would, if fortified, command with cannon the straits, through which every vessel passes to China and all the eastern settlements. A more convenient site and more formidable position could not possibly be selected; and it is really astonishing that it should have remained so long unnoticed. It was the capital of the Malays in the twelfth century; but they were obliged to abandon it, during the unfortunate wars with the Javan Empire of Majapulait, and retire to Malacca, and when the latter was taken by the Portuguese, they settled at Johore; and Singapore has, till now, been almost forgotten. I have no doubt it will soon rise to more than its ancient consequence. I have just arrived in time to explore the woods, before they yield to the axe, and have made many interesting discoveries, particularly of two new and splendid species of Pitcher-Plant (Nepenthes Rafflesiana and N. ampullaria), far surpassing any yet known in Europe. I have completed two perfect drawings of them, with ample descriptions. Sir S. Raffles is anxious that we should give publicity to our researches, in one way or other, and has planned bringing out something at Bencoolen. He proposes sending home these Pitcher-plants, that such splendid things may appear under all the advantages of elegant execution, by way of attracting attention to the subject of Sumatran botany." Many of 1)r, Jack's plants did appear in the Malayan Miscellany, published at Bencoolen; but no plants of the Nepenthes Rafflesiana ever reached Europe alive; till the Royal Gardens was supplied with a case of them, through the kindness of Capt. Bethune, R.N., who, on his return from his scientific mission to Borneo, had a Wardian case filled with them ; and so well were the plants established in the case, and so great was the care taken of them overland from India, that they were as healthy on their arrival at Kew in 1845 as the day they were transplanted from their native glen in Singapore. It was the very year in which Dr. Jack writes, that, as is well known, at the suggestion of his friend and patron, Sir Stamford Raffles, the island of Singapore was purchased by the India Company of the Sultan of Johore. Mr. Crawford was its first Governor and historian: since that period, it has become a settlement of vast importance to our country, and being much frequented by our ships, both mercantile and of the navy, it is to be hoped its vegetable productions will soon be familiar to us. Dr. Jack, with the modesty which was a striking feature in his character, gives the credit of the discovery of this plant in the forests of Singapore, to Sir Stamford Raffles; probably in order that the name might be considered more appropriate. Singapore, however, does not appear to be the only station for this plant; Korthals, if we read his high Dutch correctly, gives Bintang, off the coast of Sumatra, as another habitat.
Page:Curtis's Botanical Magazine, Volume 73 (1847).djvu/45
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