Abbildungen der Seite

agreements in perpetuity.—Without such a language, the British could never have done what was done for the eastern islands. Those leading measures, of which the Netherlands government are now deriving all the benefit, could never have been effected, had not the natives relied on the British government being able to secure them in a perpetuity of those rights which they had recognised. —The commissioners-general of his Netherlands majesty, however, refused to guarantee those treaties, and the consequence was a formal protest on the part of the British authorities, who, on account of this and other measures of the Netherlands government, were compelled to leave Batavia, under a declaration, that there was an evident disinclination to concede any thing to the name and character of the British nation in the Eastern Seas; and that, judging by the general policy evinced, there seemed reason to believe it to be the wish of the Netherlands government to erase the recollection of the British administration, and studiously to prevent the native princes and chiefs perceiving any influence of the British government in the arrangements of that transfer.— Such were the early impressions of the British authorities, and the subsequent proceedings of the Netherlands government will show how far they are correct.—The British government considered the native princes as independent sovereigns, and treated with them accordingly. The Dutch refused to guarantee or respect our treaties, and would appear to have

considered those faithful allies of the British nation as unconstitutionally subjected to their disposal.—If this be unjust with regard to the settlements actuall subjected to European .. what must be thought of it with regard to those states which have risen into importance, and maintained their connexion with Britain in opposition to the restrictive policy of the Dutch 2. The representatives of his Netherlands majesty would seem to aim at an absolute despotism over the whole Archipelago, with a view of excluding other European nations. The British had encouraged sentiments of freedom as far as was compatible with tranquillity, and had led the natives to rely upon them for the continued enjoyment of them.—But whatever may be the arrangements or arguments of the Netherlands government with regard to the Archipelago generally, it is not necessary to go beyond the confines of Sumatra for evidence of the system which they seem determined to pursue, and against which it is the main object of this paper to protest. The circumstances are as follow.—By the 2nd article of the convention of the 13th August 1814, the British government ceded the island of. Banca to the king of the Netherlands.-This island, valuable on account of its tin mines, had, in the year 1812, been previously ceded to Great Britain by his highness Sultan Najemudin, of Palembang, on the express condition that all former contracts and agreements should be annulled, and that the Sultan should be

be maintained and supported in his dignity by the British government, without the further interference of the European government in the affairs of Palembang. So important was this stipulation considered by the Sultan, that on the 1st August 1813 it was an express article of an explanatory treaty, that the former clause, j. stipulated that his highness should do homage, or consider himself always dependent on the government of Java, was “null and void,” as being unnecessary under existing circumstances.—When the British were about to withdraw from Java, and arrangements were made for the transfer of Banca, it was necessary to withdraw the small British force which had provisionally remained at Palemban for the protection of the Sultan. On that occasion the Sultan apealed to the British government in the strongest terms. The following extract from one of his highness's letters to the hon. Mr. Findall, may be sufficient for the present purpose:—“I hasten to send back my ambassadors to Batavia to wait upon my friend the lieutenant-governor, of whom I earnestly entreat that he will confirm and settle all the arrangements regarding me and the country of Palembang, as heretofore existing, and that those relations may remain uninterrupted, notwithstanding the establishment of the Dutch government on the Island of Java. I cannot on any consideration separate myself from the friendship existing between me and the British government; and I place my reliance on the British go

w vernment, that their protection may not be withdrawn, &c. &c. I cannot understand any other power upon which I can place my dependence than the English government, &c." In the same manner as the British authorities had called upon the commissioners-general to guarantee the treaties with other princes, they called upon them to respect that with the Sultan of Palembang; but the commissioners refused a compliance with this request: a solemn protest was accordingly made on the part of the British government, and the question referred to the authorities in Europe. The grounds on which the British authorities felt themselves warranted in requiring, in a. particular manner, that the existing treaty with the Sultan of Palembang should be respected, were obvious. That treaty had been fully recognised, as well b his Britannic majesty as by his majesty of the Netherlands; it was no longer a connexion dependant on the local government of Java. The island of Banca was not considered to revert to the Dutch as a matter of course, under the general provisions of the convention of 1814; it required that an express article should be inserted in the convention, and his majesty the king of the Netherlands having received the island of Banca under that express article, must be bound to respect the treaty by which it was originally ceded to the English. The very act by which the Netherlands government took possession of Banca, confirmed the independence of Palembang, and rendered rendered it incumbent on the British government to maintain the independence unimpaired. While the British government availed itself of the benefit which they derived by the treaty with Palembang, they were surely bound to fulfil that part of it which was beneficial to the Sultan. Having transferred Banca to a foreign power, the British government became bound in honour and good faith to fulfil the express condition on which they first obtained it.—Bound, therefore, as the British government was, to maintain the rights and dignity of the Sultan, as the price for which Banca may be considered to have been purchased, and deeply interested as it was in protecting the independence of the port of Palembang, it was with surprise that I received, on the 17th of June, a letter from the Sultan, of which the following is an extract.— “At this present time there is much trouble and anxiety owing to the confusion and alarm spread by the arrival of a great Dutchman, called Edelia Muntinghe, who wishes to enter the country of Palembang, and says he was sent over by the Dutch commissioners-general, for the purpose of communicating with me. At present he is at Minto, and it is uncertain when he may come to Palembang. The object of his mission I do not know, but he has ordered a ship of war to precede him up the river, &c. &c. I hope that my friend will afford me whatever assistance he possibly can, and also give me instructions in order to prevent the Dutch from at all or in any way


affecting my present state and situation, by introducing disturbance and confusion in the country, and by co-operating with those who wish to destroy my respect and authority; for I most fully rely on being, through the kindness and assistance of my friend, securely and firmly established in the rule of the country, &c. &c. I request my friend will send me an early reply, and that my friend will at the same time send me something to hold to, for I am still in a state of very great anxiety and alarm.” On receipt of this intimation, capt. Salmond was directed to proceed to Palembang, as agent of the British government, under instructions (dated Fort Marlborough, 20th June 1818) of which

the following is a copy, viz. “To Capt. Salmond.—Sir:You are hereby appointed to proceed on a special mission to Palembang, the object of which is to afford to the Sultan the protection of the British government. –2. I am unacquainted with the measures which may have been pursued by the Dutch government with respect to Palembang; but whatever they may have been, they can in no way interfere with the duty of the British government, to support the present Sultan, Ratoo Achmed Najumudin, on the throne, to which he was raised by their authority. This, indeed, was the express condition on which he ceded the island of Banca.—3. The Dutch government have no claim whatever to a footing at Palembang, by virtue of the recent convention, and therefore it depends upon the Sultan, as an independent pendent prince, whether he chooses to admit them or not. In his recent communications to me, he expresses himself to be in the utmost distress and anxiety, in consequence of the disorder and confusion into which the country has been thrown, by the expected arrival of a Dutch commissioner, and in full hope that I will give him proofs of my assistance and friendship, calls upon me to know what I can do for him, as his sole reliance is upon the British government, who raised him to the throne.— 4. From this it would appear, that the Sultan has not yet entered into any formal arrangement with the Dutch government; but as they may have taken measures for forming an establishment, in defiance of the protest of the British government and of the rights of the Sultan, no time should be lost in calling upon the Sultan to make his election; and if he is desirous of excluding the Dutch, and of remaining under the British protection, an explanatory treaty should be negotiated.—5. At all events, it will be your duty to convince the Sultan that he is not abandoned by the British government; and should he place himself unequivocally under its protection, to afford him that protection to the extent of your means, and to require that the Dutch withdraw all pretensions, and in no way further interfere with the affairs of Palembang.— 6. It is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to suggest the propriety of all your communications with the Dutch authorities of Banca or elsewhere being as guarded as

[ocr errors]

possible, but at the same time in the spirit of harmony and good understanding which exists be— tween the two governments.-7. I inclose the translation of the accompanying letter to the Sultan of Palembang, which you will be pleased to deliver to his highness immediately on your arrival—Relying on your judgment and discretion in the execution of the duty reposed in you, I am, &c. (Signed) T. S. RAFFLEs."

The following is the Letter to the Sultan, alluded to in the above instructions :—

“To his Highness Ratu Achmud Najemudin, Sultan of Palembang.—(After compliments.) I have received your highness's letter, sent by your Uturans, as well as the letters from the members of your highness's family. Your highness calls upon me for assistance, in order that you may be maintained on the throne of Palembang ; I, therefore, lose no time in sending to your highness's court captain Salmond, a gentleman in whom I place every confidence, and who will be my representative in inquiring into the grievances complained of by your highness and your family. This gentleman has also full authority from me to adopt all arrangements that may tend to your highness's security.—I have to request to bespeak your highness's kind offices to captain Salmond and the gentlemen in his suite.—I have nothing to send my friend but the British flag.— Written at Marlborough, the 21st June 1818.” - Subsequently | Subsequently to the departure of Captain Salmond, a further letter was received from the Sultan, of which the following are extracts:


“I further acquaint my friend, that on the 29th of Rajah 1233, the great man, called Warner Herman Muntinghe, entered Palembang with apparently hostile accompaniments, consisting of one ship and one brig of war, a gun-boat, and upwards of twenty small prows. There were also with him Rajah Ahib, a native of Sink, and Pangeran Shiriff Mahomed, together with many other persons of different descriptions. He also brought me letters from the commissioners-general and the g: of Batavia. These letters which I received inform me that they send Mr. Muntinghe as a commissioner to make inquiries respecting Banca and Palembang, and request me to pay him due honour and respect as their representative. On a subsequent day he waited upon me, and said he brought orders to me from the commissionersgeneral at Batavia, requiring me to make a division of the villages, &c. in order that one-half might be given to the former Sultan, Mahomed Budrudan, and the other remain with me. He at the same time wished to give me 1,000 Spanish dollars a month, and told me I must conform to these orders; that if I did not, an act similar to that of major Robinson’s would certainly take place; namely, that of dethroning me. His vessels of war were anchored directly opposite the gate of my fort, as if he intended to have re.

course to compulsive measures, without further discussion.—Be it known to my friend, that whenever I mentioned the name of my friend, the British government, his anger increased; and if I am not now at once assisted by my friend, my destruction, perhaps my death, is inevitable. Let the orders and assistance of my friend, whatever they may be, come quickly to Palembang—Further, I have been found fault with for receiving my friend's letter, and have been told by him (Mr. Muntinghe) not to send any more people to Bencoolen. I replied, ** How, can I not receive the letters of my friend, having been raised to the throne by the British government; I certainly must remember its kindness and attachment, and never can forget the same, or separate myself from it,” &c. &c. He also desired me to dispatch persons without delay, to overtake those I before sent with the letter to my friend, and get back the same from them; and it is owing to this circumstance, that I am now enabled to forward the present letter to my friend; and let him not take offence at the unsuitable manner in which it is done. But my friend knows too well how unhappily I am at present situated to do this, &c. &c. I having nothing to send my friend but tears which never cease to flow.” f

The following additional instructions (dated Fort Marlborough, 24th June 1818), were in consequence forwarded to Captain Salmond, on the 24th of June.

“To Capt. Salmond.—Sir,

« ZurückWeiter »