The Expedition to Borneo of H.M.S. Dido - For the Suppression of Piracy
by Henry Keppel
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"30th.—Under weigh. Brought up in 23 fathoms, amid the coral shoals.

"31st.—Visited the island of Balunrueh for sights.

"Tanjong Labu is bluff and bold, and of moderate elevation. The land from thence trends away westward, forming a long bay, which, for distinction, may be called Labu Bay, at the N.W. part of which is the town of Songi, the principal place about here. Between Labu and Songi are the following countries: Kupi Kajang, Pakah, Buah, Kalaku, Baringan, and Magnarabunbang; each with a separate petty rajah. The country is moderately well cleared; about an average height, near the shore, of 300 feet; with few habitations about, but no towns or villages. The mountain range throws a spur downward to the sea in the vicinity of Songi and the fine peaks of Lumpu Balong; and Wawa Karang, with the confusion of mountains, form a magnificent background to the prospect. From Magnarabunbang the land runs away to the eastward toward Tanjong Salanketo, which must be described on a future occasion. In the offing are several islands and numerous reefs. The principal island is Balunrueh, 400 or 500 feet high; bold, steep, and covered with trees, except at its northern extremity; where it is low, with a sandy point. Off this north point runs a coral reef; direction 354 deg., and extent about two miles. At the S.W. angle of the island there is likewise a reef stretching half a mile; and the shores all round, for a short distance, are lined with coral, outside of which the water is apparently very deep. We could get no soundings with a hand lead, half a mile to the westward.

"Off Balunrueh, to the S.E., is the islet of Liang Liang; next to Liang Liang, Tanbunoh, which is larger; then Cadingareh Batantampeh (the largest), Cotingduan Lariahriah, and two islands to the northward called Canallo. Balunrueh and Batantampeh have both indifferent fresh water; the former near the low point at the north end. From the S.W. end of Liang Liang a reef runs out. The bearing, from the small hill, over the watering place of Balunrueh, was 77 deg.. The reef extends to 104 deg., and stretches to the southward beside: near Liang Liang it is narrow. Its limits I could not define.

"Between Liang Liang and Tanbunoh a narrow reef, and spits from most of the islands. Two patches lay off Balunrueh about two miles and a half: the first, bearing 319 deg., is narrow, and about half a mile long; the other smaller, and bearing 287 deg.. Part of the day we passed on Balunrueh was very hot; but we got satisfactory sights, and sailed round the island, returning to the vessel about six in the evening.

"I must now return to Labu, to give some account of the channel between the reefs; as, from the appearance of the charts, it would seem impossible to navigate the western side of the bay. Having passed Tanjong Labu at a distance of 3 1/2 or 4 miles, get the flat-topped hill called Bulu Tanna ahead. Close to the Bulu Tanna, in the foreground, is another smaller hill, with two remarkable tufts on the top: this hill, just open to the eastward of Bulu Tanna, is the leading mark for Songi, which stands to the westward. This mark will lead clear, or very nearly so, of all the reefs; but as there is uncertainty in the distance from Tanjong Labu, it may be necessary to diverge from the straight course in order to avoid some of the patches. In the daytime the coral is seen with the greatest ease; and a vessel with a lookout aloft, and a breeze, may proceed with safely. The first reef is on the starboard hand; part was dry, and shoal-water about. This first patch is in the proximity of the great reef called Melompereh, which runs to the eastward. Beside these, the channel is occasionally lined by patches on either hand; but is nowhere narrower than a mile and a half, and is anything but difficult navigation, so far, in clear weather.

"Jan. 4th, 1840.—Arrived off Songi on the 1st, and dispatched a boat to the old Rajah, or Rana, of Lamatte. Our answer was, that not, having been to Boni, she feared receiving us, as she felt inclined; but if we would come to her house, she should be glad to see us. On the following day, accordingly, we paid our visit at her residence, which is situated about four miles up the river Tanca.

"The old lady is about sixty-five years of age, and (as she herself informed us) very poor. Her house, indeed, bears every mark of great poverty; having a leaky roof, and not sufficient matting to cover the bamboo floors. She was kind, and seemed pleased to see us; said I should henceforward be her son, and that nothing but her fear of the Boni Rajah prevented her receiving me in the best way in her power; but pointing to the roof and to the floor, she repeated, 'I have nothing.' I presented her with such articles as I thought would be acceptable to her; and, in return, she gave me a sarong.

"The population of the country is considerable. The last district I mentioned was Magnarabunbang. The town of that name, on the sea-side, consists of forty-five houses, beside a roving population of Badjows. Along the coast to the eastward, and close to Magnarabunbang, is the river of Songi. Proceeding up this shallow river, the first village is Tacolompeh, situated on the right bank, and consisting of twenty houses; nearly opposite the village of Pangassa, of thirteen houses; and farther up, about four miles from the river's mouth, stands Songi, consisting of 164 houses on the right bank, and 60 on the left. These places are all on the low ground, and surrounded with cocoanut-trees.

"Joining the district of Magnarabunbang, on the coast, is Lamatte, the rajanate of our old friend. The river, like the Songi, is shallow, and running through very low ground. On the left bank is Luppa, consisting of twenty-five houses; then, on the right, Ulo, twenty-two houses; and above Ulo comes Ullue, of twelve houses. Nearly opposite Ullue is Balammepa, with thirty houses, superior to the others, and inhabited by merchants who have made money in trading voyages. This village sends yearly two prahus to Singapore. Just above Ullue stand seven houses; and above Balammepa is Tanca, the residence of the Rajah of Lamatte, consisting of ten houses. The streams, as I have said, are shallow, and the ground low, neatly cultivated with Indian corn, and abounding in cocoanut-trees. Behind Magnarabunbang there is a narrow strip of low ground, which becomes wider as it advances to the eastward, with here and there moderate elevations.

"The chief product of the country is coffee, which is grown in great quantities on the hills, but brought down as it ripens, when it is collected by the Bugis merchants for their yearly shipments. The yearly produce is stated to be 2000 coyans or 80,000 peculs. The price is from fifteen to sixteen Java rupees the pecul; to which must be added the trouble and expense of storing and clearing from the inner skin. Tortoise-shell is brought in by the Badjows; and mother-of-pearl shells in any quantity there is demand for. Taking the number of houses in this small space, above described, the total will be 308 houses, which reckoned at the low estimate of eight persons for each house, will give 2464 inhabitants; this, however, is far below the proper estimate, as there are villages scattered between the rivers, and numbers of detached houses; in all, therefore, safely computed at 5000 persons. The villages, with the exception of Balammepa, have an aspect of poverty, and the country is ravaged by that frightful scourge the small-pox, and likewise some cases apparently of cholera, from the account given of the complaint. Near the hill of Bulu Tanna there is a hot spring, and likewise, by the report of the natives, some slight remains of an old building. I regretted much not seeing these; but the natives, with much politeness, begged me not to go previous to my visit to Boni, as they would be answerable for allowing strangers to see the country without orders from the chief rajah. All I see and hear convinces me that the Rajah of Boni has great power over the entire country. On a friendly communication with him, therefore, depends our chance of seeing something of the interior.

"The inhabitants here are polite, but shy and reserved: and the death of the Rana of Songi and the absence of the Rajah Mooda, her reported successor, have been against us.

"5th.—Sailing from Songi about 4 P.M., we directed our course for Tanjong Salanketo. The breeze was stiff, which caused us to use considerable precaution in sailing among the shoals. Assisted by a native Nacodah, by name Dain Pativi, we were enabled to keep the tortuous channel, of which otherwise we should have been ignorant. A little farther than the Tanca river is a shoal stretching from the shore, to avoid which we kept Canallo on our lee bow: this being cleared, we gradually luffed up, ran between two shoals, and passed several others."


Mr. Brooke's second visit to Sarawak.—The civil war.—Receives a present of a Dyak boy.—Excursion to the seat of war.—Notices of rivers, and settlements on their banks.—Deaths and burials.—Reasons for and against remaining at Sarawak.—Dyak visitors.—Council of war.—Why side with the Rajah.—Mode of constructing forts.—State of enemy's and Rajah's forces.—Conduct of the war.

Mr. Brooke continued his cruise for some time, and made very interesting collections of natural history, beside acquiring much insight into the native history, language, and customs, his detailed remarks on which it is to be hoped he will at a future day give to the public. He then returned to Singapore, where he was detained for several months by ill health; but availed himself of the opportunity to recopper and refit the Royalist, and set everything else in order for his next visit to Sarawak, the remarkable results of which are related in the following pages. Still sick and languid though he was, the very air of Borneo, and the prospect of activity, seemed to restore him to life, after the listless rest at Singapore, with "nothing to observe;" and only cheered by the kindest attentions and hospitalities of the inhabitants of that interesting and important settlement.

On the second visit of Mr. Brooke to Sarawak, about the end of August, 1840, he found the inhabitants in nearly the same state as at first, although there was much talk of reinforcements, and decisive measures for bringing the war to a close. The two parties lay within thirty miles of each other, the rebels holding the upper part of the river, and communication with the interior. The sultan, however, had sent down the Orang Kaya de Gadong to take more active measures, and his arrival stimulated Muda Hassim to something like exertion. This occurred on the fourth September, 1840, as appears by Mr. Brooke's journal, from which I shall give various extracts indicative not only of the character of my friend, whose ideas were written down at the time the impressions were made, but also supplying a distinct picture of the progress of this novel and amusing civil warfare, and demonstrating the unwarlike character of the Sarawak Borneons.

"An army of mixed Malays and Dyaks was raised to attack the Dyak tribes in rebellion, and this service was successfully performed; the rebel Dyaks were defeated, and most of them have since come over to the rajah. Their forces being weakened by desertion, were reported not to amount to more than 400 or 500 men, in four or five forts situated on the river; and it now remained to drive them from their last stronghold of resistance. It was confidently asserted by the rajah and Macota, that, were it not for the underhand assistance of the Sultan of Sambas, who had constantly supplied them with food and ammunition, the insurgents would long since have been dispersed.

"At the period in question they were said to be in great distress for want of provisions; and as a force was collecting to attack them from various quarters, it was greatly to be hoped that the war was verging to a termination. During my week's stay I have frequently visited Muda Hassim, and he has likewise been on board: our good understanding knows no interruption; and these savage, treacherous, bloodthirsty Borneons are our good friends, with whom we chat and laugh every evening in familiar converse. I find no cause to alter my last year's opinion, that they have few active vices; but indolence is the root of their evils.

"Sept. 7th.—Last night I received a strange and embarrassing present, in the shape of a young Dyak boy of five years old—a miserable little prisoner, made during this war, from the tribe of Brong. The gift caused me vexation, because I knew not what to do with the poor innocent; and yet I shrink from the responsibility of adopting him. My first wish is to return him to his parents and his tribe; and if I find I cannot do this, I believe it will be bettor to carry him with me than leave him to become the slave of a slave: for should I send him back, such will probably be his fate. I wish the present had been a calf instead of a child.

"9th.—Situ, my Dyak boy, seems content and happy; and judging by his ways, and his fondness for tobacco, he must be older than I at first supposed. In pursuance of my desire to restore him to his parents I made every inquiry as to their probable fate; but have learned nothing that leaves me any hope that I shall be able to do so. The Brong tribe having taken part with the rebels, were attacked by the rajah's people; and many were killed and the rest scattered. Pino, the Brong, knows not whether Situ's parents are alive or dead; nor, if the former, whither they have fled. Supposing my endeavors to restore the child fail, I have resolved to keep him with me, for many reasons. The first is that his future prospects will be better, and his fate as a freeman at Singapore happier, than as a slave in Borneo; the second, that he can be made a Christian. I can easily provide for him in some respectable household, or take him to England, as may hereafter be most advantageous for him; and at the former place he can always be made a comfortable servant with good training. Yet with all this, I cannot disguise from myself that there is responsibility—a heavy moral responsibility—attached to this course, that might be avoided: but then, should it be avoided? Looking to the boy's interests—temporal, perhaps, eternal—I think it ought not; and so, provided always I cannot place him where humanity and nature dictate, I will take the responsibility, and serve this wretched and destitute child as far as lies in my power. He is cast on my compassion; I solemnly accept the charge; and I trust his future life may bear good fruit and cause me to rejoice at my present decision.

"Oct. 2d.—Lying at Sarawak, losing valuable time, but pending the war difficult to get away; for whenever the subject is mentioned, Muda Hassim begs me not to desert him just as it is coming to a close; and daily holds out prospects of the arrival of various Dyak tribes. The rajah urged upon me that he was deceived and betrayed by the intrigues of Pangerans, who aimed at alienating his country; and that if I left him, he should probably have to remain here for the rest of his life, being resolved to die rather than yield to the unjust influence which others were seeking to acquire over him; and he appealed to me that after our friendly communication I could not, as an Engliah gentleman, desert him under such circumstances. I felt that honorably I could not do so; and though reluctantly enough, I resolved to give him the aid he asked;—small indeed, but of consequence in such a petty warfare.

"3d.—I started to join Macota at Leda Tanah. At 4h. 30m. P.M. a pouring rain delayed us some time: and darkness setting in, rendered our pull a long and very disagreeable one. We did not reach Leda Tanah until eleven, when we found the army in their boats, and a small fort they had built on the bank of the river. I moved into Macota's large boat, and slept there; while he, as commander-in-chief, went backward and forward from one post to another during the night.

"4th.—At Leda Tanah the river divided into two branches; one part running past Siniawan, and the other to the left—likewise to another point of the mountain-range. Above Siniawan is Sarambo, a high detached mountain, perhaps 3000 feet in height, with a notch in the center. Off Leda Tanah is a sand and pebble bank formed by the junction of the two streams, and the country around is well cleared for this part; while the graves on the right bank bear witness to the population of former days. It is represented to have been a flourishing place, and the neighborhood well inhabited, until the breaking out of this unhappy war. The situation is delightful, and advantageously chosen at the confluence of the two streams.

"5th.—Ascended that to the left for a short distance. On the left hand, just above Leda Tanah, is the small creek of Sarawak, the original settlement, and from which the larger river now takes its name. I intended to have returned to-day; but as the weather threatened another deluge, I stopped till the following morning. It was a curious sight to see the whole army bathe, with the commander-in-chief at their head, and his Pangerans. The fare of these people is anything but luxurious, for they get nothing but rice and salt; and they were thankful in proportion for the small supplies of tea, sugar, and biscuit I was able to spare them.

"6th.—Quitted Leda Tanah, and reached the Royalist in five hours, one of which we were delayed by the way. The river is remarkably pretty; banks cleared of jungle, with fine trees, and a view of the mountains. Many parts are exceedingly shallow; but the natives state there is a channel for a moderate-sized vessel as far as Leda Tanah."

On Mr. Brooke's return on board the Royalist, he found his steward Rankin, who had been lingering some time, still alive; and a seaman named Daniel, whom he had left with a slight fever, suddenly expired at ten at night in a fainting fit. He writes in his journal: "It is difficult to allege the immediate cause of his death, which probably arose from some organic complaint of the heart or the brain, quite independent of fever. Five minutes before his decease the man's pulse was high and full. The steward will follow in a few days; and death, which has never before entered on board, will thus strike two blows. To me it is a satisfaction that neither is in any way attributable to climate.

"7th.—Muda Hassim rendered me every assistance. A grave was prepared, and wood for a coffin, so that by two o'clock we proceeded to inter the dead. His last resting-place was situated on a gently rising ground behind the Chinamen's houses. The ensign was placed over his simple bier, and he was carried by his shipmates to the grave. All who could be spared attended, and I performed the service—that impressive and beautiful service of the Church of England.

"8th.—Having the melancholy duty of yesterday over was a relief, only alloyed by the sad prospect of a near recurrence. I now turned my mind seriously to departure, having well weighed the pros and cons of the subject.

"In the first place, the greatest advantage would result from my accompanying the rajah along the coast of Borneo; and if I could hope a reasonable time would leave him free to go there, I would wait spite of the season: for it is evident that by myself I should have to form fresh connections among the chiefs, and without that I reckon it next to impossible to penetrate even a moderate distance from the coast in a strange place. The next reason is, that it has been intimated to me that a rival faction, headed by Pangeran Usop, exists in Borneo Proper, and that that Pangeran, from my known friendship to Muda Hassim, might endeavor to injure me, i. e. kill me. At any rate, during Muda Hassim's absence, I should be obstructed in all my proceedings, and could not do more than sketch the bare coast-line. These are strong and cogent reasons for remaining for a time, if the ultimate object be attainable; and to these may be added my own feelings—my reluctance to quit the rajah in the midst of difficulty and distress, and his very very sad face whenever I mention the topic.

"On the other hand must be weighed the approach of the adverse monsoon, the loss of time, and the failure of provisions, which, though but luxuries to gentlemen which they can readily dispense with, are nevertheless necessaries to seamen, without which they get discontented, perhaps mutinous. There are good reasons on both sides.

"9th.—I sent Williamson to intimate my approaching departure; and when I went in the evening the little man had such a sorrowful countenance that my heart smote me. When I told him I would remain if there were the slightest chance of a close to the war, his countenance cleared, and he gaily repeated that my fortune and his would bring this struggle to an end, though others forsook him. I then consented to await the issue a few days longer, and to revisit Leda Tanah to ascertain if the news were true. It ran to the effect that the rebels, under the Patingi and Tumangong, are fortified at the foot of the mountain of Sarambo, on which hill are three Dyak tribes below that of Sarambo; over them Bombak; and on the summit the Paninjow. The Bombak and Paninjow have already, in part, joined Macota, and the Sarambo are to come in as to-day. These three last Dyak tribes deserting the rebels will leave them surrounded in their forts, which are commanded by the rest of the hill; and everything promises well, if the opportunity be vigorously used. The Sow and the Singe are in part at Leda Tanah, and more Dyaks daily joining. I must push the rajah on to action, for help from without is not likely to come. Yet I wish still more to accommodate matters; and if he would spare the leaders' lives, I believe they would lay down their arms on my guaranty. But though he does not say that he will kill them, he will listen to no terms of compromise; and when I reflect that a European monarch, in the same circumstances, would act in the same way—that the laws of my own country would condemn the men for the same offence—I cannot urge the subject into a personal matter.

"16th.—Rankin's (my steward's) death having been some time inevitable, it was a relief when the event occurred. He was cut off in the flower of manhood, from the effects of hard drinking, which even his fine constitution could not resist. I buried him near the other man, and had a neat inscription, with the name of the individual, his ship and age, placed over each.

"Days passed on, but not quite unrelieved by events. And now I may positively state, that the war will be over in a few days, or not over at all. The first of these events was the desertion of the Dyaks, and the arrival of their chiefs with Macota. Next arrived 200 Chinese from Sambas, under a very intelligent capitan. Rajah Ali came next, bringing some ourang-outangs' heads; then Datu Naraja; and lastly, Pangeran Jedut from Sarebus, with the information that the Dyaks of that name, in consequence of a war with Linga, would not come here. Thus they not only refused to come themselves, but obliged the Linga people to stay at home to defend their country. To quiet this coast the Sarebus should receive a severe lesson.

"17th.—I had a large party of Dyaks on board in the evening, viz. the Singe, Sow, Bombak, and Paninjow, in all about fifteen men and two old chiefs. They ate and drank, and asked for everything, but stole nothing. One man wore a necklace of beads set with human teeth, taken of course in war, which I got from him for two yards of red cloth. Another was ornamented with a necklace of bears' teeth; and several had such a profusion of small white beads about their necks as to resemble the voluminous foldings of the old fashioned cravat. As far as I could observe, they all seemed in earnest about attacking Siniawan; and their allegiance to the rajah was as warm now (in words) as it had been heretofore defective in action.

"18th.—Proceeded in the long-boat to Leda Tanah, which we reached in three and a half hours' pulling, and just in time to witness the start of 150 Malays and 100 Dyaks of Lundu for the mountain of Sarambo, at the foot of which Siniawan and the enemies' forts are situated.

"19th.—Did everything in my power to urge Macota to advance and divert the attention of the rebels from the party going up the mountain, but in vain: Malay-like, he would wait.

"20th.—I have before remarked that two rivers formed a junction at Leda Tanah; and this day I ascended the left hand stream, or, as they call it, the Songi besar (i. e. great Songi). The scenery is picturesque; the banks adorned with a light and variegated foliage of fruit-trees; and everywhere bearing traces of former clearing and cultivation. In the background is the range of mountains, among which Stat is conspicuous from his noble and irregular shape. On our return, the white flag (a Hadji's turban) was descried on the mountain, being the prearranged signal that all was well. No news, however, came from the party; and in spite of the white banner Macota took fright at the idea that the rebels had surrounded them.

"21st.—Detachments of Dyaks are coming in. Ten of the tribe of Sutor were dispatched as scouts; and in a few hours returned with the welcome intelligence that the detachment was safe on the top of the mountain, and that the three tribes of Paninjow, Bombak, and Sarambo, had finally decided on joining the rajah, and surrendering their fortified houses. Soon after this news the chiefs of the tribes arrived with about 100 men, and were of course well received; for if chargeable with deserting their cause, it is done with the utmost simplicity, and perfect confidence in their new associates. From their looks it was apparent they had suffered greatly from want of food; and they frankly confessed that starvation was their principal motive for coming over. I did all in my power to fix their new faith by presents of provisions, &c. &c.: and I think they are trustworthy; for there is a straightforwardness about the Dyak character far different from the double-faced dealings of the Malay. Their stipulations were, forgiveness for the past, and an assurance that none of the Dyaks from the sea (i. e. Sarebus and Sakarran) should be employed; for they were, they said, hateful to their eyes. These terms being readily conceded—the first from interest, the second from necessity—they became open and communicative on the best means of attacking the forts. A grand council of war was held, at which were present Macota, Subtu, Abong Mia, and Datu Naraja, two Chinese leaders, and myself—certainly a most incongruous mixture, and one rarely to be met with. After much discussion, a move close to the enemy was determined on for to-morrow, and on the following day to take up a position near their defences. To judge by the sample of the council, I should form very unfavorable expectations of the conduct in action. Macota is lively and active; but whether from indisposition or want of authority, undecided. The Capitan China is lazy and silent; Subtu indolent and self-indulgent; Abong Mia and Datu Naraja stupid. However, the event must settle the question; and, in the mean time, it was resolved that the small stockade at this place was to be picked up, and removed to our new position, and there erected for the protection of the fleet. I may here state my motives for being a spectator of, or participator (as may turn out), in this scene. In the first place I must confess that curiosity strongly prompted me; since to witness the Malays, Chinese, and Dyaks in warfare was so new, that the novelty alone might plead an excuse for this desire. But it was not the only motive; for my presence is a stimulus to our own party, and will probably depress the other in proportion. I look upon the cause of the rajah as most just and righteous: and the speedy close of the war would be rendering a service to humanity, especially if brought about by treaty. At any rate much might be done to ameliorate the condition of the rebels in case of their defeat; for though I cannot, perhaps ought not to, save the lives of the three leaders, yet all the others, I believe, will be forgiven on a slight intercession. At our arrival, too, I had stated that if they wished me to remain, no barbarities must be committed; and especially that the women and children must not be fired upon. To counterbalance these motives was the danger, whatever it might amount to, and which did not weigh heavily on my mind. So much for reasons, which, after all, are poor and weak when we determine on doing anything, be it right or be it wrong. If evil befall, I trust the penalty may be on me rather than on my followers.

"22d.—At daylight the fleet was astir; and in an hour the defences were cut down, the timber, bamboos, &c., formed into rafts ready for transportation, and the stockade, by breakfast-time, had as completely vanished as though it had been bodily lifted away by some genius of the Wonderful Lamp. Everything was ready for a start, and we waited lazily for the flood-tide; but when it did make, the usual procrastination ensued, and there was no move till it was near done. Then, indeed, we proceeded up about two-thirds of the way, and brought up with two good hours' daylight, in spite of my remonstrances. No place could be better calculated than where we rested for an attack upon boats: high banks covered with grass and trees offered a safe shelter for musketry, against which no return could be made. The night, however, passed away quietly.

"24th.—Dawn found us on the advance to our proper position. A thick fog concealed us, and in half an hour the people were on shore busy reerecting our fort, less than a mile from two forts of the enemy, but concealed from them by a point of the river. No opposition was offered to us; and in a few hours a neat defence was completed from the debris of the former. The ground was cleared of jungle; piles driven in a square, about fifteen yards to each face; and the earth from the center, scooped out and intermixed with layers of reeds, was heaped up about five feet high inside the piles. At the four corners were small watch-towers, and along the parapet of earth a narrow walk connecting them. In the center space was a house crowded by the Chinese garrison, a few of whose harmless gingalls were stuck up at the angles to intimidate rather than to wound. While they labored at the body of the defence, the Dyaks surrounded it by an outer work, made of slight sticks run into the ground with cross binding of split bamboo, and bristling with a chevaux de frise (if it may be so styled) of sharpened bamboos about breast-high. The fastenings of the entire work were of rattan, which is found in plenty. It was commenced at 7 A.M. and finished about 3 P.M., showing how the fellows can get through business when they choose. This stockade, varying in strength according to circumstances, is the usual defence of the Sambas Chinese. The Malays erect a simple and quicker-constructed protection by a few double uprights, filled in between with timber laid lengthwise and supported by the uprights. Directly they are under cover, they begin to form the ranjows or sudas, which are formidable to naked feet, and stick them about their position. Above our station was a hill which entirely commanded both it and the river; to the top of which I mounted, and obtained an excellent view of the country around, including the enemies' forts and the town of Siniawan. A company of military might finish the war in a few hours, as these defences are most paltry, the strongest being the fort of Balidah, against which our formidable assault was to be leveled. It was situated at the water's edge, on a slight eminence on the right bank of the river; and a large house with a thatched roof and a lookout house on the summit; a few swivels and a gun or two were in it, and around it a breastwork of wood—judging from a distance, about six or seven feet high. The other defences were more insignificant even than this; and the enemies' artillery amounted, by account, to three six-pounders and numerous swivels; from 350 to 500 men, about half of whom were armed with muskets, while the rest carried swords and spears. They were scattered in many forts, and had a town to defend, all of which increased their weakness. Their principal arm, however, consisted in the ranjows, which were stated to be stuck in every direction. These ranjows are made of bamboo, pointed fine and stuck in the ground; and there are beside, holes about three feet deep, filled with these spikes, and afterward lightly covered, which are called patobong. Another obstacle consists of a spring formed by bending back a stiff cane with a sharp bamboo attached to it, which, fastened by a slight twine, flies forcibly against any object passing through the bush and brushing against it: they resemble the mole-traps of England. The Borneons have a great dread of these various snares; and the way they deal with them is by sending out parties of Dyaks during the night to clear the paths from such dangers.

"Though I have stated the insignificant nature of the enemies' lines, it must not be supposed I imagined them at all inferior to our own resources. Our grand army consisted of 200 Chinese, excellent workmen, but of whose qualities as soldiers I can say nothing. They were, however, a stout, muscular set of men, though wretchedly armed, having no guns and scarcely any muskets; but swords, spears, and shields, together with forty long thin iron tubes with the bore of a musket and carrying a slug. These primitive weapons were each managed by two men, one being the carrier of the ordnance, the other the gunnery for while one holds the tube over his shoulder, the other takes aim, turns away his head, applies his match, and is pleased with the sound. Their mode of loading is as curious as the piece and its mode of discharge. Powder is poured in, the end knocked on the ground, and the slug with another knock sent on the powder, without either ramming or cartridge. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any weapon more rude, awkward, or inefficient.

"Of Malays we had 250, of whom 150 were on the Sarambo mountain, occupied in defending the Dyak houses. Of the hundred remaining with the grand army, about half were armed with muskets. A few brass guns composed our artillery; and in the boats were a good many swivels. The Dyaks amounted to about 200, of various tribes, viz., Sibnowans, Paninjows, Bombak, Sarambo, Kampit, Tabah, Sanpro, Suntah; but these were merely pioneers, and would not face the report of fire-arms. The Borneons, in fighting, wear a quilted jacket or spencer, which reaches over the hips, and from its size has a most unservicelike appearance: the bare legs and arms sticking out from under this puffed-out coat, like the sticks which support the garments of a scarecrow. Such was our incongruous and most inefficient array; yet with 300 men who would fight, nothing would have been easier than to take the detached defences of the enemy, none of which could contain above thirty or forty men. But our allies seemed to have little idea of fighting except behind a wall; and my proposal to attack the adversary was immediately treated as an extreme of rashness amounting to insanity. At a council of war it was consequently decided that advances should be made from the hill behind our fort to Balidah by a chain of posts, the distance being a short mile, in which space they would probably erect four or five forts; and then would come a bombardment, noisy but harmless.

"During the day we were not left quiet. The beating of gongs, shouts, and an occasional shot, gave life to the scene. With my glass I could espy our forces at the top of the hill, pleased no doubt to see us coming to their support. At night loud shouts and firing from the rebels caused us to prepare for an attack; but it proved to be nothing but lights moving about the hill-side, with what intent we were ignorant. The jungle on the left bank having been cleared, we did not much expect any skirmishers; but some spies were heard near our boats. With this exception the night passed away unbroken on our part, though the rebels kept up an incessant beating of gongs, and from time to time fired a few stray shots, whether against an enemy or not was doubtful.

"25th.—The grand army was lazy, and did not take the field when they possessed themselves of two eminences, and commenced forts on each. About 11 A.M. we got intelligence that the enemy was collecting on the right bank, as they had been heard by our scouts shouting one to another to gather together in order to attack the stockades in the course of building. Even with a knowledge of their usual want of caution, I could not believe this, but walked nevertheless to one of the forts, and had scarcely reached it when a universal rebel shout, and a simultaneous beating of the silver-tongued gongs, announced, as I thought, a general action. But though the shouts continued loud and furious from both sides, and a gun or two was discharged in the air to refresh their courage, the enemy did not attack, and a heavy shower damped the ardor of the approaching armies, and reduced all to inaction. Like the heroes of old, however, the adverse parties spoke to each other: 'We are coming, we are coming,' exclaimed the rebels; 'lay aside your muskets and fight us with swords.' 'Come on,' was the reply; 'we are building a stockade, and want to fight you.' And so the heroes ceased not to talk, but forgot to fight, except that the rebels opened a fire from Balidah from swivels, all of which went over the tops of the trees. Peace, or rather rest, being restored, our party succeeded in entrenching themselves, and thus gained a field which had been obstinately assaulted by big words and loud cries. The distance of one fort from Balidah was about 800 yards, and manned with sixty Malays; while a party of Chinese garrisoned the other. Evening fell upon this innocent warfare. The Borneons, in this manner, contend with vociferous shouts; and, preceding each shout, the leader of the party offers up a prayer aloud to the Almighty, the chorus (or properly response) being the acclamation of the soldiery. We, on our side, kept up a firing and hallooing till midnight, to disguise the advance of a party who were to seize and build a stockade within a shorter distance of Balidah. When they reached the spot, however, the night being dark, the troops sleepy, and the leaders of different opinions, they returned without effecting anything."


Appearance of the country.—Progress of the rebel war.—Character of the Sow and Singe Dyaks.—Their belief in augury.—Ruinous effects of protracted warfare.—Cowardice and boasting of the Malays.—Council of war.—Refuse to attack the enemy's forts.—Rebels propose to treat.—The Malays oppose.—Set out to attack the rebels, but frustrated by our allies.—Assailed by the rebels.—Put them to flight.—Treat with them.—They surrender.—Intercede with the Rajah for their lives.—Renewed treachery of the Malays.

"26th.—I must here pause in my account of this extraordinary and novel contest, briefly to describe the general appearance of the country.

"It is one delightful to look upon, combining all the requisites of the picturesque, viz. wood, water, mountain, cliff, and a foreground gently undulating, partially cultivated, and of the richest soil. The mountain of Sarambo, about 3000 feet in height, is the principal feature in the scene, situated at a short distance from the left bank of the river. The remainder of the ground slopes gradually; and the town of Siniawan, likewise on the left bank, is close to the water, and at the foot of the eminence called Gunga Kumiel.

"The advance of the party last night was, as I have said, disguised by firing, drumming, and shouting from the fleet and forts; and, in the deep stillness of the fine night, the booming of the guns, the clamor of the gongs, and the outcries raised from time to time, came on our ears like the spirit of discord breaking loose on a fair and peaceful paradise. About one o'clock the noises died away, and I enjoyed as quiet a slumber till daylight as though pillowed on a bed of down in the heart of Old England. About six I visited the three forts. The Chinese, Malays, and Dyaks were taking their morning meal, consisting of half a cocoanut-shell full of boiled rice with salt. The Dyaks were served in tribes; for as many of them are at war, it is necessary to keep them separate; and though they will not fight the enemy, they would have no objection to fall out with one another, and the slightest cause might give rise to an instant renewal of hostilities.

"About 9 A.M. a party proceeded to the elevation previously marked, within 300 yards of Balidah, and worked quietly till 2 P.M., by which time they had made considerable progress; and being then reinforced, they soon finished this new stockade, with a strong face toward their adversaries, and an outer fence. This erection, however, being below the brow of the hill, is useless as a post whence to assault Balidah; and to-morrow another stockade is to be made close to it on the summit, the present being intended to cover the working party at the next. The enemy, about 4 P.M., having discovered the stockade, opened a fire for half an hour; but finding it ineffectual, they sank into their usual apathy. It is difficult to attribute this quietude to any other cause than weakness; and they are doubtless harassed by the want of Dyak light troops, as they are unable to oppose stockade to stockade. Our party, by these successful advances, seem to gain confidence; and it must soon come to an issue one way or other. To make it favorable, I have sent for two six-pounder carronades, guns of vast caliber here, together with a small addition to our force. I had the curiosity to inquire of Macota the progress of his former campaign, when he had 1000 Malays with only a few Dyaks. He represented the enemy as active and daring then, and very different from their want of spirit now. They had, he declared, combats by sea and by land; stockade was opposed to stockade, and the fighting was constant and severe; but he never lost a man killed during the two months, and only boasted of killing five of the enemy! The principal danger in Malay warfare is the 'Mengamuk' (Anglice, running a-muck), which is the last resource of a desperate man.

"27th.—The night passed quietly as usual. About 6 A.M. I started for the hills, and inspected each post in turn. They are about commencing another fort. I visited the spot to reconnoiter it; and the enemy opened a fire directly they perceived me, which we returned. They shot wretchedly ill; and the position is good, but exposed. About 10 A.M. they again began to fire from their fort, and detached thirty or forty men, who crept out between our forts in order to interrupt the work. The Malays, however, received them steadily; while the Chinese placed them between two fires, and, by a discharge from a tube, knocked down one man. The rebels showed anxiety to possess themselves of their fallen comrade, while the opposite party shouted, 'Cut off his head;' but he was carried off; and the enemy, when they had saved his body, fled in all directions, dropping a number of their small bamboo powder flasks on the way. Some fierce alarms were given of an attack by water, and I went up the river to ascertain really whether there was any mischief to be expected; but there was no appearance of any adversary. A slack fire from the hill proclaimed that our work was going on there; and toward evening all was in repose.

"28th.—The stockade was completed in the evening, with ranjows stuck round the outer defence. It was excellently situated for battering Balidah; but Balidah, I fear, is too loosely constructed to be battered to the best advantage. During the day the Sow and Singe Dyaks joined, to the amount of about 150 men, and other tribes have been gradually dropping in; so that altogether there are not fewer than 500 of these men joined to our equipment. Most of them show all the characteristics of a wild people; never openly resisting their masters, but so obstinate that they can always get their own way in every thing; to all threats and entreaties opposing a determined and immovable silence. Many of them depend upon us for their food and salt, and their applications are endless. Three women of Singe are our regular pensioners; for their sex excludes them from the rations granted to the men. By these means we had many excellent opportunities of judging of their habits and temper. Among all these tribes the language differs but slightly—so slightly, indeed, that it is needless to note the variations in detail. They have the same superstition about particular birds, and I often heard this omen alluded to in conversation; but their birds are not the same as those of the sea Dyaks.... The chief of the Sarambo, explaining his reasons for leaving the rebels, urged the constant unfavorable omen of the birds as one. Often, very often, he said, when he went out, the bird cried, and flew in the direction of Siniawan, which will be explained by what I have before stated; for if they hear the bird to the right, they go to the left, and vice versa; so that the bird may be considered as warning them from evil.

"The Sow Dyaks brought in the head of an unfortunate Malay whom they had decapitated in the jungle. This species of warfare is extremely barbarous, and in its train probably brings more evil than the regular campaigns of civilized nations. Not that it is by any means so fatal to human life directly; but it is the slow poison which wastes the strongest frame, the smoldering fire which does its work of destruction slowly but surely. Year after year it is protracted; few fall in open fight, but stragglers and prisoners are murdered; and while both weak parties, gradually growing weaker, hold their own ground, the country becomes a desert. First, trade stagnates, agriculture withers, food becomes scarce, all are ruined in finances, all half-starved and most miserable—and yet the war drags on, and the worst passions are aroused, effectually preventing the slightest concession, even if concession would avail. But each combatant knows the implacable spirit—the deep desperation—of the other too well to trust them; and if at length the fortunes of famine decide against them, they die rather than yield; for a Dyak can die bravely, I believe, though he will not fight as long as life has any prospect. This is also the case here: for the rebel chiefs know there is no pardon, and the Bandar is disgraced if he fails. It is indeed a slow process, but one of extermination.

"29th.—Our guns arrived with a welcome reinforcement. In the evening I dropped up the river to reconnoiter; but the adversary discovered us, as we were dressed in white clothes.

"30th.—Fort not finished. All quiet.

"31st.—Got the guns and ammunition up, and while fixing them opened a fire from one of our swivels to overbear the fire of the enemy. The little piece was well served; and, in a quarter of an hour, we silenced their fire entirely, and knocked about the timber considerably, making a breach which several men could enter together. Seeing the effect, I proposed to Macota to storm the place with 150 Chinese and Malays. The way from one fort to the other was protected. The enemy dared not show themselves for the fire of the grape and canister, and nothing could have been easier; but my proposition caused a commotion which it is difficult to forget, and more difficult to describe. The Chinese consented, and Macota, the commander-in-chief, was willing; but his inferiors were backward, and there arose a scene which showed me the full violence of the Malay passions, and their infuriated madness when once roused. Pangeran Houseman urged with energy the advantage of the proposal, and in the course of a speech lashed himself to a state of fury; he jumped to his feet, and with demoniac gestures stamped round and round, dancing a war-dance after the most approved fashion; his countenance grew livid, his eyes glared, his features inflamed; and, for my part, not being able to interpret the torrent of his oratory, I thought the man possessed of a devil, or about to 'run a-muck.' But after a minute or two of this dance, he resumed his seat, furious and panting, but silent. In reply, Subtu urged some objections to my plan, which was warmly supported by Illudeen, who apparently hurt Subtu's feelings; for the indolent, the placid Subtu leapt from his seat, seized his spear, and rushed to the entrance of the stockade, with his passions and his pride desperately aroused. I never saw finer action than when, with spear in hand, pointing to the enemy's fort, he challenged any one to rush on with him. Houseman and Surradeen (the bravest of the brave) like madmen seized their swords to inflame the courage of the rest—it was a scene of fiends—but in vain; for though they appeared ready enough to quarrel and fight among themselves, there was no move to attack the enemy. All was confusion; the demon of discord and madness was among them, and I was glad to see them cool down, when the dissentients to the assault proposed making a round to-night and attacking to-morrow. In the mean time our six-pounders were ready in battery, and it is certain the assailants might walk nearly to the fort without any of the rebels daring to show themselves in opposition to our fire.

"Nov. 1st.—The guns were ready to open their fiery mouths, and their masters ready to attend on them; but both had to wait till mid-day, when the chiefs of the grand army, having sufficiently slept, breakfasted, and bathed, lounged up with their straggling followers. Shortly after daylight the forts are nearly deserted of their garrisons, who go down at the time to the water more like a flock of geese than warriors. The instant the main division and head-quarters of the army arrived at the battery, I renewed my proposal for an assault, Which was variously received. If the Malays would go, the Chinese agreed; but the Malays had grown colder and colder. In order to encourage them, I opened a fire to show the effect of our guns; and having got a good range, every ball, as well as grape and canister, rattled against and through the wood. I then urged them again and again, but in vain; that coward Panglima rajah displayed that dogged resolution which is invincible—an invincible resolution to do nothing; and the cold damp looks of the others at once told the amount of their bravery! A council of war was called—grave faces covered timid hearts and fainting spirits. The Chinese contended with justice, that in fairness they could not be expected to assault without the Malays did the same; Abong Mia was not brave enough. The Datu agreed, and Panglima delivered himself of a wise harangue, to the effect that, 'the last campaign, when they had a fort, how had the enemy fired then?—stabbed them, speared them, &c. &c.; and without a fort, assaulting!—how could it be expected they should succeed? how unreasonable they should go at all!' But even his stolid head seemed to comprehend the sarcasm when I asked him how many men had been killed during all this severe fighting. However, it was clear that it was no battle. We were all very savage, and I intimated how useless my being with them was, if they intended to play instead of fight. 'What,' I asked, 'if you will not attack, are you going to do?' Oh, the wise councils of these wise heads! Abong Mia proposed erecting a fort in a tree, and thence going 'puff, puff,' down into Balidah, accompanying the words 'puff, puff,' with expressive gestures of firing; but it was objected, that trees were scarce, and the enemy might cut down the tree, fort and all. [11]

"2d.—Till two o'clock last night, or thereabouts, I sat on our rampart and gazed upon the prospect around, shaded with gloom. The doctor was with me, and we ran over every subject—the past, present, and the future. Such a scene—a rude fort in the interior of Borneo; such a night, dark but starlight—leaves an indelible impression on the mind, which recurs to move it even after long years. The morning, however, found us ready, and no one else. The fort was left to ourselves; we waited and waited until 2 P.M., when I was made aware that all thoughts of attack were at an end. Macota, for very shame, staid below; and I must say there was not a countenance that met mine but had that bashful and hang-dog look which expresses cowardice and obstinacy predominant, yet shame battling within. They were now resolved not to make the attempt; and I asked them casually whether they would fly a white flag, and hold a conference with the enemy. They caught at the alternatives; the flag was hoisted; the rebels were ready to meet me, and it was agreed that we should assemble on the morrow. But no sooner was the arrangement made than a thousand objections were started, and any thing, even attack itself (though that was out of the question), was held to be preferable. I need not dwell on this mixture of deceit and fear; in short, as they would do nothing themselves, they expected us to do nothing: and without the courage to carry on the war, they had not either wisdom or sorcery to bring it to a conclusion.

"3d.—Dispatched an express during last night to the rajah, and received an answer that he was coming up in person; but my resolve was taken, and I quitted the grand army, much to their evident surprise and vexation. Nevertheless, they were still friendly and polite, and very very lazy about bringing down our guns. This was, however, done at last, and we were ready for a start.

"4th.—Reached the ship at two P.M., saw rajah, &c. &c.

"From the 4th to the 10th of November I may condense into the shape of a narrative. I explained to the rajah how useless it was my remaining, and intimated to him my intention of departing; but his deep regret was so visible, that even all the self-command of the native could not disguise it. He begged, he entreated me to stay, and offered me the country of Siniawan and Sarawak, and its government and trade, if I would only stop, and not desert him. I could at once have obtained this grant, but I preferred interposing a delay; because to accept such a boon when imposed by necessity, or from a feeling of gratitude for recent assistance, would have rendered it both suspicious and useless; and I was by no means eager to enter on the task (the full difficulties of which I clearly foresaw) without the undoubted and spontaneous support of the rajah.

"Jan. 8th, 1841.—The following narrative, extracted from my journal, includes a period from the 10th of December to the 4th of January, and it is put into its present shape to avoid the tedium of detailing each day's proceedings. On the 10th of December we reached the fleet and disembarked our guns, taking up our residence in a house, or rather shed, close to the water. The rajah's brother, Pangeran Budrudeen, was with the army, and I found him ready and willing to urge upon the other indolent Pangerans the proposals I made for vigorous hostilities. We found the grand army in a state of torpor, eating, drinking, and walking up to the forts and back again daily; but having built these imposing structures, and their appearance not driving the enemy away, they were at a loss what next to do, or how to proceed. On my arrival, I once more insisted on mounting the guns in our old forts, and assaulting Balidah under their fire. Macota's timidity and vacillation were too apparent; but in consequence of Budrudeen's overawing presence, he was obliged, from shame, to yield his assent. The order for the attack was fixed as follows:—Our party of ten (leaving six to serve the guns) were to be headed by myself. Budrudeen, Macota, Subtu, and all the lesser chiefs, were to lead their followers, from 60 to 80 in number, by the same route, while 50 or more Chinese, under their captain, were to assault by another path to the left. Macota was to make the paths as near as possible to Balidah, with his Dyaks, who were to extract the sudas and fill up the holes. The guns having been mounted and their range well ascertained the previous evening, we ascended to the fort at about eight A.M., and at ten opened our fire, and kept it up for an hour. The effect was severe: every shot told upon their thin defences of wood, which fell in many places so as to leave storming breaches. Part of the roof was cut away and tumbled down, and the shower of grape and canister rattled so as to prevent their returning our fire, except from a stray rifle. At mid-day the forces reached the fort, and it was then discovered that Macota had neglected to make any road because it rained the night before! It was evident that the rebels had gained information of our intention, as they had erected a frieze of bamboo along their defences on the very spot which we had agreed to mount. Macota fancied the want of a road would delay the attack; but I well knew that delay was equivalent to failure, and so it was at once agreed that we should advance without any path. The poor man's cunning and resources were now nearly at an end. He could not refuse to accompany us; but his courage could not be brought to the point, and, pale and embarrassed, he retired. Everything was ready—Budrudeen, the Capitan China, and myself, at the head of our men—when he once more appeared, and raised a subtle point of etiquet which answered his purpose. He represented to Budrudeen that the Malays were unanimously of opinion that the rajah's brother could not expose himself in an assault; that their dread of the rajah's indignation far exceeded the dread of death; and in case any accident happened to him, his brother's fury would fall on them. They stated their readiness to assault the place; but in case Budrudeen insisted on leading in person, they must decline accompanying him. Budrudeen was angry, I was angry too, and the doctor most angry of all; but anger was unavailing: it was clear they did not intend to do anything in earnest; and after much discussion, in which Budrudeen insisted that if I went he should likewise go, and the Malays insisted that if he went they would not go, it was resolved we should serve the guns, while Abong Mia and the Chinese (not under the captain) should proceed to the assault. But its fate was sealed, and Macota had gained his object; for neither he nor Subtu thought of exposing themselves to a single shot. Our artillery opened and was beautifully served. The adverse troops advanced; but our fire completely subdued them, as only three rifles answered us, by one of which a seaman (Williams) was wounded in the hand, but not seriously. Two-thirds of the way the storming-party proceeded without the enemy being aware of their advance; and they might have reached the very foot of the hill without being discovered, had not Abong Mia, from excess of piety and rashness, begun most loudly to say his prayers. The three rifles then began to play on them; one Chinaman was killed, the whole halted, the prayers were more vehement than ever, and, after squatting under cover of the jungle for some time, they all returned. It was only what I expected; but I was greatly annoyed at their cowardice and treachery—treachery to their own cause. One lesson, however, I learned, and that was, that, had I assaulted with our small party, we should assuredly have been victimized! The very evening of the failure the rajah came up the river. I would not see him, and only heard that the chiefs got severely reprimanded; but the effects of reprimand are lost where cowardice is stronger than shame. Inactivity followed; two or three useless forts were built, and Budrudeen, much to my regret and the detriment of the cause, was recalled.

"Among the straggling arrivals I may mention Panglima Dallam, with a number of men, consisting of the Orang Bentulu, Meri Muka, and Kayan, Dyaks from the interior. Our house—or, as it originally stood, shed—deserves a brief record. It was about twenty feet long, with a loose floor of reeds, and an attop roof. It served us for some time; but the attempts at theft obliged us to fence it in and divide it into apartments: one at the end served Middleton, Williamson, and myself; adjoining it was the store-room and hospital; and the other extreme belonged to the seamen. Our improvements kept pace with our necessities. Theft induced us to shut in our house at the sides, and the unevenness of the reeds suggested the advantage of laying a floor of the bark of trees over them, which, with mats over all, rendered our domicile far from uncomfortable. Our forts gradually extended at the back of the enemy's town, on a ridge of swelling ground; while they kept pace with us on the same side of the river on the low ground. The inactivity of our troops had long become a by-word among us. It was indeed truly vexatious, but it was in vain to urge them on, in vain to offer assistance, in vain to propose a joint attack, or even to seek support at their hands; promises were to be had in plenty, but performances never!

"At length the leaders resolved on building a fort at Sekundis, thus outflanking the enemy and gaining the command of the river. The post was certainly an important one, and in consequence they set about it with the happy indifference which characterizes their proceedings. Pangeran Illudeen (the most active among them) had the building of the fort, assisted by the Orang Kaya Tumangong of Lundu. Macota, Subtu, &c. were at the next fort, and by chance I was there likewise; for it seemed to be little apprehended that any interruption would take place, as the Chinese and the greater number of Malays had not left the boats. When the fort commenced, however, the enemy crossed the river and divided into two bodies, the one keeping in check the party at Pangeran Gapoor's fort, while the other made an attack on the works. The ground was not unfavorable for their purpose; for Pangeran Gapoor's fort was separated from Sekundis by a belt of thick wood which reached down to the river's edge. Sekundis itself, however, stood on clear ground, as did Gapoor's fort. I was with Macota at the latter when the enemy approached through the jungle. The two parties were within easy speaking distances, challenging and threatening each other; but the thickness of the jungle prevented our seeing or penetrating to them. When this body had advanced, the real attack commenced on Sekundis with a fire of musketry, and I was about proceeding to the scene, but was detained by Macota, who assured me there were plenty of men, and that it was nothing at all. As the musketry became thicker, I had my doubts, when a Dyak came running through the jungle, and with gestures of impatience and anxiety begged me to assist the party attacked. He had been sent by my old friend the Tumangong of Lundu, to say they could not hold the post unless supported. In spite of Macota's remonstrances, I struck into the jungle, winded through the narrow path, and after crossing an ugly stream, emerged on the clear ground. The sight was a pretty one: to the right was the unfinished stockade, defended by the Tumangong; to the left, at the edge of the forest, about twelve or fifteen of our party, commanded by Illudeen, while the enemy were stretched along between the points and kept up a sharp shooting from the hollow ground on the bank of the river. They fired, and loaded, and fired, and had gradually advanced on the stockade as the ammunition of our party failed; and as we emerged from the jungle, they were within twenty or five and twenty yards of the defence. A glance immediately showed me the advantage of our position, and I charged with my Europeans across the padi-field; and the instant we appeared on the ridge above the river, in the hollows of which the rebels were seeking protection, their rout was complete. They scampered off in every direction, while the Dyaks and Malays pushed them into the river. Our victory was decisive and bloodless: the scene was changed in an instant, and the defeated foe lost arms, ammunition, &c. &c., whether on the field of battle or in the river, and our exulting conquerors set no bounds to their triumph.

"I cannot omit to mention the name of Si Tundo, the only native who charged with us. His appearance and dress were most striking, the latter being entirely of red, bound round the waist, arms, forehead, &c. with gold ornaments; and in his hand bearing his formidable Bajuck sword, he danced or rather galloped across the field close to me, and mixing with the enemy was about to dispatch a hadji or priest who was prostrate before him, when one of our people interposed and saved him by stating that he was a companion of our own. The Lundu Dyaks were very thankful for our support, our praises were loudly sung, and the stockade was concluded. After the rout, Macota, Subtu, and Abong Mia arrived on the field; the latter with forty followers had ventured half way before the firing ceased, but the detachment, under a paltry subterfuge, halted, so as not to be in time. The enemy might have had fifty men at the attack; the defending party consisted of about the same number; but the Dyaks had very few muskets. I had a dozen Englishmen, Seboo, one of our boatmen, and Si Tundo. Sekundis was a great point gained, as it hindered the enemy from ascending the river and seeking any supplies.

"Macota, Subtu, and the whole tribe arrived as soon as their safety from danger allowed, and none were louder in their own praise; but nevertheless their countenances evinced some sense of shame, which they endeavored to disguise by the use of their tongues. The Chinese came really to afford assistance, but too late. We remained until the stockade of Sekundis was finished, while the enemy kept up a wasteful fire from the opposite side of the river, which did no harm.

"The next great object was to follow up the advantage by crossing the stream; but day after day some fresh excuse brought on fresh delay, and Macota built a new fort and made a new road within a hundred yards of our old position. I cannot detail further our proceedings for many days, which consisted on my part of efforts to get something done, and on the others a close adherence to the old system of promising everything and doing nothing. The Chinese, like the Malays, refused to act; but on their part, it was not fear, but disinclination. By degrees, however, the preparations for the new fort were complete, and I had gradually gained over a party of the natives to my views; and, indeed, among the Malays, the bravest of them had joined themselves to us, and what was better, we had Datu Pangeran, thirteen Illanuns, and the Capitan China allowed me to take his men whenever I wanted them. My weight and consequence were increased, and I rarely moved now without a long train of followers. The next step (while crossing the river was uncertain) was to take my guns up to Gapoor's fort, which was about 600 or 700 yards from the town, and half the distance from a rebel fort on the river's bank.

"Panglima Rajah, the day after our guns were in battery, took it into his head to build a fort on the river's side close to the town, in front and between two of the enemy's forts. It was a bold undertaking for the old man, after six weeks of uninterrupted repose. At night, the wood being prepared, the party moved down, and worked so silently that they were not discovered till their defence was nearly finished, when the enemy commenced a general firing from all their forts, returned by a similar firing from all ours, none of the parties being quite clear what they were firing at or about, and the hottest from either party being equally harmless. We were at the time about going to bed in our habitation; but expecting some reverse, I set off (to scale the hills) to the stockade where our guns were placed, and opened a fire upon the town and the stockade near us, till the enemy's fire gradually slackened and died away. We then returned, and in the morning were greeted with the pleasing news that they had burned and deserted five of their forts, and left us sole occupants of the right bank of the river. The same day, going through the jungle to see one of these deserted forts, we came upon a party of the enemy, and had a brief skirmish with them before they took to flight. Nothing can be more unpleasant to a European than this bush-fighting, where he scarce sees a foe, while he is well aware that their eyesight is far superior to his own. To proceed with this narrative, I may say that four or five forts were built on the edge of the river opposite the enemy's town, and distant not above 50 or 60 yards; here our guns were removed, and a fresh battery formed ready for a bombardment, and fire-balls essayed to ignite the houses.

"At this time Seriff Jaffer, from Singe, arrived with about seventy men, Malays and Dyaks of Balow. The river Singe being situated close to Sarebus, and incessant hostilities being waged between the two places, he, with his followers, was both more active and more warlike than the Borneons, but their warfare consists of closing hand to hand with spear and sword. They scarcely understood the proper use of fire-arms, and were of little use in attacking stockades. As a negotiator, however, the seriff bore a distinguished part; and on his arrival a parley ensued, much against Macota's will, and some meetings took place between Jaffer and a brother seriff at Siniawan, named Moksain. After ten days' delay nothing came of it, though the enemy betrayed great desire to yield. This negotiation being at an end, we had a day's bombardment and a fresh treaty brought about thus; Macota being absent at Sarawak, I received a message from Seriff Jaffer and Pangeran Subtu to say that they wished to meet me; and on my consenting, they stated that Seriff Jaffer felt confident the war might be brought to an end, though alone he dared not treat with the rebels; but in case I felt inclined to join him, we could bring it to a favorable conclusion. I replied that our habits of treating were very unlike their own, as we allowed no delays to interpose; but that I would unite with him for one interview, and if that interview was favorable, we might meet the chiefs at once and settle it, or put an end to all farther treating. Pangeran Subtu was delighted with the proposition, urged its great advantages, and the meeting by my desire for that very night, the place Pangeran Illudeen's fort at Sekundis. The evening arrived, and at dark we were at the appointed place, and a message was dispatched for Seriff Moksain. In the mean time, however, came a man from Pangeran Subtu to beg us to hold no intercourse; that the rebels were false, meant to deceive us, and if any did come, we had better make them prisoners. Seriff Jaffer, after arguing the point some time, rose to depart, remarking that with such proceedings he would not consent to treat. I urged him to stay; but finding him bent on going, I ordered my gig (which had some time before been brought overland) to be put into the water, my intention being to proceed to the enemy's campong, and there hear what they had to say. I added that it was folly to leave undone what we had agreed to do in the morning because Pangeran Subtu changed his mind—that I had come to treat, and treat I would. I would not go away now without giving the enemy a fair hearing—for the good of all parties I would do it; and if the seriff liked to join me, as we proposed before, and wait for Seriff Moksain, good; if not, I would go in the boat to the campong. My Europeans, on being ordered, jumped up, ran out and brought the boat to the water's edge, and in a few minutes oars, rudder, and rowlocks were in her. My companions, seeing this, came to terms, and we waited for Seriff Moksain; during which, however, I overheard a whispering conversation from Subtu's messenger, proposing to seize him; and my temper was ruffled to such a degree that I drew out a pistol, and told him I would shoot him dead if he dared to seize, or talk of seizing, any man who trusted himself from the enemy to meet me! The scoundrel slunk off, and we were no more troubled with him. This past, Seriff Moksain arrived, and was introduced into our fortress alone—alone and unarmed in an enemy's stockade, manned with two hundred men! His bearing was firm; he advanced with ease and took his seat; and, during the interview, the only sign of uneasiness was the quick glance of his eye from side to side. The object he aimed at was to gain my guaranty that the lives of all the rebels should be spared; but this I had it not in my power to grant. He returned to his campong, and came again toward morning, when it was agreed that Seriff Jaffer and myself should meet the Patingis and the Tumangong, and arrange terms with them. By the time our conference was over, the day broke, and we descended to the boats to enjoy a little rest.

"On the 20th of December we met with the chiefs on the river; and they expressed themselves ready to yield, without conditions, to the rajah, if I would promise that they should not be put to death. My reply was, that I could give no such promise; that if they surrendered, it must be for life or death, according to the rajah's pleasure; and all I could do was to use my influence in order to save their lives. To this they assented after a while; but then there arose the more difficult question, how they were to be protected until the rajah's orders arrived. They dreaded both Chinese and Malays, especially the former, who had just cause for angry feelings, and who, it was feared, would make an attack on them directly their surrender had taken from them their means of defence. The Malays would not assail them in a body, but would individually plunder them, and give occasion for disputes and bloodshed. These apprehensions were almost sufficient to break off the hitherto favorable negotiations, had I not proposed to them myself to undertake their defence, and to become responsible for their safety until the orders of their sovereign arrived. On my pledging myself to this, they yielded up their strong fort of Balidah, the key of their position. I immediately made it known to our own party that no boats were to ascend or descend the river, and that any persons attacking or pillaging the rebels were my enemies, and that I should fire upon them without hesitation.

"Both Chinese and Malaya agreed to the propriety of the measure, and gave me the strongest assurances of restraining their respective followers, the former with good faith, the latter with the intention of involving matters, if possible, to the destruction of the rebels. By the evening we were in possession of Balidah, and certainly found it a formidable fortress, situated on a steep mound, with dense defences of wood, triple deep, and surrounded by two inclosures, thickly studded on the outside with ranjows. The effect of our fire had shaken it completely, now much to our discomfort; for the walls were tottering, and the roof as leaky as a sieve. On the 20th of December, then, the war closed. The very next day, contrary to stipulation, the Malay Pangerans tried to ascend the river, and when stopped began to expostulate. After preventing many, the attempt was made by Subtu and Pangeran Hassim, in three large boats, boldly pulling toward us. Three hails did not check them, and they came on in spite of a blank cartridge and a wide ball, to turn them back. But I was resolved; and when a dozen musket-balls whistled over and fell close around them, they took to an ignominious flight. I subsequently upbraided them for this breach of promise, and Macota loudly declared they had been greatly to blame; but I discovered that he himself had set them on.

"I may now briefly conclude this detail. I ordered the rebels to burn all their stockades, which they did at once, and delivered up the greater part of their arms; and I proceeded to the rajah to request from him their lives. Those who know the Malay character will appreciate the difficulty of the attempt to stand between the monarch and his victims; I only succeeded when, at the end of a long debate—I soliciting, he denying—I rose to bid him farewell, as it was my intention to sail directly, since, after all my exertions in his cause, if he would not grant me the lives of the people, I could only consider that his friendship for me was at an end. On this he yielded. I must own that during the discussion he had much the best of it; for he urged that they had forfeited their lives by the law, as a necessary sacrifice to the future peace of the country; and argued that in a similar case in my own native land no leniency would be shown. On the contrary, my reasoning, though personal, was, on the whole, the best for the rajah and the people. I stated my extreme reluctance to have the blood of conquered foes shed; the shame I should experience in being a party, however involuntarily, to their execution; and the general advantage of a merciful line of policy. At the same time I told him their lives were forfeited, their crimes had been of a heinous and unpardonable nature, and it was only from so humane a man as himself, one with so kind a heart, that I could ask for their pardon; but I added, he well knew that it was only my previous knowledge of his benevolent disposition, and the great friendship I felt for him, which had induced me to take any part in this struggle. Other stronger reasons might have been brought forward, which I forbore to employ, as being repugnant to his princely pride, viz. that severity in this case would arm many against him, raise powerful enemies in Borneo Proper, as well as here, and greatly impede the future right government of the country. However, I gained my point, and was satisfied.

"Having fulfilled this engagement, and being moreover, together with many of my Europeans, attacked with an ague, I left the scene with all the dignity of complete success. Subsequently, the rebels were ordered to deliver up all their arms, ammunition, and property; and last, the wives and children of the principal people were demanded as hostages, and obtained. The women and children were treated with kindness, and preserved from injury or wrong. Siniawan thus dwindled away; the poorer men stole off in canoes and were scattered about, most of them coming to Sarawak. The better class pulled down the houses, abandoned the town, and lived in boats for a month; when, alarmed by the delay and impelled by hunger, they also fled—Patingi Gapoor, it was said, to Sambas; and Patingi Ali and the Tumangong among the Dyaks. After a time it was supposed they would return and receive their wives and children. The army gradually dispersed to seek food, and the Chinese were left in possession of the once-renowned Siniawan, the ruin of which they completed by burning all that remained, and erecting a village for themselves in the immediate neighborhood. Seriff Jaffer and many others departed to their respective homes, and the pinching of famine succeeded to the horrors of war. Fruit being in season, helped to support the wretched people, and the near approach of the rice-harvest kept up their spirits."


Retrospect of Mr. Brooke's proceeding and prospects.—Visit of a pirate fleet.—Intercourse with the chief leaders, and other characteristic incidents.—War dances.—Use of opium.—Story of Si Tundo.—Preparations for trading.—Conditions of the cession of Sarawak.

I have gone into the details of this curious rebellion, and selected from my friend's memoranda more, perhaps, than the actual and present importance of the circumstances might seem to require; but I have done so under the impression that in developing the traits and lineaments of the native character, I am laying the foundation for a more accurate estimate of them and their bearing upon futurity. The difference between the Malay and the Chinese, between the sea and the land Dyak, and even between one tribe and another, presents a variety of elements out of which a consistent whole has to be compounded, and a new state of things to be established in Borneo. It is, therefore, of considerable interest to view these elements in their earliest contact with European mind and civilization, and thence endeavor to shape out the course which is best calculated to insure the welfare of all in the closer ties and more extended connection which is springing out of this new intercourse. To enlarge the beneficial effects of trade and commerce, it is not enough to ascertain the products of a strange country, nor even the chief wants of its population; but to inform ourselves of their habits, feelings, and disposition, and so devise the wisest measures for supplying what is immediate, removing obstacles, and increasing demand by a continually growing improvement in government and general condition.

Following the war, and receiving the investiture of the government of Sarawak, Mr. Brooke was enabled, from the insight he had obtained into the diversified relations and habits, motives and ways of thinking of these people, to address himself clearly and at once to reform the evils which oppressed, and the abuses which destroyed them. Had he not mixed with them and shared in this protracted contest, he must have begun rather as an experimentalist with a theory which might be right or might be wrong. But he had acquired the necessary experience, and could proceed to put his finger where it was required to repress or to foster, without danger of mistake. It was extraordinary what his energy produced within a small compass of time. Security succeeded the utmost uncertainty, equal justice superseded tyrannical caprice, order arose out of confusion, and peace was gradually spread over the fruitful soil so lately polluted by the murderous warfare of heads-taking and imperishable feud. It is to be hoped that such an example will not be lost in the further prosecution of international and commercial policy in this interesting and important quarter of the eastern world. Piracy must be put down, slavery must be effaced, industry must be cherished and protected; and these objects, we shall see, from the model afforded by our truly illustrious countryman, may be accomplished; and we may further learn from his example, that from the experience even of "a little war," an enlightened observer may deduce the most sound data on which to commence a mighty change, leading, probably, to the happiness of millions, and the foundation of colonial empire.

With these few retrospective remarks, I resume the sequel of my friend's Bornean Journal.

"Our subsequent adventures," he notes, "may be easily related. We lay for some days, after winding up our affairs, in order to have an agreement drawn out between the rajah and myself, and during this time heard the bruit of a pirate fleet being on the coast. In a day or two after, certain news arrived of their having taken two Sadung boats, bound from Singapore, and Datu Pangeran was, in consequence, dispatched to communicate with them. He returned from Tanjong Datu, bringing the fleet with him to the mouth of the river, whence they requested permission to visit Sarawak, and pay their respects to the rajah. I was consulted on the subject whether I would meet them; and as I preferred a pacific to a hostile rencounter, and had, moreover, a considerable curiosity to see these roving gentry, I consented without hesitation. Reports—a greater curse in Malay countries than elsewhere—stated their object to be the capture of the Royalist, as they had, it was averred, received positive accounts of her having fifty lacks of dollars on board, and that her figure-head was of solid gold. As, however, we had no such treasure, and the meeting was unavoidable, and might be hostile, I put myself into a complete posture of defense, with a determination neither to show backwardness nor suspicion. The day arrived, and the pirates swept up the river; eighteen prahus, one following the other, decorated with flags and streamers, and firing both cannon and musketry; the sight was interesting and curious, and heightened by the conviction that these friends of the moment might be enemies the next. Having taken their stations, the chief men proceeded to an interview with the rajah, which I attended to witness. Some distrust and much ceremony marked the meeting; and both parties had numerous followers, who filled the hall of audience and the avenues leading to it; and as few of the Illanuns spoke Malay, the communication was rendered difficult and troublesome. The pirates consisted of Illanuns and Malukus from Gillolo. The Illanuns are fine athletic men, with a strong resemblance in appearance to the Bugis; their bearing was haughty and reserved, and they seemed quite ready to be friends or foes, as best suited their purpose. The Malukus are from a bay in Gillolo, and their country is now in possession of the Dutch; they are a darker and an uglier race, but their manners more supple and pliant. They were the principal talkers, while the Illanuns maintained a dignified silence.

"These Malukus,

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