20 FEBRUARY 1886, Page 22


THAT the world is not wholly known, and its peoples not yet all civilised, is most clearly realised if we only turn our attention to Borneo and New Guinea, to which the thoughts of English- men have in recent years been more than ever before drawn. So little have these islands been explored, that not only do geographers differ in statements as to their relative sizes—each being claimed as the largest island in the world—but the coast- line itself is only beginning to be known. As late as 1881, the existence of Kudat Harbour, in North Borneo, was first notified to the Admiralty, and its site marked on the official chart ; and this harbour contains nearly three-quarters of a square mile of "deep-water anchorage,—that is, with a depth of not under five fathoms at low water." New Guinea is equally, or more, unex- plored. The two islands are alike in another respect—perhaps one cause of the hitherto comparatively small impress they have made on the world's history—that is, a large part of each of them is in the nominal possession of the Dutch, a considerable extent of the coast-line being occupied, while the corresponding interior is left ungoverned, undeveloped, and unknown. Some explorations have, of course, been undertaken by the Dutch Government, and the results of one of the latest of these efforts are given in Mr. Carl Bock's Head Hunters of Borneo, which was reviewed in these columns on its publication, four years ago. But the best known, as by far the best administered, portion of Borneo is the strip of territory on the North-West Coast which the late Rajah Brooke and his nephew, the present Rajah, have prudently and successfully governed for over forty years, in great measure through the native chiefs, and by a studious respect for native customs and ideas, alike unaided by Imperial protection or recognition, and, as Mr. A. R. Wallace, in Australasia, says, "untrammelled by the cramping influence of official subordina- tion." How far the success has been inherent in the system, or how far, on the other hand, it has been due to the personal qualities of the rulers, may be open to question ; but in any case, the history of the English Rajahs of Sarawak deserves atten- tive study from any interested in the government of mankind.

• North Borne.” Explorations and Adventures on the Equator. By the late Prank Hatton. With eieeraphtost Sketch and Notes by Joseph Hatton, and Preface by Sir Walter mammal). London : Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington. 1885. The position of Sarawak is unique. So, too, is that of Sabah, the territory administered by the British North Borneo Com- pany, under two leases from the Sultans of Brunei and Sooloo, severally (not jointly and severally) resigning to the Company all the conflicting rights and powers claimed by each of these feeble Sovereigns over the promontory and adjoining islands, and under a charter from her Majesty the Queen of England, recognising the Company's right to administer the sovereign powers thus leased to them on certain conditions, supposed to be mutually advantageous to the Company and to her Majesty's

Government. The charter is now four years old, but the leases are about twice that age. In these fast days, eight years may by some be thought long enough to enable one to form some judgment of the Company's work ; and if handsome dividends are not yet forthcoming, capitalists, large and small, are apt to be shy of investing in this ambitious compound of a self-seeking commercial Company and a humane administrative Association.

After all, the mixture is not more strange, only it is on a larger scale, than in many a philanthropic effort to provide artisans' dwellings and dividends at the same time. Although we think it too soon to judge, it is none too soon to study the working of the North Borneo Company in its manifold departments ; and we therefore welcome the volume before us, which gives an account of the late Frank Hatton's explorations in search of minerals in the new country.

Frank Hatton lost his young life, after less than eighteen months in Borneo, by the accidental discharge of his gun in the entanglement of a jungle ; and the story of his journeys here published was for the most part not intended for general pub- lication in its present form, consisting partly of rough diaries, and partly of reports drawn up for the Company's information.

Hence it is not to be valued at all for its literary merits, but only for the interesting gleams of light it throws on an obscure country and its hidden population, and, in a less degree, for the picture of a healthy type of a brave and generous Englishman. The father, who severely missed his only son when he left for the tropics on his lonely and dangerous adventures, and who at that time gave, in a book named The New Ceylon, an entertain- ing compilation from the various works on Borneo he had, with that son, studied in preparation for his discoveries, has fulfilled in the first half of the present volume the melancholy office of telling the tale of his son's short life, in simple but pathetic style, out of his fatherly, broken heart. The second part, which gives Frank Hatton's own report of his adventures and dis-

coveries, contains a considerable amount of information, when we consider the exceedingly short time spent in the country.

Frank Hatton went out as the Company's mineral explorer. In The New Ceylon we are told :— " The belief that the precious metals, not to mention the diamond, are plentiful in Borneo is as old as the hills. Gold is practicably worked in Dutch Borneo and in Sarawak, but not to any great extent. Borneo diamonds are more celebrated than numerous. But tradition would lead one to believe that the mineral treasures of the island are more likely to be found in the hitherto unexplored districts of the North than at any other point, and there are scientific reasons for this opinion. In succeeding chapters we will return to the subject of diamond and gold-mining. But it may be as well to say in this place that the possibility of important discoveries in that direction is not in any respects a leading feature of the hopes and anticipations of the modern explorers of Borneo."

These hopes are rather in an agricultural than a mineral direc- tion, and the four years that have passed since the above words were written have only tended to confirm their correctness. Frank Hatton, at any rate, did not discover much that gave promise of untold mineral wealth, with the possible exception of coal and iron, of which be met in different parts some appre- ciable traces. For instance, in the Kinabatangan River he observes "enormous deposits of ferric hydrate in the water, indicating large quantities of iron below ;" and on the Marudu Bay, he says, "I found a very rich ironstone in the hill from where the Kudat workmen get their drinking water—I should think 50 or 60 per cent. of iron, or even more. If coal is discovered in the bay, this may at some future date be worth working." But coal was not found to be so abundant in this neighbourhood as the natives reported ; for going to the source of one of the rivers, where coal was supposed to be, Hatton

found only serpentine. In another place, "the natives affirmed that there is gold in the bed of a stream running from the nearer hill. Arrived at the spot in question, I was shown some scales and plates of mica, which were pointed out to me as gold." One day a native brought "a capital specimen of sulphide of antimony," with which he would not part, but he offered to go with Hatton to find more whenever he liked. This specimen was reported to have come from a certain hill, "said to be composed entirely of antimony. There was also, I was informed, a Chinese-made brass cannon on the summit, through which a red-deer, or kejang, could walk. This hill was thoroughly explored from foot to top, and the result of all our investigations was the discovery that it was composed of barren sandstone the adjacent hills were all examined with exactly the same result." Similarly, in a certain small river the natives said there was rop per. "There were two capital sections of the river exposed ; the formation still consists of grey slate and quartz. From the quartz at its junction with the slate were running small streams of water, coloured red from the presence of oxide of iron. This told a sad tale of only iron pyrites." However, a little—very little—genuine copper was at last found, after a painful and laborious search, the end of which is described in the following passage, quoted as a fair specimen of Hatton's exploring experiences, as well as for its mineral interest :— "October 7th.—Left Kinoram, and, passing Martins, mounted a hill some 1,500 ft. high, being a fort hill of Tumboyonkon. We slept in a paddy-hut on the top. The ravine where the copper pyrites has been found is on the other side of the ridge on whose side we now are. There is no Dustin name to the place where Mr. Beveridge is, so I will call it Ravine Pattepalu, which in Dustin means 'little torrent.' From our hut on the hill, the next day we took a direction by the com- pass S.S.W., and cutting our way through the thick jungle, we toiled up the saddle of a ridge trending north from Tumboyonkon. Arrived on the top, we stood at a height of about 3,000 ft., and at once com- menced our descent from the almost precipitous face of a cliff into the ravine Palupalu. Bet for the trees, travel in such a country would be impossible, as the slopes are so extremely steep. The danger of falling stones from above was very great ; one of my men had his foot badly bruised by a big piece of rock ; he, however, managed to drag himself into camp, although he did not walk for a week afterwards. Before noon we arrived at Mr. Beveridge's camp, the distance from Kinoram being about nine miles. Every one was away at work, and as we descended we had heard shots fired several times. Mr. Beveridge was at work down-stream, so I went down about three-quarters of a mile to him, at a spot where an immense landslip of thousands of tons of rock had fallen into the torrent. The road was of the worst description. I can only say that in places where we were coming down waterfalls, our lives hung, not exactly on a thread,' but on a twig the size of one's finger, or on the hold of a root or a tuft of grass. Had any of these frail supports given way, not only broken heads but broken necks would certainly have been the result. The rock consists of a green limestone matrix, veined through and through with calc-spar, and containing much iron pyrites, which latter, on testing, gives a slight copper reaction. This is qnite distinct from the quartz containing copper pyrites, of which only one small specimen has up to the present been found. We can therefore report considerable quantities of limestone containing iron pyrites and a very small per-centage of copper."

Two days later, he writes of this ravine Palupaln :— "The sun climbs over our ridge at about 9 a.m., and seta behind the other ridge at 3.30 p.m. Even in the middle of the day it is cold, and the men were always huddled up in their blankets. The thick foliage prevents any warmth getting down to us, while the torrent, from whose banks we are only a few yards distant, creates a cool breeze. The roar of this stream reminds one of two or turee locomotives at very high pressure blowing off steam, and my con- versation has to be carried on in very loud tones. To-night it rained in torrents, and everything got very wet, as my waterproof sheets are useless and we have no big leaves. As night drew on, the pitchy darkness reminded one of a coal-mine beading."

Only a month before his death he noted in his diary, " Long- bilang, on the Segama, there is gold;" and Mr. Walker has subsequently verified the existence of the precious metal in the regions of the Upper Segama, and also lower down on the same


The diary contains many slight sketches of native characters and customs, descriptions of some of their superstitions, and an explanation of the mystery of men with tails that previous travellers in Borneo have seen, or at least have heard of ; but the most curious thing in the book, perhaps, is the account of the ceremonies by which Hatton was made "blood-brother" to some of the native chiefs. The illustrations (which have some of them done duty in previous publications) and the large type of this volume help to render its reading both easy and agreeable.