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of late years made encroachments on the N. face of the fort, and along the esplanade, and for upwards of a mile in that direction.
The town, called George Town by the English, and Panjang Panaique by the Malays, is of considerable extent; bounded on the N. and E. by the sea, on the S. by a small river, and on the W. by the high road. The streets, which cross each other at right angles, are spacious and airy; the principal ones are now properly raised and drained, and the town has in consequence improved much in appearance and cleanliness. There is a large pier for landing and shipping goods, to which fresh water is conducted by pipes.
Since the island has become the seat of Government, considerable alterations have taken place in every department. A Government house, a church, a jail, and several substantial bridges have been built; the fortifications have been improved and strengthened, and the public roads repaired and widened. The inhabitants have greatly increased; by the census in June 1822, the numbers of all nations amounted to 45,127, including 400 Europeans.
Pulo Pinang was originally granted to the East India Company by the King of Queda, at the request of Captain Francis Light, of the Country service, who had married his daughter. The Bengal Government, seeing the island so peculiarly adapted as a mercantile station for vessels from all the Malay ports, the Moluccas, Borneo, Celebes, and the Phillipine Islands, did not hesitate to accept the King of Queda's grant; conceiving that, by an establishment properly secured, the Bengal trade with that of China would be connected, and from the conduct of the Dutch, it became necessary to have a port where the Country ships might meet the Eastern merchants, as well for the promotion of that valuable commerce, as to afford a windward station of refreshment and repair to the King's, the Company's, and the country ships. In 1805, the Court of Directors, in consideration of the convenient position of the island, formed it into a regular government.
TRADE.-Pinang has few productions of its own to export, besides areca and pepper; of the latter a large quantity is grown; but it is a mart for the commodities of China and the Eastern islands. The European articles imported comprehend a vast variety calculated for the Malay, Chinese, and Eastern markets. Large quantities of woollens, metals, &c. have been sent out by the Company since it became a separate Government. Considerable supplies of Bengal and Madras piece-goods are imported for the Malay trade. Opium is likewise an important article of import at Pinang; besides the quantity exported, 28 chests are annually consumed by
the Malay and Chinese inhabitants, yielding a revenue of nearly 4000 dol lar's monthly, from the farm of the monopoly. The drug is submitted to a simple operation, by which a first and second sort of extract is made, called chaudoo, previous to its being retailed. It is calculated that the consumer pays between 24 and 25,000 per cent. above the prime cost.
The Malay proas from the various ports on Sumatra, on the Malay Peninsula, and from the islands to the E. as far as New Guinea, import the following commodities :-Arrack of Java, beech de mer, betel-nut, benjamin, brimstone, birds'-nests, blackwood, birds of paradise, bezoar stones, cutch, cloves, ditto oil, canes, camphire, clove bark, cajeputa oil, dammer, diamonds, dragon's blood, elephants' teeth, gutta gambir, gold-dust, mace, ditto oil, nutmegs, ditto oil, precious stones, pearls, pepper, rice, rattans, ditto ground, redwood, spars, sago, stick-lac, tin, timber, tortoise-shell, and wax.
From China are brought the following articles for the Malays, and the use of the Europeans and Chinese :-China-ware, China camphire, copperware, China-root, fireworks, iron utensils, lackered ware, nankeens, sugar, sweetmeats, silk piece-goods, tea, tutenague, umbrellas, and wearing apparel.
DUTIES.-On Imports. Woollens, including manufactures of wool or worsted thread or yarn, unmanufactured metals, canvas, cordage, and marine stores, in British ships; also grain, bullion, and precious stones, are free of duty. All other articles of British produce, in British ships, pay 21 per cent. on the invoice. All articles of foreign produce, and Madeira wine, in British ships, 5 per cent. on invoice :-these articles imported into a port in British India, and shipped from thence to Pinang, are not subject to duty de novo, if accompanied with a certificate that the duty has been paid; or if a drawback has been received, the difference only will be levied. The aforegoing articles in foreign European or American ships, pay 8 per cent. on invoice. Articles the produce of China, in ships under British colours, 3 per cent. on invoice; under foreign European colours, 6 per cent. Goods imported under British colours, from places W. of the River Aracan, not having previously paid duty at a British port, 4 per cent. on invoice. Goods the produce of British possessions to the E. of Pinang, in British vessels, not having paid duty on export hither, 3 per cent. on invoice. Pepper, nutmegs, cloves, and mace, 21 per cent. on the current price, to be paid by the purchaser. Salt, 5 dollars per coyang. Oil, ghee, lard, and tobacco, 5 per cent. on the invoice. All merchandise imported in foreign European or American vessels, to pay double the duty, except as before provided for.
Export Duties.-Marine stores, provisions, and cabin stores for the
use of vessels belonging to this port; pepper, nutmegs, mace, cloves, piecegoods, and cotton-wool, exported on square-rigged vessels, under British colours, are free of duty; on foreign vessels, 21 per cent. on current price; all other goods pay 2 per cent. on the current price, on British vessels; on foreign vessels, 5 per cent. Goods not free of duty, transshipped in the harbour from British vessels, to be charged 21 per cent. on the invoice price, except Malay articles, which are charged at current prices. Transshipments into foreign vessels, double duty.
The arrack farmer has likewise the right of levying a duty of 1 rupee on every gallon of spirits, and 3 rupees for every dozen of wine, beer, and brandy, imported and sold, in addition to the Customs.
By a Government notification, the duties on the export of oil, ghee, hogs' lard, salt, and tobacco; and on goods the produce of Great Britain, Foreign Europe, America, China, and British India, as well as the duty on timber and planks from Ava, were suspended from August 1, 1823.
REGULATIONS.-A manifest must be delivered within 24 hours after arrival: goods attempted to be landed will be charged with double duties, and if with intent to defraud the Customs, will be confiscated. When remission of duty is claimed for damaged goods, they must be sold, and the duties levied on the proceeds. A port-clearance is not furnished until a certificate is obtained from the Collector.
ANCHORAGE RATES.-The following rates are payable to the MasterAttendant, on Foreign and British vessels:
For Vessels drawing under 10 feet, 6 Spanish dollars For Vessels drawing 19 feet, 22 Spanish dollars from 10 to 12.... 8 ditto
PILOTAGE. The rates in the S. channel are a Spanish dollar per foot.
COINS.-Accounts are kept by the Company in Spanish dollars, copangs, and pice; 10 pice making 1 copang, and 10 copangs 1 Spanish dollar.
The merchants keep their accounts in Spanish dollars and cents. The current pice are coined on the island, being pieces of tin, nearly the size of an English penny; they have the Company's mark on one side, and are plain on the other: 100 of them ought to contain 43 catties of pure tin. On the exchange of dollars into pice there is a loss of 2 per cent.; on dollars without the head, 10 per cent.; and on dollars defaced, from 5 to 10 per cent..
In exchanges of the following money,
A Spanish dollar passes for... 2 Sonaut rupees, 3 annas.
218 Sonaut Rupees............100 Ditto.
209 Sicca ditto...100 Ditto.
220 Bombay ditto ............100 Ditto.
425 Current ditto...............100 Star pagodas, or 350 Madras rupees.
WEIGHTS.-Gold and silver are weighed by the buncal, equal to 832 grs., which is divided into 16 meams, and 192 sagas. A catty is 20 buncals, and weighs 34 oz. 13 dwts. 8 grs.
The great weights are the following:
There are two peculs in the bazar, one of which, used to weigh tin and pepper, is 142 lbs., and three of these make a bahar. The Chinese bazar pecul is 133 lbs. The merchants purchase by the former, and sell by the latter.
MEASURES.-Grain, oil, and liquids are sold by the ganton, equal to 14 gallon English :—
4 Choopahs......... equal to .........1 Ganton.
=217,320 cub. in.
The parah, though nominally 10 gantons, is sometimes 5, 15, and 20.
Land is measured by the orlong, equal to 80 English yards, divided into 20 jambas, 40 depas, and 160 astahs.
PROVISIONS AND REFRESHMENTS.-Bullocks are to be had for the ship's crew at reasonable prices. Poultry and vegetables are in abundance, and cheap. Sheep are imported from Bengal, and are consequently dear. Goats are procured from the Peninsula and Sumatra, and when of a proper age, the meat is good. There are also various kinds of tropical fruits; and the harbour abounds with fish of an excellent quality.
Ships were formerly supplied with water from the river, which is about a mile to the S. of the town; but it was attended with considerable delay, and in consequence, to obviate which, the water has been brought in pipes
to the pier-head, where boats may have their casks filled with a hose from the cocks on the wharf, at the expence of a Spanish dollar per butt.
ARTICLES PROCURABLE AT PRINCE OF WALES'S ISLAND, Brought by Coasting Vessels, and chiefly calculated for the China Market.
AGAL AGAL, a species of sea-weed, dissoluble into a glutinous substance like congee; its principal use is for gumming silks and paper, as nothing equals it for paste, and it is not liable to be eaten by insects. The Chinese make a beautiful kind of lanthorn, formed of netted thread, washed over with this gum, and which is extremely light and transparent.
ARGUS FEATHERS.-The Sumatra or Argus Pheasant is a bird of uncommon magnificence, the plumage being perhaps the richest, without any mixture of gaudiness, of all the feathered race. It is about the size of a cock-turkey, and extremely difficult to be kept alive for any considerable time after it is caught; never more than a month. Of the wing-feathers, the nine outer ones are pale yellow brown, marked with small dusky spots, as big as tares, on the outer, and smaller spots of white on the inner webs; the eleven remaining quills are dark brown, marked with round and oblong spots on both webs, and on the outer, near the shaft, a row of large eyes, from 12 to 15 in number, the largest an inch in diameter, somewhat resembling those in a peacock's train. The tail consists of 14 feathers; the two middle are three feet in length, the next 18 inches, and gradually shortened to the outer ones, which are 12 inches only; the colour is dusky brown dotted with white, and the two middle have round white spots, encircled with black on the outer, and brown irregular ones surrounded with dusky on the inner web. The feathers used to be much esteemed in England, but at present are little regarded.
BALACHANG, called by the Burmans Ngapi, is a species of caviar, esteemed a great delicacy by the Malays, and forms an article of trade amongst them, and to some parts of India. To Europeans it is very offensive, particularly the black kind, which is the most common. The best sort, or the red balachang, is made of the spawn of shrimps, or of the shrimps themselves; they are, after boiling, exposed to the sun to dry, then pounded in a mortar with salt, moistened with a little water, and formed into cakes, which is the whole process. The black sort, used by the lower class, is made of small fish prepared in the same manner.
BEAN OF ST. IGNATIUS.-The article so called is the small solid seed