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unfolds his views; and from this and from his familiar letters it is not difficult to gain a clear idea of the character and motives of the man. That his ardent mind had been fired by a study of the career of his great predecessor, Stamford Raffles, is evident. That he was himself one of those energetic, restless natures, to which idleness or mere routine-work is the severest of penalties, is equally evident. He had, moreover, a large share of that kind of enthusiasm which the cool, sagacious men of this world call romance, and which delights to fasten on objects seemingly impossible. He was like the old knights, rejoicing most when the field of their devoir was distant and dangerous. Yet not altogether like them. He was rather a man of the twelfth century, disciplined and invigorated by the hard common-sense and sharp utilitarianism of the nineteenth century. And we must not forget that he honestly wished to benefit the native races. Every page, nay, almost every line, in his journals and letters, bears witness to his profound compassion for the despised and downtrodden Dyaks. Aside from this, when we remember that he was a genuine Englishman, proud of his native land and thoughtful always of her aggrandizement, we need be at no loss to understand his motives. He went forth to gratify a love of adventure, "to see something of the world and come back again," to extend a little the realms of scientific knowledge, to suggest, perhaps, some plans for the improvement of native character, and last, but not least, to learn whether there might not be opened new aveInues for the extension of British trade and British power.
That the methods by which these objects were to be attained were not very well defined even to his own mind is clear. He himself said, "I cast myself upon the waters, like Southey's little book; but whether the world will know me after many days, is a question I cannot answer." And some years after, alluding to a charge of inconsistency, he said, "I did not embrace my
position at once; and indeed the position itself altered very rapidly; and I am free to confess before the world that my views of duty and responsibility were not so high at first as they have since been." Without doubt his direct and primary purpose was investigation. He took with him men of some scientific knowledge, himself being no mean observer; and he proposed to prosecute, wherever opportunity occurred, researches into the geography, natural history, and commercial resources of these islands. If he had ulterior ends, as yet they existed in his mind as fascinating dreams, rather than well-defined plans.
After a tedious voyage of nearly six months, the Royalist reached Singapore, June 1, 1839. While Mr. Brooke was engaged in refitting his yacht, and anxiously revolving in his mind how he should obtain permission to penetrate into the neighboring kingdom of Borneo, he learned that Muda Hassim, uncle of the Sultan, and Rajah of Sarawak, the northwestern province of Borneo, had displayed great humanity towards a crew of shipwrecked Englishmen. On receiving this information he started at once for Sarawak, hoping to get some hold upon the Rajah, and by such help to pursue his researches. But the time of his visit was most unfortunate. The whole province was in a state of open rebellion; so that, while he was received courteously, and permitted to make some local surveys, nothing of importance could be accomplished. Baffled and wearied by delay, he sailed back to Singapore, and from thence to Celebes, where he remained several months, engaged in extensive explorations, and in collecting specimens to illustrate the natural history of that island.
Mr. Brooke returned from Celebes worn out and sick, and was obliged to remain at Singapore several months to recruit his strength. In August, 1840, he made a second visit to Sarawak, intending to tarry there a few days, and then proceed homeward by the way of
Manilla and China. "I have done fully as much as I promised the public," he writes. He found things in much the same state as when he left. No progress had been made in the suppression of the rebellion. Few lives indeed had been lost, but the most bloody war could hardly have produced worse results. The country was filled with combatants. Every straggler was cut off. Violence and rapine were the law. Trade and agriculture languished. A rich province was fast relapsing into a wilderness; and all its people were beginning to suffer alike for shelter and sustenance. As our hero was about to set sail, the Rajah opened his whole heart to him. His prospects were anything but flattering. He found himself unequal to the reduction of the rebels. He was surrounded by traitors. At the court of the Sultan, a hostile cabal, taking advantage of his ill-fortune, threatened his power and his life. In this strait, he besought his visitor to remain and give him aid, promising in event of success to confer upon him the government of the province. After a few days' reflection, Mr. Brooke, believing, as he declares, that the cause of the Sultan was just, believing also that what the whole people needed most was peace, and that peace would place him in a position to render them the greatest service, acceded to this request, without, however, be it observed, binding Muda Hassim to any precise stipulations concerning the gov
Many pages of his journal are devoted to an account of this war; and a most curious story it is of cowardice, bravado, and inefficiency. It was advance and retreat, boastful challenge and as boastful reply, marching and countermarching, day after day, and month after month. "Like the heroes of old, the adverse parties spoke to each other: 'We are coming, we are coming; lay aside your muskets and fight us with your swords'; and so the heroes ceased not to talk, but always forgot to fight"; - the sum of all their achievements being to lay waste the
country, to interrupt honest industry, and to put in peril the lives of the unoffending. Mr. Brooke soon tired of this farce. Gathering a motley force, consisting of Malays, Dyaks, Chinese, and his own crew, he prepared for an assault. Then, planting his cannon where they commanded the stronghold of the enemy, with a few welldirected volleys he brought its walls tumbling about their ears. The insurgents, driven to the open country, and altogether amazed by this specimen of Saxon energy, surrendered at discretion. At one blow a desolating war was ended.
Peace being restored, Mr. Brooke did not insist on the literal fulfilment of the terms which Muda Hassim had in his extremity been so ready to proffer. He chose to occupy a position of influence, rather than one of outward authority. A contract was entered into by which he became Resident of Sarawak. The conditions of the agreement were, that the Rajah on his part should repress piracy, protect legitimate commerce, and as far as possible remove from the Dyaks unjust burdens; while his ally, in return for these concessions, should open trade, sending a vessel to and fro between Singapore and Sarawak, exchanging foreign luxuries for native products, and more especially for antimony, of which article the Rajah had the monopoly. In fulfilment of his part of the treaty, Mr. Brooke proceeded to Singapore, purchased a schooner, loaded her with an assorted cargo, returned to Sarawak, and at the earnest request of Muda Hassim landed and distributed his goods.
But auspicious as was the commencement of this alliance, soon grave causes of complaint arose. On every point the deceitful Malay came short of his agreement. Having obtained valuable property, he showed no alacrity in paying for it; weeks and months passed without bringing him apparently any nearer to a pecuniary settlement. So far from repressing piracy, he encour
aged it; and a fleet of one hundred and twenty prahus, with his tacit consent, actually put to sea. When a crew of English seamen were enslaved and carried to Bruni, under the most frivolous pretexts he refused to intercede with the Sultan for these unfortunate men. And so this strange friendship cooled. It was no slight proof either of his courage or his humanity to despatch at this very time, as Mr. Brooke did, his yacht to Bruni, to attempt something in behalf of his enslaved countrymen, and to remain himself with only three men at Sarawak. The yacht came back, however, having effected nothing.
By this time the patience of the creditor was exhausted. Despoiled of his goods, finding that, despite his remonstrances, the Dyaks were cruelly oppressed, and that piracy was encouraged, he resolved to try the effect of threats. He repaired on board his yacht, loaded her guns with grape and canister, and brought her broadside to bear upon the Rajah's palace. Then taking a small, but well-armed guard, he sought an interview with Muda Hassim. The terror of that functionary was extreme. The native tribes openly sided with their English friend. The Chinese residents remained obstinately neutral. The Malays, between cowardice and treachery, afforded him no efficient support. To crown all, his resolute and incensed ally had only to wave his hand to bring down upon him swift destruction. "After this demonstration, things went cheerily to a conclusion." Muda Hassim, finding that his creditor was inflexible, and being unable or unwilling to pay for the goods which he had fraudulently obtained, offered in payment of all debts to surrender the government. The offer was accepted, the agreement drawn up, signed, sealed, guns fired and flags waved, and on September 24, 1841, Mr. Brooke became Rajah of Sarawak. In August of the following year the Sultan solemnly confirmed the agreement.
The territory thus strangely passing into the hands of a private English
gentleman was a tract of country bordering upon the sea sixty miles, and extending inland from seventy to eighty miles. Situated at the northeastern extremity of Borneo, pierced by two small, but navigable rivers, its position is most favorable for commerce. Its soil is deep and rich, yielding under any proper culture large crops of all tropical products. Its forests are filled with trees fit for shipbuilding, and abound in that variety from which is obtained the gutta percha of commerce. The hills are rich in iron and tin of the best quality. The mountain streams wash down gold. beds of smaller rivers are found diamonds, in such profusion that most of the Malays wear them set in rings and other ornaments. From this single province comes nearly the whole supply of antimony in the world. "I do not believe," says a resident, "that in the same given space there can be found so great mineral and vegetable wealth in any land in the whole world."
With what sentiments the new Rajah entered upon his duties can be best understood by a perusal of his familiar letters. He writes to his mother: "Do not start when I say that I am going to settle in Borneo, that I am about to endeavor to plant there a mixed colony amid a wild but not unvirtuous race, and to become the pioneer of European knowledge and improvement. The diffusion of civilization, commerce, and religion through so vast an island as Borneo, I call a grand object, — so grand that self is quite lost when I consider it; and even failure would be much better than the non-attempt." "A few days ago I was up a high mountain and looked over the country. It is a prospect which I have rarely seen equalled; and sitting there, lazily smoking a cigar, I called into existence the coffee plantations, the sugar plantations, the nutmeg plantations, and pretty white villages and tiny steeples, and dreamed that I heard the buzz of life and the clang of industry amid the jungles, and that the China Colins whis
tled as they went, for want of thought, he might be fined a few cents or a few as they homeward bent."
The first duty which claimed attention was the relief of the native Dyaks. A shrewd Dyak once defined the Malay government as "a plantain in the mouth and a thorn in the back." A plantain giving to their poor subjects a little to keep life in them; a thorn stripping them to the skin and piercing them to the bone. The description is pithy, and it is true. The exactions of the Malay chiefs were almost beyond belief. Seizing and monopolizing some article of prime necessity, - salt perhaps, they would force the natives to buy at the rate of fifty dollars' worth of rice for a teacup of salt; until the wretched cultivator, who had raised a plentiful crop, was brought to the verge of starvation. They reserved to themselves the right of purchasing the articles which the Dyaks had to sell, and then affixed to those articles an arbitrary price, perhaps less than a fivehundredth of their real value. They would send a bar of iron two or three feet long, and having an intrinsic worth of a few cents, to the head man of a tribe, demanding that his village should give for it a sum equal to five, ten, or twenty dollars. Another was sent in the same way, and another, and another, until the rapacity of the chiefs was satisfied, or the wretched natives had no more to give. Often, when the latter had been robbed of everything, the Malays would seize and sell their wives and children. It is recorded of one tribe, that there was not so much as one woman or child to be found in it. All had been swept off by these remorseless slave-hunters. Nor did their wrongs end here. If a Dyak killed a Malay "under any circumstances of aggression," he was put to death, often with every possible addition of torture. If he accidentally injured one of the ruling caste, he was fortunate to escape with the loss of half or two thirds of his little savings. On the other hand, a Malay might kill as many Dyaks as he pleased, and if perchance justice were a little sterner than usual,
dollars. Volumes are contained in this one statement, that in the ten years from 1830 to 1840, the Dyaks in the province of Sarawak dwindled from 14,000 to 6,000 souls.
A blow was immediately struck at the root of this black oppression. As soon as the new government was fairly established, a few simple enactments were published. They declared that every man, Dyak as well as Malay, should enjoy unmolested all the gains of his toil; that all exactions of every name and nature should cease, and that only a small tax, evenly distributed, should be levied for the support of government; that all roads and rivers should be free to all; that all molestation of the Dyaks should be punished with severity. The proclamation which contains these laws concludes with exhorting all persons who are disposed to disturb the public peace to take flight speedily to some other country, where they can break with impunity the laws of God and
These enactments were firmly executed, without fear and without partiality. Wonderful were the results! Internal violence ceased. The confidence of the natives was awakened. Industry and enterprise sprang up on every hand as by magic. Sarawak became a city of refuge. Sometimes as many as fifty fled thither in a day. In 1844, in the short space of two months, five hundred families took shelter in the province. In 1850, three thousand Chinese fled from Sambas to Sarawak. The Dyaks returned the good-will of their Rajah with love and reverence. During one of his tours in the interior, delegations from tribes numbering six thousand souls came to seek his protection. "We have heard," said they, in simple but touching language, "that a son of Europe has arrived, who is a friend of the Dyaks." When he visited the native hamlets, the women would throw themselves on the ground and clasp his feet, and the whole tribe would spend the night in joyful feasting and merriment. It is
soberly affirmed by a credible witness, that on one occasion messengers came fifteen days' journey from a distant province to see if there were such a phenomenon as Dyaks living in comfort.
Mr. Brooke soon found that all his efforts for internal reform must be in a comparative sense futile so long as piracy, that curse of Borneo, was permitted to ravage unchecked. "It is in a Malay's nature," says the Dutch proverb, "to rove on the seas in his prahu, as it is in that of the Arab to wander with his steed on the sands of the desert." No person who has not investigated the subject can appreciate how wide-spread and deep-seated this plague of piracy is. The mere statistics are appalling. It was estimated, in 1840, that one hundred thousand men made freebooting their trade. One single chief had under control seven hundred prahus. Whole tribes, whole groups of islands, almost whole races, despising even the semblance of honest industry, depended upon rapine for a livelihood. "It is difficult to catch fish, but it is easy to catch Borneans," said the Soloo pirates scornfully; and, acting upon that principle, they fitted out their fleets and planned their voyages with all the method of honest tradesmen.
This piracy was divided into two branches, coastwise piracy and piracy on the broad seas. The Sea Dyaks built boats called bangkongs, sixty to a hundred feet long, narrow and sharp, propelled by thirty to fifty oars, and so swift that nothing but a steamer could overtake them. These freebooters were the terror of all honest laborers and tradesmen. Skulking along the coast, pushing up rivers and creeks, landing anywhere and everywhere without warning, they mercilessly destroyed the native villages and swept the inhabitants into captivity. Or else, impelling with the force of fifty men their snaky craft, which were swift as race-boats and noiseless as beasts of prey, they would surprise at dead of night some defence
less merchantman, overwhelm their victims with showers of spears, and with morning light a plundered boat, a few dead bodies, were the silent witnesses of their ferocity. On the other hand, the Illanum and Balanini tribes, infesting the islands to the northeast of Borneo, undertook far grander enterprises. Putting to sea, prepared for
a long voyage, in fleets of two or three hundred prahus, propelled by wind and oars, armed with brass cannon, and manned by ten thousand bold buccaneers, they swept through the whole length of the Chinese Sea, and, turning the southernmost point of Borneo, penetrated the straits and sounds between Java and Celebes, never stopping in their ruthless course until they came face to face with the sturdy pirates of New Guinea, and returned, after a voyage of ten thousand miles and an absence of two years, laden with spoils and captives. How hapless was the fate of the poor Dyak! If he stayed at home, cultivating his fields, his Malay lord fleeced him to the skin. If, thinking to engage in gainful traffic, he hugged the shore with his little bark, the river-pirate snatched him up. If he stood out upon the broad waters, he could scarcely hope to escape the Northern hordes who swarmed in every sea.
Mr. Brooke's most terrible assailants were the Sakarran and Sarebus pirates, two tribes of freebooters whose seats of power were on the Sarebus and Batang Lupar rivers, two streams fifty or sixty miles east of Sarawak. These tribes were encouraged and secretly helped by his own Malay chiefs, and insolently defied his power, continuing their depredations, capturing every vessel which ventured out, and ravaging all the adjacent coasts. The strength of these confederacies was so great, that it was no unusual thing for them to muster a hundred warboats; and they had built, on the banks of the rivers which they infested, strong forts at every point which commanded the channel. That the new Rajah was not able with his slender resources to