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very delicate juicy fruit, but hardly worthy of the high place that has been given it; the latter, however, is a wonderful fruit, quite unique of its kind, and worth coming to the Malay Archipelago to enjoy; it is totally unlike every other fruit. A thick glutinous, almond-flavoured custard is the only thing it can be compared to, but which it far surpasses. These two fruits, however, can only be had for about two months in the year, and everywhere, except far into the interior, they are dear. The plantains and bananas even are poor, like the worst sorts in South America.
“May 1oth-The ship for which I have been waiting nearly three months is in at last, and in about a week I hope to be off for Macassar. The monsoon, however, is against us, and we shall probably have a long passage, perhaps forty days. Celebes is quite as unknown as was the Upper Amazon before your visit to it, perhaps even more so. In the British Museum catalogues of Cetoniidae, Buprestidae, Longicorns, and Papilionidae, not a single specimen is recorded from Celebes, and very few from the Moluccas; but the fine large species described by the old naturalists, some of which have recently been obtained by Madame Reiffer, give promise of what systematic collection may produce.”
Before giving a general sketch of my life and work in less known parts of the Archipelago, I must refer to an article I wrote while in Sarawak, which formed my first contribution to the great question of the origin of species. It was written during the wet season, while I was staying in a little house at the mouth of the Sarawak river, at the foot of the Santubong mountain. I was quite alone, with one Malay boy as cook, and during the evenings and wet days I had nothing to do but to look over my books and ponder over the problem which was rarely absent from my thoughts. Having always been interested in the geographical distribution of animals and plants, having studied Swainson and Humboldt, and having now myself a vivid impression of the fundamental differences between the Eastern and Western tropics; and
having also read through such books as Bonaparte's “Conspectus,” already referred to, and several catalogues of insects and reptiles in the British Museum (which I almost knew by heart), giving a mass of facts as to the distribution of animals over the whole world, it occurred to me that these facts had never been properly utilized as indications of the way in which species had come into existence. The great work of Lyell had furnished me with the main features of the succession of species in time, and by combining the two I thought that some valuable conclusions might be reached. I accordingly put my facts and ideas on paper, and the result seeming to me to be of some importance, I sent it to The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, in which it appeared in the following September (1855). Its title was “On the Law which has regulated the Introduction of New Species,” which law was briefly stated (at the end) as follows: “Every species has come into existence coincident both in space and time with a pre-existing closely-allied species.” This clearly pointed to some kind of evolution. It suggested the when and the where of its occurrence, and that it could only be through natural generation, as was also suggested in the “Vestiges”; but the how was still a secret only to be penetrated some years later. Soon after this article appeared, Mr. Stevens wrote me that he had heard several naturalists express regret that I was “theorizing,” when what we had to do was to collect more facts. After this, I had in a letter to Darwin expressed surprise that no notice appeared to have been taken of my paper, to which he replied that both Sir Charles Lyell and Mr. Edward Blyth, two very good men, specially called his attention to it. I was, however, rewarded later, when in Huxley's chapter, “On the Reception of the Origin of Species,” contributed to the “Life and Letters,” he referred to this paper as-“his powerful essay,” adding—“On reading it afresh I have been astonished to recollect how small was the impression it made” (vol. ii. p. 185). The article is reprinted in my “Natural Selection and Tropical Nature.”
CELEBES, THE MOLUCCAS, NEW GUINEA, TIMOR,
HAVING been unable to find a vessel direct to Macassar, I took passage to Lombok, whence I was assured I should easily reach my destination. By this delay, which seemed to me at the time a misfortune, I was enabled to make some very interesting collections in Bali and Lombok, two islands which I should otherwise never have seen. I was thus enabled to determine the exact boundary between two of the primary zoological regions, the Oriental and the Australian, and also to see the only existing remnant of the Hindu race and religion, and of the old civilization which had erected the wonderful ruined temples in Java centuries before the Mohammedan invasion of the archipelago. After two months and a half in Lombok, I found a passage to Macassar, which I reached the beginning of September, and lived there nearly three months, when I left for the Aru Islands in a native prau. The country around Macassar greatly disappointed me, as it was perfectly flat and all cultivated as rice fields, the only sign of woods being the palms and fruit trees in the suburbs of Macassar and others marking the sites of native villages. I had letters to a Dutch merchant who spoke English as well as Malay and the Bugis language of Celebes, and who was quite friendly with the native rajah of the adjacent territory. Through his good offices I was enabled to stay at a native village about eight miles inland, where there were some patches