Friday, 30 May 2008

Munshi Abdullah's Malay Dilemma

From Hikayat Abdullah by Munshi Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir, 1849

When I had finished the first volume of this book, for some little time I gave myself up to thought because I felt that the period of my lifetime had witnessed so many wonderful changes and new things which our grand-parents had never seen. Such events provided me with much food for meditation. I viewed with particular disfavour the lives led by the Malays and the circumstances of those with whom I had been acquainted. I had observed their conduct, behaviour and habits from my youth up to, the present time and had found that, as time went on, so far from becoming more intelligent they became more and more stupid. I considered the matter carefully in my mind and came to the conclusion that there were several reasons for this state of affairs, but that the main one was the inhumanity and the repressive tyranny of the Malay rulers, especially towards their own subjects. The point had been reached at which their hearts had become like soil which no longer receives its nourishment, and wherein therefore nothing at all can grow. Industry, intelligence and learning cannot flourish among them and they are simply like trees in the jungle falling which ever way the wind blows. I noticed that they were always railed by men of other races, small fry whose only value is to provide food for the big fry.

I have mentioned the injustices of the rajas because it is always the custom of the Malay ruler to despise his subjects, as. though he thought of them as animals. Whenever a common man meets his ruler he is obliged to squat on the ground in the mud and filth. If the ruler desires the daughters or chattels of ordinary folk he just seizes them, with no sort of fear of Allah and without sparing a thought for the poor people. The laws and punishments which lie imposes on his subjects depend solely on his own private whim. Those who find favour with him he treats kindly, and the wicked behaviour of his own kith and kin at the expense of the common people he condones and hides. He keeps hundreds of debt slaves, men who have brought ruin to the common folk, murdering people with no more compunction than killing an ant. The rulers make no attempt to protect their subjects, only themselves.

All this has happened because the people have been lacking in education. They may wish to acquire knowledge but they do not possess the right tools, so that the results look clumsy in the eyes of men. And any efforts they make serves only to compromise their reputation because it invites the spiteful attentions, of other people.
Another factor is the inability of the Malay rulers to look after their children when young. They allow them to do anything they like, give in to their every wish, and pay no attention to instructing them in the humanities, in modesty or a sense of shame, or in the elements of culture and courteous behaviour. All they do is to find small girls as playmates for their children when they are young and as their mistresses when they are older. They give then a keris, and the people of the country stand wholesome respect and awe of the rulers' children, not daring to refuse them anything. Fathers compete with their children in gambling and cock-fighting, giving them money if they require it. If the father smokes opium so does his child, and the older the child grows the more scandalous does his behaviour become. Then only does the father wish to stop him because of the hateful things which people are saying about him. But so far from his own father being able to stop him not even ten of his elders and betters can make any impression on the child. Then at last is the country with its people consumed in the fire of such wickedness. As the Malay proverb says: "If the bamboo shoot be not cut when it is young, what is the good of it when it is large and tough?" and also "A small fire is-our friend, a large one our foe."

Many are the places and lands which have been destroyed by the depredations of the young scions of the ruling house, whose rapacious hands can no longer be tolerated by the people. Other races, the English, the Indians, the Arabs or the Chinese, do not conduct themselves or behave in the manner I have described. Only the Malays. Among all these other races the ruler's children are expected to be well educated and very intelligent. Their parents compel them to study under threat of punishment, and to avoid contamination with evil things n any form, so that their good example may be emulated by their subjects who look to them for guidance. I am indeed amazed. If our rulers themselves are ignorant and uneducated how can they rule their people and administer their countries? And if they are wicked how can they expect to make their people good? If the Malay rulers do not keep their own children under control but allow them to prey upon the common people, how can they themselves exercise their authority over the people? The wicked children of the rulers are like wild tigers who after the death of their fathers will despoil the servants of Allah. As I understand it the object of a fence is to prevent animals from entering and destroying the garden. But if the fence itself proceeds to destroy the garden what will be its final state? Allah has created rulers that they may cherish mankind. He has ordered them to do good and forbidden them to do evil. If they or their children oppress and harm the people what will become of them in the end? Will not they, their countries and their peoples alike, face ruin and disaster?

As it is, under Malay rule ordinary folk cannot lift up their heads and enjoy themselves, and dare not show any originality for it is forbidden by the ruler. Wishing possibly to build themselves finely decorated houses of stone, they are afraid to do so. They are afraid to wear fine clothing, shoes and umbrellas in case these are taboo. They are afraid even to keep fine clothing in their houses because it is said that such things are the perquisites only of royalty. Rich men especially live in perpetual fear and are fortunate if their only losses are their belongings. For indeed their very lives are in danger. Means are found whereby such men may be penalised and mulcted of their belongings. If a man is reluctant to lend any of his most cherished possessions, it is accounted a serious offence. And once he has given them up they are lost forever. He will never see them again. A beautiful young girl in his house is like a raging poison, for it is quite certain that the ruler will take her as one of his wives with or without her guardian's permission. This practice more than any other arouses the hatred of the servants of Allah. I heard of one courageous man who refused to part with his daughter. The ruler ordered him to be murdered on some pretext, and then took the child away. All such acts as these are forbidden by Allah and His Prophet and incur the censure of mankind throughout the world. There is only one being who looks with favour upon them; the Devil, the enemy of Allah, who, in company with all his followers will be consumed in the eternal flames of hell.

Another failing commonly found among the Malays is their inability to change or modernise their ideas or to produce anything new. They utterly refuse to abandon superstitions of the past. It is not their religion which compels them to stick to valueless customs, which make them more and more stupid and ridiculous in the eyes of other races. It would be no crime to give up these ignorant practices which bring them no gain, and which only their innate conservatism compels them to retain on the grounds that they have inherited them from their forefathers. If it is our duty to follow the customs of our ancestors, then will it not equally be the duty of our descendants to follow ours? And would you yourself claim to be perfect; just in all your actions and an expert in all branches of knowledge and learning? I cannot believe for a moment that You would dare to claim this. And if you say to me "Let me always remain in my present way of life" I would reply "Have you ever heard about the ancient history of the English, about a time when they were ten times more ignorant than you are at this moment. They wore animal skins, lived in mud huts, daubed their arms and legs with blue paint, walked about with dishevelled hair, made human offices to their heathen gods, and indulged in all sorts of other barbarous practices. But as time went on their children substituted new customs for these superstitions, until they progressed to the state in which you find them today, I know not whether by accident or design. See for yourself the civilisation of the English to-day. Are they clever or ignorant? If you say that your present customs are good ones and do not need to be changed, then the English should return to painting their limbs blue and to discarding their present forms of clothing in favour of animal skins. They should smash up their houses and live again in mud huts. They should abolish steam-power and return to dugouts and canoes, throw away their compasses and limit their journeys by water to the shallows and rivers. Do you really wish to retain your ignorant practices as a heritage for your descendants until the end of time? Do you really believe that conditions in which you live at present are a fitting inheritance for your children, a way of life worth their while to follow? I do not for a moment believe that you really maintain this, for you yourself realise your own shortcomings. But what are you going to do? For you persist in following the customs, however bad, of your ancestors. It is your fond hope, I know, that come what may your children will be wise and rich and good. But if now you sow in them the seeds of ignorance and sloth, how can they become wise and industrious? For as a man sows so shall he reap. If the seed is good the plant will be good; but if bad, bad.

Man has been created by Allah as a sentient being, capable of thinking, of using his intelligence and moral judgement. Is it not fitting that we should make use of these faculties? We should exercise our powers of discrimination, holding on to the things which profit us and shunning those which bring evil. But such ideas are sadly lacking in the mentality of the Malays, who do not use their minds but are content to pursue the pleasures of the moment and to copy forever the customs of their ancestors, If we ask them "Why is it that you live in such dreadful ignorance, and why do you refuse to learn wisdom and how to use your intelligence?", they will reply "What can we do? We are poor people and this is how we have to live." But their poverty of mind is the result of their lack of education, which is itself due to their unwillingness to learn. There are many factors which prevent them from studying and working hard. First, their elders never did so in the past and they themselves are therefore reluctant to start. Second, their rulers and officials and other people of high rank never do so, so neither do they,. Third, they are ashamed to be the first among many to start a new fashion. That is why everyone persists in doing what his neighbour does, without using his own common sense. The longer they do this the worse their position becomes. So far from advancing they slip backwards, and their minds, instead of becoming keener, grow duller and duller. Their wits, having no whetstone on which to be sharpened, are devoured by rust until they are quite useless for any purpose whatever. Finally they become like a piece of land trodden under foot by mankind in its march along the path of progress.

Great is my astonishment to see the conditions under which the Malay people live. They do things which no other race in the world would ever do. Has any other race in the world so far forgotten its own language as to have no place at all where that language is taught? Only the Malays, I notice, take no interest in their own language. Because their forefathers did not study Malay, they dare not start now. Amazing indeed! For every day they speak Malay in all their dealings with each other they use Malay, letters sent from one country to another are written in Malay. But they do not wish to learn the language itself. I doubt whether one man in a hundred understands the language, and even if there are as many it is not by dint of diligent study but by slavishly copying other people's ways. If anyone questions them about the use of a certain word, its origin, or why it is employed in a particular place, they are speechless with surprise for they have never had a teacher, being content merely to imitate others. Is it right that hundreds, nay thousands of men should grow up not knowing how to read or write or do simple sums? It makes them look ridiculous in the eyes of other races who cheat them over measurements and weights and computations, and in general wherever writing is involved.

Other races of this world have become civilised and powerful because of their ability, to read and write and understand their own language, which they value highly; for instance the Arabs, the English, the Chinese and the Indians. All these people pay close attention to their own language, whose vocabulary and richness of expression is thereby increased as time goes on. Truly it is language which civilises man and improves his knowledge and understanding, directing all his energies and raising the level of his own culture besides importing it to others. By means of language alone can the secrets of the human mind be revealed. A great nation necessarily has a fine language, in which all matters pertaining to this world and the next can be given expression. Such a nation has words to describe activities and to evoke any kind of concept, It can regulate its life through the medium of language, affording an opportunity for men to gain untold wealth, honour and power. And such a language is of the greatest benefit to them in this world and the next. Is it not worth your while to pay some attention to it? If you could have asked the Malays of old times, "Are you sufficiently educated now, and would you be glad to see your children grow up in the way I have described", they would, I feel sure reply "No." And they would be very sorry that they had taken no interest in matters of such importance and benefit to them.

Is it wrong for children of the present generation to study branches of knowledge which were quite unknown to their forefathers? On the contrary, the sudden lapse of the descendants of wise and learned people, of good character, into ignorance and sin - that, I consider, is what is really wrong and discreditable. A young tiger that turns into a kitten deserves our scorn, but the kitten which becomes a tiger is admired and receives the acclamation of all, and lucky indeed are those who enjoy, such good fortune. But I find everyone behaving as if he were entirely contented with his lot in life and disinclined to improve it by any kind of education. His attitude of mind is that of the frog beneath the coconut shell who thinks that the shell is the sky. It is a most serious misapprehension, for the Malays themselves do realise their own shortcomings and ignorance. But because they are afraid to tamper with the customs of their fathers they continue to waste their time in idleness. With their own eyes they have seen many new and wonderful ideas, the works of man which are a source of amazement as well as of profit and advantage to us all, and yet they are unwilling to benefit by them.

If indeed they are aware how dull-witted and lacking in education they are, what should be the most suitable time for them to make a change for the better? Surely while they are still young? For this is the time when their minds can be trained and developed. A tree whose branches grow and multiply when it is young, spreading out far from the trunk, will likely bear much fruit when it is fully grown. Human beings are like that tree. People who receive any kind of education when they are young will assuredly reap the benefit when they are older. Yet I notice that the people I have mentioned display not the slightest anxiety for their children, letting them do exactly as they fancy. They indulge in petty mischief and cover themselves with mud playing up and down the lanes. In my opinion the children cannot be blamed, for they see and copy the example set by their parents. The parents know how to bear children but not how to educate them, and their final state is like the tree with poisoned branches, anyone partaking of its fruit becoming ill and afterwards regretting his action. I have given only a brief account of these matters. But it is my greatest hope that these people will take to heart the advice I have offered them.

An Authentic History of the Malay Pirates of the Indian Ocean

With a Narrative of the Expedition against the Inhabitants of Quallah Battoo, commanded by Commodore Downes

from 'The Pirates Own Book - Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers' by Charles Ellms (originally published 1837)

A glance at the map of the East India Islands will convince us that this region of the globe must, from its natural configuration and locality; be peculiarly liable to become the seat of piracy. These islands form an immense cluster, lying as if it were in the high road which connects the commercial nations of Europe and Asia with each other, affording a hundred fastnesses from which to waylay the traveller. A large proportion of the population is at the same time confined to the coasts or the estuaries of rivers; they are fishermen and mariners; they are barbarous and poor, therefore rapacious, faithless and sanguinary. These are circumstances, it must be confessed, which militate strongly to beget a piratical character. It is not surprising, then, that the Malays should have been notorious for their depredations from our first acquaintance with them.

Among the tribes of the Indian Islands, the most noted for their piracies are, of course, the most idle, and the least industrious, and particularly such as are unaccustomed to follow agriculture or trade as regular pursuits. The agricultural tribes of Java, and many of Sumatra, never commit piracy at all; and the most civilized inhabitants of Celebes are very little addicted to this vice.
Among the most confirmed pirates are the true Malays, inhabiting the small islands about the eastern extremity of the straits of Malacca, and those lying between Sumatra and Borneo, down to Billitin and Cavimattir. Still more noted than these, are the inhabitants of certain islands situated between Borneo and the Phillipines, of whom the most desperate and enterprising are the Soolos and Illanoons, the former inhabiting a well known group of islands of the same name, and the latter being one of the most numerous nations of the great island of Magindando. The depredations of the proper Malays extend from Junkceylon to Java, through its whole coast, as far as Grip to Papir and Kritti, in Borneo and the western coast of Celebes. In another direction they infest the coasting trade of the Cochin Chinese and Siamese nations in the Gulf of Siam, finding sale for their booty, and shelter for themselves in the ports of Tringham, Calantan and Sahang. The most noted piratical stations of these people are the small islands about Lingin and Rhio, particularly Galang, Tamiang and Maphar. The chief of this last has seventy or eighty proas fit to undertake piratical expeditions.

The Soolo pirates chiefly confine their depredations to the Phillipine Islands, which they have continued to infest, with little interruption, for near three centuries, in open defiance of the Spanish authorities, and the numerous establishments maintained to check them. The piracies of the Illanoons, on the contrary, are widely extended, being carried on all the way from their native country to the Spice Islands, on one side, and to the Straits of Malacca on the other. In these last, indeed, they have formed, for the last few years, two permanent establishments; one of these situated on Sumatra, near Indragiri, is called Ritti, and the other a small island on the coast of Linga, is named Salangut. Besides those who are avowed pirates, it ought to be particularly noticed that a great number of the Malayan princes must be considered as accessories to their crimes, for they afford them protection, contribute to their outfit, and often share in their booty; so that a piratical proa is too commonly more welcome in their harbours than a fair trader.

The Malay piratical proas are from six to eight tons burden, and run from six to eight fathoms in length. They carry from one to two small guns, with commonly four swivels or rantakas to each side, and a crew of from twenty to thirty men. When they engage, they put up a strong bulwark of thick plank; the Illanoon proas are much larger and more formidable, and commonly carry from four to six guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, and have not unfrequently a double bulwark covered with buffalo hides; their crews consist of from forty to eighty men. Both, of course, are provided with spears, krisses, and as many fire arms as they can procure. Their modes of attack are cautious and cowardly, for plunder and not fame is their object. They lie concealed under the land, until they find a fit object and opportunity. The time chosen is when a vessel runs aground, or is becalmed, in the interval between the land and sea breezes. A vessel underway is seldom or never attacked. Several of the marauders attack together, and station themselves under the bows and quarters of a ship when she has no longer steerage way, and is incapable of pointing her guns. The action continues often for several hours, doing very little mischief; but when the crew are exhausted with the defence, or have expended their ammunition, the pirates take this opportunity of boarding in a mass. This may suggest the best means of defence. A ship, when attacked during a calm, ought, perhaps, rather to stand on the defensive, and wait if possible the setting in of the sea breeze, than attempt any active operations, which would only fatigue the crew, and disable them from making the necessary defence when boarding is attempted. Boarding netting, pikes and pistols, appear to afford effectual security; and, indeed, we conceive that a vessel thus defended by resolute crews of Europeans or Americans stand but little danger from any open attack of pirates whatsoever; for their guns are so ill served, that neither the hull or the rigging of a vessel can receive much damage from them, however much protracted the contest. The pirates are upon the whole extremely impartial in the selection of their prey, making little choice between natives and strangers, giving always, however, a natural preference to the most timid, and the most easily overcome.

When an expedition is undertaken by the Malay pirates, they range themselves under the banner of some piratical chief noted for his courage and conduct. The native prince of the place where it is prepared, supplies the adventurers with arms, ammunition and opium, and claims as his share of the plunder, the female captives, the cannon, and one third of all the rest of the booty.

In Nov. 1827, a principal chief of pirates, named Sindana, made a descent upon Mamoodgoo with forty-five proas, burnt three-fourths of the campong, driving the rajah with his family among the mountains. Some scores of men were killed, and 300 made prisoners, besides women and children to half that amount. In December following, when I was there, the people were slowly returning from the hills, but had not yet attempted to rebuild the campong, which lay in ashes. During my stay here (ten weeks) the place was visited by two other piratical chiefs, one of which was from Kylie, the other from Mandhaar Point under Bem Bowan, who appeared to have charge of the whole; between them they had 134 proas of all sizes.
Among the most desperate and successful pirates of the present day, Raga is most distinguished. He is dreaded by people of all denominations, and universally known as the "prince of pirates." For more than seventeen years this man has carried on a system of piracy to an extent never before known; his expeditions and enterprises would fill a large volume. They have invariably been marked with singular cunning and intelligence, barbarity, and reckless inattention to the shedding of human blood. He has emissaries every where, and has intelligence of the best description. It was about the year 1813 Raga commenced operations on a large scale. In that year he cut off three English vessels, killing the captains with his own hands. So extensive were his depredations about that time that a proclamation was issued from Batavia, declaring the east coast of Borneo to be under strict blockade. Two British sloops of war scoured the coast. One of which, the Elk, Capt. Reynolds, was attacked during the night by Raga's own proa, who unfortunately was not on board at the time. This proa which Raga personally commanded, and the loss of which he frequently laments, carried eight guns and was full of his best men.

A European vessel was faintly descried about three o'clock one foggy morning; the rain fell in torrents; the time and weather were favorable circumstances for a surprise, and the commander determined to distinguish himself in the absence of the Rajah Raga, gave directions to close, fire the guns and board. He was the more confident of success, as the European vessel was observed to keep away out of the proper course on approaching her. On getting within about an hundred fathoms of the Elk they fired their broadside, gave a loud shout, and with their long oars pulled towards their prey. The sound of a drum beating to quarters no sooner struck the ear of the astonished Malays than they endeavored to get away: it was too late; the ports were opened, and a broadside, accompanied with three British cheers, gave sure indications of their fate. The captain hailed the Elk, and would fain persuade him it was a mistake. It was indeed a mistake, and one not to be rectified by the Malayan explanation. The proa was sunk by repeated broadsides, and the commanding officer refused to pick up any of the people, who, with the exception of five were drowned; these, after floating four days on some spars, were picked up by a Pergottan proa, and told the story to Raga, who swore anew destruction to every European he should henceforth take. This desperado has for upwards of seventeen years been the terror of the Straits of Macassar, during which period he has committed the most extensive and dreadful excesses sparing no one. Few respectable families along the coast of Borneo and Celebes but have to complain of the loss of a proa, or of some number of their race; he is not more universally dreaded than detested; it is well known that he has cut off and murdered the crews of more than forty European vessels, which have either been wrecked on the coasts, or entrusted themselves in native ports. It is his boast that twenty of the commanders have fallen by his hands. The western coast of Celebes, for about 250 miles, is absolutely lined with proas belonging principally to three considerable rajahs, who act in conjunction with Raga and other pirates. Their proas may be seen in clusters of from 50, 80, and 100 (at Sediano I counted 147 laying on the sand at high water mark in parallel rows,) and kept in a horizontal position by poles, completely ready for the sea. Immediately behind them are the campongs, in which are the crews; here likewise are kept the sails, gunpowder, &c. necessary for their equipment. On the very summits of the mountains, which in many parts rise abruptly from the sea, may be distinguished innumerable huts; here reside people who are constantly on the lookout. A vessel within ten miles of the shore will not probably perceive a single proa, yet in less than two hours, if the tide be high, she may be surrounded by some hundreds. Should the water be low they will push off during the night. Signals are made from mountain to mountain along the coast with the utmost rapidity; during the day time by flags attached to long bamboos; at night, by fires. Each chief sends forth his proas, the crews of which, in hazardous cases, are infuriated with opium, when they will most assuredly take the vessel if she be not better provided than most merchantmen.

Mr. Dalton, who went to the Pergottan river in 1830 says, "whilst I remained here, there were 71 proas of considerable sizes, 39 of which were professed pirates. They were anchored off the point of a small promontory, on which the rajah has an establishment and bazaar. The largest of these proas belonged to Raga, who received by the fleet of proas, in which I came, his regular supplies of arms and ammunition from Singapore. Here nestle the principal pirates, and Raga holds his head quarters; his grand depot was a few miles farther up. Rajah Agi Bota himself generally resides some distance up a small river which runs eastward of the point; near his habitation stands the principal bazaar, which would be a great curiosity for an European to visit if he could only manage to return, which very few have. The Raga gave me a pressing invitation to spend a couple of days at his country house, but all the Bugis' nacodahs strongly dissuaded me from such an attempt. I soon discovered the cause of their apprehension; they were jealous of Agi Bota, well knowing he would plunder me, and considered every article taken by him was so much lost to the Sultan of Coti, who naturally would expect the people to reserve me for his own particular plucking. When the fact was known of an European having arrived in the Pergottan river, this amiable prince and friend of Europeans, impatient to seize his prey, came immediately to the point from his country house, and sending for the nacodah of the proa, ordered him to land me and all my goods instantly. An invitation now came for me to go on shore and amuse myself with shooting, and look at some rare birds of beautiful plumage which the rajah would give me if I would accept of them; but knowing what were his intentions, and being well aware that I should be supported by all the Bugis' proas from Coti, I feigned sickness, and requested that the birds might be sent on board. Upon this Agi Bota, who could no longer restrain himself, sent off two boats of armed men, who robbed me of many articles, and would certainly have forced me on shore, or murdered me in the proa had not a signal been made to the Bugis' nacodahs, who immediately came with their people, and with spears and krisses, drove the rajah's people overboard. The nacodahs, nine in number, now went on shore, when a scene of contention took place showing clearly the character of this chief. The Bugis from Coti explained, that with regard to me it was necessary to be particularly circumspect, as I was not only well known at Singapore, but the authorities in that settlement knew that I was on board the Sultan's proa, and they themselves were responsible for my safety. To this circumstance alone I owe my life on several occasions, as in the event of any thing happening to me, every nacodah was apprehensive of his proa being seized on his return to Singapore; I was therefore more peculiarly cared for by this class of men, and they are powerful. The rajah answered the nacodahs by saying, I might be disposed of as many others had been, and no further notice taken of the circumstance; he himself would write to Singapore that I had been taken by an alligator, or bitten by a snake whilst out shooting; and as for what property I might have in the proa he would divide it with the Sultan of Coti. The Bugis, however, refused to listen to any terms, knowing the Sultan of Coti would call him to an account for the property, and the authorities of Singapore for my life. Our proa, with others, therefore dropped about four miles down the river, where we took in fresh water. Here we remained six days, every argument being in vain to entice me on shore. At length the Bugis' nacodahs came to the determination to sail without passes, which brought the rajah to terms. The proas returned to the point, and I was given to understand I might go on shore in safety. I did so, and was introduced to the rajah whom I found under a shed, with about 150 of his people; they were busy gambling, and had the appearance of what they really are, a ferocious set of banditti. Agi Bota is a good looking man, about forty years of age, of no education whatever; he divides his time between gaming, opium and cockfighting; that is in the interval of his more serious and profitable employment, piracy and rapine. He asked me to produce what money I had about me; on seeing only ten rupees, he remarked that it was not worth while to win so small a sum, but that if I would fight cocks with him he would lend me as much money as I wanted, and added it was beneath his dignity to fight under fifty reals a battle. On my saying it was contrary to an Englishman's religion to bet wagers, he dismissed me; immediately after the two rajahs produced their cocks and commenced fighting for one rupee a side. I was now obliged to give the old Baudarre five rupees to take some care of me, as whilst walking about, the people not only thrust their hands into my pockets, but pulled the buttons from my clothes. Whilst sauntering behind the rajah's campong I caught sight of an European woman, who on perceiving herself observed, instantly ran into one of the houses, no doubt dreading the consequences of being recognized. There are now in the house of Agi Bota two European women; up the country there are others, besides several men. The Bugis, inimical to the rajah, made no secret of the fact; I had heard of it on board the proa, and some person in the bazaar confirmed the statement. On my arrival, strict orders had been given to the inhabitants to put all European articles out of sight. One of my servants going into the bazaar, brought me such accounts as induced me to visit it. In one house were the following articles: four Bibles, one in English, one in Dutch, and two in the Portuguese languages; many articles of wearing apparel, such as jackets and trowsers, with the buttons altered to suit the natives; pieces of shirts tagged to other parts of dress; several broken instruments, such as quadrants, spy glasses (two,) binnacles, with pieces of ship's sails, bolts and hoops; a considerable variety of gunner's and carpenter's tools, stores, &c. In another shop were two pelisses of faded lilac color; these were of modern cut and fashionably made. On enquiring how they became possessed of these articles, I was told they were some wrecks of European vessels on which no people were found, whilst others made no scruple of averring that they were formerly the property of people who had died in the country. All the goods in the bazaar belonged to the rajah, and were sold on his account; large quantities were said to be in his house up the river; but on all hands it was admitted Raga and his followers had by far the largest part of what was taken. A Mandoor, or head of one of the campongs, showed me some women's stockings, several of which were marked with the letters S.W.; also two chemises, one with the letters S.W.; two flannel petticoats, a miniature portrait frame (the picture was in the rajah's house,) with many articles of dress of both sexes. In consequence of the strict orders given on the subject I could see no more; indeed there were both difficulty and danger attending these inquiries. I particularly wanted to obtain the miniature picture, and offered the Mandoor fifty rupees if he could procure it; he laughed at me, and pointing significantly to his kris, drew one hand across my throat, and then across his own, giving me to understand such would be the result to us both on such an application to the rajah. It is the universal custom of the pirates, on this coast, to sell the people for slaves immediately on their arrival, the rajah taking for himself a few of the most useful, and receiving a percentage upon the purchase money of the remainder, with a moiety of the vessel and every article on board. European vessels are taken up the river, where they are immediately broken up. The situation of European prisoners is indeed dreadful in a climate like this, where even the labor of natives is intolerable; they are compelled to bear all the drudgery, and allowed a bare sufficiency of rice and salt to eat."
It is utterly impossible for Europeans who have seen these pirates at such places as Singapore and Batavia, to form any conception of their true character. There they are under immediate control, and every part of their behaviour is a tissue of falsehood and deception. They constantly carry about with them a smooth tongue, cringing demeanor, a complying disposition, which always asserts, and never contradicts; a countenance which appears to anticipate the very wish of the Europeans, and which so generally imposes upon his understanding, that he at once concludes them to be the best and gentlest of human beings; but let the European meet them in any of their own campongs, and a very different character they will appear. The character and treacherous proceeding narrated above, and the manner of cutting off vessels and butchering their crews, apply equally to all the pirates of the East India Islands, by which many hundred European and American vessels have been surprised and their crews butchered.

On the 7th of February, 1831, the ship Friendship, Capt. Endicott, of Salem (Mass.,) was captured by the Malays while lying at Quallah Battoo, on the coast of Sumatra. In the forenoon of the fatal day, Capt. Endicott, Mr. Barry, second mate, and four of the crew, it seems went on shore as usual, for the purpose of weighing pepper, expecting to obtain that day two boat loads, which had been promised them by the Malays. After the first boat was loaded, they observed that she delayed some time in passing down the river, and her crew being composed of Malays, was supposed by the officers to be stealing pepper from her, and secreting it in the bushes. In consequence of this conjecture, two men were sent off to watch them, who on approaching the boat, saw five or six Malays leap from the jungle, and hurry on board of her. The former, however, supposed them to be the boat's crew, as they had seen an equal number quit her previous to their own approach. In this they were mistaken, as will subsequently appear. At this time a brig hove in sight, and was seen standing towards Soo Soo, another pepper port, distant about five miles. Capt. Endicott, on going to the beach to ascertain whether the brig had hoisted any colors, discovered that the boat with pepper had approached within a few yards of the Friendship, manned with an unusual number of natives.

It appears that when the pepper boats came alongside of the Friendship, as but few of the hands could work at a time, numbers of the Malays came on board, and on being questioned by Mr. Knight, the first officer, who was in the gangway, taking an account of the pepper, as to their business, their reply was, that they had come to see the vessel. Mr. Knight ordered them into their boat again, and some of them obeyed, but only to return immediately to assist in the work of death, which was now commenced by attacking Mr. Knight and the rest of the crew on board. The crew of the vessel being so scattered, it was impossible to concentrate their force so as to make a successful resistance. Some fell on the forecastle, one in the gangway, and Mr. Knight fell upon the quarter deck, severely wounded by a stab in the back while in the act of snatching from the bulwarks a boarding pike with which to defend himself.

The two men who were taking the pepper on a stage, having vainly attempted to get on board to the assistance of their comrades, were compelled to leap into the sea. One of them, Charles Converse, of Salem, being severely wounded, succeeded in swimming to the bobstays, to which he clung until taken on board by the natives, and from some cause he was not afterwards molested. His companion, John Davis, being unable to swim, drifted with the tide near the boat tackle, or davit falls, the blocks being overhauled down near the water; one of these he laid hold of, which the Malays perceiving, dropped their boat astern and despatched him! the cook sprang into a canoe along side, and in attempting to push off she was capsized; and being unable to swim, he got on the bottom, and paddled ashore with his hands, where he was made prisoner. Gregory, an Italian, sought shelter in the foretop-gallant cross-trees, where he was fired at several times by the Malays with the muskets of the Friendship, which were always kept loaded and ready for use while on the coast.

Three of the crew leaped into the sea, and swam to a point of land near a mile distant, to the northward of the town; and, unperceived by the Malays on shore, pursued their course to the northward towards Cape Felix, intending to go to the port of Annalaboo, about forty-five miles distant. Having walked all night, they found themselves, on the following morning, near the promontory, and still twenty-five miles distant from Annalaboo.

When Mr. Endicott, Mr. Barry, and the four seamen arrived at the beach, they saw the crew jumping into the sea; the truth now, with all its horrors, flashed upon his mind, that the vessel was attacked, and in an instant they jumped on board the boat and pushed off; at the same time a friendly rajah named Po Adam, sprang into the boat; he was the proprietor of a port and considerable property at a place called Pulo Kio, but three miles distant from the mouth of the river Quallah Battoo. More business had been done by the rajah during the eight years past than by any other on the pepper coast; he had uniformly professed himself friendly to the Americans, and he has generally received the character of their being honest. Speaking a little English as he sprang into the boat, he exclaimed, "Captain, you got trouble; Malay kill you, he kill Po Adam too!" Crowds of Malays assembled on both sides of the river, brandishing their weapons in a menacing manner, while a ferry boat, manned with eight or ten of the natives, armed with spears and krisses, pushed off to prevent the officers' regaining their ship. The latter exhibited no fear, and flourished the cutlass of Po Adam in a menacing manner from the bows of the boat; it so intimidated the Malays that they fled to the shore, leaving a free passage to the ship; but as they got near her they found that the Malays had got entire possession of her; some of them were promenading the deck, others were making signals of success to the people on shore, while, with the exception of one man aloft, not an individual of the crew could be seen. Three Malay boats, with about fifty men, now issued from the river in the direction of the ship, while the captain and his men, concluding that their only hope of recovering their vessel was to obtain assistance from some other ships, directed their course towards Muchie, where they knew that several American vessels were lying at anchor. Three American captains, upon hearing the misfortunes of their countrymen, weighed anchor immediately for Quallah Battoo, determined, if possible, to recover the ship. By four o'clock on the same day they gained an anchorage off that place; the Malays, in the meantime, had removed on shore every moveable article belonging to the ship, including specie, besides several cases of opium, amounting in all to upwards of thirty thousand dollars. This was done on the night of the 9th, and on the morning of the 10th, they contrived to heave in the chain cable, and get the anchor up to the bows; and the ship was drifting finely towards the beach, when the cable, not being stopped abaft the bitts, began suddenly to run out with great velocity; but a bight having by accident been thrown forward of the windlass, a riding turn was the consequence, and the anchor, in its descent, was suddenly checked about fifteen fathoms from the hawse. A squall soon after coming on, the vessel drifted obliquely towards the shore, and grounded upon a coral reef near half a mile to the southward of the town. The next day, having obtained a convenient anchorage, a message was sent by a friendly Malay who came on board at Soo Soo, demanding the restoration of the ship. The rajah replied that he would not give her up, but that they were welcome to take her if they could; a fire was now opened upon the Friendship by the vessels, her decks were crowded with Malays, who promptly returned the fire, as did also the forts on shore. This mode of warfare appeared undecisive, and it was determined to decide the contest by a close action. A number of boats being manned and armed with about thirty officers and men, a movement was made to carry the ship by boarding. The Malays did not wait the approach of this determined attack, but all deserted the vessel to her lawful owners, when she was taken possession of and warped out into deep water. The appearance of the ship, at the time she was boarded, beggars all description; every part of her bore ample testimony of the scene of violence and destruction with which she had been visited. The objects of the voyage were abandoned, and the Friendship returned to the United States. The public were unanimous in calling for a redress of the unparalleled outrage on the lives and property of citizens of the United States. The government immediately adopted measures to punish so outrageous an act of piracy by despatching the frigate Potomac, Commodore Downs, Commander. The Potomac sailed from New York the 24th of August, 1831, after touching at Rio Janeiro and the Cape of Good Hope. She anchored off Quallah Battoo in February 1832, disguised as a Danish ship, and came to in merchantman style, a few men being sent aloft, dressed in red and blue flannel shirts, and one sail being clewed up and furled at a time. A reconnoitering party were sent on shore disguised as pepper dealers, but they returned without being able to ascertain the situations of the forts. The ship now presented a busy scene; it was determined to commence an attack upon the town the next morning, and every necessary preparation was accordingly made, muskets were cleaned, cartridge-boxes buckled on, cutlasses examined and put in order, &c.

At twelve o'clock at night, all hands were called, those assigned to take part in the expedition were mustered, when Lieut. Shubrick, the commander of the detachment, gave them special orders; when they entered the boats and proceeded to the shore, where they effected a landing near the dawn of day, amid a heavy surf, about a mile and a half to the north of the town, undiscovered by the enemy, and without any serious accident having befallen them, though several of the party were thoroughly drenched by the beating of the surf, and some of their ammunition was injured.

The troops then formed and took up their line of march against the enemy, over a beach of deep and heavy sand. They had not proceeded far before they were discovered by a native at a distance, who ran at full speed to give the alarm. A rapid march soon brought them up with the first fort, when a division of men, under the command of Lieut. Hoff, was detached from the main body, and ordered to surround it. The first fort was found difficult of access, in consequence of a deep hedge of thorn-bushes and brambles with which it was environed. The assault was commenced by the pioneers, with their crows and axes, breaking down the gates and forcing a passage. This was attended with some difficulty, and gave the enemy time for preparation. They raised their warwhoop, and resisted most manfully, fighting with spears, sabres, and muskets. They had also a few brass pieces in the fort, but they managed them with so little skill as to produce no effect, for the balls uniformly whizzed over the heads of our men. The resistance of the Malays was in vain, the fort was stormed, and soon carried; not, however, till almost every individual in it was slain. Po Mahomet, a chief of much distinction, and who was one of the principal persons concerned in the outrage on the Friendship was here slain; the mother of Chadoolah, another rajah, was also slain here; another woman fell at this port, but her rank was not ascertained; she fought with the spirit of a desperado. A seaman had just scaled one of the ramparts, when he was severely wounded by a blow received from a weapon in her hands, but her life paid the forfeit of her daring, for she was immediately transfixed by a bayonet in the hands of the person whom she had so severely injured. His head was wounded by a javelin, his thumb nearly cut off by a sabre, and a ball was shot through his hat.

Lieutenants Edson and Ferret proceeded to the rear of the town, and made a bold attack upon that fort, which, after a spirited resistance on the part of the Malays, surrendered. Both officers and marines here narrowly escaped with their lives. One of the natives in the fort had trained his piece in such a manner as to rake their whole body, when he was shot down by a marine while in the very act of applying a match to it. The cannon was afterwards found to have been filled with bullets. This fort, like the former, was environed with thick jungle, and great difficulty had been experienced in entering it. The engagement had now become general, and the alarm universal. Men, women and children were seen flying in every direction, carrying the few articles they were able to seize in the moments of peril, and some of the men were cut down in the flight. Several of the enemy's proas, filled with people, were severely raked by a brisk fire from the six pounder, as they were sailing up the river to the south of the town, and numbers of the natives were killed. The third and most formidable fort was now attacked, and it proved the most formidable, and the co-operation of the several divisions was required for its reduction; but so spirited was the fire poured into it that it was soon obliged to yield, and the next moment the American colors were seen triumphantly waving over its battlements. The greater part of the town was reduced to ashes. The bazaar, the principal place of merchandize, and most of the private dwellings were consumed by fire. The triumph had now been completed over the Malays; ample satisfaction had been taken for their outrages committed upon our own countrymen, and the bugle sounded the return of the ship's forces; and the embarkation was soon after effected. The action had continued about two hours and a half, and was gallantly sustained both by officers and men, from its commencement to its close. The loss on the part of the Malays was near a hundred killed, while of the Americans only two lost their lives. Among the spoils were a Chinese gong, a Koran, taken at Mahomet's fort, and several pieces of rich gold cloth. Many of the men came off richly laden with spoils which they had taken from the enemy, such as rajah's scarfs, gold and silver chunam boxes, chains, ear rings and finger rings, anklets and bracelets, and a variety of shawls, krisses richly hilted and with gold scabbards, and a variety of other ornaments. Money to a considerable amount was brought off. That nothing should be left undone to have an indelible impression on the minds of these people, of the power of the United States to inflict punishment for aggressions committed on her commerce, in seas however distant, the ship was got underway the following morning, and brought to, with a spring on her cable, within less than a mile of the shore, when the larboard side was brought to bear nearly upon the site of the town. The object of the Commodore, in this movement, was not to open an indiscriminate or destructive fire upon the town and inhabitants of Quallah Battoo, but to show them the irresistible power of thirty-two pound shot, and to reduce the fort of Tuca de Lama, which could not be reached on account of the jungle and stream of water, on the morning before, and from which a fire had been opened and continued during the embarkation of the troops on their return to the ship. The fort was very soon deserted, while the shot was cutting it to pieces, and tearing up whole cocoa-trees by the roots. In the afternoon a boat came off from the shore, bearing a flag of truce to the Commodore, beseeching him, in all the practised forms of submission of the east, that he would grant them peace, and cease to fire his big guns. Hostilities now ceased, and the Commodore informed them that the objects of his government in sending him to their shores had now been consummated in the punishment of the guilty, who had committed their piracies on the Friendship. Thus ended the intercourse with Quallah Battoo. The Potomac proceeded from this place to China, and from thence to the Pacific Ocean; after looking to the interests of the American commerce in those parts she arrived at Boston in 1834, after a three years' absence.

The Real Malay by Sir Frank Swettenham, (1899), London: John Lane.

To begin to understand the Malay you must live in his country, speak his language, respect his faith, be interested in his interests, humour his prejudices, sympathise with and help him in trouble, and share his pleasures and possibly his risks. Only thus can you. hope to win his confidence. Only through that confidence can you hope to understand the inner man, and this knowledge can therefore only come to those who have the opportunity and use it.

So far the means of studying Malays in their own country (where alone they are seen in their true character) have fallen to few Europeans,, and a very small proportion of them have shown an inclination get into the, hearts of the people. There are a hundred thousand Malays in Perak and some more in other parts of the Peninsula; and the white man, whose interest in the race is strong enough, may not only win confidence but the devotion that is ready to give life itself in the cause of friendship. The Scripture says: "There is no greater thing than this," and in the end of the nineteenth century that is a form of friendship all too rare. Fortunately this is a thing you cannot buy, but to gain it is worth some effort.

The real Malay is short, thick-set, well.-built man, with straight black hair, a dark, brown complexion, thick nose and lips, and bright intelligent eyes. His disposition is generally kindly, his manners are polite and easy. Never cringing, he is reserved with strangers and suspicious, though he does not show it. He is courageous and trustworthy in the discharge of an undertaking; but he is extravagant, fond of borrowing money, and very slow in repaying it. He is a good talker, speaks in parables, quotes proverbs and wise saws, has a strong sense of humour, and is very fond of a good joke. He takes an interest in the affairs of his neighbours and is consequently a gossip. He is a Muhammadan and a fatalist but he is also very superstitious. He never drinks intoxicants, he is rarely an opium-smoker. But he is fond of gambling,, cock-fighting,' and kindred sports. He is by nature a sportsman; catches and tames elephants; is a skilful fisherman, and thoroughly at home in a boat.

Above all things, he is conservative to a degree, is proud and fond of country and his people, venerates his ancient customs and traditions, fears his Rajas, and has a proper respect for constituted authority - while he looks askance on all innovations, and will resist their sudden introduction. But if he has time to examine them carefully, and they are not thrust upon him, he is willing to be convinced of their advantage. At the same time he is a good imitative learner, and, when he has energy and ambition enough for the task, makes a good mechanic. He is however lazy to a degree, is without method or order of any kind, knows no regularity even in the hours of his meals, and considers time as of no importance. His house is untidy, even dirty but he bathes twice a day, and is very fond of personal adornment in the shape of smart clothes.

A Malay is intolerant of insult or slight; it is something that to him should be wiped out in blood. He will brood over a real or fancied stain on his honour until he is possessed by the desire for revenge. If he cannot wreak it on the offender, he will strike out at the first human being that comes in his way, male or female, old or young. It is this state of blind fury, this vision of blood, that produces the amok. The Malay has often be called treacherous. I question whether he deserves the reproach more then other men. He is courteous and expects courtesy in return, and he understands only one method of avenging personal insults.

The spirit of the clan is also strong in him. He acknowledges the necessity of carrying out, even blindly, the orders of his hereditary, chief, while he will protect his own relatives at all costs and make their quarrel his own.

The giving of gifts by Raja to subject or subject to ruler, is a custom now falling into desuetude, but it still prevails on the occasion of the accession of a Raja, the appointment of high officers, a. marriage, a circumcision ear-piercing or similar ceremony. As with other Eastern people, hospitality is to the Malay a sacred duty fulfilled by high and low, rich and poor alike.

Though the. Malay is an Islam by profession, and would suffer crucifixion sooner than deny his faith, he is not a bigot; indeed, his tolerance compares favourably with that of the professing Christian, and, when he thinks of these matters at all, he believes that the absence of hypocrisy is the beginning of religion. He has a sublime faith in God, the immortality of the soul, a heaven of ecstatic earthly delights, and a hell of punishments, which every individual is so confident will not be his own portion that the idea of its existence presents no terrors.

Christian missionaries of all denominations have apparently abandoned the hope of his conversion.

In his youth, the Malay boy is often beautiful ... a thing of wonderful eyes, eyelashes, and eyebrows, with a far-away expression of sadness and solemnity, as though he had left some better place for a compulsory exile on earth.

Those eyes, which are extraordinary large and clear, seem filled with a pained wonder at all they see here, and they give the impression of a constant effort to open ever wider and wider in search of something they never find. Unlike the child of Japan, this cherub never looks as if his nurse had forgotten to wipe his nose. He is treated with elaborate respect if he so desires, eats when he is hungry, has no toys, is never whipped, and hardly ever cries.

Until he is fifteen or sixteen, this atmosphere of a better world remains about him. He is often studious even, and duly learns to read the Koran in a language he does not understand.

Then, well then,. from sixteen to twenty-five or later he is to be avoided. He takes his pleasure,. sows his wild oats like youths of a higher civilisation, is extravagant, open-handed, gambles, gets into debt, run away with his neighbour's wife and generally asserts himself. Then follows a period when he either adopts this path and pursues it, or, more commonly, he weans himself gradually from an indulgence that has not altogether realised his expectation, and if, under the advise of older men, he seeks and obtains a position of credit and usefulness in society from which he begins at last to earn some profit, he will from the age of forty, probably develop into an intelligent man of miserly and rather grasping habits with some one little pet indulgence of no very expensive kind.

The Malay girl-child is not usually so attractive in appearance as the boy, and less consideration is shown to her. She runs wild till the time comes for investing her in a garment, that is to say when she is about five years old. From then, she is taught to help in the house and kitchen, to sew, to read and write, perhaps to work in the padi field, but she is kept out of the way of all strange menkind. When fifteen or sixteen, she is often almost interesting; very shy, very fond of pretty clothes and ornaments, not uncommonly much fairer in complexion than the Malay man, with small hands and feet, a happy smiling face, good teeth, and wonderful eyes and eyebrows - the eyes of the little Malay boy. The Malay girl is proud of a wealth of straight, black hair, of a spotless olive complexion, of the arch of her brow - "like a one-day-old moon" - of the curl of her eyelashes, and of the dimples in cheek or chin.

Unmarried girls are taught to avoid all men except those nearly related to them. Until marriage, it is considered unmaidenly for them to raise their eyes or take any part or interest in their surroundings when men are present. This leads to an affectation of modesty which, however over-strained, deceives nobody.

After marriage, a woman gets a considerable amount of freedom which she naturally values. In Perak a man, who tries to shut his womankind up and prevent their intercourse with others and a participation in the fetes and pleasures of Malay society, is looked upon as a jealous, ill-conditioned person. Malays are extremely particular about questions of rank and birth, especially when it comes to marriage, and mesalliances, as understood in the West, are with them very rare.

The general characteristics of Malay women, especially those of gentle birth, are powers of intelligent conversation, quickness in repartee, a strong sense of humour and an instant appreciation of the real meaning of those hidden sayings which are hardly even absent from their conversation. They are fond of reading such literature as their language offers, and they use uncommon words and expressions, the meanings of which are hardly known to men. For the telling of secrets, they have secret modes of speech not understanded of the people.

They are generally amiable in disposition, mildly - sometimes fiercely - jealous, often extravagant and, up to about the age of forty, evince increasing fondness for jewelry and smart clothes. In these latter days they are developing a pretty taste for horses, carriages, and whatever conduces to luxury and display, though, in their houses, there are still a rugged simplicity and untidiness, absolutely devoid of all sense of order.

A Malay is allowed by law to have as many as four wives, to divorce them, and replace them. If he is well off and can afford so much luxury, he usually takes advantage of the power to marry more than one wife, to divorce and secure successors; but he seldom undertakes the responsibility of four wives at one time. The woman on her part can, and of ten does, obtain a divorce from her husband. Written conditions of marriage, "settlements" of a kind, are common with people in the upper classes, and the law provides for the custody of children, division of property, and so on. The ancient maiden lady is an unknown quantity, so is the Malay public woman; and, as there is no society bugbear, the people lead lives that are almost natural. There are no drunken husbands, no hobnail boots, and no screaming viragoes - because a word would get rid of them. All. forms of madness, mania, and brain-softening are extremely rare.

The Malay has ideas on the subject of marriage, ideas born of his infinite experience. He has even soared into regions of matrimonial philosophy, and returned with such crumbs of lore as never fall to the poor monogamist.

I am not going to give away the secrets of the life behind the curtain; if I wished to do so I might trip over difficulties of expression; but in spite of the Malay's reputation for bloodthirstiness, in spite of (or because of, whichever you please) the fact that he is impregnated with the doctrines of Islam, in spite of his sensitive honour and his proneness to revenge, and in spite of his desire to keep his own women (when young and attractive) away from the prying eyes of other men, he yet holds this uncommon faith, that if he has set his affections on a woman, and for any reason he is unable at once to make her his own, he cares not to how many others she allies herself provided she becomes his before time has robbed her of her physical attractions.

His reason is this. He says (certainly not to a stranger, rarely even to his Malay friends, but to himself) "if, after all this experience, she like me best, I have no fear that she will wish to go further afield. All Malay girls marry before they are twenty, and the woman who has only known one husband, however attractive he may be, will come sooner or later to the conviction that life with another promises new and delightful experiences not found in the society of the first man to whom destiny and her relatives have chosen to unite her. Thus some fool persuades her that in his worship and passion she will find the World's Desire, and it is only after perhaps a long and varied experience that she realises that, having started for a voyage on the ocean, she finds herself seated at the bottom of a dry well'.

It is possible that thus she becomes acquainted with truth.