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benefit. Yet this is the man who has been accused in England of wholesale murder and butchery of unoffending tribes to secure his own power!”
In my next letter (from Singapore in February, 1856) I say—“I have now left Sarawak, where I began to feel quite at home, and may perhaps never return to it again, but I shall always look back with pleasure to my residence there and to my acquaintance with Sir James Brooke, who is a gentleman and a nobleman in the truest and best sense of those words."
At the end of this letter I make some remarks on the Crimean War, then almost concluded, and though I afterwards saw reason to change my opinion as regards this particular war, my views then as to the menace of Russian power to civilization are not altogether inapplicable at the present day. I say—“The warlike stores found in Sebastopol are alone a sufficient justification of the war. For what purpose were four thousand cannon and other stores in proportion accumulated there for if not to take Constantinople, get a footing in the Mediterranean, and ultimately to subjugate Europe? And why do such tremendous fortresses exist in every part of the frontiers of Russia, if not to render herself invulnerable from the attacks which she has determined by her ambitious designs to bring upon her ? Russia is perpetually increasing her means both of defence and of aggression; if she had continued unmolested for a few years longer, it would have cost still greater sacrifices to subdue her. The war, therefore, is absolutely necessary as the only means of teaching Russia that Europe will not submit to the indefinite increase of her territory and power, and the constant menace of her thousands of cannons and millions of men. It is the only means of saving Europe from a despotism as much worse than that of Napoleon as the Russian people are behind the French in civilization.”
There is a certain amount of truth in this, but to avoid misconception I wish to state that I think the danger does not arise from the Russian Government being any worse than our own, or than the Governments of Germany or France. All have the same insatiable craving for extending their territories and ruling subject peoples for the benefit of their own upper classes. Russia is only the most dangerous because she is already so vast, and each fresh extension of her territory adds to her already too large population, from which to create enormous armies, which she can and will use for further aggrandizement. It is a disgrace to Europe that they have allowed Russia to begin the dismemberment of China, and to leave to Japan the tremendous task of putting a check to her progress.
A later letter from Singapore touches on two matters of some interest. "I quite enjoy being a short time in Singapore again. The scene is at once so familiar and yet so strange. The half-naked Chinese coolies, the very neat shopkeepers, the clean, fat, old, long-tailed merchants, all as pushing and full of business as any Londoners. Then the handsome, darkskinned klings from southern India, who always ask double what they will take, and with whom it is most amusing to bargain. The crowd of boatmen at the ferry, a dozen begging and disputing for a farthing fare; the tall, well-dressed Armenians; the short, brown Malays in their native dress ; and the numerous Portuguese clerks in black, make up a scene doubly interesting to me now that I know something about them, and can talk to them all in the common language of the place-Malay. The streets of Singapore on a fine day are as crowded and busy as Tottenham Court Road, and from the variety of nationalities and occupations far more interesting. I am more convined than ever that no one can appreciate a new country by a short visit. After two years in the East I only now begin to understand Singapore, and to thoroughly appreciate the life and bustle, and the varied occupations of so many distinct nationalities on a spot which a short time ago was an uninhabited jungle. A volume might be written upon it without exhausting its humours and its singularities. ...
"I have been spending three weeks with my old friend the French Jesuit missionary at Bukit Tima, going daily into the jungle, and every Friday fasting on omelet and vegetables, a most wholesome custom, which the Protestants erred in leaving off. I have been reading Huc's 'Travels ' in French, and talking a good deal with one of the missionaries just arrived from Tonquin, who can speak no English. I have thus obtained a good deal of information about these countries, and about the extent of the Catholic missions in them, which is really astonishing. How is it that they do their work so much more thoroughly than most Protestant missions ? In Cochin China, Tonquin, and China, where Christian missionaries are obliged to live in secret, and are subject to persecution, expulsion, or death, every province, even those farthest in the interior of China, has its regular establishment of missionaries constantly kept up by fresh supplies, who are all taught the languages of the countries they are going to at Penang or Singapore. In China there are near a million of Catholics, in Tonquin and Cochin China more than half a million. One secret of their success is their mode of living. Each missionary is allowed about £30 a year, on which he lives in whatever country he may be. This has two good results. A large number of missionaries can be kept on limited funds, and the people of the country in which they reside, seeing that they live in poverty and with none of the luxuries of life, are convinced that they are sincere. Most of them are Frenchmen, and those I have seen or heard of are well-educated men, who give up their lives to the good of the people they live among. No wonder they make converts, among the lower orders principally; for it must be a great blessing to these poor people to have a man among them to whom they can go in any trouble or distress, whose sole object is to advise and help them, who visits them in sickness and relieves them in want, and whom they see living in continual danger of persecution and death only for their benefit."
Before leaving Singapore I wrote a long letter to my old fellow traveller and companion, Henry Walter Bates, then collecting on the Upper Amazon, almost wholly devoted to
entomology, and especially giving my impressions of the comparative richness of the two countries. As this comparison is of interest not only to entomologists but to all students of the geographical distribution of animals, I give it here almost entire. The letter is dated April 30, 1856:
"I must first inform you that I have just received the Zoologist containing your letters up to September 14, 1855 (Ega), which have interested me greatly, and have almost made me long to be again on the Amazon, even at the cost of leaving the unknown Spice Islands still unexplored. I have been here since February waiting for a vessel to Macassar (Celebes), a country I look forward to with the greatest anxiety and with expectations of vast treasures in the insect world. Malacca, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo form but one zoological province, the majority of the species in all classes of animals being common to two or more of these countries. There is decidedly less difference between them than between Para and Santarem or Barra. I have therefore as yet only visited the best known portion of the Archipelago, and consider that I am now about to commence my real work. I have spent six months in Malacca and Singapore, and fifteen months in Borneo (Sarawak), and have therefore got a good idea of what this part of the Archipelago is like. Compared with the Amazon valley, the great and striking feature here is the excessive poverty of the Diurnal Lepidoptera. The glorious Heliconidæ are represented here by a dozen or twenty species of generally obscure-coloured Euplæas, the Nymphalidæ containing nothing comparable with Epicalias, Callitheas, Catagrammas, etc., either in variety or abundance to make up for their want of brilliancy. A few species of Adolias, Limentis, and Charaxes are the most notable forms. The Satyridæ have nothing to be placed by the side of the lovely Hæteras of the Amazon. Your glorious Erycinidæ are represented by half a dozen rather inconspicuous species, and even the Lycænidæ, though more numerous and comprising some lovely species, do not come up to the Theclas of Para. Even the dull Hesperidæ are almost wanting here, for I do not think I have yet exceeded a dozen species of
this family. All this is very miserable and discouraging to one who has wandered in the forest-paths around Para or on the sandy shores of the Amazon or Rio Negro. The only group in which we may consider the two countries to be about equal is thatof the true Papilios(including Ornithoptera), though even in these I think you have more species. Including Ornithoptera and Leptocircus, I have found as yet only thirty species, five of which I believe are new. Among these is the magnificent Ornithoptera Brookeana, perhaps the most elegant butterfly in the world.
"To counterbalance this dearth of butterflies there should be an abundance of other orders, or you will think I have made a change for the worse, and compared with Para only perhaps there is, though it is doubtful whether at Ega you have not found Coleoptera quite as abundant as they are here. But I will tell you my experience so far and then you can decide the question, and let me know how you decide it. You must remember that it is now just two years since I reached Singapore, and out of that time I have lost at least six months by voyages and sickness, besides six months of an unusually wet season at Sarawak. However, during the dry weather at Sarawak I was very fortunate in finding a good locality for beetles, at which I worked hard for five or six months. At Singapore and Malacca I collected about a thousand species of beetles, at Sarawak about two thousand, but as about half my Singapore species occurred also at Sarawak, I reckon that my total number of species may be about 2500. The most numerous group is (as I presume with you) the Rhyncophora (weevils, etc.), of which I have at least 600 species, perhaps many more. The majority of these are very small, and all are remarkably obscure in their colours, being in this respect inferior to some of our British species. There are, however, many beautiful and interesting forms, especially among the Anthribidæ, of one of which—a new genus—I send a rough sketch. The group next in point of numbers and, to me, of the highest interest are the Longicorns. Of these I obtained fifty species in the first ten days at Singapore, and when in a good locality I seldom passed a