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great measure due to the sanitary precautions which have been adopted during the past sixteen years, as well as to the facility with which sufferers who fail to recover can be removed to one or other of the various healthy stations in Port Blair Harbour (Andaman Islands), distant about 240 miles. It is, however, a melancholy fact that, in spite of apparent recovery and ability to resume work, many have suffered serious, if not permanent, injury from the effects of this fever; even the aborigines themselves do not enjoy immunity from its ravages, but are frequently prostrated by it, and many of the deaths which occur among them are distinctly traceable thereto. Among the other ills to which the Nicobarese are subject is elephantiasis, the causes of which may probably be found in the damp nature of the climate, the insanitary conditions of their village sites and surroundings, and the foul water, although of this they partake but sparingly, being much addicted to the use of dábs (water of the young cocoanuts) and palm wine (tari).

An attempt is now being made to colonise these islands with Chinese, and there can be but little doubt that if sufficient inducements are offered to lead them to establish themselves in large numbers on any of the thinly inhabited and fertile islands a marked improvement will soon be visible in the sanitary condition of the particular locality selected, as clearances of jungle, reclamation of swamp land and its cultivation, are essentials which would at once occupy the attention of these excellent colonists, leading inevitably to the same happy results which have been experienced in the now flourishing and healthy colonies of Penang and Province Wellesley, formerly so notoriously insalubrious.

Before concluding this paper it may not be uninteresting to note briefly the various attempts made in modern times by missionaries and foreign Governments to convert the Nicobarese and to colonise their islands. Omitting Köeping, who, in 1647, merely made a flying visit and brought away a fanciful story of men with tails, since explained by the mode of attire affected by these islanders, and to which allusion has already been made, we come to the mission, extending over two years (1711-13), conducted by two Jesuit priests who are said to have met with a violent death at Nancowry. The next settlers were Danes who, in 1754-6, established themselves at Great Nicobar, but within a year moved to Nancowry, where they remained for some time on the spot now occupied by our colony. Twelve years subsequently (viz., in 1768) some Moravian missionaries from Tranquebar settled on the opposite side of the same harbour, where they and their successors, numbering twenty-five in all, laboured for nineteen years without being gladdened by the

conversion of a single native, while they each in turn, either there or soon after their removal to Tranquebar, fell victims to the fever, one alone of their party escaping with his life, who, writing many years after his return to Europe, mentioned that he was still subject to constant returns of the same malady. On the abandonment of the mission, and in order to assert their claim to the islands, the Danes maintained a petty establishment in Nancowry Harbour during the next twenty years, at the expiration of which (viz., 1807) they were ousted by the British, with whom their country was then at war; seven years later, however, the islands were restored to Denmark, and were nominally occupied till 1837. During the last six years of this period a second attempt to Christianise the islanders was made by a mission under Pastor Rosen, but owing to sickness, and the continued apathy of the natives, the result was again ill-success and abandonment.

A final attempt to form a Danish Settlement was made on the occasion of the expedition of the R.D. corvette "Galathea " in 1846, when a careful survey of the islands was undertaken, but two years later this experiment was relinquished, and the Danes finally quitted the island. It was not, however, until 1869 that their connection with the Nicobars was completely severed, and the group annexed by the British under the circumstances already narrated.

It remains to be stated that while the present colony has completely attained its original object of suppressing the piratical acts of which the natives, especially of the central islands, had been guilty during a long series of years, it has also been the means of attracting a regular and growing trade with neighbouring countries, and at the same time raising the natives from the condition of ignorance in which they had previously existed regarding the benefits and resources of civilisation.


[Added after the paper had been read.]

Early in the current year Colonel T. Cadell, accompanied by Mr. E. H. Man, paid another and more interesting visit to the Shom Pen encampments of Great Nicobar, the results of which are embodied by Mr. Man in the following notes.

Leaving Nancowry on the 7th January we spent six days in the southern islands of the group, and were enabled, through the assistance of our coast friends, to visit some of the encampments already described, and also another on the west coast of Great Nicobar, whither no European before had trespassed.

We now are aware of five sections1 of the inland tribes which are more or less well known to the coast people, having each huts and gardens within a mile or two of the shore. It is further positively asserted that there are other communities of the same tribe living in the depths of the jungle who, like the ērem-tâ ga- of the Andaman forests, rarely if ever venture to come down to the sea. We are not yet able to ascertain the exact position of these villages, or their probable strength, inasmuch as the coast people have only on one or two occasions penetrated so far inland.

The encampment now visited for the first time is situated on the bank of a river2 hitherto unknown to us, but which proves to be as fine as the Galatea.

We had paddled up the stream for about an hour when we came upon a hut, which, from the neatness of its construction, might have been readily mistaken for one erected by the coast people; the chief differences to be noted were, first, that the posts were not so firmly planted, and secondly, that the floor was raised 10 feet above the ground in lieu of 6 or 7 feet, as is usual in the coast villages. On entering the hut we found two men and two women, seated tailor fashion, cross-legged on the floor, i.e.1. Gai, a man probably about thirty years of age, and husband to the two women.

2. Dau, a youth of about eighteen, and unmarried.

3. Kinai 4. Kōap

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Half-sisters and wives to No. 1.3

These four persons had hair reaching below their shoulders, unkempt and uncut; in their ears were large wooden earsticks; their skin was of the same colour as that of the coast people to whom also they bore more resemblance, both in feature and general appearance, than has been noticeable among the Shom Pen of other communities.

Both men had on loose Chinese drawers, and also the illadjusted loin-cloth, which they evidently wear in imitation of the neng of the coast men.'

1 These encampments are found at the following points :

1. Near Láfúl and Ganges Harbour. (Reckoned as one owing to constant intercommunication.)

2. At Galatea Bay.

3. Near Pulo Babi, on the west coast.

(Visited last year for the first time;

it is called by the natives "dák-ta-yal.")

4. Near Kashindon on the west coast.

(Called “dakan-kat.")

5. Between Kashindon and Pulo Pet. (This encampment is known as Pulo

Kungi, and has yet to be visited.)

2 The native name of the river is "dák-a-naing."

3 I took special pains to have this point so confirmed as to leave little room for doubt as to its accuracy.

The Shom Pen declare that the adoption of this garment is of recent date,

Gai (No. 1) had two necklaces of string, one of which was black from long use, but the other was newly and neatly made of a whitish fibre twisted evenly round a narrow strip of some red cotton fabric: with this he was willing to part, receiving in exchange a bead necklace I had brought with me.

Dau (No. 2) had no necklace.

Both women had small coloured bead necklaces similar to the one I had just bestowed upon Gai; they wore the usual short cotton shirt, and had a piece of the same material wound round the upper part of their persons; they had also bands of fibre round their heads, apparently to keep the hair from falling over the face when cooking or stooping, &c.

Kōap (No. 4) is the first Shom Pen I have seen with the disfigurement so common among the coast people, i.e., with the front teeth of the upper jaw encrusted together so as to protrude and prevent the lips from closing; it would be a matter of difficulty, if not an impossibility, for one tooth to be extracted without the others.

At the further end of the hut, opposite the entrance, as is also the custom of the coast people, was a sanded hearth, on which were standing three of the sack-like cooking vessels peculiar to the Shom Pen (called te-ag); they were of different sizes, and I observed that the sides were kept apart by means of sticks placed across inside.

The impression we produced upon our new acquaintances was apparently favourable, for they intimated through our guides that if we returned in a few weeks' time they would be willing to accompany us on the return journey.

On our way back to the coast we sighted a small canoe containing a young couple (called Patõi and Tain), belonging to the community we had just been visiting, who had, it seems, been absent on some fishing expedition; immediately on perceiving us they turned and paddled away rapidly until assured by the shouts of our coast companions that they had no cause for fear, when they allowed us to come up with them and showed no further signs of alarm, but willingly walked with us and accepted presents of beads, tobacco, biscuits, &c.

In noting down the words for common objects as spoken by these (dakan-kat) people I found that in most instances they differed from the equivalent used by the Shom Pen of Láfúl and Ganges Harbour. Each community of the tribe appears to "within the memory of living men"; this probably indicates the period during which less hostile relations have existed between the coast and inland tribes. This necklace measures 10 feet 9 inches in length, and the red cotton foundation is inch in width.

2 When fire is not otherwise obtainable, the Shom Pen produce a flame by means of the ordinary fire sticks.

possess a dialect more or less distinct, but this is what might reasonably be expected when we consider the isolation of the several encampments, and the difficulties of intercommunication, apart even from the hostile relations in which they stand towards one another.

The surprising discovery was made on this trip that the Shom Pen, or at any rate certain sections (viz., those at Láfúl and Ganges Harbour and on the west coast), are in the habit of constructing rafts and boats, the latter not only for their own use, but also for purposes of sale, or more properly speaking, of barter, with the coast tribes. We saw both rafts and canoes; the former are made of bamboos neatly tied together, and the latter are not distinguishable from those seen at the coast villages, except perhaps from the fact that they are not quite so carefully finished. The size of the canoes made for their own use varies from 6 to 10 feet, but we are informed that much larger ones measuring sometimes as much as 20 to 24 feet are made for the coast tribes to whom it seems that the finishing of these crafts is invariably left.

The Shom Peň do not venture out to sea in their skiffs, but use them merely for crossing the rivers or creeks near which their encampments are situated, or for skirting along the coast where they plant fishing stakes which are similar in every respect to those seen in Malay villages.

After leaving dakan-kat and the west coast we went to the Ganges Harbour community, which had not been visited since the unfortunate disappearance of one of its members and two other youths in September, 1884 (vide ante p. 438). We took the precaution of sending our guides in advance to reconnoitre, and were informed on their return that only two men were within hail as far as they could ascertain, but that these were unwilling to accept their assurance that friends were about to pay them a visit. Nevertheless we proceeded on our way, taking presents and my camera. I found that one of the men was Poko, father to Dehonha, one of the missing lads; nothing worthy of note transpired during the visit, but I succeeded in taking a photograph of the clearing, with the three tiny huts and their occupants.

We noticed that the trunks of the cocoanut trees were encircled with pieces of the stems of the thorny calamus, evidently with a view of warning strangers that the fruit was not to be touched. Among the coast tribes a similar practice obtains, but they deem it sufficient to tie a leaf round the trunk, and the vast majority accept the token as a warrant of ownership.

It is said that the Shom Pen bury their dead, but do not

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