weblogUpdates.ping Taneak Jang, Rejang Land, Tanah Rejang http://rejang-lebong.blogspot.com Taneak Jang, Rejang land, Tanah Rejang: THE HISTORY OF SUMATRA PART II



































Considered as a people occupying a certain rank in the scale or civil society, it is not easy to determine the proper situation of the inhabitants of this island. Though far distant from that point to which the polished states of Europe have aspired, they yet look down, with an interval almost as great, on the savage tribes of Africa and America. Perhaps if we distinguish mankind summarily into five classes; but of which each would admit of numberless subdivisions; we might assign a third place to the more civilized Sumatrans, and a fourth to the remainder. In the first class I should of course include some of the republics of ancient Greece, in the days of their splendour; the Romans, for some time before and after the Augustan age; France, England, and other refined nations of Europe, in the latter centuries; and perhaps China. The second might comprehend the great Asiatic empires at the period of their prosperity; Persia, the Mogul, the Turkish, with some European kingdoms. In the third class, along with the Sumatrans and a few other states of the eastern archipelago, I should rank the nations on the northern coast of Africa, and the more polished Arabs. The fourth class, with the less civilized Sumatrans, will take in the people of the new discovered islands in the South Sea; perhaps the celebrated Mexican and Peruvian empires; the Tartar hordes, and all those societies of people in various parts of the globe, who, possessing personal property, and acknowledging some species of established subordination, rise one step above the Caribs, the New Hollanders, the Laplanders, and the Hottentots, who exhibit a picture of mankind in its rudest and most humiliating aspect.


As mankind are by nature so prone to imitation it may seem surprising that these people have not derived a greater share of improvement in manners an arts from their long connection with Europeans, particularly with the English, who have now been settled among them for a hundred years. Though strongly attached to their own habits they are nevertheless sensible of their inferiority, and readily admit the preference to which our attainments in science, and especially in mechanics, entitle us. I have heard a man exclaim, after contemplating the structure and uses of a house-clock, "Is it not fitting that such as we should be slaves to people who have the ingenuity to invent, and the skill to construct, so wonderful a machine as this?" "The sun," he added, "is a machine of this nature." "But who winds it up?" said his companion. "Who but Allah," he replied. This admiration of our superior attainments is however not universal; for, upon an occasion similar to the above, a Sumatran observed, with a sneer, "How clever these people are in the art of getting money."

Some probable causes of this backwardness may be suggested. We carry on few or no species of manufacture at our settlements; everything is imported ready wrought to its highest perfection; and the natives therefore have no opportunity of examining the first process, or the progress of the work. Abundantly supplied with every article of convenience from Europe, and prejudiced in their favour because from thence, we make but little use of the raw materials Sumatra affords. We do not spin its cotton; we do not rear its silkworms; we do not smelt its metals; we do not even hew its stone: neglecting these, it is in vain we exhibit to the people, for their improvement in the arts, our rich brocades, our timepieces, or display to them in drawings the elegance of our architecture. Our manners likewise are little calculated to excite their approval and imitation. Not to insist on the licentiousness that has at times been imputed to our communities; the pleasures of the table; emulation in wine; boisterous mirth; juvenile frolics, and puerile amusements, which do not pass without serious, perhaps contemptuous, animadversion--setting these aside it appears to me that even our best models are but ill adapted for the imitation of a rude, incurious, and unambitious people. Their senses, not their reason, should be acted on, to rouse them from their lethargy; their imaginations must be warmed; a spirit of enthusiasm must pervade and animate them before they will exchange the pleasures of indolence for those of industry. The philosophical influence that prevails and characterizes the present age in the western world is unfavourable to the producing these effects. A modern man of sense and manners despises, or endeavours to despise, ceremony, parade, attendance, superfluous and splendid ornaments in his dress or furniture: preferring ease and convenience to cumbrous pomp, the person first in rank is no longer distinguished by his apparel, his equipage, or his number of servants, from those inferior to him; and though possessing real power is divested of almost every external mark of it. Even our religious worship partakes of the same simplicity. It is far from my intention to condemn or depreciate these manners, considered in a general scale of estimation. Probably, in proportion as the prejudices of sense are dissipated by the light of reason, we advance towards the highest degree of perfection our natures are capable of; possibly perfection may consist in a certain medium which we have already stepped beyond; but certainly all this refinement is utterly incomprehensible to an uncivilized mind which cannot discriminate the ideas of humility and meanness. We appear to the Sumatrans to have degenerated from the more splendid virtues of our predecessors. Even the richness of their laced suits and the gravity of their perukes attracted a degree of admiration; and I have heard the disuse of the large hoops worn by the ladies pathetically lamented. The quick, and to them inexplicable, revolutions of our fashions, are subject of much astonishment, and they naturally conclude that those modes can have but little intrinsic merit which we are so ready to change; or at least that our caprice renders us very incompetent to be the guides of their improvement. Indeed in matters of this kind it is not to be supposed that an imitation should take place, owing to the total incongruity of manners in other respects, and the dissimilarity of natural and local circumstances. But perhaps I am superfluously investigating minute and partial causes of an effect which one general one may be thought sufficient to produce. Under the frigid, and more especially the torrid zone, the inhabitants will naturally preserve an uninterrupted similarity and consistency of manners, from the uniform influence of their climate. In the temperate zones, where this influence is equivocal, the manners will be fluctuating, and dependent rather on moral than physical causes.


The Malays and the other native Sumatrans differ more in the features of their mind than in those of their person. Although we know not that this island, in the revolutions of human grandeur, ever made a distinguished figure in the history of the world (for the Achinese, though powerful in the sixteenth century, were very low in point of civilization) yet the Malay inhabitants have an appearance of degeneracy, and this renders their character totally different from that which we conceive of a savage, however justly their ferocious spirit of plunder on the eastern coast may have drawn upon them that name. They seem rather to be sinking into obscurity, though with opportunities of improvement, than emerging from thence to a state of civil or political importance. They retain a strong share of pride, but not of that laudable kind which restrains men from the commission of mean and fraudulent actions. They possess much low cunning and plausible duplicity, and know how to dissemble the strongest passions and most inveterate antipathy beneath the utmost composure of features till the opportunity of gratifying their resentment offers. Veracity, gratitude, and integrity are not to be found in the list of their virtues, and their minds are almost strangers to the sentiments of honour and infamy. They are jealous and vindictive. Their courage is desultory, the effect of a momentary enthusiasm which enables them to perform deeds of incredible desperation; but they are strangers to that steady magnanimity, that cool heroic resolution in battle, which constitutes in our idea the perfection of this quality, and renders it a virtue.* Yet it must be observed that, from an apathy almost paradoxical, they suffer under sentence of death, in cases where no indignant passions could operate to buoy up the mind to a contempt of punishment, with astonishing composure and indifference; uttering little more on these occasions than a proverbial saying, common among them, expressive of the inevitability of fate--apa buli buat? To this stoicism, their belief in predestination, and very imperfect ideas of a future, eternal existence, doubtless contribute.

(*Footnote. In the history of the Portuguese wars in this part of the East there appear some exceptions to this remark, and particularly in the character of Laksamanna (his title of commander-in-chief being mistaken for his proper name), who was truly a great man and most consummate warrior.)

Some writer has remarked that a resemblance is usually found between the disposition and qualities of the beasts proper to any country and those of the indigenous inhabitants of the human species, where an intercourse with foreigners has not destroyed the genuineness of their character. The Malay may thus be compared to the buffalo and the tiger. In his domestic state he is indolent, stubborn, and voluptuous as the former, and in his adventurous life he is insidious, bloodthirsty, and rapacious as the latter. Thus also the Arab is said to resemble his camel, and the placid Hindu his cow.


The Sumatran of the interior country, though he partakes in some degree of the Malayan vices, and this partly from the contagion of example, possesses many exclusive virtues; but they are more properly of the negative than the positive kind. He is mild, peaceable, and forbearing, unless his anger be roused by violent provocation, when he is implacable in his resentments. He is temperate and sober, being equally abstemious in meat and drink. The diet of the natives is mostly vegetable; water is their only beverage; and though they will kill a fowl or a goat for a stranger, whom perhaps they never saw before, nor ever expect to see again, they are rarely guilty of that extravagance for themselves; nor even at their festivals (bimbang), where there is a plenty of meat, do they eat much of anything but rice. Their hospitality is extreme, and bounded by their ability alone. Their manners are simple; they are generally, except among the chiefs, devoid of the Malay cunning and chicane; yet endued with a quickness of apprehension, and on many occasions discovering a considerable degree of penetration and sagacity. In respect to women they are remarkably continent, without any share of insensibility. They are modest; particularly guarded in their expressions; courteous in their behaviour; grave in their deportment, being seldom or never excited to laughter; and patient to a great degree. On the other hand, they are litigious; indolent; addicted to gaming; dishonest in their dealings with strangers, which they esteem no moral defect; suspicious; regardless of truth; mean in their transactions; servile; though cleanly in their persons, dirty in their apparel, which they never wash. They are careless and improvident of the future, because their wants are few, for though poor they are not necessitous; nature supplying, with extraordinary facility, whatever she has made requisite for their existence. Science and the arts have not, by extending their views, contributed to enlarge the circle of their desires; and the various refinements of luxury, which in polished societies become necessaries of life, are totally unknown to them. The Makassar and Bugis people, who come annually in their praws from Celebes to trade at Sumatra, are looked up to by the inhabitants as their superiors in manners. The Malays affect to copy their style of dress, and frequent allusions to the feats and achievements of these people are made in their songs. Their reputation for courage, which certainly surpasses that of all other people in the eastern seas, acquires them this flattering distinction. They also derive part of the respect paid them from the richness of the cargoes they import, and the spirit with which they spend the produce in gaming, cock-fighting, and opium-smoking.


Having endeavoured to trace the character of these people with as much fidelity and accuracy as possible, I shall now proceed to give an account of their government, laws, customs, and manners; and, in order to convey to the reader the clearest ideas in my power, I shall develop the various circumstances in such order and connection as shall appear best to answer this intent, without confining myself, in every instance, to a rigid and scrupulous arrangement under distinct heads.


The Rejang people, whom, for reasons before assigned, I have fixed upon for a standard of description, but which apply generally to the orang ulu, or inhabitants of the inland country, are distinguished into tribes, the descendants of different ancestors. Of these there are four principal, who are said to trace their origin to four brothers, and to have been united from time immemorial in a league offensive and defensive; though it may be presumed that the permanency of this bond of union is to be attributed rather to considerations of expediency resulting from their situation than to consanguinity or any formal compact.


The inhabitants live in villages, called dusun, each under the government of a headman or magistrate, styled dupati, whose dependants are termed his ana-buah, and in number seldom exceed one hundred. The dupatis belonging to each river (for here, the villages being almost always situated by the waterside, the names we are used to apply to countries or districts are properly those of the rivers) meet in a judicial capacity at the kwalo, where the European factory is established, and are then distinguished by the name of proattin.


The pangeran (a Javanese title), or feudal chief of the country, presides over the whole. It is not an easy matter to describe in what consists the fealty of a dupati to his pangeran, or of his ana-buah to himself, so very little in either case is practically observed. Almost without arts, and with but little industry, the state of property is nearly equal among all the inhabitants, and the chiefs scarcely differ but in title from the bulk of the people.


Their authority is no more than nominal, being without that coercive power necessary to make themselves feared and implicitly obeyed. This is the natural result of poverty among nations habituated to peace; where the two great political engines of interest and military force are wanting. Their government is founded in opinion, and the submission of the people is voluntary. The domestic rule of a private family beyond a doubt suggested first the idea of government in society, and, this people having made but small advances in civil policy, theirs continues to retain a strong resemblance of its original. It is connected also with the principle of the feudal system, into which it would probably settle should it attain to a greater degree of refinement. All the other governments throughout the island are likewise a mixture of the patriarchal and feudal; and it may be observed that, where a spirit of conquest has reduced the inhabitants under the subjection of another power, or has added foreign districts to their dominion, there the feudal maxims prevail: where the natives, from situation or disposition, have long remained undisturbed by revolutions, there the simplicity of patriarchal rule obtains; which is not only the first and natural form of government of all rude nations rising from imperceptible beginnings, but is perhaps also the highest state of perfection at which they can ultimately arrive. It is not in this art alone that we perceive the next step from consummate refinement, leading to simplicity.


The foundation of right to government among these people seems, as I said, to be the general consent. If a chief exerts an undue authority, or departs from their long established customs and usages, they conceive themselves at liberty to relinquish their allegiance. A commanding aspect, an insinuating manner, a ready fluency in discourse, and a penetration and sagacity in unravelling the little intricacies of their disputes, are qualities which seldom fail to procure to their possessor respect and influence, sometimes perhaps superior to that of an acknowledged chief. The pangean indeed claims despotic sway, and as far as he can find the means scruples not to exert it; but, his revenues being insufficient to enable him to keep up any force for carrying his mandates into execution, his actual powers are very limited, and he has seldom found himself able to punish a turbulent subject any otherwise than by private assassination. In appointing the heads of dusuns he does little more than confirm the choice already made among the inhabitants, and, were he arbitrarily to name a person of a different tribe or from another place, he would not be obeyed. He levies no tax, nor has any revenue (what he derives from the India Company being out of the question), or other emolument from his subjects than what accrues to him from the determination of causes. Appeals lie to him in all cases, and none of the inferior courts or assemblies of proattins are competent to pronounce sentence of death. But, all punishments being by the laws of the country commutable for fines, and the appeals being attended with expense and loss of time, the parties generally abide by the first decision. Those dusuns which are situated nearest to the residence of the pangeran, at Sungey-lamo, acknowledge somewhat more of subordination than the distant ones, which even in case of war esteem themselves at liberty to assist or not, as they think proper, without being liable to consequences. In answer to a question on this point, "we are his subjects, not his slaves," replied one of the proattins. But from the pangeran you hear a tale widely different. He has been known to say, in a political conversation, "such and such dusuns there will be no trouble with; they are my powder and shot;" explaining himself by adding that he could dispose of the inhabitants, as his ancestors had done, to purchase ammunition in time of war.


The father of Pangeran Mangko Raja (whose name is preserved from oblivion by the part he took in the expulsion of the English from Fort Marlborough in the year 1719) was the first who bore the title of pangeran of Sungey-lamo. He had before been simply Baginda Sabyam. Until about a hundred years ago the southern coast of Sumatra as far as Urei River was dependant on the king of Bantam, whose Jennang (lieutenant or deputy) came yearly to Silebar or Bencoolen, collected the pepper and filled up the vacancies by nominating, or rather confirming in their appointments, the proattins. Soon after that time, the English having established a settlement at Bencoolen, the jennang informed the chiefs that he should visit them no more, and, raising the two headmen of Sungey-lamo and Sungey-itam (the latter of whom is chief of the Lemba country in the neighbourhood of Bencoolen River; on which however the former possesses some villages, and is chief of the Rejang tribes), to the dignity of pangeran, gave into their hands the government of the country, and withdrew his master's claim. Such is the account given by the present possessors of the origin of their titles, which nearly corresponds with the recorded transactions of the period. It followed naturally that the chief thus invested should lay claim to the absolute authority of the king whom he represented, and on the other hand that the proattins should still consider him but as one of themselves, and pay him little more than nominal obedience. He had no power to enforce his plea, and they retain their privileges, taking no oath of allegiance, nor submitting to be bound by any positive engagement. They speak of him however with respect, and in any moderate requisition that does not affect their adat or customs they are ready enough to aid him (tolong, as they express it), but rather as matter of favour than acknowledged obligation.

The exemption from absolute subjection, which the dupatis contend for, they allow in turn to their ana-buahs, whom they govern by the influence of opinion only. The respect paid to one of these is little more than as to an elder of a family held in esteem, and this the old men of the dusun share with him, sitting by his side in judgment on the little differences that arise among themselves. If they cannot determine the cause, or the dispute be with one of a separate village, the neighbouring proattins of the same tribe meet for the purpose. From these litigations arise some small emoluments to the dupati, whose dignity in other respects is rather an expense than an advantage. In the erection of public works, such as the ballei or town hall, he contributes a larger share of materials. He receives and entertains all strangers, his dependants furnishing their quotas of provision on particular occasions; and their hospitality is such that food and lodging are never refused to those by whom they are required.


Though the rank of dupati is not strictly hereditary the son, when of age and capable, generally succeeds the father at his decease: if too young, the father's brother, or such one of the family as appears most qualified, assumes the post; not as a regent but in his own right; and the minor comes in perhaps at the next vacancy. If this settlement happens to displease any portion of the inhabitants they determine amongst themselves what chief they will follow, and remove to his village, or a few families, separating themselves from the rest, elect a chief, but without contesting the right of him whom they leave. The chiefs, when nominated, do not however assume the title of dupati until confirmed by the pangeran, or by the Company's Resident. On every river there is at least one superior proattin, termed a pambarab, who is chosen by the rest and has the right or duty of presiding at those suits and festivals in which two or more villages are concerned, with a larger allotment of the fines, and (like Homer's distinguished heroes) of the provisions also. If more tribes than one are settled on the same river each has usually its pambarab. Not only the rivers or districts but indeed each dusun is independent of, though not unconnected with, its neighbours, acting in concert with them by specific consent.


The system of government among the people near the sea-coast, who, towards the southern extreme of the island, are the planters of pepper, is much influenced by the power of the Europeans, who are virtually the lords paramount, and exercise in fact many of the functions of sovereignty. The advantages derived to the subject from their sway, both in a political and civil sense, are infinitely greater than persons at a distance are usually inclined to suppose. Oppressions may be some times complained of at the hands of individuals, but, to the honour of the Company's service let me add, they have been very rare and of inconsiderable magnitude. Where a degree of discretionary power is intrusted to single persons abuses will, in the nature of things, arise in some instances; cases may occur in which the private passions of the Resident will interfere with his public duty; but the door has ever been open for redress, and examples have been made. To destroy this influence and authority in order to prevent these consequences were to cut off a limb in order to remove a partial complaint. By the Company's power the districts over which it extends are preserved in uninterrupted peace. Were it not for this power every dusun of every river would be at war with its neighbour. The natives themselves allow it, and it was evinced, even in the short space of time during which the English were absent from the coast, in a former war with France. Hostilities of district against district, so frequent among the independent nations to the northward, are, within the Company's jurisdiction, things unheard of; and those dismal catastrophes which in all the Malayan islands are wont to attend on private feuds but very rarely happen. "I tell you honestly," said a dupati, much irritated against one of his neighbours, "that it is only you," pointing to the Resident of Laye, "that prevents my plunging this weapon into his breast." The Resident is also considered as the protector of the people from the injustice and oppression of the chiefs. This oppression, though not carried on in the way of open force, which the ill-defined nature of their authority would not support, is scarcely less grievous to the sufferer. Expounders of the law, and deeply versed in the chicanery of it, they are ever lying in wait to take advantage of the necessitous and ignorant, till they have stripped them of their property, their family, and their personal liberty. To prevent these practices the partial administration of justice in consequence of bribes, the subornation of witnesses, and the like iniquities, a continual exertion of the Resident's attention and authority is required, and, as that authority is accidentally relaxed, the country falls into confusion.

It is true that this interference is not strictly consonant with the spirit of the original contracts entered into by the Company with the native chiefs, who, in consideration of protection from their enemies, regular purchase of the produce of their country, and a gratuity to themselves proportioned to the quantity of that produce, undertake on their part to oblige their dependants to plant pepper, to refrain from the use of opium, the practice of gaming, and other vicious excesses, and to punish them in case of non-compliance. But, however prudent or equal these contracts might have been at the time their form was established, a change of circumstances, the gradual and necessary increase of the Company's sway which the peace and good of the country required, and the tacit consent of the chiefs themselves (among whom the oldest living have never been used to regard the Company, who have conferred on them their respective dignities, as their equals, or as trading in their districts upon sufferance), have long antiquated them; and custom and experience have introduced in their room an influence on one side, and a subordination on the other, more consistent with the power of the Company and more suitable to the benefits derived from the moderate and humane exercise of that power. Prescription has given its sanction to this change, and the people have submitted to it without murmuring, as it was introduced not suddenly but with the natural course of events, and bettered the condition of the whole while it tended to curb the rapacity of the few. Then let not short-sighted or designing persons, upon false principles of justice, or ill-digested notions of liberty, rashly endeavour to overturn a scheme of government, doubtless not perfect, but which seems best adapted to the circumstances it has respect to, and attended with the fewest disadvantages. Let them not vainly exert themselves to procure redress of imaginary grievances, for persons who complain not, or to infuse a spirit of freedom and independence, in a climate where nature possibly never intended they should flourish, and which, if obtained, would apparently be attended with effects that all their advantages would badly compensate.


In Passummah, which nearly borders upon Rejang, to the southward, there appears some difference in the mode of government, though the same spirit pervades both; the chiefs being equally without a regular coercive power, and the people equally free in the choice of whom they will serve. This is an extensive and comparatively populous country, bounded on the north by that of Lamattang, and on the south-east by that of Lampong, the river of Padang-guchi marking the division from the latter, near the sea-coast. It is distinguished into Passummah lebbar, or the broad, which lies inland, extending to within a day's journey of Muaro Mulang, on Palembang River; and Passummah ulu Manna, which is on the western side of the range of hills, whither the inhabitants are said to have mostly removed in order to avoid the government of Palembang.

It is governed by four pangerans, who are independent of each other but acknowledge a kind of sovereignty in the sultan of Palembang, from whom they hold a chap (warrant) and receive a salin (investiture) on their accession. This subordination is the consequence of the king of Bantam's former influence over this part of the island, Palembang being a port anciently dependent on him, and now on the Dutch, whose instrument the sultan is. There is an inferior pangeran in almost every dusun (that title being nearly as common in Passummah as dupati towards the sea-coast) who are chosen by the inhabitants, and confirmed by the superior pangeran, whom they assist in the determination of causes. In the low country, where the pepper-planters reside, the title of kalippah prevails; which is a corruption of the Arabic word khalifah, signifying a vicegerent. Each of these presides over various tribes, which have been collected at different times (some of them being colonists from Rejang, as well as from a country to the eastward of them, named Haji) and have ranged themselves, some under one and some under another chief; having also their superior proattin, or pambarab, as in the northern districts. On the rivers of Peeno, Manna, and Bankannon are two kalippahs respectively, some of whom are also pangerans, which last seems to be here rather a title of honour, or family distinction, than of magistracy. They are independent of each other, owning no superior; and their number, according to the ideas of the people, cannot be increased.




There is no word in the languages of the island which properly and strictly signifies law; nor is there any person or class of persons among the Rejangs regularly invested with a legislative power. They are governed in their various disputes by a set of long-established customs (adat), handed down to them from their ancestors, the authority of which is founded on usage and general consent. The chiefs, in pronouncing their decisions, are not heard to say, "so the law directs," but "such is the custom." It is true that, if any case arises for which there is no precedent on record (of memory), they deliberate and agree on some mode that shall serve as a rule in future similar circumstances. If the affair be trifling that is seldom objected to; but when it is a matter of consequence the pangeran, or kalippah (in places where such are present), consults with the proattins, or lower order of chiefs, who frequently desire time to consider of it, and consult with the inhabitants of their dusun. When the point is thus determined the people voluntarily submit to observe it as an established custom; but they do not acknowledge a right in the chiefs to constitute what laws they think proper, or to repeal or alter their ancient usages, of which they are extremely tenacious and jealous. It is notwithstanding true that, by the influence of the Europeans, they have at times been prevailed on to submit to innovations in their customs; but, except when they perceived a manifest advantage from the change, they have generally seized an opportunity of reverting to the old practice.


All causes, both civil and criminal, are determined by the several chiefs of the district, assembled together at stated times for the purpose of distributing justice. These meetings are called becharo (which signifies also to discourse or debate), and among us, by an easy corruption, bechars. Their manner of settling litigations in points of property is rather a species of arbitration, each party previously binding himself to submit to the award, than the exertion of a coercive power possessed by the court for the redress of wrongs.

The want of a written criterion of the laws and the imperfect stability of traditionary usage must frequently, in the intricacies of their suits, give rise to contradictory decisions; particularly as the interests and passions of the chiefs are but too often concerned in the determination of the causes that come before them.


This evil had long been perceived by the English Residents, who, in the countries where we are settled, preside at the bechars, and, being instigated by the splendid example of the Governor-general of Bengal (Mr. Hastings), under whose direction a code of the laws of that empire was compiled (and translated by Mr. Halhed), it was resolved that the servants of the Company at each of the subordinates should, with the assistance of the ablest and most experienced of the natives, attempt to reduce to writing and form a system of the usages of the Sumatrans in their respective residencies. This was accordingly executed in some instances, and, a translation of that compiled in the residency of Laye coming into my possession, I insert it here, in the original form, as being attended with more authority and precision than any account furnished from my own memorandums could pretend to.


For the more regular and impartial administration of justice in the Residency of Laye, the laws and customs of the Rejangs, hitherto preserved by tradition, are now, after being discussed, amended, and ratified, in an assembly of the pangeran, pambarabs, and proattins, committed to writing in order that they may not be liable to alteration; that those deserving death or fine may meet their reward; that causes may be brought before the proper judges, and due amends made for defaults; that the compensation for murder may be fully paid; that property may be equitably divided; that what is borrowed may be restored; that gifts may become the undoubted property of the receiver; that debts may be paid and credits received agreeably to the customs that have been ever in force beneath the heavens and on the face of the earth. By the observance of the laws a country is made to flourish, and where they are neglected or violated ruin ensues.



The plaintiff and defendant first state to the bench the general circumstances of the case. If their accounts differ, and they consent to refer the matter to the decision of the proattins or bench, each party is to give a token, to the value of a suku, that he will abide by it, and to find security for the chogo, a sum stated to them, supposed to exceed the utmost probable damages.

If the chogo do not exceed 30 dollars the bio or fee paid by each is 1 1/4 dollars.
If the chogo do not exceed 30 to 50 dollars the bio or fee paid by each is 2 1/2 dollars.
If the chogo do not exceed 50 to 100 dollars the bio or fee paid by each is 5 dollars.
If the chogo do not exceed 100 dollars and upwards the bio or fee paid by each is 9 dollars.

All chiefs of dusuns, or independent tallangs, are entitled to a seat on the bench upon trials.

If the pangeran sits at the bechar he is entitled to one half of all bio, and of such fines, or shares of fines, as fall to the chiefs, the pambarabs, and other proattins dividing the remainder.

If the pangeran be not present the pambarabs have one-third, and the other proattins two-thirds of the foregoing. Though a single pambarab only sit he is equally entitled to the above one-third. Of the other proattins five are requisite to make a quorum.

No bechar, the chogo of which exceeds five dollars, to be held by the proattins, except in the presence of the Company's Resident, or his assistant.

If a person maliciously brings a false accusation and it is proved such, he is liable to pay a sum equal to that which the defendant would have incurred had his design succeeded; which sum is to be divided between the defendant and the proattins, half and half.

The fine for bearing false witness is twenty dollars and a buffalo.

The punishment of perjury is left to the superior powers (orang alus). Evidence here is not delivered on previous oath.


If the father leaves a will, or declares before witnesses his intentions relative to his effects or estate, his pleasure is to be followed in the distribution of them amongst his children.

If he dies intestate and without declaring his intentions the male children inherit, share and share alike, except that the house and pusako (heirlooms, or effects on which, from various causes, superstitious value is placed) devolve invariably to the eldest.

The mother (if by the mode of marriage termed jujur, which, with the other legal terms, will be hereafter explained) and the daughters are dependant on the sons.

If a man, married by semando, dies, leaving children, the effects remain to the wife and children. If the woman dies, the effects remain to the husband and children. If either dies leaving no children the family of the deceased is entitled to half the effects.


Any person unwilling to be answerable for the debts or actions of his son or other relation under his charge may outlaw him, by which he, from that period, relinquishes all family connexion with him, and is no longer responsible for his conduct.

The outlaw to be delivered up to the Resident or pangeran, accompanied with his writ of outlawry, in duplicate, one copy to be lodged with the Resident, and one with the outlaw's pambarab.

The person who outlaws must pay all debts to that day.

On amendment, the outlaw may be recalled to his family, they paying such debts as he may have contracted whilst outlawed, and redeeming his writ by payment of ten dollars and a goat, to be divided among the pangeran and pambarabs.

If an outlaw commits murder he is to suffer death.

If murdered, a bangun, or compensation, of fifty dollars, is to be paid for him to the pangeran.

If an outlaw wounds a person he becomes a slave to the Company or pangeran for three years. If he absconds and is afterwards killed no bangun is to be paid for him.

If an outlaw wounds a person and is killed in the scuffle no bangun is to be paid for him.

If the relations harbour an outlaw they are held willing to redeem him, and become answerable for his debts.


A person convicted of theft pays double the value of the goods stolen, with a fine of twenty dollars and a buffalo, if they exceed the value of five dollars: if under five dollars the fine is five dollars and a goat; the value of the goods still doubled.

All thefts under five dollars, and all disputes for property, or offences to that amount, may be compromised by the proattins whose dependants are concerned.

Neither assertion nor oath of the prosecutor are sufficient for conviction without token (chino) of the robbery, namely, some article recovered of the goods stolen; or evidence sufficient.

If any person, having permission to pass the night in the house of another, shall leave it before daybreak, without giving notice to the family, he shall be held accountable for any thing that may be that night missing.

If a person passing the night in the house of another does not commit his effects to the charge of the owner of it, the latter is not accountable if they are stolen during the night. If he has given them in charge, and the stranger's effects only are lost during the night, the owner of the house becomes accountable. If effects both of the owner and lodger are stolen, each is to make oath to the other that he is not concerned in the robbery, and the parties put up with their loss, or retrieve it as they can.

Oaths are usually made on the koran, or at the grave of an ancestor, according as the Mahometan religion prevails more or less. The party intended to be satisfied by the oath generally prescribes the mode and purport of it.


The bangun or compensation for the murder of a pambarab is 500 dollars.
The bangun or compensation for the murder of an inferior proattin is 250 dollars.
The bangun or compensation for the murder of a common person, man or boy, is 80 dollars.
The bangun or compensation for the murder of a common person, woman or girl, is 150 dollars.
The bangun or compensation for the murder of the legitimate children or wife of a pambarab is 250 dollars.

Exclusive of the above, a fine of fifty dollars and a buffalo as tippong bumi (expiation), is to be paid on the murder of a pambarab; of twenty dollars and a buffalo on the murder of any other; which goes to the pambarab and proattins.

The bangun of an outlaw is fifty dollars without tippong bumi.

No bangun is to be paid for a person killed in the commission of a robbery.

The bangun of pambarabs and proattins is to be divided between the pangeran and pambarabs one half; and the family of the deceased the other half.

The bangun of private persons is to be paid to their families; deducting the adat ulasan of ten per cent to the pambarabs and proattins.

If a man kills his slave he pays half his price as bangun to the pangeran, and the tippong bumi to the proattins.

If a man kills his wife by jujur he pays her bangun to her family, or to the proattins, according as the tali kulo subsists or not.

If a man kills or wounds his wife by semando he pays the same as for a stranger.

If a man wounds his wife by jujur slightly he pays one tail or two dollars.

If a man wounds his wife by jujur with a weapon and an apparent intention of killing her he pays a fine of twenty dollars.

If the tali kulo (tie of relationship) is broken the wife's family can no longer claim bangun or fine: they revert to the proattins.

If a pambarab wounds his wife by jujur he pays five dollars and a goat.

If a pambarab's daughter, married by jujur, is wounded by her husband he pays five dollars and a goat.

For a wound occasioning the loss of an eye or limb or imminent danger of death half the bangun is to be paid.

For a wound on the head the pampas or compensation is twenty dollars.

For other wounds the pampas from twenty dollars downwards.

If a person is carried off and sold beyond the hills the offender, if convicted, must pay the bangun. If the person has been recovered previous to the trial the offender pays half the bangun.

If a man kills his brother he pays to the proattins the tippong bumi.

If a wife kills her husband she must suffer death.

If a wife by semando wounds her husband her relations must pay what they would receive if he wounded her.



On the death of a person in debt (unless he die an outlaw, or married byambel-anak) his nearest relation becomes accountable to the creditors.

Of a person married by ambel-anak the family he married into is answerable for debts contracted during the marriage: such as were previous to it his relations must pay.

A father, or head of a family, has hitherto been in all cases liable to the debts of his sons, or younger relations under his care; but to prevent as much as possible his suffering by their extravagance it is now resolved:

That if a young unmarried man (bujang) borrows money, or purchases goods without the concurrence of his father, or of the head of his family, the parent shall not be answerable for the debt. Should the son use his father's name in borrowing it shall be at the lender's risk if the father disavows it.

If any person gives credit to the debtor of another (publicly known as such, either in the state of mengiring, when the whole of his labour belongs to the creditor, or of be-blah, when it is divided) the latter creditor can neither disturb the debtor for the sum nor oblige the former to pay it. He must either pay the first debt (membulati, consolidate) or let his claim lie over till the debtor finds means to discharge it.

Interest of money has hitherto been three fanams per dollar per month, or one hundred and fifty per cent per annum. It is now reduced to one fanam, or fifty per cent per annum, and no person is to receive more, under penalty of fine, according to the circumstances of the case.

No more than double the principal can in any case be recovered at law. A person lending money at interest, and letting it lie over beyond two years, loses the surplus.

No pepper-planter to be taken as a debtor mengiring, under penalty of forty dollars.

A planter in debt may engage in any work for hire that does not interfere with the care of his garden, but must on no account mengiring, even though his creditor offers to become answerable for the care of his garden.

If a debtor mengiring absconds from his master (or creditor, who has a right to his personal service) without leave of absence he is liable to an increase of debt at the rate of three fanams per day. Females have been hitherto charged six fanams, but are now put upon a footing the same as the men.

If a debtor mengiring, without security, runs away, his debt is liable to be doubled if he is absent above a week.

If a man takes a person mengiring, without security for the debt, should the debtor die in that predicament the creditor loses his money, having no claim on the relations for it.

If a person takes up money under promise of mengiring at a certain period, should he not perform his agreement he must pay interest for the money at one fanam per dollar per month.

If a person, security for another, is obliged to pay the debt he is entitled to demand double from the debtor; but this claim to be moderated according to circumstances.

If a person sues for a debt which is denied the onus probandi lies with the plaintiff. If he fails in proof the defendant, on making oath to the justness of his denial, shall be acquitted.

If a debtor taking care of a pepper garden, or one that gives half produce to his creditor (be-blah), neglects it, the person in whose debt he is must hire a man to do the necessary work; and the hire so paid shall be added to the debt. Previous notice shall however be given to the debtor, that he may if he pleases avoid the payment of the hire by doing the work himself.

If a person's slave, or debtor mengiring, be carried off and sold beyond the hills the offender is liable to the bangun, if a debtor, or to his price, if a slave. Should the person be recovered the offender is liable to a fine of forty dollars, of which the person that recovers him has half, and the owner or creditor the remainder. If the offender be not secured the reward shall be only five dollars to the person that brings the slave, and three dollars the debtor, if on this side the hills; if from beyond the hills the reward is doubled.


The modes of marriage prevailing hitherto have been principally by jujur, or by ambel-anak, the Malay semando being little used. The obvious ill consequences of the two former, from the debt or slavery they entailed upon the man that married, and the endless lawsuits they gave rise to, have at length induced the chiefs to concur in their being as far as possible laid aside; adopting in lieu of them the semando malayo, or mardiko, which they now strongly recommend to their dependants as free from the encumbrances of the other modes, and tending, by facilitating marriage, and the consequent increase of population, to promote the welfare of their country. Unwilling, however, to abolish arbitrarily a favourite custom of their ancestors, marriage by jujur is still permitted to take place, but under such restrictions as will, it is hoped, effectually counteract its hitherto pernicious consequences. Marriage by ambel-anak, which rendered a man and his descendants the property of the family he married into, is now prohibited, and none permitted for the future, but, by semando, or jujur, subject to the following regulations.

The jujur of a virgin (gadis) has been hitherto one hundred and twenty dollars: the adat annexed to it have been tulis-tanggil, fifteen dollars; upah daun kodo, six dollars, and tali kulo, five dollars:

The jujur of a widow, eighty dollars, without the adat; unless her children by the former marriage went with her, in which case the jujur gadis was paid in full.

It is now determined that, on a man's giving his daughter in marriage by jujur for the future, there shall, in lieu of the above, be fixed a sum not exceeding one hundred and fifty dollars, to be in full for jujur and all adat whatever. That this sum shall, when the marriage takes place, be paid upon the spot; that if credit is given for the whole, or any part, it shall not be recoverable by course of law; and as the sum includes the tali kulo, or bond of relationship, the wife thereby becomes the absolute property of the husband. The marriage by jujur being thus rendered equivalent to actual sale, and the difficulty enhanced by the necessity of paying the full price upon the spot, it is probable that the custom will in a great measure cease, and, though not positively, be virtually abolished. Nor can a lawsuit follow from any future jujur.

The adat, or custom, of the semando malayo or mardiko, to be paid by the husband to the wife's family upon the marriage taking place, is fixed at twenty dollars and a buffalo, for such as can afford it; and at ten dollars and a goat, for the poorer class of people.

Whatever may be acquired by either party during the subsistence of the marriage becomes joint property, and they are jointly liable to debts incurred, if by mutual consent. Should either contract debts without the knowledge and consent of the other the party that contracts must alone bear them in case of a divorce.

If either party insists upon, or both agree in it, a divorce must follow. No other power can separate them. The effects, debts, and credits in all cases to be equally divided. If the man insists upon the divorce he pays a charo of twenty dollars to the wife's family, if he obtained her a virgin; if a widow, ten dollars. If the woman insists on the divorce no charo is to be paid. If both agree in it the man pays half the charo.

If a man married by semando dies--Vide Inheritance.

If a man carries off a woman with her consent, and is willing either to pay her price at once by jujur, or marry her by semando, as the father or relations please, they cannot reclaim the woman, and the marriage takes place.

If a man carries off a girl under age (which is determined by her not having her ears bored and teeth filed--bulum bertinde berdabong), though with her own consent, he pays, exclusive of the adat jujur, or semando, twenty dollars if she be the daughter of a pambarab, and ten dollars for the daughter of any other, whether the marriage takes place or not.

If a risau, or person without property and character, carries off a woman (though with her own consent) and can neither pay the jujur, nor adat semando, the marriage shall not take place, but the man be fined five dollars and a goat for misdemeanour. If she be under age, his fine ten dollars and a goat.

If a man has but one daughter, whom, to keep her near him, he wishes to give in marriage by semando; should a man carry her off, he shall not be allowed to keep her by jujur, though he offer the money upon the spot. If he refuses to marry her by semando, no marriage takes place, and he incurs a fine to the father of ten dollars and a goat.

If a man carries off a woman under pretence of marriage he must lodge her immediately with some reputable family. If he carries her elsewhere, for a single night he incurs a fine of fifty dollars, payable to her parents or relations.

If a man carries off a virgin against her inclination (me-ulih) he incurs a fine of twenty dollars and a buffalo: if a widow, ten dollars and a goat, and the marriage does not take place. If he commits a rape, and the parents do not choose to give her to him in marriage, he incurs a fine of fifty dollars.

The adat libei, or custom of giving one woman in exchange for another taken in marriage, being a modification of the jujur, is still admitted of; but if the one be not deemed an equivalent for the other the necessary compensation (as the pangalappang, for nonage) must be paid upon the spot, or it is not recoverable by course of law. If a virgin is carried off (te-lari gadis) and another is given in exchange for her, by adat libei, twelve dollars must be paid with the latter as adat ka-salah.

A man married by ambel-anak may redeem himself and family on payment of the jujur and adat of a virgin before-mentioned.

The charo of a jujur marriage is twenty-five dollars. If the jujur be not yet paid in full and the man insists on a divorce he receives back what he has paid, less twenty-five dollars. If the woman insists no charo can be claimed by her relations. If the tali kulo is putus (broken) the wife is the husband's property and he may sell her if he pleases.

If a man compels a female debtor of his to cohabit with him her debt, if the fact be proved, is thereby discharged, if forty dollars and upwards: if under forty the debt is cleared and he pays the difference. If she accuses her master falsely of this offence her debt is doubled. If he cohabits with her by her consent her parents may compel him to marry her, either by jujur or semando, as they please.

If an unmarried woman proves with child the man against whom the fact is proved must marry her; and they pay to the proattins a joint fine of twenty dollars and a buffalo. This fine, if the parties agree to it, may be levied in the country by the neighbouring proattins (without bringing it before the regular court).

If a woman proves with child by a relation within the prohibited degrees they pay to the proattins a joint fine of twice fifty dollars and two buffaloes (hukum duo akup).

A marriage must not take place between relations within the third degree, or tungal nene. But there are exceptions for the descendants of females who, passing into other families, become as strangers. Of two brothers, the children may not intermarry. A sister's son may marry a brother's daughter; but a brother's son may not marry a sister's daughter.

If relations within the prohibited degrees intermarry they incur a fine of twice fifty dollars and two buffaloes, and the marriage is not valid.

On the death of a man married by jujur or purchase, any of his brothers, the eldest in preference, if he pleases, may succeed to his bed. If no brother chooses it they may give the woman in marriage to any relation on the father's side, without adat, the person who marries her replacing the deceased (mangabalu). If no relation takes her and she is given in marriage to a stranger he may be either adopted into the family to replace the deceased, without adot, or he may pay her jujur, or take her by semando, as her relations please.

If a person lies with a man's wife by force he is deserving of death; but may redeem his head by payment of the bangun, eighty dollars, to be divided between the husband and proattins.

If a man surprises his wife in the act of adultery he may put both man and woman to death upon the spot, without being liable to any bangun. If he kills the man and spares his wife he must redeem her life by payment of fifty dollars to the proattins. If the husband spares the offender, or has only information of the fact from other persons, he may not afterwards kill him, but has his remedy at law, the fine for adultery being fifty dollars, to be divided between the husband and the proattins. If he divorces his wife on this account he pays no charo.

If a younger sister be first married, the husband pays six dollars, adat pelalu, for passing over the elder.


All gaming, except cock-fighting at stated periods, is absolutely prohibited. The fine for each offence is fifty dollars. The person in whose house it is carried on, if with his knowledge, is equally liable to the fine with the gamesters. A proattin knowing of gaming in his dusun and concealing it incurs a fine of twenty dollars. One half of the fines goes to the informer, the other to the Company, to be distributed among the industrious planters at the yearly payment of the customs.


The fine for the retailing of opium by any other than the person who farms the license is fifty dollars for each offence: one half to the farmer, and the other to the informer.


The executive power for enforcing obedience to these laws and customs, and for preserving the peace of the country, is, with the concurrence of the pangeran and proattins, vested in the Company's Resident.

Done at Laye, in the month Rabia-al akhir, in the year of the Hejra 1193, answering to April 1779.



Having procured likewise a copy of the regulations sanctioned by the chiefs of the Passummah country assembled at Manna, I do not hesitate to insert it, not only as varying in many circumstances from the preceding, but because it may eventually prove useful to record the document.


If a person dies having children these inherit his effects in equal portions, and become answerable for the debts of the deceased. If any of his brothers survive they may be permitted to share with their nephews, but rather as matter of courtesy than of right, and only when the effects of the deceased devolved to him from his father or grandfather. If he was a man of rank it is common for the son who succeeds him in title to have a larger share. This succession is not confined to the eldest born but depends much on private agreement in the family. If the deceased person leaves no kindred behind him the tribe to which he belonged shall inherit his effects, and be answerable for his debts.


When a debt becomes due and the debtor is unable to pay his creditors, or has no effects to deposit, he shall himself, or his wife, or his children, live with the creditor as a bond-slave or slaves until redeemed by the payment of the debt.

If a debt is contracted without any promise of interest none shall be demanded, although the debt be not paid until some time after it first became due. The rate of interest is settled at twenty per cent per annum; but in all suits relating to debts on interest, how long soever they may have been outstanding, the creditor shall not be entitled to more interest than may amount to a sum equal to the capital: if the debt is recent it shall be calculated as above. If any person lends to another a sum exceeding twenty-five dollars and sues for payment before the chiefs he shall be entitled only to one year's interest on the sum lent. If money is lent to the owner of a padi-plantation, on an agreement to pay interest in grain, and after the harvest is over the borrower omits to pay the stipulated quantity, the lender shall be entitled to receive at the rate of fifteen dollars for ten lent; and if the omission should be repeated another season the lender shall be entitled to receive double the principal. In all cases of debt contested the onus probandi lies with the demandant, who must make good his claim by creditable evidence, or in default thereof the respondent may by oath clear himself from the debt. On the other hand, if the respondent allows such a debt to have existed but asserts a previous payment, it rests with him to prove such payment by proper evidence, or in defect the demandant shall by oath establish his debt.



In order to be deemed a competent and unexceptionable evidence person must be of a different family and dusun from the person in whose behalf he gives evidence, of good character, and a free man: but if the dispute be between two inhabitants of the same dusun persons of such dusun are allowed to be complete evidence. In respect to the oath taken by the principals in a dispute the hukuman (or comprehensive quality of the oath) depends on the nature of the property in dispute: if it relates to the effects of the grandfather the hukuman must extend to the descendants from the grandfather; if it relates to the effects of the father it extends to the descendants of the father, etc. If any of the parties proposed to be included in the operation of the oath refuse to subject themselves to the oath the principal in the suit loses his cause.


If any person holding a pawn or pledge such as wearing-apparel, household effects, or krises, swords, or kujur (lances), shall pledge it for a larger sum than he advanced for it, he shall be answerable to the owner for the full value of it, on payment of the sum originally advanced. If any person holding as a pledge man, woman, or child shall pledge them to any other at an advanced sum, or without the knowledge of the owner, and by these means the person pledged should be sold as a slave, he shall make good to the owner the full value of such slave, and pay a fine of twenty-eight dollars. If any person whatever holding man, woman, or child as a pawn, either with janji lalu (term expired) or not, or with or without the consent of the original owner, shall sell such person as a slave without the knowledge of the Resident and Chiefs, he shall be fined twenty-eight dollars.



All persons who keep buffaloes shall register at the godong (factory­house) their tingas or mark; and, in case any dispute shall arise about a marked buffalo, no person shall be allowed to plead a mark that is not registered. If any wild (stray) buffalo or buffaloes, unmarked, shall be taken in a kandang (staked inclosure) they shall be adjudged the property of any who takes upon himself to swear to them; and, if it should happen that two or more persons insist upon swearing to the same buffaloes, they shall be divided among them equally. If no individual will swear to the property the buffaloes are to be considered as belonging to the kalippah or magistrate of the district where they were caught. The person who takes any buffaloes in his kandang shall be entitled to a gratuity of two dollars per head. If any buffaloes get into a pepper-garden, either by day or night, the owner of the garden shall have liberty to kill them, without being answerable to the owner of the buffaloes: yet, if it shall appear on examination that the garden was not properly fenced, and from this defect suffers damage, the owner shall be liable to such fine as the Resident and Chiefs shall judge it proper to impose.


A person convicted of stealing money, wearing-apparel, household effects, arms, or the like shall pay the owner double the value of the goods stolen and be fined twenty-eight dollars. A person convicted of stealing slaves shall pay to the owner at the rate of eighty dollars per head, which is estimated to be double the value, and fined twenty­eight dollars. A person convicted of stealing betel, fowls, or coconuts shall pay the owner double the value and be fined seven dollars, half of which fine is to be received by the owner. If buffaloes are stolen they shall be valued at twelve dollars per head: padi at four bakul (baskets) for the dollar. If the stolen goods be found in the possession of a person who is not able to account satisfactorily how he came by them he shall be deemed the guilty person. If a person attempting to seize a man in the act of thieving shall get hold of any part of his clothes which are known, or his kris or siwah, this shall be deemed a sufficient token of the theft. If two witnesses can be found who saw the stolen goods in possession of a third person such person shall be deemed guilty unless he can account satisfactorily how he became possessed of the goods. The oath taken by such witnesses shall either include the descendants of their father, or simply their own descendants, according to the discretion of the chiefs who sit as judges. If several people sleep in one house, and one of them leaves the house in the night without giving notice to any of the rest, and a robbery be committed in the house that night, the person so leaving the house shall be deemed guilty of the crime, provided the owner of the stolen goods be willing to subject himself to an oath on the occasion; and provided the other persons sleeping in the house shall clear themselves by oath from being concerned in the theft: but if it should happen that a person so convicted, being really innocent, should in after time discover the person actually guilty, he shall have liberty to bring his suit and recover. If several persons are sleeping in a house and a robbery is committed that night, although none leave the house the whole shall be obliged to make oath that they had no knowledge of, or concern in, the theft, or on refusal shall be deemed guilty. In all cases of theft where only a part of the stolen goods is found the owner must ascertain upon oath the whole amount of his loss.


A person convicted of murder shall pay to the relations of the deceased a bangun of eighty-eight dollars, one suku, and seventy-five cash; to the chiefs a fine of twenty-eight dollars; the bhasa lurah, which is a buffalo and one hundred bamboos of rice; and the palantan, which is fourteen dollars. If a son kills his father, or a father his son, or a man kills his brother, he shall pay a fine of twenty-eight dollars, and the bhasa lurah as above. If a man kills his wife the relations of the deceased shall receive half a bangun: if any other kills a man's wife the husband is entitled to the bangun, but shall pay out of it to the relations of the wife ten dollars. In wounds a distinction is made in the parts of the body. A wound in any part from the hips upward is esteemed more considerable than in the lower parts. If a person wounds another with sword, kris, kujur, or other weapon, and the wound is considerable, so as to maim him, he shall pay to the person wounded a half-bangun, and to the chiefs half of the fine for murder, with half of the bhasa lurah, etc. If the wound is trifling but fetches blood he shall pay the person wounded the tepong of fourteen dollars, and be fined fourteen dollars. If a person wounds another with a stick, bamboo, etc., he shall simply pay the tepong of fourteen dollars. If in any dispute between two people krises are drawn the person who first drew his kris shall be fined fourteen dollars. If any person having a dispute assembles together his friends with arms, he shall be fined twenty-eight dollars.



There are two modes of marriage used here: one by purchase, called jujur or kulu, the other by adoption, called ambel anak. First of jujur.


When a person is desirous of marrying he deposits a sum of money in the hands of the father of the virgin, which is called the pagatan. This sum is not esteemed part of the purchase, but as an equivalent for the dandanan (paraphernalia, or ornamental apparel) of the bride, and is not fixed but varies according to the circumstances and rank of the father. The amount of the jujur is fixed at seventy dollars, including the hurup niawa (price of life), forty dollars, a kris with gold about the head and silver about the sheath, valued at ten dollars, and the meniudakan billi or putus kulo (completion of purchase) at twenty. If a young man runs away with a gadis or virgin without the consent of the father he does not act contrary to the laws of the country; but if he refuses to pay the full jujur on demand he shall be fined twenty­eight dollars. If the father, having received the pagatan of one man, marries his daughter to another before he returns the money to the first, he shall be fined fourteen dollars, and the man who marries the daughter shall also be fined fourteen dollars. In case of divorce (which may take place at the will of either party) the dandanan brought by the wife is to be valued and to be deducted from the purchase-money. If a divorce originates from the man, and before the whole purchase­money is paid, the man shall receive back what he has advanced after deducting the dandanan as above, and fourteen dollars, called penusutan. If the divorce originates with the woman the whole purchase-money shall be returned, and the children, if any, remain with the father. If a divorce originates with the man, when the whole purchase-money has been paid, or kulo sudah putus, he shall not be entitled to receive back the purchase-money, but may recall his wife whenever it shall be agreeable to him. An exact estimation is made of the value of the woman's ornaments, and what are not restored with her must be made good by the husband. If there are children they are in this case to be divided, or if there be only one the husband is to allow the woman fifteen dollars, and to take the child. Secondly, of ambel anak.


When a man marries after the custom called ambel anak he pays no money to the father of the bride, but becomes one of his family, and is entirely upon the footing of a son, the father of his wife being thenceforward answerable for his debts, etc., in the same manner as for his own children. The married man becomes entirely separate from his original family, and gives up his right of inheritance. It is however in the power of the father of the wife to divorce from her his adopted son whenever he thinks proper, in which case the husband is not entitled to any of the children, nor to any effects other than simply the clothes on his back: but if the wife is willing still to live with him, and he is able to redeem her and the children by paying the father a hundred dollars, it is not at the option of the father to refuse accepting this sum; and in that case the marriage becomes a kulo or jujur, and is subject to the same rules. If any unmarried woman is convicted of incontinence, or a married woman of adultery, they shall pay to the chiefs a fine of forty dollars, or in defect thereof become slaves, and the man with whom the crime was committed shall pay a fine of thirty dollars, or in like manner become a slave; and the parties between them shall also be at the expense of a buffalo and a hundred bamboos of rice. This is called the gawe pati or panjingan. If an unmarried woman proves with child and refuses to name the man with whom she was guilty she shall pay the whole fine of seventy dollars, and furnish the buffalo, etc. If a woman after marriage brings forth a child before the due course of nature she shall be fined twenty-eight dollars. If a man keeps a young woman in his house for any length of time, and has a child by her without being regularly married, he shall be fined twenty-eight dollars, and furnish a buffalo and a hundred bamboos of rice. If a person detects the offenders in the act of adultery, and, attempting to seize the man, is obliged to kill him in self-defence, he shall not pay the bangun, nor be fined, but only pay the bhasa lurah, which is a buffalo and a hundred bamboos of rice. On the other hand, if the guilty person kills the one who attempts to seize him, he shall be deemed guilty of murder and pay the bangun and fine accordingly. If a man holding a woman as a pawn, or in the condition of mengiring shall commit fornication with her, he shall forfeit his claim to the debt, and the woman become free.


If the members of a family have suffered inconvenience from the ill conduct of any of their relations by having been rendered answerable for their debts, etc., it shall be in their power to clear themselves from all future responsibility on his account by paying to the chiefs the sum of thirty dollars, a buffalo, and a hundred bamboos of rice. This is termed buang surat. Should the person so cast out be afterwards murdered the relations have forfeited their right to the bangun, which devolves to the chiefs.

Dated at Manna, July 1807.

JOHN CRISP, Resident.




The foregoing system of the adat, or customs of the country, being digested chiefly for the use of the natives, or of persons well acquainted with their manners in general, and being designed, not for an illustration of the customs, but simply as a standard of right, the fewest and concisest terms possible have been made use of, and many parts must necessarily be obscure to the bulk of readers. I shall therefore revert to those particulars that may require explanation, and endeavour to throw a light upon the spirit and operation of such of their laws especially as seem most to clash with our ideas of distributive justice. This comment is the more requisite as it appears that some of their regulations, which were judged to be inconsistent with the prosperity of the people, were altered and amended through the more enlightened reason of the persons who acted as the representatives of the English company; and it may be proper to recall the idea of the original institutions.


The plaintiff and defendant usually plead their own cause, but if circumstances render them unequal to it they are allowed to pinjam mulut (borrow a mouth). Their advocate may be a proattin, or other person indifferently; nor is there any stated compensation for the assistance, though if the cause be gained a gratuity is generally given, and too apt to be rapaciously exacted by these chiefs from their clients, when their conduct is not attentively watched. The proattin also, who is security for the damages, receives privately some consideration; but none is openly allowed of. A refusal on his part to become security for his dependant or client is held to justify the latter in renouncing his civil dependence and choosing another patron.


Evidence is used among these people in a manner very different from the forms of our courts of justice. They rarely admit it on both sides of the question; nor does the witness first make a general oath to speak the truth, and nothing but the truth. When a fact is to be established, either on the part of the plaintiff or of the defendant, he is asked if he can produce any evidence to the truth of what he asserts. On answering in the affirmative he is directed to mention the person. This witness must not be a relation, a party concerned, nor even belong to the same dusun. He must be a responsible man, having a family, and a determinate place of residence. Thus qualified, his evidence may be admitted. They have a settled rule in respect to the party that is to produce evidence. For instance; A. sues B. for a debt: B. denies the debt: A. is now to bring evidence to the debt, or, on failure thereof, it remains with B. to clear himself of the debt by swearing himself not indebted. Had B. acknowledged that such a debt had formerly subsisted but was since paid, it would be incumbent on B. to prove the payment by evidence, or on failure it would rest with A. to confirm the debt's being still due, by his oath. This is an invariable mode, observed in all cases of property.


As their manner of giving evidence differs from ours so also does the nature of an oath among them differ from our idea of it. In many cases it is requisite that they should swear to what it is not possible in the nature of things they should know to be true. A. sues B. for a debt due from the father or grandfather of B. to the father or grandfather of A. The original parties are dead and no witness of the transaction survives. How is the matter to be decided? It remains with B. to make oath that his father or grandfather never was indebted to those of A.; or that if he was indebted the debt had been paid. This, among us, would be esteemed a very strange method of deciding causes; but among these people something of the kind is absolutely necessary. As they have no sort of written accounts, nor anything like records or registers among them, it would be utterly impossible for the plaintiff to establish the debt by a positive proof in a multitude of cases; and were the suit to be dismissed at once, as with us, for want of such proof, numbers of innocent persons would lose the debts really due to them through the knavery of the persons indebted, who would scarce ever fail to deny a debt. On the side of the defendant again; if he was not permitted to clear himself of the debt by oath, but that it rested with the plaintiff only to establish the fact by a single oath, there would be a set of unprincipled fellows daily swearing debts against persons who never were indebted to any of their generation. In such suits, and there are many of them, it requires no small discernment to discover, by the attendant circumstances, where the truth lies; but this may be done in most instances by a person who is used to their manners and has a personal knowledge of the parties concerned. But what they mean by their oath, in those cases where it is impossible they should be acquainted with the facts they design to prove, is no more than this; that they are so convinced of the truth of the matter as to be willing to subject themselves to the paju sumpah (destructive consequences of perjury) if what they assert is believed by them to be false. The form of words used is nearly as follows: "If what I now declare, namely" (here the fact is recited) "is truly and really so, may I be freed and clear from my oath: if what I assert is wittingly false, may my oath be the cause of my destruction." But it may be easily supposed that, where the punishment for a false oath rests altogether with the invisible powers, where no direct infamy, no corporal punishment is annexed to the perjury, there cannot fail to be many who would makan sumpah (swallow an oath), and willingly incur the guilt, in order to acquire a little of their neighbour's property.

Although an oath, as being an appeal to the superior powers, is supposed to come within their cognizance alone, and that it is contrary to the spirit of the customs of these people to punish a perjury by human means, even if it were clearly detected; yet, so far prevalent is the opinion of their interposition in human affairs that it is very seldom any man of substance, or who has a family that he fears may suffer by it, will venture to forswear himself; nor are there wanting apparent examples to confirm them in this notion. Any accident that happens to a man who has been known to take a false oath, or to his children or grandchildren, is carefully recorded in memory, and attributed to this sole cause. The dupati of Gunong Selong and his family have afforded an instance that is often quoted among the Rejangs, and has evidently had great weight. It was notorious that he had, about the year 1770, taken in the most solemn manner a false oath. He had at that time five sons grown up to manhood. One of them, soon after, in a scuffle with some bugis (country soldiers) was wounded and died. The dupati the next year lost his life in the issue of a disturbance he had raised in the district. Two of the sons died afterwards, within a week of each other. Mas Kaddah, the fourth, is blind; and Treman, the fifth, lame. All this is attributed to, and firmly believed to be the consequence of, the father's perjury.


In administering an oath, if the matter litigated respects the property of the grandfather, all the collateral branches of the family descended from him are understood to be included in its operation: if the father's effects only are concerned, or the transaction happened in his lifetime, his descendants are included: if the affair regards only the present parties and originated with them, they and their immediate descendants only are comprehended in the consequences of the oath; and if any single one of these descendants refuses to join in the oath it vitiates the whole; that is, it has the same effect as if the party himself refused to swear; a case that not unfrequently occurs. It may be observed that the spirit of this custom tends to the requiring a weight of evidence and an increase of the importance of the oath in proportion as the distance of time renders the fact to be established less capable of proof in the ordinary way.

Sometimes the difficulty of the case alone will induce the court to insist on administering the oath to the relations of the parties, although they are nowise concerned in the transaction. I recollect an instance where three people were prosecuted for a theft. There was no positive proof against them, yet the circumstances were so strong that it appeared proper to put them to the test of one of these collateral oaths. They were all willing, and two of them swore. When it came to the turn of the third he could not persuade his relations to join with him, and he was accordingly brought in for the whole amount of the goods stolen, and penalties annexed.

These customs bear a strong resemblance to the rules of proof established among our ancestors, the Anglo-Saxons, who were likewise obliged, in the case of oaths taken for the purpose of exculpation, to produce a certain number of compurgators; but, as these might be any indifferent persons, who would take upon them to bear testimony to the truth of what their neighbour swore, from an opinion of his veracity, there seems to be more refinement and more knowledge of human nature in the Sumatran practice. The idea of devoting to destruction, by a wilful perjury, not himself only, but all, even the remotest branches, of a family which constitutes his greatest pride, and of which the deceased heads are regarded with the veneration that was paid to the dii lares of the ancients, has doubtless restrained many a man from taking a false oath, who without much compunction would suffer thirty or a hundred compurgators of the former description to take their chance of that fate. Their strongest prejudices are here converted to the most beneficial purposes.


The place of greatest solemnity for administering an oath is the krammat or burying-ground of their ancestors, and several superstitious ceremonies are observed on the occasion. The people near the sea-coast, in general, by long intercourse with the Malays, have an idea of the Koran, and usually employ this in swearing, which the priests do not fail to make them pay for; but the inland people keep, laid up in their houses, certain old reliques, called in the Rejang language pesakko, and in Malayan, sactian, which they produce when an oath is to be taken. The person who has lost his cause, and with whom it commonly rests to bind his adversary by an oath, often desires two or three days' time to get ready these his swearing apparatus, called on such occasions sumpahan, of which some are looked upon as more sacred and of greater efficacy than others. They consist of an old rusty kris, a broken gun barrel, or any ancient trumpery, to which chance or caprice has annexed an idea of extraordinary virtue. These they generally dip in water, which the person who swears drinks off, after having pronounced the form of words before mentioned.* The pangeran of Sungei-lamo has by him certain copper bullets which had been steeped in water drunk by the Sungei­etam chiefs, when they bound themselves never to molest his districts: which they have only done since as often as they could venture it with safety, from the relaxation of our government. But these were political oaths. The most ordinary sumpahan is a kris, and on the blade of this they sometimes drop lime-juice, which occasions a stain on the lips of the person performing the ceremony; a circumstance that may not improbably be supposed to make an impression on a weak and guilty mind. Such would fancy that the external stain conveyed to the beholders an image of the internal. At Manna the sumpahan most respected is a gun barrel. When produced to be sworn on it is carried to the spot in state, under an umbrella, and wrapped in silk. This parade has an advantageous effect by influencing the mind of the party with a high idea of the importance and solemnity of the business. In England the familiarity of the object and the summary method of administering oaths are well known to diminish their weight, and to render them too often nugatory. They sometimes swear by the earth, laying their hands upon it and wishing that it may never produce aught for their nourishment if they speak falsely. In all these ceremonies they burn on the spot a little gum benzoin--Et acerra thuris plena, positusque carbo in cespite vivo.

(*Footnote. The form of taking an oath among the people of Madagascar very nearly resembles the ceremonies used by the Sumatrans. There is a strong similarity in the articles they swear on and in the circumstance of their drinking the consecrated water.)

It is a striking circumstance that practices which boast so little of reason in their foundation, which are in fact so whimsical and childish, should yet be common to nations the most remote in situation, climate, language, complexion, character, and everything that can distinguish one race of people from another. Formed of like materials, and furnished with like original sentiments, the uncivilized tribes of Europe and of India trembled from the same apprehensions, excited by similar ideas, at a time when they were ignorant, or even denied the possibility of each other's existence. Mutual wrong and animosity, attended with disputes and accusations, are not by nature confined to either description of people. Each, in doubtful litigations, might seek to prove their innocence by braving, on the justice of their cause, those objects which inspired amongst their countrymen the greatest terror. The Sumatran, impressed with an idea of invisible powers, but not of his own immortality, regards with awe the supposed instruments of their agency, and swears on krises, bullets, and gun barrels; weapons of personal destruction. The German Christian of the seventh century, more indifferent to the perils of this life, but not less superstitious, swore on bits of rotten wood and rusty nails, which he was taught to revere as possessing efficacy to secure him from eternal perdition.


When a man dies his effects, in common course, descend to his male children in equal shares; but if one among them is remarkable for his abilities above the rest, though not the eldest, he usually obtains the largest proportion, and becomes the head of the tungguan or house; the others voluntarily yielding him the superiority. A pangeran of Manna left several children; none of them succeeded to the title, but a name of distinction was given to one of the younger, who was looked upon as chief of the family after the father's decease. Upon asking the eldest how it happened that the name of distinction passed over him and was conferred on his younger brother, he answered with great naivete, "because I am accounted weak and silly." If no male children are left and a daughter only remains they contrive to get her married by the mode of ambel anak, and thus the tungguan of the father continues. An equal distribution of property among children is more natural and conformable to justice than vesting the whole in the eldest son, as prevails throughout most part of Europe; but where wealth consists in landed estate the latter mode, beside favouring the pride of family, is attended with fewest inconveniences. The property of the Sumatrans being personal merely, this reason does not operate with them. Land is so abundant in proportion to the population that they scarcely consider it as the subject of right any more than the elements of air and water; excepting so far as in speculation the prince lays claim to the whole. The ground however on which a man plants or builds, with the consent of his neighbours, becomes a species of nominal property, and is transferable; but as it costs him nothing beside his labour it is only the produce which is esteemed of value, and the compensation he receives is for this alone. A temporary usufruct is accordingly all that they attend to, and the price, in case of sale, is generally ascertained by the coconut, durian, and other fruit-trees that have been planted on it; the buildings being for the most part but little durable. Whilst any of those subsist the descendants of the planter may claim the ground, though it has been for years abandoned. If they are cut down he may recover damages; but if they have disappeared in the course of nature the land reverts to the public.

They have a custom of keeping by them a sum of money as a resource against extremity of distress, and which common exigencies do not call forth. This is a refined antidote against despair, because, whilst it remains possible to avoid encroaching on that treasure, their affairs are not at the worst, and the idea of the little hoard serves to buoy up their spirits and encourage them to struggle with wretchedness. It usually therefore continues inviolate and descends to the heir, or is lost to him by the sudden exit of the parent. From their apprehension of dishonesty and insecurity of their houses their money is for the most part concealed in the ground, the cavity of an old beam, or other secret place; and a man on his death-bed has commonly some important discovery of this nature to make to his assembled relations.


The practice of outlawing an individual of a family by the head of it (called lepas or buang dangan surat, to let loose, or cast out with a writing) has its foundation in the custom which obliges all the branches to be responsible for the debts contracted by any one of the kindred. When an extravagant and unprincipled spendthrift is running a career that appears likely to involve his family in ruinous consequences, they have the right of dissolving the connexion and clearing themselves of further responsibility by this public act, which, as the writ expresses it, sends forth the outcast, as a deer into the woods, no longer to be considered as enjoying the privileges of society. This character is what they term risau, though it is sometimes applied to persons not absolutely outlawed, but of debauched and irregular manners.

In the Saxon law we find a strong resemblance to this custom; the kindred of a murderer being exempt from the feud if they abandoned him to his fate. They bound themselves in this case neither to converse with him nor to furnish him with meat or other necessaries. This is precisely the Sumatran outlawry, in which it is always particularly specified (beside what relates to common debts) that if the outlaw kills a person the relations shall not pay the compensation, nor claim it if he is killed. But the writ must have been issued before the event, and they cannot free themselves by a subsequent process, as it would seem the Saxons might. If an outlaw commits murder the friends of the deceased may take personal revenge on him, and are not liable to be called to an account for it; but if such be killed, otherwise than in satisfaction for murder, although his family have no claim, the prince of the country is entitled to a certain compensation, all outlaws being nominally his property, like other wild animals.


It seems strange to those who are accustomed to the severity of penal laws, which in most instances inflict punishment exceeding by many degrees the measure of the offence, how a society can exist in which the greatest of all crimes is, agreeably to established custom, expiated by the payment of a certain sum of money; a sum not proportioned to the rank and ability of the murderer, nor to the premeditation, or other aggravating circumstances of the fact, but regulated only by the quality of the person murdered. The practice had doubtless its source in the imbecility of government, which, being unable to enforce the law of retaliation, the most obvious rule of punishment, had recourse to a milder scheme of retribution as being preferable to absolute indemnity. The latter it was competent to carry into execution because the guilty persons readily submit to a penalty which effectually relieves them from the burden of anxiety for the consequences of their action. Instances occur in the history of all states, particularly those which suffer from internal weakness, of iniquities going unpunished, owing to the rigour of the pains denounced against them by the law, which defeats its own purpose. The original mode of avenging a murder was probably by the arm of the person nearest in consanguinity, or friendship, to the deceased; but this was evidently destructive of the public tranquillity, because thereby the wrong became progressive, each act of satisfaction, or justice, as it was called, being the source of a new revenge, till the feud became general in the community; and some method would naturally be suggested to put a stop to such confusion. The most direct step is to vest in the magistrate or the law the rights of the injured party, and to arm them with a vindictive power; which principle the policy of more civilized societies has refined to that of making examples in terrorem, with a view of preventing future, not of revenging past crimes. But this requires a firmness of authority to which the Sumatran governments are strangers. They are without coercive power, and the submission of the people is little other than voluntary; especially of the men of influence, who are held in subjection rather by the sense of general utility planted in the breast of mankind, attachment to their family and connexions, and veneration for the spot in which their ancestors were interred, than by the apprehension of any superior authority. These considerations however they would readily forego, renounce their fealty, and quit their country, if in any case they were in danger of paying with life the forfeit of their crimes; to lesser punishments those ties induce them to submit; and to strengthen this hold their customs wisely enjoin that every the remotest branch of the family shall be responsible for the payment of their adjudged and other debts; and in cases of murder the bangun, or compensation, may be levied on the inhabitants of the village the culprit belonged to, if it happens that neither he nor any of his relations can be found.

The equality of punishment, which allows to the rich man the faculty of committing, with small inconvenience, crimes that bring utter destruction on the poor man and his family, and which is in fact the greatest inequality, originates certainly from the interested design of those through whose influence the regulation came to be adopted. Its view was to establish a subordination of persons. In Europe the absolute distinction between rich and poor, though too sensibly felt, is not insisted upon in speculation, but rather denied or explained away in general reasoning. Among the Sumatrans it is coolly acknowledged, and a man without property, family, or connexions never, in the partiality of self-love, considers his own life as being of equal value with that of a man of substance. A maxim, though not the practice, of their law, says, "that he who is able to pay the bangun for murder must satisfy the relations of the deceased; he who is unable, must suffer death." But the avarice of the relations prefers selling the body of the delinquent for what his slavery will fetch them (for such is the effect of imposing a penalty that cannot be paid) to the satisfaction of seeing the murder revenged by the public execution of a culprit of that mean description. Capital punishments are therefore almost totally out of use among them; and it is only par la loi du plus fort that the Europeans take the liberty of hanging a notorious criminal now and then, whom however their own chiefs always condemn, and formally sentence.


Corporal punishment of any kind is rare. The chain, and a sort of stocks, made of the pinang tree, are adopted from us; the word pasong, now commonly used to denote the latter, originally signifying and being still frequently applied to confinement in general. A kind of cage made use of in the country is probably their own invention. "How do you secure a prisoner (a man was asked) without employing a chain or our stocks?" "We pen him up," said he, "as we would a bear!" The cage is made of bamboos laid horizontally in a square, piled alternately, secured by timbers at the corners, and strongly covered in at top. To lead a runaway they fasten a rattan round his neck, and, passing it through a bamboo somewhat longer than his arms, they bring his hands together and make them fast to the bamboo, in a state rather of constraint than of pain, which I believe never is wantonly or unnecessarily inflicted. If the offender is of a desperate character they bind him hands and feet and sling him on a pole. When they would convey a person from accident or otherwise unable to walk they make a palanquin by splitting a large bamboo near the middle of its length, where they contrive to keep it open so that the cavity forms a bed, the ends being preserved whole, to rest upon their shoulders.

The custom of exacting the bangun for murder seems only designed with a view of making a compensation to the injured family, and not of punishing the offender. The word signifies awaking or raising up, and the deceased is supposed to be replaced, or raised again to his family, in the payment of a sum proportioned to his rank, or equivalent to his or her personal value. The price of a female slave is generally more than that of a male, and therefore, I heard a chief say, is the bangun of a woman more than that of a man. It is upon this principle that their laws take no cognizance of the distinction between a wilful murder and what we term manslaughter. The loss is the same to the family, and therefore the compensations are alike. A dupati of Laye, in an ill hour, stepped unwarily across the mouth of a cannon at the instant it was fired off for a salute, and was killed by the explosion, upon which his relations immediately sued the sergeant of the country-guard, who applied the match, for the recovery of the bangun; but they were cast, and upon these grounds: that the dupati was instrumental in his own death, and that the Company's servants, being amenable to other laws for their crimes, were not, by established custom, subject to the bangun or other penalties inflicted by the native chiefs, for accidents resulting from the execution of their duty. The tippong bumi, expiation, or purification of the earth from the stain it has received, was however gratuitously paid. No plea was set up that the action was unpremeditated, and the event chance-medley.

The introduction of this custom is beyond the extent of Sumatran tradition, and has no connexion with, or dependence on, Mahometanism, being established amongst the most inland people from time immemorial. In early ages it was by no means confined to that part of the world. The bangun is perfectly the same as the compensation for murder in the rude institutions of our Saxon ancestors and other northern nations. It is the eric of Ireland, and the apoinon of the Greeks. In the compartments of the shield of Achilles Homer describes the adjudgment of a fine for homicide. It would seem then to be a natural step in the advances from anarchy to settled government, and that it can only take place in such societies as have already a strong idea of the value of personal property, who esteem its possession of the next importance to that of life, and place it in competition with the strongest passion that seizes the human soul.

The compensation is so regularly established among the Sumatrans that any other satisfaction is seldom demanded. In the first heat of resentment retaliation is sometimes attempted, but the spirit soon evaporates, and application is usually made, upon the immediate discovery of the fact, to the chiefs of the country for the exertion of their influence to oblige the criminal to pay the bangun. His death is then not thought of unless he is unable, and his family unwilling, to raise the established sum. Instances, it is true, occur in which the prosecutor, knowing the European law in such case, will, from motives of revenge, urge to the Resident the propriety of executing the offender rather than receive the money; but if the latter is ready to pay it it is contrary to their laws to proceed further. The degree of satisfaction that attends the payment of the bangun is generally considered as absolute to the parties concerned; they receive it as full compensation, and pretend to no farther claim upon the murderer and his family. Slight provocations however have been sometimes known to renew the feud, and there are not wanting instances of a son's revenging his father's murder and willingly refunding the bangun. When in an affray there happen to be several persons killed on both sides, the business of justice is only to state the reciprocal losses, in the form of an account current, and order the balance to be discharged, if the numbers be unequal. The following is a relation of the circumstances of one of these bloody feuds, which happened whilst I was in the island, but which become every year more rare where the influence of our government extends.


Raddin Siban was the head of a tribe in the district of Manna, of which Pangeran Raja-Kalippah was the official chief; though by the customs of the country he had no right of sovereignty over him. The pangeran's not allowing him what he thought an adequate share of fines, and other advantages annexed to his rank, was the foundation of a jealousy and ill will between them, which an event that happened a few years since raised to the highest pitch of family feud. Lessut, a younger brother of the pangeran, had a wife who was very handsome, and whom Raddin Siban had endeavoured to procure, whilst a virgin, for HIS younger brother, who was in love with her: but the pangeran had contrived to circumvent him, and obtained the girl for Lessut. However it seems the lady herself had conceived a violent liking for the brother of Raddin Siban, who found means to enjoy her after she was married, or was violently suspected so to have done. The consequence was that Lessut killed him to revenge the dishonour of his bed. Upon this the families were presently up in arms, but the English Resident interfering preserved the peace of the country, and settled the affair agreeably to the customs of the place by bangun and fine. But this did not prove sufficient to extinguish the fury which raged in the hearts of Raddin Siban's family, whose relation was murdered. It only served to delay the revenge until a proper opportunity offered of gratifying it. The people of the country being called together on a particular occasion, the two inimical families were assembled, at the same time, in Manna bazaar. Two younger brothers (they had been five in all) of Raddin Siban, going to the cockpit, saw Raja Muda the next brother of the pangeran, and Lessut his younger brother, in the open part of a house which they passed. They quickly returned, drew their krises, and attacked the pangeran's brothers, calling to them, if they were men, to defend themselves. The challenge was instantly accepted, Lessut, the unfortunate husband, fell; but the aggressors were both killed by Raja Muda, who was himself much wounded. The affair was almost over before the scuffle was perceived. The bodies were lying on the ground, and Raja Muda was supporting himself against a tree which stood near the spot, when Raddin Siban, who was in a house on the opposite side of the bazaar at the time the affray happened, being made acquainted with the circumstances, came over the way, with his lance in his hand. He passed on the contrary side of the tree, and did not see Raja Muda, but began to stab with his weapon the dead body of Lessut, in excess of rage, on seeing the bloody remains of his two brothers. Just then, Raja Muda, who was half dead, but had his kris in his hand, still unseen by Raddin Siban, crawled a step or two and thrust the weapon into his side, saying "Matti kau"--"die thou!" Raddin Siban spoke not a word, but put his hand on the wound and walked across to the house from whence he came, at the door of which he dropped down and expired. Such was the catastrophe. Raja Muda survived his wounds, but being much deformed by them lives a melancholy example of the effects of these barbarous feuds.


In cases of theft the swearing a robbery against a person suspected is of no effect, and justly, for were it otherwise nothing would be more common than the prosecution of innocent persons. The proper proofs are either seizure of the person in the fact before witnesses, or discovery of the goods stolen in possession of one who can give no satisfactory account how he came by them. As it frequently happens that a man finds part only of what he had lost it remains with him, when the robbery is proved, to ascertain the whole amount, by oath, which in that point is held sufficient.


The law which renders all the members of a family reciprocally bound for the security of each others' debts forms a strong connexion among them, and occasions the elder branches to be particularly watchful of the conduct of those for whose imprudence they must be answerable.

When a debtor is unable to pay what he owes, and has no relation or friends capable of doing it for him, or when the children of a deceased person do not find property enough to discharge the debts of their parent, they are forced to the state which is called mengiring, which simply means to follow or be dependent on, but here implies the becoming a species of bond-slaves to the creditor, who allows them subsistence and clothing but does not appropriate the produce of their labour to the diminution of their debt. Their condition is better than that of pure slavery in this, that the creditor cannot strike them, and they can change their masters by prevailing on another person to pay their debt and accept of their labour on the same terms. Of course they may obtain their liberty if they can by any means procure a sum equal to their debt; whereas a slave, though possessing ever so large property, has not the right of purchasing his liberty. If however the creditor shall demand formally the amount of his debt from a person mengiring, at three several times, allowing a certain number of days between each demand, and the latter is not able to persuade anyone to redeem him, he becomes, by the custom of the country, a pure slave, upon the creditor's giving notice to the chief of the transaction. This is the resource he has against the laziness or untoward behaviour of his debtor, who might otherwise, in the state of mengiring, be only a burden to him. If the children of a deceased debtor are too young to be of service the charge of their maintenance is added to the debt. This opens a door for many iniquitous practices, and it is in the rigorous and frequently perverted exertion of these rights which a creditor has over his debtor that the chiefs are enabled to oppress the lower class of people, and from which abuses the English Residents find it necessary to be the most watchful to restrain them. In some cases one half of the produce of the labour is applied to the reduction of the debt, and this situation of the insolvent debtor is termed be-blah. Meranggau is the condition of a married woman who remains as a pledge for a debt in the house of the creditor of her husband. If any attempt should be made upon her person the proof of it annuls the debt; but should she bring an accusation of that nature, and be unable to prove it to the satisfaction of the court, and the man takes an oath in support of his innocence, the debt must be immediately paid by the family, or the woman be disposed of as a slave.

When a man of one district or country has a debt owing to him from the inhabitant of a neighbouring country, of which he cannot recover payment, an usual resource is to seize on one or more of his children and carry them off; which they call andak. The daughter of a Rejang dupati was carried off in this manner by the Labun people. Not hearing for some time from her father, she sent him cuttings of her hair and nails, by which she intimated a resolution of destroying herself if not soon released.


The right of slavery is established in Sumatra, as it is throughout the East, and has been all over the world; yet but few instances occur of the country people actually having slaves; though they are common enough in the Malayan, or sea-port towns. Their domestics and labourers are either dependant relations, or the orang mengiring above described, who are usually called debtors, but should be distinguished by the term of insolvent debtors. The simple manners of the people require that their servants should live, in a great measure, on a footing of equality with the rest of the family, which is inconsistent with the authority necessary to be maintained over slaves who have no principle to restrain them but that of personal fear,* and know that their civil condition cannot be altered for the worse.

(*Footnote. I do not mean to assert that all men in the condition of slaves are devoid of principle: I have experienced the contrary, and found in them affection and strict honesty: but that there does not result from their situation as slaves any principle of moral rectitude; whereas every other condition of society has annexed to it ideas of duty and mutual obligation arising from a sense of general utility. That sublime species of morality derived from the injunctions of religion it is almost universally their fate to be likewise strangers to, because slavery is found inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, not merely as inculcating philanthropy but inspiring a principle of equality amongst mankind.)

There is this advantage also, that when a debtor absconds they have recourse to his relations for the amount of his debt, who, if unable to pay it, must mengiring in his room; whereas when a slave makes his escape the law can give no redress, and his value is lost to the owner. These people moreover are from habit backward to strike, and the state of slavery unhappily requires the frequent infliction of punishment in that mode. A slave cannot possess independently any property; yet it rarely happens that a master is found mean and sordid enough to despoil them of the fruits of their industry; and their liberty is generally granted them when in a condition to purchase it, though they cannot demand it of right. It is nothing uncommon for those belonging to the Europeans to possess slaves of their own, and to acquire considerable substance. Their condition is here for the most part less unhappy than that of persons in other situations of life. I am far from wishing to diminish the horror that should ever accompany the general idea of a state which, whilst it degrades the species, I am convinced is not necessary among mankind; but I cannot help remarking, as an extraordinary fact, that if there is one class of people eminently happy above all others upon earth it is the body of Caffres, or negro slaves belonging to the India Company at Bencoolen. They are well clothed and fed, and supplied with a proper allowance of liquor; their work is by no means severe; the persons appointed as their immediate overseers are chosen for their merit from amongst themselves; they have no occasion of care or anxiety for the past or future, and are naturally of a lively and open temper. The contemplation of the effects which such advantages produce must afford the highest gratification to a benevolent mind. They are usually seen laughing or singing whilst at work, and the intervals allowed them are mostly employed in dancing to their rude instrumental music, which frequently begins at sunset and ceases only with the daylight that recalls them to their labour. Since they were first carried thither, from different parts of Africa and Madagascar, to the present hour, not so much as the rumour of disturbance or discontent has ever been known to proceed from them. They hold the natives of the island in contempt, have a degree of antipathy towards them, and enjoy any mischief they can do them; and these in their turn regard the Caffres as devils half humanized.

The practice said to prevail elsewhere of men selling themselves for slaves is repugnant to the customs of the Sumatrans, as it seems to reason. It is an absurdity to barter anything valuable, much more civil existence, for a sum which, by the very act of receiving, becomes again the property of the buyer. Yet if a man runs in debt without a prospect of paying, he does virtually the same thing, and this in cases of distress is not uncommon, in order to relieve, perhaps, a beloved wife, or favourite child, from similar bondage. A man has even been known to apply in confidence to a friend to sell him to a third person, concealing from the purchaser the nature of the transaction till the money was appropriated.

Ignorant stragglers are often picked up in the country by lawless knaves in power and sold beyond the hills. These have sometimes procured their liberty again, and prosecuting their kidnappers have recovered large damages. In the district of Allas a custom prevails by which, if a man has been sold to the hill people, however unfairly, he is restricted on his return from associating with his countrymen as their equal unless he brings with him a sum of money and pays a fine for his re-enfranchisement to his kalippah or chief. This regulation has taken its rise from an idea of contamination among the people, and from art and avarice among the chiefs.




By much the greater number of the legal disputes among these people have their source in the intricacy attending their marriage contracts. In most uncivilized countries these matters are very simple, the dictates of nature being obeyed, or the calls of appetite satisfied, with little ceremony or form of convention; but with the Sumatrans the difficulties, both precedent and subsequent, are increased to a degree unknown even in the most refined states. To remedy these inconveniences, which might be supposed to deter men from engaging in marriage, was the view of the Resident of Laye, before mentioned, who prevailed upon them to simplify their engagements, as the means of preventing litigation between families, and of increasing the population of the country. How far his liberal views will be answered by having thus influenced the people to change their customs, whether they will not soon relapse into the ancient track; and whether in fact the cause that he supposed did actually contribute to retard population, I shall not pretend to determine; but as the last is a point on which a difference of opinion prevails I shall take the liberty of quoting here the sentiments of another servant of the Company (the late Mr. John Crisp) who possessed an understanding highly enlightened.


This part of the island is in a low state of population, but it is an error to ascribe this to the mode of obtaining wives by purchase. The circumstance of children constituting part of the property of the parents proves a most powerful incentive to matrimony, and there is not perhaps any country on the face of the earth where marriage is more general than here, instances of persons of either sex passing their lives in a state of celibacy being extremely rare. The necessity of purchasing does not prove such an obstacle to matrimony as is supposed. Was it indeed true that every man was obliged to remain single till he had accumulated, from the produce of his pepper-garden, a sum adequate to the purchase of a wife, married pairs would truly be scarce. But the people have other resources; there are few families who are not in possession of some small substance; they breed goats and buffaloes, and in general keep in reserve some small sum for particular purposes. The purchase-money of the daughter serves also to provide wives for the sons. Certain it is that the fathers are rarely at a loss for money to procure them wives so soon as they become marriageable. In the districts under my charge are about eight thousand inhabitants, among whom I do not conceive it would be possible to find ten instances of men of the age of thirty years unmarried. We must then seek for other causes of the paucity of inhabitants, and indeed they are sufficiently obvious; among these we may reckon that the women are by nature unprolific, and cease gestation at an early age; that, almost totally unskilled in the medical art, numbers fall victims to the endemic diseases of a climate nearly as fatal to its indigenous inhabitants as to the strangers who settle among them: to which we may add that the indolence and inactivity of the natives tend to relax and enervate the bodily frame, and to abridge the natural period of their lives.


The modes of marriage, according to the original institutions of these people, are by jujur, by ambel anak, or by semando. The jujur is a certain sum of money given by one man to another as a consideration for the person of his daughter, whose situation, in this case, differs not much from that of a slave to the man she marries, and to his family. His absolute property in her depends however upon some nice circumstances. Beside the batang jujur (or main sum) there are certain appendages or branches, one of which, the tali kulo, of five dollars, is usually, from motives of delicacy or friendship, left unpaid, and so long as that is the case a relationship is understood to subsist between the two families, and the parents of the woman have a right to interfere on occasions of ill treatment: the husband is also liable to be fined for wounding her, with other limitations of absolute right. When that sum is finally paid, which seldom happens but in cases of violent quarrel, the tali kulo (tie of relationship) is said to be putus (broken), and the woman becomes to all intents the slave of her lord.*

(*Footnote. I cannot omit to remark here that, however apposite the word tali, which in Malayan signifies a cord, may be to the subject of the marriage tie, there is very strong evidence of the term, as applied to this ceremony, having been adopted from the customs of the Hindu inhabitants of the peninsula of India, in whose language it has a different meaning. Among others who have described their rites is M. Sonnerat. In speaking of the mode of marriage called pariam, which, like the jujur, n'est autre chose qu'un achat que le mari fait de sa femme, he says, le mari doit aussi fournir le tali, petit joyau d'or, qu'il attache avec un cordon au col de la fille; c'est la derniere ceremonie; elle donne la sanction au marriage, qui ne peut plus etre rompu des que le tali est attache. Voyage aux Indes etc. tome 1 page 70. The reader will also find the Sumatran mode of marriage by ambel anak, or adoption, exactly described at page 72. An engraving of the tali is given by P. Paolino, Systema Brahmanicum tab. 22. This resemblance is not confined to the rites of marriage, for it is remarked by Sir W. Jones that, "among the laws of the Sumatrans two positive rules concerning sureties and interest appear to be taken word for word from the Indian legislators." Asiatic Researches Volume 3 page 9.)

She has then no title to claim a divorce in any predicament; and he may sell her, making only the first offer to her relations. The other appendages as already mentioned are the tulis tanggil (the meaning of which I cannot satisfactorily ascertain, this and many other of the legal terms being in the Rejang or the Passummah and not the Malayan language) and the upah daun kodo, which is a consideration for the expense of the marriage feast, paid to the girl's parent, who provides it. But sometimes it is deposited at the wedding, when a distribution is made of it amongst the old people present. The words allude to the leaf in which the rice is served up. These additional sums are seldom paid or claimed before the principal is defrayed, of which a large proportion, as fifty, eighty, and sometimes a hundred and four dollars, is laid down at the time of marriage, or in the first visit (after the parties are determined in their regards) made by the father of the young man, or the bujang himself, to the father of the woman. Upon opening his design this money is tendered as a present, and the other's acceptance of it is a token that he is inclined to forward the match. It lies often in his hands three, six, or twelve months before the marriage is consummated. He sometimes sends for more, and is seldom refused. Until at least fifty dollars are thus deposited the man cannot take his wife home; but so long as the matter continues dalam rasa-an (under consideration) it would be deemed scandalous in the father to listen to any other proposals. When there is a difficulty in producing the necessary sum it is not uncommon to resort to an expedient termed mengiring jujur, that is, to continue a debtor with the family until he can raise money sufficient to redeem himself; and after this long credit is usually given for the remainder. Years often elapse, if the families continue on good terms, without the debt being demanded, particularly when a hundred and four dollars have been paid, unless distress obliges them to it. Sometimes it remains unadjusted to the second and third generation, and it is not uncommon to see a man suing for the jujur of the sister of his grandfather. These debts constitute in fact the chief part of their substance; and a person is esteemed rich who has several of them due to him for his daughters, sisters, aunts, and great aunts. Debts of this nature are looked upon as sacred, and are scarcely ever lost. In Passummah, if the race of a man is extinct, and some of these remain unpaid, the dusun or village to which the family belonged must make it good to the creditor; but this is not insisted upon amongst the Rejangs.

In lieu of paying the jujur a barter transaction, called libei, sometimes takes place, where one gadis (virgin) is given in exchange for another; and it is not unusual to borrow a girl for this purpose from a friend or relation, the borrower binding himself to replace her or pay her jujur when required, A man who has a son and daughter gives the latter in exchange for a wife to the former. The person who receives her disposes of her as his own child or marries her himself. A brother will give his sister in exchange for a wife, or, in default of such, procure a cousin for the purpose. If the girl given in exchange be under age a certain allowance per annum is made till she becomes marriageable. Beguppok is a mode of marriage differing a little from the common jujur, and probably only taking place where a parent wants to get off a child labouring under some infirmity or defect. A certain sum is in this case fixed below the usual custom, which, when paid, is in full for her value, without any appendages. In other cases likewise the jujur is sometimes lessened and sometimes increased by mutual agreement; but on trials it is always estimated at a hundred and twenty dollars. If a wife dies soon after marriage, or at any time without children, the full jujur cannot be claimed; it is reduced to eighty dollars; but should more than that have been laid down in the interim there is no refunding. The jujur of a widow, which is generally eighty dollars, without appendages, is again reduced upon a third marriage, allowances being made for dilapidation. A widow being with child cannot marry again till she is delivered, without incurring a penalty. In divorces it is the same. If there be no appearance of pregnancy she must yet abstain from making another choice during the period of three months and ten days.

When the relations and friends of the man go in form to the parents of the girl to settle the terms of the marriage they pay at that time the adat besasala, or earnest, of six dollars generally; and these kill a goat or a few fowls to entertain them. It is usually some space of time (except in cases of telari gadis or elopement) after the payment of the besasala, before the wedding takes place; but, when the father has received that, he cannot give his daughter to any other person without incurring a fine, which the young lady sometimes renders him liable to; for whilst the old folk are planning a match by patutan, or regular agreement between families, it frequently happens that miss disappears with a more favoured swain and secures a match of her own choice. The practice styled telari gadis is not the least common way of determining a marriage, and from a spirit of indulgence and humanity, which few codes can boast, has the sanction of the laws. The father has only the power left of dictating the mode of marriage, but cannot take his daughter away if the lover is willing to comply with the custom in such cases. The girl must be lodged, unviolated, in the house of some respectable family till the relations are advised of the enlevement and settle the terms. If however upon immediate pursuit they are overtaken on the road, she may be forced back, but not after she has taken sanctuary.

By the Mosaic law, if a man left a widow without children his brother was to marry her. Among the Sumatrans, with or without children, the brother, or nearest male relation of the deceased, unmarried (the father excepted), takes the widow. This is practised both by Malays and country people. The brother, in taking the widow to himself, becomes answerable for what may remain due of her purchase money, and in every respect represents the deceased. This is phrased ganti tikar bantal'nia--supplying his place on his mat and pillow.


Chastity prevails more perhaps among these than any other people. It is so materially the interest of the parents to preserve the virtue of their daughters unsullied, as they constitute the chief of their substance, that they are particularly watchful in this respect. But as marriages in general do not take place so early as the forwardness of nature in that climate would admit, it will sometimes happen, notwithstanding their precaution, that a young woman, not choosing to wait her father's pleasure, tastes the fruit by stealth. When this is discovered he can oblige the man to marry her, and pay the jujur; or, if he chooses to keep his daughter, the seducer must make good the difference he has occasioned in her value, and also pay the fine, called tippong bumi, for removing the stain from the earth. Prostitution for hire is I think unknown in the country, and confined to the more polite bazaars, where there is usually a concourse of sailors and others who have no honest settlement of their own, and whom, therefore, it is impossible to restrain from promiscuous concubinage. At these places vice generally reigns in a degree proportioned to the number and variety of people of different nations who inhabit them or occasionally resort thither. From the scenes which these sea-ports present travellers too commonly form their judgment, and imprudently take upon them to draw, for the information of the world, a picture of the manners of a people.

The different species of horrid and disgustful crimes, which are emphatically denominated, against nature, are unknown on Sumatra; nor have any of their languages terms to express such ideas.


Incest, or the intermarriage of persons within a certain degree of consanguinity, which is, perhaps (at least after the first degree), rather an offence against the institutions of human prudence than a natural crime, is forbidden by their customs and punishable by fine: yet the guilt is often expiated by a ceremony, and the marriages in many instances confirmed.


Adultery is punishable by fine; but the crime is rare, and suits on the subject still less frequent. The husband, it is probable, either conceals his shame or revenges it with his own hand.


If a man would divorce a wife he has married by jujur he may claim back what he has paid in part, less twenty-five dollars, the adat charo, for the damage he has done her; but if he has paid the jujur in full the relations may choose whether they will receive her or not; if not he may sell her. If a man has paid part of a jujur but cannot raise the remainder, though repeatedly dunned for it, the parents of the girl may obtain a divorce; but if it is not with the husband's concurrence they lose the advantage of the charo, and must refund all they have received. A woman married by jujur must bring with her effects to the amount of ten dollars, or, if not, it is deducted from the sum; if she brings more the husband is accountable for the difference. The original ceremony of divorce consists in cutting a rattan­cane in two, in presence of the parties, their relations, and the chiefs of the country.


In the mode of marriage by ambel anak the father of a virgin makes choice of some young man for her husband, generally from an inferior family, which renounces all further right to, or interest in, him, and he is taken into the house of his father-in-law, who kills a buffalo on the occasion, and receives twenty dollars from the son's relations. After this the buruk baik'nia (the good and bad of him) is vested in the wife's family. If he murders or robs they pay the bangun, or the fine. If he is murdered they receive the bangun. They are liable to any debts he may contract after marriage; those prior to it remaining with his parents. He lives in the family in a state between that of a son and a debtor. He partakes as a son of what the house affords, but has no property in himself. His rice plantation, the produce of his pepper-garden, with everything that he can gain or earn, belong to the family. He is liable to be divorced at their pleasure, and, though he has children, must leave all, and return naked as he came. The family sometimes indulge him with leave to remove to a house of his own, and take his wife with him; but he, his children, and effects are still their property. If he has not daughters by the marriage he may redeem himself and wife by paying her jujur; but if there are daughters before they become emancipated the difficulty is enhanced, because the family are likewise entitled to their value. It is common however when they are upon good terms to release him on the payment of one jujur, or at most with the addition of an adat of fifty dollars. With this addition he may insist upon a release whilst his daughters are not marriageable. If the family have paid any debts for him he must also make them good. Should he contract more than they approve of, and they fear his adding to them, they procure a divorce, and send him back to his parents; but must pay his debts to that time. If he is a notorious spendthrift they outlaw him by means of a writ presented to the magistrate. These are inscribed on slips of bamboo with a sharp instrument, and I have several of them in my possession. They must banish him from home, and if they receive him again, or assist him with the smallest sum, they are liable to all his debts. On the prodigal son's return, and assurance of amendment, this writ may be redeemed on payment of five dollars to the proattins, and satisfying the creditors. This kind of marriage is productive of much confusion, for till the time it takes place the young man belongs to one dusun and family, and afterwards to another, and as they have no records to refer to there is great uncertainty in settling the time when debts were contracted, and the like. Sometimes the redemption of the family and their return to the former dusun take place in the second or third generation; and in many cases it is doubtful whether they ever took place or not; the two parties contradicting each other, and perhaps no evidence to refer to. Hence arise various and intricate bechars.


Besides the modes of marriage above described, a third form, called semando, has been adopted from the Malays, and thence termed semando malayo or mardika (free). This marriage is a regular treaty between the parties, on the footing of equality. The adat paid to the girl's friends has usually been twelve dollars. The agreement stipulates that all effects, gains, or earnings are to be equally the property of both, and in case of divorce by mutual consent the stock, debts, and credits are to be equally divided. If the man only insists on the divorce he gives the woman her half of the effects, and loses the twelve dollars he has paid. If the woman only claims the divorce she forfeits her right to the proportion of the effects, but is entitled to keep her tikar, bantal, and dandan (paraphernalia), and her relations are liable to pay back the twelve dollars; but it is seldom demanded. This mode, doubtless the most conformable to our ideas of conjugal right and felicity, is that which the chiefs of the Rejang country have formally consented to establish throughout their jurisdiction, and to their orders the influence of the Malayan priests will contribute to give efficacy.

In the ambel anak marriage, according to the institutions of Passummah, when the father resolves to dismiss the husband of his daughter and send him back to his dusun the sum for which he can redeem his wife and family is a hundred dollars: and if he can raise that, and the woman is willing to go with him, the father cannot refuse them; and now the affair is changed into a kulo marriage; the man returns to his former tungguan (settlement or family) and becomes of more consequence in society. These people are no strangers to that sentiment which we call a regard to family. There are some families among them more esteemed than others, though not graced with any title or employment in the state. The origin of this distinction it is difficult to trace; but it may have arisen from a succession of men of abilities, or from the reputation for wisdom or valour of some ancestor. Everyone has a regard to his race; and the probability of its being extinct is esteemed a great unhappiness. This is what they call tungguan putus, and the expression is used by the lowest member of the community. To have a wife, a family, collateral relations, and a settled place of residence is to have a tungguan, and this they are anxious to support and perpetuate. It is with this view that, when a single female only remains of a family, they marry her by ambel anak; in which mode the husband's consequence is lost in the wife's, and in her children the tungguan of her father is continued. They find her a husband that will menegga tungguan, or, as it is expressed amongst the Rejangs menegga rumah, set up the house again.

The semando marriage is little known in Passummah. I recollect that a pangeran of Manna, having lost a son by a marriage of this kind with a Malay woman, she refused upon the father's death to let the boy succeed to his dignities, and at the same time become answerable for his debts, and carried him with her from the country; which was productive of much confusion. The regulations there in respect to incontinence have much severity, and fall particularly hard on the girl's father, who not only has his daughter spoiled but must also pay largely for her frailty. To the northward the offence is not punished with so much rigour, yet the instances are there said to be rarer, and marriage is more usually the consequence. In other respects the customs of Passummah and Rejang are the same in these matters.


The rites of marriage, nikah (from the Arabian), consist simply in joining the hands of the parties and pronouncing them man and wife, without much ceremony excepting the entertainment which is given on the occasion. This is performed by one of the fathers or the chief of the dusun, according to the original customs of the country; but where Mahometanism has found its way, a priest or imam executes the business.


But little apparent courtship precedes their marriages. Their manners do not admit of it, the bujang and gadis (youth of each sex) being carefully kept asunder, and the latter seldom trusted from under the wing of their mothers. Besides, courtship with us includes the idea of humble entreaty on the man's side, and favour and condescension on the part of the woman, who bestows person and property for love. The Sumatran on the contrary, when he fixes his choice and pays all that he is worth for the object of it, may naturally consider the obligation on his side. But still they are not without gallantry. They preserve a degree of delicacy and respect towards the sex, which might justify their retorting on many of the polished nations of antiquity the epithet of barbarians. The opportunities which the young people have of seeing and conversing with each other are at the bimbangs, or public festivals, held at the balei, or town hall of the dusun. On these occasions the unmarried people meet together and dance and sing in company. It may be supposed that the young ladies cannot be long without their particular admirers. The men, when determined in their regards, generally employ an old woman as their agent, by whom they make known their sentiments and send presents to the female of their choice. The parents then interfere and, the preliminaries being settled, a bimbang takes place.


At these festivals a goat, a buffalo, or several, according to the rank of the parties, are killed, to entertain not only the relations and invited guests but all the inhabitants of the neighbouring country who choose to repair to them. The greater the concourse the more is the credit of the host, who is generally on these occasions the father of the girl; but the different branches of the family, and frequently all the people of the dusun, contribute a quota of rice.


The young women proceed in a body to the upper end of the balei where there is a part divided off for them by a curtain. The floor is spread with their best mats, and the sides and ceiling of that extremity of the building are hung with pieces of chintz, palampores, and the like. They do not always make their appearance before dinner; that time, with part of the afternoon, previous to a second or third meal, being appropriated to cock-fighting and other diversions peculiar to the men. Whilst the young are thus employed the old men consult together upon any affair that may be at the time in agitation; such as repairing a public building or making reprisals upon the cattle of a neighbouring people. The bimbangs are often given on occasions of business only, and, as they are apt to be productive of cabals, the Europeans require that they shall not be held without their knowledge and approbation. To give authority to their contracts and other deeds, whether of a public or private nature, they always make one of these feasts. Writings, say they, may be altered or counterfeited, but the memory of what is transacted and concluded in the presence of a thousand witnesses must remain sacred. Sometimes, in token of the final determination of an affair, they cut a notch in a post, before the chiefs, which they call taka kayu.


In the evening their softer amusements take place, of which the dances are the principal. These are performed either singly or by two women, two men, or with both mixed. Their motions and attitudes are usually slow, and too much forced to be graceful; approaching often to the lascivious, and not unfrequently the ludicrous. This is I believe the general opinion formed of them by Europeans, but it may be the effect of prejudice. Certain I am that our usual dances are in their judgment to the full as ridiculous. The minuets they compare to the fighting of two game-cocks, alternately approaching and receding. Our country dances they esteem too violent and confused, without showing grace or agility. The stage dances I have not a doubt would please them. Part of the female dress, called the salendang, which is usually of silk with a gold head, is tied round the waist, and the ends of this they at times extend behind them with their hands. They bend forward as they dance, and usually carry a fan, which they close and strike smartly against their elbows at particular cadences. They keep time well, and the partners preserve a consistency with each other though the figure and steps are ad libitum. A brisker movement is sometimes adopted which proves more conformable to the taste of the English spectators.


Dancing is not the only amusement on these occasions. A gadis sometimes rises and, leaning her face on her arm, supporting herself against a pillar, or the shoulder of one of her companions, with her back to the audience, begins a tender song. She is soon taken up and answered by one of the bujangs in company, whose greatest pretensions to gallantry and fashion are founded on an adroitness at this polite accomplishment. The uniform subject on such occasions is love, and, as the words are extempore, there are numberless degrees of merit in the composition, which is sometimes surprisingly well turned, quaint, and even witty. Professed story-tellers are sometimes introduced, who are raised on a little stage and during several hours arrest the attention of their audience by the relation of wonderful and interesting adventures. There are also characters of humour amongst them who, by buffoonery, mimicry, punning, repartee, and satire (rather of the sardonic kind) are able to keep the company in laughter at intervals during the course of a night's entertainment. The assembly seldom breaks up before daylight, and these bimbangs are often continued for several days and nights together till their stock of provisions is exhausted. The young men frequent them in order to look out for wives, and the lasses of course set themselves off to the best advantage.


They wear their best silken dresses, of their own weaving; as many ornaments of filigree as they possess; silver rings upon their arms and legs; and earrings of a particular construction. Their hair is variously adorned with flowers and perfumed with oil of benzoin. Civet is also in repute, but more used by the men.


To render their skin fine, smooth, and soft they make use of a white cosmetic called pupur. The mode of preparing it is as follows. The basis is fine rice, which is a long time steeped in water and let to ferment, during which process the water becomes of a deep red colour and highly putrid, when it is drained off, and fresh added successively until the water remains clear, and the rice subsides in the form of a fine white paste. It is then exposed to the sun to dry, and, being reduced to a powder, they mix with it ginger, the leaves of a plant called by them dilam, and by Europeans patch-leaf (Melissa lotoria, R.), which gives to it a peculiar smell, and also, as is supposed, a cooling quality. They add likewise the flowers of the jagong (maize); kayu chendana (sandalwood); and the seeds of a plant called there kapas antu (fairy-cotton), which is the Hibiscus abelmoschus, or musk seed. All these ingredients, after being moistened and well mixed together, are made up into little balls, and when they would apply the cosmetic these are diluted with a drop of water, rubbed between the hands, and then on the face, neck, and shoulders. They have an apprehension, probably well founded, that a too abundant or frequent application will, by stopping the pores of the skin, bring on a fever. It is used with good effect to remove that troublesome complaint, so well known to Europeans in India, by the name of the prickly heat; but it is not always safe for strangers thus to check the operations of nature in a warm climate. The Sumatran girls, as well as our English maidens, entertain a favourable opinion of the virtues of morning dew as a beautifier, and believe that by rubbing it to the roots of the hair it will strengthen and thicken it. With this view they take pains to catch it before sunrise in vessels as it falls.


If a wedding is the occasion of the bimbang the couple are married, perhaps, the second or third day; but it may be two or three more ere the husband can get possession of his bride; the old matrons making it a rule to prevent him, as long as possible, and the bride herself holding it a point of honour to defend to extremity that jewel which she would yet be disappointed in preserving.*

(*Footnote. It is recorded that the jealousy between the English and Dutch at Bantam arose from a preference shown to the former by the king at a festival which he gave upon obtaining a victory of this nature, which his bride had long disputed with him. For a description of a Malayan wedding, with an excellent plate representing the conclusion of the ceremony and the sleeping apartment, I beg to refer the reader to Captain Forrest's Voyage to New Guinea page 286 quarto edition. The bed-place is described at page 232 and the processional car (per­arakan) at page 241. His whole account of the domestic manners of the people of Mindanao, at the court of which he lived on terms of familiarity, will be found highly amusing.)

They sit up in state at night on raised cushions, in their best clothes and trinkets. They are sometimes loaded on the occasion with all the finery of their relations, or even the whole dusun, and carefully eased of it when the ceremony is over. But this is not the case with the children of persons of rank. I remember being present at the marriage of a young woman, whose beauty would not have disgraced any country, with a son of Raddin, prince of Madura, to whom the English gave protection from the power of the Dutch after his father had fallen a sacrifice.* She was decked in unborrowed plumes. Her dress was eminently calculated to do justice to a fine person; her hair, in which consists their chief pride, was disposed with extreme grace; and an uncommon elegance and taste were displayed in the workmanship and adjustment of her ornaments. It must be confessed however that this taste is by no means general, especially amongst the country people. Simplicity, so essential to the idea, is the characteristic of a rude and quite uncivilized people, and is again adopted by men in their highest state of refinement. The Sumatrans stand removed from both these extremes. Rich and splendid articles of dress and furniture, though not often procured, are the objects of their vanity and ambition.

(*Footnote. The circumstances of this disgraceful affair are preserved in a book entitled A Voyage to the East Indies in 1747 and 1748. This Raddin Tamanggung, a most intelligent and respectable man, died at Bencoolen in the year 1790. His sons possess the good qualities of their father, and are employed in the Company's service.)

The bimbangs are conducted with great decorum and regularity. The old women are very attentive to the conduct of the girls, and the male relations are highly jealous of any insults that may be shown them. A lad at one of these entertainments asked another his opinion of a gadis who was then dancing. "If she was plated with gold," replied he, "I would not take her for my concubine, much less for my wife." A brother of the girl happened to be within hearing, and called him to account for the reflection thrown on his sister. Krises were drawn but the bystanders prevented mischief. The brother appeared the next day to take the law of the defamer, but the gentleman, being of the risau description, had absconded, and was not to be found.


The customs of the Sumatrans permit their having as many wives by jujur as they can compass the purchase of or afford to maintain; but it is extremely rare that an instance occurs of their having more than one, and that only among a few of the chiefs. This continence they in some measure owe to their poverty. The dictates of frugality are more powerful with them than the irregular calls of appetite, and make them decline an indulgence that their law does not restrain them from. In talking of polygamy they allow it to be the privilege of the rich, but regard it as a refinement which the poor Rejangs cannot pretend to. Some young risaus have been known to take wives in different places, but the father of the first, as soon as he hears of the second marriage, procures a divorce. A man married by semando cannot take a second wife without repudiating the first for this obvious reason that two or more persons could not be equally entitled to the half of his effects.


Montesquieu infers that the law which permits polygamy is physically conformable to the climate of Asia. The season of female beauty precedes that of their reason, and from its prematurity soon decays. The empire of their charms is short. It is therefore natural, the president observes, that a man should leave one wife to take another: that he should seek a renovation of those charms which had withered in his possession. But are these the real circumstances of polygamy? Surely not. It implies the contemporary enjoyment of women in the same predicament; and I should consider it as a vice that has its source in the influence of a warm atmosphere upon the passions of men, which, like the cravings of other disordered appetites, make them miscalculate their wants. It is probably the same influence, on less rigid nerves, that renders their thirst of revenge so much more violent than among northern nations; but we are not therefore to pronounce murder to be physically conformable to a southern climate. Far be it from my intention however to put these passions on a level; I only mean to show that the president's reasoning proves too much. It must further be considered that the genial warmth which expands the desires of the men, and prompts a more unlimited exertion of their faculties, does not inspire their constitutions with proportionate vigour; but on the contrary renders them in this respect inferior to the inhabitants of the temperate zone; whilst it equally influences the desires of the opposite sex without being found to diminish from their capacity of enjoyment. From which I would draw this conclusion, that if nature intended that one woman only should be the companion of one man, in the colder regions of the earth it appears also intended a fortiori that the same law should be observed in the hotter; inferring nature's design, not from the desires, but from the abilities with which she has endowed mankind.

Montesquieu has further suggested that the inequality in the comparative numbers of each sex born in Asia, which is represented to be greatly superior on the female side, may have a relation to the law that allows polygamy. But there is strong reason to deny the reality of this supposed excess. The Japanese account, taken from Kaempfer, which makes them to be in the proportion of twenty-two to eighteen, is very inconclusive, as the numbering of the inhabitants of a great city can furnish no proper test; and the account of births at Bantam, which states the number of girls to be ten to one boy, is not only manifestly absurd, but positively false. I can take upon me to assert that the proportion of the sexes throughout Sumatra does not sensibly differ from that ascertained in Europe; nor could I ever learn from the inhabitants of the many eastern islands whom I have conversed with that they were conscious of any disproportion in this respect.


But from whatever source we derive polygamy its prevalence seems to be universally attended with the practice of giving a valuable consideration for the woman, instead of receiving a dowry with her. This is a natural consequence. Where each man endeavours to engross several, the demand for the commodity, as a merchant would express it, is increased, and the price of course enhanced. In Europe on the contrary, where the demand is small; whether owing to the paucity of males from continual diminution; their coldness of constitution, which suffers them rather to play with the sentimental than act from the animal passion; their corruption of manners leading them to promiscuous concubinage; or, in fine, the extravagant luxury of the times, which too often renders a family an insupportable burden--whatever may be the cause it becomes necessary, in order to counteract it and produce an additional incitement to the marriage state, that a premium be given with the females. We find in the history of the earliest ages of the world that, where a plurality of women was allowed of, by law or custom, they were obtained by money or service. The form of marriage by semando among the Malays, which admits but of one partner, requires no sum to be paid by the husband to the relations of the wife except a trifle, by way of token, or to defray the expenses of the wedding-feast. The circumstance of the rejangs confining themselves to one, and at the same time giving a price for their wives, would seem an exception to the general rule laid down; but this is an accidental and perhaps temporary restraint, arising, it may be, from the European influence, which tends to make them regular and industrious, but keeps them poor: affords the means of subsistence to all, but the opportunity of acquiring riches to few or none. In their genuine state war and plunder caused a rapid fluctuation of property; the little wealth now among them, derived mostly from the India Company's expenditure, circulates through the country in an equal stream, returning chiefly, like the water exhaled in vapours from the sea, to its original source. The custom of giving jujurs had most probably its foundation in polygamy; and the superstructure subsists, though its basis is partly mouldered away; but, being scarcely tenantable, the inhabitants are inclined to quit, and suffer it to fall to the ground. Moderation in point of women destroying their principle, the jujurs appear to be devoid of policy. Open a new spring of luxury, and polygamy, now confined to a few individuals amongst the chiefs, will spread throughout the people. Beauty will be in high request; each fair one will be sought for by many competitors; and the payment of the jujur be again esteemed a reasonable equivalent for possession. Their acknowledging the custom under the present circumstances to be a prejudicial one, so contrary to the spirit of eastern manners, which is ever marked with a blind veneration for the establishments of antiquity, contributes to strengthen considerably the opinion I have advanced.


Through every rank of the people there prevails a strong spirit of gaming, which is a vice that readily insinuates itself into minds naturally indisposed to the avocations of industry; and, being in general a sedentary occupation, is more adapted to a warm climate, where bodily exertion is in few instances considered as an amusement.


Beside the common species of gambling with dice, which, from the term dadu applied to it, was evidently introduced by the Portuguese, they have several others; as the judi, a mode of playing with small shells, which are taken up by handfuls, and, being counted out by a given number at a time (generally that of the party engaged), the success is determined by the fractional number remaining, the amount of which is previously guessed at by each of the party.


They have also various games on chequered boards or other delineations, and persons of superior rank are in general versed in the game of chess, which they term main gajah, or the game of the elephant, naming the pieces as follows: king, raja; queen or vizir, mantri; bishop or elephant, gajah; knight or horse, kuda; castle, rook, or chariot, ter; and pawn or foot-soldier, bidak. For check they use the word sah; and for checkmate, mat or mati. Among these names the only one that appears to require observation as being peculiar is that for the castle or rook, which they have borrowed from the Tamul language of the peninsula of India, wherein the word ter (answering to the Sanskrit rat'ha) signifies a chariot (particularly such as are drawn in the processions of certain divinities), and not unaptly transferred to this military game to complete the constituent parts of an army. Gambling, especially with dice, is rigorously forbidden throughout the pepper districts, because it is not only the child, but the parent of idleness, and by the events of play often throws whole villages into confusion. Debts contracted on this account are declared to be void.


To cock-fighting they are still more passionately addicted, and it is indulged to them under certain regulations. Where they are perfectly independent their propensity to it is so great that it resembles rather a serious occupation than a sport. You seldom meet a man travelling in the country without a cock under his arm, and sometimes fifty persons in a company when there is a bimbang in one of the neighbouring villages. A country-man coming down, on any occasion, to the bazaar or settlement at the mouth of the river, if he boasts the least degree of spirit must not be unprovided with this token of it. They often game high at their meetings; particularly when a superstitious faith in the invincibility of their bird has been strengthened by past success. A hundred Spanish dollars is no very uncommon risk, and instances have occurred of a father's staking his children or wife, and a son his mother or sisters, on the issue of a battle, when a run of ill luck has stripped them of property and rendered them desperate. Quarrels, attended with dreadful consequences, have often arisen on these occasions.


By their customs there are four umpires appointed to determine on all disputed points in the course of the battles; and from their decision there lies no appeal except the Gothic appeal to the sword. A person who loses and has not the ability to pay is immediately proscribed, departs with disgrace, and is never again suffered to appear at the galan­gang. This cannot with propriety be translated a cockpit, as it is generally a spot on the level ground, or a stage erected, and covered in. It is inclosed with a railing which keeps off the spectators; none but the handlers and heelers being admitted withinside. A man who has a high opinion of and regard for his cock will not fight him under a certain number of dollars, which he places in order on the floor: his poorer adversary is perhaps unable to deposit above one half: the standers-by make up the sum, and receive their dividends in proportion if successful. A father at his deathbed has been known to desire his son to take the first opportunity of matching a certain cock for a sum equal to his whole property, under a blind conviction of its being betuah, or invulnerable.


Cocks of the same colour are never matched but a grey against a pile, a yellow against a red, or the like. This might have been originally designed to prevent disputes or knavish impositions. The Malay breed of cocks is much esteemed by connoisseurs who have had an opportunity of trying them. Great pains is taken in the rearing and feeding; they are frequently handled and accustomed to spar in public, in order to prevent any shyness. Contrary to our laws, the owner is allowed to take up and handle his cock during the battle to clear his eye of a feather or his mouth of blood. When a cock is killed, or runs, the other must have sufficient spirit and vigour left to peck at him three times, on his being held to him for that purpose, or it becomes a drawn battle; and sometimes an experienced cocker will place the head of his vanquished bird in such an uncouth posture as to terrify the other and render him unable to give this proof of victory. The cocks are never trimmed, but matched in full feather. The artificial spur used in Sumatra resembles in shape the blade of a scimitar, and proves a more destructive weapon than the European spur. It has no socket but is tied to the leg, and in the position of it the nicety of the match is regulated. As in horse-racing weight is proportioned to inches, so in cocking a bird of superior weight and size is brought to an equality with his adversary by fixing the steel spur so many scales of the leg above the natural spur, and thus obliging him to fight with a degree of disadvantage. It rarely happens that both cocks survive the combat.

In the northern parts of the island, where gold-dust is the common medium of gambling, as well as of trade, so much is accidentally dropped in weighing and delivering that at some cock-pits, where the resort of people is great, the sweepings are said, probably with exaggeration, to be worth upwards of a thousand dollars per annum to the owner of the ground; beside his profit of two fanams (five pence) for each battle.


In some places they match quails, in the manner of cocks. These fight with great inveteracy, and endeavour to seize each other by the tongue. The Achinese bring also into combat the dial-bird (murei) which resembles a small magpie, but has an agreeable though imperfect note. They sometimes engage one another on the wing, and drop to the ground in the struggle.


They have other diversions of a more innocent nature. Matches of fencing, or a species of tournament, are exhibited on particular days; as at the breaking up of their annual fast, or month of ramadan, called there the puasa. On these occasions they practise strange attitudes, with violent contortions of the body, and often work themselves up to a degree of frenzy, when the old men step in and carry them off. These exercises in some circumstances resemble the idea which the ancients have given us of the pyrrhic or war dance; the combatants moving at a distance from each other in cadence, and making many turns and springs unnecessary in the representation of a real combat. This entertainment is more common among the Malays than in the country. The chief weapons of offence used by these people are the kujur or lance and the kris. This last is properly Malayan, but in all parts of the island they have a weapon equivalent, though in general less curious in its structure, wanting that waving in the blade for which the kris is remarkable, and approaching nearer to daggers or knives.

Among their exercises we never observe jumping or running. They smile at the Europeans, who in their excursions take so many unnecessary leaps. The custom of going barefoot may be a principal impediment to this practice in a country overrun with thorny shrubs, and where no fences occur to render it a matter of expediency.


They have a diversion similar to that described by Homer as practised among the Phaeacians, which consists in tossing an elastic wicker ball or round basket of split rattans into the air, and from one player to another, in a peculiar manner. This game is called by the Malays sipak raga, or, in the dialect of Bencoolen, chipak rago, and is played by a large party standing in an extended circle, who endeavour to keep up the ball by striking it either perpendicularly, in order to receive it again, or obliquely to some other person of the company, with the foot or the hand, the heel or the toe, the knee, the shoulder, the head, or with any other part of the body; the merit appearing to consist in producing the effect in the least obvious or most whimsical manner; and in this sport many of them attain an extraordinary degree of expertness. Among the plates of Lord Macartney's Embassy will be found the representation of a similar game, as practised by the natives of Cochin­china.


The Sumatrans, and more particularly the Malays, are much attached, in common with many other eastern people, to the custom of smoking opium. The poppy which produces it not growing on the island, it is annually imported from Bengal in considerable quantities, in chests containing a hundred and forty pounds each. It is made up in cakes of five or six pounds weight, and packed with dried leaves; in which situation it will continue good and vendible for two years, but after that period grows hard and diminishes considerably in value. It is of a darker colour, and is supposed to have less strength than the Turkey opium. About a hundred and fifty chests are consumed annually on the west coast of Sumatra, where it is purchased, on an average, at three hundred dollars the chest, and sold again in smaller quantities at five or six. But on occasions of extraordinary scarcity I have known it to sell for its weight in silver, and a single chest to fetch upwards of three thousand dollars.


The method of preparing it for use is as follows. The raw opium is first boiled or seethed in a copper vessel; then strained through a cloth to free it from impurities; and then a second time boiled. The leaf of the tambaku, shred fine, is mixed with it, in a quantity sufficient to absorb the whole; and it is afterwards made up into small pills, about the size of a pea, for smoking. One of these being put into the small tube that projects from the side of the opium pipe, that tube is applied to a lamp, and the pill being lighted is consumed at one whiff or inflation of the lungs, attended with a whistling noise. The smoke is never emitted by the mouth, but usually receives vent through the nostrils, and sometimes, by adepts, through the passage of the ears and eyes. This preparation of the opium is called maddat, and is often adulterated in the process by mixing jaggri, or pine sugar, with it; as is the raw opium, by incorporating with it the fruit of the pisang or plantain.


The use of opium among these people, as that of intoxicating liquors among other nations, is a species of luxury which all ranks adopt according to their ability, and which, when once become habitual, it is almost impossible to shake off. Being however like other luxuries expensive, few only among the lower or middling class of people can compass the regular enjoyment of it, even where its use is not restrained, as it is among the pepper-planters, to the times of their festivals. That the practice of smoking opium must be in some degree prejudicial to the health is highly probable; yet I am inclined to think that effects have been attributed to it much more pernicious to the constitution than it in reality causes. The bugis soldiers and others in the Malay bazaars whom we see most attached to it, and who use it to excess, commonly appear emaciated; but they are in other respects abandoned and debauched. The Limun and Batang Assei gold-traders, on the contrary, who are an active, laborious class of men but yet indulge as freely in opium as any others whatever, are notwithstanding the most healthy and vigorous people to be met with on the island. It has been usual also to attribute to the practice destructive consequences of another nature from the frenzy it has been supposed to excite in those who take it in quantities. But this should probably rank with the many errors that mankind have been led into by travellers addicted to the marvellous; and there is every reason to believe that the furious quarrels, desperate assassinations, and sanguinary attacks, which the use of opium is said to give birth to, are idle notions, originally adopted through ignorance and since maintained from the mere want of investigation, without having any solid foundation. It is not to be controverted, that those desperate acts of indiscriminate murder, called by us mucks, and by the natives mengamok, do actually take place, and frequently too in some parts of the East (in Java in particular) but it is not equally evident that they proceed from any intoxication except that of their unruly passions. Too often they are occasioned by excess of cruelty and injustice in their oppressors. On the west coast of Sumatra about twenty thousand pounds weight of this drug are consumed annually, yet instances of this crime do not happen (at least within the scope of our knowledge) above once in two or three years. During my residence there I had an opportunity of being an eyewitness but to one muck. The slave of a Portuguese woman, a man of the island of Nias, who in all probability had never handled an opium pipe in his life, being treated by his mistress with extreme severity for a trifling offence, vowed he would have revenge if she attempted to strike him again, and ran down the steps of the house with a knife in each hand, as it is said. She cried out, mengamok! The civil guard was called, who, having the power in these cases of exercising summary justice, fired half a dozen rounds into an outhouse where the unfortunate wretch had sheltered himself on their approach, and from whence he was at length dragged, covered with wounds. Many other mucks might perhaps be found, upon scrutiny, of the nature of the foregoing, where a man of strong feelings was driven by excess of injury to domestic rebellion.

It is true that the Malays, when in a state of war they are bent on any daring enterprise, fortify themselves with a few whiffs of opium to render them insensible to danger, as the people of another nation are said to take a dram for the same purpose; but it must be observed that the resolution for the act precedes, and is not the effect of, the intoxication. They take the same precaution previous to being led to public execution; but on these occasions show greater signs of stupidity than frenzy. Upon the whole it may be reasonably concluded that the sanguinary achievements, for which the Malays have been famous, or infamous rather, in history, are more justly to be attributed to the natural ferocity of their disposition, or to the influence upon their manners of a particular state of society, than to the qualities of any drug whatever. The pretext of the soldiers of the country-guard for using opium is that it may render them watchful on their nightly posts: we on the contrary administer it to procure sleep, and according to the quantity it has either effect. The delirium it produces is known to be so very pleasing that Pope has supposed this to have been designed by Homer when he describes the delicious draught prepared by Helen, called nepenthe, which exhilarated the spirits and banished from the mind the recollection of woe.

It is remarkable that at Batavia, where the assassins just now described, when taken alive, are broken on the wheel, with every aggravation of punishment that the most rigorous justice can inflict, the mucks yet happen in great frequency, whilst at Bencoolen, where they are executed in the most simple and expeditious manner, the offence is extremely rare. Excesses of severity in punishment may deter men from deliberate and interested acts of villainy, but they add fuel to the atrocious enthusiasm of desperadoes.


A further proof of the influence that mild government has upon the manners of people is that the piratical adventures so common on the eastern coast of the island are unknown on the western. Far from our having apprehensions of the Malays, the guards at the smaller English settlements are almost entirely composed of them, with a mixture of Bugis or Makasar people. Europeans, attended by Malays only, are continually travelling through the country. They are the only persons employed in carrying treasure to distant places; in the capacity of secretaries for the country correspondence; as civil officers in seizing delinquents among the planters and elsewhere; and as masters and supercargoes of the tambangans, praws, and other small coasting vessels. So great is the effect of moral causes and habit upon a physical character esteemed the most treacherous and sanguinary.




Whether to blunt the edge of painful reflection, or owing to an aversion our natures have to total inaction, most nations have been addicted to the practice of enjoying by mastication or otherwise the flavour of substances possessing an inebriating quality. The South Americans chew the cocoa and mambee, and the eastern people the betel and areca, or, as they are called in the Malay language, sirih and pinang. This custom has been accurately described by various writers, and therefore it is almost superfluous to say more on the subject than that the Sumatrans universally use it, carry the ingredients constantly about them, and serve it to their guests on all occasions--the prince in a gold stand, and the poor man in a brass box or mat bag. The betel-stands of the better rank of people are usually of silver embossed with rude figures. The Sultan of Moco-moco was presented with one by the India Company, with their arms on it; and he possesses beside another of gold filigree. The form of the stand is the frustum of a hexagonal pyramid reversed, about six or eight inches in diameter. It contains many smaller vessels fitted to the angles, for holding the nut, leaf, and chunam, which is quicklime made from calcined shells; with places for the instruments (kachip) employed in cutting the first, and spatulas for spreading the last.

When the first salutation is over, which consists in bending the body, and the inferior's putting his joined hands between those of the superior, and then lifting them to his forehead, the betel is presented as a token of hospitality and an act of politeness. To omit it on the one hand or to reject it on the other would be an affront; as it would be likewise in a person of subordinate rank to address a great man without the precaution of chewing it before he spoke. All the preparation consists in spreading on the sirih leaf a small quantity of the chunam and folding it up with a slice of the pinang nut. Some mix with these gambir, which is a substance prepared from the leaves of a tree of that name by boiling their juices to a consistence, and made up into little balls or squares, as before spoken of: tobacco is likewise added, which is shred fine for the purpose, and carried between the lip and upper row of teeth. From the mastication of the first three proceeds a juice which tinges the saliva of a bright red, and which the leaf and nut, without the chunam, will not yield. This hue being communicated to the mouth and lips is esteemed ornamental; and an agreeable flavour is imparted to the breath. The juice is usually (after the first fermentation produced by the lime) though not always swallowed by the chewers of betel. We might reasonably suppose that its active qualities would injure the coats of the stomach, but experience seems to disprove such a consequence. It is common to see the teeth of elderly persons stand loose in the gums, which is probably the effect of this custom, but I do not think that it affects the soundness of the teeth themselves. Children begin to chew betel very young, and yet their teeth are always beautifully white till pains are taken to disfigure them by filing and staining them black. To persons who are not habituated to the composition it causes a strong giddiness, astringes and excoriates the tongue and fauces, and deadens for a time the faculty of taste. During the puasa, or fast of ramadan, the Mahometans among them abstain from the use of betel whilst the sun continues above the horizon; but excepting at this season it is the constant luxury of both sexes from an early period of childhood, till, becoming toothless, they are reduced to the necessity of having the ingredients previously reduced to a paste for them, that without further effort the betel may dissolve in the mouth. Along with the betel, and generally in the chunam, is the mode of conveying philtres, or love charms. How far they prove effectual I cannot take upon me to say, but suppose that they are of the nature of our stimulant medicines, and that the direction of the passion is of course indiscriminate. The practice of administering poison in this manner is not followed in latter times; but that the idea is not so far eradicated as entirely to prevent suspicion appears from this circumstance, that the guest, though taking a leaf from the betel-service of his entertainer, not unfrequently applies to it his own chunam, and never omits to pass the former between his thumb and forefinger in order to wipe off any extraneous matter. This mistrustful procedure is so common as not to give offence.


Beside the mode before-mentioned of enjoying the flavour of tobacco it is also smoked by the natives and for this use--after shredding it fine whilst green and drying it well it is rolled up in the thin leaves of a tree, and is in that form called roko, a word they appear to have borrowed from the Dutch. The rokos are carried in the betel-box, or more commonly under the destar or handkerchief which, in imitation of a turband, surrounds the head. Much tobacco is likewise imported from China and sells at a high price. It seems to possess a greater pungency than the Sumatran plant, which the people cultivate for their own use in the interior parts of the island.


The custom of sending emblematical presents in order to make known, in a covert manner, the birth, progress, or change of certain affections of the mind, prevails here, as in some other parts of the East; and not only flowers of various kinds have their appropriate meaning, but also cayenne-pepper, betel-leaf, salt, and other articles are understood by adepts to denote love, jealousy, resentment, hatred, and other strong feelings.


The Sumatrans in general are good speakers. The gift of oratory seems natural to them. I knew many among them whose harangues I have listened to with pleasure and admiration. This may be accounted for perhaps from the constitution of their government, which being far removed from despotism seems to admit, in some degree, every member of the society to a share in the public deliberations. Where personal endowments, as has been observed, will often raise a private man to a share of importance in the community,superior to that of a nominal chief, there is abundant inducement for the acquisition of these valuable talents. The forms of their judicial proceedings likewise, where there are no established advocates and each man depends upon his own or his friend's abilities for the management of his cause, must doubtless contribute to this habitual eloquence. We may add to these conjectures the nature of their domestic manners, which introduce the sons at an early period of life into the business of the family, and the counsels of their elders. There is little to be perceived among them of that passion for childish sports which marks the character of our boys from the seventh to the fourteenth year. In Sumatra you may observe infants, not exceeding the former age, full dressed and armed with a kris, seated in the circle of the old men of the dusun, and attending to their debates with a gravity of countenance not surpassed by their grandfathers. Thus initiated they are qualified to deliver an opinion in public at a time of life when an English schoolboy could scarcely return an answer to a question beyond the limits of his grammar or syntax, which he has learned by rote. It is not a little unaccountable that this people, who hold the art of speaking in such high esteem, and evidently pique themselves on the attainment of it, should yet take so much pains to destroy the organs of speech in filing down and otherwise disfiguring their teeth; and likewise adopt the uncouth practice of filling their mouths with betel whenever they prepare to hold forth. We must conclude that it is not upon the graces of elocution they value an orator, but his artful and judicious management of the subject matter; together with a copiousness of phrase, a perspicuity of thought, an advantageous arrangement, and a readiness, especially, at unravelling the difficulties and intricacies of their suits.


The curse entailed on women in the article of child-bearing does not fall so heavy in this as in the northern countries. Their pregnancy scarcely at any period prevents their attendance on the ordinary domestic duties; and usually within a few hours after their delivery they walk to the bathing-place, at a small distance from the house. The presence of a sage femme is often esteemed superfluous. The facility of parturition may probably be owing to the relaxation of the frame from the warmth of the climate; to which cause also may be attributed the paucity of children borne by the Sumatran women and the early decay of their beauty and strength. They have the tokens of old age at a season of life when European women have not passed their prime. They are like the fruits of the country, soon ripe and soon decayed. They bear children before fifteen, are generally past it at thirty, and grey-headed and shrivelled at forty. I do not recollect hearing of any woman who had six children except the wife of Raddin of Madura, who had more; and she, contrary to the universal custom, did not give suck to hers.


Mothers carry the children not on the arm, as our nurses do, but straddling on the hip, and usually supported by a cloth which ties in a knot on the opposite shoulder. This practice I have been told is common in some parts of Wales. It is much safer than the other method, less tiresome to the nurse, and the child has the advantage of sitting in a less constrained posture: but the defensive armour of stays, and offensive weapons called pins, might be some objection to the general introduction of the fashion in England. The children are nursed but little, not confined by any swathing or bandages, and, being suffered to roll about the floor, soon learn to walk and shift for themselves. When cradles are used they are swung suspended from the ceiling of the rooms.


The country people can very seldom give an account of their age, being entirely without any species of chronology. Among those country people who profess themselves Mahometans to very few is the date of the Hejra known; and even of those who in their writings make use of it not one in ten can pronounce in what year of it he was born. After a few taun padi (harvests) are elapsed they are bewildered in regard to the date of an event, and only guess at it from some contemporary circumstance of notoriety, as the appointment of a particular dupati, the incursion of a certain enemy, or the like. As far as can be judged from observation it would seem that not a great proportion of the men attain to the age of fifty, and sixty years is accounted a long life.


The children among the Rejangs have generally a name given to them by their parents soon after their birth, which is called namo daging. The galar (cognomen), another species of name, or title, as we improperly translate it, is bestowed at a subsequent, but not at any determinate, period: sometimes as the lads rise to manhood, at an entertainment given by the parent, on some particular occasion; and often at their marriage. It is generally conferred by the old men of the neighbouring villages, when assembled; but instances occur of its being irregularly assumed by the persons themselves; and some never obtain any galar. It is also not unusual, at a convention held on business of importance, to change the galar of one or two of the principal personages to others of superior estimation; though it is not easy to discover in what this pre-eminence consists, the appellations being entirely arbitrary, at the fancy of those who confer them: perhaps in the loftier sound, or more pompous allusion in the sense, which latter is sometimes carried to an extraordinary pitch of bombast, as in the instance of Pengunchang bumi, or Shaker of the World, the title of a pangeran of Manna. But a climax is not always perceptible in the change.


The father, in many parts of the country, particularly in Passummah, is distinguished by the name of his first child, as Pa-Ladin, or Pa-Rindu (Pa for bapa, signifying the father of), and loses in this acquired his own proper name. This is a singular custom, and surely less conformable to the order of nature than that which names the son from the father. There it is not usual to give them a galar on their marriage, as with the Rejangs, among whom the filionymic is not so common, though sometimes adopted, and occasionally joined with the galar; as Radin-pa-Chirano. The women never change the name given them at the time of their birth; yet frequently they are called, through courtesy, from their eldest child, Ma-si-ano, the mother of such a one; but rather as a polite description than a name. The word or particle Si is prefixed to the birth-names of persons, which almost ever consist of but a single word, as Si Bintang, Si Tolong; and we find from Captain Forrest's voyage that in the island of Mindanao the infant son of the Raja Muda was named Se Mama.


A Sumatran ever scrupulously abstains from pronouncing his own name; not as I understand from any motive of superstition, but merely as a punctilio in manners. It occasions him infinite embarrassment when a stranger, unacquainted with their customs, requires it of him. As soon as he recovers from his confusion he solicits the interposition of his neighbour.


He is never addressed, except in the case of a superior dictating to his dependant, in the second person, but always in the third; using his name or title instead of the pronoun; and when these are unknown a general title of respect is substituted, and they say, for instance, apa orang kaya punia suka, what is his honour's pleasure for what is your, or your honour's pleasure? When criminals or other ignominious persons are spoken to use is made of the pronoun personal kau (a contraction of angkau) particularly expressive of contempt. The idea of disrespect annexed to the use of the second person in discourse, though difficult to be accounted for, seems pretty general in the world. The Europeans, to avoid the supposed indecorum, exchange the singular number for the plural; but I think with less propriety of effect than the Asiatic mode; if to take off from the bluntness of address be the object aimed at.


The boys are circumcised, where Mahometanism prevails, between the sixth and tenth year. The ceremony is called krat kulop and buang or lepas malu (casting away their shame), and a bimbang is usually given on the occasion; as well as at the ceremony of boring the ears and filing the teeth of their daughters (before described), which takes place at about the age of ten or twelve; and until this is performed they cannot with propriety be married.


At their funerals the corpse is carried to the place of interment on a broad plank, which is kept for the public service of the dusun, and lasts for many generations. It is constantly rubbed with lime, either to preserve it from decay or to keep it pure. No coffin is made use of; the body being simply wrapped in white cloth, particularly of the sort called hummums. In forming the grave (kubur), after digging to a convenient depth they make a cavity in the side, at bottom, of sufficient dimensions to contain the body, which is there deposited on its right side. By this mode the earth literally lies light upon it; and the cavity, after strewing flowers in it, they stop up by two boards fastened angularly to each other, so that the one is on the top of the corpse, whilst the other defends it on the open side, the edge resting on the bottom of the grave. The outer excavation is then filled up with earth, and little white flags or streamers are stuck in order around. They likewise plant a shrub, bearing a white flower, called kumbang­kamboja (Plumeria obtusa), and in some places wild marjoram. The women who attend the funeral make a hideous noise, not much unlike the Irish howl. On the third and seventh day the relations perform a ceremony at the grave, and at the end of twelve months that of tegga batu, or setting up a few long elliptical stones at the head and foot, which, being scarce in some parts of the country, bear a considerable price. On this occasion they kill and feast on a buffalo, and leave the head to decay on the spot as a token of the honour they have done to the deceased, in eating to his memory.* The ancient burying-places are called krammat, and are supposed to have been those of the holy men by whom their ancestors were converted to the faith. They are held in extraordinary reverence, and the least disturbance or violation of the ground, though all traces of the graves be obliterated, is regarded as an unpardonable sacrilege.

(*Footnote. The above ceremonies (with the exception of the last) are briefly described in the following lines, extracted from a Malayan poem.

Setelah sudah de tangisi, nia Lalu de kubur de tanamkan 'nia De ambel koran de ajikan 'nia Sopaya lepas deri sangsara 'nia Mengaji de kubur tujuh ari Setelah de khatam tiga kali Sudah de tegga batu sakali Membayer utang pada si-mati.)


In works descriptive of the manners of people little known to the world the account of their religion usually constitutes an article of the first importance. Mine will labour under the contrary disadvantage. The ancient and genuine religion of the Rejangs, if in fact they ever had any, is scarcely now to be traced; and what principally adds to its obscurity, and the difficulty of getting information on the subject, is that even those among them who have not been initiated in the principles of Mahometanism yet regard those who have as persons advanced a step in knowledge beyond them, and therefore hesitate to own circumstantially that they remain still unenlightened. Ceremonies are fascinating to mankind, and without comprehending with what views they were instituted the profanum vulgus naturally give them credit for something mysterious and above their capacities, and accordingly pay them a tribute of respect. With Mahometanism a more extensive field of knowledge (I speak in comparison) is open to its converts, and some additional notions of science are conveyed. These help to give it importance, though it must be confessed they are not the most pure tenets of that religion which have found their way to Sumatra; nor are even the ceremonial parts very scrupulously adhered to. Many who profess to follow it give themselves not the least concern about its injunctions, or even know what they require. A Malay at Manna upbraided a countryman with the total ignorance of religion his nation laboured under. "You pay a veneration to the tombs of your ancestors: what foundation have you for supposing that your dead ancestors can lend you assistance?" "It may be true," answered the other, "but what foundation have you for expecting assistance from Allah and Mahomet?" "Are you not aware, replied the Malay, that it is written in a Book? Have you not heard of the Koran?" The native of Passummah, with conscious inferiority, submitted to the force of this argument.

If by religion is meant a public or private form of worship of any kind, and if prayers, processions, meetings, offerings, images, or priests are any of them necessary to constitute it, I can pronounce that the Rejangs are totally without religion and cannot with propriety be even termed pagans, if that, as I apprehend, conveys the idea of mistaken worship. They neither worship God, devil, nor idols. They are not however without superstitious beliefs of many kinds, and have certainly a confused notion, though perhaps derived from their intercourse with other people, of some species of superior beings who have the power of rendering themselves visible or invisible at pleasure. These they call orang alus, fine, or impalpable beings, and regard them as possessing the faculty of doing them good or evil, deprecating their wrath as the sense of present misfortunes or apprehension of future prevails in their minds. But when they speak particularly of them they call them by the appellations of maleikat and jin, which are the angels and evil spirits of the Arabians, and the idea may probably have been borrowed at the same time with the names. These are the powers they also refer to in an oath. I have heard a dupati say, "My grandfather took an oath that he would not demand the jujur of that woman, and imprecated a curse on any of his descendants that should do it: I never have, nor could I without salah kapada maleikat--an offence against the angels." Thus they say also, de talong nabi, maleikat, the prophet and angels assisting. This is pure Mahometanism.


The clearest proof that they never entertained an idea of Theism or the belief of one supreme power is that they have no word in their language to express the person of God, except the Allah tala of the Malays, corrupted by them to Ulah tallo. Yet when questioned on the subject they assert their ancestors' knowledge of a deity, though their thoughts were never employed about him; but this evidently means no more than that their forefathers as well as themselves had heard of the Allah of the Mahometans (Allah orang islam).


They use, both in Rejang and Passummah, the word dewa to express a superior invisible class of beings; but each country acknowledges it to be of foreign derivation, and they suppose it Javanese. Radin, of Madura, an island close to Java, who was well conversant with the religious opinions of most nations, asserted to me that dewa was an original word of that country for a superior being, which the Javans of the interior believed in, but with regard to whom they used no ceremonies or forms of worship:* that they had some idea of a future life, but not as a state of retribution, conceiving immortality to be the lot of rich rather than of good men. I recollect that an inhabitant of one of the islands farther eastward observed to me, with great simplicity, that only great men went to the skies; how should poor men find admittance there? The Sumatrans, where untinctured with Mahometanism, do not appear to have any notion of a future state. Their conception of virtue or vice extends no farther than to the immediate effect of actions to the benefit or prejudice of society, and all such as tend not to either of these ends are in their estimation perfectly indifferent.

(*Footnote. In the Transactions of the Batavian Society Volumes 1 and 3 is to be found a History of these Dewas of the Javans, translated from an original manuscript. The mythology is childish and incoherent. The Dutch commentator supposes them to have been a race of men held sacred, forming a species of Hierarchy, like the government of the Lamas in Tartary.)

Notwithstanding what is asserted of the originality of the word dewa, I cannot help remarking its extreme affinity to the Persian word div or diw, which signifies an evil spirit or bad genius. Perhaps, long antecedent to the introduction of the faith of the khalifs among the eastern people, this word might have found its way and been naturalized in the islands; or perhaps its progress was in a contrary direction. It has likewise a connexion in sound with the names used to express a deity or some degree of superior being by many other people of this region of the earth. The Battas, inhabitants of the northern end of Sumatra, whom I shall describe hereafter, use the word daibattah or daivattah; the Chingalese of Ceylon dewiju, the Telingas of India dai-wundu, the Biajus of Borneo dewattah, the Papuas of New Guinea 'wat, and the Pampangos of the Philippines diuata. It bears likewise an affinity (perhaps accidental) to the deus and deitas of the Romans.*

(*Footnote. At the period when the above was written I was little aware of the intimate connexion now well understood to have anciently subsisted between the Hindus and the various nations beyond the Ganges. The most evident proofs appear of the extensive dissemination both of their language and mythology throughout Sumatra, Java, Balli (where at this day they are best preserved), and the other eastern islands. To the Sanskrit words dewa and dewata, signifying divinities in that great mother-tongue, we are therefore to look for the source of the terms, more or less corrupted, that have been mentioned in the text. See Asiatic Researches Volume 4 page 223.)


The superstition which has the strongest influence on the minds of the Sumatrans, and which approaches the nearest to a species of religion, is that which leads them to venerate, almost to the point of worshipping, the tombs and manes of their deceased ancestors (nenek puyang). These they are attached to as strongly as to life itself, and to oblige them to remove from the neighbourhood of their krammat is like tearing up a tree by the roots; these the more genuine country people regard chiefly, when they take a solemn oath, and to these they apostrophise in instances of sudden calamity. Had they the art of making images or other representations of them they would be perfect lares, penates, or household gods. It has been asserted to me by the natives (conformably to what we are told by some of the early travellers) that in very ancient times the Sumatrans made a practice of burning the bodies of their dead, but I could never find any traces of the custom, or any circumstances that corroborated it.


They have an imperfect notion of a metempsychosis, but not in any degree systematic, nor considered as an article of religious faith. Popular stories prevail amongst them of such a particular man being changed into a tiger or other beast. They seem to think indeed that tigers in general are actuated with the spirits of departed men, and no consideration will prevail on a countryman to catch or to wound one but in self-defence, or immediately after the act of destroying a friend or relation. They speak of them with a degree of awe, and hesitate to call them by their common name (rimau or machang), terming them respectfully satwa (the wild animals), or even nenek (ancestors), as really believing them such, or by way of soothing and coaxing them; as our ignorant country folk call the fairies the good people. When a European procures traps to be set, by the means of persons less superstitious, the inhabitants of the neighbourhood have been known to go at night to the place and practise some forms in order to persuade the animal, when caught, or when he shall perceive the bait, that it was not laid by them, or with their consent. They talk of a place in the country where the tigers have a court and maintain a regular form of government, in towns, the houses of which are thatched with women's hair. It happened that in one month seven or eight people were killed by these prowling beasts in Manna district; upon which a report became current that fifteen hundred of them were come down from Passummah, of which number four were without understanding (gila), and having separated from the rest ran about the country occasioning all the mischief that was felt. The alligators also are highly destructive, owing to the constant practice of bathing in the rivers, and are regarded with nearly the same degree of religious terror. Fear is the parent of superstition, by ignorance. Those two animals prove the Sumatran's greatest scourge. The mischief the former commit is incredible, whole villages being often depopulated by them, and the suffering people learn to reverence as supernatural effects the furious ravages of an enemy they have not resolution to oppose.

The Sumatrans are firmly persuaded that various particular persons are what they term betuah (sacred, impassive, invulnerable, not liable to accident), and this quality they sometimes extend to things inanimate, as ships and boats. Such an opinion, which we should suppose every man might have an opportunity of bringing to the test of truth, affords a humiliating proof of the weakness and credulity of human nature, and the fallibility of testimony, when a film of prejudice obscures the light of the understanding. I have known two men, whose honesty, good faith, and reasonableness in the general concerns of life were well established, and whose assertions would have weight in transactions of consequence: these men I have heard maintain, with the most deliberate confidence and an appearance of inward conviction of their own sincerity, that they had more than once in the course of their wars attempted to run their weapons into the naked body of their adversary, which they found impenetrable, their points being continually and miraculously turned without any effort on the part of the orang betuah: and that hundreds of instances of the like nature, where the invulnerable man did not possess the smallest natural means of opposition, had come within their observation. An English officer, with more courage and humour than discretion, exposed one imposture of this kind. A man having boasted in his presence that he was endowed with this supernatural privilege, the officer took an opportunity of applying to his arm the point of a sword and drew the blood, to the no little diversion of the spectators, and mortification of the pretender to superior gifts, who vowed revenge, and would have taken it had not means been used to keep him at a distance. But a single detection of charlatanerie is not effectual to destroy a prevalent superstition. These impostors are usually found among the Malays and not the more simple country people.


No attempts, I have reason to think, have ever been made by missionaries or others to convert the inhabitants of the island to Christianity, and I have much doubt whether the most zealous and able would meet with any permanent success in this pious work. Of the many thousands baptized in the eastern islands by the celebrated Francis Xavier in the sixteenth century not one of their descendants are now found to retain a ray of the light imparted to them; and probably, as it was novelty only and not conviction that induced the original converts to embrace a new faith, the impression lasted no longer than the sentiment which recommended it, and disappeared as rapidly as the itinerant apostle. Under the influence however of the Spanish government at Manila and of the Dutch at Batavia there are many native Christians, educated as such from children. In the Malayan language Portuguese and Christians are confounded under the same general name; the former being called orang Zerani, by corruption for Nazerani. This neglect of missions to Sumatra is one cause that the interior of the country has been so little known to the civilized world.



Having thus far spoken of the manners and customs of the Rejangs more especially, and adverted, as occasion served, to those of the Passummah people, who nearly resemble them, I shall now present a cursory view of those circumstances in which their southern neighbours, the inhabitants of the Lampong country, differ from them, though this dissimilitude is not very considerable; and shall add such information as I have been enabled to obtain respecting the people of Korinchi and other tribes dwelling beyond the ranges of hills which bound the pepper-districts.


By the Lampong country is understood a portion of the southern extreme of the island, beginning, on the west coast, at the river of Padang-guchi, which divides it from Passummah, and extending across as far as Palembang, on the north-east side, at which last place the settlers are mostly Javans. On the south and east sides it is washed by the sea, having several ports in the Straits of Sunda, particularly Keysers and Lampong Bays; and the great river Tulang-bawang runs through the heart of it, rising from a considerable lake between the ranges of mountains. That division which is included by Padang-guchi, and a place called Nassal, is distinguished by the name of Briuran, and from thence southward to Flat Point, by that of Laut-Kawur; although Kawur, properly so called, lies in the northern division.


Upon the Tulang-bawang, at a place called Mangala, thirty-six leagues from its mouth, the Dutch have a fortified post. There also the representative of the king of Bantam, who claims the dominion of the whole country of Lampong, has his residence, the river Masusi, which runs into the former, being the boundary of his territories and those of the sultan of Palembang. In the neighbourhood of these rivers the land is so low as to be overflowed in the rainy season, or months of January and February, when the waters have been known to rise many feet in the course of a few hours, the villages, situated on the higher spots, appearing as islands. The houses of those immediately on the banks are built on piles of ironwood timber, and each has before it a floating raft for the convenience of washing. In the western parts, towards Samangka, on the contrary, the land is mountainous, and Keyser's Peak, as well as Pugong, are visible to a great distance at sea.


The country is best inhabited in the central and mountainous parts, where the people live independent, and in some measure secure from the inroads of their eastern neighbours, the Javans, who, from about Palembang and the Straits, frequently attempt to molest them. It is probably within but a very few centuries that the south-west coast of this country has been the habitation of any considerable number of people; and it has been still less visited by strangers, owing to the unsheltered nature of the sea thereabouts, and want of soundings in general, which renders the navigation wild and dangerous for country vessels; and to the rivers being small and rapid, with shallow bars and almost ever a high surf. If you ask the people of these parts from whence they originally came they answer, from the hills, and point out an inland place near the great lake from whence they say their forefathers emigrated: and further than this it is impossible to trace. They of all the Sumatrans have the strongest resemblance to the Chinese, particularly in the roundness of face and constructure of the eyes. They are also the fairest people of the island, and the women are the tallest and esteemed the most handsome.


Their language differs considerably, though not essentially, from that of the Rejangs, and the characters they use are peculiar to themselves, as may be observed in the specimens exhibited.


The titles of government are pangeran (from the Javans), kariyer, and kiddimong or nebihi; the latter nearly answering to dupati among the Rejangs. The district of Kroi, near Mount Pugong, is governed by five magistrates called Panggau-limo, and a sixth, superior, called by way of eminence Panggau; but their authority is said to be usurped and is often disputed. The word in common signifies a gladiator or prizefighter. The pangeran of Suko, in the hills, is computed to have four or five thousand dependants, and sometimes, on going a journey, he levies a tali, or eighth part of a dollar, on each family, which shows his authority to be more arbitrary and probably more strictly feudal than among the Rejangs, where the government is rather patriarchal. This difference has doubtless its source in the wars and invasions to which the former people are exposed.


The Javanese banditti, as has been observed, often advance into the country, and commit depredations on the inhabitants, who are not, in general, a match for them. They do not make use of firearms. Beside the common weapons of the island they fight with a long lance which is carried by three men, the foremost guiding the point and covering himself and his companions with a large shield. A compact body thus armed would have been a counterpart of the Macedonian phalanx, but can prove, I should apprehend, of but little use among a people with whom war is carried on in a desultory manner, and more in the way of ambuscade than of general engagement, in which alone troops so armed could act with effect.

Inland of Samangka, in the Straits of Sunda, there is a district, say the Lampongs, inhabited by a ferocious people called orang Abung, who were a terror to the neighbouring country until their villages were destroyed some years ago by an expedition from the former place. Their mode of atoning for offences against their own community, or, according to a Malayan narrative in my possession, of entitling themselves to wives, was by bringing to their dusuns the heads of strangers. The account may be true, but without further authentication such stories are not to be too implicitly credited on the faith of a people who are fond of the marvellous and addicted to exaggeration. Thus they believed the inhabitants of the island Engano to be all females, who were impregnated by the wind, like the mares in Virgil's Georgics.


The manners of the Lampongs are more free, or rather licentious, than those of any other native Sumatrans. An extraordinary liberty of intercourse is allowed between the young people of different sexes, and the loss of female chastity is not a very uncommon consequence. The offence is there however thought more lightly of, and instead of punishing the parties, as in Passummah and elsewhere, they prudently endeavour to conclude a legal match between them. But if this is not effected the lady still continues to wear the insignia of virginity, the fillet and arm-rings, and takes her place as such at festivals. It is not only on these public occasions that the young men and women have opportunities of forming arrangements, as in most other parts of the island. They frequently associate together at other times; and the former are seen gallantly reclining in the maiden's lap, whispering soft nonsense, whilst she adjusts and perfumes his hair, or does a friendly office of less delicacy to a European apprehension. At bimbangs the women often put on their dancing dress in the public hall, letting that garment which they mean to lay aside dexterously drop from under, as the other passes over the head, but sometimes, with an air of coquetry, displaying as if by chance enough to warm youthful imaginations. Both men and women anoint themselves before company when they prepare to dance; the women their necks and arms, and the men their breasts. They also paint each others faces; not, seemingly, with a view of heightening or imitating the natural charms, but merely as matter of fashion; making fantastic spots with the finger on the forehead, temples, and cheeks, of white, red, yellow, and other hues. A brass salver (tallam) covered with little china cups, containing a variety of paints, is served up for this purpose.

Instances have happened here, though rarely, of very disagreeable conclusions to their feasts. A party of risaus among the young fellows have been known suddenly to extinguish the lights for the purpose of robbing the girls, not of their chastity, as might be apprehended, but of the gold and silver ornaments of their persons. An outrage of this nature I imagine could only happen in Lampong, where their vicinity to Java affords the culprits easier and surer means of escape, than in the central parts of the island; and here too their companies appear to be more mixed, collected from greater distances, and not composed, as with the Rejang people, of a neighbourly assemblage of the old men and women of a few contiguous villages with their sons and daughters, for the sake of convivial mirth, of celebrating a particular domestic event, and promoting attachments and courtship amongst the young people.


In every dusun there is appointed a youth, well fitted by nature and education for the office, who acts as master of ceremonies at their public meetings, arranges the young men and women in their proper places, makes choice of their partners, and regulates all other circumstances of the assembly except the important economy of the festival part or cheer, which comes under the cognizance of one of the elders. Both parts of the entertainment are preceded by long complimentary speeches, delivered by the respective stewards, who in return are answered and complimented on their skill, liberality, and other qualities, by some of the best bred amongst the guests. Though the manner of conducting, and the appendages of these feasts, are superior in style to the rustic hospitality of some of the northern countries, yet they are esteemed to be much behind those in the goodness and mode of dressing their food. The Lampongs eat almost all kinds of flesh indiscriminately, and their guleis (curries or made dishes) are said, by connoisseurs, to have no flavour. They serve up the rice divided into portions for each person, contrary to the practice in the other countries; the tallam being covered with a handsome crimson napkin manufactured for that use. They are wont to entertain strangers with much more profusion than is met with in the rest of the island. If the guest is of any consequence they do not hesitate to kill, beside goats and fowls, a buffalo, or several, according to the period of his stay, and the number of his attendants. One man has been known to entertain a person of rank and his suite for sixteen days, during which time there were not less than a hundred dishes of rice spread each day, containing some one, some two bamboos. They have dishes here, of a species of china or earthenware, called batu benauang, brought from the eastward, remarkably heavy, and very dear, some of them being valued at forty dollars a piece. The breaking one of them is a family loss of no small importance.


Abundantly more ceremony is used among these people at interviews with strangers than takes place in the countries adjacent to them. Not only the chief person of a party travelling, but every one of his attendants, is obliged, upon arriving at a town, to give a formal account of their business, or occasion of coming that way. When the principal man of the dusun is acquainted by the stranger with the motives of his journey he repeats his speech at full length before he gives an answer; and if it is a person of great consequence, the words must pass through two or three mouths before they are supposed to come with sufficient ceremony to his ears. This in fact has more the air of adding to his own importance and dignity than to that of the guest; but it is not in Sumatra alone that respect is manifested by this seeming contradiction.

The terms of the jujur, or equivalent for wives, is the same here, nearly, as with the Rejangs. The kris-head is not essential to the bargain, as among the people of Passummah. The father of the girl never admits of the putus tali kulo, or whole sum being paid, and thereby withholds from the husband, in any case, the right of selling his wife, who, in the event of a divorce, returns to her relations. Where the putus tali is allowed to take place, he has a property in her, little differing from that of a slave, as formerly observed. The particular sums which constitute the jujur are less complex here than at other places. The value of the maiden's golden trinkets is nicely estimated, and her jujur regulated according to that and the rank of her parents. The semando marriage scarcely ever takes place but among poor people, where there is no property on either side, or in the case of a slip in the conduct of the female, when the friends are glad to make up a match in this way instead of demanding a price for her. Instances have occurred however of countrymen of rank affecting a semando marriage in order to imitate the Malayan manners; but it has been looked upon as improper and liable to create confusion.

The fines and compensation for murder are in every respect the same as in the countries already described.


The Mahometan religion has made considerable progress amongst the Lampongs, and most of their villages have mosques in them: yet an attachment to the original superstitions of the country induces them to regard with particular veneration the ancient burying-places of their fathers, which they piously adorn and cover in from the weather.


In some parts, likewise, they superstitiously believe that certain trees, particularly those of a venerable appearance (as an old jawi-jawi or banyan tree) are the residence, or rather the material frame of spirits of the woods; an opinion which exactly answers to the idea entertained by the ancients of the dryads and hamadryads. At Benkunat in the Lampong country there is a long stone, standing on a flat one, supposed by the people to possess extraordinary power or virtue. It is reported to have been once thrown down into the water and to have raised itself again to its original position, agitating the elements at the same time with a prodigious storm. To approach it without respect they believe to be the source of misfortune to the offender.

The inland people of that country are said to pay a kind of adoration to the sea, and to make to it an offering of cakes and sweetmeats on their beholding it for the first time, deprecating its power of doing them mischief. This is by no means surprising when we consider the natural proneness of unenlightened mankind to regard with superstitious awe whatever has the power of injuring them without control, and particularly when it is attended with any circumstances mysterious and inexplicable to their understandings. The sea possesses all these qualities. Its destructive and irresistible power is often felt, and especially on the coasts of India where tremendous surfs are constantly breaking on the shore, rising often to their greatest degree of violence without any apparent external cause. Add to this the flux and reflux and perpetual ordinary motion of that element, wonderful even to philosophers who are acquainted with the cause, unaccountable to ignorant men, though long accustomed to the effects; but to those who only once or twice in their lives have been eyewitnesses to the phenomena, supernatural and divine. It must not however be understood that anything like a regular worship is paid to the sea by these people, any more than we should conclude that people in England worship witches when they nail a horseshoe on the threshold to prevent their approach, or break the bottoms of eggshells to hinder them from sailing in them. It is with the inhabitants of Lampong no more than a temporary sentiment of fear and respect, which a little familiarity soon effaces. Many of them indeed imagine it endowed with a principle of voluntary motion. They tell a story of an ignorant fellow who, observing with astonishment its continual agitation, carried a vessel of sea water with him, on his return to the country, and poured it into a lake, in full expectation of seeing it perform the same fanciful motions he had admired it for in its native bed.*

(*Footnote. The manners of the natives of the Philippine or Luzon Islands correspond in so many striking particulars with those of the inland Sumatrans, and especially where they differ most from the Malays, that I think no doubt can be entertained, if not of a sameness of origin, at least of an intercourse and connection in former times which now no longer exists. The following instances are taken from an essay preserved by Thevenot, entitled Relation des Philippines par un religieux; traduite d'un manuscrit Espagnol du cabinet de Monsieur Dom. Carlo del Pezzo (without date), and from a manuscript communicated to me by Alex Dalrymple, Esquire. "The chief Deity of the Tagalas is called Bathala mei Capal, and also Diuata; and their principal idolatry consists in adoring those of their ancestors who signalised themselves for courage or abilities, calling them Humalagar, i.e. manes: They make slaves of the people who do not keep silence at the tombs of their ancestors. They have great veneration for the crocodile, which they call nono, signifying grandfather, and make offerings to it. Every old tree they look upon as a superior being, and think it a crime to cut it down. They worship also stones, rocks, and points of land, shooting arrows at these last as they pass them. They have priests who, at their sacrifices, make many contortions and grimaces, as if possessed with a devil. The first man and woman, they say, were produced from a bamboo, which burst in the island of Sumatra; and they quarrelled about their marriage. The people mark their bodies in various figures, and render them of the colour of ashes, have large holes in their ears, blacken and file their teeth, and make an opening which they fill up with gold, they used to write from top to bottom till the Spaniards taught them to write from left to right, bamboos and palm leaves serve them for paper. They cover their houses with straw, leaves of trees, or bamboos split in two which serve for tiles. They hire people to sing and weep at their funerals, burn benzoin, bury their dead on the third day in strong coffins, and sometimes kill slaves to accompany their deceased masters.")

The latter account is more particular, and appears of modern date.

They held the caiman, or alligator, in great reverence, and when they saw him they called him nono, or grandfather, praying with great tenderness that he would do them no harm, and to this end, offered him of whatever they had in their boats, throwing it into the water. There was not an old tree to which they did not offer divine worship, especially that called balete; and even at this time they have some respect for them. Beside these they had certain idols inherited from their ancestors, which the Tagalas called Anita, and the Bisayans, Divata. Some of these were for the mountains and plains, and they asked their leave when they would pass them: others for the corn fields, and to these they recommend them, that they might be fertile, placing meat and drink in the fields for the use of the Anitos. There was one, of the sea, who had care of their fishing and navigation; another of the house, whose favour they implored at the birth of a child, and under whose protection they placed it. They made Anitos also of their deceased ancestors, and to these were their first invocations in all difficulties and dangers. They reckoned amongst these beings, all those who were killed by lightning or alligators, or had any disastrous death, and believed that they were carried up to the happy state, by the rainbow, which they call Balan-gao. In general they endeavoured to attribute this kind of divinity to their fathers, when they died in years, and the old men, vain with this barbarous notion, affected in their sickness a gravity and composure of mind, as they conceived, more than human, because they thought themselves commencing Anitos. They were to be interred at places marked out by themselves, that they might be discovered at a distance and worshipped. The missionaries have had great trouble in demolishing their tombs and idols; but the Indians, inland, still continue the custom of pasing tabi sa nano, or asking permission of their dead ancestors, when they enter any wood, mountain, or corn field, for hunting or sowing; and if they omit this ceremony imagine their nonos will punish them with bad fortune.

Their notions of the creation of the world, and formation of mankind, had something ridiculously extravagant. They believed that the world at first consisted only of sky and water, and between these two, a glede; which, weary with flying about, and finding no place to rest, set the water at variance with the sky, which, in order to keep it in bounds, and that it should not get uppermost, loaded the water with a number of islands, in which the glede might settle and leave them at peace. Mankind, they said, sprang out of a large cane with two joints, that, floating about in the water, was at length thrown by the waves against the feet of the glede, as it stood on shore, which opened it with its bill, and the man came out of one joint, and the woman out of the other. These were soon after married by consent of their God, Batkala Meycapal, which caused the first trembling of the earth; and from thence are descended the different nations of the world."




At the back of the range of high mountains by which the countries of Indrapura and Anak-sungei are bounded lies the district or valley of Korinchi, which, from its secluded situation, has hitherto been little known to Europeans. In the year 1800 Mr. Charles Campbell, whose name I have had frequent occasion to mention, was led to visit this spot, in the laudable pursuit of objects for the improvement of natural history, and from his correspondence I shall extract such parts as I have reason to hope will be gratifying to the reader.


Says this indefatigable traveller:

The country of Korinchi first occupied my attention. From the sea-coast at Moco-moco to the foot of the mountains cost us three days' weary journey, and although our path was devious I cannot estimate the distance at less than thirty miles, for it was late on the fourth day when we began to ascend. Your conjecture that the ridge is broader betwixt the plains of Anak-sungei and valley of Korinchi than that which we see from Bencoolen is just. Our route in general lay north-east until we attained the summit of the first high range, from which elevated situation, through an opening in the wood, the Pagi or Nassau Islands were clearly visible. During the next day our course along the ridge of hills was a little to the northward of north­west, and for the two following days almost due north, through as noble a forest as was ever penetrated by man. On the evening of the last we descended by a steep and seemingly short path from the summit of the second range (for there are obviously two) into the Korinchi country.


This descent did not occupy us more than twenty minutes, so that the valley must lie at a great height above the level of the sea; but it was yet a few days march to the inhabited and cultivated land on the border of the great lake, which I conjecture to be situated directly behind Indrapura, or north-east from the mouth of that river. There are two lakes, but one of them is inconsiderable. I sailed for some time on the former, which may be nearly as broad as the strait between Bencoolen and Rat Island. My companions estimated it at seven miles; but the eye is liable to much deception, and, having seen nothing for many days but rivulets, the grandeur of the sheet of water, when it first burst upon our sight, perhaps induced us to form too high a notion of its extent. Its banks were studded with villages; it abounds with fish, particularly the summah, a species of cyprinus; its waters are clear and beautiful from the reflection of the black and shining sand which covers the bottom in many places to the depth of eight or ten inches.


The inhabitants are below the common stature of the Malays, with harder visages and higher cheekbones, well knit in their limbs, and active; not deficient in hospitality, but jealous of strangers. The women, excepting a few of the daughters of the chiefs, were in general ill­favoured, and even savage in their aspect. At the village of In-juan on the borders of the lake I saw some of them with rings of copper and shells among their hair; they wore destars round their heads like the men, and almost all of them had siwars or small daggers at their sides. They were not shut up or concealed from us, but mixed with our party, on the contrary, with much frankness.


The people dwell in hordes, many families being crowded together in one long building. That in which I lived gave shelter to twenty-five families. The front was one long undivided verandah, where the unmarried men slept; the back part was partitioned into small cabins, each of which had a round hole with a door to fit it, and through this the female inmates crept backwards and forwards in the most awkward manner and ridiculous posture. This house was in length two hundred and thirty feet, and elevated from the ground. Those belonging to the chiefs were smaller, well constructed of timber and plank, and covered with shingles or thin plates of board bound on with rattans, about the size and having much the appearance of our slates.


The dresses of the young women of rank were pretty enough. A large blue turband, woven with silver chains, which, meeting behind and crossing, were fastened to the earrings in festoons, decorated their heads. In this was placed a large plume of cock's feathers, bending forward over the face. The jacket was blue, of a silky texture, their own work, and bordered with small gold chain. The body-dress, likewise of their own weaving, was of cotton mingled with silk, richly striped and mixed with gold thread; but they wear it no lower than the knees. The youths of fashion were in a kind of harlequin habit, the forepart of the trousers white, the back-part blue; their jacket after the same fashion. They delighted much in an instrument made from some part of the iju palm-tree, which resembled and produced a sound like the jews-harp.


Their domestic economy (I speak of the houses of the chiefs) seemed better regulated than it generally is in these countries; they seemed tolerably advanced in the art of cookery, and had much variety of food; such as the flesh of deer, which they take in rattan snares, wild ducks, abounding on the lake; green pigeons, quails innumerable; and a variety of fish beside the summah already mentioned, and the ikan gadis, a species of carp which attains to a greater size here than in the rivers.


The potato, which was introduced there many years ago, is now a common article of food, and cultivated with some attention. Their plantations supply many esculent herbs, fruits, and roots; but the coconut, although reared as a curiosity, is abortive in these inland regions, and its place is supplied by the buah kras (Juglans camirium), of which they also make their torches. Excellent tobacco is grown there, also cotton and indigo, the small leafed kind. They get some silk from Palembang, and rear a little themselves. The communication is more frequent with the north-west shore than with the eastern, and of late, since the English have been settled at Pulo Chinco, they prefer going there for opium to the more tedious (though less distant) journey by which they formerly sought it at Moco-moco.


In their cockpits the gold-scales are frequent, and I have seen considerable quantities weighed out by the losers. This metal, I am informed, they get in their own country, although they studiously evaded all inquiries on the subject.


They make gunpowder, and it is a common sport among the young boys to fire it out of bamboos. In order to increase its strength, in their opinion, they mingle it with pepper-dust.


In a small recess on the margin of the lake, overhung with very rugged cliffs and accessible only by water, I saw one of those receptacles of misery to which the leprous and others afflicted with diseases supposed to be contagious are banished. I landed much against the remonstrances of my conductors, who would not quit the boat. There were in all seven of these unfortunate people basking on the beach and warming the wretched remains of their bodies in the sun. They were fed at stated periods by the joint contribution of the neighbouring villages, and I was given to understand that any attempt to quit this horrid exile was punished with death.


I had little time for botanizing; but I found there many plants unknown to the lowlands. Among them were a species of prune, the water-hemlock, and the strawberry. This last was like that species which grows in our woods; but it was insipid. I brought the roots with me to Fort Marlborough, where it lingered a year or two after fruiting and gradually died.* I found there also a beautiful kind of the Hedychium coronarium, now ranked among the kaempferias. It was of a pale orange, and had a most grateful odour. The girls wear it in their hair, and its beautiful head of lily flowers is used in the silent language of love, to the practice of which, during your stay here, I suppose you were no stranger, and which indicates a delicacy of sentiment one would scarcely expect to find in the character of so rude a people.

(*Footnote. This plant has fruited also in England, but doubts are entertained of its being really a fragaria, By Dr. Smith it is termed a potentilla.)


Although the chiefs received us with hospitality yet the mass of people considered our intentions as hostile, and seemed jealous of our intrusion. Of their women however they were not at all jealous, and the familiarity of these was unrestrained. They entertained us with dances after their fashion, and made some rude attempts at performing a sort of pantomime. I may now close this detail with observing that the natives of this mountainous region have stronger animal spirits than those of the plains, and pass their lives with more variety than the torpid inhabitants of the coast; that they breathe a spirit of independence, and being frequently engaged in warfare, village against village, they would be better prepared to resist any invasion of their liberties.


They took great offence at a large package carried by six men which contained our necessaries, insisting that within it we had concealed a priuk api, for so they call a mortar or howitzer, one of which had been used with success against a village on the borders of their country during the rebellion of the son of the sultan of Moco-moco; and even when satisfied respecting this they manifested so much suspicion that we found it necessary to be constantly on our guard, and were once nearly provoked by their petulance and treachery to proceed to violence. When they found our determination they seemed humble, but were not even then to be trusted; and when we were on our return a friendly chief sent us intelligence that an ambuscade had been laid for us in one of the narrow passes of the mountains. We pursued our journey however without meeting any obstruction.

On the subject of gold I have only to add to Mr. Campbell's information that, in the enumeration by the natives of places where there are gold-mines, Karinchi is always included.


Opportunities of visiting the interior parts of the island have so seldom occurred, or are likely to occur, that I do not hesitate to present to the reader an abstract of the Journal kept by Lieutenant Hastings Dare (now a captain on the Bengal establishment) whilst commanding an expedition to the countries of Ipu, Serampei, and Sungei-tenang, which border to the south-east on that of Korinchi above described; making at the same time my acknowledgments to that gentleman for his obliging communication of the original, and my apologies for the brevity to which my subject renders it necessary to confine the narrative.


Sultan Asing, brother to the present sultan of Moco-moco, in conjunction with Pa Muncha and Sultan Sidi, two hill-chiefs his relations, residing at Pakalang-jambu and Jambi, raised a small force with which, in the latter part of the year 1804, they made a descent on Ipu, one of the Company's districts, burnt several villages and carried off a number of the inhabitants. The guard of native Malay troops not being sufficiently strong to check these depredations, a party was ordered from Fort Marlborough under the command of Lieutenant Hastings Dare, consisting of eighty-three sepoy officers and men, with five lascars, twenty­two Bengal convicts, and eighteen of the Bugis-guard; in the whole one hundred and twenty-eight.

November 22 1804. Marched from Fort Marlborough, and December 3 arrived at Ipu. The roads extremely bad from the torrents of rain that fell. 4th. Mr. Hawthorne, the Resident, informed us that the enemy had fortified themselves at a place called Tabe-si-kuddi, but, on hearing of the approach of the detachment, had gone off to the hills in the Sungei­tenang country and fortified themselves at Koto Tuggoh, a village that had been a receptacle for all the vagabonds from the districts near the coast. 13th. Having procured coolies and provisions, for which we have been hitherto detained, quitted Ipu in an east-north-east direction, and passed through several pepper and rice plantations. At dusun Baru one of our people caught a fine large fish, called ikan gadis. 14th. Marched in a south-east direction; crossed several rivulets, and reached again the banks of Ipu river, which we crossed. It was about four feet deep and very rapid. Passed the night at dusun Arah. The country rather hilly; thermometer 88 degrees at noon. 15th. Reached dusun Tanjong, the last place in the Ipu district where rice or any other provision is to be found, and these were sent on from Talang Puttei, this place being deserted by its inhabitants, several of whom the enemy had carried off with them as slaves. The country very hilly, and roads, in consequence of the heavy rains, bad and slippery. 16th. Marched in a north and east direction.


After crossing the Ayer Ikan stream twice we arrived at some hot springs, about three or four miles in the winding course we were obliged to take from dusun Tanjong, situated in a low swampy spot, about sixty yards in circumference. This is very hot in every part of it, excepting (which is very extraordinary) one place on its eastern side, where, although a hot spring is bubbling up within one yard of it, the water running from it is as cold as common spring water. In consequence of the excessive heat of the place and softness of the ground none of us could get close to the springs; but upon putting the thermometer within three yards of them it immediately rose to 120 degrees of Fahrenheit. We could not bear our fingers any time in the water. It tasted copperish and bitter; there was a strong sulphurous smell at the place, and a green sediment at the bottom and sides of the spring, with a reddish or copper-coloured scum floating on the surface. After again crossing the Ikan stream we arrived at dusun Simpang. The enemy had been here, and had burned nearly half of the village and carried off the inhabitants. The road from Tanjong to Simpang was entirely through a succession of pepper-gardens and rice plantations. We are now among the hills. Country in a higher state of cultivation than near the coast, but nearly deserted, and must soon become a waste. Could not get intelligence of the enemy. Built huts on Ayer Ikan at Napah Kapah. 17th. Marched in a south direction and crossed Ayer Tubbu, passing a number of durian trees on its bank. Again crossed the stream several times. Arrived early at Tabe-si-kuddi, a small talang, where the enemy had built three batteries or entrenchments and left behind them a quantity of grain, but vegetating and unfit for use. Previously to our reaching these entrenchments some of the detachment got wounded in the feet with ranjaus, set very thickly in the ground in every direction, and which obliged us to be very cautious in our steps until we arrived at the banks of a small rivulet, called the Nibong, two or three miles beyond them.


Ranjaus are slips of bamboo sharpened at each end, the part that is stuck in the ground being thicker than the opposite end, which decreases to a fine thin point, and is hardened by dipping it in oil and applying it to the smoke of a lamp near the flame. They are planted in the footpaths, sometimes erect, sometimes sloping, in small holes, or in muddy and miry places, and when trodden upon (for they are so well concealed as not to be easily seen) they pierce through the foot and make a most disagreeable wound, the bamboo leaving in it a rough hairy stuff it has on its outside, which irritates, inflames, and prevents it from healing. The whole of the road this day lay over a succession of steep hills, and in the latter part covered with deep forests. The whole of the detachment did not reach our huts on the bank of the Nibong stream till evening, much time being consumed in bringing on the mortar and magazine. Picked up pouches, musket stocks, etc., and saw new huts, near one of which was a quantity of clotted blood and a fresh grave. 18th. Proceeded east-north-east and passed several rivulets. Regained the banks of the Ipu river, running north-east to south-west here tolerably broad and shallow, being a succession of rapids over a rough stony bed. Encamped both this night and the last where the enemy had built huts. 19th. Marched in a north direction. More of the detachment wounded by ranjaus planted in the pathways. Roads slippery and bad from rains, and the hills so steep it is with difficulty we get the mortar and heavy baggage forward. Killed a green snake with black spots along its back, about four feet long, four to five inches in girt, and with a thick stumpy tail. The natives say its bite is venomous. Our course today has been north along the banks of the Ipu river; the noise of the rapids so great that when near it we can with difficulty hear each other speak. 20th. Continued along the river, crossing it several times. Came to a hot spring in the water of which the thermometer rose to 100 degrees at a considerable distance from its source. The road today tolerably level and good.


We were much plagued by a small kind of leech, which dropped on us from the leaves of the trees, and got withinside our clothes. We were in consequence on our halting every day obliged to strip and bathe ourselves in order to detach them from our bodies, filled with the blood they had sucked from us. They were not above an inch in length, and before they fixed themselves as thin as a needle, so that they could penetrate our dress in any part. We encamped this evening at the conflux of the Simpang stream and Ipu river. Our huts were generally thatched with the puar or wild cardamum leaf, which grows in great abundance on the banks of the rivers in this part of the country. It bears a pleasant acid fruit, growing much in the same way as the maize. In long journeys through the woods, when other provisions fail, the natives live principally on this. The leaf is something like that of the plantain, but not nearly so large. 21st. Arrived at a spot called Dingau-benar, from whence we were obliged to return on account of the coolies not being able to descend a hill which was at least a hundred and fifty yards high, and nearly perpendicular. In effecting it we were obliged to cling to the trees and roots, without which assistance it would have been impracticable. It was nearly evening before one half of the detachment had reached the bottom, and it rained so excessively hard that we were obliged to remain divided for the night; the rear party on the top of the steep hill, and the advanced on the brow of another hill. One of the guides and a Malay coolie were drowned in attempting to find a ford across the Ipu river. I was a long time before we could get any fire, everything being completely soaked through, and the greater part of the poor fellows had not time to build huts for themselves. Military disposition for guarding baggage, preventing surprise, etc. 22nd. We had much difficulty in getting the mortar and its bed down, being obliged to make use of long thick rattans tied to them and successively to several trees. It was really admirable to observe the patience of the sepoys and Bengal convicts on this occasion. On mustering the coolies, found that nearly one half had run during the night, which obliged us to fling away twenty bags of rice, besides salt and other articles. Our course lay north, crossing the river several times. My poor faithful dog Gruff was carried away by the violence of the stream and lost. We were obliged to make bridges by cutting down tall trees, laying them across the stream, and interlacing them with rattans.

We were now between two ranges of very high hills; on our right hand Bukit Pandang, seen from a great distance at sea; the road shockingly bad. Encamped on the western bank. 23rd. Marched in a north direction, the roads almost impassable. The river suddenly swelled so much that the rear party could not join the advanced, which was so fortunate as to occupy huts built by the enemy. There were fires in two of them. We were informed however that the Serampei and Sungei-tenang people often come this distance to catch fish, which they dry and carry back to their country. At certain times of the year great quantities of the ringkis and ikan-gadis are taken, besides a kind of large conger-eel. We frequently had fish when time would admit of the people catching them. It is impossible to describe the difficulties we had to encounter in consequence of the heavy rains, badness of the roads, and rapidity of the river. The sepoy officer and many men ill of fluxes and fevers, and lame with swelled and sore feet. 24th. Military precautions. Powder damaged. Thunder and lightning with torrents of rain. Almost the whole of the rice rotten or sour. 25th. Continued to march up the banks of the river. No inhabitants in this part of the country.


The compass for these several days has been very irregular. We have two with us and they do not at all agree. The road less bad. At one place we saw bamboos of the thickness of a man's thigh. There were myriads of very small flies this evening, which teased us much. Occupied some huts we found on the eastern bank. This is Christmas evening; to us, God knows, a dull one. Our wines and liquors nearly expended, and we have but one miserable half-starved chicken left although we have been on short allowance the whole way. 26th. Roads tolerable. Passed a spot called Kappah, and soon after a waterfall named Ipu-machang, about sixty feet high. Picked up a sick man belonging to the enemy. He informed us that there were between two and three hundred men collected at Koto Tuggoh, under the command of Sutan Sidi, Sutan Asing, and Pa Muncha. These three chiefs made a festival, killing buffaloes, as is usual with the natives of Sumatra on such occasions, at this place, and received every assistance from the principal Dupati, who is also father-in-law to Pa Muncha. They possess sixty stand of muskets, beside blunderbusses and wall-pieces. They had quitted the Company's districts about twenty-three days ago, and are gone, some to Koto Tuggoh, and others to Pakalang-jambu. 27th. Marched in a north-north-east direction; passed over a steep hill which took us three hours hard walking. The river is now very narrow and rapid, not above twelve feet across; it is a succession of waterfalls every three or four yards. After this our road was intricate, winding, and bad. We had to ascend a high chasm formed in the rock, which was effected by ladders from one shelf to another. Arrived at the foot of Bukit Pandang, where we found huts, and occupied them for the night. We have been ascending the whole of this day. Very cold and rainy. At night we were glad to make large fires and use our blankets and woollen clothes. Having now but little rice left we were obliged to put ourselves to an allowance of one bamboo or gallon measure among ten men; and the greater part of that rotten.


28th. Ascended Bukit Pandang in an east-north-east direction. Reached a small spring of water called Pondo Kubang, the only one to be met with till the hill is descended. About two miles from the top, and from thence all the way up, the trees and ground were covered very thick with moss; the trees much stunted, and altogether the appearance was barren and gloomy; to us particularly so, for we could find little or nothing wherewith to build our huts, nor procure a bit of dry wood to light a fire. In order to make one for dressing the victuals, Lieutenant Dare was compelled to break up one of his boxes, otherwise he and Mr. Alexander, the surgeon, must have eaten them raw. It rained hard all night, and the coolies and most of the party were obliged to lie down on the wet ground in the midst of it.


It was exceedingly cold to our feelings; in the evening the thermometer was down to 50 degrees, and in the night to 45 degrees. In consequence of the cold, inclemency, and fatigue to which the coolies were exposed, seven of them died that night. The lieutenant and surgeon made themselves a kind of shelter with four tarpaulins that were fortunately provided to cover the medicine chest and surgical instruments, but the place was so small that it scarcely held them both. In the evening when the former was sitting on his camp­stool, whilst the people were putting up the tarpaulins, a very small bird, perfectly black, came hopping about the stool, picking up the worms from the moss. It was so tame and fearless that it frequently perched itself on his foot and on different parts of the stool; which shows that these parts of the country must be very little frequented by human beings. 29th. Descended Bukit Pandang. Another coolie died this morning. We are obliged to fling away shells. After walking some time many of the people recovered, as it was principally from cold and damps they suffered. Crossed a stream called Inum where we saw several huts. In half an hour more arrived at the banks of the greater Ayer Dikit River, which is here shallow, rapid, and about eighty yards broad. We marched westerly along its banks, and reached a hut opposite to a spot called Rantau Kramas, where we remained for the night, being prevented from crossing by a flood. 30th. Cut down a large tree and threw it across the river; it reached about halfway over. With this and the assistance of rattans tied to the opposite side we effected our passage and arrived at Rantau Kramas. Sent off people to Ranna Alli, one of the Serampei villages, about a day's march from hence, for provisions. Thermometer 59 degrees.

The greater Ayer Dikit river, on the north side of which this place lies, runs nearly from east to west. There are four or five bamboo huts at it, for the temporary habitation of travellers passing and repassing this way, being in the direction from the Serampei to the Sungei-tenang country. These huts are covered with bamboos (in plenty here) split and placed like pantiles transversely over each other, forming, when the bamboos are well-grown, a capital and lasting roof (see above). 31st. A Malay man and woman taken by our people report that the enemy thirteen days ago had proceeded two days march beyond Koto Tuggoh. Received some provisions from Ranna Alli. The enemy, we are informed, have dug holes and put long stakes into them, set spring-spears, and planted the road very thickly with ranjaus, and were collecting their force at Koto Tuggoh (signifying the strong fortress) to receive us. 1805. January 1st and 2nd. Received some small supplies of provisions.


On the 3rd we were saluted by shouting and firing of the enemy from the heights around us. Parties were immediately sent off in different directions as the nature of the ground allowed.


The advanced party had only time to fire two rounds when the enemy retired to a strong position on the top of a steep hill where they had thrown up a breastwork, which they disputed for a short time. On our getting possession of it they divided into three parties and fled. We had one sepoy killed and several of the detachment wounded by the ranjaus. Many of the enemy were killed and wounded and the paths they had taken covered with blood; but it is impossible to tell their numbers as they always carry them off the moment they drop, considering it a disgrace to leave them on the field of battle. If they get any of the bodies of their enemies they immediately strike off the head and fix it on a long pole, carrying it to their village as a trophy, and addressing to it every sort of abusive language. Those taken alive in battle are made slaves. After completely destroying everything in the battery we marched, and arrived at the top of a very high hill, where we built our huts for the evening. The road was thickly planted with ranjaus which, with the heavy rains, impeded our progress and prevented us from reaching a place called Danau-pau. Our course today has been north-east and easterly, the roads shockingly bad, and we were obliged to leave behind several coolies and two sepoys who were unable to accompany us. 4th. Obliged to fling away the bullets of the cartridges, three-fourths of which were damaged, and other articles. Most of the detachment sick with fluxes and fevers, or wounded in the feet. Marched in an eastern direction. Reached a spot very difficult to pass, being knee-deep in mud for a considerable way, with ranjaus concealed in the mud, and spring-spears set in many places. We were obliged to creep through a thicket of canes and bamboos. About noon the advanced party arrived at a lake and discovered that the enemy were on the opposite side of a small stream that ran from the lake, where they had entrenched themselves behind four small batteries in a most advantageous position, being on the top of a steep hill, of difficult access, with the stream on one side, the lake on the other, and the other parts surrounded by a swamp.


We immediately commenced the attack, but were unable, from the number of ranjaus in the only accessible part, to make a push on to the enemy. However about one o'clock we effected our purpose, and completely got possession of the entrenchments, which, had they been properly defended, must have cost us more than the half of our detachment. We had four sepoys severely wounded, and almost the whole of our feet dreadfully cut. Numbers of the enemy were killed and wounded. They defended each of the batteries with some obstinacy against our fire, but when once we came near them they could not stand our arms, and ran in every direction. At this place there are no houses nor inhabitants, but only temporary huts, built by the Sungei-tenang people, who come here occasionally to fish. The lake, which is named Danau-pau, has a most beautiful appearance, being like a great amphitheatre, surrounded by high and steep mountains covered with forests. It is about two miles in diameter. We occupied some huts built by the enemy. The place is thickly surrounded with bamboos.


In consequence of the number of our sick and wounded, the small strength of coolies to carry their baggage, and the want of medicines and ammunition, as well as of provisions, we thought it advisable to return to Rantau Kramas; and to effect this we were obliged to fling away the mortar-bed, shells, and a number of other things. We marched at noon, and arrived in the evening at the top of the hill where we had before encamped, and remained for the night. 6th. Reached Rantau Kramas. 7th. Marching in torrents of rain. People exceedingly harassed, reduced, and emaciated. Relieved by the arrival of Serampei people with some provisions from Ranna Alli. 8th. After a most fatiguing march arrived at that place half-dead with damps and cold. The bearers of the litters for the sick were absolutely knocked up, and we were obliged to the sepoys for getting on as we did. Our route was north-west with little variation. 9th. Remained at Ranna Alli. This serampei village consists of about fifteen houses, and may contain a hundred and fifty or two hundred inhabitants. It is thickly planted all round with a tall hedge of live bamboos, on the outside of which ranjaus are planted to the distance of thirty or forty feet. Withinside of the hedge there is a bamboo pagar or paling. It is situated on a steep hill surrounded by others, which in many places are cleared to their tops, where the inhabitants have their ladangs or rice plantations. They appeared to be a quiet, inoffensive set of people; their language different from the Malayan, which most of them spoke, but very imperfectly and hardly to be understood by us. On our approach the women and children ran to their ladangs, being, as their husbands informed us, afraid of the sepoys.


Of the women whom we saw almost every one had the goitres or swellings under the throat; and it seemed to be more prevalent with these than with the men. One woman in particular had two protuberances dangling at her neck as big as quart bottles.

There are three dupatis and four mantris to this village, to whom we made presents, and afterwards to the wives and families of the inhabitants. 10th and 11th. Preparing for our march to Moco-moco, where we can recruit our force, and procure supplies of stores and ammunition. 12th. Marched in a north and north-west direction.


Passed over a bridge of curious construction across the Ayer Abu River. It was formed of bamboos tied together with iju ropes and suspended to the trees, whose branches stretched nearly over the stream.

The Serampei women are the worst-favoured creatures we ever saw, and uncouth in their manners. Arrived at Tanjong Kasiri, another fortified village, more populous than Ranna Alli. 13th. The sick and heavy baggage were ordered to Tanjong Agung, another Serampei village.


14th. Arrived at Ayer Grau or Abu, a small river, within a yard or two of which we saw columns of smoke issuing from the earth, where there were hot springs of water bubbling up in a number of places. The stream was quite warm for several yards, and the ground and stones were so hot that there was no standing on them for any length of time. The large pieces of quartz, pumice, and other stones apparently burnt, induce us to suppose there must have formerly been a volcano at this spot, which is a deep vale, surrounded by high hills. Arrived much fatigued at Tanjong Agung, where the head dupati received us in his best style.


He seemed to know more of European customs and manners than those whom we have hitherto met with, and here, for the first time since quitting the Ipu district, we got coconuts, which he presented to us.


We saw numbers of cassia-trees in our march today. The bark, which the natives brought us in quantities, is sweet, but thick and coarse, and much inferior to cinnamon. This is the last and best fortified village in the Serampei country, bordering on the forests between that and Anak-Sungei.


They have a custom here of never allowing any animal to be killed in any part of the village but the balei or town hall, unless the person wishing to do otherwise consents to pay a fine of one fathom of cotton cloth to the priest for his permission. The old dupati told us there had been formerly a great deal of sickness and bloodshed in the village, and it had been predicted that, unless this custom were complied with, the like would happen again. We paid the fine, had the prayers of the priest, and killed our goats where and as we pleased. 16th. Marched in a south-westerly direction, and, after passing many steep hills, reached the lesser Ayer Dikit River, which we crossed, and built our huts on its western bank. 17th. Marched in a west, and afterwards a south, direction; the roads, in consequence of the rain ceasing today, tolerably dry and good, but over high hills. Arrived at Ayer Prikan, and encamped on its western bank; its course north and south over a rough, stony bed; very rapid, and about thirty yards across, at the foot of Bukit Lintang. Saw today abundance of cassia­trees. 18th. Proceeded to ascend Bukit Lintang, which in the first part was excessively steep and fatiguing; our route north and north-west when descending, south-south-west. Arrived at one of the sources of the Sungei-ipu. Descending still farther we reached a small spring where we built our huts. 19th. On our march this day we were gratified by the receipt of letters from our friends at Bencoolen, by the way of Moco-moco, from whence the Resident, Mr. Russell, sent us a supply of wine and other refreshments, which we had not tasted for fourteen days. Our course lay along the banks of the Sungei-ipu, and we arrived at huts prepared for us by Mr. Russell. 20th. At one time our guide lost the proper path by mistaking for it the track of a rhinoceros (which are in great numbers in these parts), and we got into a place where we were teased with myriads of leeches. Our road, excepting two or three small hills, was level and good. Reached the confluence of the Ipu and Si Luggan Rivers, the latter of which rises in the Korinchi country. Passed Gunong Payong, the last hill, as we approached Moco-moco, near to which had been a village formerly burnt and the inhabitants made slaves by Pa Muncha and the then tuanku mudo (son of the sultan). 21st. Arrived at talang Rantau Riang, the first Moco-moco or Anak-Sungei village, where we found provisions dressed for us. At dusun Si Ballowe, to which our road lay south-easterly, through pepper and rice plantations, sampans were in readiness to convey us down the river. This place is remarkable for an arau tree (casuarina), the only one met with at such a distance from the sea. The country is here level in comparison with what we have passed through, and the soil rather sandy, with a mixture of red clay. 22nd. The course of the river is south-west and west with many windings. Arrived at Moco-moco.


Fort Ann lies on the southern and the settlement on the northern side of the Si Luggan River, which name belongs properly to the place also, and that of Moco-moco to a small village higher up. The bazaar consists of about one hundred houses, all full of children. At the northern end is the sultan's, which has nothing particular to distinguish it, but only its being larger than other Malay houses. Great quantities of fish are procured at this place, and sold cheap. The trade is principally with the hill-people, in salt, piece-goods, iron, steel, and opium; for which the returns are provisions, timber, and a little gold-dust. Formerly there was a trade carried on with the Padang and other ate angin people, but it is now dropped. The soil is sandy, low, and flat.


It being still necessary to make an example of the Sungei-tenang people for assisting the three hostile chiefs in their depredations, in order thereby to deter others from doing the same in future, and the men being now recovered from their fatigue and furnished with the requisite supplies, the detachment began to march on the 9th of February for Ayer Dikit. It now consists of Lieutenant Dare, Mr. Alexander, surgeon, seventy sepoys, including officers, twenty-seven lascars and Bengal convicts, and eleven of the bugis-guard. Left the old mortar and took with us one of smaller calibre.


From the 10th to the 22nd occupied in our march to the Serampei village of Ranna Alli. The people of this country acknowledge themselves the subjects of the sultan of Jambi, who sometimes but rarely exacts a tribute from them of a buffalo, a tail of gold, and a hundred bamboos of rice from each village. They are accustomed to carry burdens of from sixty to ninety pounds weight on journeys that take them twenty or thirty days; and it astonishes a lowlander to see with what ease they walk over these hills, generally going a shuffling or ambling pace. Their loads are placed in a long triangular basket, supported by a fillet across the forehead, resting upon the back and back part of the head, the broadest end of the triangle being uppermost, considerably above the head, and the small end coming down as low as the loins. The Serampei country, comprehending fifteen fortified and independent dusuns, beside talangs or small open villages, is bounded on the north and north-west by Korinchi, on the east, south-east, and south by Pakalang-jambu and Sungei-tenang, and on the west and south-west by the greater Ayer Dikit River and chain of high mountains bordering on the Sungei-ipu country. 23rd. Reached Rantau Kramas. Took possession of the batteries, which the enemy had considerably improved in our absence, collecting large quantities of stones; but they were not manned, probably from not expecting our return so soon. 24th. Arrived at those of Danau-pau, which had also been strengthened. The roads being dry and weather fine we are enabled to make tolerably long marches. Our advanced party nearly caught one of the enemy planting ranjaus, and in retreating he wounded himself with them. 25th. Passed many small rivulets discharging themselves into the lake at this place.


26th. The officer commanding the advanced party sent word that the enemy were at a short distance ahead; that they had felled a number of trees to obstruct the road, and had thrown an entrenchment across it, extending from one swamp and precipice to another, where they waited to receive us. When the whole of the detachment had come up we marched on to the attack, scrambled over the trees, and with great difficulty got the mortar over.


The first onset was not attended with success, and our men were dropping fast, not being able to advance on account of the ranjaus, which almost pinned their feet to the ground. Seeing that the entrenchments were not to be carried in front, a subedar with thirty sepoys and the bugis-guard were ordered to endeavour to pass the swamp on the right, find out a pathway, and attack the enemy on the flank and rear, while the remainder should, on a preconcerted signal, make an attack on the front at the same time. To prevent the enemy from discovering our intentions the drums were kept beating, and a few random shots fired. Upon the signal being given a general attack commenced, and our success was complete.


The enemy, of whom there were, as we reckon, three or four hundred within the entrenchments, were soon put to the rout, and, after losing great numbers, among whom was the head dupati, a principal instigator of the disturbances, fled in all directions. We lost two sepoys killed and seven wounded, beside several much hurt by the ranjaus. The mortar played during the time, but is not supposed to have done much execution on account of the surrounding trees.


The entrenchments were constructed of large trees laid horizontally between stakes driven into the ground, about seven feet high, with loopholes for firing. Being laid about six feet thick, a cannonball could not have penetrated. They extended eighty or ninety yards. The headman's quarters were a large tree hollowed at the root.

As soon as litters could be made for the wounded, and the killed were buried, we continued our march in an eastern direction, and in about an hour arrived at another battery, which however was not defended. In front of this the enemy had tied a number of long sharp stakes to a stone, which was suspended to the bough of a tree, and by swinging it their plan was to wound us.


Crossed the Tambesi rivulet, flowing from south to north, and one of the contributary streams to the Jambi River, which discharges itself into the sea on the eastern side of the Island. Built our huts near a field of maize and padi.


27th. Marched to Koto Tuggoh, from whence the inhabitants fled on our throwing one shell and firing a few muskets, and we took possession of the place. It is situated on a high hill, nearly perpendicular on three sides, the easiest entrance being on the west, but it is there defended by a ditch seven fathoms deep and five wide. The place contains the ballei and about twenty houses, built in general of plank very neatly put together, and carved; and some of them were also roofed with planks or shingles about two feet long and one broad. The others with the leaves of the puar or cardamum, which are again very thinly covered with iju. This is said to last long, but harbours vermin, as we experienced. When we entered the village we met with only one person, who was deformed, dumb, and had more the appearance of a monkey than a human creature.


March 1st. After completely destroying Koto Tuggoh we marched in a north and afterwards an east direction, and arrived at Koto Bharu. The head dupati requesting a parley, it was granted, and, on our promising not to injure his village, he allowed us to take possession of it. We found in the place a number of Batang Asei and other people, armed with muskets, blunderbusses, and spears. At our desire, he sent off people to the other Sungei-tenang villages to summon their chiefs to meet us if they chose to show themselves friends, or otherwise we should proceed against them as we had done against Koto Tuggoh.


This dupati was a respectable-looking old man, and tears trickled down his cheeks when matters were amicably settled between us: indeed for some time he could hardly be convinced of it, and repeatedly asked, "Are we friends?" 2nd. The chiefs met as desired, and after a short conversation agreed to all that we proposed. Papers were thereupon drawn up and signed and sworn to under the British colours. After this a shell was thrown into the air at the request of the chiefs, who were desirous of witnessing the sight.


Their method of swearing was as follows: The young shoots of the anau-tree were made into a kind of rope, with the leaves hanging, and this was attached to four stakes stuck in the ground, forming an area of five or six feet square, within which a mat was spread, where those about to take the oath seated themselves. A small branch of the prickly bamboo was planted in the area also, and benzoin was kept burning during the ceremony. The chiefs then laid their hands on the koran, held to them by a priest, and one of them repeated to the rest the substance of the oath, who, at the pauses he made, gave a nod of assent; after which they severally said, "may the earth become barren, the air and water poisonous, and may dreadful calamities fall on us and our posterity, if we do not fulfil what we now agree to and promise."


We met here with little or no fruit excepting plantains and pineapples, and these of an indifferent sort. The general produce of the country was maize, padi, potatoes, sweet-potatoes, tobacco, and sugar-cane. The principal part of their clothing was procured from the eastern side of the island. They appear to have no regular season for sowing the grain, and we saw plantations where in one part they had taken in the crop, in another part it was nearly ripe, in a third not above five inches high, and in a fourth they had but just prepared the ground for sowing. Upon the whole, there appeared more cultivation than near the coast.


It is a practice with many individuals among these people (as with mountaineers in some parts of Europe) to leave their country in order to seek employment where they can find it, and at the end of three or four years revisit their native soil, bringing with them the produce of their labours. If they happen to be successful they become itinerant merchants, and travel to almost all parts of the island, particularly where fairs are held, or else purchase a matchlock gun and become soldiers of fortune, hiring themselves to whoever will pay them, but always ready to come forward in defence of their country and families. They are a thick stout dark race of people, something resembling the Achinese; and in general they are addicted to smoking opium. We had no opportunity of seeing the Sungei-tenang women. The men are very fantastical in their dress. Their bajus have the sleeves blue perhaps whilst the body is white, with stripes of red or any other colour over the shoulders, and their short breeches are generally one half blue and the other white, just as fancy leads them. Others again are dressed entirely in blue cotton cloth, the same as the inhabitants of the west coast. The bag containing their sirih or betel hangs over the shoulder by a string, if it may be so termed, of brass wire. Many of them have also twisted brass wire round the waist, in which they stick their krises.


They commonly carry charms about their persons to preserve them from accidents; one of which was shown to us, printed (at Batavia or Samarang in Java) in Dutch, Portuguese, and French. It purported that the writer was acquainted with the occult sciences, and that whoever possessed one of the papers impressed with his mark (which was the figure of a hand with the thumb and fingers extended) was invulnerable and free from all kinds of harm. It desired the people to be very cautious of taking any such printed in London (where certainly none were ever printed), as the English would endeavour to counterfeit them and to impose on the purchasers, being all cheats. (Whether we consider this as a political or a mercantile speculation it is not a little extraordinary and ridiculous). The houses here, as well as in the Serampei country, are all built on posts of what they call paku gajah (elephant-fern, Chamaerops palma, Lour.), a tree something resembling a fern, and when full-grown a palm-tree. It is of a fibrous nature, black, and lasts for a great length of time. Every dusun has a ballei or town hall, about a hundred and twenty feet long and proportionably broad, the woodwork of which is neatly carved. The dwelling-houses contain five, six, or seven families each, and the country is populous. The inhabitants both of Sungei-tenang and Serampei are Mahometans, and acknowledge themselves subjects of Jambi. The former country, so well as we were able to ascertain, is bounded on the north and north-west by Korinchi and Serampei, on the west and south-west by the Anak-sungei or Moco-moco and Ipu districts, on the south by Labun, and on the east by Batang Asei and Pakalang-jambu. 3rd. Marched on our return to the coast, many of the principal people attending us as far as the last of their plantations. It rained hard almost the whole of this day.


On the 14th arrived at Moco-moco; on the 22nd proceeded for Bencoolen, and arrived there on the 30th March 1805, after one of the most fatiguing and harassing expeditions any detachment of troops ever served upon; attended with the sickness of the whole of the party, and the death of many, particularly of Mr. Alexander, the surgeon.

End of Lieutenant Dare's narrative.

It is almost unnecessary to observe that these were the consequences of the extreme impolicy of sending an expedition up the country in the heart of the rainy season. The public orders issued on the occasion were highly creditable to Lieutenant Dare.




I shall now take a more particular view of the Malayan states, as distinguished from those of the people termed orang ulu or countrymen, and orang dusun or villagers, who, not being generally converted to the Mahometan religion, have thereby preserved a more original character.


The principal government, and whose jurisdiction in ancient times is understood to have comprehended the whole of Sumatra, is Menangkabau,* situated under the equinoctial line, beyond the western range of high mountains, and nearly in the centre of the island; in which respect it differs from Malayan establishments in other parts, which are almost universally near the mouths of large rivers. The appellations however of orang menangkabau and orang malayo are so much identified that, previously to entering upon an account of the former, it will be useful to throw as much light as possible upon the latter, and to ascertain to what description of people the name of Malays, bestowed by Europeans upon all who resemble them in features and complexion, properly belongs.

(*Footnote. The name is said to be derived from the words menang, signifying to win, and karbau, a buffalo; from a story, carrying a very fabulous air, of a famous engagement on that spot between the buffaloes and tigers, in which the former are stated to have acquired a complete victory. Such is the account the natives give; but they are fond of dealing in fiction, and the etymology has probably no better foundation than a fanciful resemblance of sound.)


It has hitherto been considered as an obvious truth, and admitted without examination that, wherever they are found upon the numerous islands forming this archipelago, they or their ancestors must have migrated from the country named by Europeans (and by them alone) the Malayan peninsula or peninsula of Malacca, of which the indigenous and proper inhabitants were understood to be Malays; and accordingly in the former editions of this work I spoke of the natives of Menangkabau as having acquired their religion, language, manners, and other national characteristics from the settling among them of genuine Malays from the neighbouring continent. It will however appear from the authorities I shall produce, amounting as nearly to positive evidence as the nature of the subject will admit, that the present possessors of the coasts of the peninsula were on the contrary in the first instance adventurers from Sumatra, who in the twelfth century formed an establishment there, and that the indigenous inhabitants, gradually driven by them to the woods and mountains, so far from being the stock from whence the Malays were propagated, are an entirely different race of men, nearly approaching in their physical character to the negroes of Africa.


The evidences of this migration from Sumatra are chiefly found in two Malayan books well known, by character at least, to those who are conversant with the written language, the one named Taju assalatin or Makuta segala raja-raja, The Crown of all Kings, and the other, more immediately to the purpose, Sulalat assalatin or Penurun-an segala raja­raja, The Descent of all (Malayan) Kings. Of these it has not been my good fortune to obtain copies, but the contents, so far as they apply to the present subject, have been fully detailed by two eminent Dutch writers to whom the literature of this part of the East was familiar. Petrus van der Worm first communicated the knowledge of these historical treatises in his learned Introduction to the Malayan Vocabulary of Gueynier, printed at Batavia in the year 1677; and extracts to the same effect were afterwards given by Valentyn in Volume 5 pages 316 to 320 of his elaborate work, published at Amsterdam in 1726. The books are likewise mentioned in a list of Malayan Authors by G.H. Werndly, at the end of his Maleische Spraak-kunst, and by the ingenious Dr. Leyden in his Paper on the Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese Nations, recently published in Volume 10 of the Asiatic Researches. The substance of the information conveyed by them is as follows; and I trust it will not be thought that the mixture of a portion of mythological fable in accounts of this nature invalidates what might otherwise have credit as historical fact. The utmost indeed we can pretend to ascertain is what the natives themselves believe to have been their ancient history; and it is proper to remark that in the present question there can be no suspicion of bias from national vanity, as we have reason to presume that the authors of these books were not Sumatrans.

The original country inhabited by the Malayan race (according to these authorities) was the kingdom of Palembang in the island of Indalus, now Sumatra, on the river Malayo, which flows by the mountain named Maha-meru, and discharges itself into the river Tatang (on which Palembang stands) before it joins the sea. Having chosen for their king or leader a prince named Sri Turi Buwana, who boasted his descent from Iskander the Great, and to whom, on that account, their natural chief Demang Lebar Daun submitted his authority, they emigrated, under his command (about the year 1160), to the south-eastern extremity of the opposite peninsula, named Ujong Tanah, where they were at first distinguished by the appellation of orang de-bawah angin or the Leeward people, but in time the coast became generally known by that of Tanah malayo or the Malayan land.


In this situation they built their first city, which they called Singapura (vulgarly Sincapore), and their rising consequence excited the jealousy of the kings of Maja-pahit, a powerful state in the island of Java. To Sri Turi Buwana, who died in 1208, succeeded Paduka Pikaram Wira, who reigned fifteen years; to him Sri Rama Vikaram, who reigned thirteen, and to him Sri Maharaja, who reigned twelve.


His successor, Sri Iskander Shah, was the last king of Singapura. During three years he withstood the forces of the king of Maja-pahit, but in 1252, being hard pressed, he retired first to the northward, and afterwards to the western, coast of the peninsula, where in the following year he founded a new city, which under his wise government became of considerable importance. To this he gave the name of Malaka, from a fruit-bearing tree so called (myrabolanum) found in abundance on the hill which gives natural strength to the situation. Having reigned here twenty-two years, beloved by his subjects and feared by his neighbours, Iskander Shah died in 1274, and was succeeded by Sultan Magat, who reigned only two years. Up to this period the Malayan princes were pagans. Sultan Muhammed Shah, who ascended the throne in 1276, was the first Mahometan prince, and by the propagation of this faith acquired great celebrity during a long reign of fifty-seven years. His influence appears to have extended over the neighbouring islands of Lingga and Bintan, together with Johor, Patani, Kedah, and Perak, on the coasts of the peninsula, and Campar and Aru in Sumatra; all of which acquired the appellative of Malayo, although it was now more especially applied to the people of Malaka, or, as it is commonly written, Malacca. He left the peaceful possession of his dominions to his son Sultan Abu Shahid, who had reigned only one year and five months when he was murdered in 1334 by the king of Arrakan, with whose family his father had contracted a marriage. His successor was Sultan Modafar or Mozafar Shah, who was distinguished for the wisdom of his government, of which he left a memorial in a Book of Institutes or Laws of Malaka, held to this day in high estimation. This city was now regarded as the third in rank (after Maja-pahit on Java, and Pase on Sumatra) in that part of the East.

(*Footnote. The account given by Juan de Barros of the abandonment of the Malayan city of Singapura and foundation of Malacca differs materially from the above; and although the authority of a writer, who collected his materials in Lisbon, cannot be put in competition with that of Valentyn, who passed a long and laborious life amongst the people, and quotes the native historians, I shall give an abstract of his relation, from the sixth book of the second Decade. "At the period when Cingapura flourished its king was named Sangesinga; and in the neighbouring island of Java reigned Pararisa, upon whose death the latter country became subject to the tyranny of his brother, who put one of his nephews to death, and forced many of the nobles, who took part against him, to seek refuge abroad. Among these was one named Paramisora, whom Sangesinga received with hospitality that was badly requited, for the stranger soon found means to put him to death, and, by the assistance of the Javans who accompanied him in his flight, to take possession of the city. The king of Siam, whose son-in-law and vassal the deceased was, assembled a large force by sea and land, and compelled the usurper to evacuate Cingapura with two thousand followers, a part of whom were Cellates (orang sellat men of the Straits) accustomed to live by fishing and piracy, who had assisted him in seizing and keeping the throne during five years. They disembarked at a place called Muar, a hundred and fifty leagues from thence, where Paramisora and his own people fortified themselves. The Cellates, whom he did not choose to trust, proceeded five leagues farther, and occupied a bank of the river where the fortress of Malacca now stands. Here they united with the half-savage natives, who like themselves spoke the Malayan language, and, the spot they had chosen becoming too confined for their increasing numbers, they moved a league higher up, to one more convenient, and were at length joined by their former chief and his companions. During the government of his son, named Xaquen Darxa (a strange Portuguese corruption of Iskander or Sekander Shah) they again descended the river, in order to enjoy the advantages of a sea-port, and built a town, which, from the fortunes of his father, was named Malacca, signifying an exile." Every person conversant with the language must know that the word does not bear that nor any similar meaning, and an error so palpable throws discredit on the whole narrative.)

About the year 1340 the king of Siam, being jealous of the growing power of Malaka, invaded the country, and in a second expedition laid siege to the capital; but his armies were defeated by the general of Modafar, named Sri Nara Dirija. After these events Modafar reigned some years with much reputation, and died in 1374. His son, originally named Sultan Abdul, took the title of Sultan Mansur Shah upon his accession. At the time that the king of Maja-pahit drove the Malays from Singapura, as above related, he likewise subdued the country of Indragiri in Sumatra; but upon the occasion of Mansur Shah's marriage (about the year 1380) with the daughter of the then reigning king, a princess of great celebrity, named Radin Gala Chendra Kiran, it was assigned to him as her portion, and has since continued (according to Valentyn) under the dominion of the princes of Malaka. Mansur appears to have been engaged in continual wars, and to have obtained successes against Pahang, Pase, and Makasar. His reign extended to the almost incredible period of seventy-three years, being succeeded in 1447 by his son Sultan Ala-wa-eddin. During his reign of thirty years nothing particular is recorded; but there is reason to believe that his country during some part of that time was under the power of the Siamese. Sultan Mahmud Shah, who succeeded him, was the twelfth Malayan king, and the seventh and last king of Malaka.


In 1509 he repelled the aggression of the king of Siam; but in 1511 was conquered by the Portuguese under Alfonso d'Alboquerque, and forced, with the principal inhabitants, to fly to the neighbourhood of the first Malayan establishment at the extremity of the peninsula, where he founded the city of Johor, which still subsists, but has never attained to any considerable importance, owing as it may be presumed to the European influence that has ever since, under the Portuguese, Hollanders, and English, predominated in that quarter.*

(*Footnote. It was subdued by the Portuguese in 1608. In 1641 Malacca was taken from them by the Hollanders, who held it till the present war, which has thrown it into the possession of the English. The interior boundaries of its territory, according to the Transactions of the Batavian Society, are the mountains of Rombou, inhabited by a Malayan people named Maning Cabou, and Mount Ophir, called by the natives Gunong-Ledang. These limits, say they, it is impracticable for a European to pass, the whole coast, for some leagues from the sea, being either a morass or impenetrable forest; and these natural difficulties are aggravated by the treacherous and bloodthirsty character of the natives. The description, which will be found in Volume 4 pages 333 to 334, is evidently overcharged. In speaking of Johor the original emigration of a Malayan colony from Sumatra to the mouth of that river, which gave its name to the whole coast, is briefly mentioned.)


With respect to the religion professed by the Malayan princes at the time of their migration from Sumatra, and for about 116 years after, little can be known, because the writers, whose works have reached us, lived since the period of conversion, and as good Mahometans would have thought it profane to enter into the detail of superstitions which they regard with abhorrence; but from the internal evidence we can entertain little doubt of its having been the religion of Brahma, much corrupted however and blended with the antecedent rude idolatry of the country, such as we now find it amongst the Battas. Their proper names or titles are obviously Hindu, with occasional mixture of Persian, and their mountain of Maha-meru, elsewhere so well known as the seat of Indra and the dewas, sufficiently points out the mythology adopted in the country. I am not aware that at the present day there is any mountain in Sumatra called by that name; but it is reasonable to presume that appellations decidedly connected with Paganism may have been changed by the zealous propagators of the new faith, and I am much inclined to believe that by the Maha-meru of the Malays is to be understood the mountain of Sungei-pagu in the Menangkabau country, from whence issue rivers that flow to both sides of the island. In the neighbourhood of this reside the chiefs of the four great tribes, called ampat suku or four quarters, one of which is named Malayo (the others, Kampi, Pani, and Tiga-lara); and it is probable that to it belonged the adventurers who undertook the expedition to Ujong Tanah, and perpetuated the name of their particular race in the rising fortunes of the new colony. From what circumstances they were led to collect their vessels for embarkation at Palembang rather than at Indragiri or Siak, so much more convenient in point of local position, cannot now be ascertained.

Having proposed some queries upon this subject to the late Mr. Francis Light, who first settled the island of Pinang or Prince of Wales island, in the Straits of Malacca, granted to him by the king of Kedah as the marriage portion of his daughter, he furnished me in answer with the following notices. "The origin of the Malays, like that of other people, is involved in fable; every raja is descended from some demigod, and the people sprung from the ocean. According to their traditions however their first city of Singapura, near the present Johor, was peopled from Palembang, from whence they proceeded to settle at Malacca (naming their city from the fruit so called), and spread along the coast. The peninsula is at present inhabited by distinct races of people. The Siamese possess the northern part to latitude 7 degrees, extending from the east to the west side. The Malays possess the whole of the sea-coast on both sides, from that latitude to Point Romania; being mixed in some places with the Bugis from Celebes, who have still a small settlement at Salmigor. The inland parts to the northward are inhabited by the Patani people, who appear to be a mixture of Siamese and Malays, and occupy independent dusuns or villages. Among the forests and in the mountains are a race of Caffres, in every respect resembling those of Africa excepting in stature, which does not exceed four feet eight inches. The Menangkabau people of the peninsula are so named from an inland country in Pulo Percha (Sumatra). A distinction is made between them and the Malays of Johor, but none is perceptible."

To these authorities I shall add that of Mr. Thomas Raffles, at this time Secretary to the government of Pulo Pinang, a gentleman whose intelligence and zeal in the pursuit of knowledge give the strongest hope of his becoming an ornament to oriental literature. To his correspondence I am indebted for much useful information in the line of my researches, and the following passages corroborate the opinions I had formed. "With respect to the Menangkabaus, after a good deal of inquiry, I have not yet been able decidedly to ascertain the relation between those of that name in the peninsula and the Menangkabaus of Pulo Percha. The Malays affirm without hesitation that they all came originally from the latter island." In a recent communication he adds, "I am more confident than ever that the Menangkabaus of the peninsula derive their origin from the country of that name in Sumatra. Inland of Malacca about sixty miles is situated the Malay kingdom of Rumbo, whose sultan and all the principal officers of state hold their authority immediately from Menangkabau, and have written commissions for their respective offices. This shows the extent of that ancient power even now, reduced as it must be, in common with that of the Malay people in general. I had many opportunities of communicating with the natives of Rumbo, and they have clearly a peculiar dialect, resembling exactly what you mention of substituting the final o for a, as in the word ambo for amba. In fact, the dialect is called by the Malacca people the language of Menangkabau."


Returning from this discussion I shall resume the consideration of what is termed the Sumatran empire of Menangkabau, believed by the natives of all descriptions to have subsisted from the remotest times. With its annals, either ancient or modern, we are little acquainted, and the existence of any historical records in the country has generally been doubted; yet, as those of Malacca and of Achin have been preserved, it is not hastily to be concluded that these people, who are the equals of the former, and much superior to the latter in point of literature, are destitute of theirs, although they have not reached our hands. It is known that they deduce their origin from two brothers, named Pera­pati-si-batang and Kei Tamanggungan, who are described as being among the forty companions of Noah in the ark, and whose landing at Palembang, or at a small island near it, named Langkapura, is attended with the circumstance of the dry land being first discovered by the resting upon it of a bird that flew from the vessel. From thence they proceeded to the mountain named Siguntang-guntang, and afterwards to Priangan in the neighbourhood of the great volcano, which at this day is spoken of as the ancient capital of Menangkabau. Unfortunately I possess only an imperfect abstract of this narrative, obviously intended for an introduction to the genealogy of its kings, but, even as a fable, extremely confused and unsatisfactory; and when the writer brings it down to what may be considered as the historical period he abruptly leaves off, with a declaration that the offer of a sum of money (which was unquestionably his object) should not tempt him to proceed.


At a period not very remote its limits were included between the river of Palembang and that of Siak, on the eastern side of the island, and on the western side between those of Manjuta (near Indrapura) and Singkel, where (as well as at Siak) it borders on the independent country of the Battas. The present seat, or more properly seats, of the divided government lie at the back of a mountainous district named the Tiga-blas koto (signifying the thirteen fortified and confederated towns) inland of the settlement of Padang. The country is described as a large plain surrounded by hills producing much gold, clear of woods, and comparatively well cultivated. Although nearer to the western coast its communications with the eastern side are much facilitated by water-carriage.


Advantage is taken in the first place of a large lake, called Laut-danau, situated at the foot of the range of high mountains named gunong Besi, inland of the country of Priaman, the length of which is described by some as being equal to a day's sailing, and by others as no more than twenty-five or thirty miles, abounding with fish (especially of two species, known by the names of sasau and bili), and free from alligators.


From this, according to the authority of a map drawn by a native, issues a river called Ayer Ambelan, which afterwards takes the name of Indragiri, along which, as well as the two other great rivers of Siak to the northward, and Jambi to the southward, the navigation is frequent, the banks of all of them being peopled with Malayan colonies. Between Menangkabau and Palembang the intercourse must, on account of the distance, be very rare, and the assertion that in the intermediate country there exists another great lake, which sends its streams to both sides of the island, appears not only to be without foundation in fact, but also at variance with the usual operations of nature; as I believe it may be safely maintained that, however numerous the streams which furnish the water of a lake, it can have only one outlet; excepting, perhaps, in flat countries, where the course of the waters has scarcely any determination, or under such a nice balance of physical circumstances as is not likely to occur.


When the island was first visited by European navigators this state must have been in its decline, as appears from the political importance at that period of the kings of Achin, Pedir, and Pase, who, whilst they acknowledged their authority to be derived from him as their lord paramount, and some of them paid him a trifling complimentary tribute, acted as independent sovereigns. Subsequently to this an Achinese monarch, under the sanction of a real or pretended grant, obtained from one of the sultans, who, having married his daughter, treated her with nuptial slight, and occasioned her to implore her father's interference, extended his dominion along the western coast, and established his panglimas or governors in many places within the territory of Menangkabau, particularly at Priaman, near the great volcano-mountain. This grant is said to have been extorted not by the force of arms but by an appeal to the decision of some high court of justice similar to that of the imperial chamber in Germany, and to have included all the low or strand-countries (pasisir barat) as far southward as Bengkaulu or Silebar. About the year 1613 however he claimed no farther than Padang, and his actual possessions reached only to Barus.*

(*Footnote. The following instances occur of mention made by writers at different periods of the kingdom of Menangkabau. ODOARDUS BARBOSA, 1519. "Sumatra, a most large and beautiful island; Pedir, the principal city on the northern side, where are also Pacem and Achem. Campar is opposite to Malacca. Monancabo, to the southward, is the principal source of gold, as well from mines as collected in the banks of the rivers." DE BARROS, 1553. "Malacca had the epithet of aurea given to it on account of the abundance of gold brought from Monancabo and Barros, countries in the island of Camatra, where it is procured." DIOGO de COUTO, 1600. "He gives an account of a Portuguese ship wrecked on the coast of Sumatra, near to the country of Manancabo, in 1560. Six hundred persons got on shore, among whom were some women, one of them, Dona Francisca Sardinha, was of such remarkable beauty that the people of the country resolved to carry her off for their king; and they effected it, after a struggle in which sixty of the Europeans lost their lives. At this period there was a great intercourse between Manancabo and Malacca, many vessels going yearly with gold to purchase cotton goods and other merchandise. In ancient times the country was so rich in this metal that several hundredweight (seis, sete, e mais candiz, de que trez fazem hum moyo) were exported in one season. Volume 3 page 178. LINSCHOTEN, 1601. "At Menancabo excellent poniards made, called creeses; best weapons of all the orient. Islands along the coast of Sumatra, called islands of Menancabo." ARGENSOLA, 1609. "A vessel loaded with creeses manufactured at Menancabo and a great quantity of artillery; a species of warlike machine known and fabricated in Sumatra many years before they were introduced by Europeans." LANCASTER, 1602. "Menangcabo lies eight or ten leagues inland of Priaman." BEST, 1613. " A man arrived from Menangcaboo at Ticoo, and brought news from Jambee." BEAULIEU, 1622. "Du cote du ponant apres Padang suit le royaume de Manimcabo; puis celuy d'Andripoura-Il y a (a Jambi) grand trafic d'or, qu'ils ont avec ceux de Manimcabo." Vies des Gouverneurs Gen. Hollandois, 1763. Il est bon de remarquer ici que presque toute la cote occidentale avoit ete reduite par la flotte du Sieur Pierre de Bitter en 1664. L'annee suivante, les habitans de Pauw massacrerent le Commissaire Gruis, etc.; mais apres avoir venge ce meurtre, et dissipe les revoltes en 1666, les Hollandois etoient restes les maitres de toute cette etendue de cotes entre Sillebar et Baros, ou ils etablirent divers comptoirs, dont celui de Padang est le principal depuis 1667. Le commandant, qui y reside, est en meme temps Stadhouder (Lieutenant) de l'Empereur de Maningcabo, a qui la Compagnie a cede, sous diverses restrictions & limitations, la souverainete sur tous les peuples qui babitent le long du rivage" etc.)


In consequence of disturbances that ensued upon the death of a sultan Alif in the year 1680, without direct heirs, the government became divided amongst three chiefs, presumed to have been of the royal family and at the same time great officers of state, who resided at places named Suruwasa, Pagar-ruyong, and Sungei-trap; and in that state it continues to the present time. Upon the capture of Padang by the English in 1781 deputations arrived from two of these chiefs with congratulations upon the success of our arms; which will be repeated with equal sincerity to those who may chance to succeed us. The influence of the Dutch (and it would have been the same with any other European power) has certainly contributed to undermine the political consequence of Menangkabau by giving countenance and support to its disobedient vassals, who in their turn have often experienced the dangerous effects of receiving favours from too powerful an ally. Pasaman, a populous country, and rich in gold, cassia, and camphor, one of its nearest provinces, and governed by a panglima from thence, now disclaims all manner of dependence. Its sovereignty is divided between the two rajas of Sabluan and Kanali, who, in imitation of their former masters, boast an origin of high antiquity. One of them preserves as his sacred relic the bark of a tree in which his ancestor was nursed in the woods before the Pasaman people had reached their present polished state. The other, to be on a level with him, possesses the beard of a reverend predecessor (perhaps an anchorite), which was so bushy that a large bird had built its nest in it. Raja Kanali supported a long war with the Hollanders, attended with many reverses of fortune.

Whether the three sultans maintain a struggle of hostile rivalship, or act with an appearance of concert, as holding the nominal sovereignty under a species of joint-regency, I am not informed, but each of them in the preamble of his letters assumes all the royal titles, without any allusion to competitors; and although their power and resources are not much beyond those of a common raja they do not fail to assert all the ancient rights and prerogatives of the empire, which are not disputed so long as they are not attempted to be carried into force. Pompous dictatorial edicts are issued and received by the neighbouring states (including the European chiefs of Padang), with demonstration of profound respect, but no farther obeyed than may happen to consist with the political interests of the parties to whom they are addressed. Their authority in short resembles not a little that of the sovereign pontiffs of Rome during the latter centuries, founded as it is in the superstition of remote ages; holding terrors over the weak, and contemned by the stronger powers. The district of Suruwasa, containing the site of the old capital, or Menangkabau proper, seems to have been considered by the Dutch as entitled to a degree of pre-eminence; but I have not been able to discover any marks of superiority or inferiority amongst them. In distant parts the schism is either unknown, or the three who exercise the royal functions are regarded as co-existing members of the same family, and their government, in the abstract, however insignificant in itself, is there an object of veneration. Indeed to such an unaccountable excess is this carried that every relative of the sacred family, and many who have no pretensions to it assume that character, are treated wherever they appear, not only with the most profound respect by the chiefs who go out to meet them, fire salutes on their entering the dusuns, and allow them to level contributions for their maintenance; but by the country people with such a degree of superstitious awe that they submit to be insulted, plundered, and even wounded by them, without making resistance, which they would esteem a dangerous profanation. Their appropriate title (not uncommon in other Malayan countries) is Iang de per-tuan, literally signifying he who ruleth.

A person of this description, who called himself Sri Ahmed Shah, heir to the empire of Menangkabau, in consequence of some differences with the Dutch, came and settled amongst the English at Bencoolen in the year 1687, on his return from a journey to the southward as far as Lampong, and being much respected by the people of the country gained the entire confidence of Mr. Bloom, the governor. He subdued some of the neighbouring chiefs who were disaffected to the English, particularly Raja mudo of Sungei-lamo, and also a Jennang or deputy from the king of Bantam; he coined money, established a market, and wrote a letter to the East India Company promising to put them in possession of the trade of the whole island. But shortly afterwards a discovery was made of his having formed a design to cut off the settlement, and he was in consequence driven from the place. The records mention at a subsequent period that the sultan of Indrapura was raising troops to oppose him.*

(*Footnote. The following anecdote of one of these personages was communicated to me by my friend, the late Mr. Crisp. "Some years ago, when I was resident of Manna, there was a man who had long worked in the place as a coolie when someone arrived from the northward, who happened to discover that he was an Iang de per-tuan or relation of the imperial family. Immediately all the bazaar united to raise him to honour and independence; he was never suffered to walk without a high umbrella carried over him, was followed by numerous attendants, and addressed by the title of tuanku, equivalent to your highness. After this he became an intriguing, troublesome fellow in the Residency, and occasioned much annoyance. The prejudice in favour of these people is said to extend over all the islands to the eastward where the Malay tongue is spoken.")


The titles and epithets assumed by the sultans are the most extravagantly absurd that it is possible to imagine. Many of them descend to mere childishness; and it is difficult to conceive how any people, so far advanced in civilization as to be able to write, could display such evidences of barbarism. A specimen of a warrant of recent date, addressed to Tuanku Sungei-Pagu, a high-priest residing near Bencoolen, is as follows:

Three circular Seals with inscriptions in Arabic characters.

(Eldest brother) Sultan of Rum. Key Dummul Alum. Maharaja Alif.

(Second brother) Sultan of China. Nour Alum. Maharaja Dempang or Dipang.

(Youngest brother) Sultan of Menangkabau. Aour Alum. Maharaja Dirja or Durja.


The sultan of Menangkabau, whose residence is at Pagar-ruyong, who is king of kings; a descendant of raja Iskander zu'lkarnaini; possessed of the crown brought from heaven by the prophet Adam; of a third part of the wood kamat, one extremity of which is in the kingdom of Rum and another in that of China; of the lance named lambing lambura ornamented with the beard of janggi; of the palace in the city of Rum, whose entertainments and diversions are exhibited in the month of zul'hijah, and where all alims, fakiahs, and mulanakaris praise and supplicate Allah; possessor of the gold-mine named kudarat-kudarati, which yields pure gold of twelve carats, and of the gold named jati-jati which snaps the dalik wood; of the sword named churak-simandang-giri, which received one hundred and ninety gaps in conflict with the fiend Si Kati­muno, whom it slew; of the kris formed of the soul of steel, which expresses an unwillingness at being sheathed and shows itself pleased when drawn; of a date coeval with the creation; master of fresh water in the ocean, to the extent of a day's sailing; of a lance formed of a twig of iju ; the sultan who receives his taxes in gold by the lessong measure; whose betel-stand is of gold set with diamonds; who is possessor of the web named sangsista kala, which weaves itself and adds one thread yearly, adorned with pearls, and when that web shall be completed the world will be no more; of horses of the race of sorimborani, superior to all others; of the mountain Si guntang-guntang, which divides Palembang and Jambi, and of the burning mountain; of the elephant named Hasti Dewah; who is vicegerent of heaven; sultan of the golden river; lord of the air and clouds; master of a ballei whose pillars are of the shrub jalatang; of gandarangs (drums) made of the hollow stems of the diminutive plants pulut and silosuri; of the anchor named paduka jati employed to recover the crown which fell into the deep sea of Kulzum; of the gong that resounds to the skies; of the buffalo named Si Binuwang Sati, whose horns are ten feet asunder; of the unconquered cock, Sen­gunani; of the coconut-tree which, from its amazing height and being infested with serpents and other noxious reptiles, it is impossible to climb; of the blue champaka flower, not to be found in any other country than his (being yellow elsewhere); of the flowering shrub named Sri­menjeri, of ambrosial scent; of the mountain on which the celestial spirits dwell; who when he goes to rest wakes not until the gandarang nobat sounds; He the sultan Sri Maharaja Durja furthermore declares, etc.*

(*Footnote. The following Letter from the sultan of Menangkabau to the father of the present sultan of Moco-moco, and apparently written about fifty years ago, was communicated to me by Mr. Alexander Dalrymple, and though it is in part a repetition I esteem it too curious to hesitate about inserting it. The style is much more rational than that of the foregoing. "Praised be Almighty God! Sultan Gagar Alum the great and noble King, whose extensive power reacheth unto the limits of the wide ocean; unto whom God grants whatever he desires, and over whom no evil spirit, nor even Satan himself has any influence; who is invested with an authority to punish evil-doers; and has the most tender heart in the support of the innocent; has no malice in his mind, but preserveth the righteous with the greatest reverence, and nourisheth the poor and needy, feeding them daily from his own table. His authority reacheth over the whole universe, and his candour and goodness is known to all men. (Mention made of the three brothers.) The ambassador of God and his prophet Mahomet; the beloved of mankind; and ruler of the island called Percho. At the time God made the heavens, the earth, the sun, the moon, and even before evil spirits were created, this sultan Gagar Alum had his residence in the clouds; but when the world was habitable God gave him a bird called Hocinet, that had the gift of speech; this he sent down on earth to look out for a spot where he might establish an inheritance, and the first place he alighted upon was the fertile island of Lankapura, situated between Palembang and Jambi, and from thence sprang the famous kingdom of Manancabow, which will be renowned and mighty until the Judgment Day.

"This Maha Raja Durja is blessed with a long life and an uninterrupted course of prosperity, which he will maintain in the name, and through the grace of the holy prophet, to the end that God's divine Will may be fulfilled upon earth. He is endowed with the highest abilities, and the most profound wisdom and circumspection in governing the many tributary kings and subjects. He is righteous and charitable, and preserveth the honour and glory of his ancestors. His justice and clemency are felt in distant regions, and his name will be revered until the last day. When he openeth his mouth he is full of goodness, and his words are as grateful as rosewater to the thirsty. His breath is like the soft winds of the heavens, and his lips are the instruments of truth; sending forth perfumes more delightful than benjamin or myrrh. His nostrils breathe ambergris and musk; and his countenance has the lustre of diamonds. He is dreadful in battle, and not to be conquered, his courage and valour being matchless. He, the sultan Maha Raja Durja, was crowned with a sacred crown from God; and possesses the wood called Kamat, in conjunction with the emperors of Rome and China. (Here follows an account of his possessions nearly corresponding to those above recited.)

"After this salutation, and the information I have given of my greatness and power, which I attribute to the good and holy prophet Mahomet, I am to acquaint you with the commands of the sultan whose presence bringeth death to all who attempt to approach him without permission; and also those of the sultan of Indrapura who has four breasts. This friendly sheet of paper is brought from the two sultans above named, by their bird anggas, unto their son, sultan Gandam Shah, to acquaint him with their intention under this great seal, which is that they order their son sultan Gandam Shah to oblige the English Company to settle in the district called Biangnur, at a place called the field of sheep, that they may not have occasion to be ashamed at their frequent refusal of our goodness in permitting them to trade with us and with our subjects; and that in case he cannot succeed in this affair we hereby advise him that the ties of friendship subsisting between us and our son is broken; and we direct that he send us an answer immediately, that we may know the result--for all this island is our own." It is difficult to determine whether the preamble, or the purport of the letter be the more extraordinary.)

Probably no records upon earth can furnish an example of more unintelligible jargon; yet these attributes are believed to be indisputably true by the Malays and others residing at a distance from his immediate dominions, who possess a greater degree of faith than wit; and with this addition, that he dwells in a palace without covering, free from inconvenience. It is at the same time but justice to these people to observe that, in the ordinary concerns of life, their writings are as sober, consistent, and rational as those of their neighbours.


The seals prefixed to the warrant are, beside his own and that of the emperor of China, whose consequence is well known to the inhabitants of the eastern islands, that of the sultan of Rum, by which is understood in modern times, Constantinople, the seat of the emperor of the Turks, who is looked up to by Mahometans, since the ruin of the khalifat, as the head of their religion; but I have reason to think that the appellation of Rumi was at an earlier period given by oriental writers to the subjects of the great Turkoman empire of the Seljuks, whose capital was Iconium or Kuniyah in Asia minor, of which the Ottoman was a branch. This personage he honours with the title of his eldest brother, the descendant of Iskander the two-horned, by which epithet the Macedonian hero is always distinguished in eastern story, in consequence, as may be presumed, of the horned figure on his coins,* which must long have circulated in Persia and Arabia. Upon the obscure history of these supposed brothers some light is thrown by the following legend communicated to me as the belief of the people of Johor. "It is related that Iskander dived into the sea, and there married a daughter of the king of the ocean, by whom he had three sons, who, when they arrived at manhood, were sent by their mother to the residence of their father. He gave them a makuta or crown, and ordered them to find kingdoms where they should establish themselves. Arriving in the straits of Singapura they determined to try whose head the crown fitted. The eldest trying first could not lift it to his head. The second the same. The third had nearly effected it when it fell from his hand into the sea. After this the eldest turned to the west and became king of Rome, the second to the east and became king of China. The third remained at Johor. At this time Pulo Percha (Sumatra) had not risen from the waters. When it began to appear, this king of Johor, being on a fishing party, and observing it oppressed by a huge snake named Si Kati-muno, attacked the monster with his sword called Simandang-giri, and killed it, but not till the sword had received one hundred and ninety notches in the encounter. The island being thus allowed to rise, he went and settled by the burning mountain, and his descendants became kings of Menangkabau." This has much the air of a tale invented by the people of the peninsula to exalt the idea of their own antiquity at the expense of their Sumatran neighbours. The blue champaka-flower of which the sultan boasts possession I conceive to be an imaginary and not an existent plant. The late respected Sir W. Jones, in his Botanical Observations printed in the Asiatic Researches Volume 4 suspects that by it must be meant the Kaempferia bhuchampac, a plant entirely different from the michelia; but as this supposition is built on a mere resemblance of sounds it is necessary to state that the Malayan term is champaka biru, and that nothing can be inferred from the accidental coincidence of the Sanskrit word bhu, signifying ground, with the English term for the blue colour.

(*Footnote. See a beautiful engraving of one of these coins preserved in the Bodleian collection, Oxford, prefixed to Dr. Vincent's Translation of the Voyage of Nearchus printed in 1809.)


With the ceremonies of the court we are very imperfectly acquainted. The royal salute is one gun; which may be considered as a refinement in ceremony; for as no additional number could be supposed to convey an adequate idea of respect, but must on the contrary establish a definite proportion between his dignity and that of his nobles, or of other princes, the sultan chooses to leave the measure of his importance indefinite by this policy and save his gunpowder. It must be observed that the Malays are in general extremely fond of the parade of firing guns, which they never neglect on high days, and on the appearance of the new moon, particularly that which marks the commencement and the conclusion of their puasa or annual fast. Yellow being esteemed, as in China, the royal colour, is said to be constantly and exclusively worn by the sultan and his household. His usual present on sending an embassy (for no Sumatran or other oriental has an idea of making a formal address on any occasion without a present in hand, be it never so trifling), is a pair of white horses; being emblematic of the purity of his character and intentions.


The immediate subjects of this empire, properly denominated Malays, are all of the Mahometan religion, and in that respect distinguished from the generality of inland inhabitants. How it has happened that the most central people of the island should have become the most perfectly converted is difficult to account for unless we suppose that its political importance and the richness of its gold trade might have drawn thither its pious instructors, from temporal as well as spiritual motives. Be this as it may, the country of Menangkabau is regarded as the supreme seat of civil and religious authority in this part of the East, and next to a voyage to Mecca to have visited its metropolis stamps a man learned, and confers the character of superior sanctity. Accordingly the most eminent of those who bear the titles of imam, mulana, khatib, and pandita either proceed from thence or repair thither for their degree, and bring away with them a certificate or diploma from the sultan or his minister.

In attempting to ascertain the period of this conversion much accuracy is not to be expected; the natives are either ignorant on the subject or have not communicated their knowledge, and we can only approximate the truth by comparing the authorities of different old writers. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller who visited Sumatra under the name of Java minor (see above) says that the inhabitants of the seashore were addicted to the Mahometan law, which they had learned from Saracon merchants. This must have been about the year 1290, when, in his voyage from China, he was detained for several months at a port in the Straits, waiting the change of the monsoon; and though I am scrupulous of insisting upon his authority (questioned as it is), yet in a fact of this nature he could scarcely be mistaken, and the assertion corresponds with the annals of the princes of Malacca, which state, as we have seen above, that sultan Muhammed Shah, who reigned from 1276 to 1333, was the first royal convert. Juan De Barros, a Portuguese historian of great industry, says that, according to the tradition of the inhabitants, the city of Malacca was founded about the year 1260, and that about 1400 the Mahometan faith had spread considerably there and extended itself to the neighbouring islands. Diogo do Couto, another celebrated historian, who prosecuted his inquiries in India, mentions the arrival at Malacca of an Arabian priest who converted its monarch to the faith of the khalifs, and gave him the name of Shah Muhammed in the year 1384. This date however is evidently incorrect, as that king's reign was earlier by fifty years. Corneille le Brun was informed by the king of Bantam in 1706 that the people of Java were made converts to that sect about three hundred years before. Valentyn states that Sheik Mulana, by whom this conversion was effected in 1406, had already disseminated his doctrine at Ache, Pase (places in Sumatra), and Johor. From these several sources of information, which are sufficiently distinct from each other, we may draw this conclusion, that the religion, which sprang up in Arabia in the seventh century, had not made any considerable progress in the interior of Sumatra earlier than the fourteenth, and that the period of its introduction, considering the vicinity to Malacca, could not be much later. I have been told indeed, but cannot vouch for its authenticity, that in 1782 these people counted 670 years from the first preaching of their religion, which would carry the period back to 1112. It may be added that in the island of Ternate the first Mahometan prince reigned from 1466 to 1486; that Francis Xavier, a celebrated Jesuit missionary, when he was at Amboina in 1546 observed the people then beginning to learn to write from the Arabians; that the Malays were allowed to build a mosque at Goak in Makasar subsequently to the arrival of the Portuguese in 1512; and that in 1603 the whole kingdom had become Mahometan. These islands, lying far to the eastward, and being of less considerable account in that age than subsequent transactions have rendered them, the zeal of religious adventurers did not happen to be directed thither so soon as to the countries bordering on the sea of India.

By some it has been asserted that the first sultan of Menangkabau was a Xerif from Mecca, or descendant of the khalifs, named Paduka Sri Sultan Ibrahim, who, settling in Sumatra, was received with honour by the princes of the country, Perapati-si-batang and his brother, and acquired sovereign authority. They add that the sultans who now reside at Pagar-ruyong and at Suruwasa are lineally descended from that Xerif, whilst he who resides at Sungei Trap, styled Datu Bandhara putih, derives his origin from Perapati. But to this supposition there are strong objections. The idea so generally entertained by the natives, and strengthened by the glimmering lights that the old writers afford us, bespeaks an antiquity to this empire that stretches far beyond the probable era of the establishment of the Mahometan religion in the island. Radin Tamanggung, son of a king of Madura, a very intelligent person, and who as a prince himself was conversant with these topics, positively asserted to me that it was an original Sumatran empire, antecedent to the introduction of the Arabian faith; instructed, but by no means conquered, as some had imagined, by people from the peninsula. So memorable an event as the elevation of a Xerif to the throne would have been long preserved by annals or tradition, and the sultan in the list of his titles would not fail to boast of this sacred extraction from the prophet, to which however he does not at all allude; and to this we may add that the superstitious veneration attached to the family extends itself not only where Mahometanism has made a progress, but also among the Battas and other people still unconverted to that faith, with whom it would not be the case if the claim to such respect was grounded on the introduction of a foreign religion which they have refused to accept.

Perhaps it is less surprising that this one kingdom should have been completely converted than that so many districts of the island should remain to this day without any religion whatever. It is observable that a person of this latter description, coming to reside among the Malays, soon assimilates to them in manners, and conforms to their religious practices. The love of novelty, the vanity of learning, the fascination of ceremony, the contagion of example, veneration for what appears above his immediate comprehension, and the innate activity of man's intellectual faculties, which, spurred by curiosity, prompts him to the acquisition of knowledge, whether true or false--all conspire to make him embrace a system of belief and scheme of instruction in which there is nothing that militates against prejudices already imbibed. He relinquishes no favourite ancient worship to adopt a new, and is manifestly a gainer by the exchange, when he barters, for a paradise and eternal pleasures, so small a consideration as the flesh of his foreskin.


The Malays, as far as my observation went, did not appear to possess much of the bigotry so commonly found amongst the western Mahometans, or to show antipathy to or contempt for unbelievers. To this indifference is to be attributed my not having positively ascertained whether they are followers of the sunni or the shiah sect, although from their tolerant principles and frequent passages in their writings in praise of Ali I conclude them to be the latter. Even in regard to the practice of ceremonies they do not imitate the punctuality of the Arabs and others of the mussulman faith. Excepting such as were in the orders of the priesthood I rarely noticed persons in the act of making their prostrations. Men of rank I am told have their religious periods, during which they scrupulously attend to their duties and refrain from gratifications of the appetite, together with gambling and cockfighting; but these are not long nor very frequent. Even their great Fast or puasa (the ramadan of the Turks) is only partially observed. All those who have a regard for character fast more or less according to the degree of their zeal or strength of their constitutions; some for a week, others for a fortnight; but to abstain from food and betel whilst the sun is above the horizon during the whole of a lunar month is a very rare instance of devotion.


Malayan literature consists chiefly of transcripts and versions of the koran, commentaries on the mussulman law, and historic tales both in prose and verse, resembling in some respect our old romances. Many of these are original compositions, and others are translations of the popular tales current in Arabia, Persia, India, and the neighbouring island of Java, where the Hindu languages and mythology appear to have made at a remote period considerable progress. Among several works of this description I possess their translation (but much compressed) of the Ramayan, a celebrated Sanskrit poem, and also of some of the Arabian stories lately published in France as a Continuation of the Thousand and one Nights, first made known to the European world by M. Galland. If doubts have been entertained of the authenticity of these additions to his immortal collection the circumstance of their being (however partially) discovered in the Malayan language will serve to remove them. Beside these they have a variety of poetic works, abounding rather with moral reflections and complaints of the frowns of fortune or of ill-requited love than with flights of fancy. The pantun or short proverbial stanza has been already described. They are composed in all parts of the island, and often extempore; but such as proceed from Menangkabau, the most favoured seat of the Muses, are held in the first esteem. Their writing is entirely in the modified Arabic character, and upon paper previously ruled by means of threads drawn tight and arranged in a peculiar manner.


The arts in general are carried among these people to a greater degree of perfection than by the other natives of Sumatra. The Malays are the sole fabricators of the exquisite gold and silver filigree, the manufacture of which has been particularly described.


In the country of Menangkabau they have from the earliest times manufactured arms for their own use and to supply the northern inhabitants of the island, who are the most warlike, and which trade they continue to this day, smelting, forging, and preparing, by a process of their own, the iron and steel for this purpose, although much is at the same time purchased from Europeans.*

(*Footnote. The principal iron mines are at a place called Padang Luar, where the ore is sold at the rate of half a fanam or forty-eighth part of a dollar for a man's load, and carried to another place in the Menangkabau country called Selimpuwong, where it is smelted and manufactured.)


The use of cannon in this and other parts of India is mentioned by the oldest Portuguese historians, and it must consequently have been known there before the discovery of the passage by the Cape of Good Hope. Their guns are those pieces called matchlocks, the improvement of springs and flints not being yet adopted by them; the barrels are well tempered and of the justest bore, as is evident from the excellence of their aim, which they always take by lowering, instead of raising the muzzle of the piece to the object. They are wrought by rolling a flatted bar of iron of proportionate dimensions spirally round a circular rod, and beating it till the parts of the former unite; which method seems preferable in point of strength to that of folding and soldering the bar longitudinally. The art of boring may well be supposed unknown to these people. Firelocks are called by them snapang, from the Dutch name. Gunpowder they make in great quantities, but either from the injudicious proportion of the ingredients in the composition, or the imperfect granulation, it is very defective in strength.


The tombak, lambing, and kujur or kunjur are names for weapons of the lance or spear kind; the pedang, rudus, pamandap, and kalewang are of the sword kind, and slung at the side, the siwar is a small instrument of the nature of a stiletto, chiefly used for assassination; and the kris is a species of dagger of a particular construction, very generally worn, being stuck in front through the folds of a belt that goes several times round the body.

PLATE 17. SUMATRAN WEAPONS. A. A Malay Gadoobang. B. A Batta Weapon. C. A Malay Creese.
One-third of the size of the Originals.
W. Williams del. and sculpt.
Published by W. Marsden, 1810.

PLATE 17a. SUMATRAN WEAPONS. D. A Malay Creese. E. An Achenese Creese. F. A Malay Sewar.
One-third of the size of the Originals.
W. Williams del. and sculpt.


The blade is about fourteen inches in length, not straight nor uniformly curved, but waving in and out, as we see depicted the flaming swords that guarded the gates of paradise; which probably may render a wound given with it the more fatal. It is not smooth or polished like those of our weapons, but by a peculiar process made to resemble a composition, in which veins of a different metal are apparent. This damasking (as I was informed by the late Mr. Boulton) is produced by beating together steel and iron wire whilst in a state of half fusion, and eating them with acids, by which the softest part is the most corroded; the edges being of pure steel. Their temper is uncommonly hard. The head or haft is either of ivory, the tooth of the duyong (sea-cow), that of the hippopotamus, the snout of the ikan layer (voilier), of black coral, or of fine-grained wood. This is ornamented with gold or a mixture of that and copper, which they call swasa, highly polished and carved into curious figures, some of which have the beak of a bird with the arms of a human creature, and bear a resemblance to the Egyptian Isis. The sheath also is formed of some beautiful species of wood, hollowed out, with a neat lacing of split rattan, stained red round the lower parts; or sometimes it is plated with gold. The value of a kris is supposed to be enhanced in proportion to the number of persons it has slain. One that has been the instrument of much bloodshed is regarded with a degree of veneration as something sacred. The horror or enthusiasm inspired by the contemplation of such actions is transferred to the weapon, which accordingly acquires sanctity from the principle that leads ignorant men to reverence whatever possesses the power of effecting mischief. Other circumstances also contribute to give them celebrity, and they are distinguished by pompous names. Some have a cushion by their bedside on which is placed their favourite weapon. I have a manuscript treatise on krises, accompanied with drawings, describing their imaginary properties and value, estimated at the price of one or more slaves. The abominable custom of poisoning them, though much talked of, is rarely practised I believe in modern times. They are frequently seen rubbing the blades with lime-juice, which has been considered as a precaution against danger of this kind, but it is rather for the purpose of removing common stains or of improving the damasked appearance.


Although much parade attends their preparations for war and their marches, displaying colours of scarlet cloth, and beating drums, gongs, and chennangs, yet their operations are carried on rather in the way of ambuscade and surprise of straggling parties than open combat, firing irregularly from behind entrenchments, which the enemy takes care not to approach too near.


They are said to go frequently to war on horseback, but I shall not venture to give their force the name of cavalry. The chiefs may probably avail themselves of the service of this useful animal from motives of personal indulgence or state, but on account of the ranjaus or sharp-pointed stakes so commonly planted in the passes (see the preceding journal of Lieutenant Dare's march, where they are particularly described), it is scarcely possible that horse could be employed as an effective part of an army. It is also to be observed that neither the natives nor even Europeans ever shoe them, the nature of the roads in general not rendering it necessary. The breed of them is small but well made, hardy, and vigorous. The soldiers serve without pay, but the plunder they obtain is thrown into a common stock, and divided amongst them. Whatever might formerly have been the degree of their prowess they are not now much celebrated for it; yet the Dutch at Padang have often found them troublesome enemies from their numbers, and been obliged to secure themselves within their walls. Between the Menangkabau people, those of Rau or Aru, and the Achinese, settled at Natal, wars used to be incessant until they were checked by the influence of our authority at that place. The factory itself was raised upon one of the breast-works thrown up by them for defence, of which several are to be met with in walking a few miles into the country, and some of them very substantial. Their campaigns in this petty warfare were carried on very deliberately. They made a regular practice of commencing a truce at sunset, when they remained in mutual security, and sometimes agreed that hostilities should take place only between certain hours of the day. The English resident, Mr. Carter, was frequently chosen their umpire, and upon these occasions used to fix in the ground his golden-headed cane, on the spot where the deputies should meet and concert terms of accommodation; until at length the parties, grown weary of their fruitless contests, resolved to place themselves respectively under the dependence and protection of the company. The fortified villages, in some parts of the country named dusun, and in others kampong, are here, as on the continent of India, denominated kota or forts, and the districts are distinguished from each other by the number of confederated villages they contain.


The government, like that of all Malayan states, is founded on principles entirely feudal. The prince is styled raja, maha-raja, iang de pertuan, or sultan; the nobles have the appellation of orang kaya or datu, which properly belongs to the chiefs of tribes, and implies their being at the head of a numerous train of immediate dependants or vassals, whose service they command. The heir-apparent has the title of raja muda.


From amongst the orang kayas the sultan appoints the officers of state, who as members of his council are called mantri, and differ in number and authority according to the situation and importance of the kingdom. Of these the first in rank, or prime minister, has the appellation of perdana mantri, mangko bumi, and not seldom, however anomalously, maharaja. Next to him generally is the bandhara, treasurer or high steward; then the laksamana and tamanggung, commanders-in-chief by sea and land, and lastly the shahbandara, whose office it is to superintend the business of the customs (in sea-port towns) and to manage the trade for the king. The governors of provinces are named panglima, the heads of departments pangulu. The ulubalang are military officers forming the bodyguard of the sovereign, and prepared on all occasions to execute his orders. From their fighting singly, when required, in the cause of the prince or noble who maintains them, the name is commonly translated champion; but when employed by a weak but arbitrary and cruel prince to remove by stealth obnoxious persons whom he dares not to attack openly they may be compared more properly to the Ismaelians or Assassins, so celebrated in the history of the Crusades, as the devoted subjects of the Sheikh al-jabal, or Old Man of the Mountain, as this chief of Persian Irak is vulgarly termed. I have not reason however to believe that such assassinations are by any means frequent. The immediate vassals of the king are called amba raja; and for the subjects in general the word rayet has been adopted. Beside those above named there is a great variety of officers of government of an inferior class; and even among the superior there is not at every period, nor in every Malayan state, a consistent uniformity of rank and title.


The smaller Malayan establishments are governed by their datus or heads of tribes, of whom there are generally four; as at Bencoolen (properly Bengkaulu) near to which the English settlement of Fort Marlborough is situated, and where Fort York formerly stood. These are under the protection or dominion of two native chiefs or princes, the pangerans of Sungei-lamo and Sungei-etam, the origin of whose authority has been already explained. Each of these has possessions on different parts of the river, the principal sway being in the hands of him of the two who has most personal ability. They are constant rivals, though living upon familiar terms, and are only restrained from open war by the authority of the English. Limun likewise, and the neighbouring places of Batang-asei and Pakalang-jambu, near the sources of Jambi River, where gold is collected and carried chiefly to Bencoolen and the settlement of Laye, where I had opportunities of seeing the traders, are each governed by four datus, who, though not immediately nominated by the sultan, are confirmed by, and pay tribute to, him. The first of these, whose situation is most southerly, receive also an investiture (baju, garment, and destar, turband) from the sultan of Palembang, being a politic measure adopted by these merchants for the convenience attending it in their occasional trading concerns with that place.


At Priangan, near Gunong-berapi, are several hot mineral springs, called in the Malayan map already mentioned, panchuran tujuh or the seven conduits, where the natives from time immemorial have been in the practice of bathing; some being appropriated to the men, and others to the women; with two of cold water, styled the king's. It will be recollected that in ancient times this place was the seat of government.


Near to these springs is a large stone or rock of very hard substance, one part of which is smoothed to a perpendicular face of about ten or twelve feet long and four high, on which are engraved characters supposed to be European, the space being entirely filled with them and certain chaps or marks at the corners. The natives presume them to be Dutch, but say that the latter do not resemble the present mark of the Company. There is some appearance of the date 1100. The informant (named Raja Intan), who had repeatedly seen and examined it, added that M. Palm, governor of Padang, once sent Malays with paper and paint to endeavour to take off the inscription, but they did not succeed; and the Dutch, whose arms never penetrated to that part of the country, are ignorant of its meaning. It is noticed in the Malayan map. Should it prove to be a Hindu monument it will be thought curious.




Among the earliest dismemberments of the Menangkabau empire was the establishment of Indrapura as an independent kingdom. Though now in its turn reduced to a state of little importance, it was formerly powerful in comparison with its neighbours, and of considerable magnitude, including Anak-Sungei and extending as far as Kattaun. Some idea of its antiquity may be formed from a historical account given by the Sultan of Bantam to the intelligent traveller Corneille le Brun, in which it is related that the son of the Arabian prince who first converted the Javans to the religion of the Prophet, about the year 1400, having obtained for himself the sovereignty of Bantam, under the title of pangeran, married the daughter of the raja of Indrapura, and received as her portion the country of the Sillabares, a people of Banca-houlou.


Upon this cession appears to be grounded the modern claim of the sultan to this part of the coast, which, previously to the treaty of Paris in 1763, was often urged by his sovereigns, the Dutch East India Company. His dominion is said indeed to have extended from the southward as far as Urei river, and at an early period to Betta or Ayer Etam, between Ipu and Moco-moco, but that the intermediate space was ceded by him to the raja of Indrapura, in satisfaction for the murder of a prince, and that a small annual tax was laid by the latter on the Anak­sungei people on account of the same murder (being the fourth part of a dollar, a bamboo of rice, and a fowl, from each village), which is now paid to the sultan of Moco-moco. In the year 1682 the district of Ayer Aji threw off its dependence on Indrapura. In 1696 Raja Pasisir Barat, under the influence of the Dutch, was placed on the throne, at the age of six years, and his grandfather appointed guardian; but in 1701, in consequence of a quarrel with his protectors, the European settlers were massacred.


This was the occasion of a destructive war, in the event of which the raja and his mantris were obliged to fly, and the country was nearly depopulated. In 1705 he was reinstated, and reigned till about 1732.


But the kingdom never recovered the shock it had received, and dwindled into obscurity. Its river, which descends from the mountains of Korinchi, is considered as one of the largest in the southern part of the west coast, and is capable of admitting sloops. The country formerly produced a large quantity of pepper, and some gold was brought down from the interior, which now finds another channel. An English factory was established there about the year 1684, but never became of any importance.


From the ruins of Indrapura has sprung the kingdom of Anak-sungei, extending along the sea-coast from Manjuta River to that of Urei. Its chief bears the title of sultan, and his capital, if such places deserve the appellation, is Moco-moco. A description of it will be found above. Although the government is Malayan, and the ministers of the sultan are termed mantri (a title borrowed from the Hindus) the greatest part of the country dependent on it is inhabited by the original dusun people, and accordingly their proper chiefs are styled proattin, who are obliged to attend their prince at stated periods, and to carry to him their contribution or tax. His power over them however is very limited.

The first monarch of this new kingdom was named sultan Gulemat, who in 1695 established himself at Manjuta, by the assistance of the English, in consequence of a revolution at Indrapura, by which the prince who had afforded them protection on their first settling was driven out through the intrigues, as they are termed, of the Dutch. It was a struggle, in short, between the rival Companies, whose assistance was courted by the different factions as it happened to suit their purpose, or who, becoming strong enough to consider themselves as principals, made the native chiefs the tools of their commercial ambition. In the year 1717 Gulemat was removed from the throne by an assembly of the chiefs styling themselves the mantris of Lima-kota and proattins of Anak-sungei, who set up a person named Raja Kechil-besar in his room, appointing at the same time, as his minister and successor, Raja Gandam Shah, by whom, upon his accession in 1728, the seat of government was removed from Manjuta to Moco-moco. He was father of sultan Pasisir Barat shah mualim shah, still reigning in the year 1780, but harassed by the frequent rebellions of his eldest son. The space of time occupied by the reigns of these two sovereigns is extraordinary when we consider that the former must have been at man's estate when he became minister or assessor in 1717. Nor is it less remarkable that the son of the deposed sultan Gulemat, called sultan Ala ed-din, was also living, at Tappanuli, about the year 1780, being then supposed ninety years of age. He was confined as a state prisoner at Madras during the government of Mr. Morse, and is mentioned by Captain Forrest (Voyage to the Mergui Archipelago, page 57) as uncle to the king of Achin, who reigned in 1784. The first English settlement at Moco-moco was formed in 1717.


Passamman was the most northern of the provinces immediately dependant on Menangkabau, and afterwards, together with Priaman and many other places on the coast, fell under the dominion of the kings of Achin. It is now divided into two petty kingdoms, each of which is governed by a raja and fourteen pangulus. Formerly it was a place of considerable trade, and, beside a great export of pepper, received much fine gold from the mountains of the Rau country, lying about three days' journey inland. The inhabitants of these are said to be Battas converted to Mahometanism and mixed with Malays. They are governed by datus. The peculiarity of dress remarked of the Korinchi people is also observable here, the men wearing drawers that reach just below the calf, having one leg of red and the other of white or blue cloth, and the baju or garment also party-coloured. The greater part of the gold they collect finds its way to Patapahan on the river of Siak, and from thence to the eastern side of the island and straits of Malacca. The Agam tribe adjoining to the Rau, and connecting to the southward with Menangkabau, differs little from Malays, and is likewise governed by datus.


The great river of Siak has its source in the mountains of the Menangkabau country, and empties itself nearly opposite to Malacca, with which place it formerly carried on a considerable trade. From the Dutch charts we had a general knowledge of its course as far as a place called Mandau or Mandol, as they write the name, and where they had a small establishment on account of its abounding with valuable ship­timber.


A recent survey executed by Mr. Francis Lynch, under the orders of the government of Pulo Pinang, has made us more particularly acquainted with its size, its advantages, and defects. From the place where it discharges itself into the straits of Kampar or Bencalis, to the town of Siak is, according to the scale of his chart, about sixty-five geographical miles, and from thence to a place called Pakan bharu or Newmarket, where the survey discontinues, is about one hundred more. The width of the river is in general from about three-quarters to half a mile, and its depth from fifteen to seven fathoms; but on the bar at low-water spring-tides there are only fifteen feet, and several shoals near its mouth. The tides rise about eleven feet at the town, where at full and change it is high-water at nine A.M. Not far within the river is a small island on which the Dutch had formerly a factory. The shores are flat on both sides to a considerable distance up the country, and the whole of the soil is probably alluvial; but about a hundred and twenty-five or thirty miles up Mr. Lynch marks the appearance of high land, giving it the name of Princess Augusta Sophia hill, and points it out as a commanding situation for a settlement.


He speaks in favourable terms of the facility with which ship-timber of any dimensions or shape may be procured and loaded. Respecting the size or population of the town no information is given.


The government of it was (in October 1808) in the hands of the Tuanku Pangeran, brother to the Raja, who in consequence of some civil disturbance had withdrawn to the entrance of the river. His name is not mentioned, but from the Transactions of the Batavian Society we learn that the prince who reigned about the year 1780 was Raja Ismael, "one of the greatest pirates in those seas." The maritime power of the kingdom of Siak has always been considerable, and in the history of the Malayan states we repeatedly read of expeditions fitted out from thence making attacks upon Johor, Malacca, and various other places on the two coasts of the peninsula. Most of the neighbouring states (or rivers) on the eastern coast of Sumatra, from Langat to Jambi, are said to have been brought in modern times under its subjection.


The trade is chiefly carried on by Kling vessels, as they are called, from the coast of Coromandel, which supply cargoes of piece-goods, and also raw silk, opium, and other articles, which they provide at Pinang or Malacca; in return for which they receive gold, wax, sago, salted fish, and fish-roes, elephants' teeth, gambir, camphor, rattans, and other canes. According to the information of the natives the river is navigable for sloops to a place called Panti Chermin, being eight days' sail with the assistance of the tide, and within half a day's journey by land of another named Patapahan, which boats also, of ten to twenty tons, reach in two days. This is a great mart of trade with the Menangkabau country, whither its merchants resort with their gold. Pakan-bharu, the limit of Mr. Lynch's voyage, is much lower down, and the above­mentioned places are consequently not noticed by him. The Dutch Company procured annually from Siak, for the use of Batavia, several rafts of spars for masts, and if the plan of building ships at Pinang should be encouraged large supplies of frame-timber for the purpose may be obtained from this river, provided a sense of interest shall be found sufficiently strong to correct or restrain the habits of treachery and desperate enterprise for which these people have in all ages been notorious.


The river Rakan, to the northward of Siak, by much the largest in the island, if it should not rather be considered as an inlet of the sea, takes its rise in the Rau country, and is navigable for sloops to a great distance from the sea; but vessels are deterred from entering it by the rapidity of the current, or more probably the reflux of the tide, and that peculiar swell known in the Ganges and elsewhere by the appellation of the bore.


That of Kampar, to the southward, is said by the natives to labour under the same inconvenience, and Mr. Lynch was informed that the tides there rise from eighteen to twenty-four feet. If these circumstances render the navigation dangerous it appears difficult to account for its having been a place of considerable note at the period of the Portuguese conquest of Malacca, and repeatedly the scene of naval actions with the fleets of Achin, whilst Siak, which possesses many natural advantages, is rarely mentioned. In modern times it has been scarcely at all known to Europeans, and even its situation is doubtful.


The river of Indragiri is said by the natives to have its source in a lake of the Menangkabau country, from whence it issues by the name of Ayer Ambelan. Sloops tide it up for five or six weeks (as they assert), anchoring as the ebb begins to make. From a place called Lubok ramo-ramo they use boats of from five to twenty tons, and the smaller sort can proceed until they are stopped by a fall or cascade at Seluka, on the borders of Menangkabau. This extraordinary distance to which the influence of the tides extends is a proof of the absolute flatness of the country through which these rivers take the greater part of their course.


Jambi River has its principal source in the Limun country. Although of considerable size it is inferior to Siak and Indragiri. At an early stage of European commerce in these parts it was of some importance, and both the English and Dutch had factories there; the former on a small island near the mouth, and the latter at some distance up the river. The town of Jambi is situated at the distance of about sixty miles from the sea, and we find in the work of the historian, Faria y Sousa, that in the year 1629 a Portuguese squadron was employed twenty-two days in ascending the river, in order to destroy some Dutch ships which had taken shelter near the town. Lionel Wafer, who was there in 1678 (at which time the river was blockaded by a fleet of praws from Johor), makes the distance a hundred miles. The trade consists chiefly in gold-dust, pepper, and canes, but the most of what is collected of the first article proceeds across the country to the western coast, and the quality of the second is not held in esteem. The port is therefore but little frequented by any other than native merchants. Sometimes, but rarely, a private trading ship from Bengal endeavours to dispose of a few chests of opium in this or one of the other rivers; but the masters scarcely ever venture on shore, and deal with such of the Malays as come off to them at the sword point, so strong is the idea of their treacherous character.


The kingdom of Palembang is one of considerable importance, and its river ranks amongst the largest in the island. It takes its rise in the district of Musi, immediately at the back of the range of hills visible from Bencoolen, and on that account has the name of Ayer Musi in the early part of its course, but in the lower is more properly named the Tatong.


Opposite to the city of Palembang and the Dutch Company's factory it is upwards of a mile in breadth, and is conveniently navigated by vessels whose draft of water does not exceed fourteen feet. Those of a larger description have been carried thither for military purposes (as in 1660, when the place was attacked and destroyed by the Hollanders) but the operation is attended with difficulty on account of numerous shoals.


The port is much frequented by trading vessels, chiefly from Java, Madura, Balli, and Celebes, which bring rice, salt, and cloths, the manufacture of those islands. With opium, the piece-goods of the west of India, and European commodities it is supplied by the Dutch from Batavia, or by those who are termed interlopers. These in return receive pepper and tin, which, by an old agreement made with the sultan, and formally renewed in 1777, are to be exclusively delivered to the Company at stipulated prices, and no other Europeans are to be allowed to trade or navigate within his jurisdiction.


In order to enforce these conditions the Dutch are permitted to maintain a fort on the river with a garrison of fifty or sixty men (which cannot be exceeded without giving umbrage), and to keep its own cruisers to prevent smuggling. The quantity of pepper thus furnished was from one to two millions of pounds per annum. Of tin the quantity was about two millions of pounds, one third of which was shipped (at Batavia) for Holland, and the remainder sent to China. It has already been stated that this tin is the produce of the island of Bangka, situated near the mouth of the river, which may be considered as an entire hill of tin-sand. The works, of which a particular account is given in Volume 3 of the Batavian Transactions, are entirely in the hands of Chinese settlers. In the year 1778 the Company likewise received thirty-seven thousand bundles of rattans.


The lower parts of the country of Palembang towards the sea-coast are described as being flat marshy land, and with the exception of some few tracts entirely unfit for the purposes of cultivation. It is generally understood to have been all covered by the sea in former ages, not only from its being observed that the strand yearly gains an accession, but also that, upon digging the earth at some distance inland, sea-shells, and even pieces of boat-timber, are discovered.


The interior or upland districts on the contrary are very productive, and there the pepper is cultivated, which the king's agent (for trade in these parts is usually monopolized by the sovereign power) purchases at a cheap rate. In return he supplies the country people with opium, salt, and piece-goods, forming the cargoes of large boats (some of them sixty-six feet in length and seven in breadth, from a single tree) which are towed against the stream. The goods intended for Passummah are conveyed to a place called Muara Mulang, which is performed in fourteen days, and from thence by land to the borders of that country is only one day's journey. This being situated beyond the district where the pepper flourishes their returns are chiefly made in pulas twine, raw silk in its roughest state, and elephants' teeth. From Musi they send likewise sulphur, alum, arsenic, and tobacco. Dragons-blood and gambir are also the produce of the country.


These interior parts are divided into provinces, each of which is assigned as a fief or government to one of the royal family or of the nobles, who commit the management to deputies and give themselves little concern about the treatment of their subjects. The pangerans, who are the descendants of the ancient princes of the country, experience much oppression, and when compelled to make their appearance at court are denied every mark of ceremonious distinction.


The present rulers of the kingdom of Palembang and a great portion of the inhabitants of the city originally came from the island of Java, in consequence, as some suppose, of an early conquest by the sovereigns of Majapahit; or, according to others, by those of Bantam, in more modern times; and in proof of its subjection, either real or nominal, to the latter, we find in the account of the first Dutch voyages, that "in 1596 a king of Bantam fell before Palembang, a rebel town of Sumatra, which he was besieging."


The Dutch claim the honour of having placed on the throne the family of the reigning sultan (1780), named Ratu Akhmet Bahar ed-din, whose eldest son bears the title of Pangeran Ratu, answering to the RaJa muda of the Malays. The power of the monarch is unlimited by any legal restriction, but not keeping a regular body of troops in pay his orders are often disregarded by the nobles. Although without any established revenue from taxes or contributions, the profit arising from the trade of pepper and tin (especially the latter) is so great, and the consequent influx of silver, without any apparent outlet, so considerable, that he must necessarily be possessed of treasure to a large amount. The customs on merchandize imported remain in the hands of the shabhandaras, who are required to furnish the king's household with provisions and other necessaries. The domestic attendants on the prince are for the most part females.


The currency of the country and the only money allowed to be received at the king's treasury is Spanish dollars; but there is also in general circulation a species of small base coin, issued by royal authority, and named pitis. These are cut out of plates composed of lead and tin, and, having a square hole in the middle (like the Chinese cash), are strung in parcels of five hundred each, sixteen of which (according to the Batavian Transactions) are equivalent to the dollar. In weighing gold the tail is considered as the tenth part of the katti (of a pound and a third), or equal to the weight of two Spanish dollars and a quarter.


The city is situated in a flat marshy tract, a few miles above the delta of the river, about sixty miles from the sea, and yet so far from the mountains of the interior that they are not visible. It extends about eight miles along both banks, and is mostly confined to them and to the creeks which open into the river. The buildings, with the exception of the king's palace and mosque, being all of wood or bamboos standing on posts and mostly covered with thatch of palm-leaves, the appearance of the place has nothing to recommend it. There are also a great number of floating habitations, mostly shops, upon bamboo-rafts moored to piles, and when the owners of these are no longer pleased with their situation they remove upwards or downwards, with the tide, to one more convenient. Indeed, as the nature of the surrounding country, being overflowed in high tides, scarcely admits of roads, almost all communication is carried on by means of boats, which accordingly are seen moving by hundreds in every direction, without intermission. The dalam or palace being surrounded by a high wall, nothing is known to Europeans of the interior, but it appears to be large, lofty, and much ornamented on the outside. Immediately adjoining to this wall, on the lower side, is a strong, square, roofed battery, commanding the river, and below it another; on both of which many heavy cannon are mounted, and fired on particular occasions. In the interval between the two batteries is seen the meidan or plain, at the extremity of which appears the balerong or hall where the sultan gives audience in public. This is an ordinary building, and serving occasionally for a warehouse, but ornamented with weapons arranged along the walls. The royal mosque stands behind the palace, and from the style of architecture seems to have been constructed by a European. It is an oblong building with glazed windows, pilasters, and a cupola. The burial place of these sovereigns is at old Palembang, about a league lower down the river, where the ground appears to be somewhat raised from having long been the site of habitations.


The policy of these princes, who were themselves strangers, having always been to encourage foreign settlers, the city an lower parts of the river are in a great measure peopled with natives of China, Cochin­china, Camboja, Siam, Patani on the coast of the peninsula, Java, Celebes, and other eastern places. In addition to these the Arabian priests are described by the Dutch as constituting a very numerous and pernicious tribe, who, although in the constant practice of imposing upon and plundering the credulous inhabitants, are held by them in the utmost reverence.


The Mahometan religion prevails throughout all the dominions of the sultan, with the exception of a district near the sea­coast, called Salang, where the natives, termed orang kubu, live in the woods like wild animals. The literature of the country is said to be confined to the study of the koran, but opinions of this kind I have found in other instances to be too hastily formed, or by persons not competent to obtain the necessary information.


The language of the king and his court is the high dialect of the Javan, mixed with some foreign idioms. In the general intercourse with strangers the conversation is always in Malayan, with the pronunciation (already noticed) of the final o for a.


Amongst the people of Palembang themselves this language (the character of which they employ) is mixed with the common Javan. The Dutch, on whom we must rely for an account of the manners and disposition of these people, and which will be found in Volume 3 page 122 of the Batavian Transactions, describe those of the low country as devoid of every good quality and imbued with every bad one; whilst those of the interior are spoken of as a dull, simple people who show much forbearance under oppression*; but it is acknowledged that of these last they have little knowledge, owing to the extreme suspicion and jealousy of the government, which takes alarm at any attempt to penetrate into the country.

(*Footnote. A ridiculous story is told of a custom amongst the inhabitants of a province named Blida, which I should not repeat but for its whimsical coincidence with a jeu d'esprit of our celebrated Swift. When a child is born there (say the Palembangers), and the father has any doubts about the honesty of his wife, he puts it to the proof by tossing the infant into the air and catching it on the point of a spear. If no wound is thereby inflicted he is satisfied of its legitimacy, but if otherwise he considers it as spurious.)


This inland district having been visited only by two servants of the English East India Company who have left any record of their journeys, I shall extract from their narratives such parts as serve to throw a light upon its geography. The first of these was Mr. Charles Miller, who, on the 19th of September 1770, proceeded from Fort Marlborough to Bentiring on the Bencoolen river, thence to Pagar-raddin, Kadras, Gunong Raja, Gunong Ayu, Kalindang, and Jambu, where he ascended the hills forming the boundary of the Company's district, which he found covered with lofty trees. The first dusun on the other side is named Kalubar, and situated on the banks of the river Musi. From thence his route lay to places called Kapiyong and Parahmu, from all of which the natives carry the produce of their country to Palembang by water. The setting in of the rains and difficulties raised by the guides prevented him from proceeding to the country where the cassia is cut, and occasioned his return towards the hills on the 10th of October, stopping at Tabat Bubut. The land in the neighbourhood of the Musi he describes as being level, the soil black and good, and the air temperate. It was his intention to have crossed the hills to Ranne-lebar, on the 11th, but missing the road in the woods reached next day Beyol Bagus, a dusun in the Company's district, and thence proceeded to Gunong Raja, his way lying partly down a branch of the Bencoolen river, called Ayer Bagus, whose bed is formed of large pebble-stones, and partly through a level country, entirely covered with lofty bamboos. From Gunong Raja he returned down Bencoolen River on a bamboo raft to Bentiring, and reached Fort Marlborough on the 18th of October. The other traveller, Mr. Charles Campbell, in a private letter dated March 1802 (referring me, for more detailed information, to journals which have not reached my hand), says, "We crossed the hills nearly behind the Sugar-loaf, and entered the valley of Musi. Words cannot do justice to the picturesque scenery of that romantic and delightful country, locked in on all sides by lofty mountains, and watered by the noble river here navigable for very large canoes, which, after receiving the Lamatang and several other streams, forms the Palembang. Directing our course behind the great hill of Sungei-lamo we in three days discovered Labun, and crossed some considerable streams discharging themselves into the river of Kattaun. Our object there being completed we returned along the banks of the Musi nearly to the dusun of Kalubat, at which place we struck into the woods, and, ascending the mountain, reached towards evening a village high up on the Bencoolen River. There is but a single range, and it is a fact that from the navigable part of the Musi river to a place on that of Bencoolen where rafts and sampans may be used is to the natives a walk of no more than eight hours. Musi is populous, well cultivated, and the soil exceedingly rich. The people are stout, healthy looking, and independent in their carriage and manners, and were to us courteous and hospitable. They acknowledge no superior authority, but are often insulted by predatory parties from Palembang." These freebooters would perhaps call themselves collectors of tribute. It is much to be regretted that little political jealousies and animosities between the European powers whose influence prevails on each side of the island prevent further discoveries of the course of this considerable river.




One of the most considerable distinctions of people in the island, and by many regarded as having the strongest claims to originality, is the nation of the Battas (properly Batak), whose remarkable dissimilitude to the other inhabitants, in the genius of their customs and manners, and especially in some extraordinary usages, renders it necessary that a particular degree of attention should be paid to their description.


This country is bounded on the north by that of Achin, from which it is separated by the mountains of Papa and Deira, and on the south by the independent district of Rau or Rawa; extending along the sea-coast on the western side from the river of Singkel to that of Tabuyong, but inland, to the back of Ayer Bangis, and generally across the island, which is narrow in that part, to the eastern coast; but more or less encroached upon by the Malayan and Achinese establishments in the most convenient maritime situations, for the purposes of their commerce. It is very populous, and chiefly in the central parts, where are extensive open or naked plains, on the borders (as it is said) of a great lake; the soil fertile, and cultivation so much more prevalent than in the southern countries, which are mostly covered with woods, that there is scarcely a tree to be seen excepting those planted by the natives about their villages, which are not, as elsewhere, on the banks of rivers, but wherever a strong situation presents itself. Water indeed is not so abundant as to the southward, which may be attributed to the comparatively level surface, the chain of high mountains which extends northwards from the straits of Sunda through the interior of the island, in a great measure terminating with gunong Passummah or Mount Ophir. About the bay of Tappanuli however the land is high and wooded near the coast.


The Batta territory is divided (according to the information obtained by the English Residents) into the following principal districts; Ankola, Padambola, Mandiling, Toba, Selindong, and Singkel, of which the first has five, the third three, and the fourth five subordinate tribes. According to the Dutch account published in the Transactions of the Batavian Society, which is very circumstantial, it is divided into three small kingdoms. One of these named Simamora is situated far inland and contains a number of villages, and among others those named Batong, Ria, Allas, Batadera, Kapkap (where the district producing benzoin commences), Batahol, Kotta-tinggi (the place of the king's residence), with two places lying on the eastern coast called Suitara-male and Jambu-ayer. This kingdom is said to yield much fine gold from the mines of Batong and Sunayang. Bata-salindong also contains many districts, in some of which benzoin, and in others fine gold, is collected. The residence of the king is at Salindong. Bata-gopit lies at the foot of a volcano-mountain of that name, from whence, at the time of an eruption, the natives procure sulphur, to be afterwards employed in the manufacture of gunpowder. The little kingdom of Butar lies north­eastward of the preceding and reaches to the eastern coast, where are the places named Pulo Serony and Batu Bara; the latter enjoying a considerable trade; also Longtong and Sirigar, at the mouth of a great river named Assahan. Butar yields neither camphor, benzoin, nor gold, and the inhabitants support themselves by cultivation. The residence of the king is at a town of the same name.


High up on the river of Batu Bara, which empties itself into the straits of Malacca, is found a large brick building, concerning the erection of which no tradition is preserved amongst the people. It is described as a square, or several squares, and at one corner is an extremely high pillar, supposed by them to have been designed for carrying a flag. Images or reliefs of human figures are carved in the walls, which they conceive to be Chinese (perhaps Hindu) idols. The bricks, of which some were brought to Tappanuli, are of a smaller size than those used by the English.


Singkel River, by much the largest on the western coast of the island, has its rise in the distant mountains of Daholi, in the territory of Achin, and at the distance of about thirty miles from the sea receives the waters of the Sikere, at a place called Pomoko, running through a great extent of the Batta country. After this junction it is very broad, and deep enough for vessels of considerable burden, but the bar is shallow and dangerous, having no more than six feet at low-water spring-tides, and the rise is also six feet. The breadth here is about three-quarters of a mile. Much of the lower parts of the country through which it has its course is overflowed during the rainy season, but not at two places, called by Captain Forrest Rambong and Jambong, near the mouth. The principal town lies forty miles up the river on the northern branch. On the southern is a town named Kiking, where more trade is carried on by the Malays and Achinese than at the former, the Samponan or Papa mountains producing more benzoin than those of Daholi. It is said in a Dutch manuscript that in three days' navigation above the town of Singkel you come to a great lake, the extent of which is not known.

Barus, the next place of any consequence to the southward, is chiefly remarkable for having given name throughout the East to the Kapur­barus or native camphor, as it is often termed to distinguish it from that which is imported from Japan and China, as already explained. This was the situation of the most remote of the Dutch factories, long since withdrawn. It is properly a Malayan establishment, governed by a raja, a bandhara, and eight pangulus, and with this peculiarity, that the rajas and bandharas must be alternately and reciprocally of two great families, named Dulu and D'ilhir. The assumed jurisdiction is said to have extended formerly to Natal. The town is situated about a league from the coast, and two leagues farther inland are eight small villages inhabited by Battas, the inhabitants of which purchase the camphor and benzoin from the people of the Diri mountains, extending from the southward of Singkel to the hill of Lasa, behind Barus, where the Tobat district commences.


The celebrated bay of Tappanuli stretches into the heart of the Batta country, and its shores are everywhere inhabited by that people, who barter the produce of their land for the articles they stand in need of from abroad, but do not themselves make voyages by sea. Navigators assert that the natural advantages of this bay are scarcely surpassed in any other part of the globe; that all the navies of the world might ride there with perfect security in every weather; and that such is the complication of anchoring-places within each other that a large ship could be so hid in them as not to be found without a tedious search. At the island of Punchong kechil, on which our settlement stands, it is a common practice to moor the vessels by a hawser to a tree on shore. Timber for masts and yards is to be procured in the various creeks with great facility. Not being favourably situated with respect to the general track of outward and homeward-bound shipping, and its distance from the principal seat of our important Indian concerns being considerable, it has not hitherto been much used for any great naval purposes; but at the same time our government should be aware of the danger that might arise from suffering any other maritime power to get footing in a place of this description. The natives are in general inoffensive, and have given little disturbance to our establishments; but parties of Achinese traders (without the concurrence or knowledge, as there is reason to believe, of their own government), jealous of our commercial influence, long strove to drive us from the bay by force of arms, and we were under the necessity of carrying on a petty warfare for many years in order to secure our tranquillity. In the year 1760 Tappanuli was taken by a squadron of French ships under the command of the Comte d'Estaing; and in October 1809, being nearly defenceless, it was again taken by the Creole French frigate, Captain Ripaud, joined afterwards by the Venus and La Manche; under the orders of Commodore Hamelin. By the terms of the surrender private property was to be secured, but in a few days, after the most friendly assurances had been given to the acting resident, with whom the French officers were living, this engagement was violated under the ill-founded pretence that some gold had been secreted, and everything belonging to the English gentlemen and ladies, as well as to the native settlers, was plundered or destroyed by fire, with circumstances of atrocity and brutality that would have disgraced savages. The garden-house of the chief (Mr. Prince, who happened to be then absent from Tappanuli) at Batu-buru on the main was likewise burned, together with his horses, and his cattle were shot at and maimed. Even the books of accounts, containing the statement of outstanding debts due to the trading-concern of the place were, in spite of every entreaty, maliciously destroyed or carried off, by which an irreparable loss, from which the enemy could not derive a benefit, is sustained by the unfortunate sufferers. It cannot be supposed that the government of a great and proud empire can give its sanction to this disgraceful mode of carrying on war.

In the Philosophical Transactions for the year 1778 is a brief account of the Batta country and the manners of its inhabitants, extracted from the private letters of Mr. Charles Miller, the Company's botanist, whose observations I have had repeated occasion to quote. I shall now communicate to the reader the substance of a report made by him of a journey performed in company with Mr. Giles Holloway, then resident of Tappanuli, through the interior of the country of which we are now speaking, with a view to explore its productions, particularly the cassia, which at that time was thought likely to prove an object of commerce worthy of attention.


Says Mr. Miller:

Previously to our setting out on this journey we consulted people who had formerly been engaged in the cassia-trade with regard to the most proper places to visit. They informed us that the trees were to be found in two different districts; namely in the inland parts to the northward of the old settlement at Tappanuli; and also in the country of Padambola, which lies between fifty and sixty miles more to the southward. They advised us to prefer going into the Padambola country, although the more distant, on account of the inhabitants of the Tappanuli country (as they represented) being frequently troublesome to strangers. They also told me there were two kinds of the kulit manis, the one of which, from their account of it, I was in hopes might prove to be the true cinnamon-tree.

June 21st, 1772. We set out from Pulo Punchong and went in boats to the quallo (mouth or entrance) of Pinang Suri river, which is in the bay, about ten or twelve miles south-east of Punchong. Next morning we went up the river in sampans, and in about six hours arrived at a place called quallo Lumut. The whole of the land on both sides of the river is low, covered with wood, and uninhabited. In these woods I observed camphor trees, two species of oak, maranti, rangi, and several other timber-trees. About a quarter of a mile from that place, on the opposite side of the river, is a Batta kampong, situated on the summit of a regular and very beautiful little hill, which rises in a pyramidical form, in the middle of a small meadow. The raja of this kampong, being informed by the Malays that we were at their houses, came over to see us, and invited us to his house, where we were received with great ceremony, and saluted with about thirty guns. This kampong consists of about eight or ten houses, with their respective padi-houses. It is strongly fortified with a double fence of strong rough camphor planks, driven deep into the earth, and about eight or nine feet high, so placed that their points project considerably outward. These fences are about twelve feet asunder, and in the space between them the buffaloes are kept at night. Without-side these fences they plant a row of a prickly kind of bamboo, which forms an almost impenetrable hedge from twelve to twenty feet thick. In the sapiyau or building in which the raja receives strangers we saw a man's skull hanging up, which he told us was hung there as a trophy, it being the skull of an enemy they had taken prisoner, whose body (according to the custom of the Battas) they had eaten about two months before. June 23rd. We walked through a level woody country to the kampong of Lumut, and next day to Sa­tarong, where I observed several plantations of benzoin-trees, some cotton, indigo, turmeric, tobacco, and a few pepper-vines. We next proceeded to Tappolen, to Sikia, and to Sa-pisang. This last is situated on the banks of Batang-tara river, three or four days' journey from the sea; so that our course had hitherto been nearly parallel to the coast.

July 1st. We left Sa-pisang and took a direction towards the hills, following nearly the course of the Batang-tara. We travelled all this day through a low, woody, and entirely uncultivated country, which afforded nothing worthy of observation. Our guide had proposed to reach a kampong, called Lumbu; but missing the road we were obliged to wade up the river between four and five miles, and at length arrived at a ladang extremely fatigued; where the badness of the weather obliged us to stop and take up our quarters in an open padi-shed. The next day the river was so swelled by the heavy rain which had fallen the preceding day that we could not prosecute our journey, and were obliged to pass it and the remaining night in the same uncomfortable situation. (This is the middle of the dry season in the southern parts of the island.) July 3rd. We left the ladang and walked through a very irregular and uninhabited tract, full of rocks and covered with woods. We this day crossed a ridge of very steep and high hills, and in the afternoon came to an inhabited and well-cultivated country on the edge of the plains of Ancola. We slept this night in a small open shed, and next day proceeded to a kampong called Koto Lambong. July 5th. Went through a more open and very pleasant country to Terimbaru, a large kampong on the southern edge of the plains of Ancola. The land hereabout is entirely clear of wood, and either ploughed and sown with padi or jagong (maize), or used as pasture for their numerous herds of buffaloes, kine, and horses. The raja being informed of our intentions to come there sent his son and between thirty and forty men, armed with lances and matchlock guns, to meet us, who escorted us to their kampong, beating gongs and firing their guns all the way. The raja received us in great form, and with civility ordered a buffalo to be killed, detained us a day, and when we proceeded on our journey sent his son with a party to escort us. I observed that all the unmarried women wore a great number of tin rings in their ears (some having fifty in each ear), which circumstance, together with the appearance of the country, seemed to indicate its abounding with minerals; but on making inquiry I found that the tin was brought from the straits of Malacca. Having made the accustomed presents to the raja we left Terimbaru, July 7th, and proceeded to Sa-masam, the raja of which place, attended by sixty or seventy men, well armed, met us and conducted us to his kampong, where he had prepared a house for our reception, treating us with much hospitality and respect. The country round Sa-masam is full of small hills but clear of wood, and mostly pasture ground for their cattle, of which they have great abundance. I met with nothing remarkable here excepting a prickly shrub called by the natives Andalimon, the seed-vessels and leaves of which have a very agreeable spicy taste, and are used by them in their curries.

July 10th. Proceeded on our journey to Batang Onan, the kampong where the Malays used to purchase the cassia from the Battas. After about three hours walk over an open hilly country we again came into thick woods, in which we were obliged to pass the night. The next morning we crossed another ridge of very high hills, covered entirely with woods. In these we saw the wild benzoin-tree. It grows to a much larger size than the cultivated kind, and yields a different sort of resin called kaminian dulong or sweet-scented benzoin. It differs in being commonly in more detached pieces, and having a smell resembling that of almonds when bruised. Arrived at Batang Onan in the afternoon. This kampong is situated in a very extensive plain on the banks of a large river which empties itself into the straits of Malacca, and is said to be navigable for sloops to within a day's journey of Batang Onan.


July 11th. Went to Panka-dulut, the raja of which place claims the property of the cassia-trees, and his people used to cut and cure the bark and transport it to the former place. The nearest trees are about two hours walk from Panka-dulut on a high ridge of mountains. They grow from forty to sixty feet high, and have large spreading heads. They are not cultivated, but grow in the woods. The bark is commonly taken from the bodies of the trees of a foot or foot and half diameter; the bark being so thin, when the trees are younger, as to lose all its qualities very soon. I here inquired for the different sorts of cassia-tree of which I had been told, but was now informed that there was only one sort, and that the difference they mentioned was occasioned entirely by the soil and situation in which the trees grow; that those which grow in a rocky dry soil have red shoots, and their bark is of superior quality to that of trees which grow in moist clay, whose shoots are green. I also endeavoured to get some information with regard to their method of curing and quilling the cassia, and told them my intentions of trying some experiments towards improving its quality and rendering it more valuable. They told me that none had been cut for two years past, on account of a stop being put to the purchases at Tappanuli; and that if I was come with authority to open the trade I should call together the people of the neighbouring kampongs, kill a buffalo for them, and assure them publicly that the cassia would be again received; in which case they would immediately begin to cut and cure it, and would willingly follow any instructions I should give them; but that otherwise they would take no trouble about it. I must observe that I was prevented from getting so satisfactory an account of the cassia as I could have wished by the ill-behaviour of the person who accompanied us as guide, from whom, by his thorough knowledge of the country, and of the cassia-trade, of which he had formerly been the chief manager, we thought we had reason to expect all requisite assistance and information, but who not only refused to give it, but prevented as much as possible our receiving any from the country people. July 14th. We left Batang Onan in order to return, stopped that night at a kampong called Koto Moran, and the next evening reached Sa-masam; from whence we proceeded by a different road from what we had travelled before to Sa­pisang, where we procured sampans, and went down the Batang-tara river to the sea. July 22nd we returned to Pulo Punchong.

End of Mr. Miller's Narrative.

It has since been understood that they were intentionally misled, and taken by a circuitous route to prevent their seeing a particular kampong of some consideration at the back of Tappanuli, or for some other interested object. Near the latter place, on the main, Mr. John Marsden, who went thither to be present at the funeral of one of their chiefs, observed two old monuments in stone, one the figure of a man, the other of a man on an elephant, tolerably well executed, but they know not by whom, nor is there any among them who could do the same work now. The features were strongly Batta.


Our settlement at Natal (properly Natar), some miles to the south of the large river of Tabuyong, and on the confines of the Batta country, which extends at the back of it, is a place of much commerce, but not from its natural or political circumstances of importance in other respects. It is inhabited by settlers there, for the convenience of trade, from the countries of Achin, Rau, and Menangkabau, who render it populous and rich. Gold of very fine quality is procured from the country (some of the mines being said to lie within ten miles of the factory), and there is a considerable vent for imported goods, the returns for which are chiefly made in that article and camphor. Like other Malayan towns it is governed by datus, the chief of whom, styled datu besar or chief magistrate, has considerable sway; and although the influence of the Company is here predominant its authority is by no means so firmly established as in the pepper-districts to the southward, owing to the number of people, their wealth, and enterprising, independent spirit.* It may be said that they are rather managed and conciliated than ruled. They find the English useful as moderators between their own contending factions, which often have recourse to arms, even upon points of ceremonious precedence, and are reasoned into accommodation by our resident going among them unattended. At an earlier period our protection was convenient to them against the usurpation, as they termed it, of the Dutch, of whose attempts and claims they were particularly jealous. By an article of the treaty of Paris in 1763 these pretensions were ascertained as they respected the two European powers, and the settlements of Natal and Tappanuli were expressly restored to the English. They had however already been re-occupied. Neither in fact have any right but what proceeds from the will and consent of the native princes.

(*Footnote. Upon the re-establishment of the factory in 1762 the resident pointed out to the Datu besar, with a degree of indignation, the number of dead bodies which were frequently seen floating down the river, and proposed his cooperating to prevent assassinations in the country, occasioned by the anarchy the place fell into during the temporary interruption of the Company's influence. "I cannot assent to any measures for that purpose," replied the datu: "I reap from these murders an advantage of twenty dollars a head when the families prosecute." A compensation of thirty dollars per month was offered him, and to this he scarcely submitted, observing that he should be a considerable loser, as there fell in this manner at least three men in the month. At another time, when the resident attempted to carry some regulation into execution, he said, "kami tradah suka begito, orang kaya!" "We do not choose to allow it, sir;" and bared his right arm as a signal of attack to his dependants in case the point had been insisted on. Of late years habit and a sense of mutual interest have rendered them more accommodating.)


The government of the Batta country, although nominally in the hands of three or more sovereign rajas, is effectively (so far as our intercourse with the people enables us to ascertain) divided into numberless petty chiefships, the heads of which, also styled rajas, have no appearance of being dependant upon any superior power, but enter into associations with each other, particularly with those belonging to the same tribe, for mutual defence and security against any distant enemy. They are at the same time extremely jealous of any increase of their relative power, and on the slightest pretext a war breaks out between them. The force of different kampongs is notwithstanding this very unequal, and some rajas possess a much more extensive sway than others; and it must needs be so, where every man who can get a dozen followers and two or three muskets sets up for independence. Inland of a place called Sokum great respect was paid to a female chief or uti (which word I conceive to be a liquid pronunciation of putri, a princess), whose jurisdiction comprehended many tribes. Her grandson, who was the reigning prince, had lately been murdered by an invader, and she had assembled an army of two or three thousand men to take revenge. An agent of the Company went up the river about fifteen miles in hopes of being able to accommodate a matter that threatened materially the peace of the country; but he was told by the uti that, unless he would land his men, and take a decided part in her favour, he had no business there, and he was obliged to reembark without effecting anything. The aggressor followed him the same night and made his escape. It does not appear likely, from the manners and dispositions of the people, that the whole of the country was ever united under one supreme head.


The more powerful rajas assume authority over the lives of their subjects. The dependants are bound to attend their chief in his journeys and in his wars, and when an individual refuses he is expelled from the society without permission to take his property along with him. They are supplied with food for their expeditions, and allowed a reward for each person they kill. The revenues of the chief arise principally from fines of cattle adjudged in criminal proceedings, which he always appropriates to himself; and from the produce of the camphor and benzoin trees throughout his district; but this is not rigorously insisted upon. When he pays his gaming debts he imposes what arbitrary value he thinks proper on the horses and buffaloes (no coin being used in the country), which he delivers, and his subjects are obliged to accept them at that rate. They are forced to work in their turns, for a certain number of days, in his rice plantations. There is, in like manner, a lesser kind of service for land held of any other person, the tenant being bound to pay his landlord respect wherever he meets him, and to provide him with entertainment whenever he comes to his house. The people seem to have a permanent property in their possessions, selling them to each other as they think fit. If a man plants trees and leaves them, no future occupier can sell them, though he may eat the fruit. Disputes and litigations of any kind that happen between people belonging to the same kampong are settled by a magistrate appointed for that purpose, and from him it is said there is no appeal to the raja: when they arise between persons of different kampongs they are adjusted at a meeting of the respective rajas. When a party is sent down to the Bay to purchase salt or on other business it is accompanied by an officer who takes cognizance of their behaviour, and sometimes punishes on the spot such as are criminal or refractory. This is productive of much order and decency.


It is asserted that the succession to the chiefships does not go in the first instance to the son of the deceased, but to the nephew by a sister; and that the same extraordinary rule, with respect to property in general, prevails also amongst the Malays of that part of the island, and even in the neighbourhood of Padang. The authorities for this are various and unconnected with each other, but not sufficiently circumstantial to induce me to admit it as a generally established practice.


Notwithstanding the independent spirit of the Battas, and their contempt of all power that would affect a superiority over their little societies, they have a superstitious veneration for the sultan of Menangkabau, and show blind submission to his relations and emissaries, real or pretended, when such appear among them for the purpose of levying contributions: even when insulted and put in fear of their lives they make no attempt at resistance: they think that their affairs would never prosper; that their padi would be blighted, and their buffaloes die; that they would remain under a kind of spell for offending those sacred messengers.


The Battas are in their persons rather below the stature of the Malays, and their complexions are fairer; which may perhaps be owing to their distance, for the most part, from the sea, an element they do not at all frequent.


Their dress is commonly of a sort of cotton cloth manufactured by themselves, thick, harsh, and wiry, about four astas or cubits long, and two in breadth, worn round the middle, with a scarf over the shoulder. These are of mixed colours, the prevalent being a brownish red and a blue approaching to black. They are fond of adorning them, particularly the scarf, with strings and tassels of beads. The covering of the head is usually the bark of a tree, but the superior class wear a strip of foreign blue cloth in imitation of the Malayan destars, and a few have bajus (outer garments) of chintz. The young women, beside the cloth round the middle, have one over the breasts, and (as noticed in Mr. Miller's journal) wear in their ears numerous rings of tin, as well as several large rings of thick brass wire round their necks. On festival days however they ornament themselves with earrings of gold, hair-pins, of which the heads are fashioned like birds or dragons, a kind of three-cornered breastplate, and hollow rings upon the upper arm, all, in like manner, of gold. The kima shell, which abounds in the bay, is likewise worked into arm-rings, whiter, and taking a better polish than ivory.


Their arms are matchlock guns, with which they are expert marksmen, bamboo lances or spears with long iron heads, and a side-weapon called jono, which resembles and is worn as a sword rather than a kris. The cartridge-boxes are provided with a number of little wooden cases, each containing a charge for the piece. In these are carried likewise the match, and the smaller ranjaus, the longer being in a joint of bamboo, slung like a quiver over the shoulder. They have machines curiously carved and formed like the beak of a large bird for holding bullets, and others of peculiar construction for a reserve of powder. These hang in front. On the right side hang the flint and steel, and also the tobacco-pipe. Their guns, the locks of which {for holding the match) are of copper, they are supplied with by traders from Menangkabau; the swords are of their own workmanship, and they also manufacture their own gunpowder, extracting the saltpetre, as it is said, from the soil taken from under houses that have been long inhabited (which in consequence of an uncleanly practice is strongly impregnated with animal salts), together with that collected in places where goats are kept. Through this earth water is filtered, and being afterwards suffered to evaporate the saltpetre is found at the bottom of the vessel. Their proper standard in war is a horse's head, from whence flows a long mane or tail; beside which they have colours of red or white cloth. For drums they use gongs, and in action set up a kind of war­whoop.


The spirit of war is excited among these people by small provocation, and their resolutions for carrying it into effect are soon taken. Their life appears in fact to be a perpetual state of hostility, and they are always prepared for attack and defence. When they proceed to put their designs into execution the first act of defiance is firing, without ball, into the kampong of their enemies. Three days are then allowed for the party fired upon to propose terms of accommodation, and if this is not done, or the terms are such as cannot be agreed to, war is then fully declared. This ceremony of firing with powder only is styled carrying smoke to the adversary. During the course of their wars, which sometimes last for two or three years, they seldom meet openly in the field or attempt to decide their contest by a general engagement, as the mutual loss of a dozen men might go near to ruin both parties, nor do they ever engage hand to hand, but keep at a pretty safe distance, seldom nearer than random-shot, excepting in case of sudden surprise. They march in single files, and usually fire kneeling. It is not often that they venture a direct attack upon each other's works, but watch opportunities of picking off stragglers passing through the woods. A party of three or four will conceal themselves near the footways, and if they see any of their foes they fire and run away immediately; planting ranjaus after them to prevent pursuit. On these occasions a man will subsist upon a potato a day, in which they have much the advantage of the Malays (against whom they are often engaged in warfare), who require to be better fed.


They fortify their kampongs with large ramparts of earth, halfway up which they plant brushwood. There is a ditch without the rampart, and on each side of that a tall palisade of camphor timber. Beyond this is an impenetrable hedge of prickly bamboo, which when of sufficient growth acquires an extraordinary density, and perfectly conceals all appearance of a town. Ranjaus, of a length both for the body and the feet, are disposed without all these, and render the approaches hazardous to assailants who are almost naked. At each corner of the fortress, instead of a tower or watch-house, they contrive to have a tall tree, which they ascend to reconnoitre or fire from. But they are not fond of remaining on the defensive in these fortified villages, and therefore, leaving a few to guard them, usually advance into the plains, and throw up temporary breast-works and entrenchments.


The natives of the sea-coast exchange their benzoin, camphor, and cassia (the quantity of gold-dust is very inconsiderable) for iron, steel, brass-wire, and salt, of which last article a hundred thousand bamboo measures are annually taken off in the bay of Tappanuli. These they barter again with the more inland inhabitants, in the mode that shall presently be described, for the products and manufactures of the country, particularly the home-made cloth; a very small quantity of cotton piece-goods being imported from the coast and disposed of to the natives. What they do take off is chiefly blue-cloth for the head, and chintz.


For the convenience of carrying on the inland-trade there are established at the back of Tappanuli, which is their great mart, four stages, at which successively they hold public fairs or markets on every fourth day throughout the year; each fair, of course, lasting one day. The people in the district of the fourth stage assemble with their goods at the appointed place, to which those of the third resort in order to purchase them. The people of the third, in like manner, supply the wants of the second, and the second of the first, who dispose, on the day the market is held, of the merchandise for which they have trafficked with the Europeans and Malays. On these occasions all hostilities are suspended. Each man who possesses a musket carries it with a green bough in the muzzle, as a token of peace, and afterwards, when he comes to the spot, following the example of the director or manager of the party, discharges the loading into a mound of earth, in which, before his departure, he searches for his ball. There is but one house at the place where the market is held, and that is for the purpose of gaming. The want of booths is supplied by the shade of regular rows of fruit-trees, mostly durian, of which one avenue is reserved for the women. The dealings are conducted with order and fairness; the chief remaining at a little distance, to be referred to in case of dispute, and a guard is at hand, armed with lances, to keep the peace; yet with all this police, which bespeaks civilization, I have been assured by those who have had an opportunity of attending their meetings that in the whole of their appearance and deportment there is more of savage life than is observed in the manners of the Rejangs, or inhabitants of Lampong. Traders from the remoter Batta districts, lying north and south, assemble at these periodical markets, where all their traffic is carried on, and commodities bartered. They are not however peculiar to this country, being held, among other places, at Batang-kapas and Ipu. By the Malays they are termed onan.


Having no coin all value is estimated among them by certain commodities. In trade they calculate by tampangs (cakes) of benzoin; in transactions among themselves more commonly by buffaloes: sometimes brass wire and sometimes beads are used as a medium. A galang, or ring of brass wire, represents about the value of a dollar. But for small payments salt is the most in use. A measure called a salup, weighing about two pounds, is equal to a fanam or twopence-halfpenny: a balli, another small measure, goes for four keppeng, or three-fifths of a penny.


The ordinary food of the lower class of people is maize and sweet-potatoes, the rajas and great men alone indulging themselves with rice. Some mix them together. It is only on public occasions that they kill cattle for food; but not being delicate in their appetites they do not scruple to eat part of a dead buffalo, hog, rat, alligator, or any wild animal with which they happen to meet. Their rivers are said not to abound with fish. Horse-flesh they esteem their most exquisite meat, and for this purpose feed them upon grain and pay great attention to their keep. They are numerous in the country, and the Europeans at Bencoolen are supplied with many good ones from thence, but not with the finest, as these are reserved for their festivals. They have also, says Mr. Miller, great quantities of small black dogs, with erect pointed ears, which they fatten and eat. Toddy or palm-wine they drink copiously at their feasts.


The houses are built with frames of wood, with the sides of boards, and roof covered with iju. They usually consist of a single large room, which is entered by a trap-door in the middle. The number seldom exceeds twenty in one kampong; but opposite to each is a kind of open building that serves for sitting in during the day, and as a sleeping­place for the unmarried men at night. These together form a sort of street. To each kampong there is also a balei, where the inhabitants assemble for transacting public business, celebrating feasts, and the reception of strangers, whom they entertain with frankness and hospitality. At the end of this building is a place divided off, from whence the women see the spectacles of fencing and dancing; and below that is a kind of orchestra for music.


The men are allowed to marry as many wives as they please, or can afford, and to have half a dozen is not uncommon. Each of these sits in a different part of the large room, and sleeps exposed to the others; not being separated by any partition or distinction of apartments. Yet the husband finds it necessary to allot to each of them their several fireplaces and cooking utensils, where they dress their own victuals separately, and prepare his in turns. How is this domestic state and the flimsiness of such an imaginary barrier to be reconciled with our ideas of the furious, ungovernable passions of love and jealousy supposed to prevail in an eastern harem? or must custom be allowed to supersede all other influence, both moral and physical? In other respects they differ little in their customs relating to marriage from the rest of the island. The parents of the girl always receive a valuable consideration (in buffaloes or horses) from the person to whom she is given in marriage; which is returned when a divorce takes place against the man's inclination. The daughters as elsewhere are looked upon as the riches of the fathers.


The condition of the women appears to be no other than that of slaves, the husbands having the power of selling their wives and children. They alone, beside the domestic duties, work in the rice plantations. These are prepared in the same mode as in the rest of the island; except that in the central parts, the country being clearer, the plough and harrow, drawn by buffaloes, are more used. The men, when not engaged in war, their favourite occupation, commonly lead an idle, inactive life, passing the day in playing on a kind of flute, crowned with garlands of flowers; among which the globe-amaranthus, a native of the country, mostly prevails.


They are said however to hunt deer on horseback, and to be attached to the diversion of horseracing. They ride boldly without a saddle or stirrups, frequently throwing their hands upwards whilst pushing their horse to full speed. The bit of the bridle is of iron, and has several joints; the head-stall and reins of rattan: in some parts the reins, or halter rather, is of iju, and the bit of wood. They are, like the rest of the Sumatrans, much addicted to gaming, and the practice is under no kind of restraint, until it destroys itself by the ruin of one of the parties. When a man loses more money than he is able to pay he is confined and sold as a slave; being the most usual mode by which they become such. A generous winner will sometimes release his unfortunate adversary upon condition of his killing a horse and making a public entertainment.


They have, as was before observed, a language and written character peculiar to themselves, and which may be considered, in point of originality, as equal at least to any other in the island, and although, like the languages of Java, Celebes, and the Philippines, it has many terms in common with the Malayan (being all, in my judgment, from one common stock), yet, in the way of encroachment, from the influence, both political and religious, acquired by its immediate neighbours, the Batta tongue appears to have experienced less change than any other. For a specimen of its words, its alphabet, and the rules by which the sound of its letters is modified and governed, the reader is referred to the Table and Plate above. It is remarkable that the proportion of the people who are able to read and write is much greater than of those who do not; a qualification seldom observed in such uncivilized parts of the world, and not always found in the more polished.


Their writing for common purposes is, like that already described in speaking of the Rejangs, upon pieces of bamboo.


Their books (and such they may with propriety be termed) are composed of the inner bark of a certain tree cut into long slips and folded in squares, leaving part of the wood at each extremity to serve for the outer covering. The bark for this purpose is shaved smooth and thin, and afterwards rubbed over with rice-water. The pen they use is a twig or the fibre of a leaf, and their ink is made of the soot of dammar mixed with the juice of the sugar-cane. The contents of their books are little known to us. The writing of most of those in my possession is mixed with uncouth representations of scolopendra and other noxious animals, and frequent diagrams, which imply their being works of astrology and divination. These they are known to consult in all the transactions of life, and the event is predicted by the application of certain characters marked on a slip of bamboo, to the lines of the sacred book, with which a comparison is made. But this is not their only mode of divining. Before going to war they kill a buffalo or a fowl that is perfectly white, and by observing the motion of the intestines judge of the good or ill fortune likely to attend them; and the priest who performs this ceremony had need to be infallible, for if he predicts contrary to the event it is said that he is sometimes punished with death for his want of skill. Exclusively however of these books of necromancy there are others containing legendary and mythological tales, of which latter a sample will be given under the article of religion.


Dr. Leyden, in his Dissertation on the Languages and Literature of the Indo-Chinese nations, says that the Batta character is written neither from right to left, nor from left to right, nor from top to bottom, but in a manner directly opposite to that of the Chinese, from the bottom to the top of the line, and that I have conveyed an erroneous idea of their natural form by arranging the characters horizontally instead of placing them in a perpendicular line. Not having now the opportunity of verifying by ocular proof what I understood to be the practical order of their writing, namely, from left to right (in the manner of the Hindus, who, there is reason to believe, were the original instructors of all these people), I shall only observe that I have among my papers three distinct specimens of the Batta alphabet, written by different natives at different periods, and all of them are horizontal. But I am at the same time aware that as this was performed in the presence of Europeans, and upon our paper, they might have deviated from their ordinary practice, and that the evidence is therefore not conclusive. It might be presumed indeed that the books themselves would be sufficient criterion; but according to the position in which they are held they may be made to sanction either mode, although it is easy to determine by simple inspection the commencement of the lines. In the Batavian Transactions (Volume 3 page 23) already so often quoted, it is expressly said that these people write like Europeans from the left hand towards the right: and in truth it is not easy to conceive how persons making use of ink can conduct the hand from the bottom to the top of a page without marring their own performance. But still a matter of fact, if such it be, cannot give way to argument, and I have no object but to ascertain the truth.


Their religion, like that of all other inhabitants of the island who are not Mahometans, is so obscure in its principles as scarcely to afford room to say that any exists among them. Yet they have rather more of ceremony and observance than those of Rejang or Passummah, and there is an order of persons by them called guru (a well-known Hindu term), who may be denominated priests, as they are employed in administering oaths, foretelling lucky and unlucky days, making sacrifices, and the performance of funeral rites. For a knowledge of their theogony we are indebted to M. Siberg, governor of the Dutch settlements on the coast of Sumatra, by whom the following account was communicated to the late M. Radermacher, a distinguished member of the Batavian Society, and by him published in its Transactions.


The inhabitants of this country have many fabulous stories, which shall be briefly mentioned. They acknowledge three deities as rulers of the world, who are respectively named Batara-guru, Sori-pada, and Mangalla-bulang. The first, say they, bears rule in heaven, is the father of all mankind, and partly, under the following circumstances, creator of the earth, which from the beginning of time had been supported on the head of Naga-padoha, but, growing weary at length, he shook his head, which occasioned the earth to sink, and nothing remained in the world excepting water. They do not pretend to a knowledge of the creation of this original earth and water, but say that at the period when the latter covered everything, the chief deity, Batara­guru, had a daughter named Puti-orla-bulan, who requested permission to descend to these lower regions, and accordingly came down on a white owl, accompanied by a dog; but not being able, by reason of the waters, to continue there, her father let fall from heaven a lofty mountain, named Bakarra, now situated in the Batta country, as a dwelling for his child; and from this mountain all other land gradually proceeded. The earth was once more supported on the three horns of Naga-padoha, and that he might never again suffer it to fall off Batara-guru sent his son, named Layang-layang-mandi (literally the dipping swallow) to bind him hand and foot. But to his occasionally shaking his head they ascribe the effect of earthquakes. Puti-orla-bulan had afterwards, during her residence on earth, three sons and three daughters, from whom sprang the whole human race.

The second of their deities has the rule of the air betwixt earth and heaven, and the third that of the earth; but these two are considered as subordinate to the first. Besides these they have as many inferior deities as there are sensible objects on earth, or circumstances in human society; of which some preside over the sea, others over rivers, over woods, over war, and the like. They believe likewise in four evil spirits, dwelling in four separate mountains, and whatever ill befalls them they attribute to the agency of one of these demons. On such occasions they apply to one of their cunning men, who has recourse to his art, and by cutting a lemon ascertains which of these has been the author of the mischief, and by what means the evil spirit may be propitiated; which always proves to be the sacrificing a buffalo, hog, goat, or whatever animal the wizard happens on that day to be most inclined to eat. When the address is made to any of the superior and beneficent deities for assistance, and the priest directs an offering of a horse, cow, dog, hog, or fowl, care must be taken that the animal to be sacrificed is entirely white.

They have also a vague and confused idea of the immortality of the human soul, and of a future state of happiness or misery. They say that the soul of a dying person makes its escape through the nostrils, and is borne away by the wind, to heaven, if of a person who has led a good life, but if of an evil-doer, to a great cauldron, where it shall be exposed to fire until such time as Batara-guru shall judge it to have suffered punishment proportioned to its sins, and feeling compassion shall take it to himself in heaven: that finally the time shall come when the chains and bands of Naga-padoha shall be worn away, and he shall once more allow the earth to sink, that the sun will be then no more than a cubit's distance from it, and that the souls of those who, having lived well, shall remain alive at the last day, shall in like manner go to heaven, and those of the wicked, be consigned to the before-mentioned cauldron, intensely heated by the near approach of the sun's rays, to be there tormented by a minister of Batara-guru, named Suraya-guru, until, having expiated their offences, they shall be thought worthy of reception into the heavenly regions.

To the Sanskrit scholar who shall make allowances for corrupt orthography many of these names will be familiar. For Batara he will read avatara; and in Naga-padoha he will recognise the serpent on whom Vishnu reposes.


Their ceremonies that wear most the appearance of religion are those practised on taking an oath, and at their funeral obsequies. A person accused of a crime and who asserts his innocence is in some cases acquitted upon solemnly swearing to it, but in others is obliged to undergo a kind of ordeal. A cock's throat is usually cut on the occasion by the guru. The accused then puts a little rice into his mouth (probably dry), and wishes it may become a stone if he be guilty of the crime with which he stands charged, or, holding up a musket bullet, prays it may be his fate in that case to fall in battle. In more important instances they put a small leaden or tin image into the middle of a dish of rice, garnished with those bullets; when the man, kneeling down, prays that his crop of rice may fail, his cattle die, and that he himself may never take salt (a luxury as well as necessary of life), if he does not declare the truth. These tin images may be looked upon as objects of idolatrous worship; but I could not learn that any species of adoration was paid to them on other occasions any more than to certain stone images which have been mentioned. Like the relics of saints, they are merely employed to render the form of the oath more mysterious, and thereby increase the awe with which it should be regarded.


When a raja or person of consequence dies the funeral usually occupies several months; that is, the corpse is kept unburied until the neighbouring and distant chiefs, or, in common cases, the relations and creditors of the deceased, can be convened in order to celebrate the rites with becoming dignity and respect. Perhaps the season of planting or of harvest intervenes, and these necessary avocations must be attended to before the funeral ceremonies can be concluded. The body however is in the meantime deposited in a kind of coffin. To provide this they fell a large tree (the anau in preference, because of the softness of the central part, whilst the outer coat is hard), and, having cut a portion of the stem of sufficient length, they split it in two parts, hollow each part so as to form a receptacle for the body, and then fit them exactly together. The workmen take care to sprinkle the wood with the blood of a young hog, whose flesh is given to them as a treat. The coffin being thus prepared and brought into the house the body is placed in it, with a mat beneath, and a cloth laid over it. Where the family can afford the expense it is strewed over with camphor. Having now placed the two parts in close contact they bind them together with rattans, and cover the whole with a thick coating of dammar or resin. In some instances they take the precaution of inserting a bamboo-tube into the lower part, which, passing thence through the raised floor into the ground, serves to carry off the offensive matter; so that in fact little more than the bones remain.

When the relations and friends are assembled, each of whom brings with him a buffalo, hog, goat, dog, fowl, or other article of provision, according to his ability, and the women baskets of rice, which are presented and placed in order, the feasting begins and continues for nine days and nights, or so long as the provisions hold out. On the last of these days the coffin is carried out and set in an open space, where it is surrounded by the female mourners, on their knees, with their heads covered, and howling (ululantes) in dismal concert, whilst the younger persons of the family are dancing near it, in solemn movement, to the sound of gongs, kalintangs, and a kind of flageolet; at night it is returned to the house, where the dancing and music continues, with frequent firing of guns, and on the tenth day the body is carried to the grave, preceded by the guru or priest, whose limbs are tattooed in the shape of birds and beasts, and painted of different colours,* with a large wooden mask on his face.

(*Footnote. It is remarkable that in the Bisayan language of the Philippines the term for people so marked, whom the Spaniards call pintados, is batuc. This practice is common in the islands near the coast of Sumatra, as will hereafter be noticed. It seems to have prevailed in many parts of the farther East, as Siam, Laos, and several of the islands.)

He takes a piece of buffalo-flesh, swings it about, throwing himself into violent attitudes and strange contortions, and then eats the morsel in a voracious manner. He then kills a fowl over the corpse, letting the blood run down upon the coffin, and just before it is moved both he and the female mourners, having each a broom in their hands, sweep violently about it, as if to chase away the evil spirits and prevent their joining in the procession, when suddenly four men, stationed for the purpose, lift up the coffin, and march quickly off with it, as if escaping from the fiend, the priest continuing to sweep after it for some distance. It is then deposited in the ground, without any peculiar ceremony, at the depth of three or four feet; the earth about the grave is raised, a shed built over it, further feasting takes place on the spot for an indefinite time, and the horns and jaw-bones of the buffaloes and other cattle devoured on the occasion are fastened to the posts. Mr. John and Mr. Frederick Marsden were spectators of the funeral of a raja at Tappanuli on the main. Mr. Charles Miller mentions his having been present at killing the hundred and sixth buffalo at the grave of a raja, in a part of the country where the ceremony was sometimes continued even a year after the interment; and that they seem to regard their ancestors as a kind of superior beings, attendant always upon them.


The crimes committed here against the order and peace of society are said not to be numerous. Theft amongst themselves is almost unknown, being strictly honest in their dealings with each other; but when discovered the offender is made answerable for double the value of the goods stolen. Pilfering indeed from strangers, when not restrained by the laws of hospitality, they are expert at, and think no moral offence; because they do not perceive that any ill results from it. Open robbery and murder are punishable with death if the parties are unable to redeem their lives by a sum of money. A person guilty of manslaughter is obliged to bear the expense attending the interment of the deceased and the funeral-feast given to his friends, or, if too poor to accomplish this it is required of his nearest relation, who is empowered to reimburse himself by selling the offender as a slave. In cases of double adultery the man, upon detection, is punished with death, in the manner that shall presently be described; but the woman is only disgraced, by having her head shaven and being sold for a slave, which in fact she was before. This distribution of justice must proceed upon the supposition of the females being merely passive subjects, and of the men alone possessing the faculties of free agents. A single man concerned in adultery with a married woman is banished or outlawed by his own family. The lives of culprits are in almost all cases redeemable if they or their connections possess property sufficient, the quantum being in some measure at the discretion of the injured party. At the same time it must be observed that, Europeans not being settled amongst these people upon the same footing as in the pepper-districts, we are not so well acquainted either with the principle or the practice of their laws.


The most extraordinary of the Batta customs, though certainly not peculiar to these people, remains now to be described. Many of the old travellers had furnished the world with accounts of anthropophagi or maneaters, whom they met with in all parts of the old and new world, and their relations, true or false, were in those days, when people were addicted to the marvellous, universally credited. In the succeeding ages, when a more skeptical and scrutinizing spirit prevailed, several of these asserted facts were found upon examination to be false; and men, from a bias inherent in our nature, ran into the opposite extreme. It then became established as a philosophical truth, capable almost of demonstration, that no such race of people ever did or could exist. But the varieties, inconsistencies, and contradictions of human manners are so numerous and glaring that it is scarcely possible to fix any general principle that will apply to all the incongruous races of mankind, or even to conceive an irregularity to which some or other of them have not been accustomed.


The voyages of our late famous circumnavigators, the veracity of whose assertions is unimpeachable, have already proved to the world that human flesh is eaten by the savages of New Zealand; and I can with equal confidence, from conviction of the truth, though not with equal weight of authority, assert that it is also, in these days, eaten in the island of Sumatra by the Batta people, and by them only. Whether or not the horrible custom prevailed more extensively in ancient times I cannot take upon me to ascertain, but the same historians who mention it as practised in this island, and whose accounts were undeservedly looked upon as fabulous, relate it also of many others of the eastern people, and those of the island of Java in particular, who since that period may have become more humanized.*

(*Footnote. Mention is made of the Battas and their peculiar customs by the following early writers: NICOLO DI CONTI, 1449. "In a certain part of this island (Sumatra) called Batech, the people eat human flesh. They are continually at war with their neighbours, preserve the skulls of their enemies as treasure, dispose of them as money, and he is accounted the richest man who has most of them in his house." ODOARDUS BARBOSA, 1516. "There is another kingdom to the southward, which is the principal source of gold; and another inland, called Aaru (contiguous to the Batta country) where the inhabitants are pagans, who eat human flesh, and chiefly of those they have slain in war." DE BARROS, 1563. "The natives of that part of the island which is opposite to Malacca, who are called Batas, eat human flesh, and are the most savage and warlike of all the land." BEAULIEU, 1622. "The inland people are independent, and speak a language different from the Malayan. Are idolaters, and eat human flesh; never ransom prisoners, but eat them with pepper and salt. Have no religion, but some polity." LUDOVICO BARTHEMA, in 1505, asserts that the people of Java were cannibals previously to their traffic with the Chinese.)

They do not eat human flesh as the means of satisfying the cravings of nature, for there can be no want of sustenance to the inhabitants of such a country and climate, who reject no animal food of any kind; nor is it sought after as a gluttonous delicacy.


The Battas eat it as a species of ceremony; as a mode of showing their detestation of certain crimes by an ignominious punishment; and as a savage display of revenge and insult to their unfortunate enemies. The objects of this barbarous repast are prisoners taken in war, especially if badly wounded, the bodies of the slain, and offenders condemned for certain capital crimes, especially for adultery. Prisoners unwounded (but they are not much disposed to give quarter) may be ransomed or sold as slaves where the quarrel is not too inveterate; and the convicts, there is reason to believe, rarely suffer when their friends are in circumstances to redeem them by the customary equivalent of twenty binchangs or eighty dollars. These are tried by the people of the tribe where the offence was committed, but cannot be executed until their own particular raja has been made acquainted with the sentence, who, when he acknowledges the justice of the intended punishment, sends a cloth to cover the head of the delinquent, together with a large dish of salt and lemons. The unhappy victim is then delivered into the hands of the injured party (if it be a private wrong, or in the case of a prisoner to the warriors) by whom he is tied to a stake; lances are thrown at him from a certain distance by this person, his relations, and friends; and when mortally wounded they run up to him, as if in a transport of passion, cut pieces from the body with their knives, dip them in the dish of salt, lemon-juice, and red pepper, slightly broil them over a fire prepared for the purpose, and swallow the morsels with a degree of savage enthusiasm. Sometimes (I presume, according to the degree of their animosity and resentment) the whole is devoured by the bystanders; and instances have been known where, with barbarity still aggravated, they tear the flesh from the carcase with their teeth. To such a depth of depravity may man be plunged when neither religion nor philosophy enlighten his steps! All that can be said in extenuation of the horror of this diabolical ceremony is that no view appears to be entertained of torturing the sufferers, of increasing or lengthening out the pangs of death; the whole fury is directed against the corpse, warm indeed with the remains of life, but past the sensation of pain. A difference of opinion has existed with respect to the practice of eating the bodies of their enemies actually slain in war; but subsequent inquiry has satisfied me of its being done, especially in the case of distinguished persons, or those who have been accessories to the quarrel. It should be observed that their campaigns (which may be aptly compared to the predatory excursions of our Borderers) often terminate with the loss of not more than half a dozen men on both sides. The skulls of the victims are hung up as trophies in the open buildings in front of their houses, and are occasionally ransomed by their surviving relations for a sum of money.


I have found that some persons (and among them my friend, the late Mr. Alexander Dalrymple) have entertained doubts of the reality of the fact that human flesh is anywhere eaten by mankind as a national practice, and considered the proofs hitherto adduced as insufficient to establish a point of so much moment in the history of the species. It is objected to me that I never was an eyewitness of a Batta feast of this nature, and that my authority for it is considerably weakened by coming through a second, or perhaps a third hand. I am sensible of the weight of this reasoning, and am not anxious to force any man's belief, much less to deceive him by pretences to the highest degree of certainty, when my relation can only lay claim to the next degree; but I must at the same time observe that, according to my apprehension, the refusing assent to fair, circumstantial evidence, because it clashes with a systematic opinion, is equally injurious to the cause of truth with asserting that as positive which is only doubtful. My conviction of the truth of what I have not personally seen (and we must all be convinced of facts to which neither ourselves nor those with whom we are immediately connected could ever have been witnesses) has arisen from the following circumstances, some of less, and some of greater authority. It is in the first place a matter of general and uncontroverted notoriety throughout the island, and I have conversed with many natives of the Batta country (some of them in my own service), who acknowledged the practice, and became ashamed of it after residing amongst more humanized people. It has been my chance to have had no fewer than three brothers and brothers-in-law, beside several intimate friends (of whom some are now in England), chiefs of our settlements of Natal and Tappanuli, of whose information I availed myself, and all their accounts I have found to agree in every material point. The testimony of Mr. Charles Miller, whose name, as well as that of his father, is advantageously known to the literary world, should alone be sufficient for my purpose. In addition to what he has related in his journal he has told me that at one village where he halted the suspended head of a man, whose body had been eaten a few days before, was extremely offensive; and that in conversation with some people of the Ankola district, speaking of their neighbours and occasional enemies of the Pa­dambola district, they described them as an unprincipled race, saying, "We, indeed, eat men as a punishment for their crimes and injuries to us; but they waylay and seize travellers in order to ber-bantei or cut them up like cattle." It is here obviously the admission and not the scandal that should have weight. When Mr. Giles Holloway was leaving Tappanuli and settling his accounts with the natives he expostulated with a Batta man who had been dilatory in his payment. "I would," says the man, "have been here sooner, but my pangulu (superior officer) was detected in familiarity with my wife. He was condemned, and I stayed to eat share of him; the ceremony took us up three days, and it was only last night that we finished him." Mr. Miller was present at this conversation, and the man spoke with perfect seriousness. A native of the island of Nias, who had stabbed a Batta man in a fit of frenzy at Batang-tara river, near Tappanuli bay, and endeavoured to make his escape, was, upon the alarm being given, seized at six in the morning, and before eleven, without any judicial process, was tied to a stake, cut in pieces with the utmost eagerness while yet alive, and eaten upon the spot, partly broiled, but mostly raw. His head was buried under that of the man whom he had murdered. This happened in December 1780, when Mr. William Smith had charge of the settlement. A raja was fined by Mr. Bradley for having caused a prisoner to be eaten at a place too close to the Company's settlement, and it should have been remarked that these feasts are never suffered to take place withinside their own kampongs. Mr. Alexander Hall made a charge in his public accounts of a sum paid to a raja as an inducement to him to spare a man whom he had seen preparing for a victim: and it is in fact this commendable discouragement of the practice by our government that occasions its being so rare a sight to Europeans, in a country where there are no travellers from curiosity, and where the servants of the Company, having appearances to maintain, cannot by their presence as idle spectators give a sanction to proceedings which it is their duty to discourage, although their influence is not sufficient to prevent them.

A Batta chief, named raja Niabin, in the year 1775 surprised a neighbouring kampong with which he was at enmity, killed the raja by stealth, carried off the body, and ate it. The injured family complained to Mr. Nairne, the English chief of Natal, and prayed for redress. He sent a message on the subject to Niabin, who returned an insolent and threatening answer. Mr. Nairne, influenced by his feelings rather than his judgment (for these people were quite removed from the Company's control, and our interference in their quarrels was not necessary) marched with a party of fifty or sixty men, of whom twelve were Europeans, to chastise him; but on approaching the village they found it so perfectly enclosed with growing bamboos, within which was a strong paling, that they could not even see the place or an enemy.


As they advanced however to examine the defences a shot from an unseen person struck Mr. Nairne in the breast, and he expired immediately. In him was lost a respectable gentleman of great scientific acquirements, and a valuable servant of the Company. It was with much difficulty that the party was enabled to save the body. A caffree and a Malay who fell in the struggle were afterwards eaten. Thus the experience of later days is found to agree with the uniform testimony of old writers; and although I am aware that each and every of these proofs taken singly may admit of some cavil, yet in the aggregate they will be thought to amount to satisfactory evidence that human flesh is habitually eaten by a certain class of the inhabitants of Sumatra.

That this extraordinary nation has preserved the rude genuineness of its character and manners may be attributed to various causes; as the want of the precious metals in its country to excite the rapacity of invaders or avarice of colonists, the vegetable riches of the soil being more advantageously obtained in trade from the unmolested labours of the natives; their total unacquaintance with navigation; the divided nature of their government and independence of the petty chieftains. which are circumstances unfavourable to the propagation of new opinions and customs, as the contrary state of society may account for the complete conversion of the subjects of Menangkabau to the faith of Mahomet; and lastly the ideas entertained of the ferociousness of the people from the practices above described, which may well be supposed to have damped the ardour and restrained the zealous attempts of religious innovators.



Achin (properly Acheh) is the only kingdom of Sumatra that ever arrived to such a degree of political consequence in the eyes of the western people as to occasion its transactions becoming the subject of general history. But its present condition is widely different from what it was when by its power the Portuguese were prevented from gaining a footing in the island, and its princes received embassies from all the great potentates of Europe.


Its situation occupies the north-western extreme of the island, bordering generally on the country of the Battas; but, strictly speaking, its extent, inland, reaches no farther than about fifty miles to the south­east. Along the north and eastern coast its territory was considered in 1778 as reaching to a place called Karti, not far distant from Batu­bara river, including Pidir, Samerlonga, and Pase. On the western coast, where it formerly boasted a dominion as far down as Indrapura, and possessed complete jurisdiction at Tiku, it now extends no farther than Barus; and even there, or at the intermediate ports, although the Achinese influence is predominant and its merchants enjoy the trade, the royal power seems to be little more than nominal. The interior inhabitants from Achin to Singkel are distinguished into those of Allas, Riah, and Karrau. The Achinese manners prevail among the two former; but the last resemble the Battas, from whom they are divided by a range of mountains.


The capital stands on a river which empties itself by several channels near the north-west point of the island, or Achin Head, about a league from the sea, where the shipping lies in a road rendered secure by the shelter of several islands. The depth of water on the bar being no more than four feet at low-water spring-tides, only the vessels of the country can venture to pass it; and in the dry monsoon not even those of the larger class. The town is situated on a plain, in a wide valley formed like an amphitheatre by lofty ranges of hills. It is said to be extremely populous, containing eight thousand houses, built of bamboos and rough timbers, standing distinct from each other and mostly raised on piles some feet above the ground in order to guard against the effects of inundation. The appearance of the place and nature of the buildings differ little from those of the generality of Malayan bazaars, excepting that its superior wealth has occasioned the erection of a greater number of public edifices, chiefly mosques, but without the smallest pretension to magnificence. The country above the town is highly cultivated, and abounds with small villages and groups of three or four houses, with white mosques interspersed.*

(*Footnote. The following description of the appearance of Achin, by a Jesuit missionary who touched there in his way to China in 1698, is so picturesque, and at the same time so just, that I shall make no apology for introducing it. Imaginez vous une foret de cocotiers, de bambous, d'ananas, de bagnaniers, au milieu de laquelle passe une assez belle riviere toute couverte de bateaux; mettez dans cette foret une nombre incroyable de maisons faites avec de cannes, de roseaux, des ecorces, et disposez les de telle maniere qu'elles forment tantot des rues, et tantot des quartiers separes: coupez ces divers quartiers de prairies et de bois: repandez par tout dans cette grande foret, autant d'hommes qu'on en voit dans nos villes, lorsqu'elles sont bien peuplees; vous vous formerez une idee assez juste d'Achen; et vous conviendrez qu'une ville de ce gout nouveau peut faire plaisir a des etrangers qui passent. Elle me parut d'abord comme ces paysages sortis de l'imagination d'un peintre ou d'un poete, qui rassemble sous un coup d'oeil, tout ce que la campagne a de plus riant. Tout est neglige et naturel, champetre et meme un peu sauvage. Quand on est dans la rade, on n'appercoit aucun vestige, ni aucune apparence de ville, parceque des grands arbres qui bordent le rivage en cachent toutes les maisons; mais outre le paysage qui est tres beau, rien n'est plus agreable que de voir de matin un infinite de petits bateaux de pecheurs qui sortent de la riviere avec le jour, et qui ne rentrent que le soir, lorsque le soleil se couche. Vous diriez un essaim d'abeilles qui reviennent a la cruche chargees du fruit de leur travail. Lettres Edifiantes Tome 1. For a more modern account of this city I beg leave to refer the reader to Captain Thomas Forrest's Voyage to the Mergui Archipelago pages 38 to 60, where he will find a lively and natural description of everything worthy of observation in the place, with a detail of the circumstances attending his own reception at the court, illustrated with an excellent plate.)

The king's palace, if it deserves the appellation, is a very rude and uncouth piece of architecture, designed to resist the attacks of internal enemies, and surrounded for that purpose with a moat and strong walls, but without any regular plan, or view to the modern system of military defence.*

(*Footnote. Near the gate of the palace are several pieces of brass ordnance of an extraordinary size, of which some are Portuguese; but two in particular, of English make, attract curiosity. They were sent by king James the first to the reigning monarch of Acheen, and have still the founder's name and the date legible upon them. The diameter of the bore of one is eighteen inches; of the other twenty-two or twenty-four. Their strength however does not appear to be in proportion to the calibre, nor do they seem in other respects to be of adequate dimensions. James, who abhorred bloodshed himself, was resolved that his present should not be the instrument of it to others.)


The air is esteemed comparatively healthy, the country being more free from woods and stagnant water than most other parts; and fevers and dysenteries, to which these local circumstances are supposed to give occasion, are there said to be uncommon. But this must not be too readily credited; for the degree of insalubrity attending situations in that climate is known so frequently to alter, from inscrutable causes, that a person who has resided only two or three years on a spot cannot pretend to form a judgment; and the natives, from a natural partiality, are always ready to extol the healthiness, as well as other imputed advantages, of their native places.


The Achinese differ much in their persons from the other Sumatrans, being in general taller, stouter, and of darker complexions. They are by no means in their present state a genuine people, but thought, with great appearance of reason, to be a mixture of Battas and Malays, with chulias, as they term the natives of the west of India, by whom their ports have in all ages been frequented. In their dispositions they are more active and industrious than some of their neighbours; they possess more sagacity, have more knowledge of other countries, and as merchants they deal upon a more extensive and liberal footing. But this last observation applies rather to the traders at a distance from the capital and to their transactions than to the conduct observed at Achin, which, according to the temper and example of the reigning monarch, is often narrow, extortionary, and oppressive. Their language is one of the general dialects of the eastern islands, and its affinity to the Batta may be observed in the comparative table; but they make use of the Malayan character. In religion they are Mahometans, and having many priests, and much intercourse with foreigners of the same faith, its forms and ceremonies are observed with some strictness.


Although no longer the great mart of eastern commodities, Achin still carries on a considerable trade, as well with private European merchants as with the natives of that part of the coast of India called Telinga, which is properly the country lying between the Kistna and Godavery rivers; but the name, corrupted by the Malays to Kling, is commonly applied to the whole coast of Coromandel. These supply it with salt, cotton piece-goods, principally those called long-cloth white and blue, and chintz with dark grounds; receiving in return gold-dust, raw silk of inferior quality, betel-nut, patch-leaf (Melissa lotoria, called dilam by the Malays) pepper, sulphur, camphor, and benzoin. The two latter are carried thither from the river of Sungkel, where they are procured from the country of the Battas, and the pepper from Pidir; but this article is also exported from Susu to the amount of about two thousand tons annually, where it sells at the rate of twelve dollars the pikul, chiefly for gold and silver. The quality is not esteemed good, being gathered before it is sufficiently ripe, and it is not cleaned like the Company's pepper. The Americans have been of late years the chief purchasers. The gold collected at Achin comes partly from the mountains in the neighbourhood but chiefly from Nalabu and Susu. Its commerce, independently of that of the out-ports, gives employment to from eight to ten Kling vessels, of a hundred and fifty or two hundred tons burden, which arrive annually from Porto Novo and Coringa about the month of August, and sail again in February and March. These are not permitted to touch at any places under the king's jurisdiction, on the eastern or western coast, as it would be injurious to the profits of his trade, as well as to his revenue from the customs and from the presents exacted on the arrival of vessels, and for which his officers at those distant places would not account with him. It must be understood that the king of Achin, as is usual with the princes of this part of the world, is the chief merchant of his capital, and endeavours to be, to the utmost of his power, the monopolizer of its trade; but this he cannot at all times effect, and the attempt has been the cause of frequent rebellions. There is likewise a ship or two from Surat every year, the property of native merchants there. The country is supplied with opium, taffetas, and muslins from Bengal, and also with iron and many other articles of merchandise, by the European traders.


The soil being light and fertile produces abundance of rice, esculent vegetables, much cotton, and the finest tropical fruits. Both the mango and mangustin are said to be of excellent quality. Cattle and other articles of provision are in plenty, and reasonable in price. The plough is there drawn by oxen, and the general style of cultivation shows a skill in agriculture superior to what is seen in other parts of the island.


Those few arts and manufactures which are known in other parts of the island prevail likewise here, and some of them are carried to more perfection. A considerable fabric of a thick species of cotton cloth, and of striped or chequered stuff for the short drawers worn both by Malays and Achinese, is established here, and supplies an extensive foreign demand, particularly in the Rau country, where they form part of the dress of the women as well as men. They weave also very handsome and rich silk pieces, of a particular form, for that part of the body­dress which the Malays call kain-sarong; but this manufacture had much decreased at the period when my inquiries were made, owing, as the people said, to an unavoidable failure in the breed of silkworms, but more probably to the decay of industry amongst themselves, proceeding from their continual civil disturbances.


They are expert and bold navigators, and employ a variety of vessels according to the voyages they have occasion to undertake, and the purposes either of commerce or war for which they design them. The river is covered with a number of small fishing vessels which go to sea with the morning breeze and return in the afternoon with the sea-wind, full laden. These are named koleh, are raised about two streaks on a sampan bottom, have one mast and an upright or square sail, but long in proportion to its breadth, which rolls up. These sometimes make their appearance so far to the southward as Bencoolen. The banting is a trading vessel, of a larger class, having two masts, with upright sails like the former, rising at the stem and stern, and somewhat resembling a Chinese junk, excepting in its size. They have also very long narrow boats, with two masts, and double or single outriggers, called balabang and jalor. These are chiefly used as war-boats, mount guns of the size of swivels, and carry a number of men. For representations of various kinds of vessels employed by these eastern people the reader is referred to the plates in Captain Forrest's two voyages.


They have a small thin adulterated gold coin, rudely stamped with Arabic characters, called mas or massiah. Its current value is said to be about fifteen, and its intrinsic about twelve pence, or five Madras fanams. Eighty of these are equal to the bangkal, of which twenty make a katti. The tail, here an imaginary valuation, is one-fifth of the bang­kal, and equal to sixteen mas. The small leaden money, called pitis or cash, is likewise struck here for the service of the bazaar; but neither these nor the former afford any convenience to the foreign trader. Dollars and rupees pass current, and most other species of coin are taken at a valuation; but payments are commonly made in gold dust, and for that purpose everyone is provided with small scales or steelyards, called daching. They carry their gold about them, wrapped in small pieces of bladder (or rather the integument of the heart), and often make purchases to so small an amount as to employ grains of padi or other seeds for weights.


The monarchy is hereditary, and is more or less absolute in proportion to the talents of the reigning prince; no other bounds being set to his authority than the counterbalance or check it meets with from the power of the great vassals, and disaffection of the commonalty. But this resistance is exerted in so irregular a manner, and with so little view to the public good, that nothing like liberty results from it. They experience only an alternative of tyranny and anarchy, or the former under different shapes. Many of the other Sumatran people are in the possession of a very high degree of freedom, founded upon a rigid attachment to their old established customs and laws. The king usually maintains a guard of a hundred sepoys (from the Coromandel coast) about his palace, but pays them indifferently.

The grand council of the nation consists of the king or Sultan, the maharaja, laksamana, paduka tuan, and bandhara. Inferior in rank to these are the ulubalangs or military champions, among whom are several gradations of rank, who sit on the king's right hand, and other officers named kajuran, who sit on his left. At his feet sits a woman, to whom he makes known his pleasure: by her it is communicated to a eunuch, who sits next to her, and by him to an officer, named Kajuran Gondang, who then proclaims it aloud to the assembly. There are also present two other officers, one of whom has the government of the Bazaar or market, and the other the superintending and carrying into execution the punishment of criminals. All matters relative to commerce and the customs of the port come under the jurisdiction of the Shabandar, who performs the ceremony of giving the chap or licence for trade; which is done by lifting a golden-hafted kris over the head of the merchant who arrives, and without which he dares not to land his goods. Presents, the value of which are become pretty regularly ascertained, are then sent to the king and his officers. If the stranger be in the style of an ambassador the royal elephants are sent down to carry him and his letters to the monarch's presence; these being first delivered into the hands of a eunuch, who places them in a silver dish, covered with rich silk, on the back of the largest elephant, which is provided with a machine (houdar) for that purpose. Within about a hundred yards of an open hall where the king sits the cavalcade stops, and the ambassador dismounts and makes his obeisance by bending his body and lifting his joined hands to his head. When he enters the palace, if a European, he is obliged to take off his shoes, and having made a second obeisance is seated upon a carpet on the floor, where betel is brought to him. The throne was some years ago of ivory and tortoiseshell; and when the place was governed by queens a curtain of gauze was hung before it, which did not obstruct the audience, but prevented any perfect view. The stranger, after some general discourse, is then conducted to a separate building, where he is entertained with the delicacies of the country by the officers of state, and in the evening returns in the manner he came, surrounded by a prodigious number of lights. On high days (ari raya) the king goes in great state, mounted on an elephant richly caparisoned, to the great mosque, preceded by his ulubalangs, who are armed nearly in the European manner.


The whole kingdom is divided into certain small districts or communities, called mukim, which seem to be equivalent to our parishes, and their number is reckoned at one hundred and ninety, of which seventy­three are situated in the valley of Achin. Of these last are formed three larger districts, named Duo-puluh duo (twenty-two), Duo-puluh-limo (twenty-five), and Duo-puluh-anam (twenty-six), from the number of mukims they respectively contain; each of which is governed by a panglima or provincial governor, with an imam and four pangichis for the service of each mosque. The country is extremely populous; but the computations with which I have been furnished exceed so far all probability that I do not venture to insert them.


The regular tax or imposition to which the country is subject, for the use of the crown, is one koyan (about eight hundred gallons) of padi from each mukim, with a bag of rice, and about the value of one Spanish dollar and a half in money, from each proprietor of a house, to be delivered at the king's store in person, in return for which homage he never fails to receive nearly an equivalent in tobacco or some other article. On certain great festivals presents of cattle are made to the king by the orang-kayas or nobles; but it is from the import and export customs on merchandise that the revenue of the crown properly arises, and which of course fluctuates considerably. What Europeans pay is between five and six per cent, but the Kling merchants are understood to be charged with much higher duties; in the whole not less than fifteen, of which twelve in the hundred are taken out of the bales in the first instance, a disparity they are enabled to support by the provident and frugal manner in which they purchase their investments, the cheap rate at which they navigate their vessels, and the manner of retailing their goods to the natives. These sources of wealth are independent of the profit derived from the trade, which is managed for his master by a person who is styled the king's merchant. The revenues of the nobles accrue from taxes which they lay, as feudal lords, upon the produce of the land cultivated by their vassals. At Pidir a measure of rice is paid for every measure of padi sown, which amounts to about a twentieth part. At Nalabu there is a capitation tax of a dollar a year; and at various places on the inland roads there are tolls collected upon provisions and goods which pass to the capital.


The kings of Achin possess a grant of territory along the sea-coast as far down as Bencoolen from the sultan of Menangkabau, whose superiority has always been admitted by them, and will be perhaps so long as he claims no authority over them, and exacts neither tribute nor homage.


Achin has ever been remarkable for the severity with which crimes are punished by their laws; the same rigour still subsists, and there is no commutation admitted, as is regularly established in the southern countries. There is great reason however to conclude that the poor alone experience the rod of justice; the nobles being secure from retribution in the number of their dependants. Petty theft is punished by suspending the criminal from a tree, with a gun or heavy weight tied to his feet; or by cutting off a finger, a hand, or leg, according to the nature of the theft. Many of these mutilated and wretched objects are daily to be seen in the streets. Robbery, on the highway and housebreaking, are punished by drowning, and afterwards exposing the body on a stake for a few days. If the robbery is committed upon an imam or priest the sacrilege is expiated by burning the criminal alive. A man who is convicted of adultery or rape is seldom attempted to be screened by his friends, but is delivered up to the friends and relations of the injured husband or father. These take him to some large plain and, forming themselves in a circle, place him in the middle. A large weapon, called a gadubong, is then delivered to him by one of his family, and if he can force his way through those who surround him and make his escape he is not liable to further prosecution; but it commonly happens that he is instantly cut to pieces. In this case his relations bury him as they would a dead buffalo, refusing to admit the corpse into their house, or to perform any funeral rites. Would it not be reasonable to conclude that the Achinese, with so much discouragement to vice both from law and prejudice, must prove a moral and virtuous people? yet all travellers agree in representing them as one of the most dishonest and flagitious nations of the East, which the history of their government will tend to corroborate.




The Portuguese, under the conduct of Vasco de Gama, doubled the Cape of Good Hope in the year 1497, and arrived on the coast of Malabar in the following year. These people, whom the spirit of glory, commerce, and plunder led to the most magnanimous undertakings, were not so entirely engaged by their conquests on the continent of India as to prevent them from extending their views to the discovery of regions yet more distant. They learned from the merchants of Guzerat some account of the riches and importance of Malacca, a great trading city in the farther peninsula of India, supposed by them the Golden Chersonnese of Ptolemy. Intelligence of this was transmitted to their enterprising sovereign Emanuel, who became impressed with a strong desire to avail himself of the flattering advantages which this celebrated country held out to his ambition.


He equipped a fleet of four ships under the command of Diogo Lopez de Sequeira, which sailed from Lisbon on the eighth day of April 1508 with orders to explore and establish connexions in those eastern parts of Asia.


After touching at Madagascar Sequeira proceeded to Cochin, where a ship was added to his fleet, and, departing from thence on the eighth of September 1509, he made sail towards Malacca; but having doubled the extreme promontory of Sumatra (then supposed to be the Taprobane of the ancients) he anchored at Pidir, a principal port of that island, in which he found vessels from Pegu, Bengal, and other countries. The king of the place, who, like other Mahometan princes, was styled sultan, sent off a deputation to him, accompanied with refreshments, excusing himself, on account of illness, from paying his compliments in person, but assuring him at the same time that he should derive much pleasure from the friendship and alliance of the Portuguese, whose fame had reached his ears. Sequeira answered this message in such terms that, by consent of the sultan, a monument of their amity was erected on the shore; or, more properly, as the token of discovery and possession usually employed by the European nations. He was received in the same manner at a place called Pase, lying about twenty leagues farther to the eastward on the same coast, and there also erected a monument or cross. Having procured at each of these ports as much pepper as could be collected in a short time he hastened to Malacca, where the news of his appearance in these seas had anticipated his arrival. Here he was near falling a sacrifice to the insidious policy of Mahmud, the reigning king, to whom the Portuguese had been represented by the Arabian and Persian merchants (and not very unjustly) as lawless pirates, who, under the pretext of establishing commercial treaties, had, at first by encroachments, and afterwards with insolent rapacity, ruined and enslaved the princes who were weak enough to put a confidence in them, or to allow them a footing in their dominions. He escaped the snares that were laid for him but lost many of his people, and, leaving others in captivity, he returned to Europe, and gave an account of his proceedings to the king.


A fleet was sent out in the year 1510 under Diogo Mendez to establish the Portuguese interests at Malacca; but Affonso d'Alboquerque, the governor of their affairs in India, thought proper to detain this squadron on the coast of Malabar until he could proceed thither himself with a greater force.


And accordingly on the second of May 1511 he set sail from Cochin with nineteen ships and fourteen hundred men. He touched at Pidir, where he found some of his countrymen who had made their escape from Malacca in a boat and sought protection on the Sumatran shore. They represented that, arriving off Pase, they had been ill-treated by the natives, who killed one of their party and obliged them to fly to Pidir, where they met with hospitality and kindness from the prince, who seemed desirous to conciliate the regard of their nation. Alboquerque expressed himself sensible of this instance of friendship, and renewed with the sultan the alliance that had been formed by Sequeira. He then proceeded to Pase, whose monarch endeavoured to exculpate himself from the outrage committed against the Portuguese fugitives, and as he could not tarry to take redress he concealed his resentment. In crossing over to Malacca he fell in with a large junk, or country vessel, which he engaged and attempted to board, but the enemy, setting fire to a quantity of inflammable oleaginous matter, he was deterred from his design, with a narrow escape of the destruction of his own ship. The junk was then battered from a distance until forty of her men were killed, when Alboquerque, admiring the bravery of the crew, proposed to them that, if they would strike and acknowledge themselves vassals of Portugal, he would treat them as friends and take them under his protection. This offer was accepted, and the valiant defender of the vessel informed the governor that his name was Jeinal, the lawful heir of the kingdom of Pase; he by whom it was then ruled being a usurper, who, taking advantage of his minority and his own situation as regent, had seized the crown: that he had made attempts to assert his rights, but had been defeated in two battles, and was now proceeding with his adherents to Java, some of the princes of which were his relations, and would, he hoped, enable him to obtain possession of his throne.


Alboquerque promised to effect it for him, and desired the prince to accompany him to Malacca, where they arrived the first of July 1511. In order to save the lives of the Portuguese prisoners, and if possible to effect their recovery, he negotiated with the king of Malacca before he proceeded to an attack on the place; which conduct of his Jeinal construed into fear, and, forsaking his new friend, passed over in the night to the Malayan monarch, whose protection he thought of more consequence to him. When Alboquerque had subdued the place, which made a vigorous resistance, the prince of Pase, seeing the error of his policy, returned, and threw himself at the governor's feet, acknowledged his injurious mistrust, and implored his pardon, which was not denied him. He doubted however it seems of a sincere reconciliation and forgiveness, and, perceiving that no measures were taking for restoring him to his kingdom, but on the contrary that Alboquerque was preparing to leave Malacca with a small force, and talked of performing his promise when he should return from Goa, he took the resolution of again attaching himself to the fortunes of the conquered monarch, and secretly collecting his dependants fled once more from the protection of the Portuguese. He probably was not insensible that the reigning king of Pase, his adversary, had for some time taken abundant pains to procure the favour of Alboquerque, and found an occasion of demonstrating his zeal. The governor, on his return from Malacca, met with a violent storm on the coast of Sumatra near the point of Timiang, where his ship was wrecked. Part of the crew making a raft were driven to Pase, where the king treated them with kindness and sent them to the coast of Coromandel by a merchant ship. Some years after these events Jeinal was enabled by his friends to carry a force to Pase, and obtained the ascendency there, but did not long enjoy his power.

Upon the reduction of Malacca the governor received messages from several of the Sumatran princes, and amongst the rest from the king of a place called Kampar, on the eastern coast, who had married a daughter of the king of Malacca, but was on ill terms with his father-in-law. He desired to become a vassal of the Portuguese crown, and to have leave to reside under their jurisdiction. His view was to obtain the important office of bandhara, or chief magistrate of the Malays, lately vacant by the execution of him who possessed it. He sent before him a present of lignum-aloes and gum-lac, the produce of his country, but Alboquerque, suspecting the honesty of his intentions, and fearing that he either aspired to the crown of Malacca or designed to entice the merchants to resort to his own kingdom, refused to permit his coming, and gave the superintendence of the natives to a person named Nina Chetuan.


After some years had elapsed, at the time when Jorge Alboquerque was governor of Malacca, this king (Abdallah by name) persisting in his views, paid him a visit, and was honourably received. At his departure he had assurances given him of liberty to establish himself at Malacca, if he should think proper, and Nina Chetuan was shortly afterwards removed from his office, though no fault was alleged against him. He took the disgrace so much to heart that, causing a pile to be erected before his door, and setting fire to it, he threw himself into the flames.*

(*Footnote. This man was not a Mahometan but one of the unconverted natives of the peninsula who are always distinguished from the Moors by the Portuguese writers.)

The intention of appointing Abdallah to the office of bandhara was quickly rumoured abroad, and, coming to the knowledge of the king of Bintang, who was driven from Malacca and now carried on a vigorous war against the Portuguese, under the command of the famous Laksamana, he resolved to prevent his arrival there. For this purpose he leagued himself with the king of Lingga, a neighbouring island, and sent out a fleet of seventy armed boats to block up the port of Kampar. By the valour of a small Portuguese armament this force was overcome in the river of that name, and the king conducted in triumph to Malacca, where he was invested in form with the important post he aspired to. But this sacrifice of his independence proved an unfortunate measure to him; for although he conducted himself in such a manner as should have given the amplest satisfaction, and appears to have been irreproachable in the execution of his trust, yet in the following year the king of Bintang found means to inspire the governor with diffidence of his fidelity, and jealousy of his power.


He was cruelly sentenced to death without the simplest forms of justice and perished in the presence of an indignant multitude, whilst he called heaven to witness his innocence and direct its vengeance against his interested accusers. This iniquitous and impolitic proceeding had such an effect upon the minds of the people that all of any property or repute forsook the place, execrating the government of the Portuguese. The consequences of this general odium reduced them to extreme difficulties for provisions, which the neighbouring countries refused to supply them with, and but for some grain at length procured from Siak with much trouble the event had proved fatal to the garrison.


Fernando Perez d'Andrade, in his way to China, touched at Pase in order to take in pepper. He found the people of the place, as well as the merchants from Bengal, Cambay, and other parts of India, much discontented with the measures then pursuing by the government of Malacca, which had stationed an armed force to oblige all vessels to resort thither with their merchandise and take in at that place, as an emporium, the cargoes they were used to collect in the straits. The king notwithstanding received Andrade well, and consented that the Portuguese should have liberty to erect a fortress in his kingdom.


Extraordinary accounts having been related of certain islands abounding in gold, which were reported by the general fame of India to lie off the southern coast of Sumatra, a ship and small brigantine, under the command of Diogo Pacheco, an experienced seaman, were sent in order to make the discovery of them. Having proceeded as far as Daya the brigantine was lost in a gale of wind. Pacheco stood on to Barus, a place renowned for its gold trade, and for gum benzoin of a peculiar scent, which the country produced. It was much frequented by vessels, both from the neighbouring ports in the island, and from those in the West of India, whence it was supplied with cotton cloths. The merchants, terrified at the approach of the Portuguese, forsook their ships and fled precipitately to the shore. The chiefs of the country sent to inquire the motives of his visit, which he informed them were to establish friendly connexions and to give them assurances of unmolested freedom of trade at the city of Malacca. Refreshments were then ordered for his fleet, and upon landing he was treated with respect by the inhabitants, who brought the articles of their country to exchange with him for merchandise. His chief view was to obtain information respecting the situation and other circumstances of the ilhas d'Ouro, but they seemed jealous of imparting any. At length, after giving him a laboured detail of the dangers attending the navigation of the seas where they were said to lie, they represented their situation to be distant a hundred leagues to the south-east of Barus, amidst labyrinths of shoals and reefs through which it was impossible to steer with any but the smallest boats. If these islands, so celebrated about this time, existed anywhere but in the regions of fancy,* they were probably those of Tiku, to which it is possible that much gold might be brought from the neighbouring country of Menangkabau. Pacheco, leaving Barus, proceeded to the southward, but did not make the wished-for discovery. He reached the channel that divides Sumatra from Java, which he called the strait of Polimban, from a city he erroneously supposed to lie on the Javan shore, and passing through this returned to Malacca by the east; being the first European who sailed round the island of Sumatra. In the following year he sailed once more in search of these islands, which were afterwards the object of many fruitless voyages; but touching again at Barus he met with resistance there and perished with all his companions.

(*Footnote. Linschoten makes particular mention of having seen them, and gives practical directions for the navigation, but the golden dreams of the Portuguese were never realized in them.)

A little before this time a ship under the command of Gaspar d'Acosta was lost on the island of Gamispola (Pulo Gomez) near Achin Head, when the people from Achin attacked and plundered the crew, killing many and taking the rest prisoners. A ship also which belonged to Joano de Lima was plundered in the road, and the Portuguese which belonged to her put to death. These insults and others committed at Pase induced the governor of Malacca, Garcia de Sa, to dispatch a vessel under Manuel Pacheco to take satisfaction; which he endeavoured to effect by blocking up the ports, and depriving the towns of all sources of provision, particularly their fisheries. As he cruised between Achin and Pase a boat with five men, going to take in fresh water at a river nigh to the latter, would have been cut off had not the people, by wonderful efforts of valour, overcome the numerous party which attacked them. The sultan, alarmed for the consequences of this affray, sent immediately to sue for reconciliation, offering to make atonement for the loss of property the merchants had sustained by the licentiousness of his people, from a participation in whose crimes he sought to vindicate himself. The advantage derived from the connexion with this place induced the government of Malacca to be satisfied with his apology, and cargoes of pepper and raw silk were shortly after procured there; the former being much wanted for the ships bound to China.

Jeinal, who had fled to the king of Malacca, as before mentioned, followed that monarch to the island of Bintang, and received one of his daughters in marriage. Six or seven years elapsed before the situation of affairs enabled the king to lend him any effectual assistance, but at length some advantages gained over the Portuguese afforded a proper opportunity, and accordingly a fleet was fitted out, with which Jeinal sailed for Pase. In order to form a judgment of the transactions of this kingdom it must be understood that the people, having an idea of predestination, always conceived present possession to constitute right, however that possession might have been acquired; but yet they made no scruple of deposing and murdering their sovereigns, and justified their acts by this argument; that the fate of concerns so important as the lives of kings was in the hands of God, whose vicegerents they were, and that if it was not agreeable to him and the consequence of his will that they should perish by the daggers of their subjects it could not so happen. Thus it appears that their religious ideas were just strong enough to banish from their minds every moral sentiment. The natural consequence of these maxims was that their kings were merely the tyrants of the day; and it is said that whilst a certain ship remained in the port no less than two were murdered, and a third set up: but allowance should perhaps be made for the medium through which these accounts have been transmitted to us.

The maternal uncle of Jeinal, who, on account of his father's infirmities, had been some time regent, and had deprived him of the succession to the throne, was also king of Aru or Rou, a country not far distant, and thus became monarch of both places. The caprices of the Pase people, who submitted quietly to his usurpation, rendered them ere long discontented with his government, and being a stranger they had the less compunction in putting him to death. Another king was set up in his room, who soon fell by the hands of some natives of Aru who resided at Pase, in revenge for the assassination of their countryman.


A fresh monarch was elected by the people, and in his reign it was that Jeinal appeared with a force from Bintang, who, carrying everything before him, put his rival to death, and took possession of the throne. The son of the deceased, a youth of about twelve years of age, made his escape, accompanied by the Mulana or chief priest of the city, and procured a conveyance to the west of India. There they threw themselves at the feet of the Portuguese governor, Lopez Sequeira, then engaged in an expedition to the Red Sea, imploring his aid to drive the invader from their country, and to establish the young prince in his rights, who would thenceforth consider himself as a vassal of the crown of Portugal. It was urged that Jeinal, as being nearly allied to the king of Bintang, was an avowed enemy to that nation, which he had manifested in some recent outrages committed against the merchants from Malacca who traded at Pase. Sequeira, partly from compassion, and partly from political motives, resolved to succour this prince, and by placing him on the throne establish a firm interest in the affairs of his kingdom. He accordingly gave orders to Jorge Alboquerque, who was then proceeding with a strong fleet towards Malacca, to take the youth with him, whose name was Orfacam,* and after having expelled Jeinal to put him in possession of the sovereignty.

(*Footnote. Evidently corrupted, as are most of the country names and titles, which shows that the Portuguese were not at this period much conversant in the Malayan language.)

When Jeinal entered upon the administration of the political concerns of the kingdom, although he had promised his father-in-law to carry on the war in concert with him, yet, being apprehensive of the effects of the Portuguese power, he judged it more for his interest to seek a reconciliation with them than to provoke their resentment, and in pursuance of that system had so far recommended himself to Garcia de Sa, the governor of Malacca, that he formed a treaty of alliance with him. This was however soon interrupted, and chiefly by the imprudence of a man named Diogo Vaz, who made use of such insulting language to the king, because he delayed payment of a sum of money he owed him, that the courtiers, seized with indignation, immediately stabbed him with their krises, and, the alarm running through the city, others of the Portuguese were likewise murdered. The news of this affair, reaching Goa, was an additional motive for the resolution taken of dethroning him.


Jorge d'Alboquerque arrived at Pase in 1521 with Prince Orfacam, and the inhabitants came off in great numbers to welcome his return. The king of Aru had brought thither a considerable force the preceding day, designing to take satisfaction for the murder of his relation, the uncle of Jeinal, and now proposed to Alboquerque that they should make the attack in conjunction, who thought proper to decline it. Jeinal, although he well knew the intention of the enemy, yet sent a friendly message to Alboquerque, who in answer required him to relinquish his crown in favour of him whom he styled the lawful prince. He then represented to him the injustice of attempting to force him from the possession of what was his, not only by right of conquest but of hereditary descent, as was well known to the governor himself; that he was willing to consider himself as the vassal of the king of Portugal, and to grant every advantage in point of trade that they could expect from the administration of his rival; and that since his obtaining the crown he had manifested the utmost friendship to the Portuguese, for which he appealed to the treaty formed with him by the government of Malacca, which was not disturbed by any fault that could in justice be imputed to himself. These arguments, like all others that pass between states which harbour inimical designs, had no effect upon Alboquerque, who, after reconnoitring the ground, gave orders for the attack. The king was now sensible that there was nothing left for him but to conquer or die, and resolved to defend himself to extremity in an entrenchment he had formed at some distance from the town of Pase, where he had never yet ventured to reside as the people were in general incensed against him on account of the destruction of the late king of their choice; for though they were ever ready to demolish those whom they disliked, yet were they equally zealous to sacrifice their own lives in the cause of those to whom they were attached. The Portuguese force consisted but of three hundred men, yet such was the superiority they possessed in war over the inhabitants of these countries that they entirely routed Jeinal's army, which amounted to three thousand, with many elephants, although they fought bravely. When he fell they became dispirited, and, the people of Aru joining in the pursuit, a dreadful slaughter succeeded, and upwards of two thousand Sumatrans lay dead, with the loss of only five or six Europeans; but several were wounded, among whom was Alboquerque himself.

The next measure was to place the young prince upon the throne, which was performed with much ceremony. The mulana was appointed his governor, and Nina Cunapan, who in several instances had shown a friendship for the Portuguese, was continued in the office of Shabandar. It was stipulated that the prince should do homage to the crown of Portugal, give a grant of the whole produce of pepper of his country at a certain price, and defray the charges of a fortress which they then prepared to erect in his kingdom, and of which Miranda d'Azeuedo was appointed captain, with a garrison of a hundred soldiers. The materials were mostly timber, with which the ruins of Jeinal's entrenchment supplied them. After Alboquerque's departure the works had nearly fallen into the hands of an enemy, named Melek-el-adil, who called himself sultan of Pase and made several desultory attacks upon them; but he was at length totally routed, and the fortifications were completed without further molestation.


A fleet which sailed from the west of India a short time after that of Alboquerque, under the command of Jorge de Brito, anchored in the road of Achin, in their way to the Molucca Islands. There was at this time at that place a man of the name of Joano Borba, who spoke the language of the country, having formerly fled thither from Pase when Diogo Vaz was assassinated. Being afterwards intrusted with the command of a trading vessel from Goa, which foundered at sea, he again reached Achin, with nine men in a small boat, and was hospitably received by the king, when he learned that the ship had been destined to his port. Borba came off to the fleet along with a messenger sent by the king to welcome the commander and offer him refreshments for his fleet, and, being a man of extraordinary loquacity, he gave a pompous description to Brito of a temple in the country in which was deposited a large quantity of gold: he mentioned likewise that the king was in possession of the artillery and merchandise of Gaspar d'Acosta's vessel, some time since wrecked there; and also of the goods saved from a brigantine driven on shore at Daya, in Pacheco's expedition; as well as of Joano de Lima's ship, which he had caused to be cut off. Brito, being tempted by the golden prize, which he conceived already in his power, and inflamed by Borba's representation of the king's iniquities, sent a message in return to demand the restitution of the artillery, ship, and goods, which had been unlawfully seized. The king replied that, if he wanted those articles to be refunded, he must make his demand to the sea which had swallowed them up. Brito and his captains now resolved to proceed to an attack upon the place, and so secure did they make themselves of their prey that they refused permission to a ship lately arrived, and which did not belong to their squadron, to join them or participate in the profits of their adventure. They prepared to land two hundred men in small boats; a larger, with a more considerable detachment and their artillery, being ordered to follow. About daybreak they had proceeded halfway up the river, and came near to a little fort designed to defend the passage, where Brito thought it advisable to stop till the remainder of their force should join them; but, being importuned by his people, he advanced to make himself master of the fort, which was readily effected. Here he again resolved to make his stand, but by the imprudence of his ensign, who had drawn some of the party into a skirmish with the Achinese, he was forced to quit that post in order to save his colours, which were in danger. At this juncture the king appeared at the head of eight hundred or a thousand men, and six elephants. A desperate conflict ensued, in which the Portuguese received considerable injury. Brito sent orders for the party he had left to come up, and endeavoured to retreat to the fort, but he found himself so situated that it could not be executed without much loss, and presently after he received a wound from an arrow through the cheeks. No assistance arriving, it was proposed that they should retire in the best manner they could to their boats; but this Brito would not consent to, preferring death to flight, and immediately a lance pierced his thighs, and he fell to the ground. The Portuguese, rendered desperate, renewed the combat with redoubled vigour, all crowding to the spot where their commander lay, but their exertions availed them nothing against such unequal force, and they only rushed on to sacrifice. Almost every man was killed, and among these were near fifty persons of family who had embarked as volunteers. Those who escaped belonged chiefly to the corps-de-reserve, who did not, or could not, come up in time to succour their unfortunate companions. Upon this merited defeat the squadron immediately weighed anchor, and, after falling in with two vessels bound on the discovery of the Ilhas d'Ouro, arrived at Pase, where they found Alboquerque employed in the construction of his fortress, and went with him to make an attack on Bintang.


At the period when Malacca fell into the hands of the Portuguese Achin and Daya are said by the historians of that nation to have been provinces subject to Pidir, and governed by two slaves belonging to the sultan of that place, to each of whom he had given a niece in marriage. Slaves, it must be understood, are in that country on a different footing from those in most other parts of the world, and usually treated as children of the family. Some of them are natives of the continent of India, whom their masters employ to trade for them; allowing them a certain proportion of the profits and permission to reside in a separate quarter of the city. It frequently happened also that men of good birth, finding it necessary to obtain the protection of some person in power, became voluntary slaves for this purpose, and the nobles, being proud of such dependants, encouraged the practice by treating them with a degree of respect, and in many instances they made them their heirs. The slave of this description who held the government of Achin had two sons, the elder of whom was named Raja Ibrahim, and the younger Raja Lella, and were brought up in the house of their master. The father being old was recalled from his post; but on account of his faithful services the sultan gave the succession to his eldest son, who appears to have been a youth of an ambitious and very sanguinary temper. A jealousy had taken place between him and the chief of Daya whilst they were together at Pidir, and as soon as he came into power he resolved to seek revenge, and with that view entered in a hostile manner the district of his rival. When the sultan interposed it not only added fuel to his resentment but inspired him with hatred towards his master, and he showed his disrespect by refusing to deliver up, on the requisition of the sultan, certain Portuguese prisoners taken from a vessel lost at Pulo Gomez, and which he afterwards complied with at the intercession of the Shabandar of Pase. This conduct manifesting an intention of entirely throwing off his allegiance, his father endeavoured to recall him to a sense of his duty by representing the obligations in which the family were indebted to the sultan, and the relationship which so nearly connected them. But so far was this admonition from producing any good effect that he took offence at his father's presumption, and ordered him to be confined in a cage, where he died.


Irritated by these acts, the sultan resolved to proceed to extremities against him; but by means of the plunder of some Portuguese vessels, as before related, and the recent defeat of Brito's party, he became so strong in artillery and ammunition, and so much elated with success, that he set his master at defiance and prepared to defend himself. His force proved superior to that of Pidir, and in the end he obliged the sultan to fly for refuge and assistance to the European fortress at Pase, accompanied by his nephew, the chief of Daya, who was also forced from his possessions.


Ibrahim had for some time infested the Portuguese by sending out parties against them, both by sea and land; but these being always baffled in their attempts with much loss, he began to conceive a violent antipathy against that nation, which he ever after indulged to excess. He got possession of the city of Pidir by bribing the principal officers, a mode of warfare that he often found successful and seldom neglected to attempt. These he prevailed upon to write a letter to their master, couched in artful terms, in which they besought him to come to their assistance with a body of Portuguese, as the only chance of repelling the enemy by whom they pretended to be invested. The sultan showed this letter to Andre Henriquez, then governor of the fort, who, thinking it a good opportunity to chastise the Achinese, sent by sea a detachment of eighty Europeans and two hundred Malays under the command of his brother Manuel, whilst the sultan marched overland with a thousand men and fifteen elephants to the relief of the place. They arrived at Pidir in the night, but, being secretly informed that the king of Achin was master of the city, and that the demand for succour was a stratagem, they endeavoured to make their retreat; which the land troops effected, but before the tide could enable the Portuguese to get their boats afloat they were attacked by the Achinese, who killed Manuel and thirty-five of his men.

Henriquez, perceiving his situation at Pase was becoming critical, not only from the force of the enemy but the sickly state of his garrison, and the want of provisions, which the country people now withheld from him, discontinuing the fairs that they were used to keep three times in the week, dispatched advices to the governor of India, demanding immediate succours, and also sent to request assistance of the king of Aru, who had always proved the steadfast friend of Malacca, and who, though not wealthy, because his country was not a place of trade, was yet one of the most powerful princes in those parts. The king expressed his joy in having an opportunity of serving his allies, and promised his utmost aid; not only from friendship to them, but indignation against Ibrahim, whom he regarded as a rebellious slave.


A supply of stores at length arrived from India under the charge of Lopo d'Azuedo, who had orders to relieve Henriquez in the command; but, disputes having arisen between them, and chiefly on the subject of certain works which the shabandar of Pase had been permitted to erect adjoining to the fortress, d'Azuedo, to avoid coming to an open rupture, departed for Malacca. Ibrahim, having found means to corrupt the honesty of this shabandar, who had received his office from Alboquerque, gained intelligence through him of all that passed. This treason, it is supposed, he would not have yielded to but for the desperate situation of affairs. The country of Pase was now entirely in subjection to the Achinese, and nothing remained unconquered but the capital, whilst the garrison was distracted with internal divisions.

After the acquisition of Pidir the king thought it necessary to remain there some time in order to confirm his authority, and sent his brother Raja Lella with a large army to reduce the territories of Pase, which he effected in the course of three months, and with the more facility because all the principal nobility had fallen in the action with Jeinal. He fixed his camp within half a league of the city, and gave notice to Ibrahim of the state in which matters were, who speedily joined him, being anxious to render himself master of the place before the promised succours from the king of Aru could arrive. His first step was to issue a proclamation, giving notice to the people of the town that whoever should submit to his authority within six days should have their lives, families, and properties secured to them, but that all others must expect to feel the punishment due to their obstinacy. This had the effect he looked for, the greater part of the inhabitants coming over to his camp. He then commenced his military operations, and in the third attack got possession of the town after much slaughter; those who escaped his fury taking shelter in the neighbouring mountains and thick woods. He sent a message to the commander of the fortress, requiring him to abandon it and to deliver into his hands the kings of Pidir and Daya, to whom he had given protection. Henriquez returned a spirited answer to this summons, but, being sickly at the time, at best of an unsteady disposition, and too much attached to his trading concerns for a soldier, he resolved to relinquish the command to his relation Aires Coelho, and take passage for the West of India.


He had not advanced farther on his voyage than the point of Pidir, when he fell in with two Portuguese ships bound to the Moluccas, the captains of which he made acquainted with the situation of the garrison, and they immediately proceeded to its relief. Arriving in the night they heard great firing of cannon, and learned next morning that the Achinese had made a furious assault in hopes of carrying the fortress before the ships, which were descried at a distance, could throw succours into it. They had mastered some of the outworks, and the garrison represented that it was impossible for them to support such another shock without aid from the vessels. The captains, with as much force as could be spared, entered the fort, and a sally was shortly afterwards resolved on and executed, in which the besiegers sustained considerable damage. Every effort was likewise employed to repair the breaches and stop up the mines that had been made by the enemy in order to effect a passage into the place. Ibrahim now attempted to draw them into a snare by removing his camp to a distance and making a feint of abandoning his enterprise; but this stratagem proved ineffectual. Reflecting then with indignation that his own force consisted of fifteen thousand men whilst that of the Europeans did not exceed three hundred and fifty, many of whom were sick and wounded, and others worn out with the fatigue of continual duty (intelligence whereof was conveyed to him), he resolved once more to return to the siege, and make a general assault upon all parts of the fortification at once. Two hours before daybreak he caused the place to be surrounded with eight thousand men, who approached in perfect silence. The nighttime was preferred by these people for making their attacks as being then most secure from the effect of firearms, and they also generally chose a time of rain, when the powder would not burn. As soon as they found themselves perceived they set up a hideous shout, and, fixing their scaling ladders, made of bamboo and wonderfully light, to the number of six hundred, they attempted to force their way through the embrasures for the guns; but after a strenuous contest they were at length repulsed. Seven elephants were driven with violence against the paling of one of the bastions, which gave way before them like a hedge, and overset all the men who were on it. Javelins and pikes these enormous beasts made no account of, but upon setting fire to powder under their trunks they drew back with precipitation in spite of all the efforts of their drivers, overthrew their own people, and, flying to the distance of several miles, could not again be brought into the lines. The Achinese upon receiving this check thought to take revenge by setting fire to some vessels that were in the dockyard; but this proved an unfortunate measure to them, for by the light which it occasioned the garrison were enabled to point their guns, and did abundant execution.


Henriquez, after beating sometime against a contrary wind, put back to Pase, and, coming on shore the day after this conflict, resumed his command. A council was soon after held to determine what measures were fittest to be pursued in the present situation of affairs, and, taking into their consideration that no further assistance could be expected from the west of India in less than six months, that the garrison was sickly and provisions short, it was resolved by a majority of votes to abandon the place, and measures were taken accordingly. In order to conceal their intentions from the enemy they ordered such of the artillery and stores as could be removed conveniently to be packed up in the form of merchandise and then shipped off. A party was left to set fire to the buildings, and trains of powder were so disposed as to lead to the larger cannon, which they overcharged that they might burst as soon as heated. But this was not effectually executed, and the pieces mostly fell into the hands of the Achinese, who upon the first alarm of the evacuation rushed in, extinguished the flames, and turned upon the Portuguese their own artillery, many of whom were killed in the water as they hurried to get into their boats. They now lost as much credit by this ill conducted retreat as they had acquired by their gallant defence, and were insulted by the reproachful shouts of the enemy, whose power was greatly increased by this acquisition of military stores, and of which they often severely experienced the effects. To render their disgrace more striking it happened that as they sailed out of the harbour they met thirty boats laden with provisions for their use from the king of Aru, who was himself on his march overland with four thousand men: and when they arrived at Malacca they found troops and stores embarked there for their relief. The unfortunate princes who had sought an asylum with them now joined in their flight; the sultan of Pase proceeded to Malacca, and the sultan of Pidir and chief of Daya took refuge with the king of Aru.


Raja Nara, king of Indragiri, in conjunction with a force from Bintang, attacked the king of a neighbouring island called Lingga, who was in friendship with the Portuguese. A message which passed on this occasion gives a just idea of the style and manners of this people. Upon their acquainting the king of Lingga, in their summons of surrender, that they had lately overcome the fleet of Malacca, he replied that his intelligence informed him of the contrary; that he had just made a festival and killed fifty goats to celebrate one defeat which they had received, and hoped soon to kill a hundred in order to celebrate a second. His expectations were fulfilled, or rather anticipated, for the Portuguese, having a knowledge of the king of Indragiri's design, sent out a small fleet which routed the combined force before the king of Lingga was acquainted with their arrival, his capital being situated high up on the river.


In the next year, at the conquest of Bintang, this king unsolicited sent assistance to his European allies.


However well founded the accounts may have been which the Portuguese have given us of the cruelties committed against their people by the king of Achin, the barbarity does not appear to have been only on one side. Francisco de Mello, being sent in an armed vessel with dispatches to Goa, met near Achin Head with a ship of that nation just arrived from Mecca and supposed to be richly laden. As she had on board three hundred Achinese and forty Arabs he dared not venture to board her, but battered her at a distance, when suddenly she filled and sunk, to the extreme disappointment of the Portuguese, who thereby lost their prize; but they wreaked their vengeance on the unfortunate crew as they endeavoured to save themselves by swimming, and boast that they did not suffer a man to escape. Opportunities of retaliation soon offered.


Simano de Sousa, going with a reinforcement to the Moluccas from Cochin, was overtaken in the bay by a violent storm, which forced him to stow many of his guns in the hold; and, having lost several of his men through fatigue, he made for the nearest port he could take shelter in, which proved to be Achin. The king, having the destruction of the Portuguese at heart, and resolving if possible to seize their vessel, sent off a message to De Sousa recommending his standing in closer to the shore, where he would have more shelter from the gale which still continued, and lie more conveniently for getting off water and provisions, at the same time inviting him to land. This artifice not succeeding, he ordered out the next morning a thousand men in twenty boats, who at first pretended they were come to assist in mooring the ship; but the captain, aware of their hostile design, fired amongst them, when a fierce engagement took place in which the Achinese were repulsed with great slaughter, but not until they had destroyed forty of the Portuguese. The king, enraged at this disappointment, ordered a second attack, threatening to have his admiral trampled to death by elephants if he failed of success. A boat was sent ahead of this fleet with a signal of peace, and assurances to De Sousa that the king, as soon as he was made acquainted with the injury that had been committed, had caused the perpetrators of it to be punished, and now once more requested him to come on shore and trust to his honour. This proposal some of the crew were inclined that he should accept, but being animated by a speech that he made to them it was resolved that they should die with arms in their hands in preference to a disgraceful and hazardous submission. The combat was therefore renewed, with extreme fury on the one side, and uncommon efforts of courage on the other, and the assailants were a second time repulsed; but one of those who had boarded the vessel and afterwards made his escape represented to the Achinese the reduced and helpless situation of their enemy, and, fresh supplies coming off, they were encouraged to return to the attack. De Sousa and his people were at length almost all cut to pieces, and those who survived, being desperately wounded, were overpowered, and led prisoners to the king, who unexpectedly treated them with extraordinary kindness, in order to cover the designs he harboured, and pretended to lament the fate of their brave commander. He directed them to fix upon one of their companions, who should go in his name to the governor of Malacca, to desire he would immediately send to take possession of the ship, which he meant to restore, as well as to liberate them. He hoped by this artifice to draw more of the Portuguese into his power, and at the same time to effect a purpose of a political nature. A war had recently broken out between him and the king of Aru, the latter of whom had deputed ambassadors to Malacca, to solicit assistance, in return for his former services, and which was readily promised to him. It was highly the interest of the king of Achin to prevent this junction, and therefore, though determined to relax nothing in his plans of revenge, he hastened to dispatch Antonio Caldeira, one of the captives, with proposals of accommodation and alliance, offering to restore not only this vessel, but also the artillery which he had taken at Pase. These terms appeared to the governor too advantageous to be rejected. Conceiving a favourable idea of the king's intentions, from the confidence which Caldeira, who was deceived by the humanity shown to the wounded captives, appeared to place in his sincerity, he became deaf to the representations that were made to him by more experienced persons of his insidious character. A message was sent back, agreeing to accept his friendship on the proposed conditions, and engaging to withhold the promised succours from the king of Aru. Caldeira, in his way to Achin, touched at an island, where he was cut off with those who accompanied him. The ambassadors from Aru being acquainted with this breach of faith, retired in great disgust, and the king, incensed at the ingratitude shown him, concluded a peace with Achin; but not till after an engagement between their fleets had taken place, in which the victory remained undecided.

In order that he might learn the causes of the obscurity in which his negotiations with Malacca rested, Ibrahim dispatched a secret messenger to Senaia Raja, bandhara of that city, with whom he held a correspondence; desiring also to be informed of the strength of the garrison. Hearing in answer that the governor newly arrived was inclined to think favourably of him, he immediately sent an ambassador to wait on him with assurances of his pacific and friendly disposition, who returned in company with persons empowered, on the governor's part, to negotiate a treaty of commerce. These, upon their arrival at Achin, were loaded with favours and costly presents, the news of which quickly flew to Malacca, and, the business they came on being adjusted, they were suffered to depart; but they had not sailed far before they were overtaken by boats sent after them, and were stripped and murdered. The governor, who had heard of their setting out, concluded they were lost by accident. Intelligence of this mistaken opinion was transmitted to the king, who thereupon had the audacity to request that he might be honoured with the presence of some Portuguese of rank and consequence in his capital, to ratify in a becoming manner the articles that had been drawn up; as he ardently wished to see that nation trafficking freely in his dominions.


The deluded governor, in compliance with this request, adopted the resolution of sending thither a large ship under the command of Manuel Pacheco, with a rich cargo, the property of himself and several merchants of Malacca, who themselves embarked with the idea of making extraordinary profits. Senaia conveyed notice of this preparation to Achin, informing the king at the same time that, if he could make himself master of this vessel, Malacca must fall an easy prey to him, as the place was weakened of half its force for the equipment. When Pacheco approached the harbour he was surrounded by a great number of boats, and some of the people began to suspect treachery, but so strongly did the spirit of delusion prevail in this business that they could not persuade the captain to put himself on his guard. He soon had reason to repent his credulity. Perceiving an arrow pass close by him, he hastened to put on his coat of mail, when a second pierced his neck, and he soon expired. The vessel then became an easy prey, and the people, being made prisoners, were shortly afterwards massacred by the king's order, along with the unfortunate remnant of De Sousa's crew, so long flattered with the hopes of release. By this capture the king was supposed to have remained in possession of more artillery than was left in Malacca, and he immediately fitted out a fleet to take advantage of its exposed state. The pride of success causing him to imagine it already in his power, he sent a taunting message to the governor in which he thanked him for the late instances of his liberality, and let him know he should trouble him for the remainder of his naval force.

Senaia had promised to put the citadel into his hands, and this had certainly been executed but for an accident that discovered his treasonable designs. The crews of some vessels of the Achinese fleet landed on a part of the coast not far from the city, where they were well entertained by the natives, and in the openness of conviviality related the transactions which had lately passed at Achin, the correspondence of Senaia, and the scheme that was laid for rising on the Portuguese when they should be at church, murdering them, and seizing the fortress. Intelligence of this was reported with speed to the governor, who had Senaia instantly apprehended and executed. This punishment served to intimidate those among the inhabitants who were engaged in the conspiracy, and disconcerted the plans of the king of Achin.

This appears to be the last transaction of Ibrahim's reign recorded by the Portuguese historians. His death is stated by De Barros to have taken place in the year 1528 in consequence of poison administered to him by one of his wives, to revenge the injuries her brother, the chief of Daya, had suffered at his hand. In a Malayan work (lately come into my possession) containing the annals of the kingdom of Achin, it is said that a king, whose title was sultan Saleh-eddin-shah, obtained the sovereignty in a year answering to 1511 of our era, and who, after reigning about eighteen years, was dethroned by a brother in 1529. Notwithstanding some apparent discordance between the two accounts there can be little doubt of the circumstances applying to the same individual, as it may well be presumed that, according to the usual practice in the East, he adopted upon ascending the throne a title different from the name which he had originally borne, although that might continue to be his more familiar appellation, especially in the mouths of his enemies. The want of precise coincidence in the dates cannot be thought an objection, as the event not falling under the immediate observation of the Portuguese they cannot pretend to accuracy within a few months, and even their account of the subsequent transactions renders it more probable that it happened in 1529; nor are the facts of his being dethroned by the brother, or put to death by the sister, materially at variance with each other; and the latter circumstance, whether true or false, might naturally enough be reported at Malacca.


His successor took the name of Ala-eddin-shah, and afterwards, from his great enterprises, acquired the additional epithet of keher or the powerful. By the Portuguese he is said to have styled himself king of Achin, Barus, Pidir, Pase, Daya, and Batta, prince of the land of the two seas, and of the mines of Menangkabau.


Nothing is recorded of his reign until the year 1537, in which he twice attacked Malacca. The first time he sent an army of three thousand men who landed near the city by night, unperceived by the garrison, and, having committed some ravages in the suburbs, were advancing to the bridge, when the governor, Estavano de Gama, sallied out with a party and obliged them to retreat for shelter to the woods. Here they defended themselves during the next day, but on the following night they re-embarked, with the loss of five hundred men. A few months afterwards the king had the place invested with a larger force; but in the interval the works had been repaired and strengthened, and after three days ineffectual attempt the Achinese were again constrained to retire.


In the year 1547 he once more fitted out a fleet against Malacca, where a descent was made; but, contented with some trifling plunder, the army re-embarked, and the vessels proceeded to the river of Parles on the Malayan coast. Hither they were followed by a Portuguese squadron, which attacked and defeated a division of the fleet at the mouth of the river. This victory was rendered famous, not so much by the valour of the combatants, as by a revelation opportunely made from heaven to the celebrated missionary Francisco Xavier of the time and circumstances of it, and which he announced to the garrison at a moment when the approach of a powerful invader from another quarter had caused much alarm and apprehension among them.

Many transactions of the reign of this prince, particularly with the neighbouring states of Batta and Aru (about the years 1539 and 1541) are mentioned by Ferdinand Mendez Pinto; but his writings are too apocryphal to allow of the facts being recorded upon his authority. Yet there is the strongest internal evidence of his having been more intimately acquainted with the countries of which we are now speaking, the character of the inhabitants, and the political transactions of the period, than any of his contemporaries; and it appears highly probable that what he has related is substantially true: but there is also reason to believe that he composed his work from recollection after his return to Europe, and he may not have been scrupulous in supplying from a fertile imagination the unavoidable failures of a memory, however richly stored.


The death of Ala-eddin took place, according to the Annals, in 1556, after a reign of twenty-eight years.


He was succeeded by sultan Hussein­shah, who reigned about eight, and dying in 1565 was succeeded by his son, an infant. This child survived only seven months; and in the same year the throne was occupied by Raja Firman-shah, who was murdered soon after.


His successor, Raja Janil, experienced a similar fate when he had reigned ten months. This event is placed in 1567. Sultan Mansur-shah, from the kingdom of Perak in the peninsula, was the next who ascended the throne.


The western powers of India having formed a league for the purpose of extirpating the Portuguese, the king of Achin was invited to accede to it, and, in conformity with the engagements by which the respective parties were bound, he prepared to attack them in Malacca, and carried thither a numerous fleet, in which were fifteen thousand people of his own subjects, and four hundred Turks, with two hundred pieces of artillery of different sizes. In order to amuse the enemy he gave out that his force was destined against Java, and sent a letter, accompanied with a present of a kris, to the governor, professing strong sentiments of friendship. A person whom he turned on shore with marks of ignominy, being suspected for a spy, was taken up, and being put to the torture confessed that he was employed by the Ottoman emperor and king of Achin to poison the principal officers of the place, and to set fire to their magazine. He was put to death, and his mutilated carcase was sent off to the king. This was the signal for hostilities. He immediately landed with all his men and commenced a regular siege. Sallies were made with various success and very unequal numbers. In one of these the chief of Aru, the king's eldest son, was killed. In another the Portuguese were defeated and lost many officers. A variety of stratagems were employed to work upon the fears and shake the fidelity of the inhabitants of the town. A general assault was given in which, after prodigious efforts of courage, and imminent risk of destruction, the besieged remained victorious. The king, seeing all his attempts fruitless, at length departed, having lost three thousand men before the walls, beside about five hundred who were said to have died of their wounds on the passage. The king of Ujong-tanah or Johor, who arrived with a fleet to the assistance of the place, found the sea for a long distance covered with dead bodies. This was esteemed one of the most desperate and honourable sieges the Portuguese experienced in India, their whole force consisting of but fifteen hundred men, of whom no more than two hundred were Europeans.


In the following year a vessel from Achin bound to Java, with ambassadors on board to the queen of Japara, in whom the king wished to raise up a new enemy against the Portuguese, was met in the straits by a vessel from Malacca, who took her and put all the people to the sword. It appears to have been a maxim in these wars never to give quarter to an enemy, whether resisting or submitting.


In 1569 a single ship, commanded by Lopez Carrasco, passing near Achin, fell in with a fleet coming out of that port, consisting of twenty large galleys and a hundred and eighty other vessels, commanded by the king in person, and supposed to be designed against Malacca. The situation of the Portuguese was desperate. They could not expect to escape, and therefore resolved to die like men. During three days they sustained a continual attack, when, after having by incredible exertions destroyed forty of the enemy's vessels, and being themselves reduced to the state of a wreck, a second ship appeared in sight. The king perceiving this retired into the harbour with his shattered forces.

It is difficult to determine which of the two is the more astonishing, the vigorous stand made by such a handful of men as the whole strength of Malacca consisted of, or the prodigious resources and perseverance of the Achinese monarch.


In 1573, after forming an alliance with the queen of Japara, the object of which was the destruction of the European power, he appeared again before Malacca with ninety vessels, twenty-five of them large galleys, with seven thousand men and great store of artillery. He began his operations by sending a party to set fire to the suburbs of the town, but a timely shower of rain prevented its taking effect. He then resolved on a different mode of warfare, and tried to starve the place to a surrender by blocking up the harbour and cutting off all supplies of provisions. The Portuguese, to prevent the fatal consequences of this measure, collected those few vessels which they were masters of, and, a merchant ship of some force arriving opportunely, they put to sea, attacked the enemy's fleet, killed the principal captain, and obtained a complete victory.


In the year following Malacca was invested by an armada from the queen of Japara, of three hundred sail, eighty of which were junks of four hundred tons burden. After besieging the place for three months, till the very air became corrupted by their stay, the fleet retired with little more than five thousand men, of fifteen that embarked on the expedition.


Scarcely was the Javanese force departed when the king of Achin once more appeared with a fleet that is described as covering the straits. He ordered an attack upon three Portuguese frigates that were in the road protecting some provision vessels, which was executed with such a furious discharge of artillery that they were presently destroyed with all their crews. This was a dreadful blow to Malacca, and lamented, as the historian relates, with tears of blood by the little garrison, who were not now above a hundred and fifty men, and of those a great part non­effective. The king, elated with his success, landed his troops, and laid siege to the fort, which he battered at intervals during seventeen days. The fire of the Portuguese became very slack, and after some time totally ceased, as the governor judged it prudent to reserve his small stock of ammunition for an effort at the last extremity. The king, alarmed at this silence, which he construed into a preparation for some dangerous stratagem, was seized with a panic, and, suddenly raising the siege, embarked with the utmost precipitation; unexpectedly relieving the garrison from the ruin that hung over it, and which seemed inevitable in the ordinary course of events.


In 1582 we find the king appearing again before Malacca with a hundred and fifty sail of vessels. After some skirmishes with the Portuguese ships, in which the success was nearly equal on both sides, the Achinese proceeded to attack Johor, the king of which was then in alliance with Malacca. Twelve ships followed them thither, and, having burned some of their galleys, defeated the rest and obliged them to fly to Achin. The operations of these campaigns, and particularly the valour of the commander, named Raja Makuta, are alluded to in Queen Elizabeth's letter to the king, delivered in 1602 by Sir James Lancaster.

About three or four years after this misfortune Mansur-shah prepared a fleet of no less than three hundred sail of vessels, and was ready to embark once more upon his favourite enterprise, when he was murdered, together with his queen and many of the principal nobility, by the general of the forces, who had long formed designs upon the crown.


This was perpetrated in May 1585, when he had reigned nearly eighteen years. In his time the consequence of the kingdom of Achin is represented to have arrived at a considerable height, and its friendship to have been courted by the most powerful states. No city in India possessed a more flourishing trade, the port being crowded with merchant vessels which were encouraged to resort thither by the moderate rates of the customs levied; and although the Portuguese and their ships were continually plundered, those belonging to every Asiatic power, from Mecca in the West to Japan in the East, appear to have enjoyed protection and security. The despotic authority of the monarch was counterpoised by the influence of the orang-kayas or nobility, who are described as being possessed of great wealth, living in fortified houses, surrounded by numerous dependants, and feeling themselves above control, often giving a licentious range to their proud and impatient tempers.

The late monarch's daughter and only child was married to the king of Johor,* by whom she had a son, who, being regarded as heir to the crown of Achin, had been brought to the latter place to be educated under the eye of his grandfather. When the general (whose name is corruptly written Moratiza) assumed the powers of government, he declared himself the protector of this child, and we find him mentioned in the Annals by the title of Sultan Buyong (or the Boy).

(*Footnote. The king of Achin sent on this occasion to Johor a piece of ordnance, such as for greatness, length, and workmanship (says Linschoten), could hardly be matched in all Christendom. It was afterwards taken by the Portuguese, who shipped it for Europe, but the vessel was lost in her passage.)


But before he had completed the third year of his nominal reign he also was dispatched, and the usurper took formal possession of the throne in the year 1588, by the name of Ala-eddin Rayet-shah,* being then at an advanced period of life.

(*Footnote. Valentyn, by an obvious corruption, names him Sulthan Alciden Ryetza, and this coincidence is strongly in favour of the authenticity and correctness of the Annals. John Davis, who will be hereafter mentioned, calls him, with sufficient accuracy, Sultan Aladin.)

The Annals say he was the grandson of Sultan Firman-shah; but the Europeans who visited Achin during his reign report him to have been originally a fisherman, who, having afterwards served in the wars against Malacca, showed so much courage, prudence, and skill in maritime affairs that the late king made him at length the chief commander of his forces, and gave him one of his nearest kinswomen to wife, in right of whom he is said to have laid claim to the throne.

The French Commodore Beaulieu relates the circumstances of this revolution in a very different manner.*

(*Footnote. The commodore had great opportunity of information, was a man of very superior ability, and indefatigable in his inquiries upon all subjects, as appears by the excellent account of his voyage, and of Achin in particular, written by himself, and published in Thevenot's collection, of which there is an English translation in Harris; but it is possible he may, in this instance, have been amused by a plausible tale from the grandson of this monarch, with whom he had much intercourse. John Davis, an intelligent English navigator whose account I have followed, might have been more likely to hear the truth as he was at Achin (though not a frequenter of the court) during Ala-eddin's reign, whereas Beaulieu did not arrive till twenty' years after, and the report of his having been originally a fisherman is also mentioned by the Dutch writers.)

He says that, upon the extinction of the ancient royal line, which happened about forty years before the period at which he wrote, the orang-kayas met in order to choose a king, but, every one affecting the dignity for himself, they could not agree and resolved to decide it by force. In this ferment the cadi or chief judge by his authority and remonstrances persuaded them to offer the crown to a certain noble who in all these divisions had taken no part, but had lived in the reputation of a wise, experienced man, being then seventy years of age, and descended from one of the most respectable families of the country. After several excuses on his side, and entreaties and even threats on theirs, he at length consented to accept the dignity thus imposed upon him, provided they should regard him as a father, and receive correction from him as his children; but no sooner was he in possession of the sovereign power than (like Pope Sixtus the Fifth) he showed a different face, and the first step after his accession was to invite the orang-kayas to a feast, where, as they were separately introduced, he caused them to be seized and murdered in a court behind the palace. He then proceeded to demolish their fortified houses, and lodged their cannon, arms, and goods in the castle, taking measures to prevent in future the erection of any buildings of substantial materials that could afford him grounds of jealousy. He raised his own adherents from the lower class of people to the first dignities of the state, and of those who presumed to express any disapprobation of his conduct he made great slaughter, being supposed to have executed not less than twenty thousand persons in the first year of his reign.

From the silence of the Portuguese writers with respect to the actions of this king we have reason to conclude that he did not make any attempts to disturb their settlement of Malacca; and it even appears that some persons in the character of ambassadors or agents from that power resided at Achin, the principal object of whose policy appears to have been that of inspiring him with jealousy and hatred of the Hollanders, who in their turn were actively exerting themselves to supplant the conquerors of India.


Towards the close of the sixteenth century they began to navigate these seas; and in June 1600 visited Achin with two ships, but had no cause to boast of the hospitality of their reception. An attempt was made to cut them off, and evidently by the orders or connivance of the king, who had prevailed upon the Dutch admiral to take on board troops and military stores for an expedition meditated, or pretended, against the city of Johor, which these ships were to bombard. Several of the crews were murdered, but after a desperate conflict in both ships the treacherous assailants were overcome and driven into the water, "and it was some pleasure (says John Davis, an Englishman, who was the principal pilot of the squadron) to see how the base Indians did fly, how they were killed, and how well they were drowned."* This barbarous and apparently unprovoked attack was attributed, but perhaps without any just grounds, to the instigation of the Portuguese.

(*Footnote. All the Dutchmen on shore at the time were made prisoners, and many of them continued in that state for several years. Among these was Captain Frederick Houtman, whose Vocabulary of the Malayan language was printed at Amsterdam in 1604, being the first that was published in Europe. My copy has the writer's autograph.)


In November 1600 Paulus van Caarden, having also the command of two Dutch ships, was received upon his landing with much ceremony; but at his first audience the king refused to read a letter from the Prince of Orange, upon its being suggested to him that instead of paper it was written on the skin of an unclean animal; and the subsequent treatment experienced by this officer was uniformly bad. It appears however that in December 1601 the king was so far reconciled to this new power as to send two ambassadors to Holland, one of whom died there in August 1602, and the other returned to Achin subsequently to the death of his master.


The first English fleet that made its appearance in this part of the world, and laid the foundation of a commerce which was in time to eclipse that of every other European state, arrived at Achin in June 1602. Sir James Lancaster, who commanded it, was received by the king with abundant ceremony and respect, which seem with these monarchs to have been usually proportioned to the number of vessels and apparent strength of their foreign guests. The queen of England's letter was conveyed to court with great pomp, and the general, after delivering a rich present, the most admired article of which was a fan of feathers, declared the purpose of his coming was to establish peace and amity between his royal mistress and her loving brother, the great and mighty king of Achin. He was invited to a banquet prepared for his entertainment, in which the service was of gold, and the king's damsels, who were richly attired and adorned with bracelets and jewels, were ordered to divert him with dancing and music. Before he retired he was arrayed by the king in a magnificent habit of the country, and armed with two krises. In the present sent as a return for the queen's there was, among other matters, a valuable ruby set in a ring. Two of the nobles, one of whom was the chief priest, were appointed to settle with Lancaster the terms of a commercial treaty, which was accordingly drawn up and executed in an explicit and regular manner. The Portuguese ambassador, or more properly the Spanish, as those kingdoms were now united, kept a watchful and jealous eye upon his proceedings; but by bribing the spies who surrounded him he foiled them at their own arts, and acquired intelligence that enabled him to take a rich prize in the straits of Malacca, with which he returned to Achin; and, having loaded what pepper he could procure there, took his departure in November of the same year. On this occasion it was requested by the king that he and his officers would favour him by singing one of the psalms of David, which was performed with much solemnity.

Very little is known of the military transactions of this reign, and no conquest but that of Pase is recorded. He had two sons, the younger of whom he made king of Pidir, and the elder, styled Sultan Muda, he kept at Achin, in order to succeed him in the throne. In the year 1603 he resolved to divide the charge of government with his intended heir, as he found his extraordinary age began to render him unequal to the task, and accordingly invested him with royal dignity; but the effect which might have been foreseen quickly followed this measure. The son, who was already advanced in years, became impatient to enjoy more complete power, and, thinking his father had possessed the crown sufficiently long, he confined him in a prison, where his days were soon ended.


The exact period at which this event took place is not known, but, calculating from the duration of his reign as stated in the Annals, it must have been early in the year 1604.* He was then ninety-five years of age,** and described to be a hale man, but extremely gross and fat.

(*Footnote. The Dutch commander Joris van Spilbergen took leave of him in April 1603, and his ambassador to Holland, who returned in December, 1604, found his son on the throne, according to Valentyn. Commodore Beaulieu says he died in 1603.)
(**Footnote. According to Beaulieu Davis says he was about a hundred; and the Dutch voyages mention that his great age prevented his ever appearing out of his palace.)

His constitution must have been uncommonly vigorous, and his muscular strength is indicated by this ludicrous circumstance, that when he once condescended to embrace a Dutch admiral, contrary to the usual manners of his country, the pressure of his arms was so violent as to cause excessive pain to the person so honoured. He was passionately addicted to women, gaming, and drink, his favourite beverage being arrack. By the severity of his punishments he kept his subjects in extreme awe of him; and the merchants were obliged to submit to more exactions and oppressions than were felt under the government of his predecessors. The seizure of certain vessels belonging to the people of Bantam and other arbitrary proceedings of that nature are said to have deterred the traders of India from entering into his ports.

The new king, who took the name of Ali Maghayat-shah, proved himself, from indolence or want of capacity, unfit to reign. He was always surrounded by his women, who were not only his attendants but his guards, and carried arms for that purpose. His occupations were the bath and the chase, and the affairs of state were neglected insomuch that murders, robberies, oppression, and an infinity of disorders took place in the kingdom for want of a regular and strict administration of justice. A son of the daughter of Ala-eddin had been a favourite of his grandfather, at the time of whose death he was twenty-three years of age, and continued, with his mother, to reside at the court after that event. His uncle the king of Achin having given him a rebuke on some occasion, he left his palace abruptly and fled to the king of Pidir, who received him with affection, and refused to send him back at the desire of the elder brother, or to offer any violence to a young prince whom their father loved. This was the occasion of an inveterate war which cost the lives of many thousand people. The nephew commanded the forces of Pidir, and for some time maintained the advantage, but these, at length seeing themselves much inferior in numbers to the army of Ali-Maghayat, refused to march, and the king was obliged to give him up, when he was conveyed to Achin and put in close confinement.


Not long afterwards a Portuguese squadron under Martin Alfonso, going to the relief of Malacca, then besieged by the Dutch, anchored in Achin road with the resolution of taking revenge on the king for receiving these their rivals into his ports, contrary to the stipulations of a treaty that had been entered into between them. The viceroy landed his men, who were opposed by a strong force on the part of the Achinese; but after a stout resistance they gained the first turf fort with two pieces of cannon, and commenced an attack upon the second, of masonry. In this critical juncture the young prince sent a message to his uncle requesting he might be permitted to join the army and expose himself in the ranks, declaring himself more willing to die in battle against the Kafers (so they always affected to call the Portuguese) than to languish like a slave in chains. The fears which operated upon the king's mind induced him to consent to his release. The prince showed so much bravery on this occasion, and conducted two or three attacks with such success that Alfonso was obliged to order a retreat, after wasting two days and losing three hundred men in this fruitless attempt. The reputation of the prince was raised by this affair to a high pitch amongst the people of Achin. His mother, who was an active, ambitious woman, formed the design of placing him on the throne, and furnished him with large sums of money, to be distributed in gratuities amongst the principal orang cayas. At the same time he endeavoured to ingratiate himself by his manners with all classes of people. To the rich he was courteous; to the poor he was affable; and he was the constant companion of those who were in the profession of arms. When the king had reigned between three and four years he died suddenly, and at the hour of his death the prince got access to the castle. He bribed the guards, made liberal promises to the officers, advanced a large sum of money to the governor, and sending for the chief priest obliged him by threats to crown him. In fine he managed the revolution so happily that he was proclaimed king before night, to the great joy of the people, who conceived vast hopes from his liberality, courtesy, and valour. The king of Pidir was speedily acquainted with the news of his brother's death, but not of the subsequent transactions, and came the next day to take possession of his inheritance. As he approached the castle with a small retinue he was seized by orders from the reigning prince, who, forgetting the favours he had received, kept him prisoner for a month, and then, sending him into the country under the pretence of a commodious retreat, had him murdered on the way. Those who put the crown on his head were not better requited; particularly the Maharaja, or governor of the castle. In a short time his disappointed subjects found that instead of being humane he was cruel; instead of being liberal he displayed extreme avarice, and instead of being affable he manifested a temper austere and inexorable.

This king, whom the Annals name Iskander Muda, was known to our travellers by the title of sultan Paduka Sri (words equivalent to most gracious), sovereign of Achin and of the countries of Aru, Dilli, Johor, Pahang, Kedah, and Perak on the one side, and of Barus, Pasaman, Tiku, Sileda, and Priaman on the other. Some of these places were conquered by him, and others he inherited.


He showed much friendship to the Hollanders in the early part of his reign; and in the year 1613 gave permission to the English to settle a factory, granting them many indulgences, in consequence of a letter and present from king James the first. He bestowed on Captain Best, who was the bearer of them, the title of orang kaya putih, and entertained him with the fighting of elephants, buffaloes, rams, and tigers. His answer to king James (a translation of which is to be found in Purchas) is couched in the most friendly terms, and he there styles himself king of all Sumatra. He expressed a strong desire that the king of England should send him one of his countrywomen to wife, and promised to make her eldest son king of all the pepper countries, that so the English might be supplied with that commodity by a monarch of their own nation. But notwithstanding his strong professions of attachment to us, and his natural connexion with the Hollanders, arising from their joint enmity to the Portuguese, it was not many years before he began to oppress both nations and use his endeavours to ruin their trade. He became jealous of their growing power, and particularly in consequence of intelligence that reached him concerning the encroachments made by the latter in the island of Java.

The conquest of Aru seems never to have been thoroughly effected by the kings of Achin. Paduka Sri carried his arms thither and boasted of having obtained some victories.


In 1613 he subdued Siak in its neighbourhood. Early in the same year he sent an expedition against the kingdom of Johor (which had always maintained a political connexion with Aru) and, reducing the city after a siege of twenty-nine days, plundered it of everything moveable, and made slaves of the miserable inhabitants. The king fled to the island of Bintang, but his youngest brother and coadjutor was taken prisoner and carried to Achin. The old king of Johor, who had so often engaged the Portuguese, left three sons, the eldest of whom succeeded him by the title of Iang de per-tuan.*

(*Footnote. This is not an individual title or proper name, but signifies the sovereign or reigning monarch. In like manner Rega Bongsu signifies the king's youngest brother, as Raja Muda does the heir apparent.)

The second was made king of Siak, and the third, called Raja Bongsu, reigned jointly with the first. He it was who assisted the Hollanders in the first siege of Malacca, and corresponded with Prince Maurice. The king of Achin was married to their sister, but this did not prevent a long and cruel war between them. A Dutch factory at Johor was involved in the consequences of this war, and several of that nation were among the prisoners. In the course of the same year however the king of Achin thought proper to establish Raja Bongsu on the throne of Johor, sending him back for that purpose with great honours, assisting him to rebuild the fort and city, and giving him one of his own sisters in marriage.


In 1615 the king of Achin sailed to the attack of Malacca in a fleet which he had been four years employed in preparing. It consisted of above five hundred sail, of which a hundred were large galleys, greater than any at that time built in Europe, carrying each from six to eight hundred men, with three large cannon and several smaller pieces. These galleys the orang kayas were obliged to furnish, repair, and man, at the peril of their lives. The soldiers served without pay, and carried three months provision at their own charge. In this great fleet there were computed to be sixty thousand men, whom the king commanded in person. His wives and household were taken to sea with him. Coming in sight of the Portuguese ships in the afternoon, they received many shot from them but avoided returning any, as if from contempt. The next day they got ready for battle, and drew up in form of a half moon. A desperate engagement took place and lasted without intermission till midnight, during which the Portuguese admiral was three times boarded, and repeatedly on fire. Many vessels on both sides were also in flames and afforded light to continue the combat. At length the Achinese gave way, after losing fifty sail of different sizes, and twenty thousand men. They retired to Bancalis, on the eastern coast of Sumatra, and shortly afterwards sailed for Achin, the Portuguese not daring to pursue their victory, both on account of the damage they had sustained and their apprehension of the Hollanders, who were expected at Malacca. The king proposed that the prisoners taken should be mutually given up, which was agreed to, and was the first instance of that act of humanity and civilisation between the two powers.


Three years afterwards the king made a conquest of the cities of Kedah and Perak on the Malayan coast, and also of a place called Dilli in Sumatra. This last had been strongly fortified by the assistance of the Portuguese, and gave an opportunity of displaying much skill in the attack. Trenches were regularly opened before it and a siege carried on for six weeks ere it fell. In the same year the king of Jorcan (a place unknown at present by that name) fled for refuge to Malacca with eighty sail of boats, having been expelled his dominions by the king of Achin. The Portuguese were not in a condition to afford him relief, being themselves surrounded with enemies and fearful of an attack from the Achinese more especially; but the king was then making preparations against an invasion he heard was meditated by the viceroy of Goa. Reciprocal apprehensions kept each party on the defensive.


The French being desirous of participating in the commerce of Achin, of which all the European nations had formed great ideas, and all found themselves disappointed in, sent out a squadron commanded by General Beaulieu, which arrived in January 1621, and finally left it in December of the same year. He brought magnificent presents to the king, but these did not content his insatiable avarice, and he employed a variety of mean arts to draw from him further gifts. Beaulieu met also with many difficulties, and was forced to submit to much extortion in his endeavours to procure a loading of pepper, of which Achin itself, as has been observed, produced but little. The king informed him that he had some time since ordered all the plants to be destroyed, not only because the cultivation of them proved an injury to more useful agriculture, but also lest their produce might tempt the Europeans to serve him, as they had served the kings of Jakatra and Bantam. From this apprehension he had lately been induced to expel the English and Dutch from their settlements at Priaman and Tiku, where the principal quantity of pepper was procured, and of which places he changed the governor every third year to prevent any connexions dangerous to his authority from being formed. He had likewise driven the Dutch from a factory they were attempting to settle at Padang; which place appears to be the most remote on the western coast of the island to which the Achinese conquests at any time extended.


Still retaining a strong desire to possess himself of Malacca, so many years the grand object of Achinese ambition, he imprisoned the ambassador then at his court, and made extraordinary preparations for the siege, which he designed to undertake in person. The laksamana or commander in chief (who had effected all the king's late conquests) attempted to oppose this resolution; but the maharaja, willing to flatter his master's propensity, undertook to put him in possession of the city and had the command of the fleet given to him, as the other had of the land forces. The king set out on the expedition with a fleet of two hundred and fifty sail (forty­seven of them not less than a hundred feet in the keel), in which were twenty thousand men well appointed, and a great train of artillery. After being some time on board, with his family and retinue as usual, he determined, on account of an ill omen that was observed, to return to the shore. The generals, proceeding without him, soon arrived before Malacca. Having landed their men they made a judicious disposition, and began the attack with much courage and military skill. The Portuguese were obliged to abandon several of their posts, one of which, after a defence of fifty days, was levelled with the ground, and from its ruins strong works were raised by the laksamana. The maharaja had seized another post advantageously situated. From their several camps they had lines of communication, and the boats on the river were stationed in such a manner that the place was completely invested. Matters were in this posture when a force of two thousand men came to the assistance of the besieged from the king of Pahang, and likewise five sail of Portuguese vessels from the coast of Coromandel; but all was insufficient to remove so powerful an enemy, although by that time they had lost four thousand of their troops in the different attacks and skirmishes. In the latter end of the year a fleet of thirty sail of ships, large and small, under the command of Nunno Alvarez Botello, having on board nine hundred European soldiers, appeared off Malacca, and blocked up the fleet of Achin in a river about three miles from the town. This entirely altered the complexion of affairs. The besiegers retired from their advanced works and hastened to the defence of their galleys, erecting batteries by the side of the river. The maharaja being summoned to surrender returned a civil but resolute answer. In the night, endeavouring to make his escape with the smaller vessels through the midst of the Portuguese, he was repulsed and wounded. Next day the whole force of the Achinese dropped down the stream with a design to fight their way, but after an engagement of two hours their principal galley, named the Terror of the World, was boarded and taken, after losing five hundred men of seven which she carried. Many other vessels were afterwards captured or sunk. The laksamana hung out a white flag and sent to treat with Nunno, but, some difficulty arising about the terms, the engagement was renewed with great warmth. News was brought to the Portuguese that the maharaja was killed and that the king of Pahang was approaching with a hundred sail of vessels to reinforce them. Still the Achinese kept up a dreadful fire, which seemed to render the final success doubtful; but at length they sent proposals desiring only to be allowed three galleys of all their fleet to carry away four thousand men who remained of twenty that came before the town. It was answered that they must surrender at discretion; which the laksamana hesitating to do, a furious assault took place both by water and land upon his galleys and works, which were all effectually destroyed or captured, not a ship and scarcely a man escaping. He himself in the last extremity fled to the woods, but was seized ere long by the king of Pahang's scouts. Being brought before the governor he said to him, with an undaunted countenance, "Behold here the laksamana for the first time overcome!" He was treated with respect but kept a prisoner, and sent on his own famous ship to Goa in order to be from thence conveyed to Portugal: but death deprived his enemies of that distinguished ornament of their triumph.


This signal defeat proved so important a blow to the power of Achin that we read of no further attempts to renew the war until the year 1635, when the king, encouraged by the feuds which at this time prevailed in Malacca, again violated the law of nations, to him little known, by imprisoning their ambassador, and caused all the Portuguese about his court to be murdered. No military operations however immediately took place in consequence of this barbarous proceeding.

1640. 1641.

In the year 1640 the Dutch with twelve men of war, and the king of Achin with twenty-five galleys, appeared before that harassed and devoted city; which at length, in the following year was wrested from the hands of the Portuguese, who had so long, through such difficulties, maintained possession of it. This year was also marked by the death of the sultan, whom the Dutch writers name Paduka Sri, at the age of sixty, after a reign of thirty-five years; having just lived to see his hereditary foe subdued; and as if the opposition of the Portuguese power, which seems first to have occasioned the rise of that of Achin, was also necessary to its existence, the splendour and consequence of the kingdom from that period rapidly declined.

The prodigious wealth and resources of the monarchy during his reign are best evinced by the expeditions he was enabled to fit out; but being no less covetous than ambitious he contrived to make the expenses fall upon his subjects, and at the same time filled his treasury with gold by pressing the merchants and plundering the neighbouring states. An intelligent person (General Beaulieu), who was for some time at his court, and had opportunities of information on the subject, uses this strong expression--that he was infinitely rich. He constantly employed in his castle three hundred goldsmiths. This would seem an exaggeration, but that it is well known the Malayan princes have them always about them in great numbers at this day, working in the manufacture of filigree, for which the country is so famous. His naval strength has been already sufficiently described. He was possessed of two thousand brass guns and small arms in proportion. His trained elephants amounted to some hundreds. His armies were probably raised only upon the occasion which called for their acting, and that in a mode similar to what was established under the feudal system in Europe. The valley of Achin alone was said to be able to furnish forty thousand men upon an emergency. A certain number of warriors however were always kept on foot for the protection of the king and his capital. Of these the superior class were called ulubalang, and the inferior amba-raja, who were entirely devoted to his service and resembled the janizaries of Constantinople. Two hundred horsemen nightly patrolled the grounds about the castle, the inner courts and apartments of which were guarded by three thousand women. The king's eunuchs amounted to five hundred.

The disposition of this monarch was cruel and sanguinary. A multitude of instances are recorded of the horrible barbarity of his punishments, and for the most trivial offences. He imprisoned his own mother and put her to the torture, suspecting her to have been engaged in a conspiracy against him with some of the principal nobles, whom he caused to be executed. He murdered his nephew, the king of Johor's son, of whose favour with his mother he was jealous. He also put to death a son of the king of Bantam, and another of the king of Pahang, who were both his near relations. None of the royal family survived in 1622 but his own son, a youth of eighteen, who had been thrice banished the court, and was thought to owe his continuance in life only to his surpassing his father, if possible, in cruelty, and being hated by all ranks of people. He was at one time made king of Pidir but recalled on account of his excesses, confined in prison and put to strange tortures by his father, whom he did not outlive. The whole territory of Achin was almost depopulated by wars, executions, and oppression. The king endeavoured to repeople the country by his conquests. Having ravaged the kingdoms of Johor, Pahang, Kedah, Perak, and Dilli, he transported the inhabitants from those places to Achin, to the number of twenty-two thousand persons. But this barbarous policy did not produce the effect he hoped; for the unhappy people, being brought naked to his dominions, and not allowed any kind of maintenance on their arrival, died of hunger in the streets. In the planning his military enterprises he was generally guided by the distresses of his neighbours, for whom, as for his prey, he unceasingly lay in wait; and his preparatory measures were taken with such secrecy that the execution alone unravelled them. Insidious political craft and wanton delight in blood united in him to complete the character of a tyrant.

It must here be observed that, with respect to the period of this remarkable reign, the European and Malayan authorities are considerably at variance, the latter assigning to it something less than thirty solar years, and placing the death of Iskander Muda in December 1636. The Annals further state that he was succeeded by sultan Ala-eddin­Mahayat-shah, who reigned only about four years and died in February 1641. That this is the more accurate account I have no hesitation in believing, although Valentyn, who gives a detail of the king's magnificent funeral, was persuaded that the reign which ended in 1641 was the same that began in 1607. But he collected his information eighty years after the event, and as it does not appear that any European whose journal has been given to the world was on the spot at that period, the death of an obscure monarch who died after a short reign may well have been confounded by persons at a distance with that of his more celebrated predecessor. Both authorities however are agreed in the important fact that the successor to the throne in 1641 was a female. This person is described by Valentyn as being the wife of the old king, and not his daughter, as by some had been asserted; but from the Annals it appears that she was his daughter, named Taju al-alum; and as it was in her right that Maghayat-shah (certainly her husband), obtained the crown, so upon his decease, there being no male heir, she peaceably succeeded him in the government, and became the first queen regent of Achin. The succession having thenceforward continued nearly sixty years in the female line, this may be regarded as a new era in the history of the country. The nobles finding their power less restrained, and their individual consequence more felt under an administration of this kind than when ruled by kings (as sometimes they were with a rod of iron) supported these pageants, whom they governed as they thought fit, and thereby virtually changed the constitution into an aristocracy or oligarchy. The business of the state was managed by twelve orang-kayas, four of whom were superior to the rest, and among these the maharaja, or governor of the kingdom, was considered as the chief. It does not appear, nor is it probable, that the queen had the power of appointing or removing any of these great officers. No applications were made to the throne but in their presence, nor any public resolution taken but as they determined in council. The great object of their political jealousy seems to have been the pretensions of the king of Johor to the crown, in virtue of repeated intermarriages between the royal families of the two countries, and it may be presumed that the alarms excited from that quarter materially contributed to reconcile them to the female domination. They are accordingly said to have formed an engagement amongst themselves never to pay obedience to a foreign prince, nor to allow their royal mistress to contract any marriage that might eventually lead to such a consequence.* At the same time, by a new treaty with Johor, its king was indirectly excused from the homage to the crown of Achin which had been insisted upon by her predecessors and was the occasion of frequent wars.

(*Footnote. However fanciful it may be thought, I cannot doubt that the example of our Queen Elizabeth, whose character and government were highly popular with the Achinese on account of her triumphant contest with the united powers of Spain and Portugal, had a strong influence in the establishment of this new species of monarchy, and that the example of her sister's marriage with Philip may have contributed to the resolution taken by the nobles. The actions of our illustrious queen were a common topic of conversation between the old tyrant and Sir James Lancaster.)

In proportion as the political consequence of the kingdom declined, its history, as noticed by foreigners, becomes obscure. Little is recorded of the transactions of her reign, and it is likely that Achin took no active part in the concerns of neighbouring powers, but suffered the Hollanders, who maintained in general a friendly intercourse with her, to remain in quiet possession of Malacca.


In 1643 they sent an ambassador to compliment her upon her accession, and at the same time to solicit payment for a quantity of valuable jewels ordered by the deceased king, but for the amount of which she declined to make herself responsible.


It is said (but the fact will admit of much doubt) that in 1660 she was inclined to marry one of their countrymen, and would have carried her design into execution had not the East India Company prevented by their authority a connexion that might, as they prudently judged, be productive of embarrassment to their affairs.


The Dutch however complain that she gave assistance to their enemies the people of Perak, and in 1664 it was found necessary to send a squadron under the command of Pieter de Bitter to bring her to reason. As it happened that she was at this time at war with some of her own dependants he made himself master of several places on the western coast that were nominally at least belonging to Achin.


About 1666 the English establishments at Achin and some ports to the southward appear to have given considerable umbrage to their rivals.


In 1669 the people of Dilli on the north-eastern coast threw off their allegiance, and the power of the kingdom became gradually more and more circumscribed.


This queen died in 1675, after reigning, with a degree of tranquillity little known in these countries, upwards of thirty-four years.

The people being now accustomed and reconciled to female rule, which they found more lenient than that of their kings, acquiesced in general in the established mode of government.


And she was immediately succeeded by another female monarch, named Nur al-alum, who reigned little more than two years and died in 1677.

The queen who succeeded her was named Anayet-shah.


In the year 1684 she received an embassy from the English government of Madras, and appeared at that time to be about forty years. The persons who were on this occasion presented to her express their suspicions, which were suggested to them by a doubt prevailing amongst the inhabitants, that this sovereign was not a real queen, but a eunuch dressed up in female apparel, and imposed on the public by the artifices of the orang kayas. But as such a cheat, though managed with every semblance of reality (which they observe was the case) could not be carried on for any number of years without detection, and as the same idea does not appear to have been entertained at any other period, it is probable they were mistaken in their surmise. Her person they describe to have been large, and her voice surprisingly strong, but not manly.*

(*Footnote. The following curious passage is extracted from the journal of these gentlemen's proceedings. "We went to give our attendance at the palace this day as customary. Being arrived at the place of audience with the orang cayos, the queen was pleased to order us to come nearer, when her majesty was very inquisitive into the use of our wearing periwigs, and what was the convenience of them; to all which we returned satisfactory answers. After this her majesty desired of Mr. Ord, if it were no affront to him, that he would take off his periwig, that she might see how he appeared without it; which, according to her majesty's request, he did. She then told us she had heard of our business, and would give her answer by the orang cayos; and so we retired." I venture, with submission, to observe that this anecdote seems to put the question of the sex beyond controversy.)

The purport of the embassy was to obtain liberty to erect a fortification in her territory, which she peremptorily refused, being contrary to the established rules of the kingdom; adding that if the governor of Madras would fill her palace with gold she could not permit him to build with brick either fort or house. To have a factory of timber and plank was the utmost indulgence that could be allowed; and on that footing the return of the English, who had not traded there for many years, should be welcomed with great friendship. The queen herself, the orang kayas represented, was not allowed to fortify lest some foreign power might avail themselves of it to enslave the country. In the course of these negotiations it was mentioned that the agriculture of Achin had suffered considerably of late years by reason of a general licence given to all the inhabitants to search for gold in the mountains and rivers which afforded that article; whereas the business had formerly been restricted to certain authorized persons, and the rest obliged to till the ground.


The court feared to give a public sanction for the settlement of the English on any part of the southern coast lest it should embroil them with the other European powers.*

(*Footnote. The design of settling a factory at this period in the dominions of Achin was occasioned by the recent loss of our establishment at Bantam, which had been originally fixed by Sir James Lancaster in 1603. The circumstances of this event were as follows. The old sultan had thought proper to share the regal power with his son in the year 1677, and this measure was attended with the obvious effect of a jealousy between the parent and child, which soon broke forth into open hostilities. The policy of the Dutch led them to take an active part in favour of the young sultan, who had inclined most to their interests and now solicited their aid. The English on the other hand discouraged what appeared to them an unnatural rebellion, but without interfering, as they said, in any other character than that of mediators, or affording military assistance to either party; and which their extreme weakness rather than their assertions renders probable. On the twenty-eighth of March 1682 the Dutch landed a considerable force from Batavia, and soon terminated the war. They placed the young sultan on the throne, delivering the father into his custody, and obtained from him in return for these favours an exclusive privilege of trade in his territories; which was evidently the sole object they had in view. On the first day of April possession was taken of the English factory by a party of Dutch and country soldiers, and on the twelfth the agent and council were obliged to embark with their property on vessels provided for the purpose, which carried them to Batavia. From thence they proceeded to Surat on the twenty-second of August in the following year.

In order to retain a share in the pepper-trade the English turned their thoughts towards Achin, and a deputation, consisting of two gentlemen, of the names of Old and Cawley, was sent thither in 1684; the success of which is above related. It happened that at this time certain Rajas or chiefs of the country of Priaman and other places on the west coast of Sumatra were at Achin also to solicit aid of that court against the Dutch, who had made war upon and otherwise molested them. These immediately applied to Mr. Ord, expressing a strong desire that the English should settle in their respective districts, offering ground for a fort and the exclusive purchase of their pepper. They consented to embark for Madras, where an agreement was formed with them by the governor in the beginning of the year 1685 on the terms they had proposed. In consequence of this an expedition was fitted out with the design of establishing a settlement at Priaman; but a day or two before the ships sailed an invitation to the like purport was received from the chiefs of Bang­kaulu (since corruptly called Bencoolen); and as it was known that a considerable proportion of the pepper that used to be exported from Bantam had been collected from the neighbourhood of Bencoolen (at a place called Silebar), it was judged advisable that Mr. Ord, who was the person entrusted with the management of this business, should first proceed thither; particularly as at that season of the year it was the windward port. He arrived there on the twenty-fifth day of June 1685, and, after taking possession of the country assigned to the English Company, and leaving Mr. Broome in charge of the place, he sailed for the purpose of establishing the other settlements. He stopped first at Indrapura, where he found three Englishmen who were left of a small factory that had been some time before settled there by a man of the name of Du Jardin. Here he learned that the Dutch, having obtained a knowledge of the original intention of our fixing at Priaman, had anticipated us therein and sent a party to occupy the situation. In the meantime it was understood in Europe that this place was the chief of our establishments on the coast, and ships were accordingly consigned thither. The same was supposed at Madras, and troops and stores were sent to reinforce it, which were afterwards landed at Indrapura. A settlement was then formed at Manjuta, and another attempted at Batang-kapas in 1686; but here the Dutch, assisted by a party amongst the natives, assaulted and drove out our people. Every possible opposition, as it was natural to expect, was given by these our rivals to the success of our factories. They fixed themselves in the neighbourhood of them and endeavoured to obstruct the country people from carrying pepper to them or supplying them with provisions either by sea or land. Our interests however in the end prevailed, and Bencoolen in particular, to which the other places were rendered subordinate in 1686, began to acquire some degree of vigour and respectability. In 1689 encouragement was given to Chinese colonists to settle there, whose number has been continually increasing from that time. In 1691 the Dutch felt the loss of their influence at Silebar and other of the southern countries, where they attempted to exert authority in the name of the sultan of Bantam, and the produce of these places was delivered to the English. This revolution proceeded from the works with which about this time our factory was strengthened. In 1695 a settlement was made at Triamang, and two years after at Kattaun and Sablat. The first, in the year 1700, was removed to Bantal. Various applications were made by the natives in different parts of the island for the establishment of factories, particularly from Ayer-Bangis to the northward, Palembang on the eastern side, and the people from the countries south of Tallo, near Manna. A person was sent to survey these last, as far as Pulo Pisang and Kroi, in 1715. In consequence of the inconvenience attending the shipping of goods from Bencoolen River, which is often impracticable from the surfs, a warehouse was built in 1701 at a place then called the cove; which gave the first idea of removing the settlement to the point of land which forms the bay of Bencoolen. The unhealthiness of the old situation was thought to render this an expedient step; and accordingly about 1714 it was in great measure relinquished, and the foundations of Fort Marlborough were laid on a spot two or three miles distant. Being a high plain it was judged to possess considerable advantages; many of which however are counterbalanced by its want of the vicinity of a river, so necessary for the ready and plentiful supply of provisions. Some progress had been made in the erection of this fort when an accident happened that had nearly destroyed the Company's views. The natives incensed at ill treatment received from the Europeans, who were then but little versed in the knowledge of their dispositions or the art of managing them by conciliating methods, rose in a body in the year 1719, and forced the garrison, whose ignorant fears rendered them precipitate, to seek refuge on board their ships. These people began now to feel alarms lest the Dutch, taking advantage of the absence of the English, should attempt an establishment, and soon permitted some persons from the northern factories to resettle the place; and, supplies arriving from Madras, things returned to their former course, and the fort was completed. The Company's affairs on this coast remained in tranquillity for a number of years. The important settlement of Natal was established in 1752, and that of Tappanuli a short time afterwards; which involved the English in fresh disputes with the Dutch, who set up a claim to the country in which they are situated. In the year 1760 the French under Comte d'Estaing destroyed all the English settlements on the coast of Sumatra; but they were soon reestablished and our possession secured by the treaty of Paris in 1763. Fort Marlborough, which had been hitherto a peculiar subordinate of Fort St. George, was now formed into an independent presidency, and was furnished with a charter for erecting a mayor's court, but which has never been enforced. In 1781 a detachment of military from thence embarked upon five East India ships and took possession of Padang and all other Dutch factories in consequence of the war with that nation. In 1782 the magazine of Fort Marlborough, in which were four hundred barrels of powder, was fired by lightning and blew up; but providentially few lives were lost. In 1802 an act of parliament was passed "to authorize the East India Company to make their settlement at Fort Marlborough in the East Indies, a factory subordinate to the presidency of Fort William in Bengal, and to transfer the servants who on the reduction of that establishment shall be supernumerary, to the presidency of Fort St. George." In 1798 plants of the nutmeg and clove had for the first time been procured from the Moluccas; and in 1803 a large importation of these valuable articles of cultivation took place. As the plantations were, by the last accounts from thence, in the most flourishing state, very important commercial advantages were expected to be derived from the culture.)

A few years before these transactions she had invited the king of Siam to renew the ancient connexion between their respective states, and to unite in a league against the Dutch, by whose encroachments the commerce of her subjects and the extent of her dominions were much circumscribed. It does not appear however that this overture was attended with any effect, nor have the limits of the Achinese jurisdiction since that period extended beyond Pidir on the northern, and Barus on the western coast.


She died in 1688, having reigned something less than eleven years, and was succeeded by a young queen named Kamalat-shah; but this did not take place without a strong opposition from a faction amongst the orang kayas which wanted to set up a king, and a civil war actually commenced. The two parties drew up their forces on opposite sides of the river, and for two or three nights continued to fire at each other, but in the daytime followed their ordinary occupations. These opportunities of intercourse made them sensible of their mutual folly. They agreed to throw aside their arms and the crown remained in possession of the newly elected queen. It was said to have been esteemed essential that she should be a maiden, advanced in years, and connected by blood with the ancient royal line. In this reign an English factory, which had been long discontinued, was reestablished at Achin, but in the interval some private traders of this nation had always resided on the spot. These usually endeavoured to persuade the state that they represented the India Company, and sometimes acquired great influence, which they are accused of having employed in a manner not only detrimental to that body but to the interests of the merchants of India in general by monopolizing the trade of the port, throwing impediments in the way of all shipping not consigned to their management, and embezzling the cargoes of such as were. An asylum was also afforded, beyond the reach of law, for all persons whose crimes or debts induced them to fly from the several European settlements. These considerations chiefly made the Company resolve to reclaim their ancient privileges in that kingdom, and a deputation was sent from the presidency of Madras in the year 1695 for that purpose, with letters addressed to her illustrious majesty the queen of Achin, desiring permission to settle on the terms her predecessors had granted to them; which was readily complied with, and a factory, but on a very limited scale, was established accordingly, but soon declined and disappeared. In 1704, when Charles Lockyer (whose account of his voyage, containing a particular description of this place, was published in 1711) visited Achin, one of these independent factors, named Francis Delton, carried on a flourishing trade. In 1695 the Achinese were alarmed by the arrival of six sail of Dutch ships of force, with a number of troops on board, in their road, not having been visited by any of that nation for fifteen years, but they departed without offering any molestation.


This queen was deposed by her subjects (whose grounds of complaint are not stated) about the latter part of the year 1699, after reigning also eleven years; and with her terminated the female dynasty, which, during its continuance of about fifty-nine years, had attracted much notice in Europe.

Her successor was named Beder al-alum sherif Hasham, the nature of whose pretensions to the crown does not positively appear, but there is reason to believe that he was her brother. When he had reigned a little more than two years it pleased God (as the Annals express it) to afflict him with a distemper which caused his feet and hands to contract (probably the gout) and disqualified him for the performance of his religious duties.


Under these circumstances he was induced to resign the government in 1702, and died about a month after his abdication.

Perkasa-alum, a priest, found means by his intrigues to acquire the sovereignty, and one of his first acts was to attempt imposing certain duties on the merchandise imported by English traders, who had been indulged with an exemption from all port charges excepting the established complimentary presents upon their arrival and receiving the chap or licence. This had been stipulated in the treaty made by Sir James Lancaster, and renewed by Mr. Grey when chief of the Company's factory. The innovation excited an alarm and determined opposition on the part of the masters of ships then at the place, and they proceeded (under the conduct of Captain Alexander Hamilton, who published an account of his voyage in 1727) to the very unwarrantable step of commencing hostilities by firing upon the villages situated near the mouth of the river, and cutting off from the city all supplies of provisions by sea. The inhabitants, feeling severely the effects of these violent measures, grew clamorous against the government, which was soon obliged to restore to these insolent traders the privileges for which they contended.


Advantage was taken of the public discontents to raise an insurrection in favour of the nephew of the late queen, or, according to the Annals, the son of Beder al-alum (who was probably her brother), in the event of which Perkasa-alum was deposed about the commencement of the year 1704, and after an interregnum or anarchy of three months continuance, the young prince obtained possession of the throne, by the name of Jemal al-alum. From this period the native writers furnish very ample details of the transactions of the Achinese government, as well as of the general state of the country, whose prosperous circumstances during the early part of this king's reign are strongly contrasted with the misery and insignificance to which it was reduced by subsequent events. The causes and progress of this political decline cannot be more satisfactorily set forth than in a faithful translation of the Malayan narrative which was drawn up, or extracted from a larger work, for my use, and is distinct from the Annals already mentioned:

When raja Jemal al-alum reigned in Achin the country was exceedingly populous, the nobles had large possessions, the merchants were numerous and opulent, the judgments of the king were just, and no man could experience the severity of punishment but through his own fault. In those days the king could not trade on his own account, the nobles having combined to prevent it; but the accustomed duties of the port were considered as his revenue, and ten per cent was levied for this purpose upon all merchandise coming into the country. The city was then of great extent, the houses were of brick and stone. The most considerable merchant was a man named Daniel, a Hollander; but many of different nations were also settled there, some from Surat, some from Kutch, others from China. When ships arrived in the port, if the merchants could not take off all the cargoes the king advanced the funds for purchasing what remained, and divided the goods among them, taking no profit to himself. After the departure of the vessel the king was paid in gold the amount of his principal, without interest.

His daily amusements were in the grounds allotted for the royal sports. He was attended by a hundred young men, who were obliged to be constantly near his person day and night, and who were clothed in a sumptuous manner at a monthly expense of a hundred dollars for each man. The government of the different parts of the country was divided, under his authority, amongst the nobles. When a district appeared to be disturbed he took measures for quelling the insurrection; those who resisted his orders he caused to be apprehended; when the roads were bad he gave directions for their repair. Such was his conduct in the government. His subjects all feared him, and none dared to condemn his actions. At that time the country was in peace.

When he had been a few years on the throne a country lying to the eastward, named Batu Bara, attempted to throw off its subjection to Achin. The chiefs were ordered to repair to court to answer for their conduct, but they refused to obey. These proceedings raised the king's indignation. He assembled the nobles and required of them that each should furnish a vessel of war, to be employed on an expedition against that place, and within two months, thirty large galleys, without counting vessels of a smaller size, were built and equipped for sea. When the fleet arrived off Batu Bara (by which must be understood the Malayan district at the mouth of the river, and not the Batta territory through which it takes its course), a letter was sent on shore addressed to the refractory chiefs, summoning them to give proof of their allegiance by appearing in the king's presence, or threatening the alternative of an immediate attack. After much division in their councils it was at length agreed to feign submission, and a deputation was sent off to the royal fleet, carrying presents of fruit and provisions of all kinds. One of the chiefs carried, as his complimentary offering, some fresh coconuts, of the delicate species called kalapa-gading, into which a drug had been secretly introduced. The king observing these directed that one should be cut open for him, and having drunk of the juice, became affected with a giddiness in his head. (This symptom shows the poison to have been the upas, but too much diluted in the liquor of the nut to produce death). Being inclined to repose, the strangers were ordered to return on shore, and, finding his indisposition augment, he gave directions for being conveyed back to Achin, whither his ship sailed next day. The remainder of the fleet continued off the coast during five or six days longer, and then returned likewise without effecting the reduction of the place, which the chiefs had lost no time in fortifying.

About two years after this transaction the king, under pretence of amusement, made an excursion to the country lying near the source of the river Achin, then under the jurisdiction of a panglima or governor named Muda Seti; for it must be understood that this part of the kingdom is divided into three districts, known by the appellations of the Twenty-two, Twenty-six, and Twenty-five Mukims (see above), which were governed respectively by Muda Seti, Imam Muda, and Perbawang­Shah (or Purba-wangsa). These three chiefs had the entire control of the country, and when their views were united they had the power of deposing and setting up kings. Such was the nature of the government. The king's expedition was undertaken with the design of making himself master of the person of Muda Seti, who had given him umbrage, and on this occasion his followers of all ranks were so numerous that wherever they halted for the night the fruits of the earth were all devoured, as well as great multitudes of cattle. Muda Seti however, being aware of the designs against him, had withdrawn himself from the place of his usual residence and was not to be found when the king arrived there; but a report being brought that he had collected five or six hundred followers and was preparing to make resistance, orders were immediately given for burning his house. This being effected, the king returned immediately to Achin, leaving the forces that had accompanied him at a place called Pakan Badar, distant about half a day's journey from the capital, where they were directed to entrench themselves. From this post they were driven by the country chief, who advanced rapidly upon them with several thousand men, and forced them to fall back to Padang Siring, where the king was collecting an army, and where a battle was fought soon after, that terminated in the defeat of the royal party with great slaughter. Those who escaped took refuge in the castle along with the king.


Under these disastrous circumstances he called upon the chiefs who adhered to him to advise what was best to be done, surrounded as they were by the country people, on whom he invoked the curse of God; when one of them, named Panglima Maharaja, gave it as his opinion that the only effectual measure by which the country could be saved from ruin would be the king's withdrawing himself from the capital so long as the enemy should continue in its vicinity, appointing a regent from among the nobles to govern the country in his absence; and when subordination should be restored he might then return and take again possession of his throne. To this proposition he signified his assent on the condition that Panglima Maharaja should assure him by an oath that no treachery was intended; which oath was accordingly taken, and the king, having nominated as his substitute Maharaja Lela, one of the least considerable of the ulubalangs, retired with his wives and children to the country of the Four mukims, situated about three hours journey to the westward of the city. (The Annals say he fled to Pidir in November 1723.) Great ravages were committed by the insurgents, but they did not attack the palace, and after some days of popular confusion the chiefs of the Three districts, who (says the writer) must not be confounded with the officers about the person of the king, held a consultation amongst themselves, and, exercising an authority of which there had been frequent examples, set up Panglima Maharaja in the room of the abdicated king (by the title, say the Annals, of Juhar al-alum, in December 1723). About seven days after his elevation he was seized with a convulsive disorder in his neck and died. A nephew of Jemal al-alum, named Undei Tebang, was then placed upon the throne, but notwithstanding his having bribed the chiefs of the Three districts with thirty katties of gold, they permitted him to enjoy his dignity only a few days, and then deposed him. (The same authority states that he was set up by the chiefs of the Four mukims, and removed through the influence of Muda Seti.)

1724. 1735.

The person whom they next combined to raise to the throne was Maharaja Lela (before mentioned as the king's substitute). It was his good fortune to govern the country in tranquillity for the space of nearly twelve years, during which period the city of Achin recovered its population. (According to the Annals he began to reign in February 1724, by the title of Ala ed-din Ahmed shah Juhan, and died in June 1735.) It happened that the same day on which the event of his death took place Jemal al-alum again made his appearance, and advanced to a mosque near the city. His friends advised him to lose no time in possessing himself of the castle, but for trifling reasons that mark the weakness of his character he resolved to defer the measure till the succeeding day; and the opportunity, as might be expected, was lost. The deceased king left five sons, the eldest of whom, named Po-chat-au (or Po-wak, according to another manuscript) exhorted his brothers to unite with him in the determination of resisting a person whose pretensions were entirely inconsistent with their security. They accordingly sent to demand assistance of Perbawang-shah, chief of the district of the Twenty-five mukims, which lies the nearest to that quarter. He arrived before morning, embraced the five princes, confirmed them in their resolution, and authorised the eldest to assume the government (which he did, say the Annals, by the title of Ala ed-din Juhan-shah in September 1735.) But to this measure the concurrence of the other chiefs was wanting. At daybreak the guns of the castle began to play upon the mosque, and, some of the shot penetrating its walls, the pusillanimous Jemal al-alum, being alarmed at the danger, judged it advisable to retreat from thence and to set up his standard in another quarter, called kampong Jawa, his people at the same time retaining possession of the mosque. A regular warfare now ensued between the two parties and continued for no less than ten years (the great chiefs taking different sides), when at length some kind of compromise was effected that left Po-chat-au (Juhan­shah) in the possession of the throne, which he afterwards enjoyed peaceably for eight years, and no further mention is made of Jemal al-alum. About this period the chiefs took umbrage at his interfering in matters of trade, contrary to what they asserted to be the established custom of the realm, and assembled their forces in order to intimidate him. (The history of Achin presents a continual struggle between the monarch and the aristocracy of the country, which generally made the royal monopoly of trade the ground of crimination and pretext for their rebellions).


Panglima Muda Seti, being considered as the head of the league, came down with twenty thousand followers, and, upon the king's refusing to admit into the castle his complimentary present (considering it only as the prelude to humiliating negotiation), another war commenced that lasted for two years, and was at length terminated by Muda Seti's withdrawing from the contest and returning to his province. About five years after this event Juhan shah died, and his son, Pochat-bangta, succeeded him, but not (says this writer, who here concludes his abstract) with the general concurrence of the chiefs, and the country long continued in a disturbed state.



The death of Juhan shah is stated in the Annals to have taken place in August 1760, and the accession of the son, who took the name of Ala-eddin Muhammed shah, not until November of the same year. Other authorities place these events in 1761.


Before he had completed the third year of his reign an insurrection of his subjects obliged him to save himself by flight on board a ship in the road. This happened in 1763 or 1764. The throne was seized by the maharaja (first officer of state) named Sinara, who assumed the title of Beder-eddin Juhan shah, and about the end of 1765 was put to death by the adherents of the fugitive monarch, Muhammed shah, who thereupon returned to the throne.*

(*Footnote. Captain Forrest acquaints us that he visited the court of Mahomed Selim (the latter name is not given to this prince by any other writer) in the year 1764, at which time he appeared to be about forty years of age. It is difficult to reconcile this date with the recorded events of this unfortunate reign, and I have doubts whether it was not the usurper whom the Captain saw.)

He was exposed however to further revolutions. About six years after his restoration the palace was attacked in the night by a desperate band of two hundred men, headed by a man called Raja Udah, and he was once more obliged to make a precipitate retreat. This usurper took the title of sultan Suliman shah, but after a short reign of three months was driven out in his turn and forced to fly for refuge to one of the islands in the eastern sea. The nature of his pretensions, if he had any, have not been stated, but he never gave any further trouble. From this period Muhammed maintained possession of his capital, although it was generally in a state of confusion.


"In the year 1772," says Captain Forrest, "Mr. Giles Holloway, resident of Tappanooly, was sent to Achin by the Bencoolen government, with a letter and present, to ask leave from the king to make a settlement there. I carried him from his residency. Not being very well on my arrival, I did not accompany Mr. Holloway (a very sensible and discreet gentleman, and who spoke the Malay tongue very fluently) on shore at his first audience; and finding his commission likely to prove abortive I did not go to the palace at all. There was great anarchy and confusion at this time; and the malcontents came often, as I was informed, near the king's palace at night."


The Captain further remarks that when again there in 1775 he could not obtain an audience.


The Annals report his death to have happened on the 2nd of June 1781, and observe that from the commencement to the close of his reign the country never enjoyed repose. His brother, named Ala-eddin (or Uleddin, as commonly pronounced, and which seems to have been a favourite title with the Achinese princes), was in exile at Madras during a considerable period, and resided also for some time at Bencoolen.

The eldest son of the deceased king, then about eighteen years of age, succeeded him on the 16th of the same month, by the title of Ala-eddin Mahmud shah Juhan, in spite of an opposition attempted to be raised by the partisans of another son by a favourite wife. Weapons had been drawn in the court before the palace, when the tuanku agung or high priest, a person of great respectability and influence, by whom the former had been educated, came amidst the crowd, bareheaded and without attendance, leading his pupil by the hand. Having placed himself between the contending factions, he addressed them to the following effect: that the prince who stood before them had a natural right and legal claim to the throne of his father; that he had been educated with a view to it, and was qualified to adorn it by his disposition and talents; that he wished however to found his pretensions neither upon his birthright nor the strength of the party attached to him, but upon the general voice of his subjects calling him to the sovereignty; that if such was their sentiment he was ready to undertake the arduous duties of the station, in which he himself would assist him with the fruits of his experience; that if on the contrary they felt a predilection for his rival, no blood should be shed on his account, the prince and his tutor being resolved in that case to yield the point without a struggle, and retire to some distant island. This impressive appeal had the desired effect, and the young prince was invited by unanimous acclamation to assume the reins of government.*

(*Footnote. Mr. Philip Braham, late chief of the East India Company's settlement of Fort Marlborough, by whom the circumstances of this event were related to me, arrived at Achin in July 1781, about a fortnight after the transaction. He thus described his audience. The king was seated in a gallery (to which there were no visible steps), at the extremity of a spacious hall or court, and a curtain which hung before him was drawn aside when it was his pleasure to appear. In this court were great numbers of female attendants, but not armed, as they have been described. Mr. Braham was introduced through a long file of guards armed with blunderbusses, and then seated on a carpet in front of the gallery. When a conversation had been carried on for some time through the Shabandar, who communicated his answers to an interpreter, by whom they were reported to the king, the latter perceiving that he spoke the Malayan language addressed him directly, and asked several questions respecting England; what number of wives and children our sovereign had; how many ships of war the English kept in India; what was the French force, and others of that nature. He expressed himself in friendly terms with regard to our nation, and said he should always be happy to countenance our traders in his ports. Even at this early period of his reign he had abolished some vexatious imposts. Mr. Braham had an opportunity of learning the great degree of power and control possessed by certain of the orang kayas, who held their respective districts in actual sovereignty, and kept the city in awe by stopping, when it suited their purpose, the supplies of provisions. Captain Forrest, who once more visited Achin in 1784 and was treated with much distinction (see his Voyage to the Mergui Archipelago page 51), says he appeared to be twenty-five years of age; but this was a misconception. Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, who saw him in 1782, judged him to have been at that time no more than nineteen or twenty, which corresponds with Mr. Braham's statement.)

Little is known of the transactions of his reign, but that little is in favour of his personal character. The Annals (not always unexceptionable evidence when speaking of the living monarch) describe him as being endowed with every princely virtue, exercising the functions of government with vigour and rectitude, of undaunted courage, attentive to the protection of the ministers of religion, munificent to the descendants of the prophet (seiyid, but commonly pronounced sidi) and to men of learning, prompt at all times to administer justice, and consequently revered and beloved by his people. I have not been enabled to ascertain the year in which he died.


It appears by a Malayan letter from Achin that in 1791 the peace of the capital was much disturbed, and the state of the government as well as of private property (which induced the writer to reship his goods) precarious.


In 1805 his son, then aged twenty-one, was on the throne, and had a contention with his paternal uncle, and at the same time his father-in-law, named Tuanku Raja, by whom he had been compelled to fly (but only for a short time) to Pidir, the usual asylum of the Achinese monarchs. Their quarrel appears to have been rather of a family than of a political nature, and to have proceeded from the irregular conduct of the queen-mother. The low state of this young king's finances, impoverished by a fruitless struggle to enforce, by means of an expensive marine establishment, his right to an exclusive trade, had induced him to make proposals, for mutual accommodation, to the English government of Pulo Pinang.*

(*Footnote. Since the foregoing was printed the following information respecting the manners of the Batta people, obtained by Mr. Charles Holloway from Mr. W.H. Hayes, has reached my hands. "In the month of July 1805 an expedition consisting of Sepoys, Malays, and Battas was sent from Tapanuli against a chief named Punei Manungum, residing at Nega­timbul, about thirty miles inland from Old Tapanuli, in consequence of his having attacked a kampong under the protection of the company, murdered several of the inhabitants, and carried others into captivity. After a siege of three days, terms of accommodation being proposed, a cessation of hostilities took place, when the people of each party having laid aside their arms intermixed with the utmost confidence, and conversed together as if in a state of perfect amity. The terms however not proving satisfactory, each again retired to his arms and renewed the contest with their former inveteracy. On the second day the place was evacuated, and upon our people entering it Mr. Hayes found the bodies of one man and two women, whom the enemy had put to death before their departure (being the last remaining of sixteen prisoners whom they had originally carried off), and from whose legs large pieces had been cut out, evidently for the purpose of being eaten. During the progress of this expedition a small party had been sent to hold in check the chiefs of Labusukum and Singapollum (inland of Sibogah), who were confederates of Punei Manungum. These however proved stronger than was expected, and, making a sally from their kampongs, attacked the sergeant's party and killed a sepoy, whom he was obliged to abandon. Mr. Hayes, on his way from Negatimbul, was ordered to march to the support of the retreating party; but these having taken a different route he remained ignorant of the particulars of their loss. The village of Singapollam being immediately carried by storm, and the enemy retreating by one gate, as our people entered at the opposite, the accoutrements of the sepoy who had been killed the day before were seen hanging as trophies in the front of the houses, and in the town hall, Mr. Hayes saw the head entirely scalped, and one of the fingers fixed upon a fork or skewer, still warm from the fire. On proceeding to the village of Labusucom, situated little more than two hundred yards from the former, he found a large plantain leaf full of human flesh, mixed with lime-juice and chili-pepper, from which he inferred that they had been surprised in the very act of feasting on the sepoy, whose body had been divided between the two kampongs. Upon differences being settled with the chiefs they acknowledged with perfect sangfroid that such had been the case, saying at the same time, "you know it is our custom; why should we conceal it?")




The chain of islands which extends itself in a line nearly parallel to the western coast, at the distance from it of little more than a degree, being immediately connected with the principal subject of this work, and being themselves inhabited by a race or races of people apparently from the same original stock as those of the interior of Sumatra, whose genuineness of character has been preserved to a remarkable degree (whilst the islands on the eastern side are uniformly peopled with Malays), I have thought it expedient to add such authentic information respecting them as I have been enabled to obtain; and this I feel to be the more necessary from observing in the maps to which I have had recourse so much error and confusion in applying the names that the identity and even the existence of some of them have been considered as doubtful.


Of these islands the most southern is Engano, which is still but very imperfectly known, all attempts to open a friendly communication with the natives having hitherto proved fruitless; and in truth they have had but too much reason to consider strangers attempting to land on their coast as piratical enemies. In the voyage of J.J. Saar, published in 1662, we have an account of an expedition fitted out from Batavia in 1645 for the purpose of examining this island, which terminated in entrapping and carrying off with them sixty or seventy of the inhabitants, male and female. The former died soon after their arrival, refusing to eat any other food than coconuts, but the women, who were distributed amongst the principal families of Batavia, proved extremely tractable and docile, and acquired the language of the place. It is not stated, nor does it appear from any subsequent publication, that the opportunity was taken of forming a collection of their words.

From that period Engano had only been incidentally noticed, until in March 1771 Mr. Richard Wyatt, then governor, and the council of Fort Marlborough, sent Mr. Charles Miller in a vessel belonging to the Company to explore the productions of this island. On approaching it he observed large plantations of coconut-trees, with several spots of ground cleared for cultivation on the hills, and at night many fires on the beach. Landing was found to be in most parts extremely difficult on account of the surf. Many of the natives were seen armed with lances and squatting down amongst the coral rocks, as if to conceal their numbers. Upon rowing into a bay with the ship's boat it was pursued by ten canoes full of men and obliged to return. Mr. Whalfeldt, the surveyor, and the second mate proceeded to make a survey of the bay and endeavour to speak with the natives. They were furnished with articles for presents, and, upon seeing a canoe on the beach of a small island, and several people fishing on the rocks, they rowed to the island and sent two caffrees on shore with some cloth, but the natives would not come near them. The mate then landed and advanced towards them, when they immediately came to him. He distributed some presents among them, and they in return gave him some fish. Several canoes came off to the ship with coconuts, sugar-cane, toddy, and a species of yam. The crew of one of them took an opportunity of unshipping and carrying away the boat's rudder, and upon a musket being fired over their heads many of them leaped into the sea.

Mr. Miller describes these people as being taller and fairer than the Malays, their hair black, which the men cut short, and the women wear long, and neatly turned up. The former go entirely naked except that they sometimes throw a piece of bark of tree, or plantain-leaf over their shoulders to protect them from the heat of the sun. The latter also are naked except a small slip of plantain-leaf round the waist; and some had on their heads fresh leaves made up nearly in the shape of a bonnet, with necklaces of small pieces of shell, and a shell hanging by a string, to be used as a comb. The ears of both men and women have large holes made in them, an inch or two in diameter, into which they put a ring made of coconut-shell or a roll of leaves. They do not chew betel. Their language was not understood by any person on board, although there were people from most parts adjacent to the coast. Their canoes are very neat, formed of two thin planks sewn together, sharp-pointed at each end and provided with outriggers. In general they contain six or seven men. They always carry lances, not only as offensive weapons, but for striking fish. These are about seven feet in length, formed of ni­bong and other hard woods; some of them tipped with pieces of bamboo made very sharp, and the concave part filled with fish-bones (and shark's teeth), others armed with pieces of bone made sharp and notched, and others pointed with bits of iron and copper sharpened. They seemed not to be unaccustomed to the sight of vessels. (Ships bound from the ports of India to the straits of Sunda, as well as those from Europe, when late in the season, frequently make the land of Engano, and many must doubtless be wrecked on its coast).

Attempts were made to find a river or fresh water, but without success, nor even a good place to land. Two of the people from the ship having pushed in among the rocks and landed the natives soon came to them, snatched their handkerchiefs off their heads and ran away with them, but dropped them on being pursued. Soon afterwards they sounded a conch-shell, which brought numbers of them down to the beach. The bay appeared to be well sheltered and to afford good anchorage ground. The soil of the country for the most part a red clay. The productions Mr. Miller thought the same as are commonly found on the coast of Sumatra; but circumstances did not admit of his penetrating into the country, which, contrary to expectation, was found to be so full of inhabitants. In consequence of the loss of anchors and cables it was judged necessary that the vessel should return to Fort Marlborough. Having taken in the necessary supplies, the island was revisited. Finding no landing-place, the boat was run upon the coral rocks. Signs were made to the natives, who had collected in considerable numbers, and upon seeing our people land had retreated towards some houses, to stop, but to no purpose until Mr. Miller proceeded towards them unaccompanied, when they approached in great numbers and accepted of knives, pieces of cloth, etc. Observing a spot of cultivated ground surrounded by a sort of fence he went to it, followed by several of the natives who made signs to deter him, and as soon as he was out of sight of his own people began to handle his clothes and attempt to pull them off, when he returned to the beach.

Their houses stand singly in their plantations, are circular, about eight feet in diameter, raised about six from the ground on slender iron­wood sticks, floored with planks, and the roof, which is thatched with long grass, rises from the floor in a conical shape. No rice was seen among them, nor did they appear to know the use of it when shown to them; nor were cattle nor fowls of any kind observed about their houses.

Having anchored off a low point of marshy land in the northern part of the bay, where the natives seemed to be more accustomed to intercourse with strangers, the party landed in hopes of finding a path to some houses about two miles inland. Upon observing signs made to them by some people on the coral reef Mr. Miller and Mr. Whalfeldt went towards them in the sampan, when some among them took an opportunity of stealing the latter's hanger and running away with it; upon which they were immediately fired at by some of the party, and notwithstanding Mr. Miller's endeavours to prevent them both the officer and men continued to fire upon and pursue the natives through the morass, but without being able to overtake them. Meeting however with some houses they set fire to them, and brought off two women and a boy whom the caffrees had seized. The officers on board the vessel, alarmed at the firing and seeing Mr. Miller alone in the sampan, whilst several canoes full of people were rowing towards him, sent the pinnace with some sepoys to his assistance. During the night conch-shells were heard to sound almost all over the bay, and in the morning several large parties were observed on different parts of the beach. All further communication with the inhabitants being interrupted by this imprudent quarrel, and the purposes of the expedition thereby frustrated, it was not thought advisable to remain any longer at Engano, and Mr. Miller, after visiting some parts of the southern coast of Sumatra, returned to Fort Marlborough.


The next island to the north-west of Engano, but at a considerable distance, is called by the Malays Pulo Mega (cloud-island), and by Europeans Triste, or isle de Recif. It is small and uninhabited, and like many others in these seas is nearly surrounded by a coral reef with a lagoon in the centre. Coconut-trees grow in vast numbers in the sand near the sea-shore, whose fruit serves for food to rats and squirrels, the only quadrupeds found there. On the borders of the lagoon is a little vegetable mould, just above the level of high water, where grow some species of timber-trees.


The name of Pulo Sanding or Sandiang belongs to two small islands situated near the south-eastern extremity of the Nassau or Pagi islands, in which group they are sometimes included. Of these the southernmost is distinguished in the Dutch charts by the term of Laag or low, and the other by that of Bergen or hilly. They are both uninhabited, and the only productions worth notice is the long nutmeg, which grows wild on them, and some good timber, particularly of the kind known by the name of marbau (Metrosideros amboinensis). An idea was entertained of making a settlement on one of them, and in 1769 an officer with a few men were stationed there for some months, during which period the rains were incessant. The scheme was afterwards abandoned as unlikely to answer any useful purpose.


The two islands separated by a narrow strait, to which the Dutch navigators have given the name of the Nassaus, are called by the Malays Pulo Pagi or Pagei, and by us commonly the Poggies. The race of people by whom these as well as some other islands to the northward of them are inhabited having the appellation of orang mantawei, this has been confounded with the proper names of the islands, and, being applied sometimes to one and sometimes to another, has occasioned much confusion and uncertainty. The earliest accounts we have of them are the reports of Mr. Randolph Marriot in 1749, and of Mr. John Saul in 1750 and 1751, with Captain Thomas Forrest's observations in 1757, preserved in Mr. Dalrymple's Historical Relation of the several Expeditions from Fort Marlborough to the Islands adjacent to the West-coast of Sumatra; but by much the most satisfactory information is contained in a paper communicated by Mr. John Crisp to the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in the sixth volume of whose Transactions it is published, and from these documents I shall extract such particulars as may best serve to convey a knowledge of the country and the people.

Mr. Crisp sailed from Fort Marlborough on the 12th of August 1792 in a vessel navigated at his own expense, and with no other view than that of gratifying a liberal curiosity. On the 14th he anchored in the straits of See Cockup (Si Kakap), which divide the Northern from the Southern Pagi. These straits are about two miles in length and a quarter of a mile over, and make safe riding for ships of any size, which lie perfectly secure from every wind, the water being literally as smooth as in a pond. The high land of Sumatra (inland of Moco-moco and Ipu) was plainly to be distinguished from thence. In the passage are scattered several small islands, each of which consists of one immense rock, and which may have been originally connected with the main island. The face of the country is rough and irregular, consisting of high hills of sudden and steep ascent, and covered with trees to their summits, among which the species called bintangur or puhn, fit for the largest masts, abounds. The sago-tree grows in plenty, and constitutes the chief article of food to the inhabitants, who do not cultivate rice. The use of betel is unknown to them. Coconut-trees, bamboos, and the common fruits of Sumatra are found here. The woods are impervious to man: the species of wild animals that inhabit them but few; the large red deer, hogs, and several kinds of monkey, but neither buffaloes nor goats; nor are they infested with tigers or other beasts of prey; They have the common domestic fowl, but pork and fish are the favourite animal food of the natives.

When the vessel had been two days at anchor they began to come down from their villages in their canoes, bringing fruit of various kinds, and on invitation they readily came on board without showing signs of apprehension or embarrassment. On presenting to them plates of boiled rice they would not touch it until it had been previously tasted by one of the ship's company. They behaved whilst on board with much decorum, showed a strong degree of curiosity, but not the least disposition for pilfering. They appeared to live in great friendship and harmony with each other, and voluntarily divided amongst their companions what was given to them. Their stature seldom exceeds five feet and a half. Their colour is like that of the Malays, a light brown or copper-colour. Some canoes came alongside the vessel with only women in them, and upon being encouraged by the men several ventured on board. When on the water they use a temporary dress to shield them from the heat of the sun, made of the leaves of the plantain, of which they form a sort of conical cap (the same was observed of the women of Engano), and there is also a broad piece of the leaf fastened round the body over their breasts, and another round their waist. This leaf readily splits, and has the appearance of a coarse fringe. When in their villages the women, like the men, wear only a small piece of coarse cloth, made of the bark of a tree, round their middle. Beads and other ornaments are worn about the neck. Although coconuts are in such plenty they have not the use of oil, and their hair, which is black, and naturally long, is, for want of it and the use of combs, in general matted and full of vermin. They have a method of filing or grinding their teeth to a point, like the people of Sumatra.

The number of inhabitants of the two islands is supposed not to exceed 1400 persons. They are divided into small tribes, each occupying a small river and living in one village. On the southern island are five of these villages, and on the northern seven, of which Kakap is accounted the chief, although Labu-labu is supposed to contain the greater number of people. Their houses are built of bamboos and raised on posts; the under part is occupied by poultry and hogs, and, as may be supposed, much filth is collected there. Their arms consist of a bow and arrows. The former is made of the nibong-tree, and the string of the entrails of some animal. The arrows are of small bamboo, headed with brass or with a piece of hard wood cut to a point. With these they kill deer, which are roused by dogs of a mongrel breed, and also monkeys, whose flesh they eat. Some among them wear krises. It was said that the different tribes of orang mantawei who inhabit these islands never make war upon each other, but with people of islands to the northward they are occasionally in a state of hostility. The measurement of one of their war-canoes, preserved with great care under a shed, was twenty-five feet in the length of the floor, the prow projecting twenty-two, and the stern eighteen, making the whole length sixty-five feet. The greatest breadth was five feet, and the depth three feet eight inches. For navigating in their rivers and the straits of Si Kakap, where the sea is as smooth as glass, they employ canoes, formed with great neatness of a single tree, and the women and young children are extremely expert in the management of the paddle. They are strangers to the use of coin of any kind, and have little knowledge of metals. The iron bill or chopping-knife, called parang, is in much esteem among them, it serves as a standard for the value of other commodities, such as articles of provision.

The religion of these people, if it deserves the name, resembles much what has been described of the Battas; but their mode of disposing of their dead is different, and analogous rather to the practice of the South­sea islanders, the corpse, being deposited on a sort of stage in a place appropriated for the purpose, and with a few leaves strewed over it, is left to decay. Inheritance is by male descent; the house or plantation, the weapons and tools of the father, become the property of the sons. Their chiefs are but little distinguished from the rest of the community by authority or possessions, their pre-eminence being chiefly displayed at public entertainments, of which they do the honours. They have not even judicial powers, all disputes being settled, and crimes adjudged, by a meeting of the whole village. Murder is punishable by retaliation, for which purpose the offender is delivered over to the relations of the deceased, who may put him to death; but the crime is rare. Theft, when to a considerable amount, is also capital. In cases of adultery the injured husband has a right to seize the effects of the paramour, and sometimes punishes his wife by cutting off her hair. When the husband offends the wife has a right to quit him and to return to her parents' house. Simple fornication between unmarried persons is neither considered as a crime nor a disgrace. The state of slavery is unknown among these people, and they do not practise circumcision.

The custom of tattooing, or imprinting figures on the skin, is general among the inhabitants of this group of islands. They call it in their language teetee or titi. They begin to form these marks on boys at seven years of age, and fill them up as they advance in years. Mr. Crisp thinks they were originally intended as marks of military distinction. The women have a star imprinted on each shoulder, and generally some small marks on the backs of their hands. These punctures are made with an instrument consisting of a brass wire fixed perpendicularly into a piece of stick about eight inches in length. The pigment made use of is the smoke collected from dammar, mixed with water (or, according to another account, with the juice of the sugar-cane). The operator takes a stalk of dried grass, or a fine piece of stick, and, dipping the end in the pigment, traces on the skin the outline of the figure, and then, dipping the brass point in the same preparation, with very quick and light strokes of a long, small stick, drives it into the skin, whereby an indelible mark is produced. The pattern when completed is in all the individuals nearly the same.

In the year 1783 the son of a raja of one of the Pagi islands came over to Sumatra on a visit of curiosity, and, being an intelligent man, much information was obtained from him. He could give some account of almost every island that lies off the coast, and when a doubt arose about their position he ascertained it by taking the rind of a pumplenose or shaddock, and, breaking it into bits of different sizes, disposing them on the floor in such a manner as to convey a clear idea of the relative situation. He spoke of Engano (by what name is not mentioned) and said that their boats were sometimes driven to that island, on which occasions they generally lost a part, if not the whole, of their crews, from the savage disposition of the natives. He appeared to be acquainted with several of the constellations, and gave names for the Pleiades, Scorpion, Great Bear, and Orion's Belt. He understood the distinction between the fixed and wandering stars, and particularly noticed Venus, which he named usutat-si-geb-geb or planet of the evening. To Sumatra he gave the appellation of Seraihu. As to religion he said the rajas alone prayed and sacrificed hogs and fowls. They addressed themselves in the first place to the Power above the sky; next to those in the moon, who are male and female; and lastly, to that evil being whose residence is beneath the earth, and is the cause of earthquakes. A drawing of this man, representing accurately the figures in which his body and limbs were tattooed, was made by Colonel Trapaud, and obligingly given to me. He not only stood patiently during the performance, but seemed much pleased with the execution, and proposed that the Colonel should accompany him to his country to have an opportunity of making a likeness of his father. To our collectors of rare prints it is well known that there exists an engraving of a man of this description by the title of The Painted Prince, brought to England by Captain Dampier from one of the islands of the eastern sea in the year 1691, and of whom a particular account is given in his Voyage. He said that the inhabitants of the Pagi islands derived their origin from the orang mantawei of the island called Si Biru.


North-westward of the Pagi islands, and at no great distance, lies that of Si Porah, commonly denominated Good Fortune Island, inhabited by the same race as the former, and with the same manners and language. The principal towns or villages are named Si Porah, containing, when visited by Mr. John Saul in 1750, three hundred inhabitants, Si Labah three hundred (several of whom were originally from the neighbouring island of Nias), Si Bagau two hundred, and Si Uban a smaller number; and when Captain Forrest made his inquiries in 1757 there was not any material variation. Since that period, though the island has been occasionally visited, it does not appear that any report has been preserved of the state of the population. The country is described as being entirely covered with wood. The highest land is in the vicinity of Si Labah.


The next island in the same direction is named Si Biru, which, although of considerable size, being larger than Si Porah, has commonly been omitted in our charts, or denoted to be uncertain. It is inhabited by the Mantawei race, and the natives both of Si Porah and the Pagi Islands consider it as their parent country, but notwithstanding this connexion they are generally in a state of hostility, and in 1783 no intercourse subsisted between them. The inhabitants are distinguished only by some small variety of the patterns in which their skins are tattooed, those of Si Biru having them narrower on the breast and broader on the shoulders. The island itself is rendered conspicuous by a volcano­mountain.


Next to this is Pulo Batu, situated immediately to the southward of the equinoctial line, and, in consequence of an original mistake in Valentyn's erroneous chart, published in 1726, usually called by navigators Mintaon, being a corruption of the word Mantawei, which, as already explained, is appropriated to a race inhabiting the islands of Si Biru, Si Porah, and Pagi. Batu, on the contrary, is chiefly peopled by a colony from Nias. These pay a yearly tax to the raja of Buluaro, a small kampong in the interior part of the island, belonging to a race different from both, and whose number it is said amounts only to one hundred, which it is not allowed to exceed, so many children being reared as may replace the deaths. They are reported to bear a resemblance to the people of Makasar or Bugis, and may have been adventurers from that quarter. The influence of their raja over the Nias inhabitants, who exceed his immediate subjects in the proportion of twenty to one, is founded on the superstitious belief that the water of the island will become salt when they neglect to pay the tax. He in his turn, being in danger from the power of the Malay traders who resort thither from Padang and are not affected by the same superstition, is constrained to pay them to the amount of sixteen ounces of gold as an annual tribute.

The food of the people, as in the other islands, is chiefly sago, and their exports coconuts, oil in considerable quantities, and swala or sea­slugs. No rice is planted there, nor, if we may trust to the Malayan accounts, suffered to be imported. Upon the same authority also we are told that the island derives its name of Batu from a large rock resembling the hull of a vessel, which tradition states to be a petrifaction of that in which the Buluaro people arrived. The same fanciful story of a petrified boat is prevalent in the Serampei country of Sumatra. From Natal Hill Pulo Batu is visible. Like the islands already described it is entirely covered with wood.


Between Pulo Batu and the coast of Sumatra, but much nearer to the latter, is a small uninhabited island, called Pulo Kapini (iron-wood island), but to which our charts (copying from Valentyn) commonly give the name of Batu, whilst to Batu itself, as above described, is assigned the name of Mintaon. In confirmation of the distinctions here laid down it will be thought sufficient to observe that, when the Company's packet, the Greyhound, lay at what was called Lant's Bay in Mintaon, an officer came to our settlement of Natal (of which Mr. John Marsden at that time was chief) in a Batu oil-boat; and that a large trade for oil is carried on from Padang and other places with the island of Batu, whilst that of Kapini is known to be without inhabitants, and could not supply the article.


The most productive and important, if not the largest of this chain of islands, is Pulo Nias. Its inhabitants are very numerous, and of a race distinct not only from those on the main (for such we must relatively consider Sumatra), but also from the people of all the islands to the southward, with the exception of the last-mentioned. Their complexions, especially the women, are lighter than those of the Malays; they are smaller in their persons and shorter in stature; their mouths are broad, noses very flat, and their ears are pierced and distended in so extraordinary a manner as nearly, in many instances, to touch the shoulders, particularly when the flap has, by excessive distension or by accident, been rent asunder; but these pendulous excrescences are commonly trimmed and reduced to the ordinary size when they are brought away from their own country. Preposterous however as this custom may appear, it is not confined to the Nias people. Some of the women of the inland parts of Sumatra, in the vicinity of the equinoctial line (especially those of the Rau tribes) increase the perforation of their ears until they admit ornaments of two or three inches diameter. There is no circumstance by which the natives of this island are more obviously distinguished than the prevalence of a leprous scurf with which the skins of a great proportion of both sexes are affected; in some cases covering the whole of the body and limbs, and in others resembling rather the effect of the tetter or ringworm, running like that partial complaint in waving lines and concentric curves. It is seldom if ever radically cured, although by external applications (especially in the slighter cases) its symptoms are moderated, and a temporary smoothness given to the skin; but it does not seem in any stage of the disease to have a tendency to shorten life, or to be inconsistent with perfect health in other respects, nor is there reason to suppose it infectious; and it is remarkable that the inhabitants of Pulo Batu, who are evidently of the same race, are exempt from this cutaneous malady. The principal food of the common people is the sweet-potato, but much pork is also eaten by those who can afford it, and the chiefs make a practice of ornamenting their houses with the jaws of the hogs, as well as the skulls of the enemies whom they slay. The cultivation of rice has become extensive in modern times, but rather as an article of traffic than of home consumption.

These people are remarkable for their docility and expertness in handicraft work, and become excellent house-carpenters and joiners, and as an instance of their skill in the arts they practise that of letting blood by cupping, in a mode nearly similar to ours. Among the Sumatrans blood is never drawn with so salutary an intent. They are industrious and frugal, temperate and regular in their habits, but at the same time avaricious, sullen, obstinate, vindictive, and sanguinary. Although much employed as domestic slaves (particularly by the Dutch) they are always esteemed dangerous in that capacity, a defect in their character which philosophers will not hesitate to excuse in an independent people torn by violence from their country and connexions. They frequently kill themselves when disgusted with their situation or unhappy in their families, and often their wives at the same time, who appeared, from the circumstances under which they were found, to have been consenting to the desperate act. They were both dressed in their best apparel (the remainder being previously destroyed), and the female, in more than one instance that came under notice, had struggled so little as not to discompose her hair or remove her head from the pillow. It is said that in their own country they expose their children by suspending them in a bag from a tree, when they despair of being able to bring them up. The mode seems to be adopted with the view of preserving them from animals of prey, and giving them a chance of being saved by persons in more easy circumstances.

The island is divided into about fifty small districts, under chiefs or rajas who are independent of, and at perpetual variance with, each other; the ultimate object of their wars being to make prisoners, whom they sell for slaves, as well as all others not immediately connected with them, whom they can seize by stratagem. These violences are doubtless encouraged by the resort of native traders from Padang, Natal, and Achin to purchase cargoes of slaves, who are also accused of augmenting the profits of their voyage by occasionally surprising and carrying off whole families. The number annually exported is reckoned at four hundred and fifty to Natal, and one hundred and fifty to the northern ports (where they are said to be employed by the Achinese in the gold-mines), exclusive of those which go to Padang for the supply of Batavia, where the females are highly valued and taught music and various accomplishments. In catching these unfortunate victims of avarice it is supposed that not fewer than two hundred are killed; and if the aggregate be computed at one thousand it is a prodigious number to be supplied from the population of so small an island.

Beside the article of slaves there is a considerable export of padi and rice, the cultivation of which is chiefly carried on at a distance from the sea-coasts, whither the natives retire to be secure from piratical depredations, bringing down the produce to the harbours (of which there are several good ones), to barter with the traders for iron, steel, beads, tobacco, and the coarser kinds of Madras and Surat piece-goods. Numbers of hogs are reared, and some parts of the main, especially Barus, are supplied from hence with yams, beans, and poultry. Some of the rajas are supposed to have amassed a sum equal to ten or twenty thousand dollars, which is kept in ingots of gold and silver, much of the latter consisting of small Dutch money (not the purest coin) melted down; and of these they make an ostentatious display at weddings and other festivals.

The language scarcely differs more from the Batta and the Lampong than these do from each other, and all evidently belong to the same stock. The pronunciation is very guttural, and either from habit or peculiar conformation of organs these people cannot articulate the letter p, but in Malayan words, where the sound occurs, pronounce it as f (saying for example Fulo Finang instead of Pulo Pinang), whilst on the contrary the Malays never make use of the f, and pronounce as pikir the Arabic word fikir. Indeed the Arabians themselves appear to have the same organic defect as the people of Nias, and it may likewise be observed in the languages of some of the South-sea islands.


On the western side of Nias and very near to it is a cluster of small islands called Pulo Nako-nako, whose inhabitants (as well as others who shall presently be noticed) are of a race termed Maros or orang maruwi, distinct from those of the former, but equally fair-complexioned. Large quantities of coconut-oil are prepared here and exported chiefly to Padang, the natives having had a quarrel with the Natal traders. The islands are governed by a single raja, who monopolizes the produce, his subjects dealing only with him, and he with the praws or country vessels who are regularly furnished with cargoes in the order of their arrival, and never dispatched out of turn.


Pulo Babi or Hog island, called by the natives Si Malu, lies north­westward from Nias, and, like Nako-Nako, is inhabited by the Maruwi race. Buffaloes (and hogs, we may presume) are met with here in great plenty and sold cheap.


The name of Pulo Baniak belongs to a cluster of islands (as the terms imply) situated to the eastward, or in-shore of Pulo Babi, and not far from the entrance of Singkel River. It is however most commonly applied to one of them which is considerably larger than the others. It does not appear to furnish any vegetable produce as an article of trade, and the returns from thence are chiefly sea-slug and the edible birds-nest. The inhabitants of these islands also are Maruwis, and, as well as the others of the same race, are now Mahometans. Their language, although considered by the natives of these parts as distinct and peculiar (which will naturally be the case where people do not understand each other's conversation), has much radical affinity to the Batta and Nias, and less to the Pagi; but all belong to the same class, and may be regarded as dialects of a general language prevailing amongst the original inhabitants of this eastern archipelago, as far at least as the Moluccas and Philippines.



Achin or Acheh:
kingdom of, its boundaries.
Situation, buildings, and appearance of the capital.
Air esteemed healthy.
Inhabitants described.
Present state of commerce.
Productions of soil, manufactures, navigation.
Coin, government.
Officers of state, ceremonies.
Local division.
Revenues, duties.
Administration of justice and punishments.
History of.
State of the kingdom at the time when Malacca fell into the hands of the
Circumstances which placed Ibrahim, a slave of the king of Pidir, on the
Rises to considerable importance during the reign of Mansur-shah.
King of, receives a letter from Queen Elizabeth.
Letter from King James the First.
Commencement of female reigns.
Their termination.
Subsequent events.

Achin Head:
situation of.

custom of, in the third instead of the second person.

laws respecting.


temperature of.

or Ula-eddin Shah, king of Achin, lays repeated siege to Malacca.
His death.

Alboquerque (Affonso d'):
touches at Pidir and Pase in his voyage to Malacca.

Superstitious dread of.

different species of.


kingdom of.

veneration for burying-places of.

account of.

Malayan, of the kingdom of Achin.

variety and abundance of.

travellers, mention Sumatra by the name of Ramni.

character, with modifications, used by the Malays.



and manufactures.

Aru, kingdom of.


covering for roofs of houses.

island of.

principal material for building.
Account of the.

island of, its tin-mines.

islands of.

tree or jawi-jawi, its peculiarities.

city of.
Expulsion of English from thence.

Barbosa, (Odoardus):
his account of Sumatra.

Barthema (Ludovico):
his visit to the island.

a place chiefly remarkable for having given its name to the most valuable
sort of camphor.

various species of.

country of.
Its divisions.
Mr. Miller's journey into it.
Authority of the rajas.
Persons, dress, and weapons of the inhabitants.
Fortified villages or kampongs.
Trade, mode of holding fairs.
Buildings, domestic manners.
Observations on their mode of writing.
Funeral ceremonies.
Crimes and punishments.
Practice of eating human flesh.
Motives for this custom.
Mode of proceeding.
Doubts obviated.
Death of Mr. Nairne in the Batta country.
Originality of manners preserved amongst this people, and its probable

Batu (Pulo).

Batu Bara:

practice of eradicating.


commander of a French squadron at Achin.


river and town.
Interior country visited.
Account of first English establishment at.

or benjamin, mode of procuring.
Nature of the trade.
Oil distilled from.

practice of chewing.
Preparation of.

or areca, see Pinang.

island of.

Species which form the edible nests.
Modes of catching.

edible, account of.

island of.

species of caviar, mode of preparing.

of krises.
mode of damasking.

Boulton (Mr. Matthew).

or sukun.

land and sea.

Braham (Mr. Philip).

Broff (Mr. Robert).

or karbau, description of the.
Killed at festivals.

modes of, described.

Bukit Lintang:
a high range of hills inland of Moco-moco.

Bukit Pandang:
a high mountain inland of Ipu.

ancient, veneration for.

description of.

Campbell (Mr. Charles).

or kapur barus, a valuable drug.
Description of the tree.
Mode of procuring it.
Its price.
Japan camphor.


use of, previously to Portuguese discoveries.

Carpenters' work.


description of the tree.
Found in the Serampei, Musi, and Batta countries.

Laws respecting.

or suits, mode of deciding.

or elastic gum.



difference in respect of it, between the Malays and other Sumatrans.

of Rejang, Batta, and Lampong languages.



game of, Malayan terms.


treatment of.



manufacture of.

materials of.


strong propensity to this sport.

an important object of cultivation.
Does not bear fruit in the hill country.

of laws.
Remarks on.

current in Sumatra.


Company (English East India):
its influence.
Permission given to it to settle a factory at Achin.

irregularity of, noticed.

for murder, termed bangun.

fairness of, comparatively with other Indians.
Darkness of, not dependent on climate.

modes of.

made with the chiefs of the country, for obliging their dependants to
plant pepper.

to religion of Mahomet, period of.


Rich mine of.

Coral rock.

collection of, in the possession of Mr. John Griffiths.

used, and mode of preparing it.

two species of, cultivated.


Crisp (Mr. John).

of rice.

dish or mode of cookery so called.


Cycas circinalis:
(a palm-fern confounded with the sago-tree) described.

Dalrymple (Mr. Alexander).

a species of resin or turpentine.

amusement of.

Dare (Lieutenant Hastings).
Journal of his expedition to the Serampei and Sungei-tenang countries.

title of.

and debtors, laws respecting.

diminutive species of.

name for the, borrowed by the Rejangs from the Malays.


modes of curing.

of tossing a ball.

laws respecting.

a drug, how procured.

description of man's and woman's.

nature of title.


or villages, description of.

or sea-cow.


ceremony of boring.




mode of.

notion respecting.

his account of Sumatra by the name of Al-Rami.

Elastic gum.


Queen, addresses a letter to the king of Achin.

laws respecting.

Emblematic presents.

island of.

their first visit to Sumatra.
Settle a factory at Achin.

influence of.

rules of, and mode of giving.

to Serampei and Sungei-tenang countries.



of soil.


account of a remarkable one.

how treated by the natives.

manufacture of.

modes of kindling.
Necessary for warmth among the hills.

manufactured in Menangkabau.


Ikan layer, a remarkable species.
Various kinds enumerated.

mode of.

preserved by salting.
An article of trade.

description of.

Foersch, (Mr.):
his account of the poison-tree.

dense among the hills.


mode of.

Fort Marlborough:
the chief English settlement on the coast of Sumatra.
Establishment of.
Reduced by Act of Parliament.

settlement of Tappanuli taken by the, in the year 1760, and again in
1809, attended with circumstances of atrocity.
Sent a fleet to Achin, under General Beaulieu.

description of.

ceremonies observed at.

of houses.

mode of preparing it for eating with betel.

laws respecting.
Propensity for, and modes of.

limited ideas of.

natives of the hills subject to.
Disease not imputable to snow-water.
In the Serampei country.

island celebrated for its production of.
Chiefly found in the Menangkabau country.
Distinctions of.
Mode of working the mines.
Estimation of quantity procured.
Mode of cleansing.



form of.

Griffiths, (Mr. John).

or iguana, animal of the lizard kind.



manufacture of.

modes of dressing the.

degree of.

or ganja, its inebriating qualities.

of the Arabians used for tingeing the nails.

and shrubs used medicinally.

inhabitants of, subject to goitres.


of Malayan kings.
Of Achinese.

their first visit to Sumatra.

Holloway, (Mr. Giles).

practised by the Battas.

small breed of.
Occasionally used in war.
Eaten as food by the Battas.

Hot springs.

description of.

Human flesh:
eaten by the Battas.

Iang de per-tuan:
title of sovereignty.

Ibrahim (otherwise, Saleh-eddin shah):
king of Achin, his origin.
Enmity to the Portuguese.
Transactions of his reign, and death.

a peculiar vegetable substance used for cordage.

Ilhas d'Ouro:
attempts of the Portuguese to discover them.



one of the Malayan names of Sumatra.

Broad-leafed or tarum akar.

river of.
Has its source in a lake of the Menangkabau country.

kingdom of.

general distinctions of.

rules of.

manufacture of.


Various kinds of, enumerated.


of money.


river of.
Sungei-ipu (a different river).

Ore smelted.
Manufactures of.

Iskander Muda (Paduka Sri):
king of Achin, receives a letter from king James the first, by Captain
Best, and gives permission for establishing an English factory.
Conquers Johor.
Attacks Malacca with a great fleet.
Receives an embassy from France.
Again attacks Malacca.
His death.
Wealth and power.

near the western coast, account of.



imperfect sort of sugar from a species of palm.

river of.
Colonies settled on branches of it, for collecting gold.
Has its source in the Limun country.
Town of.


James the first:
king, writes a letter to the king of Achin.

sultan of Pase, his history.

kingdom of.

river of.
King of, negotiates with Alboquerque.

or fortified villages.

flowering tree.

island of.

name of, given to the carthamus and the bixa.

or Cattown, river of.

or gigantic cockle.


Mr. Campbell's visit to it.
Situation of lake.
Inhabitants and buildings.
Food, articles of commerce, gold.
Account of lepers.
Peculiar plants.
Character of the natives.

a fortified village of the Sungei­tenang country.
Taken and destroyed.

description of.

district of.

or coolicoy, the bark of certain trees used in building, and for other

argus or Sumatran pheasant.

district of.


a title equivalent to commander-in-chief.

country, limits of.
Inhabitants, language, and governments.
Account of a peculiar people, called orang abung.
Manners and customs.

unevenness of its surface.
Rarely considered as the subject of property.

and sea breezes, causes of.

Nature of the Malayan.
Of others spoken in Sumatra.
Specimens of.


and customs.
Compilation of.

river and district of.

a small kind of, very troublesome on marches.

district, inhabitants of, similar to the Rejangs.

account of.

or kalambac.

district of.
Gold-traders of.



of Fort Marlborough, determined by observation.

description of.

Macdonald, (Lieutenant-colonel John).

Mackenzie, (Mr. Kenneth).

resemblance in customs of, to those of Sumatra.

Mahmud shah Juhan (Ala-eddin).

period of conversion to.

or jagong, cultivation of.

or Malaka, city of, when founded.
Visited in 1509 by the Portuguese.
In 1511 taken by them.
Repeatedly attacked by the kings of Achin.
In 1641 taken by the Hollanders.

name of, applied to people of Menangkabau.
Nearly synonymous with Mahometan, in these parts.
Difference in character between Malays and other Sumatrans.
Guards composed of.
Origin of.
Race of kings.
Not strict in matters of religion.
Governments of.


or Malati flower (nyctanthes).

fruit, described.

fruit, described.

river and district of.
English settlement at.

district of.

island of.

Mansur shah:
king of Achin, besieges Malacca, and is defeated.
Renews the attack, without success.
Again appears before it with a large fleet, and proceeds to the attack of
Murdered when preparing to sail with a considerable expedition.

name of race of people inhabiting certain islands.


Marco Polo:
his account of Sumatra, by the name of Java minor.
Visited it about the year 1290.

modes of, and laws respecting.
Rites of.
Consummation of.

Marsden (Mr. John).

of capacity and length.

of time.

shrubs and herbs.

art of.

island of.

kingdom of.
History of, imperfectly known.
Limits of.
Rivers proceeding from it.
Political decline.
Early mention of it by travellers.
Division of the government.
Extraordinary respect paid to reigning family.
Titles of the sultan.
Remarks on them.
Conversion of people to the Mahometan religion.
Antiquity of the empire more remote than that event.
Sultan held in respect by the Battas.

ideas of, as entertained by the Sumatrans.

Miller (Mr. Charles).



no attempt of, to convert the Sumatrans to Christianity, upon record.

in Anac-sungei, account of.

various species of.

causes of their change.

wood of, used for dyeing.

chain of, running along the island.
Height of Mount Ophir or Gunong Passamman.
High mountain called Bukit Pandang.

practice, nature, and causes of.

Muhammed shah (Ala-eddin or Ula-eddin):
succeeds Juhan shah as king of Achin.
His turbulent reign, and death.

divisional district of the country of Achin.


compensation for.

district of.

Minor key preferred.

of the Battas.

islands of.

port of.

of Sumatra, unknown to the Arabian geographers, and to Marco Polo.
Various orthography of.
Probably of Hindu origin.

when given to children.
Distinctions of.
Father often named from his child.
Hesitate to pronounce their own.

settlement of.
Gold of fine quality procured in the country of.
Governed by datus.


island of.

species of palm, description and uses of.

Nicolo di Conti:
his visit to Sumatra.

and cloves, first introduction of, by Mr. Robert Broff.
Second importation.
Success of the culture.

nature of, in legal proceedings.
Mode of administering.
Amongst the Battas.

his visit to the island of Sumoltra.

of state, in Malayan governments.
At Achin.


name of, not known to the natives.
Height of Mount Ophir or Gunong Passamman.

considerable importation of, from Bengal.
Law respecting.
Practice of smoking.
Preparation of.
Effects of.

various species of.

gift of, natural to the Sumatrans.


the principal Dutch settlement.

river of.

or rice, cultivation of upland.
Of lowland.
Transplantation of.
Rate of produce.
Beating out.

Paduka Sri:
king of Achin, see Iskander Muda.

Pagi (or Nassaus):
islands of.

river of.
Rises in the district of Musi, near Bencoolen river.
Dutch factory on it.
Description of country on its banks.
City of.
Many foreign settlers.
Interior country visited by the English.


shrub, its fragrant blossom.

nature of title.
Authority much limited.

or proverbial song.


kingdom of.

province of.

Legal customs of.

or pledges, law respecting.

principal object of the Company's trade.
Cultivation of.
Description of the plant.
Progress of bearing.
Time of gathering.
Mode of drying.
White pepper.
Surveys of plantations.
Transportation of.

Percha (Pulo):
one of the Malayan names of Sumatra.


Pergularia odoratissima:
cultivated in England by Sir Joseph Banks.

of the natives, description of.

argus or Sumatran.

islands, customs and superstitions of, resembling those of Sumatra.

kingdom of.

Pigafetta (Antonio):
in his voyage appears the earliest specimen of a Malayan vocabulary.


areca, or, vulgarly, the betel-nut-tree, and fruit.

Pinang (Pulo):
island of.


Piratical habits:
of Malays.

or pisang.
Varieties of the fruit.

mode of.

fondness of the natives for.


question of.
Connexion between it and the practice of purchasing wives.


island of.

expeditions of, rendered the island of Sumatra well known to Europeans.
Their first visit to it, under Diogo Lopez de Sequeira.
Transactions at Pidir, and Pase.
Conquer Malacca.
Sustain many attacks and sieges from kings of Achin.

cultivated in the Korinchi country.

river and district of.
Invitation to the English to form a settlement there.

or Poon, signifying tree in general, applied by Europeans to a particular

or poison-tree, account of.

species of twine from the kaluwi nettle.

variety of.

or island.

point and bay.

a beautiful species of dove.

Amongst the Battas.
Amongst the Achinese.


government of Achin devolves to a.
Account of embassy from Madras to the.

prince of Madura.

Raffles (Mr. Thomas).

river or estuary.


name given to Sumatra by the Arabian geographers.

description of.

laws respecting.

fruit of.
Considerable export trade in.

or Rawa country.

Rayet shah (Ala-eddin):
said to have been originally a fisherman, ascends the throne of Achin,
having murdered the heir.
During his reign the Hollanders first visited Achin.
And also the English, under Captain (Sir James) Lancaster, who carried
letters from Queen Elizabeth.
At the age of ninety-five, confined by his son.

mode of.

people of, chosen as a standard for description of manners.
Situation of the country.
Divided into tribes.
Their government.

state of, amongst the Rejang.
No ostensible worship.
The word dewa applied to a class of invisible beings.
Veneration for the tombs of their ancestors.
Ancient religion of Malays.
Motives for conversion to Mahometanism.
Of the Battas.



culture of.
Distinctions of ladang or upland, and sawah or lowland.
Sowing, mode of.
Reaping, mode of.
An article of trade.


species of soft.

or Rome, for Constantinople.

or rambiya (confounded with the Cycas circinalis, a different tree),

manufacture of.

Procured from certain caves.

islands or Pulo Sandiang.


flower or anggrek kasturi.


encroachments of.

Sequeira (Diogo Lopez de):
first Portuguese who visited Sumatra.

Villages, government, features of the women.
Peculiar regulation.
Further account of.

or bijin, oil produced from.

mistaken ideas of a considerable inequality in the numbers of the two.


river of.
Survey of.
Country on both sides flat and alluvial.
Abundance of ship-timber.
Subdued by the king of Achin.

Si Biru:
island of.

river, and district of.

attempt to work a gold mine at.

Silk-cotton (bombax).

city of, when founded.


Si Porah:
or Good Fortune, island of.

of the island, general account of.

state of, not common among the Rejangs.
Condition of negro slaves at Fort Marlborough.

its ravages.


Unevenness of surface.
Fertility of.

amusement of.

see Nutmegs.

manufacture of.
Imperfect sort, called jaggri.

Sugar-cane, cultivation of.

see Causes.

Where procured.

name probably of Hindu origin.

Sungei-lamo and Sungei-itam:

country, account of.

Superstitious opinions.

Considerations respecting.
Probable cause of.

of pepper plantations.

or sea-slug, an article of trade.

a mixture of gold and copper so called.



celebrated bay of.
Settlement on the island of Punchong kechil.
Taken in 1760 by the French, and again in 1809.

name of, applied to Sumatra in the middle ages.

timber, its valuable qualities.
Attempts to cultivate the tree.

mode of filing them.
Sometimes plated with gold.

laws respecting.
Proof of, required.

height of, at Fort Marlborough, and at Natal.
So low as 45 degrees on a hill in the Ipu country.

mode of.

and lightning, very frequent.
Effect of.

At Siak.
Flow to a great distance in rivers on eastern side of the island.

Ravages by this animal.

river and islands of.

great variety of.
Species enumerated.

manner of dividing.

A considerable export of it to China.


cultivation of.

or nira, how procured.

for mining.

or links.


island of, see Mega.



vegetable poison, account of.

river of.

account of.

Vegetable productions.

Venereal disease.

description of.

their distinguishing ornaments.

called gunong api, account of.

mode of.


account of.

a considerable article of trade.






White pepper.

laws respecting.

Wilkins (Mr. Charles).


number of. See Marriage.

or Teredo navalis.

various species of.

Mode of clearing.

laws respecting.

On bark of tree, and on slips of bamboo.
Specimens of.

various roots under that denomination.

mode of estimating its length.

End of Project Gutenberg's The History of Sumatra, by William Marsden


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