BRIEF DAILY RECORD
W. C. COWIE,
(MANAGING DIRECTOR of the BRITISH NORTH l/oRNEO COMPANY),
OF MATTERS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS RECENT MISSION
William Brown & C? L? Sâ€™: S? Mary Axe . L<
BRIEF DAILY RECORD
W. C. COWIE,
(Managing -Director of the British North Borneo Company),
OF MATTERS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS RECENT MISSION TO
December 2fh, 1897.â€”Arrived at Singapore at 3 oâ€™clock in the afternoon after a very pleasant
passage; was met by Messrs. Scott and Anderson, who brought a telegram reporting unsuccessful
attack on Mat Sallehâ€™s fort, resulting in the death of Mr. Jones and six Sikhs. Mr. Anderson informed
me that H.M. Gunboat â€œPloverâ€ was on the point of starting for Borneo, and that he had
arranged for my passage with her if I cared to avail myself of the opportunity. Decided at once
to proceed, and was driven by Mr. Scott straight to Johnstonâ€™s pier, and thence by launch on board
gunboat. I cannot speak too highly of the kind attention of our agents in everything likely to
facilitate my movements.
December 28/Aâ€”Found that Commander De Horsey was under instructions to co-operate with
the Companyâ€™s forces if necessary. The chances are that it may be necessary, as the death of Mr. Jones
and the Sikhs has somewhat complicated matters. Of course, as I telegraphed to the Court through
our agents, the situation is more regrettable than serious, and at the moment quite upsets my arrange-
ments. Should it be found necessary to employ the crew of the â€œ Ploverâ€ on shore, this will have
a good effect on the natives by identifying the Imperial interests with those of the Company.
Government House, Labuan.
is keen on fighting. He will find many in Borneo who will appreciate his sentiments and who will no
doubt play them for all they are worth ; still, this shall not deter me from doing what I consider to be
my duty. If Mat Salleh is not captured the next essay, then it shall be my duty to, if possible,
intervene. To continue fighting longer would be stupid if the matter can be settled amicably.
December 30///.â€”Commander De Horsey says he will do anything in reason to help 11s to
protect British interests.
December 3 if/.â€”Arrived in Labuan. Mr. Horsford came off with the Governorâ€™s compli-
ments and wished to know about landing and guard of honor. Informed him that we would land at
once and without guard of honor. Commander De Horsey landed with me. Found the Governor
in Government Offices somewhat perplexed on account of trouble in the Padas. It seems a runaway
prisoner, named Tali, has taken Loongbawang. After discussing matters we decided to start for the
Padas at once, but shortly afterwards, matters were delayed by news that Tali had bolted after doing
very slight damage to the place.
January 1st, 1898.â€”Mr. Wheatley telegraphs that 'Pali is fortifying himself. Left in â€œPloverâ€ for
Batu-Batu. Sent Mr. Dunlop in â€œ Enterpriseâ€ to pick up Mr. Wheatley at Mempakol. 'They arrived
at Batu-Batu at sun-down where all sleep to night.
January 2nd.â€”Up at 4 a.m., and after breakfast we started in launches. Commander De
Horseyâ€™s landing party, Mr. Wheatley and Mr. Dunlop went by the Padas river, whilst the Governor,
Mr. H. Walker, Mr. Ballardie and I went up the railway, our object in dividing the party being
to prevent Taliâ€™s gang escaping by this way. We, however, saw no sign of Tali, and arrived at 7 p.m.
or just within half-an-hour of arrival of â€œ Ploversâ€™.â€
Loongbawang.â€” Landing Party from H.M.S. â€˜â€˜ Plover.â€
January yd.â€”-Sent Mr. Dunlop, Mr. Fraser and gunner of â€œ Ploverâ€ (volunteer) with a
considerable following of Muruts to a village (some four hours walk away) in search of Tali, where
he was said to be, and the â€œ Ploversâ€™â€ were detailed to watch a small stream as it was thought he would
retreat by this. He did not, but a messenger sent by Mr. Dunlop was mistaken for Tali and the
poor fellow was in consequence fired at and killed.
January qZ/z.â€”Mr. Dunlop returned and reported that the village Mowow was quite deserted,
and that there was no sign or news of Tali anywhere near. Mr. Dunlopâ€™s party found the body of
the Sikh, who had been killed by Tali.
The Governor and I went up the Padas to the railway crossing, and fixed upon a site for the
new township, which I named â€œ Beaufort,â€ as an incentive for His Excellency to push developments
on the railway. Found Mr.' Ballardie and Mr. H. Walker at the site referred to, and they took part
in the function. â€œBeaufortâ€ will take the place of Loongbawang which is in a sago swamp, and
therefore naturally unsuitable. The Chinese are all pleased at the idea of change to the railway.
The Padas at the crossing is 120 yards wide, and the depth of water when low is from one and a-half
to two fathoms. The height of the banks above low water is from 15 to 18 feet, and the railway
embankment is still higher, being about 6 feet above the banks of the river. Shot a crocodile.
Loongbawang.â€”Force Mustering to Pursue Tali.
January Jh.â€”Gave orders that all but Mr. Fraser and a few natives should return to Labuan.
'Phe â€œPloversâ€™â€ went as they cameâ€”by the Padas river, while the Governor and I went down the
telegraph line, via Kota. The â€œ Ploverâ€ arrived at 6 p.m., we at midnight. Very pleased with the
style Mr. Wheatley has put up the telegraph line : it is a most creditable piece of work. The road
from Loongbawang to Kota, being through a sago swamp, is of course very soft. I rode, however,
most of the way on a buffalo, and the Governor rode on a pony. Sago swamps, paddy and cocoa-
nut plantations nearly the whole of the way.
January 6th.â€”-Settling with the Pangeran Bandahara about his claims in the Inanam river.
Authorised the Governor to give $150 per annum. The advance is $1,050 or seven years. Got the
Governor to write to Sultan about Taliâ€™s escape to Membakut.
January Jh.â€”Looking round Labuan. Discussed various matters of minor importance.
â€œ Hecubaâ€ arrived from Sandakan, and brought somewhat alarming news in connection with the
Sulu Sultanâ€™s visit there. It is difficult to understand really what is up, but evidently the Sultan
is upset by the arrest of one of his body-guard.
January gth.â€”In consequence of the vexation of the Sultan of Sulu by the apprehension
of one of his body-guard, I have decided to go to Sandakan to smooth matters.
January 10th.â€”Left for Sandakan at 9 a.m.; The â€œ Ploverâ€ started ahead of us. Only got as
far as Pulo Gaya, the weather being very bad with heavy sea.
January 1 ith.â€”Left Gaya in the morning, but, owing to heavy sea, had to take shelter behind
Mantanani Island. Went ashore to inspect the island, and got benighted. After a very miserable
four hours in the jungle, with heavy rain all the time, I was found by Mr. Dunlop, who having
heard the reports of my firearm came with a lantern in search of me. The hills of the Island are, 1
think, lime stone, and the flat portion I should say is coral, at any rate the whole is fringed with
thousands of tons of loose coral, a thing worth remembering when lime is required.
January 12//Z.â€”Got away from Mantanani early. Sighted gunboat in Mallawalli Channel;
fyJCa /tvm-Z jfC'V
ultimately overtook her, and we entered Sandakan together. I am suffering very severely : the long
exposure in the rain last night has made me quite ill.
January \Jh.â€”I spent a miserable night, and, as 1 could not walk very well, did not land
till after dark.
The excitement over the arrest of one of the Sulu Sultanâ€™s suite is still considerable. All sorts
of rumours are flying about. On the other hand, I have had a very polite and most friendly letter
from the Sultan, who is anxious to see me. Have made an appointment with him for to-morrow
January xjh.â€”Invited Mr. Pryer, Mr. Cook, Dr. Johnstone, and Commander De Horsey
and officers of H.M. gunboat â€œPloverâ€ to meet the Sultan. His Highness, with his body-guard,
turned up about nine oâ€™clock. He expressed himself in the most friendly way, without once
referring to the incident of the arrest. He was extremely pleased to see me, and his manner was
I held a reception in the afternoon in honor of the Sultan, who came in grand style. Officers
of gunboat and most of Sandakanites present. The band, which reflects great credit on Captain
Keddie, was there, and played several very lively pieces of music. It rained heavily, otherwise all,
including ladies, intended being present.
Before parting I promised to advance the Sultan, at 6 per cent, per annum, the $10,000 he
desired to help him to Mecca; part of it is already due. I further presented him with a silver
tankard, so he went off quite happy.
The S.S. â€œSabineâ€ arrived from Sugut with news of S. M. Shere Singâ€™s death. He was
killed, poor fellow, at Ranau while out scouting. No other news.
Jamiary i$th.â€”The Sultan was to have called to-day in reference to an alleged claim against
him by Awang, but Datu Butu called instead. The Datu said the claim was the other way about.
It appears that Awang was the Sultanâ€™s agent, and having drawn three yearsâ€™ cession money, had only
accounted for two, therefore he, as a matter of course, would owe the Sultan $5,000. I have
requested Mr. Cook to see into the matter. I have suggested that the Sultan should in future receive
his cession money direct, and not through the hands of an agent.
January x^th.â€”Mr. Dunlop took the officers of the â€œ Ploverâ€ out to shoot.
The Sultan called and remained a couple of hours. He was in excellent spirits and I got
Dr. Johnstone to photograph him.
January xjh.â€”â€œPloverâ€ went out to Balhalla for prize shooting. This will have a good
effect on the natives, as they are within hearing.
The â€œ Petrel,â€ which had been sent to the Sugut river, arrived with letters which inform us
that Mat Sallehâ€™s fort is taken, but that he and all his followers have escaped. The report says that
Mat Salleh has gone in the direction of Bundu Tuan.
January iSth.â€”â€œ Plover â€ has gone to Darvel Bay to show the flag. H.M. gunboat â€œ Swift,â€
Captain Sparke, arrived after the â€œPloverâ€ had gone. Captain Sparkeâ€™s orders are to assist us to
protect property if necessary. He called on Sultan at Government House, the latter having prac-
tically taken up his quarters with me. Captain Sparke was included in group photographs of
Sultan, body-guard and self.
Mr. Ward, the representative of an important Rubber Syndicate, called. This Syndicate
has acquired from the Company a valuable concession of land on the Labuk river. Mr. Ward is
extremely pleased with the land and rubber prospects, and has planted already a considerable number
of rubber plants.
January igth,â€”Have had the Sultan again with me the whole day. More photographs in
which I appear. For the first time since my arrival the Sultan opened his heart to me about the
arrest of Lepai (one of his body-guard). He said he had been improperly treated, and that had
he not met me in Sandakan, he would have returned to Sulu with a grudge against the Company.
I told him that I regretted the matter very much, and I apologised on behalf of the Company
for any mistake our officers may have made in doing their duty. He accepted my apology and
assured me that he would have given Lepai up if he had been given time and had been asked
in a proper manner. He had, he said, recently given up, at the request of the Governor, one,
named Mokong, a murderer, who was afterwards hanged, and this, he thought, showed his loyalty
and friendship towards the Company, because he said, â€œLiving in Sulu and a powerful prince
I need not have given Mokong up.â€ Ultimately I told him that I would request the officers, who
unwittingly had offended him, and the Governor, who is in Labuan, to tender their apologies.
Before leaving, the Sultan led me into an _ante-room and presented me with a pearl. Mr. Ormsby,
being seedy, has returned from the interior.
January 2Q>th.â€”Held Council Meeting on the Mat Salleh question. In view of strong feeling
that hostilities should continue, I have, against my better judgment, been influenced to allow a further
term for his capture before attempting to treat with him. It was arranged that Mr. Dunlop (who
volunteered) and Mr. Harington should proceed to the interior to relieve Messrs. Hewett, Wise
and the others. Mr. Hewett requested to be relieved as he thought his services might be required
at Labuan. Have taken several photographs of the Church, which is a beautiful piece of work,
and reflects the greatest credit on Mr. Elton, who most certainly deserves the encouragement of the
Government, andâ€”what is more to the pointâ€”the financial aid of those who can spare something to
help him to complete such an elegant edifice.
Have given the â€œ Petrel â€ orders to be ready to-morrow to proceed to Sugut, and have asked
Captain Sparke to proceed to Labuan as the news from the Governor about Tali is not reassuring.
January 21st.â€”Left Sandakan in â€œ Petrelâ€ at 10 a.m., after saying good-bye to the Sultan,
Landed Messrs. Dunlop and Harington at the Quala Sugut where â€œ Petrel â€ will remain all night.
Gave Mr. Dunlop final advice and also the letter I got from the Sultan to Dyang Bandang, Mat Sallehâ€™s
wife. I hope everything will turn out all right. I told Mr. Dunlop that in spite of Council Meeting
and the views expressed by the various members, he was to deliver the letter if he got the chance, as
I was averse to further bloodshed and waste of money.
The â€œ Swift â€ went direct on to Labuanâ€”not calling here.
Dyang Bandang is related to the Sultan of Sulu. He addressed her in his letter as â€œ My dear
mother.â€ Her mother, who was Dutu Mabulâ€™s wife, was heir to the Sulu throne, but being a woman
it was thought best during troublous times to have a man on the throne. From what I can gather
the Sultanâ€™s father was first cousin to Dyang Bandangâ€™s mother. Datu Mabul when I knew him was
an important Chief and reigned over Langkabow.
January 22nd.â€”kt sea abreast of Kina Balu. The Central Range is an unbroken one of
about 5,000 feet high; but at the South-Western base of Kina Balu it is only about 3,000 feet.
January 2yd.â€”Noticed Sandy Cay on position of half-fathom patch Jahat Shoal, and the
height of Cay at low water looks about qL feet. This Cay did not exist in the old days and has no
doubt been caused by recent earthquake. Shall report the matter to the Hydrographer. A tripod
fixed on Cay would be of great advantage to shipping.
Tali, the Padas murderer, is creating quite a scare. Personally I think he can be easily
January 24th.â€”Arranging for the capture of Tali. Pangeran Besar of Quala Lama, has asked
Mr. Wheatley for assistance. 'Phis simplifies matters very much. It seems Tali has threatened to go
for the Pangeran unless he joins Tali against the Government. It is said that Tali has fortified
himself in Quala Lama, therefore have decided, in response to the Pangeranâ€™s request for assistance,
to send Dyaks and Muruts from the Padas, while the gunboats will operate from the sea. The
â€œ Plover â€ has arrived from Darvel Bay, having called at Sandakan on her way. Everything was quiet
when she left. Have sent the Court the following telegram : â€œ A. R. Dunlop and C. H. Harington
gone interior to relieve G. Hewett and all the others. Two British Men-of-War here, which may be
utilised, assist the Sultan of Brunei to arrest Tali who is threatening Quala Lama.â€”Cowie.â€ The
Sultan of Sulu has also arrived, and the Governor has given a reception in his honour ; nearly
all the white people of importance in Labuan were present, including the Commanders and Officers
of both gunboats.
January 2JI1.â€”Rain in torrents. Had intended to go with Padas Contingent but was
afraid of being laid up again. Gunboats left at noon, with the Governor on board â€œ Swift.â€ They
proceed to Quala Lama and will land there. Mr. Ballardie leaves to-day by the s.s. â€œ Ranee.â€
He says he is satisfied with the soil of Borneo, but not with the communications, therefore will advise
his people to delay opening the tea estate. This is to be regretted, as I feel confident that before the
tea is ready for exportation the railway will have reached Sapong.
January 26///.â€”It has rained incessantly since the night before last, and is still raining in torrents.
Am afraid it will be quite impossible for expedition to land. Of course, it may not be raining at
Quala Lama. The steamers in harbour all delayed on account of rain. The â€œ Libelle,â€ in which
the Sultan of Sulu is passenger, will not be able to proceed to Singapore for some time yet.
January 2^th.â€”Must be doing something, and, as the rain has abated a little, have given
orders for steam on â€œ Petrel â€ at 9 a.m., with the intention of visiting Sipitong. Arrived at Sipitong
at noon. After thorough inspection of the place, and after taking numerous soundings, am convinced
that Sipitong will make a good terminus for the railway, but the present terminus will do until the
trade warrants the extension.
January 2Â§th.â€”Last night anchored at Batu-Batu. Had a further look at this place. It
would make a most admirable temporary terminus, but so will the one Mr. West has selected, and
this saves about three miles of railway, while the distance up the Bay is only ten minutesâ€™ steaming.
The land in the vicinity of Batu-Batu is low, and some of it swampy, but the strip along the shore
is all sand. The large clearing along the coast would make an excellent cattle run. In fact, there
are about 50 head at present grazing along that park-like plain.
Returned to Labuan by 10 a.m. Got a train for the coal mines at noon, was shown over the
mines by Mr. MacWreath, who was, in the absence of Mr. Suthie, in charge.
Returned to Government House in time for dinner.
January 29//?.â€”The heavy rains during the last four days have done some damage to the mines.
Some of the lower levels are flooded, the old pumps being quite inadequate to cope with the water.
Besides the pumps, the Engineer had several boxes lifting water, and little coal was being brought
to the surface. This water difficulty should be properly grappled with.
The Sultan and his wives called and had a long chat. They like Government House.
January ^oth.â€”The gunboats returned, having finished Tali and those who stupidly joined
him. Tali escaped wounded but, from telegraphic communication since received from Mr. Wheatley,
his head has been brought in. Matassan, the head man, who joined Tali against the Company has
also been killed with about six others. * * *
Saw Sultan off and photographed his wives on board the steamer.
January 31J/.â€”Have had to keep my bed-room for half the day owing to smart attack of
former trouble. In the afternoon Mr. Trevenen called and offered to assist me to settle the unfortunate
dispute between the Sultan of Brunei and the Company. He also offered to send his interpreter,
Abdul Wahab, to interview Mat Salleh for me. He stated that Pangeran Kahar would put him in
the way of seeing Mat. These offers are worth consideration. If things could be settled amicably how
much better it would be for the country and how much more pleased would the natives be.
February \st.â€”The Governor interviewed Pangeran Pamancha, who had come specially from
Brunei to arrest Tali. This in response to letter addressed to the Sultan on the matter. Pamancha
much annoyed that the matter is all over. He said it was most improper of us to enter his territory
without Sultanâ€™s permission. Perhaps it was, from his point of view, but as we were asked for
assistance by the Sultanâ€™s head man there, we could not very well refuse. I pointed out to Pamancha
that, by the Treaty between England and Brunei, British men-of-war could follow up pirates any-
where in the Sultanâ€™s dominions, and that Tali was practically a pirate.
February 2nd.â€”Inspected Mr. Westâ€™s launch â€œ Melapi.â€ Found it in very bad condition. It
will cost at least $500 to repair it.
The â€œ Plover â€ leaves for Singapore to-morrow. Called and thanked Commander De Horsey
and officers for willing assistance rendered in connection with the Tali gang.
Mrs. Beaufortâ€™s at-home. Dined on board â€œSwift.â€ Thanked Commander Sparke and
February yd.â€”Got Chinaman to see launch. 1 asked him to tender but he wishes to see
copper stripped before doing so. Saw Mr. Hardie about new copper which he will order. Met
several people at Government House in the evening.
February qZ/z.â€”Took some photographs in the morning, interviewed P. Pamancha and
other Pangerans from Brunei about Government taking over independent rivers. Pamancha said
he was willing to sell his childrensâ€™ rights in Mengatal, and would consider the question of parting
with Membakut. The â€œPlover,â€ which sailed for Singapore yesterday, has returned owing to wire
rope having got round propeller shaft.
February $th.â€”â€œPloverâ€ left again for Singapore, and â€œSwiftâ€ for a trip round the coast.
It is such trips that give confidence to both Europeans and peaceably disposed natives. Discussed
many minor matters with the Governor.
February 6th (Sunday). -Mr. and Mrs. Hughes lunched with us.
February 7th.â€”Inspected launch â€œMelapiâ€ again, and gave instructions as to her repairs.
The Chinaman does not care to tender for the work, but says he will superintend it for us. I think,
perhaps, this offer will suit best, as it is rather difficult to tender.
February ^th.â€”Nothing particular doing, walked over a considerable portion of Labuan, and
made many mental notes which will no doubt be useful.
February e^th.â€”Read mail in the morning and discussed various Borneo and Labuan matters
with Mr. Hardie in the evening. Have given orders for the â€œ Petrelâ€ to get up steam to-morrow,
as I intend visiting Brunei, my object being to commence negotiations for the independent rivers.
February ^oth.â€”Arrived at Brunei in the evening. The Sultan sent word he would receive
us with honour to-morrow morning. In the meantime we (the Governor and I) have had an interview
with his son, who has promised to help us.
February wth.â€”I gave orders to salute the Sultanâ€™s flag, but sent word that we would prefer
to land without a salute. To this message His Highness would not listen, and when we landed he
gave 17 guns for the Governor and 17 for the Companyâ€™s principal representative. At the interview
T verbally sketched the terms which I proposed to give him. He said he would carefully consider
them, and, with many expressions of friendship and pleasure at meeting again, we went on board.
In the evening a special messenger was sent, with a request that His Highness wished to meet me
alone. I at once landed, and, after a couple of hoursâ€™ conversation, left him in very good humour.
He, however, asked for time to consult the Pangerans before giving me a decided answer.
February 12/^.â€”Have had an interview with Pangeran Jeludin, the owner of Mengkabong
and Mengatal rivers. Jeludin seemed somewhat dazed, and said he could not think properly during
Puasa (fasting month). He also wished for time. After sending â€œGood-byeâ€ to the Sultan, we
left for Labuan. Any attempt to hurry either the Sultan or Jeludin would only defeat our object.
Shall no doubt hear from Jeludin after Puasa is over. I think he means to let us have his rivers.
February \^th.â€”Mr. and Mrs. Allard called, and Mr. Cox, at my special request, dined with
us. Arranged that Mr. Cox should see the Sultan on our business. He seems confident he can get
the Sultan to take a reasonable view of matters. I am sending a letter with him urging the Sultan to
seriously consider my proposals.
February lyth.â€”Variously employed. Had a long chat with Brunei Pangerans and visited
the s. s. â€œ Melapi,â€ which is under repairs.
February 15///.â€”Have had an interview with Mr. Hughes, who is the Sultanâ€™s legal adviser,
over the matter of the claims. Shewed him the draft Agreement embodying the proposals which
Mr. Cox has taken to submit to the Sultan. He thinks terms fair and will see the Sultan about them.
Dispatched the following telegram to Court of Directors :â€”â€œ I leave to-morrow for Sapong. When
â€œ I return shall try to communicate with Mat Salleh.â€”Cowie.â€
February s.6th.â€”Mr. Allard and I left for Bukau this morning at 8.30. We chartered the
â€œ Rotterdamâ€ to take us across. Arrived at 3 p.m. and found that both Messrs. West and
MacNeish were up the railway. We walked about the country and a considerable distance down the
railway towards the sea terminus to pass the time until they returned.
February s^th.â€”A Vent with Mr. West and examined coal outcrop which is close to Bukau
and not more than half-a-mile from the railway. The seam apparently is very thin (8 ft. thick), but
I think it will get wider deeper down. Its dip is about 120. The strike I was unable to ascertain for
want of a compass. It might be worth the while of the Central Borneo Company to bore here with the
view of testing coalfield. If other and thicker seams of coal were found the angle (dip) is most
suitable for working. While Mr. West and I were inspecting the coal Messrs. Allard and MacNeish
went to look at the timber in the localityâ€”up the Bukau river.
February iSth.â€”Left by train this morning at 10.30 for Beaufort, on the Padas. We had to
walk four milesâ€”the rails not yet being laid all the way to that river. Put up at the hut of
Mr. Hogan, who is at Labuan ill. It being a most dismal one inside, we amused ourselves by letting
in a little daylight. Mr. Fraser sent messenger to say he would join us to-morrow.
View on the Railway.
February 19///.â€”The river is very high, but we have decided to walk. Mr. Fraser arrived.
He was instructed to arrange for our trip up the gorge. He is suffering slightly from fever. I have told
him not to accompany us if he does not feel equal to the journey. He says it will do him good so
am persuaded to let him come. The hill on which Mr. Hoganâ€™s hut is situated will, a little
further up, make an excellent site for Residency. There is sufficient water in a gully close by
the place I have in view as a site for Residency.
February 20/^.-* Weather fine. River still high, but we have decided to start when Mr.
Fraser and the Muruts arrive. Both Mr. Allard and I feel very fit and I am confident we shall
enjoy the walk.
Arrived at Monataki. The walk has been most enjoyable and the scenery charming. The
timber within ten miles of â€œ Beaufortâ€ is excellent and abundant.
February 21 st.â€”The scenery through which we have passed to-day is simply ravishing, one
surprise after another, and just before reaching Rayoh it culminates in the grand rapids abreast of
that place at the junction of the Rayoh river with the Padas. Just below Linsok there is a considerable
amount of flat land, and there is also some at Telungan.
We arrived at 4 p.m., having done 14 miles, very tired, but after a bath in the Rayoh river
felt much refreshed. Mr. and Mrs. Frend are both looking very well, and were naturally pleased to
see us. The bridge over the Mantenior Besar is 90 feet long, and the distance between the two
Mantenior rivers is about three-quarters of a mile.
February 22nd- Left Rayoh for Sapong at 6 a.m. About three miles from Rayoh we crossed
the mouth of a rivulet that was born during the recent earthquake. The old mouth is absolutely dry,
even during floods. Standing in the old bed of this stream I counted, within a circle of fifty yards,
11 billian trees. The native name for billian, which is plentiful all up the Padas, is Malingai or.
Batingai, the initial letters seemingly being mutable. I may mention that any number of billian seed
can be procured up the Padas. Strata nearly the whole way up the Padas to Sapong dips from
6oÂ° to 8oJ east, consequently the strike is about north and south.
Arrived at Sapong somewhat tired about 3 p.m. The scenery from Rayoh to Sapong is truly
magnificent, and the river is one series of roaring torrents, the power of which will no doubt be
utilised one day for lighting up the prospective villages on the railway route in the Padas valley.
Scene on the Padas.
February 2yd.â€”Last night I slept the sleep of one who feels having earned a good nightâ€™s
rest. The temperature at night here is several degrees lower than on the coast, consequently the
nights are much more enjoyable. I have certainly no hesitation in saying that there is a great future
for the interior of this portion of Borneo. What is wanted most are facilities for transport. The policy
of opening up the country by roads, railways and telegraphs, is without doubt the right one. The
planter, the native, the policeman, the district officer, the prospector, and the pleasure seeker, all want
such utilitarian and economic works ; therefore they should be pushed on as fast as possible with the
limited resources of the Company. With regard to the railway now in course of construction, I may
just mention that in my opinion the scenery of the Gorge will become an important factor in its
success. Another factor of importance is the amount of Musa textilis, or Manila hemp plant, to be
found in long stretches along the railway and up the Gorge road, from Bukau to Sapong, and also on
the Pagalan. I hope to learn soon of this most valuable plant being turned into hemp by Mr.
Thomsonâ€™s Fibre Company. A trial decorticator should be at once sent out, with the necessary
engine and boiler to drive it. The Murut name of the plant is Kalalang.
Had a deer drive in the afternoon and got nothing; let four does pass. On return, found
Mr. Applin waiting to see me. Mr. Applin is doing good work at Kaningow.
February 24///.â€”There are no cattle at Sapong and only a few buffaloes which belong to the
Government. 'The absence of these is due, I was informed, to fear created by the order promulgated
sometime ago re buffaloes trespassing on roads. The Muruts. it seems, at the earliest possible oppor-
tunity after the edict, sold all their buffaloes, because under the new law they thought their buffaloes
might get them into trouble. In fact, as an officer of the Company put it, their property became
a curse to them, consequently they got rid of it. This, I think, shews that the natives will make
considerable sacrifice to keep the peace and comply with the laws of the Company.
After much careful examination and consideration I have ordered the removal of the station at
Sapong to Tenom. This place has the advantage of being in a position to intercept and supervise
the trade of both the Padas and its important branch the Pagalan. The soil at Tenom is also very
much superior to that of Sapong, and will, therefore, be more suitable for the experimental garden
recommended by Mr. Ballardie, and now sanctioned by me. I have requested Mr. Keasbery to
confine his expenditure to $400 a monthâ€”including his own salary. Lamiding is the name of a
fibrous creeper which is used for fastening fishing stakes.
As there is a road, about a mile long, between Sapong and Tenom, the nursery at Sapong can
easily be attended to. The mules can also be left there for the present, or at any rate until the
Tenom-Rayoh road is repaired. This road was damaged very considerably by the recent earthquake.
I have also requested Mr. Keasbery to, if possible, find a track to the top of the Rayoh range (which
is immediately behind Tenom), with the view of building a sanatorium there.
Inspected the tobacco now in shed ; it looked and smoked well. That grown from the Havana
seed has an excellent flavour, and I dare say it will command a good price. The interior portion of
the country seems to give more flavour to tobacco than that on the coast; it may be the difference in
altitude that does it. While in the tobacco shed I came across a very pretty wood, the natives call it
Rangu, and say there is plenty of it. Shall take sample plank with me as I think it would command a
good price in England. Have drawn Mr. Allardâ€™s attention to it. There is also another very pretty
light wood which is plentiful on the Padas. It is called Sarongan by the Bruneis.
The leaf of the Rumpalas tree is used by the natives for polishing wood. It is also plentiful
on the Padas.
February 25th.â€”Regret having to leave so soon this beautiful place. The people of the
interior,' near Sapong, seem well disposed towards the Government, and Mr. Keasbery handles
them very well. As his occupation in the tobacco line is practically gone, and as he will now have
more time on his hands, he might with advantage be made district officer at Tenom. Lunched at
Domatal, a pretty little tributary of the Padas, about halfway between Tenom and Rayoh. Most of
the land between Domatal and Tenom could be cultivated and nearly all below Domatal to
Rayoh, could be utilized as gardens. In fact the whole of the gorge from Rayoh to Tenom could be
used in one shape or other. There are superb sites for innumerable villas and excellent land for
fruit cultivation, just the place for a large Hakka population. Reached Rayoh in time for an afternoon
cup of tea, then a plunge into the crystal river close by.
View on the Padas.
Mr. Frend is surveying the country for the railway up towards Tenoni. He says there will be
no very difficult parts to contend with.
February 26th.â€”Left Rayoh for â€œBeaufortâ€ at 8 a.m.; walked about a mile before getting into
boats. This is owing to very bad rapid near Rayoh. After an exciting journey over 33 rapids, reached
Beaufort at noon. It has just taken us four hours to do over the rapids what took us two days
walking. Messrs. Fraser and Allard left me at 2 oâ€™clock, afternoon, for Loongbowang and Mr. Little
almost immediately turned up. I must put on record that both Messrs. Allard and Fraser make
excellent and cheerful travelling companions, and I hope it will be my good fortune to at some
future time have them with me again. I have learnt a great deal about timber and trees from
Mr. Allard. Mr. Little and 1 walked down on the opposite side of the river from â€œ Beaufort,â€ to
Mr. Mathieuâ€™s house, but he had not returned from Labuan, where he had gone to get provisions.
Mr. Mathieu is manager of Mr. Thomsonâ€™s Ramie Company. Shall wait a day for him, as I
am anxious that he should select his land before I leave the river.
February 27 th.â€”Superintending coolies clearing ground for new house. Messrs. Mathieu and
Fraser turned up in the afternoon. The former stayed to dinner and the latter returned to Loongba-
wang, which is from here about five miles by road. It being too late to visit Mr. Thomsonâ€™s land we
arranged to do so to-morrow. It is situated abreast of the 7th mile post from Loongbawang, and is
therefore only two miles from this place. Mr. Mathieu being afraid of the present transport arrange-
ments, wanted to begin at Gadong, which is situate about eight miles below Loongbawang. I pointed
out to him that the railway would be through his estate long before he could possibly require it for
the export of Ramie, and that in the meantime Mr. West would help him as much as possible with the
transport of his provisions. The Jimpanga stream runs through Mr. Thomsonâ€™s land. The first
rapids begin about two miles above railway crossing.
February 2^, th.â€”Mr. Little, Mr. Matthieu, and I examined Mr. Thomsonâ€™s land.
Mr. Matthieu, who had not seen it before, expressed himself most enthusiastically about it, and will
set to work at once with its survey. Took photograph of the party before returning. Met Mr. West
at the terminus of the rails, which have not yet reached the Padas. He had with him three trollies
for our baggage. The engine he had left behind owing to some damage or alteration to the
permanent way. Arrived at Bukau in the evening.
Wood Cutters and Piles for the Railway Bridges.
March 1st.â€”Inspected new waggons, which Mr. West has made in Bukau, and I have no
hesitation in saying that they are equal to home made ones and at a third of the home cost. After
breakfast startedfor Sugan Lawas with Mr. Littleand Mr. West accompanying me. Mr. Little, as
Resident of the district, had joined me to learn my views on various matters in connection with the
railway, but more particularly as to the laying out of the land and as to its disposal. I have
instructed him to reserve fairly large areas for townships, and also blocks, three acres deep, along each
side of the line for the natives to squat on, charging them a small annual rent. A good deal of the
land, between Bukau and Sugan Lawas, is now occupied by the natives as paddy and fruit plantations.
It is not intended to disturb them, and the new comers only shall be subject to the annual rent.
Mr. Little suggested that the Western terminus should be named â€œ Weston,â€ after Mr. West, who
has the honor of being Engineer of the first railway in Borneo. 1 agreed. Arrived at Labuan
6.45 p.m. I may mention that Mr. Little is a most indefatigable officer, and I feel confident he
will handle Labuan as well as he handled Rudat. He has been twice woundedâ€”once dangerouslyâ€”
in the Companyâ€™s service.
March 2nd.â€”No news of Mat Salleh. Inspected the â€œ Melapi,â€ which is now caulked. Am so
far satisfied with the work. Made arrangements with Central Borneo Companyâ€™s agent for lighter to
take over more rails to Bukau, as Mr. Westâ€™s platelayers are being delayed for want of them.
March 3rd.â€”Had a long interview with Mr. Ross, who is in Labuan on behalf of the Borneo
Company, Limited, 28, Fenchurch Street, London, who have practically assumed the management of
the Coal Mines. Mr. Ross seems anxious to do something here. I suggested that he should get his
directors, two of whom intend visiting Labuan shortly, to consider our railway scheme. They are
enterprising and influential, and with plenty of money could do much more than we can at present
hope to do with our very limited capital. Mr. Ross is both capable and enterprising.
Fallen Tree across the Railway Cutting.
March 4th.â€”Mr. Cox has written that his mission to Brunei has so far proved unsuccessful.
Have therefore determined to personally conduct matters again. In the evening I called on
Mr. Trevenen, who very kindly gave me a letter to the Sultan. This letter, I think, will help. I also
called on Mr. Hughes, and again discussed the matter of terms. He thinks my offer so fair that he
will accompany me to-morrow to Brunei and tell the Sultan so.
March $th.â€”In entering Brunei at noon today, saw Mr. Cox, in the passing, at Inchi
Mussinâ€™s House. The Sultan, at 2 p.m., sent messenger to say that he would be pleased to see me,
but Mr. Hughes suggested that he should see him first. To this I readily agreed, and delayed my
visit for half-an-hour, to give them time to discuss matters. Without going over my interview with
the Sultan, which lasted for several hours, and the arguments I used to convince him of the folly of
holding out longer for better terms, I may say that I am a little disappointed ; yet, on the whole,
I feel confident I have made a favourable impression.
March 6th.â€”The Sultan sent for Mr. Cox, who came on board, on behalf of His Highness,
after the interview. He said the Sultan would deal with us if we would give him more money. I
replied that the terms already offered were more than fair, and that he must consider them as final.
I later went on shore again, but as the Sultan holds out, have decided to leave for Labuan early
March [th.â€”Left Brunei at daybreak. Before going, Sultan sent word that he would write
me his views on the matter later on. This looks more hopeful. The Governor and Mrs. Beaufort
gave a dance and supper in my honor. After the toast â€œThe Navy,â€ to which Commander Sparke
responded, my health was proposed by the Governor in very flattering terms. I thanked him and
those present for the honor they had done me, and predicted success for the Company and the
Mission which had brought me to the East.
March Sth.â€”Have decided to go with Pangeran Tajudin to Mengkabong to see about a
reserve for Pangeran Jeludin, in the event of our coming to terms. Tajudin is an emissary of
Jeludinâ€™s. Attended farewell dinner given to Commander Sparke by officers of â€œ Swift.â€ It ended
by everybody making speeches. I took the opportunity of again thanking Commander Sparke and
officers of â€œ Swift â€ for the willing way they had assisted the Company since their arrival.
March gth.â€”In the morning we left Labuan in the â€œ Petrel â€ for Mengkabong. On the way
picked up Mr. Wathen with a message from Mr. Dunlop. He and Mr. Harington have located Mat
Salleh, who, Mr. Dunlop writes, has got the Tambunansâ€™promise to join him. This is important news,
and requires very grave consideration. On arrival at Gantisan we started for the top of a hill, from
where we had an excellent view of both Mengkabong and Mengatal. Both districts are amongst the
finest, most cultivated, and most populated in North Borneo. Tajudin pointed out the site which
Jeludin wishes to retain as a domicile for himself and family. There is no objection to this so long
as terms otherwise favourable.
Group of Natives.
In view of the somewhat serious news received from Mr. Dunlop, have decided to act at once
by sending letter to Mat Salleh. It would be most lamentable to have to shoot down the Tambunans,
as well as Mat Salleh and followers. The Tambunans have so far behaved fairly well. Made enquiries
about messengers. Datu Tumonggong thinks he can find some for me. Asked Mr. Neubronner if
he would go, and after thinking the matter over for a moment he said he would. Mr. Neubronner
says that when Mat Salleh gave him back his money and his liberty, after the Gaya raid, he told him
that he did not wish to take any lives, his grievance being against the Company and not individuals.
March 10th.â€”Datu Tumonggong, Government Chief of Putatan, has found three men who are
willing to be the bearers of a letter to Mat Salleh. This looks hopeful; however, I can do nothing
without the Sultan of Suluâ€™s letter, which unfortunately I left in Labuan. Mr. Dunlop says Mat
Salleh is nowat Patau Patau, a place near Tambunan. Leave for Labuan to night.
March nth.â€”Have written Mat Salleh, as follows :â€”
â€œ This letter is from William Clark Cowie, the Managing Director of the British North Borneo
Company, to Mahomet Salleh, who is now fighting against the Government.
â€œ Having been made aware of all that has taken place during the past two years, I have come
from Europe to try and settle matters as I feel very much for those who have lost their lives, and I
feel also very much for you and your followers and would like to put an end to the present state of
affairs, therefore, I have asked my friend the Sultan of Sulu to send the accompanying sealed
letter by bearer to your wife, whose father was a great friend of mine when I visited Sandakan and
Langkabo before the British North Borneo Company got Sabah from the Sultans of Sulu and Brunei.
The Sultan of Sulu has told your wife in that letter that you can trust me.
â€œ I can also, as an orang besar (one in authority), assure you that you can trust me ; and have
asked the Governor to send you a letter stating that nothing will happen to you and your people if
you meet me.
â€œ Further, if you submit to the Government, and take an oath that you will in future be good,
we will pardon you and all your followers for all that has taken place in the past. But if you do not
come in and submit, the Companyâ€™s forces will be instructed to attack you at once, and keep on
fighting and hunting you, until you are either captured or killed, as this state of affairs must come to
an end. You are aware that the Companyâ€™s forces are now close to you. They are only waiting
orders to attack you again, but I have requested the Governor to delay giving them the order to do so
until you have had time to reply to this letter. I think the best place for us to meet would be at
Inanam or Mengatal, either place will suit me.
â€œ The bearers of this letter are Jalal, Juman, Bitawang, and Adun. The last mentioned has
been liberated from jail by the Governor, for the special purpose of accompanying the others.
â€œ I send my tabik to your wife, Dyang Bandang, whom I knew when she was a child, and
hope for her sake and for your own and your followers, that you will trust me.
â€œ I have nothing to add but the assurance that I sincerely desire to put an end to all further
misunderstandings, so that you may all be sinang (comfortable) and the country prosperous.
â€œ Written in Labuan on the 18th March, 1898.â€
The accompanying letter referred to :â€”
â€œ Government House, North Borneo,
â€œ Sultanâ€™s Seal.
â€œ H.H. The Sultan of Sulu,
â€œTo Dyang-Bandang, the wife of Mat Salleh, dated Sandakan, 17th January, 1898.
â€œ After compliments,
â€œ I wish to inform you that I came to Sandakan about ten days ago, and whilst residing
there, I met an esteemed friend just come from London, whoâ€™s name is Mr. Cowie. I was extremely
glad that he had come to Sandakan because I look upon him as a fatherâ€”just like my late old father,
Sultan Mahomet Jemalal Alam ; In fact, I look upon him as one of my own relations. All my Sulu
Chiefs are very friendly with him, as were your father and mother, because, being a very good man, all
people trust him. If you take my advice I think you will do well to see him. You need not be
afraid in any way because he will not do you any harm. Hoping you will be able to see him soon,
I only add long life and prosperity.â€
Besides these two letters, the Governor, at my request, wrote to Mat Salleh, guaranteeing safe
conduct &c. All the letters were sent in charge of a prisoner, a former adherent of Mat Sallehâ€™s,
liberated for the special purpose. This prisoner knew me long ago, in, as he said, happier times.
Right glad was he to see me and to undertake the journey which he said would most certainly
result in Mat Sallehâ€™s submission to the Government. The â€œ Petrel â€ has been ordered to leave early
March 12th.â€”Adunâ€™s optimism has made me hopeful of success. Adun is the name of the
liberated Sulu prisoner referred to yesterday. I inspected repairs on Beech Road. These were
ordered by the Court in response to a petition from the inhabitants of Labuan. I should say the work
will be finished within three months.
March 13th.â€”â€œ Petrelâ€ returned from Putatan, the place at which she landed Adun with the
letters for Mat Salleh. From Putatan, Adun will, with Majinal, another messenger, proceed to Mengatal,
and hence, after he has been joined by three others, Jalal, Juman and Bitawang, all relations of
Mat Salleh, he will go direct over the hills to Tambunan. Majinal takes a letter to Mr. Dunlop.
Decided to visit Sipitong again to-morrow. I sent the following telegram to the Court:â€”
â€œ Mat Salleh fortified near Tambunan, hostilities will be suspended, I have sent letter, expect to get an
answer in about a fortnight.â€”Cowie.â€
March i^th.â€”Arrived at Sipitong 11 a.m. Again examined the country for a considerable
distance from and around the mouth of the river. Am convinced it will make an excellent deep
water terminus for the railway, but, as it will be expensive, the matter can wait. The present
terminus is sufficient for all immediate trade requirements. I also examined Marintaman,
which would protect small vessels, but otherwise Sipitong is the better of the two places. Shall
anchor here to-night to avoid mosquitos at â€œWestonâ€ which I intend visiting to-morrow. At
Marintaman the people grow a fibrous creeper called Tengang, the fruit of which they eat and the fibre
they make into fishing lines.
March 15th.â€”Arrived at Weston at 7.30 a.m. Landed and examined the coal at Naloyan,
which is situated a mile and a half up the railway, and about half a mile from it. Found the seam
to be 4 feet thick, and dipping about 12 degrees, which is a good angle for profitable working.
Having no compass with me, I cannot say anything about its strike or direction. Took sample of coal
from out-crop : it seems hard, but wants lustre; this may be due to exposure and wet. It took four
men about as many hours to clear away the earth to get the sample.
The gravel hills, which extend after half a mile from the railway terminus to where the coal is, were
a lucky find, as the saving to the railway, on ballasting account, will be very considerable The money
thus saved, however, will no doubt be required elsewhere.
View on the Railway.
March ibth.â€”Returned to Labuan last night. Messrs. Gueritz and Atkinson, and Mr. and
Mrs. Proust arrived yesterday. They called to-day and reported themselves.
March x~ith.â€”Pangeran Jeludin has sent Pangeran Tajudin to show us the draft of an agreement
which he is prepared to execute. It wonâ€™t suit, but it is an earnest of business. Tajudin wants the
â€œ Petrelâ€ to fetch Jeludin on Sunday. This will facilitate matters.
I tried the sample of coal from Naloyan and found it a very good staying coal. About 20 lbs.
of it burned brightly from 4-30 till midnight.
March iMh.â€”I went and examined the coal embers at 6 a.m. and found them still smouldering.
Most Eastern coals burn away very rapidly.
The Commander of â€œ Swift â€ has received a telegram from the Admiral ordering â€œ Swift â€ to
Hong Kong if not further required. But she is further required, and Commander Beaumont is telegraph-
March igth.â€”Had another palaver with Tajudin. I informed him that Jeludinâ€™s draft
agreement would have to be greatly altered to suit, and demonstrated the points of difference. As
he thinks Jeludin will accept the alterations, I am having an agreement made ready for his seal.
With these gentlemen it is best to have everything ready, otherwise there is no end to palaver.
The â€œPetrelâ€ has been ordered to fetch Jeludin to-morrow, and the Commander and
ist-Lieutenant of â€œ Swift â€ will then take the opportunity of visiting Brunei. The presence of
officers of H.M. Navy on board the â€œ Petrel â€ will do no harm. I am sending a letter with
Commander Beaumont to the Sultan.
March 20th.â€”The â€œPetrelâ€ returned (6 p.m.) from Brunei. Laterâ€”Jeludin arrived, and
sent word that he will call to-morrow.
Commander Beaumont and Lieutenant Smythe called. They had a long interview with the
Sultan who requested them to inform me that he wished to see me again and at once; but I must now
finish with Jeludin before going. No doubt the Sultan is afraid of Jeludin doing something to force his
hand. If the latter comes to terms with us we can then take possession of Menkabong and
Mengatal, Jeludin being practically Sovereign Ruler.
March 21st.â€”Have had a long interview with Pangeran Jeludin. I think he means to let us
have his rivers. He has taken away the new draft Agreement with him. If he will only conclude the
matter quickly it will help me with the Sultan.
Have received a letter from the Sultan. He wants me to make a further offer and presses me
to visit him again. Have also received an important letter from his son, so things look altogether
March 22nd.â€”Jeludin, after careful consideration of the draft agreement, is, on the whole, well
satisfied with it, but he asked me to alter somewhat a clause which he thought unreasonable, and I
agreed to this. The clean documents were later in the day taken away for Jeludinâ€™s seal. The
matter now looks very hopeful, still I am anxious as there are some who would enjoy putting a
spoke in our wheel.
March 2yd.â€”The agreements have been signed, and the one sealed by Jeludin is in my
possession. Menkabong, Mengatal, Api-Api, &c., are now practically ours. Circumstances have
really favoured us very much. Well, it is finished, and I have telegraphed to the Court the news,
but we have still the Sultan to settle with. I have written to him stating what has been done and
that I will visit him on my return from Gaya after my interview with Mat Salleh.
March 2\th.â€”Mr. Dunlop has written to the Governor, in reply to a letter instructing him to
suspend operations, regretting the suspension of hostilities. He is evidently disappointed, but in
spite of this I have much pleasure in stating that both he and Mr. Harington have done the Company
yeoman service in following up Mat Sellah and locating him so quickly. Shall start again for Gaya
March 2$th.â€”Arrived at Gaya 5 p.m. and found the following letter from Mat Salleh waiting
me: â€œBehold here is peace and goodwill from I, Mahomed Salleh, who am at Mongis near Tam-
bunan, and I hope that with the help of God it will reach the presence of His Excellency Tuan
Cowie. Behold your letter has reached I, Mahomed Salleh. Moreover., I say truly I very much
wish to meet Tuan Cowie, but my wife, Dyang Bandang, is afraid of the police, who are near
The above letter arrived the night before last. It certainly looks encouraging ; after all the
matter may be settled amicably. But the opposition of those who wish to crush Mat Salleh is
March 26th.â€”Pangeran Jeludin accompanied us to Quala Mengatal. The Pangeran also
gave me a letter to Mat Salleh. He told him that he can trust us, and that he will be responsible
for our word. Pangeran Kahar, who is interested in the sale of Mengatal, and is a kinsman of
Jeludinâ€™s, is a manly-looking fellow of about 40 years of age. I like him very much, and have
sanctioned his being made Government Chief of Mengatal. Mr. Wise and I examined the land
and the water at the mouth of Mengatal, and found a splendid site at the southern entrance. There
is plenty ot flat land (at least one square mile), with deep water close in shore.
Have again written to Mat Salleh. I have told him in effect that, to show him our good faith
in the matter, we have ordered the police, which his wife was afraid of, to withdraw to Putatan.
I have further pressed on him the importance of his seeing me, and have told him that otherwise my
trip will be useless, and the result to himself and friends disastrous.
March 2~th.â€”Messengers have started with letters to Mat Salleh and Mr. Dunlop. I wish them
God-speed and quick return, with happy result. Have again examined Gantisan, but it is not nearly
so good a site for a new township as the one referred to yesterday at the mouth of Mengatal; therefore,
have decided to substitute the latter for Gaya, which, luckily, has not yet been re-built. It is most
central, and more suitable in every respect than all the other places examined.
March 2%th.â€”Anchored last night in Dalrymple Harbour. It is a pretty little anchorage, and
is well protected by the various shoals which create the harbour. The land bordering the harbour
is as flat as a billiard table, and quite clear of jungle, both rather exceptional advantages. There are
about a dozen houses, occupied by from fifty to one hundred people. There are also thirty or forty
cattle and several buffaloes. Morning.â€”Am just leaving for Brunei via Labuan.
Arrived at Brunei 7 p.m. Hear that the Sultan is annoyed at Jeludinâ€™s transfer; this
is unfortunate, but nevertheless it may help me.
March 2t)th.â€”Sultan did not send anyone off till this morning. Have made an appointment
for 12 oâ€™clock (noon). Have had a long and animated discussion over Jeludinâ€™s action. The
Pangerans were all most annoyed with him, but when I pointed out that he had only sold his own
rights in the various rivers, and that I had come to buy or lease the others, they felt much
happier. They could not, however, quite understand our fairness in the matter. Think I shall yet
succeed in settling matters amicably with the Sultan.
March 3o//z.â€”Still hard at it. They are most difficult fellows to deal with ; but the Sultanâ€™s
son is most friendly, and I feel he will help us. With the sanction of the Sultan I have
promised to advance him $2,000 on the Kamanis cession money, after matters have been arranged
with his father. Of course he would prefer the money now, but I cannot let him have it.
March ^ist.â€”After saying good-bye to the Sultan, we left Brunei this morning at 11 oâ€™clock
with the treaty sealed. It has been a stiff fight, and I am glad for the sake of all concerned
that it is over. For ten years the Sultan had shown his dislike to the Company by inserting in all
concessions, granted to others, a clause barring their transfer to the British North Borneo Company.
And when, about six months ago, an attempt was made to get him to consider the question of ceding
the independent rivers, he absolutely refused, and emphasized his refusal by writing to the
Governor that so long as the stars shone and the sun gave light, he would never let the Company
have another piece of his territory; yet, by being reasonable I have, within a couple of months,
succeeded in getting him to hand over to the Company, at a nominal cost, his sovereign and other
rights in the rivers Menkabong, Mengatal, Inanam, Api-api, Quala Lama, Membakut, &c. In the
hands of the Sultan and Pangerans, these rivers were ever a source of loss and annoyance to us.
Gunpowder, arms, opium, &c., &c., were freely smuggled over boundaries which were never defined
and which we could not guard; and rascals found them a most convenient asylum from which they
could with impunity commit all sorts of petty depredations. Apart, however, from all this, a most
â€¢ Inanam River.
unsatisfactory dispute has been ended without invidious litigation, and the Sultan, who was un-
friendly, has again become our friend, and his friendship is certainly worth something in dealing with
those natives who were once his subjects.
â€œAGREEMENT between H.H. The Sultan of Brunei and William Clark Cowie,
Managing Director of the British North Borneo Company, on behalf of the
â€œ (Signed) W. C. COWIE, JAz/zcz^z'/z^ Director. â€œ Witness to Signature of W. C. Cowie, Managing Director of the British North Borneo Company, â€œ BUYONG BIN MUKA.
â€œ Whereas the said Company has made a claim against his Highness the Sultan in respect of
the burning and looting of Pulo Gaya by his Highnessâ€™s people of Inanam, Mengkabong and
Menggatal, who were induced by Mat Salleh and the Companyâ€™s people, who came from the
â€œ Whereas the said Sultan of Brunei has made a claim against the Company in respect of
the burning, looting and casualties at Inanam by the Companyâ€™s people pursuing Mat Salleh, who
ran from Pulo Gaya to Inanam where he took refuge.
â€œ Whereas these rivers and others which lie east and north of Tanjong Nosong are
under the rule of Plis Highness ; and
â€œ Whereas loss and trouble have arisen and are likely again to arise to both His Highness and
to the Company so long as the above small countries are administered as they are now administered;
â€œ Whereas it seems best to all parties to end the present differences between each other by
withdrawing the above named claims ; and
â€œ Whereas it is best for His Highness and for the Company and for the inhabitants that the
said countries and inhabitants should come under the rule of the Company, while H.H. The
Sultan is thereby saved trouble, loss and responsibility ; and
â€œ Whereas this Agreement is made subject to the sanction of Her Majestyâ€™s Government.
â€œ Now we, H.H. The Sultan of Brunei, do withdraw the counter-claim which we have made,
and do hereby transfer to the Company and its successors and assigns all our rights of sovereignity
and our powers and rights in the same manner as in our original grants to the Company and its
predecessors, that is our powers and rights within the districts of Menkabong, Menggatal, Inanam,
Api Api, Membakut and Kuala Lama, and all lands, seas, bays, rivers, &c., in North Borneo lying
north of the Padras district ; and
â€œ The Company hereby withdraws its claim against His Highness in respect of the burning
and looting at Pulo Gaya ; and
â€œ The Company agrees to pardon all His Highnessâ€™s subjects who are wanted for being
implicated in the above ; and
â€œ The Company agrees to respect all the rights of the Pangerans and other owners of property
on the said rivers and all concessions granted by them or by H.H. The Sultan of Brunei previous to
this date, also all sums of money or gratuities expressed by the said concessions as payable to His
Highness for the sanction of his chop (seal).
â€œ The Company further promises that it will pay to H.H. The Sultan and his heirs for ever
the sum of $i ,200 every year in respect of rights of Inanam and Kuala Lama the first payment to
date from this date.
â€œ But this Agreement and the promises of His Highness and of the Company above written,
are all subject to the approval of Her Majestyâ€™s Government, which the Company will endeavour to
obtain as above stated.
â€œ And we His Highness do acknowledge to have received an advance of 8 years of the above
stated sum, that is to say $9,600. If Her Majestyâ€™s Government consents to the above arrangement,
the said sum is an advance of the said Cession money which will not be again payable till 8 years
â€œ But if the Queen should refuse her consent the said sum is to be considered an advance to
be repaid by His Highness with 6 per cent, interest per annum, and is a charge on the other Cession
money payable to His Highness every year by the Company.
â€œ There are certain governing powers of Pangeran Pamancha in Membakut not included in
â€œ And with respect to the Concessions which are mentioned in the Crown Agreements, which
were given to Mr. R. L. Cox, or his agents or his partners, or any other persons which were given
before (the date of) this Agreement in Inanam and Kuala Lama, half will go to His Highness The
Sultan Hassim or his heirs and half to the Company.
â€œ With regard to the Concessions of Inanam, $950 is for the Sultanâ€™s personal rights there, and
for his personal rights in Kuala Lama $250; making a total of $1,200 annually for both places.
â€œ In respect of Mengalun, which is situated in the sea off Inanam, this is not included in this
Agreement and is still under Brunei Government.
â€œ With regard to the Concessions of Inanam $950 and Kuala Lama $250, making a total
$1,200, this is the money referred to before.
â€œ Dated at Brunei this 7th day of Zalkaedah a.d. 1315. (30th March, 1898.)â€
For the benefit of future historians, 1 may be pardoned for mentioning that, twenty-
five years ago, I hoisted the British flag in Sandakan over the first British trading station ; that six years
later 1 influenced the present Sultan of Suluâ€™s father to cede to Messrs. Overbeck and Dent, to save
it from the Spaniards, the greater portion of our territory ; and that to-day I have again been
successful, with the help of several friends, in influencing the Sultan of Brunei to complete
arrangements whereby our territory is consolidated by an addition of a large area of land,
mostly cleared and a large portion under cultivation.
I have promised to bring the Sultan some money to-morrow.
Arrived in Labuan at 3 p.m. Informed Consul Trevenen of the satisfactory settlement.
He was quite pleased at the news, and it is my pleasant duty to acknowledge the willing assistance he
has rendered both the Sultan and myself throughout these somewhat delicate negotiations. He at once
telegraphed the information to the Foreign Office and I cabled the news to the Court. Both I hope
are satisfied and relieved at the result.
April xst.â€”Returned again to Brunei ; there is great excitement over landing the money,
most of which is copper coin. The ladies of the harem prefer the Companyâ€™s notes as being more
convenient for shopping, but 1 think the Sultan likes the copper as it goes further in household
expenditure. Had a long friendly chat with His Highness. He opened his heart pretty freely to
me, and on many points he has my sincere sympathy. Several of the Pangerans are, 1 think,
a source of annoyance to him, although he did not actually say so. Pangeran Pamancha is expected
on board at 9 p.m. Daresay I shall be able to arrange matters with him.
April 2Â«zZ.â€”After several hours palaver last night, 1 was able to conclude an Agreement with
Pamanchaâ€™s children for their rights in Mengatal. These complete my list, and therefore, we take
possession of all the Sultanâ€™s territories north of the Padas river without our title being in any way
disputedâ€”of course I take it that the sanction of H.M. Government is only a matter of form, as
everything has been done openly and with the cognizance of Consul Trevenen. The only other rights
of any importance are Pamanchaâ€™s in Membakut, blit there should be no difficulty in acquiring these
also. He wants a little time to consider my offer. In the meantime, having the sovereign rights, we
can prevent smuggling, apprehend criminals, &c. Before parting, the Sultan asked me to sign the
following Agreement of friendship :â€”
â€œ Whereas this friendly Agreement made between His Highness Sultan Hashim Salil Al
Alam Akamudin, son of the late Sultan Omar Ali Saifeedin, who is at the present time on the
Throne of Brunei, the abode of peace, and Mr. William Clark Cowie, Managing Director of the
British North Borneo Company.
â€œ Witnesseth :
â€œ 1. We the said Sultan of Brunei and the said Mr. William Clark Cowie, Managing
Director of the British North Borneo Company, for his benefit and at his request, forego all claims
(spiritual and intellectual) and losses in connection with the Inanam and Pulo Gaya raids.
11 Ancl from this date mutual friendship is re-established between us and the British North
Borneo Company, at the express request of Mr. William Clark Cowie, who came from Europe for the
said special purpose : and this act of friendship shall last and improve between the two parties, their
heirs and successors for ever. And no such occurrence shall ever happen again such as what has
happened in Pulo Gaya and lnanam.
â€œ 2. The said Mr. William Clark Cowie, Managing Director of the British North Borneo
Company, on behalf of the officers of his Company agrees and covenants that they abide by what is
herein, because the British North Borneo Company is the old friend of the Brunei Government.
â€œ 3. The said W. C. Cowie, on behalf of the British North Borneo Company, its successors
and representatives, promises that the Company shall assist us, to the best of its ability with advice
in case trouble should happen to us, the Sultan of Bruriei and our successors.
â€œ This Deed of Friendship written in Brunei 6 Dulkaidah 1,315 (April 2nd, 1898).â€
(Signed) W C. COWIE,
JAzz/zz^z/z^ Director of the
British North Borneo Company.
Witness: BUYONG BIN MUKA.
On return to Labuan I found the Governor still ill and in bed.
April yd.â€”Have instructed Mr. Little as to payment of cession money. Have also
instructed him to write Chairman explaining in detail the terms of the concessions.
April q/Zz.â€”Left Labuan yesterday forenoon and arrived at Gaya 8 p.m. Found gunboat,
as directed, was waiting for us here. Shall, as arranged, proceed to-morrow to hoist flag in
Menkabong. Jeludin will meet us, and Commander Beaumont, with landing party, will take part
in the proceedings. The Governor is still very ill, but he would not remain behind. He looks quite
the shadow of himself.
April $th.â€”The hoisting of the flag has been quite a success. It was hoisted at a village
called Mampalam. There were present : Commander Beaumont, Lieutenant Smythe, the
Doctor of â€œSwift,â€ Chief Engineer Gordon and Gunner Banyard, with about 40 blue-jackets;
Pangerans, Jeludin and Kahar, with a large following; and Messrs. Wise and Pearson and
self. After the arrival of the party, a guard of honor was drawn up round the improvised
flag staff. Then I requested Pangeran Jeludin to explain matters to the natives. In the
course of his remarks he asked them if they had anything to say against the change of
Government and flag. They unanimously shouted â€œNo!â€ I then addressed both the nativesand
Europeans, and at the end of my remarks, which mainly predicted peace and prosperity, I asked for
a good old English cheer from the blue-jackets for the flag, which 1 assured them was quite English,
and they responded most heartily.
April 6th.â€”The Governor worse; I shall insist on his going to Sandakan. Of course, he
wants to be in all this excitement, which I am afraid is to a certain extent the cause of his present
Arrived at Putatan river at 3 p.m. It took us an hour and a half to pull up to the station.
Putatan is really a wonderful place. Every inch of land, which is valued at $100 per acre, is, for
miles round the village, irrigated, and continually, or rather I should say annually, under cultivation.
Ploughing in Putatan.
The system of irrigation is splendid, being practically automatic. The land at various levels has
been made absolutely flat. Each level is enclosed by a clay or earth dyke, which, in a usual way,
has two sluices to regulate the water, which is retained or let gradually away at pleasure. Really,
the Muruts are a most interesting if somewhat dirtyâ€”people ; and were it not for their habit of
inveterate arrak drinking, one could almost admire them. Every farm-house is unfortunately cursed by
a still, in which the people make arrak at their own sweet will, or at any rate until their annual stock of
rice gives out. The still is simple, but most effective. 1 have made a rough sketch of it. The
filthy state of the Murut houses is caused by the large number of pigs which are kept under them.
If the Muruts could be weaned from their filth and arrak. they might become most useful. The
Roman Catholics have already made some impression on them, and for this they deserve both the
sympathy and assistance of the Government : but they have still much to do before their flock can
be recognised as only fairly exemplary Christians.
April ith.â€” Rode to Putatan tamu, (market) with Messrs. Beaumont, Smythe, Atkinson,
Wise and Pearson. On arrival we ordered the tamu, which had been waiting for us, to commence.
In an instant the dusky little ladies became most animated and ardent traders, and they displayed
their charms, ornaments, and wares to the best advantage, and barring the weirdness and wildness of
the scene, the fantastic and scanty costumes, and lack of shouting, one might have almost thought
they were a large assemblage of costers, so keen were they in bartering and dealing with one another.
In all there were about two thousand natives congregated to barter, sell or buy as the case might
be. Many came from Tambunan which was proved, by the arrival the night before of a note from
Mr. Dunlop, dated the 4th instant, to be only two days from the Taunt. Our copper coin was freely
passing at the market and many of the ladies were nicely adorned with belts, &c., made of ten and
twenty cent pieces, Singapore currency. It might be worth our while to have a silver currency of our
own. b'or ornaments alone a great number would be used.
Captain and Officers of H.M.S. â€œ Swift.â€
Overlooking the market is a pretty Roman Catholic chapel, which is in charge of Father
Prenger, and about two miles further down the river there is another one, also pretty and beautifully
situated, in charge of another priest. This gentleman dropped in while I was visiting Father
Prenger, who was suffering rather severely from diarrhoea. I strongly advised him to go to Labuan
for a trip, and offered him a passage, but he was unwilling to leave, even for a short time, his flock of
Dusuns, hoping by his own simple remedies to recover shortly. Such men are to be admired ; what a
life of self denial! Lieut. Atkinson and I rode back to the station, which is about six miles below the
tamu, while the others went by boat down the river. To give a better idea of Putatan, I may say that
we rode almost the whole way, in a straight line, through paddy fields at a canter; these fields are not
yet enclosed by fences. In time no doubt wire ones will be used to keep the buffaloes out of them,
but by that time our road system may have somewhat advanced, and this will make up for the loss of
that freedom now experienced in getting from point to point in Putatan. At the market the Company
had only one policeman present, which fact is significant.
April Zth.â€”This is my birthday. It has been celebrated by the formal founding of a new
town at the mouth of the Mengatal river. For want of a better name I have called it â€œGantian.â€
â€œ Ganti,â€ in Malay, means â€œto change,â€ and by affixing the â€œanâ€ to that verb it becomes a proper
name, thus somewhat appropriately indicating the change of the settlement from Gaya Island. There
were present at the ceremony Mr. J. 1). Ross, Captain Grant, Messrs. Weir, Oddie, Wise, Pearson,
myself, and a German whose name I forget. Captain Grant very kindly supplied the champagne
for the function. We drank success, with all the enthusiasm of pioneers, to Gantian, which, from
its position and surroundings, must become the most important place on the West Coast. My remarks
on the occasion may appear in the Herald A
*â€œ In the course of a few remarks, Mr. Cowie said he was glad to see so many Europeans present at the founding of
a town which he hoped would become, in no great time, an important trading centre, and the terminus of a railway
connecting with the line now under construction in Province Dent, and tapping all the rich country lying between.
â€œ In his opinion island settlements off this country were a mistake. The extra expenditure of time and labour
entailed in transhipping goods such as timber, &c., front the mainland, was of serious commercial importance, and thus
the burning of Gaya, hitherto looked upon as an unmixed misfortune, might yet be thought a blessing in disguise, for had
Gaya never been destroyed, in all probability this new station would not have been opened.â€â€”Herald, May 16th, 1898.
April C)th.â€”After the function of yesterday, I went in the evening to the place where coal is
reported to exist, but could get very little information. The natives brought something like coal for
me to see, but it was not coal. Later, returned to Gaya, and decided to run down to Labuan, to
bring money, badly wanted, to pay the Tawaran Dusuns, who were carriers on the last Mat Salleh
April \oth.â€”Labuan. Received a telegram to the effect that Mr. Swan, on behalf of the
Bombay-Burma Trading Company, will visit Borneo on the 25th instant, to examine oil springs and
report on prospects, also to inspect and report on timber prospects on the Padas river. Have
despatched telegram informing Court of hoisting flag at Menkabong, and the part the bluejackets
played on the occasion. Shall leave again to-morrow for Gaya. Forgot to note that the Governor
went with â€œSwiftâ€ to Sandakan on Friday morning. He was still very ill. It was arranged that
â€œSwiftâ€ should return on Tuesday next.
April \A/i.â€”Left Labuan this morning at 4 oâ€™clock and arrived Gaya at noon. So far, 2 p.m.r
no news from Mat Salleh nor from Messrs. Dunlop and Harington. Sailors and Gaya prisoners
engaged in putting planks on board â€œ Petrel,â€ for the new town. Finished dayâ€™s work by towing over
several large rafts of timber for the jetty and houses at Gantian.
April \2tJ1.~-Returned to Gaya, took on board $4,000 mostly in copper, and then proceeded
to Ambong, where it was discharged. This money is to pay the Tawaran Dusuns for services already
April i^tk. -Started, alone, at 6 oâ€™clock this morning, and rode over the Ambong hills and
along the new road to Suliman. I then crossed the river in a prow, which 1 hailed from the opposite
side, and walked on to Tawaran, whence I was paddled to the â€œ Petrel,â€ which had been ordered
to wait for me outside the bar. I am very much pleased with the road, it is well graded the whole
way, and reflects great credit on those who made it. Were more money spent on such works, the
revenue would increase much more rapidly than it does at present. Tawaran is a fine river, and the
water is, as the name implies, fresh. The natives, having heard of the arrival of the $4,000, had
congregated with the object of starting for Ambong to receive it. There was no grumbling at the
long distance (about 15 miles) they had to travel to get it. They looked upon the journey as a kind
of picnic (although it would take two days to return), and were all dressed in their best garments.
The Tawaran Dusuns, unlike most other Dusuns and Muruts, are not drunkards. Being Mahomedans
(the others are not), they do not touch spirits. The country about Tawaran, like Putatan, Mengatal,
Menkabong, Kinarut, Papar, etc., is considerably cleared, and the land bordering the river most
fertile, and I noticed in coming down that long stretches were planted with Kapok (silk cotton).
Got on board at 12.15 p.m., and reached Gaya two hours later. I quite enjoyed the trip, and
was quite charmed with the manner of the Tawarans, who are most exemplary subjects.
April â€”Two of the messengers sent to Mat Salleh have returned with news that he will be
down shortly. They also say that Mr. Dunlop is retiring via Ranau, and think Mat Salleh will reach
Mengatal in about three days. He leaves his wife and other women behind, and will only be
accompanied by twenty followers.
â€œ Swift â€ arrived with the Bishop and the Governor on board. The latter is still seedy but
much better than when he left for Sandakan.
The Bishop goes on in the â€œ Swiftâ€ to Labuan, where she proceeds to coal.
April 15//Z.â€”Gantian : Came over here yesterday after â€œ Swiftâ€™s â€ departure. Have explored
the hills round the back of the township, and found an excellent site for a Residency. From the
top of Bulapaham (one of the hills) we had a fine view of the country just taken over. The scenery
is indescribable, at any rate by me. However, I may say that it is unsurpassed by anything I have seen
in Borneo, excepting perhaps, the Padas river, up the Gorge, which is altogether different. The view
that can be had of Kinabalu is superb and the great central range, with its light and shade of jungle
and grass patches, is only a few miles off. The villages dotted about look very pretty, sheltered
amongst cocoanut and other fruit trees, quite gardens of the sun in â€œ Borneo the Beautiful.â€ While
Mr. Wise and I were at the top of the hill range at the back of the new township I named the highest
peak â€œ Mount Wise â€ in honor of my companion. Success was drunk to â€œMount Wiseâ€ from a
large poreous creeper, which when cut near the root exudes a considerable amount of water. When
short of water on mountain ranges the natives always drink from this creeper.
April AAh.â€”Left last night for Gaya; now towing more rafts from there to Gantian. Letters
â– came yesterday from Mr. Dunlop confirming report of messengers, recently returned from Mat Salleh, as
to the latterâ€™s movements. But in one paragraph he says : â€œI very much doubt that Mat Salleh will meet
you, and it is really a smart move on his part to get me drawn away. He has just been reinforced
by a Bajau. Lintoran, with a following of Bajaus all armed with rifles. Moreover, if Mat Salleh had
surrendered, the Tambunans would surely have come in to me as I have asked them to.â€ â€œ Swift â€
returned from Labuan.
April \ -]th.â€” Was nearly bored to death last night by a gentleman who seemed to be extremely
anxious about my safety. Now that Mat Salleh is within measurable distance of us he thinks I ought
not to visit him without a guard, but as this would frighten Mat I told him that such a suggestion
â– could not be thought of or entertained for a moment. He then suggested that Mr. Wise should
accompany me, but, although Mr. Wise was willing and ulimately offered to go, I, under the
circumstances, declined to agree to take him.
April i8//z.- -Have just been informed by Pangeran Kahar that the notorious rebel has
.arrived, and that he will not see anyone until he has seen me alone, so 1 have made an appointment
with him for tonnorrow. Things seem to be turning out just as 1 all along thought they would.
Commander Beaumont strongly urged me not to meet Mat Salleh without a guard (he offered
me one of his bluejackets) and both the Governor and he, on finding that I would do so, asked for
instructions in case of my retention. I told them to leave me to work out my own salvation, as any
misunderstanding, resulting in premature display of force, would most certainly jeopardise my life.
It was argued that as I had threatened Mat Salleh in one of my letters to him, he might, in the event
of terms not suiting him, take the opportunity of treacherously revenging himself on me.
But I do not anticipate he will do anything of the sortâ€”at any rate I have made up my mind to risk
it, as I feel confident the only way of getting Mat Salleh to trust us is for me, as principal repre-
sentative of the Company, to show that we trust him.
April i^th.â€”Landed this morning alone, as arranged, at Pangeran Kaharâ€™s village, which is
situated fully one hourâ€™s pull up the Mengatal river. I may note by the way that this river, from a short
distance inside its mouth to within two hundred yards of the village, ebbs and flows through a great
mangrove forest, which is flanked towards the sea by the hills through which it debouches. In one
or two places only does terra firma touch the river. On landing I found Kahar with the whole adult
male population of his village, including the Gaya raiders, waiting to escort me to their friend, who
was encamped some three miles further inland. After the usual salutation had been exchanged we at
once proceeded. Our road lay through alternate paddy fields and clumps of forest. En route I
thanked Kahar for the escort, which, I told him, was as much appreciated as it was unexpected.
The response to this was a smile of pride, which interpreted was â€œ Ah ! I thought we would surprise
you.â€ His two sons were told off as my bodyguard. The eldest was armed with the Winchester
repeating rifle the Company presented to Kahar some time ago, for hisâ€™ care of Neubronner, after
the Gaya raid. Kahar and I were unarmed, and few of Kaharâ€™s own villagers were armed, but the
Gaya raidersâ€”mostly relatives of Mat Sallehâ€”all carried murderous looking knives. A
Brunei man, named Tamit, who attached himself to me as special attendant (he said, to shew that
the Bruneisâ€™ esteemed me), was also armed. In all we numbered about two hundred and fifty when
we came in view of Mahomed Salleh, the invulnerable, and the savage looking crew whom he had
cleverly induced to accompany him from Tambunan. His encampment had been carefully selected,,
and I noticed that its approaches were also carefully picketed ; this, at first, appeared to me to be a
needless and somewhat ostentatious display of caution, but when I mentioned the matter to Kahar
he reminded me that Mat Salleh had had a pretty hot time of it recently. I was constrained to
admit that was so and, therefore, under the circumstances his precautionary measures were not
only excusable, but, from a soldierâ€™s point of view, admirable. The number of Mat Sallehâ€™s own
followers did not exceed twenty, but the Tambunans and others he had picked up on his way to
the coast, made quite an imposing display. I should say his armed following in all numbered fully three
hundred. When within thirty yards of this motley group it divided, and from the human avenue
thus created leisurely emerged a Bornean of striking appearance. He was dressed in gold cap,
smart green embroidered tunic and Sulu embroidered trousers with red waistband. He wore no
arms. His manner and appearance made me aware that I was face to face with the Rob Roy of
British North Borneo, the notorious Mat Salleh, whom I at once saluted with a tabik. After telling
him that I was very pleased he had come to make his submission to the Government, I, before
discussing business with him, addressed the assemblage. In effect I said that I was pleased to
see the Tambunans, and that I hoped that they, like Mahomed Salleh, had come to make their
submission, not that they had done anything particularly wrong, but as a recognition of the Com-
panyâ€™s authority. If, however, they were not prepared for this just yet it did not matter so long as-
they behaved themselves ; on the other hand if they disturbed the peace of the country they would
be severely dealt with. Kahar told me that in interpreting this to the Tambunans he considerably
emphasized my remarks. After a long desultory conversation, during which we smoked several
â€œNorth Borneo State Cigars,â€ I asked Mat Salleh what he intended doingâ€”whether he
was prepared to submit on the conditions of free pardon for himself and followers or fight to
the bitter end with the certainty that he and his followers would, in the long run, be exter-
minated. He replied that he intended to submit. Before doing so, however, he wanted to go into
the past history of his grievances. 1 tried to stop this by pointing out how impossible it would be
for me to give an opinion on that matter without months of investigation, as his story would most
â€¢certainly differ materially from that of his accusers. He said he must tell me that Hagi Otong was the
cause of all his troubles. This gentleman, he maintained, had misrepresented all his actions to those in
charge of his district, and they again influenced the Government against him, and that when he wished to
air his grievances in Sandakan he was not understood and was consequently gone for. Of his treatment
he complained bitterly, and got slightly excited when I would not admit that his grievances were just
ones. He exclaimed : â€œ At any rate, you will admit that your Company cannot prevent us from
dying for what we think are our rights.â€ After pausing, apparently to think the matter over, I told
him smilingly that, in this instance, I was bound to admit he was perhaps right. At this his
momentary annoyance vanished, and we all had a good laugh over what was considered a score for
Mat Salleh. Up till now we had all been standing, and it struck me that our friend might have provided
meâ€”who had come so far to help himâ€”with a seat, and I told him so. He apologised, and, after
thinking for a moment, with his hand studiously placed on his brow, he called out : â€œ Otto, fetch
yonder harrow for Mr. Cowie to sit on.â€ In a couple of minutes it was placed beside me, and I was
requested by Mahomed to be seated, which done, I asked him to sit beside me. But he said :
â€œ No, sir; as I have come to submit, I shall sit on the grass beneath you.â€ This incident throws
some light on the character of the man who has cost us so much. He then said that he thought
his friends in gaol should be released, and that he and his followers should be allowed Inanam to
live in, to the exclusion of other chiefs. In reply, I told him that it was my duty, for reasons of my
own, to inform him, even at the risk of his avenging himself on me as had been predicted by my
friends, that I must refuse both requests, the first on the ground that these men had been put in gaol
for certain crimes, at any rate it was the fortune of war, and the second because it did not suit us at
present to let him stay in Inanam. But I further told him that he and his immediate followers
could remain at present in the interior amongst the Tambunans, if they, the Tambunans, cared to
receive him, and, if not, elsewhere in the interior excepting the Ulus of Sugut and Labuk. After a long
palaver with the Tambunans, he agreed to my terms and I asked him, as a token of submission, to
surrender the rifles he had taken during the Gaya raid. He said : â€œTo this I also agree, but I should
just like to say that, even in the event of my not having agreed to your terms, we do not revenge
ourselves on our friends ; and that we consider you our best friend ; and further that we are extremely
grateful to you for coming so far to settle this matter.â€ I thanked him for the compliment and told
him that if he kept the peace for 12 months and otherwise showed himself friendly to the Government,
I would send him a present and recommend him to the Court of Directors for an appointment as
chief or head man of a district. After further expressions of gratitude on his part, and friendliness on
mine, and the making of an appointment for to-morrow, the meeting, which was a most memorable
one, broke up.
On the way to Kaharâ€™s village I was complimented on the manner I had handled Mat Salleh
by Kahar and others, and congratulated all round on the result. I told them that it was the work of
Allah, and that I was only the instrument, and that Mat Salleh ought specially to thank God for his
I mayjust put on record that my reason for not allowing Mat Salleh to stay in Inanam, where
he would have been under the eye of the District Officer, was because Mr. Wise anticipated he would
make that request, and warned me, in the event of my acceding to it, that he would ask to be
exchanged to another district. My action in the giving way to Mr. Wise was because I was
informed that he was a good officer, and what I have seen of him myself has also led me to this
In the evening Mat Salleh sent me, by Adun, my trusty messenger, his spear and kriss as first
tokens of his submission. I formally accepted ; then returned them with my compliments and the
remark that in future I trusted he would use them in the service of the Company and not against it.
April 2yd.â€”The following accountâ€”written by Mr. Pearson at my request for the Hearldâ€”
will give a fair idea of what has transpired since the 19th instant :â€”
On the 20th April Mr. Cowie and the Governor, accompanied by Messrs. Wise and Pearson,
went up unarmed to Pangeran Kaharâ€™s village, arriving there about 9 a.m. After waiting about an
hour and three quarters for Mat Salleh (his delay being ostensibly on account of the death of a child of
one of his men), he arrived at Pangeran Kaharâ€™s house followed by about 200 men armed with spears
and krisses, several also carrying rifles and wearing cartridge belts full of cartridges. Terms were
again discussed, and he was told that he would be allowed to live in the interior, and take charge
of the Tambunans. He again, apparently at the instigation of Merawi and Dato Sahak, made the
two requests which Mr. Cowie had refused him the day before, and was told that two men only,
viz. : Bandar and another would be released, on account of their old age, but that the Inanam was
closed to him. However the Inanam men who had followed him would be allowed to return there ;
on being asked whom he would suggest as a chief for them he named the O. K. Serail, a man whom
Mr. Wise had already proposed to place there.
He expressed himself willing to give up his guns (which he said were five in number), but
asked that no police should be stationed on the Inanam, and that none but his own men should be
allowed to live there.
This request was absolutely refused. On the proposal about the Interior being put to him,
he questioned the title of the Government to the Ulu Sugut, and the Ulu Inanam, stating that they
belonged to him and his people, having been made over to them by the Sultans of Sulu and Brunei;
this claim, however, he did not wish to press against the Government, but against the Sultans of Sulu
and Brunei. Mr. Cowie assured him that this was the first time he had heard any doubts raised as
to the Governmentâ€™s title to those territories. It was also pointed out to him that the Government
had shown their confidence in him by their head representatives coming to meet him unarmed, and
virtually putting themselves in his power : that now it was time that he returned this confidence, by
coming on board the s.s. â€œ Petrel,â€ and talking matters over there. To this proposal he did not seem
His attitude with regard to terms, though polite and respectful, except in the two matters of
unpunctuality and the armed force, was very different from his behaviour on the previous day which
had led Mr. Cowie to propose the second meeting.
On the evening of the 20th, Mr. Cowie sent for Pangeran Kahar, and most of the correspondence
between the Government and Mat Salleh was read to him, in order that they might get a clear idea of
the case ; he was then asked by Mr. Cowie to inform Mat Salleh that his behaviour in bringing armed
men to meet unarmed men was a breach of all law and custom. On the occasion of Mr. Cowieâ€™s
first visit he had been very pleased with the respectful way in which he had been received ; so much
so indeed that it had induced him to ask the Governor to accompany him the day following ;
with the second visit, however, he was greatly disappointed, for on seeing the unlooked-for display of
armed men, he had felt that he had placed himself in a very false position with the Governor, for
though he had been willing to risk his own life by placing himself in Mat Sallehâ€™s hands, he did not feel
justified in jeopardising the lives of others. Moreover, when Mr. Cowie paid his first visit he had
gone as a mediator, and therefore did not object to the presence of the armed men ; but on the
following day he and the Governor did not come in that capacity, but as the representatives of the
Government to formally grant terms of peace. And it was not fitting that Mat Salleh, by bringing an
armed force, should place himself in the position of the dictating party; and, moreover, that the
Government having trusted him to the extent of its representatives coming unarmed, he ought to have
reciprocated that confidence.
He was told to send a final answer, or rather to come himself to the ship or the shore on the
21st, and meet Mr. Cowie and the Governor with the same show of confidence with which they had
met him, or failing this, that ten days should be given him to return up country and resume his
status quo, during which time no action would be taken against him, unless he himself first broke
the peace, in which case hostilities would recommence immediately.
In reply to this message Mat Salleh said that he wished first to go round to Sayap, Tampassuk
and other places and report progress to his friends, after which he would return and tender his formal
submission. Mr. Cowie then sent a message back saying there must be no further delay if he wished
to submit, and that he must either come on board the s.s. â€œ Petrel â€ or be present at the hoisting of
the Companyâ€™s flag at Mengatal on the 22nd. To this the Governor added that if Mat Salleh would
meet Mr. Cowie and himself on the sea-shore on the following day (22nd) with his men unarmed, the
Government would consider it a sufficient proof of his good intentions.
On the 22nd a further letter was written, saying that as his delay was possibly due only to fear
he would be given until mid-day on the 23rd to tender his submission. This letter, however, never
reached Mat Salleh, as he had already sent word to Pangeran Kahar that he had decided to throw
himself on the mercy of the Government, and would be present at the ceremony of hoisting the flag
at the Pangeranâ€™s village on the Mengatal on the 22nd.
At 10 oâ€™clock on the morning of the 22nd the Companyâ€™s flag was hoisted, and formal possession
taken of the River Mengatal, the party present consisting of Mr. Cowie and the Governor, accompanied
by Messrs. Wise and Pearson, together with a small body of Sikh police and a landing party of about
fifty bluejackets and marines from H.M.S. â€œ Swift.â€ At the appointed place the party was met by
Pangeran Kahar. When the men were drawn up in three sides of a square before the flagstaff, Mr. Cowie
addressed a few words to the officers and men of the â€œ Swift.â€ He said that he was extremely grateful for
the kind and willing way in which they had helped both him and the Government ever since they had been
there, and that to-day they were about to witness and take part in the final scene connected with the
troubles which had caused their presence in the country, namely the formal submission of the rebel
Mat Salleh. Mr. Cowie then told the natives in their own language that the Company had taken over
the Government of their river, and that as long as all behaved well they would obtain nothing but
advantage from the change. The Companyâ€™s flag was being hoisted in place of the Pangeranâ€™s, but
the Pangeran would be with them still to govern and advise them. The Governor endorsed
Mr. Cowieâ€™s words, and added that he hoped that trade would increase, and every one be happy
under the new flag. Under that flag which was the same as the Queenâ€™s, no innocent man would be
allowed to suffer, nor any man who wilfully disobeyed the laws to escape just punishment.
The Pangeran Kahar then asked his followers whether they all accepted the Companyâ€™s rule,
and if any one had anything to say against that flag being hoisted. To this all replied that they were
satisfied ; the bugle sounded the Royal salute, and the flag was run up as the troops presented arms.
Three cheers were then given, in which the natives joined as heartily as they knew how. Hardly
had this been accomplished when a man was seen approaching bearing a white flag, followed at
a short distance by Mat Salleh himself, and one or two of his chief men, quite unarmed. Mr. Cowie
went a few yards to meet him, and led him into the middle of the assembly. Mat Salleh said that he
wished to submit absolutely to the authority of the Government, and then turned round and told the
natives present, that from this time he was on the side of the Government, and that if any one made
a disturbance they would know it was not he. Having said this, he took an oath of allegiance
before the Koran. When the large flag which had been hoisted was being changed for a smaller
permanent one, some one suggested that Mat Salleh should haul it up. To this he willingly agreed,
and with his own hands hauled up the Companyâ€™s flag in the presence of everyone. After shaking
hands all round, he crossed the river to the Pangeranâ€™s house, where the Governor gave him a letter
of safe conduct. The party then returned to the ship after a most successful morning; the only
hitch in the proceedings was that the boat in which Mr. Cowie and the Governor were going up the
river struck a snag and speedily filled. Luckily, it was very near the bank and no one got even a
In the evening Mat Salleh sent in five rifles as agreed upon, and a present of a sword each to
Mr. Cowie and the Governor, with the message that he would rather die by his own hand than break
the arrangements entered into with Mr. Cowie.
Sword presented to Mr. Cowie by Mat Salleh.
On the morning of the 23rd the following document was drawn up and sent to Mat Salleh for his
â€œ To Mahomed Sai.leh.â€”In consideration of your having submitted to the Government, the
Government hereby grants jwz the foilowing:â€”
(1.)â€”â€œYou and your followers are pardoned for levying war against the Government, but
people who have escaped from gaol, and committed other offences, are not pardoned for such
(2.)â€”â€œ Sabandar and Mallam will be released at once from Sandakan gaol if still there.
(3.)â€”â€œ People turned out of R. Inanam by the Government may return and live there, out
as there are some who might give trouble, they will not be allowed to return till O. K. Serail or
any other Government headman, and the District Officer give permission.
(4.)â€”â€œ Mat Salleh will be allowed to live at Tambunan, or elsewhere in the interior, except on
the rivers Sugut and Labuk. The Government hopes he will use his influence to induce the
tribes there to follow the Government.
(5.)â€”â€œ Mat Salleh at the request of the Government will always assist in arresting anyone
required for any offence.
(6.)â€”Mat Salleh will frequently supply information to the Government as to his proceedings.
(7.)â€”â€œ If Mat Salleh comes to the coast he must report himself to the District Officer.
â€œ Signed :
W. C. COWIE.
L. P. BEAUFORT.
MAT X SALLEH.
DATO X SAHAK.
â€œ Witness to above marks :
SI MOH, Serang, â€˜Petrel.â€™â€
April zAph.â€”Arrived in Labuan. Mr. Wheatley, who is here, reports that telegraphic com-
munication is opened to Bukau. This will be of the utmost advantage to Mr. West in the construction
of the railway, and those living at Bukau, which is becoming an important village. This line has been
constructed both cheaply and rapidly by Mr. Fraser. It will be extended at once to the coastal
terminus of the railway. Startling telegrams of war between Spain and America. Hope it does not
come off, as it may affect us considerably if the Sulus again attempt to expel the Spaniards from the
Sulu archipelago. Mr. Dunlop arrived from Sandakan in the â€œ Sabine.â€ The Council, it seems,
sent him to Labuan for instructions.
April 2$th.â€”Telegram has been received by Consul Trevenen to the effect that war has
commenced, and that we must observe neutrality laws. â€œ Hecubaâ€ has arrived from Singapore with
three home mails. â€œ Swift â€ returned from Ambong with Mr. Wise on board.
April 26th.â€”Mr. Wise has resigned. I requested him to take a week to
consider the matter.
April 2â€™jth. The â€œSwiftâ€ has been ordered to Hongkong.
April 2Â§th.â€”Commander Beaumont and Lieut.-Smythe called last night to wish us good-bye,
and I handed him the following letter:â€”
â€œ 1 have to request you to convey to His Excellency the Vice-Admiral commanding on the China
station, the thanks of the Court of Directors, whom I represent, and the thanks of the inhabitants of
British North Borneo, for his promptness in sending H.M.â€™s gunboats â€œPloverâ€ and â€œSwiftâ€ at a
somewhat difficult time. Their presence in these waters has been of the greatest assistance to me in
conducting the negotiations which have so happily terminated in the submission of the rebel Mat
Salleh * I may add that I shall feel obliged if you will point out to
His Excellency the growing importance of our Colony and therefore, the necessity there is for frequent
visits from H.M.â€™s ships to its ports.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient Servant,
(Signed) W. C. COWIE.â€
H. M. â€œSwift.â€
Have hoisted Companyâ€™s flag at Quala Lama. The ceremony"â€™ was practically a repetition
of the Menkabong one.
April 2<$th.â€”Mr. Swan called in the evening and we discussed petroleum, timber, &c.
Arranged to start to-morrow at 9 a.m. for the railway and Padas.
* Amongst the numerous districts which have been ceded to the British North Borneo Company, is Quala Lama,
a river and district on the mainland, situated some 30 miles up the coast, from the northern point of Labuan Island.
On the 28th of April, Mr. William C. Cowie, Managing Director of the Chartered Company, decided to hoist the
flag of the Company and left Labuan in â€œPetrelâ€ with the Resident, Mr. R. M. Little and Mr. J. E. G. Wheatley,
Magistrate in charge of Province Dent. * Â» Â»
Two of the cruiserâ€™s boats took the Europeans ashore with an escort of 9 police. The bar was smooth, and soon the
village of Mantabawang was reached. This hamlet is on the left bank of the river, about miles distant, by path, from
Pangeran Abas, the Head Chief of Padas and Province Dent, had unfortunately gone up the river, taking most of
the chiefs with him, but time was limited so the best was made of the chiefs and ryots present.
A long bamboo did duty for a flag staff and an old, very old, brass swivel gun was unearthed from some native
house, cleaned of the antâ€™s nests in its barrel, and set up, by simply digging the swivel point in the ground.
Mr. J. E. G. Wheatley had brought coarse powder and was able to provide sufficient to satisfy the native idea of
a proper charge. When the salute was fired, Mr. W. C. Cowie, in an impressive speech to the assembled natives,
pointed out that they had now come under the raj of the Company, and were bound to obey its laws and regulations ;
that His Excellency the Governor was unavoidably absent at Sandakan and regretted he could not greet the new subjects
of the Company. That the Company had acquired the sovereign rights over Membakut, the neighbouring district to the
North ; and that he desired that all men would live at peace with their neighbours, plant coconut palms, and multiply
and replenish the earth. In return, the chiefs and natives exclaimed â€œ They acknowledged the nz/ of the Company and
would obey its laws.â€
After a few words from the Resident and District Magistrate, the flag was hoisted. The Sikh police, who had
been drawn up in line, presented arms, and the ceremony was closed.
The Government clerk was left in charge, with orders to kill a buffalo that night and proclaim a general feast.
On the way down river, the party landed at the plain which skirts the shore and comes down out on the beach. The
strand is most picturesque, stretching some 20 miles to Papar and only broken by the Membakut, Bangawan, Kimanis
and Benoni rivers. Mr. J. E. G. Wheatley has ridden from Papar to Kuala Lama, easily in one day.
The plain soil is composed of sand, mixed with humus and being of large size and covered with a kind of cattle
grass, quite unlike lalang, is very suitable for coconut plantations or cattle grazing. A thick clump of casuarinas resembles
a forest of firs and no better site could be found for a seaside residence, than at the embouchure of the river.
The future Kuala Lama station will be made just below the village of Mantabawang, the scene of the ceremony.
The party returned to the â€œ Petrel â€ without mishap, and reached Labuan at 9 p.m.â€”â€œ Herald,â€ i6//z JAz_y, 1898.
April $oth.â€”Left Labuan at 10.30 a.m. and arrived at Weston at 1.45 a.m. Mr. West had
sent a prow to take our baggage. We landed at Weston and walked up the railway from there
to Bukan, a distance of eight miles. Having already spoken of the country along this section of the
railway I need only mention that the large forests are a little way off, consequently elephants would
be required to work the timber properly.
May isl.â€”Left Bukan at 10.30 a.m. and arrived at Beaufort at noon.
May 2nd.â€”Left early for trip up the gorge. Mr. Frend and I went on ahead of Messrs.
Swan, Allard and Fraser, and missed the rest hut, consequently after having gone on some three
miles further we had to retrace our steps. In going to the river to bathe I cut my foot and stepped in
amongst a lot of vicious ants.
May yd.â€”Arrived at Rayoh at 3 p.m. very lame and very tired. Mr. Little telegraphed
message from Court of Directors heartily congratulating me on the Mat Salleh submission, and five
minutes later I received another message from him to the effect that Mr. Wise reported that Mat Salleh
had revoked certain portions of the terms of submission and that I had gone back on my word. â€œSuch
welcome and unwelcome news at once is hard to reconcile.â€ Have replied that nothing must
be done until my return. Mat Salleh is right, the terms of submission signed by him were not
altogether in accordance with those verbally agreed upon, but the matter can be easily explained and
May yth.â€”To-day I am lame and cannot accompany Messrs. Swan, Allard and Fraser up the
Gorge. Mr. Wilson being also slightly lame, remained at Rayoh with me. Mr. Swan, owing to my
being unable to accompany him further, decided not to go all the way to Sapong. He went only six
miles above Rayoh; still on the whole he has been able to form a fair idea of the timber, which
he is not at all keen upon, unless the petroleum proves a success.
May $th.â€”Arrived at Bukau in the afternoon, after an exciting time over the rapids and
railway. The rails are laid within a mile of the Padas. Have had the benefit of Mr. Swanâ€™s views on
the railway. Chinese have now commenced to build houses at Beaufort, and the Residency is in
course of construction.
May 6th.â€”Brought Mr. and Mrs. West over to Labuan with us.
J/qy 7//z.â€”Sent long telegram to Court.
May Mh. Spanish dispatch boat in for coal. When requested to clear out, it was found that
something had gone wrong with her engines.
May gth.â€”Have been to and returned from Brunei. The Sultan and Pangerans were all very
pleased to see me again.
J/qr 10th.â€”Saw several people and discussed various matters of little importance. Mr. Hewett
called. * Â¥
May nth.â€”Nothing interesting to record.
May nth.â€”I feel, from the telegrams which I have received from London, that I am now
required at home, so have made up my mind to return.
May \\th.â€”Have decided to leave by the S.S. â€œ Libelle â€ on Monday next.
J/hr 15//Z.â€”Packing up. Wrote to the Governor to come to Labuan and put himself in
communication with the Court of Directors.
May 16th.â€”A red letter day ! Almost the whole European population of Labuan, including
Consul Trevenen, came to see me off; also a large crowd of native friends. When my health was
drunk, a grand display of fireworks, in the shape of Chinese crackers and bombs, took place, and
lasted for fully half-an-hour. I was somewhat affected by the unexpected outburst of friendly enthusiasm.
Later in the evening, when the â€œ Libelleâ€ left the Labuan-Borneo Companyâ€™s wharf, the air was again
rent by the explosion of bombs and Chinese crackers, mixed with English and Malay cheers. On the
opposite side of the Bay red lights were burnt and cannon were fired off by Mr. Smith, the oldest
English resident in Labuan, while cheer after cheer followed us until the vessel took us beyond the
reach of further sound. I am grateful my efforts have been appreciated.
May \^th.â€”At sea. My old home left behind. I would have preferred to have stayed for
two months more to have reported in detail on the various commercial undertakings on the East Coast
and Marudu Bay. However, this was impossible, but after four months spent in North Borneo, and
after a lapse of nine years, I am more enthusiastic than ever. Its possibilities are enormous, but its
potentialities want development, and to develop them we must endeavour to get capital into the country.
My friend, Mr. Hildyard, has done a great deal in this way, and other Shareholders have done
something by subscribing to the various subsidiary Companies; still more must be done if we wish to
see the Chartered Company of British North Borneo the success it ought to be, and most certainly
will be in spite of the initial losses and difficulties. One good success, no matter in what direction,
would make the country move, and once it begins to move it will gallop. Timber is now doing well ;
tobacco is also doing well, and coal is being put out in large quantities, while other articles of export
are increasing in value and volume, but the successes so far have not been sufficiently startling to
make up for the initial disappointments, hence we, to a very large extent, are labouring under
the disadvantage of Borneo being so little known. With a country capable of growing almost
anything ; with coal, iron and timber in abundance ; with enormous quantities of sago
and jungle produce ; and last, but I hope not least, our gold, which, by the bye, will soon be
practically tested by the large dredger which is now being erected in Sandakan, under the expert
superintendence of Mr. Rene Proust, there can be no question as to the future of the Company
which owns such a magnificent property.
May â€”Have had several interviews wirh Sir J. A. Swettenham, who as High Commissioner
and Consul-General for Borneo, is interested in Mat Salleh.
In reply to the local criticisms on the policy of conciliating our friend the Sultan of
Brunei and Mat Salleh, I will now close my Diary by stating, in the words of Mr. Chamberlain,
â€œ That courteous diplomacy, and moderate and even graceful concessions, are not incompatible
â€œ with a firm maintenance of the honor and essential interests of the country.â€
Sultan of Sulu and Suite
Mr. Barrout and Natives
Natives of the Interior View in Sandakan Bay
Forest scene on the Railway (stock of Sleepers on either side).
The Barracks, Sandakan.
William Brown A: Co., Ld.> Printers, &o.Â» London. E.C.