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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

An Excursion

An Excursion

of several days on horseback, with the Dutch Commandant, to some charming places in the interior, abounding in lakes, rivers, great waterfalls, and fruitful valleys of much picturesque beauty, almost entirely unknown to English travellers. We were hospitably enter-tained by the native chiefs, and I had the pleasure of making acquaintance with some worthy German missionaries, living in very simple style amongst the people whom they have converted from heathenism and useless lives to Christianity and civilised industry, by which means also the country produces con- page 25 siderable quantities of coffee, cocoa, sugar, and other tropical productions. Our cargo being completed, we sailed from Menado for Manila, capital of the Spanish possessions in the Philippine Islands, which the war between Spain and America lately has brought more prominently before the world. This city, with its fortifications, gloomy convents, monks, and religious orders seen in the streets, was more like some ancient town of Old Spain than a bright Colonial settlement. The Governor or Captain-General lived in a handsome palace, and there are other substantial public buildings in the city. As it was the stormy season of the year, I moored my ship in the sheltered port of Cavite, where the Spanish Fleet was destroyed by a United States squadron at the beginning of the late war, being safer than the open bay of Manila. Hearing that I had a Dutch officer on board, taking the voyage for the benefit of his health, the Spanish Colonel commanding the garrison at Cavite invited us both to dine at his house, had his regimental band to play to us in the courtyard, and gave us his carriage to drive round the town and suburbs—courteous acts of unexpected hospitality which we gratefully enjoyed and appreciated.