VOYAGES AND TRAVELS,
Narrative of Events in Borneo and Celebes, down to the Occupation of Labuan: from the Journals of James Brooke, Esq., Rajah of Sariwak and Governor of La- buan. Together with a Narrative of the Operations of Ii. M. S. Iris. By Captain Rodney Mundy, R.N. With numerous Maps, Plates, Charts, and Wood-cuts. In
two volumes Murray.
Mr. Warrenne, the Medical Practitioner a Novel. By the Author of " Constance
D'Oyley," " Margaret Caput," Sm. In three volumes Bentley.
RAJAH BROOKE AND CAPTAIN MUNDY ON BORNEO AND CELEBES.
THESE volumes contain such passages of Mr. Brooke's private journals as were omitted in the work published by Captain Keppell, with brief connexions by the present editor, giving a summary of the occurrences which Keppell narrates at large. Captain Mundy also adds an account of his own adventures and observations in the Indian Archipelago during the years 1846 and 1847, sometimes under the orders of Admiral Cochrane, sometimes in independent command.
The passages from Mr. Brooke's journals would have possessed more interest had they been originally included in the book published by Kep- pell, so as to have placed the whole at once before the reader. As it is, a person unacquainted with the previous volumes will not so readily catch the spirit of the narrative, at least as connected with the events of Sara- wak and Brune. Even if both reading and memory serve him, a want of fulness will probably be felt ; the peculiar characteristic of Mr. Brooke's career—the substitution of a regular government for the oppression of petty tyrants—the manner in which prosperity grew up in Sarawak, and the difficulties with which he had to contend from the neighbouring pi- ratical chieftains—scarcely coming out in force. The subject, too, is not so fresh as it was two years ago, when Captain Keppell first called attention to Borneo and the exploits of Mr. Brooke. "The Rajah," as we lately observed, not only drew attention to Borneo himself, but has been a means of carrying travellers thither, or at least of inducing them to give an ac- count of their travels. Frank Marryat, Captain Belcher, and Commander Forbes, have more or less touched upon matters connected with the island and its piratical frequenters, while Mr. Low has given a very full account of the geography, inhabitants, and productions of Sarawak.
The earlier part of the journals relating to Mr. Brooke's outward voy- age and his visit to Celebes are more complete in themselves, and have greater unity and novelty. Of the large island of Celebes we indeed know little beyond the meagre notice of a mercantile or surveying ship given on a casual call at the Dutch settlement. Mr. Brooke sailed thither in his yacht, and passed six months in surveying the Gulf of Boni, visiting the principal places, and mingling with the natives. On the Western part of the Gulf, he found a singular state of government and society, not very unlike the elements of the Venetian constitution ; the monarch being elected, with a sort of viceroy over him, theoretically in the shape of a self-elected council, practically, at least at that time, in the per- son of a prime minister. Theoretically, too, the lesser rajahs or nobles have a voice in affairs when assembled in parliament; and this state of things prevails with some minor modifications in more districts than one. That of Wajo is the most complicated, but the most liberal of all; though, for such a primitive society, the checks seem too numerous for kindly work- ing.
" The government of Wajo is feudal, and comprised of numerous rajahs, in- dependent, or nearly so, living in their own districts, possessing the power of life and death, and each surrounded by a body of slave retainers or serfs, attached solely to the fortunes of their master. A general form of elective government, however, holds amongst them, which modifies the arbitrary sway of the rajahs oft fiefs, and acknowledges, to a certain degree, the rights of free men not of noble birth. This government consists of six hereditary rajahs, three civil and three military chiefs, one military chief being attached to each civil one. With these six officers rests the election of a head of the state, entitled the am matoah; who may be considered an elective monarch, exercising during his reign all functions of the chief magistrate, checking and controlling the feudal lords, deciding cases of difference, and conducting the foreign policy of the kingdom. Below the six great chiefs is a council, or chamber of forty grange, or nobles of inferior rank, who further serve to modify the feudal state, and are appealed to in all cases of im- portance or difficulty. The rights of the freemen are guarded by three pangawas, or tribunes of the people, one being attached to each department of the state. " I may arrange the government thus--
Ant Matoah, elected by the Six Hereditary Rajahs. The Council of Forty. Pangawa— Pangawa—Pangawa. General Council.
"The powers of these pangawas or tribunes of the people is considerable. With them only it rests to summon a meeting of the council of forty. They possess the right of veto to the appointment of an are matoah. Their command alone is a legal summons to war; no chief or body having right or even authority to call the freemen to the field. The census of the populatipn and the appoint- ment of freemen, as heads of towns or villages, are in their hands, with many other privileges. The election of these pangawas rests with the people, and is generally hereditary. Each town and village has a number of freemen called the orang tuah, who administer its internal concerns, and are responsible to the chiefs for the dues in their power to exact.
"Besides the constitution of the government here detailed, there is a general council of the people, composed of the heads of villages and all the respectable freemeni who are convened on extraordinary occasions, to state their opinions and discuss important questions, without, however, having the power of arriving at a decision. It is necessary for the council of forty to be unanimous in their decrees. Failing this, the general council is convened through the pangawas, and the ulti- mate decision of the question rests with the aru kmat.w. or chief magistrate. The election of the are matoah is, as I have stated, in the six chiefs. His de- position lies in the power of the aru bating alone, the civil chief; who always per- forms the functions of the aru inatoah during an interregnum. " The most powerful chief nest after the six, is the rajah penrang; who holds the privilege of advising or upbraiding the six rajahs, in case of any internal dis- sensions among themselves. The territory at large, with some exceptions, is un- der the government of one or other of the three great wards or departments; though the first individually belongs to rajahs of inferior rank, but often of great influence. The right of the land rests with individuals, and the lord of the fief has no legal right to will upon the population to cultivate ground for his support. There appears to be no right of taxation, and no duty imposed upon trade or ma- nufactures; and the rented lands may be cultivated with the consent of the ra- jah, on payment of one tenth of the produce. The wealth of all classes consists of slaves, or more properly serfs. Every freeman possesses, according to his means, a certain number of men or women who perform all the labour of tillage and domestic drudgery. The serfs raise rice, catch fish, weave sarongs for the use of their master's household; and the superfluous portion of them are required to support themselves in the best manner they cam Servitude, though so exten- sive that there are fifty slaves or more to each freeman is of the mildest charac-
ter, and the exportation or importation of slaves is unknown. •
'• The slaves in the Bogie states are chiefly debtors: the greater part of them, however, have become hereditary bondsmen during the lapse of time. A freeman may be reduced to slavery, together with his family, by incurring debts he can- not discharge, or by the commission of some crime of magnitude; in both which cases he loses with freedom every political right and protection, and becomes the property of a master, in whose hands rests the power of life and death, of mercy or of cruelty."
Throughout these Bugi states birth is greatly valued, for the privileges it carries with it; and blood descent is guarded with as much jealousy as in an American Slave State.
"As no nation grants greater privileges to high birth, so no people are more tenacious of the purity of their descent. They are as careful of their blood as we are of that of our race-horses; and the pare blood once crossed is never cleansed from the stain. The full blood is that of the chiefs; and the descendants by a father and mother both thorough-bred are called arang sangan. A woman of pare blood never can marry any but of her own class; but the men mix their blood in marriage with the daughters of freemen; and this cross is denominated rajin or dain, the latter being a term affixed to the name of the children. The descendants of a mjah by a rajin rank next to the pure blood, and are termed rajin matassali, whilst the children of a rajah by a slave are called anak charah.
The arang sangfin cannot intermarry with any lower class. The same law obtains with respect to the rajah matassab, but has fallen into disuse; and matches are now frequently contracted between them and wealthy freemen, an encroachment which will probably extend as the middle class become more in- fluential through their wealth. The families of rich Nakodalis chiefly form this middle rank; an important body, who, from their greater enlightenment and superior riches, are both respected and looked up to by all classes. Polygamy is allowed amongst the Bug's; but is practised with restrictions unknown to other Mahometan countries. Two wives seldom live in the same house; and the number rarely exceeds three or four. Their separate establishments are chiefly supported by i
themselves, with occasional help from their lords; though years may pass without any intercourse between husband and wife. Divorce is easily procured by the men; and mutual inclination is a sufficient plea. In the case of the woman there must be some ground of complaint; and the mere ab- sence of the conjugal rites is not sufficient. Concubinage is not common, pros- titution almost unknown; and certainly, in these respects, as well as in the decency of the marriage condition, the Bugis are far superior to any other Eastern nation. The importance attached to high blood has probably been the cause that has prevented the confinement of their women when they embraced the faith of Islam. All the offices of state, including even that of am matoah, are open to women; and they actually fill the important past of government, four out of the six great chiefs of Wajo being at present females. These ladies ap- pear in public like the men; ride, rule, and visit even foreigners, without the knowledge or consent of their husbands. The privileges attached to pare birth are many and important, and will readily. suggest themselves; amongst which may be stated the power of governing, the right of support, impunity from punish- ment, (save from crimes committed against their own class,) the power of punish- ing, &c." • When Mr. Brooke was on the coast, affairs were in confusion ; the Mo- narch being dead, the Council not filling up,thewacant throne, and matters tending to war. At first the voyager was looked upon with suspicion, as an agent of the Dutch or some other European power; but his tact and conciliatory manners gradually overcame these scruples. Mr. Brooke visited the nobles, made excursions about the country, and endeavoured, though without much success, to compose their political differences. Of commercial prospects in this region Mr. Brooke entertains a better opinion than his facts seem altogether to warrant. He says of one place that a vessel might have to "wait months for a cargo "; and although at the head of the Gulf, and on the Eastern or opposite side to the Bugi people, his yacht did some business in exchange, yet it is probable that he car- ried off nearly all the superfluous produce. Even the Bugis complain of delay. Although the general interest of Mr. Brooke's journals in reference to . Borneo is lessened by the causes already stated, it has a special interest from its personal character. We see the gradual growth of Mr. Brooke's views, from vague aspirations and hopes to definite objects. We also perceive his diplomacy without that veil of phrases and pretences with which professional negotiators manage to clothe their purposes. There is not a question about Mr. Brooke's philanthr9pic intentions, the good he has really done, the advantage of doing it, or the state of anarchy and misery in which the country was involved when he arrived. Still one scarcely perceives his call to interfere; • and the voluntary cession of Sarawak to him was something like our Sovereigns permission to elect a Bishop. It is true, Muda Hassim and the subordinate Rajahs had gotten his goods without paying for them, or, it would seem, intending to pay; and there had been some promise of the Rajahahip, or negotiations for the office; but the following was the actual mode in which Rajah Brooke became ruler of Sarawak.
"I had previously made several strong remonstrances, and urged for an answer to a letter I bad addressed to Made liassim, in which I had recapitulated in detail the whole particulars of our agreement, concluding by a positive demand either to allow me to retrace my steps by repayment of the sums which he had in- duced me to expend, or to confer upon me the grant of the government of the country according to his repeated promises; and I ended by stating that if he would not do either one or the other, I must find means to right myself. Thus did I, for the first time since my arrival in the land, present anything in the shape of a menace before the Rajah ; my former remonstrances only going so far as to threaten to take away my own person and vessels from the river. - "lily ultimatum had gone forth, and I prepared for active measures; but the conduct of Makota himself soon brought affairs to a crisis: be was determined at all hazards to drive me from the country, and to involve Muds Hassim in such pecuniary difficulties as effectually to prevent his payment of my debt. Makota dared not openly attack me, so he endeavoured to tamper with my servants, and, by threats and repeated acts of oppression, actually prevented all persons who usually visited me either on board or on shore from coming near me. His spies watched every party supposed to be well inclined towards me, and they were punished without reason or mercy; and finally, some villain had been induced to attempt to poison my interpreter, by putting arsenic in his rice. The agents of Makota were pointed out as the guilty parties. I laid my depositions before the Rajah, and demanded an investigation. My demand, as usual, was met by vague promises of future inquiry, and Makota seemed to triumph in the success of his villany: but the moment for action had now arrived. big conscience told use that I was bound no longer to submit to such injustice, and I was resolved to test the strength of our respective parties. Repairing on board the yacht, I mustered my people, explained my intentions and mode of operatiou, and having loaded the ves- sel's guns with grape and canister, and brought her broadside to bear, I pro- ceeded on shore with a detachment fully armed, and, taking up a position at the entrance of the Rajah's palace, demanded and obtained an immediate audience. In a few words I pointed out the villany of Makota, his tyranny and oppression of all classes, and my determination, to attack him by force, and *drive him from the country. I explained to the Rajah that several chiefs and a large body of Silas.. wan Dyaks were ready to assist me, and that the only coarse left to prevent bloodshed was immediately to proclaim me Governor of the country. " This unmistakeable demonstration had the desired effect: a resistance, indeed, on his part, would have been useless, for the Chinese population and the in- habitants of the town generally remained perfectly neutral. None joined the party of Makota, and his paid followers were not more than twenty in number. Under the gnus of the Royalist, and with a small body of men to protect me personally, and the great majority of all classes with me, it is not surprising that the negotiation proceeded rapidly to a favourable issue. The document was quickly drawn up, sealed, signed, and delivered; and on the 24th of September 1841, I was declared Rajah and Governor of Sarawak, amidst the roar of cannon, and a general display of flags and banners from the shore and boats on the river."
Something of this, most probably necessary, but certainly high-handed diplomacy, obtained in the subsequent negotiations with the Sultan, and without much allowance for Malay morals in judging of his conduct. On the other hand, it strikes ns that the native mode of doing business was allowed to go on when a necessity arose fiir getting rid of evil-doers. The following is an example of summary process. " Arrived at Sirn, I found the patingi waiting till the pangeran and the Mantel panglima came to the beach; and, to prevent suspicion, my party kept close in the boa; whence I could observe what was passing without. The pangeran and Manna walked down, both well armed, and the latter dressed out with a variety of charms. Once on the beach, retreat was impossible, for our people surrounded them, though without committing any hostile act. The suspicion of the two was, however, raised, and it was curious to observe their different demeanour. The Borneo pangeran remained quiet, silent, and motionless; a child might have taken him. The Magindiano Illanun lashed himself to desperation : flourishing his spear in one hand, and the other on the handle of his sword, he defied those col- lected about him: he danced his war-dance on the sand—his face became deadly pale—his wild eyes glared—he was ready to amok, to die; but not to die alone. His time was come; for he was dangerous, and to catch him was impossible: and accordingly, Patingi All, walking past, leapt forward, and struck a spear through his back, far between his shoulders, half a foot out at his breast. I had no idea that after such a thrust, a man could, even for a few instants, exert himself; but the panglima, after receiving his mortal wound, rushed forward with his spear, and thrust it at the breast of another man: but strength and life failed, and the weapon did not enter. This was the work of a few seconds. " When the blow was dealt, we started from our concealment; and the Borneo pangeran, without ever drawing his sword, fled, our people not molesting him. I prevented any atrocities being committed on the body of the criminal; and, wrapped in my sheet, he was decently interred according to the usages of El Islam. The pangeran, in the mean time, had eicaPed.to a house, where, with seven followers, he threatened a desperate resistance. I despatched a messenger to him to say that I would take him to Sariwak and guarantee his safety so far; but he positively refused. - As-the Allf 'WU fast declining, my second message was to inform him, if he did not come down to the beach, I should ,attack his house: and on receiving this message, and seeing our state of prepaiution he yielded to terms; and the whole crew were shipped aboard the Tumangougs teat.
"At nine a.m. reached our wharf: conferred through Williamson with Muda Hassim, who was resolute about putting the rascals to death. However, I sug- gested to him that the example of the pangeran would suffice for the ends of justice. He added another; the pangeran's brother-in-law. About one, the pirate Budrudeen was taken across the water to the house of his owa relatives, who were present, and had previously consented to his death, and there strangled by pangeran Bakire. The mode of execution is refined. The prisoner is.placed inside thick mosquito curtains, and the cord twisted from behind. The criminal, it is said, kept repeating, What! am I to be put to death for only killing the Chinese? Mercy, mercy!' His brother-in-law was krissed by a follower of the Rajah, inside a house. His hands were held out, and the long kriss being fixed within the clavicle bone on the left side, was pushed down to the heart. The criminal smiled as they fixed the kriss—never spoke a word, and died instantly. Thus ended this bloody and wretched business; which nothing but a stern sense of its necessity would have induced me to consent to. That they deserved death none can doubt. The rest of the prisoners, seven in number, were chained."
Captain Mundy's "Narrative of H. M. S. Iris" is a frank, agreeable, and sailorlike narrative of observations in Sarawak, attacks on pirate vil- lages in boats, the more imposing demonstration against Brune, and the subsequent pursuit of the Sultan into the interior, as well of after nego- tiations with that potentate for the final cession of the island of Labnan, managed somewhat in the manner of Mr. Brooke's final negotiation for the Rajahship, and the various formalities and incidents connected with taking possession.
Some part of the volumes is geographical ; and the text is well illus- trated by maps, so that the reader has always the means of following the coarse of the squadron or single vessels.