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are neither treacherous nor bloodthirsty. The Datus, or chiefs,' says Captain Keppel Cheerful, polite, hospitable, gentle in their are incorrigible ; for they are pirates by demanners, they live in communities with few-scent, robbers from pride as well as taste; and er crimes and fewer punishments than most Sonorable hereditary pursuit. They are indif
they look upon their occupation as the most other people of the globe. They are pas- ferent to blood, fond of plunder, buí sondest of sionately fond of their children, and indul- slaves: they despise trade, though its profits be gent even to a fault; and the ties of family re- greater, and, as I have said, they look upon lationship and good feeling continue in force piracy as their calling, and the noblest occupafor several generations. The feeling of the tion of chiess and freemen. Their swords they Malay, fostered by education, is acute, and show with boasts as having belonged to their his passions are roused if shame be put up- terrible in their day; and they always speak
ancestors, who were pirates, renowned and on him : indeed, this dread of shame of their ancestral heirloom as decayed from amounts to a disease; and the evil is, that its pristine vigor, but still the wielding of it it has taken a wrong direction, the dread of as the highest of earthly existences.' shame being more of exposure or abuse, than contrition for any offence. I have al
The Sarebus and Sakarrans (two of the ways found them good-tempered and obli- fiercest pirate tribes) are described as 'fine ging, -wonderfully amenable to authority, keen eyes, thin lips, and handsome counte
men, fairer than the Malays; with sharp, and quite as sensible of benefits conferred, and as grateful, as other people of more nances, though frequently marked by an favored countries. Of course there is a
expression of cunning.' reverse to this picture. The worst feature
The Dyak Darrat, or land Dyaks, seem of Malay character is the want of all can
to differ in no essential particular, of landor or openness, and the restless spirit of guage or customs, from the men of the sea, cuming intrigue, which animates them from except in as far as depends on their inland the highest to the lowest. Like other Asiat-position. The only remarkable difference
of ics, truth is a rare quality among them.
usage noticed by Mr. Brooke is, that the They are superstitious; somewhat inclined latter use, and the former do not, the curito deceit in the ordinary concerns of life;
ous weapon called the sumpitan, or blow
"The and they have neither principle nor con- pipe, for shooting poisoned arrows.
wounds inflicted by these are curable,' says pressing an infidel and a Dyak, who is their Mr. Brooke, by antidotes, known to the inferior in civilization and intellect. -- Kep- natives ; nor are they regarded, apparently, pel, vol. ii. p. 128.)
And we suspect the
whole romantic history of the poisonous The Dyaks, who form the mass of the trees of the Indian Isles must be banished, population, seem to be of the same original
with so many other marvels, to the provrace with the Bugis of Celebes—a branch
ince of legends ; since a friend of Mr. of the great and problematical Polynesian Davidson in Java, 'to prove their absurdfamily of mankind. They are of two sorts ity, climbed up an upas-tree, and passed --the land and sea Dyaks. The latter, as
two hours in its branches, where he took their name indicates, are a maritime people. his lunch, and smoked a cigar ! Their homes are in places difficult of ac
The Dyaks have from time immemorial cess—far up the estuaries of their numer- been looked upon as the bondsmen of the Maous rivers; whence, under Malay leadership, lays, and the Rajahs consider them much in the they sally in those innumerable pirate Pra- same light as they would a drove of oxenhus, which have so long been the terror of i.e. as personal and disposable property. the Eastern seas. As in Homeric days—and They were governed in Sarawak by three it is scarcely conceivable how many pas. and the Tumangong.
local officers, called the Patingi, the Bandar,
To the Patingi they sages of Captain Keppel and Mr. Brooke's paid a small yearly revenue of rice; but this narrative, as of all narratives which treat deficiency of revenue was made up by sendof a fresh and rarely visited race in a state ing a quantity of goods, chiefly salt, Dyak of rudimental civilization, bring us back to cloths, and iron, and demanding a price for the days of Homer—piracy is the great then six or eight times more than their value. outlet of the spirit of warlike adventure ;
The produce collected by the Dyaks was also and so rooted is it in the habits of the peo
monopolized, and the edible birds’-nests, beesple, that its extirpation will be a work of wax, &c. &c., were taken at a price fixed by
the Patingi, who, moreover, claimed mats, the greatest difficulty—of which we shall fowls, fruit, and every other necessary, at his have more to say presently,
pleasure, and could likewise make the Dyaks
work for him for merely a nominal remunera- (Sarawak did not stop here. Antimony ore was tion. This system, not badly devised, had discovered ; the cupidity of the Borneons was it been limited within the bounds of modera- roused; then Pangerans' struggled for the prize, tion, would have left the Dyaks plenty for all intrigues and dissensions ensued ; and the intheir wants; or had the local officers known habitants of Sarawak in turn selt the very their own interest, they would have protected evil they had inflicted on the Dyaks ; whilst the those upon whom they depended for revenue. Dyaks were compelled, amidst their other and under the worst oppression of one man the wrongs, 10 labor at the ore without any reDyaks would have deemed themselves happy. compense, and to the neglect of their rice culSuch, unfortunately, was not the case; for the tivation. Many died in consequence of this love of immediate gain overcame every other compulsory labor, so contrary to their habits consideration, and by degrees old-established and inclinations, and more would doubtless customs were thrown aside, and new ones sub- have fallen victims, had not civil war rescued stituted in their place. When the Patingi had them from this evil, to inflict upon them others received all he thought proper to extort, his a thousand times worse. Extortion had berelatives first claimed the right of arbitrary fore been carried on by individuals, but now it trade, and gradually it was extended as the was systematized ; and Pangerans of rank, privilege of every respectable person in the for the sake of plunder, sent bodies of Malays country, to serra the Dyaks. The poor Dyak, and Sakarran Dyaks to attack the different thus ai the mercy of half the Malay popula- tribes. The men were slaughtered, the wotion, was never allowed to refuse compliance men and children carried off into slavery, the with these demands. He could plead neither villages burned, the fruit-trees cut down, and poverty, inability, nor even hunger, as an ex- all their property destroyed or seized. The cuse, for the answer was ever ready—“Give me Dyaks could no longer live in tribes, but sought your wife or one of your children;" and, in case refuge in the mountains or the jungle, a few he could not supply what was required, the wife together; and as one of them pathetically deor child was taken, and became a slave. Many scribed it—“ We do not live," he said, “like modes of extortion were resorted 10; a favor- men; we are like monkeys ; we are hunted ite one was convicting the Dyak of a fault, from place to place; we have no houses; and and imposing a fine upon him. Some ingenuity when we light a fire we fear the smoke will and much trickery were shown in this game, draw our enemies upon us." ** and new offences were invented as soon as the old pleas would serve no longer. For, instance,
These are the people among whom Mr. if a Malay met a Dyak in a boat which pleased Brooke toiled in his perilous mission, to reshim, he notched it as a token that it was his cue some portion of the race from misery and property. In one day, if the boat was a new annihilation-partly by offering an asylum one, perhaps three or more would place their to the persecuted ; more extensively by the marks on it; and, as only one could get it
, the example of justice, and the terror of the Dyak to whom the boat really belonged had to British name, with which he inspired their pay the others for his fault. This, however, was only a fault;" whereas, for a Dyak to oppressors. In character they are mild and injure a Malay, directly or indirectly, purposely tractable, hospitable when well used, grateor otherwise, was a high offence, and punished ful for kindness, industrious, honest, and by a proportionate fine. If a Dyak's house simple ; neither treacherous nor cunning, was in bad repair, and a Malay fell in conse- and so truthful that the word of one of them quence, and was hurt, or pretended to be hurt, might safely be taken before the oath of a fine was imposed ; if a Malay in the jungle half a dozen Borneons. In their dealings was wounded by the spring set for a wild boar, or by the wooden spikes which the Dyaks for they are straightforward and correct ; and protection put about their village, or scratched so trustworthy, that they rarely attempt, himself and said he was injured, the penalty even after a lapse of years, to evade paywas beavy; if the Malay was really huri, ment of a just debt.' In short, Mr. Brooke ever so accidentally, it was the ruin of the is evidently over partial to his benighted Dyak. And these numerous and uninvited clients, and has inspired Captain Keppel guests came and went at pleasure, lived in with his own amiable prepossessions. They free quarters, made their requisitions, and then forced the Dyak to carry away for them the are, at all events, a simple and inoffensive very property of which he had been robbed people, patient under suffering, grateThis is a fair picture of the governments under ful for benefits. One custom they have which the Dyaks lived; and although they were which certainly militates against the idea of often roused to resistance, it was always fruit. Arcadian harmlessness—that of adorning less, and only involved them in deeper trou- themselves, not with the scalps, but with the bles; for the Malays could readily gather a heads of their slain enemies. These trolarge force of sea Dyaks from Sakarran, who were readily attracted by hope of plunder, and phies are carefully saved, well-seasoned, who, supported by the fire-arms of their allies, and highly valued. The operation of exwere certain to overcome any single tribe that tracting the brains from the crown part of held out. The misfortunes of the Dyaks of
* Keppel, vol. ii. p. 178–182.
the skull with a bit of bamboo, shaped like is polygamy practised. They never intera spoon, preparatory to preserving, is not a marry with the Malays. Notwithstanding pleasing one. The head is then dried with the simplicity of their babits, they are conthe flesh and hair on it, suspended over a siderably advanced in some of the arts of slow fire, during which the chiefs and el- lise. They are celebrated for their skill as ders of the tribe perform a sort of war-dance.' workers in iron, and their prahus are conWhen visiting a tribe called the Singe structed in a very skillful style. They pracDyaks, in company with Mr. Brooke, Cap-tise agriculture also to a respectable extent, tain Keppel witnessed a grand dance of this but they rarely keep up the cultivation of description :- The movement was like all old lands; their way is to enclose a patch other native dances, graceful but monoto- every year from the jungle, cultivate enough nous. There were four men, two of them to satisfy their wants, and then suffer it to bearing human skulls, and two the fresh return to its original state. heads of pigs ; the women bore wax-lights, On Mr. Brooke's first visit, Rajah Muda or yellow rice on brass dishes. They Hassiin, a dependent of the Sultan of Bordanced in line, moving backwards and for- neo, among his other governments, was wards, and carrying the heads and dishes Lord of Sarawak-a small town and disin both hands; the graceful part was the trict situated on a navigable river in Borneo manner in which they half turned the body Proper. Mr. Brooke entered into negoto the right and left, looking over their tiations with this Malay Prince, on the subshoulders, and holding the heads in the op-ject of commerce; but though Muda Hasposite direction ; as if they were in mo- sim, a weak but well-meaning kind of Asiatmentary expectation of some one coming ic, seemed well inclined to encourage his up behind to snatch the nasty relic from views, nothing effectual was done. After them. The two friends slept in a circular several months passed in Celebes and elsebuilding adorned with these trophies, where, and in sickness at Singapore, he re' which our party named the Skullery.' 'A turned to his favorite island in August young chief seemed to take great pride in 1810. Muda Hassim was now at war with answering interrogatories respecting differ- a confederacy of Dyak tribes, his revolted ent skulls which we took down from their dependents; and Mr. Brooke determined on hooks. . . Among other trophies was half lending the Rajah his assistance, and that a head, the skull separated across between of bis brave little crew of the Royalist. the eyes, in the same manner that you would The details of the ludicrous warfare which divide that of a hare or rabbit to get at the followed, must be read in Mr. Brooke's brain-this was their division of ihe head own Journal. Like the warriors of Homer, of an old woman, which was taken when the contending Borneons attacked each another (a. friendly) tribe was present, who other with 'big words and loud cries,' but likewise claimed their hall. I afterwards the actual fighting was of the most innocent saw these tribes share a head. But the description. Their grand man@uvre was skulls, the account of which our informant to build stockades continually in face of appeared to dwell on with the greatest de- each other, and thus the stronger party light, were those which were taken while drove the weaker by degrees from position the owners were asleep--cunning with them to position; but they were very shy of asbeing the perfection of warfare.' As to saulting each other's works. Macota, a wilythe religion of the Dyaks, Captain Keppel and redoubted chief, had conducted a camand Mr. Brooke report little beyond a few paign against the same rebels the former legends and traditionary observances. year. They had, according to his account, Their ideas of a Deity are confused, and contests by sea and land; stockade was seem to vary in the different tribes. Indeed, opposed to stockade, and the fighting was of the Singé Dyaks Mr. Brooke remarks, constant and severe; but he never lost a perhaps rather loosely, that religion they man killed during the two months, and only. have none.' They have an odd belief in boasted of killing four of the enemy !" augury—that mysterious and widely preva- The principal dauger in Malay warfare, is lent superstition. Some birds are in better the Mengamuk--Anglicè running a-muck repute than others. A bird behind a tra- 1 - which is the last resource of a desperate veller is fortunate; before him, it denotes an man. Yet these wars are perhaps more deenemy on the way. The women are better structive than those of the fiercest military treated than among most savage races ; nor nations. Whilst both weak parties, gradKeppel, vol. ii. pp. 35—37.
ually growing weaker, hold their own
ground, the country becomes a desert. (pore, the Royalist to search for an EngFirst, trade stagnates, agriculture withers, lish ship reported to have been wrecked on food becomes scarce, all are ruined in the north coast of Borneo—he found himfinances, all half-starved and miserable ; self, with three European companions only, and yet the war drags on, and the worst exposed to the intrigues of the contemptipassions are aroused, effectually preventing ble Malays about him: and to the open the slightest concession, even if concession hostility of the neighboring pirate chiefs, would avail. But each combatant knows the whose course of oppression he had thwartimplacable spirit-the deep desperation-of ed. But unbending spirit and sagacity the other too well to trust them; and if at won the day : the Swift returned from her length the fortunes of famine decide against trading cruise, the Royalist from her them, they die rather than yield ; for a Dyak voyage of humanity. Mr. Brooke now can die bravely, I believe, though he will not again found himself at the head of an fight as long as life has
any prospects. armed force; and his projects having enAmong these hosts of unwarlike com- larged themselves with his experience, he batants, the apparition of Mr. Brooke and accepted from the Rajah a cession of Sarahis dozen Englishmen, was like that of the wak, with its immediate territory, to hold English and French adventurers of old, in as his own dominion! but whether as lordthe battles of the Italian Condottieri, in paramount, immediately holding of the which armies encountered without killing Sultan, or as dependent on Muda Hassim a man. The rebels were speedily brought -we do not see our way into the Feuto reason, by more decisive measures than dal System of Borneo sufficiently to underit had entered into the imagination of ei- stand. This was on the 24th September ther party to conceive. Having reduced 1841. 'I have a country!' is his animated them to submission, Mr. Brooke's next and entry in his Journal ; but, oh! how beset most difficult task was to save their lives. with difficulties, how ravaged by war, torn 'Those who know the Malay character will by dissensions, and ruined by duplicity, appreciate the difficulty of the attempt to weakness and intrigue!' stand between the monarch and his vic- The new Rajah of Sarawak shortly aftims. I only succeeded,' says he,' when, terwards had a brief Code of Laws printed, at the end of a long debate-I soliciting, at his own expense, in the Malay language. he denying-I rose to bid him farewell, as The first imports that-'1. Murder, robit was my intention to sail directly, since, af- bery, and other heinous crimes will be punter all my exertions in his cause, if he ished according to the ondong-ondong, i. e. would not grant me the lives of the people, the written law of Borneo; and no person I could only consider that his friendship for committing such offences will escape, if, me was at an end. On this he yielded.' after fair inquiry, he be proved guilty.'
Mr. Brooke soon became indispensable The next three Laws establish free trade; to the Rajah, whose authority he had thus the sixth relates to finance; the seventh successfully maintained. He established to the currency; and the last is a warning his residence at Sarawak, and devoted him to all peace-breakers, 'to seek their safety, self, heart, head, and purse, to the establish- and find some other country where they ment of a trade with Singapore; and to may be permitted to break the laws of God the rescuing the unhappy Dyaks of his and man.' neighborhood from the oppressions under Nor were these Laws mere idle forms. which they labored. It is impossible for Steadily, though with infinite difficulties, us to do justice to this part of his proceed- the worthy Rajah labored to carry them ings : his own Journal must be consulted, out in practical government.
His own to show with what fortitude and patience strong enthusiasm for the cause he had unhe wrought his way through all the obsta- dertaken bore him onwards. “At a discles interposed by the semi-barbarous craft tance,' he says in this part of his Journal, of his many opponents,—the indolence and I have heard of and pitied the sufferings ingratitude of the Rajah himself, and the of the negroes and the race of New Holtreachery of his subordinates. It is diffi- land, yet it was the cold feeling dictated by cult to imagine a situation more trying to reason and humanity; but now, having courage than his, when, in August 1841, witnessed the miseries of a race superior having dispatched both his vessels-the to either, the feeling glows with the fervor Swist laden with antimony ore to Singa- of personal commiseration ;-so true is it * Keppel, vol. i. p. 164.
that visible misery will raise us to exertion,
which the picture, however powerfully de- touching the hand of their European Ra-
In June 184 Captain Keppel set out on tect these tribes from pillage and yearly scar- the long-planned expedition against the city, is far nobler; and if, in the endeavor to piratical Dyaks of the Sarebus and Sakardo so, one poor life is sacrificed, how little ran rivers. His force was composed of the is that in the vast amount of human exist- pinnace, two cutters, and the gig of the ence ! Lofty, upbearing sentiments! wor- Dido; Mr. Brooke's native built boat the thy and capaple of being entertained only Jolly Bachelor,' and ' a large Tope of 35 by those fitted for such Godlike enterprises ! tons, which carried a well-disciplined com
There were other and more pressing missariat, as well as ammunition. The evils to be remedied, before the work of native auxiliaries were numerous,-consistcivilization could begin. The new settle-ing not only of Mr. Brooke's vassals of Sarament was hemmed in by fleets of pirates. wak, but also several bands of wild DyaksMany of Mr. Brooke's own Dyaks were cut the whole under the command of Lieut. off by the predatory tribes, and all attempts Wilmot Horton; while Mr. Brooke himself at foreign trade were counteracted by the attended the expedition, with his native coxgeneral insecurity. The chief of the Sare- swain, called Seboo, a kind of Borneon bus 'hung a basket on a high tree,' which Man Friday.' was to contain the new Rajah's head. For
"He was civil only to his master, and, I bethe purpose of obtaining regular investi
lieve, brave wbile in his company. He was a ture from the Sultan of Borneo, and con- stupid-looking and powerfully-built sort of solidating his power, Mr. Brooke visited savage, always praying, eating, smiling, or Bruni, the miserable capital of his Borneon sleeping. When going into action, he always Majesty ;-' a man past fifty years of age, went down on his knees to pray, holding his short and puffy in person, with a counte-loaded musket before him. He was, however, nance which expresses very obviously the a curious character, and afforded us great imbecility of his mind.' It was after his amusement, took good care of himself and his
master, but cared for no one else. return from this expedition that the Dido
'In the second gig was Lieutenant E. Gunvisited Sarawak, and Captain Keppel first nell
, whose troublesome duty it was to premet with Mr. Brooke; and the Captain's serve order throughout this extensive musdescriptions of the motley household, and quito fleet, and to keep the natives from pressrough royalty of the self-raised potentare, ing too closely on the rear of our boats-an
office which became less troublesome as we are graphic enough. It was a large rambling hut, after the native fashion, built on formed a novel, picturesque, and exciting scene;
approached the scene of danger. The whole piles on the brink of the water, with a and it was curious to contemplate the different space surrounded by palisades and a ditch, feelings that actuated the separate and distinct
' forming a protection to sheep, goats, parties, the odd mixture of Europeans, Malays, occasionally bullocks, pigeons, cats, poultry, and Dyaks, the different religions, and the geese, monkeys, dogs, and ducks.' Hís eager and anxious manner in which all pressed European household consisted of a young sufficient to excite our Jacks, after having been
forward. The novelty of the thing was quite navy surgeon, a kind of prime minister of cooped up so long on board ship-to say the name of Williamson ; an old man-of- nothing of the chance of a broken head. Of war's man, 'who kept the arms in first-rate the Malays and Dyaks who accompanied us, condition; and another worthy who an- some came from curiosity, some from attachswered to the name of Charlie, and took ment to Mr. Brooke, and many for plunder; care of the accounts and charge of every there were but few of the inhabitants on the
lout I think the majority to gratily revenge, as thing.'
The officers of the Dido shared north coast of Borneo who had not suffered to the full extent in the hospitality of these more or less from the atrocities of the Sarebus strange quarters; ' and it was while smok- and Sakarran pirates-either in their houses ing cigars in the evening, that the natives, burnt, their relations murdered, or their wives as well as the Chinese who had become and children captured and sold into slavery.'t settlers, used to drop in, and, after creep
* Vol. ii. p. 17 ing up, according to their custom, and
+ Keppel, vol. ii. p. 44.