The Last of a Great Sultan

I bought recently a magazine article entitled 'The Last of a Great Sultan' written by Poultney Bigelow. The article was about Sultan Hashim which makes the article about 100 years old as Sultan Hashim died in 1906. The article was pulled out of Harper's Monthly Magazine. I was clueless about Harper's.

Recently I did a quick check on the net and found that Wikipedia has an entry on it: "Harper's Magazine (or simply Harper's) is a monthly general-interest magazine covering literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts from a progressive, left perspective. It is the second oldest continuously-published monthly magazine (the oldest magazine being Scientific American) in the United States, with a current circulation of slightly more than 220,000."

Apparently Harper's Magazine began publication as Harper's New Monthly Magazine with the June 1850 issue. It changed its name to Harper's Monthly Magazine for the Christmas 1900 issue, and to Harper's Magazine for the March 1913 issue until today. My article must have come out between 1900 to 1913. A quick check at Harper's and the website listed out archives as well, I found that I could have got my article cheaper by downloading a pdf. Anyway, I found that the article about Sultan Hashim was published in the October 1906 magazine, 102 years ago.

The writer described Sultan Hashim having '.. his face was very kindly and his manner dignified ..." Of Brunei, the writer was symphatetic. She appealed in the magazine for the American to return several islands adjacent to Borneo - islands very precious to Brunei and 'worse than useless to the United States'. I was not sure which islands she referred to but apprently they are the islands on the Southern Philippines which included the Island of Taganak, Tawi Tawi, Balabak and Kagayan Sulu. At that time, Sabah or North Borneo was still in the sphere of Brunei. She also realised the dire predicament of Brunei then of '.. being choked to death economically by the state of Sarawak, which now controls not only the territory to the south of him, but the very river that passes his door and on whose trade he has depended from earliest times..' Yes, the Limbang River.

The article is interesting but added nothing much to my Brunei history knowledge. There is a couple of photographs which makes the photographs around 102 years old now. So it has a historical value. If you go to Harper's and pay some $16 fee, you can get a pdf of the article. I can only console myself that I have the original of the magazine's article.


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