« EelmineJätka »
THE following pages are the result of an attempt to record a cruise, in a schooner, to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bengal Sea, the main purpose of which was to obtain good representative collections (now in the National Museum, Washington, U.S.A.) of natural history and ethnological objects from the places visited. Special attention was given to the trapping of small mammals, which, comprising the least known section of the island fauna, were the most interesting subject for investigation. Sixteen new varieties were obtained in the Andamans and Nicobars together, thus raising the known mammalian fauna of those islands from twenty-four to forty individuals, while the collections also included ten hitherto undescribed species of birds. All the collecting and preparation was done by my companion, whose guest I was, and myself, for we were accompanied by no native assistants or hunters. Broadly speaking, one half of the day passed in obtaining specimens, the other in preserving them; and such observations as I have been able to chronicle were, for the greater part, made during the periods of actual collecting and the consequent going to and fro.
In order to give a certain completeness to the account, I have included a more or less general description of the two Archipelagoes, their inhabitants, etc.; the chapters of this nature are partly compiled from the writings of those who had had previous experience of the islands, and for the most part the references have been given.
I cannot but regard the illustrations, which are a selection from my series of photographs, as the most valuable part of this work, but I hope that my written record, in spite of its imper
fections, may stimulate some more competent observer and chronicler than myself to visit the latter islands—for the Andamans have already been described* in an admirable monograph
Ethnically, much remains to be done, and every day that goes by produces some deterioration of native life and custom. To this end I have added many details about supplies, anchorages, etc., that might otherwise seem superfluous.
Of those who entertained and assisted us during the voyage, thanks are specially due to Mr P. Vaux of Port Blair, for his hospitality to us during our stay in that place; f and I am greatly indebted to Messrs 0. T. Mason, G. S. Miller, and Dr C. W. Richmond, respectively, for the photographs of the Nicobarese pottery and skirt, for permission to include here much information from the report on the Andaman and Nicobar mammals, and for a list of the new species of birds obtained, which, however, up to the present, have not received specific designations. I have also to gratefully acknowledge the help rendered me by Mr E. H. Man, C.I.E., who, besides volunteering to read through the proof sheets, has given me much information, and corrected a number of inaccuracies. To my sister, for her superintendence of the book since my departure from England, and to my publishers for their kindness and assistance in many ways, I must not omit to offer my thanks.
* The Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands, by E. H. Man, 1884.
+ On February 24th of this year Mr Vaux was killed while leading a punitive expedition against a section of the Jarawa tribe, who had recently murdered some wood-cutters. He rushed the last of several hostile camps by night, and took a number of prisoners ; but, treading in the ashes of a smouldering fire at the moment of success, he caused it to blaze up, and being seen by a retreating native, was shot through the chest with an arrow, and died almost immediately.