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litary detachments descending from the mountains that my messengers were stopped on their way, going up to the poor inhabitants of the country, to announce to them the abolition of their Tiban and Tookon, of every kind of forced labour and delivery of produce, and, above all, of the abominable custom of enslaving, not only individuals, but whole families and generations of them, for the trifling amount of a civil debt.—But how could it be the fate of these humane principles, to be stopped in their course b a friend to humanity, by excellence? how could the patron of these principles rise up in opposition to the accomplishment of his own system, and the lieut.governor of Fort Marlborough oppose, what it was, and ever will be, the glory of the late lieut.governor of Java to have first proclaimed?—I am sensible, hon. Sir, you would want here to put a stop to my argument; you would remind me that it is on a right by contract that you found #. claims, and, pointing to the nal clause of the treaty you allude to, propose your system, that the Sultan of Palembang was an independant prince, under the protection of the British government, where former rights were to be left untouched, even should humanity suffer by it.—As it seems that on these points a difference of opinion has existed between the commissioners-general and the late British authorities on the island of Java, it perhaps might be my duty to withhold from entering on the subject: and confining myself to the orders under which I am bound to
act, I refer you for explanations to the higher authorities at Java; but considering the decisive measures you have already entered upon, and the circuitous way by which any explanation could reach you from Java, I will take it upon myself to enter into some explanation, though always with due deference, and save the different view my superiors might take of the subject + 4 + +.” On the tone in which the Netherlands government are determined to maintain their system, some idea may be formed by the following additional extract from the letter of the commissioner at Palembang:— - “Of the facts constituting such a breach of faith (on the part of the Sultan) they, the Netherlands government, are naturally, as an independent power, the sole judge in these quarters of the earth; and it would be highly improper to enter into any justification of them but before their higher authorities at home, who have a right to call for it, and to whom a reference lies open on the subject.” On the act of publicly arresting the person of the British representative, after that officer was publicly accredited and recognised in that capacity by the Dutch commissioner, and while he was sleeping under the protection of the British flag, hoisted by an independent prince in alliance with Great Britain, there can be but one opinion; but so little is an act of the kind now thought of by the Dutch authorities, that the commissioner, though voluminous in his correspondence on other points, does not not even condescend to offer an explanation, much less an apology, on this. Whatever measures might have been found necessary for the support of the authority that thus had so unjustifiably been wrested from the hands of an unfortunate prince, under the immediate protection of the British government, it is to be regretted that nothing less than open insult, and the degradation of the British character in the eyes of the natives, and this on a spot where British valour had recently been so conspicuous, and where the Dutch gratitude was so imperiously called for, would have been resorted to. Justly indignant at conduct so unjustifiable on the part of the representative of a nation at peace and friendship with Great Britain, and desirous to check the progress of a system of which it is to be feared this will not be found a solitary instance, I do hereby most solemnly and publicly protest—First, Against the whole of the proceedings of the Netherlands government at Palembang, as unjustifiable, and in direct violation of the rights and treaties which it is incumbent on them to respect; by which proceedings, not only the character of the British government is seriously involved, but its proceedings with regard to Bancarendered questionable.—Secondly, I protest against the general proceedings of the Netherlands government, in disregarding the solemn protests made by the British authorities before they quitted Java, and do declare null and void all arrangements, not provisional in their. nature, which may have been
made in defiance of those protests.-Thirdly, I further protest against any military force being sent by the Netherlands government to any place within the Archipelago, with which the English are in alliance and carry on trade, in which the Dutch flag did not actually fly on the first of Jan. 1803, with the exception of such as may have been in the charge of the British government at that date, and which may be regularly transferred.— Lastly, and in the strongest manner, I protest and appeal against the insult offered to the representative of the British government, in the arrest of the person of captain Salmon, the British agent at Palembang, holding the representatives of the Netherlands government in these seas responsible for all the acts of aggression and insult connected therewith, and which will hereafter be made known in another place, unless prompt and ade
quate satisfaction is given. In conclusion, I deem it necessary to state, that the object of this protest is not directed against the minor measures of their excellencies the commissioners-gen., nor of the commissioner at Palembang, nor is it intended to affect the personal good understanding and harmony which happily prevails. I have reason to respect and esteem them. It is against the political system which, as representatives of the Netherlands government, they have felt it their duty to adopt, that I protest; a system by which the interest of the Netherlands government appear to be exclusively considered, without the least reference ference being had in how far the honour and interests of the British nation may be involved thereby. To such a system it is incumbent on me to oppose the rights and duties of the British government; and it is to be hoped, that when the character and interests of both nations are duly considered and deliberated upon by higher authorities, such a liberal policy will be resolved, as will at once put an end to the confusion and irregularities which must continue, and even increase to an alarming extent, while the present system is allowed to be persevered in. Done by me, the lieutenant-gov.
of Fort Marlborough and its
dependencies, at the CourtHouse at Marlborough, this
12th day of August, 1818.
(Signed) - T. S. RAFFLEs. (Registered) - W. R. JENNINGs, Secretary to Government, and Registrar.
The following documents, received since the signature of the above protest, are annexed, as connected with the very extraordinary proceeding at Palembang, and from which it would appear that the Sultan Achmed Nujemudin has been actually deposed, and his brother raised to the throne in his place, by the Dutch commissioners at Palembang.
Translation of a Letter from Sultan Achmed Nujemudin, of Patembang, to the Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen.
“Capt. Salmon, on his arrival at Palembang, had immediately
an interview with - the Sultan, when he presented to him a letter, and a flag that accompanied it, from the hon. the lieutenantgovernor of Fort Marlborough, which were received with the greatest joy and with every mark of respect.—The flag was then ordered to be hoisted, and a letter sent by captain Salmond to Mr. Muntinghe. It is not known what may have been the nature of the communication thus made, but Mr. Muntinghe sent to call capt. Salmond, and to order him to pull down the British flag which had been hoisted by the Sultan. Captain Salmond replied, that he dared not to pull it down; and after this, not to enter into details,
there came a party of Dutch sol
diers, together with a party of Palembang people favourable to the interest of the ex-Sultan, and also of Siaks, to the number of at least 700 in all, by the two latter of whom the residence of the young Sultan was surrounded by order of the Dutch, so as to prevent all communication with him. —At sunset the flag, according to custom, was ordered by the Sultan to be lowered and taken in. He himself was then confined by the Dutch, and no egress or ingress on any account permitted, and early the following morning the flag-staff was cut down by the Dutch-The Sultan’s place of confinement was a small apartment on the eastern side of the new fort, which did not admit of more persons being accommodated there than ten petty officers, who were all that were with him, the rest of his people being obliged to remain outside. Captain Salmond and those with him were taken by Mr. Muntinghe, at four o'clock in the morning, and have now been sent off direct to Batavia in a small vessel.—The persons who were deputed by the Sultan to meet and receive captain Salmond on his arrival at Palembang, viz. three Pangerangs, a Tummungung, a Ranga, and a Demang, were all seized and
laced under arrest within the
utch entrenchment.—The Sultan still continues a close prisoner, and no communication is permitted between him and any dne outside. The only persons allowed to pass in or out of the place where he is confined are some women, who are employed to fetch water and buy provisions for him, and it is only at stated times that this indulgence is granted, and for a very limited
period that they are allowed to.
be absent. Such is the inconceivable state of misery and distress to which the Sultan has been reduced. Trusting, however, to the benevolence and compassion of the British authority at Bencoolen, and firmly relying on assistance from thence, he has peaceably borne with and submitted to all that has befallen him. Night and day he anxiously hopes that the honourable the lieutenant-governor will afford him speedy relief; for so great is the misery and the shame he how feels, that he cannot keep his eyes dry.”
Deposition of Ki Baha Sanghin and Pali Jenah, taken ; #orous on the 1st August, 818.
The deponents state as follows: —The letter this day brought by
them to Fort Marlborough, from the Sultan at Palembang, and presented to the hon, the lieut.governor was smuggled out of the place where the Sultan is at present confined, within the precincts of the New Fort, by one of his female attendants, who are employed to fetch water and provisions, and on that account alone are the only persons permitted to pass in and out, and that only at stated times, and for very limited periods. The strict manner in which these women are searehed by the Dutch guard placed over the Sultan, every time they go in or come out of his place of confinement, and the circumstance of one of them, on whose person a letter from the Pangeran Depati to his wife, merely respecting some domestic affairs, was found, being nearly flogged to death, rendered much precaution necessary, and the letter in question was accordingly bound on to her naked thigh, and thus escaped detection. Similar precaution was necessary to enable the deponents and their followers to get safely out of Palembang, guards and spies being stationed above the town to stop and examine all persons passing up and down; and for this purpose they withdrew one by one to an appointed place of rendezvous in the woods, and thence departing together, travelled by stealth across the country, ... by a difficult and circuitous route reached. Fort Marlboroughin twenty-one days. The letter, which, from the handwriting, appears to them to have been written either by the Sultan himself or his brother the Pangeran Depati, who was in confinement with him, was delivered to them by the female already mentioned, with injunctions from the Sultan to convey it without delay to the lieut.-governor of Fort Marlborough, and on no account to let it fall into the hands of the Dutch, or any of the ex-Sultan's people. It was well understood that Mr. Muntinghe first of all endeavoured to obtain the consent of the Sultan to arrangements that were favourable to the interests of the ex-Sultan, and prejudicial to his own, but of which they do not know more of the particulars than that the Sultan was to have a monthly allowance of one thousand dollars, five coyangs of rice, and 100 gantangs of salt, and be paid the gross sum of 25,000 dollars, to repair and improve the old palace for his accommodation.—That the Sultan positively refused to enter into any such agreement, on which Mr. Muntinghe acted as he has done, in opposition to the wishes, and notwithstanding the remonstrances of the Sultan; that they are perfectly sure the Sultan never put his hand or seal to any treaty or written document whatever connected with the measure lately adopted at Palembang: on the contrary, he . told Mr. Muntinghe that he could not, and would not accede to any arrangements o by him; that he had not the power to resist his acts, and could not prevent him from doing whatever he pleased with himself and the country, but that he would not voluntarily resign any of his rights or authority. —He refused to move out of the palace, although pressed in the most urgent manner to do so, and
it was not till after the Dutch frigate and other vessels were placed opposite to it, and he was told that it would positively be battered down about his ears, and preparations were apparently making to carry the threat into effect, that he agreed to move into that part of it where he is now a prisoner, still refusing to quit it altogether.—The Regalia were not got from him till after the departure of captain Salmond for Batavia, and many threats had been used on the part of Mr. Muntinghe, to take him by force and send him to Batavia.—The ex-Sultan, in consideration of being again placed upon the throne by Muntinghe, agreed to make over to the Dutch the whole of the interior of the country, and to pay down the sum of wfive lacs of dollars in cash and valuables; the sum of four lacs was received by Mr. Muntinghe, and shipped by him; the payment of the remaining lac was to be made after Mr. Muntinghe's return from the interior, and his effecting the expulsion of all the British troops from the territory of Palembang.—The warlike equipment which Mr. Muntinghe fitted for this purpose, consisted of about 100 troops, Europeans and natives, 100 Siaks, and 1,000 Palembang people, armed in various ways, and who were conveyed in 1,804 boats, in which were mounted eight large guns, and about 100 small ones.—When they left Palembang the Dutch had a ship of war of 22 guns, and a large military force there. (Signed) T. S. RAFFLEs. Fort Marlboro’, Aug. 15, 1818. Sir