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OF THE COMING RETRIBUTION.

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will maintain the heritage descended from our forefathers!” No prahus were in sight at this place; and it was not until after a long and arduous search amongst dangerous and intricate channels, at a tempestuous season of the year, that we discovered the Malay fleet, they being then at a place called Trang, on the northern boundary of the province of Quedah. Here, as at the capital, the ship could not approach the coast, and Captain Warren had to throw himself amongst the Malays, in an open boat, with some eight or ten English seamen. Passing a shallow entrance to a river, which was carefully stockaded and flanked with gingal* batteries, Captain Warren, after a short pull, found himself amongst a formidable fleet of fifty prahus, carrying guns and swivels, or culverins, and with crews varying from twenty to fifty men.

A guard of 100 armed men marched down to receive the Rajah Lant, or sea-king, of the British Queen; and, with great ceremony and state, conducted him to their admiral or leader, a noted old pirate named Datoo Mahomet Alee, Datoo being his title as chieftain or lord.

* A gingal is a long and heavy wall-piece, much used by Asiatics, and very formidable in their hands.

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CAPT, WARREN VISITS PIRATE FLEET.

Had treachery been so common as it is generally supposed to be amongst the much vilified Malays, assuredly it would have been an easy task to put to death the British captain and his boat's crew, for they were fairly in the lion’s den, and the bearers of a hostile message, apart from Mahomet Alee knowing full well that a price had been fixed, for his capture as a felon, by the Company. Yet, on the contrary, they behaved with the utmost generosity and civility, listened respectfully to the warning given of future punishment, and, even here, as at Quedah, allowed a proclamation to be posted up, calling on all these pirates to disperse.

The conference over, Captain Warren learnt that the Malay attack had been successful on every point, and, apart from organising the means of preserving their hold of the province, they intended in the coming monsoon to assail the Siamese in such strength as to prevent their detaching a force to reconquer Quedah. To a wish expressed by Captain Warren, that they would come out and have a fair fight in open water, Mahomet Alee replied, that although he had never fought a British man-of-war, he was one who could boast of having beaten off a man-of-war's boats; and nothing would give him greater pleasure than trying to do so again, if Captain

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ARRANGEMENTS TO EQUIP A FLOTILLA.

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was.

Warren would come to fight him in the spot he then

With such mutual expressions of chivalrous desire to meet again, the “Hyacinth” returned to report proceedings to the Governor of the Straits of Malacca.

During the month of November we went to Singapore to arrange a plan of operations, in conjunction with the Siamese, emissaries from his goldentufted Majesty having been sent there for that purpose. Singapore w

Singapore was chosen as the place of outfit for the flotilla, because the Malays were less likely to glean information of our plans there than they would undoubtedly have been from their agents and sympathisers at Penang.

It was arranged that directly the north-east monsoon, or fine weather season, commenced, the British Government were to closely blockade the coast of Quedah, whilst a Siamese army of 30,000 men marched down to reconquer the province; and we were to treat as pirates all armed prahus fallen in with.

The “ Hyacinth," besides her own boats, had lent to her for this service three lugger-rigged and decked gun-boats, named, respectively, the “ Diamond,”

Pearl,” and “Emerald,” or Nos. 1, 2, and 3. They were all manned by Malays, and the “ Diamond”

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THE 66 HYACINTH

AND GUN-BOATS

was commanded by a half-caste native gentleman in the Company's service. A small steamer, the only one that at that time had been seen in those waters, was available in case of necessity; and the very terror inspired by the “Diana,"— or "fire-ship,” as the Malays called her — was a host in itself. When all was ready, we suddenly left Singapore; and giving Penang as a rendezvous, the corvette and gun-boats made the best of their way there, completed water and provisions, and gleaned all necessary information, prior to starting for Quedah; off which place the “Hyacinth” anchored on December 7th, with the gun-boats around her.

Great was the delight and excitement through the ship when the fact of the boats being about to leave for months, manned and armed, came to our knowledge. The pinnace and cutter were got out, and provisioned. All our lieutenants having either gone home on promotion, or died, the command of the boats generally fell to a mate, Mr. George Drake, in the pinnace; the senior midshipman, Mr. Barclay, had the cutter; whilst the two gun-boats fell respectively to Mr. Peter Halkett and myself.

Not a little proud of my command, at an early hour on the 8th I found myself on board the Hon. Company's gun-boat “Emerald.” She was a fine

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wholesome boat, about forty-eight feet long, carrying two large lugger sails, and with a crew of twentyfive stout Malays, besides a serang*, or boatswain. Completely decked over, she carried in her bow an 18-pounder carronade, on a traversing carriage, and a brass 6-pounder gun on a pivot upon the quarterdeck; and had, moreover, an ample store of all arms on board.

My swarthy crew received their new commander in the height of Malay tenue. The gayest pockethandkerchiefs tied round their heads, and their bodies wrapped in the tasteful cotton plaid of the country, called a sarong, and their bare legs and sinewy arms, with the warlike creese, gave them the air of as many game-cocks. Not a soul of them could speak a word of English; and until I could master enough Malay to be understood, my sole means of communication lay through an individual who introduced himself to me as “Jamboo, sir! Interpreter, sir!” “And a very dirty one too,” I mentally added.

The pantomime over, of passing a small valise, containing my kit, into a little cabin, which I saw abaft the mainmast, I desired Jamboo to direct the serang

Serang is a native term for boatswain.

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