A GLANCE AT MINÁHÁSSÁ.
M. A. F. Van Spreeuwenberg.1
[Extracted from JIA, 2 (1848): 825-44.]
General Review.—The capital Menádo is situated on a large and beautiful bay on the west side of the northerly promontory of Celebes, in 1° 30' N. Lat. and 124° 56' East Long. Greenwich, according to the chronometers of the Barque Sumatra, (Dec. 1842), according to Horsburgh in 124° 52' East Long., and according to Norrie 125° 0'. Ships anchor in 35 or 40 fathoms at a cable length from the shore, in the vicinity of a good fresh water river.2 This bay can only be deemed a safe haven during the east monsoon, ships having during west winds a lee shore, but on account of the steepness of the coast ships cannot very easily drive, provided the anchors, cables and chains, are of a proved strength, because driving you are immediately on the shore which consists of a hard sandy ground.
The anchorage is directly opposite the fort, where in the year 1655 Mr. Hustaart erected a wooden fortification, which afterwards [p.826] was changed under Mr. Fraux in 1673 into a stone fortress named Amsterdam, which name it still bears. In 1703 it was enclosed by a circular stone wall by a sergeant, Henri Duchielz;3 afterwards at different times other changes have been made, but the government has not yet succeeded in making a regular work of defence of it.
The garrison, which is stationed in the fort, with the exception of the commander and the doctor who live outside, consist partly of Europeans, and for the remainder of natives. Inside also is the old Residency house, which is now appropriated to the different administrative civil offices, treasury, prison &c.
The place has borrowed its name from the island which is now called Menado Tuxa, or Old Menado; it was formerly inhabited, but, on account of the continual wars with the princes of Bolang, and the want of water, it was abandoned by the population in 1682, when they removed to the continent, and their kampong to the present day is considered as a district and bears this name. But the Alfoers call it, from the name of the river at its outlet, Wenangé.
The total subjection of the highlands, dates from 1679 when the East India Company, with the assistance of the king or Sultan of Ternáte, took Amsterdam from the prince of Bolang, and drove away the Spaniards from thence.4 During nearly two hundred years this coast appears to have alternately belonged to the prince of Bolang and the Sultan of Ternáte; the accounts relating to these changes are very confused.
It appears that in the year 1682 a chief of Boláng was still reigning over all the districts of the so called Mináhássá, with the exception of Amuráng. But, according to the accounts of native traditions which we have collected, which however are without dates, Mináhássá was formerly divided into two parts under the chiefs of Aris and Sonder, named Tololio and Ranton, who were of one family originally from Tonceá, the capital of which is Kewa. This division is now entirely superseded, Minahassa being divided into 27 districts or, as they were formerly called, balken (beams), a designation very old, and originating in the period when we made a requisition for beams to construct our factory and other buildings.
These districts, the soil of which is generally very fertile, and [p.827] which are as it were intersected by volcanic mountains, are placed under Christian officers, but are immediately subject to native chiefs who have the ranks of Major and Hukom Bezar. These districts are Menádo, Aris, Klabbet below, Negerie Báru (Tetewunan,) Bántik, Klabit above (Mumbie,) Liekupáng, Tonceá ( Kemá,) Tondano (Tuliemámbot,) Tondáno (Tulito), Rembokán, Kákás, Langawan, Rátaan, Passan, Beláng, Tongsáwáng (Tomtitu), Romohon, Tombásin, (Amuráng) Tombáririe (Tanawanko), Támpaso, Káwánkoán, Sonder, Serongsong, Tomohon, Lotta. They are considered to have jointly a population of 84,944 souls.
The Christian population, which is not included in the above estimate, probably amounts to 7,388 souls.
Besides the districts above mentioned, there are also under the government of the Resident of Menádo, many places along the coast, such as the Singer Islands where however our power is very limited.
Monsoons, Rivers and Means of Communication.
The monsoons agree with those of Java and differ from those
of Amboina. During the four past years they have come so irregularly, that it
was difficult to say when they really commenced and ended. The South East
monsoon having past, we were visited by a very dry wind, which is very
prejudicial to vegetation. If the nights are cold the days are so much the
hotter, the thermometer (Fah.) ascending above 90° and descending below 64°. For
the rest, land and sea breezes are regularly interchanged.
It is said that Menádo was formerly more healthy, but the cause to which this is imputed is very doubtful, viz., that the establishment of cacao plantations produces unhealthiness. Having presently to speak of the temperature of the higher part of the country, what is now said is to be considered as applicable to places along the coast.
The north coast is abundantly provided with rivers, although they are not navigable by vessels of some size. On the south coast they are also met with every where, but, owing to their current being very small during the East monsoon, and the swell of the sea against the coast being then very heavy, they are filled with sea water, and, like those on the north coast, become unfit for the transport of produce. Some of them by meandering through the vallies, or the high country, are strongly impregnated with particles of sulphur, and some are even lukewarm.
The roads are placed as suitably as possible, but on account of the country
being intersected by mountains and ravines, many of them are not very easy, and
great alterations would be required to improve them as means of transport.
Although this would be a work of difficulty it is desirable that a commencement
should be made.
Although much of the produce is even now transported on horses, the greater part has to be carried by the mountaineers at a great cost of labour and time; sometimes a rupee has to be paid for the carriage of one or two gantangs of rice, and since the cultivators receive in value only 60 cents of a guilder for one gantang, it is easy to see what a heavy loss is entailed upon them.
It would be desirable to introduce the use of carts here, and the greater part of the roads could easily be adapted for them. Even the mountain Impong, which was formerly considered impassable on horseback, has already been crossed by the writer and others with carriages and horses to and from Tomohon.
For greater exactness we here subjoin a table of the distances between the capitals of the different districts, compiled from the latest survey.
The vegetable kingdom undoubtedly still presents a wide field
for research. We shall however limit ourselves to some subdivisions of this
field, the knowledge of which we have gained by experience, and begin with the
Cacao.—This product is cultivated in the highlands, but mostly on the coasts. The plantations of it are even now considerable, and this branch of industry only requires not to be impeded by any obstacles, in order to be still further extended. It forms a large ingredient in the trade, and furnishes many petty traders with their daily bread, not to speak of the landowners for whom the cultivation of the cacao affords the only subsistence. The preparation of this product here differs from that in the West Indies, and as the writer has some acquaintance with the last, he will make it his first example, in order that by so doing he may also adapt it for the European market. We may reckon that 1,200 to 2,000 piculs of 125 pounds are yearly produced; the prices vary much; being from 50 to 75 florins.
Coffee is an article which must be delivered by the inhabitants to the government exclusively at 12 copper florins per picul of 125 [p.829] pounds Amsterdam. It is much prized in Netherlands, and it maintains a higher price in the market that the best Java coffee. As the treatment of the product on Java differs wholly from that which is here in vogue, and this in our eyes is much inferior, we know not whether the higher price is ascribable to the name or to an intrinsic superiority in quality. It is certain that this cultivation is susceptible of much improvement, and might be advanced to a much higher condition.
The average harvest is from ten to twelve thousand piculs of 125 Amsterdam pounds, and has, I believe, during the last years rather fallen off than increased, for in a cultivation to stand still is to go back.
Rice.—The oldest notices of Menádo which we can trace, shew that this country has always been rich in rice, which in 1671 cost about 7˝ rix dollars5 the last. At present the government pays 60 cents in cloths for a measure of 40 pounds; that which is sold for the consumption of the inhabitants may be procured at the public warehouse for a guilder the 35 pounds; and that which is sold for export may be had at public auction for 125 florins the coyan of 3,000 pounds. This product is also capable of extension, chiefly at those places where there are sáwá fields, for example at Tonsáwáng.
A gantang sowed yields at a minimum 150 fold. But the want of buffaloes remains always a great hindrance, for at present all the work must be done with the potjal or even a stick of ironwood, or of the seho tree.
[From tables given by M. Spreeuwenberg of the quantity of rice delivered from each district from 1st January 1838, to the last of December 1842, and another of the coffee delivered during the same period, it appears that the average annual delivery of rice was 3,390,110 pounds, and that of coffee 1,288,118 pounds.]
Tobacco is cultivated here, but only in sufficient quantity for the consumption of the place. It is exclusively grown by the Bántik population; the mode of preparation is the same as on Java; it is chopped very fine and mostly flavoured with arrack. When bought in large quantities it may be had for 30 cents the pound; but in the pas9aT in small quantities it costs double that price. The inhabitants do not use it so extensively as in Java.
Melu or Turkish corn, is a product which precedes each new planting of paddy,
cacao, &c., and serves the population as food, particularly when there is a
scarcity of rice, after having been bruized fine. Ordinarily it costs 32 cents
the gantang or measure of 40 pounds; sometimes it is much dearer. The return is
not than 300 fold.
Besides the above there is no other cultivated product of any importance for exportation.
With fruit trees the inhabitants formerly took no trouble; we may consider those species which are found here, as indebted for their existence to accident, or it may be to the inclination of some individuals. The Alfár considers not the profit which the cultivation of such trees would permanently bring him, for he loves to see the fruits of his hand's labour come in to him the same year, in order that they as speedily again may return. Still the species which are found here are numerous, as the mingistan, durfiu, six kinds of mángás, vis., bácháng, dámmer, málákká, dodol, kwinie, dáning; four kinds of jambu or gora, viz., red, white, áyer máwár or rosewater, biji, here called gojáwás; lángsá, sweet and pure tomietomie, two kinds of bread fruit amo and gomo, pompelmus not very good, sweet lemons, China apples, limou choei, limou pádáng, with which clothes are washed, limou martin, limou jurpuru for washing the head and making oils, atis or sirikáyá, buá mánoná, different kind of pisáng, tni- nlis, piniing, coconuts, tamarinds only commencing, a few linen trees also gándáriá.
Those which grow in the woods and are therefore wild, but edible, are palowas, mulberry, brambleberry, pining, riuw, pákevrk, kelobie, mombongen, káimá, lánsip, kendis, kenilow, bosurá and pápiyiu.
Those used in cookery, and which also grow in the jungles, are the kanarie, kemirie, or wiauw, klook or pangie, by us called gallnut.
Timber is in great abundance, some being very well adapted for ship and house building.6
Beasts of prey, such as tigers, bears, &c., are not found here, but
snakes of different kinds, particularly that called by the inhabitants Ular
patola (giant or king's snake) on account of his beautifully va-
[p.831] riagated skin, are met with of unusual
size and in great numbers. Wild cows are also found here, principally in the
higher parts of the mountains, but they bear little resemblance to the so called
banting on Java, are below the middling size, but possess notwithstanding an
incredible strength. The Bábi Rusá or deer hog is also found in abundance in the
forests. Wild hogs, a great number of kinds of pigeons and other beautifully
feathered birds, but no deer, peacocks &c., which render the forests of Java so
attractive to the lovers of sport, are found here.
The buffaloe or karbou, the faithful fellow labourer of the Javan, does not exist here, and although an endeavour was formerly made to transplant it from Gorontálo, every attempt failed. The Alfár is afraid of the buffaloe, and does not know how to manage him, and this possibly is the reason of the want of success; it would, however, be worthy of the trouble to make fresh efforts to introduce this useful animal. Cattle are here in reasonable quantity, and the breeding of them is carried on to an immense extent. Sheep are in less numbers than goats, while the horse studs are extended daily more and more. Horses and mares are constantly brought from Gorontálo7 and are sold in the high countries for 35 to 40 guilders, that is those of inferior breed; those which are well made and of a good size cost 100 guilders and more. The writer has seen horses brought from Gorontálo run up as high as 200 guilders, and considering that they entail no expence on the inhabitants, it may be predicted that Menádo will very soon be fully provided with horses, which will greatly assist the population in the export of produce. Hogs are amongst the chief breeds of the Alfárs. Their price is moderate and in some places cheap. Poultry, as fowls, ducks, geese, although not abundant, may yet be had at moderate prices. The annual mortality amongst the poultry occasions much scarcity, because it happens frequently that you loose all your poultry in two or three days, and sometimes even in one night. The old inhabitants say that in former times sea fish of different species abounded, and were procurable at moderate prices. For some years the take has remarkably decreased. They say the reason is that from the multiplied fishings by the pukat or soma (dragnet) the fishes have been rendered shy, and now frequent those places along the coast where they are not [p.832] disturbed. They also accuse the Bántikkers of from time to time casting into the sea a certain root, from, which causes an irritation in the eyes of the fish, and also a fruit called eanta which stupifies the fish and makes them rise to the surface where they are easily taken. This stupifaction does not spoil the fish and they remain good for eating.
They are also procured very good river fish, shrimps, eels, crabs and lobsters. The purse-crab or so called katang kanarie come from the Sángir islands. Cabos, getegete &c., although we can from time to time procure them, belong more to the highlands. the taturuga or tortoise is also found here; they are mostly brought in the orang Badjo.
An Excursion in Mináhássá.
On the 9th. of August, 1842, Mons. Van Dieman and Moraux, the
agents in the Moluccas of the Netherlands Handelmaatschappy, and the writer, on
horseback, and the wife and two daughters of the latter in chairs, made a
journey from Menádo to the highlands of this Residency. The party very early
reached the negory Lotti, situated 6 miles from the capital at the northern foot
of the mountain Impong, and elevated a considerable height above the level of
the sea. There is nothing very remarkable in this small village, save in its
possessing the dwelling house of the Hukom Besar (District head) which is still
built after the old Alfuran style of architecture, and distinguished by its
dirtiness. It might be supposed that the negoris in the vicinity of the capital
would be advanced in civilization much further than their neighbours in the more
distant districts, and that the inhabitants, acquainted with our customs from an
earlier period, would gradually have acquired them. The contrary however is the
foci; and in the sequel we shall find that many good and beautiful things are to
be found in the interior, of which we should in vain seek the traces in the
From the negory Lotto we commenced to ascend the mountain Impong, which has a height of 3000 feet. From one point on this road we have a magnificent view over the bay of Menádo, Menádo Tuah, and the islands which form the Straits of Banksi. In other respects the journey is monotonous, and in the rainy season, particularly when a large quantity of produce is brought down, it is nearly impassible.8
Descending from mount Impong, we come into an extensive plain bordered by high
mountains. About 11 o'clock we were with the missionary Matern at Tomohon. For
us, who had come from a climate at bloodheat, the change was most agreeable, for
the thermometer shewed a temperature of 76° Fah.
The dwelling of Mr. Matern is situated most agreeably, and is of a spacious construction. From the back gallery in particular we have a delightful view of the mountain Lokon, 5053 feet, Impong, and Máháwu 4197 feet, above the level of the sea. Lokon and Máwáhu are both extinct craters. Tomohon itself lies about 2000 feet above the level of the sea.
Having, at the commencement of our journey, formed the resolution of seeing whatever was remarkable, our excursion to the lake Lienong, situated near the negory Láhendong, deserves to be first noticed. Half way between Singsong and Láhendong, we already observed on the road the sulphur exuding from the ground, and on the left, several sulphureous marshes. Every thing here is barren and rude, and nature waste and inhospitable. We speedily reached the height at the back of negory Láhendong, where we dismounted to consider more at our ease all the splendid objects which present themselves to our eyes. It is a glorious view. Turning to the west you behold, on both sides of the mountain Korey, the sea in the distance,—on the right, Lakon exposing its full dimensions,—at your feet the negory Láhendong,—at your back lake Lienong about half a mile in circumference, formed by the mountains Tolánko, Lingkoan, Kásurátun,—and Tempusu below you. The glittering of the waters of the lake beneath is exceedingly beautiful, shewing, from the volcanic action, different colours. On the sides and at your feet you see the sulphur and the hot water boiling up from the ground, the last at a heat of 200° to 202° Fah. so that in 2 minutes an egg maybe boiled in it. Two prahus of hollowed trees bound to each other served us as a raft to reach the other side of the lake, where the aspect of nature is of a more terrific character. Here also the hot water runs from the walls and shore into the lake, but it is of a lower temperature than that on the other side. A boiling sulphur pool, thirty feet in diameter, first arrests your attention. It has a temperature of 140° Fah. while all around and under you there is nothing but desolation and boiling water. It is necessary to be careful if you wish to extend your researches further up than the ordinary road. An experienced guide is indispensibly required, as this is the place where the Count [p.834] de Vidua lost his life in his zeal for exploration. Not listening to the advice of the natives around him, he fell into the boiling mud.9
The sulphur vapour prevented as from remaining long here. Conducted by persons who knew the country, we observed over some trees and low underwood, different places where the road boiled up. It was remarkable that in the circumference of 30 or 40 feet different degrees of heat were found, 135°, 171°, 145°, and lower, 165°. It was also very remarkable that the volcanic direction near this lake was east and west, and that the earthquakes then are felt in the same direction.
The lake, which is 10 feet deep, has an outlet through the district Sonder, and near the negory Tinji forms one of the most beautiful cascades yet known here. But, that we may not anticipate our narrative, we will return to this afterwards.
In the lake Lienong, six different kinds of fish are found, viz., cabon, getegete, sayo, lumulontik, komo and the largest kind of eels, and also a number of wild ducks and other water fowl. At noon the thermometer was 75° Fah. Through Sarongsong we went back to Tomohon.
On the morning of the 13th. we were again in the saddle to go to Tondáno, Mr Matern accompanying us. The distance from Tomohon to Tondáno is only seven miles, and furnishes little worth notice, only some abandoned coffee gardens and two hot springs called Tátaārán; our thermometer being broken, we could not ascertain the degree of heat, but we plainly perceived that the water was not so hot as that of Lienong.
Tondáno is one of the largest negorys of Mináhássá, and is governed by two Majors, viz., those of Tuhán and Tuliemámbot; the two divisions of the negory are separated by a river, which takes its rise in a large lake. In the middle of this river is a small island on which a house is built. This was formerly the Loge, but is not the residence of the officer Constans. This island is joined to both sides of the negory by bridges. In consequence of both the Majors of Tondáno being Christians, I believe that most of the baptismal Alfárs are found here. A fine church and a roomy school house adorn the negory. The best carpenters come from this part, and are almost exclusively employed in the lower country. Hence there if a greater appearance of prosperity amongst the population than to any other place. Right opposite the Loge of Tuhán a market is [p.835] kept, which reminds us of some parts of Java, although this resemblance does not go very far, as little save barter is carried on. The articles exposed are baskets of a certain size filled with paddy, cabos, salt, vegetables &c. With money scarcely anything can be purchased. From far and near people come here to barter one thing for another. Sometimes an exchange is made without a single word passing. Perhaps some person has salt and wants fish. He selects some fish and places its value in salt, according to his estimate, beside it. The owner of the fish does not look at him and remains silent. The other now adds more salt by little and little until, at last, the owner of the fish pushes the fish to him, and takes possession of the salt, and the transaction is concluded.
Amongst the remarkable things at Tondáno are the famous cascade and the lake. Accompanied by the Major of Tuliemámbot, we walked to the first-which, going and coming, may be considered a good walk. At a considerable distance we hear the continued rush of the water. When we arrive at the pondoppo, which is situated at the side of the ravine, and see the roaring water tailing below with a thundering crash, the scene becomes magnificent. The real fall, that is to say so far as the water falls without encountering any obstacle, is about sixty feet. Properly it commences higher up, but is there broken and forms another fall, whence it rushes to the true fall. The spot on the small bridge above the river where the second fall commences is appalling. You feel an irresistable shuddering and notwithstanding the spars on which you stand have proved their strength, you fear every moment that they will be loosened, the inevitable consequence of which would be that you would be at once crushed. At the first fall, some tree trunks, as thick as a man's waist, were thrown into the water, but the eye in vain tried to follow them in their course, and we could see nothing more of them after their fall. It sometimes happens that small prahus, from carelessness, get adrift in the negory above and are brought by the current towards the fall, when nothing more is ever seen of them. In the ravine the fall forms a basin, across which, although it is very slippery, you can run. Formerly on both sides of the precipice there hung ladders of rattan by which you could descend below. This fall is the commencement of the river which runs into the sea at the capital Menádo.
On our return we went to visit the notorious Kiay Modjo, the head priest of Diepo Negoro. He is small and of mean appearance, [p.836] but is distinguished by a sharp eye and a rapid manner of speaking which indicate the passion and fire of his goal. Our Tint did not seem to be disagreeable to him, particularly when he heard that as were acquainted with his fellow revolutionists, who are now in the Vorstenlanden (Princeslands) in the service of government. He is still a lively recollection of many of the chief functionaries. His dwelling, like that of the other Javanese, of whom 70 to 80 reside here, has nothing remarkable in it, and is built in the Javanese manner, that is to say on the ground, surrounded by a fence of bambu and covered with áláng áláng. Within the limits of their dessa are their sáwá fields, and around their dwellings small vegetable gardens, while a great number of them maintain themselves by petty trading. They produce also very good potatoes, kaekamg tana &c. There is no doubt that they will form a new race in Mináhássá, because they continue to adhere to the Mahomedan faith, and extend it by marriage with Alfár women, who must first adopt their religion.
The district Tondáno is surrounded by fine sáwá fields. It is to be regretted that all the labour is performed by the hand, and not by the plough and harrow. We have already spoken of the coffee gardens. The fishing also furnishes a large branch of subsistence for the Tondanese. In the morning the thermometer (fah,) stood at 67°.
Before our departure we invited the principal heads with their wives to dinner, together with the missionary Riedel living there, so that at table we mustered 90 persons.
On the 19th. of August we went in two sloops across the lake Tondáno to Rembokán, for on this water, which is situated 2000 feet above the level of the sea, there are capital boats built by an Englishman, Mr. Davis. It is generally believed that this lake, which is 3 leagues in length, and ⅓d to 1 league in breadth, is of volcanic origin. In the centre is the real spring where the water continually bubbles up from the ground. This, with the water that is supplied by the streams near Kákás, and those, 31 in number, which again feed the latter, form the river Tondáno and its cascade. The lake has a variable depth of 90 to 100 feet and the inhabitants assert that there is a place between Kákás and Rembokán which is bottomless, and to which they attach a particular superstition.
On the shore of this lake are situated the following dessas. Departing from Tondáno on the right hand there are Rembokán, Passo [p.837] and Kákás on the left, Tuhán Kitjili, Tandengánlumbot, Wátu Merá and Eris. Except the chief districts, which we have named, the others are of little importance. Tuhán Kitjili alone is worthy of a visit, from the beautiful view which we have there over the lake in clear weather. It is celebrated for its pleasant cocoanut water. The lake is also rich in cabos, getegete, eels and garnals. By pulling strongly, and when the wind is not unfavourable, it is possible to cross it in an hour and a half, but with adverse winds five hours are sometimes requisite. The high swell renders the voyage a little troublesome, because there is a resistance which renders the passage occasionally dangerous.
Rembokán is situated on the shore of the lake, and is not an unimportant dessa. It is covered with stones of which tradition tells some strange things. At the time when the mount Mahawu and those of Tongsáwáng and Sepután were still in full volcanic activity, the god of Impong, who was also a smith by profession, being at one time in want of coal, sent one of his servants to search for it. But in this he was hindered by the god Sepután, who aware of it, sent one of his servants to wait for him on the road, in order to prevent his succeeding in his enterprize. This servant concealed himself on the height of Rembokán behind a tree, and when the other arrived with his burden of coal, he frightened him so much that he let his coals fall and took to flight. Hence the numerous stones at Rembokán into which the coals have been changed. From this we see that the superstition, and fondness for the supernatural, which characterise so many people of the Archipelago, also characterise the Alfárs. Then they believe that the whole world (probably Remi-okan) rests on a great hog, and that when this hog rubs itself against a tree, the earthquakes are produced.
Pulling from Rembokán to Kákás we passed the negory Passo where there are two hot springs, and a little further on another opposite the adjacent mountain. We had an opportunity of seeing the last on an excursion which we made to it from Kákás. That which lies on the road has at the first glance much resemblance to the spring of Tátaārán, and it is said to possess a strong sanative power.
Arriving at Kákás we took up our abode at the lodge, and were received by the wife of the Major and by a Hukom, because the Major himself was from home, being engaged at the new road over the Impong. The lodge is one of the most beautiful buildings in the whole of Afenado. It is situated pleasantly on the lake, and from [p.838] the verandah behind We have a view of the whole town, which rose in straight streets.
On the 22nd August, we prosecuted our journey from Kákás to Langowán, situated 4 miles from Kákás, to which it is joined by an even and good road.
Langowán is no inconsiderable village, although there is no church and the schoolhouse has a mean appearance. Mr. Schwartz resides here as missionary. Amongst the remarkable objects may be mentioned two hot springs and a number of boiling mud wells. The first hot well is approximately 7 fathoms in diameter, has a heat of 165°, and contains much sulphur, the exhalations of which are injurious to the breath; the water which we drank has the taste of rotten eggs. The water which runs from the well retained in its petrified channel a heat of 15° F.
From thence we proceeded higher and came to the hill Tompáng. As we climbed somewhat to the left of the road, we had a striking view. In the north and south smile two beautiful vallies, which in clear weather present a true panorama. The mountains Káwátak, and Pompelempungan, and the mountain pass by which Boláng is reached, shew themselves to the west, while the eye, lingering on the fields cultivated by the people of Káwáukoan and Rembokán, rests at last on the mountain Pelotán.
At the foot of the hill there is also a hot water spring, but as our thermometer was broken here we could not ascertain the temperature. It appeared to us however that it was higher than that of the springs previously mentioned. It lies concealed deep in the forest, and we would not have been able to see it if Mr. Schwarts had not been acquainted with it, for the Major declared that it was inaccessible. Judging from what we heard, we must attribute this reserve to superstition, and a fear of the trouble which would be occasioned to the inhabitants by waiting on persons visiting the place from curiosity. This indeed was once the ease with the small lake of Talasap, which lies a good half mile below the great mother spring. The water of this lake was rapid at the side, and is said to contain fish.
Ascending further from the hill of Tompáng we came to some boiling mud springs, which throw up a whitish earth, and are unfathomably deep.
Of more importance is the great mother pool, which lies to the left of the first mentioned warm spring, and from which we can by an inner road reach Langowán, and so avoid the necessity of taking [p.839] the same way back. Here everything is volcanic, and the ground on which we stand is tolerably warm; almost everywhere if we bore with a bambu stick in the ground, the boiling mud appears. Several of these springs make an uncommon noise. They appear to shift, or rather they dry up in proportion as they boil out and the volcanic ingredients of the earth are consumed and turned into a kind of pipeclay; for we have walked round some places which at a previous time, on the first tour of inspection of Governor de Steurs, could not be approached. This pipeclay is very fine, And is commonly used for white washing houses.
After the worthy missionary Schwartz had shewn us every thing, it was time for us to proceed, however willingly we would have prolonged our stay. On the 26th August, we took leave of him, while the Major, Captain, their wives, with some other notable native ladies, accompanied us on horseback to Tompásso.
Tompásso is about 5 miles distant from Langowán, and is a pretty though not large village. There is a Major as head of the District, and we found here a very neat Loge. But as there is nothing particular that requires mention, and we remained only a brief space, we shall continue the narrative of our journey. We proceeded two miles on to Kowankoan where the heads of Tompásso took their leave of us. We next reached Sonder, the Loge of which is one of the first that was erected in Mináhássá. The Major of this place H. W. Dotulong, who was engaged in the Javanese war, had thereby been made more free in his intercourse with Europeans. To the satisfaction of us all, he made known to us a water fall which he had discovered and which no European had hitherto visited. It takes its origin from the lake Lienong, and forms itself about a mile north of the negory Tintjep, which lies seven miles from Sonder. If the appearance was fearful which this mass of water exhibited when, from a distance, we saw it gaping down, it was yet more imposing when, after a very difficult effort, we found ourselves at the basin of the fall. Thundering and with a deafening roar falls a stream of about three fathoms broad and fifteen fathoms in height, between rocky masses which perhaps for ages have withstood the force of this descending flood. The falling water reminded us by its foam of large snow wreathes in Europe, and partially lost itself, all broken and foamy, in a thick mist which, born up by the wind, returned to the element from which it was born. Rainbows are occasionally formed both in the water in the basin, and on that of the fall itself.
This fall in our opinion is much more imposing than that of
Tondáno, for it
plunges at once perpendicularly down without meeting with any obstacle; then
twisting like a snake within its massive rock walls beneath, it forms a second
fall, and disappears in an inaccessible forest.
Besides this there are other two waterfalls in the vicinity of Sonder.
An excursion to Kawankoan made a great change in the plan of our journey. With the map of Mináhássá before us, we saw that we could very well go along the volcano Sepután to Tombatu, the capital of the district of Tongsáwáng, and would save a great part of the journey yet to be accomplished, if we proceeded by Amuráng. The inhabitants not only opposed this, but declared that it was impossible, particularly as we intended to make the journey with horses which to their certainty had never been brought there. But, acquainted with their difficulties, we stood fast to our determination.
On the 12th. of September we proceeded
across the negory Tompásso and from thence to the foot of the mountain Sempo
where we were obliged to dismount, as the horses could not pursue the path
Hitherto our course had lain higher and higher through a thick wood. Different species of trees raised their heads magnificently, for the greedy hand of man had not reached here. The great age to which these trees must have attained is not to be reckoned. Climbing on, we entered at last into a cold mist which made our teeth chatter, and came near enough to a new year's fog in Europe; arrived on the summit of the mountain Sempo we could not distinguish objects at 10 paces off. We took refuge in a small hut erected for us which was very open; a bambu table and stools and a similar couch formed our furniture.
The Major of Kawankoan told us that during the earthquake which had formerly happened, all the people who were working here fled below from fear that the mountain might begin to labour.
To keep ourselves in motion we walked to the right and reached a dry flat, while the dense mist prevented us seeing to any distance. But what an impressive image of desolation and force met the eye when it cleared up. As far as vision could reach nothing was to be seen but a dry sandy desert, the ground being formed of lava and having much resemblance to the ashes of burnt coals and on which only small bushes of kusu-kusu or káno káno (two kinds of grass) grew [p.841] here and there. It is the crater Ráno Assem. It is all a congeries of vallies, or basin formed hollows, probably formed in the manner of tunnels in proportion as the volcanic action has consumed and heaved up the ground under the surface of the earth. We find here no signs of living things, except wild cows, whose traces are so abundant that at one place we lost the direction of the proper path.
Shuddering we approached this chaos of desolation. At some distance from the margin of the crater we began to creep that so doing or lying, we might in safety receive the full impression of all the terrible but also grotesque characteristics of this work of nature. A noise struck our ears much resembling that of the opening of the valve of the pipe in a steamboat, and which can be heard at a great distance. It was the sulphur pool at the bottom of the crater.
At first the sulphureous vapour hindered us from distinguishing objects, but after half an hour, the vapour was driven off by the wind, and the whole basin lay exposed before us. The first impression was fearful. A boiling sulphur pool of about 500 feet in diameter is enclosed by steep rocky walk, from which the sulphur apparently comes, and which, some perpendicular like columns others like arches, threaten to fall with you in a moment below, while the sides (a kind of stone burnt and changed into lime) at the slightest unwary touch crumble away.
We endeavoured to cast stones into the middle of the crater. For this purpose we fastened a tolerably heavy stone to the end of a rope of about 110 fathoms long, and threw it forward but the rope ran out to 100 fathoms without the stone reaching the pool.
We saw no living beings save some swallows which wheeled above the pool. We also observed traces of wild cows which had descended into the crater; what they seek there is a mystery, for neither in the crater nor in the vicinity is a single blade of grass to be found.
We passed the night on the top of this mountain, which according to Professor Reinwardt is 4744 R. feet and according to Mr. Fursten 5126 Fr. feet in height. The cold was piercing, for the plain being quite open the wind and mist passed over it unimpeded. At sunrise the thermometer stood at 60° F. The atmosphere was now clear, and we saw the negorys Kawankoan, Tompásso, Languan and Kápás in miniature, with the lake of Tondáno lying before them. All the hot springs and boiling mud pools which we had visited were in our eye, now so many steam pipes, while we saw over the mountain Pompelempuugan the islands and the sea on the south coast in [p.842] front of Boláng and on the north coast the bay of Amuráng, and the island of Menádo Tod, a panorama which the pencil only, and not the pen, can depict. The variety is so great and striking that we remained chained to the place where we stood.
After having thus visited Ráno Assem, we followed our way along a cone of the still active craters, but to reach it we had to be earned, because it was impossible to take our horses. Having once reached the top, which is 50 feet higher than Ráno Assem, we did nothing but descend and finally came to the foot of the cone. In climbing this mountain it happened often that our bearers instead of advancing went back, because they could not get a firm footing amongst the soft stones. The foot and all the back of the mountain is strewed with immense clusters of rocks which have been ejected from the crater, and we are amazed at the force which must have attended such eruptions, for 10,000 men could not move, much less support, some of these rocks.
We may here introduce a table of the heights of the different high mountains in the Moluccas,10 ascertained by Professor Reinwardt in 1821.
|Gunong Api in Bándá, .......||1,646|
|Mount Sápin, .........||629|
|The east rim of the crater of Ternáte, .......||5,404|
|The highest point of the mountain Tidore,............||5,435|
|The negory Kákáskissen, ............||8,589|
|The mountain Lokon, ........||5,091|
|Negory Tomohon, ............||2,413|
|Rim of the crater Máháwa, ........||4,197|
|Negory Tondáno, .......||2,096|
|Mount Sempo, ..........||4,744|
|Seputan, rim of die crater, ..............||5,570|
We believe that the later estimates of Mr. F. A. Ponten,
differ a little from
At a height of about 4000 feet we mounted our horses again, although they had m,uch difficulty in proceeding owing to the hard gravel. [p.843] From here we went on over a dry and naked plain, strewed with stones, between the mountain Sepután and Sempo and descended along a path quite unconfined until we came to a thick wood, through which we pursued our way with as much speed as possible. It presented nothing worth remark save a number of aren and other thick trees peopled with legions of black apes. At two o'clock we arrived at Tombatu.
This negory, which is not very extensive, is surrounded by lakes and sáwá fields, rice being the only cultivation followed by the inhabitants, who are far behind the population of other districts in civilization. They will long remain in the same state, because they wilt not abandon their old customs. Poverty is general, but their wants being few they do not feel it, and although they have the means of cultivating other necessaries, sago remains the delicacy which they most prize.
The mode in which the houses are built differs wholly from that of the other districts. They are placed twenty and sometimes more feet above the ground on thick posts; some are 15 to 20 fathoms long and 8 fathoms broad, while in one of such houses sometimes 15 or 16 to 20 hearths or households are united. Allowing for each household five souls, we have 70 to 80 men swarming in one of these houses. Each household has its apartment and its dapor or cooking place, from which the custom has arisen of enumerating the population by dapors. The same custom prevails all over Mináhássá, just as in Borneo this is done by kettles (kwántángs) in which the rice for each household is cooked. Cleanliness is a word not yet known in the Tongsawáng language; beneath the houses all the household work is done, and the same place serves for the accommodation of the pigs and also sometimes of the dead.
Messr. van Diemen and Moraux made an excursion from here to Boling, which lies 16 miles off on the east coast. The way ui over acclivities and hollows, and from its sandiness very difficult. They found a fine loge and a more civilized population, chiefly employed in taking fish and digging for gold. Formerly this was the permanent residence of the superintendent of this division, but as it is very unhealthy and the Boláng fever very dangerous, he removed to Tondáno when it was also placed under him.
From Tombitu to Amurang is a distance of 16 miles; the road, when run has not fallen, is most difficult, as we sink to the ankle in the soft sand. It is monotonous, for we ride through a thick [p.844] wood of aren and other trees, so that the eye is shut in right and left. At one o'clock we arrived at Amurang. It is a large kámpong, divided into straight streets, the population consists of 1,000 Christians and 2,000 Alfárs; there is a fine loge and church roofed with tiles, and a large school house. The fortalice is in a very decayed state, and not calculated in our opinion to be of much service. There is nothing else at Amurang remarkable save the ropery where Gumuti twine is prepared, but of small size, because the thicker kind is made at Kemá. On an excursion to the negory Romohon we went to visit this also: on our arrival the yarns were being spun and in three quarters of an hour a coil of 120 fathoms was made. The work is fatiguing, but the inhabitants get through it rapidly. This ropery, like that at Kemá, is a government undertaking; the people furnish the gumuti yarn in commutation of a tax, while the workmen are paid by the ropery.
The Superintendent at Amurang told us that in the sea a hot spring is found; but the coast not being free from pirates we did not go to visit it.
From here we took our way homeward through Táná Wanko. For nine miles the road is very even, till we reach the foot of the mountain Monte in the Dessa Leler, where it becomes very steep and in the rainy season must be almost impassible on horseback. At Monte we changed our horses, which was very necessary, and the whole way to Ráno Wánko, a negory close by Táná Winko, is not one of the easiest, and in riding along the beach we had to struggle with large rocks and stones.
The next day was occupied in travelling through Tatelie to Menádo where we arrived at half past 11 o'clock in the forenoon, after an absence of 30 days and well satisfied will our journey.
We have taken some liberties with the arrangement of the preceding paper, our object having been to enable the reader to gather from it some general idea of the characteristics and capabilities of a rich and promising province of Celebes, about to be opened to British trade. M. Spreeuwenberg's account of the inhabitants we shall give in a future number. We cannot at present offer any information respecting the trade of the country. Count Hogendorp, in his Coup d'Oeil sur l'Isle de Java, (1830) states, that of the two northern districts of Celebes, which are under the governor of the Moluccas, Menádo and Gorontálo (Gunong Tello), the former be- [p.845] longs to the Dutch in full sovereignty, while the latter has a Sultan who is a vassal of the Dutch government. They produce coffee, rice, gold, and furnish excellent corda of Gumuti. Civilization and industry have made great progress in these districts during the last fifteen years. The cordage above mentioned, which is manufactured at Kemá, is of very great utility for ships; the purchase of this article figures at the debit of these possessions in 1822 fl. 57,359 and at their credit fl. 87,711. In the same year we disposed of our cloths there to the amount of fl. 122,797."
Valentyne informs us that, besides sulphur, wax rattans, kajangs, rice, birds nests &c., ebony may be procured in the largest quantities and of a greater size than elsewhere, the tree being found on nearly all the Islands around the N. E. promontory of Celebes. He also notices the abundance of fine and hard timber. (Oud en Nieu. O. I. vol. 1. p. 65.)
1 Translated for this Journal from the Tidshrift voor Neerlands Indie 7e Y 4 e De'el.
2 According to Valentyn named Menangelabo, but known to the natives by that of Wenangé, from a fruit tree which was plentiful here in old times.
3 Valentyn, Old and New East India, vol. I. p, 62.
4 Valentyn. ib. vol. i. p. 62.
5 The common rix dollar was 48 stivers: thus 1.92 florins of our money.
6 A list of 114 kinds of wood follows, which we shall give on another occasion. Ed.
7 That the horses are not aboriginal here, appears sufficiently from the Portuguese name which has been given to them viz., Cawalo, or cawayo. The Alfárs have no name for them in their own language.
8 The road has now been altered and improved.
9 See Tjd. voor N. I. 5th. 1 deel 1. biz. 306.
10 The Residence of Menádo is a dependency of the Molucca government.—Ed.