in altitude; they are clothed to the very summits with trees, mostly camphor and other valuable timber. The island is rich in vegetable and mineral products, rattans, indigo, bamboo, camphor, sugar, rice, pineapples, &c. The interior has not been explored. On the other side of these mountains the country is in possession of the aborigines, and John Chinaman has a wholesome dread of these gentlemen.
This harbour has the most wonderful entrance you can imagine. A narrow channel between high rocks leaves scarcely room for two brigs abreast to pass in. The high rock near the village is supposed to be fortified -- I say supposed, because a small wall and cardboard fort do not inspire one with much awe. Thousands of a kind of palm grow on this hill, giving it a very tropical look. The rocks are a kind of coral, and most beautiful in their tints -- a warm grey. They crumble very much; and last year, during the Swatow typhoon, an enormous mass fell into the sea, leaving a very shaky portion standing. The general appearance of the country reminds me much of Manilla, the bamboos especially.
The women here are all of the small-feet tribe, and are much given to "gorgeous array," like Miss Villikins; such scarlet and bright blue, orange and purple, I never saw; and yet they are mostly fishermen's wives, which shows a certain marital devotion on the part of their husbands. Their hair is arranged in a most tasteful manner, and quite differently from our Canton friends, who are so much devoted to sombre-hued garments; they one and all wear artificial flowers in their hair, and to see them you would think them mandarins' wives at least. The houses, containing only one floor, are thatched generally with paddy, some of them being built of bamboo and mud, others of sun-dried bricks. The towns, however are much cleaner than those of China. The bricks here are red, like those in Europe, not the blue-grey of the Canton brick. The streets are paved with small bricks, and a sewer runs on one side, in which pigs love to puddle.
Soon after I arrived here the mandarin of the village came on board, and, as I happened to be making a view of the rock, I thought if I took his phiz that I might make him more or less happy, so I proceeded immediately to transfer his jovial features to paper, and presented them to him with Celestial politeness. The other persons with him pronounced a favourable verdict and chewed betel vigorously. Then they took me ashore, and made me sit down in the public yamun, where my boy accompanied me, and the turbaned attendant brought us tea and betel nut, and handed round the brass hubble-bubble, out of which I took three tiny whiffs. That operation over, samsoo was [p. 295] administered satisfactorily, and the ceremony was over. The mandarin then took me to a shop; here we sat down and ate pineapples with sugar. Talk we could not, as the Amoy dialect is spoken here. My boy was as bad as myself in not comprehending them; however, some paper and China pens soon made us perfectly comprehensible, for the Chinese written character is the same all over the Empire. The natives soon filled the shop and were much amused as I caricatured them. There is no rudeness at all. "Fanqui" is a word that has not found its way here yet; perhaps, when more foreigners have visited this place, they will become "more Cantonese and less nice." At present it is safe walking alone miles in the interior unarmed. I have as yet seen no beggars. The mandarin took me after a little while to his private house, and asked me to paint him a face, which I did. The tea he gave me was excellent. I then took leave of my worthy friend, and went into the village barber's shop, where, surrounded by a crowd, I underwent an operation. The gaping, black-teethed Celestials offered me pipes without end, it being polite here to offer a stranger a whiff out of their pipes. I of course accepted, and made faces at them, which set them all laughing. Then the small boy went through the head-shaving, and we retired.
"A few days later we went to Pi-tau, the largest town near here. The sun's rays poured down in the most scorching manner, burning the soles of our feet as we trotted along the heated ground. As we turned an angle the most curious kind of music caused me some astonishment, but the cause was soon made clear: it proceeded from the wooden wheels of buffalo carts carrying salt to Pi-tau; grease had not been used, I presume. These were the first Celestial carts I had seen. The country around here is exceedingly lovely. In one part of the road an enormous banyan afforded shade, and there were seated a number of coolies carrying white powder for the ladies' faces, and under the tree was a stall for the sale of refreshments. We halted here for a short time, and did not stop again till close to the town, when we sat down and refreshed ourselves. Before us was a beautiful kitchen-garden, in which maize and vegetables were cultivated with great [p. 296] neatness. Our powder friends overtook us here, and wanted to chalk my face, to which proceeding I objected. At length we walked over the bridge into the town.
Some of the streets were entirely roofed over like a gallery. We then came to a narrow path, hedged in with the pineapple-tree, and soon came to a village. Some ladies, magnificently dressed, were sitting under the shade of a verandah; a lady in blue handed us a chair with a politeness unsurpassed in Paris. The males examined our canvas shoes and felt hats with the curiosity of individuals who had never before seen a white man. Proceeding to the next village, we met some fellows with matchlocks, the match burning in their hands: they were sportsmen, I think. Two fellows were carrying a tremendous jingall. We arrived at the brink of a little river; and were carried over by coolies. A lady was waiting to be taken over. A man with two baskets crossed the stream, deposited his baskets, and returned for Mademoiselle, whom he took over pick-a-back.
I am going to try to get up to the capital, though I hear the mandarin has forbidden any white man going inside it. Strange to say, the Dutch flag is the flag of Formosa; it looks funny to see these uncouth junks with it.
Chinese manners and customs in Formosa [1859:443; November 5, 1859]
Our Special Artist in China gives the following brief particulars respecting the accompanying Illustrations, which were sketched by him during a recent visit to Formosa:--
In this island much sugar is produced, and I have sketched the interior of one of the godowns or warehouses where they are packing and storing it. Some of the men are coolies and the others -- Manilla men, Chilians, and a negro -- form the crew of the vessel here.
A clerical jig.
This extraordinary scene took place during the great joss pigeon of the middle of April, in a courtyard. There was an altar in the court and one in the house, and the priests went through regular figures, but with much grotesqueness, especially the priest playing the flute. One of his stockings had slipped from the garter, and his face had such an irresistibly comical expression that the bare thought of it makes me laugh. The high priest was dressed in scarlet robes with green facings; on the centre of his body he wore eight diagrams, and he also wore a moustache. I don't think they were Buddhists, on account of their wearing caps. The patriarch with the corporation is a great character about here. I was so much occupied in sketching that I did not see half the ceremony; but now and then I observed a priest doing a pas seul, at the same time singing most horribly and fanning himself, or holding a rose between the tips of his finger and thumb, looking at it as though he were offering his hand and heart. Then came a tumbler, and he tumbled in an absurd fashion. The priest, in the midst of his devotions, came up to see what I was sketching, chanting all the time and grinning. Smoking was going on vigorously; and altogether it seemed to me a very jolly way of worshipping.
Swinhoe's pheasant [1865:289; September 23, 1865]
Our Illustration represents one of the most beautiful of the fine collection of pheasants now living in the gardens of the Zoological Society of London. It is a newly-discovered species, which has been worthily named after its discoverer, Mr. Robert Swinhoe, F.Z.S., her Majesty's Consul in Formosa. "Few of her Majesty's Consuls," says Mr. Gould, in his great work on the birds of Asia, "have more assiduously availed themselves of the opportunities afforded them of collecting the birds of the distant regions in which they have been located than Mr. Swinhoe, and fewer still have shown greater acumen in discriminating and pointing out the distinctions which separate nearly allied species. It is but a just tribute, then, to the merits of this gentleman that so remarkable and beautiful a bird should be named in his honour."
To the same gentleman the Zoological Society are likewise indebted for the male specimen of this bird now in their collection, from which this present figure is taken, and which is the only example of this species which has as yet been imported into Europe.
In its native state, Swinhoe's pheasant inhabits the high jungles of the interior of the little-known island of Formosa, rarely descending into the lower hills. In size it is somewhat smaller than the common silver pheasant, which it also resembles in its red wattles and in the form of its tail. The Zoological Society are shortly expecting the arrival of a fresh batch of specimens of this pheasant, which have been shipped to them by Mr. Swinhoe, so that next spring we may hope to witness the reproduction of this species in the society's gardens; and before many years are passed we have little doubt that a new and brilliant addition will thus be introduced to the pheasantries of this country.
H.M.S. Cormorant on the coast of Formosa [1867:599-601; June 15, 1867]
An American merchant-barque, the Rover, was wrecked, on the 13th of March, on a small island to the south of Formosa, in the Chinese seas, and the master (Captain Hand [sic]), with his wife, the second mate, and three Chinamen of the crew, made their way in one of the boats to the shore of Formosa. They lay down on the beach, and were attacked in their sleep by the savages of that country, who murdered all, it is believed, except one of the Chinamen: he alone escaped to tell the tale. Mr. Corrall [sic], the British Consul at Yakao [sic], the chief port of Formosa, having been informed of this outrage, H.M.S. Cormorant, Captain Broad, with the Consul on board, went at once to the place, where they found the remains of the broken boat and saw a few natives at a distance. Next morning three of the ship's boats, well manned and armed, under the command of Captain Broad and Lieutenants Mathias and Ryder, pulled ashore, having on board a Chinese acquainted with the savage tongue, and carrying presents of spirits, blankets, and cloth as a ransom for any survivors. No sooner, however, were one or two of the party on shore than a sharp cross-fire from muskets was opened from two points, [p. 600] accompanied with a shower of arrows. The enemy being invisible and unapproachable, it was deemed advisable to withdraw, and orders were accordingly given. Though the mission had been intended for a peaceful one, yet, knowing the blood-thirsty nature of these savages of Formosa, Captain Broad had directed the cutter to lie about thirty yards from the shore, to keep a look our for any hostile demonstration; so that, while the crews of the other boats were re-embarking and shoving off, the cutter was enabled to return the fire of the natives, and, judging from their cries, not without effect. One man in the cutter received a slight flesh wound; but, fortunately, this was the only casualty, though all the boats were struck in several places, one ball passing right through the boat containing Captain Broad and Mr. Carroll a few inches below the seat on which they sat. Part of the stock of the rifle of one of the marines was also shot away as he was in the act of firing it. It was evident from this reception that no hopes could be entertained for the safety of the crew, and nothing remained but to punish, if possible, their cruel murderers. With this end, on returning to the ship, a fire of shells was opened, which soon drove the enemy from their ambush, and they were seen, in large numbers, flying up the hills. To have pursued them on shore would have been useless in the dense jungle, and might have cost many valuable lives; the Cormorant therefore returned to Yakao [sic]. The sketch we have engraved, by Mr. W.N. Fencock, assistant paymaster, shows [p. 601] the position of the ship at anchor and of the boats at the commencement of the attack.
Formosa [1884:230; September 6, 1884]
The large island of Formosa, a name given to it by the Portuguese, that of Tai-wan being its Chinese name, is separated from the mainland of China, the province of Fu-Kien, by a channel above one hundred miles wide. At the northern extremity of this island is the coaling port of Kelung, which was bombarded by the French squadron a few days before they attacked the arsenal and forts of Foo-chow, on the opposite mainland coast. The principal Chinese town on the island is Tai-wan-fu, on the western coast, where the Dutch had a commercial settlement in the seventeenth century. One of our Illustrations is that of Fort Zelandia, or "Castle Zealand," as it is called in the inscription yet legible over the gateway, built in 1630. It has been much damaged by earthquakes, as well as by time and neglect. The Dutch were driven out in 1661, after defending the fortress in a siege of ten months. The town has a population of 70,000, and is entirely Chinese, but as the port is only an exposed roadstead, maritime trade is under a disadvantage. It has, nevertheless, some exports of sugar, turmeric, sesamum, and other native produce, while the imports are of Chinese and European manufactured goods. Takow, another port farther south, has a better harbour, but is a much smaller town. The size of the whole island is about two hundred miles in length, from north to south, and sixty or seventy miles wide, but the interior is wild, forest-covered, and mountainous, and has not been well explored. The Chinese actual rule is confined to the west coast; all the eastern part is inhabited by savage tribes, most of them continually at war with the Chinese, and never yet subdued. Our Sketches include some figures of native women, belonging to the tamer tribes; the prawn-fishing traps on the shore; and one of the singular rafts, formed of bamboos lashed together, with a large tub in the middle to sit in, by which the surf-waves and heavy swell on this coast are safely traversed in landing or embarking from ships at anchor some distance off the shore.
The French attack on Formosa [1884:340; October 11, 1884]
The French squadron commanded by Admiral Courbet last week again attacked Kelung, the Chinese town and port on the north coast of the island of Formosa, which was bombarded, on Aug. 5, by a part of the naval force under Rear-Admiral L'espès. The Chinese forts, of which there are four, two on the east side of the bay, and two on the west side, the former armed with eight Krupp guns, were on the first occasion silenced by the fire of the French ship, but a small landing party was repulsed in an attempt to capture these forts. In the second attack, on Wednesday week [sic], the western forts were taken after some fighting, four or five of the French being killed, and about a dozen wounded. Kelung is a place of little commercial importance, but has some trade with the opposite coast of China, about Foochow. There are coal-mines at a short distance from the town, which are worked by the Chinese, but the coal is unsuitable for steamers. Sulphur also is found in a neighbouring valley. Not far south-west of Kelung is the port of Tamsui, which the French have now occupied. Its harbour is better than the others at the northern extremity of the island, and it has a larger export trade of rice, tea, hemp and jute, and grass-cloth fibre, sent to the nearest Chinese ports. There is an old Dutch fort on the hill, long since deserted.
Sketches in Formosa [1890:182; February 8, 1890]
The early Spanish navigators of the Chinese seas admired the wooded heights of a large island past which they sailed, nearly two hundred miles east of the mainland coast, to the north of the Philippines, and midway between the Gulf of Tonquin and the southern extremity of Japan. They called it Formosa, or "The Beautiful" -- and its scenery deserves that name; but the Chinese call it Tai-wan. This island, opposite the Chinese ports of Amoy and Swatow, and far north-east of Hong-Kong, is little visited by European commerce. It is claimed as part of the Chinese Empire, but there are settlements only on the western coast, The native Malay population is supposed to exceed one million, chiefly inhabiting the hills in the interior and on the eastern shore; the island is about half the size of Ireland. A central range of volcanic mountains, with extinct craters, rises to peaks 12,000 ft. high, and the lower ridges, near the coast, overlooking fertile and well-watered plains, are covered with forest verdure. Mr. Edmund Hornby Grimani, who resided some months at Takow, on the south-west coast, and made an excursion on horseback, with two friends from Bankimsing, a Pepuhuan village where there is a Spanish missionary college, into the highlands, furnishes us with an interesting description of some parts of the country, and with a series of Sketches. The first two Sketches, however, published this week, do not require so much comment. His residence was on the shore of a lagoon, where he delighted in paddling his own canoe along the banks overhung with profuse and diverse semi-tropical vegetation, the bamboo groves being most luxuriant in Formosa. An adventure on the journey above mentioned, in attempting to ford the Tang-Kang River, the approach to which is embarrassed by deep quicksands, is the subject of another Sketch; but we have more Illustrations in hand.
Sketches in Formosa [1890:239; February 22, 1890]
Mr. Edmund Hornby Grimani, who resided some months at Takow, on the south-west shore of the large island of Formosa, which is situated about 200 miles off the coast of China, has favoured us with a few Sketches, two or three of which have appeared in our Journal. The Chinese settlements in the plains along the west side of the island, the sugar plantations to the south and tea plantations to the north, seem to be thriving; and the natives of those districts, who are called Pepuhuans, are usually peaceable; but they are exposed to the frequent attacks of the savage mountaineers dwelling in the interior and on the eastern side. In the excursion, already mentioned, which Mr. Grimani and two or three European companions made to Bankimsing, a Pepuhuan village at the foot of the mountains, where a Spanish missionary has lived over thirty years, our correspondent met with a tribe of aboriginal savages; and the Sketches now presented give a lively notion of their looks and manners. They are accompanied with the following description, which will amuse our readers:--
"Next morning, just as I had completed dressing, my servant, knowing that I wanted to make a few sketches of the savages, came hurriedly to inform me that a party of them were below, having just come down from the mountains. Seizing my sketch-book, I proceeded to an outhouse, where I found a chief with several relatives -- men, women, and children -- all seated in a row upon a rude bench, which was the only article of furniture in the room. The males, who were all armed with long knives, wore skull-caps of raw hide, long hair, and very short kilts; the chief being distinguished by the superiority of his ornaments, a star of boar's tusks on his forehead, and a scanty piece of cloth thrown over his shoulders, which did duty for a cloak. Their complexions were very dark, and their skins rough from exposure; several were bleeding about the legs, feet, and hands, from thorn-pricks and abrasions against rocks, wounds incidental to the hard lives they lead. I opened the sketch-book, and began with the chief, who seemed rather uneasy under this ordeal, and looked as though he had an appointment somewhere and was anxious to get away. He would have looked at his watch if he had had one, for his hands groped about where his watch-pocket ought to have been. When I stared him in the face, and put the corresponding lines on paper, his eyes wandered over the room and his fingers twitched nervously at his bare knees, evidently believing I was engaged in some act of sorcery. As I sketched his cap the feathers began to waggle, he was in such a state of tremor; but when I proceeded to sharpen my pencil, he thought the critical moment had arrived, and I was preparing to execute my fell purpose; then, with a loud war-whoop, he jumped into the air, and 'scooted' through a door on his left, followed by the remainder of his tribe.
"How I envied that chief's fine running powers! Though a man of over sixty, there he was far up the mountain well in advance of the other fugitives, having rushed off on the principle of 'devil take the hindmost.' Once did he stop to look behind, but only for an instant; for, seeing me waving my sketch-book to lure him back, and misunderstanding the signal, he darted off again, and was quickly out of sight. I roared at the comicality of the scene; but my amusement was soon turned to alarm.
"The old fellow presently returned, well armed and reinforced by his whole tribe, who advanced by leaps and bounds down the precipitous mountain side, flourishing their spears in a very threatening manner, evidently thirsting for vengeance. What was I to do? We had revolvers and guns, certainly; but what could so few do against so many? Fortunately, the reproduction of my sketch-book and pencil had the effect of stopping their advance, and allowing me time to send out an interpreter to hold a party and explain matters. The mission was successful. Most of the savages were reassured that I had no evil intent; but the old chief still had his suspicions of me. In the hope of allaying his fears, I stepped forward and begged him to look at his portrait; but he turned away with horror, and would on no account look at it. Subsequently, the savages became more familiar with us; and, as each succeeding day brought fresh contingents down from the mountains, they eventually proved themselves a nuisance, boldly walking into our bed-rooms before we were dressed, examining everything in the rooms, trying on our clothes, generally the wrong way, and feeling us all over to see what our muscles were like; conduct to which we were compelled to submit by the insufficiency of the force at our command to resent it. It was annoying; but, after all, we were only subject to their prying curiosity, while any injudicious action on our part might have involved the village in difficulties with their uncertain-tempered neighbours. They were a rough murderous-looking lot, extremely muscular and always armed, sometimes with spears, or bows and arrows, or even muskets, but always with the short sword girded to their loins. The wooden sheaths of these swords are constructed so as to expose the blade; that is, one side is cut away, and a zigzag wire substituted to keep the blade in its place. Many of the savages looked picturesque, with the skin of a species of leopard suspended gracefully from the shoulder and partly wrapped round the body.
"We had altogether a pleasant time rambling over the hills, shooting, and trying to pick up a few words of the barbarous jargon spoken by the aborigines. One afternoon, I witnessed a curious performance in our courtyard. Two Chinese were dressed up to represent a dragon; the head being managed by a man, and the agile tail by a youth, while a long strip of cotton cloth, joining them, made a respectable though rather limp sort of a body. The head snapped its great jaws, viciously or playfully, at the tail, the latter dodging about to avoid being bitten by the head; their combined contortions producing a ludicrous effect. All the time, a body of Pepuhuans kept up an accompaniment with clanging cymbals. The audience consisted of savages, some of whom appreciated the performance intensely, while one elderly chief, unable to restrain his emotions, leapt into the air and executed a pas seul, he was so charmed with the music of the cymbals.
"We had intended to make an excursion over the mountains, to see the aborigines in their own houses; but, one of the party falling ill with fever and ague, the trip had to be abandoned. At the end of the week, after giving thanks to our kind old host, we started on our homeward journey.
Sketches in Formosa [1890:299; March 8, 1890]
Several of the Sketches made by Mr. E. Hornby Grimani during his residence at Takow, on the south-west coast of the island of Formosa, have appeared in our pages. They were mostly those of incidents observed in an excursion that he undertook, with two friends, on horseback, to the mountains in the interior, above the village of Bankimsing, where the Pepu-huans, the half-civilised natives under Chinese rule, dwell in the neighbourhood of a savage race of highlanders. The forest paths, rivers, sandbeds, and morasses made it difficult travelling; and one of our present Illustrations shows the party, with their Chinese baggage-coolies, struggling on the slippery descent of a steep bank, where horses and men could hardly keep their footing. Another is that of a herd of "water-buffaloes," running wild there just now, but sometimes used for agricultural labours, which beasts seem to have a peculiar antipathy to white men, and will attack the strangers without fear or scruple. Our correspondent says:--
"They dashed at us with full force, ploughing up the ground with their preposterously long horns. At one place, where the road dipped into and through a dark gloomy pool, surrounded by dense clusters of trees, we found ourselves in the midst of a large wicked-looking herd. Seeing them all engaged in quenching their thirst, we sought to sneak quietly through, without attracting their attention; but several big bulls, followed by the herd, launched themselves at us, creating a startling disturbance of the waters. After the pursuit had lasted about a mile, the buffaloes one by one began to drop off; only one persistent bull remained, which kept up the chase two miles farther. There was a very rickety old bamboo bridge, which we crossed, but upon which he was afraid to venture his heavy carcass. The ponies had to be led over one by one, while they seemed timid, from the creaking and breaking of the weather-beaten bamboos and the swaying of the bridge, lest the whole structure might suddenly collapse. The buffalo must have thought so too, for he looked on, evidently expecting to see us tumble into the stream that flowed below. But he was disappointed in this, and turned away, leaving us to go on our journey in peace."
Sketches in Formosa [1890:334; March 15, 1890]
Two more of the Sketches by Mr. E. Hornby Grimani, who resided some months at Takow, in the south-west of the island of Formosa, appear in this week's publication. They belong to the incidents of his journey, with two companions, riding ponies, to the hill country above Bankimsing, where he met some of the savage race of mountaineers. These wild folk, animated by no hostile intention, but rather by childish curiosity, entered the house of the old Spanish missionary priest, where the English visitors were hospitably entertained, and made a thorough inspection of their clothes and of their persons. The natives of the plain, called Pepuhuans, are a comparatively civilised people, who have adopted Chinese manners and customs; and the travellers were able to procure refreshments in the villages on the road.
Sketches in Formosa [1890:436; April 5, 1890]
We have published some of Mr. E.H. Grimani's sketches and notes of his sojourn at Takow, on the south-west shore of the island of Formosa, and of his excursion, with two friends, to Bankimsing, a native village almost beyond the pale of Chinese civilisation, on the verge of the central highlands, where tribes of savage mountaineers have recently asserted their independence by sanguinary inroads on the peaceable dwellers in the plains below. The incidents of our correspondent's short journey, which did not extend beyond a visit of one night to the old Roman Catholic missionary's house at Bankimsing, as it was considered dangerous to go farther up the mountain country, have been sufficiently narrated. In order to join his travelling companions, who met him on the road from another place, he had to cross a wide lagoon in a rather unsafe boat or canoe, with two Chinese boatmen or boys, who encountered a violent gale of wind, raising formidable billows, as if in the open sea, and to them at least, in this adventure, there was some alarm, if not actual danger.
The long ride on horseback, after crossing the plains, where they were hospitably welcomed in Chinese villages, and passed merrily among the Pepuhuans, or civilised native peasantry, was attended with some difficulties when they began to ascend the highlands: the forest paths were exceedingly rough; there were steep descents from the hills to the banks of rivers; deep quicksands, in which the horses floundered with desperate struggles; herds of half-wild buffaloes, which pursued and annoyed the strangers; and glimpses of possible human foes, every savage tribe being on the alert to see what these foreigners meant by approaching their country without invitation or permission. We are glad to know that no great harm came of it; and Mr. Grimani, with his pencil and sketchbook, though his own intentions were benevolent, seems to have frightened the wild folk more than they could frighten him. A whole tribe, led by their chief, not being armed with their spears or other primitive weapons, fairly ran away into the forest at sight of the three European horsemen followed by a troop of baggage coolies.
When, after their arrival at Bankimsing, the travellers were reposing quietly in the house of the good old Spanish priest, who had resided there many years, a few of the more courageous savages ventured to enter, and to satisfy their curiosity by examining the dress and persons of the wonderful strangers. What these savages could not stand was any attempt to take their portraits by drawing or photography, which they considered a most baneful kind of magic. Mr. Grimani also tells us an amusing story of one of these wild people having come down to Takow, and entering his house quite alone, with no hostile or mischievous disposition, making himself rather troublesome, meddling with every article of furniture, until he unwarily laid hands on an electrical machine. He got a painful shock, burst into a fit of rage and terror, seized and smashed the apparatus, ran off howling to the forest whence he came. Such are the aboriginal Malay population of Formosa, inhabiting the greater part of that large island -- the mountain region and the eastern districts. The Chinese sovereignty over them is only nominal, and is at this moment disputed by a fierce rebellion. The cultivated plains along the west coast, however, are occupied by Chinese planters, who raise sugar and other valuable crops; but much damage has been done by the recent savage attacks. The whole population of this island, which is about the size of Sardinia and Corsica put together, has been estimated at a million and a half. Its interior is almost unexplored by European travellers.
A bamboo forest in Formosa [1890:495; April 19, 1890]
Our Illustrations of the scenery and natives of the Island of Formosa, furnished by the sketches of Mr. E.H. Grimani, have been accompanied by much descriptive comment. The view of a glade in the bamboo forest represents that kind of tropical vegetation in all its luxuriance, with much fidelity to the effect of nature. An enthusiastic admirer of such exotic beauties of plant-growth, lit up by the rays of the declining sun, may be tempted to wander long in the labyrinth of enticing paths, till rising mists from the swampy ground warn him of the danger of malaria and consequent fever. It is a treacherous climate in the low-lying region of the western coast; but Formosa, "the Beautiful," as the old Spanish navigators called it, is an island abounding in scenes of loveliness and grandeur. The plains, watered by numerous clear streams and lakes, and partly under cultivation by Chinese planters, are overlooked by highland ranges, altitude, with domed or peaked tops, walls of cliff and jutting rocks, emerging from the dense verdure of the forest. All the central highlands, and the mountainous east coast, are inhabited by savages never yet subdued, whose incursions have recently spread havoc over the civilised districts. It would demand a considerable military effort, and great administrative skill, on the part of the Chinese Imperial Government, to effect a thorough conquest of this large island.