The Museum of the Batavian Society of Arts and Sciences was rich in exhibits of Sumatra's and Borneo's products and handwork, as well as in Javanese antiquities and in articles of silver and gold workmanship, which were novel in design and skilfully executed. The building is classic in its lines and very pleasing.
It used to be by no means an unusual thing to find an educated person ignorant not only of Borneo's position on the map, but almost of the very existence of the island which, regarding Australia as a continent, and yielding to the claims recently set up by New Guinea, is the second largest island in the world, within whose limits could be comfortably packed England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, with a sea of dense jungle around them, as WALLACE has pointed out.
Gold and other minerals, including coal, are known to exist, but the mineralogical exploration of a country covered with forest and destitute of roads is a work requiring time, and we are not yet in a position to pronounce on North Borneo's expectations in regard to its mineral wealth.
The Almighty Hand that had thus far helped the castaways on their course, with a favouring wind bringing them in sight of Borneo's isle, was not going to crush the sweet hopes thus raised by wrecking their boat upon its shores. And yet for a time it seemed as if this were to be their fate.
As an official remarked, with a shrug of his shoulders, "After you have spent a few years out here you don't much care how you die, or how soon. Plague is as convenient a way of going out as any other." The greatest obstacle to the successful development of Borneo's enormous natural resources is the labor problem.
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