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Manilla and China. “I have done fully country, to interrupt honest industry, as much as I promised the public,” he and to put in peril the lives of the unwrites. He found things in much the offending. Mr. Brooke soon tired of same state as when he left. No pro- this farce. Gathering a motley force, gress had been made in the suppres- consisting of Malays, Dyaks, Chinese, sion of the rebellion. Few lives indeed and his own crew, he prepared for an had been lost, but the most bloody assault. Then, planting his cannon war could hardly have produced worse where they commanded the strong. results. The country was filled with hold of the enemy, with a few wellcombatants. Every straggler was cut directed volleys he brought its walls off. Violence and rapine were the law. tumbling about their ears. The insurTrade and agriculture languished. A gents, driven to the open country, and rich province was fast relapsing into a altogether amazed by this specimen of wilderness; and all its people were be- Saxon energy, surrendered at discreginning to suffer alike for shelter and tion. At one blow a desolating war sustenance. As our hero was about to was ended. set sail, the Rajah opened his whole heart to him. His prospects were any- Peace being restored, Mr. Brooke thing but flattering. He found himself did not insist on the literal fulfilment unequal to the reduction of the rebels of the terms which Muda Hassim had He was surrounded by traitors. At in his extremity been so ready to profthe court of the Sultan, a hostile ca- fer. He chose to occupy a position of bal, taking advantage of his ill-fortune, influence, rather than one of outward threatened his power and his life. In authority. A contract was entered inthis strait, he besought his visitor to to by which he became Resident of remain and give him aid, promising in Sarawak. The conditions of the agreeevent of success to confer upon him ment were, that the Rajah on his part the government of the province. After should repress piracy, protect legitia few days' reflection, Mr. Brooke, be- mate commerce, and as far as possible lieving, as he declares, that the cause remove from the Dyaks unjust burdens; of the Sultan was just, believing also while his ally, in return for these conthat what the whole people needed cessions, should open trade, sending a most was peace, and that peace would vessel to and fro between Singapore place him in a position to render them and Sarawak, exchanging foreign luxthe greatest service, acceded to this uries for native products, and more esrequest, without, however, be it ob- pecially for antimony, of which article served, binding Muda Hassim to any the Rajah had the monopoly. In fulprecise stipulations concerning the gov- filment of his part of the treaty, Mr. ernment.
Brooke proceeded to Singapore, purMany pages of his journal are de- chased a schooner, loaded her with voted to an account of this war; and a an assorted cargo, returned to Saramost curious story it is of cowardice, wak, and at the earnest request of bravado, and inefficiency. It was ad- Muda Hassim landed and distributed vance and retreat, boastful challenge his goods. and as boastful reply, marching and But auspicious as was the comcountermarching, day after day, and mencement of this alliance, soon grave month after month. “Like the heroes causes of complaint arose. On every of old, the adverse parties spoke to point the deceitful Malay came short of each other : “We are coming, we are his agreement. Having obtained valucoming ; lay aside your muskets and able property, he showed no alacrity in fight us with your swords'; and so the paying for it; weeks and months passed heroes ceased not to talk, but always without bringing him apparently any forgot to fight”; - the sum of all their nearer to a pecuniary settlement. So achievements being to lay waste the far from repressing piracy, he encouraged it; and a fleet of one hundred and gentleman was a tract of country bortwenty prahus, with his tacit consent, dering upon the sea sixty miles, and actually put to sea. When a crew of extending inland from seventy to eighty English seamen were enslaved and car- miles. Situated at the northeastern ried to Bruni, under the most frivolous extremity of Borneo, pierced by two pretexts he refused to intercede with small, but navigable rivers, its position the Sultan for these unfortunate men. is most favorable for commerce. Its And so this strange friendship cooled. soil is deep and rich, yielding under It was no slight proof either of his any proper culture large crops of all courage or his humanity to despatch at tropical products. Its forests are filled this very time, as Mr. Brooke did, his with trees fit for shipbuilding, and yacht to Bruni, to attempt something in abound in that variety from which is behalf of his enslaved countrymen, and obtained the gutta percha of comto remain himself with only three men merce. The hills are rich in iron and at Sarawak. The yacht came back, tin of the best quality. The mountain however, having effected nothing. streams wash down gold. In the
By this time the patience of the cred- beds of smaller rivers are found diaitor was exhausted. Despoiled of his monds, in such profusion that most of goods, finding that, despite his remon- the Malays wear them set in rings and strances, the Dyaks were cruelly op- other ornaments. From this single pressed, and that piracy was encour- province comes nearly the whole supaged, he resolved to try the effect of ply of antimony in the world. “I do threats. He repaired on board his not believe,” says a resident, “ that in yacht, loaded her guns with grape and the same given space there can be canister, and brought her broadside found so great mineral and vegetable to bear upon the Rajah's palace. Then wealth in any land in the whole world." taking a small, but well-armed guard, he sought an interview with Muda Has- With what sentiments the new Rajah sim. The terror of that functionary entered upon his duties can be best was extreme. The native tribes openly understood by a perusal of his familiar sided with their English friend. The letters. He writes to his mother: "Do Chinese residents remained obstinately not start when I say that I am going neutral. The Malays, between cow- to settle in Borneo, that I am about to ardice and treachery, afforded him no endeavor to plant there a mixed colefficient support. To crown all, his ony amid a wild but not unvirtuous resolute and incensed ally had only to race, and to become the pioneer of Euwave his hand to bring down upon him ropean knowledge and improvement. swift destruction. “After this demon- The diffusion of civilization, commerce, stration, things went cheerily to a con- and religion through so vast an island clusion.” Muda Hassim, finding that as Borneo, I call a grand object, — so his creditor was inflexible, and being grand that self is quite lost when I unable or unwilling to pay for the consider it; and even failure would goods which he had fraudulently ob- be much better than the non-attempt." tained, offered in payment of all debts “A few days ago I was up a high mounto surrender the government. The tain and looked over the country. It is offer was accepted, the agreement a prospect which I have rarely seen drawn up, signed, sealed, guns fired equalled; and sitting there, lazily smokand flags waved, and on September ing a cigar, I called into existence the 24, 1841, Mr. Brooke became Rajah of coffee plantations, the sugar plantaSarawak. In August of the following tions, the nutmeg plantations, and pretyear the Sultan solemnly confirmed the ty white villages and tiny steeples, and agreement.
dreamed that I heard the buzz of life The territory thus strangely passing and the clang of industry amid the juninto the hands of a private English gles, and that the China Colins whistled as they went, for want of thought, he might be fined a few cents or a few as they homeward bent.”
dollars. Volumes are contained in this The first duty which claimed atten- one statement, that in the ten years tion was the relief of the native Dyaks. from 1830 to 1840, the Dyaks in the A shrewd Dyak once defined the Malay province of Sarawak dwindled from government as “a plantain in the mouth 14,000 to 6,000 souls. and a thorn in the back.” A plantain A blow was immediately struck at giving to their poor subjects a little to the root of this black oppression. As keep life in them; a thorn stripping soon as the new government was fairly them to the skin and piercing them to established, a few simple enactments the bone. The description is pithy, were published. They declared that and it is true. The exactions of the every man, Dyak as well as Malay, Malay chiefs were almost beyond be- should enjoy unmolested all the gains lief. Seizing and monopolizing some of his toil; that all exactions of evarticle of prime necessity, – salt per- ery name and nature should cease, haps, – they would force the natives to and that only a small tax, evenly disbuy at the rate of fifty dollars' worth tributed, should be levied for the supof rice for a teacup of salt; until the port of government; that all roads and wretched cultivator, who had raised a rivers should be free to all; that all plentiful crop, was brought to the verge molestation of the Dyaks should be of starvation. They reserved to them- punished with severity. The proclaselves the right of purchasing the ar- mation which contains these laws conticles which the Dyaks had to sell, and cludes with exhorting all persons who then affixed to those articles an arbi- are disposed to disturb the public trary price, perhaps less than a five- peace to take flight speedily to some hundredth of their real value. They other country, where they can break would send a bar of iron two or three with impunity the laws of God and feet long, and having an intrinsic worth man. These enactments were firmly of a few cents, to the head man of a executed, without fear and without tribe, demanding that his village should partiality. Wonderful were the regive for it a sum equal to five, ten, sults! Internal violence ceased. The or twenty dollars. Another was sent confidence of the natives was awakin the same way, and another, and an ened. Industry and enterprise sprang other, until the rapacity of the chiefs up on every hand as by magic. Sarawas satisfied, or the wretched natives wak became a city of refuge. Somehad no more to give. Often, when the times as many as fifty fled thither in a latter had been robbed of everything, day. In 1844, in the short space of the Malays would seize and sell their two months, five hundred families took wives and children. It is recorded of shelter in the province. In 1850, three one tribe, that there was not so much thousand Chinese fled from Sambas to as one woman or child to be found in Sarawak. The Dyaks returned the it. All had been swept off by these good-will of their Rajah with love and remorseless slave-hunters. Nor did reverence. During one of his tours in their wrongs end here. If a Dyak the interior, delegations from tribes killed a Malay “under any circumstan- numbering six thousand souls came to ces of aggression," he was put to deathseek his protection. “We have heard,” often with every possible addition of said they, in simple but touching lantorture. If he accidentally injured one guage," that a son of Europe has arof the ruling caste, he was fortunate rived, who is a friend of the Dyaks.” to escape with the loss of half or two When he visited the native hamlets, thirds of his little savings. On the the women would throw themselves on other hand, a Malay might kill as many the ground and clasp his feet, and the Dyaks as he pleased, and if perchance whole tribe would spend the night in justice were a little sterner than usual, joyful feasting and merriment. It is
soberly affirmed by a credible witness, less merchantman, overwhelm their victhat on one occasion messengers came tims with showers of spears, and with fifteen days' journey from a distant morning light a plundered boat, a few province to see if there were such a dead bodies, were the silent witnesses phenomenon as Dyaks living in com of their ferocity. On the other hand, fort.
the Illanum and Balanini tribes, in
festing the islands to the northeast of Mr. Brooke soon found that all his Borneo, undertook far grander enterefforts for internal reform must be in a prises. Putting to sea, prepared for comparative sense futile so long as a long voyage, in fleets of two or three piracy, that curse of Borneo, was per- hundred prahus, propelled by wind and mitted to ravage unchecked. “It is in oars, armed with brass cannon, and a Malay's nature,” says the Dutch prov manned by ten thousand bold buccaerb,“ to rove on the seas in his prahu, neers, they swept through the whole as it is in that of the Arab to wander length of the Chinese Sea, and, turnwith his steed on the sands of the des ing the southernmost point of Borneo, ert.” No person who has not investi penetrated the straits and sounds begated the subject can appreciate how tween Java and Celebes, never stopwide-spread and deep-seated this plague ping in their ruthless course until they of piracy is. The mere statistics are came face to face with the sturdy piappalling. It was estimated, in 1840, rates of New Guinea, and returned, that one hundred thousand men made after a voyage of ten thousand miles freebooting their trade. One single and an absence of two years, laden chief had under control seven hundred with spoils and captives. How happrahus. Whole tribes, whole groups less was the fate of the poor Dyak! of islands, almost whole races, despis If he stayed at home, cultivating his ing even the semblance of honest in fields, his Malay lord fleeced him to dustry, depended upon rapine for a the skin. If, thinking to engage in gainlivelihood. “It is difficult to catch ful traffic, he hugged the shore with fish, but it is easy to catch Borneans," his little bark, the river-pirate snatched said the Soloo pirates scornfully; and, him up. If he stood out upon the broad acting upon that principle, they fitted waters, he could scarcely hope to escape out their fleets and planned their voy the Northern hordes who swarmed in ages with all the method of honest
every sea. tradesmen.
Mr. Brooke's most terrible assailants This piracy was divided into two were the Sakarran and Sarebus pirates, branches, - coastwise piracy and pira two tribes of freebooters whose seats cy on the broad seas.
The Sea Dyaks
of power were on the Sarebus and built boats called bangkongs, sixty to Batang Lupar rivers, two streams fif a hundred feet long, narrow and sharp, ty or sixty miles east of Sarawak. propelled by thirty to fifty oars, and so These tribes were encouraged and seswift that nothing but a steamer could cretly helped by his own Malay chiefs, overtake them. These freebooters were and insolently defied his power, conthe terror of all honest laborers and tinuing their depredations, capturing tradesmen. Skulking along the coast, every vessel which ventured out, and pushing up rivers and creeks, landing ravaging all the adjacent coasts. The anywhere and everywhere without warn strength of these confederacies was ing, they mercilessly destroyed the na
so great, that it was no unusual thing tive villages and swept the inhabitants for them to muster a hundred warinto captivity. Or else, impelling with boats; and they had built
, on the banks the force of fifty men their snaky craft, of the rivers which they infested, strong which were swift as race - boats and forts at every point which commanded noiseless as beasts of prey, they would the channel. That the new Rajah was surprise at dead of night some defence- not able with his slender resources to
curb these sea-robbers is not surpris- her with eighteen war-boats, to which ing.
The only wonder is, that he were afterwards added eleven hundred was able to protect his own capital Dyaks, in their bangkongs. On the from the assaults which they often 31st of July, at night, they encountered threatened but never dared to at- the great war-fleet of the Sarebus and tempt.
Sakarran pirates, numbering one hunBut efficient aid was at hand. dred and fifty bangkongs, returning the summer of 1843 the British ship home laden with plunder. The pirates Dido anchored off the entrance of found the entrances of the river occuSarawak River. She was commis- pied by their enemies, – the English, sioned to suppress piracy in and about Malay, and Dyak forces being placed the Chinese Sea. Her commander in three detachments, while the Nemereadily entered into the views of the sis was fully prepared to assist whenEnglish Rajah. A boat expedition ever the attack should begin. “Then against the strongholds of the Sare- there was a dead silence, broken bus pirates was projected. Mr. Brooke only by three strokes of a gong, assisted with seven hundred Dyaks. which called the pirates to a council A curious incident occurred, showing of war. A few minutes afterwards a how clearly the natives appreciated fearful yell gave notice of their adtheir dependence on their English vance, and the fleet approached in two friend. When he asked their chiefs divisions. In the dead of the night if they would aid him, they besought there ensued a terrible scene. The him not to risk his life in so desper- pirates fought bravely, but they could ate an enterprise. But when he as- not withstand the superior forces of sured them that his purpose was fixed, their enemy. Their boats were upthat he should go alone if necessary, set by the paddles of the steamer. they replied: "What is the use of our They were hemmed in on every side, remaining behind? You die, we die; and five hundred men were killed you live, we live. We will go too.” sword in hand, while twenty-five hunThe expedition was perfectly suc- dred escaped to the jungles, many of cessful. Three fortified villages were them to perish. The morning light stormed, many guns spiked, many showed a sad spectacle of ruin and boats destroyed, and their defenders defeat. Upwards of eighty prahus and driven to the jungles. This chastise- bangkongs were captured, and many ment not sufficing, in the following more destroyed.” The English offiyear another expedition from the same cers would have gladly saved life ; vessel attacked the Sakarran pirates but the pirates would take no quarand inflicted upon them a punishment ter, and the prisoners were few. It even more severe than that which had was a striking fact, that one of the fallen to the lot of their Sarebus breth- war - boats under Mr. Brooke was ren. Six forts, one mounting fifty-six manned by some thirty Malays, every guns, scores of war-boats, and more one of whom had lost during the than a thousand huts, were burned. year a near relative, killed by these These lessons, though sharp, did not same pirates. The confederacy has permanently subdue.
never risen from this defeat, and for The blow which broke the power of years the tribes composing it have rethese confederacies was inflicted in turned to the labors of peaceful life. 1849. News came to Sarawak that Writing twelve months afterwards to the pirates had put to sea, marking a friend, Rajah Brooke says : “ Pray their course by fearful atrocities. At keep the 31st of July apart for a speonce Mr. Brooke applied to the Eng- cial bumper, for during the last year lish Admiral for assistance, and the not a single innocent life has been steamer Nemesis was despatched to taken by these pirates, nor a single the scene of action. The Rajah joined prahu fallen into their hands.” Many