A Battle in Brunei

I was reading this interesting book entitled "THE EXPEDITION TO BORNEO OF H.M.S. DIDO FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF PIRACY: WITH EXTRACTS FROM THE JOURNAL OF JAMES BROOKE, ESQ., OF SARAWAK" written by Captain Keppel and published in 1846. There were many mentions of Brunei (Bruni or Borneo Proper as mentioned in the book). One was especially about the British and James Brooke wanting to keep Pengiran Muda Hashim in power in the Brunei Court. Pengiran Muda Hashim was a supporter of Rajah Brooke. It was Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II who was the Sultan at that point in time.

I thought I will reproduce the entire paragraph and let you readers read the actual excerpt from the book:-

"31st.--Started for Bruni, and half way met a boat with Pangeran Illudeen, bringing the news of the place. Two days after the admiral and his steamers left, Pangeran Usop seized the hill behind his late house with 300 Kadiens, and commenced an attack on the town. Pangeran Budrudeen on this mustered about the like number and mounted the hill, and by a fire of musketry dislodged the enemy, who retired, stood again, were again defeated, and finally dispersed. This victory raised the courage of the Brunions, and a counter-attack was planned, when the arrival of her majesty's ship Espiegle delayed them. As the officers of the Espiegle and the rajah could not speak a word of each other's language, the boat only stayed a few hours, and went away in ignorance of the condition of the town. After her departure, Budrudeen gathered about a thousand men of all arms, with some hundred muskets; and leaving Bruni at three o'clock in the morning, reached the landing-place at 6 A.M., and at eight marched for Barukas, where they arrived at one o'clock. On the way the Kadiens humbled themselves, and begged their houses might be spared, which were spared accordingly. On reaching Barukas, they found Pangeran Usop had been deserted by the Kadiens, and was in no way expecting their coming. The few persons who remained fled ignominiously, Pangeran Usop showing them the example; and his women, children, gold, and other property, fell into the hands of his victors. The same evening Budrudeen returned to the city in triumph; and there can be no doubt these vigorous measures have not only settled them in power, but have likewise raised the spirits of their adherents, and awed the few who remain adverse. 'Never,' the Brunions exclaim, 'was such a war in Bruni. Pangeran Budrudeen fights like a European; the very spirit of the Englishman is in him; he has learned this at Sarawak.' Fortune favored Usop's escape. He fled to the sea-shore near Pulo Badukan, and there met a boat of his entering from Kimanis: he took possession and put out to sea, and returned with her to that place.

"Budrudeen we found in active preparation for pursuit. A dozen war-prahus were nearly ready for sea, and this force starts directly we depart.

"Budrudeen's vigor has given a stimulus to this unwarlike people, and he has gained so great a character--victory sits so lightly on his plume--that his authority will now be obeyed; while Usop, in consequence of his cowardly flight (for so they deem it), from the want of energy he has displayed, has lost character as well as wealth, and would scarce find ten men in Bruni to follow him. Unluckily for himself, he was a great boaster in the days of his prosperity; and now the contrast of his past boasting with his present cowardice is drawn with a sneer. 'His mouth was brave,' they exclaim, 'but his heart timid.' 'He should have died as other great men have died, and not have received such shame; he should have amoked, [20] or else given himself up for execution.' This seems to be the general impression in the city.

"My mind is now at rest about the fate of my friends; but I still consider a man-of-war brig coming here every month or two as of great importance; for it will be necessary for the next six months to consolidate the power of Muda Hassim and Budrudeen; and if, with the new order of things, they constantly see white faces, and find that they are quiet and inoffensive, the ignorant terror which now prevails will abate. Besides this, we might find the opportunity a favorable one for becoming acquainted with the Kadiens and the Marats, and giving them just impressions of ourselves; for I have no doubt that on the late occasion the Kadiens were worked upon by all kinds of false reports of the pale faces taking their lands, burning their houses, &c., &c., &c. We only see the effects; we do not see (until we become very well acquainted with them) the strings which move the passions of these people. The Kadiens are, however, an unwarlike and gentle race, and have now given in their submission to Muda Hassim.


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