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wo White Rajahs 

S. Baring Gould 

A History of Sarawak 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

University of Toronto 

A History of Sarawak 

under its 

Two White Rajahs 








37 PICCADILLY, W., and 140 STRAND, W.C. 









As I have been requested to write a preface to The History 
of Sarawak under its Two White Rajahs, one of whom I 
have the honour to be, I must, first of all, assert that I 
have had nothing to do with the composition or writing of 
the book, and 1 do not profess to be a writer, otherwise 
than in a very ordinary sense, having left school at the age 
of twelve to enter the Navy. 

In that service I remained for ten years, when I obtained 
my lieutenancy, and then received two years' leave, which 
the Admiralty were glad to grant at that time (about 1852), 
as they thought naval officers were of a type likely to be 
of service in the development of the colonies and the 
improvement of native states. I then went to Sarawak to 
join my uncle, the first Rajah, with and under whom I 
remained, and consequently had to retire from the Navy ; 
but I will admit that my ten years' service gave me what I 
probably could not have gained from any other profession — 
the advantages of having been taught to obey my seniors, 
and of having been disciplined ; and I very firmly adhere 
to the rule that no one can make a successful commander 
unless he has learnt to obey. It further taught me those 
seafaring qualities, which have been so useful ever since, of 



being able to rough it and put up with one's surroundings, 
the lack of which so often makes the men of the present 
day, in their refined and gentlemanly way, not quite suited 
to handle the wheel of a ship at sea or the plough on land. 

Now I will pass on to say how this book, good or bad 
as it may be — and I am not competent to pass judgment 
either way — came to be written. I was asked by more than 
one if I had any objection to the writing of my biography, 
and I, as far as I can recollect, gave no decided answer one 
way or the other ; but I thought if I handed over the 
correspondence and all records that related to Sarawak and 
its Government that the distinguished author, Baring-Gould, 
and my friend, Charles Bampfylde, might be enabled to 
form a truthful account, and at the same time give the 
public a readable book. 

1 thought that some interest might be felt in the story 
of a life such as mine has been for the last sixty years, 
coupled with an account of the institutions, manners, and 
customs of the inhabitants of Sarawak, and especially of the 
way in which we have always treated the native population, 
rinding much profit by it, more in kindliness and sympathy 
than in a worldly point of view, by making them our 
friends, and I may say associates, though they are of a 
different creed and different colour ; and how we gained 
their hearts by living among them and really knowing them, 
not as superiors, but as equals and friends ; and I thought 
being brought out during my life by the pen of the able 
author and that of my old and much-esteemed officer, Mr. 
Bampfylde, it would be more likely to give a correct impres- 
sion than if some one took up the pen after my death and 
gained material from some good and some rather scratchy 


works that have been written on Sarawak, since such an one 
would probably make up a work that would be, no doubt, 
very readable and well adapted to take the fashion of the 
day, but not so truthful as a man of long personal ex- 
perience could do, and has, I think, done it ; and this I can 
aver, that what is written are facts, however plain and 
uninteresting they may prove. The work is not the history 
of my life more than that of the late Rajah, and I may 
flatter myself that we — he as founder and myself as builder 
of the state — have been one in our policy throughout, from 
the beginning up to the present time ; and now shortly I 
have to hand it to my son, and I hope that his policy may 
not be far removed from that of his predecessors. 

My life draws towards its close, but the book, if and 
whenever brought out, will stand in the future as a record 
of events that may be considered as the work of private 
individuals who stood alone and unprotected in a far distant 
land, and who were, I may also say, fortunately, scarcely 
ever interfered with, or the policy of Sarawak could not 
have been as successful as it has proved. It will, I have 
reason to believe, attract more attention in comparatively 
new countries, such as America and Australia, where the 
story of Sarawak is perhaps better known than in England. 
One word more, and that is, that the native element has 
always been our base and strong point : and our lives are 
safe with them so long as they are wisely treated and relied 
on with thorough trust and confidence. 


Chesterton, %th January 1909. 


Preface Page via 

Malay Titles ,, xxi 



Geographical and geological description — Its jungles — Natural history — Races of 
men in Sarawak — Census — Area — Climate . . . Pages 1-35 



Early Chinese and Hindu -Javanese influence, and settlements — Rise of the 
Malays — Their sultanates in Borneo — European intercourse with Northern 
Borneo from 1 521- 1803 — Decline of Bruni — Earliest records of Sarawak — 
English and Dutch in the Malayan Archipelago and Southern Borneo from 
1595 — Trade monopolies an impulse to piracy — How the Sea-Dayaks became 
pirates — Cession of Bruni territory to Sulu — Transferred to the East India 
Company — Events in Bruni that led to Rajah Muda Hasim becoming 
Regent — His transfer to Sarawak — Oppression and depopulation of the 
Land-Dayaks — Condition of North-West Borneo in 1839 — List of the 
Sultans of Bruni 36-60 



Early life of James Brooke — First visit to Sarawak — Condition of the country — 
Dutch trading regulations — Brooke offered the Raj-ship — He suppresses the 
insurrection — The intrigues of Pangiran Makota, and the shuffling of the 
Rajah Muda — A crisis : Brooke invested as Rajah — Makota dismissed — 
Sarawak and other provinces — The Sherips — Condition of the country — 
The Datus — Laws promulgated — Redress of wrongs — Measures taken to 


check the Sekrang and Saribas pirates — Sherip Sahap receives a lesson — 
Brooke visits Bruni — Bruni and its court — Cession of Sarawak to Brooke 
confirmed — Installation at Knching — Makota's discomfiture, and banish- 
ment — Reforms introduced — Suppression of piracy and head -hunting — 
Captain the Honourable H. Keppell induced to co-operate Pages 61-91 



A general account of the pirates — Cruise of the Dido — Brushes with the pirates 
— Expedition against the Saribas — The Rajah visits Bruni — Sir Edward 
Belcher's mission— The Rajah joins a naval expedition against Sumatran 
pirates — Is wounded — Dido returns to Sarawak — The Batang Lupar expedi- 
tion — Sarawak offered to the British crown — The Rajah's difficult position 
— Return of Rajah Muda Hasim to Bruni — The Rajah appointed H.M.'s 
Agent in Borneo — Visits Bruni — Intrigues of Pangiran Usup — Sir Thomas 
Cochrane — U sup's downfall — The pirate's stronghold in Marudu Bay destroyed 
— Death of Usup — Fresh troubles on the coast — Rajah Muda Hasim and 
his brothers murdered — Bruni attacked and captured by Cochrane — Further 
action against the Lanun pirates — Submission of the Sultan— His end — 
Sarawak becomes an independent state — Labuan ceded to the British — 
Jealousy and pretensions of the Dutch — Treaty with Bruni— Defeat of the 
Balenini pirates — The Rajah visits England, 1848 — Honours accorded him 
— Captain James Brooke-Brooke joins the Rajah — The Sarawak flag — The 
Rajah establishes Labuan — Visits Sulu — Depredations by the Saribas and 
Sekrangs — Action taken — The Rajah revisits Sulu, and a treaty is con- 
cluded — The battle'of Beting Maru — Venomous attacks upon the Rajah and 
naval officers — A Royal Commission demanded in Parliament to investigate 
the Rajah's conduct negatived — Diplomatic visit to Siam — Recognition by 
the United States — The Rajah returns to England. 1851 — Public dinner in 
his honour — Commission granted by coalition ministry — The Rajah returns 
Sarawak, 1853 — Attack of small-pox — The Commission sits in Singapore 
in 1854 — Complete breakdown of charges against the Rajah — Gladstone 
unconvinced — Mischief caused by the Commission . . . 92-152 



Commencement of the present Rajah's career in Sarawak in 1852 — Entitled the 

Tuan Muda — At Lundu — The situation in the Batang Lupar — Rentap — 

h of Lee — The Tuan Muda at Lingga — Lingga and the people — Fresh 

ins of territory — Expeditions against Dandi and Sungie Ling — 

The Tuan Muda in charge of the Batang Lupar and Saribas — Disturbed 

state of the country — Kajulau attacked — Saji's escape — First attack on 

'•:. 1857 — Expedition against the Saribas — A station established there 

feat of Linggir — Second (1858) and final (1861) attacks on Sadok — 

of Rentap . . . . . . . . . 1 ; 




The Chinese in Sarawak — The Secret Society, or Hueh — Circumstances that led 
to the rebellion — Kuching captured by the rebels — They form a provisional 
government, and retire up river — Their return — Malay town burnt — How 
the situation was changed — Flight of the Chinese — Pursued and driven over 
the border — Their after fate — Action of the British and Dutch authorities — 
The rebellion the outcome of the Commission — Comments by English papers 
— After the rebellion — The Hueh dormant, not extinct — Gives trouble in 
1869 — In open revolt against the Dutch, 1884-85 — Severely punished in 
Sarawak in 18S9, and again in 1906 .... Pages 1S5-206 



The Datus— The Datu Patinggi Gapur — Sherip Masahor — Gapur's misconduct 
and treachery — His punishment — Muka in a state of anarchy — Pangiran 
Matusin kills Pangiran Ersat — S. Masahor's cold-blooded revenge — The 
Tuan Muda at Muka — S. Masahor punished — The Rajah reforms the 
Bruni Government — Thwarted by the Sultan — Fort built at Serikei — The 
Rajah intervenes at Muka — He goes to England — Makota's death — The 
Tuan Muda in charge — Commencement of conspiracies — Kanowit — Troubles 
at Muka, and the Tuan Muda*s action there — Murder of Steele and Fox — 
The conspiracy — Disconnected action — The general situation — The mur- 
derers of Steele and Fox punished — Ramifications of the plot — Its repression, 
and the fate of its promoters — Indifference of the British Government — 
The Rajah in England — Paralysis — Failure to obtain protection — Pecuniary 
difficulties — The Borneo Company, Limited — Miss Burdett-Coutts- — The 
first steamer — Public testimonial — Burrator .... 207-245 



The Honourable G. W. Edwardes Governor of Labuan — Supports Sherip 
Masahor, and condemns the Tuan Muda — Muka closed to Sarawak traders — 
The Tuan Besar attempts to open friendly negotiations with the authorities at 
Muka — A declaration of war — Muka invested — Governor Edwardes inter- 
feres—The Tuan Besar protests, and withdraws his forces — Evil caused by 
Edwardes action far-reaching — Disapproved of by the Foreign Office — 
Transfer of Muka to Sarawak — Banishment of S. Masahor — Territory to 
Kcdurong Point ceded to Sarawak — S. Masahor's end — His cruelties — The 
Tuan Besar becomes Rajah Muda — The Tuan Muda follows the Rajah to 
England in 1862 246-266 




The revival of piracy in 185S — Inaction of the Navy, a fruit of the Commission 

Destruction of a pirate fleet by the Rainbow off Bintulu — Cessation of 

piracy Pages 267-278 


Return of the Rajah to Sarawak — The Rajah Muda retires — The recognition of 
Sarawak as an independent state granted — The Kayan expedition — Submis- 
sion of the Kayans — The murder of Fox and Steele fully avenged— The 
Rajah bids farewell to Sarawak ...... 279-294 



The opening and closing of the first stage — The Rajah's retirement — His general 
policy — Frowned upon — What England owes to him — Paralleled with Sir 
Stamford Raffles — The Rajah's larger policy — Abandoned — Recognition — 
Financial cares — At Burrator — Death, June II, 1868 — Dr. A. R. Wallace's 
testimony — The Rajah's opinion of his successor — Principles of government. 




Charles Brooke proclaimed Rajah — Improvements needed — The Datu's testimony 
-tern of governing — The two councils — Administration in out-stations — 
Malay courts — Native chiefs — The Rajah's opinions and policy — Slavery — 
Relations with the Dutch — The Rajah's duties — Commercial and industrial 
development — Disturbances between 1868 and 1870 — The Rajah leaves fur 
England — His marriage . ....... 3°7-3 2 5 



Its story — Inconsistency of British policy — Sultan Mumin — Feudal rights — 
Oppression and misgovernment — Trade interfered with — Apathy of the 


British Government — Labuan a failure — Its governors inimical to Sarawak — 
The Rajah visits Bruni — A treaty and its evil results — The Rajah visits 
Baram — The situation in that river — Bruni methods — The Kayans rebel — 
The Sultan disposed to cede Baram to Sarawak — The British Government 
disapproves — The reason — The Rajah recommends a policy — Adopted by 
the Foreign Office too late — The late Rajah's policy and that adopted in 
regard to the native states of the Malay Peninsula — Mr. Ussher Governor 
of Labuan — A change — Baram taken over by Sarawak — Troubles in the 
Limbang — Trusan ceded to Sarawak — Death of Sultan Mumin — Sultan 
Hasim — His difficult position — The Limbang in rebellion — The Rajah 
declines to help the Sultan — The Sultan advised by Sir F. Weld — Bruni 
becomes a protectorate, but a Resident is not appointed — The Limbang 
people hoist the Sarawak flag — The Rajah annexes Limbang — The Sultan 
refuses to accept the decision of the Foreign Office — His real motives — 
Sir Spenser St. John's comments — Present condition of Limbang — Muara 
and its coal-fields — Tenure and rights of the Rajah — Lawai — Murut feuds 
suppressed — Bankrupt condition of Bruni — Responsibility of the British 
Government — Tutong and Belait — Transfer of Lawas to Sarawak — British 
Resident appointed to Bruni — Alternatives before the Foreign Office — The 
worst adopted — A poor bargain — Death of Sultan Hasim — A harsh tax — 
The Rajah protests — His position at Muara — Comments on the policy of 
the British Government ....... Pages 326-372 



Three stages in the Rajah's service — A fourth added — Sea-Dayak affairs to 1907 
— The character of the Sea-Dayaks — The Kayans, Kenyans, and other 
inland tribes — Tama Bulan ....... 373-392 



Their arrival in Sarawak in 1870, and their welcome — Description of Kuching — 
1839, a contrast — The Rajah and Ranee visit Pontianak and Batavia — Their 
return to England — Deaths of their children — Birth of the Rajah Muda — 
The Vyner family — Lord Derby's compliment — Lord Clarendon — Lord 
Grey's interest in Sarawak — Difficulties in the interior — Birth of the Tuan 
Muda — The Rajah's narrow escape — Birth of the Tuan Bongsu — Extension 
of territory — Limbang — Protection accorded — A review of the progress of 
Sarawak after fifty years — The Rajah's speech — The annexation of the 
Limbang — The Rajah Muda proclaimed as successor — Proposal to transfer 
North Borneo to Sarawak — Keppel's last visit, and his last letter to the 
Rajah — The Ranee obliged to leave Sarawak — The Rajah Muda joins the 
Service — Is given a share in the Government — The Natuna islands — Steady 
advance — The Rajah's policy — Its main essential — Malay chiefs — The Datus 
— What the Brookes have done for Sarawak .... 393-424 




Revenue and expenditure — Chinese merchants — The Borneo Company, Limited — 
Trade from the early days to 1907 — Agriculture — Land tenure — Jungle 
produce — Minerals — Mechanical industries . . Pages 425-43S 



The education of native children a problem — Schools — Islamism — Paganism — 
The S.P.G. Mission — Roman Catholic Missions — American Methodist 
Mission .......... 439-450 


The late Rajah. From an engraving after the painting by 

Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A Frontispiece 

The present Rajah. Photo, Bassano 

Nepenthes and Rafflesia. C. R. Wylie . 

Mt. St. Pedro, or Kini Balu. C. R. Wylie. From St. John's 

Life in the Forests of tlie Far East . 
Ukit Chief, wife and child. Photo, C. A. Bampfylde 
A Punan. Photo, Lambert and Co., Singapore 
A Kayan girl. Photo, Lambert and Co., Singapore 
Group of Muruts. Photo, Mrs. E. A. W. Cox 
Land-Dayak Chief, with his son and grandson. Photo, Rev 

J. W. Moore 

Sea-Dayak Chief (Pengulu Dalam Munan). Photo, Turn Sai On 

Sea-Dayak girl. Photo, Buey Hon 

Satang Islands. C. R. Wylie 

Mercator's map. C. R. Wylie 

Old jar (" Benaga "). Photo, C. A. Bampfylde 

Figure at Santubong. Photo, Lambert and Co. 

Kuching, 1840. From Views in the Eastern Archipelago 

J. A. St. John 

Tower of old Astana. C. R. Wylie, from a photo by 

Buey Hon ...... 

The Royalist off Santubong. C. R. Wylie 
Land-Dayak village. Photo, C. Vernon-Collins 









Land-Dayak head-house. Photo, Rev. J. W. Moore 
Kuching, present day. Photo, Buey Hon 
H.E.I.C. Phlegethon. C. R. Wylie .... 

H.M.S. Dido. From Expedition to Borneo. Keppel. C. R 


The present Rajah as a midshipman .... 

Attack on Sherip Usman's stronghold. C. R. Wylie. From 

Views in the Eastern Archipelago . 
Old Sekrang fort. C. R. Wylie. From Ten Years in Sarawak 
Sea-Dayak shield and arms. C. R. Wylie 
On the war-path. Photo, C. A. Bampfylde 
Government station at Bau. Photo, Buey Hon 
Old Chinese temple, Kuching. Photo, Lambert and Co 
Chinese procession ...... 

Malay lela (cannon) and spears. C. A. Bampfylde . 

Sherip Masahor's spear. C. R. Wylie 

Kanowit. C. A. Bampfylde ..... 

Native tools and hats. C. A. Bampfylde and C. R. Wylie 
Melanau sun-hat. C. R. Wylie .... 

Plan of operations at Muka ..... 

Sarawak flag : execution kris. C. R. Wylie . 

Sulu kris. C. A. Bampfylde and C. R. Wylie 

Native musical instruments. C. A. Bampfylde and C. R. Wyli 

Kayan mortuary. C. A. Bampfylde and C. R. Wylie 

Punan mortuary. Photo by Mrs. E. A. W. Cox 

Kayan mortuary. Photo by Mrs. E. A. W. Cox 

Sea-Dayak house. From a photo by Lambert and Co. C. R 


The Rajah's grave. Photo by Major W. H. Rod way 

Kuching. C. R. Wylie, from photos by Buey Hon . 

Fort Margherita, Kuching. C. R. Wylie, from photo by Buey 


Berrow Vicarage. C. R. Wylie, from a photo 


Fort Brooke, Sibu. Photo, Lambert and Co. . 
H.H.S. Zahora. C. R. Wylie, from a photo . 
Daru'l Salam. C. R. Wylie. From Life in the Forests 
Far East. ..-■■•■ 

Bruni gong. C. R. Wylie 

The Sultan's palace. C. R. Wylie, from a photo by 
E. A. W. Cox 

Trusan Fort. Photo, Mrs. E. A. W. Cox 

On the Lawas river. Photo, M. G. Bradford . 

The Gazelle. Photo, Buey Hon . 

Sea-Dayak war-boat. Photo, C. A. Bampfylde 

Land-Dayak weapons. C. R. Wylie 

The Sarawak Rangers. Photo, Lambert and Co. . 

Rangers in mufti. Photo, Buey Hon 

Kapit Fort. Photo, C. A. Bampfylde . 

Fort Alice, Simanggang. Photo, Lambert and Co. . 

Sea-Dayak war-boats. Photo, C. A. Bampfylde 

The Astana. C. R. Wylie, from photos . 

Kuching, from down river. Photo, Buey Hon 

Drawing-room, Astana. Photo, Lambert and Co. . 

Dining-room, Astana. Photo, Lambert and Co. 

The Esplanade, Kuching. Photo, Buey Hon . 
Hospital, Kuching. Photo, Buey Hon . 
The Malay Members of Supreme Council. Photo, Buey 
The Police. Photo, Buey Hon .... 
Chinese Street, Kuching. Photo, Buey Hon . 
Interior of Museum, Kuching. Photo, Buey Hon . 
Buildings in Kuching. Photo, Buey Hon 
General Market, Kuching. Photo, Lambert and Co. 
Chesterton House, Cirencester. Photo, W. D. Moss 
The Borneo Company's Offices, Kuching. Photo, Buey 
A pepper garden ...-■-■ 
Chinese sluicing for gold. Photo, Buey Hon . 

of the 




3 2 4 









Brooketon coal-mines. Photo, Buey Hon .... 437 
Cyanide works at Bau. Photo, Buey Hon .... 438 
St. Joseph's and St. Thomas's Churches. Photo, Buey Hon 439 

Malay mosque. Photo, Buey Hon ..... 439 

S.P.G.'s boys' school. Photo, Buey Hon . . . .441 

S.l'.i school. Photo, Buey Hon . . . .442 

R.C. boys' school. Photo, Buey Hon ..... 443 
Chinese temple . . . . . . . .450 

Map at cud of volume. 


SULTAN. — Supreme head of the once large Bruni Sultanate, which is 
now only a corner or enclave within the raj of Sarawak. Iang 
di Pertuan, the Lord who Rules, is the correct supreme title in 
Bruni, and the one most generally in use. 1 

Sultan Muda, heir-apparent. Lit. young Sultan, but seldom used. 
Iang di Pertuan Muda is the more correct Malay title. Cp. 
Pangiran, infra. 

RAJAH (fern. Rani, or Ranee). — The old title of the Bruni sovereigns. 
It is a Sanskrit word, and means king. But in Bruni it was 
improperly assumed by those (male and female) of royal descent. 
This has fallen into disuse, that is, none of them now bears such 
a title, but in referring to the princes of Bruni generally the term 
Rajah Rajah - would be used. Rulers of districts were never 
entitled to the title ex officio. Such rulers are feudal chiefs 
with the title of Pangiran, and their chieftainship is generally 

Rajah Muda, heir apparent. Lit. young Rajah. 

Pangiran is the highest Bruni title. Pangiran Muda — sometimes 
Pangiran Muda Besar — is another title of the heir-apparent to 
the Sultanate. (Rajah Muda is only used in Sarawak.) It is 
a Javanese title and means prince. It is not, however, now con- 
fined only to persons of royal descent as formerly, and the title 
has become very common, especially as illegitimate as well as 
legitimate children of all pangirans assume it. 

Datu. — Lit. great-grandfather (by extension — ancestor). This is a 
high title in the Malay Peninsula, and the highest in Sarawak, 
but not in Bruni, though it is in Sulu. It can be conferred by 
the Ruler alone, and is an official title and not hereditary. It 
is only granted to Malays. 3 

1 Sultan is a title foreign to the Court language of Bruni.- — Sir Hugh Low, 
< . C.M.G., Sarawak, 1848. 

- Rajah, correctly Raja. Plural is expressed by duplication. 

'•' In Bruni this title also is now debased by being granted to all natives, Chinese 



BANDAR Persian . — The meaning of this word is a port. Datu Bandar, 
one of the highest titles in Sarawak, would mean the chief of 
the port or town. 

Shah BANDAR means the Controller of the Customs. 

BANDAHARA (Sanskrit. . — A treasurer. The Pangiran Bandahara is the 
chief of the four Wazirs of Bruni. The present Bandahara is 
Regent of Bruni. 

TEMANGGONG. — Another high official title, meaning Commander-in- 
Chief. The Pangiran Temanggong is one of the Bruni Wazirs. 

Di Gadong and Pemancha. — Also high official titles, the meanings of 
which are uncertain. The Pangiran di Gadong and the Pangiran 
Pemancha are the titles of the other two Bruni Wazirs. 1 

PATINGGI (from Tinggi — elevated, exalted ; hence Maha-tinggi, the 
most high). The Datu Patinggi was the highest or premier 
chief in Sarawak. 

PENGLIMA. — A Malay title, also sometimes formerly given to Dayaks : 
means a Commander. 

Orano kaya. — Lit. rich man. A title generally given to Malay chiefs 
of inferior rank and to the Dayak chiefs. 

Sheru- — An Arab title meaning noble. A title assumed by half-bred 
Arabs claiming descent from Muhammad. These men also take 
the exalted Malay title of Tunku or Tungku 3 by which princes 
of the royal blood are alone addressed, but more especially the- 

Haji. — One who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca. 

TUAN. — Master, Sir, Lord, Mistress, Lady. Tuan Besar — High Lord. 
Tuan Muda — Young Lord. 

NAK< iDA. — Shipmaster, merchant. 

PENGULU. — Headman. A title given to Dayak district chiefs. 

Ixchi. — Mister — a lower title than Tuan. A title foreign to Sarawak, 
and in that country only assumed by foreign Malays. 

1 St. John gives the di Gadong as Minister of Revenues, and the Pemancha as 
Minister for Home Affairs. — Forests cf the Far East. 

- Pronounced by Malays Sherip. or Strip. Fem. Sheripa, S Sayid is 

another, though in the Kast less common title, assumed by descendants of the Prophet 
Sir Richard Burton in his Pilgrimage says the former, men of the sword, the ruling 

xecutive branch, are the descendants of El Eiusayn, the Prophet's 
and thi latter, men of the pen, religion, and polities, are descended from thi 
eldest Siti is the female title. 

orruption of Tuan-ku (Tuan akin, my Lord, as it is often so pronounced. 

TITLES xxiii 

Abang. — Lit. elder brother. Datu's sons are styled Abang, and also 
Malay Government chiefs below the rank of Datu. 

LAKSAMANA. — An Admiral. 

IMAUM. — High Priest. 

Hakim. — A Judge : lit. a learned man. 

A WANG. — A title sometimes given to the sons of Pangirans. 

Dayang OR Dang. — Lady of rank. A title given to daughters of 
Datus and Abangs. 

Wan. — Another title given to Sherifs, but more generally to their sons. 
It is probably derived from the Arabic word Awan, meaning a 
helper or sustainer of Muhammad. 

The following Malay geographical terms should also be noted : — 
Bukit, a hill. Danau, a lake. Gunong, a mountain. 

Pulau, an island. Sungi, a river. Tanjong, a cape. 

Kampong, a village, or subdivision of a town, a parish. 



EXT to Aus- 
tralia and New 
Guinea, Borneo 1 
is the largest 
island in the 
world ; it is 
larger than the whole 
of France. It sits a- 
stride on the equator, 
that divides it nearly, 
but not wholly, in 
two ; the larger por- 
tion being to the 


The belt of islands, Sumatra, Java, and the chain to 
Timor and the Sarwatty group, represents a line of weakness 
in the crust of the earth, due to volcanic action, which still 
makes itself felt there. But the axis of elevation of Borneo 

1 The name Borneo is a corruption of Burni, itself a corruption of Beruni or 
Bruni, the capital of that ancient but now decayed Sultanate bearing the same name, 
and of which Sarawak, and a great part of British North Borneo, once formed parts. 
It was the first place in Borneo with which the Spanish and Portuguese had any 
dealings, and in their old chronicles it is referred to as Burni, and Borneo subsequently 
became the distinguishing name of the whole island to Europeans. The natives 
themselves have none, except perhaps the doubtful one of Pulau Ka-lamanta-an, the 
island of raw sago, so named in recent times by the merchants and traders of the 
Straits Settlements as being the island from which that commodity was brought, and 
in those settlements it has since become the native name for Borneo. But in 
Sarawak this name is known to the Malays alone, and in other parts of Borneo, 
perhaps only a few have heard of it. In fact, it is applicable to Sarawak only, for 
in former days sago was exported to the Straits solely from that country, and the 



is almost at right angles to this line, and in it are no active 
vents, and if there be extinct volcanoes, these are in the 
extreme north only. In Sarawak there are several hot 
springs, the water of which is impregnated with sulphuretted 
hvdrogen. The island owes its origin, as far as we can 
judge, to a great upheaval of plutonic rock that has lifted 
aloft and shivered the overlying beds, but the granite does 
not come everywhere to the surface. Something analogous 
may be seen in Exmoor, where the superincumbent clay- 
slate has been heaved up and strained, but the granite no- 


where shows save in Lundy Isle, where the superposed 
strata have been swept away, leaving the granite exposed. 

Borneo is about 850 miles in length and 600 in 
breadth, and contains an area of 286,000 square miles. 
The centre of Borneo is occupied by broken hilly highland, 
with isolated mountains, of which the finest is the granite 
peak of Kina Balu (13,700 feet). Hills come down in 
places to the sea, as in the south of Sarawak, where they 
attain a height of from 2000 to over 5000 feet, and die 
into the sea at Cape Datu. The plains, chiefly swamps, 
are composed of the wash of the mountains, overlaid by 

•.as carried on by Sarawak Malays, first with Penang and subsequently with 
lore. An old English map of about 1700 gives to the town of Bruni, as well as 
whole island, the name of Borneo. Mercator (159c both. 

Bruni is variously spelt Brunai, Brunei, Brunei Borneo, Borney, Bornei, Forne, 
I'.irni by old writers; all corruptions of Bruni. The Sanskrit word Bhurni, 
ing land or country, has been suggested as the origin of the name. 


vegetable mould, and these fringe the coast, extending 
inland from ten to thirty miles, with here and there isolated 
humps of hill standing up out of them. 

The island is probably the best watered in the world. 
On every side are numerous rivers, mainly rising in the 
central highlands, at first dancing down the mountain ledges 
in cascades, then, forming dangerous rapids, enter the plain, 
and there swelled by affluents and widening out advance 
with no strong current to the sea. Owing to the width of 
the river-mouths, and to the configuration of the coast, 
some of them, as the Batang Lupar, the Sadong, and Saribas, 
have tidal bores, as is the case with our River Severn, that 
run up as many as seventy miles into the interior, and most 
have deposited troublesome bars at their mouths, and have 
embouchures clogged by shoals. To the slight fall is largely 
due the remarkable way in which several of these rivers 
descend into the ocean through plural mouths, thus 
forming a network of lateral waterways, called Loba and 
Trusan, whereby they mix and mingle with other rivers, 
and, very much like the Rhine after entering Holland, lose 
their identity and are frittered away in many channels. The 
Rejang, for instance, finds issue through five mouths, and the 
land between the Rejang and Igan entrances, which meet at 
Sibu, the apex of the delta, is a vast unbroken swamp, I 200 
square miles in area. The same phenomenon is noticed in 
the Sarawak river, and in the Limbang to a smaller degree. 

The rainfall in Borneo is so great, the rainy season 
lasting from October to April, 1 that the rivers are very 
numerous and copious, rolling down large volumes of water. 
Severe droughts are, however, not uncommon during the 
fine season of the S.YV. monsoon. 

Between Kuching and Bruni are the Sadong, Batang 
Lupar, Saribas, Kalaka, Rejang, Bintulu, and the Baram 
rivers, all available as waterways for trade with the interior. 
For fifteen miles only from its mouth is the Batang Lupar 
navigable by steamers, above that, though a fine broad 
river, it is obstructed by dangerous shoals. The Rejang 
is navigable by steamers for 1 70 miles, nearly as far as 

1 See page 34. 


the first rapids. This noble river descends many stages 
by as many plunges from terraces. Between the rapids the 
river is deep, sluggish and broad for many miles. Boats 
that can be hauled up past the rapids can ascend a distance 
of 650 miles from the mouth. The Baram river is navigable 
by steamers for some twenty miles above Claude Town, that 
is, eighty miles from the mouth, but owing to the exposed 
position of the bar and to the heavy seas breaking over it, and 
also to the silting up of the mouth during the N.E. monsoon, 
only very small craft can then enter, but during the S.W. 
monsoon it can be entered by steamers of light draught. 

In Dutch Borneo as well there are magnificent rivers. 
The same cause that has made some of the rivers so uncertain 
in their mouths has produced vast stretches of morass, 
overgrown with the nipah palm and mangrove, and infested 
with mosquito swarms ; but the beach is almost everywhere 
of beautiful white sand, reaching to where the graceful 
casuarina tree grows as a belt above the reach of the tide. 
The tropical heat, added to the great rainfall, makes Borneo 
a vegetable paradise ; indeed, it presents the appearance of 
one vast surface of sombre evergreen forest, starred with 
flowering orchids, and wreathed with creepers, of a richness 
perhaps unsurpassed even in South America. 

The hills and ranges of upland consist of blue meta- 
morphic limestone on which is superposed a thick series of 
sandstones, conglomerates, and clay-shales. Piercing these 
beds are granite and a variety of plutonic rocks, as diorite, 
porphyrite, etc. These latter are developed in greatest 
abundance in the antimony districts, where they are in 
immediate contact with the limestone that has been fissured 
and tortured by upheaval. The sandstone shales have also 
been tilted and distorted ; nevertheless in places the)- retain 
their original horizontal position. They are usually found 
to be impregnated with peroxide of iron. It is in this 
formation that the cinnabar deposits occur. 

Both lime and sandstone have been extensively denuded, 
and the latter rises in isolated tabular mountains, or short 
peaky trends, to an altitude occasionally of 15 00 feet above 
the sea, the ridges separated by undulating valleys, in which 


the limestone comes to the surface. Sometimes these 
denuded masses form low hilly tracts varying in elevation 
from 200 feet to 1200 feet; sometimes they appear as 
solitary crags, but invariably present long lines of ancient sea- 
cliff, and bold scarped faces, fissured and jointed in every 
conceivable direction. 

In the intervening lowlands is a deposit of dark yellow 
felspathic clay varying in depth from a few feet to eighty 
feet and more, derived from the degradation of the hills by 
water. Associated with this clay and of more recent date 
are superficial deposits of pudding-stone and river gravels. 
The intrusive igneous rocks show mainly in the form of 
dykes, seaming the stratified rocks ; consequently volcanic 
action took place subsequent to their deposition, but it was 
also antecedent to the more recent of the superficial deposits. 
It is in immediate connection with those plutonic dykes that 
we find the deposits of arsenic and cinnabar, occupying the 
fissures produced in the stratified rocks by volcanic upheavals, 
and we are led to the conclusion that these mineral lodes 
were deposited after the cessation of the upheaval. 

Gold occurs in the form of fine sand in the alluvial 
deposits, and in the gravel of the rivers over a great part of 
Sarawak ; and also in pockets of the limestone, in which it 
has been allowed to fall by water. Nuggets are of ex- 
tremely rare occurrence, but Sir Spencer St. John mentions 
having seen one of seven ounces taken from the auriferous 
clay at Krian near Bau. The gold dust is usually in a state of 
finest comminution. So far no gold reef has been come upon. 

In former days gold was extensively washed by Chinese 
at Bau and Paku in Upper Sarawak, which auriferous 
district commences at the confluence of the two branches 
of the Sarawak river, and extends back to their sources and 
the boundary of Dutch Borneo. As gold and antimony 
were known to abound here, the Chinese of Sambas and the 
lower Kapuas had made several endeavours to establish 
themselves in the district, but were much harassed by the 
Malays until the accession of the late Rajah Brooke, 
which made it possible for them to settle there and pursue 
in peace their business of gold mining. Then gold was 


washed extensively, and the fine reservoirs and " leats " 
which the Chinese constructed to sluice the alluvial soil 
remain to this day. They increased and became a thriving 
community, but they were not sufficiently looked after, and, 
falling under the machinations of socialistic Secret Societies, 
gradually got out of hand and broke into open rebellion 
in 1857, as shall be related in the sequel. It is sufficient 
to say here that this ended in dire ruin to themselves, and 
that the few who escaped were driven over the borders ; but 
it also ruined the gold-mining industry, and, though some of 
the rebels returned and others came with them, the industry 
never fully recovered, and later on it received a further 
check by the introduction of pepper planting, which gave 
the Chinese a more profitable occupation, and gradually 
Upper Sarawak became covered with gardens of this descrip- 
tion. Though gold mining under the Chinese practically 
died out, modern scientific and engineering skill has now 
placed it in a far higher position than it had ever previously 
attained, or could have attained under the primitive methods 
of the previous workers. 

Quicksilver was discovered in situ about the year 1871, 
by Messrs. Helms and Walters of the Borneo Company, 
who prospected over the whole of Sarawak Proper, and 
ultimately succeeded in tracking the small fragments of 
cinnabar that are scattered over the district to a hill on the 
right bank of the Staat river. The hill is called Tegora, 
and rises to an elevation of 800 feet. In the upper portion 
of this hill, the ore was found deposited capriciously in strains 
and pockets with here and there a little metallic mercury. 1 

In former years a large quantity of quicksilver was ex- 
ported, but for some time this mineral product has ceased 
to appear as an item in the exports, the large deposit of 
cinnabar at Tegora having apparently been worked out. 
The existence of this mineral in other parts of the state is 
proved by traces found in several places, and the same may 
be said of antimony, of which there are indications of rich 

1 Everett (A. Hart). "Notes on the Distribution of the Useful Minerals in 
ik," in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1878. 
Mi. Everett was a distinguished naturalist. He served for eight years in the 
Sarawak service, and died in 1808. 


deposits ; but the discovery of these minerals in paying 
quantities is a matter of chance. Antimony is still worked 
by the Borneo Company, Ltd., and a recent rise in the price 
has been an inducement to Chinese and Malay miners to 
increase the production, and the export of 1906 was more 
in quantity than it was in 1905, though small as compared 
with what it used to be. 

Black bituminous coal, which occurs in the Tertiary 
strata, has been found in different parts, and two collieries 
are owned and worked by the Government, at Semunjan in 
the Sadong district, and at Brooketon. Several hundred 
Chinese are employed as miners under European supervision, 
and large sums have been expended upon machinery, etc. 

Oil, a crude petroleum, has been discovered in two 
places ; it is of good quality, and is an excellent lubricant. 

It is not impossible, or indeed improbable, that diamond 
deposits in Sarawak will be found and exploited. No 
systematic operations in search of these precious stones have 
been attempted, the dense jungle which covers the country 
being an obstacle. The only people who wash for 
diamonds are the Malays, and these carry on their work in 
a very desultory and imperfect manner. 

But agriculture and jungle produce have been, and will be, 
the main source of revenue to Sarawak, and prosperity to the 
country. We shall deal with these products, as well as with 
those that are mineral, more fully in a subsequent chapter. 

The Bornean forest is so varied and so different at different 
hours and seasons that no description can possibly convey an 
adequate idea of it to those who have not known it. Infinite and 
ever changing are its aspects, as are the treasures it hides. Its 
beauties are as inexhaustible as the varieties of its productions. In 
the forest man feels singularly free. The more one wanders in it, 
the greater grows the sense of profound admiration before nature in 
one of its grandest aspects. The more one endeavours to study it, 
the more one finds in it to study. Its deep shades are sacred to the 
devotee of Science. Yet they afford ample food for the mind of the 
believer, not less than to that of the philosopher. 1 

And we would add, to the superstitious native, to whom the 
jungles teem with ghosts and spirits. 

1 Odoardo Beccari, Wanderings in the Great Forests of Borneo, 1904. 


The Bornean jungles are full of life, and of the sounds 
of life, which are more marked in the early mornings and in 
the evenings. Birds are plentiful (there are some 800 
species), some of beautiful plumage, but few are songsters. 
Insect life is very largely represented, and includes many 
varieties of the curious stick and leaf insects, 1 hardly to be 
distinguished from the twigs and leaves they mimic. Also 
the noisy and never tiring cicadas, whose evening concerts 
are almost deafening, and frogs and grasshoppers who help 
to swell the din. There are many varieties of beautiful 
butterflies, but these are to be found more in the open 
clearings. Though there are no dangerous animals, there 
are many pests, the worst being the leeches, of which there 
are three kinds, two that lurk in the grass and bushes, the 
other being aquatic — the horse-leech. Mosquitoes, stinging 
flies, and ants are common, and the scorpion and centipede 
are there as well. Snakes, though numerous, are rarely seen, 
for they swiftly and silently retire on the approach of man, 
and one variety only, the hamadryad, the great cobra or snake- 
eating snake, is said to be aggressive. The varieties of land 
and water snakes are many, there being some 120 different 
species. Natives often fall victims to snake bites. Pythons 
attain a length of over twenty feet ; 2 they seldom attack man, 
though instances have been known of people having been 
killed by these reptiles, and the following story, taken from 
the Sarawak Gazette, will show how dangerous they can be. 
At a little village a man and his small son were asleep to- 
gether. In the middle of the night the child shrieked out 
that he was being taken by a crocodile, and the father, to his 
horror, found that a snake had closed its jaws on the boy's 
head. With his hands he prised the reptile's jaws open and 
released his son ; but in his turn he had to be rescued by 
some neighbours, for the python had wound itself around his 
body. Neither was much hurt. 

1 Probably the first European to discover these strange insects was the Italian 
Pigafetta, who in 1521 noticed them in the island of Palawan, to the north of Borneo, 
and thus quaintly describes them : "In this island are found certain trees, the leaves 
of which, when they fall off, are animated, and walk." He surmised they lived upon 
air. — Magellan, Hakluyt Society. 

2 St. John mentions one that was killed at Brooketon 26 feet 2 inches in length. 
— Life in the Forests of the Far Fast, 1863. 


Of the wild animals in Sarawak, wild cattle and the 
rhinoceros have nearly disappeared before their ruthless 
destroyer, man ; and such would have been the fate of that 
huge, though harmless, anthropoid, the maias, or " orang-utan," 
at the hands of collectors, had not the Government placed a 
check upon them by limiting the number each may collect. 1 
Deer, the sambur, the muntjac or barking deer, and the 
little mouse-deer, and also wild pig, of which there are 
several species, abound. 2 Numerous too are the monkeys 
and apes, and numerous are the species ; the more peculiar of 
the former being the proboscis monkey, a species confined to 
Borneo, and of the latter the gentle gibbons, who announce 
the dawn, making the woods ring and echo with their 
melodious gurgling whoops. There are two kinds of diminu- 
tive bears, the tree-leopard, wild cat, the scaly ant-eater, the 
porcupine, the otter, the lemur, and other small animals, 
including the flying fox, flying squirrel, flying lizard, flying 
frog, a peculiar kind of rat with a tail which bears a close re- 
semblance to a feather, 3 and huge toads nine inches in height. 4 
But to the casual traveller in the dense jungle with but a 
limited view, excepting an occasional monkey, or a pig or 
deer startled from its lair, few of these animals will be visible. 

Of the valuable products of the jungle it will be sufficient 
to note here that gutta, camphor, cutch, and dammar-producing 
trees abound ; also creepers from which rubber is extracted ; 
and rattans of various kinds. There are trees from the nuts 
of which excellent oil is expressed ; and many kinds of useful 
woods, some exceeding hard and durable, and some ornamental. 

Man's greatest enemy is the crocodile, and this voracious 
saurian becomes a dangerous foe when, driven perhaps by 
scarcity of other food, it has once preyed upon man, for. like 

1 With regard to the collection of orchids it has also been found necessary to do 
this. Collectors would ruthlessly destroy all orchids, especially the rarer kinds, which 
they could not carry away, in order to prevent others from collecting these. 

2 In about 1825 a large bone was found in a cave at Bau which was pronounced 
to be that of an elephant. These animals are common in parts of N. Borneo, and 
Pigafetta found them at Bruni in 1521. 

3 The Ptilocercus Lawii, only found in Borneo. It has been awarded a genus all to 
itself, and is one of the rarest of Bornean curiosities. — J. Hewitt, Sarawak Gazette 
September 1, 1908. 

4 "According to Mr. Boulanger, Borneo can boast of producing the longest legged 
frog and the longest legged toad in the world." — Idem. 


the tiger, it then becomes a man-hunter and man-eater. It 
will lurk about landing and bathing-places for prey ; will 
snatch a man bodily from a boat ; and one has been known 
to seize a child out of its mother's arms while she was bathing 
it. The Sarawak Gazette records numerous deaths due to 
crocodiles, though by no means all that happen, and many 
thrilling adventures with these reptiles. Two we will give as 
interesting instances of devotion and presence of mind. A 
little Malay boy, just able to toddle, was larking in the mud 
at low water when he was seized by a crocodile, which was 
making for the water with its screaming little victim in its 
jaws, when the child's sister, a girl of twelve, and his brother 
of eight, rushed to his assistance. The boy hopelessly tried 
to stop the crocodile by clinging to one of its fore-paws, but 
the girl jumped upon the brute's back, and gradually working 
her way to its eyes which were then just above water, 
succeeded in gouging out one with her fingers. This caused 
the crocodile promptly to drop its prey, but only just in 
time, as it was on the point of gliding into deep water. By 
the girl's vigorous intervention it not only lost its prey but 
also its life, for two men coming up hacked the brute to pieces. 
The little heroine had remembered the story of how her 
grandfather had formerly saved his life in the same way. 
To scoop out the eyes is the only chance of escape for one 
taken, and it must be done promptly. The little boy was 
scarcely hurt. The girl's courageous deed duly received a 
graceful recognition from the Ranee. 

Another girl, a Dayak girl this time, rescued her mother, 
who was dragged out of a boat, in which they were together, 
by a large crocodile. She threw herself upon the monster, 
and by thrusting her fingers into its eyes compelled the 
brute, after a short but sharp struggle, to release its prey. 

Death caused by a crocodile is one of the most horrible 
of deaths, and it is often a protracted one, as the victim 
is borne along above water for some distance, then taken 
down, bashed against some sunken log, and brought up 
again. " May I be killed by a crocodile if I am guilty " is 
a common invocation made by Malays in protestation of 
their innocence ; in other words, they invoke the most dread- 


ful death that comes within their ken. So did once a 
young Malay woman in the Simanggang Court on being 
convicted of a serious crime. That evening, whilst she was 
bathing, a smothered cry, that she had barely time to utter, 
announced that her prayer had been heard. 

There are several kinds of crocodiles, broad and long 
snouted. In the Perak Museum is a specimen nearly 
twenty-five feet in length, but the longest that has been 
caught in Sarawak, and authentically measured, was nine- 
teen feet. The Government gives a reward for killing these 
pests, which is paid upon some 250 to 300 annually brought 
to the police station at Kuching. More are killed in the 
various districts of which no record is kept. 

Sharks of several species abound, but cases of injury by 
these are very rare. 

Saw-fish are also common, and with their long spiny 
saws are dangerous creatures. A fisherman was killed by 
one of these at the mouth of the Sadong ; he was in a small 
canoe when the fish, which he had cut at with his knife, 
struck him a blow on his neck with its saw, from which he 
died almost immediately. 

Excellent fish are abundant, such as mackerel and 
herring, considerably larger than the English varieties, 
pomfret, barbel, soles, mullets, etc., and some of beautiful 
colours ; also crabs, prawns, and oysters. The dugong 
(Malay duyong), the sea-cow, is rare in Sarawak, but 
common in North Borneo, as is also the whale ; in Sarawak 
the latter are occasionally stranded on the beach. Turtles 
abound ; these are preserved for the sake of their eggs, 
which are considered a great delicacy. 

We will now consider the races that occupy Sarawak 
territory ; and the following brief ethnological notes with 
regard to those of Indonesian stock will be all that is 
necessary for the purposes of this book ; to attempt any- 
thing like an accurate classification of the many tribes and 
sub-tribes which differentiate the heterogeneous population 
of the country would be beyond its scope, even were it 
possible to trace the divergence of the cognate tribes from 
the original stock, and of the sub-tribes from the tribes. 


That there may have been earlier inhabitants of Borneo 
than those now existing in the island is possible. Traces 
of neolithic man have been found, but these may be due to 
the first settlers having brought with them stone weapons 
cherished as charms. Of paleolithic man not a trace has 
been discovered. 1 To attempt to determine the flow of 
mankind into the country, or to decide which of the tribes 
of Indonesian stock now found in Sarawak was the first to 
occupy the soil, is to undertake an impossible task." It 
may be accepted that the most barbarous peoples, the Ukits, 
Bukitans, Punans, and other fast vanishing tribes, were the 
earliest inhabitants of whom we know anything, and that 
they were immigrants. But whence they came we know 
not. These tribes are all more or less related in language 
and customs, and in Borneo difference in names does not 
always denote any essential racial distinction. 

As an instance of this we have the Lugats, of whom only 
a very few are left, the Lisums, the Bliuns, a tribe that has 
quite died out, the Segalangs, and the Seru Dayaks of the 
Kalaka, a tribe which is fast disappearing. The above sub- 
tribes take their name from rivers widely apart, and though 
their names differ they are of the same race, sub-tribes of 
the Ukits. Their tradition is that three or four hundred 
years ago the Ukits lived in the Lugat (now the Gat) river, 
a branch of the Baleh (hence we have the Lugats now living 
in the Anap), but they were driven out by the Kayans. 
Some went to the Lisum river (hence we have the Lisums), 
and some to Kapit, where they built strong houses on the 
site of the present fort, but these they were eventually 
forced to evacuate, and again they migrated down river, 
first to Tujong, near the Kanowit, and afterwards farther 
down again to Bunut, by Benatang. From Bunut they 
were driven out by their implacable foes, and they dispersed 
to Segalang (in the Rejang delta), to Bliun (in the Kanowit), 

1 " Mr. St. John (Forests of the Far East, p. 190) mentions stones or pebbles of a 
dark colour considered by the natives as sacred. Some such, found at Quop, were 
said to have been lost during the civil wars. They are possibly paleolithic imple- 
ments." — Reccari, op. cit. p. 367. 

- The late Rajah wrote in 1838 : ' ' We know scarcely anything of these varieties of 
the human race beyond the bare fact of their existence." We have since learnt 
something of their languages and customs ; of their origin nothing. 



and to Seru in the Kalaka. 1 This tradition is supported 
by the strong evidence of language, and there is little reason 
for disregarding it. After being driven out of Lugat, some 
of the Ukits went over to the Kapuas, where, as in the 
Baleh, to which river some eventually returned, they are 


still known as Ukits. The Bliuns, Segalangs, and Serus 
became civilised owing to contact with the Malays and 
Melanaus. The Ukits, Bukitans, and Punans, with the ex- 
ception of the Punan Bah of Balui, are the wildest of all 

1 Mr. F. D. de Rozario. The Sarawak Gazette, September 2, 1901. Mr. de 
Rozario, the officer in charge of Kapit Fort, has been in the Government service for 
some fifty years, of which nearly all have been spent in ihe Upper Rejang, and his 
knowledge of the natives, their customs and languages, is unique. 



the races in the island. The Ukits are light in complexion ; 
tall and well knit, and better looking than other inland 
tribes. Formerly they did not reside in houses, or cultivate 
the soil, but roamed about in the jungle, and subsisted on 
wild fruit and the animals they killed. But some of these 

have begun to erect poor 
dwellings, and do a little 
elementary farming. They 
are expert with the blow- 
pipe, and in the manufacture 
of the upas -poison, with 
which the points of their 
needle-like arrows are tinged. 
But it is quite open to ques- 
tion whether these poor 
savages may not be a de- 
generate race, driven from 
their homes and from com- 
parative civilisation by more 
powerful races that followed 
and hunted them from their 
farms to the jungle. Beccari 
{pp. cit. p. 363) says that 
they " are savages in the 
true name of the word, but 
they are neither degraded nor 
inferior races in the series of 
mankind. Their primitive 
condition depends more than 
anything else on their no- 
madic or wandering life, and on the ease with which they 
live on the produce of the forests, and on that of the 
chase which the sumpitan (blow-pipe) procures for them. 
This has no doubt contributed to keep them from associating 
with their fellow-beings, and from settling in villages or erect- 
ing permanent houses. I believe that these, although they 
must be considered as the remnants of an ancient Bornean 
people, are not descended from autochthonous savages, but 
are rather the present-day representatives of a race which 


has become savage." And Beccari is of opinion " that it is 
difficult to deny that Borneo has had older and perhaps 
more primitive inhabitants." The natives have legends of 
former races having occupied the land ; the most powerful 
were, according to the Punans, the Antu-Jalan, who lived in 
the Balui, around the mouth of the Belaga, where the fort 
of that name now stands. They disappeared, but have now 
returned in the persons of the white men. So the Punans 
believe, and other tribes hug other myths. These savage 
people are, or rather were, the bitter enemies of the Dayaks, 
and a terror to them. Silently and unperceived, they would 
steal on their hereditary enemies whilst these latter were 
collecting jungle produce, or employed on their farms, and 
wound them to death with their poisoned arrows. 

In former days, when they were more powerful, the 
Bukitans would openly attack the Dayaks, and as late as 
1856 they destroyed one of the large communal Dayak 
houses on the Krian, and also attacked the Serikei Dayaks. 
The Ukits do not take heads, and the Punans do not tattoo. 
The latter and the Bukitans are clever makers of rattan 
mats, which are in demand by Europeans and Chinese. 
The Ukits and the Bukitans reside on the upper waters of 
the Rejang, Baleh, and Kapuas ; and the Punans in the 
Baram and Balui. 

The Banyoks and the Seduans are, like the Segalangs, 
with whom they have intermixed, probably off-shoots of the 
Ukit tribe. They have recently merged, and occupy the 
same village in the Rejang below Sibu fort. Like the 
Tanjongs and the Kanowits they are clever basket makers. 

The Sians, another off-shoot of the Ukits, live below 
Belaga fort. 1 

All these small tribes inhabiting the interior, though a 
few are found near the coast, are dwindling away, mainly in 
consequence of in-and-in breeding. Of some of the tribes 
of the same stock only a few families are left, and in others 
only a few people, while one or two have totally disappeared 
within quite recent years. 

The next Indonesian tribes to follow were the Kayans 

1 See note 2, page 18. 


and then the Kenyahs, two that are closely allied, and 
both, according to tradition, came from the south, probably 
from the Celebes. They took possession of the Belungan (or 
Batang Kayan) river-basin, and overflowed into those of 
Baram and Balui (the right hand branch of the Rejang). 
These powerful tribes found these river-basins unoccupied 
except by scattered families of the tribes above mentioned, 
whom they drove into the jungle. In the Baram they re- 
mained undisturbed, as also in the Rejang till recent years. 
Down the latter river they spread as far as Kapit ; at that 
time both the Sea-Dayaks and Malays were there, and over 
them the Kayans domineered, driving the former from their 
settlements at Xgmah, 1 and harassing the latter in the 
Kanowit, and even in the Sekrang. Eventually, however, 
the Kayans were forced to fall back before the ever increas- 
ing Dayaks, and to retire to the head-waters of the Balui, 
and now, with the exception of one small settlement, all 
reside above the Belaga. 

When we consider the large area occupied by the tribes 
of Kayans and Kenyahs, who may be classed together, it will 
be seen how important they are. Besides inhabiting the 
upper waters of the Baram and Rejang, they are found in 
very large numbers on the Batang Kayan. The Mahkam 
(Koti or Coti) is also thickly inhabited by Kayans, and 
many live on the Barito (Banjermasin), and on the Kapuas. 
The Kayans and Kenyahs are tattooed, as are most of the 
savage people of Indonesian origin in the interior. When 
the children are young the lobes of the ears are pierced, 
and by the insertion of heavy lead or copper rings the 
lobes become gradually so distended as to hang down to the 
shoulders, and, with elderly women, often lower. That this 
is a very old custom, and not peculiar to these people, is 
shown by the sculptures in the ancient Boro Budor temple 
in Java, where men and women are figured with such 

1 The Indra Lila (brother of the Lila Pelawan, who was the present Rajah's 
Malay chief at Lingga over fifty years ago), was their chief. Trouble arose owing 
to Akani Nipa, the celebrated Kayan chief, who will be noticed hereafter, having 
fallen in love with a Malay girl of rank. His suit being rejected, he threatened 
to forcibly abduct the lady, a threat which he could have carried out with ease, so 
the Malays rled with her to Lingga. This occurred some eighty years ago. 



elongated ear lobes, having ear pendants and plugs exactly 
similar to those in use by the Kayans and Kenyahs. Most 
Indonesian tribes of the interior retain this fashion. 1 These 
Kayans and Kenyahs are on a slightly higher grade of civil- 
isation than the Sea-Dayaks, building finer houses, having 
more rule and order among themselves, and being expert in 
the manufacture of excellent weapons, extracting their iron 
for that purpose from the native ore. In character they are 
vindictive and cruel, but brave, and not without some good 
qualities. Formerly they practised hideous cruelties on their 
captives and slaves, and im- 
palement was a common form 
of punishment. The women 
were even more barbarous 
than the men, being the most 
ingenious and inhuman in de- 
vising tortures. The Kayans 
under Sarawak rule have 
been checked in these matters, 
and human sacrifices have 
become a thing of the past. 
But that these propensities are 
only dormant is instanced by 
a case that occurred but a few 
years ago, far up the Balui. 
Four young Dayaks, survivors 
of a party of gutta-percha collectors, who had been cut off and 
killed by the Punans, after wandering for many days in the 
jungle, arrived destitute and starving at a Kayan house, and 
asked for food and shelter. Instead, the Kayans bound the 
young men, and, after breaking their legs and arms, handed 
them over to the women, who slowly despatched them by 
hacking them to pieces with little knives. And in the 
Baram, in 1882, a Kayan chief caused two captives to be 

1 One of Magellan's chroniclers records that in 1521 men were found in Gilo 
(Gilolo or Jilolo, to the east of, and near to the Celebes), " with ears so long and 
pendulous that they reached to their shoulders. — Magellan, Hakluyt Society. Marsden, 
History of Sumatra, says that the people of Neas island off the west coast of 
Sumatra elongate their ears in the same manner ; so do the Sagais of Belungan. The 
sculptures above mentioned, and the fact that this curious custom still exists in 
southern India, point to it being one of Hindu origin. 




bound and thrown down from the lofty verandah of his 
house to the ground, where they were decapitated — quite in 
Ashantee manner. 1 

Among the Kayans and Kenyahs a broad distinction 
exists between the classes. There are but the chiefs 
and their families, and only serfs and slaves under them. 
The chiefs are not chosen by the people, as is the case 
among the Dayaks. They assume their position by right 
of birth, or by might. The position of the serf is little better 
than that of the slave, and all they may gain by their 
industry is seized by the chiefs. It is the difference that 
existed in Germany between the Freie and the Unfreie ; in 
England in Saxon times between the thegn and the villein. 
Although the Kayans take heads in warfare, they do not value 
them as do the Dayaks, and will part with them to the 
latter ; and they are not head-hunters in the strict sense 
of the term. The Kayans are a decreasing race, not so 
the Kenyahs. Both are capable of improvement, especially 
the latter ; and they are improving, notably in the Baram, 
where they are directly under the control of the Government, 
since that river district was ceded to Sarawak in 1883. 

The Tanjongs, Kanowits, Kajamans, and Sekapans, 2 arc 
cognate tribes, probably of the same stock as the Kayans 
and Kenyahs. Formerly they were large tribes, but are 
now each reduced to a solitary village. They are to be 
found only on the Rejang. The dialects of the two first are 
intermediary between those of the Melanaus and the Kayans, 
and they live in an intermediary position. The other two 
tribes live close to Belaga fort in the Kayan country ; their 
dialects vary. 

The Malohs of Kapuas in Dutch Borneo formerly had a 
large village at Kanowit, but nearly all have returned to 
their own country, and the tribe is now represented by a 
sprinkling only among the Sea-Dayaks. They are wonder- 
fully skilled workers in brass and copper, and manufacture 

1 Human sacrifices are still in vogue amongst the Kayans and Kenyahs in the 

Kayan and Mahkam rivers. 
- The Kajamans, Sekapans, Sians, and Lanans are said to have been the first to 
over from the Bantang Kayan (Belungan) into the Balui (Rejang). They 
probably then one tribe. 



the peculiar brass corsets worn by the Sea-Dayak women, 
and their armlets, anklets, leg and ear-rings, and other 
personal ornaments ; and they have been known to turn 
their talents to making counterfeit coin. They bear a 
great reputation for bravery, and are dangerous men to 

The Lanans live amongst the Kayans, to whom they 
are allied, in the Balui, and have seven or eight villages. 

The Sebops and Madangs are Kenyah sub-tribes. 

The Melanau, a large and most important tribe inhabit- 
ing the coast between Kedurong point and the mouths of 
the Rejang, is also of Indonesian stock, though, like the 
Malays, but in a lesser degree, they are of mixed breed. 
In speech these people are allied to the Kayans, and are 
regarded by some as a branch tribe. Certain of their 
customs are similar, and if they differ from the Kayans in 
many respects, this is due partly to environment, but 
mainly to the majority of them having embraced 
Muhammadanism, and to their having intermarried with the 
Malays, with whom they are now to a certain extent 
assimilated in customs. They cultivate sago on a large scale, 
and since the exit of their old Bruni rulers — or rather 
oppressors — are able to enjoy the fruits of their labour, and 
have increased their plantations considerably. At Bruit, 
Matu, Oya, Muka, 1 and Bintulu, there are jungles of sago 
palms, and these places supply by far the largest proportion 
of the world's consumption of sago. The people being 
industrious and thrifty are well off. The above-named 
places are now large towns, and Muka is as large as Bruni. 
The Melanaus are skilled in working iron, are good 
carpenters, and excellent boat builders. Though they are 
by nature, like the cognate Kayans, vindictive and quarrel- 
some, serious crime is not common among them, and they 
are a law-abiding people. Formerly among the Kayans 
and Melanaus when one of their houses was about to be 
built, a hole was dug in the ground, a slave woman together 
with some beads placed in it, and the first iron-wood 

1 Muka is the Malay for face. The word has been carried into the English 
language as mug, contemptuously "an ugly mug," from the Sanskrit word muhka, 
the face. 



supporting post was levered up, and then driven through 
her into the ground. This was an oblation to the Earth 

The Kadayans do not appear to be allied to any of the 
races in N.W. Borneo ; those in Sarawak have migrated 
from Bruni within recent times to escape oppression. They 
are a peaceful and agricultural race, and many of them 
are Muhammadans. 1 

The Muruts and Bisayas are considerable tribes inhabit- 
ing the Limbang, Trusan, and Lawas rivers in Sarawak, and 
beyond. They are of Indonesian stock, and of them a full 
and interesting account has been given by Sir Spenser St. 
John in his Life in the Forests of the Far East. 

The heads of all these tribes are dolichocephalic or boat- 
shaped. They are yellow-stained, with hair either straight 
or slightly waved. 

1 Mr. E. A. W. Cox, formerly Resident of the Trusan, and latterly of the 
Bintulu, says the Kadayan tradition is that many generations back they were brought 
from Deli in Sumatra by a former Sultan of Bruni. Tiny have always been the 
immediate followers of the sultans, funning their main bodyguard. They haw 
distinctive language of their own, and talk a low Brum patois ; their dress is [x-culiar ; 
and their svstem of rice cultivation is far in advance of all other Bomeans. 


The Land-Dayaks, so named by Europeans in consequence 
of their not being accustomed to go to sea, or even to the 
use of boats, either for trading or piratical purposes, number 
several tribes, with some variations in language. They 
occupy localities up the rivers Sadong, Samarahan, Sarawak, 
and Lundu. The remains found among them of Hinduism, 
such as a stone-shaped bull, 1 and other carved monumental 
stones, and the name of their deity, Jevvata, as also the 
refusal among them to touch the flesh of cattle and deer, 
and the cremation of their dead, show that they must have 
been brought into intimate contact with the Hindus, probably 
at the time when the Hindu-Javanese Empire of Majapahit 
extended to Borneo. 2 In customs and appearance they 
differ considerably from the other tribes. They have a 
tradition that they arrived from the north in large ships, 
possibly from Siam or Cochin-China. Having been oppressed 
and persecuted and hunted for their heads by the Sea- 
Dayaks they have retreated to the tops of hills and rocky 

Of the Land-Dayak Captain the Hon. H. Keppel 3 says: — 

In character he is mild and tractable, hospitable when he is well 
used, grateful for kindness, industrious, honest, and simple ; neither 
treacherous nor cunning, and so truthful that the word of one of 
them might safely be -taken before the oath of half a dozen Borneans 

1 The Hindu sacred bull. 

2 Writing of the Rafflesia, ' ' those extraordinary parasitical plants, whose huge and 
startling conspicuous flowers spring from the ground like gigantic mushrooms, " Beccari 
(op. cit. p. 102) says, "The Land-Dayaks called the variety he found at Poi (and 
which he named R. Tuan-Mudre, in honour of the present Rajah) ' Bua pakma' ; 
evidently a corruption of ' patma ' or 'padma,' the sacred lotus (Xelumbicui 
speciosum) of the Hindus, which is not a native of Borneo. This is, no doubt, one 
of the many traces of the ancient faith once professed by the Dayaks, who have 
preserved the memory of the emblematical flower, transferring its name to that of 
another plant conspicuous for its size and singular appearance. In Java, as well as 
in Sumatra, the Rafflesia is known as ' Patma' ; but there the fact is not surpiising, 
for the prevalence of Hinduism in those islands is a matter of not very remote history. " 
Pakma or patma is the Malay name for the lotus. 

The late Sir Hugh Low notes that the Land-Dayaks, who (in common with most 
of the inland tribes) regulate their farming seasons by the motions of the Pleiades, 
call that constellation Sahara, probably from the Bat ara Sakra of the Hindu-Javan 
mythology, to whose particular care the earth was confided. — Sarawak. 

Hindu gold ornaments and a Persian coin, bearing a date corresponding with the 
year 960 A. D. , have been discovered up the Sarawak river, and some in the centre 
of the Land-Dayak country, which shows that the people of the ancient Hindu-Javan 
settlement at Santubong must have spread into the interior, and have mixed with the 

:> Afterwards Admiral of the Fleet. 



(Malays). In their dealings they are very straightforward and correct, 
and so trustworthy that they rarely attempt, even after a lapse of 
years, to evade payment of a just debt. On the reverse of this 
picture there is little unfavourable to be said, and the wonder is 
that they have learned so little deceit and falsehood where the 
examples before them have been so rife. 





It is difficult, perhaps impossible now, to assign the 
position of the Land-Dayaks with regard to the other 
native peoples. Their language is quite different from the 
others, and in many other essentials they differ. 

Distinct from all these races in physical character and 
language are the Sea-Dayaks. These are proto-Malays, that 
is to say they belong to the same ethnic family, but represent 
that stock in a purer, less mixed stage. Radically their 
language is the same as the Malay. They are brachycephalic, 



bullet-headed, with more or less flattened noses, are straight- 
haired, almost beardless, with skin of olive hue, or the colour 
of new fallen leaves. They migrated from the west, probably 
from Sumatra, at a period previous to the conversion of the 
Malays to Islam, for their 
language, which with slight 
dialectic differences, is purely 
Malay, contains no Arabic 
except of very recent intro- 
duction. The Sea-Dayak 
inhabits the Batang Lupar, 
Saribas, Kalaka, and Rejang 
rivers. They are gradually 
spreading into the rivers of 
the north-east, and there are 
now a good many in the Oya, 
Muka, Tatau, and Baram 

A Sea-Dayak is a clean 
built man, upright in gait, not 
tall, the average height being 
5 ft. 3 inches. The nose is 
somewhat flat, the hair straight 
with no curl in it. The 
face is generally pleasing 
from the frankness and good 
nature that show in it. The 
women have good figures, light 
and elastic; well-formed busts, 
with interesting, indeed often 
pretty, faces ; the skins are, 
as already stated, of so light a 
brown as to be almost yellow. 
They have lustrous dark eyes and black, straight hair. 

The Dayaks are very fond of their parents, brothers, 
sisters, and of their children, and often a strong attachment 
exists between man and wife that lasts for life. The Dayaks 
have each but one wife, but it does not follow by any 
means that the first union lasts. A young couple may find 


(The Pengulu Dalam, Munan) 


incompatibility of temper after a week or two, and the union 
is dissolved on the plea of a dream inimical to its continuance. 

Incest is considered to be the worst of crimes, bringing a 
curse on the country. Both incest and bigamy were formerly 
punishable by a cruel death, now by heavy fines, but for 
the former offence the fine is far heavier than for the latter. 

The Sea-Dayaks are most hospitable, indeed a breach 
of hospitality is regarded as a punishable offence. They 
obtained their designation from the English who first came 
in contact with them, on account of their skill in navigating 
the sea along the coast, although living inland, and to 
differentiate them from the Dayaks of Sarawak proper, who 
were styled Land-Dayaks, because these latter were inexpert 
boatmen, and very few of them could paddle or swim. As 
shown farther on, Dayak really signifies an inland man. 

The Sea-Dayak is now the dominant race in Sarawak, 
and in time will become so over the whole of the north-west 
of Borneo. The spread of this stock in former years appears 
to have been slow, owing to continual intestine wars, but 
since the advent of the white man, the discontinuance of 
these feuds, and the forced adoption of a peaceable life, 
these people have increased enormously in numbers. Fifty 
years ago there were but few of them to be found out- 
side the Batang Lupar, Saribas, and Kalaka river-basins, 
but now, though the population on these rivers has grown 
considerably, it is less than that of the same race on the 
Rejang alone, and they are spreading into the Oya, Muka, 
Tatau, and Baram river-basins. The Melanau population of 
the two first-named rivers live entirely either on the coast or 
near to it, and the Dayaks found the upper reaches unoccupied. 

The Sea-Dayaks have many good qualities that are 
more or less lacking in the other inland tribes. They are 
industrious, honest and thrifty, sober and cheerful, and 
comparatively moral. But the characteristics that mainly 
distinguish them are energy and independence. They are 
exceedingly sensitive, especially the women, and will seek 
refuge from shame in suicide ; ] like the Malays the men 

1 Disappointment in marriage and unkindness or harshness on the part of relatives 
are common causes of suicide bv man or woman, but the most common motive is 


will sometimes, though not often, amok when suffering from 
depression caused by grief, shame, or jealousy, for in the East 
this peculiar form of insanity is by no means confined to the 
Malay as is popularly supposed. 1 Amongst them general 
social equality exists, and it is extended to their women. 
They do not suffer their chiefs to abuse their powers as the 
Kayan and Kenyah chiefs are allowed to do, but they are 
quite ready to submit to them when justness and uprightness 
is shown. They are superstitious and restless, and require 
a firm hand over them, and, " being like truant children, take 
a great advantage of kindness and forbearance, and become 
more rebellious if threats are not carried into execution." 
This was the advice given by the present Rajah to the 
Netherland officials some years ago. Their inherited desire 
for human skulls, and their old savage methods of obtaining 
them, still, in a degree, have a strong hold on the Sea-Dayak 
character, but against this it can be said to their credit that 
they are free from cruelty, and never torture a captive as do 
the Kayans and other tribes. They are kindly to their 
captives, and treat them as members of the family ; and 
they were a peaceable people before they were led astray 
by the half-bred Arabs and the Malays. 

The Sea-Dayaks are the collectors of jungle produce, in 
search of which they go on expeditions far into the interior 
— to Sumatra, the Malayan States, and North Borneo — and 
are away for months at a time. 

The Dayak custom of head-hunting is founded on the 
same principle as that of scalp-hunting among the North- 
American Indians. A young man formerly found it difficult 
to obtain a wife till he had got at least one head to present 

shame, particularly in cases of an unmarried woman, when enceinte, being unable to 
prove to the tribe who the father of her child is. A whole family has been known to 
poison themselves to escape the consequences and disgrace which would have befallen 
them owing to one of them having been the accidental cause of a long communal 
house being destroyed by fire. Suicide is invariably committed by eating the 
poisonous root of the tuba plant, derris elliptica. 

1 The worst on record in Sarawak was committed in 1894 by a half-bred 
Chinaman ( his mother was a Segalang, and he was brought up as one) at Seduan 
village, three miles from Sibu, in the Rejang. This man, who had just been dis- 
charged from jail, arose in the middle of the night, and speared or cut down all the in- 
mates of the house — thirteen women and children, of whom only two or three survived. 
He was shot by Mr. Q. A. Buck, then the Resident at Sibu (joined 1874, retired 1899), 
who was quickly on the spot, and was the means of preventing a further loss of life. 



to the object of his heart as token of his prowess ; but it 
was quite immaterial whether the head was that of man 
or woman, of old or young. If a Dayak had lost a near 
relative it became his duty to obtain a head, for until this 
was accomplished, and a head feast had been given, the 
family must remain in mourning, and the departed relative 

would have no attendant in 
Sembayan (the shades) ; and so 
in the event of a chief dying 
it was incumbent upon the 
warriors of the tribe to procure 
one or more heads, in order that 
his spirit should be properly 
attended by the spirits of those 
sacrificed in his honour. Thus 
head-hunting became more or 
less a natural instinct, and an 
obligatory duty. 

The ancient Chinese jars, 1 
held in great esteem among the 
natives, and very highly prized, 
being supposed to be possessed 
of supernatural powers and heal- 
ing virtues,' 2 are of various kinds 
and value. The Gusi is the 
most valued, and is treated with 
great care and veneration, and 
stands about eighteen inches 
high. Then comes the Lingka, 
then the Benaga, 3 about two 
feet high, ornamented with the 
Chinese dragon. The Rusa 4 is the least valued. From 
a note made in 1890 these are the lowest prices they 
fetch — Gusi tuak, <$'iooo ; Gusi bulan, $700 ; Gusi chenda- 

1 The Sea-Dayaks say that they were constructed by the gods when they made the 
*ky, out of a small surplus of the blue. 

2 St. John, op. cit. , mentions that the late Sultan Mumin of Bruni had an ancient 
jar which was reputed to be able to speak, and that it moaned sorrowfully the night 
lx:fore his first wife died. He refused ^2000 for it. 

fa, a dragon ; benaga, having a dragon. 
4 Meaning a deer in Malay and Sea-Davak. 



num, 'S'500 ; Galagiau, $400; Lingka, 6*310; Rusa, 6*150, 
In 1890 Sy =£1. These jars are all brown in colour. The 
Dayaks and Kayans possess a few fine blue and white, and 
pink and white, old Chinese jars, some over five feet in 

About forty years ago an enterprising Chinese petty 
dealer took samples of the jars to China and had clever 
imitations made. He realised a large sum by the sale, and 
started as a merchant on a large scale, grew rich, waxed fat, 
and became the leading and wealthiest Chinese merchant 
in Kuching. The Malays are clever in " faking " jars, 
especially such as are cracked, but the Dayaks are not now 
to be deceived by them. 

The Dayak village, like those of all interior tribes, is a 
communal establishment. It does not consist of separate 
huts occupied by any one family, but of large common halls 
on platforms, sometimes 800 ft. long, upon which the dwell- 
ing-rooms abut. They are constructed of wood, and are 
supported on poles sometimes 20 ft. to 40 ft. above the 
ground, the poles being from 6 to 1 8 inches in diameter. 
The largest will contain some 300 people. The following is 
a description of the Dayak village ol Tunggang from the 
late Rajah's journal : — 

Tunyang 1 stands on the left hand (going up) close to the 
margin of the stream, and was enclosed by a slight stockade. 
Within this defence there was one enormous house for the whole 
population. The exterior of the defence between it and the river 
was occupied by sheds for prahus (boats), and at each extremity 
were one or two houses belonging to Malay residents. 

The common habitation, as rude as it is enormous, measures 
594 ft. in length, and the front room or street is the entire length 
of the building, and 2 1 feet broad. The back part is divided by 
mat partitions into the private apartments of the various families, 
and of these there are forty-five separate doors leading from the 
public apartment. The widowers and the young unmarried men 
occupy the public room, as only those with wives are entitled to 
the advantage of a separate room. The floor of the edifice is raised 
twelve feet from the ground, and the means of ascent is by the trunk 
of a tree with notches cut in it — a most difficult, steep, and awkward 
ladder. In front is a terrace fifty feet broad, running partially along 

1 A misprint for "Tunggang." 


the front of the building, formed like the floors, of split bamboo. 
This platform, as well as the front room, besides the regular in- 
habitants, is the resort of dogs, birds, monkeys, and fowls, and 
presents a glorious scene of confusion and bustle. Here the 
ordinary occupations of domestic labour are carried on. There 
were 200 men, women, and children counted in the room, and in 
front, whilst we were there in the middle of the day ; and allowing 
for those who were abroad, or then in their own rooms, the whole 
community cannot be reckoned at less than 400 souls. The apart- 
ment of their chief is situated nearly in the centre of the building, 
and is larger than any other. In front of it nice mats were spread 
on the occasion of our visit, whilst over our heads dangled about 
thirty ghastly skulls, according to the custom of these people. 

The Malay is the latest immigrant. He is of mixed 
breed, and the link that holds the Malays together is religion, 
for they are Muhammedans, whereas the Kayans, Land and 
Sea-Dayaks, and other tribes, are pagans. To accept their 
own traditions, the Bruni Malays came from Johore, whereas 
the Sarawak Malays, like those of the Malay peninsula, came 
direct from the ancient kingdom of Menangkabau. Between 
them there is a very marked difference in language, character, 
and appearance. Whence the proto-Malay stock came is 
a moot point, but it may be of Mongolian origin, subse- 
quently blended with many other distinct ethnic types, such 
as the Arab and Hindu, and in the case of the Bornean 
Malay with the Indonesian peoples of their and the neigh- 
bouring islands. The Malays form the main population of 
Kuching, the capital, and of the towns Sadong, Simanggang, 
Kalaka, and Sibu. They have villages on the Lundu, Saribas, 
and lower Rejang, are scattered along the coast between 
Capes Datu and Sirik, and are to be found in the principal 
settlements beyond. The Malay has been very variously 
judged. The Malay Pangiran, or noble, was rapacious, 
cruel, and often cowardly. But he had a grace of manner, 
a courtesy, and hospitality that were pleasing as a varnish. 
The evil repute that the Malay has acquired has been due 
to his possession of power, and to his unscrupulous use of it 
to oppress the aboriginal races. But the Malay out of 
power is by no means an objectionable character. Sir 
James Brooke, the first Rajah, thus paints him : — 


The feeling of the Malay fostered by education is acute, and 
his passions are roused if shame be put upon him ; indeed the dread 
of shame amounts to a disease, and the evil is that it has taken a 
wrong direction, being more the dread of exposure or abuse, than 
shame or contrition for any offence. Like other Asiatics truth is 
a rare quality among them, and they have neither principle nor 
conscience when they have the means of oppressing an infidel. 

They are thus depicted by Mr. Horace St. John in a 
work somewhat ambitiously entitled, The Indian Archipelago, 
its History and present State, vol. ii. p. 267 (published 1853). 

Under the heading " Malays," we find the following : — 

The Malays are Mahomedans, living under the rule of the 
Prophet's descendants, a mongrel race of tyrants, gamblers, opium- 
smokers, pirates, and chiefs, who divide their time between cock- 
fighting, smoking, concubines, and collecting taxes. 

That Mr. Horace St. John had never been in the 
Archipelago to which his history relates, was doubtless a 
matter of little consequence to many of his home-staying 
contemporaries. Sir Spenser St. John, brother to the 
author of the above-quoted Indian Archipelago, etc., who 
certainly wrote from a long personal experience of the 
people and country, offers us in his Forests of the Far East 
an opinion on the character and conduct of the Malay from 
which every one who has lived amongst these people will find 
no important cause to differ. Sir Spenser writes : — 

The Malays are faithful to their relatives and devotedly 
attached to their children. Remarkably free from crimes, and 
when they are committed they generally arise from jealousy. Brave 
when well led, they inspire confidence in their commanders ; they 
are highly sensitive to dishonour, and tenacious as regards their 
conduct towards each other, and being remarkably polite in manner, 
they render agreeable all intercourse with them. Malays are 
generally accused of great idleness, and in some sense they deserve 
it ; they do not like continuous work, but they do enough to 
support themselves and families in comfort, and real poverty is 
unknown among them. 

The author here refers to the Malays of Sarawak. 

Sir W. H. Treacher, 1 who knows the Malay intimately, 

1 Late Resident-General of the Federated Malay States. 


paints him in favourable colours, now that he is restrained 
from tyrannising over the weak. He says : — 

I am frequently asked if treachery is not one of their 
characteristics, and I unhesitatingly answer No. This particular 
misconception was probably initiated by the original merchant- 
adventurers, and we can imagine what a reception a body of 
strange, uninvited, white infidels would receive at the hands of 
Mahomedan Malays, whose system of warfare, taking its rise from 
the nature of the thickly jungle-covered country they inhabit, is 
adapted more for ambuscade than for fighting at close quarters. 
Add to that, being Mahomedans, they were by their religion 
justified in indulging in piracy and murder where the victims 
were infidels. The Malay is possessed of at least as much passive 
courage as the average Englishman, and is probably less troubled 
by the fear of death and the hereafter than many Christians. 

On the other hand I must admit that the Malay, owing to his 
environment — the balmy climate making no severe calls upon him 
in the matters either of food, artificial warmth, or clothing, has not 
the bustling energy of the white man, nor the greed for amassing 
wealth of the Chinaman, nor does he believe in putting forth 
unnecessary energy for a problematical gain ; he is like the English 
tramp who was always willing — that is, to look on at other people 
working, or like that one who complained that he was an unfor- 
tunate medium, too light for heavy work, and too heavy for light 

The natural savagery of the Malay continually threatens 
to break out, and not infrequently does so in the form of 
the amok (running amuck), the national Malay method of 
committing suicide. 

Apart from this tendency, when under control the 
Malay character has much in common with the Mongol, 
being, under ordinary circumstances, gentle, peaceable, 
obedient, and loyal, but at the same time proud and 
sensitive, and with strangers suspicious and reserved. 

The Malays can be faithful and trustworthy, and they 
are active and clever. Serious crime among them is not 
common now, nor is thieving. They have a bad propensity 
of running into debt, and obtaining advances under 
engagements which they never fulfil. They make good 
servants and valuable policemen. All the Government 
steamers are officered and manned throughout by Malays, 


and none could desire to have better crews. They are the 
principal fishermen and woodsmen. Morality is perhaps 
not a strong point with them, but drinking is exceptional, 
and gambling is not as prevalent as it was, nor do they 
indulge in opium smoking. 

With regard to the Chinaman, it will be well to let the 
present Rajah speak from his own experience. He says 
that — 

John Chinaman as a race are an excellent set of fellows, and 
a poor show would these Eastern countries make without their 
energetic presence. They combine many good, many dangerous, 
and it must be admitted, many bad qualities. They are given 
to be overbearing and insolent (unless severely kept down) nearly 
to as great a degree as Europeans of the rougher classes. They 
will cheat their neighbours and resort to all manner of deception 
on principle. But their redeeming qualities are comparative charit- 
ableness and liberality ; a fondness for improvements ; and, except 
in small mercantile affairs or minor trading transactions, they are 

They, in a few words, possess the wherewithal to be good 
fellows, and are more fit to be compared to Europeans than any 
other race of Easterns. 

They have been excluded as much as possible from gaining a 
footing in Batavia, 1 under the plea of their dangerous and usurious 
pursuits ; but the probability is that they would have raised an 
unpleasant antagonism in the question of competition in that 
country. The Chinaman would be equal to the Master, or White 
Man, if both worked fairly by the sweat of his brow. As for their 
usury, it is not of so dangerous a character as that which prevails 
among the Javanese and the natives. 

Upon my first arrival I was strongly possessed by the opinion 
that the Chinamen were all rascals and thieves — the character so 
generally attached to the whole race at home. But to be candid, 
and looking at both sides, I would as soon deal with a Chinese 
merchant in the East as with one who is European, and I believe 
the respectable class of Chinese to be equal in honesty and integrity 
to the white man. 

The Chinese may be nearly as troublesome a people to 
govern as Europeans, certainly not more so ; and their good 
qualities, in which they are not deficient, should be cherished and 
stimulated, while their bad ones are regulated by the discipline 
of the law under a just and liberal government. They are a people 

1 This was written in 1866. 


specially amenable to justice, and are happier under a stringent 
than a lenient system. 

Of the Chinese the Sarawak Gazette (November I, 1897) 
says : — 

The characteristics of this extraordinary people must at once 
strike the minds of the most superficial of European residents in the 
East. Their wonderful energy and capacity for work ; their power 
of accumulating wealth : their peculiar physical powers, which render 
them equally fertile, and their children equally vivacious, on the 
equator as in more temperate regions, and which enable them to rear 
a new race of natives under climatic conditions entirely different from 
those under which their forefathers were born, are facts with which 
we are all acquainted. Their mental endowments, too, are by no 
means to be despised, as nearly every year shows us, when the 
results of the examination for the Queen's Scholarship of the 
Straits Settlements are published, and some young Chinese boy 
departs for England to enter into educational competition with his 
European fellows. 

Chinese get on well with all natives, with whom they 
intermarry, the mixed offspring being a healthy and good- 
looking type. They form the merchant, trading, and artisan 
classes, and they are the only agriculturists and mine 
labourers of any worth. Without these people a tropical 
country would remain unaeveloped. 

The only census that appears to have been attempted in 
Sarawak was taken in 1871. Judging by the report that 
was published in the Gazette this census was made in a very 
imperfect manner. 1 Of the interior population it includes 
Sea-Dayaks, but no means were obtainable for ascertain- 
ing the numbers of Kayans, Kenyahs, and many other 
tribes that go to make up the population of the State. 
It makes no separate mention of the large coast popula- 
tion of the Melanaus, who were presumably lumped with the 

The census gives the following figures : — 

1 Vmongst Eastern people any attempts to make a systematic census is liable to 
In- misapprehended, and to give rise t<> a had feeling, and even to dangerous s> 
and tor tli.u reason ii" c< nsus has been made by the Government. This census was 
an approximation based upon the amount paid in direct taxation, such as head and 
door taxes, allowing an average of so many people to a family 



5 2 »5 1 9 






3 6 4 


Allowed for 

evasions and omissions 





Total 141,546 

The report concedes it was the generally received 
opinion that the population was nearer 200,000, and if we 
include the Kayans, Kenyahs, etc., and accept the approxi- 
mate correctness of the above figures, that estimate would be 
about correct. 

In 1 87 1, the State extended as far as Kedurong Point 
only, but since that the territorial area has been nearly 
doubled. The population is now estimated at 500,000, 
though this is probably too liberal a calculation, and the 
following is a fairer estimate : — 

Coast population, Malays and Melanaus . 100,000 

Interior population, Land and Sea - Dayaks, 

Kayans and Kenyahs . . . 250,000 

Interior population other than these . . 18,000 

Chinese population ..... 45,°°° 

Indians, Javanese, Bugis, etc. . . . 3>°°° 


The names by which the various tribes are known are 
those given to them by others, mostly by the coast people, 
or are taken from the name of the river on which they reside, 
or from which they came. Daya (as it should be spelt, and 
as it is pronounced) in the Melanau and Bruni Malay dialect 
means " land," " in-land." So we have Orang daya, an in- 
lander. Ka-daya-au is contracted into Kayan ; Ukit and 
Bukitan are from the Malay word bukit — a hill ; and tan- 
Jong is the Malay for a cape or a point round which a river 
sweeps. Hence Orang Ukit or Bukitan, a hill-man, 1 and 
Orang Tanjong, riverside people. 

1 And so Orang- Murut means a hill-man, mttrut, or more correctly murud, mean- 
ing a hill — bulud in Suite. 



As in ancient Germany the districts were known by the 
names of the rivers that watered them, and each was agau, so 
it is in Borneo, where the rivers are the roads of communica- 
tion, and give their names to the districts and to the people 
that inhabit them. Indeed, in Borneo one can see precisely 
at this day what was the ancient Gan-verfassung in the 
German Empire. 

The area of Sarawak is about 50,000 square miles, and 
the coast line about 500 miles. 

The climate is hot and humid ; it is especially moist 
during the X.E. monsoon, and less so during the S.W. 
monsoon. The former commences and the latter ends some- 
times early and sometimes late in October, and in April the 
seasons again change. The months of most rain are 
December, January, and February ; from February the rain- 
fall decreases until July, the month of least rain, and 
increases gradually after that month. The average yearly 
rainfall is 160 inches. The maximum in any one year, 
225.95 inches, was recorded in 1SS2, and the minimum 
102.4 in 18S8. The heaviest rainfall for one month, 69.25 
inches, occurred in January, 1881, and the least, .66 inches, 
in August, 1877. The most in one day was 15.3 inches on 
February 8, 1876. Rain falls on an average 226 days in 
the year. These notes are taken from observations made in 
Kuching extending over thirty years. 1 At Sibu, the average 
rainfall for five years was 116 inches, at Baram 92 inches, 
and at Trusan 167 inches. Except in the sun at mid-day 
and during the early hours of the afternoon the heat is hardly 
ever oppressive, and the mornings, evenings and nights arc 
generally cool. In 1906, the maximum average tempera- 
ture was 91 .6, and the minimum 71 .2 Fahrenheit; the 
highest reading was 94 in May, and the lowest 69 .6 in 
July. 2 

In few countries are thunderstorms more severe than in 
Borneo, but deaths from lightning are not very common, and 
hail falls so rarely that when it does fall it is an awe-inspiring 
object to some natives. Archdeacon Perham records that 

1 Mr. I. Hewitt, B.A., Curator of the Sarawak Museum in th< 
February 2, 1906. 

2 Kuching Observatory. 



during a very severe hailstorm in 1874 some Dayaks col- 
lected the hailstones under the impression that they were 
rare charms, whilst others fled from their house, believing that 
everybody and everything in it would be turned into a 
petrified rock, a woeful monument to future generations. To 
avert this catastrophe they boiled the hailstones and burnt 
locks of their hair. 1 

1 The Sarawak Gazette. 





ORNEO was known 
to the Arabs many 
centuries ago, and 
Sinbad the Sailor 
was fabled to have 
visited the island. It 
was then imagined 
that a ship might be 
freighted there with 
pearls, gold, camphor, 
gums, perfumed oils, 
spices, and gems, and 
this was not far from the 

When Genghis Khan 
conquered China, and 
founded his mighty Mogul 
Empire (1206-27), it is possible that 
he extended his rule over Borneo, 
where Chinese had already settled. 
Kublai Khan is said to have invaded 
Borneo with a large force in 1292 ; 


and that a Chinese province was subsequently established in 
northern Borneo, in which the Sulu islands were included, 
is evidenced by Bruni and Sulu traditions. The Celestials 
have left their traces in the name of Kina Balu (the Chinese 
Widow) given to the noble peak in the north of the island, 1 
and of the rivers Kina-batangan (the Chinese river) and 
Kina-bangun on the east coast of Borneo, and certain jars, 
mentioned in chapter I. p. 26, ornamented with the royal 
dragon of China, are treasured as heirlooms by the Dayaks. 
At Santubong, at the mouth of the Sarawak river, Chinese 
coins dating back to B.C. 600 and 112, and from A.D. 588 
and onwards, have been found, with many fragments of 
Chinese pottery. The name Santubong is itself Chinese, 
San-tu-bong, meaning the "King of the Jungle" in the 
Kheh dialect, and the " Mountain of wild pig " in the Hokien 

Besides the antique jars, the art of making which 
appears to have been lost, further evidence of an ancient 
Chinese trade may be found in the old and peculiar beads 
so treasured by the Kayans and Kenyahs. These are 
generally supposed to be Venetian, and to have been intro- 
duced by the Portuguese. Beccari (op. cit. p. 263) mentions 
that he had heard or read that the Malay word for a bead, 
manit (pronounced mancef), was a corruption of the Italian 
word moneta (money), which was used for glass beads at the 
time when the Venetians were the foremost traders in the 
world. But he points out " that the Venetians made their 
beads in imitation of the Chinese, who it appears had used 
them from the remotest times in their commercial transac- 
tions with the less civilized tribes of Southern Asia and the 
Malay islands." And it was by the Chinese these beads were 
probably introduced into Borneo ; manit is but the Sanskrit 
word tnani, meaning a bead." 

1 Named by the Spaniards Mount St. Paul according to Pigafetta. J. Hunt gives 
St. Peter's Mount in his Sketch of Borneo, 1812, and a map by Mercator published in 
about 1595 gives St. Pedro, and old maps of subsequent dates also give the latter name. 

2 But Mr. C. Vernon-Collins, of the Sarawak Civil Service, recently found a 
bead which has been pronounced at the British Museum to have been made in Venice 
prior to A.D. 1100. A similar one of the same date was presented by H.H. the 
Ranee to the British Museum some years ago. It is a bead highly esteemed by the 
K a vans. 


From the Kina-batangan river came the Chinese wife of 
Akhmed, the second Sultan of Bruni. She was the daughter 
of Ong Sum Ping, a Chinese envoy, and from her and Sultan 
Akhmed the Bruni sultans down to the present day, and 
for over twenty generations, trace their descent on the distaff 
side, for their daughter married the Arab Sherip Ali, who 
became Sultan in succession to his father-in-law, and they 
were the founders of the present dynasty. 1 Sulu chronicles 
contain the same legend ; and according to these Ong Sum 
Ping, or Ong Ti Ping, settled in the Kina-batangan A.D. 
1375. He was probably a governor in succession to 

The Hindu-Javan empire of Majapahit in Java certainly 
extended over Borneo, but it left there no such stately- 
temples and palaces as those that remain in Java, and the 
only reminiscences of the Hindu presence in Sarawak are 
the name of a god, Jewata,' 2 which lingers among the Dayaks, 
a mutilated stone bull, two carved stones like the lingams 
of the Hindus ; and at Santubong, on a large immovable rock 
situated up a small stream, is a rudely carved statue of a 
human figure nearly life-size, with outstretched arms, lying 
flat, face downwards, in an uncouth position, perhaps com- 
memorative of some crime. 3 

Santubong is at the eastern mouth of the Sarawak river, 
and is prettily situated just inside the entrance, and at the 
foot of the isolated peak bearing the same name, which rises 
boldly out of the sea to a height of some 3000 feet. This 
place, which apparently was once a Chinese, and then a 
Hindu-Javan colony, is now a small fishing hamlet only, 
with a few European bungalows, being the sea-side resort of 
Kuching ; close by are large cutch works. In ancient days, 
judging by the large quantity of slag that is to be seen here, 
iron must have been extensively mined. 

1 " Hook of the Descent,'' Sir Hugh Low. — Journal of the Straits Branch of the 
X.A.S., Xo. 5. 

- Jewata is the Land-Dayak name of a god from the Sanskrit word dewata 
divinity, deity, gods. The Sea-Dvaks also have Jewata in their mythology, likewise 
Batara, from the Sanskrit bhatar, holy ; neither means God, as some writers appear 
to think. The Dayaks have no idea of theism. 

3 The late Rajah has recorded a tradition of several of the Land-Dyak tribes that 
in the old times they were under the government of Java, and their tribute was 
regularly sent there. 



Recently some ancient and massive gold ornaments, 
seal rings, necklets, etc., were exposed by a landslip at the 
Limbang station, which have been pronounced to be of 
Hindu origin ; and ancient Hindu gold ornaments have 
been found at Santubong and up the Sarawak river. 

Bruni had been a powerful kingdom, and had conquered 
Luzon and the Sulu islands before it became a dependency 
of Majapahit, but at the time of the death of the last Batara 1 


of that kingdom, Bruni ceased to send tribute. The empire 
of Majapahit fell in 1478 2 before the Mussulman Malays. 
The origin of the Malays is shrouded in obscurity ; they are 
first heard of in Sumatra, in Menangkabau, 3 from whence 
they emigrated in A.D. 11 60 to Singapura, "the Lion city." 
They were attacked and expelled in 1252 by the princes 
of Majapahit, when they settled in Malacca. There they 
throve, and embraced the religion of Islam in 1276. 

1 The title assumed by the rulers of Majapahit, from " Bhatara," noted above. 

2 According to Crawfurd. Sir Stamford Raffles gives 1475. 

3 Formerly a monarchy whose jurisdiction comprehended all Sumatra, and whose 
sovereign was talked of with respect in the farthest parts of the East. — Marsden's 
History of Sumatra. 


From Sumatra and the Malay peninsula the Malays 
continued to spread, and gradually to establish sultanates 
and states under them. The process by which this was 
effected was seldom by conquest, but by the peaceful 
immigration of a few families who settled on some 
unoccupied part of the coast within the mouth of a river. 
Then, in the course of time, they increased and spread to 
neighbouring rivers, and formed a state. By subjecting the 
aboriginal tribes of the interior, and by compulsion or con- 
sent, including weaker Malayan states of like origin, by 
degrees some of these states expanded into powerful 
sultanates with feudal princes under them. 

So the Malayan kingdoms arose and gained power ; and 
strengthened by the spirit of cohesion which their religion 
gave them, they finally overthrew the Hindu-Javan empire 
of Majapahit. 

In Borneo there were sultans at Bruni, Sambas, 
Banjermasin, Koti, Belungan, Pasir, Tanjong, Berau, and 
Pontianak, and other small states under pangirans and 

Exaggerated accounts of the " sweet riches of Borneo" 
had led the early Portuguese, Dutch, and English voyagers to 
regard the island, the Insula Bona; Fortunas of Ptolemy, as 
the El dorado of the Eastern Archipelago ; but these in turn 
found out their error, and, directing their attention to the 
more profitable islands in its neighbourhood, almost forsook 
Borneo until later years. 

The Spaniards appear to have been the first Europeans 
to visit the island, as they were the first to make the voyage 
round the world, and to find the way to the Archipelago from 
the east, a feat which caused the Portuguese much un- 
easiness. They touched at Bruni in I 52 1, and Pigafetta says 
that there were then 25,000 families in the city, which on a 
low computation would give the population at 100,000 ; and 
he gives a glowing account of its prosperity. The Portuguese, 
under the infamous Jorge de Menezes, followed in 1 526, and 
they were there again in 1 530. They confirm Pigafetta as to 
the flourishing condition of the place. From 1 5 30 the 
Portuguese kept up a regular intercourse with Bruni from 


Malacca, which the great Alfonso d'Albuquerque had 
conquered in 151 I, until they were expelled from that 
place by the Dutch in 1641. Then they diverted the trade, 
which was chiefly in pepper, to their settlement at Macao, 
where they had placed a Factory in 1557, and from whence 
a Roman Catholic mission was established at Bruni by Fr. 
Antonio di Ventimiglia, who died there in 169 1. It seems 
certain they had a Factory at Bruni, probably for a short 
time only, in the seventeenth century, though it is impossible 
now to do more than conjecture the date ; but that they 
continued their trade with Bruni up to the close of the 
eighteenth century appears to be without doubt ; and also 
that they had a Factory at Sambas out of which they were 
driven by the Dutch in 1609. On Mercator's map, alluded 
to in the first footnote of this chapter, are the words 
" Lave donde foy" Don Manuel de Lima," or Lave where 
Don Manuel of Lima 1 resided. Lave is Mempawa, some- 
times spelt Mempava in recent English maps, a place 
between Sambas and Pontianak — so the Portuguese 
were even farther south than Sambas in the sixteenth 

In 1565, the Spanish took possession of the Philippines, 
conquered Manila in 1 571, and, five years later, according to 
both Spanish and Bruni records, were taking an active 
interest in Bruni affairs, which, however, does not appear to 
have lasted for long. In 1576, Saif ul Rejal was Sultan. 
In the Bruni records 2 it is stated that a noble named Buong 
Manis, whose title was Pangiran Sri Lela (Sirela in the 
Spanish records), was goaded into rebellion by the Sultan's 
brother, Rajah Sakam, by the abduction of his daughter on 
the day of her wedding. To gain a footing in Bruni the 
Spaniards took advantage of this, and Don Francisco La 
Sande, the second Governor of the Philippines, conquered 
Bruni, and set Sri Lela on the throne. Four years later the 
Spaniards again had occasion to support their prottgi with an 
armed force ; but it ended in the rightful Sultan being 
restored through the efforts of the Rajah Sakam, aided by a 

1 Lima is a small town on the north coast of Portugal. 
2 Sir Hugh Low, Book of the Descent, op. cit. 


Portuguese, who had become a Bruni pangiran, 1 and the 
usurper taking refuge in the Belait, where he was slain. To 
close the history, so far as it is known to us, of the Spanish 
connection with Bruni, in 1645, in retaliation for piracies 
committed on the coasts of their colonies, the Spanish sent 
an expeditionary force to punish Bruni, which it appears was 
very effectually done. 

The first Dutchman to visit Bruni was Olivier Van Noort, 
in 1600. He seems to have been impressed by the polite- 
ness and civility of the Bruni nobles, but, fortunately for him- 
self, not to the extent of trusting them too much, for treachery 
was attempted. Nine years later, as we have noticed, the 
Portuguese had to make room for the Dutch at Sambas, and 
here the latter established a Factory, which was, however, 
abandoned in 1623. T ne y returned to this part of Borneo 
in 1778, and established Factories at Pontianak, Landak, 
Mempawa, and Sukadana, but these proving unprofitable were 
abandoned in 1791. In 181 8, an armed force was sent to 
re-establish these Factories, two years after Java had been 
restored to Holland by England, and from these, including 
Sambas, the Dutch Residency of Western Borneo has 

A certain Captain Cowley appears to have been the first 
Englishman, of whom we know anything, to visit Borneo, or 
at least that part of it with which this history deals, and in 
1665 he spent some little time at "a small island which lay 
near the north end of Borneo," - but he did not visit the main- 
land ; perhaps, however, he may not have been the first. As 
far back as 16 12, Sir Henry Middleton projected a voyage 
to Borneo. He died at Bantam in Java, where the East 
India Company had established a Factory in 1603, but it was 
not until 1682 that the Dutch expelled the English from 
that place, and from thence to Borneo is too simple an 
adventure not to have been attempted and accomplished by 
the daring old sea-dogs of those days. According to 
Dampier, a Captain Bowry was in Borneo in 1686 ; 3 some 
English were captured by the Dutch when they took Suka- 

' See note 2, p. 45. 

' 2 A Collection i'f Voyages, 1739, Dampier. 

;l Idem. 


dana in 1687 ; and there were probably others there before, 
but no settlement on the north and north-western shores was 
effected by the English until 1773, when the East India 
Company formed a settlement at Balambangan, an island 
north of Marudu Bay, the same probably as that on which 
Captain Cowley had stayed. This settlement, however, was 
but short lived, for in February 1775 it was attacked by a 
small force of Sulus and Lanuns led by a cousin of the 
Sultan of Sulu, Datu Teting. The garrison of English and 
Bugis was more than sufficient to have repelled the attack, 
but they were taken completely by surprise ; the Resident 
and the few settlers managed to escape in what vessels 
they could find. 1 A number of cannon and muskets, and 
considerable booty, fell into the hands of the raiders. The 
motive for this act was revenge ; the English had behaved 
badly to the natives of the neighbouring islands, and Datu 
Teting had himself suffered the indignity of being placed in 
the stocks when on a visit to the settlement. The Company 
had established a Factory at Bruni as well, having obtained 
from the Sultan the monopoly of the pepper trade, and to 
this Factory the survivors retired, but some settled on the 
island of Labuan, where they made a village. In 1803, 
the Company again established themselves at Balambangan, 
but after a short occupation abandoned the island, together 
with the Factory at Bruni. No punishment followed Datu 
Teting's act, and British prestige in northern Borneo was 

This is briefly the whole history of British enterprise in 
that part of Borneo lying north of the equator, and it reflects 
little credit on the part played by our countrymen in Eastern 
affairs in those days. 

We have shown that Bruni early in the fourteenth 
century possessed a population of at least 100,000. Accord- 
ing to Sir Hugh Low, two hundred years after Pigafetta's 
visit, the population was estimated at 40,000, with a Chinese 
population in its neighbourhood of 30,000. engaged in plant- 
ing pepper. 2 In 1809, tne city had shrunk to 3000 houses 

1 Forrest's Voyage to New Guinea, 1779- 
2 Sarawak, Hugh Low, 1848. 


with a population of 15,00c 1 In 1847, Low placed the 
population at 1 2,000 ; the Chinese had then disappeared, 
excepting a few who had been reduced to slaver)-. The 
population, still diminishing, is now under 8000. 

On the picturesque hills that surround the town are still 
to be found traces of thriving plantations which formerly 
existed there, and which extended for many miles into the 
interior. These have totally disappeared, with the population 
which cultivated them. In 1 29 1 , two centuries before the first 
European vessel rounded the Cape, 2 Ser Marco Polo visited 
the Archipelago. He gives us the first narrative we possess 
of the Chinese junk trade to the westward, and mentions a 
great and profitable traffic carried on by the Chinese with 
Borneo, 3 and this trade throve for many years afterwards ; 
even in 1776 the commerce with China was considerable, 4 
though then it must have been declining, for it had ceased 
before the close of that century. Hunt records that in his 
time there were still to be seen at Bruni old docks capable 
of berthing vessels of from 500-600 tons. Xow the most 
striking feature of the place is its profound poverty. 
Nothing remains of its past glory and prosperity but its 
ancient dynasty. 

Sir Hugh Low tells us that these old Malay kingdoms 
appear to have risen to their zenith of power and prosperity 
two hundred years after their conversion to Islam, and then 
their decline commenced, but he should have added half a 
century to this epoch. The late Rajah was of opinion that 
perhaps the introduction of Muhammadanism may have been 
the cause of their deterioration. Two hundred and fifty years 
after the conversion of the Malays to Muhammadanism, and 
under the aegis of this religion, all the Malayan States 
attained their zenith. This period was coetaneous with the 
appearance of what may fairly be described as their wJiilc peril, 
and the introduction of Muhammadanism, a religion which 
Christians, in their ignorance of its true precepts, are too apt 
wholly to condemn, brought with it the pernicious sherips, 

1 Hum, op. cit. - I lias, in 1487. 

: " Antiquity of Chinese Track-," J. k. Logan in the Journal of the Indian Arch*- 

4 Forrest, op. cit. 


the pests of the Archipelago. The decay of the old Malayan 
kingdoms was due primarily to the rapacious and oppressive 
policy adopted by Europeans in their early dealings with 
these States, which was continued in a more modified form 
until within recent times. How this was brought about, and 
how the sherips contributed to it, is in the sequel. 

Prior to the advent of the late Rajah in 1838, Sarawak 
appears to have attracted no attention, except that Gonsavo 
Pereira, who made the second Portuguese visit to Bruni in 
1530, says that Lave (Mempawa), Tanjapura (which cannot 
be identified), and Cerava (Sarawak) were the principal ports, 
and contained many wealthy merchants ; and Valentyn 
relates that in 1609 the Dutch found that Calca (Kalaka), 
Saribas, and Melanugo had fallen away from Borneo (Bruni) 
and placed themselves under the power of the king of 
Johore. 1 Melanugo is also difficult to identify, but it may 
be that a transcriptive error has crept in somewhere, and 
that it refers to the Malanau districts beyond Kalaka. 2 

The Sarawak Malays claim their origin from the ancient 
Kingdom of Menangkabau in Sumatra. Fifteen generations 
back, one Datu Undi, whose title was Rajah Jarom, a prince 
of the royal house of Menangkabau, emigrated with his people 
to Borneo, and settled on the Sarawak river. This prince 
had seven children, the eldest being a daughter, the Datu 
Permisuri. 3 She married a royal prince of Java (this was 
after the downfall of Majapahit), and from them in a direct 
line came the Datu Patinggi Ali, of whom more will be 

1 Logan, op. cit. 

- Mercator's map gives Melano, which confirms this supposition. Other places on 
the Sarawak coast mentioned in this map are Tamaio-baio, Barulo (Bintulu), Pucha- 
varao (Muka), Tamenacrim, and Tamaratos. The first and two last cannot be 
identified. Tama is of course for tanah, land, and the last name simply means in 
Malay, the land of hundreds — of many people, which the first name may also imply. 
Varao being man in Spanish and Portuguese, Puchavarao means the place of the 
Pucha (Muka) people — Pucha also being a transcriber's error for Puka. It was near 
this place that the Portuguese captain, who afterwards became a Rruni pangiran 
(p. 42) was wrecked, and also near this place on Cape Sirik, a poini which is con- 
tinually advancing seaward, that some forty to fifty years ago the remains of a wreck 
were discovered a considerable distance from the sea, and so must have belonged to 
a ship wrecked many years before. When Rentap's stronghold in the Saribas was 
captured by the present Rajah in 1861, an old iron cannon dated 1515 was found 
there. Traditions exist pointing to wrecks and to the existence of hidden treasure at 
two or three places along the coast. 

:! Meaning queen-consort. 


noticed in the sequel, and the lineage is now represented by 
his grandson, the present Datu Bandar of Sarawak. 

The Datu Permisuri remained in Sarawak. Rajah 
Jarom's eldest son established himself in the Saribas ; his 
third son in the Samarahan ; the fourth in the Rejang ; ' and 
the fifth up the right-hand branch of the Sarawak, from 
whence his people spread into the Sadong. These settle- 
ments increased within their original limits, but were not 
extended beyond the Rejang. 

Beyond this the Malays of Sarawak know little ; but 
that these settlements must have early succumbed to the 
rising power of Bruni is evident. But it is also evident that 
after that power had commenced to wane, its hold over 
Sarawak gradually weakened until it became merely nominal. 
In 1609, the year they established themselves at Sambas, 
the Dutch found that these districts had fallen away from 
Bruni, as we have noticed. There may have been, and 
probably were, spasmodic assertions of authority on the part 
of Bruni, but it seems fairly evident that the Sarawak Malays 
managed to maintain an independence more or less complete 
for many years, up to within a very short period of the late 
Rajah's arrival, and then they had placed themselves again 
under the sovereignty of the Sultan, only to be almost 
immediately driven into rebellion by Pangiran Makota, the 
Sultan's first and last governor of Sarawak. 

Just a century after the Portuguese had shown the way, 
and had won for their king the haughty title of " Lord of 
the Navigation and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, 
and India," the English and the Dutch appeared in the 
Archipelago. The latter under Houtman, who had learnt 
the way from the Portuguese under whom he had served, were 
the first, in I 595, if we exclude Drake, I 578, and Cavendish, 
ten years later, and both merely passed through the southern 
portion of the Archipelago on their way home on their 
voyages round the world. 

During the seventeeth century the English confined their 
energies to buccaneering and trading, and established only 
two Factories, at Bantam 1603, and at Bencoolen 1685. The 

1 Probably the Kalaka ; the Malays in the Rejang came from that river. 


Dutch went in for conquest, established themselves strongly 
at Jakatra, renamed by them Batavia, in 161 1, and then pro- 
ceeded to drive the Portuguese out of their settlements. The 
power of Portugal had been humbled by Spain, and the 
courageous spirit of the old conquistadores had departed. One 
by one her settlements were wrested from her, and by the end 
of the century Holland was paramount in the Archipelago. 
Beyond one or two abortive descents upon Luzon, one, prob- 
ably the last, under the famous Tasman, the Dutch had left 
the Spaniards undisturbed in the Philippines, but to the 
English was left Bencoolen only, Bantam having been taken 
away from them in 1682, and to the Portuguese a portion 
of the island of Timor. 

During the latter half of the eighteenth century com- 
menced the rise of Great Britain as a political power in the 
Malayan Peninsula and Archipelago. In 1760, her only 
settlements, those on the western coast of Sumatra, had 
been destroyed by the French, but these were re-established 
in 1763, and Becoolen was fortified. In 1786, the colony 
at Penang (Prince Edward's island) was established ; and nine 
years later Malacca was captured from the Dutch. 

Early in the nineteenth century came the temporary 
downfall of Holland. In 181 1, Java was taken by the 
British, and the Dutch settlements and dependencies passed 
into their hands, though these were soon to be restored. 
After subjugating the independent princes of the interior and 
introducing order throughout Java, which the Dutch had so 
far failed to accomplish, all her possessions in the Archipelago 
were restored to Holland in 18 16 ; and in 1825 Bencoolen 
was exchanged for Malacca. Singapore was founded in 1 8 1 9. 

In Borneo south of the equator, excepting Sukadana, 
which has already been mentioned, Banjermasin had been 
the only country to attract attention, and in this formerly 
rich pepper country the Dutch and English were alternately 
established. As early as 1606, the former, with disastrous 
results, attempted to establish a Factory there, and after that 
experience they appear to have left the place severely alone, 
and the Banjers were free of the white peril for another 
century. Then, in 1 702, the East India Company established 


a Factory there. As this venture is an interesting illustra- 
tion of the methods adopted by the English, and an example 
of their common misconduct and mismanagement, we give a 
few particulars. The old Dutch chronicler, Yalentyn, tells 
us how the Factor, Captain Moor, who lived in a house 
constructed on a raft, with only a wretched earth rampart 
ashore, and a handful of English and Bugis (of the Celebes) 
soldiers, laid a heavy hand on the people, but managed to 
hold his own, until in 1706 a Captain Barry commenced 
building a proper fort, but he died before it was completed. 
Then a surgeon, who was more interested in natural history 
than anything else, became Factor. The aggression of the 
English increased, and the Sultan drove them out with the 
loss of many men and two ships. Captain Beeckman, of 
the H.E.I. Company's service, who was there in 17 13, 
ascertained that Captain Barry had been poisoned, and he 
tells us so hateful had their servants rendered the name of 
the Company to the Banjereens that he had to pretend his 
ships were private traders. They had promised the Sultan 
to build no forts nor make soldiers. They grossly ill-treated, 
and even murdered the natives, imposed duties, and finally 
insulted the Sultan, and attempted to capture the queen- 
mother. The English, taken by the natives, including a 
Captain Cockburn, were put to a cruel death. 1 

Then came the Dutch once more, in 1747. They left in 
1 8 10, and the Sultan then petitioned the English to settle 
there again. This was done, but, simultaneously with their 
evacuation of Java, the English retired from Banjermasin, and 
it was transferred to the Dutch, who shortly afterwards re- 
established their old stations in western Borneo up to Sambas. 

The Dutch continued to extend their influence, till, in 
process of time, they had acquired control over two-thirds of 
the island. 

Necessarily this is but a brief summary of the political 
history of Borneo, and of the countries adjacent to it up to the 
time when commences our story of the north-western portion 
of the island, but it may be deemed sufficient to afford the 
reader a clearer insight into the narrative that follows 
1 ./ Voyage to und from the Island of Borneo, 17 18. 



The system of trade adopted by the Dutch, following in 
the footsteps of the Portuguese, was bad. Each in turn 
made of trade a monopoly, excluding the vessels of every 
other nation. Such produce of the country as was suitable 
for the Chinese market had to be sent first to one of their 
own depots, thence to be transhipped to China, and all direct 
intercourse with China was checked. This cessation of 
direct trade affected the prosperity of the ports, among others 
Bruni, in a variety of ways. First, by the circuitous direction 
of the trade the exports became too expensive to fetch the 
cost of the double carriage, and in course of time dwindled 
to nothing. In the next place, the cessation of immediate 
intercourse w r ith China arrested the flow of immigrants, hard- 
working and frugal men, who would have exploited the 
industries and natural products of the island. A third, and 
that the most serious effect of all, as a result of the extinction 
of honest trade and internal development, was the encourage- 
ment given to piracy. The sultans and rajahs were unable 
to maintain their state, and the people to satisfy their require- 
ments by just means, and so commenced to live by piracy. 
So long as immediate requirements were satisfied by this 
means, they gave no thought to the morrow ; it did not 
occur to them, or they were too ignorant to consider, that 
they were pulling up by the roots that on which the future 
prosperity of their countries depended. 

" The Dutch had no sooner established themselves at 
Batavia than, not satisfied with transferring to it the em- 
porium of Bantam, they conceived the idea of making it the 
sole and only depot of the commerce of the Archipelago. . . . 
The destruction of the native trade of the Archipelago by 
this withering policy may be considered as the origin of 
many of the evils and of all the piracies of which we now 
complain. A maritime and commercial people, suddenly 
deprived of all honest employment, or the means of respect- 
able subsistence, either sunk into apathy and indolence, or ex- 
pended their natural energies in piratical attempts to recover 
by force and plunder what they had been deprived of by 
policy and fraud." So wrote Sir Stamford Raffles in 1821. 

That bold, old west-country buccaneer, and erstwhile 



captain of the King's Navy, William Dampier, who besides 
being a shrewd fighter and trader, appears to have been 
equally as shrewd an observer, draws a sad picture of the 
degradation of flourishing states under the grinding power of 
the Dutch. He relates that the natives had ever been will- 
ing to trade with all nations, but the Dutch East India 
Company not only monopolised all the trade of those 
countries under their immediate control, but by means of 
their guard-ships prevented the adjacent countries trading 
with others than themselves, even with those of their own 
countrymen who were not connected with the Company, 
though they were not in a position to supply these countries 
with all the commodities their inhabitants needed, or to 
purchase or load all their produce. 1 The cultivation of 
pepper naturally declined," and in some places the natives 
were prevented planting more than the Company would 
require. So it was with spices. In October every year the 
Dutch would send a large force throughout the spice islands 
to destroy trees, so as to keep the production down, and small 
garrisons were scattered about, whose sole duty appears to 
have been to see that the cultivation of spices was restricted 
to the requirements of the Dutch alone. 3 

" The people, though they are Malayans, yet they are civil 
enough, engaged thereto by trade ; for the more trade the 
more civility ; and, on the contrary, the less trade the more 
barbarity and inhumanity. For trade has a strong influence 
upon all people, who have found the sweet of it, bringing 
with it so many conveniences of life as it does. I find the 
Malayans in general are implacable enemies to the Dutch ; 
and all seems to spring from an earnest desire they have of a 
free trade, which is restrained by them where they have any 
power. But 'tis freedom only must be the means to en- 
courage any of these remote people to trade, — especially such 
of them as are industrious, and whose inclinations are bent 
this way, as most of the Malayans are. 

1 The Dutch confiscated all foreign ships they could seize found trading in the 
Archipelago without permission from them to do so. 

irneo and Sumatra were then the great pepper producing countries. 

:i Forrest, op. cit., confirms this, and adds " the Dutch forbid the natives to manu- 
facture cloth." 


" Where there is any trade to be had, yet not sufficient to 
maintain a Factory, or where there may not be a convenient 
place to build a fort, so as to secure the whole trade to 
themselves, they (the Dutch) send their guard-ships, which, 
lying at the mouth of the rivers, deter strangers from coming 
thither, and keep the petty princes in awe of them. This 
probably causes so many petty robberies and piracies as are 
committed by the Malayans. 

" Being thus provoked by the Dutch, and hindered of a 
free trade by their guard-ships, it is probable they therefore 
commit piracies themselves, or connive at and encourage 
those who do. So that the pirates seem to do it as much to 
revenge themselves on the Dutch for restraining their trade, 
as to gain this way what they cannot obtain in way of 

So wrote Dampier, and if we go on to seventy years ago, 
when Sir James Brooke commenced, unaided, that counter- 
move which resulted in the salvation of the northern part of 
Borneo from the then hurtful and narrow-minded rule of the 
Dutch, and to its being opened to British trade and influence, 
we learn from his own words " how the policy of the Dutch 
has at the present day reduced this ' Eden of the Eastern 
Wave ' to a state of anarchy and confusion, as repugnant to 
humanity as it is to commercial prosperity. . . It is the 
direct influence which it exerts that has proved baneful to 
the Archipelago under the assumed jurisdiction of this 
European power. Her unceasing interference in the concerns 
of the Malay governments and the watchful fomenting of 
their internal dissensions have gradually and effectually 
destroyed all rightful authority, and given rise to a number 
of petty states which thrive on piracy and fatten on the 
slave trade. The consequent disorganisation of society 
arising from these causes has placed a bar to commercial 
enterprise and personal adventure, and has probably acted on 
the interior tribes much in the same way as this fatal policy 
has affected the Malays. As far as can be ascertained, the 
financial and commercial concerns of the Dutch have not 
been prosperous ; it is easy to conceive such to be the case, 
as it will be conceded that oppression and prosperity cannot 


co-exist. In short, with the smallest amount of advantage, 
the Dutch Government has all along endeavoured to per- 
petuate an exclusive system, aiming more at injury to others 
than any advantage to themselves or to the nations under 
their sway ; for where an enlightened administration might 
have produced the most beneficial results, we are forced to 
deplore not only the mischief done and the mass of good 
neglected, but the misery and suffering inflicted on unhappy 
races, capable, as has been proved, of favourable develop- 
ment under other circumstances." 

In Borneo, as elsewhere, the Malays had for long 
been notorious pirates, but the Sea-Dayaks, only so far 
as consisted in spasmodic raids for the acquisition of 

The Malay governors, now under the influence of the 
Arab pseudo-sherips, diverted whole tribes of Dayaks from 
their peaceable avocations, and converted them into sea- 
robbers. The cultivation of their lands to produce saleable 
goods, for which there was now no sale, was abandoned, and 
fertile districts that had grown abundant crops were reduced 
to unprofitable jungle. 

But it was not only on trading vessels in the China seas 
that they were taught to prey. The Malay princes and 
nobles sent those tribes whom they had demoralised to 
ascend the rivers and plunder and exterminate the peaceful 
tribes in the interior. 

Among the tribes thus changed from an agricultural 
people into pirates were the Sekrang and the Saribas. 
When the Malay Muhammadan princes wanted slaves they 
summoned their Dayak nominal subjects to follow them, and 
led them against other tribes, either to harry the coasts 
or to penetrate up the rivers ravaging ; and then, from this 
first stage to a second, converted them into pirates w ho 
swept the seas, falling on trading vessels, murdering the crews, 
and appropriating the plunder. According to agreement the 
Malay princes received two-thirds of the spoil, and their 
Dayak subjects, whom they had trained to be pirates, were 
granted one-third of the plunder and all the heads they 
could take. 


About this head-hunting something has been said already, 
more will be said presently. As a Dayak said to a European, 
" You like books, we like heads." 

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, the Sultan 
of Bruni, Muadin, was constrained to call in the aid of his 
neighbour, the Sultan of Sulu, to quell an insurrection, and 
in consideration of this assistance ceded to him the land from 
the north as far as the Kimanis river. 

Sultan Abdul Mubin had murdered his uncle, Sultan 
Muhammad Ali, and usurped the throne. Pangiran Bongsu, 
under the title of Sultan Muadin, with the assistance of the 
Sulus, defeated Abdul Mubin, who was executed. Muham- 
mad Ali was murdered in 1662, and a war ensued that 
lasted about twelve years. 1 

The Spaniards attacked Sulu, captured the capital, and 
carried off the Sultan to Manila. When the English took 
Manila, under Sir William Draper in 1762, they released 
the Sultan Mumin, and he ceded the territory that had been 
granted to his predecessors by the Sultan of Bruni in or 
about 1674 to the East India Company, by deed signed in 
1763, in consideration of an engagement entered into by 
the Company to protect him from the Spaniards. 

Sultan Jemal ul Alam, of Bruni, who died in 1796, 
married Rajah Nur Alam, daughter of his uncle Sultan 
Khan Zul Alam, 21st Sultan of Bruni, by his first wife. By 
her he had one legitimate son, Omar Ali Saif Udin. The 
wife of Sultan Jemal had a full brother, Sri Banun Muda 
(usually called Rajah Api), and also half-brothers Hasim 
and Muhammad, sons of Khan Zul Alam by his second wife, 
and Bedrudin and two other sons by his third wife, a Lanun 
lady of rank. 

On the death of his grand-uncle, also grandfather, and 
predecessor, Khan Zul Alam, Omar Ali was but a child, and 
Rajah Api claimed the throne, under the title of Sultan 
Muhammad Alam, and there were years of trouble in Bruni. 
Sir Hugh Low describes him as a madman with the most 
cruel propensities, whence probably his nickname Api, 
which signifies " Fire." He treated his nephew with great 

1 Sir Hugh Low, op. cit. 


roughness, and often threatened him with a drawn sword, 
and Omar ran whimpering to his mother to complain. The 
prince's mother had long been jealous of the assumption of 
the sultanate by her brother, and, her son being almost 
imbecile, she hoped, by getting rid of Api, to exercise great 
power in the state. Accordingly, about the year 1828, she 
summoned those of her party and surrounded the residence 
of the Sultan Muhammad Alam, or Api, who finding him- 
self deserted escaped in a boat. His sister sent after him a 
pangiran, or noble, with professions of friendship, and this 
pangiran persuaded him to assume the disguise of a woman 
to facilitate his escape. Then he got him into a little skiff, 
and led him into an ambush, where he was ordered to be 
put to death. He received the intimation with firmness. 
" Observe," said he, " when you strangle me, on which side 
my body shall fall — if to the right it prognosticates good 
for Bruni, if to the left it foretells evil." The bow-string 
was twisted, and Api sank on his left side. As we shall see 
that omen proved true. 

Api's brother, Rajah Muda Hasim, an amiable, courteous, 
feeble man, was installed as Regent ; and some time later 
was sent to Sarawak, where a rebellion had broken out, 
caused by the exactions and cruelty of the Pangiran Makota, 
who had been appointed governor of Sarawak by the Sultan. 
Hasim found the whole district a prey to anarch}-, and those 
who should have reduced it to order were incompetent and too 
cowardly to fight. All he was able to do was to maintain 
a nominal sovereignty in the capital, Kuching. 

The Malays and Arabs being Muhammadans, looked 
down on the pagan Land-Dayaks, subject to their domina- 
tion, as mere bondsmen, to be slaughtered, fleeced, or en- 
slaved — to be treated, in a word, as their caprice dictated, 
without being taken to task for their misdeeds. The limit 
of their exactions was fixed by necessity. The point 
beyond which oppression ceased was that where nothing 
was left to be extorted. But over the Sea-Dayaks of 
Sekrang, Saribas, and Kanowit they had no power. These 
tribes were far too independent in character and powerful 
to submit to oppression. These Sea-Dayaks would follow 


their so-called masters on a piratical expedition, and would 
obey them only so far as it pleased themselves to do so. 
As to the Kayans, they were too greatly feared to be 
molested. The late Mr. H. B. Low 1 in 1879 was refused 
permission by the Sultan to cross into the Baram by the 
Limbang, for fear lest this should show the Kayans a way 
into Bruni. The Malay rulers oppressed their own people 
and the Melanaus almost as badly as they did the Land- 
Dayaks, murdering, robbing, and enslaving them. 

The Land-Dayaks in Sarawak were governed by local 
Malay datus called Patinggi, Bandar, and Temanggong. 
These officers monopolised the trade. When the Dayaks 
had collected rice, edible birds' nests, wax, etc., the 
Patinggi claimed the right to buy the produce at a price 
fixed by himself, and one that barely allowed the seller 
enough to pay for his own necessaries. And not only did 
the Patinggi claim the right of pre-emption, but so did all 
his relatives, and in the end so did every Bornean Malay of 
any position. If the poor Dayak did not produce sufficient 
to satisfy the Patinggi, girls and children were taken to 
make up the deficit and sold into slavery. 2 

He would sometimes send a bar of iron to a headman 
of a tribe, whether the latter wanted it or not, and require 
him to purchase it at an exorbitant price fixed by the 
sender. The man dared not refuse ; then another bar was 
sent, and again another, till the Dayak chief was reduced to 

If a Malay met a Dayak in his boat, and the boat 
pleased him, he would cut a notch in the gunwale in token 
that he appropriated it to his own use. Possibly enough 
some other Bornean Malay might fancy the same boat 
and cut another notch. This might occur several times. 
Then the Dayak was required to hand over his boat to the 
first who had marked it, and to indemnify the other 
claimants to the value of the vessel. 

1 Son of the late Sir Hugh Low, G.C. M.G. He served in the Sarawak Civil 
Service from 1869 to 1887, in which year he died. His knowledge of the natives, 
their languages, and customs, was unsurpassed. The notes he left formed the 
basis of Ling Roth's work, The Natives of Borneo, 1896. 

2 This was the serah, or forced trade formerly in force in all Malayan 
countries ; and it appears to be still so, in a modified form, in Sumatra. 


Any injury done, or pretended to have been done, how- 
ever accidentally, by a Dayak to a Malay, had to be paid 
for by a ruinous fine. There was no court of appeal, no 
possibility of redress. A Malay could always, and at any 
time, enter the house of a Dayak, and live there in free 
quarters as long as he pleased, insult or maltreat the wife 
and children of his unwilling host with impunity, and on 
leaving carry away with him any of the Dayak's property 
to which he had taken a fancy ; and, when the novelty of 
the possession wore off, force his late host to buy it back 
again at an extravagant price. But this was not all. When 
antimony was found, the unfortunate Land-Dayaks were 
driven to mine it at no wage at all, and their hard task- 
masters did not even trouble themselves to provide them 
with food. 1 The consequence was that many of them 
died, and others fled to the jungle. As one of them 
pathetically said, " We do not live like men ; we are like 
monkeys ; we are hunted from place to place. We have no 
houses, and when we light a fire we are in fear lest the 
smoke should betray to our enemies where we are." 

Of Dayaks there are, as already stated, two sorts, the 
Land-Dayak and the Sea-Dayak, the first of Indonesian, the 
second of proto-Malay stock. The former are a quiet, timid, 
industrious people, honest, and by no means lacking in 
intelligence, living on hill-tops to which they have fled from 
their oppressors ; the latter throve on piracy, having been 
brought to this by the Muhammadan Malays and the half- 
bred Arabs. But even among the Sea-Dayaks a few tribes 
had not been thus vitiated, and upon these the late Rajah 
could always rely for support. 

Their Malay masters furnished the Sea-Dayaks, whom they 
had converted into predatory savages, with ammunition and 
guns, and sent them either to sea to attack merchant vessels, 
or up the rivers to fall upon villages of peaceful tribes ; then 
the men were slaughtered, the women and children carried 
off into slavery. The villages were burnt, and by a refine- 
ment of cruelty the fruit trees cut down and standing crops 

1 The Sarawak Malays were also so forced to mine by Pangiran Makota, and 
this forced labour was one of the principal causes of the rebellion of 1836-40 against 
the Sultan's Government 


destroyed, from which the principal provision of the natives 
was gathered, so as to reduce to starvation those who had 
escaped into the jungle. Land-Dayak tribes that formerly 
had been numerous and prosperous were reduced to small 
numbers and to poverty. One that reckoned 230 families 
dwindled to 50. Three whole tribes were completely ex- 
terminated. One of 120 families was brought down to 
two, that is to say, of 960 persons only 16 were left. 
The population that had consisted of 1795 families, or, 
reckoning eight persons to each family, 14,360 souls, in ten 
years was reduced to 6792 souls showing a decrease in 
these ten years of 946 families, or of 7568 persons. On 
Sir James (then Mr.) Brooke's visit to the country in 1840, 
in converse with the chief of one of the native tribes, the 
man told him, " The Rajah takes from us whatever he wants, 
at whatever price he pleases, and the pangirans take what- 
ever they can get for no price at all," " At first," says Mr. 
Brooke, " the Dayak paid a small stated sum as an 
acknowledgment of vassalage, by degrees this became an 
arbitrary and unlimited taxation, and now, to consummate 
the iniquity, the entire tribes are pronounced slaves and 
liable to be disposed of." 

The natural result of such treatment was that those natives 
who escaped spoliation and slaughter fled up the country 
beyond reach of their persecutors. The depopulation from 
the same cause went on in the neighbourhood of Bruni as 
well as in Sarawak. Mr. Spenser St. John says in 1858 : 
" It is melancholy to see this fine district (Limbang), once 
well cultivated, now returning to jungle ; formerly where the 
population extended a hundred miles beyond the last village 
at present inhabited, the supply of provisions was ample at 
Bruni. Now that the natives are decreasing, while Bruni is 
perhaps as numerous as ever, the demands made by the 
nobles are too great even for the natives' forbearance, and in 
disgust they are gradually abandoning all garden cultivation. 
Already brushwood is taking the place of bananas and yams, 
so that few of either are to be had. The people say it is 
useless for them to plant for others to eat the whole produce. 
Then as the natives cannot furnish the supplies exacted of 


them by the pangirans, these latter take from them their 
children ; the lads are circumcised and made Mahomedans 
and slaves, and the girls are drafted into the already 
crowded harems of the rajahs." The same writer gives an 
instance or two of the manner in which the subject natives 
were treated. In 1855, the warlike Kayans of the interior 
descended the Limbang river and threatened a tribe of 
Muruts. The Pangiran Makota, 1 virtual governor of Bruni, 
met them and arranged with the chiefs that for the sum of 
.£700 they should spare these Muruts. Then he set those 
who were menaced to collect the money. When they had 
done this and placed the sum in his hands, he pocketed it 
and returned to Bruni, leaving the Kayans to deal with the 
tribe after their own sweet will. 

Again, in 1857, the same head-hunters threatened 
another Murut village. Makota had a secret interview with 
the Kayan chiefs, and then gave out that peace had been 
concluded. What he had actually done was to deliver over 
to them to pillage and exterminate the Murut village of 
Balal Ikan, against which he bore a grudge for having 
resisted his exactions. 

The whole of the north and west of Borneo was in a 
condition of indescribable wretchedness and hopelessness 
when Mr. James Brooke appeared on the scene. Oppression 
the most cruel and grinding, encouragement of piracy and 
head-hunting by the selfish, unscrupulous pangirans sent from 
Bruni, were depopulating the fair land. Sarawak, then a 
very small province, was, as we shall see, in insurrection. 
Single-handed, with but a comparatively small capital, the 
whole of which he sank in the country, with no support from 
the British Government, with no Chartered Company at his 
back, he devoted his life to transform what had become 
a hell into what it has become, a peaceful and happy 

1 This happened after this man had been banished by the late Rajah from 
Sarawak. See Chap. III. p. 87, for the fate he met and so richly merited. 




Taken from the Sclesilali (Book of the Descent), preserved 
in Bruni, by the late Sir Hugh Low, G.C.M.G. Published 
in the Journal No. 5 of the Straits Branch R.A.S. 

1. Sultan Mahomed, who introduced the religion of Islam. 

2. Sultan Akhmed, brother of above, married to the daughter 

of Ong Sum Ping, Chinese Raja of Kinabatangan. No 
sons, but one daughter married to — 

3. Sultan Berkat, from Taif in Arabia. A descendant of the 

prophet through his grandson Husin. Berkat, the blessed. 
His real name was Sherif Ali. 

4. Sultan Suleiman, son of above, who was succeeded by his 

son — 

5. Sultan Bulkeiah ; x towards the end of his reign Pigafetta's 

first visit to Bruni in 1521 probably took place. 

6. Sultan Abdul Kahar, son of above. Had forty-two sons, of 

whom — 

7. Saif-ul-Rejal succeeded him. During his reign the Spaniards 

attacked Bruni in 1576 and 1580, taking it on the 
second occasion. 

8. Sultan Shah Bruni, son of above. Having no children he 

abdicated in favour of his brother — 

9. Sultan Hasan, succeeded by his son. 

10. Sultan Abdul-Jalil-ul-Akbar, succeeded by his son. 

11. Sultan Abdul-Jalil-ul-Jehar, who was succeeded by his 

uncle — 

12. Sultan Mahomet Ali, son of Sultan Hasan. 

13. Sultan Abdul Mubin. Son of Sultan Mahomet Ali's sister. 

He murdered his uncle and usurped the throne. He 
was worsted in a revolution that lasted twelve years, and 
was executed. 

14. Sultan Muaddim, fourth son of Sultan Jalil-ul-Akbar, nephew 

and son-in-law of Sultan Mahomet Ali. Succeeded by 
his nephew (half-brother's son) — 

15. Sultan Nasr Addin, grandson of Sultan Jalil-ul-Akbar. 

16. Sultan Kemal-Addin, son of Sultan Mahomet Ali, who 

abdicated in favour of his son-in-law — 

1 Famous in Malay legends throughout the East as Xakoda Ragam, a renowned 
sea rover and conqueror. 


17. Sultan Mahomet Ali-Udin — on his father's side grandson ot 

Sultan Muaddin, on his mother's side great-great-grand- 
son of Sultan Jalil-ul-Akbar. He died before his father- 
in-law and great uncle, Sultan Kemal-Addin, who again 
ascended the throne and was succeeded by his son — 

18. Sultan Omar Ali Saif-udin. Died 1795. Succeeded by 

his son — 

19. Sultan TejAValden. Died 1807. He abdicated in favour 

of his son — 

20. Sultan Jemal-ul-Alam, who reigned for a few months only, 

and died in 1796, when his father reascended the throne 
and was succeeded in 1809 by his half-brother — 

21. Sultan Khan Zul-Alam, succeeded by his great-nephew and 

grandson — 

22. Sultan Omar Ali Saif-Udin, second son of Sultan Mahomed 

Jemal-ul-Alam. Died 1852. He left the throne, by will 
and general consent of the people, to 

23. Sultan Abdul Mumin, who was descended from Sultan 

Kemal-Addin. Died 1885, succeeded by 

24. Sultan Hasim-Jalilal Alam Akamaddin, son of Sultan Omar 

Ali Saif-udin. Died 1906. 

25. Sultan Mahomet Jemal-ul-Alam, son of above. 

The above are abridged extracts. The last two sultans 
were not included in Low's list, which was made in 1893. 
Low's spelling of the names is followed. 

Forrest, op. cit., who obtained his information from 
Mindanau records, states that about 1475 a Sherip Ali and 
his two brothers came from Mecca. Ali became the first 
Muhammadan prince in Mindanau ; one brother became 
King of Borneo (Bruni) and the other King of the Moluccas. 
As regards the date this agrees with the Bruni records, and 
the brothers might have borne the same name. (See 
Mahomet Ali, Omar Ali above.) 

According to Chinese records, a Chinese is said to have 
been King of Bruni in the beginning of the 1 5th century. 1 
This would have been in Ong Sum Ping's time, and it 
probably refers to him. 

1 W. I'. Groeneveldt, Essays relating to Indo-Ckina, 1887. 

(The picture at the end of this chapter is taken from exactly the same point of view . ) 



born at Benares on April 
29, 1803, and was the 
son of Thomas Brooke of 
the East India Company's 
Civil Service. He entered 
the Company's army in 
1 8 19, and took part in the 
first Burmese war, in which 
he was severely wounded, 
and from which he was invalided home in 1825. He had 
been honourably mentioned in despatches for conspicuous 
services rendered in having raised a much needed body of 
horse, and for bravery. Then he resigned his commission, 
and visited China, Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. There 
he heard much of the beauty and the wonders of the 
fairy group of islands forming the Eastern Archipelago, 
and of the dangers to be encountered there from Malay 
pirates ; islands rich in all that nature could lavish in flower 
and fruit, in bird and gorgeous butterfly, in diamond and 



pearl, but " the trail of the serpent was over them all. " 
Very little was known of these islands, few English vessels 
visited them, the trade was monopolised by the Dutch, who 
sought to exclude all European nations from obtaining a 
foothold. They claimed thousands of islands from Sumatra 
to Papua as within their exclusive sphere of influence, islands 
abounding in natural products which they exploited 
imperfectly, and did nothing to develop. This was a dog-in- 
the-manger policy to which Great Britain submitted. 

The young man's ambition was fired ; he longed to 
explore these seas, to study the natural history, the ethnology, 
to discover gaps in the Dutch imaginary line through which 
English commerce might penetrate and then expand. 

Mr. Brooke made a second voyage to the East in a brig 
which, in partnership with another, he had purchased and 
freighted for China ; but this venture proved a failure, and the 
brig and cargo were sold in China at a loss. 

In 1835, Mr. Thomas Brooke died, leaving to his son the 
sum of .£30,000. James now saw that a chance was open 
to him of realising his youthful dream, and he bought a yacht, 
the Royalist, a schooner of 142 tons burden, armed with six- 
pounders and several swivels, and, after a preliminary cruise 
in the Mediterranean to train his crew, he sailed in December 
1838, flying the flag of the Royal Yacht Squadron, for that 
enchanted group of islands — 

Those islands of the sea 
Where Nature rises to Fame's highest round. 1 

And as he wrote, to cast himself on the waters, like 
Southey's little book ; but whether the world would know 
him after many days, was a question which, hoping the 
best, he could not answer with any degree of assurance. 

He arrived in Singapore in May, 1839. The Rajah 
Muda Hasim of Sarawak had recently shown kind treat- 
ment to some English shipwrecked sailors, and Mr. 
Brooke was commissioned by the Governor and the 
Singapore Chamber of Commerce to convey letters of thanks 
and presents to the Rajah Muda in acknowledgment of his 

moen's Lusiad (Sir Richard Burton's translation. ) Camoen here refers to the 
islands of the Malayan \rehipd ago, which he visited in his exile some 350 yean 



humanity, exceptional in those days, and a marked contrast 
to the treatment afforded to the crew and passengers of the 
Sultana a little later by his sovereign, the Sultan of Bruni, 
which is recorded further on. 1 This chance diverted Mr. 
Brooke from his original project of going to Marudu Bay, the 
place he had indicated as being the best adapted for the 
establishment of a British settlement, and took him to the 
field of his life-long labours. 

He left Singapore on July 27, 1839, full of hope and 


confidence that something was to be done, and reaching the 
West Coast of Borneo surveyed some seventy miles of that 
coast before entering the Sarawak river, which was not then 
marked on the charts ; for of Borneo at that time very little 
was known ; its interior was a blank upon the maps, and its 
coast was set down by guess work on the Admiralty charts ; 
so much so, that Mr. Brooke found Cape Datu placed some 
seventy to eighty miles too far to the east and north, and 
he was " obliged to clip some hundreds of miles of habitable 
land off the charts." 

1 St. John tells us that a few years before this an English ship that had put into 
awak river to water was treacherously seized ; the Englishmen were murdered, 
and the Lascars sold into slavery. 


Kuching, 1 the capital of Sarawak, is so called from a 
small stream that runs through the town into the main river, 
that a few miles below expands and forms a delta of many 
channels and mouths. The town, which is seated some 
twenty miles from the open sea, was founded by Pangiran 
Makota, when Bruni rule was established in Sarawak, and he 
was sent down as the Sultan's representative a few years 
previously to the arrival of Mr. Brooke. At this time the 
population, with the exception of a few Chinese traders and 
other eastern foreigners, consisted entirely of Bruni Malays 
to the number of about 800. The Sarawak Malays lived at 
Katupong,' 2 a little higher up, and farther up again at Leda 
Tanah, under their head chief, the brave Datu Patinggi Ali. 

A distinction must be made, which it will be as well to again 
note here, between the Malays of Bruni and those of Sarawak, 
in other works described — the former as Borneans, and the 
latter as Siniawans. They are very different in appearance, 
manners, and even in language. There are not many Brunis 
in Sarawak now. Most returned to their own country with 
Rajah Muda Hasim when he retired there in 1 844, and 
others drifted thither later. All the Malays in Kuching, 
except a sprinkling of foreigners, are Sarawak Malays, the 
descendants of the so-called Siniawans. 

The bay that lies between Capes Datu and Sipang is indeed a 
lovely one. To the right lies the splendid range of Poe, over- 
topping the lower, but equally beautiful, Gading hills ; then the 
fantastic-shaped mountains of the interior ; while to the left the 
range of Santubong end-on towards you looks like a solitary peak, 
rising as an island from the sea, as Teneriffe once appeared to me 
sailing by in the Meander. From these hills flow many streams 
which add to the beauty of the view. But the gems of the scene are 
the little emerald isles that are scattered over the surface of the bay, 
presenting their pretty beaches of glittering sand, or their Lovely 
foliage drooping to kiss the rippling waves. There is no prettier 
spot (than the mouth of the Sarawak river) ; on the right bank rises 
the splendid peak of Santubong, over 2000 feet in height, 3 clothed 
from its summit to its base with noble vegetation, its magnificent 

1 . Inglice, cat. 

- A short tunc- before the commencement ol tin- history this place had been 
attacked by the Saribas Dayaks, and 120 people were slain. 
3 3000 feet. 


buttresses covered with lofty trees, showing over a hundred feet of 
stem without a branch, and at its base a broad beach of white sand 
fringed by graceful casuarinas, waving and trembling under the in- 
fluence of the faintest breeze, and at that time thronged by wild hogs. 1 

On August 1 5, the Royalist cast anchor off the capital, and 
Mr. Brooke had an interview with the Rajah Muda, presented 
the letters and gifts, and was very graciously received. He 
was allowed to make excursions to Lundu, Samarahan, and 
Sadong, large rivers hitherto unknown to Europeans, and he 
added some seventy miles to his survey of the coast ; but as 
the Malays and most of the Dayak tribes were in insurrection 
in the interior, travelling there was unsafe. 

The Rajah Muda Hasim, the Bandahara of Bruni and 
the heir-presumptive to the throne, was a plain, middle-aged 
man, with gracious and courtly manners, amiable and well 
disposed, but weak and indolent. He was placed in a 
difficult position, which he had not the energy or the ability 
to fill. The Sultan of Bruni had confided the district of 
Sarawak some years previously to the Pangiran Makota as 
governor, a man utterly unprincipled, grasping, selfish, cruel, 
and cowardly, but " the most mild, the most gentlemanly 
rascal you can conceive"; 2 and by his exactions and by forced 
labour at the antimony mines, he had driven the Sarawak 
Malays, as well as the Land-Dayaks, into open revolt. They 
proclaimed their independence of Bruni, and asserted that 
submission to the Sultan had been voluntary on their part, 
and on stipulated conditions that had not been carried out. 
For three years they had carried on their struggle against 
the Bruni tyrants, but, though far from being reduced, it 
became evident to them that unaided they could not attain 
their freedom. Surrender meant death to the chiefs and 
abject slavery to the people, and to their womankind some- 
thing far worse than either, so in their extremity they 
appealed to the Dutch. A year before Mr. Brooke's arrival 
they had invited the Dutch to plant the Netherlands flag in 
their camp, and afterwards had sent an emissary to Batavia 

1 Spencer St. John, Sir James Brooke, 1879. 

- Mr. Brooke. He was a good-looking man. Capt. the Hon. H. Keppel gives 
his portrait, the frontispiece to vol. i. of his Expedition to Borneo of H. M.S. Dido, 
which is incorrectly entitled the portrait of Rajah Muda Hasim. 



to beg the assistance of the Governor-General, but open 
assistance was refused, though the Sultan of Sambas appears 
to have constantly supplied the rebels with ammunition and 
provisions. As Mr. Brooke had warned the Pangiran 
Makota, who had reason to fear Dutch aggression, the 
danger was not an open violation of their independence, but 
their coming on friendly terms — they might make war after 
having first gained a footing, not before. The Dutch had made 
great efforts to establish trade with Sarawak, in other words, 
to monopolise it, and through their vassal, the Sultan of 
Sambas, had offered assistance to open the antimony mines. 

The Sultan of Bruni had sent his uncle, the Rajah Muda 
Hasim, to reduce the rebels, but without withdrawing Makota 
and checking his abuse of authority. A desultory war had 
been carried on without success under the direction of Makota, 
who was too cowardly himself to lead his Malay and Dayak 
levies into action, to storm the stockades of the insurgents, 
and to pursue them to their strongholds. The consequence 
was that anarchy prevailed, except in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood of the capital. 

There was something in the frank eye, in the cheery self- 
confidence of Brooke that captivated the timid little Rajah 
Muda. who was not only unable to cope with the Malays 
in revolt, but was afraid of his neighbours, the Dutch, lest 
they should make the disturbances an excuse for intervention 
and annexation, and he hoped in his extremity to obtain 
some help from the British. 

" Which is the cat and which is the mouse ? " he asked 
in reference to the rival powers. " Britain is unquestionably 
the mouser," replied Brooke. But he did not add that the 
mouser was so gorged and lazy as only occasionally to stretch 
forth a paw. 

Mr. Brooke bade his friends good-bye on September 20, 
after having received a pressing invitation from the Rajah 
Muda to revisit him, and he begged Brooke not to forget 
him. Leaving the Royalist at Muaratebas, Brooke visited 
the Sadong river, where he made the acquaintance of Sherip 
Sahap, 1 a powerful half-bred Arab chief and ruler of that 

1 Spelt Sahib by Mr. Brooke in his letters and journals, and by others, but correctly 


river, who in later days was to give Brooke so much trouble. 
He returned to the Royalist on the 27th, and intended to 
sail the next morning, but was delayed by a startling 
incident that gave him his first experience of the piratical 
habits of the Saribas Dayaks. The boat of Penglima Rajah 
(the Rajah's captain), who was to pilot the Royalist over the 
bar, and which was lying inshore of the yacht, was attacked 
in the middle of the night, but the report of a gun and the 
display of a blue light from the yacht caused the Dayaks to 
decamp hurriedly, though not before they had seriously 
wounded the Penglima and three of his crew. Mr. Brooke 
waited until the wounded were sufficiently recovered to be 
sent to Kuching, and, after he had paid a flying visit to that 
place at the urgent request of the Rajah, sailed for Singapore 
on October 3. 

The history of his late cruise, to quote Mr. Brooke, had 
agitated the society in Singapore, and whilst the merchants 
presented him with an address of thanks, the Governor 
became cooler towards him. The former foresaw an access 
of trade, the latter was nervous of political embarrassments. 

He would fain have me lay aside all politics, but whilst I see 
such treachery and baseness on one part (the Dutch), and such 
weakness, imbecility, and indifference on the other (the English), 
I will continue to upraise my voice at fitting seasons. I will not 
leave my native friends to be deceived and betrayed by either white 
nation, and (what the governor does not like) I will speak bold 
truths to native ears. 

The Dutch trading regulations weighed on this island 
as they did on all others within their influence. Sir 
Stamford Raffles, in his History of Java, 1830, tells us that 
by an edict of 1767, trading in opium, pepper, and all 
spices was prohibited in the Archipelago to all persons 
under pain of death, and other severe penalties were imposed 
upon those trading in other commodities. The quantity 
of gunpowder and shot that might be carried by any vessel 
was restricted, and the punishment for carrying more than 
was permitted was the confiscation of the vessel and corporal 

his name was Sahap. He had a reputation for bravery, and was styled by the Sek- 
rang Dayaks " Bujang Brani," the brave man. 


punishment. Vessels were not allowed to sail from any 
part of the Java coast where there was not a Company's 
Resident. Those from Ranka and Beliton could only 
trade to Palembang (Sumatra). Navigation from Celebes 
and Sumbawa was prohibited under pain of confiscation 
of vessel and cargo. The China junks were permitted to 
trade at Batavia and Banjermasin alone. In all there were 
thirty-one articles of restriction, " serving to shackle every 
movement of commerce, and to extinguish every spirit of 
enterprise, for the narrow, selfish purposes of what may be 
called the fanaticism of gain.'' The consequence was that 
honest traffic was paralysed, and an opportunity and in- 
direct encouragement given to piracy. Indeed, the Dutch 
winked at this as it hampered smuggling by European and 
native traders. They resented it only when their own trade 
was interfered with by the marauders. 

After visiting the Celebes, where he spent four months, 
Mr. Brooke sailed for Sarawak from Singapore on August 
1 8, 1840. His kindly feeling for the Rajah Muda Hasim 
prompted him to pay another visit to Sarawak, taking it 
on his way to Manila and China. He found the condition 
of the country as distracted as ever, " with no probability 
of any termination of a state of affairs so adverse to every 
object which I had in view," and so decided to quit the 
scene and proceed on his voyage. On notifying his 
departure to the Rajah, he was urgently pressed to remain ; 
every topic was exhausted to excite his compassion. The 
Rajah laid his difficulties before him, and expressed " his 
resolution to die here rather than abandon his undertaking 
— to die deserted and disgraced " ; and it was compassion 
for his miserable situation that induced Mr. Brooke to alter 
his intention. 

The rebellion had lasted for nearly four years, and for 
the efforts made to quell it might well last for a century, 
and the whole country, except Kuching, become independent. 
Starvation had compelled many of the Land-Dayaks to 
submit, but that was the only advantage that had been 
gained. Hasim was in ill odour at Bruni because he had 
effected nothing, and the Orang Kaya di Gadong, a Bruni 


minister, had been sent by the Sultan to stir him up to 
greater activity. But how to exert himself, how with 
cowardly pangirans to come to close quarters with the 
rebels he could not see, and in his helplessness and dis- 
couragement he caught at the opportunity offered by the 
arrival of Brooke. 

With some reluctance Mr. Brooke consented to assist 
Hasim against the insurgents, and proceeded to Siniawan ; 
but after having been up-river a short time he returned 
to Kuching, disgusted by the supineness and inert- 
ness of Makota and the other leaders, and announced 
his intention of sailing for Manila. Hasim saw that 
Brooke's departure would deprive him of his last chance 
of reducing the rebels, and that he would have to return to 
Bruni in disgrace. Again he urged Brooke to stay, and 
he offered him the country if he would return up-river and 
take command of his forces. " He offered me," wrote 
Brooke, " the country of Siniawan and Sarawak, with its 
government and trade ; " in addition he offered to grant 
him the title of Rajah. 

Hasim had been placed in Sarawak for a purpose, 
which he was wholly unable to effect ; as he was heir- 
presumptive * to the throne of Bruni, he was impatient at 
what he considered his exile from the capital. Could the 
insurrection be subdued he would be re-instated in the 
favour of his nephew, and might return to Bruni to defeat the 
machinations of his enemies there, leaving the government 
of Sarawak in the strong hands of Brooke. 

Mr. Brooke hesitated for some time, as the offer 
had been imposed by necessity, but finally agreed, and 

1 There is no strict law of primogeniture in Bruni, otherwise Rajah Muda Hasim 
could not have been heir-presumptive. As he was of royal blood, and the prince 
most fitted to succeed, he was looked upon as the heir to the throne, and was so 
acknowledged (publicly in 1846) by the Sultan, and was therefore more correctly 
heir-apparent. At this time Sultan Omar Ali had two sons, and the eldest, also 
named Hasim, must have been about thirty-five years of age. There was a disgrace- 
ful harem scandal in connection with their birth, which pointed to their having been the 
sons of a Nakoda, or merchant. Though this appears to have been generally credited, 
Hasim nevertheless became the 24th Sultan in 1885. 

It may be noted here that Omar Ali himself was only de facto Sultan, as he 
was never able to obtain the legal investiture which in Bruni constitutes an election 
to the throne de jure, and which confers upon the sovereign the title of Iang de 
Pertuan, the Lord who rules, the most exalted title, and one which he never assumed. 


promised the assistance required. With ten of his English 
crew and two guns, he joined the Rajah's mixed force 
of Malays, Dayaks, and Chinese, and proceeded against 
the insurgents. As was their wont, the pangirans in 
command hung back and would not expose their precious 
persons to danger, with the notable exception of the 
Pangiran Bedrudin, half-brother to the Rajah Muda Hasim. 
This was Brooke's first meeting with Bedrudin. He 
was greatly impressed with his frank but overawing and 
stately demeanour, and a warm friendship soon sprang up 
between them, which lasted until the death of this ill-fated 
prince, who justly earned a reputation for bravery and 
constancy, the only one of the royal princes of Brum' in 
whom these qualities were combined. 

To Mr. Brooke's regret, Bedrudin was shortly withdrawn 
by his brother, and the other pangirans, led by Makota, 
thwarted him in every forward movement, to disguise their 
own cowardice. Finally, after several bloodless engagements 
and bombardments, communication was opened with Sherip 
Mat Husain, 1 one of the rebel leaders, and he came to see 
Mr. Brooke under a flag of truce, which would have received 
little respect had it not been for the stern measures taken 
by the latter. This meeting led to an interview between 
the Malay rebel chiefs and Mr. Brooke, and they submitted, 
but only on the understanding that Brooke was henceforth 
to be the Rajah, and that he would restrain the oppression 
of the pangirans. On these terms they laid down their arms, 
and then it was with great difficulty that Brooke succeeded 
in wringing from the Rajah Muda a consent that their lives 
should be spared, and that consent was only reluctantly given 
on Brooke rising up to bid the Rajah Muda farewell ; but 
the wives and children of the principal chiefs, to the number 
of over one hundred, were taken from them by Hasim as 
hostages. They " were treated with kindness and preserved 
from injury or wrong." ~ 

Some delay ensued in the investiture of Brooke with the 

1 Or an abbreviation of Muhammad Husain. In former works he is incorrectly 
styled Moksain (for Matsaini, following Mr. Brooke's published letters and journals, 
which were badly edited in regard to native names and words. 

2 Mr. Brooke. 


governorship. Hasim was disposed to shuffle, and Makota, 
who feared his exactions would be interfered with, used all 
his power to prevent it. Hoping it would content Brooke, 
the Rajah Muda had drawn up an agreement which was only 
to the purport that he was to reside in Sarawak in order to 
seek for profit, an agreement which the Rajah Muda explained 
was merely to be shown to the Sultan in the first place, and 
that it was not intended as a substitute for that which 
had been agreed upon between themselves, and would be 
granted in due course. Hasim was between two stools : his 
duty in respect to his promise to Brooke, whose friendship and 
support were necessary to him ; and his fear of the party led 
by Makota in Sarawak, but still more powerfully represented 
in Bruni, who foresaw, as well as he did himself, the end 
of their rule of tyranny if once such an advocate for reform 
as Mr. Brooke were allowed to gather up the reins of power. 

Brooke accepted this equivocal arrangement, and, trusting 
in the Rajah Muda's good faith, to establish trade and com- 
munication with Singapore, went to the expense of buying 
and freighting the schooner Swift of ninety tons with a 
general cargo. On her arrival from Singapore the Rajah 
Muda took over the whole cargo, promising antimony ore in 
exchange, but this promise also he showed no intention 
of fulfilling — in fact it never was fulfilled. After this cargo 
had been obtained the Rajah Muda became cool to Brooke, 
evaded all discussion about the settlement of the country, 
and even went so far as to deny that he had ever made the 
unsolicited promise to transfer the government to him ; and 
a plot was attempted to involve him in a dispute with the 
Dutch at Sambas. 

To ruin Mr. Brooke's prestige with the Land-Dayaks, 
Malays, and Chinese, as their protector, a crafty scheme was 
devised by Makota, to which he induced the Rajah to grant 
his consent. He invited a party of 2500 Sea-Dayaks from 
Sekrang to ascend the Sarawak river and massacre the 
Land-Dayaks, Malays, and Chinese in the interior. They 
arrived at Kuching, and, with the addition of a number 
of Malays as guides, started up the river. But Brooke, 
highly incensed, retired to the Royalist, and at once pre- 


pared that vessel and the Swift for action. This had the 
desired effect. Hasim was cowed ; " he denied all know- 
ledge of it ; but the knowledge was no less certain, and the 
measure his own." ] He threw the blame on Makota, and, 
yielding to Brooke's insistence, sent a messenger up river 
after the fleet to recall it, — a command that could not be 
disobeyed, as Brooke held command of the route by which 
they must return. Sulkily and resentfully did the Sekrang 
Dayaks return, without heads, and without plunder. And 
for Makota it was a case of the biter bit, as he had un- 
wittingly enhanced Brooke's prestige. The oppressed people 
now learnt that Brooke was not only determined to protect 
them, but that he had the power to do it — a power greater 
than Makota's ; and this strengthened his hands, for many 
who had wavered through doubt on this point and fear of 
Makota, now threw in their lot with him, as Makota was 
shortly to discover to his cost. 

"The very idea," wrote Brooke in his Journal, "of letting 
2500 wild devils loose in the interior of the country is horrible. 
What object can the Malays 2 have in destroying their own country 
and people so wantonly ? The Malays take part in these excursions, 
and thirty men joined the Sekrangs on the present occasion, and 
consequently they share the plunder, and share largely. Probably 
Muda Hasim would have twenty slaves (women and children), and 
these twenty being redeemed at the low rate of twenty reals each 
makes 400 reals, besides other plunder amounting to one or two hun- 
dred reals more. Inferior pangirans would, of course, take likewise." 

Mr. Brooke had now been put off for five months, and 
for six weeks had withdrawn from all intercourse with 
Rajah Muda Hasim. As he wrote, " I have done this man 
many benefits ; and, if he prove false after all his promises, 
I will put that mark of shame upon him that death would be 
lighter." This was no idle threat, for he sent a final demand 
to the Rajah Muda either to perform his promise or to repay 
him all his outlay, and a warning that should Hasim do 
neither he would take sure means to make him ; and the 
means were at hand, for on his return from Singapore Mr. 
Brooke had found the people of Sarawak again at issue with 

1 Mr. Brooke. - The Brum, not the Sarawak Malays. 


their ruler, and had once more thrown off their allegiance 
to the Sultan. They then offered him that allegiance, 
and their support to drive Rajah Muda Hasim and his 
followers out of the country ; this offer was, however, 
declined. But a circumstance occurred that precipitated 
matters. Makota attempted to poison Brooke's interpreter 
by mixing arsenic with his rice. Through the indiscretion of 
a subordinate the plot was discovered, and Brooke immediately 
laid the facts before the Rajah Muda, as well as " a little 
treasury " of grievances and crimes against Makota, and de- 
manded an inquiry. " The demand, as usual, was met by 
vague promises of future investigation, and Makota seemed to 
triumph in the success of his villainy, but the moment for 
action had now arrived, and my conscience told me that I 
was bound no longer to submit to such injustice, and I was 
resolved to test the strength of our respective parties." 
The Royalists guns were loaded, and her broadside brought 
to bear, and Mr. Brooke landed with a small armed party. 
He demanded and immediately obtained an audience, and 
pointed out Makota's tyranny and oppression of all classes, 
and his determination to attack him, and drive him out of 
the country. Not a single man upheld Makota, whilst the 
Malays rallied around Mr. Brooke. This was a test of public 
opinion to which Makota had to bow, and he was deposed 
from his governorship. Mr. Brooke's public installation 
immediately followed, the Rajah Muda Hasim informing 
the people that he was henceforth to rule over them. On 
the 24th of September, 1841, a memorable day in the history 
not only of Sarawak but of the whole of North-Western 
Borneo, he was declared Rajah and Governor of Sarawak, 
amidst the roar of cannon and a general display of flags and 
banners on the shore and the vessels on the river. 2 

On that day he became Rajah of Sarawak, though a 
feudatory Rajah, a position which he was not content to 
hold for long, as such a position would have proved 

Sarawak was then of very limited extent ; it was a little 
governorship extending from Cape Datu to the mouth of the 

1 Mr. Brooke. 2 Idem. 



Sadong, and included, besides smaller streams, the Lundu, 
Sarawak, and Samarahan rivers ; and this district, about 
3000 square miles in area, is, with the inclusion of the 
Sadong river, now known as Sarawak Proper. In the days 
of Hasim Sarawak was not a raj, but a province under a 
governor. Hasim was not actually the Rajah of Sarawak, 
though his high birth gave him the right to the courtesy title 
of Rajah. His real title was the Pangiran Muda ; * Muda 
is inseparable from the title, and was not a part of his name. 
Pangiran Muda, the heir to the throne, is the correct Bruni 
title. Rajah Muda (young Rajah) also means heir-apparent. 
The districts from Sarawak up to Bintulu, and beyond, 
formed separate provinces, and were under separate governors, 
but Hasim's high rank naturally gave him some influence 
over these officials. Sadong was governed by Sherip 
Sahap, his subjects being Land-Dayaks ; his power, how- 
ever, extended to the head of that river. Sherip Japar of 
Lingga, Sherip Mular of Sekrang, and Sherip Masahor of 
Serikei, held nominal authority only over the main population 
of their respective districts occupied by the Sea-Dayaks, for 
these people acknowledged no government, and lived in 
independence even in the vicinity of the Malays. Such, 
moreover, was the case with the Saribas, which was nominally 
governed by Malay chiefs. The districts of Muka, Oya, and 
Bintulu were under Bruni pangirans, but, having only 
Melanaus to govern, their control was complete. In the 
Baram, a river inhabited by warlike Kayans and Kenyahs, 
the Malays, nominal rulers and traders, lived on sufferance 
alone, and so it was in the Sea-Dayak countries of the 
Batang Lupar, Saribas, and Rejang. Over the Malays, the 
Land-Dayaks, and the Melanaus, the Bruni Government had 
power — the Sea-Dayaks and Kayans scorned it. The 
sherips, as the title denotes, are of Arab origin, and they 
claim descent from the Prophet. They are half-breeds, and 
were dangerous men. Earl, in his Eastern Seas, 1837, 
says : — 

1 By which he was generally referred to, both in documents and verbally, by tin- 
Malays of Bruni and Sarawak. "Rajah of Sarawak " was a complimentary title 
given to him by Europeans only. He has been frequently styled MnJii Hasim by 
former writers ; this would be unintelligible to a Malay. 


" The pirates who infest the Archipelago consist wholly of the 
free Mahomedan states in Sumatra, Lingin, Borneo, Magindano, 
and Sulu (and he should have added of the Malay Peninsula), 
those natives who have remained uncontaminated by the detest- 
able doctrines of the Arabs, never being known to engage in like 

Again : — 

The genuine Arabs are often high-minded, enterprising men, 
but their half-caste descendants who swarm in the Archipelago com- 
prise the most despicable set of wretches in existence. Under the 
name of religion they have introduced among the natives the vilest 
system of intolerance and wickedness imaginable ; and those places 
in which they have gained an ascendency x are invariably converted 
into dens of infamy and piracy. 

Sir Stamford Raffles says " they are commonly nothing 
better than manumitted slaves, and they hold like robbers 
the offices they obtain as sycophants, and cover all with the 
sanctimonious veil of religious hypocrisy." 

And such were the sherips of Borneo with whom the 
English Rajah had to deal, and whose power he eventually 
broke. There are many of these to this day in Sarawak, 
but they have been converted into harmless members of the 
community, and some have been good Government officials, 
notably Sherip Putra, who died in June, 1906, after having 
served the Government well and faithfully for twenty-two 
years ; and he was the son of Sherip Sahap, and the nephew 
of Sherip Mular. 

The condition of the country on Rajah Brooke's accession 
is best described in his own words. After relating the 
devastations committed by the piratical and head-hunting 
Dayaks of Saribas and Sekrang, the Rajah goes on to say : — 

It is of the hill Dayaks, 2 however, I would particularly write, for a 
more wretched, oppressed race is not to be found, or one more 
deserving the commiseration of the humane. Though industrious 
they never reap what they sow ; though their country is rich in 
produce, they are obliged to yield it all to their oppressors ; though 

1 Such was this ascendency that they became the founders of the present ruling 
dynasties of Bruni (Chap. II., p. i), Palembang (Sumatra), Pontianak, Sambas, 
Mindanau, and Sulu, and probably of other native states. 

8 Land-Davaks. 



yielding all beyond their bare sustenance, they rarely can preserve 
half their children, and often — too often — are robbed of them all, 
with their wives. 1 All that rapacity and oppression can effect is 
exhausted, and the only happiness that ever falls to the lot of these 
unhappy tribes is getting one tyrant instead of five thousand. Indeed, 
it is quite useless to try to explain the miserable condition of this 
country, where for the last ten years there has been no government ; 
where intrigue and plunder form the occupation of all the higher 
classes ; where a poor man to possess beyond his clothes is a crime ; 
where lying is a virtue, religion dead, and where cheating is so 


common ; and last, where the ruler, Muda Hasim, is so weak, that 
he has lost all authority except in name and observance. 

And further : — 

All those who frequent the sea-shore lead a life of constant per 
from roving Dayaks and treacherous Malays, and Illanuns and 
Balaninis, the regular pirates. It is a life of watchfulness, hide-and- 
seek, and fight or flight, and in the course of each year many lose 
their lives or their liberty. 

This is the country I have taken upon myself to govern with 

1 Shortly before Rajah Brooke's arrival, Sherip Sahap with a large force of Sekrang 
Dayaks had attacked the Sau tribe <>( Land-Dayaks in Upper Sarawak. Man) 
killed, thru- villages plundered and burnt, and nearly all the surviving women and 
children, t<> tin- number of some t\\<> hundred and fifty, carried >>m into slavery. 'The 
itually re< overed neatly all. 


small means, few men, and, in short, without any of the requisites 
which could insure success ; I have distraction within and intrigue 
abroad, and I have the weakest of the weak, 1 a rotten staff to depend 
upon for my authority. 

To add to his troubles, the season was one of famine 
following on intestine troubles. So poor were the people, that, 
again to quote the Rajah : " daily, poor wretches in the last 
stage of starvation float down the river, and crawl to my 
house to beg a little, little rice." 

One of the first acts of the Rajah was to obtain the 
return to their families of the women and children of the 
late rebel Malay chiefs, who had been detained by Hasim 
now for nine months. He then recalled the Sarawak Malays, 
who, after submission to Hasim, had retired with their chiefs 
to distant parts, not trusting the good faith of their Malay 
Rajah and his right-hand man, Makota. The Bruni datus 
appointed by the former Governor were displaced, and the 
old Sarawak Malay datus, who had been in rebellion against 
the Bruni Government, and who owed their lives to Rajah 
Brooke's intercession, were reinstated, and in their families 
the offices remain to this day. Who these chiefs were at 
that time there seems to exist some doubt, with the exception 
of the premier datu, the Datu Patinggi AH, who fell gallantly 
fighting for the Government three years after he had been 
reinstated, and the Datu Temanggong Mersal. The old 
Datu Bandar, Rancha, had died before this, and no one 
appears to have succeeded him directly, but Datu Patinggi 
Ali's son-in-law, Haji Abdul Gapur, and his son Muhammad 
Lana, evidently held office of some kind as native chiefs. 
On the Datu Patinggi's death, Haji Gapur succeeded him in 
office, and Muhammad Lana became the Datu Bandar. When 
Haji Gapur was dismissed in 1854, another son of the Datu 
Patinggi Ali, Haji Bua Hasan, was made the Imaum, and a 
few years afterwards Datu Imaum, but no one was then, or 
has since been, appointed to the office of Datu Patinggi. 

On Muhammad Lana's death, his brother Haji Bua 
Hasan became Datu Bandar, and, shortly afterwards, another 
relative, Haji Abdul Karim, was appointed Datu Imaum, and 

1 Meaning Rajah Muda Hasim. 


he was succeeded on his death in 1877 by Haji Muhammad 
Taim, the youngest son of the Datu Patinggi Ali. The Datu 
Bandar, Haji Bua Hasan, died in harness in 1905, over one 
hundred years of age, and has been succeeded by his son, 
Muhammad Kasim, formerly the Datu Muda ; another son, 
Haji Muhammad Ali, i.s the Datu Hakim. These offices are 
not hereditary, so this narration will show how well the family 
of gallant old Patinggi Ali, the direct descendant of the 
original founder of Sarawak, Rajah Jarom, with the sole 
exception of Haji Gapur, have earned and retained the 
confidence of the Government, and how honourably they 
have maintained their position. 

The Datu Temanggong Mersal belonged to another 
family, but he and his sons were not the less staunch; the 
eldest, brave Abang Pata, rendered the Government very 
signal services, and the younger, Muhammad Hasan, suc- 
ceeded his father as Temanggong. 

The only one who betrayed the trust reposed in him was 
the Datu Patinggi Haji Gapur. Of him, as well as the 
others, we shall hear more in the sequel. 

About the same time that the old chiefs were reinstated 
the Rajah instituted a Court of Justice, in which he presided, 
and was assisted in dispensing justice by the brothers of 
Rajah Muda Hasim, and he promulgated the following simple 
laws, of which this is a summary : — 

James Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, makes known to all men the 
following regulations : — 

1. That murder, robbery, and other heinous crimes will be 

punished according to the written laws of Borneo ; 1 and 
no man committing such offences will escape, if, after fair 
inquiry, he be found guilty. 

2. All men. whether Malays, Chinese, or Dayaks are permitted 

to trade or to labour according to their pleasure, and to 
enjoy their gains. 

3. All roads will be open, and all boats coming from other parts 

are free to enter the river and depart without let or 

4. Trade, in all its branches, will be free, with the exception of 

antimony ore, which the Governor holds in his own hands, 

1 Bruni. 


but which no person is forced to work, and which will be 
paid for at a proper price when obtained. 

5. It is ordered that no persons going amongst the Dayaks shall 

disturb them or gain their goods under false pretences. 
The revenue will be collected by the three Datus bearing 
the seal of the Governor, and (except this yearly demand 
from the Government) they are to give nothing to any 
other person ; nor are they obliged to sell their goods 
except they please, and at their own prices. 

6. The revenue shall be fixed, so that every one may know 

certainly how much he has to contribute yearly to support 
the Government. 

7. Weights and measures shall be settled and money current in 

the country, and doits * introduced, that the poor may 
purchase food cheaply. 

8. Obedience to the ordinances will be strictly enforced. 

The Rajah's next step was to redress some of the wrongs 
to which the unhappy people had been subjected, and by 
ameliorating their condition to gain their confidence. The 
Rajah Muda Hasim and his brothers were in his way, "and 
the intriguing, mean, base Brunis, who depended upon the 
support of the pangirans to escape punishment when guilty ;" ' 
but, nevertheless, at the end of the year he was able to write 
that he had done much good — that he had saved the lives of 
many people, restored many captives to their families, and 
freed many slaves from bondage, and above all, that he had 
repressed vice, and had assisted the distressed. 

The Rajah had also to safeguard his country ; to 
prepare to take the offensive against the Malays and 
Sea-Dayaks of the Sekrang and Saribas ; and to guard 
against the plots and designs of his neighbours the sherips, 
who viewed with no friendly eye the establishment of 
a government in Sarawak, having as its principal objects the 
suppression of piracy and lawlessness. It was a menace to 
them, and they knew it, and to retain their power they were 
prepared to go to any length. Already Sherip Sahap and his 
brother Sherip Mular had sent people against the Sempro 
and Sentah Dayaks ; and the former had endeavoured to 
withdraw the allegiance of the datus from the Rajah, but in 

1 Duit, Malay for a cent. - Rajah Brooke. 


this he failed. As a defensive measure the Rajah built a 
fort and palisaded his little town. He also constructed 
war-boats for the protection of the coast, and to take the 
offensive, which he saw must be inevitable. 

The Rajah soon showed the Saribas the power of his 
arm. Thirteen of their large war-boats appeared off the 
coast on a piratical cruise, and these were met and attacked 
by three of the Rajah's well-armed boats and driven 
back with heavy loss. Retaliation was threatened, and the 
Dayaks prepared, but it was a long time before they again 
appeared, and the terror of Brooke's name kept them off 
Sarawak. At this time Sherip Sahap also received a lesson. 
He had sent a Pangiran Bedrudin to Kuching on a secret 
mission, and the pangiran on his way down river fell in with 
and attacked a Chinese boat, wounding two of the crew, one 
mortally. The Rajah immediately gave chase, and after 
eight days came up with them. One of the pangiran's crew, 
a Lanun penglima, amoked, but was killed by the Datu 
Patinggi Ali before he could do any harm ; the rest 
surrendered, and were taken to Kuching, where the pangiran, 
and another, a relation of his, were executed, and the crew 

A month later, two Singgi Dayak chiefs, Pa Rimbun and 
Pa Tumo, for killing Segu Dayaks within the State, were 
arrested and executed. These examples showed his neigh- 
bours that the Rajah was determined to protect his people ; 
and it showed the people that the law would be administered 
with an equal and firm hand. 

But as yet the ratification of his appointment had not 
been made, and on July 14th, 1842, the Rajah left for Bruni 
to obtain from the Sultan the confirmation of his nomination 
by Hasim, and to effect, if possible, a reconciliation between 
the Sultan and his uncle, as he was naturally desirous to get 
the latter, his brothers, and their Bruni followers, away from 
Sarawak, so as to give stability to the Government, and to 
prevent a needless drain upon the treasury. Another object 
the Rajah had in view was to obtain the release of about 
twenty-five Lascars belonging to an English ship, the Lord 
Melbourne* which had lately been wrecked, and who had 



found their way to Bruni, where they were being detained in 

As it happened, another English ship, the Sultana, had 
about eighteen months previously been wrecked on the 
N.W. coast, struck by lightning, and the captain, his wife, two 
passengers, one a lady, and some English seamen, had 

'> if. I 

'*&& '1 >. 


escaped to Bruni in the long boat ; the Lascars had landed 
farther north, and had been captured and sold into slavery 
by Sherip Usman. The Sultan seized these unfortunate 
people, and robbed them of their money, some jewels, and 
their boat. He further compelled them to sign bonds to 
himself for considerable sums of money, and he had treated 
them with harshness and inhumanity. 

On hearing of this Mr. Brooke had sent his yacht, the 
Royalist, to Bruni to obtain their release, but this had been 



refused by the Sultan, and then he communicated with 
Singapore. The East India Company's Steamer Diana was 
despatched to Bruni, ran up the river and pointed its guns on 
the palace. The Sultan was so thoroughly alarmed that he 
surrendered the captives, after a detention of eight months, 
and the dread of the " fire-ship " remained on him, so that 
when the Rajah arrived he was in a compliant mood, and 
received him most cordially. 

It may be as well here to give a description of Bruni 
and of its Court. 

The Bruni river flows into a noble bay, across which to 
the north lies the island of Labuan. Above the town the 
river is very small, and rises but some fifteen to twenty 
miles inland. Where the town is, the river is very broad, 
forming a large lake. The town is commanded by hills 
once under cultivation ; on an island at the mouth of the 
entrance are the shattered remains of an old Portuguese fort, 
which was still standing, though ruinous, when Hunt visited 
the place in 1 809. The town itself has been designated 
the " Venice of Borneo " by old writers, a description to 
which the Italian Beccari rightly objected, 1 and is mainly 
built on piles driven into the mud on a shallow in the 
middle of the lake, the houses occupying wooden plat- 
forms elevated some ten feet above the reach of the tide. 
Communication between them is effected by canoes, in 
which the women daily go through the town selling 
provisions. It is, in a word, similar to the palafitte 
villages found in prehistoric times in the lakes of Switzer- 
land and Lombardy. A part of the town, including the 
houses of the Sultan and the wazirs, is situated on the left 
bank of the river. It is the Bruni of Pigafetta's time, 
though sadly reduced in size and importance. Then the 
Sultan's palace was enclosed by a strong brick wall,-' with 

1 " I admit that Bruni has its points, but what irony to compare for a moment 
the city of marble palaces with the mass of miserable huts which a single match 
could easily reduce to ashes." — Beccari, op. cil. The Rajah tailed the place a 
■ • Venice of hovels." Mercator in his Atlas describes it as " bein.L; situated on a salt- 
water lagoon like Venice," hence probably it became known as tin- Venice of Borneo. 

- Kota batu, stone fort. The name still inn, mis. it was built towards the 
close of the fifteenth century by Sherip Ali, the first Arab Sultan, with the aid of the 
Chinese subjects his wife's mother had brought to Bruni. The city was then m 


barbicans mounting fifty-six cannon, now it is but a roughly 
built barn-like shed. Gone are the richly caparisoned 
elephants, and gone too is all the old pride, pomp, and 
panoply, including the spoons of gold, which particularly 
struck the old voyager. 1 Bruni has no defences now, but, at 
the period of which we are writing, there were batteries 
planted on each side of the inlet commanding the approach, 
also two forts on the heights, and one battery on a tongue 
of land that looked down the estuary, and which could rake 
a fleet advancing towards the town, whilst the batteries 
on the two banks poured in a flank fire. 

When the tide goes out the mud is most offensive to 
European nostrils, as all the filth and offal is cast into it 
from the platforms, and left there to decompose. The town 
at the time of the Rajah's visit, was in a condition of squalid 
wretchedness — the buildings, all of wood and leaf matting, 
were in a tumbledown state ; and the population was mainly 
composed of slaves and the hangers on of the Sultan, the 
nobles, and other members of the upper classes. The Sultan 
was a man past fifty years of age, short and puffy in person, 
with a countenance indicative of imbecility. In his journal 
the Rajah wrote : 

His right hand is garnished with an extra diminutive thumb, 
the natural member being crooked and distorted. 2 His mind, in- 
dexed by his face, seems to be a chaos of confusion, without 
dignity and without good sense. He can neither read nor write, is 
guided by the last speaker ; and his advisers, as might be expected, 
are of the lower order, and mischievous from their ignorance and 
their greediness. He is always talking, and generally joking ; and 

the mouth of the river. It was moved to its present position by Sultan Muadin 
about 200 years ago. 

1 Magellan, Haklnyt Society, and the Portuguese Jorge de Menezes, who visited 
Bruni five years after Pigafetta, notices that the city was surrounded with a wall of 
brick, and possessed some noble edifices. Other early voyagers describe the sultans 
and rulers of Malayan States as maintaining great style, and their equipments, — 
such as swords of state, saddles, chairs, eating and drinking utensils — as being of pure 
gold. Allowing for some exaggeration, this would still point to a former condition of 
prosperity which enabled rulers and nobles to keep up a pageantry which has long 
since vanished. 

- This malformation, according to the laws of Bruni, would have disqualified him 
for the throne, for these provide that no person in any way imbecile in mind or de- 
formed in person can enjoy the regal dignity, whatever title to it his birth might 
have given him. — Sir Hugh Low, op. cit. p. 108. 


the most serious subjects never meet with five minutes' consecutive 
attention. His rapacity is carried to such an excess as to astonish 
a European, and is evinced in a thousand mean ways. The presents 
I made him were unquestionably handsome, but he was not content 
without begging from me the share I had reserved for the other 
pangirans ; and afterwards solicited mere trifles such as sugar, pen- 
knives, and the like. To crown all he was incessantly asking what 
was left in the vessel, and when told the truth — that I was stripped 
bare as a tree in winter — he frequently returned to the charge. 

The Court at Bruni consisted of the Pangiran Mumin, 
the Sultan's uncle by marriage, a fairly well-disposed man, 
though a friend of Makota, but of no ability, avaricious, and 
with the mind of a huckster, who afterwards became Sultan. 
There were several uncles of the Sultan, but they were 
devoid of influence, and were mostly absent in Sarawak, 
whereas the Pangiran Usup, an illegitimate son of Sultan 
Muhammad Tejudin, and consequently a left-handed uncle 
to the reigning Sultan, — a man crafty, unscrupulous, and 
ambitious, — held sway over the mind of his nephew, and 
induced him to look with suspicion on his uncles of 
legitimate birth. This man was in league with the pirates, 
and a determined opponent of British interference. Conse- 
quently, though outwardly most friendly, he was bitterly 
opposed to the white Rajah, against whom he was already 
plotting to accomplish his eviction, or his death. Though 
Pangiran Usup was well aware of the Rajah's determination 
to stamp out piracy and oppression, yet he was not wise 
enough to foresee that to measure his strength against a 
chivalrous and resolute Englishman, who had even a 
stronger support behind him than those forces he was 
already slowly and surely gathering around himself, must be 
futile, and that it would end in his own ruin. Among the 
Sultan's legitimate uncles the only man of ability and 
integrity was the Pangiran Bedrudin, who had accompanied 
the Rajah to Bruni, and who was always frank with him 
and supported his schemes. 

The Rajah had daily interviews with the Sultan, who 
expressed a great personal regard for him, and frequently 
swore " eternal friendship," clasping his hand and repeating 


" amigo safer, amigo saya." 1 He readily confirmed the 
cession made by Rajah Muda Hasim, being satisfied with 
the amount promised as his share of the Sarawak revenue, 
and said, " I wish you to be there ; I do not wish anybody 
else; you are my amigo, and it is nobody's business but mine ; 
the country is mine, and if I please to give you all, I can." 

The deed to which Rajah Muda Hasim had affixed 
his seal on September 24, 1841, was to the following 
effect : — 

That the country and government of Sarawak is made over to 
Mr. Brooke (to be held under the crown of Bruni), with all its 
revenues and dependencies, on the yearly payment of $2500. That 
Mr. Brooke is not to infringe upon the customs or religion of the 
people ; and in return, that no person is to interfere with him in 
the management of the country. 

The confirmatory deed was executed on August 1, 
1842, and was in tenor and purport similar to that granted 
by Hasim, with the exception of an additional clause pre- 
cluding the alienation of Sarawak by the Rajah without the 
consent of the Sultan. 

The Sultan also told the Rajah that it would be a 
delight to him to welcome both his uncles, Hasim and 
Bedrudin, back to Bruni, and begged the Rajah to carry for 
him a friendly letter to the former, conveying assurance 
that he was completely reconciled to him. Bruni, he said, 
would never be well until his return. The Lascars of the 
Lord Melbourne were at once given up, and the Rajah also 
procured the release of three of the Sultana's Lascars, who 
had been transferred to Bruni masters. Lie remained at 
Bruni for ten days — a period, as he wrote, " quite sufficient 
to discover to me the nakedness of the land, their civil 
dissensions, and the total decay of their power, internal and 

On his return the Rajah received a cordial welcome, 
for it was believed that he would certainly be killed in 
Bruni ; and on September 1 8, the deed was read appointing 

1 Saya, or more correctly, sahaya (mis-spelt suya in the Rajah's badly edited 
journals) is the Malay for I, mine; so amigo saya would be, My friend. Amigo 
was one of the few Spanish words the Sultan had. 


him to hold the government of Sarawak The ceremony 
was impressive, but it nearly became tragical. We will give 
the Rajah's own description of it. After the deed had been 
read — 

The Rajah (Muda Hasim) descended, and said aloud "If any 
one present disowns or contests the Sultan's appointment, let him 
now declare.'' All were silent. He next turned to the Patinggis 
and asked them. They were obedient to the will of the Sultan. 
Then came the other pangirans. " Is there any pangiran or any 
young Rajah that contests the question ? Pangiran der Makota, 
what do you say?' Makota expressed his willingness to obey. 
One or two other obnoxious pangirans, who had always opposed 
themselves to me, were each in turn challenged, and forced to 
promise obedience. The Rajah then waved his sword, and with a 
loud voice exclaimed, " Whoever he is that disobeys the Sultan's 
mandate now received I will separate his skull." At the moment 
some ten of his brothers jumped from the verandah, and, drawing 
their long krisses, began to flourish and dance about, thrusting close 
to Makota, striking the pillar above his head, and pointing their 
weapons at his breast. This cwu/sevie/it, the violence of motion, 
the freedom from restraint, this explosion of a long pent up 
animosity, roused all their passions ; and had Makota, through an 
excess of fear or an excess of bravery, started up he would have 
been slain, and other blood would have been spilt. But he was 
quiet, with his face pale and subdued, and, as shortly as decency 
would permit after the riot had subsided, took his leave. 

The Rajah now ordered Makota to leave the country, 
an order that could not be ignored, though he kept defer- 
ring his departure on one pretext after another, and it was 
not until the arrival of the Dido some eight months later 
that he quitted Sarawak, and that suddenly. He then 
joined Sherip Sahap at Sadong, and when that piratical 
chiefs power was broken, he retired along with him to 
Patusan. Makota was captured after the destruction of that 
place in 1844, but, unfortunately, the Rajah spared his 
life. He then retired to Bruni, there to continue his plots 
against the English, and in 1845 was commissioned by the 
Sultan to murder Rajah Brooke, but found that the execu- 
tion of this design would be too distinctly dangerous ; and, 
though he bearded the lion in his den, it was only in the 
guise of a beggar. At Bruni he rose to power, and, as 


already related in chapter II., became a scourge to the natives 
in that part of the sultanate. His end was this : — In 
November, 1858, he headed a raid at Awang in the 
Limbang to sweep together a number of Bisaya girls to 
fill his harem, when he was fallen upon by the natives at 
night time and killed. 

The Rajah now set to work in earnest to put the 
Government on a sound footing. He made no attempt 
to introduce a brand new constitution and laws, but took 
what already existed. He found the legal code was just 
enough on paper, but had been over-ridden and nullified 
by the lawless pangirans. All that was necessary was to 
enforce the existing laws, modifying the penalties where 
too cruel and severe, and introducing fresh laws as 
occasion required. " I hate," he wrote in October, " the 
idea of an Utopian government, with laws cut and dried 
ready for the natives, being introduced. Governments, like 
clothes, will not suit everybody, and certainly a people who 
gradually develop their government, though not a good one, 
are nearer happiness and stability than a government of the 
best which is fitted at random. I am going on slowly and 
surely, basing everything on their own laws, consulting all 
the headmen at every step, instilling what I think right — 
separating the abuses from the customs." The government 
which he had displaced was so utterly bad that any change 
was certain to be accepted by the people with hope of 
improvement ; and when it was found, that by the introduc- 
tion of a wise system of taxation, which actually doubled 
the revenue, whilst to the popular mind it seemed to halve 
their burden — when, moreover, they found that justice was 
strictly and impartially administered in the courts — they 
welcomed the change with whole-hearted gratitude. The 
Rajah associated the native chiefs with himself in the 
government, and found them amenable to wholesome 
principles, and on the whole to be level-headed men. By 
this means mutual confidence was inspired, and the founda- 
tion laid of a government, the principle of which was and 
has ever since been " to rule for the people and with the 
people," to quote the Rajah writing twenty-two years later, 


" and to teach them the rights of freemen under the re- 
straints of government. The majority of the " Council " 1 
secures a legal ascendency for native ideas of what is best 
for their happiness, here and hereafter. The wisdom of the 
white man cannot become a hindrance, and the English 
ruler must be their friend and guide, or nothing. The 
citizen of Sarawak has every privilege enjoyed by the 
citizen of England, and far more personal freedom than is 
known in a thickly populated country. They are not 
taught industry by being forced to work. They take a 
part in the government under which they live ; they are 
consulted upon the taxes they pay ; and, in short, they are 
free men. 

" This is the government which has struck its roots into 
the soil for the last quarter of a century, which has triumphed 
over every danger and difficult}-, and which has inspired its 
people with confidence." 

The revenue of Sarawak was in utter confusion. Over 
large tracts of country no tax could be enforced, and the 
Rajah, as he had undertaken, was determined to lighten the 
load that had weighed so crushingly, and was inflicted so 
arbitrarily on the loyal Land-Dayaks — loyal hitherto, not in 
heart, but because powerless to resist. To carry on the 
government without funds was impossible, and the want of 
these was now, and for many years to come, the Rajah's 
greatest trouble. Consequently the antimony ore was made 
a monopoly of the government, which was a fair and just 
measure, and to the general advantage of the community, 
though it was subsequently seized upon as a pretext for 
accusing the Rajah of having debased his position by 
engaging in trade. But it was years before the revenue 
was sufficient to meet the expenditure, and gradually the 
Rajah sacrificed his entire fortune to pay the expenses of 
the administration. 

In undertaking the government he had three objects in 
view : — 

(i) The relief of the unfortunate Land-Dayaks from 

1 I.-tablished in 18^;. 


(2) The suppression of piracy, and the restoration to 
a peaceable and orderly life, of those tribes of Dayaks 
who had been converted into marauders by their Malay 

(3) The suppression of head-hunting. 

But these ends could not be attained all at once. The 
first was the easiest arrived at, and the news spread through 
the length and breadth of the island that there was one 
spot on its surface where the native was not ground to 
powder, and where justice reigned. The result was that the 
Land-Dayaks flocked to it. Whole families came over 
from the Dutch Protectorate, where there was no protection ; 
and others who had fled to the mountains and the jungle 
returned to the sites of their burnt villages. 

How this has worked, on the same undeviating lines of 
a sound policy, under the rule of the two Rajahs, the 
following may show. Writing in 1867, on revisiting 
Sarawak, Admiral the Hon. Sir Henry Keppel said : 

It brought back to my mind some four-and-twenty years ago, 
when I first came up in the Dido with Sir James Brooke on board, 
and gave the first and nearly the only help he had in securing his 
position, thereby enabling him to carry out his philanthropic views 
for the benefit of a strange race. If he had not succeeded to the 
full extent of his then sanguine hopes, still there is no man living, 
or to come, who, single-handed, will have benefited his fellow- 
creatures to the extent Brooke has. In 1842, piracy, slavery, 
and head-hunting were the order of the day. The sail of a 
peaceful trader was nowhere to be seen, not even a fisherman, but 
along the length of this beautiful coast, far into the interior, the 
Malays and Dayaks warred on one another. Now how different ! 
Huts and fishing stakes are to be seen all along the coast, the 
town of Kuching, which on the visit of the Dido, had scarcely 
800 inhabitants, now has a population of 20,000. The aborigines, 
who called themselves warriors, are now peaceful traders and 
cultivators of rice. The jungle is fast being cleared to make 
way for farms. 

Head-hunting, the third aim which Rajah Brooke held 
before his eyes, was an ingrained custom of the race which 
could not be eradicated at once. The utmost that he could 


effect at first was to prevent the taking of heads of any of 
the subjects under his rule. All the tribes that were in his 
raj were to be regarded as friends, and were therefore not to 
be molested. Any breach of the peace, every murder was 
severely punished. In a short time head-hunting and inter- 
tribal feuds amongst the Sarawak Dayaks were extirpated, 
and the raj ceased to be a hunting-field for the Sekrang and 
Saribas Dayaks ; but they continued to haunt the coast 
together with the Lanun and Balenini pirates, and the 
suppression of piracy was the most serious undertaking of 
the three, and took many years to accomplish. 

Early in 1S43, the Rajah visited Singapore to further the 
interests of his raj, and for a change. His main wish, which 
he had repeatedly expressed, was to transfer Sarawak to the 
Crown, and he likewise impressed upon the Government 
the policy of establishing a settlement at Labuan, and of 
obtaining a monopoly of the coal in the Bruni Sultanate. 
He was able to interest the Chinese merchants in the trade of 
Sarawak. But the most important matter was the immediate 
suppression of the ravages committed by the pirates, both 
Dayak and Malay ; and here Providence threw across his 
path, in the person of Captain the Hon. Henry Keppel, 1 the 
very assistance he required. Between the white Rajah and 
the Rajah Laut (Sea King), the title by which Keppel became 
known, and was ever afterwards remembered in Sarawak, 
a sincere attachment arose. Keppel was attracted by the 
Rajah's lovable personality, and sympathised with his objects ; 
and, being chivalrous and always ready to act upon his own 
responsibility, he at once decided to lend all the support in 
his power, which any other naval officer might have hesitated 
to have done. The aid he so nobly rendered came at an 
opportune time, for it not only administered to the pirates 
a severe lesson, but also taught those inimical to his rule 
that the white Rajah was not held aloof by his own country- 
men, and thus consolidated his power by reassuring the 
waverers and encouraging the loyal. The kindly and 
gallant Keppel stands foremost amongst the friends of 
Sarawak, to which State he rendered not only the splendid 

1 Afterwards Admiral of the Fleet. He died, January 1904. 



services to be recorded in our next chapter, but ever evinced 
a keen and kindly interest in its welfare, and in its Rajahs, 
to whom he was ever ready to lend his able support and 
influence, and of whom the Rajah wrote, " He is my friend 
and the benefactor of Sarawak." 




S we have already mentioned, the 
second, and by far the most diffi- 
cult, task that Rajah Brooke had 
set before him, and was deter- 
mined to accomplish, was the 
suppression of piracy, which he 
rightly described as an evil almost 
as disgraceful to the European 
nations who permitted it as to 
the native States engaged in it. 
The principal piratical peoples 
at the time were the Illanun, 
or Lanun, the Balenini, the 
Bajaus, and the Sulus, all living to the north or north-east of 
Bruni, and consequently far beyond the jurisdiction of the 
Rajah. To these must be added the Sea-Dayaks of the 
Saribas and Sekrang, who, led by their Malay allies, though 
less formidable to trade, were far more destructive of human 

The Sambas Malays had also been pirates, but at this 
period had ceased to be such. Earl, who visited Sambas 
in 1834, says, that "before the arrival of the Dutch Sambas 
was a nest of pirates. In 1 8 1 2, having attacked an English 
vessel, several British men-of-war were sent from Batavia to 
attack the town. The inhabitants resisted, but were defeated, 
the fort was razed to the ground, and the guns tumbled into 
the river." The reoccupation by the Dutch shortly aftcr- 



wards of this place, Pontianak, and Banjermasin, put some 
check upon the piratical habits of the Malays in the western 
and southern States, 1 but the Malays of the eastern shores 
of Borneo, especially those of Koti, to the north and 
north-west, were all pirates ; and even the people of Bruni 
were imbued with piratical habits, which were generally 
inherent in the Malay character, though they were not enter- 
prising enough to be openly piratical, or to do more than 
encourage their bolder neighbours, from whom they could 
obtain plunder and slaves cheaply ; and near Bruni, within 
the territory of the Sultan, were several piratical strongholds. 
All these were under the control of half-bred Arab sherips, 
as also were the Saribas and the Sekrangs. 

The Lanuns are natives of the large island of Mindanau, 
or Magindanau, the southernmost of the Philippine group. 
They were known to the Spaniards as " Los Illanos de la 
laguna," and, in common with ail Muhammadans, were classed 
by them as Moros or Moors. On the lagoon, or bay, of Lanun 
they live. They were the boldest and most courageous of the 
pirates, and the most dangerous to Europeans, whom they 
never hesitated to attack, not even the Dutch gunboats, and 
to whom, unlike the Balenini pirates, they would never give 
quarter, owing to a hatred, born of former injustice and 
inhumanity, received at the hands of those whom they could 
only have regarded as white barbarians. They became 
incorrigible and cruel pirates, looking upon piracy as a 
noble profession, though Dampier, who spent six months 
amongst them in 16S6-7, and who was very hospitably 
treated, says nothing of piracy, and he gives a full and 
intelligent account of the island, its inhabitants, and pro- 
ducts. He describes the " Hilanoons " as being a peaceable 
people, who bought foreign commodities with the product 
of their gold mines. The Spaniards had sometime before 
occupied the island, but the garrison had to be suddenly 
withdrawn to Manila, in consequence of a threatened invasion 
of that place by the Chinese. The Sultan then seized their 

1 The Governor-General of Netherlands East Indies in a rescript, dated January 
23, 1846, acknowledged that the exertions during the past twenty-five years effectually 
to suppress piracy on the coasts of Borneo had not been successful for want of com- 
bination, and for having been limited to the western coast. 


cannon, demolished their forts, and expelled their friars. 
Then it was the Dutch they feared ; they wished the English 
to establish a Factory there, 1 and subsequently, in 1775, ceded 
a small island to the H.E.I. Company for that purpose. 

Though the Spanish had a settlement on the western 
end of the island they were unable to keep the Lanun 
pirates in check, and on occasions were severely handled 
by them, as were also the Dutch. 

With these pirates were associated the Bajaus or sea- 
gipsies, a roving people, who lived entirely in their prahus, 
with their women and children. 

The vessels employed by Lanuns on marauding expedi- 
tions were sometimes of 60 tons burden, built very sharp 
in the prow and wide in beam, and over 90 feet in 
length. A double tier of oars was worked by slaves to 
the number of 100, and the fighting men would be 
from 30 to 40 ; the prahus of the smallest size carried 
from 50 to 80 in all. The bows of the vessels were 
solidly built, and fortified with hard wooden baulks capable 
of resisting a 6-pounder shot ; often they were shod with 
iron. Here a narrow embrasure admitted a gun for a 6 to 
a 24-pound shot. In addition to this, the armaments con- 
sisted of several guns, usually of brass, of smaller calibre. 
Sometimes the piratical fleets comprised as many as 200 
prahus, though the Lanuns usually cruised in small fleets of 
20 to 30 sail. They would descend on a coast and attack 
any village, sack and burn it, kill the defenders, carry away 
men, women, and children as slaves, slaughter the cattle, 
and ravage the plantations. A cargo of slaves captured 
on the east coast of Borneo would be sold on the west 
coast, and those taken in the south would find a ready 
market in the north, in Sulu 2 and the Lanun country. 
Their cruising grounds were extensive — around the coasts 
of the Philippine islands, Borneo, and Celebes to Sumatra, 
Java, and the Malay peninsula, through the Moluccas to New 
Guinea, and even up the Bay of Bengal as far as Rangoon. 
In 1834, a fleet of these Lanuns swept round the coast of a 

1 A Collection of V 1 729. 

- Sulu was the principal market for the disposal of captives and plunder. 


small island in the Straits of Rhio, opposite Singapore, and 
killed or carried away all the inhabitants. 1 In addition to 
their original home in the bay of Lanun, they had settle- 
ments in Marudu Bay in the north of Borneo, and towns 
along the west coast almost as far south as Ambong, and 
on the east coast to Tungku, and on to Koti. In Marudu 
their chief was Sherip Usman, who was married to a sister 
of the Sultan Muda of Sulu, and who was in league with 
Pangiran Usup, uncle to the Sultan of Bruni, and his 
principal adviser. Usman supplied the pirates with powder, 
shot, and guns, and they, on returning from a piratical 
expedition, paid him at the rate of four captives for every 
IOO rupees worth of goods with which he had furnished 
them. Such captives as had been taken in the vicinity of 
Bruni he would sell to Pangiran Usup for 100 rupees each, 
who would then demand of their friends and relations Rs. 200 
for each. "Thus this vile Sherip, not reckoning the enormous 
price he charged for his goods in the first instance, gained 
500 per cent for every slave, and the Pangiran Usup cleared 
100 per cent by the flesh of his own countrymen." 

In 1 844, Ambong was a flourishing town occupied by 
an industrious and peaceable people, subjects of the Sultan 
of Bruni. In 1846, Captain Rodney Mundy, R.N., visited 
it, and the town was represented by a heap of ruins alone ; 
the inhabitants had been slaughtered, or enslaved to be 
passed on to Usup, that he might make what he could out 
of them, by holding them to ransom by their relatives. 

The Balenini were hand in glove with the Lanuns, and 
often associated with them in their expeditions. They 
issued from a group of islands in the Sulu sea, and acted 
in complicity with the Sultan of Sulu, whose country was 
the great nucleus of piracy. They equipped annually con- 
siderable fleets to prey upon the commerce with Singapore 
and the Straits ; they also attacked villages, and carried off 
alike crews of vessels and villagers to slavery, to be crowded 
for months in the bottom of the pirate vessels, suffering 

1 A son of Captain Francis Light, who founded Penang in 1786, was named 
Lanoon, he having been born on the island at the time it was being blockaded by 
Lanun pirates. 


indescribable miseries. Their cruising grounds were also 
very extensive ; the whole circuit of Borneo was exposed 
to their attacks, except only the Lanun settlements, for 
hawks do not peck out hawk's een. When pursued and 
liable to be overtaken, they cut the throats of their captives 
and threw them overboard, men, women, and children alike. 
Up to 1848, the principal Balenini strongholds were in 
Balenini, Tongkil, and Basilan islands, but they were then 
driven out of the two former islands by the Spaniards, and 
they established themselves on other islands in the Sulu 
Archipelago ; and Tawi Tawi island, which had always been 
one of their strongholds, then became their principal one. 

Trade with Borneo and the Sulu Archipelago was 
rendered almost impossible, or at least a very dangerous 
pursuit, and even merchantmen using the Palawan passage to 
China, which takes them close along the coast of Borneo, often 
fell a prey to these pirates. 

Earl, writing a year or two before the advent of the late 
Rajah to Sarawak, remarks in connection with Borneo, that it 
ought to be considered but " an act of justice to the natives 
of the Indian Archipelago, whom we have enticed to visit 
our settlement of Singapore, that some exertion should be 
made towards the suppression of piracy." He blames the 
unaccountable indifference and neglect which the British 
Government had hitherto displayed, and expresses his 
sympathy for the natives. He considered it his duty to 
point the way — it was left to the late Rajah to lead in it. 

The Natuna, the Anamba, and the Tambilan islands, 
which stretch across the entrance of the China sea between 
Borneo and the Malay peninsula, were common lurking 
haunts of the pirates. Amongst these islands they could 
find water and shelter ; could careen, clean, and repair their 
prahus ; and they were right in the track of vessels bound 
to Singapore, or northward to the Philippines or China. 
To replenish their stores and to obtain arms and ammunition 
they would sail to Singapore in innocent-looking captured 
prahus, where they found a ready market for their booty 
amongst the Chinese. Muskets of English make and 
powder from English factories were found in captured prahus 



and strongholds. At Patusan a number of barrels of fine 
gunpowder from Dartford were discovered exactly as these 
had left the factory in England. 

Against these the Rajah was powerless to take the offen- 
sive. They had to be left to be reduced or cowed by the 
spasmodic efforts of British men-of-war. What he urged, 
though ineffectually, was that a man-of-war should patrol 
the coast and curb the ruffians. What was actually done, but 
not until later, was to attack and burn a stronghold or two, 
and then retire. The pirates fled into the jungle, but returned 
when the British were gone, rebuilt their houses, and supplied 
themselves with fresh vessels. 

Near at hand were the Saribas and Sekrang Sea-Dayaks 
occupying the basins of rivers of these names, the Sekrang 
being an affluent of the Batang Lupar. 

In each of these rivers was a large Malay community 
of some iooo fighting men who lived by piracy, and who 
trained the numerous Dayaks, by whom they were 
surrounded, to the same lawless life that they led them- 
selves, and guided them on their predatory excursions. 
Here again both Dayaks and Malays were under the 
influence of Sherips, Mular, his brother Sahap, and others. 
In course of time these Dayaks became expert seamen, and, 
accompanied by the Malays, yearly issued forth with fleets 
composed of a hundred or more bangkongs, 1 sweeping the 
seas and carrying desolation along the shores of Borneo over 
a distance of 800 miles. 

The Sea-Dayaks soon became aware of their power ; 
and accordingly, both in their internal government and on 
their piratical expeditions, their chiefs attained an authority 
superior to that of the Malay chiefs, their titular rulers. 

In May, I 843, H. M.S. Dido started on her eventful cruise 
to Borneo, having the Rajah on board. After passing 
Sambas, Captain Keppel dispatched the pinnace and two 
cutters under the first lieutenant, with whom went the 
Rajah, to cruise along the coast. Lanun pirates were seen, 
but, easily outsailing the flotilla, escaped. Off Sirhasan, 
the largest of the group of the Natuna islands, whither the 

1 Dayak war-boats, some having as many as 75 to the crew. 



boats had been directed to go, six prahus, some belonging to 
the Rajah Muda of Rhio (an island close to Singapore, 
belonging to the Dutch, and under a Dutch Resident), and 
some to the islanders, mistaking the Dido's boats for those of 
a shipwrecked vessel, and expecting an easy pre}-, advanced 
with boldness and opened fire upon them. They were quickly 
undeceived, and in a few minutes three out of the six prahus 
were captured, with a loss of over twelve killed and many 
wounded. Neither the Rhio Malays nor those of the islands 
were pirates, and the former under an envoy were collecting 
tribute for the Sultan of Lingin, but the temptation was irre- 
sistible to a people with piracy innate in their character. 
They protested it was a mistake, and that with the sun in 
their eyes they had mistaken the boats for Lanun pirates ! 
The little English flotilla had suffered no casualties, and a 
severe lesson had been administered, which was rightly 
considered to be sufficient. The wounded were attended to, 
and, having been liberally supplied with fresh provisions, 
Lieutenant YVilmot Horton left for Sarawak to rejoin the 

After having been cleverly dodged by three Lanun 
prahus, the Dido anchored off the Muaratebas entrance on May 
13th, and proceeded up to Kuching on the 16th. Keppel 
described the Rajah's reception by his people as one of un- 
disguised delight, mingled with gratitude and respect, on the 
return of their newly elected ruler to his country. 

The temerity of the pirates had become so great that it 
was deemed advisable to despatch the little Sarawak gun- 
boat, the Jolly Bachelor, under the charge of Lieutenant 
Hunt, with a crew of eighteen marines and seamen, to 
cruise in the vicinity of Cape Datu, and there to await the 
arrival of a small yacht which was expected from Singapore 
with the mails, and to escort her to Kuching. Two or three 
days after they had left, at about 3 o'clock one morning, 
writes Captain Keppel : — 

The moon being just about to rise, Lieutenant Hunt, happening 
to awake, observed a savage brandishing a kris, and performing his 
war-dance on the bit of deck in an ecstasy of delight, thinking in all 
probability of the ease with which he had got possession of a line 



trading boat, • and calculating the cargo of slaves he had to sell, 
but little dreaming of the hornets' nest into which he had fallen. 
Lieutenant Hunt's round face meeting the light of the rising moon, 
without a turban surmounting it, was the first notice the pirate had 
of his mistake. He immediately plunged overboard ; and before 
Lieutenant Hunt had sufficiently recovered his astonishment, to 
know whether he was dreaming or not, or to rouse his crew up, 
a discharge from three or four cannons within a few yards, and the 
cutting through the rigging by the various missiles with which the 
guns were loaded, soon convinced him there was no mistake. It 
was as well the men were still lying down when this discharge took 
place, as not one of them was hurt; but on jumping to their legs, 
they found themselves closely pressed by two large war-prahus, one 
on each bow. To return the fire, cut the cable, man the oars, 
and back astern to gain room, was the work of a minute ; but now 
came the tug-of-war, it was a case of life and death. Our men 
fought as British sailors ought to do ; quarter was not expected on 
either side ; and the quick and deadly aim of the marines prevented 
the pirates from reloading their guns. The strong bulwarks or 
barricades, grape-shot proof, across the fore part of the Lanun 
prahus, through which ports are formed for working the guns, had 
to be cut away by round shot before the muskets could bear effec- 
tually. This done the grape and cannister told with fearful execution. 
In the meantime, the prahus had been pressing forward to board 
while the Jolly Bachelor backed astern ; but as soon as this service 
was achieved, our men dropped their oars, and seizing their muskets 
dashed on : the work was sharp but short, and the slaughter great. 
While one pirate boat was sinking, and an effort made to secure 
her, the other effected her escape by rounding the point of rocks 
where a third and larger prahu, hitherto unseen, came to her assist- 
ance, and putting fresh hands on board and taking her in tow, 
succeeded in getting off, although chased by the/oily Bachelor, after 
setting fire to the crippled prize, which blew up and sank. 1 

None of the crew of this prahu survived, and so few in 
the second prahu, that, when she separated from her consort, 
the slaves arose and put them to death. They were the 
same three prahus that had eluded the Dido. 

Having satisfied himself as to the character of the Saribas 
and Sekrang Dayaks, and how the chiefs governing them 
encouraged their depredations, and having received an appeal 
from the Rajah Muda Hasim 2 to relieve the cost of the perils 

1 Expedition to Borneo of H. M.S. Dido, 1847. 

2 On behalf of the Sultan, Saribas and Sekrang being beyond Rajah Brooke's 


it underwent, Captain Keppel resolved to attack the Saribas 
first, as being the most formidable of the two piratical hordes. 

Preparations for the expedition were soon commenced. 
It was to consist of a native force of 300 Malays, the Dido's 
three large boats, and the Jolly Bachelor, manned by blue- 
jackets and marines, all under the command of Lieutenant 
Wilmot Horton. The datus were opposed to the Rajah 
going — they thought the risk too great, but on his express- 
ing his determination to do so, and leaving it to them to 
accompany him or not, their simple reply was, " What is the 
use of our remaining? If you die, we die ; and if you live, 
we live ; we will go with you." ] The Rajah and Captain 
Keppel accompanied the expedition in the Dido's gig. 

Intelligence of the design was carried far and wide. 
The Saribas strengthened their defences, and several of 
the half-bred Arab sherips living nearer Sarawak sent in 
promises of good conduct. Tribes that had suffered from 
the depredations of the pirates offered to join in attacking 
them, and the force thus augmented by several hundreds ot 
Dayaks started early in June. 

The first skirmish fell to the lot of Datu Patinggi Ali, 
who, having been sent on ahead, met a force of seven prahus 
at the mouth of the Saribas, which he attacked and drove 
back, after capturing one. Padi, a stockaded town some 
60 miles up the Saribas river, and the furthest up of the 
piratical strongholds, reputed also to be the strongest and 
most important, was the first attacked, and though defended 
by two forts and two booms of forest trees stretched across 
the river, and being crowded with Malay and Dayak 
warriors, it was carried on the evening of June 1 1, and the 
place committed to the flames. The next day some 800 
Balau Dayaks,-' under Sherip Japar of Lingga, joined the 
force, keen to make reprisals for past injuries. 

The enemy, reckoned at about 6000 Dayaks and 500 
Malays, had retired up-river, and against them a small force 
of about 40 blue-jackets and the same number of Malays, 

1 Keppel, op. at. 

- These Sea-Dayaks, together with those of the Undup, also an affluent of the 
og Lupar, subsequently became the mainstay of the Government against the 
Saribas and Sckrangs. 


under the Rajah and Lieutenant Horton, started the next 
day. During the night they were repeatedly attacked by 
the pirates, who, under cover of the darkness, closed in on 
their assailants, especially where some marines held a post 
on a cleared height overlooking the river. The pirates lost 
a good many men, and the next morning, seeing the force 
again preparing to advance, sent in a flag of truce and sued 
for mercy. The Rajah then met their chiefs and explained 
to them that it was in consequence of their acts of piracy 
that they were now punished ; that they had been cautioned 
two years previously to abstain from these marauding ex- 
peditions, and that they had disregarded this monition ; he 
assured them that they would be unmolested if they abstained 
from molesting others, but that if they continued to prey on 
their neighbours and to interfere with trading vessels they 
would receive further castigation. 

It was proposed to these people that the towns of Paku 
and Rembas should be spared, if they would guarantee the 
future good conduct of the inhabitants. They coolly replied 
that those people deserved the same punishment, which had 
better be administered, otherwise they would continue pirat- 
ing, and would lead the Padi people astray again. 

Paku was taken on the 14th, and burnt; here no resist- 
ance was met with. The next day the chiefs submitted. 
On the 17th, Rembas was attacked and taken, the Balau 
Dayaks, under Sherip Japar, having all the fighting to do. 
This was the largest and strongest town, and much plunder 
was secured. After receiving the submission of the Rembas 
chiefs the expedition returned to Kuching, having, in seven 
days, destroyed the strongholds of the most powerful and 
dreaded pirates on the north-west coast of Borneo, who for 
years had defied both Bruni and Sarawak. Such an im- 
pression was produced, that the Sekrangs sent messages 
promising to abstain from piracy, and offering, if they were 
spared, to give up a hundred women and children captives ; 
and Sherips Mular and Sahap, fearing the punishment they 
so richly deserved, sent professions of future good conduct. 
These were not accepted, but the day of reckoning had to be 
deferred, for Keppel had received orders to return to China. 


The Saribas had suffered, but not the redoubtable 
Sekrangs, and the former not so severely but that in a 
couple of years all their losses could be repaired, their 
stockades be rebuilt, and fresh prahus constructed, and the 
old story of blood and rapine continued with little inter- 
mission, not only by them, but by the Lanuns and Sekrangs 
as well. 

A year was to elapse before Keppel's return ; and we 
will now record in their sequence the few events of interest 
that happened during this short period. 

About a month after the departure of the Dido, the 
Samarang, Captain Sir Edward Belcher, arrived at Kuching. 
Sir Edward had been sent, consequent on Rajah Brooke's 
actions and recommendations, to inquire personally into 
and report officially upon the affairs and capabilities of 
north-west Borneo. As Sir Spenser St. John writes — a 

This visit was as useless as such visits usually are. What can 
the most acute naval officer understand of a country during a few- 
days' or weeks' visit ? He can describe more or less accurately its 
outward appearance ; but to understand its internal politics is not 
possible in the time. And yet on such comparatively valueless 
reports the British Government relies in a majority of cases. Mr. 
Brooke suffered more than any other pioneer of civilisation from 
the system. 

On getting under way to proceed to Bruni the Sama- 
rang grounded on a rocky ledge off the town, and Sir 
Edward's brief visit was protracted by a fortnight. The 
ship, which lay in an extremely critical position, was righted 
and got off the rocks before the Harlequin, Wanderer, \ r ixen, 
and Diana arrived to assist her. Accompanied by the 
Rajah, Sir Edward proceeded to Bruni towards the end of 
August, but the latter's visit was very short ; he saw the 
Sultan for two hours only, and then, as small-pox was rag- 
ing in Bruni, departed for Singapore." The principal object 
of the Rajah's visit was obtained, as he was enabled to bear 

1 Life cf Sir James Brooke, p. 84. 

- Sir Edward's report upon Sarawak appears to have been favourable; he 
pronounced the coal at Bruni, which he never examined, u> \ e unworkable, and the 
Sultan to be a savage. 


away a deed granting Sarawak in perpetuity to him and to 
the heirs of his appointment. 

In December the Rajah left for Singapore, and there 
the next month he received the news of his mother's death. 
To quote the Rajah, after the first shock, he resolved to 
seek in activity a relief from the lowness of spirits which he 
suffered. This led him to join an expedition to punish 
certain pirates on the coast of Sumatra for injuries done to 
British ships. The ships employed were the Harlequin, 
Captain the Hon. G. Hastings ; the Wanderer, Captain 
Seymour, with whom the Rajah sailed, and the East India 
Company's steamer, the Diana. At Achin x they found the 
once powerful Sultan unable to control or punish his own 
subjects, and the ships then proceeded to Batu and Murdu, 
the strongholds of the pirates. The former town was burnt 
without offering much resistance, but the latter gave them a 
tough fight of five hours before it was taken. The pirates 
lost from fifty to seventy men killed and wounded, the 
English two killed, and about a dozen wounded, amongst 
whom was the Rajah, who was shot inside the right arm, 
and had an eyebrow cut in two by a spear. This was on 
February 1 2, 1 844. 

In Singapore the Rajah purchased a new vessel, the 
Julia, having sold the Royalist ; the Julia was fitted as a 
gunboat. Early in June he returned to Sarawak in the 

He found that during his absence, his old enemy, Sherip 
Sahap, had built many war-boats, and had made great pre- 
parations for offensive operations. Kuching was supposed to 
be his object, and it had been put in a state of defence, but 
on the Rajah's return Sahap deemed it advisable to retire to 
the Batang Lupar, and taking with him a large force marked 
his course with bloodshed and rapine. He then fortified 
himself at Patusan, below the Sekrang, and the Dayaks 
were sent out ravaging in every direction. Eight villages 
were burnt in the Sadong, the Samarahan people were 
attacked, and many women and children were captured. 
A party even ventured into Sarawak, and cut off two 

1 Pronounced by the natives Acki. 


Singgi Dayaks on their farm, but they did not get off 
scot free, for the Rajah, starting in the middle of the 
night, intercepted their return and gave them a sharp 

Patusan, 1 the stronghold of Sherip Sahap, with whom 
was Pangiran Makota, was on the left-hand bank of the 
Batang Lupar, about fifteen miles below the Undup stream, 
up which, about seven miles from the mouth, was the 
stockaded town of Sahap's brother, Sherip Mular. Besides 
numerous Malays, these sherips were supported by the 
Sekrang Dayaks, then estimated to number some 10,000 
fighting men, and these warriors, though they might not 
recognise the power of the sherips over them in other 
matters, were always ready to respond to a summons to 
engage in a plundering raid. 

Captain Keppel had been long expected, but the Dido 
had been detained in India, and when she arrived on July 
30, with the welcome addition of the H.E.I.C's steamer 
Phlegetkofiy preparations for the coming expedition against 
the Batang Lupar were so well forward that it was enabled to 
start almost immediately. On board the Dido was the 
Rajah's favourite nephew, midshipman Charles Johnson, who 
eight years later became the Tuan Muda of Sarawak, and 
who ultimately succeeded his uncle as Rajah. 

The combined force of blue-jackets, Malays, and Dayaks, 
headed by the PJilegethon, started from Kuching on August 
5th, and on the 7th were off Patusan. This place was well 
fortified, sixty-four brass besides many iron guns were taken 
there," and its five forts were captured, with heavy loss to 
the pirates. The attacking party lost only one man killed, 
the captain of the main-top of the Dido, who was cut in two 
by a cannon-shot whilst loading the bow-gun of the Jolly 
Bachelor ; close to him was the present Rajah, who 
fortunately escaped unhurt. 

So confident had Sherip Sahap and Pangiran Makota 
been in the impregnability of their strongholds that they 
had not taken the usual precaution of sending their women, 

1 More correctly Putusan, or Perautus. We retain the old spelling. 
- These guns realised ^900 at public auction in Singapore. 



children, and property of value, to a distant place of refuge. 
On their flight the unfortunate children were placed in 
different nooks and corners. 

After having completely destroyed the town of Patusan, 
and Makota's town about a mile above, the expedition moved 
on upon the 10th. The PJdegetJwn was taken up as far as 
the Sekrang, a very bold proceeding considering the dangerous 
nature of the river, and the force was divided into three 
divisions, to ascend the Undup, the Sekrang, and the main- 
river ; but the pirates, chiefly Malays, offered such a stubborn 
resistance in the Undup that these divisions had to be reunited 
to make a simultaneous attack. The gallant Datu Patinggi 
Ali here distinguished himself in a hand-to-hand fight with 
the enemy ; it was witnessed by the blue-jackets, who hailed 
him with three hearty British cheers on his return. It took 
the force the whole day to cut through the heavy log barriers 
that had been placed across the river below Mular's town, 
which the enemy deserted during the night, retiring to a 
Dayak village some twenty-five miles farther up the river. 
After an arduous journey of two days the landing-place of 
the village was reached ; here occurred a brush with the 
pirates, who were pushed back, and old Datu Patinggi 
nearly covered himself with glory by almost capturing 
Sherip Mular, who saved himself by ignominiously jump- 
ing into the river and swimming ashore. A little later, 
Captain Keppel and Lieutenant Wade with some seven men 
surprised a large force of pirates waiting behind a point ; 
these were so taken by surprise that they were easily routed, 
but Lieutenant Wade rushing on in pursuit was struck by two 
rifle-shots, and fell at his commander's feet mortally wounded. 
The Dayak village was then attacked, and the enemy 

On the 15 th, the Phlegethon was reached, and on the 
17th, a force started up the Sekrang to administer a lesson 
to the notorious Dayak pirates of that river, who had been 
making their presence felt in an unpleasant manner, con- 
tinuously annoying the force at night time by hanging about 
on the river banks and killing and wounding several of the 
Malay and Dayak members of the force. The expedition 


consisted of seven of the Dido's and Phlegethoris boats, and 
the Jolly Bachelor, with a division of a few light native boats 
under Datu Patinggi Ali as a vanguard, and the rest of the 
Sarawak contingent behind as a reserve. On the I 9th, the 
enemy made a determined stand, blocking the advance of 
Patinggi Ali's division with a formidable array of war-boats, 
and with thousands of men on each bank, who had selected 
positions where they could effectively use their javelins 
and blow-pipes. Instead of falling back upon the main 
body, old Ali bravely dashed on, followed by his little con- 
tingent. A desperate encounter against fearful odds ensued, 
and before the ships' boats could come to his support the fine 
old Malay chief 1 had fallen along with a Mr. Steward, 2 and 
twenty-nine of his devoted followers, fifty-six more being 
wounded. The gun and rocket fire of the boats soon turned 
the tables, and the Dayaks retreated from their position 
with considerable loss. The same day their town was 
destroyed, and the expedition returned. At Patusan, which 
was reached on the 22nd, Captain Sir Edward Belcher, with 
the boats of the Samarang, joined them, but too late to 
render any service. At Kuching there was barely time 
to get the sick and wounded into comfortable quarters 
before news arrived that Sherip Sahap had joined Sherip 
Japar at Lingga, and was again collecting his followers. 
With the addition of the Samarang's boats, the force 
immediately started for Lingga ; Sherip Sahap hastily 
retired, and, though closely pursued, escaped over the border ; 
Sherip Japar was deposed from his governorship of Lingga ; 
and Pangiran Makota was captured and sent a prisoner on 

1 The Patinggi was always ready and ever to the fore where tough work and 
hard knocks were going, and he was the guiding and leading spirit in such expedi- 
tions as was this. "Three fingered Jack" the Dido's crew had clubbed him, 
hiving that strong regard for him that brave men bear towards another though his 
skin be of a different complexion — for he had lost two fingers in a former encounter. 
The type has since changed, and the courtly, intrepid, and determined fighting 
Malay chief has gone — and he is missed. " I sigh for some of the old hands that 
could not read or write, but could work, and had more sound wisdom in their little 
fingers than many popinjay gentlemen of the present day carry in their heads," so 
wrote the present Rajah ten years ago. 

- Mr. George Stew. ml, formerly of the H.E. I. C's maritime service, had been 
-•iit out by the Rajah's agent, Mr. Wise, on a trading venture. He joined the ex- 
pedition as a volunteer, and had concealed itself in Patinggi Ali's boat, where he 
should not have been. 


board the PJilegetlion. The Rajah then held a meeting of all 
the Malay chiefs of the surrounding country, and in an 
eloquent speech impressed upon them the determination of 
the British Government to suppress piracy ; dwelt upon the 
blessings arising from peace and trade, and concluded by 
saying that the measures lately adopted against piracy were 
taken for the protection of all the peaceful communities 
along the coast. " So great was the attention bestowed 
during the delivery of his speech that the dropping of a 
pin might have been heard." x On September 4th, the force 
again reached Kuching. 

Sherip Sahap, after residing for a short time in the 
Kapuas, in Dutch Borneo, died of a broken heart at 
Pontianak. Sherip Millar, who also escaped over the 
border, subsequently sued for forgiveness, but this was then 
refused. 2 Sherip Japar, who the previous year had rendered 
good service against the Saribas pirates, was removed to 
Ensingai in the Sadong. Pangiran Makota, who so richly 
deserved death, and who as a matter of policy alone, as well 
as in the interests of humanity, should have been executed, 
was spared by the Rajah, and allowed to retire to Bruni, 
with what results we have already noted. 

Early the next year the Saribas and Sekrang Dayaks 
visited the Rajah at Kuching and formally tendered their 
submission. The promises then made of future good 
behaviour would probably have been observed, and those, of 
which there was now a large party, in favour of peace have 
been upheld, had the British Government afforded the Rajah 
continuous support for a short time, even in the shape of a 
small brig-of-war. " We must progress or retrograde " was 
the Rajah's timely, though unheeded warning. But the 
desired support was denied, and gradually the piratical 
party again became dominant, and in less than two years 
found themselves in a position once more to defy the 
Rajah, and to spread terror along the coast. But with this, 

1 Keppel, op. cit. We have taken our account of the expedition up the Batang 
Lupar mainly from Keppel's narrative, the only original history of these operations 
hitherto published. 

2 He was afterwards pardoned and permitted to reside at Sekrang town, where 
he died. 


and their final, though tardy punishment, we shall deal 

The Rajah seeing how precarious his position was, had 
offered the cession of Sarawak to the British Crown without 
remuneration, though he had now laid out £10,000 upon 
its development. He showed how by developing the trade 
and the natural wealth of the land through British influence, 
river after river might be opened up to commerce. He 
entreated that steady and unremitting efforts should be 
made for the suppression of piracy. But the Government 
shrank from the extension of its Colonies, it was afraid of 
being dragged into a second New Zealand scheme, and it 
consented, reluctantly, to afford him help, and that but 
inadequate, against the pirates. 

" It is easy," wrote the Rajah at the close of the previous year, 
" for men to perform fine feats with the pen : it is easy for the rich 
man to give yearly thousands in charity : it is easy to preach against 
the slave trade, or to roar against piracy ; it is easy to bustle about 
London, and get up associations for all kinds of objects — all this 
is easy, but it is not easy to stand alone — to be exiled — to lay out 
a small fortune — to expend life and health and money — to risk life 
itself, when the loss would be without glory and without gain. . . . 
I am enabled to dispense happiness and peace to many thousand 
persons. I stand alone ; I appeal for assistance and gain none ; I 
have struggled for four years bearing my life in my hand. I hold 
a commanding position and influence over the natives ; I feel it my 
paramount duty to gain protection and some power. I state it in 
so many plain words, and if, after all, I am left to my own resources 
the fault of failure is not with me. This negotiation with Govern- 
ment is nearly at an end, or if protracted, if I perceive any intention 
of delay, or any coolness, I will myself break it off and trust to God 
and my own wits. . . If they act cordially they will either give me 
a plain negative or some power to act, in order that I may carry 
out my views. If they haggle and bargain any further I will none 
of them, or if they bother me with their suspicions, or send any 
more gentlemen for the purpose of espionage, I will assert the in- 
dependence I feel, and send them all to the devil. 

This, it must be remembered, was in a private letter. 
His position was precarious. He, with less than half-a- 
dozen Englishmen, had established himself as reigning prince 
over Sarawak ; its population consisted mainly of timid 


Land-Dayaks, useless in warfare, and there were only a few 
hundred Malays and Sea-Dayaks upon whom he could rely 
to protect the little State against its powerful and actively 
hostile neighbours. Even his own people were in a condition 
of tension and hesitation, not knowing whether the arm of 
England would be extended in his support, or be withdrawn, 
leaving him to succumb under the krises of assassins. 

It is perhaps as well that the British Government did 
leave the Rajah so much alone ; that he was able to exercise 
a free hand to carry out his own ideas, and that he was not 
crossed or hampered by the changing policies of the different 
Cabinets that came into power — some ready to extend the 
limits of the Empire, others shrinking from responsibilities, 
and seeking to contract the sphere of British influence within 
the narrowest limits, but all timid and nervous of opposition 
from the adverse party. The little State has thus had the 
advantage of having been governed for just seventy years 
directly by two of the ablest rulers of Orientals, having an 
intimate knowledge of their subjects and their requirements, 
and governing with their people, instead of having been sub- 
ject to the capricious and often stupid government of the 
Colonial Office, and of ever-changing governors. Unfor- 
tunately the late Rajah was subsequently " crossed and 
hampered " from home, notably by the little England party 
at whose head stood Mr. Gladstone, and the greatest evil was 
done to Sarawak by his own countrymen supported by a 
timorous Government. Happily, the English rajahs, the 
second as well as the first, by their honesty of purpose and 
their inflexibility of resolution gathered about them a host of 
native adherents ; these they inspired with self-respect, and 
confidence in their rulers, and thus formed a mass of public 
opinion that went far towards making their rule permanent, and 
enabled it to withstand checks from within and from without. 

The Dutch at this time had been making praiseworthy 
efforts to check the Lanuns ; they had destroyed several 
piratical fleets, and were preparing on a large scale to drive 
them off the seas ; in this, however, they failed. 

For some time the Rajah was free from his troublesome 
neighbours, and he devoted his time to the affairs of 


his little State, the population of which had just received 
an addition of 5000 families of Malays from the disturbed 
districts along the coast. 

Xot till Hasim and his train of obstructive and rapacious 
hangers-on had departed from Sarawak could the benefits 
of the Rajah's administration take complete effect. So long 
as these men remained, with their traditions of misrule, and 
their distorted ideas of the relation between the governor and 
the governed, a thousand difficulties were interposed, thwarting 
the Rajah's efforts, and these had to be circumvented or 
overcome. The pangirans, great and small, great in their self- 
confidence, proud of the mischief they had wrought, small and 
mean in their selfish aims, viewed the introduction of reform 
with ill-disguised hostility ; and the Rajah Muda Hasim in 
their midst formed a nucleus about whom disaffection and 
intrigue must inevitably gather and grow to a head. 
Only Bedrudin was heart and soul with the Rajah, so far as 
his lights went. He was a man of intelligence and generous 
spirit, who had taken the lesson to heart that by good 
government, the encouragement of commerce and the peace- 
ful arts, the country would thrive and the revenue in conse- 
quence largely increase, and that his brother pangirans were 
blindly and stupidly killing the goose that laid golden eggs. 
To him the Rajah was sincerely attached, and the attach- 
ment was reciprocated. Personally, the Rajah was sorry 
when Bedrudin had to return with his brothers to Bruni ; 
but the Sultan's recall was imperative, and it obviated 
all risk of the prince being made, unwillingly, a gathering 
point of faction. It was advisable, moreover, that there 
should be near the Sultan's ear a man like Bedrudin, who 
would give wise counsel ; and Hasim, weak and vacillating 
as he was, could show his nephew by his own experience 
that advantage would accrue to him by adopting a policy 
favourable to British enterprise, and by warning him that 
disaster, though approaching with lagging feet, must overtake 
him inevitably if he attempted to thwart it. Furthermore, the 
Sultan had been loud in his professions of affection for his dear 
absent uncles, and of his desire to have them about his person. 
Early in October, H.M.S. Samarang, Captain Sir Edward 


Belcher, and the H.E.I. C's steamer Phlegetho7i, arrived to 
convey to Bruni, Rajah Muda Hasim, his brothers, and their 
numerous families, retainers, slaves, and hangers-on. The 
Rajah himself went up in the Samarang. On approaching 
Bruni there were signs of hostility from four forts on Pulo 
Cheremin, which Pangiran Usup had frightened the Sultan 
into building, but the flag of Hasim reassured the Brunis. 
The exiles were well received. The Sultan declared he 
would listen to no other adviser than Hasim, and the people 
were in favour of him. Though Pangiran Usup had gained 
great influence over the Sultan he deemed it prudent to 
dissemble, and declared himself ready implicitly to obey 
Hasim, and as a proof of good faith at once dismantled 
the new forts on Hasim ordering him to do so. The poorer 
classes, who had heard of the peace and security enjoyed by 
the inhabitants of Sarawak, openly expressed their desire that 
the Rajah should remain and govern conjointly with Pangiran 
Muda Hasim. Labuan island, which the Sultan now offered 
the Rajah, was examined, and the Rajah considered it superior 
to Kuching for a settlement, as being in a more central and 
more commanding position. 1 

In February, 1845, Captain Bethune of H.M.S. Driver, 
anchored in the Sarawak river, and brought a despatch from 
Lord Aberdeen appointing the Rajah confidential agent in 
Borneo to her Majesty, an appointment made mainly upon 
the Rajah's own suggestion that official recognition would go 
far to help him. He at once proceeded to Bruni in the 
Driver, bearing a letter from the Foreign Office to the Sultan 
in reply to his letters requesting assistance to suppress 
piracy ; and Captain Bethune had been directed to select a 
suitable locality on the N.VV. coast for the formation of a 
British settlement, whence the sea along the north and west 
coasts might be watched, and where there was coal suitable 
for a coaling station. 

The letter was received by the Sultan and his pangirans 
with due honours, and the Rajah told them that he " was 
deputed by her Majesty the Queen to express her feelings 

1 Labuan, however, proved a failure as a trading centre, and in that respect has 
taken a very secondary position to Kuching. 



of goodwill, and to offer every assistance in repressing piracy 
in these seas." The Sultan stared. Muda Hasim said, 
" We are greatly indebted ; it is good, very good." 1 And the 
Sultan had reason to stare. Pangiran Usup, who was also 
present, was no doubt likewise too much taken aback to do 
anything else, ready as he was with his tongue, for such a 
proffer was as unexpected as it was unwelcome. Hitherto 
they had imagined, and with some reason, that owing to its 
slowness and inaction, the British Government was luke- 
warm in its intentions to suppress piracy ; that outward 
professions would not be taken seriously, and were all that 
was needed of them to cover their secret encouragement of 
their piratical neighbours. The Sultan, however, was a 
clever dissembler ; he joined with Hasim in expressing a 
hope that with the Rajah's assistance the government of 
Bruni might be settled, piracy suppressed, and trade fostered. 
The Rajah then went to Singapore to meet the Admiral, 
Sir Thomas Cochrane, and to endeavour to interest him in 
Bornean affairs, to gain his assistance against the pirates, and 
in support of the party in Bruni that was in favour of reform. 
He was successful as the sequel will show, and in May 
returned to Bruni in the PJdegetJioii. He then discovered to 
his no little concern that the Princes Hasim and Bedrudin 
were in such danger that their brothers begged to be allowed 
to return to Sarawak. They were exposed to the intrigues 
of Pangiran Usup, who had not only poisoned the mind of 
the Sultan against his uncles of legitimate blood, but who was 
also bitterly hostile to English interference with piracy, which 
was the main source of his revenue. The imbecile Sultan, 
vicious at heart, and himself a participator in the spoils of 
piracy, was of too contracted a mind to be able to conceive 
the advantages that could be obtained were his capital con- 
verted from a nest of brigands and slaves into an emporium 
of commerce ; and he was totally indifferent to the welfare 
of the greater portion of his subjects, who being pagans, were 
created by Allah to be preyed upon by the true believers. 8 

1 Journals, Keppel, Op. tit. 

- The pirates and their supporters, however, preyed upon lslams as well as infidels, 
and religion was a dead letter to them in this respect. Quite contrary to the tenets 
of their faith, true believers who were captured were sold into slavery. 


He was accordingly induced to listen to Usup, of whom he 
was really frightened, and to mistrust Hasim and Bedrudin. 
To add to Hasim's troubles, the pirate chief of Marudu, 
Sherip Usman, had sent a defiant message threatening to 
attack him for favouring the English. If unsupported, the 
Rajah foresaw that Hasim would be dragged into a civil war 
which might end in his downfall. His life was in peril owing 
to his leaning towards the British Government, and the Rajah 
was determined to uphold him ; if necessary, by bringing a 
force from Sarawak to carry Bruni. If too late to save 
him and Bedrudin, he resolved to burn Bruni from end to 
end, and take care it should remain afterwards in desolation. 

The Rajah again proceeded to Singapore, and sufficiently 
interested the Admiral in Bruni affairs to induce him to call 
at that place with his squadron on his way to China. A 
fresh outrage by Sherip Usman in plundering and burning a 
brig decided the Admiral to take measures against him, and 
by his detention in slavery of two British subjects Pangiran 
Usup himself gave sufficient cause to call for punishment ; 
these captives he had placed in confinement whenever a man- 
of-war appeared. 

On August 9, Sir Thomas Cochrane had an interview 
with the Sultan, and the following morning called upon him 
for the restoration of the captives held by Usup, and for 
his punishment. The Sultan replied that Usup refused 
obedience to him, and that he was powerless to enforce 
it, and, as the offence was committed against the British, 
he requested the Admiral himself to take Usup in hand. 
Though the Admiral had brought a line-of-battle ship, two 
frigates, two brigs, and three steamers, Usup, " strong in the 
idea of his strength," was foolhardy enough to defy him, and 
prepare for resistance. A shot was fired over his house from 
the Vixen, which was replied to by the guns of his fortified 
house, thereupon the steamer poured in a broadside and 
knocked the house to shivers. Usup fled with the few 
retainers he had with him — he had taken the precaution to 
send away his women and treasure the day before. We 
will return to him shortly. 

The fleet then sailed to call Sherip Usman to account. 


His stronghold in Marudu Bay was attacked by a force of 
550 men in twenty-four boats, and after a stout resistance 
was taken with a loss of some twenty killed and wounded. 
Amongst the former was Lieutenant Gibbard, and near 
him, when he fell, was the present Rajah, then a midship- 
man on the Wolverine. The pirates suffered heavily. Many 
sherips and chiefs were killed, and Sherip Usman was him- 
self mortally wounded — he was carried away to die in the 
jungle. As in the Batang Lupar the year previously, several 
proofs of piracies committed upon European vessels here 
came to light in the shape of articles taken from ships ; and 
such articles would probably have been more numerous had 
there not been a market in Singapore for the more valuable 

The Rajah now returned to Sarawak in the Cruiser, 
visiting Bruni on his way. Here he learnt that two days 
after he had left the town, Pangiran Usup, full of rage and 
resentment, had gathered a force to attack Bruni and take 
and kill Pangiran Muda Hasim, and his brother Pangiran 
Bedrudin, but the latter met him, inflicted on him a signal 
defeat, and Usup was constrained to fly to Kimanis, some 
seventy-five miles to the north-east of the capital, over which 
district he was feudary lord. Then the two uncles insisted 
upon their nephew the Sultan issuing a decree for his 
execution. This was done, and the order transmitted to the 
headman at Kimanis. It was carried out by him with 
characteristic perfidy. Pretending to entertain a lively 
friendship for the refugee, he seized an opportunity, when 
Usup had laid aside his weapons in order to bathe, to fall 
upon him and strangle him. His brother, Pangiran Yakub, 
was executed at the same time. 

At the close of 1845, Sarawak was at peace within and 
without. Trade was flourishing, and by immigration the 
population had increased fourfold, and what had been but 
a few years before a most miserably oppressed country was 
now the happiest and most prosperous in Borneo. 

The Rajah felt more secure, but he still wished for a 
man-of-war to guard the coast, and, above all, for British 
protection, and a flag with the Union cantoned in it. 


In October, Sherip Mular, with Sherip Ahmit, 1 was again 
amongst the Sekrang Dayaks, and had induced them to go 
on a piratical expedition with Sherips Amal, Long, and their 
father Sherip Abu Bakar, but this rising the Rajah was 
easily able to suppress with his own Malays aided by the 
Balau Dayaks. The marauders were met and defeated by 
the Balaus, who captured their eighteen boats, arms and 
ammunition, and slew the Sekrang Dayak chief, Apai 
Beragai, but the three sherips unfortunately escaped into the 
jungle, and fled to Saribas. Timely warning of Sherip 
Mular's conduct had been sent the Rajah by the well- 
disposed Malay and Dayak chiefs of the Sekrang, of whom 
there were now many. But the sherips returned, and again 
gaining confidence and ascendency over the well disposed, in 
February, 1846, the Sekrang Dayaks once more burst out, 
and with a force of some 1200 men laid waste the coast, 
burning villages, killing men, and carrying women and 
children into slavery. They had fortified themselves up the 
Sekrang, and felt themselves to be in a position to repel the 
attack of any force that might be sent against them. 

In the Sadong, on the Rajah's recommendation, a Malay 
chief named Abang Kasim had been appointed governor by 
the Bruni Government in succession to Sherip Sahap, with 
the title of Datu Bandar ; 2 he was a man weak in character, 
but with brains enough to be mischievous and get himself 
into trouble ; and the Land-Dayaks there were again being 
so oppressed by the Malays that the Rajah found it 
necessary to warn the latter that they would be punished 
and turned out of the river if they did not desist. 

The Sea-Dayaks of the Kanowit river, a large affluent 
of the Rejang running towards the head of the Sekrang, by 
reason of their raids on the Melanaus of Muka, Oya, Matu, 
and the Rejang delta, now came under the Rajah's notice. 
The Datu Patinggi Abdul Rahman, 3 who was the nominal 

1 The son of Sherip Japar. S. Japar died the following year. 

2 He was married to a niece of Datu Patinggi Gapur. 

3 His son Haji Usup joined the Government service in 1862, and was afterwards 
appointed Datu Bandar in the Rejang. He died April 1st, 1905, after having served 
the Government faithfully and with distinction for over forty years. As a magistrate 
he bore a high reputation. 


Bruni governor of this large river, had sent letters to the 
Rajah stating his desire to put down piracy ; these were 
accepted as an expression of good faith, though he was 
suspected of conniving in these raids, and the Rajah 
promised him assistance. The Kanowit Dayaks were from 
the Sekrang, and were joined in their expeditions by the 
Saribas and Sekrang Dayaks, who marched overland to join 
them, so as to obtain a safer outlet to the sea than was now 
afforded by the mouths of their own rivers. They had 
lately destroyed Palo, in the delta, killed the men, and 
had carried the women and children into captivity. 

After the death of Pangiran Usup it might have been 
supposed that the Sultan, feeble and irresolute, would have 
fallen under the influence of his uncles, Hasim and Bedrudin, 
and would have been led to favour the English alliance, but 
this was not so. He was angry at the rout of the pirates 
of Marudu, and sore at being constrained to sign the death 
warrant of Usup, his favourite and adviser ; as also at the 
shrinkage of the profits derived from the pirates, though at 
the expense of the lives and persons of his own subjects. 
He bore towards Hasim and Bedrudin that dislike which a 
narrow and dull mind feels towards those who are morally 
and intellectually his superiors, and such as a reigning prince 
not infrequently entertains towards the man who will succeed 
him on his throne. Accordingly he surrounded himself with 
a number of scoundrels, led by one Haji Seman, a man of 
low birth, the successor of Pangiran Usup as the Sultan's 
chief adviser, who fawned on and flattered him, and to 
whom he could pour forth his grievances ; and these men, 
many of them pangirans and chiefs, fanned his animosities, 
and encouraged him in his evil courses, for they were still 
favourable to the piratical party, and were desirous of 
avenging the death of Pangiran Usup and the destruction 
of Marudu. The princes, especially Hasim, who had recently 
been publicly declared successor to the throne by the 
Sultan, with the title of Sultan Muda, and Bedrudin, were 
well aware that they were regarded with disfavour, and that 
there was a powerful party against them ; they knew they 
were in danger, though they did not suspect that the danger 


was so imminent, and had applied for protection or release 
from their engagements, but, to quote the Rajah, " they were 
not protected, they were not released, except by a bloody 
death in their endeavour to carry them out." The Sultan 
detested them as favouring the English Rajah, and inclined 
to a pro-British policy, and he resented having these men 
so near the throne, and that the succession should devolve 
on Hasim to the prejudice of his own reputed son, so he 
resolved to sweep them from his path, and to break his 
engagements with and to defy the English. As a further 
incentive his avariciousness was played upon, and it was 
pointed out to him how much he would gain by acquiring 
the riches of his uncles were he to put them to death. 
Swayed by his own atrocious motives, this wretched imbecile, 
" brutal in spite of his imbecility," who had " the head of an 
idiot and the heart of a pirate," readily yielded to the 
promptings of his perfidious counsellors, and issued orders 
for the despatch of all his uncles. So secretly were pre- 
parations made to carry out the execution of this mandate 
that the doomed princes were taken completely by surprise 
by the well-armed bands that silently and simultaneously 
surrounded their houses in the darkness of the night. With 
most of the brothers resistance was impossible, and they 
were soon butchered, but Bedrudin fought heroically. He 
could, however, do little against the large body of murderers 
opposed to him, with only a few followers to assist him. 
These latter were soon cut down or had fled. His sister 
and a favourite concubine remained, and fought by his 
side, as well as a faithful slave, a lad named Japar. 
Desperately wounded, having had his left wrist broken by a 
shot, his shoulder and chest cut open so as to disable his 
right arm, and his head and face slashed, but not before he 
had cut down several of his assassins, Bedrudin, with the 
women and the lad, who had also all been wounded, retired 
into the house and barred the door. He bade the lad bring 
him a keg of powder, break in the head, and strew some of 
the contents about himself and his female companions ; then 
he drew off his signet ring, and ordered Japar to escape 
and bear it to his friend the Rajah, with the message that 


he should tell the Queen of England of his fate, that he 
had been true to his engagements, and begging his 
friend, with whom his last thoughts were, never to forget 
him. * Japar slipped through an aperture in the floor, 
dropped into the water, and swam to a canoe, in which he 
escaped. Then, whilst the murderers, awed by his courage 
and desperation, were hesitating to break into the house, the 
true-hearted prince applied the match which blew himself 
and his two noble companions into eternity. 1 

The Sultan Muda Hasim, though wounded, managed to 
escape from his burning house to the opposite side of the 
river with several of his brothers, his wife and children, but 
he was pursued and surrounded by numbers. Most of his 
brothers had been killed, and others wounded, and no hope 
remained to him but to throw himself on the mercy of his 
nephew, the Sultan. He sent messages to him to beg that 
his life might be spared, but this was peremptorily refused. 
Death being inevitable, he retreated to a boat that chanced 
to be moored to the bank, and placing a cask of gunpowder 
in the cabin called upon his three brothers and his sons who 
were with him to enter, and immediately firing the train, 
the whole party was blown up. Hasim, however, was not 
killed by the explosion, but, determined not to be taken 
alive, he put a pistol to his head and blew out his brains. 

Of the many uncles of the Sultan but four escaped, and 
many of their relations, as well as other chiefs, were sacrificed. 
Hasim's full brother, Muhammad, was desperately wounded, 
and so cowed as to have his spirit broken. He was spared 
as being harmless. Another brother went permanently mad 
with terror. Thus the royal family had been nearly exter- 
minated, and the omen of the death of Rajah Api fulfilled. 

Japar escaped on board H.M.S. Hazard, which had 
arrived and anchored below Bruni some three months after 
the tragedy, and was taken in her to Kuching. He was 
instrumental in saving the life of Commander Egerton by 
warning him not to land, as a plot had been formed to take 
his life. 

1 The ting Bedrudin sent had been given him before he left Sarawak by the Rajah, 
who told Bedrudin to send it to him when he had need of him ; it was seized by the 
Sultan before Japar escaped from Bruni. 


When news of this crime, which took place at the end of 
December or the beginning of January, 1 846, reached the 
Rajah he was deeply moved. Of Bedrudin, whose loss he 
considered irreparable, he wrote : — 

A nobler, a braver, a more upright prince could not exist. I 
have lost a friend — he is gone and I remain ; I trust, but in vain, 
to be an instrument to bring punishment on the perpetrators of the 
atrocious deed. . . . My suzerain the Sultan ! — the villain Sultan ! — 
need expect no mercy from me, but justice he shall have. I no 
longer own his authority, or hold Sarawak under his gift ... he 
has murdered our friends, the faithful friends of Her Majesty's 
Government, because they were our frietids. 

The Rajah trusted the British Government would take 
action against the Sultan, but if not, remembering he " was 
still at war with this murderer and traitor," he would make 
" one more determined struggle " to punish him and to 
rescue the survivors of the Sultan Muda's family, and if that 
failed, then Borneo x and all for which he had so long, so 
earnestly laboured, he considered must be abandoned. But 
help was drawing near, for Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas 
Cochrane on hearing of these troubles hastened from India 
with his squadron to support the Rajah, 2 and to bring the 
Sultan to account. The fleet arrived off Sarawak at the end 
of June, and, picking up the Rajah, the Admiral at once pro- 
ceeded to Bruni, visiting Serikei and Kanowit up the Rejang 
on the way, to administer a warning to the people there. 
The Sultan, frightened at what he had done, and expecting 
reprisals, which, however, he was determined to oppose by 
force, strengthened the existing defences, threw up new ones, 
and called together 5000 men for the defence of the 
capital. He proclaimed that he was determined to have 
no more dealings with the English, and that he purposed to 
drive the English Rajah from Sarawak. 

On the arrival of the fleet at the mouth of the Bruni 
river the Sultan made a clumsy attempt, similar to that he 
had made on Commander Egerton, to get the Admiral into 

1 He meant Bruni, which he had hoped to have restored to its former state of 

- Reports had been published that the Rajah was closely besieged in Kuching by 
the Sultan's forces. 


his power. He sent two men, who represented themselves 
to be pangirans, in a gaily decked prahu to welcome the 
Admiral, with a letter to the Rajah, expressing hurt 
surprise at the conduct of Commander Egerton in not 
having visited him and in having refused his presents, and 
begging the Rajah to put no faith in Japar's tales. The 
messengers said that the Sultan would not permit the 
Admiral to take up more than two boats with him ; but 
these men were detected by the Rajah to be men of no 
rank, so they were detained on board, and their prahu was 
secured astern. 

On the 8th, having transferred his flag to the steam 
frigate Spiteful, the Admiral proceeded up to Bruni with the 
PlilegctJion leading the way, and the Royalist which was 
towed by the Spiteful. The gunboats of the ships left 
behind also attended, and the total- number of blue-jackets 
and marines was 600 ; yet the Brunis, trusting to their 
superiority in numbers, and to the really efficient steps they 
had taken to fortify the town and its approaches, felt con- 
fident that they could successfully oppose this formidable 
force, and opened fire on the PJilegetJion as she approached 
the lower batteries. Fortunately the guns were aimed too 
high to do damage. The fire was at once returned, — guns, 
rockets, and muskets responding ; the blue-jackets and 
marines dashed ashore, and the enemy, commanded by 
Haji Seman, not awaiting their onslaught, fled into the 
jungle, abandoning the guns. The squadron then advanced, 
silenced battery after battery, seven or eight in number, 
and captured the cannon in them, consisting of 68, 42, 
and 32 pounders, which, had they been well laid and 
served, would have seriously crippled the ships ; and the 
forts were so strongly constructed and so well placed, that 
they would have been difficult to capture had they been 
manned by a less despicable foe. As it was, the loss in- 
curred on both sides was but slight. 

The Sultan, his army, and the population fled, and as 
night fell, Bruni was an empty shell. A week was spent by 
Captain Mundy of the Iris, with whom went the Rajah, in a 
fruitless endeavour to capture the Sultan, but he scampered 


away beyond reach, and the force, after destroying his inland 
stronghold, returned to the ships. 

The people soon began to return, and a provisional 
government was formed by the Rajah with Pangiran 
Mumin, who afterwards became Sultan, and Pangiran 
Muhammad at its head, and a message was despatched to the 
Sultan with assurances of safe-conduct, if he would return to 
Brum", govern wisely and justly, and observe his engage- 
ments with the English to do all in his power to keep the 
piratical party in check. Sir Thomas Cochrane regretted 
that he had not the authority, as he had the power, to place 
the Rajah on the throne, a measure which he was convinced 
would have been hailed with acclamation by the whole 
people. After having completely destroyed all the batteries, 1 
the Admiral sailed on July 20 to look up the piratical 
villages to the north-east of Bruni, taking the Rajah, and 
leaving the Hazard as a guard-ship at Bruni. Off Tempasuk 
a Lanun prahu was captured, having two Spanish captives on 
board, who had been taken off Manila ; the crew of this 
prahu were sent in irons to Manila to be dealt with by the 
Spanish authorities — we may presume they never returned. 
Tempasuk was burnt on August the 1st, and Pandasan the 
next day. Both the Royalist and the Ringdove had brushes 
with pirate vessels, the former destroying two with their 
crews, and the latter one, but with the loss of her master 
and a marine. 

After visiting the late Sherip Usman's town in Merudu, 
which it was found had not been occupied since its destruc- 
tion just a year previously, the Admiral passed on to China, 
leaving Captain Mundy, whom the Rajah now joined on the 
Iris, to take any further operations against the pirates that 
might be found necessary. One pirate prahu was met with 
and destroyed, also another small Lanun stronghold near 
Pandasan. At Kimanis information was received that Haji 
Seman, after he had fled from Bruni, had fortified himself 
at Membakut, near the Kimanis river ; he was attacked and 

1 The foregoing details are mainly taken from Mundy's Rajah Brooke s Journals. 
The captured cannon were sent to England. St. John says some were melted up to 
construct cannon for the Crimea. — Forests in the Far East. Brunis were famous 
brassfounders, and many of these guns must have been very r old. 


driven into the interior. The Lanuns shortly afterwards 
abandoned the north-west coast, and established themselves 
at Tungku on the east coast, where they were long left 

On the return of the Rajah to Bruni in the PJdegethon 
on August 19, he found the Sultan still absent, so sent him 
a message that if he returned he would be answerable for his 
safety, and in reply the Sultan sent a humble letter laying 
his throne and kingdom at the Rajah's feet. He at once 
returned and sued for pardon. The Rajah would not see 
him until the murderers of his uncles had been brought to 
justice, and until he had given convincing proof of his 
intention to govern his country uprightly, with the assistance 
of advisers worthy of trust ; pardon he must ask of the 
Queen, upon whose flag he had fired, and the agreements 
he had previously made must be reratified. All this the 
Sultan engaged to do. In addition, he paid royal honours at 
the graves of his murdered relatives ; and, taking the most 
humble tone and position, gave Sarawak to the Rajah un- 
conditionally, and granted him the right of working coal. 1 
But even then the Rajah refused to see him. 

To conclude the story of Sultan Omar Ali, he gave 
little more trouble after the severe lesson he had been 
taught, became afflicted with cancer in the mouth, and died 
in 1852, when Pangiran Mumin succeeded to the throne. 
He was a brother-in-law to the murdered princes, but only 
remotely connected with the royal family, being descended 
from Muhammad Ali the twelfth Sultan of Bruni, in or 
about 1660, brother of the Sultan Abdul Jalil ul Akbar, 
the ancestor of Omar Ali, who was seventh in descent from 
him. The feeble-minded Abdul Mumin died at a great 
age in 1885, when he was succeeded by Hasim Jalil ul 
Alam Akmadin, the reputed son of Omar Ali ; he died in 
1906, over 100 years of age, and was succeeded by his 
son, the present Sultan, Muhammad Jamal ul Alam. 

The Rajah returned to Kuching at the end of August 
in the Phlegethon, with " a perfect menagerie of old women 
and children," the unhappy survivors of the Sultan Muda's 

1 Private Letters of the Rajah. 


family. 1 Many other families had already fled from Bruni 
to seek a refuge in the universal haven, Sarawak. 

By the deed which the Rajah now bore back with him, 
the one under which Sarawak Proper is still held, the 
sovereignty of James Brooke and his heirs in perpetuity 
over the raj was acknowledged absolutely, and by it the 
Sultan surrendered his claim to suzerainty. No yearly 
payment was to be made for the province, 2 and it was left 
to the Rajah to dispose of as he pleased ; hence he was 
at liberty to hand it over to a foreign government if he 
so wished. 3 Sarawak now became de jtire independent ; de 
facto, it had been independent for some years ; and the 
Rajah " held a double claim to its possession — the will of 
a free people strengthened by the cession made by a 
sovereign, who was unable to rule his subjects." 4 Such 
being the position of the Sultan, the Rajah maintained 
the title de jure to be of small value, whilst the title derived 
from the election and support of a free people he considered 
of superior importance. The power of Bruni had become 
but a shadow, not only in Sarawak but along the coast as 
far as Oya, and the prerogative of the Sultan to grant 
their country to any one was disavowed by the people of 
Sarawak. Their ancestors had been free, and they had but 
a few years previously voluntarily placed themselves under 
the Bruni Government, upon certain conditions, but in the 
decay of the Government of Bruni these had been dis- 
regarded, and misrule succeeded. They rebelled and 
successfully maintained an independent position ; they had 
offered their country to Holland ; and had finally surren- 
dered to Mr. Brooke, conditionally upon his becoming their 
ruler. All possession of territory in Borneo was a question 
of might, and the Sultan himself looked to the Rajah 
" to support his throne, and to preserve his government." 5 

1 His son, the Pangiran Muda, is still alive in Bruni. 

a The tribute was cancelled by the release of a debt due to the Rajah hy the Sultan, 
the interest upon which was equivalent to the yearly tribute. 

3 Though this deed bore the seal of Pangiran Abdul Mumin, he confirmed it by 
another granted in 1853, after he had become Sultan. Only copies, attested by 
H.M. 's Consul-General, exist now, the originals, together with the two previous 
grants, having been burnt during the Chinese rebellion of 1857. 

4 Letter to the Earl of Clarendon, September 27, 1853. 

5 Captain Mundy said truly of the Rajah that he was the de facto sovereign of the 


Though the question of the independence of Sarawak x has 
been placed beyond doubt by its recognition by the British 
Government in 1863 as an absolutely independent State, 
yet it has been maintained, and by some who should know 
better, that the country is still under the suzerainty of Bruni. 

To conclude the eventful year of 1846, Captain Mundy 
returned to Sarawak in December with instructions from the 
Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Palmerston, conveyed 
through Sir Thomas Cochrane, to occupy the Island of 
Labuan, after consulting with the Rajah as to the best 
mode of carrying out his instructions." He at once pro- 
ceeded to Bruni, the Rajah going to Singapore. Labuan 
was ceded on the 1 8th, and the British flag was hoisted on 
the island on December 24. 

The Dutch Government had viewed the Rajah's elevation 
and settlement at Sarawak, as well as the past and recent opera- 
tions of the British on the north-west coast, with unfeigned 
jealousy, and had, during the last two years, repeatedly 
remonstrated with the British Government for countenancing 
these proceedings, which the Dutch Minister, by a stretch 
of imagination, exaggerated into having been the cause of 
a general uneasiness arising in Holland "as to the security 
and integrity of the Netherlands possessions in the Eastern 
Archipelago," and a suspicion of " the Government having 
surrendered, or very nearly so, the Eastern Archipelago to 
England." Further, "the King's Government," extravagantly 
wrote the Minister, " cannot forget how much it has had to 
suffer at different epochs in India from the practices of this 
individual (the Rajah), whom the Netherlands authorities 
have everywhere found in their way, and constantly in 
opposition to them." In his position as H.M.'s Political 
Agent, " combined with his long experience and intimate 
knowledge of Borneo," with " his desire to annoy, and his 
ill-will towards the Netherlands," the Minister considered 
him a very inconvenient and harassing personage to the 
Netherlander and their Government. The Netherlands 

whole coast of Borneo from point Api (he should have said Cape Datu) to Marudu, 
700 miles in extent. 

1 The territory of Sarawak then extended to Cape Kedurong. 

2 Mundy, op. cit. 


Government alleged that the Rajah's action in Sarawak 
and the occupation of Labuan were an abandonment of 
the spirit of the Treaty of 1824, if not of the letter. But 
by that Treaty the Dutch sphere of influence in Borneo had 
been limited to the equator, north of the line remaining within 
the sphere of British influence. As the Minister foresaw, 
Lord Aberdeen, on these grounds, denied that the recent 
measures taken in Borneo were in any way a contravention 
of the treaty or inimical to Dutch interests. Lord Aberdeen, 
in supporting the Rajah, eulogised him as a gentleman of 
high character, whose " efforts have been directed to the 
furtherance of civilization, to the discouragement of piratical 
pursuits, and to the promotion of the welfare of the native 
population," and contended that he had obtained his 
possessions " in the most legitimate manner." He further 
implied that the Rajah's legitimate objects and pursuits 
having met with undue interference by the Netherlands 
authorities, occasion had perhaps been given for disputes 
arising between him and the Netherlands Government, for 
he was naturally " not favorably disposed to the extension 
of Dutch influence in the parts where he had acquired 
possessions " ; l an influence which the Governor-General of 
Netherlands India in his rescript of January 1846, men- 
tioned in footnote, p. 93, said his Government did not 
exercise in the State of the Sultan of Bruni, which extended 
from cape Datu to the Kimanis river. 
The Rajah wrote : — 

The Netherlands Government has made an attack upon me, but 
it has failed. I am astonished at the misrepresentations to which it 
stoops. ... I never had any dispute with the Dutch authorities ; 
and the only communications which have passed between the 
Resident of Sambas and myself have been of a most friendly kind. 2 

But though she failed, it was some years before Holland 
gave up her pretensions to Sarawak, pretensions which 
twice before they could have realised — in 1833, when 
Pangiran Usup offered her the country, and, a few years 
later, when the Sarawak people asked for her protection ; 
but the one involved a monetary equivalent, and the other 

1 From Blue Book, March 2, 1854. - Private Letters. 


military support, and she thought to acquire the country by 
cheaper methods, which the Rajah knew she still meant to 
do after his death if she could. Without his influence, and 
without his influential friends, he did not think that Sarawak 
could subsist after he was gone, and this it was that made 
him so urgent to be put under British protection. When, 
finally, the British Government did recognise Sarawak as 
an independent State, the Netherlands Minister was asked 
if he were aware of the recognition. The reply was, 
" Holland will not recognise Sarawak, as the Government 
is convinced that Sarawak cannot last beyond the lifetime 
of Sir James Brooke." He added, " I told you this seven 
years ago, and I see no reason, from recent events, to alter 
my opinion." 1 This was in 1863. 

The early part of 1 847 was spent by the Rajah recruit- 
ing his health on Penang hill, where a letter was received 
from the Sultan notifying that Haji Seman had given him- 
self up at Brum', and asking for instructions of the Admiral 
and the Rajah as to his disposal. It was not considered 
that his execution was now necessary as an example, and 
the Sultan was informed that the past could be buried in 
oblivion, but that misconduct in the future would revive its 
recollection. - 

In Singapore the Rajah received instructions from the 
Foreign Office to proceed to Bruni to conclude a treaty 
with the Sultan for the arrangement of commercial relations, 
and for the mutual suppression of piracy ; to reserve to 
H.M.'s Government power and jurisdiction over all British 
subjects residing within the Sultanate, and to bind the 
Sultan not to alienate any portion of his dominions to any 
foreign power or to others without the sanction of her 
Majesty's Government. The Rajah proceeded to Bruni in 
the Nemesis > touching at Kuching on his way, and the 
treaty was signed on May 27. On the 30th, when leaving 
the Bruni river, the Nemesis was hailed by a passing canoe, 
and received the information that a fleet of pirates was in 
the offing. The steamer immediately started in pursuit, 

1 Letter from the Rajah to the Tuan Muda, 1864. 
- From Mundv, op. cit. 


and the pirates, finding escape impossible, came to anchor 
in a small bay with their bows seaward, and secured their 
prahus, eleven in all, together with hawsers. The engage- 
ment which followed, and which lasted several hours, the 
pirates fighting desperately, resulted in five of the pirate 
prahus being destroyed, and six effecting their escape. 1 
The Nemesis lost two killed and six wounded, and the 
pirates about sixty killed. Fifty more, who had escaped 
inland, were captured by the Sultan's men, and executed 
in Bruni. About 100 captives, mostly Chinese and Malays, 
were rescued and sent to Singapore. The pirates, who 
were Baleninis, were on their return from a year's cruise 
laden with plunder and captives. They had proposed to 
attack Kuching, but had thought better of it. 2 

The desire to visit England was now strong upon the 
Rajah. Besides personal reasons, the wish to see his 
relations and friends, and to obtain change and rest, he 
also felt that he could effect more than by correspondence 
were he personally to interest Ministers in Bornean affairs 
and urge on them the necessity of a decided course for 
the suppression of piracy, which could be put down were a 
steady course pursued instead of mere convulsive efforts, 
and Sulu he wished to see crushed.^ Sarawak, where all 
was peaceful, would be safe under the administration of 
his connection, Mr. A. C. Crookshank. 4 Labuan was 
established as a naval station under naval administration. 
Bruni had been reduced to subjection, and was powerless 
to give further trouble, and the coast was generally quiet ; 
so, there being nothing requiring attention in the immediate 
future, he sailed from Singapore in July, and arrived in 
England early in October. 

And now honours rained on him. He was presented 

1 Of these, three foundered from injuries received during the engagement, so 
that few returned home to tell the tale. It took the Balenini about fifteen years to 
forget the lesson. — Sir fames Brooke, St. John. 

- Mundy, op. cit. 

3 Private Letters. 

4 He joined the Rajah in March, 1843, having previously served in the H.E.I. 
Co. 's Navy, and became Police Magistrate and Government Secretary. In 1863 
he was appointed Resident of Sarawak. He frequently administered the Government 
during the absences of the late and the present Rajah. He retired in 1873, and 
died in 1891. 



with the freedom of the City of London ; Oxford University 
conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. ; he was graciously 
received at Windsor by the Oueen and the Prince Consort ; 
was appointed Governor of Labuan, and Commissioner 
and Consul-General in Borneo, and made a K.C.B. 1 The 
United Service, the Army and Navy, the Athenaeum, 
Travellers, and other Clubs elected him an honorary 
member. He was lionised and feted, and was received 
with marked distinction by every one, including Ministers. 

He sailed from England on February I, 1848, with 
his Labuan staff, in the M (zander y commanded by his old 
friend and ally, Captain Keppel, and having the present 
Rajah on board as sub-lieutenant." After spending a few 
months in Singapore making preparations for the establish- 
ment of his new colony, he arrived at the Muaratebas 
entrance of the Sarawak river in September ; here he left 
the Mceander^ and was triumphantly escorted up-river by 
the whole Kuching population amidst general rejoicings. 

He found affairs in his little raj had not been conducted 
quite so well as he could have wished, and that there were 
evidences of renewed activity on the part of the pirates. 
Pangiran Makota was in power at Brum*, and that was a 
menace to the good conduct of both the external and 
internal affairs of the Sultanate. The Sultan had been 
in direct communication with the Sekrang Dayaks, amongst 
whom both Sherip Mular and Sherip Ahmit were busy 
intriguing, and collecting the dissatisfied party which had 
been scattered. Hostile operations on the part of the 
Saribas were only checked by the arrival of the Mceatukr. 

On September 14, the Rajah was joined by his nephew. 
Captain James Brooke-Johnson, 3 of the Connaught Rangers, 
as his official A.D.C. He assumed the surname of his 

1 The warrant of investiture was issued by her Majesty oil May 22, 1848. 

■ Amongst others who came out with the Rajah in the Mceander were Mr. 
Spenser St. John, afterwards Sir Spenser St. John, G.C.M.G., the Rajah's Secretary ; 
and Mr. Hu^h Low, afterwards Sir Hugh Low, G.C.M.G., Colonial Secretary at 
Labuan. Mr. St. John was Consul-General at Bruni from 1853-1861 ; he left 
year upon promotion. Mr. Low had before spent some three 
in Sarawak botanising. He left Labuan in 1877, when h<- was appointed 
Resident of Perak. 

* The eldest son of the Rev. Francis Charles Johnson, Vicar of White Lackington, 
Somersetshire, by Emma, the Rajah's second sister. 


uncle, and was given the title of Tuan Besar. Although 
he was always looked upon as the heir-presumptive, the 
title of Rajah Muda was only conferred upon him when 
he was officially and publicly recognised by the Rajah as 
his heir in 1 861. 

" To give a spirit of national pride to the natives," the 
Rajah now granted the country a flag, 1 and this was hoisted 
with due ceremony on September 21. Viscount Palmerston, 
in a despatch dated June 20, 1849, subsequently conveyed 
the approval of H.M.'s Government of the flag having been 
hoisted, in order, with the sanction of the British Govern- 
ment, to afford a recognised permanency to the country. 

The Rajah then sailed in the Mceander to Labuan, 
where he was busy for some time arranging and organising 
the colony, but, falling a victim, with many others, to the 
insalubrity of the climate, he took a sea voyage in the 
Mceander, visiting several places on the north-west coast 
and passing on to Sulu, where he established friendly 
relations with the Sultan, and paved the way to a treaty 
being effected, by which Sulu would be placed within the 
sphere of British influence. He returned to Labuan in 
January, 1 849, nearly recovered, and the next month was 
back in Sarawak again, to face an anxious time, a year of 
trouble and strife. 

The Rajah had done all he could in England to move 
the British Government to take energetic action effectually 
to stamp out piracy, especially in regard to the Saribas 
and Sekrang, amongst whom the peaceable party had now 
been completely overborne by the piratical faction, and this 
would have been prevented had the British Government 
sanctioned the Rajah's scheme of building a fort in the 
disturbed district. Alone, he was powerless to effect much, 
if anything. The Mceander had been specially fitted for 
taking action against these pirates, and her captain specially 
appointed on account of the experience he had already 
gained in dealing with them, as it was intended that the 
frigate should be detailed for this service ; but trouble having 

1 Yellow ground, with black and red cross, as shown in illustration — the arms 
of the Brookes. The Government flag is distinguished by a crown in the centre ; 
the Rajah's flag is a burgee, or swallow-tailed flag. 


occurred in China, she was recalled by the Admiral, and the 
Rajah was left with the H.E.I.C. Nemesis only, a steamer 
quite inadequate for the purpose ; and, being required to 
keep up communication between Labuan and Singapore, 
her station being at the latter place, she could be only 
occasionally placed at his disposal. 

The departure of the Mceander, and the Rajah's long 
absence in the north, had emboldened the Saribas and 
Sekrangs to prepare for fresh atrocities. Their insolence 
had, moreover, so increased that they went so far as to send 
the Rajah a message of defiance, daring him to come out 
against them, taunting him with cowardice, and comparing 
him to a woman. 1 

On March 2nd, the Rajah received news that a large 
pirate fleet of one hundred prahus had put to sea, and, 
after having captured several trading vessels, the crews of 
which they had put to death, had proceeded up the Sadong 
river, where they had killed upwards of one hundred or 
more Malay men, women, and children, and had carried 
others into slavery. Within the three previous months 
they had killed three hundred persons, burnt several villages, 
and captured numerous prahus.' 2 This expedition was led 
by the Laksamana, the Malay chief of the Saribas ; 3 it was 
checked at the town of Gedong, which was well prepared 
for defence, and too much on the alert to be taken by 

An artifice of these pirates, and they never attempted 
by force what could be acquired by stratagem, was this : 
some of the party remained behind and assumed the clothes 
of their victims, and the umbrella-shaped hats of palm 
leaf commonly used by those harvesting in the sun, which 
would completely conceal their features ; thus disguised thcy 
paddled down stream, and called in Malay to the women to 
issue from their hiding-places, as they had come to convey 
them to a place of safety. The poor creatures, supposing 

1 Keppel, Voyage to the Indian Archipelago. - Private Letters. 

'■'• (it ins fifteen sons, Abangs Apong, Chek, Tek, and Bunsu all served the 
Government afterwards ; they were distinguished more for bravery than for rectitude, 
but they were faithful and useful servants. Another son was killed during the 
operations up the Saribas subsequent to the action of Beting Main. The Laksa- 
mana lived for years after thesr events, and was about ninety when he died. 


that these were of their own tribe, ran down with their 
children in their arms only to be speared and their heads 
hacked off by these wolves in sheep's clothing. 1 On the last 
day of February, a numerous and industrious population 
was gathering in the harvest, and on March the 1st every 
house was plundered, and scattered about the fields were the 
mangled bodies of the reapers, and in the villages lay the 
headless trunks of men, aged women, and children too young 
for captivity. 

Not a day passed without news reaching Kuching of 
some village burned or of some trading vessel captured. 
After the attack on Sadong, while the Saribas hovered along 
the coast, crowds of refugees arrived in Kuching. From all 
parts they came ; from the river of Matu alone twenty 
prahus full of men, women, and children, and from Kalaka 
many hundreds. They said that they could endure life 
no longer in their own country, continually engaged in 
resisting these murderous attacks, and losing numbers of 
their people at the hands of the Sekrangs and Saribas. 

" No news except of Dayaks, and rumours of Dayaks. 
Dayaks here, Dayaks there, and Dayaks everywhere," so 
wrote the Rajah. 

The Kalaka river had also been laid waste. Hunt in 
1 8 1 2 described Kalaka as being one of the principal ports 
of trade on the north-west coast," and the country as pro- 
ducing large quantities of grain. But this was before the 
Sea-Dayaks had become pirates. In 1849, the river had 
been so devastated by piratical attacks that all cultivation 
had been abandoned, and its once flourishing town and 
villages deserted, with the exception of two that were small. 
" Never before had I been so struck with the irreparable 
mischief done by the piratical tribes, as when I saw this 
lovely country so completely deserted," so wrote Mr. S. 
St. John in 1 849. 

The ravages of these murderous Dayaks had been 
peculiarly destructive in the delta of the Rejang, once well 
populated by the quiet and industrious Melanaus, the pro- 

1 Keppel, op. cit. 

2 The plains on both banks of the river evidence a former cultivation on an 
extensive scale. 


ducers of the Bornean sago brought to the market of 
Singapore. The pirates not only destroyed the villages 
and plantations, but captured many richly laden prahus, 
freighted with the produce of this district on their way 
to dispose of their lading in the British Settlement of 
Singapore, and in Sambas and Pontianak. Like the Malays 
of Kalaka, nearly all the inhabitants had fled, most to 
Sarawak, some to other places. 

During the first six months of 1849, some 600 persons 
fell victims to these savages ; it must be borne in mind that 
the districts inhabited by these people and those attacked 
by them were then in Bruni territory, and outside the raj 
of Sarawak. 

In 1849, ^ was reckoned that the Saribas had 6000 
fighting men, the Sekrangs an equal number, and those 
Sekrangs and Saribas who had moved across to the Kanowit, 
Katibas, and Poi, affluents of the Rejang river, could muster 
8000 warriors, 1 making, with their Malay allies, a total of 
25,000 men living on piracy and murder. Secure on their 
rivers, in their stockades, in their jungles, in their large and 
well-constructed boats, and in their numbers, they scoffed at 
warnings, and proceeded from crime to crime until the 
whole country from Bruni to Sarawak was nearly their own. 

In desperation, and with the hope of checking these 
outrages, the Rajah at once started against the pirates 
with his own little flotilla of some twenty-four war prahus 
manned by 800 Malays, but he was driven back by the 
north-east monsoon, perhaps fortunately, as his force was 
totally inadequate. Then the Nemesis, under Commander 
Wallage, arrived, and the Rajah, feeling he was now strong 
enough to effect something, sallied forth again on March 25, 
with the same native force and four of the boats of the 
Nemesis. The bala '"' was augmented by eighty-four native 
prahus with over 2000 friendlies, all thirsting for revenge. 
Both branches of the Kalaka were ascended, and from 
the left-hand branch the native levies crossed over into the 
Rembas, a large affluent of the Saribas, and here several 

1 St. John, Life of Sir James Br\ 
- An army in Malay and Da yak. 


strongholds were destroyed, with large quantities of rice and 
salt ; the enemy were, however, absent on an expedition, and 
but few fighting men were left behind. The Rajah then 
proceeded up the Saribas, the entrance of which the Nemesis 
had been sent on to guard, and at the mouth of the Rembas 
branch met a large force of Saribas Dayaks which hurriedly 
retreated. These were on their way to effect a junction 
with the Sekrangs, the Malay town of Banting up the 
Lingga being the objective. Ten prahus of Sadong 
friendlies on their way home were met and attacked at 
night by these Sekrangs, who had a force of 1 50 bangkongs, 
but, the Balau Dayaks opportunely coming to the assistance 
of the former, the Sekrangs were defeated and driven back 
to their own country. This well-contrived expedition then 
terminated in a return to Sarawak, and though the pirates 
had not suffered any great loss, especially in lives, a severe 
check had been administered, and by preventing a junction 
between the Saribas and Sekrangs their piratical venture for 
that occasion had been spoiled. 

After his return from this expedition the Rajah took 
advantage of the lull that was certain to follow, for the 
Dayaks would lie low for a time fully expecting to be again 
attacked, and proceeded to visit his little colony at Labuan. 
From thence he passed on to Sulu, where he concluded a 
commercial treaty with the Sultan, returning to Kuching at 
the end of May. In the meantime Admiral Sir Francis 
Collier had despatched the Albatross, Commander Farquhar, 1 
to Sarawak, to take the Mceander 's place, and she had 
arrived at Kuching before the Rajah's return in the Nemesis, 
and had there been joined by the Royalist, Lieutenant 
Everest. Preparations were pushed forward to deliver a 
final blow to the Saribas and Sekrang pirates, who, now the 
Ramathan, or fast month, had commenced, considered them- 
selves safe, under the firm persuasion that the Rajah would 
not move against them so long as it lasted, out of regard 
for the religious scruples of the Malays. 

The expedition started on July 24. It comprised the 

1 Afterwards Admiral Sir Arthur Farquhar, K.C.H. He died in 1908, aged 


Nemesis, the Royalist, and the Ranee (the Moeander's little 
steam tender), seven men-of-war boats, and the Rajah's 
Malay force of eighteen war prahus manned by 640 Malays. 
At the mouth detachments of Lundu and Balau Sea-Dayaks, 
and Malays from Samarahan and Sadong joined, which 
brought the native force up to a total of seventy prahus with 
2500 men. The Royalist was towed by the Nemesis into 
the Batang Lupar, and left to guard that river off the mouth 
of the Lingga, and the latter went on to the entrance of the 
Saribas, where, with the ships' boats, she took up her posi- 
tion. The main force joined her on the 28th, and the same 
evening information was received that a large piratical bala, 
under the command of the Datu Patinggi of Saribas and the 
principal Malays, had left the Saribas two days previously 
and had gone northwards. The Rajah and Captain 
Farquhar immediately determined to intercept them on their 
return. With twelve war prahus and two men-of-war 
cutters the Rajah took up a position across the mouth of 
the Kalaka, to prevent the pirates gaining their way home 
by that river. The Nemesis, with the rest of the force, 
blocked the Saribas, and the only other route open to them 
via the Batang Lupar was guarded by the Royalist. There 
was an alternative way back, a long one, up the Rcjang and 
Kanowit, but they were not likely to take this. On the 
evening of the 31st, a rocket sent up from the Rajah 
Singha} the Rajah's war prahu, announced the approach of 
the enemy. They came on boldly, and, perceiving the force 
at the entrance of the Kalaka, but not the more formidable 
one hidden by the long promontory separating the mouths 
of the two rivers, dashed on for the Saribas with defiant 
yells, to encounter in the growing darkness greater peril, 
and thus commenced the most famous fight in the Sarawak 
annals, which brought a just retribution on these savage 
pirates and for ever broke their power, the battle of Beting 
Maru. 2 Met with showers of grape, cannister, rockets, 
and musketry from the Nemesis and the boats, and the 
savage onslaughts of the native levies mad for revenge, well 

1 An^litf. King Lion. 

'-' Beting Maru is the name of :i long sand-spit running into the sea between the 
Kalaka and Saribas rivers < iff the Maru river. 


led by the Rajah's English and Malay officers, and with 
their retreat intercepted by the Rajah's division, the pirates 
were soon thrown into confusion, and thought only of 
escape. But cut off in all directions, for five hours, in 
bright moonlight, they had to sustain a series of encounters 
extending over a distance of ten miles. At midnight all 
was over. About a dozen bangkongs escaped, whilst over 
a hundred were destroyed, and the enemy had lost about 
300 killed. This loss would have been far heavier had the 
Rajah allowed his native forces to intercept the retreat of the 
great numbers who had landed and escaped into the jungle, 
and this could have easily been effected ; as it was, 500 
died of wounds, exposure, and starvation, or were cut off 
before they could reach their homes. Of those who 
succeeded in escaping up the Saribas that night was the 
famous Dayak chief Linggir, who, with seventeen war-boats, 
had made a desperate attack on the Nemesis, which resulted 
in the destruction of all the boats with their crews except 
his. 1 

Had this expedition started but a few days earlier, the 
mischief that had been done would have been prevented, 
though that mischief was far less than it would have been had 
not the pirates been forced to beat a hasty retreat on receiv- 
ing news that so powerful a force was out against them. 
They had attacked Matu, but that town was found to be 
too well prepared to be carried without considerable loss, and, 
their aim being not glory but to procure heads, captives, and 
plunder, with the least possible risk to themselves, they 
retreated in search of easier prey after sustaining a loss of 
ten killed, but not before they had taken a detached house 
in which they obtained seven heads and captured four girls. 

1 This same Linggir in 1845 attempted to murder the Rajah and his officers and 
other English guests whilst at dinner in the Rajah's house at Kuching. He marched 
into the dining-room with eighty armed men, pretending to pay a friendly visit. The 
Rajah and his guests adopted the only policy open to them, and pretended as well to 
be friendly, for they were completely at the mercy of the Dayaks. They entertained 
their unwelcome guests with wine and cigars whilst waiting for the Datus, to whom 
the Rajah had contrived covertly to send a message. The Datu Temanggong arrived 
first with thirty men, and then came the Datu Bandar with fifty men. The Datus 
wished to kill Linggir for his intended treachery, the Rajah, however, spared him, 
perhaps unwisely, but he had to slink away to his boat with a flea in his ear. He had 
actually brought with him a basket to contain the Rajah's head. He afterwards 
became a peaceable citizen, and very friendly to the white men. 


Palo they had plundered, and had there seized three girls ; * 
they spared the place as being the main source of their salt 
supply. Two vessels trading to Singapore were captured, 
and the crew of one were all killed. Serikei proved too strong 
for them. A detachment had gone westward, and off 
Sambas the)- killed some Chinese fishermen and took their 
heads. At Sirhasan, one of the Natuna islands, they 
captured a trading vessel, and on their way back to join 
the main fleet attacked the Malays living at the mouth of 
Muaratebas, but were repulsed after a desperate fight. A 
trading prahu was there seized, the owner and five of the 
crew being killed. Coming across Abang Husin, a nephew 
of the Datu Temanggong, they killed him and his boat's 
crew of six, after a gallant defence. 

A couple of days having been spent in destroying the 
captured bangkongs and securing prisoners, the expedition 
proceeded up the Saribas river. After some exciting 
episodes and hard work in cutting their way through 
innumerable trees, which had been felled across the river to 
impede their progress, the force reached Paku, which was 
taken and burnt for the second time. The expedition then 
proceeded up the Rejang, to punish the Sekrang Dayaks 
living in the Kanowit. Eighteen villages were destroyed, 
and the country laid waste for a hundred miles. This done, 
the Rajah returned to Kuching with the whole force, arriv- 
ing there on August the 24th. With him came many 
Serikei people, who wished to escape from the tyranny of 
Sherip Masahor, 2 an infamous and intriguing half-bred Arab 
chief, who appears to have but lately settled in the Rejang 
as the Bruni governor, and who in the near future was to 
cause the Sarawak Government considerable trouble. 

After the battle of Beting Maru, the well-inclined Malay 
and Dayak chiefs of the Sekrang were once more raised to 
power, and the Rajah built a fort at Sekrang, of which 
Sherip Matusain, who has been before mentioned as having 
taken a prominent part on the side of the Sarawak Malays 
in the rebellion against Bruni, was placed in charge. The 

1 These unfortunate girls, and those taken at Matu, were barbarously murdered 
by the pirates to prevent t heir being rescued. 

'-' Or better, Mashhor, an Arabic word meaning illustrious. 


fort was built to uphold the friendly and non-piratical party 
against the interior piratical tribes, to prevent the latter 
passing down to the sea, and as a position for the advance- 
ment of commerce. It was built entirely by Sekrang 
Malays and Dayaks under the supervision of Mr. Crookshank, 
and when Mr. Brereton * went there shortly afterwards to 
take charge, at the request of the natives that a European 
might be placed over them, he was entirely dependent on 
their good-will, having no force of any sort, to support his 

The Saribas and the Sekrangs now submitted, the 
former too utterly broken to do further mischief by sea, and 
the latter frightened by the lesson that had been administered 
to their allies and themselves," and by the establishment of a 
Government station in their district. Such was the effect of 
this chastisement that piracy was almost completely put an end 
to in these turbulent tribes ; then had the land rest to recover, 
the waste places to revive, the towns to be rebuilt, and the 
population to increase. In but a very few years the bulk of 
these very tribes which had been the scourge of the country 
were reduced to peaceable and industrious citizens. 

But trouble far-reaching, on which he had not calculated, 
was in store for the Rajah through this expedition. It came 
at a time when he was weakened in health from continuous 
exposure and the severe strain he had undergone, which had 
brought him near death's door, and it came ("rom a quarter 
the least expected. He " had risked life, given money, and 
sacrificed health to effect a great object ; " 3 and had made 
the coast from cape Datu to Marudu bay as safe as the 
English Channel to vessels of all flags and all sizes, and now he 
had to bear with the malicious tongues and persecutions of 
the humanity-mongers of England, who were first prompted 
to attack the Rajah by his discarded agent, Mr. Wise. This 
man was embittered against the Rajah for his refusal to sell 
Sarawak to a company ; by being called to account for a 

1 Mr. W. Brereton first came to Sarawak in the Samarang, as a midshipman, 
in 1843. In 1848 he left the Navy and joined the Rajah. He was first stationed at 
Labuan. He was only twenty years of age when appointed to take charge of 

a The Sekrangs lost heavily at the battle of Beting Maru. 

3 Private Letters. 


loss he had caused the Rajah of some thousands of pounds ; 
and by some unfavourable comments the Rajah had made 
on his actions, which had come to his knowledge owing to 
certain private letters of the Rajah not intended for his eyes 
having fallen into his hands. Wise had offered to make the 
Rajah "one of the richest commoners in England," and 
presumedly saw his way to becoming one too, but the Rajah 
preferred " the real interests of Sarawak and the plain 
dictates of duty to the golden baited hook." ' 

Cobden, Hume, Sidney Herbert, and afterwards Gladstone, 
as well as others of that faction, took up the cause of the 
pirates, and the Rajah and the naval officers who had been 
engaged since 1843 in suppressing the Saribas and Sekrangs 
were attacked with acrimony as butchers of peaceful and 
harmless natives — and all for the sake of extending the 
Sarawak raj. The Spectator and the Daily News bitterly 
assailed the Rajah, relying upon information supplied through 
the medium of a Singapore newspaper ; and the Peace 
Society and the Aborigines Protection Society, laid on a 
false scent by those whom they should not have trusted, 
became scurrilous in their advocacy of cold-blooded murderers 
and pirates. , 

After having brought the " cruel butchery " of Beting 
Maru to the attention of the House of Commons on three 
occasions, Joseph Hume, on July 12, 1850, moved an address 
to her Majesty, bringing to the notice of the House "one of 
the most atrocious massacres that had ever taken place in his 
time." He supported the motion with glaring and wilful 
mis-statements, and brought disgraceful charges against the 
Rajah, whom he branded as "the promoter of deeds of blood- 
shed and cruelty." The Navy he charged with wholesale 
murder, and the poor victims of the massacre he described as 
a harmless and timid people." 

Cobden, who supported the motion, called the battle of 

1 Private Letters. 

2 To show how these charges were supported by wilful and gross exaggerations, 
that could only have been made for the express purpose of deceiving the public, and 
which were as ridiculous as they were mischievous, Hume stated that it was doubtful 
whether a portion of the Royal Navy of China, which was reported to be off the toast 
at the time for the purpose of making peace with these people (the Saribas and 
Sekrangs), had not been destroyed by the expedition ! 


Beting Maru a human battue, than which there was never 
anything more unprovoked. He could not do homage to 
the Rajah as a great philanthropist seeing that he had no 
other argument for the savages than extermination. 

The Rajah was ably defended by Mr. Henry Drummond, 
who exposed Wise's conduct ; and the motion was lost by 
a majority of 140 in a House of 198. 

At Birmingham, Cobden asserted that the Rajah, " who 
had gone out to the Eastern Archipelago as a private 
adventurer, had seized upon a territory as large as Yorkshire, 
and then drove out the natives ; and who, under the pretence 
that they were pirates, subsequently sent for our fleet and 
men to massacre them . . . the atrocities perpetrated by 
Sir James Brooke in Borneo had been continually quoted 
in the Austrian newspapers as something which threw into 
the shade the horrible atrocities of Haynau himself." 

The following year, on July 10, Hume moved for a 
Royal Commission to enquire into the proceedings of Sir 
James Brooke, but this was negatived by 230 votes to 19. 
He went a little further this time, and drew harrowing 
pictures of " cruel butcheries, and brutal murders of the 
helpless and defenceless." Sir James Brooke, he said, 
attacked none but the poor Dayaks, and even their wives 
and children were destroyed. He even went so far as to 
deny that the Saribas were head-hunters. 

Gladstone bore high testimony to the Rajah's char- 
acter and motives. His entire confidence in the Rajah's 
honour and integrity led him to accept his statements with 
unqualified and unreserved belief. He adjudged the Dayaks 
of being addicted to barbarous warfare and piracy, and 
maintained that there were not sufficient grounds for the 
motion, against which he voted. He, however, contended 
that most of the pirates were killed when not resisting, 
and had been deliberately sacrificed in the act of fleeing. 
This unhappily gave rise to doubts, which subsequently 
caused him to entirely change his opinions, and to completely 
veer round to the other side. 

Lord Palmerston denounced the charges against the 
Rajah " as malignant and persevering persecution of an 


honourable man," and Mr. Drummond rightly denied 
" that, from beginning to end, this motion had any other 
foundation than a personal determination to ruin Sir James 
Brooke." " The whole of this transaction from first to last 
was a very discreditable affair," he said. " The gentlemen 
of England echoed him," x and the nation too, judging by 
the tone of the press, which (with the exception of one or 
two papers), from The Times downwards, supported the 
Rajah. 2 

Her Majesty's Government had notified the Rajah of 
their approval of all he had done, and he was instructed to 
follow the same course should a similar necessity arise. 

But Wise, Hume, Cobden, and their adherents were only 
checked, and, huffed by their defeats, continued their efforts 
to ruin the Rajah's character and administration with in- 
creased bitterness, unfortunately in the end to obtain a 
partial success ; but we will leave this subject for a while, to 
turn briefly to events in Sarawak. 

As a commentary on Mr. Cobden's assertion that the 
natives were being driven out of Sarawak, the population of 
the raj in 1850 had increased to 50,000 from 8000 in 
1840, and this increase was due to immigration from the 
neighbouring countries, where the people had been the con- 
stant prey of pirates, head-hunters, and their own oppressive 
rulers, and for these over-burdened people the Rajah had 
supplied a haven. The Chinese colony in upper Sarawak 
was augmented by the arrival of five thousand Chinese 
refugees from Pemangkat in Dutch territory, who had come 
to Sarawak to escape the tyranny of their more powerful 
neighbours and rivals, the Chinese of Montrado. These 
latter had successfully rebelled against the authority of the 
Dutch, and were now oppressing their weaker neighbours, 

1 Keppel, Voyage to the Indian Archipelago. 

important fact that in all their marauding expeditions the Saribas and 
Sekrang Dayaks were mixed up with the Malays of the Saribas and Batang Lupar, 

who not Only commanded and led them, hut accompanied them in large numbers 
seems to have been quite overlooked by both the Rajah's accusers and his supporters. 
This in itself is a sufficient indication of the piratical nature of these expeditions. The 
character of these Malays .1^ pirates was at least beyond question, and to assert that 
they went with these poor "harmless and timid" Dayaks to assi>l them in their 
intertribal feuds would be a very wide stretch of imagination. We have shown that 
the force routed on Beting Main was led by Malays. 


both Chinese and Dayak. The Kayan and Kenyahs of the 
Baram, who had been in rebellion against the Sultan, 
had sent messages offering to accept the Rajah as their 
chief, and those of the Rejang assisted in building the new 
fort at the mouth of the Kanowit. This fort was erected by 
the Rajah to protect the inhabitants of the Rejang delta, and 
of Oya and Muka, by blocking the egress by the Kanowit river 
to the Sekrang and Saribas Dayaks. All these countries, 
including the Sekrang, where a station had already been 
established, were under the de jure rule of the Sultan, but 
the inhabitants now looked upon the Rajah as their ruler. 
The Sultan had long been helpless to govern the disturbed 
districts ; his authority was not recognised by the population, 
and the chiefs appointed by him acted to gain their own 
ends, the enriching of themselves at the expense of the people. 
The Sultan had placed himself in the Rajah's hands, and 
was well pleased that he should pacify and introduce order 
into these districts, more perhaps in his own interests than 
in those of his own people, for whose welfare he cared little ; 
they paid him no revenue, and that he hoped the Rajah 
would secure for him. 

Bandar Kasim, in spite of warnings, was again oppressing 
his people in the Sadong. The Rajah had deposed him in 
1848, and had appointed his brother, Abang Leman, 1 in his 
place, but the change brought no benefit to the people, it 
gave them but an additional tyrant, for both were now 
behaving badly, and the Bandar had to be removed. 

After visiting Labuan, the Rajah went to Penang for a 
much-needed change, and there received instructions from 
the Foreign Office to proceed to Siam on a diplomatic mission. 
He left for Bangkok in August. To quote his own words : 
" The mission was a dead failure, as the Siamese are as 
hostile and opposed to Europeans as any people can well 
be. I had a very trying time of it, and altogether got rid of 
an unpleasant and critical position without loss of national 
and individual credit." A short time before an American 
mission had also been similarly repulsed. 

1 Married to a daughter of the Datu Patinggi Gapur. He was afterwards selected 
by Sherip Masahor's party to murder the present Rajah, but the task was not to 
his liking. 


During the Rajah's absence, an envoy from the United 
States had arrived at Kuching bearing a letter from the 
President addressed to him as Sovereign Prince of Sarawak, 
and expressing a desire to enter into friendly relations. The 
envoy informed the Rajah by letter that having been entrusted 
with full powers he was ready to sign a treaty with Sarawak, 
and that he was to thank the Rajah " in the name of the 
American nation for his exertions in the suppression of 
piracy," and to compliment him on his noble and "humane 
endeavours to bring his subjects and the neighbouring tribes 
of Malays into a condition of civilisation." Lord Palmerston 
saw no objection to the Rajah entering into diplomatic 
relations as Rajah of Sarawak with the United States. 1 

In January, 185 I, the Rajah, leaving Captain Brooke in 
charge, again left for England on account of the bad state of 
his health. He came home for rest and quiet, but this was 
denied him, and he had to sum up all his energies, and 
expend time and money to contend against the active and 
bitter hostility of his Radical opponents in England, who in 
spite of adverse majorities in the House of Commons and 
the opposition of some of the most prominent politicians in 
both Houses, continued their malignant persecution with 
great persistency both in and out of Parliament. 

In 1853, the Aberdeen coalition Ministry came into 
power, which, like all coalitions, was feeble and lived by 
compromise. This Ministry agreed to give what Hume and 
his faction asked, and had thrice been refused by the 
House by large majorities," a commission of enquiry into 
the conduct of the Rajah, before which he was to be called 
upon to defend himself against allegations scouted by the 
House, the incorrectness of which could be proved by the 
leading statesmen of the day, including such men as the 
Earl of Derby, Earl Grey, Viscount Palmerston, and Lord 
John Russell. 3 The Ministry most disingenuously kept their 
decision a secret from the Rajah until after he had left 
England, though not from Hume, who was able to send 
information to his coadjutors in Singapore that it was granted. 

1 From Life of Sir James Brooke, St. John. 

- May 1850, 145 to 20 ; June 1850, 169 to 29 ; Jul)- 1851, 230 to 19. 

: The Rajah to Lord Clarendon, December 25, 1853. 


They had got up an address to him, by the most unscrupulous 
devices, expressing approval of all that he had done, and 
urging that an enquiry might be instituted into the conduct of 
the Rajah by a Commission sent from England. This address 
was purported to have been signed by fifty-three merchants 
of Singapore. Afterwards, when the Commission sat in 
Singapore, only twenty-seven merchant firms were found to 
exist there, and of these twenty-two had signed an address 
of confidence in the Rajah. Some of those who had signed 
the address to Hume, and who put in an appearance before 
the Commission, exposed the way in which their signatures 
had been obtained by misrepresentations. 

On April 30th, 1852, a great dinner was given to the 
Rajah at the London Tavern, to mark the sense entertained 
of the eminent services rendered by him in the interests of 
commerce and humanity, by his endeavours to put down the 
evils of piracy in the Eastern Archipelago, and by his 
labours to advance civilisation in that part of the world. 
The company, which numbered two hundred, included 
members of Parliament, Governors of the Bank of England, 
East India Company Directors, officers in the Army and 
Navy, and many others. 

The Rajah delivered a speech, which, for truth and feeling, 
language and action, will never be forgotten by those who had the 
privilege of hearing him ; . . . and the feeling was current that 
should a crisis ever arise in the fortunes of this country, he would 
be the man of action, who ought forthwith to be called to the 
councils of the nation. 1 

Only the opening passages of this speech can be given, 
made in response to the toast of his health : — 

I will not pretend, gentlemen, to that species of pride which apes 
humility. I will not say that I am wholly unworthy of your regard, 
but I will tell you something of the position I hold in the East. 
Your approval of my conduct is no light condemnation of the con- 
duct of those who have sought by every means, fair or unfair, to 
blast my reputation, even at the risk of injuring their own ; who 
under the pretence of humanity have screened injustice, and on the 
plea of enquiry, have been unscrupulous enough to charge murder. 

1 John C. Templar, Private Letters of the Rajah, v. iii. p. 117. 



It is now but a little more than five years since I was the idol of a 
spurious popularity ; it is more than three years that I have been the 
object, but happily not the victim, of an unprecedented persecution, 
and it will afford me no light satisfaction if this night a fair and 
moderate estimate can be formed of my motives and conduct. 
Praise and blame have been lavished upon me with no sparing hand. 
I have been accused of every crime from murder to merchandise. 
I have been held up as a prodigy of perfection, and I have been cast 
down as a monster of iniquity. These, gentlemen, are the extremes 
which human folly delights in ; these are the distortions which the 
tribunes of the people represent as Bible truths to the multitude, 
these the delusions which a hackneyed politician uses lightly, to 
wound feelings he has long outlived, and to cast a slur upon Her 
Majesty's servants. The evil, I fear, is inevitable, but it is no less 
an evil, that public morals, in such hands, should sink like water to 
its lowest and dirtiest level. 

In replying for the Bench, the Hon. Baron Alderson 
said : — 

I am sorry to say that in one respect I differ from Sir James 
Brooke and the Chairman, in that they expressed something of regret 
that our distinguished guest had not the approbation of all mankind. 
I do not think Sir James Brooke would deserve it if he had it ; for 
I have always observed — and I believe history will confirm me — 
that the greatest benefactors of the human race have been the most 
abused in their own time, and I therefore think Sir James Brooke 
ought to be congratulated because he is abused. 

In England, especially, it is the case that the little men 
who bray their philanthropic sentiments on platforms are 
almost always found in opposition to and decrying those 
men who are doing mighty deeds for the advancement and 
happiness of mankind. There exists in narrow minds a 
mean pleasure in decrying those who tower above them 
intellectually and morally. They do not blow themselves 
up to equal the ox, but they spit their poison at him in 
hopes of bringing him down to their level. And the unfor- 
tunate result of the weakness of party government is that 
the party which is in power is always, or almost always, 
ready to throw over a great public servant to silence the 
yelping of the pack that snarl about his heels. It was so 
with Governor Eyre, it was so with Sir Bartlc Frere, it was 
so with General Gordon, and it was so with Sir Bampfyldc 


Fuller. " The time will come in our country when no 
gentleman will serve the public, and your blackguards and 
your imbeciles may have a monoply of appointments," so in 
indignant sorrow wrote the Rajah. Though surprised and 
hurt at what had been said and done, he was not disturbed, 
and he treated his defamers with contempt and indifference, 
" conscious of right motives, and firm in right action." l 

The Rajah left England in April, 1853. On his arrival 
in Sarawak he was attacked by small-pox. There was no 
doctor in Kuching at the time, but he was successfully 
nursed through his illness by his devoted officers, both 
English and native, amongst the latter being Sherip Matusain, 
who had lately been recalled from Sekrang in disgrace, and 
who now became one of his doctors. Prayers for his 
recovery were nightly offered in the mosque, and Malay 
houses. Offerings for his recovery were made in the shape 
of alms by the Indians ; and votive oblations were made in 
their temples by the Chinese. The Rev. A. Horsburgh, who 
did so much to pull him through his illness, wrote : — 

The joy in Sarawak when all danger was over was very great, 
for all had been equally distressed, and many fervent prayers in 
church, mosque, and temple, were offered for his recovery. 

But we will here briefly interrupt the sequence of events 
to give in unbroken record the sequel that happily 
terminated the unprecedented persecutions which the Rajah 
was subjected to for over five years, for the miserable fiasco 
of the Commission, the direct result of these persecutions, left 
the Rajah's defamers powerless and humiliated, and the 
Government in a disgraceful dilemma. 

The Commission sat in Singapore during the months of 
September and October, 1854. It consisted of two gentle- 
men, Mr. C. R. Prinsep, Advocate-General at Calcutta, 
already afflicted with the mental malady to which he 
soon after succumbed, and the Hon. Humphrey B. 
Devereaux, of the Bengal Civil Service. At the first and 
second meetings, of which due notice had been given, to the 
surprise of the Commissioners no one appeared to support 

1 Private Letters. 


the charges contained in the address to Mr. Hume, and 
subpoenas had to be served on several of the subscribers to 
that address. As a result, sixteen witnesses were produced 
in support of these charges, and not one of them deposed 
to any acts within his own knowledge which negatived the 
practice of piracy by the Saribas and Sekrangs ; three 
deposed to specific piratical acts of those tribes ; and one 
rather established than controverted their piratical character. 
On the other hand, twenty-four witnesses called by the 
Commissioners, with Mr. J. Bondriot, 1 late Resident of 
Sambas, Dutch Borneo (who volunteered his evidence) 
deposed expressly to acts of piracy on the part of these 
people. Traders and nakodas from Borneo, who were 
present in Singapore, were deterred from coming forward to 
give evidence by reports disseminated amongst them by the 
personal opponents of the Rajah that their attendance would 
lead to detention and inconvenience. The contention that 
the attacks of the Saribas and Sekrang Dayaks were merely 
acts of intertribal hostility was not upheld. The charge of 
wrongful and causeless attack and massacre wholly failed 
of proof, and was sufficiently negatived." This was the 
judgment of Mr. Prinseps, and so far his brother Com- 
missioner was with him, for, after dealing with their general 
character, Mr. Devereaux sums up by saying that the Saribas 
and Sekrang were piratical, and deserved the punishment 
they received, and that in conflicts with such men atrocities, 
in the ordinary sense of the term, are not easily committed. 3 
These were the main points which mostly concerned the 
public, and upon which were based the grave accusations 
that it had been the pleasure of Mr. Hume and his adherents 

1 The Dutch Resident of Western Borneo, not of Sambas only. He certified that 
on one raid the Saribas and Sekrangs killed four hundred people on the Dutch coast. 
Referred to bv Earl in his Eastci-n Seas ; he relates that the Dayaks swept the whole 
coast from Sekrang to Sambas, killing the entire population of Selakau. As far back 
as 1825, the Resident of Sambas (Van < irave and his secretary were killed on their way 
to Pontianak in a small vessel. Keppel tells us the Saribas once laid in wait for 
" the I Dutch) man-of-war schooner Haai, and in one engagement killed thirty-seven 
of the Dutch, losing eighty of their own force." Keppel's book, ./ Voyage to the 
■ 11 Archipelago in iSjo, contains an able refutation of the charges made by 
Hume and Cobden. 

- The foregoing particulars are taken from Mr. Prinseps' report, dated January 6. 


J From Mr. Devereaux's report. 


to formulate upon totally inadequate and most unreliable 
evidence. The other points brought by their instructions to 
the notice of the Commissioners were matters more between 
the Crown and the Rajah than of general interest to the 
public. Whether the position of Sir James Brooke as Rajah 
of Sarawak was compatible with his duties as British Consul 
General and Commissioner, and with his character as a 
British subject ; was the Rajah engaged in trade ? and 
whether the Rajah should be entrusted with a discretion to 
determine which tribes are piratical, and to call for the aid 
of her Majesty's Naval forces for the punishment of such 
tribes, were points upon which the Commissioners had to 
decide, and upon which they differed. They, however, agreed 
that the Rajah was not engaged in trade, and the other 
questions, except the involved one of the independence of 
Sarawak, had been solved by the Rajah's resignation of his 
appointments under the Crown, which was, however, only 
accepted late in 1855, long after he had in weariness of 
spirit ceased to exercise the functions of those offices. 

" Upon the question of the independence of Sarawak, Mr. 
Prinseps found the Rajah's position to be no other than that 
of a vassal of the Sultan, holding indeed by a tenure very 
bare, and easy to be thrown off altogether." Mr. Devereaux 
could give no definite opinion ; but it was a question to be 
submitted only to the highest legal authorities, and the Rajah 
justly protested against the Commissioners dealing with it ; 
and it is a question that has long since been settled. 

One result of this senseless outcry in England against 
the Rajah was that no help was thenceforth accorded him 
by the fleet in the China and Straits waters. Were an 
insurrection to take place ; were the Sekrangs and Saribas 
to send round the calling-out spear and muster their clans, 
not a marine, not a gun would have been afforded him by her 
Majesty's Government for his protection, and such was the 
case during the Chinese insurrection. 

An evidence of the confidence felt after the quelling of 
the pirates was the increase in trade, the tonnage of merchant 
vessels in 1852 having risen to 25,000 tons, whereas in 
1842 the whole trade was carried on by a few native prahus. 


Traders were secure along the coast, and, as was testified to 
before the Commission, the people of Sambas and Pontianak 
blessed the Rajah for the protection he had given them 
against the depredations of the piratical Dayaks ; and those 
of Muka and Ova were thankful that he had settled near 
them — a little later they had more reason to be thankful, 
when he relieved them of their oppressive rulers. The 
Singapore Free Press in February, 1850, said : — 

A few, a very few years ago, no European merchant vessels 
ventured on the north-west coast of Borneo ; now they are numerous 
and safe. Formerly shipwrecked crews were attacked, robbed, and 
enslaved ; now they are protected, fed, and forwarded to a place of 
safety. The native trade now passes with careless indifference over 
the same track between Marudu and Singapore where, but a little 
while ago, it was liable to the peril of capture ; the crews of 
hundreds of prahus are no longer exposed to the loss of life and the 
loss of property. The recent successful proceedings on the coast of 
Borneo have been followed by the submission of the pirate hordes 
of Saribas and Sekrang. 

So late as June, 1877, when the Rajah had long been 
dead, Mr. Gladstone in addressing the House on the question 
of Turkey and Bulgarian atrocities, and probably as a com- 
parison, said, " I cannot recollect a more shameful proceeding 
on the part of any country than the slaughter of the Dayaks 
by Her Majesty's forces and by Sir James Brooke." 

Earl Grey and Admiral Farquhar published indignant 
replies. Mr. Bailie-Cochrane l took Mr. Gladstone to task 
in the House, whereupon the latter shuffled out of what he 
had said with less than his usual ingenuity, by saying that 
he never meant to blame the Rajah personally, but only the 
Government. The following is from Earl Grey's reply : — 

The additional information respecting him which I have since 
gained has only tended to confirm the impression I then received 
that his character was a truly noble one, and I am sanguine enough 
to believe that it would be regarded in the same light by yourself if 
you would be induced to read the letters he addressed to his mother 
in the early part of his career as Rajah of Sarawak. These, to my 
mind, most beautiful letters are to be found in the very interesting 
life of Sir James Brooke published some months ago by Miss Jacob. 

- >n of tne late Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane 



They were written while the events they describe were going on, to a 
mother whom he passionately loved, obviously without the remotest 
idea that they would ever be published, and contain an account, 
bearing the clearest impress of truth and sincerity of all that he did, 
and of the feelings and motives by which he was guided. We find 
in them a touching record of his pity for the oppressed Dayaks, 1 of 
his righteous indignation against the oppressors, of his noble self- 
devotion, and of his fixed determination to hazard, and if necessary 
to sacrifice for their welfare, not only the whole of his moderate 
fortune, but ease, health, and life itself, while he steadily refused to 
listen to all attempts that were made to induce him to use the 
position he had acquired for his own personal advantage. 


The Commission had done no serious harm with his own 
loyal people. They heard with bewilderment that the man 
on whom their prosperity, and indeed their security, depended, 
had been maligned in England, and was to be tried as a 
malefactor in Singapore, and their dread was lest he should be 
taken from their head, or should throw up his task in disgust, 
and the country be allowed to relapse into oppression and 
anarchy ; for so surely as the Rajah left, would the pangirans 
return and resume their blood-sucking operations on one side, 
and on the other the pirates recover from their humiliation 
and recommence their depredations, and so they would perish 
between the upper and nether millstone. 

The Ministry made no attempt to remove the harmful 
impressions caused by the false step they had so weakly 

1 The Land-Dayaks. 


been induced to take ; they but confirmed these by making 
no amende, and by withdrawing all support, and as the sequel 
will show, the Commission paved the way for the rebellion 
of the Chinese, and for the outbreak of disaffected Malays 
and other natives, aided and incited by intriguing Brunis, 
which were to follow, and which cost the lives of many 
Europeans, and great numbers of Chinese and natives, and 
nearly resulted in the extinction of the raj. With justice the 
Rajah wrote : "It is a sad thing to say, but true as sad, 
that England has been the worst opponent of the progress 
of Sarawak, and is now the worst enemy of her liberty." 




ITH this chapter com- 
mences the history 
of the life of the 
present Rajah, in it- 
self an epitome of 
the history of the raj, 
who in 1852, at the 
age of twenty-three, 
obtained two years' 
leave of absence to try 
his fortunes in Borneo 
at the invitation of his 
Rajah. He arrived at Kuching 
on July 21, 1852, at the commencement 
of a new era in the history of Sarawak. 
Hitherto the raj extended only as far as 
the Samarahan river, and within this little 
state order had been established and peace 
reiened. Without, it had been freed from 
its enemies, the result being an increasing 
trade which brought prosperity. But the Rajah could not 



leave incomplete the work that he had undertaken and begun, 
and these benefits had to be more fully extended to the neigh- 
bouring districts, which were shortly to be added to the raj. 
This could be done only by first reducing to order the 
turbulent and restless Sea-Dayaks and Malays who inhabited 
these districts. Sarawak, too, had now been left to fight its 
own battles alone, and to surmount the additional troubles that 
had been thrown across its path by the blind and weak policy 
of the British Government that should have been its protector. 
In the severe trials that followed, and which had to be faced 
unhelped, the Rajah found that assistance which he so much 
needed in the able and devoted support of his nephews, the 
Tuan Besar, and, more notably, the Tuan Muda, for so the 
present Rajah was entitled by the datus on his arrival. 1 On 
the expiration of his leave the Tuan Muda finally quitted the 
Navy, and Sarawak became the scene of his life-work ; he 
was to become the Rajah's right-hand man, and, a few years 
later, his trusted deputy. 

Charles Anthoni Johnson, the Tuan Muda, was the second 
son of the Rev. Francis Charles Johnson, and was born on 
June 3, 1829, at Berrow Vicarage, near Burnham, Somerset- 
shire. Educated in Crewkerne Grammar School for a few years 
only, he was withdrawn at the age of a little over twelve, and 
entered the Navy on January 18, 1842, as a volunteer of 
the first class, under his uncle, Commander Willes Johnson of 
the sloop Wolverine. He served on this ship until June, 
1 844, gaining two steps as midshipman in that year, when 
he was transferred to the Dido, Captain the Hon. Henry 
Keppel. He rejoined the Wolverine, serving under Com- 
mander John Dalrymple Hay, 2 until his transfer to the 
Maander % Captain the Hon. H. Keppel, in November, 1847, 
as sub-lieutenant. He joined the St. Vincent in 1848, and 
in June the next year was promoted to be senior mate of the 
Terrible. He became lieutenant in 1852. He served 
mostly on the China station ; and the only active service he 
saw was with Keppel's expedition and Sir Thomas Cochrane's 
squadron in Borneo waters, as we have already recorded. 

1 This is now the established title of the second sons of the Rajahs. 
- Now the Rigfll Hon. Sir John Dalrymple Hay, Bart., P I . 


The Tuan Mudawas appointed to Lundu in January, 1853, 
but he had not been there long before news arrived of the 
death of Mr. Lee, the Resident at Lingga. The circumstances 
were these : Ever since the severe lesson taught the Saribas 
and Sekrangs in 1 849, the piratical tribes had been divided into 
two parties : one that was content to submit to the Govern- 
ment of Sarawak, and abandon its former lawless practices, 
and the other, consisting of the irreconcilables, the wild and 
fiery bloods, who loved slaughter and rapine above everything, 
and who could not be prevailed upon to beat their spears into 
ploughshares. At their head stood a peculiarly daring and 
turbulent Dayak chief called Rentap ; and these had retreated 
farther up the country to the head-waters of the Saribas. 
There Rentap had established a strong stockade on Sadok, 
a mountain ridge, up the Sungei (River) Lang, which was 
regarded as an impregnable fastness, for access could not be 
obtained to it by boat, on account of the rapids, and the 
country that would have to be traversed by an expedition 
was covered with dense jungles, and broken up by rugged 
limestone chains of hills. 

The Sekrang pirates could no longer shoot down to 
the sea in their war prahus, for the forts of Sekrang and 
Lingga commanded the river, consequently they exerted their 
mischievous energies in attacking the peaceful Dayaks in their 
districts, and they were especially irate against those of their 
own tribe who had submitted to the white man's rule. 

Sekrang station under the able management of Mr. 
Brereton had made great advances, and around the fort a 
Malay town had sprung up, and there Chinese traders had 
also established themselves. Mr. Brereton was ably sup- 
ported by two of the best and most capable Malay chiefs, 
Pangiran Matali, 1 a Bruni of rank, and Abang Aing,' 2 a Matu 

1 Pangiran Matali (Muhammad Ali) was a brave man, honest and faithful. He 
was a Government chief and magistrate, and his death, a few years ago, was felt as 
a severe loss. He had a very thorough knowledge of the Dayaks, and was a capable 
man in handling them. He was a prince by birth of the royal blood of Bruni. He 
stands out as an example of what such princes were capable of becoming under a just 

- Abang Aing was the head Government chief and native magistrate at Sekrang, 
a post he held v. ith distinction, noted for his fair and impartial judgments, till his 
death, which took place in December, 1884. He and Pangiran Matali were the 
present Rajah's main supporters and most trusted servants in the old troublesome days ; 


Melanau, who had long been settled in the Batang Lupar 
with his father the Laksamana Menudin, and who had the 
good fortune to have for a helpmate an upright and determined 
woman, Dayang Kota ; she was strong in council, and so 
trustworthy that when Mr. Brereton and the chiefs were 
away she was often left in charge of the fort. 

The fort at Lingga had been built in 1852 to protect 
that river against marauding bands of Saribas, and had been 
placed in charge of Mr. Alan Lee. 

Brereton and Lee were both men of independent means, 
who had joined the Rajah to assist him in his great work, 
and who never drew a penny from the Sarawak Government. 
The former was hot and impetuous ; both were men of noble 
and generous natures. 

The position of Mr. Lee at Lingga was fairly safe. He 
had been for a short time coadjutor with Brereton at 
Sekrang ; at Lingga he had plenty of Malays, and only 
friendly Dayaks, the Balaus, about him. But Mr. Brereton 
was in a more dangerous position, a single Englishman 
among many thousand natives but partially reclaimed in 
hardly five years, and all passionately attached to their 
ancestral custom of head-hunting. It is true he had about 
him a number of Malays, and on an emergency might call 
in the assistance of those Dayaks of the Sekrang tribe who 
professed allegiance, but many of these were waverers, 
and on a few only could any reliance be placed. 

Early in 1853, reports reached Brereton that Rentap, at 
the head of a war part}-, was on his way down the river to 
attack his fort, and force an opening to the sea, so that 
again he might pursue his piratical expeditions along the 
coast ; and Brereton sent a message to Lee at Lingga to 
come to his assistance. 

The request was at once complied with, and, thinking 
the case urgent, Lee hurried up the river with a scratch party, 
insufficiently armed ; but he left orders that a large force 
was to follow with all possible speed. 

On reaching Sekrang, Lee learned that the force under 

and their names stand foremost amongst those Malay chiefs who won an honourable 
n the annals of Sarawak for devotion to the cause of law and order. 


Rentap was approaching, and he strongly urged Brereton to 
stand solely on the defensive, and not to attack the enemy 
till his auxiliaries had arrived. Brereton, however, had built 
a small stockade a few miles above Sekrang fort, and to this 
he insisted on going, and was accompanied by Lee. On 
the morning after reaching it, a few boats of the Sekrang 
pirates were seen descending the river and approaching the 
stockade. A gun was fired to signal them to desist, but 
as this was disregarded, a charge of grape was poured into 
them, throwing them apparently into confusion. Unfor- 
tunately, the Malays in the fort were not to be restrained, 
and Brereton was for at once dashing forth to attack the 
enemy in the open on the river. Lee saw the injudicious- 
ness of such a proceeding. He was convinced that the two 
prahus had been sent forward tentatively, and that the main 
body of the enemy was concealed behind the point of land 
farther up. He expostulated with Brereton, who taunted 
him with a lack of courage, and then left the fort with his 
Malays, and in their boats they ran in upon the main fleet 
that was lurking in an upper reach, and which now swung 
down, assisted by the ebb-tide, on Brereton's light prahus. 

Lee, nettled at the taunt, and seeing the peril in which 
his friend and fellow-officer had so inconsiderately placed 
himself, at once left the fort and hastened to his assistance. 

The small boats in which were the Malay garrison were 
being swamped by the heavy bangkongs or war prahus of 
the Sekrangs filled with armed men. Brereton's boat upset, 
and with difficulty he reached the bank. Lee refused to 
retreat, and calling out, " Save yourselves, I must stand," 
dashed on. His boat was boarded by the enemy ; he 
fought with desperation, but was overpowered and fell into 
the water with his head nearly severed from his shoulders. 
Meanwhile the force of the current had carried the fleet 
under the guns of the stockade, and these opened fire upon 
it, and compelled Rentap reluctantly to withdraw and 
abandon his undertaking. 1 He was followed up and 
attacked by the Sekrang Dayak chief Gasing, who, acting 

1 S. St. John, in his Life of Sir James Brooke, says that Rentap took Lee's head, 
but this was not the case. 


on His own initiative, burnt twenty villages belonging to 
Rentap's followers. 

When the news of this disaster reached Kuching, the 
Tuan Muda was recalled from Lundu and ordered to replace 
Lee at Lingga, and he arrived there in June, 1853. A 
stronger fort was now built there, and the Malays living 
at Banting were ordered to move down. He was succeeded 
at Lundu by Mr. Charles Grant. 1 

Lingga, which is just at the mouth of the river of that 
name that flows into the Batang Lupar about sixteen miles 
above its mouth, is seated on a mud bank ; the land for 
miles around is a dismal swamp, and is the most dreary 
station in the State. It is, however, a healthy place, and 
another redeeming point is the fine expanse of water which 
forms the estuary of the Bantag Lupar, stretching from 
Lingga, where it is three miles broad, straight to the mouth. 

The Dayak population of the Lingga river was then 
about 5000, all Balaus, whom the Tuan Muda found to be 
" braver than most Dayaks, and true-hearted." From the 
first, they and the Seboyaus, a relative tribe, residing some 
at Seboyau, below Lingga, but most at Lundu, had sided 
with the Rajah against their direst foes, the Saribas ; and 
these pages record many great services rendered by them. 
Besides these Dayaks there was a considerable number of 
Malays, and the latter increased, for Lingga became to 
them a place of refuge. 

Indra Lila 2 had been the chief here since his forced 
departure from the Rejang (see footnote, p. 16). He had 
died a few months before, and had been succeeded by his 
brother, Lila Pelawan,- who died a centenarian in 1897. 
There was another brother, Lila Wangsa, 2 who had joined 
the piratical Saribas Malays. Lila Pelawan was only the 
nominal chief of the river, for it was really ruled by two 
despotic old Malay ladies of rank, Dang Isa and Dang Ajar. 

1 Mr. C. Grant of Kilgraston, X.B., was a midshipman on the Maander when 

that ship brought the Rajah out from England. He became the Rajah's private 
secretary in September, 1848. He retired in 1863. 

- mskrit origin bestowed by the Sultan, the meanings of which 
are somewhat obscure. The first probably means "the revered Lord " ; the third 
"high in eminence" ; as regards the second, Pelawan may mean the name of a 
place, otherwise it is untranslatable. 



These sisters claimed all the land as their inheritance, and 
all the dwellers thereon as their slaves. Though they were 
cruel and tyrannical in their methods, these masterful old 
ladies had the redeeming point of being brave, and, attired 
in men's clothing, with sword and spear, had often led the 
men in resisting the attacks of the Saribas. Dang Ajar was 
the most troublesome. It was she with whom the Kayan 
chief, Akam Nipa, had fallen in love, and a pity it was that 
his threat to abduct her was frustrated by the flight of the 
Malays from Ngmah. Though professing a strong regard 
for the Tuan Muda, whom they honoured by styling him 
their son, they feared and hated him, for they saw that he 
would soon deprive them of all power to do evil, and to pre- 
vent this they even attempted to resort to poison. This was 
the method by which they were commonly reputed to have 
removed Indra Lila out of their way, as they would certainly 
have done to his little son, so as to acquire his inheritance, 
had not the Tuan Muda taken him under his protection. This 
lad was Abang Abdul Gani, who became the Tuan Muda's 
constant follower for years, and who afterwards gained for 
himself the reputation of being one of the bravest and most 
honest of the Government Malay officials. 

As they themselves foresaw, the power of these two old 
ladies was soon brought to an end, and they retired into 
seclusion to solace themselves with religion. 

In August, 1853, the Rajah went to Bruni, where he 
found that his power and his popularity had not waned, 
though discarded by the British Government, and discredited 
by his own countrymen, and though he arrived in a small 
merchant ship instead of in one of her Majesty's men-of- 
war. He stayed some time in Bruni, and was warmly 
received by the new Sultan, Abdul Mumin, for Omar Ali had 
departed to answer for his sins, " and was fully and firmly 
reinstated as their friend and adviser." Those districts out- 
side Sarawak, namely the Sadong, Batang Lupar, Saribas, 
and Kalaka rivers and their tributaries, with a coast-line of 
some seventy-five miles, in area about three times the size 
of the raj, were now incorporated with it by a cession 
granted by the Sultan, the Rajah agreeing to pay the 


Sultan half of any surplus revenues that might accrue. We 
ma)' note here for convenience that this was altered 
afterwards in 1861, when the territories as far as Kedurong 
point were ceded, thereby giving the State a further coast- 
line of 1 80 miles, and the rivers Rejang, Oya, Muka, Tatau, 
and Bintulu. For this additional cession and that of 1853 
a fixed yearly sum was to be paid to the Sultan as com- 
pensation for loss of revenue ; and these cessions, having 
been made subsequent to the treaty of 1847, contain a 
clause to the effect that none of the districts ceded by them 
may be transferred by the Rajah or his successors to any 
other government, company or, persons without the sanction 
of the British Government, but the Sultan's sanction is not re- 
quired. In the event of the cession money not being paid for 
three consecutive years, the districts ceded would revert to 
the Sultan ; otherwise the sovereign and territorial rights 
over these districts are absolutely invested in the Rajahs of 
Sarawak, the Sultan having reserved no rights or power 
whatever over them. The cessions subsequently obtained 
by the present Rajah, which will be noted in their proper 
places, were granted on the same terms. 

In December, the Rajah arrived at Lingga on his way 
to Sekrang and farther up the river, with the object of 
opening up communication with the turbulent members of 
the Dayak tribes in the interior, under Rentap and Bulan. 
These chiefs were men of very different character, and headed 
native bodies of like diversity. 

Rentap was an active, crafty, and determined man, 
rootedly opposed to the interference of Europeans and the 
putting down of piracy and head-hunting. On the other 
hand, Bulan was the figure-head of a party that hesitated, 
uncertain which direction affairs would take, and watching 
to see which way the cat jumped. Bulan and his faction 
would not engage in active hostility against the Rajah's 
government, unless they saw that the tide of affairs was 
setting strong against it. But also they would not profess 
friendship, or lend help against the turbulent party. 

The Tuan Muda attended the Rajah to Sekrang, and 
several meetings were contrived with the leaders of the two 


factions, but with no satisfactory results. In April, 1854, 
owing to the representations of Mr. Brereton, an expedition 
was organised against a chief called Apai 1 Dendang at Dandi, 
on the backbone or watershed between the Saribas and the 
Sekrang river, a hotbed of mischief, whence several in- 
cursions had been made into the pacified country, with the 
usual results of rapine and murder. 

The Tuan Muda brought up a contingent from Lingga, 
and this, united with a force from Kuching, proceeded up 
the Sekrang, passing troublesome and dangerous rapids, till 
the point Lipat was reached, where the boats had to be left. 
The backbone of hills was at some considerable distance, 
and to reach it much thorny jungle had to be traversed. 
After a day's march inland it was arranged that the 
Europeans and the Sarawak Malay contingent should remain 
behind, and that a fighting division of Dayaks should be 
sent forward under their chiefs to attack Dandi, which con- 
sisted of one long Dayak house. The plan adopted was 
not the most judicious, and the result was disappointing. 
We will describe what followed in the Tuan Muda's own 

Late in the afternoon of the third day, when we anxiously 
awaited the return of the advanced division, our outposts first 
of all descried two or three small parties of Dayaks evidently of our 
force, wending their way slowly over hill and dale. On their 
nearer approach, we plainly saw wounded men carried by them. 
Whispers spread — gradually and quietly at first, but they soon 
became more distinct — that our party had failed. In the evening 
the chiefs arrived and came forward to report progress, looking 
haggard, thin, and exhausted. The story was as follows — they had 
walked at a fast pace the whole of the first day over the steepest 
hills, sometimes without any path, and the guides at a nonplus for 
the proper direction ; from morning till night they scarcely halted, 
under a scorching sun ; and parched with thirst without any hope 
of water. At night, by moonlight, they pushed on again, until they 
nearly fell from exhaustion, when they slept in any position with 
their arms on. About 3 a.m. they again advanced, and, at the 
opening of dawn, the most active Dayaks, reaching the enemy's 
house, advanced upon it without order, and as the leaders were 
mounting the ladder, they were struck off one after another by 

1 Apai = the father of. 



hundreds of men inside, dressed in fighting costumes, and headed 
by the whole of the Saribas tribe, men heretofore on every occasion 
on land, victorious. Our poor leaders had to retire to guard their 
wounded and dying, while the enemy were yelling, cheering, and 
beating gongs ; and even their women, dressed in their best clothes, 
were clapping their hands, and urging their sweethearts to the 

As the sun rose, some of the strongest of the Malay force came 
up within shot, and took up quarters behind trees and opened fire 
upon the house. This stopped the cheering within, but in no way 
daunted the enemy. About an hour after, our elderly chiefs came 
up, viewed the house of the enemy, sat down on the hillside in a 
sheltered position, and were so exhausted that children might have 
hacked their heads off. They stopped all advance of their party, 
and while the oldest chiefs were suffering severely from fatigue, a 
palaver was opened, the result being that some of the enemy came 
down, mixed with our people, then partook of sirih and betel-nut in 
a friendly manner, and promised to show our party the nearest 
way back, and provide them with provisions for their journey. On 
their part they engaged to be answerable for the payment of a 
" death fine " for the men they had killed some months previously. 

News that a large expedition had been organised against 
Dandi had reached Apai Dendang before the departure of 
the force from Sekrang, and he had summoned to his 
assistance all the bravest men of the Saribas tribe, and the 
principal leaders of every head-hunting expedition for some 
time past ; nevertheless he was unwilling to drive matters 
to an extremity, having a wholesome dread of the white 
men. This rendered him ready to treat and buy off the 
expedition with a promise of indemnity for murders recently 

A fatal want of discretion had been shown in the whole 
affair, no trustworthy guides had been engaged, no inquiry 
made as to whether the Saribas were coming up to the 
succour of Apai Dendang, no English leaders were sent for- 
ward with the rabble of assailants, and that rabble had 
attacked in straggling detachments, when exhausted with 
hard marching and with thirst. 

We returned home with feelings that can be better imagined 
than described. The Dayaks said that the omens had been bad 
from the outset : the Malays said if they had only been there, 


the result would have been different ; and the Europeans said — 

In August, 1854, the Rajah arrived at Lingga with a 
large force which had been collected at Kuching, and pro- 
ceeded to Sekrang, taking with him the Tuan Muda ; 
The Tuan Besar, together with other European officers, who 
had come with the Rajah, also lent their aid. The object 
was to attack Rentap in his fastness in Sungei Lang. The 
whole force numbered 7000 Malays and Dayaks. To pre- 
vent the Saribas from sending their fighting men to the 
assistance of Rentap, the Datu Temanggong was despatched 
with a flotilla up that river to menace their villages and to 
hold the Saribas warriors in check. Mr. Steele 1 was to 
lead another party up the Kanowit to threaten the Dayaks 
of that river and its branches the Kajulau and Entabai, 
with a rear attack should they cross over to the Saribas. 
Mr. Steele had been thrice attacked at Kanowit fort, but 
now he could muster fifteen hundred men and take the 
offensive, and, though possibly he would have to do no fight- 
ing, his force would deter the Kajulaus from sending aid to 
Rentap. The expedition was thoroughly well thought out. 

The Rajah, with the main body, leaving the Sekrang 
fort, ascended the river for about thirty miles to a place 
called Entaban. The heavy prahus were brought thus far 
with great difficulty, owing to the rapids, and beyond that 
point it was impossible to proceed in them. Accordingly 
a stockade was erected, and the Tuan Besar was placed in 
command of the expedition by land to Sungei Lang, with his 
brother, the Tuan Muda, Mr. Crookshank, Mr. Brereton, and 
four other English officers to assist. The Rajah's health 
would not admit of his undertaking the arduous march. He 
remained behind with a strong force to protect the flotilla. 

Although the heavy war boats could ascend no farther, 
it was possible for part of the force to continue the ascent 
of the river in light boats, and this was done, the Europeans 
and Malays marching. 

1 As in the case of Mr. Lee, little has been recorded of Mr. H. Steele. He did 
good service at the battle of Beting Maru, and probably joined in 1848. He was 
selected by the Rajah to take charge of the fort at Kanowit when it was built, and 
there he was murdered in 1859. He was a noted linguist. 


To continue the narrative from the Tuan Muda's 
description : — 

We had Dayak guides, and could not have proceeded without 
them. Our land force consisted mostly of Malays, and numbered 
about 500 men — the Sekrang Dayaks were in their boats. About 
4 p.m. we halted on the brink of the river and prepared to spend 
the night with a stockade around. This was in the enemy's country, 
although there were many people living near who were neither the 
one thing nor the other. The following morning we proceeded again 
in the same order, but before midday many of our party were quite 
exhausted, and there was really no road to follow but the muddy 
banks of the river, so we halted, and after our midday meal it was 
decided that we were all to crowd in with the floating force. And 
thus we pushed on, but in a most comfortless condition with regard 
to space. We spent the night at Tabbat, and fortified ourselves 
here also. My subsequent experience of the localities has proved 
that we should never have reached our destination on foot, keeping 
company with the boats. On the fourth day we spied the enemy's 
position, situated on a hill cleared of all old jungle and showing 
recent preparations of defence around their dwellings. Our heavy 
armament consisted of 4- and 3-pounder guns and rocket tubes. 

The enemy showed no opposition outside, and after marching 
about four miles, we arrived at a hill in their vicinity. It was a fiery 
hot morning without a cloud, and the hills, though low, were 
very precipitous. The Europeans kept near the guns, to assist in 
their progress up the steeps, and when we were mounting the last 
rising ground on which the enemy was fortified, we found some of 
the leaders of our force had foolishly advanced too near, and a few 
had been killed and wounded, and were now being carried to the 
rear. The enemy had two long houses on the ridge of a hill, 
surrounded by steep ground excepting at the end. Here high stakes 
were driven into the earth, and around all a firm and thick stockade. 
The 4-pounder gun was mounted after considerable delay, and, 
when the rocket tube was in place, we opened fire on one end, 
while the 3-pounder played away on the other. The enemy 
answered our fire pretty briskly with their lelahs. 1 We could see 
the men rushing to and fro covered with their shields, also parties 
dancing to the music of the gongs. Some of their voices we heard 
distinctly, saying they would never succumb to the tight-breeched 
men (white men) or to any other strangers. Mr. Crookshank (at 
considerable risk) took charge of the rockets, which were of ancient 
make, and a few that were fired entered the fort and did great 
execution, but the majority whizzed round and round and sometimes 

1 Hrass cannon of Malay manufacture. 


lodged in the ground among our own party ; we were all more 
afraid of these missiles than anything the enemy could produce. 
Early in the afternoon there was a commotion among the enemy, 
and we could discern women and children leaving on the opposite 
side of the hill, but the men stood fast and kept their posts. 

Our old Penglima x was biding his time, for he yet knew that 
he might lead, but others would not follow. He worked steadily 
and quietly, amid many jeers from some of our own native party, 
who asked why the warrior did not make an advance : his reply 
between his teeth was — "Your words are more than your deeds." 
As the sun drew near to the horizon, the Penglima moved up to the 
enemy's stockade, silently opened the palisade, and, after a moment's 
peep, jumped in, followed by others, who gave a loud cheer and 
drew their swords. The enemy, finding a lodgment had been 
made inside, immediately took to their heels and fled down the hill. 
We followed in close to the leaders ; the entrance was so narrow 
that many received contusions when passing through. About fifty 
or sixty of the enemy were tearing away over the open ground, cover- 
ing their bodies with their shields. 

These were followed by all the defenders of the stockade, 
who rolled down the side of the hill, a living wave, bearing 
away with them their chief Rentap, who had been wounded. 
The stockade was taken, and within its defences the victors 
passed the night, whilst the enemy fled precipitately to a 
second and still stronger fastness on the summit of the 
mountain Sadok, which loomed in the distance. One of the 
most curious and significant features of the conflict was that, 
whilst it was in progress, the hills and every commanding 
position around were crowded with Dayaks, the adherents 
of Bulan, as well as others, who watched it with lively 
interest, taking no part on one side or the other, but waiting 
to see to which side the scale would incline. Had the attack- 
ing force met with discomfiture, these men would have fallen 
on it and harassed the party as it retreated. 

If, after the defeat of Rentap and the capture of the 
stockade in the Lang, they did not tender allegiance to the 
Government, it was because the expedition retired immedi- 
ately after having achieved its first success, and, therefore, it 

1 Seman was a Kalaka Malay living in Kuching, and had been made a penglima 
by the Rajah for his courage and dash. His name still survives in Kampong Penglima 
Sernan — the village, or parish, of Penglima Seman, within the township of Kuching. 


gave the waverers no permanent assurance of protection 
against Rentap's resentment. 

To have crushed Rentap, it would have been necessary 
to have pursued him to his second stronghold at Sadok, but 
this was not done. Captain Brooke in command doubtless 
saw the expediency of following up a routed foe, but Dayak 
warriors are wont to rest content with a single victory, and, 
that gained, to become uncontrollably impatient to return 
home ; besides, the force was in too disturbed a state to 
undertake any organised attack ; accordingly, after making 
a circuit of devastation, it returned. 

The result was that Rentap continued to give trouble 
for seven years. 

Brereton died of dysentery, brought on by exposure, 
shortly after this expedition, and the Tuan Muda was placed 
in charge of the Batang Lupar in October, 1854. The 
district was in a very disturbed state, and to establish order 
by putting an end to intertribal feuds and promiscuous head- 
hunting required an unceasing watch being kept on all, and 
necessitated many punitive expeditions being made. The 
Tuan Muda had but a handful of fortmen, for there was no 
money to spend ; not more than .£30 per mensem being 
allowed even so late as 1 860 for the upkeep of the district, 
and it must have been less then. Little support could be 
expected from the capital. On the Kajulau expedition the 
Tuan Muda could muster no more than 100 antiquated 
muskets and a few rifles, which included twelve flint and six 
percussion muskets, all that could be spared from Kuching. 
There was much to be done, but there was deficiency of 
means to do the work. The Rajah's advice to him was : 
"to encourage the good, intimidate the bad, and confirm the 
wavering." The difficulties were so many, and the means at 
hand so limited, that the position would have been hopeless 
except to a man of great tact, patience, daring, and untiring 
activity, able to bear all the responsibility, all the anxiety, 
and all the work upon his own shoulders. It must be borne 
in mind that Kuching was some 125 miles away, that those 
were the days when there were no steamers, and that during 
the north-cast monsoon navigation was dangerous to boats. 


How the Tuan Muda succeeded will be told in this record 
of his career ; here it will be sufficient to say, quoting the 
late Rajah, " that he was the right man in the right place, 
and that we are all children in Dayak management compared 
to him." 

In 1856, the Tuan Muda writes (in Ten Years in 
Sarawak) : — 

We are almost daily having alarms in one place or another ; 
sometimes on water and sometimes on land. And upon one side 
of the whole length of the river, the inhabitants dare not farm or 
live, fearing attacks from the interior of Sekrang and Saribas. Small 
parties make their foraging excursions and run away with a head 
here and there, and are far distant before we can follow them up. 

Intertribal feuds, which had been more or less dropped in 
the common cause of piracy — and the plethora of heads it 
afforded — had now broken out again, and were growing in 
intensity. Besides these troubles in the Batang Lupar and 
Saribas, the Dayaks of the Rejang living on the Serikei and 
Kajulau rivers were giving considerable trouble. These 
Dayaks had moved over from the Sekrang and Saribas and 
were hand-in-glove with Rentap's rebels. They were open 
and declared enemies of the Government. The Kajulau was 
considered to be the centre of the enemy's country, and also 
to be inaccessible to attack. Confident in their impunity, 
they were becoming a terror to the peaceable inhabitants 
of the Rejang delta, so the Tuan Muda determined to attack 
them, and organised an expedition — the first to act in- 
dependently of Kuching assistance, except for the loan of 
the dozen old muskets above mentioned. 

On June 6, 1856, the force, comprising a few Malays, 
and some 3000 Dayaks, started. To take the enemy by 
surprise the Tuan Muda decided to go up the Kalaka and 
march overland. Though the Malays of this river had 
suffered severely at the hands of the Kajulaus, they at first 
refused to accompany the expedition, regarding the diffi- 
culties as insuperable, and the danger as overwhelming. 
The result was that half the Malay force the Tuan Muda had 
brought with him were intimidated, and began to cry off; 
but Abang Aing restored their confidence, and shamed the 


Kalakas into accompanying the expedition. On the 14th, 
after having encountered great difficulties in passing the 
rapids, the force reached the Budu stream, and here the boats 
were left, but as there were enemies ahead and enemies to 
the right (the Saribas) a strong stockade was erected and 
garrisoned, to serve as a base and to guard the rear. Near 
this base were two long Dayak houses, and in one of them 
was staying a notorious Saribas Dayak chief named Saji. 
As the people were not declared enemies, though very doubtful 
friends, Saji could not be touched, but he remained a danger 
to be reckoned with, and against whom precautions had 
to be taken, for as soon as the expedition started overland 
he would be able to follow it with hundreds of men. But 
Saji was cautious. He preferred to wait to make his attack 
till the return of the expedition, when it would be easier to 
surprise, for, if not defeated, it would probably be disorganised. 
The march commenced on the 16th. The bala formed in 
three columns with the Malays in the centre, and at evening 
the tawaks (gongs) of the enemy could be heard in the distance 
sounding the alarm. But it was not until the 18th, after a 
tedious march over hilly land, that the verge of the enemy's 
country was reached. At 3 P.M. a sharp encounter took 
place, and the enemy were driven off, leaving a few dead on 
the field, and several long houses that had been abandoned in 
haste were entered and plundered. One of these houses the 
Tuan Muda occupied ; and, finding that the enemy, taken by 
surprise, attempted no attack and offered no organised resist- 
ance, the force was divided up and despatched in different 
directions under their own leaders to burn and destroy. 

Here an episode occurred which nearly proved 
disastrous. On the afternoon of the 19th, an attack was 
expected, and the house occupied by the Tuan Muda was 
greatly crowded with warriors to defend it. At 7 o'clock 
it was observed that the posts supporting the house were 
sloping considerably, and it was found that this had been 
caused by the Dayaks having stowed away in it overmuch 
of their heavy plunder, such as brass guns, jars, and 
gongs, and hundreds had gone up into the house, though 
by custom they ought to have remained without on the 


ground. A collapse would have meant the loss of many 
lives, and would have been taken advantage of by the 
watchful enemy. Upon the insistance of Abang Aing, the 
Tuan Muda left the house, and the Malays were directed to 
turn the Dayaks out instantly. But this was by no means 
easy to be done ; indeed the Dayaks resisted being made to 
evacuate the house and leave their plunder there. 

Whilst the Tuan Muda was sitting out in the moonlight, 
a sudden din and the sounds of strife arose from the house. 
Men came flying down the ladder, and others hurried up it. 
Then three Balau Dayak chiefs begged the Tuan Muda to go 
up immediately. Against the protests of Abang Aing, with 
sword and gun in hand, he ascended, and found Dayaks and 
Malays in a heated and dangerous condition, opposed to 
one another with drawn swords in their hands. Planting 
himself between the antagonists, the Tuan Muda ordered 
silence, and cocking his double-barrelled gun and placing the 
muzzle within two inches of the leading Dayak's head, he 
ordered him to leave the house. Amidst a dead silence the 
chief went, followed by the Tuan Muda, the Dayaks edging 
away and making a path for them along the verandah to the 
ladder. Thus ended the disturbance, and by the morrow 
it was forgotten. It was arrested just in time to prevent a 
desperate encounter between the Malays and Dayaks, which 
would have been taken up by the other Dayak factions — for 
in the bala were Dayaks of different tribes, only held 
together by the controlling influence of their white chief — and 
there would have been fighting among themselves. The 
enemy, taking advantage of this, would have fallen upon 
and routed them, and the survivors flying to regain the 
boats would have been cut off by Saji and his Saribas. 
The power of the Government among the Sea-Dayaks 
would have been broken completely, and it would have taken 
many years to recover it, a calamity which was averted by 
the bold and prompt action of the Tuan Muda, and his 
personal power over Malays and Dayaks alike. 

On the 20th, the attacking parties returned after having 
destroyed twenty -five villages, and having secured an 
immense amount of plunder. There were but few killed 


on either side ; the enemy had given way, cowed, and 
had offered but little resistance. 

Thus was a severe lesson administered to the Sea-Dayaks, 
which they never forgot, and it showed them that they could 
and would be treated even as they had so long treated 
others with impunity. 

"There is no way," wrote the Tuan Muda, "but burning them 
out of house and home — dreadful as this may appear. The women 
too must suffer, for they are the principal inciters of these bloody 
exploits. 1 An attack on a Dayak force, the destruction of the whole 
of it, with the lives of the men, is no permanent advancement 
towards cessation of head-taking. But the burning down of a village, 
loss of goods, old relics, such as heads, arms, and jars,' 2 and putting 
the inhabitants, male and female, to excessive inconvenience — all 
this fills them with fear and makes them think of the consequences 
of taking the heads of strangers. These inland abodes have been 
and are everlasting fastnesses in their imagination. Besides, they 
always express very freely their opinion of white men ; ' they are 
powerful, having arms and ships at sea, but it is only we Dayaks 
who can walk and fight on land and clamber steep mountains.' " 

On the 2 ist, the march home was commenced, the 
leaders in the advance becoming now the rearmost. These 
were the most trusted and bravest chiefs ; conspicuous among 
them was Pangiran Matali. Their instructions were positive 
— to keep a sharp look-out for the enemy, and to permit no 
one to lag behind. Most of the Dayaks were heavily laden 
with plunder, and the enemy was hovering about their track 
in the hope of cutting off the stragglers. 

On the return to the stockade : 

A delicious bathe, and some wine and water were the first things 
to have. Then a lounge in the boat in thin clothing, with that 
exhilarating feeling of lightness which one experiences after a 
Turkish bath. During my enjoyment in the satisfaction that our 
trials were well-nigh over, a rush was heard with tumultuous yells, 
and armed people were dashing back over the path by which we had 

1 The brutal and disgusting behaviour of the women on the arrival of a fresh 
" trophy," to one who has witnessed it, would choke oft any pity for them. 

- These articles and other valuables, though a bitter loss, can be replaced. Hut 
the destruction of their homes, rice-stores and standing crops, household goods, 
cooking utensils and clothing, pigs, poultry, and hunting dogs, boats and paddles, and 
farming implements are losses that it takes two years to regain, and which reduces 
them for the time to a condition of beggary. 


come. I soon learnt that " Iron Anchor " x and Pangiran Matali had 
been attacked in the rear, and within five minutes two Dayaks 
rushed to my boat carrying a head yet gory and dripping. The 
yells and cheers were deafening, and it was some time before I could 
get the particulars of what had happened. After the noise had 
somewhat subsided "Iron Anchor" and the Pangiran came to me 
and told me that as they were marching and bringing up the rear, 
about three miles off, a party of Dayaks came down the hill close to 
them. The Pangiran hailed and asked them who they were ; the 
answer was, ' : We are of one bala (force)." Our party hailed again 
and then fired. Two of the strangers fell dead, the others took to 
flight. On Sandom 2 following them up, he saw Saji with a large 
party fully armed for the purpose of making an onslaught on our 
rear. The Pangiran fortunately could recognize the Dayak tribes, 
and well knew their craft and different costumes. Our party escaped 
unhurt, and Saji, who had, I subsequently was told, vaunted that he 
would get forty of our heads, mine amongst the number, ran for his 
life, leaving two dead behind him. 

In February, 1857, the Tuan Muda received the startling 
news that the Chinese had risen and fallen upon Kuching. 
He was told that the Rajah had been killed, along with Mr. 
Crookshank and many other Europeans. Before ten minutes 
had passed, Sekrang fort was crowded with armed men 
breathing vengeance, and within an hour, boats had been 
launched and the Tuan Muda with Abang Aing had started. 
Below Lingga next morning they met the vessel bearing the 
English refugees — the Bishop, his family, and others, and 
from them the Tuan Muda learnt the glad tidings of the 
Rajah's safety. Knowing that his force would be sufficient 
to crush the rebels and re-establish the Rajah's rule, he 
pushed on with his mind now more at ease. He arrived 
at Kuching to find the town in ruins, but the Rajah in 
charge again on board the Borneo Company's steamer Sir 
James Brooke. As a full account of the insurrection and of 
the subsequent events will be found in the following chapter, 
we will now return to the subject of this one to preserve 
a continuous record of the events that led to the down- 
fall of Rentap. 

1 Sauh Besi, a powerfully built Malay. 

2 Sandom was the guide. He was a plucky Sekrang Dayak, and thirsted for 
Rentap's blood in revenge for the murder of his brother, who had been put to a cruel 
death by Rentap. 


On the afternoon of the Tuan Muda's return from 
Kuching, after an arduous time driving the Chinese rebels 
over the border, he received information that the notorious 
Saji was out with a head-hunting party along the coast. 
Prompt action was necessary, and the Tuan Muda by sunset 
had started in his war-boat, leaving Abang Aing and the 
Malays to follow. Whilst waiting inside the mouth of the 
Ludam, a little stream half-way between the mouths of the 
Batang Lupar and Saribas, for his Malay and Dayak 
contingents, a boat dashed past towards the Saribas. This 
the Tuan Muda subsequently learnt was Saji, who off Lingga 
had fallen in with a small boat containing a man, his wife, 
and their daughter. Feigning friendliness Saji approached, 
and when near enough attacked the little party. The man 
escaped by taking to the water, his wife was cut down and 
her head taken, and the girl was captured. When passing 
the Ludam Saji had noticed the Tuan Muda's boat-flag over 
the bank, the tide being high, and he sat with his drawn 
sword across the girl's throat prepared to take her life 
immediately if she attempted to call out, or should any 
notice be taken of them. On being joined by the Malays and 
the Balau Dayaks the coast was patrolled, and the Saribas was 
searched for some way up, but the head-hunters had retired. 

Sadok, Rentap's stronghold, was regarded by the Dayaks 
as impregnable. Since the destruction of the stockaded 
village at Sungei Lang, he had strengthened his position there. 
In legend and song the Dayaks represented this place as a 
mountain so inaccessible, and so protected by magic, that no 
enemy would ever dare to assail it. Rentap had gathered 
about him all the disaffected Sekrang Dayaks and some of 
the Saribas of the interior, who offered him aid so long as 
he occupied this eyrie, which stood as an unapproachable 
nucleus and basis far removed from danger, and to which 
they might all retire in case of need from the rule of the 
white man, that thwarted their head-hunting and marauding 
propensities. Rentap was entitled the Inland Rajah, and 
was the centre of all opposition to the rule of the Rajah of 
Sarawak. His fortification was near 5 ooo feet above the 
sea, with precipitous approaches on almost every side. 


The Tuan Muda had obtained permission to undertake 
another expedition against this stronghold. His intention 
was to pass over the mountain, lay waste the country at the 
head of the Saribas, and, after so cutting off Rentap's supplies 
and reinforcements, to attempt the chief's position on his 

In the Saribas, which was still a hornet's nest, affairs 
were coming to a head. The Dayaks were about to retire 
into the interior with the Datu Patinggi of Saribas, who, 
together with the Laksamana, was encouraging the Dayaks 
to continue in their evil courses. But for the Malays, and 
even amongst them there were many inclined to a life of 
peace, though these were in a minority, the Dayaks of the 
lower Saribas would have submitted to the Government, and 
amongst the latter the Rajah could now count many adherents ; 
but the power of the evilly disposed Malay chiefs, headed by 
the Patinggi, and of the Dayak chiefs, headed by Rentap, 
was dominant in the Saribas. To check them the Rajah 
took a large force to that river, and went at the time that 
the Tuan Muda was starting on his expedition, so as to dis- 
guise the object of the latter's preparations, by leading the 
people to suppose that his intention was to support the 
Rajah ; and to be at hand to attack the Saribas Dayaks 
in rear should they muster in force to assist Rentap. 
The Tuan Besar at the same time went to the Rejang, 
to hold the Dayaks of that river in check. 

The Tuan Muda took no Europeans with him, fearing 
that the fatigue of the difficult overland march might knock 
them up, and cause them to become encumbrances ; his 
force consisted of 3500 Dayaks, and 500 Malays, all willing 
volunteers, though many conceived the task to be beyond 
their powers ; but where he went they were ready to follow, 
confident that under his direction they would be well led. 

The expedition started on June 2, 1857, a little over 
three months after the Chinese insurrection, and left Sekrang 
in drizzling rain ; throughout it encountered miserable 
weather, which damped the ardour of the force. The 
Malays especially cannot endure wet, a few days' exposure 
brings on fever and ague, and the cold, to which the 


Dayak.s would be exposed on the mountain, was likely to so 
numb them as to render them useless. 

Old Sandom was once more the guide. He had his 
personal wrong to avenge, as we have already stated. " Iron 
Anchor " and Pangiran Matali were again the leaders. 

On June 5, the boats were drawn up at Sungei 
Antu, on a little island of rubble and brushwood, upon 
which a stockade was erected, and where the flotilla was 
to be left. Forty men, well armed, were deputed to 
take charge of the boats and baggage in this extemporised 
fort, whilst the rest moved overland in the direction of 
the mountain. On the 7th of June, a height, the bold 
ridge on which the enemy had established himself, 
came in sight, with a succession of hills intervening like a 
chopping sea turned to rock. It was resolved to push on 
that day to Rapu, the northern termination of the mountain, 
and there to establish a stockade from which parties might 
descend and devastate the country of the hostile Saribas, on 
which Rentap had to depend for supplies. But it was not 
found possible to do in one day what was determined. The 
mountain was indeed reached, but ascended only by some of 
the advance party of Dayaks, who could not be restrained, 
and who scrambled up the side to the summit of the hogs- 
back, to be driven back with great loss, not of lives only, but 
of confidence and courage as well. The bulk of the force 
was constrained to bivouac in rain and cold on the mountain 

The last hundred yards were almost perpendicular, and when 
mounting I had to pull myself up with one hand by the stunted 
trees ; added to this, there was a declivity of thousands of feet on 
each side. In ascending this part not more than twenty men 
were with me. My best fort-man was wounded by a spear, and to 
assist him many of the others had left me. And now I must give 
credit to the Lingga people, for they were close at hand. I was 
within about five yards of the enemy, who were pitching spears from 
behind some wood on the brow of the hill, while we were under- 
neath, and the spears went flying over my head and struck some of 
our party in the rear. Here I stood propped up against a tree, and 
poured thirty rounds from my smooth bore as fast as I could load. 
After this I tried to ascend, but the Linggas literally collared me. 


The enemy were quieted, so here we sat on the side of this hill, at 
an angle of 8o°, the whole night. A few cross sticks were placed 
for me to sit on. One man held a shield at my back. 

When morning broke the Tuan Muda and his followers 
succeeded in reaching the summit of the mountain, and 
could look along the brow to the opposite end, where stood 
the stronghold of the redoubtable Rentap, to which the 
enemy had retired. Several of the attacking force had been 
killed or wounded on the previous day, and over a hundred 
had rolled down the steep sides, and in so doing lost arms 
and ammunition. 

The " Iron Anchor " maintained his position manfully, 
and well merited his name. 

On that day, June 8, the force proceeded to stockade 
the position gained at the Rapu end of the mountain, con- 
fronting that occupied by the fortress of Rentap, which was 
not above four hundred yards off. This latter was a formid- 
able stockade of iron-wood, impervious to rifle shots, with 
precipices to the right and left ; and the stockade was com- 
manded by the high -placed houses inside, from which 
volleys could be poured on an attacking army, that must 
advance in a narrow file along the backbone of rock leading 
to it. Indeed, to assail the fort from the northern extremity- 
seemed doomed to failure, the few men leading could 
be picked off and would roll down the declivities on 
this side or that, or encumber the path by which those 
behind were pressing on, and expose them also to be shot 
down, for the enemy possessed muskets, cannon, and also 
a swivel captured when Lee was killed. 

During the eight days they remained on the hill it rained 
incessantly, and the force suffered severely from cold, finding 
little shelter in their leaking huts, the earth floors of which 
were soon converted into pools of mire. On the 9th, think- 
ing that the force in advancing towards Rentap's fortification, 
had left its rear unguarded, a body of the enemy that had 
marched to Rentap's assistance made an attack on the 
camp, but they soon found out their mistake, and were easily 
beaten off. The next day a division of Dayaks and Malays 
proceeded against Rentap's allies, whom they drove back, 


and whose houses they plundered and burnt. On the 
following days other parties were sent out to do the enemy 
as much harm as possible, and to deter them from joining 
Rentap's party in the stockade, or harassing the main 
assailing force. In the meantime the Tuan Muda had 
attempted to get his men to storm the fortress at night, 
promising to lead the way himself ; but they would not face 
the risk, though later on they consented to attack the place 
in force. Three days were spent in constructing portable 
screens of laths and bamboos, under the cover of which 
parties could progress along the dangerous ridge and make 
an attempt to set fire to the stockade. At mid-day on the 
15th the attack commenced. 

I took up my position with a rifle, and watched for movements 
among the enemy, but the active work I left to Aing, who, drawn 
sword in hand, superintended with much activity. The sounds 
were deafening, and the fellows carried the wood and materials 
under the fire of Rentap's guns. At 4 p.m. my party had attained 
to within six or seven yards from the outer fort, and the scene was 
truly exciting. Our enemies evidently were not numerous. They 
threw stones from the inside which fell on the heads of our fellows, 
and used muskets, together with a swivel. At half-past five our 
leader, crouching under the moving stockade, called for fire, and the 
wood collected was in considerable quantities. At this juncture 
Aing fell, wounded by a musket shot. Then evening set in, and 
we were obliged to return to our quarters. The enemy yelled in 
triumph at our departure. 

The wood collected had been so saturated with rain that it 
refused to kindle. 

A^ I lay down to rest at night, I gave up all thought of gain- 
ing Rentap's fortress, but resolved to see what could be done else- 
where. When I rose the last morning, the enemy was yelling, and 
my first desire was to get about a hundred of the strongest young 
fellows together, command myself, and proceed to Atui, where 
there were three long houses of enemies, about six hours' walk dis- 
tant. This I promised to do in three days, when I would return 
here and march back with the whole force. I could obtain no 
volunteers : some said they were sick, others out of provisions, and 
I was obliged to bow to circumstances, and at eight o'clock our 
party began to descend the mountain. 

RENT'AP 177 

The retreat was conducted without serious molestation 
by the enemy, but, on reaching Antu, it was found that 
owing to the rain a freshet had come down, the river rising 
twelve feet, and had swept the stockade away and carried 
off over seventy of the boats. The discouragement was 
great, and the return down the river was not effected without 
some annoyance from the enemy, who hid in the jungle and 
fired on the party as, in overcrowded boats, it descended the 
Sekrang. None were thus killed, but some were drowned. 

Thus ended the first expedition against Sadok. It had 
done something, though no serious damage, but it exalted the 
confidence of Rentap in the impregnability of his stronghold. 
Practically it had been a failure, and so it was felt to be 
among Malays and Dayaks generally. The unrest in the 
country became more accentuated, and the daring of the 
Saribas increased. 

In April, 1858, the Tuan Muda says : 

I had for many months been tormented by the affairs in Saribas, 
which had been for generations the hotbed of head-hunters and 
piracy in every shape. The people were becoming more audacious, 
and I found it had been to no purpose holding communication with 
even the Malays, who, a few days ago, refused to receive a letter, 
and declared they intended shortly to ascend the river and live with 
the Dayaks, and eat pork as they did. It was evident that a crisis 
was approaching which would require resolute action, or our prestige 
would be injured in this quarter. This we could by no means 
afford to lose, as stoppage of all trade and communication on the 
coast would inevitably ensue. 

A fleet of forty Saribas pirates' vessels was known to be 
ready to descend the river for a foray on the coast under Saji 
and another notorious Dayak chief, Lintong ; x and was 
only detained till the boat of the former was ready at Paku, 
forty miles from the mouth. No time was to be lost to 

1 His nom de guerre, or ensumbar in Dayak, was Mua-ari, literally the Face of 
the Day. He was sometimes foe and sometimes friend, and will be mentioned again. 
The ensumbar is frequently, not always, given to or adopted by warriors who have in 
some way or another gained renown. Some writers have confused it with thej'uloi, 
or nickname, which refers to some bodily defect or peculiarity, and with names given 
to children at birth, such as Tedong, the cobra ; Bulan, the moon ; Matahari, the 
sun ; Besi, iron. Malays are sometimes given a nom de guerre, such as Sauh Besi, 
above mentioned, and Sherip Sahap was known as Bujang Brani, the Brave Bachelor, 
which is also a Dayak ensumbar; others are the White Hawk, the Hovering Hawk, 
the Torrent of Blood, etc. The totem is unknown amongst the Sea-Dayaks. 



prevent this force from reaching the sea, and the Tuan 
Muda sent to Kuching for aid. Meantime he manned 
his big boat with sixty men, and a 3-pounder was placed in 
her bows. Thus equipped, he sped to Lingga, where he 
fortunately found the small gunboat schooner, the Jolly 
Bachelor, commanded by John Channon. 1 He now started 
up the Saribas river with a picked crew, and with numerous 
native boats following. The flotilla advanced as far as the 
mouth of the Padi river, on which was the village of Saji. 
Here they anchored, and a 6-pounder gun was pointed up 
the Saribas in case the enemy's forty war-boats should come 
down. Thence a party was detailed inland to attack Saji 
and his pestilent horde. This was done. The enemy was 
driven back with loss, and their houses destroyed. A more 
dreaded enemy than the Saribas now assailed the expedition, 
and that was cholera. In consternation the force began to 
break up and return home. The Tuan Muda resolved on 
constructing a fort and establishing a government on the 
river, and for that purpose retired down to Betong, a site 
he had selected as most suitable for a station. 

Whilst engaged in collecting materials for the fort, the 
reinforcements from Kuching arrived under the charge 
of young Mr. J. B. Cruickshank, 2 but too late to be of any 
use. The cholera prevented any further action being taken ; 
but the time was usefully spent in completing the fort. 
Leaving Cruickshank in charge, the Tuan Muda returned to 
Sekrang, and while there heard that the Saribas were again 
in motion for a coast raid, their destination being unknown. 

This was led by the redoubtable Linggir again. The Tuan 
Muda at once sent orders for the Balau Dayaks to muster 
and intercept the force. The order was promptly carried 
out, and Linggir's bala was defeated with a loss of fourteen 

1 John Channon, a merchant seaman, served the Government for many years. 
Of him the Tuan Muda wrote in 1859 : "John had teen my companion for many 
dreary months in the hot cabin of his vessel. He had charge of the Jolly for years, 
and many a creek and dangerous cranny had she become acquainted with in our 
expeditions. His valuable services, as well as steady and brave conduct, both on 
board and in the jungles, cannot be too highly praised in the annals of Sarawak." 

2 James Brooke ( 'ruickshank, a godson of the Rajah. He joined in February, 1856, 
when about fifteen years of age ; and at this time was stationed in the Sadong. 
He served for many years in the Dayak countries; and ultimately became Resident 
of the 3rd Division. He retired in 1875, and died in 1894. 


men, Linggir himself having another very narrow escape. 
But other parties were out, and the Tuan Muda himself set 
forth for the Saribas to intercept some of these marauders. 
Here he was joined by Mr. Watson x on his way to take 
charge of the new fort — a welcome addition for the 
reinforcement of that establishment. 

The Tuan Muda warned the Malay villagers at the mouth 
of the Saribas, who were restless and desirous of encouraging 
the pirates, that they would be held responsible should any 
pirate boats be suffered to pass, and then returned to Sekrang 
to hasten preparations for an ascent of the Saribas river 
with a large body of men to chastise the turbulent natives 
who, led by Saji, had attacked Betong fort on July 14, 1858, 
and to press on and again try conclusions with Rentap. 

After some delay the Kuching force started, and reached 
the rendezvous at the mouth of the Saribas river, but the 
Tuan Muda had been delayed, waiting for his Dayaks, and it 
proceeded to Betong. The leading division was a force from 
Kuching under the Tuan Besar, who commanded this ex- 
pedition. It passed on several days before the Tuan Muda 
with the main force arrived at Betong fort, but was soon 
overtaken. The river was found to have been purposely 
obstructed. Large trees standing low on the banks had 
been felled so as to fall across, and, where narrow, block the 
stream. And this had been done for several miles. They 
were not formed into a boom, but left to lie where they fell. 
This is a favourite plan of the Dayaks for hindering the 
progress of an enemy up stream. Moreover, by cutting 
trees inclining to the river nearly through to the breaking 
point, and then sustaining them by means of rattans, they 
can in a moment sever these strings and let the trees fall 
on and crush the leading boats. Some thirty-five years ago, 
a Dutch gunboat whilst steaming up the Kapuas river was 
sunk in this manner, and her crew slaughtered. 

Notwithstanding the obstructions, the flotilla advanced, 
and the enemy retired up stream. During five days' hard 
rowing, it progressed till it reached Pengirit, just below the 
Langit river, and here the vanguard fell in with the enemy 

1 Mr. W. C. Watson joined October, 1857, and resigned in 1869. 


under Saji. Saji gallantly attacked, and met the fate 
he so richly deserved. " Saji's name and acts had been in 
my ears for years past," wrote the Tuan Muda. "Many a 
blood}- deed had been perpetrated, and he always had 
boasted that the White Men's powder and shot would take 
no effect on his body." So fell one of the most cruel and 
treacherous head-hunters of those days. 

At the mouth of the Langit river a stockade was 
erected. Here on a clear night the moon was eclipsed. 
The Tuan Muda had seen by his almanack that this would 
occur, and had announced to the host that it would take 
place. If this had not been done a panic would have 
ensued, and the natives would have insisted on leaving ; but 
as it was, they conceived that the phenomenon had been 
ordered by the white chief, to strike terror into the hearts of 
their foes, as also to encourage them ; they were accordingly 
in good heart to advance. 

They pushed on readily enough to Xanga Tiga, 1 the 
junction of three rivers, one flowing from Sadok, one from 
the watershed where rises the Kanowit river, and the third 
the main Saribas. Here the boats were to be left, and a 
stout stockade was erected. Thence preparations were 
made to advance up-country towards the Rejang. The 
Tuan Muda, with whom went Cruickshank, was in command 
and led the van. Messrs. Steele and Fox 2 were to take 
charge of the rear division. The whole party comprised 
200 Malays and 2000 Dayaks. 

From Nanga Tiga this party made for the head-waters 
of the Kajulau, to lay waste the territory of the troublesome 
natives there. It may seem, and it does seem at first sight, 
and to such as are not acquainted with native warfare, a 
barbarous process to burn villages and destroy the padi-fields 
with the crops on which the natives subsist. But, as already 
said, it is the only way in which these savages can be brought 
to submission. The women indeed suffer, but then they are 
the principal instigators of all the attacks on inoffensive 
tribes. They rather than the men were greedy after heads, 

1 Nanga = the mouth of a river in Sea-Dayalt ; tiga = three. 

2 Mr. C. Fox came to Sarawak from India in 1851, as master of the Mission 
School ; he shortly afterw .irds joined the Rajah. 


and scoff at their husbands or sweethearts as milksops if they 
remain at home, and do not go forth to massacre and plunder. 
In fact, the destruction of their homes strikes the women to 
the heart, and turns them into advocates of peace. Among 
the Dayaks the women are a predominant power. The 
Dayaks are as woman-ridden and as henpecked as are English- 
men. Moreover, the destruction of native buildings is a more 
merciful proceeding than the slaying of a number of men in 

After the return of this ravaging party, which had done a 
circuit of thirty miles, a day was given to rest, and then 
the main body prepared to march to Sadok ; and this time 
the expedition was furnished with a mortar that was ex- 
pected to bring down Rentap's fortification. It was a six- 
pounder and only a few inches long, and was carried by 
Dayaks slung in a network of rattans. 

Without opposition the host approached the fort of 

We met with no obstacles in mounting to the summit, which we 
reached at a little past ten in the morning. Rentap's party were within 
his wooden walls, and not a living being could be seen. Our force set 
to collect wood, and within an hour a small stockade was erected, in 
which our mortar was arranged ; it was mounted within easy firing 
distance of the enemy's fortress, and, under the superintendence of 
Mr. John Channon, the firing commenced. The shells were thrown 
with great precision, often lodging under the roof of the enemy's fort ; 
at other times bursting over it, and more than once, we heard them 
burst in the middle inside. Not a word was spoken by them, and 
some were under the impression that the place was deserted, when 
the tapping of the old gong would recommence as blithe as ever. 
Fifty rounds of shell were fired, besides hollow ones with full charges 
of powder, all of which appeared to take no more effect than if we 
were pitching pebbles at them. None of our party yet dared venture 
too near, but some of the most energetic pushed on to another 
stockade, within a few fathoms of the fort, when the enemy commenced 
firing, but the shot did not penetrate the wood. Our young Dayaks 
advanced, and two were immediately knocked over and others 
wounded. Other parties also advanced, and an active scene ensued ; 
some reached the planking of the fortress, sheltering their heads with 
their shields, showers of stones were thrown from the inside, and 
spears were jabbed from a platform above. There was such a 
commotion for a few minutes, that I made certain our party were 


effecting an entrance, and, for the purpose of supporting them, I 
rushed out of our stockade, followed by a few, but had not passed 
on over more than four or five feet, before the enemy fired grape, 
wounding a fine young Dayak behind me, whom I had just time 
enough to save from falling down the precipice by seizing him by the 
hair, and passing him on to others behind the stockade. My brother 
and I advanced a few steps, but found our following was too inadequate 
for storming, and many were already retreating. Volleys of stones 
were flying round our heads, and as we retired again behind the 
stockade another charge of grape poured into the wood now at our 
backs. The chiefs had congregated to beg us to desist from making 
any further advance, and I must admit that we only risked our lives 
needlessly. The natives wisely observed, " We cannot pull these 
planks down with our hands, we cannot climb over them, and our 
arms make no impression on the enemy." 

It was therefore resolved to abandon the attack. The 
retreat was begun at once, Rentap's followers shouting after 
the party the mocking words, ' Bring all your fireguns from 
England, we are not afraid of you, ' and discharging shot 
and spears and poisoned arrows. The enemy, yelling in 
triumph, threatened the assailants as they retired down the 
hill, but kept at a decent distance or hid behind cover for 
fear of the firearms. 

Thus ended the second attempt on Sadok, again a failure. 
The mortar had not answered its purpose, nothing but a 
cannon could effect a breach in the solid palisading of the 
fortress. This venture was made in 1858, and no further 
attack on Sadok was attempted till 1861. There were other 
grave matters to engage the attention of the Rajah and his 
nephews, and although the upper Saribas were continuously 
troublesome, and had to be checked and reprisals made for 
their onslaughts on the peaceable Dayaks, for three years 
no attempt could be undertaken to dislodge Rentap. 

But in 1 86 1, it was resolved finally to assault and 
humble him. Meanwhile a good many of Rentap's followers 
had deserted him, and he, was no longer popular. His violence 
and wilfulness had alienated many, and more had come to 
see that under the Sarawak Government the Dayaks who 
submitted were contented and flourishing. He had more- 
over offended their prejudices. He had descended from his 


eyrie, carried off a girl, discarded his old wife, and elevated 
the young one to be Ranee of Sadok. This was a grave 
violation of Dayak custom, and was resented accordingly. 

On September 16, 1861, an expedition under the 
command of the Tuan Muda was ready to start up the 
Saribas river to dislodge Rentap. According to the received 
axiom, a third time is luck)', and on this occasion success 
was achieved. 

The new expedition was to be better furnished than had 
been those which preceded it, and was to take with it 
rockets, a 12-pounder gun, and a 6-pounder ; a working 
party of twenty Chinamen to make roads and throw up 
earthworks, a force of Sidi boys or negroes, daring fellows, 
ready to storm the stockade, and numerous Malays and 
Dayaks. On October 20, the expedition reached Nanga 
Tiga, the old position in 1858, and there once more the 
boats were left, a stockade erected, and the 6-pounder 
mounted in it. The land party then advanced over 
the same ground as before, the guides leading the way, 
followed by the Chinese and the Sidi boys ; the Europeans 
being placed in the centre. Rain came down in torrents, as 
on the former occasion, and a difficulty ensued in getting 
the Chinamen to keep the powder dry. 

On the 25 th, the foot of Sadok was reached, whereupon 
two chiefs, the brothers Loyoh and Nanang, came in and made 
their submission, but this was accepted only after the pay- 
ment of a fine of forty rusa jars worth ^400, which were to 
be retained for three years, and then returned to the tribe, 
or their chiefs, should they remain loyal ; and eventually 
they were restored. Rentap got wind of this, and sent out 
a party who set fire to Nanang's house, which was close to 
his on Sadok. 

The gun was slung on a long pole, and sixty men were 
detailed to convey it up the mountain, but this could be 
effected by the means of ropes alone. No opposition was 
offered by Rentap, although four hours were consumed in 
transporting the gun to the summit. At 4.30 A.M. of the 
28th, it was in position, but as a dense mist had rolled down 
enveloping the mountain top, nothing could be done with 



the gun till 7.30, when the mist had cleared away ; and then 
such a raging wind was blowing, that the rockets could not 
be used. The gun was discharged, but, after the seventeenth 
round, the carriage gave way ; however, it had effected the 
purpose for which it had been brought up, by tearing gaps 
in the stockade of Rentap's fortress, and now, under cover of 
a volley of musketry, the storming party rushed over the 
neck of rock, and dashed in at the gaps that had been made. 
They found the fortress deserted by all but the dead and 
dying. Rentap, perceiving that it was no longer tenable, 
had fled with his men down the opposite end of the mountain. 
In the fortress were found the arms captured when he fought 
with Brereton and Lee, in 1853, and a large quantity of 
ammunition, which had been supplied by Sherip Masahor ; 
also, amongst others, a brass cannon taken from a gun-boat 
belonging to the Sultan of Pontianak that had been captured 
by Rentap in 1837 off Mempawa, in sight of her consort, a 
Dutch gun-boat. In the afternoon of the same day, fuel 
was heaped about the stockade and long houses ; a gun was 
fired, and in ten minutes a column of fire mounted and was 
carried in blazing streamers before the wind. As the darkness 
settled down, the summit of Sadok was glowing and shooting 
up tongues of flame like a volcano, visible for miles around, 
and proclaiming unmistakably the end of Rentap's domina- 
tion as Rajah of the interior. 

Rentap will not be noticed again. Broken, and deserted 
by all, he retired to the Entabai branch of the Kanowit, 
where he died some years later. 


government station, bau (Gray's ridge). 



'E must take a retrospective 
glance before proceeding with 
the subject of this chapter, in 
order to note briefly some im- 
portant incidents, which have not 
been recorded in their proper 
sequence, so as not to interrupt 
a connected narrative of the 
events related in the preceding chapter. During the period 
covered by that chapter happened the grave disturbances 
caused by Sherip Masahor, aided by the disaffection of the 
Datu Patinggi Gapur, and backed by Bruni intrigue ; also 
the troubles at Muka, which ended in the cession to the raj 
of that and neighbouring towns, with the intermediate country 
up to point Kedurong. Both occurred previously to Rentap's 
overthrow, but subsequently to the Chinese insurrection, and 
both will be fully related in the two following chapters. 

In 1850, as we have already recorded, the Chinese 
colony in Upper Sarawak had been greatly augmented by 
the arrival of some thousands of Chinese refugees from 
Pemangkat in Dutch territory, who had come over into 



Sarawak to escape the tyranny of their stronger rivals the, 
Chinese of Montrado. 

These Chinese were mostly gold miners, and had 
established themselves at Bau, Bidi, Baku, and Tundong, under 
one Kongsi, or company, to exploit the mines in the vicinity 
of these villages. Bau, their principal village, was the 
headquarters of the Kongsi. Others had settled at Siniawan, 
and Segobang, but these were agriculturists, and harmless 
people, though they were reluctantly dragged into rebellion 
by the machinations of the Secret Society formed by the 
turbulent mining communities, and became involved in the 
ruin that followed its attempt to overthrow the Government. 

In Kuching there was also a fairly large number of 
Chinese, consisting mainly of merchants and traders, mostly 
well-to-do people, whose interests, as well as racial antagonism, 
placed them, then as now, in opposition to the principles of 
such secret societies, which aimed at the subversion of all 
constituted authority, and the substitution of terrorism. 

For years past a secret society had been forming in 
Upper Sarawak, with its headquarters at Bau. It was not 
the product of any discontent with the Rajah's Government, 
to which its members had fled for protection from the tyranny 
to which they had been subjected over the border, but was 
formed by a few ambitious and unscrupulous men and their 
adherents to gain power, and these were principally the 
scattered remains of societies which had been driven out of 
Dutch territory. 

The name of the Society was the Sam-Tiau-Kiau Hueh, 1 
and it was amalgamated with the great Thien-Ti " Hueh, or 
Triad Society of China, which was firmly established in 
Singapore, and had its ramifications throughout the East. 
The Thien-Ti Hueh had its rise in the 17th century, and 
had a political origin. The object was the restoration of the 
Ming dynast\', which in the person of Tsung-Cheng was cut 
off by the Manchus in or about 1628. The Society is called 
" Triad," it being also known by the name of Sam-hap or 
" three united " — a Triad of Heaven, Earth, and Man ; and 

1 Hueh, or Hui, is the Chinese word f<>: 
- Tien, heaven — ti, earth. 


these forces, where brought into perfect unity, produce 
peace and harmony. But it has entirely lost its political 
character, and has become socialistic and anarchical. 1 
Although the maxim or motto of the Society is " Obey 
Heaven and work Righteousness," these objects are the very 
last sought by the members. Both in China and in the 
Dutch Colonies the League is forbidden by severe laws, and 
in Sarawak since 1870 the punishment for being the leader 
of any secret society is death. In China itself, to be found 
in possession of any books, seals or insignia of the Triad 
Society would render a person liable to decapitation, or 
subject him to a persecution to which even death would be 
preferable. The sure sign of the beginning of activity of a 
Society for some object it has set before it is a series of 
murders of those Chinese who have refused to join it, who 
have incurred its displeasure, or who are mistrusted. His 
blood is drunk, and an ear sent to the head of the Society, 
in token that he has been put to death. In Singapore it is 
now less noxious. There, every Society has to be registered 
and reported ; and no secret society is allowed to meet that 
has not conformed to regulations, that deprive it of half its 
secrecy. 2 

There is not a shrewder or more industrious man under 
the sun than the yellow Chinaman. " II engraisse le sol ou 
il est plante," as Napoleon said of the Englishman. He is 
an admirable market-gardener, and will get more out of half 
an acre of land than any man else. He is a diligent planter, 
miner, and artisan, possesses great ability as a merchant, and 
is indispensable for the proper development of tropical 
countries. But in a good many exists an invincible love of 
belonging to a secret society, and such a society, although 
nominally a benefit-club, is really a hotbed of anarchy. 

As it gathered strength the Sam-Tiau-Kiau Hueh became 
contumacious and insolent. As early as the close of 1850 
it had brought itself conspicuously to the attention of the 

1 It is still part of the oath of the initiated, " I will use my utmost endeavour to 
drive out the Chheng and establish the Beng dynasty." — " Pickering, Chinese Secret 
Societies," in the Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1878. 

- Pickering, who knew a good deal about the Society and wrote thereon, had his 
life attempted, and, though not killed, was badly crippled. 


Rajah, and the principal men were warned to desist in time. 
This warning was unheeded, and a little later it was discovered 
that members were being enrolled by persuasion and threats, 
and that an agent of the Triad Society had come over from 
Singapore to further its objects. This man, Kah Yun, was 
arrested and sentenced to death, and others were fined and 
flogged. In 1852, the Chinese in Upper Sarawak, who had 
more than once before been turbulent and rebellious, openly 
resisted a Government officer, and prevented him from arrest- 
ing a criminal, a member of the Hueh. The Tuan Muda 
was sent to the spot with a force, but, though well armed, 
the Chinese did not then feel themselves strong enough to 
resist, and offered the most humble obeisance, delivering up 
the culprit. They were then ordered to build a fort at 
Belidah, below Siniawan, to equip it with arms and ammuni- 
tion, and to pay the wages of the fortmen. The fort, which 
was to be a check on the Chinese, was built, and placed in 
charge of Sherip Matusain, with a small garrison of Malays. 
The Chinese had been steadily collecting arms and ammuni- 
tion for some time past, and they were now ordered to deliver 
up a hundred muskets, but the demand was afterwards 
relinquished. This was a mistake, as they had no need of 
firearms for their protection, living as they did amongst the 
peaceable Land Dayaks, and the Tuan Muda was rightly of 
opinion that they had not been sufficiently humbled, nor 
their power sufficiently weakened. To the Hueh, however, 
the lesson was useful — it showed them the strength of the 
Government, and taught them that submission would be wise 
until they were better prepared. 

In Sarawak in 1857 there were about 4000 of these 
yellow men, located mainly in the mining district. There 
were numerous settlements over the frontier in the territories 
of the Sultan of Sambas, where also the people were engaged 
on the gold mines, and the Hueh could rely upon their active 

A good deal of smuggling of opium had been in progress, 
and evidence was obtained that convicted the Kongsi of gold- 
miners at Hau of having been engaged in this illicit trade ; 
whereupon it was fined ^150, a small sum considering the 


amount that the revenue had been defrauded by their means. 
This fine was imposed a month only before the outbreak 
occurred ; it was paid, and the Hueh feigned submission. 

The Sultan of Sambas had long been jealous of the 
growing prosperity of Sarawak, and of the contrast afforded 
to his own misrule by the liberal and good government there. 
Moreover, numerous Land-Dayaks from Sambas had moved 
into the Rajah's territories for the sake of the protection 
there afforded, which they could not obtain under the Sultan. 
He was accordingly willing to encourage any attempt made 
to overthrow the government of the Rajah. 

In October, 1856, trouble with China began, and 
Commissioner Yeh, defying Sir John Bowring and Admiral 
Seymour, publicly offered a reward of thirty dollars for 
every English head. Rumour of this, greatly magnified into 
a general slaughter and expulsion of the English, had reached 
the Chinese in Singapore, where an outbreak took place in 
1857, an d * n Sarawak, where signs of unrest among the 
Chinese became apparent. The Commission of Inquiry 
into the conduct of the Rajah greatly tended to encourage 
the Chinese to revolt. They believed that the British 
Government strongly disapproved of the rule of the Rajah, 
and would not lift a finger to maintain it. There was but a 
handful of white men in Sarawak, and the Land-Dayaks 
were well known to be a timorous people, indisposed to 
war. It was also thought that there was a body there 
of disaffected Malays, under the influence of the Rajah's old 
adversary, the Pangiran Makota, who was now supreme in 
Bruni, governing the mind of the imbecile Sultan, and watch- 
ing for every opportunity of upsetting the rule of the English 
Rajah in the south. 

The headmen of the Kongsi accordingly resolved upon 
striking a sudden blow, mastering Kuching, and sweeping 
the Rajah and all his officials out of the place. But, so as 
not to give occasion to the British Government to interfere, 
they determined to massacre them only, and to spare the 
lives of the few English merchants and missionaries resident 
at Kuching, and not members of the Rajah's staff. 

At the close of 1856, the Rajah was at Singapore, 


whither he had gone to recruit, as he was much out of 
health. His nephew, the Tuan Muda, was at Sekrang, 
engaged on the construction of a new fort, when he received 
a letter from the principal official in Kuching, requesting 
him to be present at the Chinese New Year, and informing 
him that he had received disquieting intelligence about 
the Chinese gold-miners, who, under the plea of erecting a 
new joss or idol, or Tai-pi-kong, 1 meditated an attack on 
Kuching, and an attempt to overthrow the Government and 
establish their own independent rule. The Tuan Muda at 
once sought Abang Aing, the principal Sekrang chief, a 
man to be thoroughly trusted, but he was laid up with 
small-pox, and unable to help. 

" He spoke very kindly and to the purpose, telling me 
plainly that he did not like the sound of the reports, and 
begged me to be careful. He regretted that he could not 
go himself, but would send a younger brother, and urge the 
Orang Kaya to accompany me, and he promised to arrange 
so as to follow me if anything serious really occurred. No 
Christian could have offered advice in a kinder tone or better 

Accordingly the Tuan Muda hastened to Kuching, but 
found that all was quiet there, and it was supposed that 
the reports were unnecessarily alarming. Thus satisfied, he 
departed, and returned to Sekrang. Mr. Arthur Crookshank, 
then in charge at Kuching during the absence of the Rajah 
and the Tuan Besar, who was in England, however, took 
the precaution to man the small stockades, which con- 
stituted the only defences of the town, with a sufficient 

On February 14, 1857, four days before the insurrec- 
tion broke out, a Chinaman, who had formerly been expelled 
from Sarawak territory for joining a secret society, appeared 
in Bruni, and was detected attempting to induce the 
Chinese servants of Mr. Spenser St. John, then Consul- 
General there, to enter the Thien-ti Secret Society ; and 
encouraging them to do so with the assurance that a general 
massacre of the white men in Sarawak was in contemplation, 

1 Tai-pi-kong was the name of the joss. 


and that the Chinese would establish their own supremacy 
there. It is therefore by no means improbable that he was 
an agent of the Kongsi sent to Brum', to communicate the 
plan of insurrection to Makota. Moreover, it was ascertained 
that overtures had been made to certain disaffected Malays 
in Sarawak to shut their eyes, if they did not feel inclined 
for actual co-operation in the attempt. 

On the Rajah's return to Kuching from Singapore, Mr. 
Crookshank told him of the disquieting rumours, and of what 
he had done for the protection of the capital. And, although 
Mr. Middleton, the Inspector of Police, confirmed his 
opinion that precautions should be taken, the Rajah could 
not be induced to believe that there was danger, and un- 
wisely dismissed the garrison from the forts, and no efficient 
watch was kept. 

On February 1 8, the chief of the Kongsi assembled 
about six hundred of the ablest-bodied Chinamen belonging 
to the Society at Bau, armed them and marched to Tundong 
on the Sarawak river, where a squadron of large boats had 
been prepared to carry them to Kuching. 

" During their slow passage down the river," says Mr. St. John, 
"a Malay who was accustomed to trade with the Chinese overtook 
them in a canoe and actually induced them to permit him to pass, 
under the plea that his wife and children lived in a place called 
Batu Kawa, eight miles above the town, and would be frightened 
if they heard so many men passing, and he not there to reassure 
them. Instead of going home, he pulled down as fast as he could 
till he reached the town of Kuching, and going straight to his 
relative, a Malay trader of the name of Gapur, who was a trustworthy 
and brave man, told him what he had seen ; but Gapur said, 
' Don't go and tell the chief or the Rajah such a tissue of absurdities,' 
yet he went himself over to the Bandar and informed him, but the 
Datu's answer was, ' The Rajah is unwell, we have heard similar 
reports for the last twenty years — don't go and bother him about 
it. I will tell him in the morning what your relative says.' This 
great security was caused by the universal belief that the Chinese 
could not commit so great a folly as to attempt to seize the govern- 
ment of the country, considering that they did not number above 
4000, while at that time the Malays and Dayaks within the Sarawak 
territories amounted to 200,000 at least. It is strange, however, 
and was an unpardonable neglect of the Bandar, not to have sent 


a fast boat up the river to ascertain what was really going on. 
Had he done so, the town and numerous lives would have been 

Shortly after midnight the squadron arrived unnoticed, 
and dividing into two parties proceeded to surprise the 
Government buildings and the stockades. The details of 
the attack on the Rajah's house and of his escape are given 
in an account by his steward, Charles Penty. Mr. Penty 
says : — 

I was sleeping in a room near the Rajah, who had not been 
well for some days. The attack took place about midnight, with 
fearful yelling and firing. I hurried out of bed, and met the Rajah 
in the passage in the dark, who at the moment took me for one of 
the rebels, grappled me by the throat, and was about to shoot me, 
when he fortunately discovered it was me. We then opened the 
Venetian window of my room and saw poor Mr. Xicholetts 
murdered before our eyes. The Rajah said, "Ah, Penty, it will 
be our turn next." 

Then we went to another part of the house, where the crowd 
of rebels was even thicker. The Rajah seemed determined to fight. 
While he was loading a double -barrel gun for my use, our light 
went out and he had to do without. The Rajah then led the way 
to his bathroom, under his bedroom, and rushed out of the door. 
The rebels, having gathered round poor Mr. Xicholetts' body, left 
the way pretty clear, and the Rajah, with his sword and revolver in 
hand, made his way to a small creek and swam under the bow of a 
boat that had brought the rebels. 1 Being unable to swim, I ran 
up the plantation and rushed into the jungle. The Rajah's 
beautiful house was blazing from end to end, and the light reflected 
for a great distance. Mr. Crookshank's and Mr. Middleton's 
houses were also burning. At daybreak I heard Malay voices : 
they, like myself, were running away from the town, which was in 
the hands of the rebels. They kindly clothed me and took me to 
the Rajah. 

After diving under the Chinese boat, the Rajah had 
swum across the creek, where he lay exhausted on the mud 
bank for a while, until sufficiently recovered to be able to 
reach the house of a Malay official, where shortly after he was 
joined by Mr. Crookshank and Mr. Middleton. The Mr. 
Xicholetts who was murdered before the eyes of the Rajah 

1 The Chinese, holding the Rajah to be invulnerable, and being greatly in fear 
of him, purposely left the exit by the door of the bathroom unguarded. 


was a promising young officer, who had just arrived from 
Lundu on a visit, and was lodged in a cottage near the 
Rajah's house. 1 Startled from his sleep by the yells of the 
Chinese, he rushed from his door, when the rebels fell on 
him, hacked off his head, and, putting it on a pike, paraded 
the town with it, shouting that they had killed the Rajah 

Imminent as their own danger was, the Malays did not 
forget the Rajah, and a gallant little band led by Haji Bua 
Hasan, then the Datu Imaum, hastened to his aid, though 
they were too late ; and they had to fight their way back. 

"The other attacks," says Mr. St. John, "took place simultaneously. 
Mr. and Mrs. Crookshank, rushing forth, on hearing this midnight 
alarm, were cut down — the latter left for dead, the former seriously 
wounded. The constable's house was attacked, but he and his wife 
escaped, while their two children and an English lodger were killed 
by the insurgents. Here occurred a scene which shows how 
barbarous were the Chinese. When the rebels burst into Mr. 
Middleton's house, he fled, and his wife following found herself in 
the bathroom, and by the shouts was convinced that her retreat was 
cut off. In the meantime the Chinese had seized her two children, 
and brought the eldest down into the bathroom to show the way his 
father had escaped. Mrs. Middleton's only refuge was a large water- 
jar; there she heard the poor little boy questioned, pleading for his 
life, and heard his shriek when the fatal sword was raised which 
severed his head from his body. The fiends kicked the little head 
with loud laughter from one to another. They then set fire to the 
house, and she distinctly heard the second child shrieking as they 
tossed him into the flames. Mrs. Middleton remained in the jar 
till the falling embers forced her to leave. She then got into a 
neighbouring pond, and thus escaped the eyes of the Chinese, who 
were frantically rushing about the burning house. Her escape was 
most extraordinary. 2 

" The stockades, however, were not surprised. The Chinese, 
waiting for the signal of attack on the houses, were at length perceived 
by the sentinel, and he immediately roused the treasurer, Mr. 
Crymble, who resided in the stockade, which contained the arsenal 
and the prison. He endeavoured to make some preparation for 
defence, although he had but four Malays with him. He had 

1 He had joined the Sarawak service the year before. He was a brother of 
Colonel Xicholetts, who was married to a sister of the present Rajah. 

- A Mr. Wellington was killed trying to defend Mrs. Middleton and her children. 
He was a clerk in the Borneo Company, and had only lately joined. 



scarcely time, however, to load a 6-pounder field-piece, and get his 
own rifle ready, before the Chinese with lcud shouts rushed to the 
assault. They were led by a man bearing in each hand a flaming 
torch. Mr. Crymble waited until they were within forty yards, he 
then fired and killed the man who, by the light he bore, made 
himself conspicuous, and, before the crowd recovered from the 
confusion in which they were thrown by the fall of their leader, 
discharged among them the 6-pounder loaded with grape, which 
made the assailants retire behind the neighbouring houses, or hide in 
the outer ditches. But, with four men, little could be done ; and some 
of the rebels having quietly crossed the inner ditch, commenced 
removing the planks which constituted the only defence. To add 
to the difficulty, they threw over into the inner court little iron 
tripods, with flaming torches attached, which rendered it as light as 
day, while they remained shrouded in darkness. 

" To increase the number of the defenders, Mr. Crymble released 
two Malay prisoners, one a madman who had killed his wife, the 
other a debtor. This latter quickly disappeared, while the former, 
regardless of the shot flying around, stood to the post assigned him, 
opposite a plank which the Chinese were trying to remove. He had 
orders to fire his carbine at the first person who appeared, and, the 
plank giving way, a man attempted to force his body through, he 
pulled the trigger without lowering the muzzle of his carbine, and 
sent the ball through his own brains. Mr. Crymble now found it 
useless to prolong the struggle, as one of his few men was killed, 
and another, a brave Malay corporal, was shot down at his side. 
The wounded man begged Mr. Crymble to fly and leave him there, 
but asked to shake hands with him first, and tell him whether he 
had not done his duty. The brave Irishman seized him by the arm 
and attempted to drag him up the stairs leading to the dwelling over 
the gate, but the Chinese had already gained the courtyard, and 
pursuing them, drove their spears through the wounded man, and 
Mr. Crymble was forced to let go his hold, and with a brave follower. 
Daud, swung himself down into the ditch below. Some of the 
rebels, seeing their attempt to escape, tried to stop Mr. Crymble, and 
a man stabbed at him, but only glanced his thick frieze coat, and 
received in return a cut across the face from the Irishman's cutlass, 
which was a remembrance to carry to the grave. 

"The other stockade, though it had been but a corporal's watch 
of three Malays, did not surrender, but finding that every other place 
was in the hands of the Chinese, the brave defenders opened their 
gates and, charging the crowd of rebels, sword in hand, made their 
escape, though they were all severely wounded in the attempt. 

" The confusion which reigned throughout the rest of the town 
may be imagined, as, startled by the shouts and yells of the 


Chinese, the inhabitants rushed to the doors and windows, and 
beheld night turned into day by the bright flames which rose in 
three directions, where the Rajah's, Mr. Crookshank's, and Mr. 
Middleton's houses were all burning at the same time." 

Those English whose dwellings had not been attacked 
gathered in the Mission-house, to the number of six men 
with eight or more children. All the men had guns, and it 
was resolved that they should endeavour to keep the Chinese 
back till the ladies had made their escape into the jungle. 
The Bishop, armed like the rest, gave his blessing to the 
whole party that united in brief prayer ; but with the first 
streaks of daylight a party of seven Chinese came to the 
Mission-house, saying that their quarrel was with the Govern- 
ment only, and not with the English generally. They 
requested the Bishop to go with them to the hospital to 
attend to some thirteen or fourteen 1 of their men who had 
been wounded in the attack upon the fort. 

The Rajah as soon as possible proceeded to the Datu Bandar's 
house, and being quickly joined by his English officers, endeavoured 
to organise a force to surprise the victorious Chinese, but it was 
impossible. No sooner did he collect a few men than their wives 
and children surrounded them and refused to be left, — and being 
without proper arms or ammunition, it was but a panic-stricken mob ; 
so he instantly took his determination with that decision which had 
been the foundation of his success, and giving up the idea of an 
immediate attack, advised the removal of the women and children 
to the left-hand bank of the river, where they would be safe from a 
land attack of the Chinese, who could make their way along the 
right-hand bank by a road at the back of the town. 2 

By the morning the women and children had been 
moved across, and the Rajah and his officers, having been 
joined by Abang Buyong 3 and some armed Malays, proceeded 
to the Samarahan, intending to go on to the Batang Lupar, 
and fall back on the well-equipped forts there to organise a 
force to drive out the rebels. 

The next morning the Chinese chiefs summoned the 
Bishop ; Mr. L. V. Helms, Manager of the Borneo Company 

1 St. John says thirty-seven, five of whom died before the Bishop's arrival. 

2 Spenser St. John, Life of Sir James Brooke, to whom we are mainly indebted for 
the following particulars we give of the insurrection. 

3 A Saribas Malay Chief, and a staunch supporter of the Government. 



Limited ; Mr. Rupell, a merchant, and the Datu Bandar, to 
appear before them in the Court-house. Seated on the 
Rajah's chair, the head Chief, supported by his secretaries, 
issued his orders that Mr. Helms and Mr. Rupell were to 
rule the foreign portion of the town, and the Datu Bandar 
the Malays, under the Kongsi as supreme rulers. The 
Bsihop now warned the Chinese that they were playing a 
desperate game, that the Tuan Muda would be coming down 


upon them, with his host of Sekrang and Balau warriors, to 
avenge the death of his uncle and his friends — for most of 
them supposed the Rajah dead. Discouragement fell upon 
the Chinese, for they remembered that the Tuan Muda was 
the daring and popular leader of the Sea-Davaks, and could 
bring many thousands of these wild warriors against them. 
They therefore decided to send him a letter to the effect 
that they would not interfere with him so long as he did not 
interfere with them, and confined himself to the districts 
under his government. 

The leaders also knowing that the Rajah was not killed. 


had offered a large reward for his capture, dead or alive, for 
what he was preparing they knew not. They were now 
doubly anxious to leave Kuching with their plunder, they 
therefore called upon the Europeans and the Malay chiefs 
present to swear fidelity to the Kongsi, and this they were 
forced to do under fear of instant death. 

The next day at noon the Chinese retired up-river with 
their boats heavily laden with cannon, rifles, plate, money, and 
all the valuables upon which they could lay their hands. The 
Malay chiefs at once held a meeting at the Datu Bandar's 
house, when sturdy Abang Pata, the Datu Temanggong's son, 
avowed his determination to remain faithful to the Rajah 
and at once to wreck vengeance on his enemies. Though 
all were as faithful, wiser counsels prevailed, the Malays 
being so scattered, conveying their women and children to 
places of safety, that no organised attack could yet be made ; 
but Pata impetuously dashed off with a dozen men in a small 
canoe, and following the Chinese, captured one of their boats, 
killing five of the crew. This, and the news reaching them 
that the Malays were preparing to resist, brought the Chinese 
back, recruited by several hundreds from Upper Sarawak, 
and the agriculturists of Segobang, whom they had forced to 
join them, and when the Rajah returned at the earnest 
request of the chiefs to lead them against the Chinese, 
a request he complied with, though he knew it was useless, 
he found the rest of the English flying, the town in the 
hands of the Chinese, and the Malay houses burning. 

As soon as the Chinese boats were seen rounding the 
point, above the town, the Malays gallantly dashed at them, 
and succeeded in capturing ten of their largest barges. They 
were, however, pressed back by the more numerous and better 
armed Chinese, and, though they lost heavily, they doggedly 
retreated retaining their prizes, which were laden with valuable 
plunder, and, what was of more use to them, a quantity of 
arms and ammunition, and secured them to a large trading 
vessel anchored in the centre of the river. Here they main- 
tained a determined resistance, which they were now better 
able to do, and effectually defied the Chinese to dislodge them. 
They were commanded by the Datu Bandar Muhammad 


Lana, a grave and gentle Malay, who now showed the courage 
of his father, the late Datu Patinggi Ali. The Chinese still 
held the town in force. 

The Rajah was again forced to retire, to carry out his 
original intention of rallying his people up the coast, but his 
first care was to see to the safety of the ladies, the English 
non-combatants, and the wounded, and to send them off to 
safety at Lingga fort under the care of the Bishop in a 
schooner. Despondently he prepared next day to follow 
with a small flotilla of Malay boats, but at the mouth of the 
river, to his intense relief, the Borneo Company's steamer, the 
Sir James Brooke, arriving from Singapore, met them. The 
vanguard of the Tuan Muda's force, which was quickly 
coming to his relief, was also arriving, and now the tide had 
changed, and the day of reckoning had come. 

The sight of the steamer and the Dayak bangkongs 
eagerly following was quite sufficient for the Chinese. They 
fired one wild volley, and fled panic-stricken, with the ships' 
guns playing on them, and pursued by the Dayaks and 

The Datu Bandar's gallant band on board the trader and 
in war-boats around her had stood their ground in spite of 
heavy guns having been brought to bear upon them, and they 
now assumed the offensive. The Chinese, that morning, had 
crossed the river to destroy the Malay town on the other 
side ; their boats were now seized, and the Dayaks pursued 
them into the jungle. Of that large party, not one can have 
escaped. Those who were not killed wandered into the 
jungle and died of starvation, or hanged themselves. Their 
bodies were eagerly sought for, as on many were found from 
five to twenty pounds sterling, besides silver spoons, forks, 
or other valuables, the plunder of the English houses. 

The main body of the Chinese retired by road to Sego- 
bang, and from thence up-river in their boats. 

We have already recorded how the news had been brought 
to the Tuan Muda at Sekrang, and how he hurried with his 
Dayaks to the Rajah's rescue, to find him safe and in good 
health, though crippled by the injuries he had received, on 
board the Sir James Brooke, which he had made his head- 


quarters. Kuching was wrecked — "a mass of ashes, and 
confusion and ruin lay around. Half-habitable debris of 
houses only were left. The trees for many hundred yards 
around the fires were nearly all burnt black and leafless, and 
those remaining alive were drooping," so the Tuan Muda 
wrote, and we will now follow his account of the retribution 
which the rebels so deservedly met. 

To check the pursuing boats of the Dayaks and Malays, 
the Chinese had thrown up a strong stockade at Lidah Tanah 
(lit. the tongue of land), a point of land at the junction of the 
right and left hand branches of the river. Here they placed 
a picked garrison under trusted leaders, and the stockade was 
well armed with guns and rifles that had been taken from 

A small force of Malays, and several hundreds of Sekrang 
and Saribas Dayaks were organised to attack it, and the mild 
Datu Bandar, in his new role of a redoubtable warrior, led 
them with such dash that the position was soon carried. 
Amongst the trophies that were brought back by the Dayaks 
the Chinese merchants recognised the heads of some of the 
principal leaders of the rebels, and showed marked satisfaction 
that such was the case. 

The Rajah and the Tuan Muda then pushed on to 
Belidah, about eight miles above Lidah Tanah. Here the 
fort was found to have been destroyed, the rebels having left 
little behind them in their retreat but desolation and misery. 
The Malays and Dayaks were then despatched under Abang 
Buyong to attack the Chinese, but these latter were in full 
retreat from Bau, and their other villages, towards the border ; 
once across they would be safe : 

but the dogs of war were at their heels, harassing and cutting them 
off at every opportunity. Their plan of retreat was very skilfully 
arranged, and a fanatical idea of the infallibility of their Joss (idol), 
which they carried with them, kept them in order. We were helpless 
to a certain extent, in being unable to gather together an organised 
force, or we should have routed them without doubt, and fearful loss 
of life would have been the consequence. In looking back on these 
events, it was perhaps fortunate that we were not able to act more 
unitedly against them, but if it had been within our power at that 
time, the Joss undoubtedly would have been overturned, and the 


people exterminated. The most merciful of men could not deny 
that they had richly merited such a punishment. They protected 
this image with the utmost caution, keeping their women and children 
around it, while their bravest men acted as a guard on the outside. 
They had advanced a considerable distance before the Dayaks 
approached. The Dayak leaders on closing were at once shot 
down. This made the others more cautious. But the Chinamen 
had our best rifles and arms, with all the necessary accoutrements 
belonging to them. The Dayaks then changed their tactics, and did 
not dare appear in the open road again, but entered the jungle on 
each side of the enemy, and thus harassed them continually, cutting 
off every straggler without mercy. The Chinamen were powerless to 
follow these wild cat-like fellows into the close jungles, and were 
obliged to submit to their fate as best they might. The road over 
which the rebels were retreating was one continued track of clothes, 
valuables, silver plate, and dead bodies. To enable their retreating 
force to gain a few minutes whilst passing precipitous places, they 
strewed the road with rice, and threw here and there a valuable article 
to retard and keep off their pursuers. This continued for several 
successive days, during which the Chinese must have suffered 
intensely. They were not even able to cook or sleep by night or 
day. They now arrived at a point which must have ended their 
career, if it had been properly held. This was Gombang Hill, 
which forms the frontier between Sambas and Sarawak : here was a 
long Dayak house, past which the Chinese could not go unless the 
inhabitants were favourably disposed to them ; l — 

but these suffered themselves to be bribed into permitting 
the rebels to pass unmolested. Thus the survivors of the 
Chinese escaped into Sambas territory. 

But no sooner were they there than those of the Chinese 
who did not belong to the Secret Society, filled with resent- 
ment against the members of that league for having involved 
them in such disaster, fell upon them, and killed many of 
them, reducing the hundred of the original band of 600, who 
had survived the muskets and spears of the Dayaks, to 
between thirty and forty. To add to their discomfiture, the 
Dutch officers came upon them and despoiled them of all the 
arms and plunder they had succeeded in bringing with them, 
and placed them under strict surveillance. The Dutch 
Government sent back to Kuching everything which was 
considered to be public or private property." 

1 Ten Years in Sarawak. - Sir Spenser St. John, Op. cil. 


How many of the rebels were killed it has not been possible 
to estimate, but it could not have been far short of 1000. 
Sir Spenser estimates that 2000, of which half were women 
and children, escaped over the borders, but this is probably 
an under-estimate. 

" It was the madness," wrote the Rajah, " the stark 
staring folly of the attempt that caused it to succeed. With 
mankind in general we may trust to their not doing anything 
utterly opposed to reason ; but this rule does not hold good 
with the Chinese," who in their blindness of consequences 
become daring and audacious, and, when possessed of power, 
contemptuous of their adversaries, but who lose spirit on the 
first reverse. 

April 15, witnessed the closing scene of the drama. 
A prahu gaily decorated with flags and the yellow umbrella, 
the symbol of authority, went up and down the river. A 
gong was beaten, and then a man, standing among the flags 
and umbrella, proclaimed peace, and announced that all 
danger was at an end, and that every one might now put 
away his arms. 

On March 28, when peace had been restored, H.M.S. 
Spartan arrived, under Captain Sir William Hoste, from 
Singapore, with instructions to protect British lives and 
property, but with no orders to fire a gun, or to lend a 
marine or blue-jacket for the protection of the Sarawak 
Government. There was no knowing what the humanitarians 
at home might say, should a finger be held out to assist the 
Rajah. Those who lifted up their voices to justify the 
pirates might now espouse the cause of the Chinese, and 
again be loud in condemnation of the Rajah for having 
summarily suppressed the insurrection. There will always 
be found a man, as says Cordatus in Ben Jonson's Every 
Man out of his Humour, " who will prefer all countries 
before his native," and thinks every man right except an 

The Dutch Resident at Pontianak behaved very 
differently from the English authorities. He at once sent 
a gunboat and troops to Sarawak with offers of assistance, 
which, however, were not then required. 


The rebellion was " the direct outcome of the loss of 
prestige and strength which followed the appointment of the 
Commission sent to try the Rajah for high crimes and 
misdemeanours, the favourable findings of which had never 
been brought home to the native mind by any act of 
reparation made by the British Government." ' The 
Chinese knew that the Rajah had been left to his fate by 
his country, and, as The Times commented, — 

had they (the Chinese) had the opportunity of reading recent 
debates in the British Parliament, their more subtle spirits might 
have received further encouragement from the belief that we were 
not only an ultra-peaceful, but an ultra-punctilious people, and that 
the cutting of Rajah Brooke's throat and the burning of the town 
might be considered matters beyond our cognizance, until the precise 
colonial status of Sarawak was determined, and whether a Kunsi 
Chinese (sic, Chinese Kongsi) was under the jurisdiction of any 
British court. 

And, the Daily News, which through ignorance of the 
true circumstances had voiced the hostile opinion of the 
cranks against the Rajah in the matter of the suppression 
of the Saribas and Sekrang pirates, was candid enough to 

having in the earlier part of Sir James Brooke's career felt it our 
duty to express our dissent from, and disapproval of, certain parts of 
his policy, we have sincere pleasure in proclaiming our unreserved 
admiration of the manner in which he must have exercised his 
power to have produced such fruits. 

But it was precisely that part of his policy that had been 
condemned by Mr. Gladstone and the Daily News which 
had produced these present marked effects. 

The condition of the Sarawak Government was now 
serious, and surrounded with difficulties. The revenue was 
gone. There was not a shred of a document extant to tell 
the tale of former times. So complete was the ruin that 
the Rajah had to wear native costume, which he borrowed 
here and there. 

But there was a bright spot amid the gloom, in the devotion 
of the natives ; their sympathy, their kindness, their entire willing- 

1 Sir Spenser St. John, Rajah Brooke. 


ness to do what they could, are all balm to a wounded spirit. We 
have lost everything but the hearts of the people, and that is much 
to retain. 1 

The fidelity of the natives of all races and classes was ex- 
emplary. They everywhere took up arms to support the 
Rajah and their Government, and had the Chinese been 
twenty times as numerous, they would have been driven out. 

The whole of the Rajah's private capital had been long 
ago exhausted, and how were the ruins to be cleared away 
and the Government buildings to be rebuilt ? how were the 
servants of the State to be paid ? Nevertheless the Rajah 
and his staff faced their difficulties with courage and con- 
fidence ; but, deserted by the British Government, he was 
sorely tempted to appeal to that of another power. Happily, 
after a period of discouragement and resentment, he resolved 
to face his difficulties, relying only on himself and his few 
English assistants. He had on his right and left hand two 
stout and able men, his two nephews. 

Within a short period many of the Chinese refugees, 
particularly those of the agricultural class, returned and 
rebuilt their old homes. Gradually their numbers were 
added to by others from over the border, from the Straits, 
and from China, until in time Upper Sarawak recovered its 
former prosperity. The severe lesson they had learnt, which 
had taught them how powerless they were to cope with the 
forces at the call of the Government, that were not repre- 
sented merely by a handful of fortmen and policemen as 
they had blindly imagined, did not, however, deter them 
from forming another Hueh, which decreased and increased 
in strength in proportion to the number of people in the 
district. But the power of the Government has been steadily 
growing, and what chance the Hueh may have ever hoped 
to obtain of successfully opposing it has long ago vanished. 
Dangerous and mischievous, however, these secret societies 
can still be, unless vigilantly watched and swiftly suppressed, 
and the Chinese population in Upper Sarawak has since 
increased five-fold. 

For years the Bau Hueh remained dormant, though it 

1 The Rajah to Mr. Templer. 


had a perfect organisation, but in 1869 it raised its hand in 
opposition to the Government, and barbarously murdered 
an informer. Mr. Crookshank, who was administering the 
Government in the absence of the present Rajah, took 
prompt and energetic measures, and all the head-men of 
the Hueh were arrested. They were condemned to long 
terms of imprisonment and to be flogged. When their 
terms had expired they were banished the country under a 
penalty of death should they return ; but the Hueh in Dutch 
Borneo, of which this was a branch, immediately re-organised 
the Society and appointed other office-bearers. Unfortunately 
the register and records of this Hueh could not be found. 
They had been cleverly concealed in the double-planked 
floor of a bedplace which had been overturned in the search. 

In 1884-85, the Secret Society was in active revolt 
against the Dutch Government, which was at first only able 
to hold the rebels in check, not having sufficient forces to 
quell them. At Mandor, a large Chinese town, they killed 
the Dutch official in charge, and burnt down the Govern- 
ment buildings. After some hard fighting with great loss 
on both sides, Mandor was surrendered by the rebels, upon 
the false promise of an amnesty held out to them by the 
Sultan of Sambas. Finding themselves deceived, the 
Chinese again broke out in rebellion, and seized the im- 
portant town of Mempawa, killing, amongst others, the 
Dutch officer in charge, and driving the Dutch troops back. 
But their triumph was short-lived, for upon the arrival of 
strong reinforcements the rebellion was quelled. One of 
the principal leaders, the man who had shot the Dutch 
controller of Mandor, was subsequently arrested in Sarawak, 
but rather than face his fate he hanged himself by his queue 
in his cell the day a Dutch gunboat had come round to 
fetch him. 

In 1889, a secret society, allied with the Sam Tiam ' or 
Ghee Hin Hueh, a branch of the Triad Society of China, 
was established at Segobang, the centre of a large district 
of Chinese pepper planters. This Hueh had been formed by 
criminals and expelled members of the Society from Mandor 

1 Three Dots. 



and Montrado. Their primary intention was to raise 
another rebellion in Dutch territory, but they were banded by 
oath to exterminate all people without queues. On July 15, 
the houses of the chief and other known leaders were 
surrounded and searched, and the inmates arrested. The 
documents seized clearly showed the objects of the Society ; 
that they had hundreds of men organised and ready for 
service ; and that they were in correspondence with the 


1 ^^^*^^«^^*- 

i «■ Mrcj^HMBri^H 


P.^ a 




■ mmm * ***#■£& ^tJx&L* 

: *^95SB' ^^^ 


Ghee Hin Societies at Mandor and Singapore. Six of the 
leaders were executed, and eleven sentenced to penal servi- 
tude for life. One of the principals, who had taken a lead- 
ing part in the Mandor rebellion of 1884, was handed over 
to the Dutch. 

As late as 1906, one or two mysterious murders of 
Chinese in the Rejang aroused the suspicions of the 
authorities, and it was found that a secret society existed on 
that river. Valuable help was afforded the Government by 
anonymous letters sent by law-abiding Chinese containing 
minutely accurate information as to the members and their 
doings, which led to the arrest of many, and to the discovery 


of incriminating documents. This Society was called the 
Golden Orchid or Lily Society, and was established at 
various places along the coast, from the Rejang to Simatan. 
This was also a branch of the Triad Society, professing the 
same great purpose, the reinstatement of the Ming dynasty 
in China, but in practice its objects were murder, robbery, 
and violence. Eight of the ringleaders were executed, and 
ten others sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. 




HEN the Rajah 
^assumed the 
Government of 
Sarawak, he had 
to look out for suit- 
able officials among 
the Malays to carri- 
on the Government, 
and suitable officials 
were not easily to be 
found where hitherto 
all had been corruption 
and oppression. There is not much choice in rotten apples. 
There were three offices of importance to be filled : that 
of Datu Patinggi, he who had the supervision and control 
over the tribes on the left-hand branch of the river ; that of 
Datu Bandar, he who held sway over those on the right 
hand ; and the Datu Temanggong, who had to look after 
the tribes on the coast. 1 

It will be remembered that before the rebellion of the 
Sarawak people against the Government of Rruni these 
offices had been held by three of their chiefs, who, in 1841, 
were reinstated in their old positions by the Rajah, and 
made collectors of the revenue in their several districts. 2 

1 In addition to their other duties in the capital. See list of titles, p. xi. 
3 See chap. iii. p. 77, for particulars of these Datus. 



This was a tax levied on the head of a family of a bushel 
and a half of rice. Hitherto the officers of Government, the 
Bruni Pangirans great and small, had exercised the right 
of pre-emption of whatever the Dayak produced, and that 
at the prices they themselves fixed. Rajah Brooke modified, 
but could not wholly abolish, this privilege. He suffered 
these three officials, and them alone, to have the right to buy 
before all others what the Dayaks had to dispose of, but 
only at market price. With the others, the Datu Patinggi 
Gapur had been in disgrace under Rajah Muda Hasim and 
the Pangiran Makota. Any one who was looked on with an 
evil eye by that arch-scoundrel Makota had a claim to be 
regarded as an honest man, and for a while the Datu Patinggi 
did fairly well, but this was only till he had, as he thought, 
established himself firmly ; and then he began to oppress 
the natives in the old way, by enforcing sales to himself on 
his own terms ; and the timid people, accustomed to this 
sort of treatment, and afraid of the consequences should 
they protest, submitted without denouncing him to the 
Rajah. He was a man plausible and polite, and some time 
elapsed before the Rajah obtained sufficient evidence to 
convict him. But when he did, instead of deposing him 
from office, he announced his determination to pay each of 
these officials a fixed salary, in lieu of the enforced first 
trade with the Dayaks, and of their share in Dayak revenue. 
The Datu Patinggi had a handsome daughter who was 
sought in marriage by a certain Sherip Bujang, brother of 
Sherip Masahor of Serikei, who had assumed the government 
of the Rejang river, 1 and had long been in league with the 
Saribas and Sekrang pirates — an evil-minded and intriguing 
man. The Rajah was very averse to this marriage, but 
could not forbid it. And the result was that Gapur and 
Masahor put their heads together, confided to each other 
their mutual grievances, and commenced plotting against 
the Rajah and his officers. Serikei is 20 miles up the 

1 The Datu Patinggi Abdul Rahman was the rightful Malay chief of the Rejang, 
and the Sultan's representative. Sherip Masahor bad originally settled at Igan, 
which place, with the surrounding district, belonged to him. At Serikei he was an 
interloper. He usurped authority wherever he could do so, and the Sultan, whose 
power in the Rejang was but a shadow, was constrained to put up with the Sherip's 


Rejang river, which was not yet within the jurisdiction of 
Sarawak, but Saribas and Sekrang were, and Masahor was 
a source of annoyance and danger by incessantly fomenting 
agitation among the people of these rivers against the Rajah's 
government, and supplying them with powder and arms. 
For a while the Sadong district had been placed under the 
charge of the Datu Patinggi as well as his own, but it was 
found that, not satisfied with the salary paid by the 
Government in lieu of the right of pre-emption, he was 
enforcing that same right and using great oppression in both 
districts. The Tuan Besar, who was then administering the 
Government, went from Kuching to make a tour in both 
these, and to ascertain whether the rumours relative to the 
misconduct of Gapur were true, and by this means sufficient 
proof of his illegal exactions was obtained. 

The Datu Patinggi had indeed pursued a course of 
oppression ever since 1 8 5 1 , when the marriage between 
Sherip Bujang and his daughter took place. He had levied 
imposts on the Sarawak Dayaks, forced trade on the Matu 
people, oppressed the Sadong Dayaks, and interfered at 
Lingga and Serikei, and had even proceeded so far as to 
assume the insignia of royalty by displaying a yellow (the 
royal colour) flag and unfurling a yellow umbrella. He was 
then, in November 1853, brought up in Court, publicly 
reprimanded, and made to disgorge his plunder. He sub- 
mitted with outward tokens of good -will, but he had been 
publicly disgraced, and this he did not forget. His feeling 
against the Government of the White Man became more 
intensely bitter. 

Early in 1854, the Rajah and Captain Brooke, the Tuan 
Besar, went up the Batang Lupar river to visit the Tuan 
Muda at Lingga, and Brereton at Sekrang ; Mr. Spenser 
St. John was then at Kuching. This latter says : — 

One day, whilst sitting alone in my little cottage, the eldest son 
of the Temanggong, Abang Patah, came in to have a talk. He was 
one of the best of the Malay chiefs — frank, loyal, honest, brave as 
a lion. He subsequently lost his life gallantly defending the Rajah's 
Government. 1 I saw by his manner that he had something to 

1 This is incorrect. On more than one occasion he greatly distinguished himself 



communicate, so after answering a few leading questions he said, 
" It is no use beating about the bush, I must tell you what is going 
on." He then unfolded the particulars of a plot which the Patinggi 
( iapur had concocted to cut off the Europeans in Sarawak. The 
Patinggi had confided his plans to the other chiefs, but they had 
almost unanimously refused to aid him, and had determined to keep 
a watch over his proceedings, but they had not the moral courage to 
denounce him to the Government. At length Abang Patah said, 
" I have become alarmed. The Rajah and Captain Brooke are 
away together. The Patinggi is with them with all his armed 
followers, and in an unsuspecting moment all the British officers 
might be cut off at a blow." I promised, as he desired, to keep his 
communication a secret from all but the Rajah, to whom I instantly 
wrote, giving not only Patah's story, but other indications which had 
come to my knowledge. An express boat carried my letter to its 
destination. The Rajah read the letter, and, without a word, passed 
it to Captain Brooke. The latter, having also read it, said, "What 
do you think ? " " It is all too true," answered the Rajah, to whom 
conviction came like an inspiration. They had noticed some very odd 
proceedings on the part of the Patinggi, but, having no suspicions, 
had not been able to interpret some of his armed movements, but 
now it was quite clear that he was trying to get the Europeans 
together to strike one treacherous blow. Nothing, however, was 
said or done publicly. The faithful were warned to watch well, and 
a few judicious inquiries brought the whole story out. 

The Commission had been despatched to sit at Singapore, 
on the conduct of the Rajah. Gapur was well aware that 
the British Government was indisposed to support the 
Rajah, and that there existed a body of opinion in England 
distinctly and bitterly hostile to him, and certain to 
apologise for any insurrectionary movement made to depose 
him, even if it involved, as Gapur supposed, his being 
massacred along with his English officers. 

Mr. St. John goes on to say that upon his return to Ku- 
ching the Rajah intended to bring the Patinggi to justice for 
this contemplated act of treachery ; but this was not done 
immediately. Before publicly convicting and punishing 
the leading chief of the State, amongst whose relations the 
Rajah could count so many staunch friends, it was thought 
advisable to wait for some overt act which would afford 
clear and convincing proof to all of the Datu'.s treachery. 

fighting for iln' Government, especially at the time of the Chinese insurrection, but 
! a natural death. 


The Rajah had not long to wait. Towards the close 
of June he appointed chiefs over the various kampongs 
(districts) in Kuching, each to be responsible for the good 
order of his kampong, and with power to arrest evil-doers. 
These chiefs had been given their commissions publicly in 
Court ; however, the Datu Patinggi promptly summoned 
them to his house, exacted the surrender of their commissions 
into his hands, and dismissed them with the remark that he 
was not going to allow everybody to be made a datu. This 
was open and public defiance, and the Rajah then deter- 
mined to disgrace him publicly. 

Measures were taken to prevent even a show of resist- 
ance being made. Though Gapur was head of the party that 
existed in favour of Bruni, and of a restoration to the old 
condition of affairs, yet in Kuching he had but few 
adherents upon whom he could safely rely, even amongst 
his own people ; but Malays when forced into a corner often 
resort to desperate deeds of folly, and it was to guard 
against such an act that precautions were taken. 

In a letter the Rajah describes both Gapur and what 
his proceedings were : — 

As he got rich there was no keeping him straight. His abuse 
of power, his oppression of the people, his revival of ancient evils, 
his pretensions, his intrigues, and his free use of my name for 
purposes of his own, had been often checked but never abandoned, 
and ever recurring. Some time ago he was seriously warned, and 
made to disgorge some of his ill-gotten wealth ; but this, instead of 
preventing him, only urged him forward, and he not only intrigued 
against the Government, but by threatening the better class of 
Sarawak people, thwarted our measures, and used language which 
was treasonable against every constituted authority. 

I resolved, therefore, at once to degrade him from his office, so 
as to crush the seeds of discontent in the bud. I ordered a great 
public meeting of the country for an important business, but, except- 
ing Captain Brooke, St. John, the Datu Bandar, Datu Temanggong, 
and a few others, no one in the country knew my object. The 
court was crowded, many hundreds being present. I gently ex- 
plained the duty of the people towards the Government. I alluded 
to the past, the present happiness of all classes, and the crime 
committed by any one who failed in obedience to constituted 
authority, or desired to disturb the public peace. I pointed out 


to the elders of the Kampongs that, having received authority from 
the Government, they should not have yielded it to the Patinggi, 
but at the same time I acquitted them of all evil intention, and 
declared — which was strictly true — that I knew their attachment 
to the Government. 

I then turned to the Patinggi, I reminded him of the past, the 
warnings he had received and neglected. Idetailed the charges 
against him, and concluded by saying, " I accuse you before the 
people of treason, and I give you the option of publicly declaring 
your submission to the Government or of death." He submitted. 
I then said, " I do not seek your life, for you are the Bandar's 
brother, 1 and have many relatives my friends. I do not confiscate 
your property, for your wives and children have not shared your 
offence. For the safety of the Kingdom I order you to sit in your 
place in this court, whilst proper persons bring to the fort all the 
arms and ammunition which belong to you." He sat quiet. I 
requested his relatives to go and bring the guns and powder, and, 
after a couple of hours, the things were brought. I then shook 
hands with the culprit, told him what I had done was for the good 
of the people, and that he should hear further from me through the 
proper channel. He then returned to his house. 

There was still a difficulty to be overcome, how to get 
rid of him. The Rajah bethought himself of proposing a 
pilgrimage to Mecca, and Gapur jumped at it. This would 
remove him from Sarawak for some time, and, before his 
return, it was hoped his influence would be broken, and his 
opportunities of doing mischief be removed, through his 
position being given to his brother-in-law, the Datu Bandar." 
The Bandar's brother was made the Imaum, the head of the 
Muhammadan priesthood, and was added to the list of the 
Rajah's trusted councillors. He remained true and a main- 
stay to English influence among the Malays in subsequent 
difficult times. 3 As to Gapur, on his return in 1856 from 
Mecca, now a Haji, he was repudiated by his relations, who 
refused to be responsible for his conduct, so that he had to 
be banished to Malacca. We shall hear of him again, but 
for the moment must look at the proceedings of the Sherip 
Masahor, whose brother had married the daughter of Gapur. 

1 An error — he was the Bandar's brother-in-law. 

'-' He did not change his title. There has been do Datu Patinggi since. 

:; Haji Bua Hasan, who afterwards became Datu Bandar (vide Chap. III. p. --). 
It was not until i860 that he was raised to the rank of Datu under the title of the 
Datu Imaum. 


Muka was then a town of considerable importance, at 
the mouth of the river of that name. It has since increased 
considerably, and is now as large as Bruni. Then, as 
now, it had a great trade in raw sago, which is shipped 
to Kuching, where it is converted into sago flour in the 
Chinese factories, in which form it passes to Singapore. 
Oya comes next in importance, then Bintulu, and then 
Matu and Bruit. These places supply more than half the 
world's consumption of sago. The trade in this had always 
been the principal one of Kuching until a few years ago, 
when pepper took the first place, but the sago trade is still 

For years past numerous trading vessels from Kuching 
visited Muka to obtain this article of commerce, but in 
1854 much difficulty had been felt in getting it, as at that 
time civil war was raging, and anarchy existed in Muka, so 
that trading vessels were debarred from entering the river, 
being liable to plunder by one party or the other. 

The Pangiran Ersat had been placed there in authority 
by the Sultan, and he had oppressed the people incessantly. 
But beside him there was the Pangiran Matusin, his cousin, 
also of royal blood, who had been brought up among the 
Muka people, where he had many relations through his 
mother, who was of inferior class. A feud had long existed 
between these two Pangirans, both of whose houses were 
fortified. Ersat had expelled his cousin from Muka, but the 
latter had been allowed by the Sultan to return. 

Matusin, though unprincipled himself, 1 could not counte- 
nance the extortions of the other, and he supported his own 
people against the injustice of his rival. 

1 His was a turbulent nature ; a useful man in the time of trouble, but apt to be 
troublesome in the time of peace. He had some fine qualities, being brave and 
staunch, but even his best friend could not have called him honest. A well-built 
muscular man, never ruffled, and utterly impervious to fear, but somewhat cold- 
blooded — he was covered with the marks of old wounds. When Muka fort was 
built, he was appointed to be native Magistrate under the Resident, but he was 
removed in 1868, being unprincipled, dishonest, and unjust (to quote the present 
Rajah). He was invaluable in dealing with the turbulent Dayaks in the upper waters 
of the Rejang, as they absolutely feared him, but he could not keep his hands clean, 
and had to be removed from Baleh in 1876, when he was pensioned and placed out of 
harm's way at a little village near Santubong. He was a staunch supporter of 
Government and a hard fighter in helping to maintain it ; he died some twenty years 


On one occasion, as Matusin was returning home from 
the river mouth, he passed the abode of Ersat, when this 
latter, with his followers and relatives, mocked him from 
the platform in front of the long house, brandishing their 
spears and daring him to attack them. Matusin was filled 
with rage. Of all things that a Malay can least endure 
is insult. Seizing his arms, he rushed into the house, 
and, running amuck, cut down Ersat himself, and, in the 
promiscuous onslaught that followed, killed one of the 
Pangiran's daughters and wounded another. He then made 
his way forth, no one daring to oppose him, as he was a 
man of prodigious strength. On reaching his house, he 
strengthened the fortifications and prepared for an attack. 
In the course of a month, a large force had assembled in 
Muka to avenge the death of Pangiran Ersat, led by the 
Sherip Masahor, who had called out the Saribas Dayaks, 
under the jurisdiction of the Rajah of Sarawak, as well as 
the Kanowit Dayaks on the Rejang. They numbered more 
than a thousand, exclusive of Malays. 

This host surrounded the fortified house of Matusin, and 
Masahor, in the name of the Rajah, called upon the former 
to surrender. He undertook, if Matusin and his followers 
would come forth, with all the women and children, and 
give themselves up, that their lives would not only be spared, 
but that thenceforth they should all dwell together in amity. 
It was agreed that this was to take place on the following 
morning. But during the night a member of Masahor's 
party managed to get into the house of Matusin to warn 
him that treachery was intended, and to urge him to escape. 
This Matusin did in the dark, attended by six men only ; 
he fled up country, and made his way to Kuching, where he 
threw himself on the protection of the Rajah. Xext day 
Sherip Masahor, with his ruffians, took most who remained 
in Matusin's house, and many of the relations of the Muka 
chiefs who had supported him, to the number of forty-five, 
chiefly women, massacred every one, and gave their heads to 
his Saribas and Kanowit followers. As soon as the news 
reached Kuching, the Tuan Muda was sent to Muka to 
inquire into matters. He says: "The scene where the 


murders took place was then fresh with the marks of the 
slaughtered wretches. Their torn clothes, the traces of blood 
and tracks of feet, were plainly visible on the ground. In 
pulling up through the Muka village, most of the houses 
were burnt down, and the graveyards pillaged by Dayaks." 
Melanaus adorn their dead with costly gold ornaments, which 
are buried with the bodies ; this the Dayaks knew ; to 
attain these and the heads of the dead were their object in 
desecrating the graves. 

The people had lost their favourite leader and relative, 
Pangiran Matusin ; besides relations they had lost their 
homes and property, burnt and pillaged by Masahor's 
followers on the ground that the owners had favoured the 
slayer of Pangiran Ersat, and they were well aware that 
they themselves were doomed, and all would most surely 
have been put to death but for the arrival of the Tuan Muda. 
And now the poor creatures surrounded him, and implored 
that an Englishman might be sent to govern the place, 
and deliver them from the tyranny of the Bruni officials. 
Having seen to the safety of Matusin's wife and children, 
who, with other surviving relations and followers, were sent 
to Kuching, the Tuan Muda returned to Sekrang. A fine 
was imposed on Sherip Masahor, and he was forced to 
release 100 captives, and was deposed from his governorship 
for having called out the Saribas under Sarawak rule for war- 
like purposes. He was in league with the piratical party in 
the Saribas, and not only supplied them with salt, which is an 
absolute necessity to a Dayak, and which it was now difficult 
to obtain on the Sarawak side, where the markets were closed 
to them, but also with ammunition, and in other ways 
encouraged them in their opposition to the Government. He 
left Serikei immediately, fearing further consequences. 

A party of malcontent Saribas Dayaks had been induced 
by the Sherip to settle in the Serikei river, to be handy agents 
for the execution of his oppressive exactions, and the intrepid 
Penglima Seman was sent by the Rajah to drive them out. 
This he did very effectually, and destroyed their houses and 
stores. Shortly afterwards the Datu Temanggong and the 
Datu Imaum dispersed a flotilla of some forty Saribas 


bangkongs which they had met in the main river below 

The unsatisfactory condition of affairs in the Muka and 
adjacent districts led the Rajah to pay another visit to Brum", 
and thither he sailed in June, 1855, after having despatched 
the Tuan Muda to Muka. He went up in his little gun- 
boat, the Jolly Bachelor, alone, and with no retinue, no 
longer holding high offices under the Crown, " the castaway 
of his own country." But he was most cordially received, 
and entertained with due honours by the Sultan, by the 
Rajahs of both the hostile factions, and by the people. All 
saw in the Rajah the possible instrument to relieve them of 
the dissensions with which Bruni was troubled, and which 
now verged upon civil war. Of the opposing factions, which 
had existed ever since the days of Pangiran Usop, one party, 
and by far the most powerful, was led by the Pangiran Anak 
Hasim, the late Sultan's reputed son (who became Sultan in 
1885), and this party was in opposition to the Sultan, who 
had lost the support of nearly all his people by becoming the 
tool of his cunning and grasping minister, Pangiran Makota. 
"Trade had become a monopoly and thus been extinguished ; 
the exactions on the coast to the northward had produced 
dissatisfaction and rebellion ; the unfortunate people of 
Limbang, which country is the granary of Bruni, was 
reduced to extremity, cruelly plundered by Makota and his 
sons, and attacked by the Kayans, sometimes at the instigation 
of Makota, sometimes on their own account ; in short, what 
Sarawak was formerly, Bruni was now fast becoming ; and 
when I pulled into the city in my little gun-boat of thirty- 
five tons, four of the Kampongs had their guns loaded and 
pointed against each other." Such was the unhappy con- 
dition of the country as described by the Rajah. 

The day after his coming the rival parties disarmed their 
fortifications. The Sultan and the Rajahs placed the 
government in his hands, with a request that he would 
endeavour to establish it on a proper and firm basis, and 
promised obedience to all his directions. 

Makota was absent, having been ordered by the Sultan 
to Muka to look into matters there, which meant that he 


had been sent to plunder the people of that and the 
neighbouring districts, but, though it angered the Rajah, it 
rendered his task the easier. 

Makota was now the sole minister, and the Rajah arranged 
that the old executive system should be restored so as to 
counterbalance his influence. The offices of the four 
ministers of State, or wazirs, established by the ninth Sultan 
Hasan, early in the seventeenth century, were revived ; 
these were the Temanggong, the Bandahara, the di Gedong, 
and the Pemancha. Though of ancient origin, by the 
will of autocratic Sultans they had been in abeyance 
for many years, and their revival gave confidence to nobles 
and people alike. They were never allowed again to lapse. 

Besides the above-mentioned functionaries, there are 
eight ministers of the second class, all nobles ; and lastly, a 
council of twelve officers of state, chosen from among the 
leading people, the chiefs of the different divisions or 
parishes of the city. These chiefs being elected by the 
people renders this council representative. 

Pangiran Anak Hasim became the Pangiran Temanggong. 
Though stern, he was popular, governed well and fairly, and 
encouraged trade. His only brother, the other doubtful son 
of Sultan Omar AH, was made the Pamancha. Now that the 
Rajah had succeeded in reconciling the hostile factions, he 
trusted that the Pangiran Temanggong, with the assistance 
of the other wazirs, supported by his own pledge to uphold 
them, with force if necessary, against all disturbers of peace, 
would be able to preserve the Sultan from the evil influence of 
Makota ; indeed the Sultan had a desire to act rightly, and 
his disposition was not altogether bad, but avariciousness 
was his failing, and the means by which his evil counsellors 
gained his ear. 

The Rajah was pressed to take up his residence in Bruni, 
and, could he have done so, all might have gone well, but 
he could not hope that his present intervention would 
do more than postpone the downfall of the worn-out and 
vicious Government, for the elements of discord and decay 
were rife. And directly his back was turned the Sultan 
failed him. He set aside the advice of his wazirs, and, to 


gratify his greed, upheld Makota. He had promised that 
this man should be recalled from Muka, but, instead of doing 
so, gave him a free hand to deal with the wretched people as 
he pleased — to plunder for both himself and his master. 
The Rajah then determined himself " to manage Makota, 
and to leave the Sultan to rue his own folly " ; the two 
factions in Bruni he trusted " would join together to resist 
oppression, or, at any rate, forbear with each other." 

Early in 1856, the Tuan Muda went with a force from 
Kuching to erect a fort at Serikei, now deserted by Masahor, 
and half burnt down by the Dayaks. This was soon built, 
and an Englishman was placed in charge, who was shortly 
afterwards replaced by Mr. Fox. The Dayaks around were 
numerous and hostile. The Tuan Muda found that " in all 
directions around Serikei and Kanowit there were enemies." 
Some few came to trade, but refused to pay revenue or obey 
the orders of the officials. They lived in independence, and 
the two branches of Dayak employment were simply heads 
and salt. " As these two requirements could not be found 
in the same quarter, they in former times usually made peace 
with one petty Malay chief for the purpose of obtaining salt, 
while the heads were brought from some other petty Malay 
chiefs village lying in another direction. By this means 
the Malays obtained a trade with Dayaks as well as a 

The imposition of a fine on Masahor and the erection of 
a fort at Serikei may have been regarded as an infringement 
of the rights of the Sultan. There existed, however, an 
understanding between the Sultan and the Rajah in respect 
to the Rejang, the main object of which was, so far as the 
former was concerned, that the sago districts should be 
protected from the ravages of the Rejang Dayaks. The 
Sultan Mumin, a poor, feeble creature, was totally incapable 
of keeping these unruly subjects of his in check, and the 
Rajah undertook to do it for him. It, of course, followed 
that the Rajah had authority over, and a right to punish, 
these people. Kanowit fort and then Serikei were erected 
to keep the Dayaks and Sherip Masahor in check. All that 
was done was done in the mutual interests of Bruni and 


Sarawak, and at the sole expense of the latter, for the Rejang 
in those days yielded no revenue. 

The house of Ucalegon was in flames, and the fire would 
extend to Sarawak, unless it were extinguished by Sarawak 
hands, for their own protection. 

Muka and Oya, where Pangiran Nipa had succeeded 
his father, Pangiran Ersat, in power, being still in a very 
distracted condition, and the Rajah, now being free of the 
troubles that had shaken the very foundations of his own 
Government, and which had unavoidably withdrawn his 
attention from these places, determined to make another 
effort to establish order there in the interests of the suffering 
population, and of the important trade between those places 
and Sarawak, which had now almost ceased. For this 
purpose he again proceeded to Bruni in September, 1857, 
and obtained full power to act at Muka, and authority to 
intervene was granted him. At Muka the Rajah called 
together into his presence the rival factions which had been 
murdering each other, and disturbing the trade for the last 
four years. There were four hundred persons present, includ- 
ing the Pangirans Matusin and Nipa, besides the chiefs of 
the country, whose relatives had been put to death by Sherip 
Masahor. The chaps x — the Sultan's mandates — were read, 
ordering peace, and authorising the Rajah to punish any 
breach of it. The Rajah then spoke to the people, pointing 
out the advantage of peace, and pledging himself to punish 
any persons who by their actions should disturb it. This 
visit of the Rajah was attended with good results, and Muka 
enjoyed rest for a brief period. 

In October, the Rajah proceeded to England, leaving the 
government in the hands of the Tuan Besar ; upon this visit, 
which was of necessity a prolonged one, owing to the complete 
breakdown of his health, we will touch later. 

The month following the Rajah's departure, Pangiran 
Makota was violently removed from the scene of his life's 
iniquities. We have already recorded the manner of his 
well-merited death.'"' Of him the Rajah wrote, " A greater 

1 Chap (Hindustani) meaning a seal. Hence a firman, edict, licence, grant. 
2 See Chap. III. p. 87. 


villain it would be impossible to conceive, with heart blacker, 
head more cunning, and passions more unrestrained. I say 
this deliberately of a dead man." A fitting epitaph. 

In December, Mrs. Brooke died, and the Tuan Besar left 
for England early in 1859. Upon the Tuan Muda now fell 
the burden of the government at perhaps the most critical 
period in the history of the raj. Plot was heaped upon 
plot, and deceit and treachery faced him on all sides, but 
by his courage, untiring energy, and determination the 
State was successfully piloted through these grave troubles, 
its enemies dispersed, and confidence restored to a panic- 
stricken people. 

Two years previously, Sherip Masahor and the Datu 
Patinggi Haji Gapur, now known as the Datu Haji, had been 
pardoned. The former had been allowed to return to Serikei, 
and the latter to live in retirement at Kuching. It was a 
mistaken and highly imprudent policy, for neither had 
forgotten his humiliation, and both commenced active intrigue 
against the Government ; and the party of pangirans at Bruni, 
hostile to all reforms, were privy to these plots, of which the 
Sultan himself was aware, and at which he probably connived. 
Constant intercourse was being kept up between the Sultans 
of Bruni and Sambas, which could omen no good to Sarawak ; 
and Bruni alone, now once more relapsed into its former evil 
condition, was without the means of open aggression. 

In 1859, the Europeans in Sarawak were startled by a 
report of the wholesale massacre of Europeans, men, women, 
and children, at Banjermasin, succeeded by further reports 
that all white men were being killed in the other Dutch 
settlements, and that the same fate was to be meted out to 
those in Sarawak and Labuan. 

In March, the Tuan Muda, owing to disquieting rumours 
having reached him, resolved upon making a tour to the 
different stations on the coast, and first visited the Rejang. 
At Serikei he was joined by Mr. Fox, and then proceeded 
to Kanowit, a hundred miles up the broad Rejang river. 
The village and fort together formed a picturesque piece 
of irregularity and dilapidation. Here were settled a few 
Malays, a gang of cut-throats who lived by swindling the 


Dayaks, and stood by the fort as their only means of security. 
Some few Chinese traders had ventured to settle in the place, 
but they were a mob of rapscallions. Above the village was 
the mouth of the Kanowit river, and on the opposite bank 
of this river was the large village of the Kanowit tribe, 
adherents of Sherip Masahor. The Kanowit, as well as the 
Poi and Ngmah, two branches of the main river above 
Kanowit, was inhabited by Sea-Dayaks from the Batang 
Lupar and Saribas, unfriendly to the Government. Mr. 
Steele had been in charge of Kanowit for eight years. It 
was a vastly solitary place for an Englishman during the 
north-east monsoon. For three or four months of the year 
no communication was to be had with Kuching, owing to the 
strong freshes and heavy seas on the coast ; but Mr. Steele 
had grown so accustomed to the life that he would not have 
exchanged it for another. The fort had been often attempted 
both secretly and openly, people close around had been killed, 
and Mr. Steele had met with several narrow escapes. His 
fortmen were not of the best class, but they were of his own 
selection. The Tuan Muda felt uneasy about the place. 
" There was too smooth an appearance, without any sub- 
stantial base." There were no reliable Malay chiefs ; and 
he left Mr. Fox to support Mr. Steele. 

On his return to Serikei, the Tuan Muda received letters 
from the Sarawak traders at Muka saying that it was use- 
less their attempting to procure sago there, as the country 
was in commotion, war being carried on between Pangiran 
Matusin and Pangiran Nipa, and they entreated his support 
and aid ; otherwise the trade must be stopped. Not only so, 
but the Sarawak flag had been fired on by a badly-disposed 
pangiran. This was an insult that could not be passed 
over, and the Tuan Muda at once proceeded to Muka in the 
Jolly BacJielor. As he passed Igan, the Sherip Masahor, who 
had a residence there also, pushed off and asked leave to 
join him. His object was not obvious, but he protested 
sincere friendship, and a desire to see trade re-established. 

On reaching Muka it was found that the place was in a 
most disturbed state, and that everybody was armed. A 
demand was at once made that Pangiran Serail, who had 


fired on the Sarawak flag, should be fined, and to this the 
Pangiran Nipa consented. 

Towards the close of the day, a message came from Pangiran 
Matusin begging me to proceed to his assistance as soon as possible, 
as that night there was some probability of Nipa's party taking his 
fortification, which was defended by twenty-six men only against 
about six hundred, who had built movable stockades all around, 
and were gradually closing on him each night, and were now within 
about fourteen yards of his house. We warped up and arrived 
late at night, and let go our anchor off Matusin's landing-place. 
It was the 27th night of the Mahomedan fast month, and the place 
being brilliantly illuminated, blazed out as strange a looking pile of 
fortifications and habitations as it has ever fallen to my lot to 
witness. Matusin came aboard and showed his gratitude more by 
manner than by words. He was thin and haggard, and said, " Tuan, 
I thought I should have been a dead man to-night, as they intended 
adding to the illumination by the blaze of my house, but I did not 
fear death, and would never have run away/' 

On the first appearance of light we were all up, and ready to 
proceed to work, in order to have the business over as soon as 
possible. Our gunboat's deck was crowded with armed men, and 
the bulwarks were closed in around by oars and logwood. The 
first step we took was to dislodge a floating battery, placed so as to 
guard Matusin's landing. After destroying this I sent a party to 
pull down the other stockades, numbering some twenty-five of all 
shapes and sizes. Pangiran Matusin's fort was being pulled down 
also, and before mid-day there was a clearance and change in the 
aspect of affairs. 

Excuses were then made for the payment of the fine. 
The gunboat was promptly hauled up in front of Pangiran 
Nipa's house, " and the muzzle of our 6-pounder was look- 
ing upwards loaded and primed. It would have been close 
quarters if we had played with fire-arms, as we could jump 
from the deck to the banks." The Sherip Masahor was with 
the Tuan Muda, and professed the most ardent friendship and 
desire to assist. The fine was soon paid, and after seeing 
Pangiran Matusin safely on his way to Kuching the Tuan 
Muda left for Saribas. 

Trade with Muka during the remaining months of the 
year was brisk ; matters there settled down quietly ; and 
Pangiran Nipa kept up a friendly correspondence with the 
Tuan Muda. 


The Pangiran Serail, who had been fined, was an envoy 
of the Sultan Mumin ; he returned to Bruni, gave a plausible 
account of his conduct, and loudly complained of the 
conduct of the Tuan Muda. The Sultan was irritated, and 
Mr. St. John, who was now British Consul-General at Bruni, 
heard only Serail's story, and considered the proceedings 
high-handed and reprehensible. He afterwards expressed 
his opinion that it was so to both the Tuan Muda and to 
the Rajah. Thereupon the latter ordered the fine to be 
paid over to the Sultan " as a peace offering." 

Sir Spenser St. John, in his Life of Rajah Brooke, speaks 
of the interference in Muka in 1858 and 1859 as unjustifi- 
able, but we have already shown that the Rajah had 
received full authority from the Sultan to act in Muka, and 
what was done was entirely in the cause of peace and order, 
though Sir Spenser does not question the motives. 

In the following June, when on a visit to Sekrang, the 
startling news was brought to the Tuan Muda that Steele 
and Fox had been killed, and that Kanowit was in the 
hands of enemies and murderers. It was the first stroke of 
a foul conspiracy, which had as its objects the extermination 
of all the Europeans and the overthrow of the Government. 
But it had been struck too soon. The aim of the con- 
spirators, " deep and subtle as men or devils could be," was 
to strike simultaneous blows in Kuching and the out-stations, 
and this premature action of Sherip Masahor's party before 
the Datu Haji Gapur, Bandar Kasim, and other conspirators 
were prepared to act led to the original scheme being 
broken up into disconnected action. This to some extent 
lessened the difficulties with which the Tuan Muda found 
himself confronted. As yet he could but conjecture as to 
the compass of the conspiracy, and could only suspect the 
conspirators, but he was on his guard, and he prepared for 
the worst. 

A few words may be said here with regard to the 
situation generally, and the attitude of the population. 
From Muka, the Sherip Masahor, the friend and connection 
of Pangiran Nipa, could look for strong support. In the 
Rejang he had on his side the Kanowits, the Banyoks, and 


the Segalangs, the last a hot-headed and treacherous people, 
who had always been the Sherip's most active partisans, and 
were afterwards his only sympathists ; upon the Dayaks it 
was naturally thought he could count, but, as regards those 
of the Kanowit, events proved this to be a mistake ; amongst 
the Melanaus of the delta he had a strong following at Igan, 
Matu, and Bruit, but not at the other villages ; and the 
Malays of Serikei feared and obeyed him, though from 
their chiefs downwards they hated him. The Kalaka 
Malays, under a bad leader, were very doubtful. Those in 
Saribas were held in check by the Dayaks, who had been 
converted by the Tuan Muda from stout enemies into 
staunch friends ; the Sea-Dayaks generally were as true as 
steel to their white chief, though some were led astray. The 
Sekrang Malays were faithful, but the Lingga Malays had 
allowed themselves to be awed by letters that had been sent 
them by the conspirators, calling upon them to assist in kill- 
ing the English or to expect the consequences. Though they 
received these letters they made no response to the overtures, 
and were at heart with the Government. Sadong, where 
there had been no English officer for some time, was, under 
the Bandar Kasim, a hot-bed of anarchy, and here were the 
Datu Haji's principal adherents, as also were the Land- 
Dayaks of Lundu. 

In Kuching and its neighbourhood the Malays were as 
usual loyal, from their Datus, the Bandar, Imaum (whose 
sister the Datu Haji had married) and the old fighting 
Temanggong downwards. Here the Datu Haji had a small 
clique only, but men's minds were becoming disturbed by 
the baneful rumours that were being sedulously spread 
about of the impending downfall of the Government. It 
was brought home to their minds, and insisted on, that the 
Rajah had forfeited the confidence of the British Govern- 
ment, which was prepared to leave him to his fate. Xo 
more men-of-war had been sent to Sarawak, and no help 
had been offered the Rajah for the suppression of the 
Chinese insurrection ; all this exercised a bad influence on 
some who wavered, though at heart loyal, and it discouraged 
the faint-hearted, just as it encouraged hopes in the dis- 


affected Malay chiefs and the Sherips that they might 
recover their lost supremacy. Any signal reverse to the 
Government, or any indecision shown by it, would have 
produced the gravest consequences, which must have 
resulted, however the issue went, in the ruin of the country. 
The crisis was critical, and without a strong man at the 
helm, disaster would have followed — a leader to counter- 
balance the influence of the conspirators — a leader for the 
loyal to rally around and to inspire the timid, was wanted, 
and was at hand. 

Upon receiving news of the disaster at Kanowit, after 
having despatched an express to Mr. Watson in Saribas to be 
strictly on his guard, the Tuan Muda at once proceeded to 
Kuching. There an assembly of all the chiefs and head men 
was held, and to them, with a sword in front of him, he 
declared his stern resolution that there should be no haven 
for the murderers of his officers and friends. Before he left 
Kuching, Abang Ali, of Serikei, 1 had arrived direct from 
Kanowit ; he reported the whole place to be burnt down and 
deserted, and that the murderers had left ; and he was able 
to give a full account of the tragedy. 

One afternoon, as Mr. Fox was superintending the 
digging of a ditch, and Mr. Steele was walking about inside 
the fort, both unarmed, they were attacked, Steele by two 
men, Abi and Talip, whom he had known and trusted, though 
their previous characters had been extremely bad. Talip 
drew his sword and struck at Steele, but the latter, being an 
active man, seized the weapon, whereupon Abi cut him down, 
killing him immediately. 

At the same moment a party of Kanowits, led by their 
chiefs, Sawing and Sakalai, rushed out of a Chinaman's house, 
in which they had been concealed, and killed Mr. Fox. 
Sawing and Sakalai struck the first blows, followed by many 
others, for his body was terribly mutilated, as was also that of 
Steele. They then proceeded to rifle the fort, the garrison 

1 A young man then, and one of the well disposed Malay chiefs of Serikei. He 
shortly afterwards became the principal native officer in the Rejang, a position which 
he held until his death in 1874. He earned the fullest confidence of the Government, 
and the respect _not only of his own people, but of the Dayaks, Kayans, and other 


offering no resistance, except at the commencement, when the 
sentry fired and killed one of the murderers. 

After a stay of a few days in Kuching, organising his 
party, the Tuan Muda proceeded with the Sarawak Cross J 
and Jolly Bachelor to the Rejang river. At Rejang he learnt 
from Abang All that Tani, the chief of the Banyoks, who, to 
cover his tracks, was the first to report the murders to the 
Tuan Muda at Sekrang, though not actively participating, 
had been a principal speaker inciting to the murders. He 
learnt further that Penglima Abi and Talip, two of the actual 
assassins, had gone straight to Sherip Masahor, had apprised 
him of their deed, and had told him the country was now his 
own. The Sherip promptly killed Abi, but Talip escaped 
and went to Bruni, where he complained that the Sherip 
wanted to kill him to prevent him from telling the white men 
that it was his (the Sherip's) order that Fox and Steele should 
be put to death. Other conspirators on arriving at Serikei 
were also put to death by the Sherip. 

Abang AH was at once despatched to Serikei in a fast 
boat, the Tuan Muda following in the schooner Sarawak 
Cross. He was to put to death all those at Serikei who were 
proved to have been guilty of complicity in the murder of Fox 
and Steele. He found that the Malays who had been 
accessories, under the Penglima Abi, had decamped and 
fortified themselves in a creek, there he attacked and slew 
them ; the few who had remained were seized and krised." 

Tani was caught and executed, though he protested his 
innocence, and on being conveyed to death declared solemnly, 
" I am not guilty, before long the true culprits will be 
discovered." It is perhaps to be regretted that his life was 
not spared on condition of revealing the prime movers of the 
plot. The case was most carefully investigated by the Tuan 
Muda before sentence was passed, and the words he 
employed on his way to execution showed that he had a 
knowledge of the conspiracy. 

Mr. St. John more than hints that Tani was innocent. 
But at the time he was not in Sarawak, but at Bruni, and 

1 A schooner belonging to the S. P. G. Mission. 
2 The national method of execution. 


did not again visit the Rejang. There the justness of the 
execution of Tani has never been questioned, even by his 
son, Buju, who succeeded him, and he was always spoken of as 
one of the most active instigators of the murders. The Malays 
who were in charge of the fort were also put to death for 
surrendering it without a shred of resistance to the assassins, 
and allowing it to be plundered of arms and ammunition, 
and everything it contained, and to be set on fire. It was 
complicity, and not cowardice ; and poor Steele had been 
unwise in his selection of fortmen. 

The Tuan Muda had brought the Datu Haji Gapur 
along with him, 1 not deeming it prudent to leave him in 
Kuching unwatched, and now at Serikei the Sherip 
Masahor came on board, and expressed his earnest desire to 
accompany him up the river, and assist in the pursuit of the 
assassins who had fled. He was urgent that his own armed 
men should surround the Tuan Muda and act as bodyguard, 
but the offer was prudently declined. 

This man was deeply suspected, but I could not find a clue, or a 
tittle of evidence through which he might be brought to trial. I 
thought all in this large river were more or less implicated, but we 
could not put all to death, though conspiracy was rife. Some were 
originators and instigators, some again the active workers ; others 
merely dupes, and some again only listeners, but none talebearers. 
So my course was to meet the Sherip in a friendly manner without 
a shadow of suspicion on my brow, and as he sat on one chair, I 
sat on another within a foot of him. He had his sword, I had 
mine ; both had equally sharpened edges. 

There were also present on deck a guard of armed blunder- 
buss men, and the redoubtable old Subu, 2 

although I beckoned him away, he would take up his seat close to 
me, with his gigantic sword at his waist. We sat and talked cordially 

1 From a letter from the Tuan Muda to his uncle, giving an account of these 
events, it is, however, evident that Haji Gapur had wheedled himself into the Tuan 
Muda's good graces, and had to a large extent regained his confidence. The Haji 
begged to be with him, and was taken. 

- A Singapore Malay, better known as Inchi Subu. He was one of the Malay sailors 
engaged by the Rajah to serve on the Royalist when he first arrived at Singapore. 
He was remarkable for his size and strength. He became personal orderly to the 
late Rajah ; and afterwards to the present Rajah, and was also the executioner. A 
brave and trustworthy man. he was generally popular with Europeans as well as 
natives. He died some years ago. 


on various topics, and he (the Sherip) particularly recommended every 
precaution, as he said he feared badly-disposed men were about. 
So after an hour of this hollow friendship we separated, he going on 
shore again. 'What would he not have given for my head ! 

The executions previously done by Masahor had been 
to get rid of awkward witnesses to his having been an 
instigator of the crime. 

Something had already been done, but much more yet re- 
mained. My wish was to punish those immediately implicated, 
before touching the instigators. I could only get at the former 
by the assistance of the latter. 

I felt apprehensive that I should have difficulties with my own 
people after they had witnessed such severe proceedings, but was 
determined to carry out my original resolve, and permit nothing to 
shake me. I felt, while in this state, no more fear of danger or 
death than of washing my hands in the morning. A man with arms 
constantly about him, and death staring him in the face, soon loses 
the sensation of what people improperly style nervousness. An 
express boat was despatched to Kanowit for the remains of our late 
friends, and they were buried at Serikei near the fort. 1 

The Tuan Muda lingered at Serikei as long as he could, 
waiting for the Sekrang force, but as there were no signs 
of its coming he pushed on to Kanowit, " where there was 
nothing to be seen but black desolation. The poles and some 
fragments of the old houses were left, but nothing else. 
The place looked as if it had been blighted by evil spirits." 

Here he was informed that the Kanowits and others 
under Sawing and Sakalai, two of the principals in the raid 
on Kanowit, had retired up the Kabah, a branch stream of 
the Rejang a short distance above, and had strongly fortified 
themselves there. Hundreds of Dayaks from the Kanowit 
river now came and placed themselves at the Tuan Muda's 
disposal, but they were his quondam enemies, and were but 
doubtful friends. To test their professions of loyalty the 
Tuan Muda ordered them to proceed to attack the enemy's 
fortification, and should they fail to take it they were to sur- 
round it, so as to prevent the enemy decamping, and to await 
his arrival. In the morning they left to execute this order. 

Two days the Tuan Muda waited for his Sekrang rein- 

1 Afterwards re-interred in the Kuching cemetery. 


forcements, whilst the Malays were busy erecting a new fort, 
and then a young Dayak chief from the advance party arrived 
with the information that they had failed in their attack on 
the stockades, and had lost some killed and many wounded, 
but they had obeyed the Tuan Muda's instructions, and had 
taken up positions out of range all round the enemy's position 
— they begged that he would speedily come to their assistance. 
They thus proved that their hearts were well inclined ; and 
these were the people that the Tuan Muda had so severely 
punished three years previously. 

Accordingly early next morning, the Tuan Muda, without 
waiting for the reinforcements, started up-stream in the Jolly 
Bachelor with a small party, and joined the Dayak force, 
which he now felt that he might trust. The Dayaks 
willingly took one of the 6-pounders and the ammunition 
out of the gunboat, and, leaving her in charge of the Datu 
Temanggong, the Tuan Muda marched inland, with a body- 
guard of only forty Malays, and these, though otherwise 
trustworthy, not the best kind of warriors. With the excep- 
tion of Penglima Seman and Abang Ali he had no reliable 

The enemy's position was reached at 1 P.M., and it looked 
an ugly place to take. The Dayaks had built huts around, 
and they now numbered some three thousand. A stockade 
was erected 300 yards from the fortification, the gun mounted, 
and a summons sent to surrender Sawing, Sakalai, and 
others deeply compromised in the murder of Steele and Fox. 
This was refused, and the gun opened fire, which was returned, 
but the rebels' shot went high and told amongst the Dayaks 
in the rear. After forty-five rounds had been fired darkness 
set in. The chief, Sawing, had been heard giving directions 
right and left. He had previously sent a message to the Tuan 
Muda to say that he awaited his arrival and would slaughter 
all his followers — the Malays — for he did not regard the 
Dayaks as his enemies. And he had reason for this, for 
these Dayaks had before been hand-in-glove with the Sherip ; 
but they had turned, and that at a time when an opportunity 
offered of possible retaliation for the punishment formerly 
inflicted upon them. 


In the dusk of the evening a few of our party spoke to the enemy, 
who had suffered much from our shot, and were, they said, willing 
to come to terms. It was now an impossibility, as our force of 
Dayaks would be uncontrollable, and I would never receive them 
except to hang them all, minus the women and children. I did not 
trust much to their hollow words, so despatched a party to bring up 
more ammunition in the morning. The night closed in quiet and 
tranquil. Next morning, my wish was to interfere so as to save the 
women and children, if possible, and I despatched a messenger within 
speaking distance of the house, to demand the Government arms and 
goods that had been taken from the Kanowit fort. After some time 
a few dollars and old muskets were given up ; then I sent to tell the 
women and children to leave. They replied that they were afraid of 
the Dayaks. So, after giving them a certain time, and knowing that 
then further delay was useless, I ordered Abang Ali to advance and 
take the house if he could. The fellows rushed on, yelling terribly. 
I kept our small Malay force together in the stockade with Penglima 
Seman, as a panic might arise among them, and the besieged become 
desperate, and charge us ; so the gun was ready with grape and 
canister to be discharged at a moment's notice. 

After a furious attack, the stockade was entered, and 
there was desperate fighting within between those defending 
it and those entering by climbing the poles that sustained it. 
Then fire was applied, and both ends of the building kindled 
and began to blaze furiously. 

Now came the horror of war indeed. Some were burnt, some 
killed, some taken prisoners, and some few escaped. So ended that 
fortification. Its roof fell with a crash, leaving only its smoking 
embers to tell where it had stood. Our Dayaks were mad with 
excitement, flying about with heads ; many with frightful wounds, 
some even mortal. 

Unhappily the leading murderers escaped ; they succeeded 
in cutting their way through the attacking force. The Tuan 
Muda's party suffered heavily, and about thirty-five Dayaks 
were killed by poisoned arrows. The puncture shows no 
larger than if it had been made by a pin. Drowsiness ensues, 
and death follows in half an hour. One of the Malays, who 
was thus wounded, was saved by being given a glass of 
brandy, and being kept to his feet, walking, in spite of his 
entreaties to be allowed to lie down and sleep. Sakalai's wife 


and some of the women were saved, and were sent to their 

After remaining some time at Kanowit to establish con- 
fidence among the Dayaks, and to set a guard in the new 
fort, of which Abang Ali was placed in charge, the Tuan 
Muda returned to Kuching, stopping on his way at Serikei, 
when again Sherip Masahor dissembled, and received him 
with marked respect and attention ; he subsequently learnt 
that this visit was near being his last to any one on earth. 
At Kuching the Tuan Muda was welcomed by his country- 
men, the Malays and Chinese, with every honour ; what he 
had effected had gladdened the hearts of all, but the troubles 
were not at an end. 

The rumours we have mentioned of the massacre of 
Europeans in Dutch Borneo had caused extreme disquiet 
amongst the natives generally, and the murders of Steele 
and Fox led them to believe that the fate wherewith all 
Europeans were threatened was to overtake those in 
Sarawak as well, and that the Bruni Rajahs were about to 
resume possession of the country. Reports calculated to 
disturb the minds of the people were diligently spread, and 
one, which came from Bruni, was that the Queen of England 
was so incensed against the Rajah that she had ordered his 
execution, and that his life was spared only by the inter- 
vention of the Sultan. 

A deep and intricate plot had been formed, the active 
principals in Sarawak being the Sherip Masahor, the Datu 
Haji, and the Bandar Kasim, and trustworthy intelligence 
was subsequently received that they were being backed up 
by the Bruni Government, or rather the dominant party 
there, by whom an agent had been despatched along the 
coast to extort goods from the natives, and to communicate 
with the Sherip, to whom a kris was presented with which 
the white men in Sarawak were to be put to death. There 
was unity of action, moreover, between the conspirators and 
their friends in Western or Netherlands Borneo, and of this 
the Dutch were aware. They had early intelligence of the 
plotting, and warned the Sarawak Government. But the pre- 
cipitate action at Kanowit and the subsequent proceedings of 


the Tuan Muda had for a time hindered the conspirators, 
and rendered it necessary for them to dissemble, even to the 
extent of sacrificing some of their own supporters, which 
served a double purpose — to throw off suspicion from them- 
selves, and to silence dangerous tongues. But within a 
short time they were again active, though lack of concerted 
action, as in the case of so many other conspiracies designed 
to act simultaneously at various points, led to failure, through 
too great precipitation of some of the plotters. 

The Datu Haji was the first to commence. He had 
remained at Serikei when the Tuan Muda left that place 
on his return from Kanowit, and his object in accompany- 
ing the Tuan Muda there was, while professing loyalty, to 
deliberate with the Sherip. On his return to Kuching he 
proceeded to Lundu, and there incited the Land-Dayaks to 
insurrection, telling them that 2000 white men had already 
been killed, and the rest were to be cut off immediately ; 
he further threatened the Dayaks that if they did not become 
Muhammadans they would share the same fate. This story 
he had told also to Dayaks in the neighbourhood of Kuching. 
A subtle plan was formed to march overland on the town, 
and in the dead of night quietly to fire some houses and 
then fall on the English, who would be certain to turn out 
to help to extinguish the fires, and so would fall easy 

The old Datu Temanggong was the first to warn the 
Tuan Muda. He went to him, and, after taking the pre- 
caution of ordering all his followers out of the room, told 
him to take care of himself, and not to ride and walk about 
unarmed. He further observed that many suspicious re- 
ports were flying about. The chiefs were at once assembled, 
and were unanimous in recommending that the English 
officers should wear arms. " Why do we wear arms ? " 
they said, " because we cannot trust our neighbours." The 
Datu Imaum added that he, being a haji, was not supposed 
to wear a sword, and opening his robe showed a hidden kris, 
sharp as a razor. The Tuan Muda was aware that it was 
useless asking them at this stage to give their authority for 
these suspicions ; he knew they were not yet prepared 


openly to go further than to warn him to be on his 
guard — what had come to their ears would be told him 
privately, and in due course of time. Natives are extremely 
reticent and cautious at such times. The datus did not 
wish to warn foes as well as friends, and were on their 
guard against unsuspected spies and babbling tongues. 
The warning was rightly regarded, and the Tuan Muda 
and his officers prepared to meet the dangers that were 

A few days later the Datu Haji's plot was revealed 
to the Tuan Muda, and he acted with promptitude. " I 
assembled the chiefs, and acquainted them that I should 
turn him out of the country immediately he returned, and 
should prepare at once in case any opposition was shown." 
The chiefs seemed satisfied, and said they were powerless 
with such an old and morose man, and recommended me to 
use my own judgment in dealing with him, engaging to 
assist me. Guns were loaded, and gunboats fenced in, but 
everything was done quietly and without bustle. A guard 
was placed in Government House, and the apertures were 
barred to prevent sudden rushes. The day after the culprit 
returned and was informed that he had to leave the country. 
Friendly people were mustered from neighbouring rivers, 
and were lounging about in groups, ready at a moment's 
notice. All wore arms and work was suspended. Next 
morning came, and the Sarawak chiefs assembled the 
Nakodas (merchants) and population in the Native Court. 1 
The Bandar addressed them in these curt words : " I follow 
the Sarawak Government ; there is business to be done. 
All those who are disposed to follow and assist me, hold up 
their hands." They all responded favourably, and he then 
made known, "The Government banishes Datu Haji and 
Xakoda Dulah, 2 as they are considered too dangerous to 
live amongst us." Some of his relatives conveyed the news 
to him, and told the Haji he had to leave the next day ; an 

1 A Court set apart for the settlement of Probate and Divorce cases and other 
civil suits arising amongst Muhammadans, and which are settled in accordance with 
Muhammadan law. Presided over by the Datus. 

2 A relation of the Datu Haji. He had been very active inciting the people of 
Lundu to revolt. 


allowance would be granted to him by the Government. 
Resistance was useless on his part. So terminated this 
affair. He had been condemned in open court and by his 
own connections, the Bandar and the Imaum. Although 
he had no, or very little, influence in Kuching, he had in 
the country, for he was hand-in-glove with the malcontents 
amongst the Saribas and Sadong Malays, and was the 
cause of the revolt in the Sadong, due to his connection the 
Bandar Kasim. He was at once sent to Singapore, not, 
however, to remain there for long ; and he shortly afterwards 
got himself into further and more serious trouble. He had 
failed, but he knew others would shortly be active, and he 
trusted to them to retrieve his failure, and so prepared to 
join them directly they moved. Bayang, the principal chief 
of the Dayaks, who had joined him, was imprisoned. 

The discovery of this conspiracy, the murders of Steele 
and Fox, and the knowledge that other plots were certainly 
brewing naturally created great alarm amongst the English 
residents. No one felt safe, for none knew the actual ex- 
tent of these plots, or could distinguish between friend and 
foe. The Government Officers were discouraged, for they 
felt that the confidence created by long years of labour, 
anxiety, and kindly intercourse between themselves and the 
natives was fast vanishing. Some of the piratical Dayaks, 
who were being slowly but surely weaned from their evil 
ways and induced to trade and plant, led astray by cunningly 
devised reports, retired again to their fastnesses in the interior 
and defied the Government ; and it was feared that this 
disaffection might spread. 1 Sir Spenser St. John writes : — 

The gentlemen, to a man, stuck to their posts with firmness, - 
the second class lost all courage ; while the Bishop and some of 
the missionaries left, the former taking home news that it was a 
Mahommedan plot, with the Datu Imaum (the rival Mahommedan 
Bishop) at the head of it — whereas the Datu Imaum showed him- 
self, as ever, the true and faithful friend of the English 3 — 

1 It must be borne in mind that Rentap was still at Sadok defying the Govern- 

- Messrs. Watson and Cruicksbank at Saribas, and Mr. Grant at Belidah. In 
Kuching Messrs. Crookshank, k. Hay (who had joined in May 1857). and Alderson, 
a son of Baron Alderson, who served for a short time only. 

3 Life of Sir James Brooke. 


and, we may add, true and faithful he remained for nearly 
fifty years afterwards. 1 

The year of anxiety and careful watching closed without 
any further outbreaks, but early in i860 came the final 
episode, which ended in the complete dispersion of con- 
spiracies and conspirators. 

This was a mad and badly -concerted effort to carry 
through the disorganised plot. It was a plot not only to 
overthrow the Sarawak Government and murder all the 
English, but to massacre the Dutch in Western Borneo 
as well. By industriously spreading false reports, Sherip 
Masahor prepared the way for a rising of the natives against 
their English and Dutch rulers, knowing that if successful 
at one point it would become general. He was well aware 
how easy it would be to impose upon the ignorant and 
sheepish people along the coast, and his bold project was to 
despatch thither a specious and clever Bruni rogue, a 
runaway of rank from Bruni, named Tunjang, who was to 
personate the Pangiran Temanggong, the Prime Minister of 
Bruni, and no less a personage than the late Sultan's son, 
and the heir to the throne, who had now come from Bruni 
to exterminate all Europeans. He was to join the Bandar 
Kasim at Sadong, and advance up that river, raising the 
people to revolt during his progress, and to follow him. 
He was to cross over into Netherlands Borneo, where he 
would find many disaffected against their rulers ready to 
rally around him, and then proceed down the Kapuas and 
attack Pontianak, whither the Datu Haji was to proceed 
from Singapore to organise a second branch of the con- 
spiracy, and to be ready to assist him from within when he 
appeared off that place. They were then to return and 
attack Kuching from the interior, whilst the Sherip made a 
simultaneous attack from the sea. 

The relation of events which followed we take from the 
Tuan Muda's narrative 2 and from official records. 

Early in January, Pangiran Matusin brought the Tuan 
Muda a letter sent him by the impostor, Tunjang, purport 

1 He was better known in later days as the Datu Bandar. 
2 Ten Years in Sarawak. 


ing to be from the Pangiran Temanggong, ordering him to 
proceed to Sadong and there to join this prince, who was 
waiting for a numerous force, which was to number many 
thousands. The Pangiran, the bearers of the letter had told 
him, was exacting and authoritative, and his orders were 
being readily obeyed by the people. Matusin supposed that 
the Temanggong had really come. The letter was a clever 
forgery executed by the Sherip together with others, which 
were subsequently sent to the datus and chiefs calling 
upon them to assist in exterminating all Europeans. The 
Tuan Muda saw in this a dangerous plot, and the hand of 
an impostor, and this was the view taken by the members 
of council. At once strong parties were despatched to cut 
off the evil-doer, whoever he was, and who, false as he 
might be, was capable of doing incalculable harm amongst 
the simple-minded people up-country, and had therefore to 
be dealt with promptly. 

Rightly conjecturing that he might be making for the 
Kapuas, the Tuan Muda despatched one party under Mr. 
Hay to the head of the Sadong by the Sarawak river to 
prevent this, and an express was sent by Sherip Matusain to 
warn the Dutch officials. Though Mr. Hay pressed on, he 
was too late to intercept this pseudo prince, who had crossed 
the border, two days before he arrived, at the head of a strong 
following of Malays and Dayaks. In regal style this prince 
was borne in a litter, as became one of his exalted rank, and 
he now styled himself Sultan. Everywhere he was treated 
with marked respect. Men gladly enrolled themselves in 
his service, and accorded him the large contributions in goods 
and slaves that he exacted. It was arranged that the chiefs 
over the border — of Landak, Sanggau, and Pontianak — were 
to rise along with their people under his command against the 
Dutch ; and, indeed, it is probable that many might have done 
so, for at Sanggau he was received with salutes and all honours. 
But the role of a prince was to be speedily changed for the 
more fitting one of a malefactor in chains. The Dutch 
acted promptly, and one fine morning he found the place 
invested by troops, and the house in which he was staying 
surrounded. Some of his supporters appear to have flown 


to his aid, for one pangiran was killed and another wounded 
— these were genuine pangirans. The impostor surrendered, 
was placed in irons, and conveyed to prison in Batavia ; here 
he was soon joined by the Datu Haji in the same unhappy 
plight. The latter had gone to Pontianak to carry out the 
part assigned to him, and had unwittingly run into a trap, 
for on landing he was immediately arrested. His departure 
from Singapore was known to Mr. Grant, who was then at 
that place, and reported by him to the Dutch Consul there, 
who immediately telegraphed the news to Batavia. 

The countries Tunjang had passed through were in a 
most unsettled state, and the minds of the people were over- 
filled with false reports. Some of the head men were 
prepared to live, and, if needs be, die in support of the mock 
Temanggong. Sadong was in revolt, and the Bandar 
Kasim had sent an open defiance to Kuching. It was 
now known that Sherip Masahor was, and had been from 
the first, the leading spirit of the conspiracy, and Tunjang 
had confessed as much to the Dutch. 1 

Little suspecting the fate that had overtaken his fellow- 
conspirator and trusty agent, and deeming that the time 
had come for him to perform his part — the third branch 
of the conspiracy — Masahor moved on Kuching with a well- 
selected mob of his particular desperadoes. But the Tuan 
Muda was warned of his approach. The chiefs " earnestly 
breathed their anxieties about this individual, saying, ' Do 
what you think best for the safety of the country, we are 
ready to follow you.' All our guns were loaded and we 
never moved without being armed, which gave our friends 
great confidence, and the doubtful ones considerable fear." 
The Sherip was warned that he would be looked upon as an 
enemy and fired upon if he entered Sarawak territory, but 
this warning, if received in time, was unheeded. The Tuan 
Muda now started with a sufficient force to bring the Sadong 
people to their senses, but he had not proceeded far down 
the river before he encountered the Sherip advancing towards 
Kuching with two large prahus crowded with men. The 

1 The Sultan of Bruni affirmed to Consul-General St. John that the Sherip was 
responsible for the murder of Steele and Fox. 


Sherip was brought up and ordered to turn his boats and 
follow the Tuan Muda's flotilla, and this order he dared 
not disobey. The Tuan Muda had no time to deal with him 
then, unless it had been done summarily, which would have 
entailed unnecessary loss of life, so Masahor was escorted 
out of the river, and bidden return to his own country : 
he was warned not to follow into the Sadong. 

The Government station in the Sadong is at Semunjan, 
about twenty miles up the river. The Malays of this place 
were well-disposed. On the Tuan Muda's arrival early 
next night he was immediately warned that the Sherip's 
sole intention in going to Kuching was to put all the white 
men to death, and that he intended to strike at him first, 1 
and a little later came news that the Sherip was anchored in 
the river just below. With enemies before him this rendered 
the situation critical, for the force with him was not large. 
He resolved to deal with the Sherip at once ; " he is the 
enemy to strike, the rest are mere trifles," was the opinion 
of the chiefs with him. 

Xo time was lost. The Jolly Bachelor and the prahus at 
once silently dropped down the river, and took up positions 
around the Sherip's large prahus ; fearing the culprit might 
escape during the night, the sampans, or canoes, attached to 
his prahus were at once taken away. 

The Tuan Muda had only Muhammadan Malays with 
him ; to them the person of a Sherip, a descendant of the 
Prophet, was sacred, and to have him seized and put in irons 
was simply impossible. At dawn he called upon those who 
did not court destruction to leave the Sherip's prahus, which 
several did, and then he opened fire with round shot ; so as 
to spare life, grapeshot was not used. The Sherip's vessel 
was struck about the water- mark, and soon began to fill, 
when a breeze springing up, he cut his cables and drifted 
ashore, escaping into the jungle with a few followers. The 
Tuan Muda's men were reluctant to follow him ; some 
thought the Sherip invulnerable, others that he had the 
power of damping powder and blunting weapons from a 

1 A [x-nsion of 300 reals per mensem had been offered to any one taking the 
Tuan Muda's head ; the danger attached to such an undertaking was evidently duly 


distance, and the search for him was but half-hearted. 
Three times the Tuan Muda had raised his rifle and covered 
the Sherip as he climbed the bank, but spared him. It is a 
pity he was merciful, for wandering down the banks of the 
river the Sherip and his followers came across a boat from 
which two Malays had landed. The boat they seized, and 
in it escaped to Muka — the Malays they wantonly murdered 
to cover their tracks. Among other articles found in his 
prahu was the Sherip's long execution kris ; his bringing this 
was significant. 

Then the Tuan Muda returned up the river. At 
Semunjan he learnt that the Bandar Kasim had incited the 
Malays there to rush the fort whilst he, the Tuan Muda, was 
engaged with the Sherip, but they had declined to have 
anything to do with him. On arriving at Gadong, then the 
principal Malay settlement, the Tuan Muda found that the 
Bandar Kasim and his rebellious clique had decamped over 
the border. He assembled the now thoroughly cowed people, 
and told them they had all been imposed upon by a man, 
passing himself off as a Bruni Rajah, and that he did not 
blame the lower class people. As Bandar Kasim had 
disavowed and challenged the Government the whole of his 
property was confiscated, and all his slaves were liberated. 
The people were assured by the Tuan Muda that he had no 
intention of taking steps to punish their misconduct, though 
he plainly told them they should have known better, and he 
begged them to be more careful in future. They loudly 
upbraided their chiefs for having misled them, and one man 
angrily turning to the people, exclaimed, " You are all a 
parcel of babies, only fit to crawl, instead of standing up- 
right." He spoke the truth, but these poor ignorant creatures 
had not yet learnt to stand upright. The words of their 
chiefs were still law to them, and years of oppression had 
taught them to submit without murmur to the rule of the great 
over their lives and property. But the spell was broken. 
Their chiefs had fled before the Tuan Muda, and the greatest 
Sherip in the land had been utterly routed. The agent of the 
Bruni Government, whose presence on the coast has been 
mentioned, on hearing that the Sherip had been fired upon, left 


his large prahu and fled in fear to Bruni in a small boat, 
declaring that he believed the heavens would collapse next. 
Shortly afterwards the Bandar Kasim arrived at Kuching with 
his whole family, and delivered himself up to the mercy of 
the Government. 

The Tuan Muda then proceeded to Sekrang, and there 
received a letter from the Malay chief of Serikei, Abang Ali, 
urging him to come to their assistance, as Sherip Masahor 
had returned, and was again oppressing the people. At 
once the Tuan Muda collected a flying force of 150 large 
bangkongs, manned by his faithful Dayaks. Serikei was 
found to be deserted, and the Sherip had fled to Igan. His 
fine house was burnt down. After ascertaining that Kanowit 
was safe in the keeping of the people there, the Tuan Muda 
proceeded to Igan, the Sherip's actual stronghold, which was 
reported to be strongly fortified. This place with the district 
around was his own particular property, and was the centre 
of his followers, but he had no heart to face the Tuan Muda 
again, and fled to Muka. Igan was looted and burnt. 
Much of the Sherip's property was seized, including many 
long brass guns, or native cannon, of handsome design, 
which had been heirlooms in his family for generations, 
and some of these now adorn the Court House in 

The expulsion of Sherip Masahor completed the dis- 
comfiture of the conspirators and their adherents, and brought 
their conspiracies to an end. Though lacking unison and 
proper disposition these had menaced extreme danger. But 
the crisis past left the Government more firmly established 
than ever. The Sherips, the Bruni nobles, and the dis- 
affected Sarawak chiefs now realised that their power to 
do harm and to mislead the people was for ever broken. 
Dispelled was all existing doubt as to the power of the 
Government to endure without extraneous assistance ; and 
dispelled from the minds of the people was the myth of the 
might of the Sultan and his nobles. Confidence was 
established in man}- who were at heart in sympathy with a 
Government which brought them justice and security, but 
who, doubting its stability as a bulwark against the oppression 


of their chiefs, had been prepared again to resign themselves 
to their power. 

The repression by the Tuan Muda of this last effort of 
the supporters of extortion and misrule inaugurated an epoch 
of peace and freedom for all time. He had acted with 
vigour, and without delay. His resourcefulness and influence 
over the people enabled him to tide over a most difficult 
time with but poor material, and under the most trying 
circumstances. " I will not praise you, for words fall fiat 
and cold, but you have saved Sarawak, and all owe you a 
deep debt of gratitude," were the words in which his uncle 
and chief conveyed his deserved appreciation of the services 
that had been rendered by him ; and he won for himself the 
entire trust of the people of all classes, a trust that remains 
unimpaired to this day. 

Indifference to the fate of Sarawak had been openly 
expressed by the British Government ; consequently no 
helping hand had been proffered, though the troubles with 
which the State was beset were well known. Even the 
presence of a man-of-war, though she lent no active support, 
would have exercised great moral effect. " Sarawak has 
been encouraged and betrayed," * in mournful anger wrote' 
the Rajah, " England has betrayed us beyond all doubt, and 
in the time of urgent peril cares nothing whether we perish 
or survive." 

In April, Captain Brooke, the Tuan Besar, returned to 
Sarawak and resumed his duties as head of the Government. 
His brother's arrival released the Tuan Muda from his duties 
at the capital, and left him free to devote his time to the 
more active work yet to be done in the provinces, where his 
presence was needed to reassure the people ; and there were 
still the refractory Dayaks of the Serikei and Nyalong to be 
subjected, and Rentap to be smoked out of his lair. 

1 "Sarawak became virtually a protected State. Her ruler was appointed a 
public officer of the Crown, and such unequivocal countenance and support were 
given as to assure the natives, and to induce British subjects to embark their lives and 
fortunes in the country." — The Rajah to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. 
Nevertheless protection and support were withheld. 

The Governor of Singapore sent the H.E. I.C. 's steamer, Hooghly, in November 
1859, to safeguard British interests, but there was no need of her services then, and 
she left almost immediately. 



Tunjang's fate is not recorded. The Dutch offered to 
deliver him up for punishment, but it was left to them to deal 
with him, and no doubt they dealt severely. The Datu Haji 
died at Malacca, and Bandar Kasim in Kuching. The 
confiscation of his property was deemed sufficient punish- 
ment, but he was not permitted to return to Sadong. The 
last phase of Sherip Masahor is recorded in the next 

We will now briefly follow the Rajah's movements in 
England, whither he had gone mainly for a rest, which was, 
however, denied him. To add to the mental worries caused 
by intense desire to safeguard the future of his adopted 
country, he was visited by a grave bodily affliction. 

His reception by Court and by Ministers was more cordial 
than on his previous visit to England, and he was publicly 
entertained at Liverpool and Manchester, but shortly after- 
wards he was struck down by a stroke of paralysis. Though 
some months passed before he recovered his bodily strength, 
the vigour of his mind remained unimpaired. 

In his efforts to obtain protection he was backed by 
many influential friends, and by public bodies. The 
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce memorialised the Govern- 
ment to restore the protection afforded to Sarawak up to 
1 85 1, and a large and influential deputation, representing 
the mercantile interests of Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, 
and, to some extent, London, with several members of 
Parliament, waited upon Lord Derby with the same object. 
Lord Derby's refusal was severely commented upon by the 
Times, and it occasioned a difference in the Cabinet. The 
subject would again have been entertained, had not the 
Government shortly afterwards gone out on their Reform 
Bill. 1 

The Rajah was left with but little hope. He felt that the 
Government of both parties desired to be rid of Sarawak, 
and that the country was indifferent ; moreover he was fully 
assured that Sarawak could not stand alone. England 
failing, Holland was tried, but " Holland," he writes, " declares 
openly that there is an understanding the country shall fall 

1 From Miss Jacobs, The Raja of Sarawak. 


to them after my death." Then France was tried ; and the 
protection of France, the Rajah was of opinion, could have 
been gained had the Tuan Besar been whole-hearted in the 
negotiations. But the Tuan Besar did not share the Rajah's 
opinion that Sarawak could not maintain its independence 
unsupported, and disliked the idea of handing the country- 
over to a Foreign Power, and in this he was supported by 
the Tuan Muda. The Rajah wisely gave way to what has 
since proved to be the better judgment of his nephews, and he 
wrote to the Tuan Muda, " as my views for Sarawak are at 
an end, and as we are now to run the risk, with a rational 
prospect of success, to sustain the Government I will loyally 
and cheerfully work to falsify my own convictions. Time 
brings changes, and may work upon the British Government. 
But it was a fatal mistake to let slip an opportunity of safety, 
recognition, and permanency, 1 and to allow an English preju- 
dice to interfere with Sarawak. However, it is past, and the 
juncture requires union, and united we will cheerily work," 
— and time was very shortly to work on the British Govern- 
ment in favour of Sarawak. 

But pecuniary failure was also staring Sarawak in the face. 
The Borneo Company, Limited, suffering under severe losses 
consequent on the Chinese insurrection and the continued 
disturbed state of the country, were losing heart ; they 
considered it advisable to withdraw from Sarawak, and such 
a step on their part would have been fatal to the invest- 
ment of further British capital in the country. In the next 
place, the Rajah was being pressed for repayment of a large 
sum of money, which, for the purposes of the Government, he 
had found it necessary to borrow after the ruin caused by the 
Chinese insurrection. But " the Borneo Company persevered, 
and has long since reaped the benefit of so doing," 2 and a kind 
and ever staunch friend, Miss (afterwards Baroness) Burdett- 
Coutts, relieved him of his pressing debt by a loan free of 
interest. She further advanced the money to purchase a 
steamer, a very urgent need, and the Rajah bought a little 
vessel which he named the Rainbow — " the emblem of hope," 

1 Referring to the protection of France. 
- Miss Jacobs, op. cit. For a special account of this Company see Chap. XVI. 



and never was a rainbow after a storm more welcome. Of her 
the Tuan Muda wrote that " she was welcomed as a god-send 
of no ordinary description, whereby communication could be 
quickly carried on and outposts relieved or reinforced within 
a short time. She was the small piece of iron and machinery 
which could carry Sarawak's flag, and raise the name of the 
Government in the minds of the people along the coast." 

A testimonial to the Rajah had also been raised by 
public subscription " as a simple, earnest, and affectionate 
testimony of friends to a noble character and disinterested 
services — services which, instead of enriching, had left their 
author broken by illness and weariness of heart, with threaten- 
ing poverty." 1 With a portion of this fund he purchased 
Burrator, a small estate in the parish of Sheepstor, on the fringe 
of Dartmoor, in Devon. It was then very much out of the 
world, having no station nearer than Plymouth, some miles 
off, and the intervening roads were steep, narrow, and bad. 
The situation is singularly picturesque ; a moorland village, 

Sir Thomas Fair bairn, Bart. 


with a church of granite under the bold tor that gives its 
name to the place. Its wildness and seclusion charmed him, 
and there he settled in June, 1859, "trusting to live in 
retirement, in peace ; but there is no peace for me with 
Sarawak in such a state," for the news of the Malay 
conspiracies caused him further distress of mind, and he 
resolved to return to Sarawak. 



N 1856, the 
Honourable G. 
\V. Edwardes had 
been appointed 
Governor of La- 
buan ; Mr. Spenser 
St. John being 
Consul - General at 
Bruni. The Governor was known to have imbibed all 
the prejudices and antipathies fostered in England by- 
Mr. Gladstone and his tail ; and he was eager in every- 
thing to hamper the development of the little State of 
Sarawak. He was not, however, authorised to interfere in 
the relations between Bruni and Sarawak, nor in the internal 
affairs of these States, where he had no jurisdiction ; but 
when the Consul-General left on leave early in i860, the 
Consular Office was handed over to him, and he was then 
placed in a position to give vent to his bias, and, as Sir 
Spenser St. John remarks, "he was delighted to get a chance 
of giving a blow to Sarawak." With regard to Sherip Masahor, 
" he acted against his better judgment," and with regard to the 


MUKA 247 

subsequent events at Muka " against the strong advice of his 
own experienced officers." 1 

Sherip Masahor, after having been driven out of Sarawak, 
retired to Muka, and, having established his family and 
numerous followers there, passed on to Bruni to lay his case 
before the Sultan. Consul-General St. John was then on 
the point of leaving, but before his departure he received 
information from the Sultan which left little doubt " that 
Masahor had instigated the murder of — had, in fact, by his 
paid agents, murdered — Messrs. Fox and Steele."" On his 
way to England Mr. St. John visited Kuching, and there 
obtained evidence which quite convinced him of the Sherip's 
guilt, and he then wrote to the Sultan, calling upon him to 
deliver up the Sherip to the Sarawak Government. But this 
letter passing into acting Consul-General Edwardes' hands 
was suppressed by him. He had seen the plausible Sherip, 
who had been sent to him by the Sultan, and not only 
declined to believe in his guilt, but advised the Sultan that 
his detention was not justifiable, and that he should be 
permitted to return to Muka ; there to watch and if needs be 
oppose the aggression of the Rajah's nephews. To add fuel 
to the flame, he led the Sultan to believe that prosperous 
Sarawak would soon be restored to Bruni — a tempting 
prospect for the covetous and plundering nobles. 

Writing to the Tuan Besar, under date July 4, 1 860, 
Governor Edwardes says : — 

After careful consideration of the documents sent, and examina- 
tion of the case, I am unable to arrive at the conviction that Sherip 
Masahor is guilty of instigating the murders of Messrs. Fox and 
Steele, or of such complicity to justify me to induce his Highness to 
surrender him. 

His Highness, and the Rajahs, have expressed the most earnest 
desire to further the ends of justice, and to afford every assistance to 
the Sarawak Government. I have full confidence in their sincerity. 

I have not hesitated to inform his Highness and the Rajahs that 
I consider the evidence insufficient and that he (Sherip Masahor) 
could not with justice be surrendered. 

As regards the Tuan Muda's actions in attacking and 

1 Life of Sir James Brooke. 2 Idem. 


driving Sherip Masahor out of Sarawak, Mr. Edwardes wrote 
that these " have greatly prejudiced the British name and 
character in this country, and have engendered a strong feel- 
ing of hostility to this colony (Labuan)." 

In obedience to instructions the poor Sherip had gone to 
Kuching from Serikei, taking certain Government monies and 
properties. In the Sarawak river he had met the Tuan 
Muda coming down, and he then received orders to follow hirn 
and join in an attack on Sadong. He obeyed, and on 
entering the Sadong river brought up and anchored, the Tuan 
Muda going on. The same evening the Tuan Muda dropped 
down, anchored close to his prahu, sent and borrowed his 
small boat, and the next morning unexpectedly fired upon 
him. This is the story the Sherip told the Governor at Bruni, 
and this is the story the Governor found it suitable to his 
purpose to believe, though he Jwped it was not true, and that 
he would be able " to clear away so great a stain upon the 
British name." 1 

The energetic Sherip, before he left Muka had stirred up 
his brother-in-law, the sleepy Pangiran Xipa, in charge there, 
to reconstruct and strengthen the defences of the place, and 
there he was joined by his Igan and Segalang people. No 
Sarawak traders were allowed to enter the port to obtain 
raw sago, and the Muka people were forbidden to have any 
commercial dealings with Kuching. A vessel chartered by 
a Madras trader, a British subject, was prohibited under the 
heaviest penalties from entering the Sarawak river, and 
two of his companions, also British subjects, were detained 
as hostages against his doing so. A fleet of twenty-five 
Sarawak vessels had been forced to collect at Bruit, permis- 
sion having been refused to enter Muka to load sago ; and 
the sago factories in Kuching were rendered idle. 

From Bruni two agents had arrived at Muka, the Bandari 
Samsu and Makoda Muhammad, whose sole business was 
to spread false reports for the purpose of stirring up feelings 
of hostility against the English in Sarawak. A spear (the 
usual token of a call to arms) had been sent through the Sea- 
Dayak countries under Sarawak rule by the Sherip to order 

1 Extracted from Governor Edwardes' letter to the Tuan Besar of May 25, i860. 

MUKA 249 

the Dayaks in the names of the Bruni Rajahs to repair to 
Muka, and that would have led to the coast, from Rejang to 
Bintulu, under the Sultan's rule, being ravaged by thousands 
of Dayaks, and the heads taken of every man, woman, and 
child met by them ; fortunately, however, the Sarawak 
officials were able to keep the Dayaks in. 

The Tuan Muda had received a letter from the Pangiran 
Temanggong couched in the most friendly terms, repudiating 
the acts of Nipa, and informing him that the Muka river was 
to be opened for trade to all alike ; but in the meantime the 
Bruni Court, always playing a double game, had despatched 
the two agents above mentioned, with an order that the 
Sarawak nakodas were not to be allowed to fly the Sarawak 
flag at Muka, nor to trade directly with the Muka people, 
but only through the Bruni Pangirans. 

Acting upon the Temanggong's assurance, the Sarawak 
vessels had gone to Muka, but off the mouth the nakodas 
had been warned that they would be fired on if they entered, 
and the bearer of a friendly letter from the Tuan Besar to 
the Pangiran Nipa was refused admittance. With the aid 
of the Temanggong's letter, the Tuan Besar determined to 
try by friendly negotiations to get Pangiran Nipa to be 
reasonable, and failing that to send the Tuan Muda on to 
Bruni to complain to the Sultan. 

In June, i860, they anchored off the bar, and a Sambas 
Malay, the nakoda of a vessel flying Dutch colours, was com- 
missioned to take in a letter saying that the Tuan Besar had 
come as a friend, and as bearer of a letter from the Pangiran 
Temanggong of Bruni, to the effect that Muka was not to be 
closed to Sarawak traders. No reply was vouchsafed, and 
with telescopes it was observed from the gunboats that earth- 
works were being thrown up at the mouth of the river. The 
Tuan Besar then decided to take up the message himself, 
and two small boats were sent in to sound the bar, upon 
which a large war prahu came out and fired at them. This 
was a declaration of war, and the Tuan Besar resolved to let 
them have what they invoked. 

The following is an account of the affair as given by the 
Tuan Muda in his book, Ten Years in Sarawak, 1866 : 



We plainly perceived that the enemy was preparing in earnest for 
opposition. Temporary stockades were being erected at the entrance 
and many hundreds of people were collecting heaps of wood in 
various places on the shore ; these were to be burnt, and their inten- 
tion was to raise a strong breeze to drive us from our anchors and 
drift us on to the coast. The idea of the effect was correct, that 
excess of heat would produce a vacuum, and cause an inshore current 
of air. However, their fires were not sufficient, and the expected 
effect did not follow. 


Plan of operations at 

t ^ 



S aao 

A Old moulti »om dry P'esert '".'_•' 1 8 
CCCC Enemy s s/oc*odn 


a n 

a t 




Disz Tht Tuan Sesars camps 
£l23S4 Positions of Venus Boo** Of E 2 

F ftortgiron Ladas fortified nouse 








G Route of the Tuan tfudos force 
H Panoirdtt NipdS fortified house 

M UA\': : .K A 






The town of Muka lies about two miles up the river of 
the same name, and is situated on both banks of that river 
and of another, the Telian, smaller in volume, that here flows 
into it. At the mouth was not only the usual bar, the 
channel through which had been staked to obstruct the 
entrance, but also a long sandy finger of land on the north 
side, which at that time deflected the tortuous stream. Behind 
the gunboats was a fleet of traders impatient to enter and 
obtain their cargoes ; for which they were more eager than 
for exposure to danger. 

MUKA 251 

We had received an announcement of a large party among the 
enemy being in favour of at once making peaceful overtures ; and 
even the headman's brother, Pangiran Lada, advised the opening of 
their river, and admission of our boats to trade ; but the headman 
himself, Pangiran Nipa, was firm in the grasp of Sherip Masahor's 
mother and sister, who were hostile to any approach to friendly 
relations. Many of our people had relatives among the enemy, 
some even had wives living in Muka. A council of war was held 
on board the Venus l in the evening, at which all the chiefs and 
Europeans were present. It was decided that an advance should 
be made next morning for the entrance to the Muka river. A land- 
ing party was appointed to cut off the narrow point which extends to 
the mouth. By landing there and making a demonstration, the 
enemy would give up their lower stockade, and the pinnaces might 
then have free ingress over the bar and through the narrow channel. 

The Tuan Besar took charge of the landing party, which, 
however, could not effect much, as it was so small, and a 
despatch was sent off to Kuching to hurry up reinforcements. 
The Tuan Muda was in command of the little fleet of three 
small gunboats. 

Morning came, and we were on the alert before the sun had 
given any signs of approaching the horizon, and within a few minutes 
we were gliding along (the Tuan Muda aboard the Venus), with a 
light though full breeze steering to the nearest point for crossing the 
bar ; then we again came to anchor. Our first work was to draw 
the spikes, which were soon shaken with bowline knots let down to 
their base. We opened a passage wide enough for an entry, and 
with one boat in tow we advanced towards the mouth. The sea 
was as calm as a pond, and the morning bright without a cloud. 
We had crossed over the bar with only six inches under our keel, 
and a stake had dragged along under our bottom without doing 
injury even to the copper. 

One boat, commanded by a gallant native, Penglima Seman (who 
has so often been mentioned before), was ahead of us, and drawing 
towards the enemy's stockades, at which we opened fire directly we 
were within range. The enemy soon abandoned this position and 
made off up the river as fast as boats would carry them. We then 
entered the river, and anchored about half-way between the mouth 
and the enemy's fortifications to await further orders, and become 
better acquainted with the position of what forts and obstacles they 
might have thrown in our way, to allow time also for the remainder 

1 A sailing gunboat of 50 tons, just launched, and manned with a crew of twelve 
Englishmen and twenty Malays. 


of our flotilla to join us. We inspected the enemy's fortifications in 
the afternoon, and found that they were holding a high and formid- 
able-looking stockaded house of two stories, the lower having port- 
holes for large guns, and the upper pierced with small apertures for 
the firing of lelahs (brass ordnance of native manufacture). There 
were also small stockades, protected with sacks full of raw sago. 

The position was well chosen, and had thorough command of a 
long reach in the river. A few yards below the fort were two large 
booms fastened across the river, with no apparent passage for boats 
to pass through. 

A landing party was despatched in the morning to reconnoitre the 
enemy's position, and a temporary enclosure was then thrown up by 
our party beyond the range of the enemy's guns, to form a basis for 
active operations, from which nearer stockades could be fed and 
watched, — 

that is to say, advanced stockades could be thrown up and 
kept supplied with men and ammunition. 

The Tuan Besar was at the head of two hundred men, 
but on a good many of these no reliance could be placed. 
After having established a basis of operations on the spit of 
land at the mouth, he was to advance in the direction of the 
town. This was done, and as the force approached it was 
saluted with fire from the guns in the stockades and houses, 
but that did little damage, and the party set to work in- 
trenching itself. " Nearly the first shot fired entered a 
prog-basket and smashed a bottle of gin. A few only 
were wounded, and the escape from further casualties was 

The Tuan Muda was now resolved on running the 
gauntlet past the town, up the river, so as to place it 
between himself and the land force under the Tuan Besar, 
whose position was in danger. It would be a hazardous as 
well as a daring attempt, but he prepared for it in an 
ingenious manner, by constructing a stockade round the 
Venus. Long beams were placed across the schooner, and 
to them a framework was attached horizontally, and upon 
this frame a stockade was erected, screening the deck 
and the sides to the water's edge, so that the / r enus assumed 
the appearance of a monstrous " Jack in the Green " or 
haystack. The thick planks reached to five feet above the 
bulwarks, and were pierced with holes through which the 

MUKA 253 

guns could play on the enemy's fortified houses as the Venus 
drifted up-stream with the tide. This took two days to 
accomplish. Meanwhile on shore the land party had thrown 
up a bank for protection, and further the natives had dug 
pits about two feet deep in which they lay after duty, and 
were thus completely protected from the enemy's shot. 

But no progress up the river could be effected till the 
booms had been removed, and this would not be an easy 
matter, as they were commanded by the forts. It could be 
effected only at night, and by expert and daring swimmers. 
The Tuan Muda, Pangiran Matusin, and a nakodah, under- 
took the task. Under cover of the darkness, in a small 
canoe, they stole softly up the bank, unobserved, and then 
the pangiran and nakoda entering the water, with their 
swords set to work to sever the rattans that held the booms 
in place. These rattans had been twisted together to the 
thickness of a hawser cable, and had to be cut under water. 
It was an anxious time for the Tuan Muda, as any moment 
might have brought a volley on their heads. 

In an hour they were severed. Towards the latter part of the 
time, the enemy were on the alert, and one boom moved slightly 
with the tide, when a few harmless shots ensued, which we heard 
pass over our heads among the leaves. At length the two men 
returned, ,and the enemy cried out, " Our booms are adrift," and 
forthwith banged away, but never caught sight of us. Matusin was 
so exhausted that I had to assist him into the boat, and at first I 
thought he was wounded. 

The tide was ebbing, and the booms, now disengaged, 
floated downwards towards the sea. The passage was clear 
for the venture upwards of the Venus. Messrs. Watson 
and John Channon accompanied the Tuan Muda, who had a 
crew of nine Europeans, besides the Malay complement. 

On that night the attempt was to be made, anchor to 
be raised half an hour before midnight, when the tide was 
flowing. Happily the weather favoured, as a thick mist and 
drizzling rain set in. 

We triced up the awnings and up anchor, when the tide 
swept us on so swiftly that I soon found it would be hopeless 
trying to turn the vessel, so we drifted stern first, with two oars out 
on each side to assist in steering. Our guns were loaded and ready, 



and not a voice was to be heard as we silently and swiftly drifted 
along. I stood on the top of the stockade to pilot the vessel. 
We were soon off the camp (of the land force under the Tuan 
Besar), from which I was hailed to look out as the enemy would 
fire on us directly. I replied " All right," and then stepped on 
deck to be under cover. Just as I was so doing, a shot was fired 
from the bank close abreast of us. Another five minutes, and we 
were fairly in the fray. I heard the enemy call " Look out, the 
pinnace is drifting up,'" and they blazed on us volley after volley, as 
we lay within five or six yards of their fortifications. Watson 
watched to fire as the enemy opened their ports, but the haze was 
far too dense for us to discern anything at all ; I soon found, 
however, that we were not progressing, and had fouled something. 
We swung to and fro, at times close under the enemy's guns, and 
then away into the centre of the stream. 

We let go our anchor and hauled it up again, but all to 
no purpose, and we were at a loss to know what had fouled us. 
We then laid out a kedge and hove it home, without moving clear, 
and every now and then we blazed our 6-pounder of grape into the 
enemy, while they peppered us incessantly. The position was far 
from pleasant with guns banging all around and the fog and 
smoke so dense as to preclude a possibility of making out our 
position. At length I found that a large rattan made fast to one of 
the booms which had been cut adrift was holding us. The rattan 
was across the river, and the enemy had evidently entertained the 
intention of reconstructing their booms that night. I ordered a 
plucky young native 1 to jump down and cut it, which he did with 
two strokes of his sword. This had been holding us now for more 
than two hours under the enemy's fire. 

Directly the rattan was gone, the schooner swung 
sufficiently to bring the guns to bear on a lofty building 
whence most of the firing had come, and, after a round of 
"rape, the wailing of women was heard issuing from it, and 
the enemy's fire was silenced. Xext morning it was ascer- 
tained that the Pangiran Lada, brother of Pangiran Nipa, 
and some of his followers had been killed. The tide was 
still flowing, and the Venus drifted on above the town, and 
anchor was cast within range of all the houses. Only one 
small stockaded place continued to fire on her. 

Four hours had elapsed since we started ; for three we had been 
exposed to fire. When we had passed the danger, our men gave 

1 Dagang, a brave Balan Dayak, who subsequently filled man}- positions of trust, 
as j\, - tit and native officer, now retired on pension. 

MUKA 255 

three hearty cheers, which was answered by the party in the camp. 
At daylight we found a goodly mess on our decks, shot, pieces of 
iron, and nails in bucketfuls ; our spars and ropes had been con- 
siderably damaged and cut about. The awnings were riddled with 
grape and nails ; scarce a square foot had escaped uncut, but only 
two men were wounded, one, an Englishman, in the face. The 
other was struck in the leg by a splinter ; but the barricading of 
wood had most effectually saved us all ; without it, I don't think 
one would have lived to tell the story. 

After an hour's work, the deck had been cleared, and then we 
opened fire upon the enemy's village, or rather on the headman's 
house (Pangiran Nipa's), which had guns mounted on the roof. 
The women and children had all been taken up a small stream on 
which the village is situate. 1 The only return was kept up by the 
small stockade which had troubled us on the previous night, and 
this place must have been guarded by some very determined fellows. 
The whole country — if only we had an available force with us 
— was in our hands. To all appearance the place was deserted, 
and it provoked us beyond measure not to be able to take the 
initiative. In the course of the afternoon we determined to pull 
higher up the river, and take up a position to communicate with 
our force at the mouth. We should also be above the enemy's 
fortifications, and enabled to receive and support those who were 
inclined to favour our cause. 

Here the Tuan Muda was constrained to remain for 
over a month, as was also the Tuan Besar below the town, 
waiting for reinforcements from Kuching. 

Desultory fighting, firing at the forts and from them, 
and attempts made to waylay those who passed between the 
camp and the Venus occupied the tedious interval, but at 
length the desired help came ; and those who arrived were 
divided between the force under the Tuan Besar, which 
would be engaged in a frontal attack on the town, whilst the 
other force, under the Tuan Muda, would march inland to 
make a flanking movement. 

Everything being ready, the Tuan Muda started, draw- 
ing with him a 6-pounder gun. The Englishmen of his 
party numbered nine. The advance was by no means easy. 
The ground was rough and treacherous, full of bog-holes, 
and the enemy hovered around, and kept blazing at the 
party from every cover. 

1 The Telian. 


" Pangiran Matusin was indefatigable ; no weight seemed 
too heavy for his powerful limbs to lift, and although a man 
of rank, he worked as one of his slaves. At midnight we 
fitted our 6-pounder brass gun, and fired one shot to see that 
it was ready. The enemy fired all night, and the quantity 
of ammunition expended must have been considerable." 

On the morrow, at daybreak, all preparations were made 
for a further advance, when a messenger arrived from the 
Tuan Besar ordering the cessation of further hostilities, as 
Mr. Edwardes, Governor of Labuan, had arrived off the 
mouth of the Muka in the H.E.I.C.'s steamer Victoria, had 
peremptorily forbidden them, and had threatened, unless he 
were instantly obeyed, that he would fire a broadside upon 
the Sarawak camp. He further sent a messenger into Muka 
to inform the Pangiran Nipa that he and his were taken 
under British protection, and to forbid any more hostilities 
whilst the Sarawak forces were withdrawing. 

The indignation and consternation produced by this 
interference can be better imagined than described. The 
Tuan Muda was of course obliged to withdraw and descend 
the river, jeered at by the enemy at every point, who, regard- 
less of the orders of the Governor of Labuan, continued to 
fire at the party, which fire they did not venture to return. 

We reached the headquarters shortly after mid-day, and I was 
present at a discussion before the Governor, an old and infirm 
man, who most doggedly attempted by every means in his power 
to bring disgrace on our little State. He expressed himself with 
marked favour towards the Sherip Masahor and his followers here, 
notwithstanding that they had been the murderers of two English- 
men only the year before. The Governor held interviews in the 
houses of the natives of Muka (our enemies), and reports were 
listened to, even credited, of the demands and deceits of the 
Sarawak government. None but the most blind and prejudiced 
could have entertained a doubt of the absurdity of these assertions, 
but the Governor's duty appeared to be a preconcerted business to 
disgrace our flag, 1 and to defeat our objects, which were, firstly, 
to open trade ; secondly, expel Sherip Masahor and his myrmidons, 
and establish some creditable government that would enable traders 
to hold their property and lives in safety. 

1 Under the pretext of " having a proper regard for British interests, and the 
honour of my country." — Governor Edwardes to the Tuan Besar, July 31, i860. 

MUKA 257 

He found fault with the proceedings of Pangiran Matusin, 
and was startled when told the man in question was sitting opposite 
him. A few papers were immediately produced by the Pangiran 
to justify his acts. The signatures of the Rajahs of Bruni were 
attached to the documents, and the old Pangiran's quiet, gentle 
voice, under as resolute an eye and countenance as could be seen, 
softened the Governor's heart towards him. 

If this untimely interference had not taken place, the country 
would have been in our hands in three days. 

Under protest, and with an intimation that the matter 
would be referred to the Foreign Office, the Sarawak force 
retired, followed by boatloads of the more peaceful inhabitants, 
who entreated not to be left to Sherip Masahor's vengeance. 

Governor Edwardes informed the Tuan Besar that he 
had received power from the Sultan to interfere, and then 
called upon him in the name of the Queen to retire from 
Muka ; he was acting as a minister of Bruni as well as a 
British official. 

The Tuan Besar was unwilling to risk a collision. 

He need not have paid any attention to the Governor's 
summons, and it is probable that had he refused to listen to it, 
Mr. Edwardes would not have dared to interfere with violence. 
But Captain Brooke took the wise course of withdrawing his force 
and appealing for justice to the British Government. For this 
conciliatory and prudent step he received Lord Russell's thanks. 
I will not enlarge on Mr. Edwardes' conduct, but his constant 
association with the murderers of his countrymen was very much 
commented upon. 1 

Protesting against the action of the Governor " as 
seriously affecting British trade and compromising the safety 
of British subjects," the Singapore Chamber of Commerce 
wrote to Lord John Russell, October 5, that the Governor 
was actuated by jealousy of Sarawak, " the interests of that 
colony (Labuan) being in some degree opposed to that of 
the settlement of Sarawak, the latter having attracted to 
it a large trade, part of which might but for the existence of 
Sarawak be expected to find its way to Labuan." 

Before the Tuan Besar left Muka, the Governor, both by 
word and in writing, pledged himself not to leave Muka until 
all the forts there had been demolished, and he guaranteed 

1 St. John, op. cit. 



that trade should be opened, and that all those, both at Muka 
and Oya, who had sided with the Sarawak Government 
should not in any way be punished. But these were 
promises he had no intention to perform, neither had he any 
power to do so, for he returned to Labuan the day after the 
Tuan Besar had departed, and left Sherip Masahor under 
the aegis of the British flag to work his own sweet will on 
the people. By a significant coincidence the Sherip's arrival 
there had been simultaneous with his own. 

Furthermore, Mr. Edwardes had brought down with him 
a Bruni minister, the Orang Kaya de Gadong, the head of 
the Council of Twelve, known as " a consistent opponent of 
any intercourse with Christian nations ; and when forced by 
business to sit and converse with Europeans, the expression 
of his face is most offensive, and he was one of the few 
natives I have met who appeared to long to insult you. 
He was one of the most active of those engaged in the 
conspiracy to assassinate the Rajah Muda Hasim, partly on 
account of his supposed attachment to the English alliance." ] 
This was the man who was to act as the Sultan's agent, 
and when the Governor had left he cruelly vindicated his 
authority in the usual Bruni fashion. He levied heavy fines 
which he wrung from these poor people, returning to Bruni 
with many thousand dollars' worth of property, and taking 
with him the names of thirty rebels to be submitted to the 
Sultan as deserving of death. But rebels against the 
Sultan they were not. They had heard three years before 
the Sultan's mandate enpowering the Rajah to guard and 
guide their affairs, ordering peace, and authorising the Rajah 
to punish any breach of it ; they had heard the Rajah 
pledge himself to punish any who by their actions should 
disturb it. Xow for forming a party in favour of peace 
and order, and for holding themselves aloof from the real 
disturbers of peace, they were handed over for punishment 
to the latter by a British official. These unfortunate people 
could not resist. Resistance was rendered impossible, as the 
Orang Kaya and the Sherip had come down backed by a 
man-of-war, which represented a power which they well 
1 St. John, Life in the Forests ,•/ th, Far Hast. 

MUKA 259 

knew was far stronger than the Sarawak Government, to 
which they would have otherwise looked for help. 

This, however, was not the only evil caused by the 
wanton and capricious act of Governor Edwardes. The 
whole country was disturbed. The peaceably disposed were 
filled with apprehension, and all the restless and turbulent 
Sea-Dayaks encouraged by reports, which, though exagger- 
ated, were but the natural consequence of the Governor's 
action, coupling his name and the Sherip's together as the 
real Rajahs of the country, prepared to protect the enemies 
of the Sarawak Government with men-of-war. The Sherip's 
henchman, Talip, the actual murderer of Steele, led a large 
force of Kayans down the Rejang river, attacked the Katibas, 
and destroyed fourteen Dayak villages. This was done 
because these Dayaks had been staunch to the Tuan Muda 
against the Sherip. The Malays at Kanowit were seized with 
a panic, and the Tuan Besar seriously entertained the idea of 
abandoning the station, which would have meant the sago 
districts being again exposed to the raids of the Dayaks. 
Sherip Masahor was left at Muka, with all the prestige of 
having the Governor on his side, to reorganise his plots, with 
tenfold more power to do mischief than before ; and just as 
confidence had been again established after the late troubles, 
the lives of the Europeans were again endangered. The 
sago trade was ruined. The Sarawak vessels had to return 
empty ; the factories in Kuching to suspend work ; and the 
Singapore schooners to sail without cargoes. 

Whilst the Tuan Besar returned to the capital to direct 
affairs there, the Tuan Muda remained on the coast to 
oppose any aggressive action the Sherip and his Bruni 
colleagues might conduct against those within the borders, 
as also to counteract their growing influence. The Melanaus 
of Rejang village, who were not safe where they were, to 
the number of 2000, he saw safely moved to Seboyau. 
Numbers of Muka, Oya, and Matu people also abandoned 
their homes, and shifted into Sarawak territory. The 
Kalaka Malays, although in Sarawak territory, were so near 
the borders that they did not deem themselves safe, and sent 
an urgent message to the Tuan Muda for protection whilst 


they made their preparations for moving. He at once went 
to them, remained with them until they were ready, and then 
in the Venus escorted them to Lingga. All these wretched 
people had to abandon their sago estates and gardens, but 
they deemed anything preferable to constant danger to life 
and liberty, and to being ground down to supply the rapacity 
of the Bruni nobles. 

Fearing that many of their people would be led astray 
by the agents of Sherip Masahor, who were now all over 
the country withdrawing people from their allegiance to 
the Government, the well-disposed Dayak chiefs of the 
Kanowit earnestly begged that an English officer should 
be stationed there. The Tuan Muda visited Kanowit 
without delay, and with the aid of the people built a new 
fort in a better position. Having obtained the sincerest 
promises from the Dayaks to protect and support him, 
the Tuan Muda left young Mr. Cruickshank in charge, 
and then returned to Sekrang. Active measures had also 
to be taken against a large party of Dayaks in the Saribas 
who had fortified themselves in preparation for the coming 
of the Sherip, and these were driven out. But the Saribas 
Malays were surprisingly staunch. " Enemies were numerous 
up the rivers Sekrang, Saribas, Kalaka, Serikei, and Kanowit, 
numbering many thousands of families, all of whom relied 
on the support of Sherip Masahor," l and these had to be 
watched and kept in check by punitive forces despatched in 
different directions. The heads of these rivers have one 
water-shed, and the focus of the malcontented Dayaks 
was Rentap's reputed impregnable stronghold on Sadok. 
Owing to its situation, almost in the centre of this water- 
shed, it was at once a support and a refuge to those Dayaks, 
and around it they gathered. The powers of the Govern- 
ment during the past few years had been taxed to their 
utmost, so that Rentap of necessity had been left un- 
disturbed, and with the munitions of war supplied by the 
Sherip, and the staunch support of the Kayans his power had 
increased. But the Tuan Muda was not to be denied, and 
his fall was near. 

1 Ten Years in Sarawak. 

MUKA 261 

In November, i860, the Rajah left England, and with 
him went the Consul-General, Mr. S. St. John, and Mr. 
Henry Stuart Johnson ] to join his uncle's service. After 
a short detention in Singapore waiting for the Rainbow, he 
arrived at Kuching on Feburary 12, 1861. 

The Consul-General now officially informed the Council 
of Sarawak that the British Government disavowed and 
totally disapproved of Governor Edwardes' proceedings. 
But though they reprimanded him, they supported him in 
office. His term as Governor was, however, very shortly to 
expire, but not till he had seen, what must have been gall 
and bitterness to his soul, as it certainly was to his backers 
in England, the cession by the Sultan to Sarawak of Muka 
and all the region of the sago plantations, the produce of 
which he had hoped to secure for Labuan, and the banish- 
ment of Sherip Masahor from Borneo. 

Mr. St. John went on to Bruni and relieved Mr. 
Edwardes of his position as Consul-General, and was the 
tactful and just medium for arranging the difficulties pro- 
duced by the conduct of the latter. He says : 

I established myself in the capital, to find the Sultan sulky at 
the failure of Mr. Edwardes' promises. I remained quiet for a few 
weeks, when I found his Highness gradually coming round, but it 
was long ere I was again established first adviser to the Crown, for 
Mr. Edwardes' promises had either been great, or had been mis- 
understood, and they thought that the British Government was about 
to remove the English from Sarawak, and return the country to 
them. 2 

In April the Rajah went to Bruni. The Sultan and 
the wazirs received him warmly, and the good understanding 
between the two countries was established anew. The Sultan 
was now anxious to place Muka and the intermediate places 
under the Rajah's rule, but the latter waived this considera- 
tion until hostilities were over. The Rajah then went to 

1 Youngest son of the Rev. Charles Johnson. He was at first styled Tuan 
Adck, but this was afterwards changed to the more correct Malay title of Tuan 
Bongsu, now held by the present Rajah's third son. (Adek = younger brother; 
bongsu = youngest born.) He served principally in the Saribas, until 1868, when 
his health having broken down he retired. He became Deputy-Governor of 
Farkhurst and Chatham Prisons in succession, and then Chief Constable of 
Edinburgh. He died March 31, 1894. 
5t. John, Life of Sir James Brooke. 


Ova, Mr. St. John accompanying him, also the Sultan's 
envoy, Haji Abdul Rahman, bearing private letters and 
messages from the Sultan pressing Pangiran Nipa not to 
fight. Here the principal chiefs were seen, and the Sultan's 
commands that hostilities should cease and that Sherip 
Masahor was to be banished were read to them. 1 

Mr. St. John then went to Singapore to obtain a man- 
of-war from which to deliver the Sultan's decree at Muka, 
and the Rajah made every preparation to assume the 
offensive against Muka, as it was not expected that the 
Sherip would quietly submit to even the Sultan's mandate. 
Masahor had defied both the Sultan and the Bruni Rajahs, 
and had heaped insults upon them so often before when in 
the plenitude of his power in the Rejang, where he had 
been practically an independent prince, with the dreaded 
and powerful Kayans and the Dayaks at his back, that his 
submission was doubtful. This was no idle supposition, as 
one writer has suggested, for when, two months after Mr. 
Edwardes' ill-advised action at Muka, the Victoria^ convey- 
ing Messrs. A. C. Crookshank and L. V. Helms (of the 
Borneo Company), again visited Muka, to endeavour once 
more by peaceable means to re-open trade with Kuching, 
these gentlemen and the captain, who had foolishly gone up 
to the town unarmed and without a guard, met with a hostile 
reception on the part of the Sherip, and would have fared 
badly at his hands, had not his adherents been prevailed 
upon to desist by the wiser counsel of Pangiran Nipa. 

Mr. St. John went to Muka in H.M.S. Charybdis^ and 
with Captain Keane and an armed force of 200 blue-jackets 
and marines proceeded up to the town. The Sultan's titah 
(decree), " advising a cessation of hostilities, and that Sherip 
Masahor and his men were to leave the country," was read, 
and both Pangiran Nipa and the Sherip promised obedience. 
They were told that Mr. Edwardes' interference had not met 
with the approval of her Majesty's Government, and " Captain 
Keane's judicious conduct in taking an overpowering force 
up the river to the middle of the town showed them that 
Mr. Edwardes' support was no longer to be relied upon." - 

1 From a letter to the Tuan Muda of M '-' St. John, <>/. cit. 

MUKA 263 

The Rajah then went to Muka with a large force to 
ensure that there should be no resistance, and Muka was 
surrendered to him. Pangiran Nipa and the Bruni aristo- 
cracy were sent to Bruni, and Sherip Masahor was de- 
ported to Singapore. The Rajah wrote : " He will never 
trouble Sarawak more, and I am not lover enough of bloody 
justice to begrudge him his life on that condition. He 
deserved death, but he was a murderer for political ends." 

The Rajah now established himself at Muka, and spent 
a month working to bring order into the district, so torn 
by civil war and crushed by oppression that everything was 
in confusion, and where there had been no protection for either 
person or property, and justice had not been administered. 
The effect of opening the port was immediate. Numbers of 
vessels entered bringing goods from Kuching to traffic with 
the natives for raw sago. 

Early in August the Rajah went to Bruni again, and for 
the last time. The concession to Sarawak of the coast and 
districts from the Rejang to Kedurong point was then 
completed. For many years the Sultan had derived little 
or no revenue from these parts, for what had been squeezed 
out of the natives by the pangirans went to fill their own 
pockets, and he was more than satisfied to receive a sum 
down and an annual subsidy, which would be paid into his 
own hands. And the natives rejoiced, for they were now 
freed from the rapacity of these Bruni pangirans. 

"And thus," says the Tuan Muda, "were about 110 
miles of coast annexed to the Sarawak territory — valuable for 
the sago forests, but in a most disturbed state, owing to a 
prolonged period of the worst anarchy and misgovernment. 
Its inhabitants had many redeeming qualities when once 
relieved from the Bruni tyranny and oppression, as they were 
industrious and clever in different trades, particularly that of 
working wood, and the rougher kinds of jungle labour. But 
they required a severe hand over them, although one that 
was just, and were scarcely able to appreciate kindness. 
They had considered it a merit to a certain extent to be the 
Sultan's slaves, although they had many times smarted 
under the foulest injustice, and been deprived of their 


wives and daughters ; the majority of the latter class were 
often taken for the Bruni Rajahs' harems. 

" The women were considered better looking than most 
others on the coast, having agreeable countenances, with the 
dark open rolling eye of Italians. The men are cleanly and 
generally well dressed, but not so nice looking as those of 
many other tribes/' 

After the Rajah had laid the foundations of good 
government, he appointed Mr. Hay as Resident, 1 and in a 
few years the aspect of the place, the condition of the 
people, and even their character was changed for the better. 
A fort had also been planted at Bintulu, then at the extreme 
north of the coast now under the sway of the Rajah, and a 
Resident appointed there. 

Sherip Masahor, exiled to the Straits Settlements, lived 
the rest of his life in Singapore. He was granted a small 
pension by the Sarawak Government, which he eked out by 
boat-building, and died in February, 1890. To the end he 
continued to intrigue, through his relatives, in Sarawak 
affairs, but to no purpose. 

He was an arch-fiend, and the murderer of many of his 
countrymen. He butchered in cold blood the relatives and 
followers of Pangiran Matusin ; he executed his own trusted 
agents in the murder of Fox and Steele to silence their 
tongues. One further instance of his cruelty may be 
quoted. Jani, a noted Sea-Dayak chief of Kanowit, visited 
Sherip Masahor at Muka, and told him that Abang AH had 
sent him to murder him, Masahor, treacherously, which was 
absolutely false, and that he revealed the fact to convince 
the Sherip of his own loyalty to his person. Masahor bade 
him prove his loyalty by attacking the fort at Kanowit. 
Jani promised to do this, but asked to be given a head so 
that he might not return empty-handed to his people. The 
Sherip ordered up a young lad, the adopted son of a Malay 
of rank, a follower of the Sarawak Government, whom he 
had already mutilated by cutting off his hands, and he bade 
Jani then and there decapitate the poor boy and take his 
head. This is but one instance of his ruthlessness. Backed 

1 He retired in 1863. 

MUKA 265 

by his Segalangs he had always been a terror to the Malays 
and Melanaus of the Rejang. 

The Rajah's work was now done. What he had come 
out to do had been accomplished, and his failing health led 
him to seek peace and repose at his refuge, Burrator. " I 
am not strong, and need to be kept going like an old horse," 
he wrote to the Tuan Muda. After publicly installing the 
Tuan Besar, Captain Brooke-Brooke, as the -Rajah Muda and 
his heir, he sailed towards the end of September, leaving the 
government with confidence in the hands of his nephews. 
' Shortly after his arrival in England the Rajah received 
the good news of the fall of Sadok, and the remaining cause 
of anxiety was removed from his mind. " Though confident 
of the result, the great difficulty of the undertaking, and the 
chances of. war, caused me some anxiety. It is well over, 
and I congratulate you upon this success, which will lead to 
the pacification of the Dayaks and the improved security of 
Sarawak. You have the warm thanks of your Rajah and 
uncle, who only regrets he has no other reward to bestow 
but his praise of your ability, zeal, and prudence. You 
deserve honour and wealth as the meed due to your merit," 
so wrote the Rajah to the Tuan Muda on receipt of the 

The Serikei and Nyalong Dayaks had received due 
punishment at the hands of the Tuan Muda, and peace now 
reigned along the coast and in the interior. The Kayans 
alone remained to be humbled, and the remaining actual 
murderers of Steele and Fox, Sakalai, Sawing, and Talip, 
whom they were harbouring, to be punished. 

In the beginning of February, 1862, after a month's 
detention in Kuching suffering from jungle fever, the Tuan 
Muda left for England. After an arduous journey to the 
head-waters of the Batang Lupar and overland to the 
Katibas, by which river and the Rejang he returned, his 
health had broken down, and it became necessary for him 
to return to Europe to recruit. He had now been in 
Sarawak for nearly ten years, for the greater part of the 
time at Sekrang, and had been engaged in many very trying 


I left Sekrang and Saribas in perfect confidence in Mr. Watson's 
ability to manage affairs during my absence, and felt sure the natives 
would support him to the uttermost. For a few days previously I 
had conferred with all the Dayak chiefs, and begged them to desist 
from head-hunting and prevent their people running loose as in 
former times. They spoke well, and assured me of their staunch 

Amongst the many who had collected to bid him fare- 
well was the octogenarian Sherip Mular, the intrepid enemy 
of former days, but who had long since become a peaceful 
member of society, and a friend of the Tuan Muda. 



S we have al- 
ready noticed, 
the action of 
the Nemesis 
with a fleet 
of Balanini 
pirates off 
Bruni in 
May, 1847, follow- 
ing on the destruc- 
tion by Admiral 
Cochrane of the pirate strong- 
holds in North Borneo, for 
some years effectually checked 
the marauding expeditions of 
the pirates down the north-west coast of 
Borneo. This lesson was shortly after- 
wards followed up by the destruction of the Balanini 
strongholds by the Spanish, who a few years later destroyed 
Tianggi, or Sug, the principal town in Sulu. The Dutch 
had also been active. The pirates were crippled and 
scattered, and a period of immunity from their depredations 




followed these vigorous measures. But the efforts of the 
three powers mainly concerned in the suppression of piracy 
subsequently relaxed, and the pirates, who had gradually 
established themselves in other places on the coast of Borneo 

and in neighbouring is- 
lands, gained courage by 
the absence of patrolling 
cruisers, and again burst 

The year 1858 was 
marked by a great revival of 
Lanun and Balagnini piracy. 
Among others, a Spanish 
vessel was taken in the Sulu 
seas by Panglima Taupan of 
Tawi-Tawi : a young girl, 
the daughter of a Spanish 
merchant, was the only one 
on board not massacred. 
Taupan took her for a wife ; 
and, as I wrote at the time, 
— •• Alas for the chivalry of 

the British Navy ! Sir , 

who was present when this 
information was given, said 
it was a Spanish affair, not 
ours. ! ' Another fruit of the 
Commission — officers dared 
not act. 1 

No more terrible fate 

can be conceived than that 

sulu kris. to which this poor girl, 

who had witnessed the 
murder of her father, was dragged, but had a British man-of- 
war been present it is doubtful whether her Commander would 
have interfered, unless he were prepared to sacrifice duty to 
compassion. For, after the notorious Commission, the Admir- 
alty had issued stringent commands that unless a vessel should 
have, within view, attacked some British vessel or subject, 

St. John, Life 0/ Sir fames E 


or that there was proof that she had done so, she was not 
to be molested. It was a revival of the former order of 
1844, which, though it contained the same strict limit, 
allowed some latitude to a Commander. 
The Rajah was rightly of opinion that 

These orders are a direct violation of our treaties with Holland 
and with Bruni. 1 Such a course of action with pirates has never 
been pursued before by any civilised nation, and is manifestly 
calculated to destroy our commerce, wherever it may be practically 
acted upon. Let either the Lanun or Chinese pirates know that we 
shall not molest them unless they commit depredations on the 
English flag, and they would sweep away a million of commerce 
on these seas, which was bound to English markets in native 

Though the inhabitants and commerce of neighbouring 
countries continued to suffer, up to 1861 the pirates gave 
Sarawak a wide berth. Then they began to appear on the 
coast again, but the little Sarawak gun-boats were on the 
alert. The principal object of the pirates was not to fight, 
but to obtain plunder and captives, and they afforded the 
gun-boats only a few long shots. Still they managed to 
capture a few people, including some natives of Madras, 
British subjects. But in 1862 they were out in increased 

In that year Captain Brooke, the Rajah Muda, met with a 
great loss, his second wife died at Kuching, after having given 
birth to her first child.' 2 This occurred on May 6, and after 
a few days it was thought by his friends that he might find 
some mental relief in change of scene and active work. 
Accordingly he was persuaded to undertake a voyage to 
Bintulu, and Bishop McDougall volunteered to accompany 
him so as to cheer and support him. Mr. Helms, agent of 
the Borneo Company, joined the party and was dropped at 
Muka. On the second day after the arrival of Mr. Helms, 
and when the Rajah Muda had left in the Rainbozv, a piratical 
fleet of Lanuns, consisting of six large and many small vessels, 

1 By Article III. of the Treaty of May, 1847, the British Government engaged to 
use every means in their power to suppress piracy within the seas, straits, and rivers 
subject to Bruni. 

2 Miss Agnes Brooke. 


appeared off the mouth of the Muka river and blockaded the 
place. For a couple of days they remained there, making 
excursions on land, and capturing thirty-two persons. Mr. 
Helms despatched a party of natives in a fast boat that 
succeeded in eluding the pirates, though they narrowly 
escaped capture, to make known the state of affairs to the 
Rajah Muda, and they found him still at Bintulu. 

On May 25, the little screw-steamer Rainbow, carrying 
two 9-pounder guns, steamed out of Bintulu, and at once 
engaged a detachment of three Lanun prahus, one of which 
was sunk, and another captured ; the third was engaged by 
the Jo/ I v Bachelor and driven on the rocks off Kedurong point, 
and her crew taking refuge ashore were hunted down and 
killed by the Bintulu people. Learning from the captives 
the direction taken by the remainder of the fleet, the Rajah 
Muda stood out to sea in search of them. 

After an hour or so, wrote the Bishop, the look-out at the 
mast-head reported three vessels in sight, right ahead. At this 
time it was quite calm, and when we came near enough to see them 
from the deck, we saw them sweep up to the central vessel and lay 
themselves side by side, with their bows at us, as if they meant to 
engage us in that position. However, as we went on towards them 
the sea-breeze sprang up, so they changed their tactics, and opened 
out in line with their broadsides towards us to rake us as we came 
up. Our plan was, as before, to shake them first and run them down 
in detail. Brooke did not give the order to fire until we came within 
250 yards of them, and they opened their lelahs (brass swivel-guns) 
upon us some time before we commenced firing. They fired briskly 
and did not attempt to get away, even when we got all our guns to 
bear upon them ; but as we steamed round to get our stem fairly at 
the sternmost vessel, they seemed to think we were retreating, and 
pelted us with shot more sharply than ever, directing their chief 
attention to us on the poop, where we had one man killed and two 
severely wounded in no time, and we should have suffered more 
if the temporary bulwark of planks, etc., had not stopped their balls. 

After the first prahu was run down, I had to go below to attend 
to our own wounded as they came in, but I plainly felt the con- 
cussion as we went/ into the others. One of the vessels was cut 
right in two ; the steamer went straight on without backing, and 
she sank the other, one half on each side of us. She was the 
largest, and had a valuable cargo, and much gold and bags of Dutch 
rupees. The pirates fought to the last, and then would not surrender, 


but jumped into the sea with their arms ; and the poor captives, 
who were all made fast below as we came up to engage them, were 
doubtless glad when our stem opened the sides of their ships and 
thus let them out of their prison. Few, comparatively, were drowned, 
being mostly all good swimmers. All those who were not lashed to 
the vessels or killed by the Illanuns escaped. Our decks were soon 
covered with those we picked up, men of every race and nation in 
the Archipelago, 1 who had been captured by the pirates in their 
cruise. One poor Chinese came swimming alongside, waving his 
tail over his head, and the other captives held up the cords round 
their necks to show they were slaves, lest they should be mistaken 
for Illanuns and shot or left to their fate. We soon picked up the 
poor fellows, and the Chinaman came under my hands, being shot 
through the arm. Many of the pirates we took were badly wounded, 
some mortally, the greater part were killed or disabled by our fire 
before we closed. 

It is a marvel how these poor creatures live at all under the 
terrible tortures and ill-treatment they endure, sometimes for months, 
before they reach their destination and settle down as slaves to the 
worst of masters — very demons, not men. The captives state that 
when the pirates take a vessel, they kill every one who makes any 
resistance, plunder and sink their boats or ships, and when those 
they spare are first taken on board their own prahus, they put a 
rattan, or black rope-halter, round their necks, beat them with a 
flat piece of bamboo on the elbows and knees and the muscles of 
the arms and legs, so that they cannot use them to swim or run 
away. After a while, when sufficiently tamed, they are put to the 
sweeps and made to row in gangs, with one of their fellow-captives 
as a mandore or foreman over them, who is furnished with a rattan 
to keep them at their work ; and if he does not do this effectually, 
he is " krissed " and thrown overboard, and another man put in his 
place. If any of the rowers jump overboard, the pirates have a 
supply of three -pronged and barbed spears, with long bamboo 
handles, ready to throw at them. When hit by one of these they 
can neither swim nor run, and are easily recaptured. They are 
made to row in relays night and day, and to keep them awake they 
put cayenne pepper in their eyes or cut them with their knives and 
put pepper in their wounds. 

We found, on reckoning up, that we had picked up 165 
people, and that 150 to 200 men had got to land from the vessels 
we sank near the shore. In every pirate vessel there were forty or 

1 Some were from the Celebes ; some from both Southern and Western Borneo ; 
some Javanese ; some from the Xatuna islands. Amongst them were a nadoka and 
the crew of a Singapore vessel, and a Malay woman of Singapore and her family. 
(From an account by the Rajah Muda, which is practically the same as the 
Bishop's. ) 


or fifty Illanuns, fighting men, all well armed, each having a 
rifle or musket besides his native weapons, and from 60 to 70 
captives, many of whom were killed by the pirates when they 
found themselves beaten ; among them two women. Seven of the 
women and four of the children were our own Muka people l and it 
was indeed most touching to witness the joy and gratitude of them 
and their relations when we returned them to their friends. Of the 
Illanuns we captured 32, ten of them boys. Some have died 
since of their wounds, the remainder are in irons in the fort 
here. The boys have been given out by Brooke for five years to 
respectable people to train and bring up. Very few of the pirates 
live to tell the tale ; some captives assured us in the boat they were 
in there were only two out of the forty fighting-men who had not 
been killed or wounded by our fire, when we gave them the stem 
and cut them down. 

Under the present system at Labuan, and the difficulties thrown 
in the way of our men-of-war against attacking these wretches when 
they are known to be in the neighbourhood, England with all her 
power and philanthropy is doing absolutely nothing towards putting 
an end to this abominable and most extensive system of rapine, 
murder, and slavery. It is impossible to estimate the destruction 
and the havoc, the murder and the amount of slave-dealing carried 
on by these wretches in their yearly cruises. The prahus we met 
were but one of the many squadrons that leave Sulu every year. 
Seven months had these wretches been devastating the villages on the 
coast, capturing slaves, taking and sinking trading vessels. Their 
course was along the coasts of Celebes, down the Macassar Straits to 
Madura and then along the Northern coast of Java, and the South 
of Borneo, up the Caramata passage to Borneo, to go home by 
Sarawak and Labuan. The other five pirate vessels parted 
company from them to go over to Balliton 2 and Banca Straits, and 
doubtless they too will carry their depredations right up into the 
Straits of Singapore and pick up English subjects and injure' 
English trade, as those we met have done. But apart from all 
our local feelings, and danger from these people, it makes an 
Englishman out here ashamed to feel that his own dear country, 
which we would fain regard as the liberator of the slave and the 
avenger of the wronged, is in truth doing nothing against the system, 
fraught with incalculable misery to so large a section of the human 
race. For it must be remembered that the slavery these people 
suffer is far more crushing to them than the African who is taken 
as a savage to serve civilised and at least, nominally, Christian 
masters ; but these are generally well-to-do men of civilised nations 

1 Some fifty people from Matu, Oya, and Muka were rescued. 
- Belitong. 


who are made the slaves of utter fiends, who work and torture 
them to death one year, only to replace them by fresh victims 
whom they capture the next. It is indeed vae victis with them, and 
I think it is the duty of every Christian man and every Christian 
nation to do all that can be done to rid the earth of such horrible 
and dangerous monsters, and to punish the Sultan of Sulu and all 
who abet and aid them. The Dutch and Spaniards are always 
doing something, but not enough, and during the last four or five 
years, these pirate fleets have been gradually getting more and 
more numerous and daring on these coasts, and now it is for 
England to rouse herself and complete the work of putting them 
down. Labuan is near their haunts and it might be done from thence. 
A few thousands spent out here yearly for the purpose would, 
I believe in my heart, soon effect more real and lasting good than 
the millions which are being spent on the coast of Africa. All 
honour is due to Sir James Brooke and his nephew, the Rajah 
Muda, and the other officers of the Sarawak government, who in 
spite of misrepresentation and factious opposition, through evil 
report and good report, have persevered for years in constant, 
steady, and systematic efforts to put down piracy on this coast 
and chastise these villainous marauders whenever they come into 
Sarawak waters. If the English government will now act with and 
assist us, we shall soon clear the Sarawak and Labuan waters of 
these pests. Assisted by the knowledge and experience of our 
natives, the work would be done surely and effectually ; but single- 
handed the Sarawak government notwithstanding all it has done, 
cannot carry it out. We want means ; if England or Englishmen 
will give us that, we shall gladly do the work, and feel that we are 
delivering our fellow-men, and doing our duty to God, who has 
commanded us to free the captive and deliver the oppressed. 
While at the same time we shall be averting a danger which is 
ever threatening us at our own doors, and has so long crippled the 
energies and resources of this country. 

The original fleet of Lanuns had consisted of eleven 
prahus, but off the western coast of Borneo five had parted 
company and stayed behind to cruise around Banka and 
Belitong. Shortly afterwards one of her Majesty's ships 
fell in with three of them and attempted to take them, but 
the pirates managed to effect their escape. 

On board the little steamer were at the time eight 
Europeans, the stalwart Pangiran Matusin, a fighting 
haji, and fifteen natives. But though the pirates were far 
more numerous, and were all well armed, yet the steamer 



had the preponderating advantage of her screw, enabling her 
to ram each native vessel, cut her in half and send her to 
the bottom, so that there could not be doubt for a moment 
what would be the outcome of such a conflict. 
The results of the fight were these : — 

Pirates killed or drowned . .190 

Escaped ..... 19 

Brought prisoners to Sarawak . -3* 


Captives killed or drowned . .140 

„ liberated . . . . .194 

„ run away into the jungle, and 
subsequently rescued .... 56 


The prisoners, with the exception of the lads, were all 
executed. The lads were put to work on the gun-boats, 
and became excellent and trustworthy sailors — one, who 
was the son of a Lanun of rank, subsequently commanded 
the present Rajah's former yacht the Aline. Some of the 
captives were Dutch subjects, and some were British subjects 
from Singapore. In the captured pirate prahu there were 
found five Dutch and one Spanish ensign. 

Sailing along past the delta of the Rejang, when off the 
pretty little village of Palo, which was hidden from their 
view, the pirates had observed a long canoe laden with nipah 
palm leaves, with a man in the stern and a woman in the 
bows, paddling for dear life to escape. A light canoe 
manned by half-a-dozen men was at once despatched in 
chase, and quickly overhauled the poor couple, the man 
crying out that he surrendered, and the woman screaming 
with fear. It was a pretty example of the biter bit — a 
neatly contrived trap. Gliding alongside to secure their 
apparently helpless captives, without troubling to exchange 
paddles for weapons, to their amazement the pirates saw an 
upheaval of the leaves and several armed men spring up, 
together with the steersman and the disguised man in the 


bows. This startling development took the pirates so com- 
pletely by surprise that they were all speared before they 
could seize their weapons. The Melanaus then quickly dis- 
appeared up a creek. Their leader was the late Atoh, a 
young man then, who afterwards became the Government 
chief of Palo. He is perhaps better known to the present 
generation as Haji Abdul Rahman. 

The following translation of a paper written by a Nakoda 
Amzah, one of the rescued captives, and found amongst his 
papers after his death, gives a good account of the voyage 
of this fleet, and of its destruction. He was a Kampar 
(Sumatra) Malay, who lived in Sarawak since his rescue. 
He, his grandson, and another Malay were killed in the 
Rejang in 1880 by a head-hunting party of Dayaks. He 
was noted for his courage. He had been twice before 
captured by pirates. In this translation the word " pirate " 
is substituted for Bajau, Lanun, and Balanini, which the 
writer uses indiscriminately, and no doubt the crews of the 
piratical prahus were an admixture of these tribes. 

Thursday, the 17 th day of the month Sawal in the year of the 
Hejira 1278 (a.d. 1862). On this day Nakoda Amzah who was 
on a voyage to Samarang, with a crew of twelve men, was attacked 
off the mouth of the Jali by piratical prahus. These must have 
been eleven in all ; they afterwards separated, six going along the 
coast of Borneo, and five coasting to Bangka. The attack was 
sudden, and they did their best to beat the pirates off, but after 
having fought them for about an hour, three of Nakoda Amzah's 
men were killed, and he himself was wounded in the head by a- 
bullet. They then surrendered and were captured by the pirates ; 
their own prahu was destroyed, and they were transferred to the 
pirates' prahus. The pirates then sailed to Pulo Kelam, where 
they hauled their prahus up a creek out of sight, there being a 
Dutch war vessel out of Benjarmasin on the look out for piratical 
prahus. This vessel steamed round the island without detecting 
them. They stayed here three days, and on the fourth launched 
their prahus and sailed northwards. The next day they again 
saw the steamer to the westward, so bore down to the island of 
Jempodi, where they stayed in hiding for six days. Sailing on, 
between Pakar and Kaiong the pirates captured a sampan with 
five men, and they also captured a woman. In two days more 
they reached the mouth of Katapang, and Kandang Krabu, where 
they made an unsuccessful raid ; but they captured two men who 


were out fishing. Two days afterwards they arrived at and 
attacked Pulo Kumbang, but the people were away inland, so no 
captures were effected. The next day they made a descent on 
Sati point, and captured three Chinese and three Malays. They 
sailed on for two days more, and then tried at Mas Tiga, but did 
not succeed in capturing any one. Two days afterwards they fell in 
with a Dutch Government coastguard, commanded by one Rasip. 
They engaged the coastguard, but owing to a strong westerly wind 
were forced to leave her. After four days, between Karamata and 
Pulo Datu, they fell in with a Sambas prahu belonging to Haji 
Bakir, she proved to be from Belitong, loaded with dry fish, sago, 
etc. The pirates captured her and her crew of five men. The 
whole of the next day they were chased by a war steamer, but they 
escaped by keeping in shoal water, and by night falling. Five days 
afterwards, off Cape Baiong, they fell in with Nakoda Baud's prahu 
from Sambas, but did not molest her. Three days later they had 
passed Cape Datu, and brought up for two days in Serabang bay 
and read the Ruah Selamat. 1 A three days' sail brought them to 
Cape Sirik, just before reaching which they fell in with two prahus 
which they attacked but were beaten off; they also chased a small 
boat but that escaped inshore. The next night at Bruit they killed 
two Melanaus, and captured two men and two women. Two nights 
after, off the mouth of Oya, they captured four Melanau women and 
two men. At Muka, which they reached next day, they captured 
four Chinese and two Melanaus, and the next night they brought 
up off Bintulu.- The following day was a fatal day for the pirate-, 
for in the morning a steamer (the Rainbow) came out of Bintulu 
accompanied by a pinnace (the Jolly Bachelor). There was a 
pirate prahu lying close in shore and upon her the steamer 
immediately fired ; twice the steamer fired and then the prahu's 
crew ran her into shoal water, she was followed and attacked by the 
pinnace, and her crew then escaped ashore, but were all killed by 
men from Bintulu and Miri. The steamer then attacked another 
prahu— and after firing into her twice rammed and sank her. Her 
crew were all drowned, killed, or captured, and the captives, about 
twenty in number, escaped on board the steamer. A similar fate 
overtook a third prahu, all her crew perishing, and her captives, 
about twenty-five in number, were rescued by the steamer. The 
steamer then gave chase to the three prahus in the offing and 
overtook them. These three prahus were lashed together, but 

1 Ruafa Selamat — a prayer of thanksgiving. The pirates now calculated upon 
being quit of men-of-war, and that the rest of their voyage would be free from danger. 

'ii_\- more people captured between Bruil and Bintulu, but the 
narrator probably only knew of those captured by the prahu on board of which he 
was a prisoner ; he is at fault, too, as to the number of pirates killed, and captives 


separated after being fired into. A short engagement ensued, 
which resulted in all three of the prahus being sunk, and their 
crews being killed or captured. Twenty-one captives were rescued 
from their prahus. And thus were the pirates destroyed off Bintulu 
by the Rajah of Sarawak's steamer the Rainbow. 

Moreover it is estimated that the pirates lost forty men killed, 
and the steamer lost but one man killed and one wounded. And 
thus Nakoda Amzah and three of his men were rescued, and 
reached Kuching in safety. The remaining six were taken away in 
the other five prahus that sailed to Belitong and Bangka, and were 
probably taken by their captors to Sulu during the month of Haji. 

• Written in Kuching on Friday the 6th day of Dulkaidah, 1278 
of the Hejira (a.d. 1862). 

This was a lesson the pirates never forgot. From 
one of their prahus nineteen men escaped in a fast boat 
to carry the tale back with them, soon to spread to all 
the pirate haunts. Only once since, some seven years 
later, did the pirates venture down to the Sarawak coast, 
and then in no great force. They were attacked in 
Kedurong bay, and slain to a man by the Bintulu people 
led by their own chiefs. No more pirates were seen on the 
Sarawak coast afterwards. 

The next year a squadron of steamers was sent from 
China to attack and root out all these pirates ; but they 
came for no end except to sport their bunting, for nothing 
was effected. They could have had no intelligence officer 
with them with a knowledge of the positions of the piratical 
strongholds, and acquainted with the languages, habits, and 
appearance of the inhabitants of the northern coast of 
Borneo and the Sulu archipelago. 

Though the pirates never troubled Sarawak again, 
they continued their operations in other parts for many 
years afterwards. As late as 1872, Dutch squadrons had 
to be sent out against them along the east coast of Borneo. 
And in 1874 piracy was so rife in the Sulu seas, and the 
Spanish gunboats so unable to suppress it, that the 
Governor-General of the Philippines issued an edict doom- 
ing the " Moorish marine " to destruction. The Spanish 
cruisers were to destroy all prahus proceeding from the 
Sulu islands or Tawi Tawi. Their crews were to be 


conveyed to Manila to labour on public works, and those 
found armed were to be punished by the Military Courts. 
It was hoped that these untameable and seafaring races 
would be thus compelled to live by agricultural pursuits 
alone. This merciless condemnation of peaceable traders 
and voyagers as well as the evil-doers naturally led to gross 
injustice, and to intense hatred of the Spaniards. Even 
those not bearing arms, engaged in peaceful pursuits, if 
apprehended, were doomed to compulsory labour ; whereas 
those found armed, met with short shrift — and all were 
compelled to be armed for their own protection. 

In 1879, the pirates of Tungku, a place near Sandakan, 
the last stronghold of the Balanini and Lanun pirates in 
northern Borneo, made several excursions along the coast 
capturing as many as 200 people. Then the place was 
destroyed by H.M.S. Kestrel. (It had been attacked before 
by the Cleopatra in 1851.) Shortly afterwards the British 
North Borneo Company established their government in 
North Borneo, and piracy virtually ceased along the coasts 
of Borneo. 




ARLY in 1863, the Rajah 
was again obliged to 
leave for Sarawak, owing 
to certain complications 
having arisen, due to the 
acts of his nephew, 
the Rajah Muda. 

Into this matter 
it is not our inten- 
tion to enter at length. It has 
already been dealt with fully in both 
Miss Jacob's and Sir Spencer St. 
John's biographies of the Rajah, and 
it is sufficient to say here that it was 
mainly the result of an inexplicable 
misconception of the policy being 
pursued by the Rajah in England. 
The formal recognition of Sarawak was the sole 
proposal before the British Government. It is true the 
Rajah trusted that having once gained this England would 
not leave Sarawak to her fate in the event of the failure of 
his Government ; but he wrote : " On every account of 




feeling of pride, of attachment to the people, I desire the 
Government to be continued." The negotiations had not 
extended to any overtures for a transfer, or proposals of 
protection. Recognition at this time was all important, 
not only to give a status to the Government, and confidence 
to the people, but to encourage the introduction of capital, 
without which the country could not advance. 

It was against the mistaken idea of a transfer of the 
country to England that the Rajah Muda protested. Yet 
a short time before he himself had suggested such a transfer 
to Belgium, and, a few years previously that the country 
should be sold either to England or to the Borneo 

We may mention here that the negotiations with 
Belgium had fallen through the previous year. The reason 
is not difficult to discover, for the Rajah wrote : " I wrote 
to you about the Duke of Brabant and my talk with him. 
His views must change greatly before I entrust our people 
to his guardianship." 

The Premier, Lord Palmerston, and the Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs, Lord John Russell, with other influential 
members of both Houses, were now very favourably 
inclined towards the Rajah and Sarawak. Lord John 
Russell had pledged himself to lay the statement of facts 
as prepared by the Rajah before the Law Officers of the 
crown for their opinion, and should it be favourable to 
bring the question of recognition of Sarawak before the 
Cabinet. 1 The Law Officers were called upon to decide 
whether Sarawak was independent of or feudatory to Brum. 
The decision was favourable, for Lord John Russell 
subsequently wrote to the Rajah : " If your authority is 
undisputed, he (Lord Russell) is now ready at once to 
propose to the Cabinet the recognition of Sarawak as an 
independent State under your rule and Government." 

Before his return to England the Rajah heard that 

recognition had been granted, though he was not officially 

notified of the fact until his arrival there. It was full and 

complete ; and a Consul was appointed to Sarawak for 

1 From a letter of die Rajah itember 9, 1862. 


whom an exequatur was asked of the Rajah. 1 The Rajah's 
forethought, which we have already recorded, that " time 
brings changes, and may work on the British Government " 
was thus fully justified. The Duke of Newcastle, Lords 
Palmerston and John Russell, Sir G. Grey, the Honble. 
Sidney Herbert, and Mr. Gladstone had been members of 
the Cabinet that issued the Commission, as they were now 
members of the Cabinet that granted the long refused 

The Tuan Muda had accompanied the Rajah from 
England. He had assumed the surname of Brooke by the 
desire of his uncle, and this had been decided upon before 
the defection of his brother had been known. The Rajah 
desired it because it was the name of the ruling family, and 
it would remove confusion and ambiguity, and place his 
nephew in a clearer position before the world. The Tuan 
Muda refused to take the title of Rajah Muda, or to be 
formally recognised as his uncle's heir, trusting that his 
brother might pave the way to reconciliation and to his 
reinstatement. 2 

Whilst the Rajah remained at Kuching to restore order, 
and to introduce proper systems into the various depart- 
ments, the Tuan Muda returned to Sekrang, where he^ was 
received with many demonstrations of good feeling. The 
population turned out and towed and escorted his pinnace 
up the river, and salutes were fired wherever he passed. But 
they were not more glad to welcome him, than he was to 
see them. He then visited all the outstations as far as 
Bintulu. Muka he found prosperous, and the people happy. 
He then returned to Sekrang to prepare for the expedition 
against the Kayans. 

This powerful tribe has already been spoken of as living 
far inland on the head-waters of the Rejang. They were a 
continual trouble to the Dayaks who lived on that same 
river, but lower down, raiding their country, taking heads, 
and making captives, whom they tortured to death. Their 
country was not easily accessible, on account of the rapids 

1 Mr. G. T. Ricketts was appointed Consul, January 19, 1864. 
2 Captain Brooke died the same year as the Rajah. 


in the river. The first rapids on the Rejang are about 170 
miles from the mouth ; these passed, the river is navigable 
for sixty miles, then ensue further rapids for about five miles, 
and then again it is navigable for fifty more. The upper 
rapids, called those of Makun, are the most serious and 
difficult to overcome, so serious, indeed, that the Kayans did 
not suppose it possible that an enemy could ascend above them. 

But it was necessary to chastise and bring these trouble- 
some neighbours into subjection. Before the Tuan Muda 
had left for England an ultimatum had been sent to Akam 
Xipa to deliver up the murderers of Steele and Fox. They 
had been committing great depredations on the lower 
Rejang, and Mr. Cruickshank, the Resident there, had 
appealed to the Government at Kuching to bridle them. 
Not only were the murderers of Messrs. Steele and Fox 
with them, but, as we have previously mentioned, they 
had lately descended and made a treacherous attack on 
the Katibas Dayaks, who had stood true to the Sarawak 
Government. Professing friendship, they had seized an 
occasion when most of the men of Katibas were absent, 
and had killed seventeen of the men who had remained at 
their homes, and a hundred women and children. Their 
captives they tortured in the most horrible manner, hacking 
them with knives and gouging out their eyes before putting 
them to death. And not only were the men thus treated, 
but also most of the women. They burnt fourteen long 
houses, or villages, and decamped. 

Then they had engaged a man named Paring to lure 
some of the Dayaks into an ambush. Paring, a Kayan, had 
married a Dayak wife, and when he came to Katibas to 
visit his wife's relations he persuaded eighteen men to 
accompany him into the Kayan country to propose terms of 
peace, and when they demurred he made himself responsible 
for the safety of the whole party. Having thus overcome 
their fears he led them to a place where the Kayans, under 
their chief Oyong Hang, 1 were lurking in waiting for them. 

1 Oyong Hang was the chief of the Bintulu Kayans, and was at one time friendly 
to the Government, but he had thrown off his allegiance and joined Akam Nipa. 

1 >yong is prefixed to the name of a Kayan on the death of his firstborn ; Akam. 
on the death of a younger child. 



Eleven were at once bound hand and foot, but seven 
managed to escape into the jungle, and after several days 
returned in a famished condition to Katibas. The eleven 
were conveyed up the river, and on their way were carried 
into every Kayan house to be tortured by the women. On 
arriving at Oyong Hang's abode, one of them named Boyong 
was singled out to be sacri- 
ficed so as to attend in the 
abode of spirits the soul of 
Oyong Hang's son, who had 
lately died. He was to be 
buried alive under a huge 
wooden pillar.the mausoleum 
of Oyong Hang's son, early 
on the following morning. 
However, during the night, 
Boyong and another effected 
their escape, ran into the 
jungle, and found their way 
to the foot of the first rapids 
after twenty days' wandering. 
They were then in such an 
exhausted condition that 
they found it impossible to 
proceed further on foot, ac- 
cordingly they lashed them- 
selves by rattans to a log 
in the river, drifted down 
stream, and were eventually 
picked up and rescued. 

All the remaining men were strangled by the Kayans. The 
scoundrel Paring, not thinking that his villainy had been 
disclosed, had the audacity to go among the Dayaks again, 
when he was seized and brought to Kanowit, where he was 
sentenced to death. But when in confinement, awaiting the 
approval of the sentence from Kuching, he effected his 
escape. The alarm was, however, at once given, and he 
was pursued into the jungle by the Dayaks and killed. 

In an expedition such as was contemplated, the Rajah 



or his deputy was obliged to obtain the voluntary assistance 
of his subjects. He had no paid army, he did not even 
provision the host for the expedition. 

On this occasion the Tuan Muda consulted some of the 
chiefs at Sekrang as to the feasibility of attacking the Kayans. 
The Dayaks were never unwilling to join in such an excursion, 
though the only inducement that could be held out was loot, 
and relief from further annoyance. But it was laid down by 
the Government that no woman or child was to be molested. 

As the chiefs thought that the proposed attack might be 
made, arrangements were pressed forward, and on May 19, 
1 S63, at sunset, two guns were fired as a preparatory signal 
for the start from Sekrang, and the Tuan Muda led the 
party that was to proceed thence down the Batang Lupar 
and coast to the mouth of the Rejang, picking up on the 
way contingents of volunteers. Mr. Watson was at Kabong 
(Kalaka) at the head of a detachment, and Mr. Stuart Johnson 
was waiting at Kanowit, along with Sergeant Lees in charge 
of guns, muskets, and ammunition. 

At mid-day on the 20th, the expedition started from 
Sekrang, " My crew were mostly old followers and servants 
who had been with me for years. Our boat was in perfect 
order, well painted and decorated with flags ; for nothing 
tells so much as pride instilled and esprit de corps encouraged 
in the minds of the people." 1 

On the 2 1 st, Lingga was reached and Banting visited. 
The natives there, the Banting or Balau Dayaks, were not 
eager to join the expedition as they were behindhand in 
their farming operations ; however, after some hesitation and 
delay, they followed. On the 23rd, Kabong was attained, 
the town at the mouth of the Kalaka river. Here were 
Malays, useful fighting men, but for all that they showed 
reluctance to unite in the expedition. This is easily 
explicable, as they were apprehensive of attacking tribes at 
such a distance, and whom they had been bred up to fear 
as the most powerful in Borneo. And the Malays, unlike 
the Sea-Dayaks, though braver, do not love fighting for the 
sake of fighting. They shirked, but they went. 

1 Ten Yean in Sarawak, from which this account is taken. 


On the 24th, at starting the contingent consisted of sixty 
boats, with an average of forty men in each, and pushed up 
the mouth of the Rejang to Serikei, and Mr. Watson had 
gone on with forty boats from Saribas. On the following 
day Sibu was reached, where lived the Banyoks. Tani had 
been their chief, the conspirator who had been sentenced to 
death by the Tuan Muda, as mentioned in a previous chapter. 
But now Tani's son, Buju, 1 at the head of his fighting men, 
readily joined forces to those of the Tuan Muda. On 
the 29th at 2 A.M. by hard paddling, Kanowit was reached. 
" At daylight our force had congregated about the village 
and on each bank of the river, which was so broad that 
thousands of boats would not have made much show. After 
having coffee, I commenced work with Sergeant Lees in 
examining all the stores, arms, and ammunition. The heavy 
guns and shot had been already despatched by the Kanowit 
and Katibas boats, which were now two days' start ahead 
of us. I had arranged that the foot of the first rapids 
should be our rendezvous, and the enemy were reported 
to be six days distant above this point. It took the greater 
part of the day distributing arms, ammunition, and sundry 
other things to be carried by the force. Our Europeans of 
the party were Messrs. Watson, Cruickshank, my younger 
brother, Sergeant Lees, and Lucas (the Captain) of the Venus. 
" 26th. — The principal natives persuaded me to remain 
over to-day or I would have pushed on to lose no time in 
this fine weather. They require time to settle many little 
matters with which they are particular. Some made their 
wills, others sent letters to their nearest relatives, acquainting 
them with their last wishes, and all our boats needed much 
preparation. The one prepared for me, into which I had 
to shift all my things, was sixty-six feet long, shaped like a 
coffin and totally devoid of elegance and beauty. She 
consisted of a single tree hollowed out and round at the 
bottom, but raised a little at her extremities. When the 
hollowing out is done, a bow and a stern-piece are fastened 
with rattans ; they have not a nail in them ; two light 
planks are also tied on top and then they are complete. 

1 See chap. vii. p. 107. 


Some have much speed, and are capable of carrying from 
forty to seventy men with a month's provision on board. 
They are adapted for passing the rapids, are buoyant in the 
falls, and the crews are able to use a long sweeping stroke 
with the paddles, such as could not be managed in shorter 

" 29///. — As the fort clock struck eight, a gun was fired as 
a signal for starting, and about eighty boats left together ; 
others had been going on during the night, and many were 
still behind. The current ran strong against us, and we 
were forced to hug the bank. 

" The banks above Kanowit are steep, and Kanowit 
itself may be said to be the first pretty spot in the Rejang 
river, but above it is much variety of scenery — windings of the 
river, hills and hillocks of every shape." 

As they ascended, ruined habitations and deserted 
paddy-fields were passed, that had been ravaged by the 
Kayans ; to put a term to their violence a fort had been 
erected at Xgmah, between Katibas and Kanowit. This 
was now dismantled by the Tuan Muda on his way up, and 
he took the men and guns along with him. Above the 
junction of the Katibas with the Rejang for over a hundred 
miles the country was uninhabited. 

On the 3 1st, the Baleh river, the left hand branch of the 
Rejang, was passed. Here the character of the scenery 
changes, the sides become craggy, and the river rolls over 
masses of rock, and through veritable gorges, with a swift 

On June the 1st, the foot of the first rapid was reached, 
where the rendezvous had been appointed. Here all those 
who had gone on before were assembled in thousands. 
" Groups of Dayaks in all directions — some lounging on 
rocks, or on the patches of white sand in the bight, 
others mending their boats which they had hauled up in the 
most favourable places. Many were squatting round fires 
and cooking. Bright colours of clothes, flags, and painted 
boats were interspersed among them." 

A council was held that same afternoon, and further 
proceedings were discussed. A hundred chiefs were present, 


and the Tuan Muda spoke, arranging the order of the bala, 
and insisting that the lives of women and children must be 
spared, and that the chiefs should be held responsible for 
the conduct of their followers. He was followed by Balang, 
u an ugly little broad man, with the jowl of a hog," the 
chief of Katibas, whose house had been burnt by the Kayans, 
all his property carried off, and many of his relatives and 
people killed. " I have no wish to return," said he, " if 
this expedition is unsuccessful. They may cook my head if 
I can't cook theirs." 1 The force then consisted of 300 
boats carrying 12,000 men. 

On the following day the ascent of the Pelagus rapids 
was begun. The boats were forced up by the men with 
poles in their hands, and were aided by others on the banks 
hauling with ropes ; whilst others again, where the water 
was shallow, were immersed in it pulling and shoving. 

" Men seemed like ducks in the water. Swimmers and 
divers all had their duties, and the amount of exertion of 
this kind which the natives will undergo is simply wonderful. 
They keep it up hour after hour in the coldest mountain 
stream, jumping on to and over places where an Englishman 
could not gain a foothold, as the rocks are slippery as 
glass, and many of the ridges are not over three inches wide, 
making one giddy to look at them." 

After a while the first portion of the rapids was safely 
surmounted, and a basin of calmly flowing water was reached. 
But this was not far, it afforded a breathing space before the 
next difficult point was reached, a perpendicular fall of ten 
feet. Here was a portage ; provisions, arms, and ammunition 
had to be carried by land, and the boats hauled over sixty 
feet of a steep rocky incline, covered with water when the 
river was full, but now left dry. In the process, however, a 
good many of the boats went to pieces, and the crews had 
to be partitioned among the others. 

This was followed by another fall, that had to be sur- 
mounted in the same way. " This last was a terrible job, 
and at every foot gained, I thought my coffin would have 
gone in two, as she creaked piteously. But at last we gained 

1 For the fate of this chief see chap. xii. p. 320. 



the summit of the first rapids. Here we stopped, as the crews 
required rest, and the sun was piercingly hot." The whole 
length of this first rapid is four miles, and the breadth of 
the river six hundred yards. Not one third of the force had 
as yet surmounted it, and some were discouraged and made 
no attempt to do so. 

Xext day, the 3rd, the Tuan Muda's thirty-fourth birth- 


day, the coffin was advancing up stream where the river 
was broken up by islets and running between them, like a 
mill race, followed by the boat containing Mr. Cruickshank 
and Mr. Stuart Johnson, when, in punting, it was driven 
against a submerged rock and at once began to fill. Seizing 
his gold watch and chain, the Tuan Muda sprang into the 
water and swam to the boat that followed and was taken in ; 
but provisions, the Tuan Muda's sword, spyglass, rugs, etc., 
all new from England, were irretrievably lost, and the whole 
crew were boatless ; for the coffin was whirled down the 

" 4///. — We advanced again as usual, and after about an 


hour's hard pulling and many ropes, the stream became 
smooth and deep, and no more rocks were in sight. The 
reaches were long and straight, with a steady current of 
two and a half knots. The land was level without being 
swampy, and the soil appeared to be a rich yellow loam. 
What land for agriculture ! and it extends for miles." 

They were now on the fringe of the Kayan country, and 
they came on the remains of the house of the chief Akam 
Nipa, which he had deserted. The enemy had retired before 
the advancing force, and not one had as yet shown himself ; 
though a small party, consisting of seven men, that had gone 
into the jungle hunting, three days before, thinking that 
the Kayans had all retreated, had incautiously lain down 
to sleep, when they were captured, tortured slowly to death 
on the spot, and then decapitated. 

On the 6th, the Tekok rapids were encountered, and 
another abandoned Kayan village passed. The hills now 
began to show, and the river to flow over rocks and between 
bluffs. Had this spot been held by the enemy, it would 
have been most difficult to pass, but they had considered it 
best to retreat. 

On the 7th, the abandoned village of the Sekapans * was 
reached and committed to the flames. There, farming 
grounds with the jungle freshly cut were found on both 
sides of the river. The scenery was very beautiful, but there 
was very little cultivation. The bays are sometimes five 
hundred yards in width, giving the appearance of a land- 
locked lake rather than a running river. The height of the 
hills varies under a thousand feet. Many fruit trees were on 
the bank. 

" We were pulling with all our sinews, having continued 
it since morning, when at 3 P.M. we descried a sampan 
manned by a crew dressed in various colours, steering for us. 
They brought news of the enemy being fortified in a house 2 
round the next point, and on the leading boats approaching 
they were fired into, and some were killed and others 
wounded. The enemy's house was already surrounded, they 

1 Belaga, where is now a strong fort, and a Chinese and Malay trading station, is 
just above this. 

2 The village of the Kajaman tribe, a short distance above Belaga. 


said, but every time our fellows advanced some were shot 

" Our crew pulled on, and on rounding the point, the 
stockaded dwelling of the enemy hove in sight, situated on 
a low spit. We steered across, out of the enemy's range 
into the bay, where all the boats of the advance party had 

Nothing could be effected till more of the force had 
come up, and till the field-piece could be mounted. This 
last was done during the night, and all was made ready 
for demolishing the fortified place in the morning ; but 
the enemy, taking advantage of the darkness, had de- 
camped in the night. It was afterwards ascertained that 
the bravest of the Kayans had been placed there, with strict 
orders to hold the place against the advancing flotilla. All 
the worst characters and principal leaders had been there too, 
and among them Sawing, Sakalai, and Talip. The house 
was now burnt, after having been rifled, and parties of Dayaks 
were sent in all directions to destroy the villages of the 
Kayans. Among the spoil taken was a Gusi jar valued 
at £150. In all directions smoke arose, and at night the 
flames could be seen leaping above the tree-tops from the 
burning houses. 

The Tuan Muda now pushed on and passed the Majawa 

" When we had reached the upper end of the gorge 
we could plainly survey the fall behind us — our force coming 
up one by one, with dense masses of thousands on the rocks, 
others wending an ant-like pilgrimage around the almost 
perpendicular banks and ledges. Toes and fingers often 
came in useful for clinging to every niche. 

" Above this point we again reached smooth and deep 
water, running quietly. The crews were stopping and 
plundering things thrown aside by the enemy as they re- 
treated. We pulled in untroubled waters for only an hour, 
and then arrived at dangerous rocky places, gradually getting 
steeper and steeper. The stream rushed past, and numbers 
of the boats were damaged. Fortunately we had picked 
up many native boats. The channels wound circuitously 


among very sharp rocks, over which we had to use ropes. 
Sergeant Lee's boat was smashed, and he and his crew were 
deposited on a rock for some hours. We came to for the 
night in a bight, surrounded in every direction by rocks. 
The leaders of our force lost one man here ; as he was taking 
out a rope, an enemy blew a poisoned arrow into his chest, 
which knocked him down, when his head was cut off." 

On the 1 ith, the foot of the Makun rapid was reached. 
But for some way below the great cataract the river eddies 
and boils and plunges over rocks, and races between pro- 
jecting fangs and islets. Here for two hours they had to 
toil with poles and ropes. The Makun rapid is a descent of 
the river in one great slide, with swirls and whirlpools, and 
with such force that it is only possible to ascend it, one boat 
at a time, pulled by ropes, and with two or three in her 
punting to control her movements, and prevent her being 
stove in against the rocks. 

The ascent was begun on the 11th, and successfully 
accomplished. But fifteen boats were lost. 

" I resolved to push on with the force we had, viz. 150 
Malays and about 100 Dyak boats. Watson and Stuart 
were now boatless, and they also had to harbour in Fitz's 
boat, which had become the refuge of the destitute. A 
satisfaction prevails at having overcome the greatest obstacle 
in the approach to the Kayan confines. We proceeded 
about five miles, and towards evening received news that 
some captives had been taken. The enemy held nowhere 
and were pursued like sheep. I at once decided to go no 
farther, as our work of destruction would serve as a sufficient 
punishment for these people, who have proved themselves 
a most dastardly set of cowards, running on every occasion, 
leaving their children and women at the mercy of the Dyaks. 
These stupid inhabitants trusted to the superstitious traditions 
of their forefathers to guard them without the help of man, 
and now awakened to the mistake of their impregnability, 
too late. They resorted to their heels on every occasion ; 
and two young boys yesterday chased up a hill two men 
equal to the boys in arms, both parties having swords only. 

" Our warlike munitions have been useless, and the gun 


only employed in firing twenty-one rounds on the bank in 
the afternoon. A boat arrived this morning, bringing three 
captives, one of whom I determined to leave on the bank 
to take a message, after we had left, to Oyong Hang. At 
sunset we collected the few chiefs, and the captive, a middle- 
aged woman, was brought before us. I told her, by means 
of an interpreter, that we attacked their country, because 
they had taken part against our friends and the subjects of 
Sarawak, and had harboured the three chief murderers of 
Messrs. Fox and Steele, named Sakalai, Sawing, and Talip. 
Whoever befriended them must necessarily become our 
enemies; besides, they had made several attacks on the Dyaks. 
I gave her a I 2-pounder shot and a Sarawak flag, which were 
to be presented to Oyong Hang for him to make his choice. 
The latter was an emblem of peace, which would provide 
him with a safe-conduct to Kanowit, in order to open peace- 
ful relations. The shot was an emblem of war, which we 
should conclude he had accepted if he did not shortly make 
his appearance with the flag. All attacks by Dyaks would 
be forbidden for the present, as it was our desire to be on 
friendly terms. 

" The Dyak from whom I took the captive complained 
bitterly, and said he had lost a mother and sister, killed by 
the Kayans, and now wanted her (head) in exchange. I 
gave them to understand plainly that whoever touched her 
would suffer death. 

" i^tJiand 14th. — We waited for loiterers, who provoked 
me by their dilatoriness. Some had been wounded bv 
poisoned arrows, but the only effect was feverishness. A few 
had ghastly wounds from spears. There had been more 
dreadful sights in this campaign than I had bargained for. 
Many women and children even had been killed by our 
people, who state, with some degree of truth, that in their 
excitement they had mistaken them for men, as they wore 
head-dresses similar to the dress of the men in this country. 
I resolved on any future occasion when I should have to 
call out the Dyaks, that a heavy fine should be imposed 
on any one perpetrating such acts. Still, at present, they can 
scarcely be expected to comprehend such a rule, as many 


are now thirsting for revenge, smarting under the loss of 
wives, mothers, and sisters, mercilessly tortured and killed by 
the Kayans, who have always been in the habit of practising 
the blackest treachery and making sudden attacks when 
professing the staunchest friendship. 

" On looking over our force, and counting those passing, I 
calculated that we must number five hundred large boats, 
containing about fifteen thousand men — Dyaks of some 
twenty different branch tribes, who had mostly been each 
other's enemies in former times." 

On the return of the expedition, Kanowit was reached 
on the 17th, and thence the Tuan Muda went back to his 
station at Sekrang, and waited there for nearly a month 
before a deputation of Kayans arrived, bearing the flag that 
had been left with the captive woman. They numbered 
seventy men, and came to profess their desire for peace 
in the future. They reported that their chief Oyong Hang 
had summoned the people to a conference, and then and 
there had cut down Talip, and his followers had put Sakalai 
to death, but Sawing, suspecting what would be the deter- 
mination of the Kayans, had escaped a few days previously. 1 

Accordingly the month of August was appointed for 
the gathering of a large assembly of the tribes to conclude 
a peace with the Kayans. There were, however, several 
hitches, and the meeting did not take place until October. 

" The Kayan peace was concluded this month, when the 
chiefs arrived at Kanowit for that purpose. They met the 
Dyaks, and a pig was killed, according to custom. The terms 
and points to be sacredly attended to were all discussed 
before the Resident of the place. Some of the chiefs of the 
Keniah country were also present, and expressed a desire 
for trade and friendship. They talked of removing down 
the river. At this meeting there were representatives of 
25,000 souls, who were all strangers to us, although living 
within the limits of Sarawak territory. This peace had been 
the great event of the year 1863, and leaves Sarawak 
without an enemy in her dominions, and without an inter- 

1 Talip was a Matu Melanau of good birth ; Sakalai was a chief of the Kanowit 
tribe; and Sawing was half Ukit and half Tanjong. 


tribal war of any description. This is the first time the 
country has had peace." 

In December, Sawing, the last of the murderers of Fox 
and Steele, was given up, tried, and executed. 

" And now," says the Tuan Muda, " the deaths of those 
who were private friends and public servants, and who had 
occupied a distant and isolated out-station, have been 
completely avenged." 

The Rajah remained in Sarawak till after the subjection 
of the Kayans, and then, having handed over the Government 
to the Tuan Muda, left in September, 1863, and " bade fare- 
well to the people and the country he was never to see 

B k 

mWmmm^ fti^mmmw 

\ .' . 





E are drawing 
near to the close 
of the first stage 
in the History 
of Sarawak. It 
had opened with great 
hopes. To his mother 
the Rajah had written in 1S41: 
" I trust there may be marked 
out for me a more useful existence, 
that will enable me to lay my head 
the rajah's tomb. on m y pillow and say that I have 

done something to better the condition of my kind, and to 
deserve their applause," and again, " I hope that thousands 
will be benefited when I am mouldering in dust," and these 
hopes have been fulfilled. But the last period of the Rajah's 
life was clouded with sorrow, disappointment, and pecuniary 

He had practically given up the government in 1863, 



though he reigned for five years longer, and could make his 
will felt when need be. His health had broken down, and 
he wrote on May 29, 1863 : "I cannot stand the climate 
and work," and in that year he left Sarawak for good, having 
installed his nephew, the Tuan Muda, as administrator. He 
was then only sixty, but for over twenty years his life had 
been full of anxiety, and had been a continual struggle against 
adversities, the most serious caused by the " malignant and 
persevering persecutions " 1 of his own countrymen, to whom 
he had turned for a little sympathy and a little help, which 
would have cost England nothing. In his policy and his 
actions he had been guided by no personal ambition ; the 
great desire of his heart had been throughout the extension 
of British influence in the Far East, the improvement of 
trade, the suppression of piracy, the horrors of which he had 
witnessed, and the amelioration of the lot of the oppressed 
and suffering natives, whom he had come to love and esteem 
for their many good qualities. 

With regard to the other countries included in the general 
policy of the Rajah, this book has little to do. It suffices to 
note that had that policy not been discredited, Siam, 2 the 
Sulu archipelago, the whole of New Guinea, and a greater part 
of Borneo might now have been under British influence. To 
the Rajah's unaided efforts, frowned upon at home, England 
owes it that Sarawak, Bruni, and Labuan are not now Dutch 
Residencies, and North Borneo, through conquest from the 
Spaniards, an American colon}-. 

By his enterprise Sarawak, weakened by civil war and 
oppression, was converted into an independent and cogent 
State, and became a check upon any further advance of the 
Dutch northwards ; and their strong diplomatic objections 
to the Rajah's presence in Sarawak shows what they had in 
view. Moreover, the treaty he effected with the Sultan of 

1 Lord Palmerston, Debate in House of Commons, July 10, 1851. 

2 Sir Spenser St. John says that, " ever since our Mission to Siam (of which the 
Rajah was the head, having been appointed Special Envoy by the Government) in 
1850, Chaofa Mungkat (then Prime Minister, but very shortly afterwards be became 
the King) had kept up a private correspondence with the Rajah of Sarawak, in whose 
doings he showed great interest.'' This King afterwards presented the Rajah with a 
Siani' rge, still in use, and a gold snuff-box. We mention this to show 
the power of the Rajah's influence, and to what good purposes that influence might 
have ljeen put. 


Bruni in 1847 effectually prevented any settlements other 
than of an English character being established in northern 

From southern Borneo England had retired in favour 
of the Dutch, and, previous to this, after the disaster of 
Balambangan, and its withdrawal from Bruni, had ceased 
to take any further interest in northern Borneo, nor was any 
attempt made to re-establish its prestige there, or to suppress 
piracy, even after Singapore had been founded in 1 8 1 9. 
As usual, England had to wait for a man of action and 
resolution, and twenty years afterwards, though, fortunately, 
when not too late, he appeared in the person of the late 
Rajah. Such a man also was Sir Stamford Raffles, who 
saved Singapore and the Malay peninsula to England. It 
is almost a parallel case. 

The members of the East India Board were furious, and the 
Ministers of the Crown were "excessively angry." Indeed had it 
not been for Raffles ... it is certain that Singapore would have 
been abandoned by the British. Raffles made it, and Raffles saved 
it. . . . Raffles' genius and patriotism were rewarded by endless 
worry, by the disapproval of his employers, and by public censure 
from his country's Ministers. 1 

But the Rajah abandoned the larger policy as hopeless, 
and devoted his life and his means to his adopted country ; 
and here the British Government, influenced by Gladstone, 
Cobden, Sidney Herbert, and their Little England followers, 
did its best to paralyse his efforts. 

"My duty has been done at any cost," he wrote sadly, "and the 
British Government will be responsible for the consequences which 
must follow upon its abandonment of Sarawak. I do not mention 
the treatment I have personally received at its hands, for I seek no 
favour, nor expect justice, and I shall close a troubled career with 
the conviction that it might have been useful to my country and 
honourable to myself and a blessing to the native race, but for 
the indifference, the inconstancy, and, I regret to say, the injustice 
of the British Government." 2 

In an introduction to his nephew the Tuan Muda's Ten 
Years in Sarawak, written in January 1866, he expressed 

1 British Malaya, p. 71 ; Sir Frank Swettenham, K.C.M.G. 
- Extract from a letter to Lord John Russell, dated December 10, 1859. 


what had been the ambition of his life, and his disappointment 
at its non-fulfilment. 

I once had a day-dream of advancing the Malayan race by enfor- 
cing order and establishing self-government among them : and I 
dreamed too that my native country would desire the benefit of 
position, influence, and commerce, without the responsibilities from 
which she shrinks. But the dream ended with the first waking 
reality, and I found how true it is, that nations are like men, that 
the young hope more than they fear, and the old fear more than 
they hope — that England had ceased to be enterprising, and could 
not look forward to obtaining great ends by small means perseveringly 
applied, and that the dependencies are not now regarded as a field 
of outlay, to yield abundant national returns, but as a source of 
wasteful expenditure to be wholly cut off. The cost ultimately may 
verify the old adage, and some day England may wake from the 
dream of disastrous economy, as I have awakened from my dreams 
of extended usefulness. I trust the consequences may not be more 
hurtful to her than they have been to me. 

Since this, I have found happiness in advancing the happiness 
of my people, who, whatever may be their faults, have been true to 
me and mine through good report and evil report, through prosperity 
and through misfortune. 

From the very commencement of his career in Borneo he 
had invited the support of the British Government " to relieve 
an industrious people from oppression, and to check, and if 
possible, to suppress piracy and the slave trade." He was 
anxious to see a British Settlement established, under the 
direction of others if necessary, and he was prepared to 
transfer his rights and interests to any successor. He looked 
upon himself in the light of " an agent whom fortune had 
enabled to open the path," and he felt " if a case of misery 
ever called for help, it is here, and the act of humanity which 
redeems the Dayak race * from the condition of unparalleled 
wretchedness will open a path for religion, and for commerce, 
which may in future repay the charity which ought to seek 
for no remuneration." His wish had always been that the 
country should be taken under the wing of England, and, 
though he at first justly asked that what he had sunk 
into it of his own private fortune should be repaid him, 
he was finally prepared to waive this consideration if only 

1 The Land-Dayaks of the Sadong, Sarawak, and Lundu rivers. 


England would adopt the struggling little State. Failing 
this, he desired that the British Government would extend 
a protectorate over the State, so that capitalists should 
be encouraged to invest money for the development of 
its resources. But even recognition of Sarawak as an 
independent State was not granted till 1863. Protection 
was not accorded till 1888, and then it was offered, not 
asked for, and was granted, not in the interests of Sarawak, 
but for the safeguarding of Imperial interests, lest some other 
foreign power should lay its hands on the little State. 

Recognition, for which the Rajah had striven for so many 
years, being at last granted, filled him with the greatest 
satisfaction. But considering the past history of Sarawak, 
and bearing in mind how well that country has since done 
without extraneous aid, it would seem to have been a pity 
that Sarawak ever attracted the attention of England, and 
that the Rajah ever sought for encouragement or protection 
there. Sarawak has stood the test of nearly seventy years 
as an independent State, and continues its prosperous career, 
without owing anything to any one, and requiring only to be 
let alone. But financial troubles had overtaken the State 
in the latter days of the Rajah, and to him these were an 
endless source of worry and anxiety. From 1863, to the 
time of his death in 1868, his letters to his representative 
in Sarawak, the Tuan Muda, were almost always on this 
subject. To matters relating to general policy, there is in 
them little reference to be found ; though throughout they 
express constant forebodings in regard to the future of the 
raj. " Alone, burdened with debts, with few friends and 
many foes, how are you to stand without support," he wrote 
to the Tuan Muda ; the last years of his life were clouded 
by a dread of evils, for he placed too much weight on public 
opinion, which was generally as erroneous as it was inimical. 1 
In 1 863, the whole responsibility was thrown upon the present 
Rajah's shoulders, to whom it was left to find a way to 
establish the revenue on a sound basis, and to reduce a large 
debt without sacrificing efficiency. The Government under 
the present Rajah practically commenced in that year. 

1 Mr. Templer to the Tuan Muda, March 1872. 


Sir Spenser St. John says, in his Rajah Brooke : — 

" In the autumn of 1S66 he (the Rajah) received a severe shock. 
His nephew, the Tuan Muda, wrote that he had sold the steamer 
Rainbow to pay off a debt due to their Singapore agent — a debt 
incurred through careless extravagance in carrying out his many 
public works at a time when funds were scarce. For a moment it 
almost stupefied him, as this steamer had not yet been paid for,'' 
and " Sarawak without a steamer, he felt assured, would sink back 
into its old state of insecurity ; and therefore another steamer must 
be had. By great exertion, he succeeded in raising the necessary 
funds, and purchased a vessel which was christened the Royalist? 

Sir Spenser must have trusted to his memory, which 
played him false. The Sarawak Government had then 
another and a larger steamer, the Heartsease} and the Rajah 
was having the Royalist' built in England to carry mails 
and merchandise to and from Singapore. He was consulted 
about the sale of the Rainbow and sanctioned it, for he wrote 
to the Tuan Muda on March 6, I 865, "We are quite agreed 
as to the advisability of selling the Rainbow" the purchase 
money to go towards paying for the new vessel he was 
having built. The Singapore agents were instructed to 
remit the money home, but, without the knowledge of the 
Tuan Muda, kept it to cover an over-draft. This over-draft 
was not incurred to pay expenses of public works, but for 
absolute necessaries. The Rajah had but little trouble to 
raise the balance due on the Royalist ; and even this was 
not necessary, for a Singapore Bank at once advanced an 
amount equivalent to the balance due on the Rainbow^ which 
was remitted to England. 

At Burrator, his little out-of-the-world Devonshire seat, 
on the edge of the moors, the Rajah was perfectly happy 
so long as not troubled with bad news from Sarawak. He 
devoted himself to the country-side folk, who were greatly 
attached to him. His life was one simple and contented ; 
he enjoyed the exceeding quietude, and he was happy 
in trying to make others happy. Riding and shooting, so 
long as his health permitted, were his amusements, parish 

1 Built in Singapore, and commissioned in September 1865. 
2 Launched in March 1867. 


affairs, and the improvement of his little property, his chief 

The longing to return to his people was strong upon 
him. But, as time advanced and his strength diminished, 
he foresaw that what had become the desire of his life would 
be denied him. Some three years before his death he wrote 
to the Tuan Muda, " Farewell, think of me as well content, 
free from anxiety, and watching your progress with pride 
and pleasure." 

Largely assisted by the late Sir Massey Lopes, who 
owned the land in the parish, he " restored " the Parish 
Church, and was instrumental in a new school being provided. 
The church contained a magnificent rood - screen, richly 
carved and gilt, extending across the nave and aisle ; indeed 
it was the finest specimen in that part of the county. Un- 
happily neither the Rajah nor Sir Massey could appreciate 
its artistic and antiquarian value, and it was ruthlessly swept 
away. No architect was employed, only a local builder, and 
the new work done in the church is as bad as can be 
conceived, such as was likely to proceed from the designs of 
a common ignorant builder. 

On June 1 1, 1868, Sir James Brooke died at Burrator, 
leaving the succession of the raj to his nephew Charles 
Brooke, and his male issue, failing such to his nephew H. 
Stuart Johnson and his male issue. In default of such 
issue, the Rajah devised his said sovereignty, " The rights, 
privileges, and power thereto belonging, unto her Majesty 
the Queen of England, her heirs and assigns for ever." 

He was buried in the churchyard at Sheepstor, and a 
memorial window to him has been placed in the church. 

Dr. A. Russel Wallace, in The Malay Archipelago, 
1 869, says : — 

That his Government still continues after twenty years, notwith- 
standing frequent absences from ill health, notwithstanding conspiracies 
of Malay chiefs, and insurrections of Chinese gold-diggers, all of 
which have been overcome by the support of the native population, 
and notwithstanding financial, political, and domestic troubles — is 
due, I believe, solely to many admirable qualities which Sir James 
Brooke possessed, and especially to his having convinced the native 


population, by every action of his life, that he ruled them, not for his 
own advantage, but for their good. 

Since these lines were written, his noble spirit has passed away. 
But, though by those who knew him not, he may be sneered at as 
an enthusiast, adventurer, or abused as a hard-headed despot, the 
universal testimony of every one who came in contact with him in 
his adopted country, whether European, Malay, or Dayak, will be 
that Rajah Brooke was a great, a wise, and a good ruler— a true 
and faithful friend, a man to be admired for his talents, respected 
for his honour and courage, and loved for his genuine hospitality, 
his kindness of disposition, and his tenderness of heart. 

Writing in I 866, the old Rajah said of his nephew : — 

He is looked up to in that country (Sarawak) as the chief of all 
the Sea-Dayaks, and his intimate knowledge of their language, their 
customs, their feelings, and their habits far exceed that of any other 
person. His task has been successfully accomplished of stamping 
out the last efforts of piratical Malayan chiefs, and their supporters 
among the Dayaks of Saribas, and of other countries. He first 
gained over a portion of these Dayaks to the cause of order, and 
then used them as his instruments in the same cause, to restrain 
their countrymen. The result is that the coast of Sarawak is as 
safe to the trader as the coast of England, and that an unarmed man 
could traverse the country without let or hindrance. It is a great 
gratification to me to acknowledge my nephew's devotion to the 
cause to which my own life has been devoted. It is well that his 
strength has come to supply my weakness, and that his energies and 
his fife (if needed) should be given to establish the governorship, 
and promote the happiness of the people of Sarawak. My career 
draws to its close, but I have confidence that no consideration will 
turn him from the work which I shall leave for his hand to do. 

How deserved this trust was, has been made manifest 
by the present Rajah's own lifelong devotion to the interests 
of the people he was ordained to govern. On his accession, 
no change was made in the wise and liberal policy of his 
predecessor. Only such reforms and improvements, adminis- 
trative or otherwise, consistent with that policy have been 
made. Up to the time of the first Rajah's death, no great 
progress commercially and financially had been effected, 
and it was left to his successor to promote the commercial 
and industrial advancement of the State. The Sea-Dayaks 
and tribes of the interior still required a strong hand and a 
watchful eye to keep them in order, and the subsequent 


large additions of territory entailed greater responsibility and 
harder work. 

In the gradual establishment of a government suitable 
to the country and its people, the main principles that have 
guided the late and the present Rajah are — that the 
natives should, through their chiefs, have a full though 
subordinate share in its administration and its councils ; 
that their own laws and customs should be respected, 
though modified where necessary in accordance with the first 
principles of justice and humanity. That no sudden and 
wholesale changes disquieting to the native mind should be 
made, and that reforms should be very carefully considered 
from both the white man's and the native's point of view 
before being introduced, and that if carried out, it should be 
done gradually. Thus, without giving rise to any opposition 
or discontent, slavery, which was at one time in a cruel and 
oppressive form, by a gradual process of ameliorating the 
condition of the slaves, enlarging their privileges, reducing 
the powers of owners and increasing their responsibilities, 
in course of time ceased to be a profitable institution, and 
died a natural death without any sudden and violent 

How that was done will be shown in the following 

Among the Spartans a drunken helot was produced, 
staggering and imbecile, to show the young into what a 
disgraceful condition a man fell who gave way to liquor. 
And in Borneo, in the Sultanate of Bruni, the people had 
before their eyes a reminder of what was a bad, irresponsible 

The old Rajah left behind him one of the noblest records 
of a life devoted to the cause of humanity, and of a task 
completed, which has been equalled by few men. His 
motives, untarnished by any desire for honours or for worldly 
advancement, were as pure as was his chivalry, which was 
without reproach. No better man, and few greater, have 

That those who vainly sought by the degradation of his 
position to enrich themselves should have turned round 



upon him, and have vilified a character whose humane and 
lofty views were foreign to their own, is not so surprising as 
that ministers and politicians of the highest repute should 
have lent ready ears to their libellous and unfounded state- 
ments, and have treated with a total absence of a spirit 
of fair play a man whose policy and methods merited their 
fullest recognition and support. 

Ergo Quintilium perpetuus sopor 
Urguet? cui Pudor, et Iustitiae soror, 
Incorrupta Fides, nudaque Veritas 
Quando ullum inveniet parem ? 

Horace, Od. i. 24. 









was pro- 
Rajah on 

August 3, 1868, throughout the territory. The ceremony in 
the capital and at the out-stations was simple. The people 
were assembled, the proclamation read, and the Rajah's flag 
saluted. He did not then take the oath, but this was ad- 
ministered at the next meeting of the General Council, on 
October 11, 1870, when the Rajah solemnly bound himself 
to respect the religion, rights, privileges, and institutions of 
the people ; that no laws or customary laws would be 



changed or modified without the sanction of the chiefs 
assembled in Council, that he would uphold the late Rajah's 
will in respect to the succession to the raj, that the people 
should have a voice in the selection of their chiefs, and 
that all cases arising amongst Muhammadans in respect to 
marriage, divorce, and inheritance should be settled by the 
Malay chiefs in accordance with Muhammadan law. At 
this meeting of the Council the English and native members 
took the oaths to endeavour to the best of their abilities to 
advise truthfully and justly for the good of the country, and 
to uphold the authority of the Rajah. This oath is ad- 
ministered to every new member upon appointment. 

As has been mentioned, the Rajah had already been 
ruling the State for five years previous to his accession, and, 
though troubled with a few internal disorders among the 
Dayaks in the far interior, the general peaceful state of the 
country, which he had done so much to bring about, left 
him free to devote more of his time and attention to many 
needed improvements in the administration, and reforms in 
certain customary laws, which could only be effected as time 
smoothed out party feelings, racial jealousies and distrust, 
and all had settled down tranquilly under a government 
acceptable to the whole population, and which all were willing 
to uphold. How the Rajah succeeded as a wise and tactful 
administrator, the sure and steady advance of the country, 
its revenue and trade sufficiently testify. Not only has this 
been fully acknowledged by outside witnesses in a position 
to judge, but, what he values more, has won the approbation 
and confidence of his people. 

Xo one was in a better position to bear testimony to 
this than the old Datu Bandar, Haji Bua Hasan, who, in 
spite of evil report and good report, won the respect of all 
classes. As already mentioned, he was a son of the gallant 
Patinggi Ali, and was appointed Imaum when Ilaji Gapur 
was degraded, and shortly afterwards was raised to the rank 
of Datu. He held his rank and office for over sixty year-, 
and became the trusted friend of both Rajahs and of all 
his " English brethren." This is the simple testimony lie 
bore on the opening of the new Court-house and public 


offices during the absence of the Rajah in England, acting 
as he did as spokesman for his countrymen, and in the 
presence of man)' hundreds of them. 

English brethren, datus, and people all at present within the 
Court. I am happy in being here in company with you to hail 
the anniversary of the Rajah's birthday, and to join with you in 
opening this our new Court-house. 

I am here to bear testimony to the fostering care which the 
Rajah has ever taken of his children ; we, who in years gone by 
were not only poor, but sunk under oppression, and heaviness of 
heart, by his assistance have become rich, and our hearts have 
waxed light within us under the blessing of freedom. 

The Rajah is but following out the good work begun by his 
uncle in our regard many years ago. 

The Rajah, in succeeding his uncle, has not attempted to 
suppress, to interfere with, or to decry our religion, therefore I say 
to you all, follow that religion truly and adhere to its teachings. 
Whoever there be who shall forget what the Rajah has achieved for 
him and his, that man is not worthy to be accounted a friend of 
the Government, but shall be looked upon as an enemy, and 
whoever becomes an enemy of the constituted Government is an 
offender also against the faith. 

How is it possible for any of us, remembering all that the 
Rajah has done for our advancement, to go against him, or in any 
way to oppose him. On the contrary, it is our duty — the duty of 
all of us who subsist under the Government — to praise the Rajah, 
to pray for long life for him and his, and beyond this to ask that 
he may be blessed with fortune in his reign, so that we may long 
live happy, as we are now, under him. 

It will be advisable here to give some account of the 
manner in which Sarawak has been and is still governed, in 
regard to which Sir Spenser St. John, who was out in 
Borneo, either in Sarawak or Bruni, for thirteen years, wrote 
in 1 899 : 

The Government is a kind of mild despotism, the only govern- 
ment suitable to Asiatics, who look to their chief as the sole 
depositary of supreme power. The influence of the old Rajah still 
pervades the whole system, and natives and Europeans work 
together in perfect harmony. 1 

For administrative purposes the country is divided into 
four Divisions, with a Resident of the 1st Class, or Divisional 

1 Rajah Brooke. 


Resident, in charge of each, but of late years it has been 
necessary to appoint only Divisional Residents to the ist 
Division, the smallest in area, but the most important, as 
containing the capital ; and to the 3rd Division, which 
extending from Kalaka to Kedurong Point, takes in about 
half the State, and contains about half the population. The 
Divisions are divided into Residencies, under charge of 
Residents of the 2nd Class, with Assistant Residents, and 
junior officers under them, all under the supervision of the 
Divisional Residents. 

In Kuching the Divisional Resident is assisted by a 
Resident of the 2nd Class, and the executive work is under 
the control of the usual departments, directed by the 
Treasurer, Commandant, Commissioner of Public Works, 
Postmaster-General, Magistrate Court of Requests, Superin- 
tendent of Police, principal and junior Medical Officers, 
Superintendent of Surveys, and Engineer in chief, with 
English, Eurasians, Chinese, and native assistants. The 
Rajah is the supreme judge, and the other judges of the 
Supreme Court are the Divisional Residents, the Datu 
Bandar, the Datu Hakim, and the Datu Imaum. These 
also form the Supreme Council, with his Highness as 
President. The Supreme Council, which was instituted by 
the first Rajah, acting on the advice of Earl Grey, October 
17, 1855, meets once a month for the consideration of all 
important matters in connection with the welfare and 
administration of the State. It is an established rule that 
in this Council the European members shall not outnumber 
the native members. 

In addition to the Supreme Council is the General 
Council, or Council Negri (State Council), which was 
instituted by the present Rajah in April, 1865, to 
consolidate the Government by giving the native chiefs 
more than local interest in the affairs of the State ; to 
impress them with a sense of responsibility ; to establish 
an uniformity of customs ; and to promote a good feeling 
amongst them, and confidence in each other. Before the 
Council was inaugurated the chiefs seldom met one another, 
and were almost strangers except in name. Those in the 


provinces rarely visited the capital ; they knew little about, 
and took but a slight interest in public concerns not directly 
affecting their own districts. The members of this Council 
also form local, or Residency, Councils in their respective 
districts, with the several Residents as vice-presidents. 

This General Council includes the above members of the 
Supreme Council, the Residents of the 2nd Class, Treasurer, 
Commandant, principal Medical Officer, and the leading 
Malay, Dayak, and Kayan governing chiefs, as well as the 
chiefs of other tribes, who have proved deserving of being 
appointed members. It meets once every three years, and 
at the last meeting, in 1906, there were present thirteen 
(absent five) Europeans and thirty-six native members. 
To quote from his Highness' speech made at that meeting : 

The General Council was organised for the purpose of settling 
any serious question or dispute relating to the welfare of the country 
whenever such questions should arise, . . . and he thought it was 
always a good thing that they should at least once in three years 
meet each other, exchange thoughts and views, and renew 

Although it is the rule that the Council should meet at 
least once in every three years, it is liable to be convened at 
any time should any emergency arise, and this has been 
done upon more than one occasion. 

Thus one was summoned in June, 1867, 1 to meet at 
Sibu, to discuss and decide upon the course to be pursued 
to ensure protection for the lives and property of Sarawak 
subjects trading in Bruni territory. A letter was drawn up 
by the Rajah in Council to the Sultan, laying the facts 
before him, and asking for justice and protection. This 
drew from him the rude retort that " the Rajah he knew, 
but the members of the Council he presumed were only his 

Nor was this all. When the Rajah's principal Resident, 
with some of the leading members of the Council, visited 
Bruni, the Sultan refused to allow the latter into his 
presence, but relegated them to an outer chamber with 
persons of low rank. 

1 This was the first meeting of the Council. 


Hitherto the Sarawak chiefs of all ranks and races had 
entertained a lingering sympathy and respect for the " Iang 
de Pertuan " (He that rules), the Sultan's more correct 
title, but these insults completely alienated their regard. 

The details of administration in the out-stations are 
many and diversified, and in some of the districts entail a 
considerable amount of travelling. The Resident is the 
chief judicial officer in his district. He is responsible for 
the proper collection of the revenue and for the expenditure. 
The public works, the police, in fact the general conduct 
of affairs throughout his district, are under his supervision, 
and he has to be continually visiting the outlying villages. 
Usually there is an Assistant Resident and one or more 
junior officers to assist him. Besides his usual routine 
work, he must at all times be accessible to natives of all 
races and of all degrees. Though irksome at times, this 
duty is one of considerable importance. Some come to 
complain against decisions of their chiefs ; some for advice 
and assistance ; and some seek an interview under a trivial 
pretext, behind which, however, may be important news, 
which the)' would hesitate to deliver before others. The 
natives are the eyes and ears of a Resident, and through 
them alone can he derive early intelligence of the doings 
and intentions of his people. And not a less important 
duty is to become thoroughly acquainted with the people 
under his care, to keep in close personal touch with them, 
and to become conversant with their customs and ideas, for 
the law he administers must be made more or less consonant 
with these. Customs inconsistent with justice and common 
sense have long since been discarded for more enlightened 
rules, but those conformable to these principles, and suitable 
to the conditions of the people, have become recognised 
customary laws, and these vary among the different races. 

For the settlement of divorce and probate cases among 
the Muhammadans, Courts have been established throughout 
the State. In Kuching the Court is presided over by the 
datus, those in the out-stations by the Malay Government 
chiefs, who also sit as magistrates in the Residency Courts. 
Such cases are settled in accordance with Muhammadan 


law, modified as the Supreme Council may see fit, and 
subject to appeal to the Supreme Court. 

Beside the permanent and salaried native officers, every 
Malay and Melanau village has its tuah, 1 or chief, who is 
elected by the people, and, if the selection is approved by 
the Government, he receives a commission from the Rajah, 
appointing him chief for a term of three years. These 
tuahs are responsible for the collection of dues and taxes, 
and have power as sub-magistrates to settle small cases. 
As a rule they are remunerated by commissions, though 
some receive salaries. 

The Sea-Dayaks, Kayans, and Kenyans have district- 
chiefs, as already stated, called pengulus, who are appointed 
by the Government ; and each house or village has its 
recognised sub-chief. The powers and duties of the 
pengulus are similiar to those of the Malay tuahs, and 
they are similarly remunerated. 

In 1872, certain criticisms upon the administration 
drew forth a rejoinder which appeared in the Sarawak 
Gazette of September 2, and as it so clearly lays down 
the Rajah's opinions and his policy we give it in full : 

It is easy enough to find weak places in any system, and to 
give it credit on the whole for less than it deserves, because we 
disapprove of it in part. It is as easy, especially if one has played 
an important part in it oneself, to over-estimate its benefits. But 
in a semi-barbarous country, governed in conjunction with the old 
native authorities by a knot of foreigners, who are in advance of 
those they govern in knowledge and experience, it is hardest of all 
to judge impartially what has been done or is in progress. There 
are two widely different principles on which such a country can 
be judged ; we will call them the Native and the European principle 
respectively. The first regards the old condition of things. 
established by custom and the character of race, as essentially 
natural, and is more or less adverse from changes, however slight, 
in what has these important sanctions. The second places the 
standard of Western civilisation before it, and is apt to judge rather 
harshly whatever falls far short of this, or is not, at least, in a fair 
way towards attaining it. 

The common mistake Europeans make in the East is to exalt 
the latter of these principles almost to the exclusion of the other, 

1 Literally, an elder. 


instead of using them as mutually corrective. And this mistake 
has its origin, not in reasoning or in justice, but in the imperious 
spirit which makes white men in the East believe themselves lords 
of creation, and their darker brethren kindly provided in more or 
less abundance for their profit and advantage. At any rate no 
man in his senses can expect a wilderness of barbarism to blossom 
like a rose in a day, or a perfect government to appear full grown 
at once : while it is as unjust to put the traditions of the natives 
and their social position out of the question and consult European 
notions only, as it is debasing to lower ourselves to the level of 
native ignorance and stolidity. 

In accordance with these two principles, there are two ways in 
which a government can act. The first is to start from things as 
we find them, putting its veto on what is dangerous or unjust, and 
supporting what is fair and equitable in the usages of the natives, 
and letting system and legislation wait upon occasion. When new 
wants are felt it examines and provides for them by measures 
rather made on the spot than imported from abroad ; and, to 
ensure that these shall not be contrary to native customs, the 
consent of the people is gained for them before they are put in 

The white man's so-called privilege of class is made little of, 
and the rules of government are framed with greater care for the 
interests of the majority who are not Europeans than for those of 
the minority of superior race. Progress in this way is usually slow, 
and the system is not altogether popular from our point of view ; 
but it is both quiet and steady : confidence is increased ; and no 
vision of a foreign yoke to be laid heavily on their shoulders, when 
the opportunity offers, is present to the native mind. 

The other plan is to make here and there a clean sweep and 
introduce something that Europeans like better, in the gap. A 
criminal code of the latest type, polished and revised by the wise 
men at home, or a system of taxation and police introduced boldly 
from the West is imposed, with a full assurance of its intrinsic 
excellence, but with too little thought of how far it is likely to suit 
the circumstances it has to meet. 

We care not to set the two principles in stronger contrast, or 
apply either to the policy which prevails here, only when men set 
themselves to be critics their first business is to rate themselves at 
their proper level in the community, and remember that their own 
interest is not all that has to be considered. 

The policy of ingrafting western methods on eastern 
customs by a gradual and gentle process has been attended 
not only with marked success but with appreciation by the 


natives themselves. It has been the means by which old 
prejudices have been broken down, and reforms in laws and 
administration have step by step, and without friction or 
difficulty, been substituted for unjust and debasing customs. 
By preserving old customs good in themselves, modifying 
these where necessary, avoiding sudden and drastic changes, 
and, above all, by acting in conjunction with the native 
chiefs and in sympathy with their ideas, a faith in the 
integrity of the purpose of their white Ruler has been 
instilled into the minds of the people, and a feeling that 
whatever change he may advise will be primarily for their 

I do not exaggerate, the Rajah wrote in 1870, when I say 
our chief success has been owing to the good feeling existing 
between the Ruler and people, brought about by there being no 
impediments between them ; and that the non-success of European 
governments generally in ruling Asiatics is caused by the want of 
sympathy and knowledge between the Rulers and the ruled, the reason 
being the distance and unapproachableness of the Leader. If I 
were to exclude myself from Court I must necessarily withdraw 
myself from hearing the complaints, either serious or petty, of my 
people, who would then be justified in drawing an unsatisfactory 
and unhappy comparison between myself and my uncle, who was 
de facto the slave of the people, and left the country under my 
charge expecting me to carry out his policy. 

Changes in laws and customs, which a few decades back 
would have been viewed with sullen distrust, are now readily 
accepted by the Malay chiefs, even those affecting their own 
strict religious laws. These as enacted by Muhammad 
were adjusted to meet the requirements of the past, but the 
Malay chiefs have so far advanced in their ideas that they are 
ready to admit that some of these laws may no longer be in 
accordance with present conditions. So by an Act passed 
in the Supreme Council an important rule contained in 
that code regulating the succession to property was modified 
as being opposed to modern ideas of fairness. 

Before his accession, the Rajah had thoroughly gone 
into the question of slavery ; in this matter he invited 
the opinions of all, and on his accession he was enabled to 
promulgate certain laws affecting the slaves, that met with 


general approval. By these laws, the slave was protected 
against ill-usage. He was granted civil rights, and the 
privilege of freeing himself by the payment of a small 
amount, the maximum price being fixed at about £~, an 
amount which could easily be earned by a few months' 
hard work. The transfer of slaves from one master to 
another could be made only in, and with the consent of 
the Courts. No slaves could be sold out of the country, and 
no fresh slaves might be imported. To quote the Sarawak 
Gazette of December 12, 1872 : 

Before the arrival of Sir James Brooke, the Illanuns and other 
pirates from North Borneo took yearly trips around the island, 
making midnight attacks on peaceful villages, killing old men and 
children, separating mother and child, husband and wife, and 
carrying away hundreds of miserable wretches to be sold into 
slavery in the Sulu archipelago. 

In Sarawak territory, Kayans and Melanaus sacrificed slaves 
to propitiate evil spirits. To ensure good luck to a chiefs new 
house, the first post was driven through the body of a young 
virgin. When they were afflicted with epidemics, it was the 
custom to sacrifice a young girl by placing her in a canoe, and 
allowing her to drift out to sea with the ebb tide. At the death of 
a chief, slaves were tied to posts near the coffin of the deceased 
and starved to death, in order that they might be ready to act as 
attendants on their master in another world. 1 

These and a host of other atrocities were formerly enacted 
here. Amongst the Malays was found slavery of a milder form. 
Masters and slaves were, as a rule, on amicable terms, and the latter 
were well treated. Where, however, there was no law, and 
masters held absolute power over their slaves,- ill-usage 
occasionally followed as a consequence ; and we could fill pages 
with stories of cruelties practised by Malay slave-holders in olden 

Now on our coast piracy is a thing of the past. Inland, the 
barbarities we have described are no longer practised by wild and 
superstitious tribes ; and although slavery is tolerated amongst the 
Malays, it is in such a mild form that the word is a misnomer. 

The Government protects the bondman against cruelty and 
ill-usage, and acknowledges his legal rights. He can now obtain 
justice in the Courts, and by a wise regulation of the Government 

' The poor creatures lx;ing solemnly admonished to attend well upon their 

■ 5 in the next world. 
- They 1 1« -1< i tin- power of life and death over their slaves. 


he can purchase his freedom at a fixed moderate price, so that should 
he find his bondage irksome, he has an opportunity of freeing himself 
by energy and hard work. 

The result is that the number of slaves in the territory is 
steadily decreasing. Some of the Malays have been known to 
emancipate their slaves at their death. Those who are now 
nominally slaves are treated so well by their masters that they are 
probably happier and better off than they would be as free 

One great cause for the reduction in the number of 
slaves was that, knowing their masters no longer had 
power to drive them, and were bound to support them, 
whether they worked or not, they became lazy and 
unprofitable to their owners, who eventually found paid 
labour to be far cheaper, and were only too glad to be rid 
of them. 

These regulations gave the death-blow to slavery. It 
now practically remained to the slaves themselves to 
choose whether they should change their condition or not ; 
for energy on the part of a slave would enable him to 
procure the price of his freedom, as well as that of his wife 
and children, and that could no longer be arbitrarily fixed 
or refused by his owner ; or by contracting his labour he 
could obtain an advance for this purpose. By degrees 
many availed themselves of this advantage, though others 
preferred to remain in a state of dependency. They were 
well provided for, there was no necessity to work too hard, 
and proper treatment was secured to them. Thus it came 
to pass that many owners lost their diligent slaves, and were 
left with the lazy and useless ones, who became an 
expensive nuisance. Their wives and children, however, 
remained slaves, as did those of men too infirm to work, but 
of these, too, boys freed themselves as they grew up, and 
girls by contracting marriages with freemen, and these could 
free their parents. But the Rajah was desirous of abolishing 
an institution that, though it was becoming one in name 
only, still remained a blot upon the country, and in this he 
had the support of the Malay chiefs, which many showed 
in a practical manner by publicly and unconditionally 
manumitting all their slaves. Having before prepared the 


minds of the people for the great social change he wished 
to effect by bringing before the members of the General 
Council a proposal to abolish slavery, in 1883 he brought 
forward a bill for the gradual manumission of the slaves 
during the next five years, and for the abolition of slavery 
at the end of that period. But it became unnecessary to 
proceed to an enactment, for in 1886 domestic slavery had 
practically become a thing of the past, and at a meeting of 
the Council in that year the Rajah withdrew the bill. 

As to the relations with Bruni, we shall deal with them 
in a special chapter. These relations, and those with the 
Netherlands Government, comprise the whole of Sarawak 
foreign policy, and the latter have of late years been 
conducted in a friendly spirit of co-operation in the mutual 
interests of the two countries, without undue and restrictive 
formality and red-tapeism — a marked contrast to the 
relations with Singapore, which has ever been jealous of 

The relations with the Dutch had not, however, always 
been friendly, for on two occasions they had seized Sarawak 
trading prahus on the idle pretext of these being pirates. 
The second time was as late as 1865, and then two 
Sarawak and a Bruni prahu were seized in company by a 
Dutch gun - boat and towed into Sinkawang, where their 
crew were placed in prison in irons, and the vessels and 
cargoes confiscated. This drew a strong protest from the 
Sarawak Government, and after some detention vessels and 
crews were released, but without considerable portions of 
their cargoes. Heavy damages were claimed, but never paid, 
though the seizure was admitted to be wrongful. 

This was a poor return for the relief Sarawak had 
afforded the Dutch coast, both from the ravages of the 
Dayaks of Saribas and Sekrang, and the pirates from the 
north. Before the action off Bintulu in 1862, the Dutch 
had been unable effectually to protect their own coasts, the 
many captives from Dutch Borneo then rescued being a 
sufficient proof of this, but after that action the pirates did 
not venture to pass Sarawak again, and the north-western 
and western coasts were freed from their visits. The 


action of the Dutch in seizing these prahus was the severest 
blow Sarawak trade had suffered for many years ; the fast- 
sailing prahus might out-sail the pirates, or the well-armed 
ones beat them off, but from men-of-war steamers there was 
no escape. 

The Rajah has from his accession kept a strict super- 
vision over all, even the smallest details of revenue and 
expenditure ; all accounts of the Treasury and out-stations 
are submitted to him monthly, and no extra expenses 
beyond those provided for by his orders may be incurred by 
any department or in any out-station without his express 
sanction. His guiding principle has always been the 
strictest economy within limitations necessary to ensure 
efficiency. Upon his accession the public debt amounted 
to about ,£15,000, a considerable sum, with a revenue of 
only little over $100,000; this was exclusive of what had 
been sunk by the late Rajah — the whole of his fortune, 
which Sir Spenser St. John is wrong in saying stands to 
the credit of the Brooke family in the Treasury. In 
1870 the revenue was $122,842, in 1907, $1,441,195, 
with a large surplus, and no public debt. 

Besides the supervision of the Treasury, the Military, 
Naval, and Public Works departments are under the direct 
control of the Rajah, his daily routine in Kuching includes 
visits to the barracks, to the steamers and engineer's work- 
shop, and to the jail, all which would be the work of the early 
mornings and evenings. The Rajah also presides in the 
Supreme and in the Police Courts, hearing and settling all 
cases and receiving petitions, and listening to complaints after 
the cases are disposed of; seeing all, whoever they are, and 
whatever their occasion. After Court he visits the offices of 
the various heads of departments, and attends to any business 
they may have to bring before him. This is also done when 
he visits out-stations, and in the absence of the Rajah the 
same rule is observed by the Rajah Muda. 

But little had been done by the first Rajah towards pro- 
moting the commercial and industrial development of the 
State. He had, indeed, induced the Baroness Burdett Coutts 
to start an experimental farm with paddy-working mills at 


Lundu, and an experimental garden near Kuching, to teach 
the natives a better system of farming, with the use of the 
plough, and to introduce new products. But she had been un- 
fortunate in the selection of managers ; the experiments 
proved failures, and were abandoned in 1872. 

Agriculture, the mainstay of all tropical countries, 
chiefly occupied the present Rajah's mind, but to quote from 
a speech made by him a few years after his accession : — 

I do not flatter myself when I say that I have tried my best 
to advance agriculture, but I have most signally failed, and am, 
in consequence, much disappointed. Nevertheless, I still entertain 
hopes that the time for its development is not far distant, and 
I am prepared to take any pains, to receive any amount of 
advice, and to undergo any trouble if only I can see my way to 
successfully spread gardens and plantations in the place of our vast 

Many schemes to promote this industry had been 
attempted, and had failed ; but the Rajah never lost sight of 
his purpose, and how he was ultimately rewarded with success 
a reference to the chapter dealing with agriculture will 

We shall now notice the disturbances that occurred in 
the period 1868-70. 

In July, 1868, the Rajah led an expedition against the 
Delok Dayaks living in the Upper Batang Lupar for causing 
trouble over the borders, and another in May, 1S70, against 
the Beloh Dayaks in the Katibas for the same reason. The 
Katibas, who had hitherto been supporters of the Government, 
had been led astray by the chief Balang a in 1866, who then 
laid a well -planned trap to get the Resident, Mr. J. B. 
Cruickshank, into his hands to murder him. He was 
captured by the Rajah, and taken to Sibu, where he was 

Both these expeditions were successful, but no particulars 
of either are to hand. These expeditions, however, did not 
result in a final settlement of these disturbed remote districts. 
The Dayaks submitted, only to break out again, and the lesson 
had to be repeated several times. It will not be necessary or 
1 Sec chapter x. p. 287. 


expedient to give an account of each of these. There is a 
tragic monotony about them — so many villages burnt, so 
many casualties to the punitive force, so many of the turbulent 
natives killed, and then a hollow peace patched up between 
the tribes concerned, with the usual ceremonies of killing of 

The Sea-Dayaks still required to be watched and con- 
trolled, and " it would be strange if the Government had not 
met with difficulties in keeping in subjection r 60,00c 1 wild 
Dayaks, all possessing energetic souls for warfare." The 
Saribas, the most troublesome and toughest in holding 
out, eventually settled down into the most peaceful and 
law-abiding of the tribes, and became great traders, and 
thoroughly loyal. This was the case as far back as 1 865, and 
in that year the present Rajah was able to write : " What an 
altered country is Saribas to what it was a few years ago. 
People are so quiet and peaceably disposed there now, that 
never a word of head-hunting is breathed." And the same 
may be said of the Sekrangs, who, with the exception of 
one lapse, caused by the falsehood and treachery of a 
once trusted chief, have remained true and faithful to the 
Government that had brought them into subjection. And 
in regard to all the Sea-Dayak tribes, then as now, it should 
be borne in mind that their uprisings, though bringing them 
into conflict with it, are never directed against the Govern- 
ment, with the above exception only, which is related in 
Chapter XIV. Like the Highlanders of yore, we may class 
the various tribes of the Dayaks having a community of 
language and customs as clans spasmodically at feud with 
one another ; and their feuds are confined to the far 
interior of the State. 

On the evening of November 28, 1868, the Resident 
at Muka, Captain W. H. Rodway, 2 and Mr. E. Sinclair 3 
went for a walk to the mouth of the river, distant some two 
miles, leaving the fort in charge of the Sepoy Sergeant of 
the guard. That morning a Malay named Ganti, an 

1 This number includes the Kayan, Kenyah, and other inland warlike tribes. 

2 Afterwards Major Commandant S.R. , joined the service 1862, retired 1883. 

3 Joined 1868 ; resigned 1873. He was at this time Assistant Resident of 
Bintulu, and was at Muka on a visit. 




ex-fortman, had been sentenced to five years' imprisonment 
for a serious crime. He at once formed a plan with the 
other prisoners to rush the fort and effect their escape ; and 
the culpable carelessness of the Sepoy guard soon gave 
them their opportunity. At 5 P.M. the prisoners were 
brought back from their work, and noticing that the whole 
of the guard, with the exception of the sentry, were outside 
the fort variously employed in the cookhouse, at the bathing 
place, etc., they walked in and closed the doors, whilst Ganti, 
who on a plea of sickness had been allowed by the Sergeant 
to leave his cell in the basement and sit on the floor above 
under the charge of the sentry, with a handspike killed the 
sentry. A Mr. Bain, a former employe of the Borneo 
Company, who was then a trader at Ova, and was at the 
time ill in the fort, was murdered in his bed by a Chinaman, 
whom he had imprisoned for debt. 

The Resident hurried back to find that the fort with 
guns and ammunition were in the hands of the prisoners, 
who were firing at the natives, and whose position was 
impregnable. Nothing could be done but to send for help 
from Bintulu. The prisoners amused themselves with firing 
at the surrounding houses, but their aim was so badly 
directed that they did no harm to life, and but little to 
property. At last, being aware that they could not hold out 
against the force that they knew would be summoned to 
reduce them, they broke into the Treasury safe, and 
collecting all the property they could take with them, 
decamped in the night. The people, who throughout had 
behaved loyally, promptly went in pursuit, overtook the 
fugitives, killed every one of them, although some were 
Muka men, and recovered all the cash, arms, and property 
that had been carried off. 

.Mention has been made of the Sepoys. It may be 
here said how that some of these men came into the Rajah's 
service. Many of the Sepoys, who had been mixed up with 
the rebellion in India, and were sentenced to death, had 
their sentence commuted to penal servitude in the 
Andamans for life. The Indian Government proposed 
to the late Rajah to take charge of some of these in 


Sarawak, and to this he consented, and fifty arrived from 
Port Blair in March, 1866. There were some soldiers, quite 
boys, and raw recruits, some of various other trades, and 
one or two were of superior rank. On reaching Sarawak, 
they all elected to join the military force, and were 
distributed among the out-stations. With very few excep- 
tions, they proved themselves to be a steady and reliable 
set of men. They were treated as free men, the only 
stipulation imposed upon them was that they were not 
to leave the country. A few were pardoned and returned 
to India, the rest died as pensioners of the Sarawak 
Government. 1 

On May 13, 1870, an attack was made on Sibu 
fort' 2 by a force of some 3000 Kanowit Dayaks under the 
noted chief, Lintong or Mua-ari. Sibu fort, which is 
situated on an island, was then in the charge of Mr. H. 
Skelton, 3 with Mr. H. Brooke Low as his assistant, and was 
manned by a force of about thirteen Sepoys. Mr. Skelton 
had been frequently warned of the impending attack, but 
gave no credit to these warnings, and would allow no extra 
arms to be loaded. That very evening, during dinner-time, 
a noted Dayak chief, Unggat, had come in to inform 
Mr. Skelton that the place was to be attacked. Mr. 
Skelton was angry at being interrupted during his meal, 
and vowed, that if no assault was made, the man should be 
imprisoned. When the place eventually was attacked, the 
chief paced up and down in the fort and would take no 
part in the defence. 

It was the custom of the Sepoys to go out by the back- 
door before daybreak to perform their ceremonial ablutions, 
and of this the Dayaks were aware, and lay in wait about 
the exit to surprise them. But the Sepoys were on their 
guard, and the door was not opened. The Dayaks then 
attacked the fort in force, endeavouring to cut their way 
in with axes, but they were beaten off. Amongst the 

1 The last in 1902. 

2 Built in 1863, when it became the Government headquarters in the Rejang. 
Sibu is the most important provincial town, and has a revenue larger than that of 

8 Henry Skelton, joined 1866, died in 1873, immediately after being appointed 
Resident of Sarawak. 


killed was Lintong's eldest son, a boy who had been the 
inseparable companion of Mr. J. B. Cruickshank, the 
Resident of the Rejang, who was then at home on leave. 

The Sepoys behaved well, and had to be restrained 
from going out to fight the Davaks in the open. Had the 
fort been taken, the Chinese quarters and the Malay villages 
would have fallen an easy prey to the Dayaks, and a general 
massacre would have ensued, as the attack was timed to take 
place when all the able-bodied Malays were away on their 


(The Forts at Bintulu, Muka, and Kapit, are similar. I 

farms. This is the sole occasion on which an out-station 
fort has been attacked in force, and it revealed to the naked 
savages the fact that with their primitive weapons it was 
futile making such an attempt, except by surprise. But 
indeed, on this occasion, a surprise was intended. 

Lintong, the troublesome son of a troublesome father, 
had been a constant head-hunter, and, before the establish- 
ment of the station at Sibu, a scourge to the Melanaus 
living in the delta of the Rejang. He had before attempted 
to surprise Kanowit fort, and it was from his spear that 
Mr. Steele had had a narrow escape. He had, however, 
fought on the side of the Government in former days ; and, 


subsequent to the attack on Sibu, after having been deprived 
of his liberty for some time, he again became a supporter 
of the Government, and eventually a Pengulu. He died 
of snake bite in September, 1887. 

The Rajah left for England in 1869, and went to reside 
at Burrator. In the same year he married Margaret Lili 
Alice de YVindt, his cousin, daughter of Clayton de Windt, 
of Blunsdon Hall, Highworth, Wilts, and Dinnington, 
Northumberland, and sister to Mr. Harry de Windt, the 
famous explorer, who served in Sarawak as A.D.C. to the 
Rajah in 1 872-1 873. 






GOOD deal 
has already 
been said 
about that 
blot on 
the map 
of Borneo, 
Bruni, and 
of its Rulers, and in this chapter 
shall be given the history of 
the relations between the 
Sultans and the present Rajah since his accession, as well 
as of the policy of the Foreign and Colonial Offices in 
regard to that " wretched phantom the Bruni Government." ' 
Many chapters might well be devoted to the past and 
present history of Daru'l Salam, the Haven of Peace, the 
sublime Arabic title by which, with a characteristic disregard 
of the fitness of things, the Brunis proudly dignify their 

1 Forests of the Far East, S. St John. 


BRUM 327 

unhappy city, as they do their Sultan with the title of Ka- 
adil-an, the Just. But like morning dreams, these go by 
contraries. The story they would set forth would be a sad 
one, as may well be judged from what has already been 
related and from what will be told in this chapter, though 
a great deal more might be said. It would be interesting, 
too, as another example of British indifference to Eastern 
affairs. From the commencement, when nearly seventy years 
ago the attention of the empire was so strongly drawn to this 
nest of murderers and robbers, this haven of criminals, by 
the late Rajah, till the end, when in 1905 the British 
Government elected to adopt the bankrupt and depopulated 
remnant of the Sultanate, its policy in regard to that State 
has been remarkable for neither consistency nor astute- 

During the last twenty years of his reign (1852-1885) 
the old Sultan, Abdul Mumin, who has been described as 
having the soul of a huckster, and who died at the age of 
over a hundred, devoted his life solely to the pursuit of 
wealth, and the unscrupulous means he employed to enrich 
himself produced great oppression and misery. Affairs of 
State were a secondary matter with him, and the ministers 
and pangirans went their ways unrestrained. Some of these 
pangirans, who are related to royalty, a few closely, others 
more or less remotely, exercise " Tulin '' or hereditary feudal 
rights over districts, the ministers holding, ex-officio, similar 
rights over other districts ; the unhappy people therein 
were completely in their power, and could be squeezed at 
their own sweet will. Others, not possessing such rights 
but armed with authority from the Sultan, easily obtained 
at a price, enriched themselves by forced trading. 

The poorer classes of the Bruni Malays are hardworking 
and law-abiding ; but when no man's property is safe from 
the rapacious grasp of the chiefs, thrift and hard work cease 
to have an object, and the country becomes dead to industry 
and enterprise. The inhabitants of the interior, and the 
Kadayans, an industrious, agricultural people, suffered under 
the same disadvantages. Like the Chinese, these people 
once cultivated pepper, but for the same cause gave up doing 


so, which is not surprising when even their harvests of rice 
were not spared to them. 

The late Mr. C. A. C. de Crespigny, 1 who had a 
considerable experience of Bruni and the country around it, 
writing upon the condition of the place in the seventies, says : 

"A Pangiran of high rank, but of small means, went 
from Bruni to Kalias, and with his own hands murdered a 
Chinaman, his retainers keeping their hands in by the 
slaughter of one or more of the man's relations and 
dependants. The murderer then gutted the shop and 
returned to Bruni. It was stated that the Pangiran belonged 
to a Chinese secret society, as young Bruni in general is 
said to do, and that the head of the society, having a trade 
grudge against the poor fellow at Kalias actually paid the 
Pangiran SSoo for the deed. Whether this was true or not 
would be an interesting subject for investigation ; but that 
the man was murdered by the Pangiran's own hand, and 
his goods and chattels carried away to Bruni, is 
undoubtedly the case ; and further that the Pangiran was 
not punished except by verbal reproof. Herein is anarch}-. 

" On another occasion at Kalias mouth, twenty-eight 
Chinese were killed by a band of marauders from up the 
river and neighbouring streams. A fine was imposed upon 
the river, but no murderers were caught. Herein was want 
of power 

" On another and later occasion, a Chinaman, also 
living at Kalias, was murdered by a band of ruffians from 
Padas Damit and other streams, together with his wife, 
child, and only servant. On this occasion two of the 
murderers were caught, taken to Bruni, and as they were 
men of no consequence, summarily executed. Herein is 

" Men arc enslaved without proper cause, and slaves are 
torn from their families and pass to other owners and other 
countries, against their wish." 

The Bruni of the old days, the Bruni of yesterday, and 

the Bruni of to-day, are all one. 

1 Formerly of the Royal Navy, and the Labiian (',\il Service. Joined the 
Sarawak Civil Service i . -■ — 1 Resident at Muka, and subsequently Divisional 
Resident of the U'l Division Died 1884. 

BRUNI 329 

Although by treaty and by decree the trade of the 
coast of Bruni territory was thrown open to all, the Bruni 
pangirans used their utmost endeavours to retain it, and 
traders from Sarawak and Labuan were incessantly obstructed 
and interfered with. Competition, coupled with free trade, 
was not to the taste of these pangirans, and as the old Sultan 
was himself too much mixed up in trading transactions to 
exert himself to see that foreign traders received due pro- 
tection, the pangirans were left a free hand to deal with 
them, and their high-handed proceedings were winked at by 
Sultan Mumin, if not actually encouraged. A Sarawak 
Nakoda, who had been trading with Bruni for some time, 
was suddenly attacked when leaving, and fired into by seven 
boats which had been lying in wait for him. He managed 
to escape himself, but lost his property to the value of $700. 
His boat was destroyed, and the Sarawak flag torn to 
pieces. Orders were sent down the coast closing some of 
the ports to Sarawak traders, and imposing prohibitive 
duties in others. One order recommended the people to go 
out of the country and " live under the white man in 
Sarawak till they rotted " if they would not pay the ex- 
orbitant taxes demanded of them. Sarawak people, collect- 
ing produce in the jungle, or even when fishing along the 
coast, had their goods and boats seized. 

In reply to the Rajah's despatches complaining of these 
outrages, the Sultan expressed friendship for Sarawak and a 
desire to foster trade, and in one or two cases actually made 
reparation ; but he excused himself in general by his helpless- 
ness to enforce his will on the turbulent and headstrong 
nobles. And, in fact, the difficulties did not lie in lack of 
a clear understanding and of formal agreements, perhaps 
not in a languid desire on the part of the Sultan to stand 
on good terms with the Rajah, but in the arbitrary conduct 
of the leading pangirans holding authority along the coast. 
Respect for treaties and for fair dealing formed no part of 
the mental equipment of these feudal tyrants, and the 
central power at Bruni was either too weak, or too timid, or 
too deeply involved to interfere with them. 

In January, 1870, the Rajah wrote to Lord Clarendon : 

0J» l 


" In regard to matters relating to the interests and 
welfare of the coast of Borneo to the northward and eastward 
of the territory under my control, I am led to understand 
that her Majesty's Government has no desire to direct 
attention to this part, with a view to bringing about a 
better system to further the ends of peace and trade, and 
to relieve the honester and lower classes from the gross and 
degraded position to which they are now reduced by the 
oppressive measures of the Brum" Government. H.H. the 
Sultan permits anarchy and bloodshed throughout his 
dominions, and there is no exaggeration in saying that this 
is carried on within sight of the British flag at Labuan." 

The authorities at Labuan, which was a fully constituted 
Crown Colony, the Governor being also Consul-General for 
Borneo, were either purposely blind to what was going on 
at Bruni, which was but a few miles off, or were too much 
hampered in their actions by instructions from home to 
effect any reforms in the State. But, to quote from the 
letter of a Naval Officer of high rank, "Mr. J. Pope Hennessy" 
(afterwards Sir John Pope Hennessy, who was Governor of 
Labuan from 1 867-1 871), "had an object in upholding the 
Sultan and encouraging him in the oppression of his subjects, 
as that caused many to take refuge in Labuan." A little 
judicious advice, backed by the immense power which the 
Sultan and his nobles knew the Governor had behind him, 
would have effected much towards the amelioration of the 
lot of the natives, but nothing whatever was done. The 
Bruni Malays must " stew in their own juice," it was no 
concern of her Majesty's Government that Sarawak trade 
should be interfered with, for what was Sarawak to Britain ? 
It was no concern of her Majesty's Government that the 
Sultan and his pangirans were breaking the heart of the 
people, killing the incentive to industry. It looked on with 
a cold eye, and with a callous heart. 

As a colon}- Labuan was a failure. Only a few natives 
and Chinese had settled there, and there was little trade. 
Instead of being the medium through which reforms on the 
coast might be effected, Labuan for long stood in the way, 
by checking the spread of the influence of Sarawak along 

BRUNI 331 

the coast. The Foreign Office was guided by the advice of 
their Consul-General, and was rarely other than ill-advised, 
though the late Sir Henry Keppel " had pleaded the 
cause of civilisation that the Rajah of Sarawak should be 
encouraged and not thwarted in his attempt to advance." 
And he expressed " a hope that he might live to see the 
Sarawak territory extended to Brum" itself." Mr. J. Pope 
Hennessy in his address to the Legislative Council of 
Labuan in June, 1871, said: "The policy promulgated 
thirty years ago by some enterprising and benevolent 
Englishmen that the Dayaks could be civilised, and that 
Europeans could conduct the details of trade and administra- 
tion in the rivers of Borneo has proved to be visionary." 

It is easy to imagine what would be the nature of 
advice tendered to the Foreign Office upon Bornean affairs 
by such a man. At the time when he made this statement 
Sarawak was in absolute tranquillity, and the trade of 1870 
had nearly doubled that of the preceding year. 

And, with exceptions, the Governors of Labuan were 
always more or less hostile to Sarawak, because jealous of it. 
Labuan was stagnant and Sarawak steadily advancing in 
vigorous life. 

In April, 1872, the Rajah, accompanied by a staff of 
English and Malay officers, visited Bruni in the Government 
steamers Heartsease and Royalist. It was perhaps not 
unnatural that this visit was at first regarded with suspicion 
as being in the form of a demonstration against Bruni, to 
back unheeded protests against the maltreatment of Sarawak 
subjects, and the nonfulfilment of treaty engagements. But 
this impression was soon dispelled, and the Rajah was 
received by the Sultan, " a fat, kindly-faced old man of 
some eighty years of age," with cordiality and honour. The 
Rajah's main object in visiting Bruni was to obtain an 
effective guarantee that his subjects trading in Bruni 
territory should not be molested and unwarrantably inter- 
fered with. A treaty conceding all that the Rajah asked 
for was accordingly drawn up and ratified by the Sultan, 
and was satisfactory enough on paper. The Sultan 
solemnly undertook the redressing of injuries, guaranteed 


protection to traders, and the imposition of fair and 
moderate customs duties only. 

But this treat}-, owing to the Sultan being powerless to 
enforce its provisions outside the capital, soon became worse 
than useless ; for, relying on it being observed, Sarawak 
traders again ventured into the Bruni ports, only to meet 
with the same treatment as before. The extortion of out- 
rageous customs dues went on as formerly. The Bruni 
nobles, " the most useless race that ever encumbered the 


earth," ' set themselves deliberately to frustrate every object 
aimed at in the treaty, and, so that they might keep the 
trade with its enormous profits to themselves, they plundered, 
and even killed those who ventured to compete with them. 
But their day was not to last for ever. The Kayans, 
driven to exasperation by the heavy fines and other 
extortions imposed upon ithem, eventually rose against 
these tyrants, and drove them out. 

Next to the Rejang, the Baram is the largest river 
that flows into the seir* on that coast. In its basin are 
congregated large populations of Kayans and Kenyans. 

In 1872, the Rajah, accompanied by the Ranee, visited 

1 St John's Fan /> of the Far F.iisf. 

BRUNI 333 

this river to ascertain for himself how far it would be safe 
for Sarawak subjects to trade there. He steamed a long 
way up the river, and was everywhere well received by the 
natives, who had been much depressed by extortion and 
were eager to be relieved from the thraldom in which they 
were held by Bruni. There had been no encouragement 
given to them to work the jungle produce in which their 
country was rich, except to purchase necessaries, and these 
could be obtained through their Bruni masters alone, and 
that at exorbitant prices. There was in consequence little 
trade at the time. But what this river is capable of pro- 
ducing may be shown by its trade returns at present. The 
exports, entirely of jungle produce, after the district had 
been for twenty years under Sarawak, amounted in 1906 to 

Although the Sultan had no real authority over the 
Kayans and Kenyahs there still existed among them a 
certain regard for him, and of this the Bruni Government 
took advantage. These races had never been subdued by 
the Sultans by force of arms. They never had voluntarily 
tendered submission. The restraint exercised over them was 
due mainly to the fact that the Brunis held the mouths of the 
rivers and consequently controlled the trade, and that trade 
was one in the very necessaries of existence. It was inevit- 
able that the rulers of Bruni should resent, and resist to the 
utmost, the opening of the rivers to Sarawak traders, which 
would involve, as they well saw, the drying up of the source 
of their wealth. 

The natives on the Baram had an exaggerated opinion 
of the power of Bruni, but this illusion was dispelled after a 
feeble attack made on the Kayans in September, 1870, 
which resulted in ignominious failure. Still, they were 
prepared to submit to such demands which, though 
extortionate, custom had taught them to regard as the 
Sultan's due, and they could not do without the imports, 
which they were precluded from obtaining elsewhere and 
from others, than Bruni and the hands of pangirans. But 
the rapacity of the pangirans became at last intolerable ; 
and we will here give two instances illustrative of the 


methods adopted by them, which were connived at by the 

In 1873, a mixed party of Dayaks, Tanjongs, and 
Bukitans from the Rejang river, working produce in the 
Baram, were attacked by the Kayans. Six were killed and 
one escaped. The survivor stated that the party had been 
treacherously attacked ; but on the other hand the Kayans 
asserted that the behaviour of the strangers had been so 
suspicious that they had satisfied themselves that they 
were a head-hunting party. The Rajah complained and 
demanded redress. The Sultan sent an agent in his small 
steamer to impose a fine, which in itself was excessive. 
The agent proceeded to the house of the chief of the lower 
Baram Kayans, although these people had nothing to do 
with the killing of the subjects of the Rajah, but it was as 
far up as he dared to venture, and levied the fine upon 
them, demanding double the amount he had been instructed 
to impose, the difference, of course, to go into his own 
pocket. The Rajah had fixed the fine, but the Sultan had 
put on his price as well, so that he might have his pickings 
out of the affair, and now his agent doubled that sum. It 
was in vain for the chief to protest that neither he nor his 
people had been concerned in the murders. The Sultan's 
agent threatened the chief that if he did not pay, the 
Rajah would send several men-of-war, that others would be 
despatched from Labuan, and more from Bruni, and that 
all their country would be laid waste and their villages 
burned. After a stormy interview, the chief succeeded in 
beating the agent down to a fine amounting to 88000, just 
thirty times more than the amount demanded by the Rajah 
as compensation to the relatives of those killed. And this 
fine the chief was constrained to pay. 

Upon the death of the Sultana, a commissioner was 
sent to Baram by the Sultan to demand the customary aid 
towards the obsequies. A meeting of all the chiefs was 
summoned by the commissioner, a haji, and, as it happened, 
the late Mr. H. Brooke Low, who was then travelling in 
the Baram, was present. The Sultan's mandate, requiring 
so much from each man, was read and left with the chiefs, 

BRUNI 335 

the haji not for a moment suspecting that any one present 
could read it. Mr. Low, however, was able to do so, and 
when it was shown to him he was shocked, though not 
surprised, to discover that the haji had read into the 
mandate a requirement for amounts more than double that 

But the rebellion of the Kayans and the expulsion of 
the Brunis from Baram ensued in the middle of 1874; 
the river was freed of its oppressors, and the victorious 
Kayans menaced every settlement along the coast from 
the Baram to Bintulu. The villages were deserted and 
the Sultan was in despair, unable to reduce the Kayans, 
unable even to protect the Malays. Not only could he 
draw no revenue thence, but he dare not even ask for 
it. This prepared the way for the transfer of the whole 
stretch of coast to Sarawak. So far as the Sultan was 
concerned he was glad to commute the sovereignty of a 
district, from which little before the revolt, and nothing 
after, could be squeezed by himself out of the inhabitants, for 
a certain sum guaranteed to be paid to himself annually. 

To escape Bruni oppression, people were constantly 
migrating to Sarawak, principally from the Semalajau, Niah, 
and Miri rivers, and in 1876 over 2000 came in. These 
poor people had to effect their escape by stealth, and conse- 
quently had to abandon all their property. Shortly after 
this upwards of 500 families of Kenyahs moved over into 
the Bintulu. 

In accordance with the treaty with Great Britain of 1847 
the Sultan was debarred from ceding any territory to any 
foreign power without the sanction of her Majesty's Govern- 
ment. This gave the British Government the right, or 
rather the power, to prevent Sarawak acquiring the Baram, 
and this it was prepared to do. As usual it proved obstruc- 
tive, and refused to sanction the transfer ; it went so far as 
to express its unwillingness to allow any territorial change 
to be made on the coast of Bruni. This was insisted on 
again in 1876, though the Rajah wrote to the Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs (March 20) " I may candidly state that a 
most pernicious system of robbery and oppression is pursued 


by the hirelings of the Bruni Government. It surely can 
scarcely be conceived by her Majesty's Government that 
upholding the authority of the Bruni Government is 
tantamount to supporting the cause of oppression and 

Her Majesty's Government had refused to interfere in 
any way with that of Bruni for the amelioration of the 
condition of the people, and the maintenance of open ports 
and free trade ; had stood aloof as not disposed to interfere 
in the internal affairs of the Sultanate, and yet now, most 
inconsistently, it stepped in to forbid the cession to Sarawak 
of a portion of that miserably misgoverned and depopulated 

The fact seems to have been that the Foreign Office 
had been persistently misinformed as to the position and 
prospects of Sarawak, and as to the conduct of the Rajah 
towards the Sultan. The latter had agreed to the cession 
of Baram to Sarawak ; he desired it for monetary reasons, 
the only reasons that appealed to or swayed him. But 
when Sir Edward Hertslet informed Mr. H. T. Ussher, 
C.M.G., who was Governor of Labuan from 1875 to 1 ^79i 
and who appreciated the motives which guided the 
Rajah, that he " in common with others at the Foreign 
Office had fancied that the acquisition of the Baram by 
Sarawak would lead to the loss of its sago trade with 
Labuan," the cat was out of the bag. Incidently we may 
remark that Baram exported no sago, and that there could 
then have been little or no trade between that river and 
Labuan, for during the first six months of Sarawak rule 
the exports amounted in value to S9000 only. It was a 
dog-in-the-manger policy, what Labuan could not have, that 
it was resolved Sarawak should not have, and the interests 
of the people were left out of the question. It is possible 
enough that this was inspired by jealousy. No man likes 
to sec his own field sterile and that of his neighbour pro- 
ducing luxurious crops. Conceive the feelings of a small 
mercer in the same street as a YVhiteley or Harrod, who 
finds his own business dwindling, and is oppressed by the 
extension and success of the great firm a few doors off. 

BRUNI 337 

Such may have been the feeling of a Governor of 

The Rajah visited England in 1874, and on July 16 
handed in a memorandum to the Secretary of State for 
Foreign Affairs, pointing out that the appropriation by 
foreign powers of north-west and north-east Borneo and 
the Sulu Archipelago * should be guarded against, and 
recommended to ensure this, and for the benefit of trade 
and of the native communities, that Great Britain should 
assume the sovereign power over those territories that 
remained to the Sultanate of Bruni, that the Sultan and 
his heirs should be pensioned, as well as the five principal 
Bruni Rajahs ; and that a town should be built at the mouth 
of the Bruni river, which should become the headquarters 
of her Majesty's Representative, in place of Labuan. All 
that the Rajah asked for Sarawak was that Baram should 
be incorporated with that State, owing to the fact that the 
inland population of that river and that of the Rejang were 
greatly intermixed, and should therefore be under one head 
and government. 

A policy somewhat similar to that above indicated was, 
a year after, inaugurated with great success in the Malay 
Peninsula, and it would doubtless have met with equal 
success in Borneo had it found favour with her Majesty's 
Ministers then, though thirty years afterwards they saw 
reason to adopt it, but only after Bruni had become a 
bankrupt State, stripped of most of its territories, and with 
its small remaining revenue pawned. At the time when 
the Rajah made his proposal, the whole of what is now the 
British North Borneo Company's territory, together with 
Lawas, Trusan, Limbang, and Bruni, might have been 
acquired, and the Sultan would then have become as 
powerless to do harm as one of the native princes of the 
Federated Malay States, thus relieving the people of the 

1 It will be remembered that in 1849 the late Rajah, as her Majesty's Commissioner, 
had concluded a treaty with the Sultan of Sulu, but this had to be ratified within two 
years. The British Government, however, would not place a man-of-war at the 
Rajah's disposal, and he was unable to proceed to Sulu to effect this necessary 
ratification. The Spaniards, by force of arms, enforced another treaty upon Sulu, 
and before those two years had expired. But the British Government took no 
interest in Sulu, and this was allowed to pass unheeded. 




intolerable oppression of a government which had reduced 
the population to a small remnant of what it had been 

The policy adopted in regard to the native States of 
the Malay Peninsula in 1875, referred to above, is generally 
known as that of Sir Andrew Clarke, who was Governor of 
the Straits Settlements from 1873 to 1875. It: was tne 
policy, however, that the late Rajah, many years before, had 
advocated as one which should be introduced into all native 
States, and he then wrote : " The experiment of developing 
a country through the residence of a few Europeans and by 
the assistance of its own native rulers has never been fully 
tried, and it appears to me, in some respects more desirable 
than the actual possession of a foreign nation ; for if 
successful, the native prince finds greater advantages, and 
if a failure, the European government is not committed. 
Above all it insures the independence of the native princes, 
and may advance the inhabitants further in the scale of 
civilisation by means of this very independence, than can be 
done when the government is a foreign one, and their 
freedom sacrificed." 

Compare this with the remark made by Sir Andrew 
Clarke in his speech before the Legislative Council of 
Singapore on the government of the native States : " We 
should continue a policy not of aggression upon our 
neighbours, but of exercising our own influence, and by 
giving them officers to help them." 

Had the late Rajah's policy been adopted, Sumatra, or 
that part of it which had not been relinquished to the 
Dutch in 1824, might now contain many States as 
flourishing as those of the Malay Peninsula. On March 3, 
1 844, the Rajah wrote : " I was glad of the opportunity I 
had of seeing the political state of Achin, as it fully 

confirmed my views, which I made known to Sir , 

of the steps necessary to protect and enlarge our commerce. 
Achin, like Borneo, is now in such a state of distraction that 
no protection can be found for life or property. To protect 
our trade we must make a monarch, and uphold him ; and 
he would be a British servant de facto. We could always 

BRUNI 339 

raise the better and depress the worse, in other words 
support those who will benefit ourselves." 

A policy that both the Rajahs had advocated should 
be adopted towards Bruni. 

For many years, as we have seen, Sarawak had to 
contend with the opposing influence of Governors of Labuan 
adverse to her advancement, but in 1875 Mr. Ussher was 
appointed Governor, and he was not prepared to take for 
granted all the stories of Sarawak aggression and intimida- 
tion which were poured into his ears. He sought for 
independent testimony, inquired into matters himself, and 
was not disposed to gloss over the misdeeds of the Sultan 
and his pangirans, and to suppress all mention of these in 
his despatches home. 

Towards the end of his term of office Mr. Ussher wrote 
to the Rajah, " I have had an important interview to-day 
with Mr. Meade at the Colonial Office. The object in view 
was to ascertain the advisability of permitting you to 
acquire Baram. I ascertained that the objections against 
this step were reduced, firstly, to an idea that undue pressure 
was put upon the Sultan ; secondly, that resident (!) traders, 
British, in that river would be damaged thereby. 

" I also ascertained that the Colonial Secretary here was 
not at all disposed to carry out the views obstructive of 
Sarawak advance, which have animated his predecessors ; 
but that, on the contrary, he was disposed to allow you and 
the Sultan to arrive at your own terms, so long as the 
Sultan was a perfectly free agent in the matter. 

"In the course of a rather lengthy, and, I trust, not 
ineffective address on my part, I successfully combated 
these trivial and groundless objections, and exposed the 
fallacy of Sir Henry Bulwer's l and Mr. Pope Hennessy's 
views with regard to your dealings with the Sultan. I 
pointed out also the gross injustice and oppression of the 
Bruni rule in these territories, and expressed my firm con- 
viction of the general desire on the part of the industrious 
and agricultural classes to pass under your settled and 
civilised rule. I demonstrated that there were no resident 

1 He had succeeded Mr. Pope Hennessy, and was Mr. Ussher's predecessor. 


British traders, either in Baram or elsewhere in these parts, 
whose interests could be imperilled. Further, that so long 
as you impose no restrictive export duties on native produce 
from the river, there was nothing whatever to prevent the 
sago, etc., coming to Labuan or anywhere else. 

" I admitted that I had at first been disposed to adopt 
the Sultan's view with regard to your relations with him 
generally, but that careful inquiry and matured experience 
had proved to me, not only the untruth of the accusations 
of intimidation brought against you, but also the advisability 
of permitting you to extend your rule by all legitimate 
means, instead of supporting from quixotic and mistaken 
motives the effete and immoral rule of Bruni. Mr. Meade 
finally suggested to me, that the question might be settled 
by allowing you to make your own terms with the Sultan, 
with the proviso, that any agreement or treaty made 
between the two should be subject to the ratification of her 
Majesty's Government, who would thus have it in their power 
to nullify any injustice either to Bruni or British interests. 

" From Sir M. Beach's views, and from Mr. Meade's 
proposal, I argue that the matter lies now at last in your 
own hands, as Lord Salisbury is likely to accept the 
Colonial Office views in these comparatively small matters, 
on account of its necessarily more detailed and minute 
experience of the interests of Borneo generally. 

" On the whole I think we may congratulate ourselves 
on the prospect of a satisfactory solution of this unpleasant 
affair. You may always, as you know, depend upon me 
never to allow an opportunity to pass of helping you and 
Sarawak generally. Apart from our personal friendship, I 
act on the conviction that Sarawak is the future regenerator 
of Borneo." 

This was in January, 1879, Dut Government officials 
move slowly, and in a mysterious way, and it was not till 
late in 1882 that the Foreign Office sanctioned the annexa- 
tion of Baram by Sarawak. Thus, at length, after negotiat- 
ing a transfer with the Sultan in 1874, the obstruction of 
the British Government was overcome, but it took eight 
years to do this. ^ 

BRUNI 341 

A new spirit had come over the Governors of Labuan, 
and the somewhat ignoble spite, bred partly of ignorance 
and partly of jealousy, which had characterised their conduct 
with regard to Sarawak, and the Rajah in particular, was 
exchanged at last for generous and honest recognition of the 
excellence of his rule, and of the injustice of forcing the 
natives against their will to remain under the cruel 
oppression of this Old Man of the Sea astride on their 

The subsequent administrators of Labuan were favour- 
able to Sarawak, but in 1889 the Colony was handed over 
to the British North Borneo Company. Their officials had 
no authority outside of Labuan and did not correspond 
with the Foreign Office, and Consuls were appointed to 

In June, 1883, the Rajah visited Bruni, and was re- 
ceived by the aged Sultan with special marks of distinction. 
The Sultan waited at the entrance of the audience chamber, 
and taking the Rajah by the hand, led him to the throne 
where he seated him by his side. Negotiations for the 
cession of Baram and the rivers and districts lying between 
that river and Bintulu were at once entered upon, and 
speedily concluded, and on the 1 3th, the deed of cession 
was finally sealed and delivered. 

The cession of this district gave great satisfaction to the 
inhabitants, and most of those who had migrated to Sarawak 
returned by degrees. A fort was erected at Claudetown 2 
(Merudi) about sixty miles up the Baram river, and here 
Chinese and Malay traders soon settled, and a brisk trade 
rapidly sprang up. Minor stations were also established at 
Miri and Niah. The turbulent Kayans and Kenyahs 
speedily became pacified, and existing feuds were settled. 
Now, this district is one of the most peaceful and prosperous 
in the State. 2 The entrance to the river is, and has been, 
a great hindrance to trade, the bar being very shallow and 

1 Named after the late Mr. C. A. C. de Crespigny. 

'-' In a great degree due to the able administration of Mr. Charles Hose, D.Sc. , 
who served in this district for twenty years, during sixteen of which he was Resident 
ir. charge. In 1904 he became Divisional Resident of the 3rd Division ; he retired in 


exposed, so that it is unsafe for sailing vessels and screw- 
steamers. The Government accordingly had a special 
steamer of 200 tons built in England to carry the trade. 
She is practically flat-bottomed, and is propelled by paddles. 
Another, larger, was added as the trade increased. In 
January, 1884, the Rajah was notified by Earl Granville 
that her Majesty's Government had no objection to the 
exercise of jurisdiction over British subjects by the judicial 
authorities of the Government of Sarawak in this newly- 
acquired territory. 

Only one chief in Baram gave any trouble ; and he was 
Aban Jau, chief of the Tinjar Kayans. He persistently 
interfered, and thwarted the policy of Government as much as 
he could without bringing himself into open conflict with the 
authorities. He maintained a position of semi-independence, 
and flew his own flag. But in May, 1884, he committed an 
intolerable act, and had to be humbled. As the affair is 
illustrative of the iniquities allowed at Bruni until quite 
recently, the particulars may be given. To appease the 
manes of his daughter-in-law, Aban Jau sent to Pangiran 
Nipa of Tutong, asking for a slave, so that he might 
immolate the unhappy wretch. His messengers went 
to Bruni, where two pangirans, Matusin and Tejudin, 
handed them a slave, an old and decrepit man, whom they 
sent as a present to Aban Jau. The Resident at Claude- 
town, hearing of this, had the party intercepted and arrested, 
but too late to save the slave. He had been killed and his 
head taken, as he was too old to walk, and the messengers 
did not care to trouble themselves to carry him. Aban Jau 
was severely punished ; he submitted, and his power was 
broken. He was no better than an aged savage, and there 
was some excuse for him, as he was complying with 
ancestral customs ; but there was none for the Muhammadan 
Bruni pangirans for despatching a miserable old slave to 
a death by torture. 

In June, 1884, by the Sultan's orders, a Dusun village 
was attacked — the time for the attack being chosen when 
nearly all the able-bodied men were absent, and over 
twenty women and children were killed. Oppression 

BRUNI 343 

became so rife that many refugees crossed the frontier into 
Sarawak territory, abandoning in so doing their property 
and plantations. In August of the same year, the people 
of Limbang broke out into open rebellion. 

The Limbang river waters a wide district that is fertile 
and populous. The people possessed extensive sago planta- 
tions, and were comparatively prosperous. On this account 
they were all the more oppressed by the pangirans. There 
was no protection for person and property, and women and 
girls were carried off to fill the harems of Bruni. This was 
the people that suffered such cruel wrongs at the hands of 
the Pangiran Makota, and it was in this river that he met 
his death in i860. 

The trouble began with two of the agents of the 
Pangiran Temanggong, the then Regent and heir apparent, 
being killed whilst extorting taxes. The pangiran thereupon 
went up in his steam-launch with a large following, and 
proposed that the chiefs should meet him at a certain place 
and discuss matters. The proposal was made in guile, his 
real purpose being to seize the opportunity for slaughtering 
them. But these people had had many years' experience of 
pangirans and their little ways, and met guile with guile. 
The proposal was acceded to, but whilst the pangiran was 
on his way to the appointed rendezvous he himself fell into 
an ambuscade. 

Fire was opened on his party, and he was forced to beat 
a retreat, his launch damaged, seventeen of his men killed, 
and more wounded. Bruni was thrown into panic, and 
stockades were erected to resist an expected invasion. The 
Limbang people followed up their advantage by raiding the 
suburbs of the town, and a house was attacked within half a 
mile of the Sultan's palace. 

The Sultan, then in his dotage, was helpless, and appealed 
to the acting Consul-General, Mr. Treacher (now Sir William 
Treacher, K.C.M.G.), to help him out of his difficulties. Mr. 
Treacher knew that the Limbangs had been driven to 
rebellion by the intolerable exactions to which they had 
been subjected, and he declined to interfere, unless the 
Sultan and his wazirs should concede a charter releasing 


the Limbangs from all arbitrarily imposed taxes, and limiting 
taxation to a small poll tax, and a 5 per cent ad valorem duty 
on gutta percha, granting them at the same time immunity 
for their property and sago-plantations, and engaging that 
no more tax-collectors should be sent from Bruni to the 
river, and that a general amnesty should be accorded. 

This charter, embodying so many radical reforms, was 
granted with ill -concealed reluctance, and without the 
slightest intent of performance. 

Armed with this document, Mr. Treacher proceeded to 
the Limbang. But already the Sultan had sent word to 
the Muruts to fall on the Limbangs and kill and pillage as 
they liked. 

Whilst Mr. Treacher was negotiating with the chiefs, 
news arrived that these savages had murdered four Kadayan 
women and two men, and they were consequently ill- 
disposed to accept the charter. They knew by experience 
that they could not rely upon the good faith of the Sultan 
and his wazirs. However, Mr. Treacher was urgent, and 
hesitatingly they appended their marks to the document ; 
relying rather on the white man to see that its provisions 
were carried out, than feeling that any confidence could be 
placed in the word of the Sultan. 

And in fact, no sooner was the agreement signed, than 
the Sultan sent his emissaries into the Baram district to invite 
the Kayans to raid the Limbang, but the Sarawak Govern- 
ment got wind of this, and at once took prompt and effective 
measures to prevent the tribes on the Baram from answering 
the appeal. 

In December, 1884, Mr. Frank R. O. Maxwell, 1 who 
was administering the Government in the absence of the 
Rajah, when at Bruni heard that sixteen Sarawak Dayaks 
and four Malays had been killed while collecting produce 
in the neighbouring river, Trusan. The Sultan in his 
impotence to act, suggested to Mr. Maxwell his willingness 
to cede the Trusan district to Sarawak. The feudal rights 
over this district were held by the Pangiran Temanggong, 

1 Joined 1872; was Assist. mi Resident, and Resident of Batang Lupar and 
Saribas, and in 1881 became Divisional Resident ol Sarawak proper. He retired in 
1895, and died in 1897. 



and he too consented. Bruni and Sarawak, he said, were 
the same country, and in transferring his rights to Sarawak 
he would be incorporating himself in the Sarawak Govern- 
ment. Subject to the approval of the Rajah, Mr. Maxwell 
accepted this offer of the Trusan. 

The Sultan, the Pangiran Temanggong, and other 
wazirs and pangirans were then all in favour of the cession 
of the Limbang, as well as the Trusan, to Sarawak. The 


■fear --m -'-' 



*- m 



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-v v y 


v*, . 

- - 

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■ '■': 


Chinese and Malay traders and the lower classes strongly 
advocated the transfer ; and the Regent and the wazir next 
to him in rank gave Mr. Maxwell a written promise with 
their seals attached that, pending the return of the Rajah, 
Limbang should not be transferred to any foreign govern- 
ment. On the return of the Rajah early in 1885, Trusan 
was occupied, and a fort and station established some thirty 
miles from the mouth, to which English and native officers 
were appointed. The Muruts up the river were a quarrel- 
some people, and blood-feuds were common, and gave some 
trouble at first. The people generally had become miserably 
poor through a long course of oppression. 

Trusan is a good example of what tact and discretion 


can do in dealing with natives, and the Muruts were the 
most savage of those in that part. In a very few years 
they became peaceful, well-to-do, and contented, enjoying 
the fruits of their labours in security. Trusan has now a 
fairly flourishing trade, and the rich plains through which 
the river winds, and which in days gone by had been 
extensively cultivated with rice, but which had been 
rendered desolate by extortion, now afford large grazing 
grounds for herds of water-buffaloes, which are bred for 
export, and also excellent land for the cultivation of the sago 

Barely a month had elapsed since the peace had been 
patched up with the Limbang people by the acting Consul- 
General, before the people were again in revolt, and many 
Bruni Malays, men and women, were killed, large numbers 
of buffaloes were mutilated, and again the capital, Bruni, 
was menaced. Nothing further was done by the British 
Government, and nothing could be done, except to establish 
a firm government in the disaffected region, and the Foreign 
Office was not prepared to do this. As for the authorities in 
Kruni, they were incapable of doing anything. Their only 
idea of keeping rebellious subjects under control was to 
invoke the aid of wild interior tribes, and invite them to 
butcher and plunder all who resisted their exactions, and this 
they could no longer do. 

On May 30, 1885, the old Sultan Mumin departed 
this life, at the venerable age of over one hundred years, 
and the Pangiran Temanggong Hasim, reputed son of the 
late Sultan Omar Ali, 1 the predecessor of Sultan Mumin, was 
elevated to the throne. Sultan Hasim, who was past middle 
age when he succeeded, was a shrewd man, though hard and 
vindictive. His antecedents had not been exemplary, but 
hopes were entertained that, being a man of strength of 
mind and of advanced ideas, an improvement would be 
effected in the administration of Bruni, which would lead 
to the establishment of good order and bring the place and 
State out of absolute decay into comparative prosperity, but 
these hopes, strong man as he was, he was powerless to fulfil. 

footnote, p. 69. 

BRUNI 347 

In order to appreciate much that occurred during the 
reign of Sultan Hasim it is necessary to understand the 
conditions under which he became Sultan, and the effect 
that these conditions had upon his power and position. 

His predecessor, Mumin, had an only son, the Pangiran 
Muda Muhammad Tejudin, a semi -imbecile, nicknamed 
Binjai, literally the son of misfortune, signifying an idiot. 
Much as Sultan Mumin would have liked to have proclaimed 
his son heir to the throne, it was quite impossible for him to 
do so in opposition to the natural objections of the nobles, 
upheld, as these were, by the laws of Bruni, which preclude 
the accession of any prince afflicted with mental or bodily 
infirmity. The succession would therefore fall upon either 
of the Sultan's nephews, the Pangiran Bandahara, or the 
Pangiran di Gadong, and both claimed it. These two 
powerful princes and wazirs, with their feudal and official 
territorial rights, and the many nobles and chiefs who owed 
them allegiance, represented the most powerful factions in 
the country, and the accession of either to the throne would 
have plunged the country into bloodshed. To avert this, the 
British Government persuaded Sultan Mumin, but not without 
bringing considerable pressure to bear upon him, to nominate 
the Pangiran Temanggong Hasim, the senior wazir, as his 
successor, and to appoint him Regent, the old Sultan being 
too feeble-minded to govern. 

Hasim's elevation to the throne gave profound offence to 
the Pangirans Bandahara and di Gadong, and to the majority 
of the people, who believed the story of his mean birth, and 
that he had no just title to the rank he held as a prince of 
blood royal. That his accession was not disputed was due 
only to its implied support of the British Government, though 
that support would probably have failed him had he been 
forced to fall back upon it. The Bandahara and di Gadong, 
though they retained their offices, for many years refused him 
their support, and would neither attend his Council nor 
maintain any kind of relation with him, notwithstanding the 
fact that they were his two principal Ministers of State ; and 
he was powerless to force them to do so, or to deprive them 
of their offices. 


Moreover, his predecessor had left him in sore straits for 
the means necessary for the support of his government, and 
even of his household. None of the late Sultan's property 
came to him, and the whole of the crown-lands in Bruni 
territory had been illegally granted to others, and these, 
though his rightful appurtenances, he had no power to 

Sultan Hasim thus came to the throne practically shorn of 
everything that goes to the support of a crown. Abandoned 
by his ministers, and the loyalty of his people denied him, 
deprived of his revenues, and with but a few followers, there 
was nothing left him but the sovereign rights, shadowy in 
nature since he had not the means fully to exert them. A 
pathetic picture ; but in spite of his faults it says much for 
his personal ability and strength of character that he was 
able, not only to maintain his position, but gradually to gain 
sufficient power to exert his authority, and to make his will 
felt. It must not be overlooked that many of his worst acts 
were the direct outcome of his necessitous condition, and the 
constant intriguing against him by his own ministers. 

Owing to lack of power to chastise the rebels, though not 
of will, Limbang had been let alone by the Sultan, and for 
some time there were no aggressive acts committed by either 
side, but in November, 1885, the people of Limbang were 
again in open rebellion and had killed two more Bruni 
subjects. The Sultan thereupon sent the Rajah two pressing 
messages asking him to visit Bruni, and this the Rajah did. 
The Sultan laid the state of affairs before him, and declared 
that he saw no hope of peace unless the Rajah would consent 
to attack the Limbang, and reduce the people to order for 
him. Limbang was sufficiently near to be a menace to the 
capital. Twice it had been threatened by them, and the 
suburbs raided. The third time might be more disastrous. 
The town might fall into their hands. 

The Rajah, however, declined to interfere. The Limbang 
people were at peace with Sarawak, and numbers of his 
subjects were working produce in that river, and met with 
friendliness there. To reduce these people to submission, and 
then to hand them over to oppression, after having deprived 

BRUNI 349 

them of the power to protect themselves, was what the 
Rajah would never consent to do. That something must be 
done, and done at once, he felt, but the question of what 
should be done was for the representative of her Majesty's 
Government to decide. 

As we have before pointed out, in the Sultanate of 
Bruni, there are various rights claimed. The Sultan has 
his rights, some districts revert to the holders of certain 
offices, and others are under the hereditary feudal rule of the 
pangirans. Limbang pertained to this last category. The 
Sultan was sovereign, but his sovereign rights consisted in 
this alone, namely, to send his agents into the country and 
squeeze it. The feudal lords were the pangirans, and as 
they could not oppress the exasperated and revolted people 
any more, they were ready to surrender their rights to the 
Rajah, but could not do this without the Sultan's confirma- 
tion and seal. What the Sultan wanted was that the Rajah 
should crush the rebellion, so that he might work his vengeance 
on the Limbang people, and turn the screw on them till 
nothing more could be extracted from them. This the Rajah 
perfectly understood, and he declined to do the dirty work 
for the Sultan. The refusal of assistance by the Rajah 
produced a coolness on the part of the Sultan. He would 
not, however, receive this refusal as final, and he repeated his 
request to the Rajah in an altered form ; he requested him 
to place the gunboat Aline with a strong force of Sarawak 
Dayaks, also a large sum of money, at his (the Sultan's) 
disposal, for the purpose of enabling him to reduce the 
Limbang people under his own officers, if the Rajah himself 
would not head the expedition. 

The Rajah's refusal aroused an angry feeling in the 
breast of Hasim, and this was fanned to bitter hostility, when 
the Consul-General informed him and the Limbang people 
simultaneously, in reply to a petition of the latter that they 
might be placed under the rule of white men, that her 
Majesty's Government was prepared to consent to the transfer 
of Limbang to Sarawak. The Sultan's hostile attitude was 
not shared by his ministers, or by the Bruni people generally, 
or even by the hereditary owners or rulers of the Limbang. 


These latter, as has been shown, unable to extract more taxes 
from the people, hoped to receive from the Sarawak Govern- 
ment an annual stipulated income in lieu of precarious and 
uncertain exactions. They accordingly begged the Rajah to 
take over the river. But the Sultan refused to consent, and 
his refusal was probably actuated even then by motives other 
than those of revenge and resentment as the sequel will show. 

In September, 1886, two cold-blooded murders were com- 
mitted in the Tutong, within a day's journey overland from 
Bruni. Two young pangirans, a man and a woman, had been 
living together without the sanction of their respective parents. 
The girl, after a while, was ordered by her father, Pangiran 
Nipa, to return to him. She did so, and he then put her to 
death with his own hands. The young man, Pangiran Japar, 
was brother to Pangiran Mat, who had been placed in 
charge of Tutong by the Pangiran di Gadong, the ex-officio 
holder of feudal rights in that district. Japar and Mat were 
both subjects of Sarawak. A short time after the murder of 
the girl, Nipa's brother, the Pangiran Tejudin, son-in-law of 
the Sultan, and uncle of the unfortunate girl, sent an armed 
party to Pangiran Mat, to inform him that a mandate had 
been issued by the Sultan for the execution of Japar. 
Pangiran Mat did not ask to be shown this mandate, and in 
fact Tejudin had none, but was intimidated into allowing his 
brother to be killed. 

The Rajah was at the time at Bruni, and he at once 
demanded of the Sultan that a fair trial of Pangiran Tejudin 
should be held. There was very little doubt that the Sultan's 
name had been misused, and Japar was a Sarawak subject. 
As no justice was likely to be obtained in Bruni, the Rajah 
further demanded that the murderer should be handcuffed and 
sent to Labuan for trial, when the truth would come out. 
But this was refused. The Sultan naturally was determined 
to screen his son-in-law, who had instigated the murder, and 
who was then in the palace enjoying his protection. The 
Rajah indignantly declined to meet the Sultan so long as 
the murderer was sheltered under his roof. So the matter 
ended, but it widened the rift between the Rajah and the 

BRUNI 351 

In June, 1887, Sir Frederick Weld, Governor of Singapore, 
went to Bruni to settle a dispute between the North Borneo 
Company and the Sultan over a debateable strip of land. 
Sultan Hasim seized the occasion to pour into the ear of Sir 
Frederick a tissue of accusations against Sarawak, and no 
Sarawak official was allowed to be present to refute them. 
The Government of the Rajah was charged with disturbing 
the peace, and with sending its emissaries into the Limbang 
to foster discontent, and to keep the rebellion simmering, 
in the hopes of being able to find an excuse for annexing the 
district. Sir Frederick listened, but apparently believed 
little he heard, for he recommended the Sultan to hand 
over the Limbang to the Rajah. He further strongly urged 
the Sultan to accept a British Protectorate over his remaining 
dominions, and to receive a Resident, who might act as 
adviser in the administration of the State. The Sultan 
consented to this latter recommendation ; his intention, 
however, to accept a British Resident at Bruni, to prevent his 
misrule, and to curb the tyranny of his adherents, was only 
pretence. Sir Frederick Weld was perhaps acting beyond 
his instructions in proposing the appointment of a Resident, 
but the proposal was sound. In September, 1888, the late 
Sir Hugh Low, then Resident of Perak, was despatched to 
Bruni to conclude an agreement with the Sultan by which 
Bruni became a Protectorate. 

In the Federated Malay States, as in the Indian Pro- 
tectorates, British Residents are placed who can advise as 
to the conduct of government, and it is perfectly understood 
by the native rulers that their advice must be followed. Now, 
a British Protectorate had been extended over Bruni, and 
as a consequence a Resident should have been placed there 
to control the Sultan and check the misdoings of his chiefs. 
But nothing of the sort was done. The Limbang was left 
in a condition of disorder, and a menace to its neighbours, 
and the Brunis to the arbitrary injustice and cruelty of 
their rulers. Trusan now offered a near haven of refuge 
to which many fled, both slaves and free-born people, the 
latter chiefly to save their daughters from a fate worse 
than slavery — a short period in a harem, and then 


domestic drudgery for life. The British Government would 
do nothing, and looked very much as if it were not 
disposed to allow any one else to do anything. Sir Hugh 
Low, 1 who had an exceptional experience of Bruni and the 
people, had urged the Sultan to place the Limbang under 
the Rajah, tendering the same advice as had Sir Frederick 
Weld ; but to this, also, Hasim turned a deaf ear. 

The Limbang chiefs, after having maintained their 
independence for six years, early in 1890 decided to settle 
the question of their future for themselves. They assembled, 
and of their own free will and accord placed their country 
under the protection of Sarawak, and themselves under the 
authority of its Government ; in token of which they hoisted 
the Sarawak flag. In justice to the claims of the inhabitants, 
and in conformity with a promise he had made to them to 
tender such assistance as lay in his power, the Rajah 
accepted the responsibility thus placed upon him, and 
annexed the country on March 17, subject to the approval 
of her Majesty's Government. 

The Rajah had already frequently approached the 
Sultan on behalf of these unfortunate people to urge 
that justice should be done to them, and that they should 
not be given over to be preyed upon by rapacious 
pangirans. The Pangiran Muda, son of the late Rajah 
Muda Hasim, who by birth was the nearest to the throne, 
and who possessed feudal rights over a part of the Limbang, 
having abandoned all hope of being able to exercise those 
rights and draw any revenue from the district, ascended the 
river and openly proclaimed to his people that he had 
handed over all his rights to the Rajah. The other 
hereditary holders of feudal authority in the district had 
again approached the Rajah, and had entreated him to 
annex Limbang, which had become not only unprofitable to 
them, but a menace to Bruni. The Rajah would have 
been untrue to his word passed to the Limbang chiefs had 
he left them to their fate, after the failure of his negotiations 
and repeated attempts to intercede for them with the 

1 sir Hugh Low, G.C.M.G., who was then British Resident •>! Perak, had for 
many y* ' olonial Secretary at Lai 

BRUN1 353 

Sultan. Although he was averse to taking this step, yet he 
felt that it was not possible for him to refuse the appeals 
that came to him from all sides to interfere, and it was the 
only solution of the difficulty, failing the appointment of a 
British Resident, for the people could not be expected to 
again place themselves under the power of a Sultan who 
would keep no promises, and who intended no mercy. 

The Sultan, however, mortified in his pride, and being 
thus prevented from giving vent to his vindictive feeling, 
had remained obdurate. For some time he had been 
accumulating arms and ammunition at Bruni for a great 
attempt upon the Limbang, whilst through his minister, the 
di Gadong, he was keeping up a pretence of peace. If 
he succeeded, the horrors that would have ensued in the 
Limbang may well be conceived ; but if he failed, he would 
draw on Bruni hordes of desperate savages, infuriated by 
years of ill-treatment, and the Brunis feared that the capture 
of their town and a general massacre would be the result. 

These were the reasons that led the Rajah to act 
promptly, and to appeal to her Majesty's Government to 
sanction such action. The Foreign Office approved, after 
having kept the Rajah in anxious suspense for a year, 
and fixed the annual sum to be paid by the Sarawak 
Government for the Limbang at $6000, but failing the 
Sultan's acceptance of this for three consecutive years, this 
indemnity would be forfeited. 

The Sultan declined to receive this compensation, not, 
however, so much as a protest against the action of the Rajah, 
— a purpose with which he has generally been accredited, with 
not a little misplaced sympathy, — but mainly to punish his 
recalcitrant ministers, the Pangirans Bandahara and di 
Gadong. Hitherto he had been quite powerless to do this, 
but an opportunity was now afforded him, and he did not 
hesitate to avail himself of it. The two pangirans were the 
principal holders of the feudal rights over the Limbang, 
which of late years had yielded them nothing, and they 
naturally desired, badly off as they were, that the Sultan 
should sanction the acceptance of the indemnity, the 
greater part of which would have reverted to them, and 

2 A 


would have afforded them a fixed and ensured revenue, even 
more than they had ever been able to extort from the 
people. The remainder would have gone to the Pangiran 
Muda, and not a cent of it would have gone to the Sultan. 
But by the laws of Bruni, feudal rights cannot be alienated 
without the sanction of the Sultan ; and he subsequently 
informed the British Consul that he had withheld his 
sanction, and would do so as long as he lived, a determina- 
tion to which he vindictively adhered, solely that he might 
deprive his two ministers of the revenues to which they 
were entitled. He went so far as to tell the Consul that 
he had no real grievance against the Rajah, but it being 
necessary to find some plausible pretext for his decision he 
had invented one, which no one in Bruni could call into 

Sir Spenser St. John, writing privately to the Rajah at this 
time said, " If the Foreign Office could understand how the 
Bruni Rajahs govern Limbang, they would make no objection 
to your taking it over. It is a most interesting river, and 
when no longer harassed by Kayan raids x and plundered 
by Bruni Rajahs, it will be one of the richest on the coast. 
Sago can be planted to any extent, and it used to be famous 
for its pepper gardens. In fact Chinese were working there 
nearly to the foot of Mulu mountain " — over one hundred 
miles from the coast. 

But in his life of Rajah Brooke published in 1899, 
Sir Spenser St. John alters his tone. He remarks that 
" unless we are to adopt the principle that ' the end justifies 
the means,' it is difficult to approve the action of Sarawak 
in seizing by force any part of the Sultan's dominions. A 
little gentle, persevering diplomacy would have secured 
Limbang without violating any principle of international 
law. I am convinced, however, that the present Rajah was 
deceived by some one as to the political position of that 
district, as he wrote that, for four years previous to his action, 
Limbang was completely independent of the Sultan, which 
his officers subsequently found was not the case." 

As to the first part of this statement. Sir Spenser when 

1 These had long ce.i 

BRUNI 355 

he wrote it, had severed his connexion with Borneo for 
nearly forty years, and it shows how little he was kept in 
touch with Bornean affairs since he left ; or does Sir Spenser 
imagine that he would have succeeded where such men as 
the Rajah and Sir Hugh Low had failed ; both of whom 
had continually urged reforms on the Sultan, to which he 
had turned a deaf ear ? 

With regard to the second part of the statement, the 
Rajah certainly did not place himself in a position in which 
he could be deceived. He conducted all negotiations and 
all inquiries himself, and on the spot. He was no more 
deceived as to the true state of affairs than were Sir William 
Treacher, Dr. Leys (Consul-General), Sir F. Weld, and Sir 
Hugh Low. I-t is, moreover, not correct that the Rajah's 
officers subsequently made the great discovery that is attri- 
buted to them. Sir Spenser might well have been a little 
more explicit as to this last remark. He agrees, however, 
that there can be no doubt that the inhabitants of Limbang 
rejoiced to be placed under the Sarawak flag. 

" I knew them well, and how they suffered from the 
exactions of the Pangirans, and their rapacious followers, 
and no one would have more rejoiced than myself to hear 
that they had been put under Sarawak rule in a less forcible 
way. As poverty increased in Bruni, so had the exactions 
augmented, and Limbang, being near, suffered the most. 
Perhaps some of my readers may think that in this case 
the 'end did justify the means.' At all events, that 
appears to have been the view taken by the Foreign 

Sir Spenser might very well have accepted the view- 
taken by the Foreign Office, under which he has served with 
distinction for many years. The Foreign Office judged upon 
facts that were placed before it, and these facts Sir Spenser 
had not under his eye when basing this unfair criticism 
upon the Rajah's proceedings. 

The Limbang having been annexed in 1890, a Govern- 
ment station was established some fifteen miles from the 
river's mouth, and settlers, both Malay and Chinese, soon 
arrived, and took up their quarters there ; indeed, a good 


many quitted Bruni, and applied for sites upon which to 
build shops and houses directly the flag was raised. 

The station is now a flourishing little place, and has 
been well laid out by Mr. O. F. Ricketts, 1 who has been 
Resident there since its establishment. It is the prettiest 
out-station in Sarawak ; has miles of good riding roads, a 
bazaar that is well attended ; and, being another refuge for 
the oppressed, the Malay population is continually increasing. 
Mr. Ricketts, who also has over-charge of the Trusan and 
Lawas districts, has been eminently successful in his manage- 
ment of the Muruts and Bisayas, of whom he has had some 
twenty years' experience, and is popular with all classes at 

In reporting on Limbang in February, 1891, Mr. 
Ricketts observes : " since the occupation of the river in 
March last, matters have progressed satisfactorily, and the 
inhabitants have shown themselves well disposed and satisfied 
with the new order of things, with the exception of three or 
four of the Danau chiefs, who have been incited to be other- 
wise from Bruni. 

" Little has been done with the exception of visiting 
the people, who at all times have been allowed to trade 
freely with Bruni ; no import or export duties have been 
collected. A number of Brunis have come into the river 
at different times to wash sago, who previously were unable 
to do so, owing to the unsettled state of the place. 

" Most of the principal Chinese of Bruni have been over 
here at different times, and have expressed their wish to 
commence business here. One firm already holds one of 
the shops, of which there are six, the others being held by 
Sarawak and Labuan Chinese ; one sago factory is in course 
of erection. 

" There has been no revenue for the year ; the ex- 
penditure amounting to $11,8 1 2. No revenue was 
demanded, until the natives settled down, and had 
recovered from their previous unsettled state. The ex- 
penditure was chiefly in public buildings, bungalows, court 

1 Mr. Ricketts, who is a son of the first British Consul to Sarawak, joined in 

BRUM I 357 

house, barracks, etc." The imports and exports in 1906 
amounted to $282,277, against only $86,687 in 1891. 

There is no fort at Limbang. 

If the reader will look at the map he will see that a 
peninsula or horn runs out from Bruni, sheltering the bay 
against the winds and waves from the north-west. Labuan 
is actually a continuation of the same, but the belt of land 
has been broken through, leaving only Labuan and a few 
little islands rising above the surface of the ocean. At the 
extreme point of the promontory is a lighthouse erected by 
the Rajah. This promontory goes by the name of Muara. 
The coal-beds that come to the surface in Labuan, continue 
in Muara, and Mr. W. C. Cowie l had obtained from the 
Sultan Mumin a concession of the coal-fields in Muara, and 
all rights over this district were ceded to him in perpetuity 
by the late Sultan in 1887. These rights confer complete 
and absolute possession of all the lands in the district, with 
power to sell, impose taxes, rents, and assessments, the 
possession of the revenue farms, with power to create new 
farms of any description, and certain judicial rights con- 
joined with power to inflict penalties. 

This Muara district, the town in which was founded by Mr. 
Cowie, and named by him Brooketon in honour of the Rajah, 
is the richest portion of the small and shrunken territory 
now remaining to the Sultanate of Bruni, and it remains to 
it, as may be seen, attached by a thread only. It is not 
large, but it is of much importance, as it possesses a good 
colliery and an excellent harbour. Previous to the opening 
of this colliery the population, consisting of a kw Kadayan 
peasants and Malay fishermen, was small and scattered, and, 
in common with the lower classes throughout the Sultanate, 
led a miserable existence under misrule. 

Mr. Cowie found that a much larger capital was needed 
to develop the colliery than he possessed, without which the 
workings would be unremunerative. Every year entailed 
increasing loss, and in 1888, two years before the acquisition 
of the Limbang by the Rajah, he sold to him all his rights in 

1 Now Managing Director of the British North Borneo Company. 


Previous to the transfer, for want of capital, the mines 
had been worked in a hand-to-mouth fashion by a few 
coolies under a manager with but little experience, the 
output being confined to meeting the very limited local 
demand in Labuan. There was practically no plant, and 
only a small ricketty wharf, to which the surface coal was 
conveyed in buffalo -drawn waggons over a roughly con- 
structed line. 

Those who knew Brooketon in those days and know it 
now, can testify to the great improvements that have been 
made by the Rajah's persistent efforts. The greatest 
possible benefits have been conferred upon the people by 
the establishment of a large and growing industry among 
them, but it has been effected at a heavy financial loss. The 
colliery has been placed under experienced managers ; ex- 
pensive, though necessary, machinery, locomotives, a steam 
collier, lighters, etc., have been purchased, extensive and 
solid wharves built, and a new line laid down. The cost of 
these, with the many other preliminary expenses incidental 
to the proper working of a large colliery, have been heavy, 
and so far it has proved an unremunerative speculation. 
The colliery employs hundreds of miners and workmen, 
and through it, indirectly, many people gain a livelihood, 
and the thriving settlement of Brooketon is solely dependent 
upon it. Law and order have been effectively maintained 
by the Rajah at his own cost, though in the name and with 
the consent of the Sultan. Although financial improvement 
may be remote, closing the mines down would mean a loss 
of all these benefits to the people ; the place would revert 
to its former condition, and the population would be 
dispersed. This consideration has induced the Rajah to 
continue working the colliery, with the hope of ultimately 
lessening the losses, and the remoter hope of ultimate 
success. To Brooketon we shall again refer. 

In March, 1905, a chief named Lawai, who had been 
dignified by the Sultan with the title of Orang Kav.i 
Temanggong, with some 400 of his numerous following, 
removed into the Limbang river from the Baram, in defiance 
of Government orders. In former days these people had 

BRUNI 359 

been the most forward amongst those employed by the 
Bruni Government to molest the Limbang people, and a 
short time previous to their removal to the Limbang 
had killed three Kadayans in Bruni territory, who had 
incurred displeasure in certain high quarters. After these 
murders had been committed, Lawai had been favourably 
received by the Sultan at Bruni, and this no doubt 
encouraged him openly to resist the Government. A small 
force was despatched against him, and, taken by surprise, 
he was captured. 

The rendezvous of this expedition was off Muara island, 
at the entrance to Bruni bay, and, as its object was kept 
a profound secret, considerable uneasiness arose in the 
suspicious minds of those at Bruni, who with good reason 
feared the displeasure of the Rajah. A secret meeting of 
the leading pangirans and chiefs was held; at which it was 
decided that should it be the Rajah's intention to sweep 
away their evil government they would kill the Sultan and 
hand over the city to him. 

With this exception, from the day that the Sarawak flag 
had been hoisted, there have been no disturbances in the 
Limbang. But in the neighbouring river, the Trusan, the 
perpetual petty feuds amongst the Muruts, which led to 
isolated cases of murder, wounding, and cattle-lifting, caused 
the Government considerable trouble. In 1900, it became 
necessary to administer a severe lesson. Some Muruts 
living in the far interior under their chief, Okong, aided by 
those of the Lawas, not then under the Sarawak Govern- 
ment, having killed twenty-one Muruts of the lower Trusan, 
an expedition, with which the Rajah Muda went, was sent 
to punish them. This was so effectually done, that it 
resulted in the people of the interior coming in from all 
quarters to renounce their feuds ; and since that Trusan 
has also been free from such troubles. 

Commenting upon Bornean affairs, the Singapore Free 
Press in August, 1 900, remarked that : " Bruni, though 
independent, is in a state of bankruptcy and decay, and 
would not be a desirable acquisition for any one. Its 
revenues, such as they are, are all leased and sold, and 


those who should benefit from them have lonj^ parted with 
their interests. The aged Sultan, troubled with debts and 
worried by creditors, has given powers to the most 
importunate in their claims, which action has alienated the 
support of those hereditary chiefs who are entitled to share 
with him the government of the country. These chiefs 
assume semi-independence, and each goes his own wax- 
unchecked, a method which tends to bring affairs of State 
to chaos. It is erroneously supposed that the British 
Government is responsible for this condition of the country. 
As a matter of fact the British Government has no right, 
and certainly no inclination, to interfere in the internal 
affairs of an independent kingdom." 

This is a very accurate description of the situation at 
Bruni ; but, unless we accept the theory that might makes 
right, how can the action of the British Government in 
appointing a Resident to take charge of Bruni a few years 
later on be justified ? No one, however, can quarrel 
with the statement that the British Government had no 
inclination to interfere. That had been made manifest 
enough by many years of indifference to the sufferings of a 
people, and of shirking moral responsibilities. It is stretch- 
ing a point to say that the British Government had no 
right to interfere ; it was their duty to do so, and that 
duty involved the right. Not content with this neglect of 
an obvious duty, the Government stood in the people's 
way, by preventing them from turning to others for the 
aid they so sorely needed. 

What these sufferings were, Mr. Keyser, who was 
Consul at Bruni, fully sets forth in his report to the Foreign 
Office for 1899. He wrote : "Such trade as there was has 
completely fallen off, and the monthly steamer from 
Singapore has ceased its visits. The debts and difficulties 
of the Sultan and his chiefs have so increased with time 
that this state of affairs naturally reacts upon the people. 
With the exception of catching fish, no one does any work, 
and all live in poverty and constant want of food. 
Hundreds of families have left, and continue to leave, to 
escape the seizure of their women and children by 

BRUNI 361 

impecunious head-men, who wish to relieve their own 
necessities by selling them as slaves. 1 Others are driven 
from the country by the infliction of fines, and the 
exorbitant demands of those Chinese and money-lenders to 
whom the collection of taxes and all saleable rights have 
been long since transferred for cash. Those traders have 
full power to oppress the people, and they do so 
remorselessly. In a short space of time, if the present 
Government continues, Bruni will be empty of inhabitants." 

The two small provinces, the river districts of Tutong 
and Belait, now remaining to the Sultan, have been in a 
constant state of revolt. In June, 1899, 2 the people of 
these rivers openly threw off their allegiance and hoisted 
the Sarawak flag, an act which caused some excitement in 
the East, and a good deal of comment in English papers. 
The principal chiefs then waited upon the Rajah, and 
begged him to take over their country, a petition that was 
repeated shortly afterwards. The British Consul was 
informed by them that they absolutely refused to remain 
under Bruni rule, and they prayed to be placed under that 
of Sarawak. But the Consul could only report ; and that 
Government, which had " no right and certainly no inclina- 
tion to interfere," again proved obstructive, and the people 
were forced to continue a hopeless effort to gain their liberty. 

A desultory war commenced, weak in attack from want 
of power, 3 and weak in resistance from lack of ammunition 
and supplies. Treachery was resorted to by those sent to 
suppress the revolt. As an instance of one cold-blooded 
deed, Pangiran Tejudin, the Sultan's son-in-law, of whom 
one infamous act has already been recorded, persuaded the 

1 For this reason a large number of Malays, men, women, and children, in April, 
1904, moved into the Limbang. The men were the ironsmiths of Bruni, and this 
useful class was forced to leave to save their girls. And because some of their 
women had been seized and sold, the Kadayans of Bruni, who in former days 
had been the faithful followers of the Sultans and their main support, revolted in 

- Two years previously a Sarawak Chinaman was murdered in the Belait, and 
that this was done at the instigation of an Orang Kaya, solely in the expectation that 
the murder of a Sarawak subject would lead to such active interference by the 
Government of that country in the affairs of the district that might end in annexation, 
was proved in a Court of inquiry held at Claudetown. 

:! Many of the peaceable Kadayans removed into the Limbang, having been 
driven from their homes, with the loss of all their property, by an emissary of the 
Sultan, for refusing to join him in an attack on the rebels. 


inhabitants of some of the Tutong villages to submit, under 
a guarantee that their lives and property would be spared. 
To ratify the terms, the pangiran took twenty-five men 
from these villages to the Tutong town, and there they were 
bound and confined. Then one man from each village wa< 
selected, placed bound within a fence, and there at intervals 
slashed at until all had bled to death. Seven only managed 
to escape. 

In October,. 1902, many of the inhabitants of Belait and 
Tutong, unable to continue the struggle, having sought a 
refuge in the Trusan and Limbang rivers, and the Sultan 
being wearied into granting an amnesty on the payment of 
a heavy fine, those remaining surrendered ; their principal 
chiefs, however, the Datus Kalim and De Gadong, with their 
people, elected to place themselves under Sarawak rule by 
also moving into the Limbang. 

In January, 1905, the British North Borneo Company, 
with the sanction of her Majesty's Government, transferred 
their cession of the Lawas river to the Sarawak Government. 
The inhabitants of this river are closely allied to those of the 
Trusan, and, in a lesser degree, to those of the Limbang. It 
is a beautiful and fertile district, but sparsely inhabited. 

If the yearly cession money paid upon the districts that 
have been acquired by Sarawak during the sovereignty of 
the present Rajah is taken into consideration, not one of 
these districts has yet paid its way, and even Limbang, 
upon which no cession money is paid, showed a deficit of 
expenditure over revenue in 1906, but the increased trade, 
of these districts, which in 1906 amounted to just a million 
dollars in value shows them to be in a flourishing state, 
and this has added to the general prosperity of the raj. 

In 1905, an agreement was made between his Majesty's 
Government and the Sultan, by which the latter accepted a 
Resident, by whose counsel the affairs of the State were to be 
guided, and on January 1, 1906, this agreement came into 
effect, and the Sultan and his wazirs were practically laid aside, 
the rule becoming British under the de facto ruler, the Resident. 

The reason given for this step was not so much that the 
iniquitous conditions of affairs at Bruni could no longer be 


tolerated, but that the country was bankrupt, and therefore 
something had to be done. There were two alternatives 
presented, the absorption of Bruni by Sarawak, or the 
introduction of the same system of government that prevails 
in the Federated Malay States. The latter was adopted as 
being, in the opinion of the Foreign Office, likely to be more 
beneficial to the Sultanate, as well as being a healthy example 
to the neighbouring protectorates, and it has been expressly 

1 i I 


-j \ 


■ry. ' 


'/ 1 

^^^H^M / f / 1 

/f, *^ 



stated by the Foreign Secretary that this was done not merely 
with a view to the future interests of Bruni, but to those of 
the other British Protectorates in Borneo. 1 The only pretext 
that has been advanced for not allowing the natural absorp- 
tion of Bruni by Sarawak was the supposed animosity the 
Sultan bore towards the Rajah, though, had it still existed, 
this might well have been regarded only in the light of a 
compliment to the latter. 

But undue importance has been placed upon the ill-feeling 
the Sultan had formerly borne to the Rajah, and the fact that 

1 Sarawak and British North Borneo. 


a complete reconciliation had taken place long before this time 
appears to have been ignored. Apart from this, however, 
the likings and dislikings of an isolated, and now defunct, old 
tyrant were not quite a sufficient basis upon which to establish 
a policy antagonistic to the natural fate of Bruni and the 
pronounced wishes of the people. But, many months before 
it was proposed to establish a British Residency in Bruni, the 
Sultan, completely at the end of his resources, had confided 
to the British Consul his unfortunate situation; had expressed 
his deep regret for the estrangement between himself and the 
Rajah, and his desire for a reconciliation, which he begged 
the Consul would bring about, for he had no one else to turn 
to for the help he so sorely needed, and which he knew the 
Rajah would not refuse him. 

The Rajah, who had never lost his kindly feeling towards 
the Bruni rulers, at once visited Bruni, and exchanged visits 
with the Sultan, which were marked by extreme cordiality 
and confidence on the part of the latter. But by no method 
short of a clean sweep of its debased Government and corrupt 
officials, of whom the Sultan was the most corrupt, could any 
improvement be effected in the sad condition of Bruni, or in 
the Sultan's miserable plight, and therefore the Rajah, through 
the British Consul, offered terms for the transfer of Bruni to 
his Government, and these were far more generous to the 
Sultan than those which the Foreign Office, with full know- 
ledge of this offer, subsequently forced the Sultan to accept. 

The terms offered by the Rajah were placed before the 
Sultan by the British Consul, and were well received by him 
and his family, and they were anxious to accept these at once. 
They were, however, completely in the power of three of the 
members of Council, — the Juwatan ' Abu Bakar, Orang Kaya 
Laksamana, and Orang Kaya di Gadong, who had battened 
on the Sultan by lending him large sums of money on 
extortionate interest, and who, seeing their way to further 
affluence, prevented the Sultan accepting the Rajah's offer 
until he should have assigned to them all the benefits it 
would convey to him, when he would have been called upon 
to accept it for their advantage. 

1 High Chamberlain. 

BRUNI 365 

All who have read these pages will agree there can be 
no possible doubt that the Sultan and his ministers had well 
deserved to have their powers curtailed, even to the extent 
of absolute deprivation of all control in the affairs of their 
country, but not a few will naturally wonder why the Foreign 
Office had not arrived at such an obvious conclusion many 
years ago. Then the reasons for interference were tenfold 
more weighty than now. Successive years have seen the 
Sultanate stripped of its territories, and the capacity of the 
Sultan and his bureaucracy to do evil lessened in proportion 
to the loss of population, revenues, and power. Then the 
British Government would have become possessed of a large 
territory, nearly as large as England, with a numerous popula- 
tion, and would have had a reasonable prospect before it of 
establishing a State or Colony which might at this time be 
as flourishing as any of those in the Malay peninsula ; now 
they have unnecessarily hampered themselves with a miserable 
bankrupt remnant of a formerly large State, some 3000 
square miles in area only, with a total population of not 
more than 15,000; with no internal resources to develop, 
and with revenues so slight as to be inconsiderable, an experi- 
ment which appears to be proving costly. 

To contend that the governmental system of the 
Federated Malay States would be a good example to 
Sarawak is to presume a superiority in that system, and to 
infer that the conditions prevailing in the former and latter 
States are on a parity. So far there has been no convinc- 
ing evidence of the superiority of this system in its 
application to Bruni, though that is not surprising, as the 
British Resident can hardly be expected to make bricks 
without straw ; and Sarawak, which has the credit of having 
" the best form of government for a country populated by 
an Oriental people of various races," would scarcely be wise 
to exchange the simple methods that have been gradually 
built up to meet the requirements of her population for an 
elaborated system, which, however successful it has been in 
the States for which it was formed, might not be altogether 
conformable to existing conditions in Sarawak. There is 
almost as much difference between the populations of the 


Malay States and Sarawak, as there is between that of the 
latter and Java or Ceylon, and the same difference exists in 
regard to Bruni. To argue that a form of government, 
because it is eminently adapted to the circumstance of 
one country would necessarily be suitable to another, is to 
be optimistic, and shows a want either of common sense, or 
of knowledge of the respective conditions of the countries 

Perhaps the mysterious profession of the Foreign 
Secretary in regard to the future interests of all the British 
Protectorates in Borneo, which has been noticed, conceals 
the real motives, yet to be revealed, for this sudden departure, 
which red tapeism can hardly explain away, and which has 
given rise to a political position that is peculiar, whether 
viewed in the light of expediency or as a matter of sheer 
justice. The professed motives appear to be scarcely 
logical, for this fresh policy involved no obvious advantages 
to the Empire, was displeasing to the natives, and unfair to 
the interests of Sarawak. But, unfortunately, evidence is not 
wanting that there are other motives, which are not only 
illogical but unwarrantable, and it is only by keeping these 
in view that the policy of the British Government becomes 
intelligible. It is a policy that has not originated at the 
Foreign or the Colonial Office, but has been adopted by 
both "on advice given with entire knowledge of place and 
people " — how, when, and by whom acquired, it would be 
interesting to learn. 

Whether Bruni was governed from Singapore or 
absorbed by Sarawak was a question of little import- 
ance to the public, and should have been one of minor 
importance to the Foreign Office, for either way its position 
as a British Protectorate would remain unaffected. No one 
can assert that it is possible to find a man with greater 
qualifications as a ruler of natives or with a greater knowledge 
of Bruni and its people than the Rajah of Sarawak, or one 
whose counsel would have greater weight with chiefs and 
people, to whom the task of reforming and regenerating that 
country might with wisdom have been entrusted. Then comes 
the question of means, so necessary to the establishment of 

BRUNI 367 

an effective government. To set up such a government in 
Bruni, and to maintain it, requires a considerable outlay, and 
an ever-recurring yearly subsidy. This the Rajah knew, and 
this he was willing and able to bear, but those " with entire 
knowledge of place and people " thought differently, with 
the result that the overflowing Treasury chest of the 
Federated Malay States has had to be drawn upon, 1 and 
within two years yet another burden in the shape of a debt 
of some ^24,000 has been needlessly put upon an already 
bankrupt State ; and still, with a newly-imposed tariff, which 
is scarcely in harmony with that of the Federated Malay 
States, or of Sarawak, Bruni is unable to make both ends 
meet, and has the pleasant prospect before it of having to 
negotiate a further loan with no security to offer. So much 
for expediency. 

That the Sultan was not averse to Bruni being in- 
corporated with Sarawak has been shown, and the fact must 
not be overlooked that he zvas averse to the appointment 
of a British Resident, and the acceptance of the agreement 
by himself and his Prime Minister and brother-in-law, the 
Pangiran Bandahara, was obtained only under pressure, and 
was granted in opposition to the forcibly expressed wishes 
of his own immediate relations, of his chiefs, and of his 
people. He died shortly afterwards, at a great age, though 
he retained his faculties until the end, and was succeeded 
by his son, Muhammad-ul-Alam, a minor, who was placed 
under the regency of his uncle, the Pangiran Bandahara. 

That they might pass under the protection of the Rajah 
and share with his subjects the liberties and privileges the 
latter have gained, has always been and still is the desire 
of the people. With the methods of his government they 
are familiar and in sympathy. They and their chiefs, from 
the Regent downwards, have petitioned to be so placed. To 
them the Rajah's name is a household word, and by them 
he is trusted. When the change came in 1905, many of 
the principal nobles begged him to become the guardian of 
their children, to safeguard their inheritance and welfare. 

1 In reply to a question on December 15, 1906, by Sir Edward Sassoon, the 
L'nder-Secretary for the Colonies found it convenient to take no notice of Sir Edward's 
reference to the F.M.S. in this connection. 


His great influence, acquired by an intercourse of half a 
century, has always been exerted for their benefit, and it is 
an influence that, together with his knowledge of the people 
and what is best for them, can scarcely be equalled by ever- 
changing officials. 

Between the populations of Sarawak and Bruni there 
exists community of origin, and relationship of ideas and 
customs. Formerly the two countries were one. Then in 
a corner of that country arose the little independent raj 
of Sarawak, which gradually expanded up to, around, and 
beyond Bruni. Xow Bruni is but an enclave within 
Sarawak, and socially, politically, and commercially, as well 
as geographically, is undoubtedly within the sphere of her 

A short description ofBrooketon has already been given, 
showing how the prosperity of that flourishing little settle- 
ment is dependent upon the working of its colliery, and that 
this has been the Rajah's main reason for continuing to 
work it, though with a recurring annual loss which in 
the aggregate during the past twenty years has exceeded 
8800,000 ; of course exclusive of purchase money and 
interest thereon. In no one year have the receipts exceeded 
the expenditure, and the chances of financial improvement 
appear to be vastly remote; yet, in October, 1906, the 
Colonial Office decided, presumably " on advice given with 
entire knowledge of place and people," to further hamper 
this industry by imposing a duty on the coal exported, 
thereby seriously compromising the welfare of the district 
by taxing the sole factor in its prosperity. 

The levying of such a " harsh and oppressive " ] tax, 
was not only unjust, but distinctly contrary to the terms 
of the deed under which the Rajah holds his concession. 
Whilst protesting against the assumption that the Bruni 
Government has the right to impose such a duty, the Rajah 
informed the Colonial Office that if it was insisted upon he 
would be compelled practically to close down the colliery. 
In the House, Sir Edward Sassoon pointedly asked the 

1 To quote the present Secretary for Foreign Affairs when addressing the House, 
but a few years ago upon the subject of an export duty on English coal. 

BRUNI 369 

Under-Secretary for the Colonies " on what principle such a 
tax would be imposed upon a nascent industry which is 
being created at a sacrifice in an impoverished country, while 
on the other hand his Majesty's Government has recently 
withdrawn the duty levied on all coal exported from 
Great Britain." To this question no direct reply was or 
could have been given, but it was not until a year afterwards 
that the Colonial Office decided that the tax would not at 
present be imposed. 

The reason given for the imposition of this tax was that 
all other sources of revenue at Brooketon having been 
hypothecated to the Rajah, it was therefore necessary to 
levy export duties. It has already been stated (p. 357) 
how these revenues had reverted to the Rajah, but it must 
not be supposed that they had been obtained for little or no 
consideration. To protect his own interests by guarding 
against any imposition of harassing taxes, the original lessee 
of the Brooketon Collieries had leased the revenues of the 
district from the Sultan for an annual sum, and this rent 
was subsequently capitalised by the payment of a sum of 
money equivalent to ten years' rent ; thus these revenues 
passed from the Sultan's hands for ever, and subsequently 
became vested in the Rajah by purchase. A careful 
consideration of the deed by which these revenue rights 
were granted, combined with a competent knowledge of the 
prerogatives of the Sultan, would leave little doubt in an 
unprejudiced mind that the imposition of any import or 
export duties at Brooketon by others than the Rajah would 
be an infringement of the rights conveyed by that deed. 
The revenues derived by the Rajah under this deed (and 
he has not exerted his powers to increase them) represent 
but a very small return as interest on the purchase money ; 
yet in face of such kindly moderation, we find the Colonial 
Office attempting to impose a tax on the Rajah's property, 
which would yield to them more than three times the 
amount of the legitimate revenue arising from a benevolent 

Previously to the appointment of a British Resident at 
Bruni, the Rajah had, as we have noticed, administered 


the government in the Muara district, with the full approval 
of the Sultan. In compliance with the Rajah's desire, the 
Sultan had placed a Malay chief, as his representative, at 
Brooketon, but even his salary had to be paid by the 
Rajah. It has already been shown that certain judicial 
powers have been vested in the Rajah under the revenue 
concession, in regard to which the then British Consul at 
Bruni had occasion to write to the Rajah's agent at Labuan 
in July, 1900, that "the acting High Commissioner for 
Borneo believes in and acknowledges the right of Sarawak 
to exercise magisterial powers in Brooketon." Nevertheless, 
on the appointment of the British Resident at Bruni the 
Colonial Office called upon the Rajah to withdraw his 
officials and police from Brooketon, and notified him that 
the administration of the district would be carried on by 
the Resident, in the Sultan's name. In a written reply 
to a question by Sir Edward Sassoon, the Under-Secretary 
for the Colonies denied that by the deed the Rajah was 
authorised to maintain a police force in Bruni {sic), but 
passed over in silence the main point of Sir Edward's 
question as to the Rajah's powers to adjudicate as well as 
to impose fines throughout the district of Muara. 

In a leading article which appeared in the issue of the 
Straits Budget (Singapore) of January 10, 1907, the 
editor attempts to refute the issues raised in the questions 
put by Sir Edward Sassoon in the House of Commons, and 
the arguments advanced in an editorial article which 
appeared in the Standard dealing with the above matters. 
He writes authoritatively in reply to Sir Edward and " the 
special pleading " of the Standard, and presumably his 
article is therefore an inspired one, for his own knowledge 
of Bornean affairs is restricted to what " the man in the 
street " can tell him, and his leader displays a deeper insight 
into the political aspect than can usually be found outside 
of a Government office. He tells us that : " Bruni wanted 
better administration. There were three possible ways of 
obtaining this — the Protectorate might have been transferred 
to the British North Borneo Company ; it might have been 
handed over to the neighbouring Rajah of Sarawak ; or it 

BRUNI 371 

might have been incorporated in the territories administered 
by the Colonial Office through the Straits Settlements. Of 
the three alternatives the Foreign Office chose the last. No 
doubt Sarawak is an object lesson in administration, 
but it must not be forgotten that it has been fortunate 
in having two successive rulers of marked capacity for 
dealing with native races. It may not always be so 
fortunate, and perhaps the Foreign Office, having this 
possibility in view, hesitated to add to the territory of 
Sarawak. . On the other hand, the experience of the 
Federated Malay States and the Straits Settlements 
warranted the handing over of Bruni to the Colonial Office, 
and we are sure that when consideration is given to the 
larger interests involved it will have to be admitted, one day, 
that the Foreign Office took the wiser course. There may 
come a day when British interests in Borneo will have to be 
amalgamated and concentrated under one administration ; 
but until then Bruni affairs can be best administered and 
the interests of the natives safeguarded under the arrange- 
ment now in force." 

The editor has ignored the fact that the natives of 
Bruni of all races — and the small population is a very 
diversified one — desired incorporation in Sarawak, and had 
petitioned for it ; and he has overlooked the fact that such 
incorporation, whilst saving the Straits Settlements both 
money and trouble, could in no way have affected the 
position of Bruni as a British Protectorate, or have interfered 
with any policy which the Foreign Office may possibly 
have in view. So far as Sarawak is concerned, " the 
possibility in view " can mean only one thing : future 
interference with its independence, arising out of anticipated 
maladministration by the present Rajah's successor. 
Such an inuendo is as uncalled for, as it is unjust, 
however the suggestion may be disguised ; and it behoves 
the Foreign and Colonial Offices to dissociate themselves 
from such expressions, which unfortunately have derived 
some colour from their subsequent actions. 

That the system of government in vogue in the 
Federated Malay States and the Straits Settlements is 



irreproachable cannot be denied ; but at the same time it 
cannot fairly be contended — in the face of all evidence to 
the contrary — that it is as well adapted to the require- 
ments of Bruni as is that in vogue in Sarawak, a system 
which the editor admits " is an object lesson in administra- 
tion," and which his local contemporary, the Singapore Fret 
Press, has before described as " a government for natives 
second to none." 

What are " the larger interests involved " which appear, 
in the editor's opinion, to have necessitated the handing 
over of Bruni, against the wishes of the people, to a govern- 
ment foreign to them ? The editor answers the question 
with a prophecy, which, unless it emanates from his own 
fertile brain, throws light on the policy of the British 
Government, and hints at a possible disregard of fair- 
play and treaties, which has only been made possible by 
the acceptance of British protection by Sarawak. The 
British Government as far back as 1863 fully acknowledged 
the independence of Sarawak under the rule of its white 
Rajah, and the agreement of 1888, by which the State was 
placed under British protection, was not intended, nor 
accepted, as one which would militate against that in- 
dependence, and such a possibility can scarcely be construed 
as following- in the train of that aereement. 


(One of the small Government steamers for river worki. 




N an address to the 
Council Negri in 
I 891, the Rajah said 
that he might divide 
his term of service of 
thirty-nine years into 
three periods of thir- 
teen years each. The 
first period had been 
almost wholly devoted 
to the work of suppress- 
ing head-hunting among 
the Dayaks, involving 
frequent expeditions by 
sea and by land, and a 
life of carrying arms and 
keeping watch and ward 
against subtle enemies. The 




second period had been divided between expeditions of the 
same nature, and the peaceful pursuits of giving or amend- 
ing law, and the establishment of its supremacy. And the 
last period had been almost entirely taken up with attending 
to the political and social affairs of a settled and peaceful 
country. Those present who had been young with himself 
during the early days of his service, had been strong and 
able to carry through the work set before them, rough and 
perilous in the extreme, in mountainous regions of jungle, 
subject to even- kind of exposure ; but now these hardships 
were no more required, and that was well, for both they and 
himself were waxing old. The character of his task was 
changed — he and his old comrades on river and rock and 
in jungle could sit in their arm-chairs, and attend to the 
political business and the commercial progress of the country. 

To these periods the Rajah has since added a fourth, 
and that the longest of all, during which much has been 
done to extinguish the lingering sparks of racial and inter- 
tribal hostility. These still break out occasionally amongst 
the Sea-Dayaks. though at wider intervals, as time goes on, 
but are confined to the remote interior, and to a very limited 
district within the State and over the borders, of which 
Lobok Antu is the centre. These occasional outbreaks, 
which but reveal the old Adam, do not trouble or affect 
those living outside this district, and indeed do not stir 
their interest any more than the border troubles in India 
affect the population of that country generally. 

It is an Arab proverb — Be content with bread and 
scrape till Allah sends the jam. The first Rajah certainly 
had very hard scrape, and in the first periods of the second 
Rajah's career, he had to be content with bread and scrape. 
only slowly, though surely, came the jam. 

The Ulu Ai ' Dayaks, or, as the name implies, those 
inhabiting the head -waters of the Kapuas, Rejang, and 
Batang Lupar, are nowadays the sole offenders, and 
although they lead others astray, these troubles involve but 
a small proportion of the Dayak population, but five per 
cent, or one per cent of the entire population of Sarawak. 
1 Lit. upper waters. 


A quarter of a century ago, Malays were forced to live 
together in villages, for their protection against the Sea- 
Dayaks, and were constrained to move in strong and well- 
armed parties when visiting these people for the purpose 
of trade. Now they occupy scattered houses on their 
farms, where they can make gardens and plantations, 
and they mix freely with the Dayaks without the least 

But even the Ulu Ai Dayaks, in spite of their occasional 
lapses, are far from being inimical to the Government, for 
which they are ever ready to work, and which they will as 
readily follow. At all times, its officers, English and Malay, 
are quite safe amongst them, and are received with respect and 
cordiality. Punishments, however severe, are submitted to, 
and do not affect their feelings towards the Government. 
On the whole these Ulu Ai Dayaks are well disposed, but 
they allow themselves to be led astray by the more unruly 
and restless spirits in the tribes ; yet even of these latter, 
some have been brought to become staunch supporters of 
the Government. 

The Saribas Dayaks, formerly the most malignant and 
dreaded of pirates and head-hunters, and the bitterest 
opponents of the Rajah, have long since become the most 
peaceful subjects of the State, and have developed into 
keen traders and collectors of jungle produce. 

The Sekrangs, with the exception of one outbreak, 
noted on page 381, for which a treacherous Government 
chief was solely responsible, have been as peaceable and 
law-abiding as the Saribas. These, with the Undups and 
Balaus, ever the faithful friends of the Government and the 
bravest — " a more plucky and sterling set of bull-dogs there 
is not to be found," the Rajah wrote of the former many 
years ago — >are now the best-disposed people in the State. 
With them perhaps may be included the Lemanaks, and the 
Engkaris, who, however, have not gained for themselves the 
same character for straightforwardness. The Ulu Ai are 
alone the peace-breakers. Physically these men are the 
finest of all, but are coarser in manners and not so brave. 
All these tribes, with the exception of the Undups and 



Balaus, having greatly multiplied, have spread over Sarawak, 
and become much mingled. 

Besides being very intelligent, the Sea-Dayaks are 
wonderfully energetic and hard-working. They are thrifty, 
eager to become well-off, are honest, and have few vices ; but 
they lack channels for their energy. Regular employment 
in their own country by the establishment of industries, such 
as plantations and mines, would do more for their redemption 
from savagery than years of labour among them by officials 


W ith the exception of the Band (Philippines and Malays) and three Sergeants, the men sb tw n 
here are all Sea-Dayaks. The battalion is composed of some 275 Si 

Malay-. 25 Javanese. and 20 Philippine band-men. under an English Commandant and an Instl 
(shown). The force was established in 1846 under a native officer of the Ceylon Rifles. 

and missionaries. At present, their energies are almost 
entirely confined to working jungle-produce ; though to seek 
this, they have now to go into the far interior, and this is often 
the cause of their getting into trouble with remote and wild 
tribes ; they go also to North Borneo, Dutch Borneo, Sumatra, 
the Malay peninsula, and even as far as Mindanau, in the 
Philippines. These countries they visit in large numbers, and 
abroad their honesty and energy have gained them a good 
character. Many Dayaks place the money they have saved 
with the Chinese on interest ; some have erected shops, 



which they let for rent ; but with most the prevailing idea 
of riches is an accumulation of old jars and brassware. 
There is no man keener on the dollar than the Dayak, or 
keener upon retaining it when gained ; and there is no 
better labourer, but the employer of Dayak labour must be 
tactful and just. As they become more prosperous they 
discover for themselves that it is more conducive to their 
welfare not only to be on good terms with the Government, 
but at peace with their neighbours. 


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The Dutch in the Kapuas have experienced considerable 
difficulty in dealing with the many tribes of different races, 
especially with the Sea-Dayaks, who inhabit that vast river, 
which runs past the heads of the Batang Lupar and the 
principal left-hand branches of the Rejang river, but they 
have made some advance in the pacification of these people, 
though their methods are very different, far less energetic 
and much slower, than those of the Rajah. 

The highlands, the spine of Borneo, along which runs the 
frontier, is no mountain ridge, but a broken upland district, 
that forms the watershed of the great rivers of Sarawak on 


one side, and the still greater rivers of Dutch Borneo on the 
other. It is a region difficult of access from the coast on both 
sides, and long after the Dayaks living lower down had 
become peaceful, turbulence and internecine warfare remained 
chronic in the interior. And this was the more difficult to 
suppress because the aggressors had but to step across the 
boundary, where they could not be pursued by the forces 
of the Rajah. This was perfectly well understood by these 
savages, and was taken advantage of repeatedly, and the 
efforts of the Rajah were in consequence continually thwarted. 

A series of expeditions was planned by his Highness 
that for this reason met with but partial success. It is 
unnecessary to record the details of each, for each repeated 
the experience of the former with painful iteration, and we 
have already given an account of some of the earliest of these 
punitive expeditions. But it will be necessary to record them, 
to show how great were the difficulties the Government had 
to contend with before the turbulent tribes of the interior 
could be brought to submission. 

A great many of the Ulu Ai Dayaks had settled in the 
Katibas river, which is the highway from the Rejang to 
the Kapuas river in Dutch territory, and these Dayaks 
were incessantly giving trouble by making predatory raids 
against their enemies over the border. 

The Dutch had complained of this, and the Rajah had 
attacked them in 1870, as we have recorded, but as they 
continued to give trouble, he again attacked them, for the third 
time, in July 1 87 1 , taking them on this occasion completely 
by surprise ; and driving their chief, Unjup, over the frontier, 
where he might have been captured. Unjup was the brother 
of the powerful chief Balang, who had been previously 
executed for plotting against the Government. 1 Later on he 
was allowed to return, and was pardoned on making humble 
submission. He subsequently became a Government chief or 
pengulu, but he was a useless character. After the third 
attack, this tribe was moved to the lower waters of the 
Katibas, and an interval of uninhabited jungle was put 
between them and their enemies. 

1 ( hap. XII. p. 320. 


However, what is born in the bone must come out in the 
flesh, and, in 1874, they again broke away and attacked, on 
this occasion the Tamans and Bunut Malays of the Kapuas. 
It was, however, a case of lex talionis ; and these people had 
brought it upon themselves by their own treacherous conduct 
in inveigling six Dayaks, who were on a peaceful visit to 
their country, into a Taman house, where they were seized 
and bound. Thence these six had been sent to Bunut, a 
large Malay settlement, and were there put to death in a most 
cold-blooded manner. Nevertheless the Dayaks had to be 
taught not to take the law into their own hands. But 
properly the Netherlands officials were the most blameworthy 
for not having promptly secured and punished the Malay 
murderers and their accomplices. 

The following year the Batu Bangkai Dayaks of the 
Kapuas, in conjunction with some Katibas Dayaks, made a 
determined attack on the Lemanak Dayaks. The Lemanak 
is a confluent of the upper waters of the Batang Lupar. The 
repeated outbreaks of these turbulent natives was entirely due 
to their proximity to the Dutch frontier, and to their know- 
ledge that they had but to step across the border to escape the 
Government forces ; and at that time the Netherlands Govern- 
ment insisted upon the border rights being strictly respected ; 
moreover their troops, the only forces they had at their 
disposal, were totally useless in acting against Dayaks, who 
can only be tracked by fellow Dayaks. The Netherlands 
officials in the Kapuas were themselves aware of their 
inability, and were averse to the policy of their Govern- 
ment. Powerless themselves, unwilling or unable to use 
Dayak auxiliaries, they were well content to let the Rajah 
do the work for them which they could not do themselves. 
But the central Government objected. 

The Ulu Ai Dayaks of the upper Rejang, after having 
been peaceable for many years, were encouraged by these 
circumstances to break out again, and even those who were 
disposed for peace were terrorised into joining in these forays 
by a threat of having their houses burnt down over their 
heads, unless they came out upon the war-path. 

In October, 1875, the Rajah led a large force against the 



upper Batang Lupar Dayaks, who had been giving great 
trouble, and fort}- of their villages were destroyed ; but deem- 
ing this punishment inadequate, the attack was followed up 
by another delivered two months later ; the rebels, com- 
pletely surprised, suffered severely, and hastened to tender 
their submission. 

The turn of the Katibas was to follow shortly. The 
Kapuas Dayaks over the border were still unchecked, and 
knowing how incapable the Dutch officials were to subdue 


them, and secure as they believed themselves to be behind the 
frontier, they became insolent, and in February collected a 
large force of over 2000 fighting men to punish the Dayaks 
up the Batang Lupar for having submitted to the Rajah. 
They came within two hours' march of Lobok Antu fort, 
but here they found the Resident of the district at the 
head of a large force blocking their way. The Dutch Con- 
trolcur in vain endeavoured to persuade these Dayaks to 
disperse and return to their homes ; and they had the 
insolence to send the Resident an intimation that they 
would do so if he paid them a fine of eight old jars, and 


declared that if this were refused, they would attack Lobok 
Antu in force. As the Resident could not cross the border 
to punish them, this was just what he wanted them to do, 
and he was perfectly prepared to give them a hot reception. 
But the>- changed their minds and withdrew, leaving him 
greatly disappointed that he had not been able to administer 
to them a much-needed chastisement. 

But these Dayaks were not to be allowed to play fast and 
loose much longer, for towards the end of 1876, the Resident 
of Western Borneo administered a severe lesson to the rebels, 
destroying all their villages and killing a great number 
of the men. His expedition, conducted with vigour and 
thoroughness, was completely successful. 

In October, 1876, the Rajah for the fourth and last time 
attacked the Katibas Dayaks with a small force of about 
a thousand Dayaks and Malays. This led to the submis- 
sion of these people, and they were forced to leave the 
Katibas river, and move to the main river. Since then no 
Dayaks have been allowed to live on the Katibas, and from 
the Rejang side the border troubles almost ceased. 

Early in 1879, led away by their principal chief, Lang 
Endang (the Hovering Hawk), a Government pengulu, the 
Sekrang Dayaks prepared to attack their old enemies, 
the Kantu Dayaks, in Netherlands Borneo. They were 
prevented in time, information of their purpose having 
been conveyed to the Government. Their war-prahus were 
destroyed, and a heavy fine was imposed upon them. 
Lang Endang, whilst professing loyalty to the Govern- 
ment, was secretly inciting the Sekrangs to resist, and 
they refused to pay the fine. Lang Endang offered to 
attack the recalcitrants if a party of Malays was sent 
to support him, but, as the Government was well aware 
that treachery was meditated, the offer was declined. 
Acting under instructions from headquarters, the Resident 
entered the Sekrang at the head of a large body of Malays 
and Kalaka, Saribas and Batang Lupar Dayaks in April. 
Lang Endang had assured the Government that he would 
not allow the Sekrangs to make a stand in his district, but 
at the same time he had collected them secretly around his 


long-house, and his plan was to fall on the Government 
bala and take it by surprise. This he succeeded in doing. 
A large horde of armed savages surrounded the punitive 
force and attacked it, but the Sekrangs were badly worsted 
and lost many killed and wounded ; the Government 
forces advanced, driving the rebels before them, and Lang 
Endang's village was burnt to the ground. The Sekrangs 
then submitted, paid the fine, and deposited pledges for 
future good behaviour. Lang Endang was declared an 
outlaw. He was driven from one place to another, and 
although he was burnt out several times, he managed to 
escape with his life. Finally he was suffered to settle by 
himself in the Kanowit, a broken-down old man, without 
power to do more harm. The Sekrangs had for many 
years been the Rajah's devoted followers ; since this final 
outbreak they have given no more trouble, and have 
regained their good character. 

After the establishment of the fort at the mouth of the 
Baleh, since removed down to Kapit in 1877, the Ulu Ai 
Dayaks gradually moved into that river, and in 1880, it was 
thickly populated by them. Scattered among the numerous 
Dayak villages on this river were small parties of refractory 
Dayaks, who had been guilty of several murders to obtain 
heads, and with heads renown. Though the majority of the 
Baleh Dayaks were well affected, and had no sympathy 
with these young head-hunters, they refused to give them 
up. Thereupon they were offered two alternatives, either 
they must surrender these murderers, or else move from 
the river to the lower waters and leave them and their 
followers to their fate. They chose the latter alternative. 
Then the refractory party retired up the Mujong branch 
of the Baleh, and established themselves at the foot of a 
lofty, precipitous mountain called Bukit Batu. Upon an 
almost inaccessible crag of this they erected a stockade, 
to which they could retreat in the event of being attacked, 
and draw up their ladders after them. Here they con- 
sidered themselves to be secure from punishment, and in 
a position to raid neighbouring tribes, carry off heads, and 
to defy the power of the Rajah. To prevent this and 


to cut off their supplies, a stockade was built at the mouth 
of the Mujong, and again another at the mouth of the 
branch stream that flowed from the mountain. A few were 
intimidated and came in, but the rest, though they suffered 
great privations, held out and evinced their determination not 
to surrender by cutting off three Malays, who incautiously had 
left the upper stockade to go fishing. They were attacked 
by the Rajah in February, 1881, several were killed, and 
their houses were burnt down ; but this punishment proving 
ineffectual, the Rajah again attacked them in the following 
September, when they suffered heavier losses. After this 
second lesson they sent in their women and children as 
hostages and tendered submission. Then Bukit Batu was 
abandoned to its original inhabitants, the wild Punans ; and 
the Dayaks were not allowed to live any more in the Baleh. 
In 1884, a large force of Seriang Dayaks from Nether- 
lands Borneo, under the leadership of pates, chiefs appointed 
by the Dutch Government, attacked Padang Kumang, also 
on the Dutch side, killing nine and wounding five more, and 
in this expedition they were joined by a Batang Lupar Ulu 
Ai chief, Ngumbang, with 300 followers. A heavy fine was 
imposed upon Ngumbang, and he was ordered to remove 
farther down the river, where he could be closely watched. 
He refused to pay and to move, on the plea that the Dutch 
Dayaks had been the originators and leaders of the raid, 
and that he did not see why punishment should fall on his 
head, whereas they were allowed to go scot free. Similar 
attacks continued to be made, not only on the Kapuas side 
of the frontier, but also upon the Lemanaks and Sekrangs 
on the Sarawak side, and the whole of this part of the 
country was in a ferment and disorder. On Kadang ridge, 
upon the border, and in its vicinity, numbers of unruly Ulu 
Ai Dayaks had settled, some on one side, some on the 
other, taking advantage of their position to slip across when 
fearing molestation. These Dayaks were being continually 
augmented by impetuous young bloods eager to acquire 
reputation for bravery. Nothing could be done to reduce 
them without the consent, if not the co-operation, of the 
Dutch authorities, and the Rajah applied to the Netherlands 


Government to permit him to disregard the border, for this 
once at least. And as this hornet's nest had become a menace 
to the peaceful in Dutch Borneo as well as in Sarawak, 
consent was given. 

In March, 1886, the Rajah advanced against Kadang 
with a large force of 12,000 men. The whole country in the 
vicinity of Kadang on both sides of the frontier was laid 
waste ; eighty villages were burnt, and although the rebels 
made no determined stand, many were killed or wounded. 
This expedition was eminently successful, as it not only 
resulted in the submission of the rebel Dayaks on the 
Sarawak side, including the chief Ngumbang, but also caused 
consternation among those over the border, who found that 
they were no longer safe there, and they were prepared to 
submit to any conditions the Rajah might impose upon 
them, rather than incur the risk of another attack. 

In appreciation of the signal services rendered to the 
country under his control by the success of this expedition, 
in September, 1886, the Netherlands Resident of Western 
Borneo wrote to the Rajah: — 

Yesterday I received from the Comptroller the important 
information that the last inhabitants of Bukit Kadang, who till 
now have refused to submit, have been taken prisoners and brought 
to Sintang, 1 where they will be tried before the competent judge. 
On Netherlands Territory in the frontier lands there are now 
no more rebellious Batang Lupars. Whilst congratulating you 
once more, dear Rajah, with this result, being due to the success 
of your expedition, I assure you that my functionaries will always 
earnestly co-operate for the conclusion of the Batang Lupar 

The united efforts of the Netherlands and Sarawak 
Governments have done much towards suppressing the 
border troubles. A clear understanding has been arrived at 
in regard to the mutual management of these turbulent 
Ulu Ai Dayaks. The Netherlands and Sarawak officials 
frequently correspond and meet to discuss arrangements, 
and the assistance afforded by the former has been fully 
recognised and acknowledged in the pages of the Sarawak 

1 A large town in the Upper Kapuas — the Dutch headquarters there. 


Not only in connection with these particular border- 
troubles, but in all other matters, the relations between the 
two Governments have for years past invariably been 
conducted in a spirit of mutual consideration and support, 
and with a wholesome absence of red-tapeism. 

On June 27, 1888, in Lobok Antu fort, peace was 
formally made in the presence of the Netherlands and 
Sarawak officials, with the usual ceremonies of pig-killing 
between the Ulu Ai Dayaks and the Malohs of Kapuas, 


thus bringing to an end a feud that had existed for many 
generations, and at the same time peace was made between 
the Ulu Ai and the Kantu Dayaks of Kapuas. A similar 
peace between the Ulu Ai of the Rejang and the Malohs 
and Tamans had been concluded at Kapit fort a short time 

After a long term of peace, in 1890, five young Ulu Ai 
Dayaks, whilst on a visit to the Kapuas, came across and 
killed eight Bunut Malays, but bearing in mind the former 
act of treachery of these Malays, the people had no 
sympathy with the victims ; however, the chiefs averted 
serious consequences to their country by themselves arrest- 

2 C 


ing the murderers and surrendering them to the Government 
for punishment. 

In March of the same year, some Dayaks from Samunok, 
on the Dutch side, made a raid into Sarawak territory and 
killed twelve Kunjong Dayaks on their padi-farm. Two of 
these murderers were killed by Dutch soldiers, and a heavy 
fine was imposed on the rest. 

The district watered by the great Rejang river, after 
which it is named, is, regarding it from a political point of 
view, the most important one in the State ; and, owing to 
its large and diversified population, is the most difficult 
to govern. It contains about half the native population of 
Sarawak. Into it the Sea-Dayaks have spread from the 
Batang Lupar, and in a lesser degree from the Saribas, 
and have so multiplied that in numbers they now far 
exceed those in the adjacent districts of Kalaka, Saribas, 
and Batang Lupar together, without any diminution in the 
Sea-Dayak population of these districts, which has for years 
been steadily increasing. 1 Besides the many Kenyahs and 
Kayans, more numerous than they are in the Baram, scattered 
over the interior are the more aboriginal and wilder tribes, such 
as the Punans, the Ukits, the Bukitans, and others not found 
elsewhere than in the Rejang. In the old days these tribes 
were at feud with each other, and all were at feud with the 
Dayaks. The inter-tribal feuds between themselves have 
been brought to an end, but those between them and 
the Dayaks keep on breaking out spasmodically. These 
are old blood-feuds, which undoubtedly originated with 
the interior tribes, and arose probably from an instinctive 
fear of the gradual advance of a more dominant race into 
their country, and from a not unnatural desire to check it. 
So far as the main population of the Sca-Dayaks is concerned 
these feuds have long ceased, but with the Ulu Ai Dayaks of 
the Rejang, those living on the head-waters, brought as they 
are by their situation in contact with these interior tribes, 
the case is different. The Ulu Ai Dayaks have not always 
been the aggressors, even in recent times, but of late it has 

1 In 1871 there were only 3000 families of Sea-Dayaks in the Rejang, then 
now over 8000. 


been mainly due to their vindictiveness that all attempts 
to put an end to these feuds have been frustrated. For this 
the young men have been mostly to blame, who, when away 
in the remote interior collecting jungle produce, and beyond 
even the weak control of their own chiefs, meeting with 
detached parties of their old foes take such opportunities 
of gaining renown as warriors, which awaits the return of 
a Dayak with a head trophy, however meanly obtained. 
Indiscriminate retaliation follows in the train of these acts, the 
victims being the first Dayaks met with, nearly always men 
guiltless of any hostile act, and often peaceable produce 
collectors from other parts of the country. So fresh feuds 
are established. Several wanton crimes of this nature 
committed by the Dayaks of the Upper Rejang led to their 
being attacked by the Rajah in May, 1894, all other forms 
of punishment, even the extreme penalty of death, having 
failed to deter them from repeating these acts. 

The Ulu Ai Dayaks have always been the most trouble- 
some, and, as we have pointed out, are now the sole 
offenders. Not only are these people at enmity with the 
alien tribes above them, and those inhabiting the head- 
waters of the Mahkam (Koti), the Batang Kayan (Belungan), 
and the Kapuas, but also with the Dayaks living below 
them. Yet they have their redeeming points, especially 
those of the upper Rejang, who are a hard-working people. 
Many thousands of dollars worth of gutta-percha, india- 
rubber, and rattans annually pass from their hands to the 
Chinese traders, and the bulk of the jungle produce 
exported comes from the Rejang. The money so earned by 
them is not always converted into useless old jars and 
brassware, the usual outward signs of richness amono-st 
Dayaks, but is placed with the Chinese on interest, and 
upon good security ; and in such transactions the Dayaks 
are safeguarded by a Government regulation, which they are 
careful to see is not evaded. 

After several years of tranquillity, in 1 897 troubles again 
arose in the Batang Lupar. An Ulu Ai named Bantin, a 
man of no rank, collected a few kindred restless and badly 
disposed Dayaks, and, under the pretence of wrongs, more or 


less imaginary, done to him and his people in former times, 
made several petty raids against Dayaks living farther 
down-river. Trifling as the successes were that he obtained 
they were sufficient to gain for him renown as a leader, and 
not only the addition of more followers, but the co-opera- 
tion of a few chiefs living in his neighbourhood, — turbulent 
characters who had been subdued before, but who were 
only waiting for a favourable opportunity to break out again. 
The people were attacked in March, 1897, and, amongst 
others, Bantin's eldest son was killed. A few months later 
he was severely handled again for attacking some Dayaks 
living below Lobok Antu, and this lesson was apparently 
sufficient to keep his hands off his neighbours for a few 

But in March, 1902, he again broke out, and on two 
occasions attacked inoffensive Dayaks below Lobok Antu, 
killing four ; and this led to perhaps the most tragic event 
that the annals of Sarawak record. 

The Rajah at once organised an expedition with the 
object of crushing and scattering this nest of rebels. To do 
this successfully a large force was necessary to block all 
roads by which the rebels could escape, especially those 
leading over the border ; but, unfortunately, an unprecedented 
number of Dayaks, some 12,000, turned out at the bidding 
of their Ruler, far more than were wanted or expected. 

Leaving Simanggang Fort on June 9, under the com- 
mand of Mr. H. F. Deshon, the Resident of the 3rd Division, 1 
with whom was the Rajah Muda and Mr. D. J. S. Bailey, the 
Resident of Batang Lupar and Saribas, 2 the force reached 
Nanga Delok on the 1 2th. Here the boats were to be left, 
and the bala was to march inland in divisions. With a 
company of Rangers, a strong and well-equipped body of 
Malays, and an overwhelming force of Dayaks success seemed 
assured ; but a foe more dreadful than any human enemy 

1 Mr. Deshoo joined the Sarawak service in 1876. In 1883 he was appoint™ 
Resident of Batang Lupar and Saribas; Divisional Resident of the 4th Division in 
1892 ; of the 3rd Division in 1896 ; and in 1903, In- succeeded Mr. ( . A. Bam] 
as Resident of Sarawak. He retired in 1904, and v. led by Sir 

Cunynghame, Bart., tin- present Resident 

- Entered the Sarawak service in 1888. Resident of Batang Lupar and £ 


attacked the camp, and in a few hours had claimed many 
victims. Cholera had broken out, and rapidly spread. 
Panic-stricken, with their dead * and dying, the Dayaks at 
once turned their bangkongs homewards, and by mid-day of 
the 14th, of 815 boats that had collected at Nanga Delok, 
but nineteen remained, with the Malay contingent; and the 
Rangers, who lost eight of their comrades, and their senior non- 
commissioned officer. Of the small force of Dayaks who had 
so bravely stood by their leaders, only a hundred, or under one 
half, were available for service. These, under their plucky 
leader, the Pengulu Dalam, attempted to effect something, 
but the rebels had retreated farther than they dared follow, 
and after burning a few houses in the vicinity they were 
compelled to retreat to their boats. Then the small remnant 
of the expedition returned, passing on their way down many 
empty boats, and other gruesome testimony of the sad havoc 
caused by the cholera, to which it was subsequently ascertained 
at least one thousand had fallen victims. 

Bantin was soon on the war-path again, harassing the 
lower Dayaks on a larger scale than before. Mr. Bailey 
twice attacked him, on the first occasion burning twenty- 
four villages, and forty on the second, in co-operation with a 
bala from the Rejang under Pengulu Dalam, when many of 
the rebels were killed, but these punishments failed to bring 
Bantin and his band to their senses. 

An expedition led by the Rajah in March, 1903, the last 
one he has led in person, resulted in submission ; it, however, 
proved but hollow, having been made by the rebels to gain 
time to recover from their losses. In February the following 
year, during the Rajah's absence in England, the Rajah Muda 
was compelled to attack these rebels again ; and, though 
this expedition was successful, another had to be despatched 
against them in June. On this occasion a column led by 
Mr. J. Baring-Gould 2 was attacked by the rebels, who were 
driven off with a heavy loss. Nearly fifty long-houses were 

1 They could not bury their dead in an enemy's country — the bodies would have 
been dug up and the heads taken. 

2 Then Resident 2nd Class 2nd Division. Now Resident of the Rejang. He 
joined the service in 1897. 


Then a large party of these wild Ulu Ai Dayaks of the 
Rejang and Batang Lupar .settled upon Entimau hill near 
the head of the Katibas, and there built a strong stockade, 
but by a frontal attack delivered by the Pengulu Dalam, 
quickly followed up by an attack from their rear under Pen- 
gulu Merum, these rebels were driven out with a heavy loss. 
They then retired to the head of the Kanowit, where they 
were again severely handled by the Pengulu Dalam. 

It is sometime now since Bantin with many others finally 
submitted to the Rajah at Kapit Fort ; and though the peace 
that followed lasted for some little time, other outbreaks have 
occurred, though these have been less frequent and serious. 

By establishing outposts and so bringing these warlike 
people more immediately under Government control it is 
expected that the}' will now soon be brought into line with 
the great majority of the Sea-Dayaks. But, though time 
and circumstances may alter the nature of these semi-savages, 
and head-hunting will gradually become less popular, as the 
danger to those indulging in it is increased, still the savage 
old Adam will remain dormant in the nature of the Sea- 
Dayaks for many years to come, and at times must break 
out, as surely, and for the same reason, as it does in other 
parts of the world, and amongst far more civilised people ; 
as it will continue to do until the millennium. 

There is a bright side to the picture, as there is to every 
picture, and the dark spot is to be found in one corner only. 
The total Sea-Dayak population may be computed at a little 
under I 20,000, and of these over 80 per cent are now a peace- 
able and well-behaved people. Those with any real experience 
of them can testify to their many and predominating good 
qualities. Crime is rare amongst them ; they are an easy 
and a pleasant people to rule, and to associate with, being 
by nature bright, intelligent, and kindly. " Untutored and 
unaffected by extraneous influences, and consequently primi- 
tive, simple, and natural, one can but be agreeably struck by 
their kind and hospitable manners, and by the open welcome 
offered when visiting them. And those well acquainted with 
the better qualities of these people must reflect whether any 
change that may be effected by civilisation and education 


39 1 

will ameliorate their manners and their mode of living, both 
socially and morally, and will prove of any paramount or 
real benefit to them. Education, so far as it involves improve- 
ment in agriculture and crafts must be brought about in the 
natural sequence of events, and as a simple consequence of 
mixing with other and superior races. Such developments 
will be slow, but they will be natural ones, ensuring changes 
only for the good of, and acceptable to, the people, and there- 
fore beneficial, being better adapted and better in effect than 


radical changes foreign to their minds and character." With 
these words from the greatest authority upon these people, 
we will conclude our notice of the Sea-Dayaks. 

Of the Kayans, Kenyahs, and other inland tribes, there 
is little to be said. Troubles amongst these people have 
rarely occurred ; and occasional outbreaks have been the 
result of anger caused by injuries suffered, unaggravated by 
any desire for heads. The Kenyahs and Kayans are more 
disciplined than the Sea-Dayaks, and better subject to the 
control of their chiefs, amongst whom are to be found some 
fine characters. Notably such an one was the Kenyah chief, 
Tama Bulan, of the Baram. Loyal, powerful, and intellectual, 


he rendered inestimable services in the introduction of order 
into his country when it was acquired by the Government, 
and he continued these services unabated until his death in 
1906. It was his earnest desire that " the Rajah, and every- 
body else, should know that the Kcnyahs could be trusted 
to carry out his instructions, and were as loyal to his Govern- 
ment as any of his Dayaks ; " and on the eve of his death, 
old and enfeebled, at a large meeting of Kenyahs and Kayans, 
he managed to deliver a short address of farewell, in which 
he exhorted the people not to give trouble, and after his 
death to remain loyal to the Rajah. 1 

1 The Sarawak Gazette. 




, ,) 

IE Rajah shortly after his 
marriage returned to Sarawak 
with the Ranee. This was in 

When the Ranee arrived 
in the country which was to 
be her home for many years, 
and where by the exercise of 
a kindly and tactful influence 
she was soon to gain the 
enduring affection and esteem 
of all her people, Kuching 
presented a very different 
appearance to what it does now. It 
was a small place then, with but few 
roads, with no places of recreation or 
amusement, and with a very limited 
society. But it possessed the charm 
of romance, of beautiful though some- 
times to the English exile wearying 
scenery, and above all an interesting 



and lovable people, proud and courteous, yet simple and 
childlike in many ways. Kuching is more than double the 
size now, and all the recreations and amusements in which 
Britons delight can now be indulged in there. 

As the Royalist^ on board which were the Rajah and 
Ranee, rounded a tree-covered point, the lower suburbs of 
the town opened up. On the right hand, Malay Kam- 
pongs, set in groves of dark-foliaged fruit trees, enlivened 
by groups of welcoming Malays on the verandahs and on 


the banks, dressed in their best garments of bright colours, 
and by little brown children sporting in the wash of the 
steamer. Opposite, the Chinese sago factories, gay with 
strips of Turkey-red cloth embossed with words of welcome, 
and enveloped in the smoke of an incessant salute of 
crackers and bombs. At the head of the long and broad 
reach the river banks on both sides rise to small hills, as if 
guarding the entrance to the main town. At the foot of 
the hill on the left are the Borneo Company's offices and 
godowns, 1 above, their bungalows set in deep verdure. On 
the hill opposite, where now Fort Margherita domineers over 
the town like a castle with its square tower and flanking 

1 From the Malay word gedong — a warehouse. 


turrets, were the Residency (now the Commandant's house) 
and the barracks. Rounding the bend between these hills, 
the main town, seated on the banks of a broad stretch of 
river, broke into view, the Chinese bazaars, or town, and the 
public buildings on the left, with the old white fort (now the 
jail) on the point above. On the right, the Astana, or 
palace, standing in park-like gardens amid tall palms and 
other trees. On both banks above are the upper Malay 
Kampongs, and in the distant back-ground the jungle-clad 
range of Matang in sapphire blue, rising to the noble peak 
of Serapi. 

The bazaars were gaily decorated in the showy and 
profuse fashion affected by the Chinese, and the native 
shipping — brigs, schooners, junks, and prahus of all descrip- 
tions — were gay with bunting, the ensign of Sarawak 
predominating, and here and there the red, white, and blue 
flag of the Netherlands ; the Natuna flag, black with a white 
canton; and the triangular mercantile flag of China, a green 
three-clawed dragon on a yellow ground. From the British 
Consulate only flapped in the light wind the Union Jack. 

As the Royalist, with the Rajah's flag flying at the main, 
steamed slowly up to her anchorage, the booming of cannon 
announced to the people far and wide the return of their 
Ruler with his bride, and simultaneously with the first gun, 
down the whole length of the town burst forth a deafening 
crash of crackers and bombs — the Chinese time-honoured 
method of saluting. 

From the parade-ground, led by the Commandant, 
defiled a line of white uniformed Rangers, with black facings 
and belts, the guard of honour marching to the Astana. 
The Siamese state-barge 1 manned by Rangers, and with the 
Resident on board, shot alongside to convey their Highnesses 
ashore, and, as they landed, an orderly 2 unfurled the symbol 
of sovereignty — the large yellow umbrella. 

At the Astana landing-place were all the English 
residents, Malay chiefs, the leading Chinese, and a few 
Indian merchants. A bright picture this assembly presented, 

1 See footnote 2, p. 296. 
2 Stout old Inchi Subu, mentioned before. 


with the handsome uniforms of the officials, the rich-coloured 
robes and turbans of the hajis, and the loose silk costumes 
of the Chinese. Above was seen a knot of brown Dayaks, 
the men wearing long decorated waistcloths of gay colours, 
black leglets and ivory armlets ; the women in short 
petticoats fringed with silver coins, and in all the splendour 
of their brass and copper corselets, armlets, anklets, and 
coronets, burnished and sparkling in the sun. 

With a tear on his bronzed cheek, a tear of joy, the old 
Datu Bandar, 1 the worthy son of a gallant father, steps 
forward to welcome his beloved Chief with his beautiful 
bride, and his was not the least valued of the many fervent 
greetings they received that day. 

As the Rajah and Ranee passed on to the Astana the 
Royal salute was given by the guard of honour in a manner 
worthy of the best-drilled troops ; but one thing was lacking, — 
a national anthem, — and little did any one there present 
dream that the accomplished lady then stepping for the 
first time on Sarawak soil would shortly supply that want 
by composing one for the country, which was to become so 
dear to her. 2 

Something must be said of the Astana, 3 the residence of 
the Rajah and Ranee, which had then just been completed. 
It is built of brick in three separate sections, with a roof of 
iron-wood shingles, in appearance closely resembling slates. 
The illustration will best convey an idea of its exterior 
appearance, which in the opinion of some has been sacrificed 
for the sake of internal comfort. However that may be, no 
more comfortable or cooler house exists in the East. On 
the first or upper floor of the centre section are the drawing- 
rooms and dining-room, spacious and lofty, and surrounded 
by a broad verandah. At the back of the house, off the 
dining-room, is the library. The side blocks contain the 
bedrooms, the lateral verandahs of which are connected with 
those of the central block by covered bridges. In the base- 
ment arc the Rajah's office, guard-room, household offices, 

1 Bua Hasan. II'- succeeded bis brothef Muhammad I. ana, who had died 
some time before. 

- I'll'- words were written by the Rajah — it is anode in honour of the late Rajah. 
;| Sanksrit, Asthana— palace. 




bathrooms, etc. The entrance is in the tower, in the lower 
part of which is the main staircase, and above is the billiard 
room. In a separate building, connected with the main 
building by a covered passage, are the bachelors' quarters. 

The well-laid-out gardens are extensive, and contain 
man} - beautiful tropical plants. Behind the Astana is the 
old graveyard of the former Malay Rajahs, in which are 
some well-carved monuments of iron-wood. Beyond the 
gardens are grazing lands. The Rajah has two cattle farms, 
and he takes a great interest in rearing cattle, importing 
pedigree bulls from England to improve the stock in the 
country. Kuching is almost wholly supplied with milk and 
butter from the Astana dairies. 

Above the Astana are Malay Kampongs, below, the fort 
and barracks, and beyond these more Malay Kampongs. 
On the opposite side of the river is the town, the upper part 
of which is comprised of the principal Malay Kampongs, 
where reside the datus ; and these stretch along the river 
for a mile on each side of the road which runs parallel with 
it down to the Malay Mosque. This is a square building of 
some dignity, with a pyramidical roof supported inside by 
noble pillars, and near the mosque is the Datus' Court-house, 
and one of the Government schools for Malays. Adjoining 
this is the business portion of the town, substantially built 
of brick, whitewashed and clean, which extends down to the 
creek, from which the town takes its name, in two long 
streets with cross-connecting streets. In the centre is the 
Court-house with the Government offices ; the markets are 
on one side, and the jail on the other ; behind are the Police 
Station and the Government Dispensary. Beyond the 
Kuching creek are the Borneo Company's offices and 
godowns, above which, on the hill behind, are the houses of 
the manager and his assistants. Beyond again another 
Kampong, in which there are a good many houses of foreign 
Malays and some Chinese, and this portion of the town 
extends to the race-course. Between these and the river are 
the sago factories. 

Behind the central portion of the town is the S.P.G. 
Mission ground, upon which are the church, Bishop's House, 



and Vicarage, the Boys' and Girls' Schools, and the Public 
Library. On the opposite side of the road is the esplanade 
with the band-stand, and beyond the police barracks. Then, 
landwards, are bungalows, club-houses, the Museum, and the 
Residency, behind which is another Malay Kampong, and 
farther on the Roman Catholic church, convent, and schools, 
and beyond these the golf links. The town reservoirs and 
the General Hospital are beyond the S.P.G. Mission ground. 
Dotted about in the suburbs are the houses and bungalows 

jlllllljIlllI T] 


of Europeans and well-to-do Chinese, standing in pleasant 
gardens, and intermingled with these are the humbler homes 
of Chinese and Malay gardeners. 

Kuching is well supplied with roads, and is the only 
town in Borneo in which wheel-traffic is general. It has 
practically an inexhaustible water-supply, the water being 
brought down in pipes a distance of i i miles from 
Matang mountain, a work lately completed at great cost. 
It has a telephone service, which extends to upper Sarawak, 
and which will be gradually extended along the coast to all 
the principal outstations. The town is lighted with Lux 
lamps. Its public buildings are well constructed and 
adequate for their purposes. In addition to the Mission 
schools are three Government schools, of which notice shall 


be made in a following chapter. The Museum is a handsome 
building, and contains both an ethnographical and a natural 
history collection, which have gained a wide reputation. 

In 1839, Kuching was nothing but a small collection of 
wooden thatched hovels, now it is one of the largest towns 
in Borneo, if not the largest, and is commercially the most 
important. On pages 61 and 91 will be found illustra- 
tions showing what Kuching was then, and what it is now. 
Then, Bruni, though fast declining from its former prosperous 
state, was in a far more flourishing condition than Kuching, 
which had been reduced to desolation by oppression. Fifty 
years later an anonymous writer, evidently a naval officer, 
after giving a good account of Bruni and its circumstances, 
wrote : — 

When we left we could not but draw an unfavourable contrast 
between the ancient town and the young capital of the adjacent 
State of Sarawak, Kuching, which we had lately visited. There, 
under European rule, the jungle has been cleared, and a well built 
and planned town has sprung up, with good roads, handsome public 
buildings, an efficient police — all the essentials of civilisation in fact ; 
Malays, Dayaks. and Chinese live and trade amicably together, and 
all the resources of a rich country are being opened up ; while the 
river- banks are beautified with picturesque bungalows nestling anion - 
the trees, with green lawns, such as one rarely sees out of England, 
stretching down to the water's edge. 1 

On September, 21, 1870, was born to the Rajah a 
daughter, Ghita, and on February 20, 1872, twin sons, James 
and Charles. The birth of these sons was a cause of general 
rejoicing among the natives of all classes in Kuching ; but 
Ghita, a very charming child, was the principal pet among the 
Malays, who entertained a lively and tender affection for her, 
which she reciprocated, for the little girl seemed to be never 
so happy as when in their company. 

In August, 1872, the Rajah and Ranee visited Pontianak, 
where they met with a very cordial reception by the Dutch 
Resident, Mr. Van der Shulk, and the civil, naval, and 
military officers ; in November, in the same year, they paid a 
visit to the Governor-General of Batavia, by whom they were 

1 " The Lake City of Borneo," St. .'nines' Budget, June 9, 1888. 


also most cordially received. The Dutch had long since 
given up their expectation and hope of acquiring Sarawak. 

In September, 1873, tne Rajah and Ranee left for Eng- 
land, leaving the administration of the country in the hands 
of Mr. J. B. Cruickshank and a Committee of Administration. 

In ascending the Red Sea in the Hydaspes the heat was 

All in a hot and copper sky, 
The bloody sun at noon 
Right up above the mast did stand, 
No bigger than the moon. 

The poor children, parched, panting, struck with heat 
apoplexy, died one after another. James on October 11, 
Ghita on October 14, and Charles on October 17, and were 
committed to the deep. 

The Rajah was created a Commander of the Crown of 
Italy in April, 1874, and in July, 1899, was promoted to be 
Grand Officer. 

On September 26, 1874, Charles Vyner, the Rajah Muda, 
was born. The name Vyner was taken from Sir Thomas 
Vyner, Lord Mayor of London in 1654, who entertained 
Oliver Cromwell in the Guildhall. His only son, Sir Robert 
Vyner, on the contrary was a zealous Royalist, and sacrificed 
some wealth for the cause of the King, and being also in turn 
Lord Mayor, entertained King Charles II. in 1670. He had 
been created a baronet, but the baronetcy became extinct in 
his only son, George, and then the estate of Eastbury in Essex, 
purchased by the profit of the old Puritan's merchandise, 
passed to the two daughters of the grandson, the founder of 
the family, and from one of them, Edith, the Brookes claim 
descent, through Elizabeth Collet, great-great-granddaughter 
of Edith, who married a Captain Robert Brooke (son of 
Robert Brooke of Goodmansfields, London), and Mr. Thomas 
Brooke, father of the first Rajah, was their grandson. 

Whilst the Rajah was in England, the late Lord Derby 
was at the Foreign Office. He was always very friendly 
towards Sarawak, and paid the Rajah the compliment of say- 
ing that the British Government could never have made such 
a success of Sarawak, as he had done. This was a fact qui 

2 D 


saute aux ycux of all such as knew anything of Foreign 
Office and Colonial Office ways, but it was none the less 
satisfactory that the obvious truth should be admitted. Lord 
Derby and Lord Clarendon were the oniy two Foreign 
Secretaries who displayed any appreciation of the work that 
was being done in Sarawak, and who did not consider its 
Ruler as beneath their notice. 

Lord Grey, formerly Secretary for Colonial Affairs, and 
the reformer of Colonial administration, was another Minister 
who extended his sympathies towards Sarawak, and continued 
to do so long after he had ceased to hold office. In 1894, a 
few years before his death, he wrote to the Rajah, " Though I 
do not remember ever having had the advantage of meeting 
you, the long friendship with y6ur uncle, which I enjoyed, 
induces me to write you a few lines for the purpose of 
expressing the great pleasure with which I have read the 
account of the present state of Sarawak in the Pall Mall 
Gazette. From the first, as you may be aware, I have taken 
a deep interest in the work done by Sir James Brooke in 
Borneo, and have never ceased to follow up the history of the 
Settlement he formed. I am glad to learn how wisely and 
successfully you have been carrying on his work, and it has 
been a great satisfaction to me to read the account of the 
continued prosperity of your little State." Little in regard to 
population perhaps, but as large in area as the four Federated 
Malay States along with Johore. 

The Rajah and Ranee returned to Sarawak in June, 
1875, an d were received with demonstrations of the greatest 
joy, but at the same time with tokens of sincere sympathy 
for their loss. 

The difficulties that the Rajah had to overcome in 
suppressing the many intertribal feuds still existing among 
the thousands of warlike natives, of so many different tribes 
and races, comprising the interior population of Sarawak, 
receive illustration from the grievances presented to him on 
his visiting Baleh fort in the same year. This fort was 1 So 
miles up the Rejang, and had been constructed during his 
absence in England. It has since been moved down to 



The complaints made were these : — 

Uniat, a Kayan chief, complained that fourteen of his 
women and children, among the latter two of his own, had 
been killed by the Poi Dayaks. 

Kanian, a Dayak chief, complained of six of his people 
having been killed by Kayans of the Tinjar (Baram) then in 
Bruni territory. No redress could be promised in such a 
case as this. 

Apai Bansa, a Dayak, brought as his grievance that 


seven of his people had been murdered by Lisums, a wild 
tribe living far in the interior. In this case also, the Rajah 
was not in a position to afford help. 

Ingan, a Dayak, complained about the murder of his 
father and fifteen companions, by Pieng Kayans of the 
Mahkam or Koti in Dutch territory. 

Madang, a Dayak, complained that one of his followers 
had been murdered by another Dayak. 

Among other matters gone into was the attack in force 
of Rejang Dayaks upon the Tamans and Bunut Malays of 
the Kapuas, provoked by the treacherous and cold-blooded 
murder of six Dayaks who had gone on a peaceful errand 


to that river to search for some lost relatives, who had been 
captured by Tamans on a former raid. This matter has 
already been referred to in the preceding chapter. 

If it has been found impossible in half a century to crush out 
completely all traces of head-hunting in a country larger than Great 
Britain and Ireland put together, one cannot forget that it is not so 
many generations since the wild Highlander was seen descending 
upon fold and shepherd, willing to risk his own life, and when needs 
must be, to take that of another, provided he could but return to 
his own filthy hovel, laden with spoil. 

All praise then be to those whom philanthropy has induced to 
lend a helping hand to this once wretched spot, so long shut out 
from civilising influence, and to those, who in the face of a life of 
isolation and discomfort, are still found willing to grapple with 
barbarism in its most hideous form — to him who rules the country, 
whose entire life has been devoted to the interests of his people, as 
is now that of his Ranee, beloved by all who know her ; and let 
him, too, be remembered whose genius, enterprise, and unselfishness 
founded this plucky little kingdom of Sarawak, the good Sir James 
Brooke, who died battling hard — as his successor still earnestly 
strives — to instil into the minds of his wild subjects that beautiful 
precept "Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis." 1 

On August 4, 1875, the Rajah wrote to the Netherlands 
Resident of Western Borneo : — 

I fear the time has not yet arrived for peace in these inland 
regions, and that years of disquiet will take place before these people 
turn their minds entirely to peaceful pursuits, but I am fully aware 
it is utterly beyond the power of any civilised power to put a stop 
to the proceedings of these wild and unapproachable people 

— referring to the distant tribes living on the borders. " Time 
and continual exertion must work out the problem of 
improvement," was the opinion the Rajah expressed some- 
what later, who years before, whilst condemning arbitrary 
measures, stated his opinion that " forbearance should not go 
beyond a certain point in dealing with Dayaks, who have 
the feelings of children ; kindness and severity must proceed 
hand in hand with such a people," and no better authority 
upon the management of such people exists. 

1 A H. Gray. II 1874. 


On August 8, 1876, Bertram Willes Dayrell Brooke, 
the Tuan Mud a, was born. 1 

Upon April 11, 1877, ^ ne Rajah had a very narrow escape 
from drowning whilst ascending the Rejang, accompanied by 
Messrs. M. G. Gueritz 2 and Deshon, in a small Government 
steamer, the GJiita. 

Upon approaching Baleh fort, a heavy fresh was coming 
down the river Baleh, and, on attempting to cross this to 
gain the anchorage in the main river, the steamer was driven 
into the bank. She was almost pressed under water, and as a 
general smash appeared imminent, the Rajah seized a branch, 
hoping to swing himself ashore. It snapped, by the vessel 
being rammed against it, and he was precipitated into a 
whirlpool, which sucked him under and swept him away. 
Fortunately, as he rose for the last time, a boat coming from 
the fort was carried by the stream past him, he was laid 
hold of, and pulled on board, unconscious from exhaustion. 
Messrs. Gueritz and Deshon stuck to the steamer, which had 
been forced on her beam ends, and had her funnel, awnings, 
and stanchions torn off by the overhanging boughs. Nearly 
all on board were forced into the current, but were saved 
by the Dayak boats that came hurrying to the rescue. 

As is the case in these inland rivers, the force of the fresh 
quickly subsided, and with the help of many willing Dayaks 
the steamer was extricated from her perilous position and 
towed to her anchorage. 

Harry Keppel Brooke, the Tuan Bongsu, was born on 
November 10, 1879. 

In June, 1882, as already related in the preceding 
chapter, the Rajah visited Bruni, and obtained from the 
Sultan the cession of the districts lying between Kedurong 
Point and the Baram. 

Owing to the disturbed condition of Limbang and Bruni, 

1 Educated at Winchester, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He rowed in the 
Cambridge eight in 1900. and again in 1901, when he was President of the University 
Boat Club. Served in the Royal Field Artillery from 1901 to 1904, when he retired. 
He was A.D.C. to the Governor of Queensland, 1 905-1907. Married, July 1904, 
Gladvs Milton, only daughter of Sir Walter Palmer, Bart., M.P., and has one 

- Joined jhe Service in 1870 ; died at Baram, of which district he was the Resident, 
in 1884. 


the Rajah left for England in September 1887, to watch the 
interests of Sarawak, and to lay before the British Govern- 
ment the true state of affairs in these places. He was 
accompanied by the Ranee and their three sons, who had 
joined him in Sarawak a few months previously. He wished 
to impress upon the Government the real feelings of the 
Limbang people in regard to annexation to Sarawak, and 
to remove the impression that his Government had been 
fostering discontent in the former place with a view to 
encroachment. Before leaving Singapore, the Rajah wrote 
the following note to Mr. F. R. O. Maxwell, in whose charge 
the Government had been left : — 

Before leaving this for England, I must express my very sincere 
gratification for the kind way all Europeans, Datus, and Natives 
have received our sons in Sarawak. I can assure you and all, it has 
given both the Ranee and myself great satisfaction, and we feel we 
cannot be too thankful to the whole community for this mark of 
their confidence and good feeling. 

The Rajah returned to Sarawak in May, 1888, and laid 
before the Supreme Council a memorandum which had been 
agreed upon by her Majesty's Cabinet Council granting 
protection to Sarawak. Subject to one alteration, the 
memorandum was accepted. This alteration was admitted 
by the Cabinet Council, and on the 14th June, the agreement 
affording British protection to the State was signed and sealed 
by the Rajah in Council. This agreement acknowledges the 
Rajah as the lawful Ruler of the State of Sarawak, which 
shall continue to be governed and administered by him and 
his sucessors as an independent State under the protection 
of Great Britain, and confers no power on her Majesty's 
Government to interfere with the internal administration 
of the State. Any question arising respecting the succes- 
sion to the present or any future Ruler of Sarawak is 
to be referred to her Majesty's Government for decision. 
The foreign relations of the State are to be conducted by 
her Majesty's Government, and in accordance with its 
directions. Her Majesty's Government have the right to 
establish British Consular officers in any part of the State, 
but these are to receive exequaturs from the Rajah. It 



confers the rights of the most favoured nations upon British 
subjects, commerce, and shipping, and such rights and 
privileges as may be enjoyed by the subjects, commerce, and 
shipping of Sarawak. It, moreover, provides that no cession 
or alienation of any part of the territory of Sarawak shall be 
made to any foreign State, or to the subjects and citizens 
thereof, without the consent of her Majesty's Government. 
Sarawak, for nearly fifty years, without protection, 


From left to right — The Datu Hakim (Haji Muhammad AH), The Datu Bandar (Muhammad 
Kasim), The Datu Imaum (Haji Muhammad Rais), and Inchi Muhammad Zin. 

assistance, or encouragement of any kind, had gone on her 
way progressing slowly but surely, and maintaining her 
independence in spite of many reverses and misfortunes ; 
and, long before the protection was granted, had developed 
into a prosperous State with a bright future before her. For 
her advancement and security, that protection which the late 
Rajah had so ardently desired and so sorely needed, time 
has shown was not really necessary. Could he have foreseen 
this in the days of his country's adversity, he might have 
spared himself many rebuffs from those who should have 
upheld him in his noble work, but who chose either to flout 


or to obstruct it. He was impressed with the conviction, not 
unreasonably entertained, that the Dutch cast a lickerish eye 
upon Sarawak, and he was afraid that, failing England, 
Sarawak would have to fall back on the Netherlands 
Government for help in the event of an insuperable 
reverse or of bankruptcy. That would lead to the little 
State being annexed to the Dutch possessions in the 
island ; and he was by no means confident that the British 
Government would not allow this to take place. But since 
that period, in the desire for colonial extension, which has 
grown in foreign nations, appeared another danger to the 
independence of the State, a danger which, if it arose, it 
would have been impossible for its Ruler to have averted 
unless protected, and state-craft offers many methods, and 
has shown many examples of a strong power starting a 
quarrel with one that is weak, that has led to annexation. 
Consequently, for Sarawak protection was needed ; and for 
England it seemed to be imperative, to prevent a country in 
such a commanding position and with so many conveniences 
falling into the hands of a foreign power. 1 

On August 15, 1889, the fiftieth anniversary of the 
landing of Sir James Brooke, in a speech the Rajah said : — 

That he had had the honour, and perhaps the misfortune, to 
figure in the Government through the greater portion of that time. 
No country could traverse so long a period without great changes 
taking place in her for better or for worse. A half century is long 
enough to make or to break any nation or government, any man or 
people. Fortunately, we are all here to witness the fact that Sarawak 
has weathered the storms and escaped the breakers that were deemed 
likely to wreck her. She rode safely to port, or, to change the 
metaphor, she stood now, he believed, upon a surer and more solid 
basis than ever before. He would not say that this country had 
advanced with rapidity, though many might entertain a contrary 
opinion, but we knew that we have been left to work out the problem 
of government and development of commerce for ourselves, and, if 

' As far back as 1865, Mr. Layard (afterwards Sir Henry), then l"nder-S' 
ireign Affairs, foresaw the possibility of the seizure of Sarawak by another country, 
and he " held decisively, looking at the progress of the French and the conduct of tin- 
Dutch, that Sarawak should not be allowed to pass into the hands of either of I 
nations." He was, therefore, in favour of protection, and his opinions were a 1 
tion of those of Lord John Russell ; but the New Zealand troubles again scared 
the Cabinet. 


he might say so, to paddle our own canoe, with but scant assistance 
from without. It was just that slow and gradual development — first 
the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear — the law of 
all healthy growth — which had taught us how to govern this country 
with its many dusky races. There is give and take in all departments 
of life, and the native inhabitants had taught us, and we had taught 
them, till both ourselves and they had acquired, and he might say, 
been saturated with perfect mutual confidence, the one with the other. 
This perfect mutual confidence was the true basis on which the 
prosperity and security of the State reposed, and none more solid 
could be conceived ; none of which all present had a greater right to 
be proud. Nothing, he would venture to say, had been rushed or 


The total police of the State numbers about 225 men ; of which about 80 are Sikhs and Sepoys, 
the rest being Malays. 

pushed forward with inordinate precipitation, so as to cause reaction 
or to injure the prospects of the future. 

Writing on the subject of Sarawak for the Geographical 
Society of Australia, the French writer and explorer, Edmond 
Cotteau, who visited Sarawak in 1884, says : — 

In reality thirty Englishmen, no more, govern and administer 
economically the country, and that with only a few hundred native 
soldiers and policemen, and almost without written laws. A handful 
of men of a strange race is blindly obeyed by 300,000 Asiatics ! To 
what must we attribute this great result if not to the justice and the 
extreme simplicity of the Government ? What better example could 
be followed in the future when the great island of New Guinea 
becomes a dependency of some European Power ? 


The Rajah was created a G.C.M.G. at the time that 
protection was granted. 

In October, 1889, the Lords Commissioners of the 
Admiralty, issued instructions that her Majesty's ships were 
in future to salute the Rajah with twenty-one guns. 

His Highness left for England in October, 1889, again 
to confer with the Foreign Office on the Limbang question, 
and returned in February, 1 890, when he at once proceeded 
to Limbang, which river was annexed to Sarawak by him 
on March 17. The events that led up to this step being 
taken, and the reasons that induced the Rajah to take 
them, have been fully explained in the chapter on Bruni. 
Though it was evident to all with the smallest acquaintance 
with Bornean affairs that the Rajah's action was purely 
protective in the interests of the inhabitants of Limbang, and 
was taken at their earnest desire ; that it was even to the 
advantage of Bruni itself, menaced as it was by the rebels in 
the Limbang, the British Government having declined to 
interfere, yet this action was generally condemned by the 
English public, who knew nothing of the circumstances, and 
regarded it as an injustice done to the Sultan, the very 
person, and about the only person, against whom his subjects 
needed protection. The British Government had offered the 
Sultan assistance, but the acceptance of this would have 
involved the appointment of a British Resident, and the 
consequent adoption of a just Government ; this did not in 
anywise accord with the views of the Sultan. He then turned 
to the Rajah, who was willing to assist him in bringing about 
peace by peaceful means, but this also was not what the 
Sultan wanted. An agreement exists between Bruni and 
Sarawak that the latter shall help the former if troubles 
beset her, but the Sultan's view, that Sarawak should reduce 
the Limbang people to submission by force of arms and 
subject them to a crushing tyranny, was not an interpretation 
of this agreement which the Rajah could or would accept. 

Mr. L. V. Helms, 1 a Dane, twice visited the Limbang 
river a short time before its annexation, and he wrote: — 

1 Formerly manager of tin- Borneo Company, Limited, mentioned in ('haps. VI. 
and IX. 


I have come in contact with many of the principal chiefs, and 
have heard from them a story of misrule which is a scandal even 
in an Asiatic country, and should disentitle the rulers to be 
considered a government, or to enjoy the rights and privileges as 
such. When the subject has to abandon his house and property and 
seek concealment in the jungle to avoid being robbed of his goods 
and perhaps of his children by the Sultan and his menials, then they 
rightly forfeit their position as rulers. The present state of things 
in this river is very deplorable, and unjust to the natives, who sit 
on the rail, uncertain who will be their master, anxious to give 
allegiance to Rajah Brooke's government, but dreading lest they 
should be handed back to their old taskmasters. 

For the sake of humanity it is to be hoped that this suspense 
may soon be terminated by the transfer of the river to the Sarawak 
Rajah's government, who may justly point to the history of Sarawak 
and its position to-day as a good title to the last territory of a Ruler 
who has long ceased to perform the duties of that office to his 

On July 31, 1 89 1, the Rajah, at a meeting of the 
Council Negri, proclaimed his son, Vyner, as his successor, 
whenever it should please God to take him hence ; and 
decreed that seven days after his own death the Rajah Muda 
should be proclaimed Rajah of Sarawak. This duty he 
entrusted to the members of Council, both European and 
native, to see that it was solemnly carried out. 

Having bought up some questionable rights over North 
Borneo, which do not appear to have been utilised, granted by 
the Sultan to some Americans in 1865, Mr. (now Sir Alfred) 
Dent and Baron Von Overbeck, an Austrian, in 1877 and 
1 S78, obtained from the Sultans of Sulu and Bruni the 
cession of North Borneo, from the Sibuku river on the east 
coast to the Kimanis on the west coast, 1 a territory 
containing some 30,000 square miles, with a population of 
about 150,000; and this led to the formation of the 
chartered British North Borneo Company in 1881. 

During the first few years of its administration, the 
Company made such tardy advance towards the realisation 
of the bright promises that had been held out by its 
promoters, and the prospects before it being considered by 

1 The borders of British North Borneo now march with those of Sarawak, further 
cessions to the south having since been obtained by the former, and to the north by 
the latter State. 


many to offer but little hope of ultimate success, in 1893 it 
was proposed by some persons interested in North Borneo, 
that the country should be incorporated with Sarawak, 
provided that the Rajah would guarantee to the shareholders 
a small interest upon the capital paid up, to be increased 
pro rata with the increase of the revenue. The capital 
invested was to be viewed in the light of a loan to the State, 
and was to be paid off as the Rajah could find the means to 
do so. The shareholders, however, had so great a faith 
in the undeveloped resources of their property that they 
declined to part with it. But, being sensible of the 
benefit they would derive from the Rajah's influence and 
experience in subjecting to order a people not altogether 
satisfied with the new regime, as also in establishing a form 
of government adapted to them and to the conditions of the 
country, they empowered their Directors to offer him the 
position of Governor-General. Needless to say, the Rajah 
could not accept this honour, and so the matter dropped. 

Had this measure been effected, whatever benefit the 
northern State might have derived, it is obvious that it might 
in many ways have proved detrimental to the interests of 
Sarawak. An union of the two States would have ensured 
economy in administration to British North Borneo, and 
probably a more beneficial government to its people. This 
was the opinion of Lord Brassey, himself a Director of the 
Company, an opinion which appears to have been shared by 
other Directors : — 

I hold strongly to the opinion, said his Lordship, that the 
Ncrth Borneo Company would do well to hand over its territory to 
Rajah Brooke. I believe the attempt to administer the affairs of the 
countrv by a Board of Directors in London is simply hopeless. The 
members of the Board have no local knowledge, they are entirely in 
the hands of their local officers, and the tendency is to increase the 
staff and create an expensive system of administration, which is not 
suitable to the circumstances of the country. North Borneo is an 
exceedingly poor country, and I see very little prospect for it. Rajah 
Brooke is a man of responsibility and high standing in those parts 
of Borneo, and would bring to bear upon the Government a life-long 
personal experience. He has a deep knowledge of the Malay popula- 
tion, with whom he has great influence. He could maintain an 



adequate authority with a much smaller staff of officials than we 
require. He would have no need of 1 system of police such as we 
have created, cor.- 2 Sikhs from the Army of India, who are 
necessanlv paid zt a high rate. The cost of the Sikh police - 
--d the resources of the country. 

rtb Borneo has prospered beyond Lord Brassey s 

expectations ; but the country is burdened with a heavy 

Earlv in beran, the Hon. Sir Henrv Keppel. 


G.C.B.. then Admiral of the Fleet, paid his final visit to 

His '.as: visit had been in 1 3 ) md we ': 
noticed (Chap III. p. So how he had been impressed by 
the changes he saw. but considerable as the progress had 
then been, he must have found some difficulty in rec 
the town in toco, and in discovering familiar urks. 

The regard and friendship which the old Admiral bore 
for the late Rajah « - ided to his " old friend and ship- 

:.\" the present Rajah, whom he has described as being 
-quiet, reserved 1 nanlike, with 1 nination 

not to be surpassed, and with a 1 sens rf justice — 

id by the 


The last letter he wrote to the Rajah just before his 
death three years later will be of interest to our readers. 

Many thanks, my dear Rajah, for your kind letter. I was wonder- 
ing when or whether we were to meet again. I should like to see 
my most promising Mid again and shake him by the hand before I 
depart hence. Our late profession is disappearing, and few will ever 
see or know what we knew. May you long live to increase doing 
good, and few will have led a happier or more useful life. . . . Our 
last meet was in London when you were off to the country to look 
after your hunters, and with the coronation in view I hardly expected 
to see you again. I am here enjoying the climate I love so well, 
and care not at my age if I never return, but must I suppose put in 
an appearance in England, although unfit to attend the coronation. 
I am uncertain in my movements, and am afraid I shall be unable 
to pav vou a visit : and for the few months I may be allowed to live 
I can form no future plans. 

Sarawak had no more faithful, no truer friend. 

Partly on account of her having to superintend the educa- 
tion of her sons, and of having to make for them a home in 
England, but mainly owing to her health rendering any long 
sojourn in the tropics inadvisable, the Ranee has not been able 
to reside in Sarawak for some years, a matter of deep regret 
to all. Her last visit was one of six months, after an absence 
of eight years, and of this visit the Sarawak Gazette says : 
"universally popular as her Highness always has been 
amongst all classes, her visit has done much to maintain and 
increase the native contentment and appreciation of the rule 
of an Englishman over the country." Indeed her presence 
in Sarawak has always been greatly valued by all, natives 
and Europeans alike. In the former she took the deepest 
interest, an interest which has not been discontinued since 
her departure from the country. To her the absence of most 
of the pleasures and luxuries of a civilised life was more than 
counterbalanced by the interests that occupied her time and 
thoughts in her adopted country, and of her adopted people, 
amongst whom she was always happy and at home, even 
under trying circumstances. She was the moving spirit in 
the promotion of the social and industrial welfare of the 
women and children, and was always an honoured and 
welcome guest at the social functions of the Malays, to whom 



her receptions at the Astana were always open. Writing of 
a levee at the Astana, Beccari ! says : — 

It is pleasant to record the general reciprocity of good feeling 
which is such a characteristic of the Sarawak community, cordially 
uniting Europeans and natives in bonds of mutual consideration and 
esteem. The barriers of race and rank are obliterated in this mutual 
and cordial goodwill. Together with representatives of the people, 
there was at the Astana a large sprinkling of the Malay aristocracy, 




which has always shown itself faithful to the enlightened government 
of the Brookes, even at the most critical times. 

In August 1897, having finished his education (Win- 
chester and Magdalene College, Cambridge) the Rajah Muda 
permanently joined the Rajah's staff to learn the methods of 
his government, and to gain a knowledge of the diversified 
races over which he is destined to rule. After having spent 
several years in the provinces as Resident of different districts, 
on May 12, 1904, by proclamation the Rajah decreed that 
the Rajah Muda should in future share his duties, and make 
the capital his principal residence. He was to preside in 

1 Wanderings in the Great Forests of Borneo p. 355. 


the Courts of Law, with the reservation of right of appeal to 
the Rajah ; to take the Rajah's place in the Supreme and 
General Councils, when the Rajah was not present or unable 
to preside ; the direction of out-station affairs was to be placed 
in his hands ; he was to conduct all office routine as the 
Rajah had done ; and he was entitled to use the Rajah's flag 
and the yellow umbrella. The Rajah retained the initiative 
control over the Treasury, Military, Naval, Police, and Public 
Works Departments, and he made it known that in advancing 
the Rajah Muda to a position in which he might share his 
labours and to which he considered him to be entitled, he 
did not lay down any of the rights or powers invested in 
himself as Rajah. 

Since this the Rajah has divided his time between 
Sarawak and England, spending the summer months in the 
former country, chiefly on his yacht, visiting every corner of 
it, and the winter months in the latter, where he passes his 
time in hunting, a sport to which he is devoted. During his 
absence from Sarawak the Government is administered by 
the Rajah Muda. 

Sarawak continued to be a haven for those seeking to 
escape from the shackles of oppression. We have already 
recorded in Chapter XIII. how many of the subjects of the 
Sultan of Bruni had taken refuge there ; the people of the 
Xatuna Islands have done the same. These beautiful islands 
are tributary to the Sultan of Rhio, and are under Dutch 
control, though nominally so only, for the Sultan appears to 
work his own will unchecked on the islanders through his 
agents, who are periodically sent to the islands with the sole 
object of gathering in what they can for the royal exchequer. 
Accompanied by a large force, the Sultan's heir, Rajah Ali, 
on one occasion, honoured the island with a visit, and found 
pretext to relieve the Datu of Sirhasan (one of the largest 
of these islands) of all his property, to the value of some 
- <oo, and to annex his cocoa-nut grove containing 6000 
palms. Even a gold watch and a telescope, given to the 
datu by the captain of a shipwrecked steamer as a return 
for his hospitality to crew and passengers, were not spared. 
A few years previously the same datu had been similarly 


plundered. If such were the treatment meted out to the 
chiefs, the lot of the common people may well be supposed 
to have been hopeless. They had none to complain to but 
the Rajah, and he could help them in no other way than by 
reporting their grievances to the Dutch authorities, who did 
nothing. Any attempt on their part to lay their complaints 
before the Resident at Rhio would have been frustrated, and 
would have met with cruel chastisement. 

We have little more of public interest to record concern- 
ing the history of the Raj and the lives of its Rajahs. The 
commercial and industrial progress is dealt with in a later 
chapter, and that will show the gradual development of the 
country to its present prosperous condition, and the achieve- 
ment of an unique undertaking which has been carried into 
effect slowly, but surely and with determination. 

We quote the following extract from Consul Keyser's 
report to the Foreign Office for 1899 : — 

This country (Sarawak) makes no sensational advances in its 
progress. Reference to statistics, however, will prove that this pro- 
gress is sure, if slow, and each year adds money to the Treasury in 
addition to the main work of extending a civilisation so gradual 
that it comes without friction to the people. It is because the ruler 
of the country regards his position as a trust held by him for the 
benefit of the inhabitants that this progresses necessarily slow, since 
sudden jumps from the methods of the past to the up-to-dateism of 
modern ideas, though advantageous to the pocket, and on paper 
attractive, are not always conductive to the happiness of the people 
when peremptorily translated. Yet all the time good work is being 
quietly done. Improvements are made and commerce pushed, 
wherever possible, without fuss or the elements of speculation. 

The prosperity of the country has not been built up out 
of the great natural riches of a State such as that of the 
Malayan peninsula, backed by Imperial support, nor with 
the aid of the capital and credit of a chartered company, but 
has followed in the train of a hard and single-handed struggle 
to convert a desolated country into one happy and contented, 
and it has succeeded so far as to place Sarawak foremost 
amongst the Bornean States in commercial wealth. 

We have shown how this has been achieved, and " if it 
is owing to Sir James Brooke that Sarawak is now a civilised 

2 E 


state, his nephew, the present Rajah, has the high merit of 
having completed and extended that work, following out the 
humane and liberal views of his uncle. The name of Brooke 
will always have an honoured place in the history of the 
development of civilisation in the Far East." l 

We will give in the Rajah's own words his views as to 
the form of government best adapted to the nature and 
requirements of an oriental people, written in 1901 : — 

To keep such people in order a just and impartial rule, in which 
both rulers and ruled alike do their portion of work, is required. 
Like all Easterns they need a government simply formed and 
tutored by experience gained in the country itself, experienced in 
the manners and methods of the people, devoted to their welfare 
and interests, an indigenous product of the country which it governs, 
untroubled bv agents or officials sent from outside, who, partly owing 
to want of reciprocal feeling and sympathy with the people, partly 
through ignorance, and partly through adherence to impracticable 
laws are liable to make such fatal mistakes in their dealings with 
Easterns which naturally leads to discontent, and even to rebellion. 

The success this policy has met with is borne out by 
the testimony of Sir W. Gifford Palgrave, the Arabian 
scholar and traveller, and Mr. Alleyne Ireland, as well as by 
that of many others whom we have already quoted. 

The former, when British Minister at Bangkok, visited 
Sarawak in 18S2, and subsequently wrote to the Rajah : — 

It is a pleasure to me to think that I shall be able to bear 
personal witness, when in England, to the success of your administra- 
tion, which by its justice, firmness and prudence seems to me to 
work up better towards that almost Utopian climax of "the greatest 
happiness to the greatest numbers "' than any Eastern government 
(white or brown) that I have yet seen. 

Mr. Alleyne Ireland was sent out from the United States 
by the University of Chicago to study British and other 
Tropical Colonies and to report thereon. A preliminary 
report was published in 1905, under the title of The Far 
Eastern Tropics. After commenting severely on the mistaken 
methods adopted in the Philppines by the U.S.A., he turned 
to Sarawak, where a method in all points the reverse had 

1 Beccari, op. tit. 260 


been steadily pursued under the two Rajahs. This is what 
he says : — 

For the last two months (written in January 1903) I have been 
in Sarawak, travelling up and down the coast, and into the interior, 
and working in Kuching, the capital. At the end of it, I find myself 
unable to express the high opinion I have formed of the administra- 
tion of the country without a fear that I shall lay myself open to the 
charge of exaggeration. With such knowledge of administrative 
systems in the tropics as may be gained by actual observation in 
almost every part of the British Empire, except the African Colonies, 
I can say that in no country which I have ever visited are there to 
be observed so many signs of a wide and generous rule, such 
abundant indications of good government as are to be seen on every 
hand in Sarawak. 

And again : — 

The impression of the country which I carry away with me is 
that of a land full of contentment and prosperity, a land in which 
neither the native nor the white man has pushed his views of life to 
the logical conclusion, but where each has been willing to yield to 
the other something of his extreme convictions. There has been 
here a tacit understanding on both sides that those qualities which 
alone can insure the permanence of good government in the State are 
to be found in the White Man and not in the Native ; and the final 
control remains therefore in European hands, although every 
opportunity is taken of consulting the natives and of benefiting by 
their intimate knowledge of the country and its people. 

The wise and essential policy of granting the natives 
through their chiefs a part in the administration of the 
Government and in its deliberations, and in the selection 
of these chiefs of regarding the voice of the people, has 
always been maintained. Sympathy between the ruled and 
the rulers has been the guiding feature of the Rajah's 
policy, and this has led to the singular smoothness with 
which the wheels of the Government run. It must always 
exist, as it has ever existed, and still exists. That the 
country belongs to the natives must never be forgotten, and 
the people on their part will never forget that they owe their 
independence solely through the single-hearted endeavours of 
their white Rajahs on their behalf. 

"The real strength of the Government," writes the Rajah, "lies 
in the native element, and depends upon it, though many Europeans 


may hold different views, especially those with a limited experience 
of the East The unbiased native opinion, Malay and Dayak, con- 
cerning matters relating to the country is simply invaluable." 

All with a true knowledge of natives, to whom his 
remarks may be said to apply generally, as well as to the 
Malays, will agree with Sir Frank Swettenham : — 

That when you take the Malay, Sultan, Haji, chief, or simple village 
head-man into your confidence, when you consult him on all questions 
affecting his country, you can carry him with you, secure his keen 
interest and co-operation, and he will travel quite as fast as is 
expedient along the path of progress. If, however, he is neglected 
and ignored, he will resent treatment to which he is not accustomed, 
and which he is conscious is undeserved. If such a mistake were 
ever made (and the Malay is not a person who is always asserting 
himself, airing grievances, and clamouring for rights) it would be 
found that the administration had gone too fast, had left the Malay 
behind, left him discontented, perhaps offended, and that would 
mean trouble and many years of effort to set matters right again. 1 

Sir Frank Swettenham pays a high tribute to the Malays 
of rank of the Malay Peninsula, quite as justly have those of 
Sarawak earned the same praise. Foremost amongst these 
latter stood the old Datu Patinggi All", the champion 
of his people's cause, before the deliverer from oppres- 
sion came in the person of the late Rajah, in whose service 
he gallantly sacrificed his life. Of a different type was his 
eldest son, the Datu Bandar Muhammad Lana, whose courage 
was masked by a gentle and retiring disposition, though it 
flashed forth on many occasions, notably at the time of the 
Chinese rebellion. His brother, who succeeded him on his 
death, the late Datu Bandar Haji Bua Hasan, previously 
the Datu Imaum, was one of the most trustworthy and 
faithful chiefs the Government has had. By his long and 
faithful service of over fifty years he had won the most 
honoured place amongst those chiefs who so nobly assisted 
the two Rajahs in their work in laying the foundation of 
law, order, and civilisation in Sarawak. He was held in 
esteem and respect by all people, and his dignified and 
familiar figure is greatly missed. He died on October 6, 
1906, over one hundred years of age, another example of 

1 British Malawi, 1007. 



longevity of life amongst Malays. As his descendants 
number exactly one hundred and fifty, the continuity of old 
Rajah Jarom's line is ensured. Two of his sons, Muhammad 

Kasim and Muhammad Ali, are now respectively the Datu 
Bandar and the Datu Hakim. The third son of Datu 
Patinggi Ali, Haji Muhammad Aim, became the Datu 
Imaum in 1877. He died in 1398, justly loved by all for 


his kindly nature and strict probity ; no truer or more 
courteous gentleman could be found. 

Of another family and of a very different type was the 
bluff old Datu Temanggong Mersal, with the reputation of 
having been a pirate in the bad old days, but who had " a fine 
spirit of chivalry which made up for a hundred faults." ' He 
was a stout and staunch servant. Of him the late Rajah, 
referring to the Datu's Court, humorously wrote : — 

The old Temanggong is likewise a judge in Israel, and sometimes 
he breaks into the Court, upsets the gravity of all present by laying 
down kis law for a quarter of an hour — Krising and hanging, flop- 
and fining all offenders, past, present or future, and after creating a 
strong impression vanishes for a month or two. 

Absolutely fearless as himself were his sons Abang Pata 
and Muhammad Hasan. How the former distinguished him- 
self we have already noticed. On the death of his 
father in 1863 tne latter succeeded him as Datu Temanggong. 
He was a tall, handsome man of a distinct Arab type. 
Though a good Muhammadan, he was the least bigoted of a 
broad-minded class, and owing to his liking for their society 
he was probably the most popular with Europeans of all the 
datus, and at their club he was a constant and welcome guest. 
He died on the haj at Mecca in October, 1883. 

Other native officials, whose names will ever live in the 
annals of Sarawak, are some who served in the outstations, 
and these have been already noticed. The qualities which 
distinguished these men, and which brought them to the fore, 
were grit, sound common-sense and fearlessness, and upon 
their shoulders fell the hardest task of managing the Sea- 
Dayaks and other interior tribes, a task fraught with danger 
and discomfort, and one that gave them little rest, but which 
they shared with their white leaders faithfully and without a 

Sarawak has been exceptionally fortunate in having been 
able to draw upon a good class of men capable of supply- 
ing the State with servants fitted by intelligence and rank- 
to become native officers. Though, autre tai/ps, autre 
mceurs, the type is changing, yet the people generally are 
1 s. St John, Forests in the Far .' 



jealous of their country, and honour its traditions. Contented, 
they seek no change, and they are ready to uphold their Rajah 
and to maintain their independence as vigorously now as 
they have done in the past — an independence which Lord 
John Russell had many years ago graciously intimated they 
were at liberty to achieve and maintain as far as it lay in 
their power ; though he declined to hold out a helping hand. 
These are wholesome and promising indications that good 


men will always be found worthy to take the places which 
their forefathers so nobly filled. 

Sarawak owes its prosperity, and the people their rights 
and liberty, to the Brookes, and to the Brookes alone. 
Equality between high and low, rich and poor, undisturbed 
rights over property, freedom from the bonds of slavery and 
from harsh and cruel laws are blessings which but for the 
Brookes in all probability would have been denied them for 
many more weary years of desolating tyranny. 

In a country like Sarawak, peopled by Easterns of so 
great a diversity of races, customs and ideas, an union of the 
people for their common weal is an impossibility. For them 
the best and only practical form of government is that which 



the}- now enjoy, a mild and benevolent despotism, under a 
Ruler of a superior and exotic race, standing firm and isolated 
amidst racial jealousies, as no native Ruler could do, and 
unsuspected of racial partiality ; a Ruler upon whom all can 
depend as a common friend, and a Ruler who has devoted his 
life to their common welfare. 

Strength of character and integrity of purpose, tact and 
courage, firmness and compassion, combined with a thorough 
knowledge, not only of their languages and customs, but of the 
innermost thoughts of his people, to be gained only by a long 
experience, are qualities without which a despotic Ruler must 
fall into the hands of the strongest faction, and, eventually 
bring disaster on himself and his country ; but are those which 
have enabled the Rajah to tide over many political troubles, to 
consolidate the many and diverse interests of his people, and 
to guide the State to its present position of prosperity and 


I he Rajah's residence in England. 




GENERAL review of the financial, 
commercial, and industrial progress of 
Sarawak will probably convey to our 
readers a better conception than the 
foregoing history may have enabled 
them to form of the uniform advance 
of Sarawak along the path of civilisa- 
tion : for no better evidence of the 
prosperity of a country can be ad- 
vanced than the growth of its trade 
and industries, dependent as this is 
upon security to life and property 
and liberal laws. 
Of the revenue before the Chinese rebellion there are no 
records, as all the archives were then destroyed. Three 
vears later, in i860, the revenue was so insignificant as to 
be quite inadequate to meet the needs of the country, which 
then for the first time became involved in debt ; a debt 
which was unavoidably increased in subsequent years, until 
it had reached a somewhat high figure for such a young and 
striving State, but from which, however, it has now been 



freed by the exercise of prudent economy, and by improve- 
ment in its finances. 1 

In 1870 the revenue amounted to And the expenditure to 
S122.S42 $126,161 

1880 . . 229,718 -°3-5 8 3 

1890 . . 4i3»"3 3 6 V/79 

1900 . . 915,966 901,172 

1907 • • 1 >44i,i95 i,359> 2 74 

On January 1st, 1908, the Government balances 
amounted to a little over $800,000, and the only liability 
was for notes in circulation, amounting to $190,796. 

In 1875, fifty-six years after its foundation, the revenue 
of Singapore was but $967,235, and that of Penang, then 
established for eighty-nine years, $453,029.- In 1900, the 
Raj of Sarawak had been in existence for fifty-eight years. 
Since 1875, the effect of the development of the rich tin 
deposits of the Malayan States of the Peninsula has been to 
so enormously enchance the commercial prosperity of the 
Straits Settlements that the present revenues of the " sister 
colonies " have quite surpassed anything that Sarawak may 
perhaps hope to acquire in a corresponding number of years. 

The trade is mainly in the hands of the Chinese 
merchants, mostly country born, who are successfully carry- 
ing on thriving businesses of which the foundations were 
laid by their fathers in the early days of the raj. These 
merchants are of a highly respectable class, and they take 
the interest of intelligent men in the welfare of the country, 
which they have come to regard as their own. They rarely 
visit China — some not at all. They are consulted by the 
Government in all matters in which their interests are 

The only European Firm is the Borneo Company 
Limited, and the career of this Company has for over fifty 
years been so closely linked with that of the State, and so 
much to the advantage of the latter, that it fully merits 

1 From 1876 the finances of the State were in the able hand.- of Mr. Charles S. 
Pearse (who joined in 1875), ulUil 1898. when he retired. This most important post 
has since been well filled by tin- present Treasurer, Mr. 1". 11. Dall 

2 These figures are taken, being the only ones at band. 


more than a passing notice in these pages, without which 
this history would not be complete. 

For a considerable period Mr. J. C. Templer, the late 
Rajah's old friend, laboured very hard to meet the ignorant 
and cruel criticism which had been cast on the Rajah's 
great work, and, in order that the development of Sarawak 
might have financial support, he interested friends in the 
city in the matter, chiefly Mr. Robert Henderson of Messrs. 
R. and J. Henderson. 

After considerable negotiation, the Borneo Company 
Limited was registered in May, 1856. The attention of the 
Company was turned primarily to supporting the Rajah, 
and to developing the resources of the country. The first 
Directors were Messrs. Robert Henderson (Chairman), J. C. 
Templer, J. D. Nicol, John Smith, Francis Richardson and 
John Harvey (Managing Director). 

Most unfortunately, immediately after the formation of 
the Company troubles arose which nearly overwhelmed the 
State. The Chinese insurrection the next year, and the later 
political intrigues obscured for a time the prosperity of 
Sarawak, and left the prospects of the Company very black 
indeed, but it struggled on bravely ; and it cannot be 
doubted that its formation before the insurrection was a 
matter of great value in the history of the country. 

The Company, as soon as they received news of the 
insurrection, instructed their Manager in Singapore to supply 
the Rajah with all the arms, ammunition, and stores he 
might require, and it was their steamer, named after him- 
self, that arrived at such an opportune moment, and enabled 
him to drive the rebels out of Kuching, and to cut short 
their work of ruin far sooner than he could otherwise have 
done ; and it was the Company which not only subsequently 
advanced the Rajah the means he so sorely needed to carry 
on the government, but headed a subscription list started in 
England to relieve the Government of pressing wants, with 
a donation of .£1 000. Long before this the Rajah's private 
fortune had been exhausted. 

Some appear to have formed the opinion that the 
Company were subsequently inconsiderate in pressing for 


payment of the loan, but more consideration should have 
been given to the position of the Directors as being a 
fiduciary one to the shareholders, who had invested their 
money in a commercial enterprise, and at that time by no 
means a prosperous one. 

Since the Company was formed over £200,000 has 
been paid to the Government for mining royalties, and 
during the same period .£2,000,000 has been paid out in 
wages, which has tended to the prosperity and advantage of 
the country. 

Until 1898, no balance of profit had been made by the 
Company from Sarawak ; indeed, there was a very consider- 
able deficit, which had been met from the profits of their 
other operations. 1 This persistence in the original policy 
of the founders of the Company for forty years without 
return has, however, been rewarded by considerable success 
in the last decade. The enterprise that brought this success, 
the extraction of gold from poor grade ores by the cyanide 
process, is noticed further on, and we will conclude this 
notice of the Company by a quotation from a speech by the 
Rajah given thirty years after the foundation of the raj. 

The Company has held fast and stuck to its work through the 
perils and dangers and the adversity which Sarawak has experienced 
and encountered. It has shown a solid and stolid example to 
other merchants, and has formed a basis for mercantile operations ; 
and the importance of the presence in a new State of such a large 
and influential body as the Borneo Company cannot be overrated. 

Owing to the absolute lack of security to life and pro- 
perty, both within and without, before the accession of Sir 
James Brooke to the raj, Sarawak had no trade. After 
1842 a small trade began to spring up, but the Lanun 
and Balcnini pirates and the Sea-Dayaks rendered the 
pursuit of trade very difficult and dangerous. The 
lessons administered to the latter by the Rajah and Sir 
Henry Keppel caused these to confine themselves for some 
time to their homes, and the Foreign exports rose to in 1847. Then the coast again became insecure, 

1 The Borneo Company haw branches al I'.at.r. - ire, and in Siam ; 

formerly also in China and India. The head office is in London. 


and it was not until after the battle of Beting Maru, in 1 849, 
that trade made any considerable advance, and it continued 
to increase until the Chinese insurrection brought the 
country to the verge of ruin. A brief respite followed, and 
then came the internal political troubles, and renewed 
activity on the part of the Lanun and Balenini pirates. But 
in 1862, the authority of the Rajah was paramount from 
Cape Datu to Kedurong Point, and the defeat of the pirates 
off Bintulu in the middle of this year freed the Sarawak 
coast for ever from these pests. So in 1862 the increase 
in the value of the trade was over fifty per cent. In 
1 860, the Foreign imports and exports amounted to 
S5 74,097; in 1880 to $2, 284,495 ; in 1900 to $9,065,71 5 ; 
and in 1905 to $13,422,267. Since 1905, in common 
with all countries, the State has been suffering from com- 
mercial depression, and in 1907 the decrease in the imports 
was $709,162, and in the exports $823,682, compared 
with 1905, though only $2276 and $166,285 as compared 
with 1906. But though the exports have fallen off in 
value, there has been an increase in the quantities of the 
products exported. As prices fluctuate, the industrial pro- 
gress of a country is, therefore, better guaged by the 
quantity rather than by the value of its products, and 
in 1907, 7000 tons more sago flour, 800 tons more pepper, 
7000 oz. more gold, and 150 tons more gutta and india- 
rubber were exported than in 1905. 

Practically Singapore has the benefit of the whole of the 
Sarawak trade, which is borne in two steamers of 900 tons 
each under the Sarawak flag, owned by the Sarawak and 
Singapore S.S. Company, and these maintain a weekly 
communication between Kuching and Singapore. The 
coasting trade is carried in three smaller steamers owned by 
the same Company. There is a small trade in timber with 
Hong Kong ; and a few junks come yearly from Siam and 
Cochin China. 

Agriculture is the foremost industry, and as it is a 
permanent one, only requiring wise and liberal measures to 
foster and encourage it, Sarawak is in this respect fortunate, 
for the natural products of a country, such as minerals and 


jungle produce, must in time be worked out ; and the future 
of a country is therefore more dependent upon its industries 
than on its natural products. 

In 1907, the value of the cultivated products exported 
was $3,133,565. Of these sago may be said to be the staple 
product, and the markets of the world are mainly supplied 
by Sarawak with this commodity. From it Borneo derives 
its Fastern name, Pulo-Ka-lamanta-an (the island of raw 
sago). 1 The palm, the pith of which is the raw or crude 
sago, is indigenous, and there are man)' varieties growing 
wild all over the island that yield excellent sago. On the 
low, marshy banks of the rivers, lying between Kalaka and 
Kedurong Point, are miles upon miles of what might be 
termed jungles of the cultivated palm, where fifty years ago 
there were but patchy plantations. The raw sago as 
extracted by the Melanaus is purchased by the Chinese 
and shipped to the sago factories in Kuching, where it is 
converted into sago flour, in which form it is exported 
to Singapore. How the cultivation of the sago palm is 
increasing, the following figures will show : — 

1870 exported . . - tons, value Si 28,025 

1887 „ . . 8,734 „ „ 3I4.53 6 

1897 „ . . 14,33° » » 689,702 

1907 ,, . . 20,388 „ „ 964,266 

In 1847-4S, only 2,000 tons were imported into Singa- 
pore, practically all from Borneo. 

In times immemorial pepper was very extensively 

cultivated in Borneo. In the middle ages this cultivation 

attracted particular attention to the island ; and to obtain a 

control over the pepper trade by depriving the Turks of 

their control over the trade in spices was one of the main 

incentives to the discovery of a route to the Fast by the 

Cape. By many the introduction of pepper into Borneo is 

attributed to the Chinese, and from them the natives are 

supposed to have learnt its cultivation, but this is doubtful, 

as pepper is not a product of China, and was probably 

introduced by the Hindus ; but that the Chinese, finding the 

bap. I. page 1. 
- Quantity not given in published trade returns. 


industry a profitable one, improved and extended the culti- 
vation of pepper, there can be no doubt. What the export 
of pepper was in the days when the Malayan Sultanates were 
at their prime it is impossible to determine, but that it must 
have been very considerable is indicated by the fact that as 
late as 1809 Hunt estimated the export from Bruni at 3500 
tons, and at that time the country had been brought to the 
verge of ruin by misrule and oppression, which led to the 
gradual extinction of the Chinese colony, and to the deprival 
of all incentive to the Muruts and Bisayas to carry on an 
industry for which they had once been famous — indeed, 
Hunt notices that he saw numbers of abandoned gardens, 
and his observations were restricted to a very limited area. 
In spite of the harmful restrictions of the Dutch, in the south 
at Banjermasin, two hundred years ago, the export was still 
from 2000 to 3000 tons. 1 Had different conditions pre- 
vailed, had native industry been encouraged instead of hav- 
ing been suppressed, then truly might Borneo have become 
the " Insula Bonse Fortunae " of Ptolemy. 

But Sarawak is placing Borneo once more to the fore 
amongst the pepper producing countries of the far East, and 
in 1907 exported 5177 tons, as against 400 tons in 1886. 
After many previous failures the foundations of this large 
industry, which is entirely in the hands of the Chinese, were 
laid in 1876 by the Rajah in conjunction with certain local 
Chinese merchants. 

As with sago and pepper, Borneo is essentially a rubber 
producing country, and it is to be hoped when the time 
arrives, and as yet it appears to be far from being in view, 
that the natural product is worked out, it will be more than 
replaced by cultivated rubber. The Borneo Company have 
laid out extensive plantations, that give promise of a paying 
and lasting industry. 

With the exception of the cultivation of sago, agriculture 
in Sarawak is, and will remain dependent upon imported 
labour. It is not in the nature of the Malay, whose wants 
are so few and simple that they are procured by a minimum 
of exertion, to undertake any work requiring persistent and 

1 Captain Beeckman, op. cit. 


diligent labour ; and no more is it in the nature of the 
Sea-Dayak, though he is not afraid of hard work. Having 
finished his farming and gathered his harvest the latter prefers 
an occupation that, whilst bringing in a fair profit, will gratify 
his proneness for roaming. The native methods of rice 
growing are crude and wasteful, and attempts to improve 
these have failed, as have all attempts to introduce Chinese 
for the purpose of cultivating rice, with the idea of establish- 
ing an agricultural industry for which there is so much room 
and need in Sarawak. The Malays and Dayaks, like the 
Kayans and Melanaus, produce barely enough rice for their 
own consumption, and rice figures as the biggest item in the 
imports of a country which is capable of producing a 
considerable quantity more than it needs. 

Sugar cane grows well, but enterprise in its production 
has probably been damped by the failure, through mis- 
management, of an English Company, which, in I 864, started 
a large plantation on about the very worst soil that could have 
been selected. Tobacco planting proved to be a failure, and a 
costly experiment to the Government. Coffee and tea grow 
well on high ground, but the country has little elevated plateau 
land suitable for its cultivation. Gambir is a paying product, 
but the cultivation of pepper has proved more attractive to 
the Chinese, though the production of gambir has been fairly 
well maintained at over 1000 tons yearly. Tapioca, cotton 
(which in former days was largely exported from Bruni), the 
cocoa-nut, the areca or pinang, and the oil or soap palms 
all grow well. Ramie is being cultivated by an English 
Company in the Lawas, and experiments have shown that 
this plant will grow well. The sisal aloe grows freely, and 
on poor soil. Pine-apples are largely cultivated for canning. 
The fruits and vegetables common to all countries in the 
Malayan Archipelago abound in Sarawak. 

The land regulations are liberal and fair. Bona fide 
planters receive every encouragement, though none is held 
out to speculators in land. The indiscriminate alienation 
of large tracts of land for unlimited periods and for indefinite 
purposes is an unsound policy, which does not find favour 
in Sarawak. It leads to land being locked up, sometimes 


for a long period, and to placing ultimately in the hands of 
a foreign speculator profits which the State should reap, and 
to the natives it causes many hardships. In 1890, such a 
concession was granted to a company by the Dutch Govern- 
ment in the province of Sambas, quite independently of any 
consideration for existing and long-established rights of the 
natives, the real owners of the soil. This act drove many 
families over the borders into Sarawak, when rudely- 
awakened to the fact that except by the permission of the 
employees of a company, only to be obtained by payment, 
they could not farm, neither could they fish or hunt, nor 
could they obtain the many necessities of life with which 
the jungle supplies them. 

In his report upon Borneo for 1899, Mr. Consul Keyser 
writes :■ — 

I should here like to dispel, once and for all, the idea so often 
heard suggested that the Ruler of Sarawak is averse to progress 
and the introduction of European capital. That the Rajah is 
anxious to discourage that undesirable class of adventurer, who 
descends upon undeveloped countries to fill his own purse regard- 
less of the result, it is true. The fate of the adjacent country of 
Bruni, whose ruin and decay are not entirely disconnected with the 
unfulfilled promises and specious tales of selfish speculators, is in 
itself ample justification, if one were needed, for this attitude. 

At the same time, no bona fide investor need fear to visit 
Sarawak if he is prepared to deal fairly with the natives and con- 
form to the usages of the country. Such a man would be sure of 
welcome, and he himself equally certain of success. 

Land is usually granted at a small rental in large or 
small areas, in accordance with the capital and the objects 
of the grantee. The proportion of the land which is to be 
brought under cultivation in successive years is agreed upon. 
Any portion of the land that the grantee may have failed 
to bring under cultivation within the stipulated time, or, 
having cultivated, has abandoned it, reverts to the State ; 
though in the former case circumstances occasionally arise 
which justify some latitude to the planter. But all land 
brought under cultivation becomes the absolute property of 
a planter or his assigns, and remains so, as long as it is 
maintained under cultivation. Abandonment of a plantation 

2 F 

4 54 


is abandonment of the land, and it then reverts to the State ; 
and the State thus remains the real owner of the land, 
though not of the plantation on it. This system is obviously 
of advantage to the planter. He obtains his land, which 
he may select where he chooses, for next to nothing, and 
he runs no risk of losing capital sunk in the purchase of 
what might prove to be an unprofitable property, and there- 
fore one that is unsaleable. And it secures to the State a 


sufficient guarantee that the land will be cultivated and 
kept under proper cultivation. Practically the whole of the 
Chinese pepper and gambir planters hold their land under 
these terms, and they are as secure in the possession of their 
gardens, and the right to alienate them, as if they had 
bought the land. Land is sold only for special purposes, 
such as for buildings and gardens in a town or its suburbs. 

Jungle produce, in spite of seemingly natural predictions 
that it must soon be worked out, which have been yearly 
repeated for many years past, figures yet as a very important 
item in the export trade, and its collection not only remains 


a considerable industry, but is apparently still a growing 
one. The exports have risen in value from $267,480 in 
1877 to $1,626,427 in 1907, which is just double that of 
ten years previously. The products are, in the order of 
their value, gutta, india-rubber, cutch, rattans, timber and 
barks, edible birds'-nests, camphor, and beeswax. 

The supposed mineral wealth of Sarawak first brought 
it into notice. It was known to produce gold and diamonds, 
though so did other Bornean States, but in addition anti- 
mony ore was brought to the Singapore market in native 
prahus from Sarawak, and that was not a production of any 
other part of Borneo. It excited the interest of Europeans 
as well as the cupidity of the Bruni Rajahs, but to the 
former, Sarawak was not a safe place with which to trade, 
and the latter soon drove its people into rebellion by 
forced labour at the antimony mines, and the supply then 
ceased. After the accession of the late Rajah this natural 
product was nationalised and became the main source of 
revenue, but subsequently, with all other minerals, excepting 
gold, it was leased to the Borneo Company. Since the 
days of large production in Sarawak, antimony has been 
worked in many other countries, and this has sent the value 
down, so that it is only very occasionally that the price 
of antimony in consuming markets will admit of any export 
of the metal. The large deposits that previously existed 
have apparently been exhausted, but fresh rich deposits 
may still be found, though, as with cinnabar, which was 
once largely worked by the Company at one place, the 
discovery of these isolated pockets is greatly a matter of 
chance. Antimony has been found in many other parts of 
the State, though not yet in paying quantities, and cinnabar 
has been found here and there on the gravel shallows of 
rivers, an indication of the existence, though not a sufficient 
one to point to the position of other lodes. 

It was entirely owing to the first Rajah that the Chinese 
had been able to settle on the gold-fields in Upper Sarawak 
and to establish a large and profitable mining industry ; and 
it was entirely owing to their own supreme folly and 
ingratitude that that industry was destroyed. It was revived 



again after a time, but never to the extent of what it had 
been. As the visible outcrops of gold gave out, the Chinese 
turned their attention to the more profitable occupation 
of pepper-planting, and, ten years ago, the mining district of 


Upper Sarawak had been changed into an agricultural one — 
gold-mining had almost ceased, the cinnabar mines at Tegora 
had long been worked out, and but little antimony was 
mined, whilst pepper gardens had sprung up everywhere. 

The Borneo Company had from time to time spent 
considerable sums on experimental work on the gold deposits, 
but, owing to the character of the ore, no method of working 


was found practicable on a mercantile scale until the 
discovery of the cyanide process. But even treatment by 
cyanide in any way then used was not found successful with 
Sarawak ore, and the method ultimately adopted was 
formulated by the Company's engineers themselves. The 
result has been considerable success, and it is gratifying that 
after so many years of steady work through many difficulties 

?L > ^ 


and disappointments, the Company have been able to place 
on a prosperous footing an industry which has brought them 
good fortune, and which is proving to be of so great advantage 
to the country. 

Sarawak possesses extensive coal-fields, and anthracite 
and steam and cannel-coal have been found throughout the 
country ; but so far coal has been mined only at Semunjan in 
the Sadong river. 1 This colliery has been worked for many 
years by the Government. The coal is of good steaming 

1 The Brooketon Colliery leased to the Sarawak Government is in Bruni territory. 
In Chap. XV. will be found a full account of this mine. 



quality, leaving little ash, and there is plenty of it. Like the 
Brooketon Mine, this mine would pay if a market could be 
found for the coal. The average yearly output is now about 
20.000 tons, a little more than sufficient to supply local 
steamers. At Selantik, up the Lingga river, very extensive 
coal seams have been proved ; but to work these a large out- 
lay would have to be incurred in the construction of a long 
railway over the swampy land King between the Selantik hill 
and the nearest place in the river where steamers could load. 

Diamonds are found in the upper reaches of the Sarawak- 
river, and these are brilliant and of good water ; the largest 
known to have been found is seventy-two carats, and was 
named " The Star of Sarawak." Diamonds have never been 
sought for in a systematic manner. 

Iron ore abounds ; and, as has already been noticed, it is 
smelted by the Kayans and Kenyahs for the manufacture of 
weapons and tools. 

Sarawak has no mechanical industries of importance or 
capable of much development. Many Melanaus are able 
carpenters, boatbuilders, and blacksmiths. Amongst Malays 
are to be found some good shipbuilders and coppersmith.-, 
and a few fairly skilful as silver and goldsmiths, but almost all 
the skilled labour is in the hands of the Chinese. In such 
domestic arts as weaving cotton and silk cloths, and plaiting 
mats, baskets, and hats, the native women are expert, and 
produce very excellent work. 

K £S>-_,. J _-.-^ r 






ANY changes 
of opinion 
must take 
place upon 
the subject 

\_2k of the edu - 

j^^ifim/K^m. cation of natives before it is exhausted and 

the best way of teaching found, and such changes 
of opinion and the improvements in methods 
which follow in their train can only be the result of experience, or of 
conclusions drawn from successful or unsuccessful experiments. 

So the Rajah wrote thirty years ago, but hitherto experi- 
ence has taught little that gives any encouragement to the 
expectation that the present condition of the natives will be 
improved by any form of education based upon accepted 
ideals. Though the difficulty lies perhaps not so much in 
knowing what or how to teach the natives, but in getting 
them to come to be taught ; especially is this the case with 
the dominant Sea-Dayak race, a fact which should not be 
lost sight of in considering how missionary efforts in this 
direction have met with such small success. 

If he would learn, a Sea-Dayak could be taught almost 
anything ; but what should we teach him ? A common school 
board education is of no value to him. He may learn to read 



and write, and gain a little rudimentary knowledge utterly 
useless to him after leaving school, and therefore soon to be 
forgotten. If he is placed in one of the larger schools in 
Kuching he will there receive impressions and imbibe ideas 
which may render a return to his old surroundings dis- 
tasteful to him, and unfit him for the ordinary life and 
occupations of his people. He will be left with one 
opportunity of gaining a living — he may become a clerk, 
though the demand for clerks is limited; but if he is successful 
in obtaining a clerkship he will be beset with temptations 
which he will be unable to resist, and which will soon prove 
his ruin ; and unfortunately this has been the rule and not 
the exception. There are some who advocate technical 
education, and who rightly point out that the Sea-Dayak 
would make an excellent artisan, though the same argument 
applies equally against the utility of such a training. He 
may become a clever carpenter or smith, but there would be 
few opportunities for him to benefit himself by his skill, for 
he could never compete with the Chinese artisan, into whose 
hands all the skilled labour has fallen. 

But if elementary and technical education were to meet 
with all the success one could desire, that success would needs 
be exceedingly limited, for, though some good would be done, 
only a few could be benefited. A broader view must be 
taken, a view that has regard not to the improvement of a 
few only, but of the people generally, and how this can best 
be done is a question that has brought forth many and 
various opinions, all more or less impracticable. 

The Sea-Dayak has all he wants. He is well off, 
contented, and happy. He is a sober man, and indulges in 
but few luxuries. He is hard-working and he is honest, but 
he lacks strength of mind, and is easily led astray. There- 
fore, the longer he is kept from the influences of civilisation 
the better it will be for him, for the good cannot be intro- 
duced without the bad. Perhaps the problem of his future will 
work out better by a natural process. When his present 
sources of supply fail him and necessity forces him into other 
grooves, then, and not before, will he take up other industries, 
which his natural adaptability will soon enable him to learn. 


To learn how to read and write and a little simple arith- 
metic is as far on the path of education as the average Malay 
boy can reach ; and perhaps it is far enough. There are 
two Government Schools in Kuching for Malays, which are 
fairly well attended, though attendance is not compulsory. 
For those who may desire an education of a higher class than 
can be obtained in these schools, those of the S.P.G. and 
the R.C. Missions are always open ; and Malays, though 
Muhammadans, do not hesitate to attend these schools, and 

-S.P.G. BOYS S( in >OL. 

even to be taught by the priests, for they know that no 
attempt will be made to proselytise them. They are 
encouraged to attend for their own good ; they would be 
kept away if there was the faintest suspicion that it was for 
the sake of converting them. In Kuching, the Government 
has a third and larger school, the High School, entirely 
secular in character, which is open to boys of all races, who 
are taught by Chinese, Malay, and Indian schoolmasters, and 
this school is well attended. 

The large S.P.G. Boys' School is under the manage- 
ment of an English headmaster, and the boys are well 
educated. The pupils are chiefly local Chinese, and there are 



a few natives from the out-station missions. Old boys from 
this school are to be met with throughout the Malay 
Peninsula as well as in Sarawak, maintaining in positions of 
trust the credit their school has so justly gained. The 
S.P.G. Mission has also a Girls' School, conducted by two 
English Sisters, and here good work is also done. 

Perhaps the largest school in Kuching is that belonging 


to the R.C. Mission, which is very ably conducted by the 
priests. As in the S.P.G. School, the pupils are chiefly 
Chinese boys. Attached to the Convent is a Girls' School 
under the control of the Mother Superior and four Sisters. 

In the provinces, the S.P.G. Mission has schools at five 
different places, but only two are now under the control of 
priests : the R.C. Mission has the same number of Boys' 
Schools, all under the control of priests, besides three 
convents where girls are taught. The Methodist Episcopal 
Mission has a school at Sibu. All these schools receive Si 
aid. Chinese have their own little schools scattered about, 
for which they receive small grants, and in Upper Sarawak 


there are two Government Chinese Schools. Efforts to 
start schools amongst the provincial Malays have not met 
with success ; they have their own little village schools 
conducted by hajis, in which the teaching of the Koran is 
the main curriculum. 

Writing in 1866, the present Rajah says: — 

Twenty years ago, the Sarawak population had little religion of 
any sort, and the first step towards bringing it to notice was when the 


« ■ 



English mission was established. The Christian Church gave rise 
to a Muhammadan mosque. Subsequent years of prosperity have 
enabled the Malays to receive instruction from the Mecca School. 
Those who are too old, or to much involved in the business of the 
country to go on the haj, send annual sums to the religious 
authorities there ; but at the present time I feel sure there is no 
fanaticism among the inhabitants, and, excepting some doubtful 
points instilled into them in their education at Mecca, their religion 
is wholesome and happy. To the building of the mosque very few 
would come forward to subscribe. 1 

Forty years ago the pilgrimage to Mecca was a costly 
and a hazardous venture. The sufferings that pilgrims for 
months had to undergo on ill-found, overcrowded, and 

1 Ten Years in Sarawak. 


insanitary sailing ships, and the dangers to which they were 
exposed on the overland journey from Jedah to Mecca and 
back, were such that only fervent Muhammadans would face, 
and few Malays are such. Not many had the means to 
undertake a journey which would take the best part of a 
year to perform, as well as to satisfy the insatiable extortions 
to which they were subjected from the moment they set 
their feet in Arabia. Now, the welfare of the Muhammadan 
pilgrim is so well safeguarded by Christian ordinances, that 
his voyage to Jedah and back to Singapore presents to him 
but a pleasurable and interesting trip, on which his wife and 
daughters may accompany him with safety and moderate com- 
fort. Steamers have taken the place of sailing ships, and 
competition has made the fares cheap. At Jedah the Malay 
pilgrim is under the protection of his Consul, and, beyond, 
the influence of a Great Power will protect him at least as 
far as his life and liberty are concerned, but he will suffer 
the common lot of all pilgrims, and be subjected to exactions 
of every kind, returning to Jedah with empty pockets. 

Though, owing to the facility with which the pilgrimage 
can now be made, hundreds yearly go to Mecca and are 
brought into close contact with the bigotry of western 
Muhammadans, yet the Malay remains as he was, with an 
almost total absence of religious fervour. A sure sign of 
indifference to their religion in the majority of Malays and 
Melanaus is found in the mean, dilapidated buildings which 
are dignified by the name of mosques, to be seen in most of the 
towns and villages along the coast. Kuching practically owes 
its fine mosque to the benevolence of one man, the late Datu 
Bandar. There are some devout Muhammadans amongst 
the Malays, though not many, but there are no bigots. 
Some content themselves with a loose adherence to outward 
observances ; many do not even do this, and not many attend 
the mosques for worship, but, however, all would be united in 
bitter opposition to any intermeddling with their religion. 

The remnants of a former paganism still cling to the 
Mala) r , who is certainly more superstitious than he is religious. 
He still strongly believes in spirits, witchcraft, and magic — a 
belief his religion condemns ; he will practise sorcery, and 


will use spells and charms to propitiate, or to ward off the 
evil influence of spirits — practices which his religion forbids. 1 

Toleration and a deficiency of zeal have made the Malays 
indifferent propagators of their faith amongst the pagan tribes 
around them ; and the field has been left open to Christian 
missionaries, whose work of conversion they look upon with 
unconcern, so long as no attempt is made to convert a 
Muhammadan, and to do that is not allowed by the law of 
Sarawak. Their feeling towards the Christian religion is one 
of respect. They admit Christians readily to their mosques, 
and will attend church on the occasion of a marriage or a 
funeral in which they may be interested, and they will con- 
verse freely with Christians upon religious subjects, without 
assuming or pretending to any superiority in their own religion. 

Mischievous and clever Arab impostors, usually good- 
looking men with a dignified bearing, meet with short shrift 
in Sarawak, and such holy men are very promptly moved on. 
The heads of the Muhammadan religion will have none of 
them. Their ostensible object is to teach, but their sole 
one is to make what they can by trading upon the super- 
stition of the simple-minded. In these men the Dutch see 
fanatical emissaries sent from Mecca to preach a jihad or 
holy war, and have more than once warned the Government 
that such men had gone to Sarawak for this purpose. 
They may be right, but these pseudo Sherifs and Sayids ' 
have never attempted to do so in Sarawak, it would be a 
waste of their time, and be the ruin of their business. 

The Sea-Dayaks, as well as the Land-Dayaks, and those 
tribes inhabiting the interior are alike pagans, and possess 
but a dim and vague belief in certain mythical beings who, 
between them, made man and gave him life. These gods 
are styled Batara or Patara and Jewata — Sanskrit names 
introduced by the Hindus. 3 With them mythical legends, 
which vary greatly, take the place of religion. They have 

1 At Sibu, a few years ago, during an epidemic of cholera, medicines given to the 
Malays were smeared on the posts of their houses to hinder the evil spirits, that were 
supposed to be spreading the disease, gaining access to the houses by climbing up the 
posts ; and windows were rigidly closed to prevent their entry. 

2 Two such impostors, who had commenced to reap a rich harvest at Bintulu, when 
pulled up short by the Resident, inadvertently answered a question put to them in 
English, and subsequently admitted that they had served as stokers on English steamers. 

3 Chap. II. p. 38, footnote 2. 


no priests, no temples, and no worship. They believe in 
spirits with controlling power over the air, the earth, and the 
water, and they place implicit reliance on omens as given by 
birds, animals, and reptiles, and in dreams, through which 
the spirits convey warnings or encouragement in respect to 
the affairs they may be engaged upon, or contemplate under- 
taking. They have a belief in a future life, which will differ 
in little respect from their life on this earth. These people 
are not idolaters ; their religion is animistic. 

The project of the establishment of a Church of England 
Mission in Sarawak was started by the late Rajah in 1847. 
The Earl of Ellesmere and others interested themselves in 
the project, and, sufficient funds having been subscribed, the 
Rev. F. T. McDougall and two other missionaries were sent 
out, and arrived in Sarawak in June, 1S48. The Church of 
St. Thomas, now the Diocesan Church, was completed and 
consecrated by the Bishop of Calcutta in 185 1. Two years 
later the Mission was transferred to the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel; and, in 1855, to complete the 
organisation of the Church in Borneo, Mr. McDougall was 
consecrated Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak. He resigned 
in 1867, and died in 1S86. Mr. Chambers, who had for 
many years been a missionary in Sarawak, succeeded him, 
and on his resignation 1 the Venerable G. F. Hose, Arch- 
deacon of Singapore, was consecrated Bishop in 1881, and 
the full designation of the diocese then became Singapore, 
Labuan, and Sarawak, by the inclusion of the Straits 
Settlements and the Federated Malay States. 

The headquarters of the Mission is at Kuching, where 
the Bishop and the Archdeacon reside, the latter being also 
the Vicar of Kuching. The Mission Stations are at Lundu, 
Kuap, Banting, Sabu in the Undup, and Sebetan in the 
Kalaka, and at these places there are churches and schools. 
Hitherto all these stations, which were established many years 
aero, have been under the care of resident clergymen, but at 
present there are four vacancies. Attached to these principal 
Stations, and under the supervision of the missionary in charge, 
are many scattered chapels with native catechists and teachers. 
1 Bishop Chambers died in 1893. 


In Kuching the work of the Mission lies chiefly amongst 
the Chinese. Kuap, which is within a day's journey of the 
capital, is a Land-Dayak village ; the other Mission Stations 
are in districts populated by Sea-Dayaks, and the labours of 
the S.P.G. are chiefly confined to these people. 

During the first six and a half years of Bishop Hose's 
episcopate, 17 14 persons were baptized, and the number of 
native Christians had risen to 3480 in 1887. 

For a full and interesting account of the work done by 
the Mission the reader is referred to Two Hundred Years of 
the S.P.G. (170 1 -1900). 

That the Church in Borneo has done, and is still doing 
good, no one will dispute. It has not, however, extended 
its sphere of influence beyond its original limits, and 
within those limits, from Lundu to Kalaka, there is not 
only room, but the necessity for many more missionaries 
to labour than the Church is at present provided 
with. Missionary enterprise has not kept pace with the 
advance of civilisation. The large districts that since 1861 
have reverted to the raj have been totally neglected by 
the S.P.G., and these districts, both in respect to area and 
population, constitute by far the greater part of Sarawak. 
But the Church in Sarawak is entirely dependent upon 
extraneous support, and when funds appear to be wanting, 
even to maintain the former efficient state of the Mission, 
and indications of retrogression are only too evident, there 
can be little hope for progression. A bishop cannot find 
missionaries, they must be sent to him, and he must be 
provided with the means to support them and their missions, 
and unless he is so far assisted he cannot be blamed for any 
shortcomings. To succeed, a mission, like other undertakings, 
must be based upon sound business principles. The isolated 
efforts of even the best men, men like Gomes, 1 Chambers, 2 
Chalmers, 3 and Perham, 4 who have left their personal stamp 
upon the Mission, can be of little avail without continuity 

1 The Rev. W. H. Gomes, B. D. In Sarawak from 1853-68. Afterwards in 
Singapore to the time of his death in 1902. 

- Who succeeded Bishop M'Dougall. 

:; Afterwards Bishop of Goulburn, N.S.W. He died November 1901. 

* He became Archdeacon of Singapore, and retired some years ago. He is well 
known for his scholarly articles on the folk and mythical lore of the Sea-Dayaks. 


of effort and purpose, and to insure this a system is necessary, 
a system of trained missionaries, training others to take their 
places in due time, and for want of such a system the S.P.G. 
is now left with but two English missionaries in Sarawak. 

To the deep regret of all in his diocese, failing health 
and advancing years necessitated the retirement of Bishop 
Hose at the end of 1907, after having spent the best years 
of his life in faithful service to the Church in the East. As 
far back as 1868 he was appointed Colonial Chaplain at 
Malacca. He was transferred to Singapore in 1872, and 
was appointed Archdeacon in 1874. For a little over 
twenty-six years he had been Bishop of a diocese of un- 
wieldy size, over 120,000 square miles, containing a popula- 
tion of about two and a quarter millions, the supervision of 
which, with the two Archdeaconries separated by 450 miles 
of sea, necessarily entails a great deal of hard work and a 
considerable amount of travelling, and by reason of this it is 
proposed shortly to subdivide the diocese. 1 

The great Spanish Jesuit, one of the founders of the 
Jesuit Society, St. Francisco Xavier, the Apostle of India 
and the Far East, in 1542 laid the foundations of a 
missionary enterprise that scarcely has a parallel. Earnest 
and self-denying priests followed in his footsteps, and event- 
ually some reached Borneo. Of the work of the earlier 
missionaries in Borneo we know hardly- anything, but, as 
with Xavier at Malacca, they probably met with little 
success. They wandered away into the jungles, there to 
end their days amongst savage and barbarous people, at 
whose hands we know some met with martyrdom. They 
have left no traces and no records behind them, even their 
names are perhaps forgotten. 

Fr. Antonio Vintimiglia, already mentioned in chapter ii. 
established a Roman Catholic Mission at Bruni, where he 
died in 1691 ; there may have been others there before him, 
but evidently he was the last Roman Catholic priest for 
many years in that part of Borneo with which this history 

In 1 857, a Roman Catholic Mission was again established 
1 This has since been done 


at Brum', Labium, and Gaya Ray, under a Spaniard named 
Cuateron, as Prefect Apostolic, who was assisted by two 
worthy Italian Priests. The romantic story of how Senor 
Cuateron became a priest, how he established the Mission, 
and how he obtained the means to do so, will be found in 
Sir Spenser St. John's Life in the Forests of the Far East. 
St. John tells us that the funds entrusted by Fr. Cuateron 
to the Papal Government as a permanent support for 
his Mission were diverted to other purposes, and the 
money he retained himself was dissipated in unsuccessful 
speculations. In 1861, nothing remained but closed 
churches and Fr. Cuateron. He remained for over fifteen 
years longer, and then he too disappeared. 

In July, 1 88 1, a Roman Catholic Mission to Borneo was 
founded in England, and attached to the foundation of this 
Mission there is also some romance, but of a different 
character to that which centred upon Fr. Cuateron. The 
Very Rev. Thomas Jackson, the first Vicar Apostolic, had so 
distinguished himself in the field in succouring the wounded 
during the last Afghan war as an acting Army chaplain, 
that he won a practical and well-deserved recognition from 
officers and men in the shape of a substantial testimonial, 
and this he devoted to the promotion of missionary work- 
in Borneo. After travelling through North Borneo and 
Sarawak he selected Kuching as his headquarters. 
Supported by liberal aid from home, and well aided by 
zealous and self-devoted priests and sisters, before his re- 
tirement he had laid the foundations of a most flourishing 
mission. The Vicar Apostolic is now the Very Rev. E. 
Dunn, one of the first missionaries to join Mr. Jackson, and 
he, by his earnestness and kindliness, has won the respect 
of all. In Sarawak there are eleven European priests, two 
brothers, and eleven nuns and Sisters of Charity. 

At Sibu, in the Rejang, there is an American Methodist 
Episcopal Mission under the charge of an American 
missionary. It was established in 1900, to look after the 
welfare of a number of Foo Chow Chinese agriculturists, 
who had been introduced from China and settled near Sibu, 
and who are all members of the American Methodist Church. 

2 G 



From every point of view, few countries offer such 
facilities and advantages for missionary work than are found 
in Sarawak. There is no spirit of antagonism to Christianity. 
Converts are exposed to no persecution, scorn, or even 
annoyance. By becoming Christians they do not lose caste, 
or the respect of their people. The lives and property of 
missionaries are absolutely safe wherever they may choose 
to settle, and, more, their coming will be welcomed. A 
man gifted with good sense and firmness, kindness of heart 
and courtesy, will soon make his influence felt, and gain, 
what is of paramount importance to the success of his under- 
taking, the respect of the people around him. Such a man 
will not fail to do a great deal of good, as such men have 
done before, but his labours will have been in vain unless 
there be another gifted with the same good qualities ready 
to take his place in due course. 

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Aban Jau, a troublesome Kayan chief, 342 

Abdul Gani, Abang, 159 

Abdul Gapur, Haji, becomes Datu Pa- 
tinggi, 77, 78 ; his exactions, 208 ; 
intrigues with S. Masahor, ib. ; his 
oppression and disloyalty, 209 ; is dis- 
graced, ib. ; his plot to murder the 
Rajah and his officers, 210 ; his open 
contempt, 211; is publicly degraded, 
ib. ; is sent out of the country, 212 ; 
and banished, ib. ; pardoned, 220; he 
intrigues again, ib. ; the murder of 
Steele and Fox, 223 ; he dissembles, 
and is taken into confidence, 227 ; a 
deep plot, 231 ; his plan to seize 
Kuching, 232; the plot revealed, 233; 
he is again banished, ib. ; his part in 
the plot, 235 ; is arrested by the Dutch, 
237 ; his end, 242 

Abdul Karim, Haji, becomes Datu 
Imaum, 77 

Abdul Mumin, Sultan, see Mumin 

Abdul Rahman, the Datu Patinggi of 
Serikei, 117, 208 

Abi, the murderer of Steele, 225 ; his 
ueath, 226 

Aborigines Protection Society take up the 
cause of pirates, 140 

Abu Bakar, Juwatan, 364 

Abu Bakar, Sherip, 117 

Agriculture, 7 ; early efforts to promote, 
320 ; present thriving condition, 429 

Ahmit, Sherip, 117, 130 

Aing, Abang, a distinguished native 
chief, 155; his wife, 156; is wounded, 
176 ; the Chinese insurrection, 190 

Ajar, Dang, 158 ; and Akam Xipa, 159 

Akam Xipa, a famous Kayan chief, 
drives the Malays out of the Rejang, 
16, 159 ; in revolt, 282, 289 

Alderson, Baron, his speech at the Lon- 
don Tavern, 146 

Alderson, Mr. , 234 

Ali, Abang, a Malay chief, 225, 226, 
229, 230, 231 

Ali, Datu Patinggi, the descendant of 
Rajah Jarom, 45 ; reinstated as Datu, 
77 ; kills a Lanun Penglima, 80 ; his 
skirmish with the Saribas Dayaks, 100 ; 
his gallantry, 107 ; his death, 108 ; the 
champion of his people, 420 

Amal, Sherip, 117 

Ambong, destroyed by pirates, 95 

American Methodist Episcopal Mission, 

Amok by the Sea-Dayaks, 25 ; a bad 

case, ib. ; by Malays, 30 
Amzah, Xakoda, his account of the 

pirates, 275 
Antu-Jalan, The, a myth, 15 
Api, Rajah, usurps the throne of Bruni, 

53 ; his execution, 54 
Astana, The, 396 
Atoh (Haji Abdul Rahman) outwits the 

pirates, 274 

Bailey, D. J. S. , 388, 389 

Bain, Mr., murdered at Muka, 322 

Bajau pirates, 92 ; associate with the 
Lanuns, 94. See also under Piracy 

Bakar, see Abu Bakar 

Balambangan, Island, Hon. East India 
Company's settlement, 43 ; destroyed 
by Datu Teting, ib. ; re-established 
and abandoned, ib. 

Balang, Sea-Dayak chief, 287 ; his exe- 
cution, 320 

Balenini pirates, 92 ; in league with 
Lanuns and the Sultan of Sulu, 95 ; 
their methods, ib. ; cruising grounds, 
96 ; strongholds, ib. ; haunts, ib. See 
also under Piracy 

Bampfylde, C. A. ,'388 

Bandahara, Pangiran, heir to the Sultanate 
of Bruni, 347 ; loses his rights in the 
Limbang, 353 ; appointed regent, 367 

Banjermasin, English and Dutch alter- 
nately at, 47, 48 ; the English driven 
out, 48 ; reverts to the Dutch, ib. 

Bantam, 42, 47 




Bantin, a rebel Sea-Dayak chief, 387, 

388, 389. 390 
Banvoks. The, origin, 15; supporters of 

s. Masaho 
Baram, in revolt against Bruni, 332, 335 ; 

relations with Brum, 333 ; ceded to 

Sarawak, 335, 336, 339, 340, 341 ; 

order established, 341 ; Abati Jau, 342 
Baring-Gould, J., 389 
Bayang conspires with Datu Haji Abdul 

Gapur, 234 
Beach, Sir, M., and the cession of Baram, 

Beads, old, 37 

Beccari, Signor Odoardo, on the Bornean 
forests, 7 ; on the natives, 14 ; the 
Rafflcsia Tuan Muda, 21 ; old beads, 
37; a levee at the Astana, 415 ; his 
appreciation of the first Rajah, 417 
Beckman, Capt., his account of Banjer- 

masin, 48, 431 
Bedrudin, Pangiran, his family, 53 ; 
meets James Brooke, 70 ; at Bruni, 
84 ; his character, 112 ; his return to 
Bruni, 113; his life in danger, 114 ; 
he defeats P. Usup, 116 ; his death, 
Belait, see Tutong 

Belcher, Capt. Sir Edward, R.N., sent 
to report on affairs in N.W. Borneo, 
102 ; his ship ashore, ib. ; proceeds to 
Bruni, ib. ; his report, ib. ; at Patusan, 
108 ; takes R. M. Hasim and his family 
to Bruni, 113 
Bencoolen, 46, 47 

Bethune, Capt., R.N., commissioned to 
select a site for a British settlement, 113 
Beting Maru, battle of, 136 
Betong fort built, 178 ; attacked, 179 
Bisayas, The, 20 
Blums, The, 12 
Bondriot, J., 148 

Borneo, description, 1 - 5 ; origin of 
name, 1 ; its jungles, 8 ; known to 
the Arabs in ancient days, 36 ; early 
Chinese settlements, 36, 37, 38 ; early 
Hindu settlements, 21, 38 ; the Empire 
of Majapahit, 21, 38, 39, 40; Sultan- 
ates established by Malays. 40 ; the 
Insula Bona- Fortunae of Ptolemy, 40; 
the Spanish and Portuguese, 40 ; the 
Dutch and English, 42; ancient Chinese 
trade, 44 ; the English and Dutch in 
the south, 47 
Borneo Co., Ltd., their steamer dis- 
perses the Chinese rebels, 198 ; early 
difficulties, 243 ; its history, 426 ; 
ultimate success, 437 
Brassey, Lord, in favour of the transfer 
of V Borneo to Sarawak, 412 

Brereton, \\\, at Sekrang, 139, 

his tight with Remap, 157, 163 ; 
his death, 166 

British North Borneo Company, estab- 
lished, 411 ; transfer Lawas to Sarawak, 
362 ; proposed transfer of N. Borneo 
to Sarawak, 412 

Brooke, Bertram W. D. , the Tuan Muda, 

Brooke, Charles (child of the second 
Rajah 1, his birth, 400 ; his death, 401 
Brooke, Charles Anthoni, second Rajah 
of Sarawak. Tuan Muda, 1852-1868. 
On the Chinese, 31 ; first visit to Sara- 
wak, 104 ; on the Batang Lupar ex- 
pedition, ib. ; at the attack 01 
Usman's stronghold, 116; on board 
the Mceander, 130; joins the Rajah, 
153; birthplace and parents, 154; re- 
tires from the Navy — his naval services, 
154 ; becomes Tuan Muda, ib. ; is 
appointed to Lundu, 155 ; at Lingga. 
158 ; the Dandi expedition, 161 ; the 
Lang expedition, 163 ; in charge of 
the Batang Lupar district, 166 ; his 
position and difficulties, ib. ; his ex- 
pedition against the Kajulau Dayaks, 
167 ; receives news of the Chinese 
rebellion, 171 ; goes to the Rajah's 
assistance, ib. ; after Saji, 172 ; first 
expedition against Sadok, 173 ; a 
failure, 176; the return, 177; attacks 
Saji, 178 ; builds a fort in the Saribas, 
ib. ; second Sadok expedition, 179 ; 
another failure, 182 ; third Sadok 
expedition, 183 ; success, 184 ; the 
( hinese troublesome, 190 ; to Kuching 
to suppress the Chinese rebellion, 198 ; 
the rebels driven over the border, 199 ; 
is sent to Muka, 214 ; saves the sur- 
vivors of S. Masahor's massacre, 215 ; 
S. Masahor fined and deposed, ib. ; 
fort built at Serikei, 218 ; left in charge 
of the country at a critical time, 220 ; 
makes a tour through the country, ib. ; 
is uneasy about Kanowit, 221 ; more 
troubles at Muka. ib. ; the Sarawak 
flag fired upon, 222 ; he arranges 
matters there, ib. ; enforces payment 
of a fine for insulting the flag, ib. ; the 
Sultan irritated by his conduct, 223 ; 
the c )onsul-( ieneral supports the Sultar, 
ib. ; he receives news of the murder of 
and Fox, ib. ; the situation and 
disposition of the people, ib. ; he 
assembles the chiefs at Kuching, 225 : 
his resolution, ib. ; punishment of the 
murderers at Serikei, 221.); he meets 
the S. Masahor. 227 ; the attack on 
Kabah, 228 ; the stockade taken. 230 ; 



an intricate plot, 235 ; he takes action, 
236 ; advances against Sadong, 237 ; 
his encounter with S. Masahor, ib. ; 
he attacks the Sherip, 238 ; Bandar 
Kasim punished, 239 ; he proceeds to 
Sekrang, 240 ; further action against 
S. Masahor — Igan burnt, ib. ; repres- 
sion of the plots — thanks of the Rajah, 
241 ; is opposed to foreign protection, 
243 ; his actions criticised by Gov. 
Edwardes, 247 ; the attack on Muka, 
250; Gov. Edwardes' interference, 256; 
he removes the coast people to Lingga, 

259 ; builds a new fort at Kanowit, 

260 ; is thanked by the Rajah for his 
success at Sadok, 265 ; his overland 
journey, ib. ; he visits England, ib. ; 
he returns to Sarawak, 281 ; assumes 
the name of Brooke, ib. ; the Kay an 
expedition, ib. ; the start, 284 ; his 
boat swamped, 288 ; the return, 292 ; 
installed as Administrator in 1863, 294, 
296 ; the commencement of his rule, 
301 ; the Rajah's trust in him, 304 ; 
the task before him, ib. ; his main 
principle of government, 305 

Rajah from 1868 

His accession, 307 ; his pledges to the 
people, ib. ; his administration, 308 ; 
the Datu Bandar's testimony, ib. ; his 
opinions on governing natives, and his 
policy, 313, 315, 418-420; the success 
of his policy, 315 ; how the abolition 
of slavery was effected, 315-318 ; his 
conduct of business, 319 ; liquidation 
of the public debt, 319 ; his efforts to 
promote agriculture, 320 ; punitive 
expeditions, 1862-1870,320; he leaves 
for England, 325 ; his marriage, ib. ; 
his letter to Lord Clarendon on Bruni, 
329 ; he visits Bruni and concludes a 
treaty, 331 ; he visits Baram, 332 ; 
his letter to the Foreign Office on 
Bruni, 335 ; his recommendations to the 
Foreign Office — adopted too late, 337 ; 
negotiations for the acquisition of the 
Baram, 339 ; false accusation of intimi- 
dating the Sultan, 340 ; the cession of 
the Baram sanctioned by the Foreign 
Office, ib. ; he visits Bruni — Baram 
ceded to Sarawak, 341 ; Trusan ceded, 
344 ; the Sultan appeals to him (the 
Rajah) for help against the Limbangs, 
348 ; he declines to interfere, 34S, 410 ; 
the Sultan resents his refusal, 349 ; he 
is asked to take over the Limbang, 
350 ; the murder of P. Japar, ib. ; he 
annexes the Limbang — his reasons for 
doing so, 352 ; the Sultan admits he 

has no real grievance against him, 354 ; 
Sir Spencer St. John's opinion of the 
annexation of the Limbang, 354, 355 ; 
he acquires the coal mines and certain 
rights in the Muara district, 357 ; 
his improvements at Brooketon, 358 ; 
the expedition against O. K. Lawai, 
359 ; a design to hand Bruni over to 
him, ib. ; he is begged by the chiefs 
to annex Tutong and Belait, 361 ; he 
is reconciled to the Sultan, 364 ; the 
Sultan willing to accept his offer to 
take over Bruni, 364 ; his influence at 
Bruni, 366, 367 ; his rights in Brooke- 
ton infringed, 368, 369, 370 ; the four 
periods of his labours, 373 ; punitive 
expeditions, 378, 381, 383, 384, 387; 
is com pi i merited by the Resident of 
Netherlands, Borneo, 384 ; his last 
expedition, 389 ; his return with the 
Ranee to Sarawak, 393 ; their recep- 
tion, 394 ; the Astana, 396 ; their first 
children, 400 ; they visit Pontianak 
and Batavia, ib. ; they leave for Eng- 
land — death of their children, 401 ; 
he is created a Commander of the 
Crown of Italy — Grand Officer, 401 ; 
birth of the Rajah Mllda, ib. ; Lord 
Derby's compliment, ib. ; Lord Grey's 
interest in Sarawak, 402 ; he returns 
to Sarawak, ib. ; difficulties presented 
by intertribal feuds, 401-404 ; birth 
of the Tuan Muda, 405 ; his narrow 
escape from drowning, ib. ; birth of 
the Tuan Bongsu, ib. ; visits England 
to confer with the Foreign Office with 
regard to Limbang and Bruni, 406 ; 
British protection granted — terms of 
the agreement, ib. ; the advance of the 
State without extraneous aid, 407- 
409; he is created a G.C.M.G., 
410 ; the salute to be accorded him 
by H.M.'s ships, ib. ; he annexes 
the Limbang, ib. ; he proclaims the 
Rajah Muda as his successor, 411 ; 
his offer to take over British Xorth 
Borneo, 412 ; Keppel's opinion of 
him, 413 ; he intrusts the Rajah Muda 
with a share of his duties, 415 ; Consul 
Keyser's and Signor Beccari's testi- 
mony, 417 ; Sir W. G. Palgrave's and 
Alleyne Ireland's testimony, 418 ; 
what the people owe to the Brookes, 

423 ; the Rajah as a despotic Ruler, 

424 ; his reputed adverseness to the 
introduction of European enterprise 
denied, 433 ; the Rajah on education, 
439 ; on the Muhammadan religion, 

Brooke, Charles Vyner, Rajah Muda, his 

4 54 


birth, 401 ; with the expedition against 
the Muruts. 359 ; leads an expedition 
against Bantin, 389 ; is proclaimed 
the Rajah's successor, 411 ; joins the 
Rajah's staff, 415 ; i- given a share in 
the Rajah's powers, ib. ; administers the 
Govt, in the Rajah's absence, 416 

Brooke, Ghita, her birth, 400 ; death, 

Brooke, Harry Keppel, 405 

Brooke, James. Rajah of Sarawak, his 
description of a Dayak village, 27 ; on 
the character of the Malay, 28 ; on 
the decadence of Malayan States, 44 ; 
on the policy of the Dutch, 51 : his 
birth, and early life, 61 ; death of his 
father, 62 ; he purchases the Royalist, 
and sails for the East, ib. ; first visit 
to Sarawak, 63 ; first meeting with 
Rajah Muda Hasim, 65 ; he warns 
I'. Makota against the Dutch, 66; 
leaves Kuching and visits Sadong, ib. ; 
a brush with the Saribas Dayaks, 67 ; 
sails for Singapore, ib. ; receives an 
address of thanks at Singapore — the 
Governor's coolness, ib. ; he visits the 
Celebes, 68 ; his second visit to Sara- 
wak, ib. ; is pressed by R. M. Hasim 
to remain there, ib. ; he consents to 
assist against the rebels, 69 ; is offered 
the raj, ib. ; his first meeting with P. 
Bedrudin, 70 ; he suppresses the rebel- 
lion, ib. ; his investiture as Rajah de- 
layed, 71 ; he accepts an equivocal 
arrangement, ib. ; purchases the Svrift, 
ib. ; R. M. Hasim's dishonesty and 
coolness, ib. ; an attempt to involve 
him with the Dutch, ib. ; F. Makota's 
plot, ib. ; he frustrates it, 72 ; R. 
M. Hasim's procrastination, ib. ; the 
people offer him their allegiance, 73 ; 
P. Makota resorts to poison, ib. ; the 
downfall of Makota, ib. ; he becomes 
Rajah, ib. ; the condition of the country, 
73-77 '• he releases the Siniawan host- 
ages — recalls the Sarawak Malays — 
reinstates the Datus, 77 ; he institutes 
a Court of Justice and promulgates a 
code, 78 ; his tirst year's work, 79 ; 
steps to safeguard the country, ib. ; 
the Saribas Dayaks and S. Sahap 
receive lessons, 80 ; execution of 
pirates and head-hunters, ib. ; his 
first visit to Bruni, ib. ; grant of Sara- 
wak confirmed, 85 ; shipwrecked 
sailors released, ib. ; his return and 
public instalment, ib. ; he banishes I'. 
Makota, 86 ; he reforms the govt. , 87 ; 
his polity, ib. ; his three great objects, 
88 ; Keppel's testimony, 89 ; his meet- 

ing with Capt. Keppel. 90 ; with the 
Dido, 97 ; action off Sirhasan, 98 ; his 
welcome at Kuching, ib. ; with Keppel 
against the Saribas, 100 ; the 1'adi 
chiefs admonished, 101 ; submission 
of the Dayaks and the Sherips, ib. ; 
Sir Edward Belcher arrives to report, 
102 ; with Belcher to Bruni — Sarawak 
granted in perpetuity, ib. ; he goes to 
Singapore — his mother's death, 103 : 
joins an expedition against Sumatran 
pirates — is wounded, ib. ; purchases 
the Julia, ib. ; S. Sahap's depredations 
ib. ; arrival of the Dido — the expedition 
against the Batang Lupar, 104-109 ; 
submission of the Saribas and Sekrang. 
109 ; lack of support of the British 
Govt. — the revival of piracy, ib. ; he 
offers Sarawak to the Crown — his pre- 
carious position, 110; R. M. Hasim 
in the way, 112; he goes to Bruni, 
113 ; is appointed H.M.'s confidential 
agent, ib. ; a letter from the Foreign 
Office a surprise to the Bruni Court, 
ib. ; he interests Sir Thomas Cochrane 
in Bornean affairs, 114 : R. M. Hasim 
and his brothers in danger, ib. ; his 
determination to support them, 115; 
the Admiral's action at Bruni — P. 
Usup's discomfiture, ib. ; S. Usman's 
stronghold destroyed, 116; P. Usup's 
death, ib. ; prosperity of Sarawak — 
his desire for protection, ib. ; a rising 
of the Sekrangs incited by the Sherips 
suppressed, 117; Rejang affairs, ib. ; 
intrigues at Bruni against the Sultan 
Muda Hasim, ib. ; the murders of 
Hasim and his brothers, 119; P. 
Bedrudin's farewell message to the 
Rajah, ib. ; his opinion of Bedrudin, 

121 ; with the tleet off Bruni, ib. ; 
Bruni attacked — the Sultan a fugitive, 

122 ; the Rajah forms a provisional 
govt, at Bruni — Admiral Cochrane .- 

t. 123 ; with Cochrane and Mundy 
against the pirates, ib. ; his return to 
Bruni — the Sultan's submission, 124 ; 
Sarawak granted unconditionally, ib., 
125 ; he returns to Kuching with the 
survivors of Hasim's family, 124 ; his 
independent position as Rajah, 125 ; 
the occupation of Labuan, 126; the 
jealousy of the Dutch, ib, ; Dutch pre- 
tensions, 127 ; at Penang, 128 ; he 
concludes a treaty with Bnini, ib. ; 
action with Balenini pirates, ib. ; he 
visits England, 120; honours bestowed 
on him, ib, ; becomes Governor of 
Labuan, Commissioner, and Consul- 

ral, and is created a K . ( '. B. , 130; 



his return to Sarawak, ib. ; is joined 
by Capt. James Brooke-Johnson, ib. ; 
he gives a rlag to his country. 131 ; 
establishes Labuan, and visits Sulu, ib. ; 
is left with inadequate means to face 
the pirates, ib. ; is defied by the Saribas 
and Sekrangs, 132 ; they ravage the 
coast, ib. ; he attacks the Saribas, 134 ; 
he visits Labuan and Sulu, and con- 
cludes a commercial treaty with Sulu, 
135 ; the great expedition, ib. ; the 
battle of Beting Mara, 136 ; his lift- 
attempted by Linggir; 137 ; the Dayaks 
of the Saribas and Rejang attacked, 
138 ; a fort built at Sekrang, ib. ; sub- 
mission of the Dayaks, 139 ; he is 
persecuted in England, ib. ; the action 
of his discarded agent, Wise, ib. ; the 
malignity of his accusers, 140 ; Hume 
moves an address to her Majesty — 
supported by Cobden, ib. ; the motion 
opposed by Henry Drummond and 
lost, 141 ; Cobden's speech, ib. ; 
Hume's motion for a Royal Commis- 
sion negatived, ib. ; Gladstone's atti- 
tude, 140, 141 ; Lord Palmerston 
denounces the charges, 141; his actions 
approved by the British Govt., 142; 
a commentary on Cobden's assertions, 
ib. ; the Rajah removes Bandar Kasim, 
143 ; he proceeds to Siam on a diplo- 
matic mission, ib. , 296; recognition 
by the United States, and compli-