By the Revd. P. Favre,
Apostolic Missionary, Malacca.

[Extracted from the Journal of the Indian Archipelago, vol. 2, 1848, pp. 238-82.]

Those wild tribes are divided into three principal classes, which are subdivided into many others. The first of these divisions includes the Battas, who are said to inhabit the interior of Sumatra and a few neighbouring islands. The second is that of the Semangs, who are found in the forests of Kedah, Tringanu, Perak and Salangor. Under the third head are comprised many tribes, known under the ordinary term of Jakuns, which inhabit the south part of the peninsula from about Salangor on the west coast and Kemaman on the east, and extending, nearly as far as Singapore.

All these various wild tribes are ordinarily classed under the general and expressive appellation of Orang Binua, which signifies, men of the soil; this will be the expression I will use when speaking of these tribes generally and without intending to refer to any one in particular.



Several opinions have arisen respecting the origin of the wild tribe, or Orang Binuas; but these opinions are based only upon conjecture, more or less probable; and until now no certainty, and even nothing really satisfactory, has been discovered on the subject. It is more than probable that the residence of the Missionaries, who are now about establishing themselves in the Peninsula in order both to civilise and to Christianize these wild tribes, will prove a source of some interesting discoveries in different branches of learning, and chiefly in whatever refers to the people to whom we now direct our attention. In the mean time I will for the solution of the several questions which can be raised on the origin of the Binuas, direct attention to several facts, and while I will recapitulate the various opinions which have heretofore been offered upon the subject, will finally say which appears to me most probable both from these sources of information and from what I obtained from the Binuas themselves in the numerous sojourns I made amongst them.2

The first question which naturally presents itself to our mind on the subject is this—are the Binuas to be considered as the aboriginal inhabitants of the land where they are found; chiefly in the Malay peninsula? Such a question will remain a problem for sometime, and perhaps for ever: nevertheless I must say that many facts seem to prove much that is in favour of an answer in the affirmative.

Among the Binuas whom I have interrogated on the matter, many answered that the Malays were descendants in great part to them, who were, without any doubt, the first inhabitants of the land.

Many Malays are of the same opinion, and upon it is based the appellation of Orang Binuas, men of the soil, by which the Malays designate the wild tribes.

A fact which is related in the Malayan traditions and history, and quoted by Lieut. Newbold (vol. ii. p. 77) proves much in favour of that opinion.


It is said "after Sri Iscander Shah fled from Singapore to Malacca in the seventh century of the Hejira, that is in the thirteenth century of the Christian era, a Menangkabau chief, named Tu Puttair came over to Malacca, attended by a numerous retinue. He ascended the river Naning where he found no other inhabitants than the Jakuns, and landed at Taha and took to wife one of the Jakun damsels; an example speedily followed by his vassals." The tradition says also that this colony gradually increased and spread itself over Sungei Ujong, Rumbau, Johole, and other places then inhabited chiefly by aborigines, or Jakuns. From whence we may infer, that if the aborigines or Binuas (Jakuns) were already spread over so many places, they must have inhabited the Peninsula from a remote period of time, an inference which is strengthened when we consider that the manners and customs of this people must be a great obstacle to a swift increase in the population, and again that the Malays at that time, (in the thirteenth century) had but a short time inhabited the Peninsula, since we are informed by the Sejara Malayu that Singapore, so celebrated in Malayan history, as having been the first place of settlement of the early Malay emigrants from Sumatra, and the origin of the empire of Malacca, received her first colonists only in the twelfth century, when Sang Nila Utama, supposed by Mohammedan historians to have been a descendant of Alexander the Great, settled on the island with a colony of Malays originally from Sumatra, and founded the city of Singapore. A.D. 1160, that is about one hundred years before the arrival of the Tu Puttair at Naning; where the Jakuns, who were then already numerous, as well as in the other places before mentioned, seemed to announce colonists of more than one century.

Besides, the Binuas are not Mahommedan; but had they come to establish themselves in the peninsula subsequently to the Malays, we should expect to find them Mahommedan; for it is scarcely credible that at the time when the disciples of Mahomed were so ardently waging war everywhere, forcing every nation to embrace the Koran, it would have been permitted to the Binuas, and only to the Binuas, who would have been few and feeble, to enjoy the benefit of [p.240] a free-conscience; and that, when we are supposing the Binuas already established there, and consequently having all power to nab of them faithful disciples to their beloved prophet.

It is also stated by the Binuas, and admitted by the Malays, that before the Malay Peninsula had the name of Malacca, it was inhabited by the Binuas. In course of time, the early Arab trading vessels brought over priests from Arabia, who made a number of converts to Islam: those of the Binuas that declined to abjure the customs of their forefathers, in consequence of the persecutions to which they were exposed, fled to the fastnesses of the interior, when they have since continued in a savage state.

I am therefore inclined to be of the opinion which Lieut. Newbold appears to embrace, and I am induced the more readily to believe that the Binuas, and chiefly the Battas of Sumatra and the Semangs of the north of the Peninsula are the savage people whom Herodotus has spoken of, as inhabitants of the eastern countries of India producing gold; and I dare say with the same author, that it is scarcely possible that the father of history intended to speak of any other Indian people; for he would have spoken of such clearly and fluently; since all the other parts of India to the Archipelago were very well known to that historian, whilst he on the contrary speaks of the tribes he describes, only in rather an obscure style and as "having received an account of them from some adventurous traders who having sailed from the shores of the Red Sea or the banks of the Euphrates, coasting the shore of India to the Archipelago: and who returned to their native lands laden with the gold dust, ivory and spices of the east. The Malayan Peninsula, the Golden-Chersonese of Ptolemy, and Sumatra so rich in gold, camphor, pepper and ivory, would be the first countries-producing these tempting articles of commerce that fell in their way and the existence of people in whose country they were to be found, could not remain long a secret to such inquisitive navigators."

Besides, the account given by Herodotus of the savages he describes, seems to agree with the name and customs of some of the wild tribes who are now the subject of our consideration. He says [p.241] that amongst them, some are called Padda, a term which can be easily converted into Batta; and he mentions their practice of killing and eating their old relatives, which agrees perfectly with the account given by Sir S. Raffles of the Battas; "I was informed," says he, in his memoirs, "at formerly it was usual for the people to eat their parents who were too old for work. The old people selected the horizontal branch of a tree, and quietly suspended themselves by their hands, while their children and neighbours forming a circle danced round them, crying out when the fruit is ripe, then it will fall. This practice took place daring the season of limes, when salt and pepper were plenty, and as soon as the victims became fatigued, and could hold on no longer, they fell down, when all hands cut them up and made a hearty meal of them."—Memoirs, p. 427.

I would not found any objection to the admission of this opinion, from the observation that a few centuries after Herodotus the Indian Archipelago was entirely unknown, as in the time of Strabo, Hipparchus and Eratosthenes, who were living in the years 20,190 and 220 before the Christian era; because it is certain that on account of the extensive practice of the Hebrews and Tyrians in the art of navigation, the knowledge of navigation and geography was much more extensive in the time of Herodotus and anteriorly, than in the time of Strabo, Hipparchus and Eratosthenes, when the art of navigation was less practised, and had lost much of its activity; so the Peninsula and the Archipelago might be known in the time of Herodotus and forgotten in the following centuries. We see in history a similar example in the Cape of Good Hope, which was known a long time before Herodotus, since he himself relates that 128 years before his birth, that is in the year 610 before the Christian era, the Hebrews and the Irrians rounded Africa by order of the king of Egypt, and that they doubled the Cape of Good Hope, a road which was yet known to Eratosthenes, and after that was entirely forgotten, during near 2,000 years; once the maps drawn according to Hyyarchus, Strabo and Ptolemy show a land embracing the Erythrean sea, or the sea of India, meeting on one side with Africa at the Prasum Promontory, and on the other with Eastern Asia at Catigara, It was only in 1497 A.D. [p.242] that Vasco de Gama, a Portuguese, rediscovered the road from Europe to India round the cape.

According to the preceding considerations it may be supposed, without any presumption, that the Binuas are the aborigines of the land they inhabit, chiefly in the Peninsula, (I will except a small number of them who are living near Malacca whom I will speak of hereafter). But from what branch of the great family of mankind do the Binuas spring? This is a point extremely obscure; History says nothing on the subject, and tradition is almost silent.

Lieut. Newbold, from the several opportunities he had of seeing the Binuas, observed that their general physical appearance, their lineaments, their nomadic habits and a few similarities in customs, point to a Tartar extraction.

Another opinion, adverted to by Sir S. Raffles, says that Java was originally peopled by emigrants coming in vessels from the Red Sea; from whence it is inferred that these ardent Egyptians might have been the ancestors of the people at present called Binuas.3

I will not now attempt to offer any decided opinion on the subject as respects the Battas of Sumatra, or the Semangs of Kedih Trisgami, Perak, and Salangor, as I have never seen any of these tribes and have received but very little information about them. I will however here state what I have observed respecting the Jakuns, the third class of Binuas I have mentioned, as inhabiting the south part of the Peninsula. Under that name are comprised all the various tribes, known under the terms of Orang Utan, Orang Bukit, Orang Suttipe, Orang Laut, Rayet, Sakkye, Halas, Bakndas, Besiaik, Aikye, etc., different names which denote not several kinds of men, but which only point out the places where they are found, or tfamy of living.

Although these various tribes are similar in many points, as in manners, customs, in their way of firing, etc: in some other respects they seem to announce a different origin; and possibly I should not be mistaken were I to divide them into three subdivisions. Those [p.243] who are living near to Malacca: those who are found in the Johore territory; and those who are spread over Johore, Rumbow, Sungie Ujong, Jellabu and the neighbouring places.

Under the first head I will comprise those I visited, near Reim, St Ayer Baro, Gassing, Kommendar, Bukit Singhi; on the river of Muar, near Pankalang kota, at Poghalay, Sagil, Lemon, Segamon, a few families in the small river of Pago and several other scattered individuals.

Amongst these tribes, who in number amount altogether to about three hundred persons only, I found a tradition which would make them to be descendants of Portuguese, and to which the following relates.

A few months after my arrival here, an inhabitant of Malacca in order to satisfy the curiosity, brought to me two of these Jakuns, as a specimen of the race; it was not without considerable difficulty that he could induce these children of nature to accompany him to the civilised town, being much more delighted with the rude aspect of their thick jungle, than with the extensive view of our open places; but after several promises they took their way to Malacca; and recollecting a tradition they received, as they say, from their forefathers they asked that when arrived at the town, they should be allowed to look at the likeness of their ancestors, which would be found as the upper part of the door of the fortress. These people when questioned before as developed the same. And in fact, upon the old gate which remains until this day as a remembrance of the ancient fort, are seen sculptured figures representing a king and a queen of Portugal.

Many others whom I questioned on the same subject assured me that they were descendants of Orang Puti, that is, of Europeans.

Several persons have related to me that a report exists that at different times descendants of Europeans after having committed crimes had fled into the interior of the Peninsula and established themselves there, in order to avoid the punishment of the laws.

Besides I remarked that these Jakuns whom I speak of now, have the general physical appearance, the lineaments and chiefly the form and the colour of the body entirely similar to those of the common and low chiefs amongst the Portuguese of Malacca.


A small number of Portuguese words they use would also seem further to direct our attention to that opinion, be that it would not very possibly be far from the truth, to call them the descendants of Portuguese, at least by their fathers side, who in imitation of Tu Puttair, may have taken to themselves wives from among the Jakun damsels.

The second class of Jakuns, that is, those of Johore, are more numerous than those the preceding and are a finer race of men; to whom I will apply what Lieut. Newbold says of the Jakuns in general, that their physiognomy, their lineaments, etc. point to a Tartar extraction. I had during my stay in China several opportunities of examining the Tartar soldiers of the celestial empire, and when I compare them with those Jakuns I can scarcely see any difference, but it is chiefly in the appearance of the eyes and in the nose that I found the resemblance perfect. So I see no objection, until further information or discovery, to coinciding with the opinion of Lieut. Newbold upon this point. But though this may be the case for almost the whole of them, I must observe nevertheless that a few of them form an exception to this rule, and bear the Arab stamp. Such were, amongst others, two individuals I found on the extremity of the Banut river, who might pass as two of the finest Arabs. One of them, the son of a chief, is of about the same age and the perfect likeness of the present sultan of Johore, Tuanku Alli, who is one of the finest Arab descendants I have seen in the Straits.

The third class of Jakuns, those of the Menangkabau states, seem to present the greatest difficulty in an inquiry as to their origin. How can they be considered as of Tartar extraction? All the Tartars I have seen, were tall, at least as tall as the middle sized European, and many of them were taller; with expressive eyes, and a nose which did not recede at the upper part; the facial angle also was apparently much the same as that of Europeans. But on the contrary the Jakuns of the Menangkabau states are very short, their eyes though expressive, are not so much so as the size of the Tartars, the nose receded at the upper part, and with the facial angle extremely acute.

The people to whom these Jakuns bear the most resemblance to [p.245] Malays of the Menangkabau states. But we cannot infer from that, that they descend from these Malays; as we know by history and tradition that they were in the Peninsula before them; and that the Menangkabau Malays descend from Jakuns by their mothers side, as we have seen them speaking of the arrival of Ta Puttur; which explains sufficiently the resemblance we perceive in the Malays to the Jakuns.

It is really very difficult to discover what occurred many centuries ago among a people so entirely ignorant that each individual knows scarcely what occurred during the life of his own father; and where there is no writing or any memorial to record the facts of the time past.

In such an incertitude I will beware to combat any opinion; but I will say, at least, that if we consider these Jakuns as descendants of Tartars, we must admit too, that they are much degenerated.

When Dr. Ryan physician to the French Embassy to China passed by Malacca in 1845 I intended to show to him the skulls of some dead Jakuns, as I knew his peculiar knowledge in natural history; and as he has collected skulls of very numerous civilised nations and wild tribes, I doubted not that the inspection of the Jakun's skull would have enabled him to say from what branch of mankind they spring, or at least to give satisfactory probabilities on that subject; but the difficulty of procuring such a specimen prevented me from a means of information, from which I had hoped much light might have been thrown upon the subject.


There is a remarkable difference in the physical appearance of the several classes of Jakuns. Those of Malacca are generally as tall as the common run of Europeans; they are more dark than any other of the wild tribes that fell under my inspection; and in which respect I do not see much difference between them and the more dark of the Indo-Portuguese of Malacca. I have already said that I have generally found a peculiar resemblance between these two classes of men; this agreement is principally to be observed in the conformation of the arms and of the legs, and in the features of the face; but [p.246] it is to the length and the developement of the bones that the analogy is the most perfect. I much desire to examine this first of anatomical comparison; but the difficulty to find subjects and various peculiar reasons have until now prevented me. I will observe nevertheless that though this is the case as respects the greater part of them, it is not without its exceptions; but as we examine here the conformation of a people, we must take that of the great bulk of its individuals, and consider that of the others, as exceptive occurrences, although pretty numerous. I will remark too that many of these Jakuns differ from the Indo-Portuguese of Malacca in the frizzled look of the hair.

The Jakuns of Johore4 are a fine race of men; many of them are taller than those of Malacca; the face also expressive and well characterized, and the expression the eyes in many of them is a little severe; I have already observed that their nose does not recede at the upper party neither is it as flat or so round at its base, as this feature in the Chinese, Cochin-Chinese and pure Malay. I have found several of them with hawked or aquiline noses which put me in mind of the faces I have seen in Europe, so were this amongst others, two sons of a great Panghulu Batin who lives at the extremity of the Johore river. I remarked also some beautiful children and many good looking young men. I have not met any of them with corporeal defects; and the floridness and the regularity of the features in a few old persons were a witness that their life had been passed without infirmity as well as without anxious care. The men are healthy, but generally thin; the women on the contrary are plump, and though healthy too are not particularly stout.

The third class of Jakuns, those of the Menangkabau states, are very short, their physiognomy is low, and seems to announce great simplicity; many of them are ugly and badly made indicating a degenerated race; they have the inferior part of the nose depressed though not flat; and the two wrinkles so remarkable in many Malays chiefly of low birth, cutting the forehead perpendicularly and terminating [p.247] on both sides of the nose. Their mouth is pretty well; for though their lips project little yet they are generally well formed. I have already observed that this class of Jakuns bears a great resemblance to the Malay; or at least to many of the Malays.

I must here observe that the description which I am now giving of the physical appearance of these different classes of Jakuns only appears to the greater number of those who compose these several classes, for I have never seen any nation, which presents so great a varied physiognomy. It would be very difficult to characterise the variety of features I have seen amongst them; several of them put me in mind of some of the Tagals or natives of the Philippines I have observed at Manila: many others appeared to me to have the likeness of Spaniards of my acquaintance; whilst others have the hair and features approaching to that of the Caffree.

The constitution of the Jakuns is generally strong, and the habit in which they live of being deprived of so many things which by our civilised manners are become for us so many necessities, renders them able to undertake long journeys with but a slender stock of provisions, and to keep themselves healthy and strong upon what would be scarcely sufficient for us to live; and thus to bear hunger and thirst for a long time, walking and carrying heavy loads; certainly in that respect their conformation is superior to ours, even when living in Europe. Their nervous system is strong; and their bodies are very muscular. I have seen some who though very thin were nevertheless unusually muscular. This I suppose may account for their perspiring much less than we do. That they do not perspire is fortunate for any European who has occasion to be in frequent communication with them; for when they perspire their bodies exhale a strong and fetid odour like that of a wild beast, and probably from a want of attention to clean their bodies at proper times; this bad smell is also perceived even when they do not perspire, but then much less so; and not to an extent to incommode any except the more delicate. The hair of the Jakuns is black, ordinary frazzled, but very different from the crisp hair of the Caffree. Some of them leave the whole to grow, and turn it round the [p.248] head, as the Cochin Chinese; others, as many of those of Malacca cut them entirely; others, chiefly of the Menangkabau states and to Johore, share the head, leaving it only at the crown about three inches in diameter where they never cut it, the same as the Chinese; and to prevent this head or hair from being hooked by the branches of trees in their silvan habitations, they tie it up in the form of a top knot. They have scarcely any beard, and many of them have none at all. The women leave their hair to grow, and then tie it up in the same way as the Malay women; but as they have little occasion to care much for appearance, it will be easily imagined that they are not very particular in this respect.

I was told that in the forests of Pahang are found numerous tribes of Jakuns, who are as white as Europeans: that they are small, but very good looking; and the Malays are very fond of catching them. For this purpose they form a party and beat the forest in order to catch these poor creatures, just as a troop of European hunters pursue fallow deers. When they succeed in their chase they take them to Pahang or to Siam, where on account of their whiteness and comeliness they sell them very dear. Other persons who have also seen this species of Jakuns, tell me that they are not as white as Europeans, but that they approach more to the colour of the Chinese, which is the most probable.


Both the intellectual faculties of the Jakuns and the knowledge they evince are very limited; the reason of which is, I think, not the defect of the faculties themselves, so much as really the want of means to develope their intelligence. They are indeed very ignorant but they are also certainly able of acquirement; they are endowed with a sound mind, a right judgment, and a good memory. I have never found among them any either insane or idiotic at all. I have seen were more or less intelligent, and I always found their intellectual faculties in a sound state, corresponding to the common and ordinary rules of nature. I doubt not but that if they were to receive the same care that is given to European children they would [p.249] become equally intelligent, and possibly more susceptible of a good education than a great part of the natives of India. If the Missions which are now to be established among them succeed they will clear up these conjectures. A great part of the Jakuns know and acknowledge the existence of a supreme being; they call him by the Malay name Tuhan Allah, the Lord God. Many of those of Johore know and acknowledge too the truth of a punishment for the man who commits sin; some of them acknowledge that punishment in a general way, but by what means it is to be executed, they do not know: some others, but few, declared to me openly that after death, sinners will be thrown into the fire of hell: but they do not know any reward for good men and good works. Those of the Menangkabau states, probably on account of their more frequent communications with the Malays, are more learned in divinity; some of them spoke to me of God as the creator of every thing, of Adam, as the first man, of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon; but in a very confused way. I have not found amongst them any knowledge of Christ nor of the Christian religion; but I was surprised that having given on one occasion an instruction of the catechism to some of them, and upon asking them again they answered correctly to a good number of my questions. The more learned of them are those who are called Pawang; I will speak of these in one of the next articles. The most ignorant in religious matters are those of Malacca. A subject of surprise is that though many of them acknowledge the existence of a God, of a creator, they have not amongst them a single religious practice, and not only they do not practice exterior forms of worship, but from inquiries from them I find that they have not the slightest feeling either of thankfulness or of love for the Being they call their creator. All their knowledge in religion is merely theoretical. They do not worship the sun nor the moon nor any idol; what Lieut. Newbold said on that matter must be understood of some other tribes.5 The knowledge of the Jakuns in the art of physic is very confined; they use very little medicines, and those of them who are sick, [p.250] are almost without resistance, and the sickness ordinarily abandoned to the ordinary coarse of nature: notwithstanding the Malays consider them as clever physicians, and in their stupidity they believe themselves very fortunate when with money or by giving them cloths they succeed in obtaining from these poor people some medical prescriptions. The following is a specimen of such recipes, probably purloined with great devotion by some superstitious Malay; it is cited by lieut. Newbold.6 A person with sore eyes must use a collyriam of the infusion of Niet-Niet leaves for four days. For diarrhoea, the decoction of the root of kayu-yet, and kayu-panamas; for sciatica powdered sandalwood in water, rubbed on the loins: for sores, the wood kumbin. If the head be affected, it must be washed with a decoction of Lawang-wood; if the chest, the patient should drink a decoction of kayu-ticar leaves." Some of the Jakuns, but few, and only those who are styled Pawangs, pretend to some knowledge in physic, as well as in the secrets of nature; but their pretensions on that point are not so great as it is ordinarily reported; and in fact they are very little more clever than the others.7 The Jakuns have some knowledge of music, they have several songs which they received from their ancestors, or which they make themselves, only according to the agreement of the ear, for they have not the slightest idea of the musical notation; their songs are generally rude, and agree perfectly with the austere aspect of their habitation; I have heard them too singing in a melancholy tone, chiefly during the night. Their songs though rude are not altogether disagreeable to European ears, provided they be not too delicate. I was much surprised to remark that though they are entirely ignorant of our European music, which they have never heard, yet in great part of their songs, they proceed by thirds and by fifths assuredly without being aware of it, but only guided by their ear; which confirms the opinion of our European musicians who affirm that the third, the fifth and the octave are found in nature itself; and what I myself have many times observed in any sound, principally in that of a bell, that [p.25l] there are three sounds which are at once to be distinguished with some attention, viz., the dispason, the third and the fifth. Some authors speak of a kind of violin and of a rude flute used by the Jakuns. I have never seen these instruments, but I know that they use two kinds of drum like those of the Malays. The Jakuns know the Europeans by report only, the greater number of them having never seen any European. On account of the great number of Chinese emigrants, who inhabit the Peninsula, few of them are unaware of the existence of China; they are told too of Bengal, of Sumatra, and of Siam; these are the boundaries of their knowledge in geography. Their science in astronomy is yet more limited; they see the sun rise and set every day; that the moon sometimes appears, sometimes not; they use their light when present, they sleep when it is dark; but they have never noticed or inquired about the course of the stars: they scarcely know how many days are in the duration of a moon, and how many moons in the year, they are not at all aware of their age, nor of that of their children; such observations or remarks appear to them mere superfluities as being not required in that way of living. An ignorance of such matters amongst savages is not surprising when I mention that the Malays themselves who live in the interior of the Peninsula are not aware of all these things, and that on these subjects many of them are no better informed than Jakuns. A thing in which the Jakuns (only those of the Menangkabau states) are truly skilled, in the art of using the Sumpitan and poisoned arrows; as I will have occasion to mention when speaking of their weapons. They have no knowledge of writing nor do they make use of any symbolical signs. The language spoken by the three classes of Jakuns I describe is not entirely the same, but the difference is not considerable, and I think that it consists in the intonation and the pronunciation, but chiefly in the inflection upon the termination, more than in the words themselves; which are the same except a very small number. The Malays say that the Jakuns speak a low Malayan language; but in my opinion, I would think [p.252] on the contrary that they speak the purely Malayan, without any mixture of Indostanee or Arabic: I will say nevertheless that those of them who are much in communication with Malays have admitted many words of these two last languages and even some of the Portuguese. They have also adopted several circumlocutions and expressions used in the Malayan language of courtesy, as for instance, in addressing, the terms Abang, Kaka, but I remarked that they use such appellations and many other expressions of courtesy, received in Malay only when they are in the presence of Malays. The following answer given by the chiefs of the Jakuns of the Menangkabau states, who were summoned to the presence of king Mahomed Shah, may be considered as a specimen of their style and literature as well as explanatory of their manners and customs:8 "We wish to return to our old customs, to ascend the holy mountain, to dive into the earth's deep caverns, to traverse the boundless forest, to repose, with our head pillowed on the knotted trunk of the Durian tree, and curtained by Russam leaves. To wear garments made from the leaves of the Lumbah or Terap tree, and a headdress of Bajah leaves. Where the Meranti trees join their lofty branches, where the kompas links its knots, there we love to sojourn. Our weapons are the tamiang (or sumpitan), and the quiver of arrows imbued in the gum of the deadly Telak. The fluid most delicious to us is the limpid water that lodges in the hollow of trees, where the branches meet with the trunk; and our food consists of the tender shoots of the fragrant Jematong, and the delicate flesh of the bounding deer."

The Jakuns are entirely ignorant of the first principles of mathematics, nor do they know the simplest rules of arithmetic. The mathematical instrument which probably gave origin to the decimal calculation, the natural indigitation, is adopted by them in ordinary use.



All those persons who have spoken to me of the population of the Jakuns were much mistaken. The desire of findings extraordinary things, to the natural propensity to fancy the marvellous, which are found in every nation, and chiefly amongst the ignorant, are in their apogee in the imagination of Indian nations, who, generally speaking, are very informed, and this was probably the first cause which gave rise to the many hyperbolical stories which have been spread abroad about the number of the Jakuns; as well as about their manners and customs. In fact it is very difficult to ascertain the true number of the Jakuns, because part of them are a nomadic people, so that the same family, the same individuals appear today in one place, and next week, two or three miles further; next month, they will remove again, to roam the forest or to come to their first habitation; so that those who perceive them here and there imagine that these are fresh persons, and in their calculation they count two or three times the same. The number of Jakuns reported to me was always much more considerable than the number I found upon visiting the places themselves. As I have not visited the entire Peninsula it is yet difficult for me to ascertain the amount of these inhabitants of the Jungle. I will however here state what appears to me to be an approximation to the truth.

The number of the Jakuns whose existence is known to me with certainty, that is, those I myself visited, and who fell under my immediate inspection, amount to no more than one thousand. Those I know only by information would amount, I suppose, to about three or four thousand; the whole to five thousand at the most. They are distributed in the following way. Those I termed Jakuns of Malacca, are the least in number, and cannot be more than three hundred, about one half of whom I have seen in the following places; viz. near Reim and Ayer Panas, at Ayer Baru, Gassim, Kommender, Bukit Singhi; in the river of Muar near Pankalang Kota, at Poghalay, Sagil, Segamon, Lemon, Jawee; in the small river of Pago, and in that of Ring. The remainder are to be found, at Bukit More, Ayer Tross; [p.254] Bukit Gadong, Tonka, and it is reported there are a good number Segamet. Those I styled Jakuns of Johore, because they inhabit that part of the Peninsula which is under the sway of the sultan of Johore; cannot amount to more than one thousand, scattered over the large extent of country; from two to three hundred fell under my inspection at the following places; at the extremity of the Johore river, where there are several hundred of them living under a Panghulu Bateen, duly appointed by the late sultan of Johore, and by the present Tammungong of Singapore; at a place entirely in the interior of the Peninsula called Kembao,9 and at an extremity of the Banot, river; the others I have not seen are to be found at Ponthan, Ayo, Klambo, on the river of Batu Pahat, the Rio Formosa of the Portuguese, and in several other places. Those I called Jakuns of the Menangkabau states, I suppose to amount to about three thousand; I have seen only a few hundred of them, at Sungle Ujong, where there are at least five hundred, at Jellabu, at Rumbow and at Johole where they are in small number; and on the Company's territory at Rombla where there are now one hundred. Those I have not visited are to be found at Sriminanti, Ulu Muar, Jelley, Lhigi, Langhat, Ulu Coleng and in the whole of the mountainous chain running down the middle of the Peninsula until Kedah. I am induced to believe that those who are said to inhabit the forest of Pahang are an extension of those of the Menangkabau states,10 except perhaps those who are white which I have already mentioned. During the last few months many families of the Jakuns of Sungle Ujong have come into the Company territories. From what I can learn the following seems to be the cause of that emigration. About the month of May (1847) some Jakuns having killed several elephants took the liberty to sell the ivory tusks and to apply the price of them to their private use; which the Malay chief of that place pretended to be a violation of his rights, and [p.255] consequently sent armed Malays with orders to kill these poor people; as such a crime could only be atoned for by the death of the guilty parties; seven persons were killed and wounded and many officers fled to different places, and some came over to the territory of Malacca where they find more security and protection; and established themselves at Rombia, Malacca Pinda, Bukit Berdam. The places more commonly frequented by the Jakuns are the neighbourhood of mountains and the borders of rivers. I had been told that many lived around the base of mount Ophir; and possibly this was so a few years ago; but in the month of June of the present year (1847), I visited the place, and made a circuit of mount Ophir, and of the neighbouring mountains, without observing any of them; I found indeed several places where formerly had been villages, and also many ruined habitations. I likewise observed several places which bad been formerly cultivated by the Malays and possibly also frequented by the Jakuns; but they were then entirely deserted, and already covered with Jungle. A few Chinese who employ themselves in extracting the gold from the mines, are the sole remains of a large population of Malay cultivators and of Chinese miners both of whom a few years ago were located at the gold mines, which notwithstanding do not yet appear to be exhausted. This is the effect of the misuse of Malay countries. The melancholy sight of such places, rich both in mines and vegetation, excites a regret that they are not under a wiser government.


Before I had myself visited the Jakuns, report induced me to consider that to be as savage as wild beasts; and sleeping like birds on the branches of trees. Even now when I question the Malays on the object, some of them answer the same; but this is far from the truth, there is no Jakun without some dwelling, more or less well ordered. Some of them indeed have habitations which can scarcely be called houses; but these are very few; and for the most part they have houses. The Jakuns of Johore build houses in the Malay way, some of which are fine buildings. I found several which were much [p.256] more comfortable than any Malay house I have seen in the interior of Jobore: such are the houses of the Pangbulu Batin on the river of Jehore, and that of a Jakun chief on the river of Banut; the two houses were divided into several rooms, some of which were for the private accommodation of the Jakun ladies of the family; the furniture consisted of some pots, plates, several other vessels and a good quantity of mats: other houses were much more common, and pretty comfortable, clean, and always divided into two or three rooms at least, and furnished with a frying pan of iron to cook rice, a few shells of cocoanut to keep water, and baskets needed to bring food. All those houses are raised about six feet from the ground, and are entered by a ladder like the Malay houses.11

The best houses of the Menangkabau Jakuns are about the same as the more simple and common houses of the Jakuns of Jobore, the others are as described by Lieutenant Newbold "rude edifices on the top of four high wooden poles; thus elevated for fear of tigers, and entered by means of a long ladder, and presenting, viewed through certain holes which serve as doors, no very satisfactory appearance to the uninitiated. The roofs are often thatched with Chucho leaves. There is but one room, in which the whole house is huddled together with dogs and the bodies of the animals they catch. The huts are so made as to be moveable at a moment's warning; they are ordinarily situated on the steep ride of some forest or hill, or in some sequestered dale, remote from any frequented road or foot-path, and with little plantations of yams, plantains, and maize; some have also fields of rice about them. The bones and fur of the animals whose flesh the inmates of these scattered dwellings feed upon strew the ground near them, while numbers of dogs generally of a light brown colour give timely notice of the approach of strangers."12

The Jakuns of Malacca whom I characterised as the most ignorant, are also the poorest and most miserable, their best houses are about the same as the worst of those of the Menangkabaus, and I found several families who lived without even having any house at all. [p.257] These gather themselves together to the number of five or six families, they choose a place in the thickest of the forest, and there they clear a circle of about thirty feet in diameter; having cleared this space they surround it with the branches of the trees they have just cut; to this they join other thorny branches they collect from other parts, and so make a sort of bulwark against tigers, bears and panthers, which are there in good number. Having done this they proceed to establish their dwelling in this enclosure, in the following way; each family works to construct what will serve for a bed during the night, a seat in the day time, a table for the repast, and a dwelling or shelter in bad weather; it consists of about fifteen or twenty sticks of six feet long, laid one beside the other, supported at the two extremities by two outer transverse sticks which are set upon four wooden posts; the whole being about two feet in height, four feet broad and six feet long. One dozen Chucho leaves gathered by their ends, tied at the head of the bed, extend themselves and cover it until the other extremity: these beds are placed around the enclosure, in such a way that when all the persons are sleeping every one has his feet towards the centre of the habitation which is left vacant, to be used as a cook room, or for any other purpose.


The cloths of the Jakuns (when they use any) are ordinarily the same as those used by the Malays, but poor, miserable, and above all very unclean; many of them use cloths without washing, from the day they receive or buy them, until they become rotten by use and dirt; and they are obliged to throw them away: If some vermin are found, which is often the case, principally upon the women who are more dressed, they are immediately eaten with delight as in Cochin China. If many of them are badly dressed, and some nearly naked, it is more from a want of clothes than in accordance to their own wishes, chiefly amongst women; for all desire to be clothed, and the most agreeable presents which can be offered to them are some trowsers, sarongs, bajus, or some handkerchiefs to put round their head, as in the Malay fashion. Those of them who go habitually nearly naked, [p.258] do not appear so before strangers, excepting they have no clothes. The Jakuns of Johore, who are superior to the others in many respects, as can be inferred from what has been said, are also the best dressed; their women are much the same as Malay women as to dress, and the order of their appearance; having also a great number of rings on their fingers, some of which are crystal, some of copper and some of tin; but also a good many of silver; they take a peculiar pleasure in these ornaments, as well as in silver bracelets.13 The men have at least trowsers, a small baju and an handkerchief for the head. The Jakuns of the Menangkabau states, have the same dress as used by the Jakuns of Johore, and the women the same ornaments but are not so well clothed; many of them go nearly naked, at dusk near their houses; and those who use dollies, show often an embarrassment which proves that they are not accustomed to their use. The Jakuns of Malacca are badly dressed, many of the women have one sarong, and, if they are married, a ring, the necessary present of the husband before he marries them. The greater part of the men have nothing but a strip of the fibrous bark of the Terap tree, beaten into a sort of cloth of a reddish brown colour, called a sabaring, round their loins; part of this comes down in front, is drawn between the legs and fastened behind.


Like all Indian nations the Jakuns have a propensity to idleness; but to be exact in tide account, and just towards them, I must say that they are not so lazy as either the Malays or Hindoos. The first and principal occupation is the chase; they have a great prediction for this exercise, it being the first means by which they feed themselves and their families; and from having been brought up in that habit, in which the greater part of their life is spent, they should be skilful hunters and which in fact they are, both in their way and in the manner of using their weapons, as I will say hereafter. When there is no more food at home, the husband leaves house, beats the [p.259] forest, and sometimes returns with large pieces of venison, but sometimes with nothing; and on such days they go to sleep without supper. This is the ordinary evening work; when the sun is near setting. In the day time they remain at home where they prepare arrows and the weapons, the manner with which they poison their arrows, they cook and eat the animals caught the day before, and build or repair their houses, etc. Many of them cultivate plaintains, yams, which they call klades, and several other vegetables. I have seen amongst the Jakuns of Johore some who had large fields of rice: They cultivate this grain in the following way: they choose in the forest a place where the ground appears to be favourable for such a purpose, they cut all the trees, in a space more or less large according to the numbers of persons and the quantity of rice they intend to plant; they put fire, and burn all these trees that are fallen pell-mell, when the branches are burnt the fire ceases, and sometime after the rice is planted, it grows up amongst all the trunks of the fallen trees, and other larger branches which were not destroyed by fire: after the harvest the place is abandoned, and another is selected for the next year.

In several places in the interior of the forest are found durian trees, always in a body together to the number of about ten or twelve trees: such places are for the Jakuns an object of great attention, and a matter of work. They cut with great care all the other trees which surround the durians, that these by receiving more air may lift up more easily, and give finer and greater quantity of fruit; they build there a small house of which I will hereafter speak, and they then return to their ordinary habitation, which is sometimes distant from such places one or two days journey. The Jakuns who have no taste for cultivating rice, or who are not acquainted with the manner of doing so, are generally very miserable; they are then obliged to look to the Malays, to provide for their livelihood: they traverse the Jungle all the day searching after ratan, dammar, garu wood, and several other articles of commerce; the next morning, they [p.260] go to some Malay house, where they dispose of the produce of their search, receiving in return, a small quantify of rice, some times scarcely sufficient to support their family for that very day; after that they return to the same thing for the purpose of in like manner procuring food for the next day; and so on. Where the Chinese work in the tin mines, they employ sometimes Jakuns as workers. I am told that at some place in Jellabu, Jakuns work the mines by themselves, and bring the tin to Pahang, where they sell it. In some other places Malays employ Jakuns to cut jungle where they intend to cultivate; and in several other works; but there is a general complaint on the side of the Jakuns, who say that the Malay are not just towards them, and recompense not properly their labour. The business of the Jakuns women is to take care of the children, to cook and prepare the food; and to go about the forest to look for fruits and vegetables.


After what has already been said of the Jakuns, it can be easily understood that they have no regular diet. They like good food, but when they are deprived of it, they eat with satisfaction any other, even that which would be an object of horror for civilised people. They live upon the flesh of every kind of animal, snakes, monkeys, bears, deer, tigers, birds, etc. Yams, plantains with the wild fruit the leaves of trees and certain roots furnish the principal part of their ordinary food. Those of them who cultivate rice, sell a part of it to the Malays, or exchange it for cloths: with the other part they live a few months of the year. They do not dislike the flesh of domestic animals, fowls, &c., as it had been alleged; on the contrary, I remarked that they prefer it to that of wild animals. I have seen several of their houses where there was a good quantity of fowls. Sometimes they cook the flesh before they eat it: but at other times they eat it raw: some merely put the animal upon the fire till the hairs are singed, when they consider it as cooked. I have seen some large mon- [p.261] keys which, after having been thus cooked, were dished up upon a kind of mat as a meal to some seven or eight persons, who speedily devoured the whole in a few minutes, leaving only the skeleton. In eating they use no dish; an iron frying-pan serves for cooking, plantain leaves serve as plates, and some cocoanut shells form their usual drinking cups. Some Jakuns refuse to eat the flesh of Elephants, under the pretext that it would occasion sickness: but many others are not so scrupulous. When an elephant is killed either by themselves or by the Malays, they call together their friends and relatives to partake of the large entertainment which is prepared; they then build houses in which to lodge their guests, until the animal which furnishes the feast is entirely finished: then every one decamps, and returns to his usual way of living. When the durian season is come, a good number of Jakun families leave their houses, men, women and children repairing to the places I mentioned before, where are found durian trees. They then again clean the ground in order to find more easily the fruit, which fall when ripe, and, dwelling in the small house of leaves, prepare themselves to enjoy the treat which nature presents to them. For six weeks or two months they eat nothing but durians. When the season is over, the place is abandoned until the next year.17

I observed that one of their most prized dishes is a honey-comb, and let it be said with due respect to the opinion of our European cooks, the time when the honey is in the comb is not amongst these epicures of nature considered the proper moment to take the hive; but they wait until the small bees are well formed in the cell, and a few days before they are ready to fly away the honey-combs taken with great care, and, wrapped up in a plantain leaf, is put upon the fire for a few minutes, and then wax, and animals are devoured together, and considered as an uncommon treat.

The Jakuns chew betel leaf together with the areca-nut and gambier; but for the want of the betel-leaf, they use the leaf of a tree called kassi. Tobacco, when it can be had, is much used, even by women and children, in chewing and smoking.18



The Jakuns of Malacca, and those of Johore have no other arms than spears and parangs; very few use the sumpitan, and they are entirely unacquainted with the use of poisoned arrows.19 The Jakuns spears consist of an iron blade of about one foot long, and one inch broad in the middle, attached to a thick rudely worked shaft about five or six feet long, and sharp at the inferior extremity, in order to enter easily into the ground; for before they enter a house they strike the end of the spear into the ground, where it remains until they go away.20 It is scarcely possible to meet a single Jakun without his spear, which is both a stick to walk with, and an offensive or defensive weapon as the occasion requires. The parang is an iron blade of about one foot long, and two or three inches broad with a haft like that of a large knife; they use it to cut trees employed in the building of their houses; and to cut branches to open passage when journeying in the thick jungle: it is also used as a defensive weapon against wild beasts. I know a Jakun who being attacked by a tiger, defended himself with a parang (the only weapon he had with him at the time). Nearly half an hour was spent in this singular combat: the Jakun lost an eye and was seriously wounded in the head; but the royal beast paid the forfeit with his life. The Jakuns of the Menangkabau states use the parang, the sumpitan with poisoned arrows, and a few of them the spear. The sumpitan is a small bamboo of the size of the index finger, from six to ten feet long with a head as large as a fowl egg, this piece of bamboo is inserted until the head into a larger one of the same length. The arrows are very slight slips of wood the thickness of a knitting-needle, and from eight to ten inches long terminating in a fine point, coated with poison for the space of an inch or so; at the other extremity of the arrow, is placed a cone of white wood, cut in such a way that it may just fill the tube of the sumpitan to receive all the impulse of the air. and this cone also aids in directing the arrow; this is propelled by [p.263] collecting air in the lungs, and strongly emitting it into the head of the sumpitan partly inserted into the mouth of the projector. The range, to take proper effect, is about seventy or eighty feet; some can reach one hundred and forty or fifty feet; but then there will be little chance of being dangerously wounded.21


Marriages are ordinarily celebrated about the months of July and August, when fruits are plentiful. The bridegroom frequents for some time the house of his intended, and when he has obtained her consent, he makes a formal demand to the father. A day is then appointed; and an entertainment is prepared, more or less solemn, according to the means of the two contracting parties, and their rank in the tribe. When the day of the marriage is arrived, the bride-groom repairs to the house of the bride's father, where the whole tribe is assembled. The dowry given by the man to his intended is delivered, and must consist at least of a silver or copper ring, and a few cubits of cloth: if the man is not poor, a pair of bracelets. Some other ornaments, and several articles, as of furniture for the house of the new family, are added. Sometimes the woman presents also some gifts to her intended. Then the bride is delivered by her father to the bridegroom, and the solemnity of the wedding begins. Some others state that amongst some tribes there is a dance in the midst of which the bride elect darts off into the forest, followed by the bridegroom. A chase ensues, during which, should the youth fall down, or return unsuccessful, he is met with the jeers and merriments of the whole party, and the match is declared off. This story was related to me, a little differently by a European who inhabited Pahang many years. During the banquet a large fire is kindled, all the congregation standing as witnesses; the bride runs round the fire: the bride-groom who must run in the same direction, follows her; if he catches her, the marriage is valid; if he cannot it is declared off. All the Ja- [p.264] kuns I questioned, on the point declared to me that they were not at all aware of that practice; which proves that if the story is true, it must be referred to a few tribes only. No marriage is lawful without the consent of the father. Conjugal faithfulness is much respected amongst the Jakuns; so that adultery is punishable by death. It is peculiarly remarkable that the Jakuns, though surrounded by Mohammedans and heathens, who all are so much addicted to polygamy, have yet to keep marriage in the purity and unity of its first institution: it is not allowed to them to keep more than one wife; I met only one who had two, and he was censured and despised by the whole tribe. I was much surprised to find such a custom amongst these wild tribes; a custom which can scarcely be found to exist in all but Christian nations; but nevertheless with this difference, that amongst them a man can divorce his wife and take another. The form of divorcing is, that if the divorce is proposed by the husband, he loses the dowry he has given to the woman; if the woman ask the divorce, she must return the dowry she received. The children follow the father or the mother according to their wishes; if they have not yet the use of reason, they follow the mother.


No assistance is ordinarily given to lying-in women; their physicians or Pawangs are not permitted to appear in such circumstances, and midwives are not known amongst them. It is reported that in several tribes, the children, as soon as born, are carried to the nearest rivulet, where they are washed, then brought back to the house, where a fire is kindled, incense of kamunian wood thrown upon it, and the child then passed over it several times. We know from history that the practice of passing children over fire was in all times much practised among heathen nations; and that it is even now practised in China and other places. A few days after the birth of the child, the father gives him a name, which is ordinarily the name of some tree, fruit or colour.



I have already said that the Jakuns were not much subject to sickness; notwithstanding, on account of want of proper care, few of them reach to an advanced age. The sickness of which they have the greatest dread, and from which they suffer most, is the small pox. If any one attacked by it immediately he is entirely abandoned; parents, relations, friends and neighbours fly away, and the poor sick man, thus left without any assistance, of course dies miserably. In their other sicknesses, they are not so entirely uncared for; some physic, consisting ordinarily of an infusion or decoction of wild plants, is given according to the rude prescription of a Pawang, but ordinarily without any success. They mostly die of fever caused by the dampness and insalubrity of the places they inhabit; like the people of India they are generally very subject to ulcers. Many of them have also disgusting skin diseases, but ordinarily not dangerous. I think that, if the Missionaries succeed in gathering the Jakuns into villages as they intend to do, and to make their habitations more salubrious, ulcers amongst them will be certainly much more scarce; and I hope the cure of their skin diseases would not present great difficulty. A small proportion of quinine or some other remedies for fever would also doubtless preserve the life of many.


The preparations they make for their funerals are few and simple. If the decease took place before noon, the body is buried the same day; if after noon, the funeral is deferred until next day. The corpse is washed, wrapped in some cloth, and interred by relations and neighbours, in a grave about four or five cubits deep. The sumpitan, quiver of arrows, knife, &c., of the deceased are buried with him; along with some rice, water, and tobacco. I questioned them respecting the reason of burying such things with the deceased, but I could not obtain any answer except that this was the custom practised by their ancestors, and followed by them. This practice is not peculiar to the Jakuns; we know from history, that many of the [p.266] ancient people did so; and that such a custom is even yet followed amongst some Tartar tribes. Like many other people, the Jakuns consider white as a sacred colour; and it is a peculiar subject of comfort, when in their last sickness, they can procure for themselves some white cloth, in which to be buried. When too poor to obtain such a consolation, the Terap bark supplies the funeral dress. I was told that amongst the tribes, who are near to Pahang, the corpse of the deceased is burnt as is practised amongst the Hindus, and Siamese. Also that the place where a Jakun died is deserted by the others, and the house burnt; but after having questioned many of them on this last subject, I found it was practised only by a few.


The Jakuns are entirely inoffensive, nature having endowed them with an excellent temper; they are generally kind, affable, inclined to gratitude, and to beneficence. Hospitality is much practised amongst them, not only towards other Jakuns but towards any stranger, who should reach their habitations. I have remarked that all Indian nations are much inclined to begging; thus any thing they see that pleases them, they ask of the owner, when they know that there is no means to steal it, and sometimes their demands are so frequent and repeated that they are very importunate. The Jakuns are not so; they differ much in this respect from other Indians; they are liberal and generous. When I visited them, they very seldom asked for any thing; and they never refused what I asked from them; and when after asking I refused to take it; they pressed me to do so. They have very seldom quarrels amongst themselves; their disputes are ordinarily settled by their Batins or chiefs, without fighting or malice. Their laws allow of punishment for several sorts of crimes; but the Batin has seldom occasion to apply them. Candour and honesty, qualities very rare in India, and I dare say in all Asia, are notwithstanding found amongst Jakuns. It is remarkable that they abhor lying and thieving, not in words as the Malay, but really and in practise. They are never known to steal any thing, not even the most insignificant trifle. Such remarkable qualities induced sever- [p.267] al persons to make attempts to domesticate them, but such essays have generally ended in the Jakuns disappearance on the slightest coercion. Mr. Lewis, Assistant Resident at Penang, related to me, that he had for some time a Jakun family in his house; they appeared at first to be very glad of their portion, and indeed the remarkable kindness which that gentleman shows to all inferiors, could not fail to please them; but having been one day employed in some servile work, they fled away and appeared no more. The reason is that the Jakuns are extremely proud, and will not submit for any length of time to serve offices or to much control. This, if it is a defect, is the only one I have yet remarked in them.

The Jakuns, by their nature and their peculiar qualities, offer the most encouraging hopes to the Missionaries who will be employed in their amelioration. Few Indians present such good impositions to embrace the Gospel. With the favour of God and the assistance of those who are in a position to concur in the work, there is a vast deal of good to be effected amongst the Jakuns.


Though the Jakuns are generally good, and little inclined to evil they show notwithstanding, from time to time, though seldom, that, as the rest of mankind, they are in natura lapsa, and participants in the wickedness common to all the children of Adam; from whence the necessity of establishing laws amongst them; but we can say, to their praise, that their laws rather prevent disorder, than punish it. Their laws are not everywhere the same; each tribe has its customs and regulations; I will state here those I observed to be more generally received. They are not written; but they can be expressed in the following way.

Form of Government

Each tribe is under an elder termed the Batin, who directs its movements, and settles disputes.

Under each Batin, are two subordinates, termed Jennang and Jurokra, who assist him in his duties.

A fourth title, is that of Pawang, but it is more a title of honour [p.268] than of jurisdiction, and indicates the persons who are generally charged to fulfil the office of physician, and that of teacher.

The functions of the Batin resemble those appertaining to the Malay Rajahs. The title of Jennang is equivalent to that of the Malay Panghulu, or our police magistrates; and that of Jurokra to that of the men who, in our European governments, also charged to execute the orders proceeding from the police office. There is also a war chief called Panglima.

Of the elevation of persons to the Government

After the death of a Batin (or chief of the tribe) the eldest of his sons will be presented by his nearest relation, to the whole collected tribe, and will be declared and recognised publicly heir of his father in the Batinship. If the people refuse to declare him Batin, the second son of the late Batin will be presented; if the people refuse this second son and his other brothers, a stranger to the family will be elected.22

After the death of a Jennang or of a Jurokra, the Batin will appoint the eldest son of the deceased to succeed to the office; if the Batin finds the eldest son of the late dignitary unfit for the appointment, he will name another of the same family, or if there is in the family no proper person to fill the office, he will then appoint a stranger to the family.

Of a person violating the rights to their neighbour in his person23

If a person kill another without a just cause, he shall be put to death.


If a person beat another, he will be beaten in the same way; if he wound him, he will be wounded in the same way.

If a person insult another, he will pay a fine.

Of stealing

If any person shall steal the property of his neighbour, he shall return it, and pay a fine to the Batin.

If a person has already stolen several times, the Batin will take his property.

If it is recognized that a person is in the habit of stealing, he will be killed; because it is not considered possible, that a man who is given to such a habit can ever become an honest man.

Of marriages

No marriage is lawful without the consent of the father.

A man cannot have more than one wife at once.

A man divorcing from his wife looses the dowry given to her.

If the divorce comes from the side of the woman, she must return the dowry, which she received from the man.

Any married person surprised in adultery, shall be put to death.

If the woman surprised in adultery, can prove that she was seduced, she will not be put to death; but she will be sent away by her husband, because it is a shame for a Jakun to keep a wife after she has had commerce with any other man than her lawful husband.

After divorce the man and woman can marry again with others.

Of children

A father cannot sell his child, but he can give him to another, provided that the child will consent, whatever may be his age.

If children are left orphans the nearest relations will bring them up; unless with their consent another person agrees to fulfil that duty.

Of inheritance

After the death of parents the whole of their property will be divided amongst all the children in equal parts.


It is related by different persons that the Jakuns have great influence in the respective Malay states where they are living: and chiefly in the election of Malay Panghulus in the Menangkabau states. Lieut. Newbold too says the same; and confirms it by the following fact.—"A few years ago the late Panghulu of Sungel Ujong, Klana Leber, died, leaving two nephews, Kawal and Bhair. It is an ancient custom prevalent still in the interior, and I believe, generally through out Malayan nations, that when a chief dies, his successor must be elected on the spot, and before the internment of the corpse (which is not unfrequently deferred through the observance of this usage to a considerable length of time;) otherwise the election does not hold good.

"Now it happened that Kawal was absent at the time of Panghulu Leber's death. The three sukus and one of the twelve Batins took advantage of Bhair's being on the spot, elected him, and buried the body of the deceased chief. Against this proceeding, the Rajak de Rajah, and the remainder of the elective body, the eleven Batins protested; a war ensued, which terminated in 1828, pretty much is it began. Kawal, however, by virtue of the suffrages of the eleven out of the twelve Batins, and by the support of the Rajak de Rajah, is generally considered the legitimate chief. In Johole the Batins have a similar influence in the election of the Panghulu."

It appears certain, that in former times the Batins exercised each an influence in the elections of the Malay chief; but we must say that they have at the present time lost a great part of it; for to Johole, Rumbau, and several other places, they are so few in number that such a fact would be impossible, and the contempt which the Malays have for them, as well as their own natural disposition to tranquillity and peace, scarcely permit us to believe that such is the case now even for Sungei Ujong, where they are the most numerous.


The traditions entertained by the Jakuns, though frequently ridiculous, and relating impossible and fictitious facts, are not always to be rejected, because sometimes they contain more or less truth; or [p.271] may otherwise lead to the discovery of it I will relate here a few of these traditions, which if of do other utility, will assist in making known the interesting race I am now describing.

The following is a tradition entertained by a part of the Jakuns of Sungei Ujong and Rumhau and related by some of their Batins.

"In the beginning of the world, a white Unka and a white Siamang dwelt on a lofty mountain; they cohabited and had four children, who descended from the mountain into the plain, and became mankind. From them sprang four tribes. In after times the heads of these tribes, Nenek Tukol, and Nenek Landasson, Nenek Jelandong, and Nenek Karob, were invested by an ancient king of Johore, with the honorary titles of To Batin Kakanda Unka, To Batin Saribu Jajpa, To Batin Johon Lelah Perkasseh, and To Batin Karah.

The first founded the state of Calang, and possessed the Canoe Stmpan Ballang; the second ascended the Samowa, or Lingee river, and founded Sungei Ujong; the third proceeded to the hill of Lantei kalit, and founded the state of Johole; and the fourth to Ula Pahang."24

The following is another tradition entertained by several tribes, and delivered to me by a Batin of Johole.

Formerly, God created in heaven, a man and a woman. They were Batins, (that is a king and a queen,) of course, without kingdom or subjects. History says not how long a time this couple inhabited heaven; but only that one day, they descended on earth, and were found near the river of Johore, on the southern part of the Peninsula.25 There, this celestial Batin and his consort begat a numerous family, who peopled all the Peninsula; Those of them who embraced Islamism are called now Malays; and the others who remained more faithful to the manners and customs of their ancestors retained the name of Jakuns.

It is not necessary to pay great attention to perceive the analogy between this tradition, and the true history of the creation of mankind, as it is reported in the holy scriptures; or rather, would it [p.272] not be the same history deformed in several circumstances, but correct, and easily recognized in several others?

There is a traction on the origin of some tribes of Jakuns, called Orang Laut, (men of the sea,) because they live ordinarily in boats upon the sea, and on the sea shore. It is related in the following way.26

"Datta Klambu, a man of power in former days employed a number of Jakuns in the building of a palace. He had an only daughter who, once upon a time observing the primitive costume of some of her father to workmen, was seized with an uncontrollable fit of merriment. Whereupon, the irritated Jakuns commenced the incantation "ehinderwye," and pursued their way to the forest, followed by the spell bound princess. Dattu Klambu despatched messengers to bring back his daughter, but she refused to return, and eventually became the spouse of one of the Jakun chiefs. Dattu Klambu on receiving intelligence of the occurrence, dissembled his resentment, and invited the whole tribe to a sumptuous entertainment on pretence of celebrating the nuptials. In the midst of the feast he fired the palace, in which the revels were carried on, and the whole of the Jakuns except a man and a woman, perished in the flames. These two Jakuns fled to the sea-shore, and from them sprang the Orang Laut, who, not daring to return to the interior, have ever since confined themselves to the coasts and islets."

This tradition related by Jakuns is entirely different from another entertained by the Orang Laut themselves on the same subject for, they say, that their first parents were a white alligator and a porpoise.27


The Jakuns hate the Malays, and the Malays despise the Jakuns. There is a natural and uncontrollable antipathy between these two people; but they stand in need of each other, and their mutual intercourse is necessary; the Jakuns launch out into incessant com- [p.273] plaints against the Malays, as being bad people, cruel, murderers; and what is no less criminal before them thieves, pilferers, and liars. Some made to me the sensible remark, that the numerous sambayangs, or prayers of the Malays, could not be of any use for them so long as they continued addicted to as many vices; but they take great care before they thus express themselves to look about, for they know that if any Malay should chance to overhear them, they would not remain long uninjured. The Jakuns thus hate and abhor the Malays, but they fear them; and what makes their position more irksome is the necessity they are in of being obliged to hate commerce with them: the dammar, and several other products they find in the forest cannot be disposed of excepting by the hands of the Malays; which establishes a daily intercourse between them. But it is really surprising that these communications are always in good terms, and though the Jakuns are rude and wild they yet know how to give to the Malays de l'eau benite de court, and keep habitually great harmony and peace in their relations. But if the Jakuns hate and fear the Malays, the Malays in return despise and fear extremely the Jakuns. The Malays consider the Jakuns as Cafira, that is as infidels and in that quality to be despised, and as being in a rank only a little higher than animals; but on the other hand, the Malays are superstitious in the extreme. For Malays, every thing they do not understand is a mystery; everything not common must be endowed with extraordinary virtue; and consequently, for a Malay, a Jakun is a supernatural being, endowed with a supernatural power, and with an unlimited knowledge in the secrets of nature; he must be skilled in divination, sorcery and fascination, and able to do either evil or good according to his pleasure; his blessing will be followed by the most fortunate success, and his curse by the most dreadful consequences. When he hates some person, he turns himself towards the house, strikes two sticks, one upon the other, and, whatever may be the distance, his enemy will fall sick, and even if he persevere in that exercise for a few days. Besides to a Malay the Jakun is a man who, by his nature, must necessarily know all the properties of every plant, and consequently must be a [p.274] clever physician, which explains the impatience of Malays when sick to obtain their assistance, or at least get some medical plants from them; and these they must obtain, on any terms, because it is necessary for them, and must preserve their life. It is not necessary that such a physician should go to the house of the sick man; as he knows everything, he will give in his own house the proper remedies to cure the sickness. He is gifted with the power of charming the wild beasts, even the most ferocious. Such are the effects of Malay silliness and stupidity, joined with the most absurd superstitions; and the reason why, though they despise the Jakuns, they fear them and refrain from ill-treating them in many circumstances.29


When we compare those two people in whom many points seem to assign a common extraction, we cannot prevent ourselves from having a feeling of astonishment on perceiving so remarkable a difference. I have already said what is the dissimilitude, if considered in their physical appearance; but I can say that it is very little when compared with that which exists in their manners, customs, and with the moral qualities of these two races.

The Malays are much inclined to robbery and cheating, and they generally follow this inclination.30 No man can entrust them with anything. Though I paid the most particular attention to my trifling and simple baggage, every time that I have travelled in the interior, and had always a servant watching, several things were stolen, and sometimes I caught the rogue in the act: and what moreover shows a people accustomed to such a vice, is that after having been caught in the fact, they are not at all disconcerted, and with some perturable sangfroid deny the circumstances. To lie for a Malay is nothing, injustice and perjury are but small peccadilloes, which will be forgiven by God as soon as forgotten, from their memory, which [p.275] happens presently. In order to plunder strangers who journey amongst them they must know in detail all the parts which compose his property; this is the reason of so many questions, more or less unfortunate, which they put to the traveller, upon his state, his fortune, his position; an the objects contained in his baggage, which must be unfolded and examined in detail and which they as sorely ask for as a gift; then the traveller must consider himself as warned, too direct his particular attention to the things which were asked for, as they are in danger of disappearing.

I recollect that when journeying in Johole, every time I reached a canpong of Jakuns, and entered any house, where I intended to stop, at once a woman of the family took a basket, went away, and a few minutes after, entered again with some klades or other vegetable, which were cooked and presented to me about half an hour after my arrival. When the next day I offered to them some small articles, as a return, they received them with some appearance of shame; so much so, that I was obliged to show them, that this was not a present, but a debt; and that I was only doing according to the custom of my native country, where a traveller must always give something to the owner of the house where he has slept. On the contrary on my entering any Malay home I perceived that the chief of the family, in the persuasion that this was a lucky wind-fall not to be lost, but at once, by taking every means to speculate upon me; hence the exaggerated difficulties to continue the journey, which are made to appear as impossible, for want of coolies, of guides, &c.—which signifies, "If you do not give me some good present, you shall not pass farther." The traveller may give as much as may be in his power, yet this will never be sufficient. The actions of Malays generally show low sentiments, and a sordid feeling; but the Jakuns are naturally proud and generous.

These two people, so different in many points, are notwithstanding similar in some respects: both are ignorant, and consequently superstitious. In these two points they resemble each other, with the difference that the Malays are ignorant and pretend to be the most enlightened people and refuse to hear anybody. The Jakuns are [p.276] ignorant, but aware of their ignorance; though they are proudly independent, yet they think that others know better than themselves and thus bear easily to be taught. With respect to the latter though these two people are superstitious, certainly the Malays are more so than the Jakuns; and I further observed, that those of the Jakuns who have less correspondence with the Malays, are also the most superstitious.

From whence then comes so remarkable a difference between these peoples, who have inhabited the same country for so many centuries, and who appear to have about the same origin? This question presented itself many times to my mind, during my several journeys in the interior of the Peninsula; and to it I have not yet found a satisfactory answer. I will notwithstanding offer here a few expressions, which may present more or less probability. Would not the plundering and bloody way of propagating the Koran, by which the Malays have been made Mohammedans,31 be the first principle of their inclination to plundering and bloody actions; as it is natural in human nature to feel less repugnance for any thing which already has become consecrated by religious views. It is remarkable that almost the same inclination is found in almost all the Mohammedan nations. Every one knows that before France took Algiers, the whole of the Algerine states were an empire of pirates. In the same manner before the English sway had established security in this part of the [p.277] world the Malays too were a nation of murderers and pirates.32 It is certain also that Islamism leads its followers into ignorance, and consequently into superstition, which is its usual result. It is ascertained by travellers, that countries inhabited by Mohammedans, are those where exists that profoundest ignorance. And every one is aware of the historical fact of the destruction of the famous Library of Alexandria, under the pretext that the Koran was the only book necessary, all others being useless; hence was destroyed the sacred sanctuary of doctrine, and extinguished one of the brightest scientific luminaries, which has ever enlightened any part of the world.


If the Jakuns hate the Malays, and fear them, it is certainly not an effect of egotism, and of a natural timidity; for they do not so towards [p.278] other nations: they dislike not the Chinese; and they have a remarkable sympathy for Europeans, and place unlimited trust in them even after a single interview. The reason is that generally Europeans show in their conversation a security and frankness which by its great contrast with the deceitfulness of the Malays, catches at once the hearts of this people of children. They love the European and attach themselves to him, as soon as they know him, and the slightest good office received from him, is the source of the most unbounded gratitude: though this fact was related to me by several persons, I scarcely believed it, until I was myself witness of it. Among many examples which confirm what I now state, I will relate only one, which took place in a journey I undertook in the Menangkabau states in  order to visit the Jakuns who live there; I was accompanied by the Rev. Mr. Borie.

After having visited the states of Johole and Rumbau, we reached that of Sung Ujong on the sixteenth July, about 13 o'clock. We spent the afternoon at the village near the river where there are more than one hundred Malay and Chinese houses, and a Market. We were informed that the chief of the state was living at Pantoy, a place about eight or nine miles further; and was then celebrating the rites of a triple marriage. Three persons of the royal blood two children of the chief and another of his relations, were contracting the marriage with three persons of the first families amongst their nobility; we were informed too, that the wedding was one of the most solemn which could be found in a Malay country; fifty buffaloes were to be killed, and two thousand dollars to be expended in buying rice, fowl, and other victuals; and also in gunpowder, which is much used in such solemnities; the feast was to last for two months and had already begun some few days. As it is not possible in a Malay country to go to any place, without having first obtained permission from the chief, we took the next day our way to Pantoy in order to see him. We arrived at Pantoy at one o'clock in the afternoon, and at once we found ourselves surrounded by a number of kings, queens, princes, princesses, ministers of state, and officials of every rank, more than one hundred hadjis and Mohammedan priests, several [p.279] hundred Malays of every kind and a similar number of Chinese workers in tin mines. The Jakuns themselves had not been forgotten upon such an occasion; doubtless to prevent their resentment which could be followed by the most fatal consequences to the fate of the new spouses, and possibly also in order to render the feast more solemn, they had been invited; nearly one hundred Jakuns were already come, and a greater number more yet expected. We looked about us to find out in the middle of such a tumult some place where we could put up and place our things in security. Malay houses had been built for the occasion, but were already filled with people. There was a quarter appropriated for the lodgement of the Malay priests and hadjis; another for the common Malays; and a third for the use of Chinese. We turned towards this last and were received by the Chinese with the usual urbanity and politeness characteristic of that nation. We entered the house of a Chinese, which we were immediately invited to do by the owner, the chief of the miners, who with kindness ceded to us the half of his lodging. After having cleaned our clothes a little, (which were the ordinary dress of a gentleman, the sonton being too cumbersome in such a journey,) we asked that we might be allowed to see the king; we were then introduced into the place around which we perceived many tents pitched in several places; and in the middle of a large place a high and rich tent, for the use of the new spouses, and communicating with the royal house by a long covering which was extended and established a shaded passage between these two apartments. The whole was adorned with standards of every kind, and with banderols of every colour, and presented a rural, but agreeable aspect. We were then introduced into a tent which appeared to be one of those supplied to the service of the king. We had scarcely sat down, when the king himself entered accompanied by his brother; both took their places far apart of the tent adorned with draperies, forming a sort of throne. The king was dressed in a baju of red velvet, with gold embroidery, a silk sarong of a brown colour, and trousers about the same, with a silk handkerchief surrounding his head; his brother had a violet velvet baju, a blue sarong, and the rest of his dress much [p.280] about the same as the kings. After the usual forms of civility, we asked the necessary permission to visit several places, to see the Jakun. The king received the request with kindness, and allowed us to go wherever we chose within the boundaries of his state; and after a few minutes of friendly conversation he got up, saying to us, come here, I will show you some Jakuns, and took the Revd. Mr. Borie by the hand. I followed them accompanied by the king's brother. We went to a place, where near one hundred persons, men, women, and children where huddled confusedly together, lying down under some old and miserable cart-house, separated from any other building; resembling the lepers of former times, who were bound to reside outside the gates of the cities. After having spent a few minutes in the visit we paid to these poor creatures, the king accompanied us to our lodging and then returned back to the palace. The afternoon was spent in receiving the numerous visits of a good part of the wedding guests, who were desirous to see us, many of them having never before seen Europeans; for five or six hours, our house was full of people, and ourselves exposed to the curiosity of the public, as extraordinary beings, and bothered by a multitude of tedious questions. The Jakuns came according to their rank, and should, of course, all enter our house one after the other; several of them came repeatedly, and we understood, that they wished to communicate some secret to us; and in this we were not mistaken, for they came again in the evening, when they had watched that there were no Malays with us, and thus we were alone. Then they opened themselves to us, showing how unhappy they were in that place, and what bad treatment they experienced from the Malays, so that only a few days before several of them had been killed, and wounded by order of the Malay chiefs they declared that they intended to escape over into the Company's territory, where they hoped to find more tranquillity and assistance; and asked us to take them with us. Two of them besought us to receive them as servants for ever, or rather as slaves, as they intended not to receive any pay. I was much moved by such a mark of confidence; for I knew well that by speaking so, they put their lives into our hands; for the mention of their design would have undoubt- [p.281] ely been the cause of some fresh order for killing the first authors of this resolution, which would have been called a conspiracy. We give a little advice to this poor people who by their confidence showed that they already considered us as their fathers; and we postponed the consideration of this affair to another day; as we intended shortly to return again.

As I have been, with a view to make known this occurrence, led to speak of a Malay feast, I will continue to relate the circumstances which accompanied it, for the short time we remained in that place. We slept there two nights, and were kindly treated by the king, who wishing to make us also partake of the feast, sent us every morning and evening, with his compliments, large pieces of buffaloes. The following was the duly order of the feast. At five o'clock a.m. the beginning of the day was announced by six cannons, which were powerfully repeated by the echo of the mountains on either side of the valley; a few instants after gunfire began Malayan music, which scarcely again ceased for a few moments during the whole of the day. About six or seven o'clock, a great quantity of rice and meat was distributed to all the guests. Then every one cooked and prepared his breakfast. The repast of the three bridegrooms and their brides was announced by a discharge of artillery. Twelve o'clock was the time when they took their drive; which was performed in the following way. A large place in the forest had been cut and cleared for the purpose; the spouses entered into a large chariot of the form of craft, brought on four massy wheels; this huge lump, instead of thills had two long ropes formed of twisted tree roots, to which more than a hundred persons yoked themselves, and pulled it about crying out with all the strength of their lungs; the procession was accompanied by several artillery men who fired incessantly. To such a noise and tumult, you can add two choirs of music, one executed by Malays, consisting of about a dozen gongs and as many flutes; the other by Chinese consisting of five or six gongs, a great number of cymbals, and many tamtams, all striking their instruments without tone or measure; and you will have an idea of the attractiveness of the party.


About three o'clock in the afternoon a fresh distribution of victuals again took place. At five o'clock, the new spouses took their bath and during that time, the Malay and Chinese musicians performed in the same way as during the drive. At six o'clock, more firing of cannon, and then commenced gambling which was kept up much the whole night. Several choirs of vocal music accompanied by soft gongs alternately relieved each other, both day and night. On the morning following the second night after our arrival we went to take leave of the king, and thank him for his kindness; and leaving the place behind us, we heard yet for a long time from afar the continued noise of the feast and which had so powerfully stunned my ears that the next day it was yet ringing in them.


1 In the title page of the MS. the author adds "First part of a work composed at the request of his honour Lieut. Colonel Butterworth, C.B., Governor of Prince of Wales island, Singapore and Malacca." This valuable paper has been presented to us by Colonel Butterworth, whose constant interest in the Journal and most effective support demand a renewed expression of our warmest thanks.

2 The order I follow here under the title Origin, will be also followed under the other titles.

3 Sir. Raffles' opinion was that the people of the Archipelago and Peninsula were of a Tartar stock. Hist. of Java, vol. i. p. 61, (2nd ed.).

4 See vol. i. p.249.

5  See on the religion of the Binua of Johore, ante vol. i. p. 275, 279, on that of the Mintira ib, p. 275, 282, 307, 325, &c.

6  See vol. i. p.277.

7 See vol. i. p.285.

8 This passage, we suspect, should be received as a specimen of Lieutenant Newbold's style of poetical prose. It is evidently a paraphrase by him of the original Malayan, Newbold's Political and Statistical account of the British Settlements in the Straits of Malacca, vol. II. p. 594. Ed.

9 The author omits the Binuas of those portions of the Simrong and other branches of the Indan which are in Johore. See vol. I. p. 240.

10 This is true with respect to the central and northern parts of the interior of Pahang, if we may trust accounts which we have received from Mintira and also from Malay traders who have crossed from Malacca to Pahang. But the southern part of Pahang is inhabited by the same tribe of Binua who are found in Johore. (See ante vol. I. p. 217)

11 See ante vol. I. p. 858.

12 Newbold, vol. ii. p. 401.

13 See vol. i. p. 269.

14 Ib. p. 255-263, 273.

15 See vol. i. p. 265, 320.

16 Vol. I. p. 254-260.

17 See Vol. I. p. 269.

18 Ib, p. 265.

19 Vol. i. p. 272.

20 This is also the custom of the Johore Binua, &c. p. 257.

21 See the timian or sumpitan used by the Mintira and other Bermun tribes described above, vol. i. p. 272. A principal defect of the weapon is that, from the excessive tightness of the darts or arrows, a puff of wind affects their direction. Ed.

22  This form of election proves the truth of the principle, that from the very commencement of the social state, the source of all temporal power and Jurisdiction, is in the will of the people voluntarily giving up their liberty, and placing it in hands of persons, to whom they are naturally led to look up, and from whom they can receive protection and assistance. In such course of things as remarks wisely some author, laws must have preceded the knowledge of letters, and the other arts of civilised life; and this we accordingly find to be the case, in the oral traditional code which is in force amongst the Jakuns.

23 We may remark in this chapter a perfect identity with the punishment of Talion, given to the Jews by the ministry of Moses.

24 Newbold, vol. II. p. 876.

25 Compare the Johore tradition, 2nd vol. I. p. 68, 280.

26 Newbold, vol. II. p. 411.

27 Ib. p. 422.

28 See ante vol. I. p, 285, 328.

29 I must remark, that I do not here mean to speak of many of them who live within the limits of the English settlement; many of these, on account of their more frequent communications with Europeans, are most civilised, and consequently less superstitious.

30 I speak more particularly of the Malays living in the Interior, there is a great difference between them and these who are in contact with Europeans.

31 The Malays were not originally coerced into Islamism nor have instances of violent conversion, such as the recent one of many of the Battas by the Padris in Sumatra, been frequent in later times. "The Arabs and other Mahomedan missionaries conciliated the natives of the country, required their language,—followed their manners,—intermarried with them,—and, melting into the mass of the people, did not, on the one hand, give rise to a privileged race, nor on the other to a degraded cast. Their superiority of intelligence and civilization was employed only for the instruction and conversion or a people, the current of whose religious opinions was ready to be directed into any channel into which it was skilfully diverted. They were merchants as well as the Europeans, but never dreamt of having recourse to the iniquitous measure of plundering the people of the produce of their soil and industry. This was the cause which led to the success of the Mahomedans, and it was naturally the very opposite course which led to the defeat of the Christians. The Europeans in the Indian Archipelago have been just what the Turks have been in Europe, and the consequences of the policy pursued by both may fairly be quoted as parallel cases." Crawfurd's History of the Indian Archipelago, vol. II. p. 275.

32 "From the period at which Europeans first visited these islands, their civil history may be summed up in few words; it is included in the of their commerce. The extensive trade or these islands had long collected at certain natural and advantageous emporia; of these Bautain, Achau, Malacca, and Macasser, were the principal. The valour of Portugal broke the power of the native states, and left them exposed to the more selfish policy of their successors. The Dutch had no sooner established their capital at Ratavia, than, not satisfied with transferring to it the emporium of Bautain, they conceived the idea of making it the sole and only depot of the commerce of the Archipelago. Had this object been combined with a liberal policy, and had the local circumstances of Balavia not obstructed it, the cITeclmi^ht between different, and, instead of the ruin and desolation which ensued throughout a large portion of these islands, they might have advanced in civilization, while they contributed to raise the prosperity, and support the ascendant of the Dutch metropolis. But when we advert to the greedy policy which swallowed up the resources or this extensive Archipelago in a narrow and rigid monopoly; and that, instead of leaving trade to accumulate, as it had previously done at the natural emporia, it was forced, by means of arbitrary and restrictive regulations, into one which, independent of other disadvantages, soon proved the grave of the majority of those who were obliged to resort to it, we shall find the cause which made it as ruinous to the Dutch as to the people. By attempting too much they lost what, under other circumstances, might have been turned to advantage, and the native states, deprived of their fair share of commerce, abandoned all attempts, and sunk into the comparative insignificance in which they were found at the period when our traders began to navigate those seas from Madras and Bengal. The destruction of the native trade of the Archipelago by this withering policy may be considered as the origin of many of the evils of and of all the piracies of which we now complain. A maritime and commercial people, suddenly deprived of all honest employment, or the means of respectable subsistence, either sunk into apathy and indolence, or expended their natural energies in piratical attempts to recover, by force and plunder, what they had been deprived of by policy and fraud."—Sir T. S. Raffles, Introduction to Leyden's Malay Annals, p. vii. Ed.